The Rod Martin Report

Debate Fallout
Hillary’s Missing Activists
Trump’s Taxes and Alicia Machado
Polls, We Have Polls (and Maps!)
Kaepernick & the Obamacare Death Spiral
What Musk’s “Million on Mars” Means for You


Dear Friends,

It was a half-full kind of week for Donald Trump, who had a mixed debate performance, and then allowed himself to be sucked into an unending flap over former Miss Universe Alicia Machado. Yet despite this, Trump ended the week +5 in the L.A. Times poll and within the RCP margin of error.


So first, the debate, which proved what I thought: both Trump and Hillary are bad debaters. But there’s a difference.

Rod D. MartinDonald Trump is new at this. He’s not a politician, he’s not a wonk, and he’s not a lawyer. The entire month prior to the debate proved he’s teachable and he can learn from his mistakes, which I expect will be drilled into him with appropriate course corrections by Kellyanne Conway, Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani, among others.

By contrast, Hillary is a politician, a wonk and a lawyer. Yes, she has experience, but as Trump might say, it’s all bad experience: the non-debates last fall against Sanders (watched by no one), the non-debates during her Senate races (watched by no one), the debates she lost to Obama eight years ago. This is the best she can do, even after non-stop prep. It isn’t likely to get better.

So more likely than not, Trump will improve. If he does, he’ll kill her.

Second, Trump won the first half. He stumbled in the second by allowing Hillary to put him on defense.

A lot of commentators pointed out that if you’re explaining, you’re losing (as has been the case this week re: Alicia Machado). But this is the somewhat broader “Rod’s Rule Number One”: if you’re on defense at all, you’re losing.

Trump remains very sensitive about his business, as you’d expect from a man who’s poured his life into it. He can’t not take the bait, at least not yet. But if he can stay on offense in the next two debates, Hillary’s doomed, and that’s exactly what Kellyanne is telling him. I don’t know whether he can sufficiently absorb the message, but it is certainly in his nature to go on offense, so there’s hope.

Some say Trump beat Hillary. He really didn’t, but he almost did, which is kind of amazing when you think about it. Many say Hillary beat Trump. And she certainly did on points. But Reagan lost the first 1984 debate, and Obama was annihilated in the first 2012 debate. They both won the Presidency.


The moderator, of course, was evil: the Candy Crowley of 2016. That didn’t help.

Lester Holt largely avoided real issues, choosing to focus on things like Birtherism instead. Did we hear about immigration? Abortion? Benghazi? No.

But more to the point, Holt repeatedly “fact checked” (which is to say, debated) Donald Trump, but never once similarly questioned Hillary. He didn’t even go after Hillary for pretending not to have started the whole Birther movement in the first place (which she absolutely did). The Clinton Foundation? Her planned 65% Death Tax? The email scandal? Anything?

Holt asked nothing: he was on Hillary’s team from beginning to end.

None of this will surprise faithful HFR readers. But it absolutely surprises me – in a “shake my head” sort of way – that the RNC has not repudiated this pathetic system years upon years ago. There are countless ways to hold a fair debate. We seem permanently set upon the one way that can never be fair: opposing counsel’s attorney prosecuting our nominee, year after year after year.

Upcoming moderators: ABC’s Martha Raddatz, CNN’s Anderson Cooper (who first applied the term “Tea Bagger” to conservatives) and Chris Wallace. At least we get a decent ending.


Trump may have seemed like he was spewing word salad at times, but he actually got in some highly-repeatable, highly-replayable soundbites(something Hillary did not do as well). That has potential to help him, if he can regain his focus.

This is probably the best.


I said before the debate that all Trump really had to do was avoid seeming crazy or racist. On offense would have been ideal, boring second best. We saw some of both, none of what we most feared.

Thus, given the totality of the circumstances — including two additional debates in which he’ll get credit for any and all improvement — Trump may not have won the night, but he did the most important things he had to do.

Yes, I could be more enthusiastic. Yes, he has work to do. But Hillary has more to do, and unlike Trump, I don’t think she can pull it off.


An interesting side note, one I noticed (and blogged) about ten minutes before Fox News and the Daily Mail.

As you know, internet polls are worth, oh, roughly a warm bucket of hamster vomit. So understand what I’m about to say in its proper context.

Shortly after the debate I started noticing that virtually every online poll was trending toward Trump, among them:

Time Magazine — leftist as can be — which before midnight had over 600,000 votes cast, with Trump winning 60-40.

Fortune — a left-leaning Time property — with over 300,000 votes. Trump was winning on the debate overall 51-49, the economy 55-45, national security 54-46, and “clearest vision for America” 51-49.

CNBC — center-left — had exactly 261,197 votes (I wrote it down). Trump was winning 54-46.

Slate Magazine — so far left they think Pol Pot was a sellout — had 42,418 votes. Trump was winning 54.30% to 45.70%.

The Hill — mildly left but read equally by both sides — had 72,570 votes. Trump 58, Hillary 36. — normal MSM liberal — had 139,805 votes. Trump was winning 56-40.

