December, 2015

Colbert Says Trump Is Better at Playing Old Character

Stephen Colbert says Donald Trump is playing his old character better than he ever could, The Hill reports.

Said Colbert: “He’s completely playing on an emotional level – and so beautifully. I mean, it’s one of the reasons why I just can’t do that old character anymore, because he’s doing it better than I ever could, because he’s willing to drink his own Kool Aid and manufacture and distribute it, because he’s got all the cash.”

He added: “I’m not the first person to say this, but I completely agree that he’s my old character with $10 billion.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“I’m just hoping that as we go forward he’s going to be a unifier. Because I’m going to tell you, you can’t win the White House without winning Ohio. If we have a candidate that comes into Ohio who is a divider, there’s no chance they’re going to win it.”

— Gov. John Kasich, quoted by The Hill, noting that Donald Trump has “toned down the rhetoric” lately.

Rahm Emanuel in the Hot Seat

New York Times: “Since the release last month of video showing a white Chicago police officer firing 16 shots into a black teenager named Laquan McDonald, Mr. Emanuel has been a mayor under siege. A debate over race and policing has swept through many cities this year, but its arrival here has pointed an especially strong spotlight on City Hall. And the fatal shooting of two people by the police Saturday morning, one of them a 19-year-old man with possible mental health problems and the other a 55-year-old bystander, intensified the scrutiny.”

“Even before this, Mr. Emanuel had a complicated, uncertain relationship with some of Chicago’s black residents over the closing of nearly 50 schools and a struggle to slow gang-related gun violence. Those issues helped force him into a difficult runoff election this year as he sought a second term as mayor.”

GQ named Emanuel to its list of “The Worst People of 2015.”

The GOP’s New Hampshire Nightmare

Politico: “Forget Iowa, which Cruz appears to be locking up. It’s New Hampshire that will cull this field. And with Christie, Bush and John Kasich making this first primary state the singular focus of their campaigns, and Rubio, should he lose Iowa, needing a top-tier finish, the fight to be the mainstream alternative to Cruz or Trump could end here.”

“If Trump wins the Feb. 9 primary a week after Cruz wins Iowa, only one or two candidates finishing behind him will likely have the momentum to carry on. If four or even five candidates split the vote of an establishment electorate that never coalesces behind one standard bearer, there may be only hollow victories to declare on primary night because none will have the firepower to challenge Cruz or Trump in South Carolina.”

For members: A four-way battle for the GOP establishment

Ted Cruz Thrives on Being Hated in Senate

Wall Street Journal: “The gap between his reputation in Washington and his reception among primary voters isn’t a paradox. It is central to his campaign strategy.”

“With the GOP electorate riddled with disdain for the political establishment, Mr. Cruz relishes his reputation as the bad boy of the Senate, where he has dragged his party into a government-shuttering budget fight and defied party leaders ever since arriving on Capitol Hill in 2013.”

Whether Trump Backers Will Vote Is Big Question

Washington Post: “Trump’s unexpected and sustained popularity has, at least in part, been fueled by his appeal to a voting bloc that seems to be emerging: blue-collar workers without college degrees who are slightly younger than the traditional Republican voter. Many say they haven’t cared about politics until now, as they flock to Trump rallies like groupies to a rock concert, read his books, buy his products, quote his jokes and follow his social-media accounts.”

“But is their devotion to Trump deep enough to vote? For those who don’t regularly vote in primaries, doing so for the first time is a hurdle — especially in Iowa, which uses a caucus system that can intimidate first-timers.”

Sanders Hopes to Win Over Trump Supporters

Bernie Sanders said he believes “he can win over supporters of Republican front-runner Donald Trump, explaining that Trump has been successful at channeling working-class anger,” Politico reports.

Said Sanders: “What Trump has done with some success is taken that anger, taken those fears, which are legitimate, and converted them into anger against Mexicans, anger against Muslims.”

Bush Doubles Down on Massive Ad Buy

Jeb Bush and his super PAC “are set to dominate the TV airwaves between now and the Granite State primary, reserving more than $14 million in commercials on both New Hampshire and Boston stations — including two Super Bowl spots,” the Boston Herald reports.

“It’s a clear sign that Bush operatives, despite criticism over already spending more than $35 million nationally on commercials for just 4 percent in the polls, are doubling down on a strategy of massive TV buys.”

White House Holds Personal Grudge Over Trump

Politico: “According to people in the White House, Obama doesn’t talk about Trump much. When he does, it’s with a combination of amusement and disgust at the rhetoric, occasionally mentioning his amazement at GOP leaders’ inability to understand Trump’s supporters and the long-term damage the president thinks Trump is doing to the party with the groups of voters who will decide future elections.”

“But it’s more than told-ya-so. It’s personal. The West Wing still burns over Trump leading the birth certificate charge in 2012, forcing an official rebuttal from the White House and the release of the president’s long-form birth certificate. Aides say Trump played into fears and racism and encouraged voter distrust of the president, as he’s doing now on the campaign trail.”

GOP Rift Opens Over Medicaid and Obamacare

New York Times: “In state after state, a gulf is opening between Republican governors willing to expand Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act and Republican members of Congress convinced the law is collapsing and determined to help it fail. In recent months, insurers have increased premiums and deductibles for many policies sold online, and a dozen nonprofit insurance co-ops are shutting down, forcing consumers to seek other coverage.”

“But in Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada and Ohio, Republican governors have expanded Medicaid under the health care law or defended past expansions. In South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah, Republican governors are pressing for wider Medicaid coverage. And Republican governors in a few other states, including Alabama, have indicated that they are looking anew at their options after rejecting the idea in the past.”

Kasich Pledges Redistricting Reform

Gov. John Kasich told the Columbus Dispatch that he will push to change the way Ohio draws congressional districts.

Said Kasich: “I support redistricting reform dramatically. This will be something I’m going to do whether I’m elected president or whether I’m here. We carve these safe districts, and then when you’re in a safe district you have to watch your extremes, and you keep moving to the extremes.”