January, 2016

Trump’s Pitch Highlights that Ballots are Secret

New York Times: “Mr. Trump’s campaign, conversely, is counting on a surge of new caucus participants with little experience of what can be a forbidding process. The pamphlets he passes out at his rallies include instructions to find one’s precinct online, reminders that one can register as a Republican right before caucusing, and bullet points noting that ‘the ballot is secret’ and that ‘most caucuses take less than one hour!'”

What Awaits Bernie Sanders If He Wins

Paul Krugman: “Even among those who don’t believe in the phony scandals, there is, as there was in 2008, a desire for someone new, who they imagine won’t bring out all that ugliness. But of course they’re wrong: if Sanders is the nominee, it will take around 30 seconds before Fox News is nonstop coverage of the terrible things he supposedly did when younger. Don’t say there’s nothing there: a propaganda machine that could turn John Kerry into a coward can turn a nice guy from Brooklyn into a monstrously flawed specimen of humanity in no time at all.”

Trump’s Magic Number Is 135K

National Review: “Four years ago, a record-breaking number of Iowans — 121,503 — participated in the Republican caucuses. If turnout exceeds 135,000 this year, GOP insiders agree, it will be an indication that Donald Trump has attracted a significant number of new voters to the caucuses. And if the increase is even more drastic — say, upwards of 150,000, which some Republicans believe is possible — then Trump will likely win.”

“But if turnout is below 135,000, Iowa will be Ted Cruz’s to lose, for two reasons: Firstly, both public and internal polling shows that Cruz’s supporters are, by and large, veterans of the caucus process, meaning their support can be counted on no matter what. Secondly, the Cruz campaign has poured massive resources into a field operation to successfully identify, persuade, and recruit voters.”

Cruz Slammed for Fradulent Mailers

Ted Cruz was slammed “because of a mailer that was sent out to potential Iowa voters that seemed designed to look like an official notice warning recipients about ‘low voter turnout in your area,'” Fox News reports.

“The Cruz campaign’s mailer also contained the recipient’s voting history, a grade for their history and that of several of their neighbors.”

Ryan Lizza: Ted Cruz’s Iowa mailers are more fraudulent than everyone thinks.

Trump and Sanders Way Ahead in New Hampshire

A new Franklin Pierce University-Boston Herald poll finds Donald Trump with a massive 25-point lead over Ted Cruz, 38% to 13%. They are followed by Marco Rubio at 10%, Jeb Bush at 10%, John Kasich at 8%, Chris Christie at 5%, Rand Paul at 5% and Carly Fiorina at 5%.

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders has grown his lead over Hillary Clinton to 20 points, 57% to 37%.

Is This the End of the GOP?

Rick Perlstein, who has written groundbreaking books on the rise modern conservatism, told Slate that Donald Trump may be remaking the Republican party.

Said Perlstein: “If there’s one thing that I thought I knew, it is that basically the ideas and the institutions that were born through the Goldwater movement were a backbone of this conservative takeover of the Republican Party. Donald Trump is perhaps most interesting in his lack of connections to that entire world. The first sign that something very different was happening was when he basically rejected Fox News, threw them over the side, and had no interest in kowtowing to them.”

Ron Brownstein: “Like a previously undiscovered earthquake fault, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is threatening to fracture the Republican electoral coalition along new lines. In the process he could disrupt both the demographic and geographic alignments that have defined previous races for the GOP nomination—and scramble the assumptions of his rivals about the coalitions they believed could power them to victory.”

What If Donald Trump Loses?

Politico: “On Monday, after months of denouncing rivals and critics as ‘losers,’ the man who has promised ‘so much winning’ America ‘will get bored with winning’ and who has broken every conventional campaign rule on his improbable rise to the top of the GOP field will face his first real electoral test. Finally, there will be quantifiable results. Though the latest polls suggest otherwise, Trump might lose. And if it doesn’t happen in Iowa, maybe it will in New Hampshire, or South Carolina, or Nevada, or in any of the many primaries to come over the next frenzied few months. And if that happens?”

“He will deny and distort and belittle his critics and change the subject. He will say that he won. He always has.”

Sanders Announces Huge Fundraising Haul

“On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, Bernie Sanders’s campaign will announce that it has raised $20 million over the last month, an enormous haul that backs up the campaign’s assertion that it will have enough money for a long, hard-fought nominating fight against Hillary Clinton,” the New York Times reports.

Politico: “More than 770,000 people gave to the Vermont senator’s bid in January, with online contributions averaging just $27, the campaign said. And Sanders has so far received more than 3.25 million contributions — more than any presidential campaign at this point in the cycle ever.”

Rubio Plays Up Cruz’s Chances

Marco Rubio “tried to cast his campaign as the Republican primary’s underdog on Sunday, saying it does not have the polling numbers of Ted Cruz’s campaign or the financial backing of Jeb Bush’s super PAC network,” Politico reports.

Said Rubio: “Ted Cruz is clearly the front-runner going into tomorrow night. He has 10,000 volunteers on the ground. We know it’s a tough hill to climb, but we feel very positive about our campaign.”

The Fringe Decides

“Iowa, widely derided for being unlike the rest of the United States, was supposed to be irrelevant this year as the presidential race became nationalized — thanks to widely viewed televised debates and the rise of social media,” the New York Times reports.

“But as the Iowa caucuses loom on Monday — the first votes after 1,500 candidate rallies, 60,000 TV ads and a nail-biting tightening of the polls here — the state’s voters are poised to play their most significant role ever in both parties’ nominating contests. And their embrace of candidates on the ideological fringes has amplified a national grass-roots rebellion against establishment politicians.”

Trump Says Winning Iowa Not Essential

Donald Trump said “he would like to win the Iowa Caucuses, but that he doesn’t believe his campaign has to win the first primary state in the country to remain successful,” Politico reports.

Said Trump: “No, I don’t have to win it. And right now, you and I are sitting in New Hampshire. And as you know, I have a very substantial lead in New Hampshire. But I think it would be really good to win Iowa.”

Cruz Bets On His Ground Game

Sen. Ted Cruz’s “leading Iowa supporters say his get-out-the-vote operation is the best they have seen for a presidential campaign here. He had better hope they are right,” the New York Times reports.

“With his monthlong lead in the polls erased, Mr. Cruz’s hopes for pulling out a much-needed victory over Donald J. Trump in the Iowa caucuses on Monday now rest in the hands of thousands of campaign workers and supporters who are spending this weekend telephoning, emailing and knocking on the doors of likely caucusgoers.”

Meanwhile, experts inside and outside the GOP tell The Hill it “would be a mistake to think Trump’s organization is operating on a wing and a prayer when it comes to getting his supporters to caucus sites around Iowa on Monday night.”