“Conservative donors have engaged a major GOP consulting firm in Florida to research the feasibility of mounting a late, independent run for president amid growing fears that Donald Trump could win the Republican nomination,” Politico reports.
Archives for February 2016
Gov. Chris Christie endorsed Donald Trump, “a major turn in a wild race and one that gives the New York businessman a major boost as he heads into the pivotal Super Tuesday contests,” the New York Times reports.
“Mr. Christie was a candidate himself until he came in sixth place in New Hampshire’s primary. Seeing his political career facing an abrupt conclusion at the end of a second term as governor following his faded presidential campaign, he was said to be deeply angry with Sen. Marco Rubio… He blames Mr. Rubio’s super PAC for halting his momentum in New Hampshire in December with a string of slash-and-burn ads.”
Ryan Lizza: “The historic nature of a Trump victory can hardly be overstated. He could very well stand at a lectern in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention, in July, accepting the nomination of a party whose top elected officials—governors, congressmen, and senators—have either refused to support him or actively opposed his nomination. Yes, there are some cracks. This week, two House members endorsed Trump, and other elected officials will surely jump aboard, especially those representing Trump strongholds.”
“But Trump represents such a radical break with the Republican consensus on important issues that a significant segment of the Party will never back him.”
A Google Consumer Surveys poll found that Donald Trump was seen as the winner of last night’s Republican debate by 44%, followed by Marco Rubio at 30%, Ted Cruz at 12%, John Kasich at 10% and Ben Carson at 5%.
First Read now sees only two possible outcomes for the Republican presidential race: 1) Donald Trump will be the nominee or 2) A contested convention.
As of now, Trump currently has a 64-delegate lead over his nearest competition: Trump 81, Cruz 17, Rubio 17, Kasich 8, Carson 5
Trump could emerge with 100-plus delegate lead after Super Tuesday: Trump 289, Rubio 184, Cruz 154, Kasich 53, Carson 41 (assuming a Trump 35%, Rubio 28%, Cruz 23%, Kasich 8%, Carson 6% proportional split of delegates).
Looking beyond Super Tuesday:
- If Trump win Florida and Ohio, he’s more than halfway to nomination: And if Trump wins the winner-take-all states of Florida and Ohio on March 15, he’s at 650 delegates — more than half of the 1,237 needed to win the GOP nomination (That assumes Trump wins 35% of the delegates up for grabs in the March 5-12 contests, as well as 35% of the proportional states on March 15): Trump 650, Rubio 340, Cruz 278.
- If Rubio wins Florida and Ohio, he’ll have a small lead over Trump: But if Rubio wins winner-take-all Florida AND Ohio, Rubio emerges with a slight overall delegate lead: Rubio 505, Trump 485, Cruz 278
- If Kasich wins Ohio, Trump will have slight lead: But if Kasich wins Ohio and Rubio wins Florida, it’s Trump 485, Rubio 439, Cruz 278, Kasich 148
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A new WBUR poll in Massachusetts finds Hillary Clinton leading Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential race, 49% to 45%.
On the Republican side, Donald Trump holds a commanding lead with 40%, followed by Marco Rubio at 19%, John Kasich at 19%, Ted Cruz at 10% and Ben Carson at 5%.
“I am not a natural politician like Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, and so for me it really came through the route of service.”
— Hillary Clinton, in an interview on Morning Joe.
New York Times: “Even by the standards of 2016, this was a nasty debate. Mr. Trump has set the standard for personal vitriol in the campaign, and he lived up to it in Houston, mocking Mr. Rubio as a clumsy ‘choke artist’ and once again calling Mr. Cruz a liar to his face.”
“But for once, Mr. Trump’s opponents reciprocated — especially Mr. Rubio. The Florida senator caricatured Mr. Trump as a dunce on policy who repeats five canned lines over and over, and said that Mr. Trump would have amounted to little without inheriting a fortune from his father.”
“Should the race ever narrow to just Mr. Trump and either Mr. Rubio or Mr. Cruz, it could showcase a level of raw political violence unlike any recent presidential primary campaign.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) mocked all of his former rivals in the Republican presidential race, joking that his “party has gone batshit crazy,” NBC News reports.
His harshest attacks were on Ted Cruz: “If you kill Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody could convict you.”
Politico: “Something odd happened right after CNN’s Republican presidential debate on Thursday: Donald Trump got an almost immediate post-game interview on CNN with Chris Cuomo, and then a second lengthy interview about 30 minutes later with a CNN panel.”
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Florida shows Donald Trump way ahead of the GOP field with 45%, followed by Marco Rubio at 25%, Ted Cruz at 10%, John Kasich at 8% and Ben Carson at 5%.
In a two-man race with Rubio, Trump still leads by double digits at 52% to 38%.
A new Monmouth poll in Virginia shows Donald Trump leading the GOP primary field with 41%, followed by Marco Rubio at 27%, Ted Cruz at 14%, John Kasich at 7% and Ben Carson at 7%.
Sen. Marco Rubio finally went after Donald Trump hard in a debate. He attacked relentlessly and landed some solid punches — particularly by exposing the fact that Trump really doesn’t have a plan to replace Obamacare. (Of course, Rubio doesn’t have a health care plan either.) Rubio also slammed Trump for comparing Middle East peace to a real estate deal. Rubio had Trump against the ropes for most of the night and clearly got under his skin.
As soon as Ted Cruz smelled blood, he also turned his attacks on Trump. He was especially effective raising questions about the audit of Trump’s tax returns and the fraud charges surrounding Trump University. If Trump wins the GOP nomination, expect Democrats to use both issues quite effectively against him in the general election.
The interesting thing about Rubio and Cruz attacking Trump is that it wasn’t as much about convincing Trump voters to switch allegiance as it was about being seen the Trump alternative. Rubio clearly won that argument. He was much more effective than Cruz.
But for someone who was attacked literally from both sides for more than two hours, Trump actually did fairly well. After months of practice, Trump is much better at these debates. I’m not sure he would have held up to these attacks a few months ago. But neither Rubio or Cruz came close to landing a knockout punch. They drew blood, but Trump was still standing.
Trump is not good when talking about actual issues but he’s great when talking about winning. He repeatedly referred to his huge lead in the polls and his big victories in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. It’s effective for two reasons: 1. It suggests the attacks by Rubio and Cruz are from desperate candidates and 2. the media loves to cover the horserace.
John Kasich was a non-factor in the debate. But after Rubio established himself as the leading Trump-alternative, expect the calls for him to leave the race to get louder. The longer he stays in the race, the more he helps Trump. He’s now playing the role of spoiler.
Ben Carson talked about fruit salad.
The runaway winner of this debate was the Democratic party. If there are many more nights like this one, the Democratic nominee will have a much easier time in November. It was a truly pathetic mess.
A Bloomberg poll of Super Tuesday states in the South find that Donald Trump continues to hold a substantial lead with 37% support, followed by Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz tied at 20%.
In hypothetical head-to-head GOP primary match-ups, Trump beats Rubio 48% to 44% and Cruz 49% to 40%.
“He’s just generally a loser as a person and a candidate. You can’t nominate a nut job and lose and expect it doesn’t have consequences.”
— Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), quoted by the AP, predicting that Donald Trump will win the Republican nomination but lose the general election.