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Roy Moore Campaign Decides It’s a Good Idea to Have a 12-Year-Old Girl Interview Him

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Common sense dictates that a press event with GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore and an underage girl might be a bad idea, but a pro-Trump super PAC bucked that notion and had a 12-year-old girl interview the alleged child predator just days before Alabama’s special election.

The America First Project sent pre-teen conservative Millie March to talk to Moore as a way of showing “that there is a wide range of people who support Judge Roy Moore” — even those in the age demographic he is accused of molesting.

Millie rose to prominence in right-wing media after she attended CPAC this year and was featured in several viral videos espousing support for President Donald Trump and hatred toward Hillary Clinton. She later appeared on Fox & Friends and said she was interested in running for public office one day.

It appears, however, that the 12-year-old is already proving herself to be a hypocrite in her short punditry career. Despite her support for accused sexual predator Moore, in one of Millie’s previous videos, she can be heard attacking Clinton for “defending a man who molested women” — referencing the sexual misconduct allegations that have been leveled against her husband Bill Clinton.

The young conservative visited the Alabama GOP headquarters to sit down with the controversial candidate, and the 12-year-old took the opportunity to rail against undocumented immigrants and sanctuary cities.

“Are you gonna’ support President Trump and help him build a wall?” demanded Millie.

Moore, a hardline immigration hawk, appeared to let out a Freudian slip, saying, “I think the military can be used down with the border patrol and stop immigration.” He went on to clarify that “illegal immigration” is the problem, not immigration in general.

The 12-year-old responded with resounding approval, saying: “yes because everything’s happening a lot and that poor lady and the guy who killed her wasn’t even convicted.”

“Awesome!” added the 12-year-old — after receiving a smile and nod from Moore.

Moore has spent the past several weeks dodging interviews with reputable news outlets and reporters in favor of softball conversations with sympathetic interviewers like 12-year-old Millie. Though, the most bizarre aspect of the meeting is the young girl’s age, considering the GOP candidate was accused of molesting Leigh Corfman when she was a 14-year-old and he was in his 30s.

Other women have leveled similar accusations against Moore, claiming the former Alabama Supreme Court justice made sexual advances toward them when they were teenagers.

[image via screengrab]

Follow the author on Twitter (@calebecarma).

‘Decency Wins’: Twitter Explodes With Joy After Doug Jones Defeats Roy Moore

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After Democrat Doug Jones managed to upset GOP Senate candidate and alleged child molester Roy Moore, Twitter erupted with relief as the wild Alabama special election finally came to an end tonight.

While Republicans, including President Donald Trump, had handily won the notoriously red state in recent years, Jones was able to become the first Democrat to win an Alabama Senate seat in a quarter century. The win shrunk the Republican Senate majority by one seat, leaving their lead at only 51.

Notable pundits, politicians, and journalists responded to the conclusion of the crazy Senate race — that included numerous sexual child predator allegations, references to “Jew” attorneys, and calls for banning “homosexual conduct” — with tweets of joy at Jones’ victory and snarky posts railing against Trump, the RNC, and other Moore supporters:

[image via screengrab]

Follow the author on Twitter (@calebecarma).

The Best Evidence of ‘Russian Collusion’ Is Trump World’s Reaction to the Allegation

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I see the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election as Robert Mueller slowly painting a giant mural from the edges of his canvas and working towards the center, with all of us guessing as to what the final product will reveal when he’s finally done. Through that prism, in the last few days we have gotten to see several more important brush strokes, but where it is all really going is still mostly a mystery.

Opinion on the Russia probe has now become extremely divided, with the two basic sides entrenched in their own realities which have almost nothing in common. The left seems convinced that Mueller is the process of removing Trump from office, maybe even putting him and his family in prison, and eradicating the cancerous polyp from our collective faces that is the result of, what is to them, a catastrophic election. Trump supporters see the investigation as witch hunt designed to stage a coup against Trump while protecting the real criminal in all of this, Hillary Clinton.

As a conservative who loathes Trump as a person, I have been wavering somewhere in the middle of these two groups. If only because their theory is far less insane, I have gravitated more towards the former group, while being VERY cautious about how many of the so-called experts who have gotten large followings on Twitter are TOTALLY invested in their preferred result of Mueller’s mural.

Confirmation bias is both very real and dangerous. We should all be very hesitant to believe media analysis based on fragments of information which just happen to fit perfectly with the self-interest of the commentator, while giving their audience exactly what they want to hear.

