February, 2016

Tracking Poll Finds Debate Changed Little

Survey Monkey tracking finds that support for Donald Trump and his rivals was essentially unchanged in the 11 Super Tuesday states before and after last week’s GOP debate.

“Trump’s support after the debate (37%) was just a single percentage point higher than before (36%), support for Cruz was just two points lower (dropping from 25 to 23%), while Rubio’s vote ticked up just one percentage point (from 17 to 18%).”

Clinton Working on Plan to Take Down Trump

New York Times: “That strategy is beginning to take shape, with groups that support Mrs. Clinton preparing to script and test ads that would portray Mr. Trump as a misogynist and an enemy to the working class whose brash temper would put the nation and the world in grave danger. The plan is for those themes to be amplified later by two prominent surrogates: To fight Mr. Trump’s ability to sway the news cycle, Mr. Clinton would not hold back on the stump, and President Obama has told allies he would gleefully portray Mr. Trump as incapable of handling the duties of the Oval Office.”

“Democrats say they risk losing the presidency if they fail to take Mr. Trump seriously, much as Republicans have done in the primary campaign.”

Will GOP Change the Convention Rules?

Walter Shapiro: “Under these circumstances, there would be nothing anti-democratic about GOP leaders using every mechanism in their power to stop Trump. Gaming the rules, after all, is what Ronald Reagan tried against Jerry Ford in 1976.”

“It is worth remembering that — even with a delegate lead or a majority — Trump would face built-in disadvantages in Cleveland. Paul Ryan would be the convention chair and other GOP insiders would probably control relevant committees like convention rules and party platform. In some states, Trump does not get to pick his delegates slates, but instead is saddled with party stalwarts of dubious loyalty.”

GOP Governors Hold Emergency Call to Discuss Trump

Politico: “Top Republicans — including governors who convened an emergency conference call on Monday on which Trump was Topic A — expect the real estate mogul to carry as many as 10 states on Tuesday night, an outcome that would deal a body blow to Sen. Ted Cruz, who has staked his campaign heavily on the Southern states holding nominating contests, and to Sen. Marco Rubio, who has yet to win a primary and isn’t expected to do so on Tuesday.”

“Trump’s march to the nomination has set off a wave of anxiety across the Republican Party establishment as top officials weigh whether to endorse him — or denounce him as anathema to the party’s values. Reflecting that angst, on Monday morning, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the heads of the Republican Governors Association, convened fellow governors for an unusual conference call to discuss how the primary was unfolding — and Trump was a central topic of conversation.”

Cornyn Calls Trump an ‘Albatross’ to Republicans

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) “raised serious concerns about Donald Trump’s surging presidential bid, becoming the highest-ranking congressional Republican to express fears about the real estate mogul’s candidacy,” CNN reports.

Said Cornyn: “We can’t have a nominee be an albatross around the down-ballot races.”

GOP Delegate Rules Are Helping Trump

New York Times: “Hoping to avoid a repeat of the messy fight for the Republican nomination in 2012, the party drew up a calendar and delegate-selection rules intended to allow a front-runner to wrap things up quickly.”

“Now, with Republicans voting in 11 states on Tuesday, the worst fears of the party’s establishment are coming true: Donald J. Trump could all but seal his path to the nomination in a case of unintended consequences for the party leadership, which vehemently opposes him.”

FiveThirtyEight: Who’s on track for the nomination?