July, 2015

Top GOP Fundraiser Urges Kirk to Abandon Race

“One of the Illinois GOP’s premiere fundraisers has called on U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., to abandon his re-election race, saying it likely is unwinnable. The statement is spurring a flurry of phone calls and activity among worried Republicans,” according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

Said Ron Gidwidz: “His misstatements put him and the Illinois Republican Party in too much of a defensive position. I do not believe he will be a U.S. senator in 2017 and, as top of the ticket, he could cause collateral damage (to other Republican candidates). I call on him to step aside and allow other Republicans to seek his seat.”

Things are About to Get Crazy in Congress

Greg Sargent: “Hillary Clinton has signaled that she hopes to run for president in part by painting the GOP-controlled Congress — and, by extension, the Republican Party — as a divisive, destructive, hidebound, reactionary force… And it looks as if the GOP Congress is set to hand Clinton a lot more material.”

“The recent period of calm (relative, of course) in Congress has perhaps led people to forget just how crazy things are going to get this fall.”

Politico: “Lawmakers have teed up a hellish final few months of 2015, as a series of high-stakes deadlines looms on everything from keeping the government open to doling out money for roads and then, for good measure, raising the federal government’s borrowing limit. It promises to be a major test of the Republican Party’s ability to govern as the GOP prepares to ask voters to continue one-party control of Congress…”

Republicans Brace for Trump in Debate

“Next week’s Republican presidential debate in Cleveland marks not only the inaugural formal gathering of the expansive GOP field but the start of a new and unpredictable chapter in an already raucous 2016 race,” the Washington Post reports.

“Under the bright studio lights on the shores of Lake Erie on Aug. 6, ambitions will be showcased, positions staked, and Donald Trump, who has consumed the summer’s political headlines, will finally be confronted, face to face, by his rivals.”

How Gerrymandering Has Hurt Democrats

A Smart Politics analysis finds there are 16 U.S. Senators who currently serve states with a majority of its U.S. House seats held by the opposing political party; only one of these 16 is a Republican – Mark Kirk of Illinois.

Over the last eight cycles dating back to 2000, only 14 Republicans have been elected to the U.S. Senate from states in which the opposing party won a majority of U.S. House seats that cycle.

Koch Brothers Freeze Out Donald Trump

“The Koch brothers are freezing out Donald Trump from their influential political operation — denying him access to their state-of-the-art data and refusing to let him speak to their gatherings of grass-roots activists or major donors,” Politico reports.

“Despite a long and cordial relationship between the real estate showman and David Koch, as well as a raft of former Koch operatives who are now running Trump’s presidential campaign, the Koch political operation appears to have concluded that Trump is the wrong standard-bearer for the GOP.”

Trump Hides Divisions in Republican Party

Rick Klein: “You can thank Donald Trump for taking away the attention from the clashes that could leave the GOP with more battle scars than anything the Donald has to offer. On Capitol Hill, talk of Reagan’s 11th Commandment is well past over, amid some of the worst intraparty fighting in this current era of Republican control of Congress. Sen. Ted Cruz is accusing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of lying to his colleagues. McConnell is accusing Sen. Mike Lee of secret alliances with outside groups aimed at pressuring fellow GOPers. And in the House, a surprise move by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) leaves a rare formal motion to oust House Speaker John Boehner lingering through the August recess.”

“At a minimum, the breakdowns mean that we can pretty much close the books on meaningful accomplishments by the current Congress, with about three-quarters of the term still to go. It’s worth remembering that these divisions – the establishment wing’s continued never-ending struggles with tea party-aligned and a growing network of outside groups – are likely to impact the presidential primaries more than any damage Trump might do to his Republican rivals.”

Facebook Seeks to Play Big Role in 2016

New York Times: “While it is no surprise that campaigns are devoting a greater share of their budget and energy on digital initiatives, Facebook, already a major player in past cycles, has been working to expand its digital dominance in the political realm.”

“Facebook — which has 189 million monthly users in the United States — has pitched its tools and services to every presidential campaign in the 2016 race, not to mention down-ballot races, to showcase new features as candidates seek to reach and recruit new supporters and potential donors. Some estimate that 2016 will usher in roughly $1 billion in online political advertising, and Facebook says it is on track to increase its revenue from previous cycles.”

GOP Lawmaker Seeks to Oust Boehner as Speaker

NBC News: “A House Republican often at odds with John Boehner launched a bid Tuesday to kick the speaker of the house out of his job — an almost unheard-of rebellion but one that has been simmering for months. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) filed a motion to ‘vacate the chair’ — a parliamentary maneuver that could be used to depose Boehner. The motion accuses Boehner of having ‘endeavored to consolidate power and centralize decision-making, bypassing the majority of the 435 Members of Congress and the people they represent,’ and of using ‘the power of the office to punish Members who vote according to their conscience instead of the will of the Speaker.'”

The Trump Effect Reshapes GOP Field

“Donald Trump’s explosive rise in the polls has come at the expense of every other GOP presidential candidate except for Jeb Bush and Scott Walker — who arguably have been helped by the businessman’s rise,” The Hill reports.

“The media storm surrounding Trump is starving other candidates of oxygen — including major contenders such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has seen his polling numbers plummet 3.2 percentage points since Trump’s entry. Bush, in contrast, has seen his support rise by 2.9 percentage points, while Walker gained 1.1 percentage points. Trump has risen by 14.6 percentage points since launching his campaign.”