The AAOPAC is the active and visible political voice of the orthodontic profession.  Through your annual contributions to the AAOPAC, we are able to provide support for political candidates who we think will make sound policy decisions in the future.

As the election nears, we wanted to provide our AAOPAC donors and AAO members with some regular insights from our Washington lobbying team.  We want all AAO members to appreciate that the election choices made in November shape the policy decisions affecting how we deliver outstanding care to our patients, provide for our employees, and ensure the high standards of our valued profession.  And please, don’t forget to vote and to encourage your staff and patient families to exercise their most important of democratic rights to help determine our collective future.

Each week, we will try to give you some of the most important polling numbers impacting the races, plus highlight the state of play in the fight for the White House and control of each chamber in Congress.  Finally, we will give you a quick synopsis of why the AAOPAC has chosen to support various candidates in each party for the House or Senate.

We hope you enjoy these quick hitting weekly emails and please let us know how we can give you more information about what is going on in Election 2016.

Days until the election:  22

Presidential Overview

The Trump campaign is either in full meltdown mode or is about to stage the most compelling and extraordinary comeback in Presidential politics.  While performing relatively better in last Sunday’s second debate, the controversy over Trump’s rhetoric and conduct with a range of women remains the focus of intense media scrutiny that makes it near impossible for him to make inroads with the moderate suburban women he needs to win the election.

In any normal campaign, the WikiLeaks releases this week from inside three elements of the Clinton World (State Department, Clinton Foundation and Clinton Campaign) would be extremely debilitating for a Presidential campaign.  But the focus on all things Trump means the revelations in those leaks are not getting the same level of attention you might expect, and there’s no evidence in polls that the new information is changing voter preferences.  The leaks may reinforce every negative stereotype and concern that voters have about Clinton but she is winning the battle of “the lesser of two evils” in this race.[1]

Hillary Clinton has shifted into attacking Trump on these weaknesses, seeking to finish his campaign off just as early voting begins in various states.  Clinton is now shifting much of her attention and resources into making a play for a majority in the Senate and even the House, which until 10 days ago was thought to be simply out of reach in even the rosiest of election scenarios for Congressional Democrats.  But the Trump campaign problems are now jeopardizing the political careers of numerous Congressional Republicans who would otherwise be expected to enjoy easy wins this November.  In this day where ticket splitting is a relative rare phenomenon, there are few Republicans on the ballot who can expect to receive 10 percent more votes than the Presidential candidate of their party, so any district and state where Clinton has opened a lead anywhere near that big is a target for Democratic House and Senate wins.

[1] As an aside, in our favorite leaked e-mail, Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta offers his secret to a creamy risotto,

Inside the Numbers: 10 Facts About the Electoral Mood [2]
  1. The Trump conundrum for Republican House and Senate candidates is this – no matter what the House/Senate candidate decides about supporting or disavowing Trump as the nominee, the House/Senate candidate stands to lose support from a group they need to win their own race.  Consider:
  2. 39% of likely Republican voters for Trump would be LESS likely to vote for a Republican Congressional candidate who won’t endorse Trump  Only 27% of Republican voters would be MORE likely to vote for a Republican Congressional candidate who won’t endorse Trump, and 20% of Republican voters say it makes no difference.[1]
  3. Conversely, 39% of Independents, who are often pivotal in Congressional races, would be MORE likely to vote for a Republican Congressional candidate who refused to endorse Trump.  Only 30% of Independents would be LESS likely to vote for a Republican Congressional candidate who won’t endorse Trump.
  4. If given the chance to vote to keep the Affordable Care Act or repeal it, 48% of likely voters would vote for repeal, while 46% of likely voters would vote to keep the law in place.
  5. In a poll where she is winning the election by seven points, only 33% of likely voters think Hillary Clinton is honest and trustworthy!  That same poll shows only 32% of likely voters think Donald Trump is honest and trustworthy.
  6. The latest polling data is showing a strong gender divide. According to an average of recent polls, Clinton is up 15 points among women and Trump is up 5 points among men. If only women voted in this election, Clinton would win with 458 of 538 electoral votes. Conversely, if only men voted, Trump would win with 350 electoral votes.
  7. 64% of likely voters think Hillary Clinton has the temperament to be President, while only 34% of likely voters think Donald Trump has the temperament to be President.
  8. On every major policy issue – such as immigration, healthcare, foreign policy, and the economy – voters think Hillary Clinton will do a better job than Donald Trump.
  9. Regardless of how they plan to vote, 65% of all likely voters now expect Hillary Clinton to win the election.
  10. 77% of likely voters think Donald Trump is not a good role model for children.  54% of likely voters think Hillary Clinton is not a good role model for children.