I have never doubted that Russia attempted to influence the election. It was pretty obvious to me even during the election that some HIGHLY suspicious things were happening. I have even laid out a pretty compelling case that these efforts were the difference in Wisconsin and Michigan (which, to be clear, technically did not impact the result of the election).

What I have never been sure of was how much the Trump campaign, and Trump himself, were actually involved in this plot. Part of the hesitancy to accept that there was “collusion” is the utter insanity of the charge and brazenness of the act itself. With any other president the entire concept would just be too audacious to even seriously consider. Of course, we have already learned that when it comes to Trump, the normal boundaries of presidential behavior are simply not relevant.

Friday’s indictment by Mueller of 13 Russians was seen by Trump and his supporters in the state-run “conservative” media as a bizarre vindication for their claims that there was no “real collusion” with Russia. When your own people are now saying that it is clear Russia meddled after you have never accepted that claim, and the indictments say your own people did “unwittingly” collude with Russia, but were just too stupid to realize what was happening, that sure doesn’t sound much like “winning.”

But obviously the entire Trump phenomenon is a testament to the awesome power of creating extremely low expectations.

It is quite possible that these most recent indictments are indeed completely consistent with Mueller’s mural not ultimately implicating Trump himself or concluding that there was a campaign conspiracy with Russia. I have always maintained that it is possible that the Trump team was just colossally incompetent/corrupt and that they panicked when the investigation began out of fear of the boss’s great victory being delegitimized and what might be found out about his finances.

However, by no means is an even more nefarious narrative off the table. While Mueller has yet to publicly produce any evidence at all of “collusion” (something which should indeed concern those already invested in that conclusion), a closer look at how the Trump team has responded to this entire issue provides plenty of evidence which points to that possibility.

Here are just some of the things for which no rational explanation has been given and which are totally consistent with the worst possible interpretation of what really happened here:

  • Trump constantly insisting that there was no evidence of Russia meddling in the election and then, just this weekend, lying about making those previous claims now that there really is no doubt.
  • Donald Trump Jr. blatantly lying numerous times, including at least once with the help of his father, about meeting with Russians, in Trump Tower when his father was in the building, offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.
  • Trump lying that he has had no financial dealings with Russia, when we know now that he was negotiating a Trump Tower in Moscow even during the campaign.
  • Multiple campaign aides, including Trump’s national security advisor, already pleading guilty to serious crimes uncovered in the probe.
  • A systematic and unwarranted attack by Trump and his state-run media on our intelligence agencies, including the asinine claim that the FBI was hindered in its investigation of the Parkland killer because they were preoccupied with Russian election meddling.
  • Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey specifically for his handling of Russia, the failed attempt to fire Mueller himself, and the repeated efforts to get those overseeing the investigation to pledge some sort of loyalty to him.
  • The highly-hyped release of the deceitful Nunes memo, which not only turned out to be a dud, but which actually further substantiated the case against Trump in some ways, while refusing to make public the Democratic response to it.
  • The extreme effort to pretend that Carter Page was not really part of the campaign, until suddenly claiming his surveillance after he left the campaign, and just weeks before Election Day, somehow was a scandal greater than Watergate.
  • Trying to muddy the waters of the most recent indictments by highlighting that they didn’t say Russian meddling impacted the results (that wasn’t their job) and that they show Russia tried to spark protests against Trump AFTER the election (so what?!).
  • The claim that Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman when Trump won the nomination, played a “very limited role” in the campaign.
  • Trump originally saying “100%” that he would speak with Mueller under oath and then backing off that claim completely later once that prospect became real.
  • Trump adding “collusion is not a crime” to his mantra that there was “no collusion.”
  • Trump never attacking Russia/Putin and refusing to fully implement the Russian sanctions his own party overwhelmingly passed.
  • Trump’s overall obsession with the topic and tendency to rage Tweet whenever there is a significant development (rather than just go on Fox News Channel and finally do an extensive interview providing his side of the topic).

We still don’t know what really happened here and we won’t at least until Mueller’s mural is complete. Unfortunately, the evidence is overwhelming that no matter what that final painting looks like it, almost everyone will still see only what they want to.

John Ziegler hosts a weekly podcast focusing on news media issues and is documentary filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZigManFreud or email him at johnz@mediaite.com

Trump Says ‘Mueller Probe Should Never Have Been Started’ in Scathing Tweets After McCabe Firing

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President Donald Trump unleashed a series of scathing tweets on Saturday, blasting Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation and Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI.

