February, 2016

The Beginning of the End for Sanders?

Harry Enten: “South Carolina is even more of a setback for Sanders than it appears at first glance because it reverses the progress he had been making. If you look at my colleague Nate Silver’s estimates of how Sanders would do in each caucus or primary if the race were tied nationally (Sanders needs to beat these targets to have a shot at the nomination), we see that Sanders did 19 percentage points worse than the benchmark in Iowa, 10 percentage points worse in New Hampshire and 5 percentage points worse in Nevada. That is, Sanders did not hit the target in any of those contests, but he got closer to it as time went on. In South Carolina, it looks like Sanders will run nearly 30 percentage points worse than we would expect given a tie nationally, suggesting that the race has moved in Clinton’s direction since Nevada.”

“Sanders’s loss of momentum couldn’t have come at a worst time for his campaign. There are six Super Tuesday states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) where black voters made up a larger share of the electorate in 2008 than they did in Iowa, New Hampshire or Nevada this year. That Sanders couldn’t break through with black voters in either Nevada or South Carolina, despite a heavy investment, makes it difficult to believe he will have any more success in these six states, where his campaign hasn’t put in the same effort.”

Rubio Trails In Key Super Tuesday States

A few new NBC News/Marist polls from Super Tuesday states:

Georgia: Trump 30%, Cruz 23% Rubio 23%, Carson 9%, Kasich 9%.

Tennessee: Trump 40%, Cruz 22%, Rubio 19%, Carson 9%, Kasich 6%.

Texas: Cruz 39%, Trump 26%, Rubio 19%, Carson 8%, Kasich 6%

A few new CBS News polls:

Georgia: Trump 40%, Cruz 29%, Rubio 22%, Carson 7%, Kasich 2%

Virginia: Trump 40%, Rubio 27%, Cruz 22%, Kasich 6%, Carson 2%

Texas: Cruz 42%, Trump 31%, Rubio 19%, Carson 4%, Kasich 4%

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton holds wide leads over Bernie Sanders in each state.

From Obama to Trump

Ross Douthat: “The Trump uprising is first and foremost a Republican and conservative problem: There would be no Trumpism if George W. Bush’s presidency hadn’t cratered, no Trumpism if the party hadn’t alternated between stoking and ignoring working-class grievances, no Trump as front-runner if the party leadership and his rivals had committed fully to stopping him before now.”

“But Trumpism is also a creature of the late Obama era, irrupting after eight years when a charismatic liberal president has dominated the cultural landscape and set the agenda for national debates. President Obama didn’t give us Trump in any kind of Machiavellian or deliberate fashion. But it isn’t an accident that this is the way the Obama era ends — with a reality TV demagogue leading a populist, nationalist revolt.”

General Says Military Would Disobey Trump

Gen. Michael Hayden, the former director of the CIA and NSA, said that if the military would have to disobey Donald Trump if he followed through on certain campaign promises as president, The Hill reports.

Referring to Trump’s suggestion to torture suspected terrorists and kill their families, Hayden said, “If he were to order that once in government, the American armed forces would refuse to act.”

Rubio Releases Only Partial Tax Returns

“Marco Rubio, who has been dogged by questions over his personal finances, released portions of his tax returns Saturday, but the documents don’t reveal many details like which tax breaks he claimed or how much he gave to charity,” Politico reports.

“Rubio’s release is aimed at increasing the pressure on GOP front-runner Donald Trump to produce his own returns, but the fact that he only released partial returns may undermine his case.”

Rubio Just Trying to Survive

“In the sprint to Super Tuesday, Marco Rubio is scrambling to parlay his newfound aggression against Donald Trump into enough support at the polls not to be overwhelmed by the suffocating effects of the celebrity mogul’s insurgent campaign,” the Washington Post reports.

“The result is that, rather than aiming to triumph on the biggest day of the Republican presidential nominating calendar, the candidate seen as the party establishment’s best and perhaps only chance of defeating Trump merely hopes to hang on.”

Clinton Crushes Sanders In South Carolina

“Drawing overwhelming support from the African-American voters who deserted her here eight years ago, Hillary Clinton won her first resounding victory of the 2016 campaign in South Carolina on Saturday, delivering a blow to Sen. Bernie Sanders as their fight turns to the 11 states where Democrats vote on Tuesday,” the New York Times reports.

“After supporting Barack Obama in 2008, African-American voters, who will be the dominant force in the coming Southern primaries, turned out in droves for Mrs. Clinton here. They supported her over Mr. Sanders by more than 6-to-1, and white voters narrowly favored her as well, according to exit polling.”

Kasich Says He’ll Leave Race If He Loses Ohio

“Facing pressure to leave the presidential race, Gov. John Kasich on Saturday singled out next month’s primary in his home state of Ohio as a make-or-break moment for his campaign,” the New York Times reports.

Said Kasich: “Some of the other candidates, if they can’t win their home state, they got to get out, O.K.? If I don’t win my home state, I’ll get out. But you know what? I’m going to win Ohio.”

Cruz Says Super Tuesday Is Critical

“Ted Cruz, facing stagnant poll numbers just days away from the crucial Super Tuesday contests that span the country, tore into Republican front-runner Donald Trump here Saturday afternoon, calling the mogul an untrustworthy insider who is far too cozy with liberal Democrats,” the Washington Post reports.

“But Cruz continues to find it difficult to counter the relentless media appearances and headline-making barbs of Trump, who has ridden his populist and combative pitch to the top of national polls and three straight victories in the Republican primary race — and growing support from right-wing luminaries.”

Cruz called March 1, where 595 delegates are up for grabs, the “most important day in this entire cycle.”

Sanders Effectively Concedes South Carolina

“South Carolina is holding its Democratic primary today, but you wouldn’t know it just by listening to Bernie Sanders,” Politico reports.

“Jetting off to Austin from Columbia, S.C. this morning — before stops in Dallas and Rochester, Minnesota — Sanders made no reference to the state voting today during his early afternoon rally at a Formula One racetrack here.”

Jan Brewer Backs Trump for President

Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) endorsed Donald Trump for president, Politico reports.

Said Brewer: “For years I pleaded with the federal government to do their job and secure our border. Today, we can elect a President who will do just that – Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump will secure our borders, defend our workers and protect our sovereignty. Mr. Trump will stand for our law enforcement, our police and our immigration officers. Mr. Trump will actually enforce the rule of law.”