Essential Politics: The candidates you love to hate

The stars of “The West Wing” are hitting the campaign trail. Hillary Clinton is still outspending Donald Trump on the airwaves, and Trump is promising voters “change.”

I’m Christina Bellantoni, and this is Essential Politics.

We’re unlikely to see much movement in where the presidential nominees stand until after the first debate concludes Monday. But one thing we know for sure is that voters are increasingly frustrated and unhappy about this election. A new poll finds they are driven to their choices more often by dislike of the opposing candidate than admiration for their own.


Black men were shot and killed by police in two incidents this week, one in Tulsa, Okla., and one in Charlotte, N.C. Both Clinton and Trump responded with concern. Chris Megerian reports that during her speech in Orlando, Clinton called the situation “intolerable,” while Trump said he was “very troubled.”


The Republican nominee was asked for the first time on Wednesday about recent controversies involving the personal use of his charity’s money and his reversal on spreading lies about President Obama’s birthplace.

Trump skirted both issues in an interview with a reporter in Ohio.


Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson is garnering a healthy amount of support in Arizona, which is moving from a reliably Republican stronghold to a potential battleground. But short of winning the state outright, can Johnson tip the state to Trump or Clinton?

Melanie Mason reports that Arizona’s libertarian leanings may pull conservative voters from Trump to Johnson. But Johnson’s popularity with millennials may harm Clinton, who needs to shore up younger voters in her base to pull off an upset victory.


After addressing police shootings during her Orlando speech, Clinton launched into her plans to help people with disabilities. She wants to make college more affordable and increase job opportunities, saying “whether they can participate in our economy and lead rich, full lives ... is a reflection on us as a country.”

Get the latest from the campaign trail on Trail Guide and follow @latimespolitics. Check our daily USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times tracking poll at the top of the politics page.


Two separate polls released Wednesday on California’s U.S. Senate race provided vastly different snapshots of the statewide contest. A new Field Poll found that Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris had increased her lead over Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez since July, and that voters now favor Harris by more than a 2-to-1 margin over Sanchez.

But a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California released Wednesday night found Sanchez had closed the gap behind Harris since July, and Harris led by seven percentage points. The findings in both polls did match up on one aspect of the race: Republicans aren’t too happy about having to choose between two Democrats in November.

For the latest on the race, keep an eye on our Essential Politics news feed.


— Someone made haikus for each of California’s 17 ballot measures.

— George Skelton weighs in on the Prop. 55 question of whether tax hikes on California’s highest earners should be extended. He’s against it.

— Days before the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, supporters of a museum dedicated to Latino American history and culture are nudging lawmakers to move their cause forward. Sarah Wire has the letter they sent to House and Senate leaders urging Congress to take a vote this year on legislation proposed by Rep. Xavier Becerra.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed two bills aimed at overhauling operations of the Central Basin Municipal Water District in Commerce after years of political scandal and allegations of ethical lapses at the agency. One will expand the district’s governing board from five elected members to four members elected by residents and three with technical expertise who would be appointed by water purveyors in the district beginning in 2022.

— David Lauter explains how Trump’s jump in support among black voters provides an object lesson in how not to read polls, particularly a daily tracking poll such as the USC/LAT Daybreak survey.

— A new report examines the Clinton and Trump foundations.

— We explore the question: If Trump loses, could television be in his future?

— You know you want to see Lin-Manuel Miranda sing about Trump’s tweeting.

Joss Whedon, the director of “The Avengers,” returned to Twitter after a 16-month absence to promote his new “Save the Day” PAC. Its first star-studded video didn’t mention Trump by name, but you could guess whom it targeted.

— The Los Angeles Times is hosting another debate watch party, and this one will be our biggest yet. Join us for the Debate Watch Spectacular on Sept. 26 at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Tickets are $13. RSVP here.

— California’s housing crisis isn’t going anywhere. Have questions about why Brown’s proposal to fix the problem failed, and how you could be affected in the future? Reporter Liam Dillon will answer on Twitter at 11 a.m. PT Friday. Follow @LATPoliticsCA and @dillonliam, and use #housingchat to join in.

— Who will win the November election? Give our Electoral College map a spin.


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