The president’s tweets were unusual — even for him — in that they arrived the same day his personal lawyer said the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election should come to an end, before walking that statement back shortly after. “The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime,” the president tweeted Saturday night. “It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!”

Hours earlier, Trump defended McCabe’s firing, simultaneously dragging former FBI Director James Comey into the conversation as well.

“The Fake News is beside themselves that McCabe was caught, called out and fired,” he wrote. “How many hundreds of thousands of dollars was given to wife’s campaign by Crooked H friend, Terry M, who was also under investigation? How many lies? How many leaks? Comey knew it all, and much more!”

McCabe was fired from the agency earlier in the day by Attorney General Jeff Sessions just two days prior to his 50th birthday, which would have allowed him his full government pension. Sessions said an investigation found significant “misconduct” and multiple reports concluded he “lacked candor” while under oath on multiple occasions.

The former deputy director released a statement defending his reputation and claiming Trump’s attacks are an all-out effort to discredit the Mueller investigation.

“This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally,” McCabe said. “It is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel’s work.”

Trump has certainly been celebrating his firing, claiming the move marked a “great day for Democracy” in an earlier tweet.

It remains unclear whether the president will now call for Mueller’s firing as well, but it appears that could easily happen via a tweet at any moment.

[image via screengrab]

Follow Chris Riotta (@ChrisRiotta) on Twitter

Watch Guardian’s Stunning Interview With Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower: ‘A Grossly Unethical Experiment’

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A 27-year-old data scientist named Christopher Wylie revealed extraordinary information about his time working for Cambridge Analytica in an interview with The Guardian published Saturday.

The controversial company harvested 50 million Facebook users’ personal information in an attempt to “build a psychological profile of each voter” throughout the United States, Wylie said. Among other charges, the whistleblower said the company was capable of pulling users’ private information without their consent, including status updates and direct messages.

He also directly contradicted statements made by Alexander Nix, the chief executive of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company SCL Group, who denied the use of Facebook data in a testimony before Parliament.

“That’s just fundamentally not true because we spent a million dollars harvesting tens of millions of Facebook profiles, and those profiles were used as the basis of the algorithms that became the foundation of Cambridge Analytica,” Wylie said. “The company was founded using Facebook data.”

The stunning interview arrives the same day Facebook announced it was barring the data firm from using the social media platform. “We are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people’s information,” Facebook’s Vice President Paul Grewal said in a statement. “We will take whatever steps are required to see that this happens. We will take legal action if necessary to hold them responsible and accountable for any unlawful behavior.”

Reports also broke Saturday indicating Cambridge Analytica had ties to Russian interests, specifically relating to how it targeted U.S. voters, despite Nix’s denials the company had “any relationship with Russia or Russian individuals” during his testimony.

Watch the revealing interview via The Guardian above.

[image via screengrab]

Follow Chris Riotta (@ChrisRiotta) on Twitter

Trump Dishes on His Phone Chat Congratulating Putin on Election Win: ‘We Had a Very Good Call’

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Bosom buddies Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump had a rip-roaring time on the horn when Trump congratulated the Russian president for winning the “election.” This is according to… Donald Trump.

After answering questions about the bombings in Austin during a joint press conference with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House, a reporter asked an inaudible question, to which Trump responded: “I had a call with president Putin and congratulated him on his election victory.”

“The call had to do also with the fact that we will probably get together in the not-too-distant future so that we can discuss the arms race,” Trump continued. “As you know, he made a statement that being in an arms race is not a great thing … and we are spending $700 billion this year on our military, and a lot of it is that we are going to remain stronger than any other nation in the world by far.”

“We had a very good call and I suspect that we’ll probably be … seeing President Putin in the not-too-distant future.”

Trump also cryptically discussed the Iran deal.

“You’re going to see what I do, but Iran has not been treating that part of the world or the world itself appropriately. A lot of bad things are happening in Iran. The deal is coming up in one month and you will see what happens, okay?”

Watch above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

Twitter in Shock Over Trump Making False Rape Claims About Mexicans (Again): ‘Outrageous and Disgusting’

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President Donald Trump threw away his prepared remarks at a Thursday event in West Virginia — no, really, he literally threw them away — and brought back some of his most classic off-the-prompter statements from the 2016 campaign trail.

Specifically, the president recalled comments he made about Mexican immigrants being drug dealers and “rapists” when announcing his bid for presidency in 2015. “Remember my opening remarks at Trump Tower when I opened? Everybody said, ‘Oh, he was so tough’ and I used the word rape,” Trump began. “And yesterday, it came out where this journey coming up, women are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before. They don’t want to mention that. So we have to change our laws.”

