Oct. 12, 2016: One day after Donald Trump proclaimed his “shackles have been taken off,” he continued his feud with Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, his chances to win Wisconsin all but disappeared, Buzzfeed reported he walked in on the changing room of Miss Teen USA contestants, the head of one state’s Federation of Republican Women resigned because of him, a major Utah paper refused to endorse him, and his running mate tried to calm a supporter calling for a revolution if Trump loses.
The barrage of bad Trump news was almost enough to protect Hillary Clinton’s camp from yet another WikiLeaks dump of her campaign manager’s emails. Almost.
Here’s our daily U.S. election Bulldog, rounding up what you need to know about what happened on this day on the campaign trail.
The Republican breakup begins
Republican House Speaker (and former vice-presidential candidate) Paul Ryan said he would no longer campaign with Trump, nor would he defend any more of Trump’s comments, like his braggadocious hot-mic comments to Billy Bush. What happened next was the first public defection from the party, with a tweet from a Republican congressman in Oklahoma:
Given the stakes of this election, if Paul Ryan isn't for Trump, then I'm not for Paul Ryan.
— Jim Bridenstine (@RepJBridenstine) October 12, 2016
Trump seems to be doubling down on his attacks on Ryan. He’s already said he doesn’t want Ryan’s support; he’s said that if he’s elected, Ryan maybe wouldn’t be there; then, on Wednesday. Trump alluded to a supposed “sinister deal” that Ryan is part of.
A reminder: Trump’s opponent this November is Hillary Clinton, not Paul Ryan.
From locker room talk to dressing room stalks
In 2005, Trump bragged on Howard Stern’s radio show that he used to go into the dressing room of women in his beauty contestants unannounced, and former Miss USA contestants have since come out and told their story of Trump waltzing in on them half-naked while changing for the bikini contest.
Now Buzzfeed is reporting he once walked in on Miss Teen USA contestants changing too. One former Miss Vermont Teen USA from 1997 was quoted remembering Trump saying something along the lines of: “Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before.”
A collapse in Wisconsin
Wisconsin was considered a toss-up before the weekend, with Trump holding a slight one-point advantage in one head-to-head poll on Thursday. Come Friday, the hot microphone and Trump’s misogynistic remarks from 2005 were unearthed. What effect did it have? The day the tape leaked, the same poll had Trump trailing by six points. Over the weekend, at which point nearly the entire country had watched the video footage, Clinton’s lead surged to 19 points—a 20-point swing in three days—in a head-to-head race. In a four-way race, Clinton’s lead sits at seven points.
So in which demographics did Trump lose support? All of them.
— Bradford Pearson (@BradfordPearson) October 12, 2016
WikiLeaks Dump IV
WikiLeaks has published another 1,100 emails belonging to Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta, following through on its “October Surprise” to try and derail Clinton’s campaign. Clinton’s team continuously refuses to confirm their authenticity, claiming it’s a Russian government tactic, while Trump is pulling out the most damaging emails almost daily at his rallies.
In one of those emails, pro-Democratic CNN commentator Donna Brazile—and current interim DNC chair—tipped off the Clinton camp about a potential CNN town hall question from March, expressing her worries about one question about the death penalty that could stump Clinton.
The Iowa Federation of Republican Women states its mission clearly on its website: “To elect Republicans at all levels of government.” That posed a serious problem for Melissa Gesing, the group’s president. She didn’t agree with Trump on the ticket, and especially not after the video leak where Trump said he felt his star power allowed him to grab women. So on Tuesday evening, Gesing resigned, saying in a statement: “I cannot in good conscience lead this organization or look at myself in the mirror each morning if I do not take a stand against the racism, sexism, and hate that Donald J. Trump continues to promote.”
— Melissa Gesing (@melissagesing) October 12, 2016
How bad is Trump faring in the women’s vote? According to a Public Religion Research Institute poll conducted after the release of that Access Hollywood tape, Clinton leads Trump by 33 points among women.
Rubbing Salt in Trump’s wounds
Utah’s Salt Lake City Tribune—the state’s largest paper—is the latest news outlet to endorse Clinton over Trump, writing: “It has been amusing, to a degree, to watch the circus that was the Republican primary process struggle and fuss and finally produce such a disappointment to be its presidential nominee.” But now, they state, it’s time to get serious. “The fact is that the next president of the United States will be one of two people, one eminently qualified and painfully forged, the other a total disgrace.”