[2] Polling data in the above section are from:

Presidential Overview

If we were Secretary Clinton’s campaign this week:

  • We might get caught day-dreaming about how close our personal office will be to the Oval Office and what our title might be.
  • We would be rearranging our schedule to do some last-minute fundraising for House and Senate Democrats, to see if I can create a wave election that turns all of Washington blue.
  • We would make sure any viable Democratic House or Senate candidate is on stage with Secretary Clinton at every appearance in a battleground state.
  • We would be thanking somebody for the fact the WilkiLeaks stuff is coming out at time when Trump is sucking up all media attention.
  • We would be crossing our fingers that the really bad WilkiLeaks stuff has already been released.
  • In states where early voting has started, We would be trying to get our core supporters to lock in their votes.

If we were Donald Trump’s campaign this week:

  • We would be firing whoever was in charge of vetting our candidate to ensure we knew what bad stuff the opposition  might throw out as an October surprise.
  • We would try to remind the candidate he is running against Hillary Clinton, not the Republican leadership in Congress.
  • We would be prepping heavily for the final debate to make sure we can make some substantive critiques.
  • We would be doing anything we could to show moderate, suburban female voters and racial minorities that our campaign is worthy of consideration despite all the negative press hitting us.
Latest Senate Battleground Polls
  • Arizona: Senator John McCain (R) leads Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (D) 52% to 36%
  • Florida: Senator Marco Rubio (R) leads Congressman Patrick Murphy (D) 48% to 44%
  • Illinois: Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D) leads Senator Mark Kirk (R) 48% to 34%
  • Indiana: Former Senator Evan Bayh (D) leads Congressman Todd Young (R) 42% to 41%
  • Iowa: Senator Chuck Grassley (R) leads Patty Judge (D) 53% to 36%
  • Missouri: Senator Roy Blunt (R) leads Jason Kander (D)  46% to 44%
  • Nevada: Congressman Joe Heck (R) leads state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D) 45% to 41%
  • New Hampshire: Senator Kelly Ayotte leads Governor Maggie Hassan (D) 47% to 41%
  • North Carolina: Senator Richard Burr (R) leads Deborah Ross (D) 45% to 43%
  • Ohio: Senator Rob Portman (R) leads Governor Ted Strickland (D) 55% to 37%
  • Pennsylvania: Katie McGinty (D) leads Senator Pat Toomey (R) 47% to 45%
  • Wisconsin: Former Senator Russ Feingold (D) leads Senator Ron Johnson (R) 48% to 46%

If the election were held today and the polls were correct, Republicans would retain the Senate 51-49.  That is a change of ZERO seats since last week.  Note – There are few polls out since the Trump controversy of the last week so it is not yet clear if that controversy is affecting down ballot races.

AAOPAC Featured Candidates

For each edition of update, we will highlight at least one Democratic candidate and one Republican candidate the AAOPAC has provided financial support to in this election cycle.

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) is the Assistant Democratic Leader in the House of Representatives. He spoke at the 2016 legislative fly-in for the AAO.  The Congressman voted in favor of State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) expansion and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The Congressman voted in favor of the FY 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act and the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, which placed a two-year moratorium on the medical device tax and imposed a two-year delay of the excise tax on high-cost employer sponsored health coverage (the Cadillac tax) until 2020.

Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) is a member of the Appropriations Committee and represents the home state of the American Association of Orthodontists’ headquarters. The Senator faces one of the toughest re-election fights in the Senate this fall as he faces Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander.  The Senator cosponsored the Medical Device Access and Innovation Act, which would repeal the medical device tax. Additionally, the Congressman cosponsored the Patients’ Freedom to Choose Act, which would repeal the cap on flexible spending accounts. The Senator voted in favor of the FY 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act and the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, which placed a two-year moratorium on  the medical device tax and imposed a two-year delay of the excise tax on high-cost employer sponsored health coverage (the Cadillac tax) until 2020. Senator Blunt is one of just two Senate sponsors of the RAISE Act.