October, 2015

Bill Clinton Rallies Superdelegates for Hillary

“Hillary Clinton has extended her already sizable superdelegate lead by several dozen since August, and is deploying former President Bill Clinton to bring more of the powerful endorsers on board.”

“Based on a memo from campaign manager Robby Mook and delegate figures provided by the Democratic National Committee, Bloomberg Politics estimates Hillary Clinton has well over 500 superdelegate commitments, putting her even closer to securing the minimum number needed to win the party’s nomination before ordinary voters cast a single ballot in a caucus or primary.”

Anti-Clinton Groups Take Shape

“A collection of top GOP operatives, financed by prominent Republican donors, is launching two new groups to take aim at Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The groups—Future45, a super PAC, and 45Committee, an issue-advocacy organization—are designed to seize on issues that emerge in the campaign or comments Mrs. Clinton makes and quickly assemble ads that will run both online and on television. Organizers are hoping the groups will become something of an experimental, quick-strike vehicle to see what messages and tactics work.”

Carson Campaign Struggling to Explain Platform

“Ben Carson, whose appeal as a political novice has thrust him to the top of the Republican presidential field, faces a critical test in Wednesday night’s debate — defending a policy platform that he is building so fast that he and his staff have struggled to explain it,” the Washington Post reports.

“Carson, for instance, has indicated that he wants to loosen U.S. gun laws significantly. But his campaign says he doesn’t. Carson also said he wants to tax everyone at 10 percent, a system he said was drawn from the Bible. But Carson’s campaign says it could be 15 percent, or some other amount. Aides say to expect detailed plans in a month.”

GOP Nominates Paul Ryan to be Speaker

As expected, House Republicans nominated Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to be the 62nd speaker of the House, turning to the young chairman of the Ways and Means Committee to replace John Boehner, who was driven into retirement by an angry uprising of conservative hard-liners, the New York Times reports.

Washington Post: “According to a tally announced inside the room, Ryan won support from 200 of the 247-member GOP conference. A House floor vote to select the new speaker is set for Thursday morning, bringing an end to a five-week scramble to find Boehner’s replacement.”

New Exit Polls Being Tested

“When voters go to the polls in Kentucky and Mississippi on Nov. 3, The Associated Press will be launching experiments aimed at finding more accurate and less expensive ways to survey them. With funding from the Knight Foundation, the AP has hired GfK Custom Research to identify and survey voters online, instead of conducting a traditional exit poll where precinct-based interviewers ask voters to fill out questionnaires,” the AP reports.

From Simple to Complex, Negative to Positive

The New York Times has an interesting analysis of the presidential candidates’ speaking styles in this year’s presidential debates.

“DonaldTrump stands out as the simplest speaker by far and also one of the more positive. Though he is highly critical of his opponents and often rails against how terrible the world is today, he spends more time talking about how great America will be under a Trump administration. In the opposite corner of the matrix is Bernie Sanders, who prefers both complex language and dire descriptions.”

Betting on the GOP Establishment Isn’t a Good Bet

Norm Ornstein: “In every recent national poll of Republicans, including those with likely voters, with or without leaners, the breakdown is that the five main outsider candidates (Trump, Carson, Cruz, Fiorina, Huckabee) combine to generate between 63 and 70 percent support. The three main establishment candidates, Bush, Rubio, and Kasich, combine to between 12 and 19 percent.”

“Of course, there is a chance that as one or more of the outsider candidates falters, their supporters will gravitate to Rubio or one of the other establishment figures. Or that the outsiders will fragment in support, allowing Rubio, the establishment favorite, to do what Mitt Romney did in 2012. But it is a bit more likely that the bulk of those voters will opt instead for another outsider.”

Has the Republican Party Really Lost Its Mind?

Ryan Lizza: “Is it really going to nominate someone like Trump (or Carson), whose views are are so far outside the mainstream that either would pave the way for a historic Democratic landslide?”

“It’s doubtful. The overwhelming majority of Republican voters have repeatedly told pollsters this year that, whatever their choice in any given poll, they haven’t made up their minds yet. Most won’t think hard about their decision for at least another three months. At this point in 2008, Rudy Giuliani was the polling leader. In 2012, it was Cain. Rather than tell us anything deep about voter sentiments, polls at this point generally reflect name recognition and which candidates are receiving the most media attention at any given time.”

Ryan Will Vote for Budget Deal

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), “expected to become the next speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, threw his support on Wednesday behind a two-year budget deal aimed at averting a default on U.S. government debt next week,” Reuters reports.

“The support could provide a boost for the bill, which is set to reach the House floor for a vote Wednesday, even as far-right Republicans criticize it for increasing spending.”

Hastert Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert “pleaded guilty to evading currency-reporting requirements, but no further details came out about the underlying wrongdoing that led him to withdraw nearly $1 million in cash from four banks over 2 and 1/2 years,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

“Hastert’s admission of guilt marked a startling turn of events for a man who once held the nation’s third-highest political office. But the hearing also left more questions than answers.”

DeBlasio Moves Towards Endorsing Clinton

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), asked to respond to reports that an endorsement was pending, the New York Times notes he replied: “When we have something to say on the political front, we’ll say it. I haven’t said anything yet.”

“Some Democrats say they are now watching for a subtle sign: whether Mr. de Blasio is allowed to make his endorsement alongside Mrs. Clinton, or if the announcement comes via news release, the type of distinction that can speak volumes in political circles.”

Last Chance for Jeb Bush?

James Hohmann: “The stakes in tonight’s debate are as high for Jeb Bush as anyone else. A week after his campaign’s major downsizing, I’m hearing from some already-nervous Bush donors that they will close their checkbooks if the ex-Florida governor doesn’t have a breakout moment. Because he’s slipped in the polls, Jeb’s podium will move further from center stage toward the wings. This makes his mission of standing out even harder.”

First Read: “No one on tonight’s stage is under more pressure to deliver than Bush is. We are approaching make-or-break time for the former GOP frontrunner.”