Utah is considered among the safest states for the Republican Party and most polls have shown Trump in a huge lead—that is the latest Y2 Analytics saw the two polling in a dead heat at 26 per cent each among likely voters. Where did the rest of the voters go? According to the poll, the independent candidate Evan McMullin is polling at 22 per cent, while Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson has 14 per cent. So yes, according to this poll, a third-party candidate could actually win Utah—especially if locals can band together and pick one.
It’s all rigged
Trump claimed the debates have thus far been rigged against him—proven by his faulty microphone and the fact that one of the Commission on Presidential Debates co-chairs was once a White House Press Secretary under president Bill Clinton. (He failed to mention that the other co-chair was once chairman of the Republican National Committee.) He has repeated his stance that November’s election will be rigged against him—a claim he’s made so often that Republicans are telling him to stop using such rhetoric to undercut the electoral process without any proof.
In Iowa on Tuesday night, during a rally with Trump’s running mate Mike Pence, a Trump supporter said she was so worried about voter fraud that “If Hillary Clinton gets in, I myself, I’m ready for a revolution because we can’t have her in.”
Pence’s response: “Don’t say that.”
WATCH: Woman at Pence rally: “If Hillary Clinton gets in … I’m ready for a revolution".
Pence: “Don’t say that.” https://t.co/33kkes5urQ
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) October 11, 2016
On second thought
After calling on Trump to step down in the aftermath of the 2005 Access Hollywood video surfacing, Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer and South Dakota Sen. John Thune both now say they intend to vote Trump come November. Both senators had previously called on Trump to step away and let his running mate, Mike Pence, lead the Republican ticket. Trump refused to back down, and while there have been several high-profile defectors, these two opted to get back in line.
But not everyone is lining up behind Trump no matter what. Alaska’s two senators voluntarily stepped down from their Republican Party’s state central committee—both having said they will work to support all Republican candidates, minus Trump.
A Cuba crisis
Trump promised Wednesday to reverse President Obama’s executive order to ease travel and trade restriction between the U.S. and Cuba, saying the Cuban people “have struggled too long.”
The people of Cuba have struggled too long. Will reverse Obama's Executive Orders and concessions towards Cuba until freedoms are restored.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2016
Obama’s position was that the 55-year trade embargo was ineffective and the two countries needed to chart a new course. Trump’s promise to reverse that position might also come across as slightly hypocritical, considering Newsweek recently unveiled how one of Trump’s companies violated that embargo in the late 1990s.
Trump on the attack
Trump’s team unveiled another new attack ad this week, this one calling Clinton corrupt and caring only about “power, money and herself.”
While the ad will definitely appeal to his base supporters—but do little to grow his tent of voters—it may be part of his new strategy to win. According to the Wall Street Journal, Trump’s advisers are launching the attack on Clinton to depress the number of voters who will feel compelled to go out and vote Clinton.
Clinton, meanwhile, has a new ad of her own: “Donald Trump: The final meltdown.”
Donald Trump: The final meltdown. pic.twitter.com/8wJEiJ0Sh5
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 12, 2016
Trump has always had affinity for polls that show him winning—but some polls can be quite misleading. For example, a fundraising email from Trump’s son Eric reportedly talked about the gain the Republicans (red) were making across the country.
New fundraising email from Eric Trump tells supporters campaign is making "huge gains" and includes this gif pic.twitter.com/MvUUCU7b3d
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) October 12, 2016
And the polling map—which appears to be from the widely respected website FiveThirtyEight—is indeed authentic. The only problem: They used a demographic-specific map that captures only an America where exclusively the men voted.
— 538 politics (@538politics) October 12, 2016
For the record, FiveThirtyEight gives Clinton about an 86 per cent chance of winning (as of Wednesday at 5 p.m. EST). Here’s a more accurate map of the country.
This is what the election would look like if … our polls-only model is right: pic.twitter.com/1LTG8GGACO
— 538 politics (@538politics) October 12, 2016
Recommended reading: There is reportedly plenty of behind-the-scenes footage from The Apprentice that casts Trump in an even worse light than his lewd comments to Billy Bush on Access Hollywood. But the legendary producer behind Trump’s hit TV show won’t release the footage, even though friends say he’s not voting Trump.
So why not release the tapes? Read Politico’s “The Man Behind the Tapes That Could Sink the Donald”