Rick Klein: “Bernie Sanders has almost no realistic chance of becoming the Democratic nominee for president. But that’s not the most effective way to think about his candidacy. His presence in the race ensures that Hillary Clinton will be pressed continually and consistently from the left — and now potentially from across the debate stage. Interest in Sanders will be driven by many of the same activists and other Democratic faithful who wanted so desperately to see Elizabeth Warren in the race. And Sanders’ timing could hardly be better: the left is growing anxious over President Obama’s agenda and nervous that Hillary Clinton might be tempted to provide minimal amounts of daylight between her policy positions and his.”
Archives for April 2015
“The size and scope of the symbiotic relationship between the Clintons and their donors is striking. At least 181 companies, individuals, and foreign governments that have given to the Clinton Foundation also lobbied the State Department when Hillary Clinton ran the place,” according to a Vox analysis of foundation records and federal lobbying disclosures.
First Read: “Folks, this is after the safeguards/disclosures put in place after Clinton became Obama’s secretary of state to avoid conflicts of interest. This should be the question for Hillary going forward: If you become president, how do you create safeguards that you won’t be influenced by those who have given money to the Clinton Foundation or Bill Clinton (through his speaking fees)?”
Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley (D) “was heckled on a packed street corner in West Baltimore Tuesday, after he cut short a trip to Europe to return to the city he led as mayor for seven years,” the Washington Post reports.
“O’Malley, who is preparing to launch a White House bid, waded into a crowd near the burned-out shell of a CVS pharmacy that was destroyed and looted Monday night. He was confronted by two men on motorcycles who shouted expletives and blamed the recent violence in the city on O’Malley’s tough-on-crime policies from 1999 to 2007.”
Wonk Wire: Inequality in Baltimore mapped
Rick Hasen: “In a surprise and very important development, the Supreme Court has rejected a First Amendment challenge to Florida’s ban on the personal solicitation of campaign contributions by judicial candidates. Even more surprising, the Court’s opinion (a plurality in part) is authored by Chief Justice Roberts, who usually sides with First Amendment challengers in these election/campaign cases. This is a case which makes it much more likely that limits on money and speech in judicial elections will be upheld, and it seems to offer some broader important nuances on the scope of narrow tailoring in analyzing First Amendment challenges under the First Amendment.”
“This is a HUGE win for those who support reasonable limits on judicial elections—and getting Roberts on this side of the issue is surprising, welcome, and momentous.”
There’s not much funny about the Baltimore riots, but the cable news networks still gave Jon Stewart plenty of material.
Politico: “If elected, Hillary Clinton would make history as the first woman to occupy the Oval Office. There is, however, another historical precedent she might set. If Clinton wins the presidency, and the Republicans retain the Senate and the House of Representatives, it will be the first time in the history of the Democratic party—going back 188 years—that a Democrat will be elected president with the opposition party controlling both chambers of congress.”
“Only three times in the history of the office has a newly-elected president been faced with the opposition party controlling both houses—Zachary Taylor in 1848, Richard Nixon in 1968 and George H. W. Bush in 1988.”
Jeffrey Toobin: “There was a shocking, ugly moment during the argument of Obergefell v. Hodges, the same-sex marriage case, in the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Right after Mary Bonauto, the lawyer challenging marriage bans in several states, completed her argument, a spectator rose from a back row and started screaming, ‘If you support gay marriage, you will burn in Hell!’ As the man yelled, ‘It’s an abomination!,’ guards carried him from the courtroom.”
“That wasn’t the ugly part, though. In the quiet moment after the man was removed, as his shouts vanished into the hallway, Justice Antonin Scalia filled the silence with a quip. ‘It was rather refreshing, actually,’ he said.”
National Journal has a fun look “at old campaign posters and flyers before television and social media dominated America’s presidential elections.”
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds a majority of Republicans would attend the same-sex wedding of a loved one, highlighting the political risks for Republican presidential candidates who stake out positions against gay marriage.
“The poll showed 56% of Republicans would attend the gay wedding of a loved one if invited. That compares with 80% of Democrats and 70% of independents, who said they would go. Overall, 68% of Americans would attend, the poll showed, while 19% would not and 13% were unsure.”