In point of fact, Trump continued winning these all the next day, along with numerous others I learned of later but didn’t find on Monday night.

Now why is this significant? Well, as I said, a bunch of unscientific polls don’t matter, even if they’re all going the same way, any more than it matters that Michael Moore says Trump won. It’s interesting, but not that meaningful.

But it hit me, sometime on Tuesday (It still hasn’t occurred to Fox or to other media, best I can tell).

Trump has a lot of followers on social media. But he doesn’t have the sort of incredible online army Ron Paul had. More than that, he absolutely lacks the million and a half real-world activists has deployed year after year, people who’ll not only do things online but also walk precincts, attend protests, staff field offices and donate endlessly.

But if Trump’s winning all these polls, on leftwing sites, doesn’t that mean that Hillary doesn’t have the MoveOn crowd either?

And if she doesn’t, that might well mean she’s in far worse trouble on the ground than anyone thinks.


Just one more point about the debate before we move on. Hillary continues to make an issue of Trump’s tax returns (as one would expect), and Trump’s reply was choice, as this video shows:

The interwebs had their own take:


But that’s not the real point. The left tried to spin Trump’s statement that he’s been audited each of the last 15 years as an admission that he hasn’t been paying his taxes at all.

That’s 180 degrees from reality. As everyone who’s ever been audited can attest, Donald Trump has paid exactly what the IRS told him each of these past 15 years.

The one thing we can be sure of is that he’s paying “his fair share.”


So who the heck is Alicia Machado?

Apparently, she’s the woman Donald Trump wants us all to think about incessantly from now on forever. Imagine my joy.

Toward the end of the debate, Hillary brought Machado up as an example of Trump’s alleged misogyny. Supposedly, the former Miss Universe pageant owner had some things to say – roughly 20 years ago – about his pageant winner’s having gained 60 pounds (!) shortly after winning her crown. The left deems this fat-shaming, which we are to believe is among the very worst things that can possibly be done by one human being to another.

You can watch for yourself what Donald Trump did, lo those many years ago.

Yes, Trump was defending Machado, from a public outcry demanding she be stripped of her Miss Universe crown.

Who was “fat-shaming” her then? No less than leftwing CNN.

Now this is not to say that Trump is the nicest guy to women (insert eye roll here). But Hillary’s choice of Alicia Machado is really scraping bottom. And it gets worse.


It turns out that Ms. Machado has been a very bad, or at least a very stupid, girl.

According to the Daily Mail:

1. News reports in Spanish indicate that she had a child with a notorious Mexican drug kingpin.

2. The witness who testified about that relationship was killed by a hitman within days of doing so.

3. A Venezuelan judge accused her of threatening to kill him for charging her boyfriend with attempted murder in a case where she drove the getaway car.

4. Machado wouldn’t deny that Tuesday night on CNN: “I’m not a saint girl,” said the former pageant winner. “That happened 20 years ago.”

Yes, “that happened” 20 years ago. That’s what she said.

5. She also appeared in a 2005 Spanish reality TV show, having sex with a fellow contestant on-camera.

6. And she had to shutter her Twitter account in 2010 after wishing for “peace between the Chinas” – mistaking China for North and South Korea.

This is the woman Hillary Clinton thinks ought to be her poster child? Seriously?

Yet for reasons known only to God, Clinton has kept Machado on television all week, and Trump has taken the bait every single time.

It’s this stuff that reminds me why I was for the other guy.


But Trump is who we have. And even if he can’t focus, we must.

There are oh so many reasons why, many of them showcased Monday night, Lester Holt’s best efforts notwithstanding.

But it’s hard to top this one. Hillary actually said of Trump, “This is a man who has said women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men.”

Yes, you read that right. And no, she did not misspeak.

Indeed, it’s far worse than just that. Remember at the beginning of the debate, when Hillary reminded us that we are but 5% of the world?

She didn’t mean in productivity or wealth creation: in those we’re around 25%. She certainly didn’t mean in inventiveness. In that we’re off the chart.

No, Hillary meant we’re 5% of the world’s population. And she said it for a reason.

By now it should be painfully obvious that Democrats are not concerned about what Americans add to the world: they are only concerned about spreading it around. If the amount we create decreases as a result, they’re good with that.

But they aren’t really too concerned that a decrease might be likely. To them, wealth comes from a grove of money trees, and the evil businesspeople and entrepreneurs are successful because they found the trees and have hidden them. If the rest of us could just find that walled garden and break in, everyone would have all they need. And if we have to kill a few of those guys to do it, well, it serves them right, doesn’t it.

Historically, most socialists have been focused on redistribution within their own countries. Even the Soviets concerned themselves with redistribution from other countries back to Russia.

But not Hillary and the Democrats. No sir-ee. They want redistribution all right, from America to the rest of the world. Because that’s “fair”.

This is what we’re fighting come November.


I always give you polling data, and I won’t disappoint you this week.