The president was seemingly referring to a caravan’s journey along the U.S.-Mexico border that has garnered media attention from TV networks. His comments indicated a deep unawareness of what’s actually happening, however: the caravan is an annual activist-led, pro-migrant trip from Honduras to the U.S.

Journalists documenting the journey, while simultaneously monitoring Trump’s remarks on Thursday, were forced to correct the president on Twitter and across the airwaves. “I’ve been with the caravan for 12 days,” BuzzFeed News reporter Adolfo Flores wrote, “and haven’t seen or heard of anyone being ‘raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before.’”

As networks assessed the president’s latest divisive comments with reporters on the ground in Mexico, Twitter erupted in absolute shock that Trump would claim such bizarre falsities (almost as if this hasn’t already happened).

[image via screengrab]

Follow Chris Riotta (@ChrisRiotta) on Twitter

Twitter Memes the Heck Out of Trump’s ‘5 For 5’ Election Boast: ‘He’s Thinking Arby’s’

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President Donald Trump tweeted “5 for 5!” Wednesday, and people were quick to check him on it.

Trump wrote the tweet referring to the elections which occurred Tuesday night, but two elections were too close to call as of Wednesday morning.

Twitter didn’t miss a beat on it and conjectured that “5 for 5” may be referring to any number of other things; of course, some others merely called bs:

[image via Getty]

Bill Maher on His $1 Million Donation to Democratic Senate PAC: ‘I’m Worried About This Country’

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HBO talk show host Bill Maher has donated $1 million to the Senate Majority PAC.

The PAC is aligned with Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and is aimed at helping to get Democrats elected to the Senate.

“Does everybody agree that this election coming up is the most important election we’ve seen?” he asked his panel, who agreed  it “absolutely” was.

“That’s why this donation I made,” Maher said, before showing a graphic of a Hollywood Reporter article talking about his million dollar donation.

He continued on: “In 2012, I did this, and this is different. That was for my country and i thought it was very important that the first black president get a second term. All the money in the country was going to the Republicans. This time it’s a little more personal. I’m worried about this country and really what’s going to happen to it on a very existential level including my own ass.”

Maher then told all the rich people patting him on the back for his donation, “Not enough… this is the time to step up.”

Watch above, via HBO.

[image via screengrab]

Tapper Grills Cory Gardner (But Not Chuck Schumer) Over Florida Vote: ‘Any Specific Evidence at All’ of Fraud, Theft?

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On CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, host Jake Tapper grilled Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) about accusations of fraud and attempts to “steal” the election in Florida. Tapper repeatedly asked for specific evidence of “criminal” activity, and Gardner cited major procedural issues and questionable decisions made by Democrats, as well as the Florida courts ruling in favor of Republicans against the county boards committing those errors.

“A statement from your organization the NRSC says of Florida, quote, ‘it’s clear the Democrats vote here is not to count every vote fairly but to steal an election’. In a tweet, President Trump accused Democrats in Florida of committing fraud. Governor Rick Scott, who is running for Senate, has made similar comments,” said Tapper. “Is there any specific evidence at all of anyone committing fraud or trying to steal the election, trying to change the outcome?”

“Well here’s the specific evidence we have,” replied Gardner, “we have a court in Florida that has said there was a violation of the Florida Constitution. We have a court that has directed certain better behavior out of the Palm County election supervisors. We have courts that are saying follow the law that is not being followed.”

“We know they’re not following the law. They certainly weren’t following the law,” said Gardner. “They weren’t posting when they were supposed to be about the results of ballots coming in. They weren’t providing the canvas, the total number of ballots that had been cast, and courts had agreed with us on those points. So I think there’s clear evidence that the Constitution was violated and a court in Florida has said the same.”

“It’s true what you’re saying about transparency and about meeting deadlines,” said Tapper (which is a violation of the law). “But Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement said Friday they haven’t even received any allegations of criminal activity, of fraud, of stealing, and the Secretary of State’s office just said yesterday there is ‘no evidence of criminal activity’, so, it just seems like the rhetoric we’re hearing…”

“Violating the constitution doesn’t rise to the level of concern in Florida?” Gardner interrupted.

“I’m not saying that,” said Tapper. The exchange continued back and forth for some time, as Tapper continued to ask for specific evidence of criminal activity and Garnder cited the court ruling that the constitution was being violated (which is breaking the law) and various other problems with the vote.

