February, 2016

Rubio Might Be Taking Down Trump for Kasich

Jonathan Chait: “The old Rubio strategy was not successful at winning primaries, but it was successful at making people like Rubio. Rubio has ranked at or near the top of lists of voters’ favorite second-choice candidates. As Nate Cohn points out, Rubio has time to catch up and overtake Trump, even if he loses every state on Super Tuesday. But Rubio’s strategy hinges upon successfully taking down Trump without losing his own currently wide, but relatively shallow, base of support. Will Republicans still like the new, mean, pee-pants-calling, dick-length-mocking Rubio just as much as the old, winsome version?”

“It is possible that Rubio’s mockery will finally bring down Trump. But even if so, Rubio’s popularity might come down along with him. In that case, the conflict will redound to the benefit of the candidate who is currently running the now-discarded Rubio game plan: John Kasich. The Ohio governor is using versions of the old, well-received Rubio message about refusing to attack fellow Republicans and bringing people together.”

How Trump Embraces Conspiracy Theories

New York Times: “Mr. Trump, unlike most presidential candidates, does not shrink from addressing, and in some ways legitimizing, the wildest of hypotheticals… Part hair-salon gossip, part purveyor of forwarded conspiracy emails, Mr. Trump has exploited the news cycles of an Internet era in which rumors explode like fireworks and often take a long time to burn out. Mr. Trump’s willingness to touch on what passes for fact on fringe websites puts him in a unique class for a national major party front-runner.”

Lawmaker Claims Rape Doesn’t Result In Pregnancy

Said Nielsen: “Now, I’m of the understanding that in many cases of rape it does not involve any pregnancy because of the trauma of the incident. That may be true with incest a little bit.”

He added: “I read a lot of information. I have read it several times… Being a father of five girls, I’ve explored this a lot.”

Are We Entering a New World of Politics?

Nate Silver: “If a realignment is underway, then it poses a big empirical challenge. Presidential elections already suffer from the problem of small sample sizes — one reason a lot of people, certainly including us, shouldn’t have been so dismissive of Trump’s chances early on. Elections held in the midst of political realignments are even rarer, however. The rules of the old regime — the American political party system circa 1980 through 2012 — might not apply in the new one. And yet, it’s those elections that inform both the conventional wisdom and statistical models of American political behavior.”

Sanders Raised Almost $40 Million in February

Sen. Bernie Sanders said that his campaign had already raised $36 million this month and was aiming to top the $40 million mark by the end of the day, the Washington Post reports.

“If successful, the Vermont senator would nearly double his take from January, a sum that was viewed as astonishing at the time for a candidate who relies almost entirely on online contributions to fuel his race against Hillary Clinton.”

Why Ted Cruz Will Never Drop Out

Joshua Green: “Dropping out would violate the logic of Cruz’s whole political career. And anyone acquainted with his character and ambition should probably assume, as I do, that he won’t. Although his odds of winning the nomination are long, Cruz is bound to do what’s best for Cruz… That will entail staying in the race all the way through to the Republican convention in Cleveland—no matter what happens.”

Trump Blames ‘Lousy Earpiece’ for KKK Flap

Donald Trump blamed CNN for providing a “lousy earpiece” in explaining his non-answer when asked to disavow the Ku Klux Klan and David Duke, Politico reports.

Said Trump: “I’m sitting in a house in Florida with a very bad earpiece that they gave me, and you could hardly hear what he was saying. But what I heard was various groups, and I don’t mind disavowing anybody, and I disavowed David Duke and I disavowed him the day before at a major news conference, which is surprising because he was at the major news conference, CNN was at the major news conference, and they heard me very easily disavow David Duke.”

Rubio Adopts Trump Tactics In Effort to Stop Him

“It is the kind of campaign he said he would never run. But Senator Marco Rubio, seeing his path to the Republican nomination grow narrower with each contest, has determined that the only way to beat Donald Trump is to fight like him: rough, dirty and mean,” the New York Times reports.

“The acidity coming from Mr. Rubio these days, and the gleefully savage way Mr. Trump has responded, have sent an already surreal presidential campaign lurching into the gutter with taunts over perspiration, urination and self-tanner.”

Trump Dominates European News Too

New York Times: “In Europe, the birthplace of the Enlightenment, Donald Trump has been treated variously as a disturbing curiosity or an entertaining political show barker. His nearly every move and pronouncement has been reported from Paris to Berlin to Helsinki, even as commentators on both left and right have dismissed the notion of President Donald J. Trump as the stuff of fantasy, or, at worst, a momentary lapse of reason.”

“That is changing. With a series of wins in key Republican primary states, and with the billionaire’s expected strong showing when 12 states hold primaries or caucuses on Tuesday, the European media, like its American counterpart, is adjusting to the prospect of a seemingly unstoppable Trump juggernaut. The reaction is a mix of befuddlement, outrage and panic, along with admiration in some unlikely quarters.”