Washington Post: “As the gay marriage debate plays out on the national stage, it is also playing out in the Republican primary. And while at first glance the candidates seemed to be mostly aligned, some differences have emerged that could help or hurt them in the primary.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) “on Tuesday sought to take command of the simmering aftermath of Baltimore’s riots, planting himself in the city and vowing that National Guard troops and police would not tolerate any more chaos,” the Washington Post reports.
“Facing his first high-profile test as governor, Hogan, a white Republican, found himself navigating complex political terrain with Baltimore’s Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, an African American Democrat presiding over a majority-black city.”
Hillary Clinton will call for far-reaching reforms in the criminal justice system that would “end the era of mass incarceration,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
“The speech will mark the unveiling of Clinton’s first major policy proposal as a presidential hopeful, coming as candidates are under pressure to confront the unrest in Baltimore. The city erupted in rioting Monday night, following the funeral of Freddie Gray, an African American man who was mortally injured while in police custody.”
Politico: Hillary’s forgotten death penalty shift
“King Salman of Saudi Arabia issued a series of surprise royal decrees early Wednesday, shaking up the line of princes slated to succeed him to the throne, replacing a number of ministers and further enhancing the power of his own line,” the New York Times reports.
Bloomberg: “The Democratic presidential contender’s first day of donor hobnobbing for her newly formed campaign included back-to-back-to-back stops at the homes of some of her most loyal supporters in Manhattan. Her haul, based on the number of attendees and price of admission: Somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million.”
“A proven fundraiser, Clinton banked $229 million during her 2008 presidential campaign before conceding the nomination to Barack Obama. Yet aides and friends have been trying to tamp down expectations for her return to political fundraising, repeatedly emphasizing that she is only collecting money for the primary contest at this point.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) plans to run for president as a Democrat, becoming the only official party challenger so far to Hillary Clinton, the New York Times reports.
“According to people familiar with the senator’s plans, he will release a statement on Thursday and make a more formal announcement of candidacy later next month in Vermont. That event will likely take place at City Hall in Burlington, where he was mayor.”
USA Today: “It also will be the first time that the fiercely independent politician has run as a Democrat. He has long criticized both parties for being too beholden to corporate interests. He does not accept campaign contributions from corporate political action committees.”
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Iowa finds Gov. Scott Walker well ahead of the rest of the Republican presidential field with 23%, followed by Marco Rubio at 13%, Jeb Bush at 12%, Mike Huckabee at 10%, Rand Paul at 10%, Ted Cruz at 8%, Ben Carson at 7% and Chris Christie at 5%.
North Dakota state Rep. Randy Boehning (R) sent an explicit photo of himself to another man and claims “the exchange being made public is retaliation for a recent vote against expanding gay rights,” the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reports.
“The exchange came to light when Dustin Smith, a 21-year-old Bismarck man with no known connections to the Capitol, contacted The Forum earlier this month, saying he recognized Boehning from a gay dating smartphone app called Grindr. Chatting under the user name Top Man!, Boehning sent Smith sexually suggestive messages and, in the early morning hours of March 12, an unsolicited photo of his penis.”
But Boehning is glad he was outed: “The 1,000-pound gorilla has been lifted. I have to confront it at some point.”
Gov. Chris Christie “says he was blindsided by longtime ally and friend Joe Kyrillos’s decision to back Jeb Bush over him in 2016, but that he doesn’t hold a grudge over the slight,” the Newark Star Ledger reports.
Said Christie: “This is politics. He made a business decision. That’s the only way I view it. I don’t view it as some personal shot at me. He’s made the decision that Jeb Bush is a better candidate for president. That’s okay. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t like me.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) “has hired consulting firm America Rising, led by Mitt Romney’s former campaign manager Matt Rhoades, to offer advice and research on potential 2016 opponents. That might result in a Romney confidant investigating the background of another Romney confidant,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
“Alex Dunn, who worked on Romney’s campaigns and on his gubernatorial staff in Massachusetts, is considering a run against Lee, spurred on by Spencer Zwick, Romney’s former finance director, and Josh Romney, one of Mitt Romney’s five sons.”