Tapper said that there are “legitimate areas of concern about the behavior of election officials” in Florida, but that there is a big difference between that and “fraud, and stealing, and theft of an election.” Gardner said that “every vote legally cast should be counted, and every vote legally cast should be counted the same whether it’s Miami or Pensacola.”

Earlier in the show, Democrat Chuck Schumer was on with Tapper and they also discussed the election. Schumer said that Rick Scott and Donald Trump are “interfering” with the election to prevent Sen. Bill Nelson from winning. Schumer was not asked to provide “any specific evidence at all” to back up his own claim of trying to “steal the election or change the outcome.

After the exchange in the above clip, Tapper asked Schumer why it isn’t understandable that people would have concerns about the integrity of the vote in Broward and Palm Beach Counties considering the many problems, to which Schumer replied that it going slowly isn’t evidence of any fraud, though Schumer did not address any of actual problems that have required intervention of the courts in Florida.

Watch the clips above, courtesy of CNN.

[Featured image via screengrab]

Follow Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) on Twitter

‘Cartel Member’: Mitch McConnell is Now Selling ‘Cocaine Mitch’ T-Shirts

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Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is now selling “Cocaine Mitch” t-shirts a year after former GOP Senate hopeful Don Blankenship tried to insult him with the nickname during his failed bid in West Virginia.

The Senate Majority Leader officially launched his 2020 re-election campaign in April and his campaign Twitter account sent out links advertising the shirts for sale on Wednesday. The tweet references that the shirts come a year after Blankenship called out McConnell in a campaign ad using the nickname with no context. The ad later went viral.

Blankenship focused his 2018 primary campaign on attacking the Senate Majority Leader –later telling reporters that the “Cocaine Mitch” moniker referenced old reports that drugs were once discovered on a shipping vessel owned by the family of McConnell’s wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

McConnell’s team later posted a gloating tweet referencing the nickname after Blankenship lost his primary race. The seat was eventually won by incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) during the November 2018 general election.

The meme was later referenced by now-retired Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who posed with shirts showing McConnell’s head onto the body of Al Pacino’s Tony Montana in the summer of 2018.

Laura Ingraham Warns ‘Foreign-Born’ Voters, George Soros, and Suburban Women Behind Virginia’s Democratic Election Wave

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Fox News host Laura Ingraham offered her own election take on the Democratic wave that has swept Virginia politics, warning that the party’s successes were the result of suburban women, “millions” of dollars in campaign donations from liberal billionaire George Soros, and “demographic changes” wrought by a “foreign-born population.”

Ingraham’s comments came a day after Democrats flipped both legislative houses in Virginia, a huge inflection point that has given that party full political control of the state and federal offices for the first time since 1994.

“The undeniable fact is that demographic changes throughout the state, but especially in northern Virginia, have altered what was once a moderate to right-to-center state,” Ingraham said. “Virginia’s foreign-born population nearly doubled from 2000 to 2017 and these immigrants are mostly concentrated in northern Virginia: Fairfax County, Loudon County, Prince William County, outside of D.C., and they are altering the demographic makeup of the state.”

“And since immigrants are more likely to vote Democrat, well, this, of course drags the electorate to the left, that is just a fact of life,” Ingraham added. “But the shift to the left is aided by women, especially in the suburbs, who tend also to vote Democrat. This is something Trump absolutely needs to pay attention to and not just wave it away, it’s impossible to do that.”

Ingraham’s comments about immigration are not new. Previously, she has stoked fears about illegal immigration and “demographic changes,” favorably Tweeted an anti-immigrant post from a white supremacist website (and subsequently deleted it), and dabbled in the white supremacist “replacement theory” rhetoric, claiming that Democrats want immigrants to subsume “white conservatives” in the population.

The Fox News host went on to target the large swaths of federal government workers who live in northern Virginia, claiming they will offer lockstep opposition to Trump’s purported “drain the swamp” pledge “because they are the swamp.”

“Also, two weeks ago, we warned you about another factor that is important to note in this Virginia race,” Ingraham continued. “In this cycle, huge amounts of outside money flowed into Virginia’s local election. George Soros pumped millions in to elect commonwealth attorneys to radically change how you prosecute crime in the commonwealth, prioritizing so-called social justice concerns over public safety.”

Watch the video above, via Fox News.

A Prediction for How the 2020 Presidential Election Will Go Down

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Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Political predictions are always precarious, especially in this modern media age when the news cycle is now approximately 47 minutes long. This is particularly the case in the Trump Era where the president has consistently defied conventional wisdom and the normal rules of political engagement.

