November, 2015

How Donald Trump Courted the Right Wing Fringe

McKay Coppins: “Trump’s dominance in this year’s presidential primary race has often been described as a mysterious natural phenomenon: the Donald riding a wild, unpredictable tsunami of conservative populist anger that just now happens to be crashing down on the Republican establishment. But in fact, Trump spent years methodically building and buying support for himself in a vast, right-wing counter-establishment — one that exists entirely outside the old party infrastructure and is quickly becoming just as powerful.”

“These forces have asserted themselves repeatedly in the fight over the future of the Republican Party. But Trump came to understand their power earlier than most. When no one was watching, he was assuming command of this Fringe Establishment, building an army of activists and avatars that he would eventually deploy in his scorched-earth assault on the GOP’s old guard, on his rivals in the primary field — and, as an early test case in the winter of 2014, on me.”

Not All Lies Are Created Equal

Politico: “When Hillary Clinton lies, she generally does so with legalistic care. You get the sense that she knows what the exact truth is. But you also get the sense that she knows she’ll suffer if she provides the whole truth, so she shades the facts with interpretations and embellishments that flatter or favor her.”

“Trump’s and Carson’s lies, on the other hand, come from the land of bullshit, that wonderful place where loose facts and wishful thinking mate to produce a quotable soundbite. They’re not trying to deceive you in a Clintonian fashion. They’re indifferent to the truth, content to say the first things that pop into their brains.”

GOP Insiders See Trump Winning Several Early States

Republican insiders tell Politico that Donald Trump “could take two of the first four early voting states, though they caution his hold on Iowa is weak.”

“Roughly three-in-four GOP insiders in New Hampshire and South Carolina, many of whom have been repeatedly and consistently skeptical of Trump’s chances, now say he would win their states if their primaries were held today… But his hold on Iowa and Nevada is more tenuous, according to insiders who note those states’ caucuses require significant organizational muscle to produce a win.”

The Hill: “The Republican establishment is nearing full-blown panic about Donald Trump.”

Trump Wants Apology from Reporter He Mocked

Washington Post: “A day after he was widely rebuked for mocking a reporter with a physical disability, business mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump on Thursday denied that he had done so and accused the reporter of ‘using his disability to grandstand.’ Trump also demanded an apology from the New York Times, the reporter’s employer, which earlier in the week issued a statement condemning Trump.”

Two Trend Lines in Political Polling

Nate Cohn: “One is the rise of online polling. The other is the decline of telephone surveys because of rising costs and possibly declining quality, tied to the fact that fewer Americans are willing to participate in a telephone poll. Many public opinion researchers have thought that Internet polling would eventually overtake phone polling, but they hoped it would not happen before online polling was ready.”

“Ready or not, online polling has arrived. Political analysts and casual poll readers now face a deluge of data from new firms employing new, promising, but not always proven methodologies. Nowhere is the question of the accuracy of the new online polls more evident than in the survey results for Donald Trump. He fares better in online polls than in traditional polls, and it’s not clear which method is capturing the public’s true opinions.”

Not All Candidates Will Make the Ballot

Politico: “Barring a major organizational misfire, there’s little doubt that the top-tier Republicans with big money operations – Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump – will be on the ballot nationwide. But for everyone else – including Chris Christie, John Kasich and Rand Paul, whose campaigns say they are on track to be on the ballot everywhere – ballot access is an expensive challenge.”

“While it’s true mathematically that candidates need not compete in every state to win the nomination, the political reality is that each failure to appear on a ballot undermines a candidate’s credibility as a national figure.”

How Lobbyists Gets What They Want

Bloomberg: “Lobbyists around Washington have more than a handful of tactics to combat legislative threats to their clients. Some are as basic as meeting with lawmakers to explain their position. Others involve mustering seven-figure efforts that include a full deployment of public relations, consulting, grassroots, and legal pros.”

“But what happens when an industry’s revenues unexpectedly come under fire in a piece of legislation that is likely just months away from the president’s desk? The banking industry just laid out the lobbying roadmap.”

Carson to Visit Syrian Refugees

“Ben Carson, who is facing increasing scrutiny over his grasp of foreign policy, is traveling to Jordan on Friday to visit Syrian refugees, in order to gain an understanding of the pressing issue and to polish his candidacy,” the New York Times reports.

Said Carson: “I find when you have firsthand knowledge of things as opposed to secondhand, it makes a much stronger impression.”

Wonk Wire: Explaining the Syrian refugee vetting process

McConnell Would Remove Limits on Party Spending

“Senate Republicans plan to insert a provision into a must-pass government funding bill that would vastly expand the amount of cash that political parties could spend on candidates,” multiple sources tell Politico.

“The provision, which sources say is one of a few campaign-finance related riders being discussed in closed-door negotiations over a $1.15 trillion omnibus spending package, would eliminate caps on the amount of cash that parties may spend in coordination with their candidates.”

Trump Embraces Roughness at Rallies

New York Times: “And while Mr. Trump’s heated language on surveillance of Muslims, accepting Syrian refugees and illegal immigration is firing up his crowds, it is also drawing more protesters, resulting in physical clashes.”

“At recent Trump rallies, supporters have spit in protesters’ faces, tackled demonstrators in Miami, and shoved and punched a Black Lives Matter activist in Alabama… Mostly, he has embraced the scuffles as a new and action-packed dimension of the Donald Trump experience.”

Said Trump: “Isn’t a Trump rally much more exciting than these other ones?”

Politico: “Trump has added a new item to his growing list of presidential campaign firsts: mocking a person’s physical handicap.”

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