Despite everything, Trump is still in good shape. Here’s Friday’s L.A. Times tracking poll:

L.A. Times Tracking Poll, Sept. 30, 2016

The RCP average is less sanguine, but not bad, at Clinton +2.9, well within the margin of error. That’ll do, considering, and there’s plenty of time for a surge. Fox has Clinton +3, Rasmussen and Quinnipiac both have Clinton +1, Bloomberg has Trump +2. It’s a close race.

But here’s the map you should care about:

RCP Electoral College Map, Sept. 30, 2016

This is RCP’s electoral college map. And as you can see, virtually everything is a toss-up, indeed so much so that there’s room on this map for a 350-188 Trump victory.

I’m not predicting that. But if Trump can get his act together, it’s absolutely possible. And who would have ever thought that?


If Trump continues to inflict wounds on himself, at least the cultural left continues to do so too. This week saw more NFL foolishness, and with it,more ratings drops. Sunday Night Football was down 18 percent year over year. Monday Night Football – admittedly impacted by the debate – was off by 38 percent.

Not content with his on-field protests, pathetic San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick opined this week that “America’s never been great.”


This is probably not the best way to advance his cause, much less to improve Hillary’s chances. So in gratitude, Colin Kaepernick is hereby our Rod Martin Report Idiot of the Week. 


Also helping Trump is Barack Hussein Obama, or at least his signature issue. With Obamacare premiums expected to spike nationwide yet again —Minnesota just announced more than 50% premium hikes — state co-ops collapsing, insurance companies pulling out of the system, and coverage becoming harder and harder to find, the entire program is clearly in a death spiral from which nothing is likely to save it.

Hillary’s solution to this foreordained problem is a new “public option”, which would compete with private insurers. The purpose of this – let’s be honest – is to use the power of government to bankrupt them, after which universal socialized medicine will be the only remaining possibility.

Did I mention foreordained? Because for those of you from Rio Linda, that was the Democrats’ plan all along.

Americans really don’t want this. That’s one reason the electoral map is so grim for Clinton. It’s also why she’s doing everything she can to keep the focus on joke issues like Alicia Machado, and off this rolling leftist nightmare.


Last week, we talked about the tangible benefits of the economic freedom we’ve enjoyed these past 250 years, the engine of a global growth in human wealth best illustrated in this chart:

Per Capital Global GDP, 1 A.D. to 2015 A.D.

You’re reading that correctly. The rise of capitalism – and particularly of American capitalism, with its corresponding political liberty – has ended a multi-millennial flatline, an unending stagnation, and replaced it with such rapid wealth creation that famine has largely been abolished and African children living in huts have access to U.S. universities on their smartphones.

This is the goose that laid the golden egg. Hillary has a taste for goose.

This week brought yet another example of just how incredibly far we’ve come – and far we’re going, if we don’t blow it.

Shortly before the less-than-great debate, Elon Musk – by a mile our Rod Martin Report Hero of the Week – announced his vision for a million-strong civilization on Mars within the next 50 or so years. Now that may sound like pie in the sky, but as I’ve been sharing with you for some time now, Elon is well along in developing the technology needed to make this real (Jeff Bezos is right behind him).

Here’s the breathtaking video Musk released this week:

Elon’s new Interplanetary Transportation System is designed to be fully reusable, which is the key to the entire plan. A single not-at-all reusable launch by Boeing and Lockheed Martin (United Launch Alliance, or ULA) today will set you back $150 million; a SpaceX Falcon 9 can do the same thing for $70 million. But reusability will get that same launch down to just $700,000.

Elon envisions a ship, launched from the same Complex 39A that sent men to the Moon, that routinely carries 100 or 200 passengers plus cargo to the surface of Mars and back, all for just $200,000 per person.

That’s the starting price. As you well know, it is characteristic of Silicon Valley to slash prices over time as use grows. And Elon isn’t thinking about one ship. He’s thinking of 1,000.

A million people on Mars – a self-sustaining civilization – within our lifetime. Mining and manufacturing offworld to such a degree that most environmental problems are solved, and most commodity prices are a fraction of today’s. Access to resources we haven’t even imagined yet, and others like Helium-3 – critical for fusion energy – we know but can only dream of having today.

A whole new era, not just of one New World as 500 years ago, but of many.

This is the age at the beginning of which we find ourselves. It is indeed breathtaking. But more than that, it is attainable.

And there is no people better suited than the heirs of Jamestown, Plymouth, the Alamo and Apollo, to lead humanity into that era.

Michelle and Hillary may be ashamed of America. Obama may want to “fundamentally transform” it. Colin Kaepernick and Black Lives Matter may loathe it.

But they’re wrong. Elon’s vision is the echo of who we’ve come from. It is what and who we are.

It’s who we must be, for our children and children’s children.


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Best wishes,


P.S. Don’t forget: we want to know who you think will keep America safer, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Vote now!


You can read about the world anywhere. You come to to understand it.


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