With that said, as 2020 fast approaches, I am compelled to try to forecast how what, at least on paper, is likely to be our craziest election campaign in modern history, will go down. For context, until 2016 (when I warned early on that Trump could be the GOP nominee, but did not believe he could win the presidency) I was actually pretty good at this exercise.

My basic view of the race for the Democratic nomination is that it appears very much like the 2012 GOP version of their battle to pick a challenger to a controversial and charismatic incumbent president coming off of a disastrous midterm election. The biggest differences being that Barack Obama’s approval numbers were more favorable than Trump’s, but the economy is perceived to be better now.

Similar to Republicans in 2012, Democrats have an experienced and well-known frontrunner who has a group of flawed rivals nipping at his heels. In 2012, Mitt Romney ended up winning the GOP nomination, though his journey to get there was far more precarious that most people remember. Joe Biden, who has comparable — and perhaps even more pronounced — vulnerabilities to what Romney had, will need some luck to reach the finish line.

Reminiscent of Romney, Biden is unlikely to win Iowa, but unlike him does not have a natural firewall in New Hampshire. It is likely that South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg will win a cluttered contest in Iowa, and that New Hampshire will be a four-way struggle between him, Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren.

From there, the race will come down to how quickly and decisively the field gets whittled down. In the past, only two or three candidates ever really survived the first two contests, but thanks to the Internet and cable news television, it is far easier for candidates to remain viable without winning either Iowa or New Hampshire (especially for a “cult” candidate like Sanders).

The biggest unknown at this point is whether it is true that Biden is more well suited for a long four-way battle, because his 35% of the Democratic national base can win four-way primaries. Or, is he better off going head-to-head with one candidate early on so that he can secure the nomination with minimal bleeding and party division (this is the plot line Trump fears most, which is exactly why the entire Ukrainian scandal started).

My belief is that Biden needs Buttigieg, Sanders, and Warren to all stay in and be sustainable, but without anyone of the them catching fire the way that Obama did to overtake Hillary Clinton in 2008. Since Buttigieg is the only candidate with the ingredients to support such an early explosion, it may be critical for Biden, counter intuitively, for Sanders and Warren to do well but not great in both Iowa and New Hampshire. This way, gravity maintains its hold on Buttigieg, who, because of his youth and outsider status, would be the greatest threat to beat Biden one-on-one (assuming he can eventually make some progress with the black vote).

If Buttigieg is held in check, then Biden winning Nevada and South Carolina would put him on a clear, though likely long and perilous, path to the nomination. While far from certain, this is still the most likely outcome.

To be clear, it will not be easy for Biden. The news media, especially the progressive press, will be very incentivized to ambush Biden at every opportunity, and given his penchant for making significant verbal gaffes, and his advanced age, they will have plenty of chances to go after him. It is easy to see a scenario where the nomination comes down to Obama (and, to a lesser degree, Hillary) effectively pushing Democrats, no matter how subtly, towards either Biden or Buttigieg.

Given all of this, as we start 2020, I put the chances of Biden winning the nomination at 50%, Buttigieg at 25%, Warren at 15%, Sanders at 5%, with a 5% chance someone else emerges out of nowhere, or via a brokered convention.

A Biden vs Trump general election would essentially be a repeat of 2016, only with Biden positioned to out-perform Hillary in the key states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, but with Trump now having the advantage of incumbency and an economy which is perceived to be excellent. In other words, barring a legitimate “black swan” event (I am sure there will be many dramatic plot twists which will result in very little polling movement), Biden will win the popular vote fairly easily, but the Electoral College tally will be close, possibly extremely close.

My guess is that Biden (with either Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, or Kamala Harris as his VP nominee) would win those three states, with the rest of the map staying largely the same as it was in 2016. This would give Biden a very narrow 279-259 victory.

Under this scenario, the biggest political story of 2020 will not be the general election itself, but rather its potentially extremely tumultuous aftermath. For, if any of those three key states are even remotely close (Trump winning any one of them would mean either he is victorious, or, in the case of Wisconsin, likely ties), Trump will surely not concede, and no one in his now co-opted party or state-run media will force him to so do.

This is what should be referred to the “nightmare scenario.” One that our Founders never fully envisioned, and for which our current political and media apparatus is dreadfully unprepared.

But I am sure there is nothing to really worry about, and we will get through it all just fine. Happy New Year!

John Ziegler is a senior columnist for Mediaite. He hosts a weekly podcast focusing on news media issues and is documentary filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZigManFreud  or email him at johnz@mediaite.com

TBT: Trump Predicted in 2011 That Obama Would Start War With Iran to Get Reelected

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Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The Pentagon has confirmed that the United States is responsible for the airstrike at the Baghdad airport that took the life of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani .

The news has sent shockwaves through Washington, with Democratic lawmakers warning that Trump’s actions may ultimately bring the United States brink of war.

Somewhat uncharacteristically, Trump has remained mostly mum on social media in the hours after the news broke of Soleeimani’s death, choosing only to tweet out a cryptic American flag.

Yet, internet sleuths were quick to point out that back in 2011, Trump was tweeting and predicting that then-President Barack Obama would start a war with Iran, just to get elected.

“In order to get elected, Barack Obama will start a war with Iran,” he wrote.

Trump didn’t just say it once, though, he repeated his claim two years later, predicting a war just so Obama could prove how tough he was.

——

BREAKING: Trump Suggests Delaying the 2020 Election

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President Donald Trump talks to reporters in the Oval Office at the White House July 20, 2020

Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Donald Trump is suggesting a delay in the 2020 election — an action he cannot unilaterally take — citing concerns over mail-in voting.

In a Thursday morning tweet, the president argued that nationwide mail-in balloting would lead to an incorrect tally, and floated the prospect of delaying the vote.

“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” Trump wrote. “It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

Earlier in the morning, Trump called mail-in voting a “catastrophic disaster,” and baselessly suggested that it is susceptible to foreign interference.

“The Dems talk of foreign influence in voting, but they know that Mail-In Voting is an easy way for foreign countries to enter the race,” he wrote. “Even beyond that, there’s no accurate count!

Trump also, late Wednesday night, shared a report from a local news station in Philadelphia — which sent 100 ballots in by mail, and found that 3 were unaccounted for. Experts have, historically, found voting by mail to be safe, but the 2020 election figures to have, by far, the most ballots cast by mail in history.

Critics immediately condemned the president for proposing the delay — with several citing the hypocrisy of Trump pushing for schools to open on time, but the election to be put off.

The election is scheduled for November 3, and is a matter of federal law that Trump does not have the power to change by himself.

Back in March the New York Times examined what would be required to change the election date. The paper all but concluded that it isn’t happening.

The date of the general election is set by federal law and has been fixed since 1845. It would take a change in federal law to move that date. That would mean legislation enacted by Congress, signed by the president and subject to challenge in the courts.

To call that unlikely would be an understatement.

And even if all of that happened, there would not be much flexibility in choosing an alternate election date: The Constitution mandates that the new Congress must be sworn in on Jan. 3, and that the new president’s term must begin on Jan. 20. Those dates cannot be changed just by the passage of normal legislation.

Just Kidding? Trump Says His Election Delay Tweet Was Just a Ploy to Get ‘Very Dishonest LameStream Media’ to Cover Mail-In Voting

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Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Thursday afternoon, President Donald Trump followed up on his morning tweet suggesting the November election could be delayed — comments that drew immediate condemnation from both sides of the aisle — with another tweet seemingly dismissing the entire thing as a big 0l’ prank on the media.

Trump’s original tweet came as part of a thread complaining about the so-called risks of mail-in ballots — risks which he has highly exaggerated — and ended with a question about delaying the election “until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

After several hours of criticism and reporters seeking comment from the White House, Trump tweeted that his real purpose was to “get the very dishonest LameStream Media to finally start talking about the RISKS to our Democracy from dangerous Universal Mail-In-Voting (not Absentee Voting, which I totally support!).”

At least two other GOP senators, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), had also characterized Trump’s comments as a joke or distraction for the media when talking to reporters earlier in the day.

The media spent the day chasing down Republican elected officials to get their comments about delaying the election, citing people with actual law degrees who pointed to the very plain language in federal law that has set Election Days since 1845 and in the Constitution that sets the date for presidents and Congressional members to be sworn into office, and chatting with a seemingly endless parade of talking heads who all but universally agreed that Trump had no power to unilaterally change the election date. And at least one Fox News commentator was not enamored of Trump’s idea of an Election Day delay.

In a shocking turn, even Steven Calabresi, the co-founder of the Federalist Society who voted for Trump in 2016 and has defended the president against the Mueller probe and the impeachment proceedings, was “frankly appalled” by Trump’s tweet. Calabresi condemned Trump’s comments as “fascistic” and severe enough to be “itself grounds for the president’s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate.”

If, if “mail-in ballots” were mentioned by the media in today’s coverage at all, Trump’s claims of “risks” and “fraud” were debunked as lacking evidence, with many pointing out the fact that most states, like Trump’s residential state of Florida, do not require any proof or reason to request an absentee ballot, providing one to every voter who requests one.

The election is scheduled for November 3. The federal government has a website with links to every single state’s elections office, where eligible voters can check the status of their registration, make any needed updates, and request an absentee ballot in accordance with state laws.

WATCH: Trump Mistakenly Refers to the Election as Happening on SEPTEMBER 3rd (Nope, It’s Still In November)

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President Donald Trump mistakenly referred to the coming general election as happening on “September 3rd” at his rally speech in Freeland, Michigan Thursday evening.

Trump’s comments came after he had spoken for several minutes about supporting Michigan’s auto industry, allowing college football games to be played, and other topics. He then mentioned the upcoming election and how his opponents would be surprised if he won:

For the last four years, they’ve tried everything to stop us. And they are only getting more desperate by the day. Can you imagine if on September 3rd they say, “Ladies and gentlemen, Donald Trump has been declared the winner”?

At first they’ll go crazy. And then they’ll go, “it’s time now to be reasonable.” They will have had it, they will have had it.

Trump apparently never realized his mistake, and did not attempt to correct his gaffe.

The general election is, of course, scheduled for Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Trump, who constantly questions the mental acuity of his opponent, Joe Biden, has also repeatedly reassured the American public that he is a “very stable genius.”

Watch the video above, via Fox News.

Trump Slapped with Another Twitter Rules Violation Warning Label for Double Vote Tweet

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President Donald Trump was given yet another warning label on his Twitter account on Saturday September 12

Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

On Saturday, Twitter once again put a warning label on a tweet that was sent by President Donald Trump for violating rules “about civic and election integrity.” This time, it was for a tweet about voting twice in the upcoming election.

“To make sure your Ballot COUNTS, sign & send it in EARLY,” Trump wrote in a tweet directed to North Carolina. “When Polls open, go to your Polling Place to see if it was COUNTED. IF NOT, VOTE!”

That suggestion, to both mail-in a ballot and then vote in person, is what triggered the notification. Trump’s tweet goes on to argue that the signed mail-in ballot “will not count” because the person’s “vote has been posted.”

“Don’t let them illegally take your vote away from you!” he concluded.

Twitter’s warning label on the tweet says it may be in the public interest to leave the tweet live but that violates their rules.

“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about civic and election integrity. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible,” it reads.

Trump has been given violations, warnings, and even takedowns on multiple previous occasions.

Trump Makes it Official: Will Seek Confirmation of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Replacement ‘Without Delay!’

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Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Saturday ended the speculation about whether he would insist on filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by the tragic passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg less than 24 hours ago.

In a mid-morning tweet, the president said that his administration and party were “put in this position of power and importance” to make these kinds of decisions. He said the selection of a Supreme Court nominee is has “long been considered” the most important of those decisions and that, therefore, he has an obligation to act “without delay.”

Republican Senator Ted Cruz on Friday night offered his novel case for moving before election day when speaking with Fox’s Sean Hannity. Cruz argued that it’s paramount the court not be a 4-4 court if and when the November election results are contested and challenged in court.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in his statement on the passing of Justice Ginsburg that “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” in anticipation of a quick effort to replace her.

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Trump Now Leads Biden in Florida, Arizona, According to Washington Post-ABC Poll

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Ian Langsdon/Getty Images

President Donald Trump is leading polls in Florida and Arizona, according to a pair of Washington Post-ABC News polls.

Trump enjoys support from 51 percent of likely voters in Florida compared to 47 percent who support Democratic presidential Joe Biden, according to the polls published Wednesday. Trump leads Biden 49-48 percent in Arizona.

The surveys suggest voters especially approve of his handling of the economy: 54 percent of Floridians approve of his handling in that area compared to 43 percent who disapprove. Arizonans said they approved of his handling of the economy by an even greater margin, 57-42 percent.

The surveys were conducted from Sept. 15-20, covering three days before and two days after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The margin of error for both was plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

The polling also indicated a close Senate race in Arizona, with Democratic nominee Mark Kelly leading Sen. Martha McSally (R) by one point, 49-48 percent.

WaPo-ABC’s final tracking poll numbers in 2016 found Hillary Clinton leading Trump in the general election by 4 points, 47-43 percent, though she ultimately won the popular vote by just 2 points.

Trump won Arizona by roughly 4 percent in 2016, and Florida by about 2 percent, but recent polling had shown him trailing Biden in both places this year.