March, 2016

Trump Could Lose South Carolina Delegates

“Donald Trump’s announcement that he no longer stands by a pledge to support the GOP has thrown his hold on South Carolina’s 50 delegates in doubt,” Time reports.

“The Palmetto State was one of several that required candidates to pledge their loyalty to the party’s eventual nominee in order to secure a slot on the primary ballot. Though Trump won all of the state’s delegates in the Feb. 20 primary, anti-Trump forces are plotting to contest their binding to Trump because of his threat on the pledge Tuesday.”

Cruz Says Trump Can’t Run Third Party

Sen. Ted Cruz said that Donald Trump won’t be able to mount a third-party bid for president if he loses the Republican nomination, Politico reports.

Said Cruz: “He doesn’t have the option of running as a third-party candidate. Quite a few states across the country have what are called sore-loser laws, that once you run as a Republican and lose, you don’t get to then turn around and file on the ballot as an independent, so that will not be an option available to him.”

Why Trump May Not Do Well In Wisconsin

Harry Enten: “Republicans in Wisconsin have a lot to be happy about, while Trump has drawn much of his support from voters disaffected with the GOP. Republicans run state government and have enacted conservative legislation (which led to the unsuccessful attempt to recall Gov. Scott Walker). Walker and U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is from Wisconsin, both have favorable ratings above 75 percent among the state’s Republicans. Walker, whom Trump has gone after recently, has an 80 percent job approval rating among likely Republican primary voters.”

For members: Is Wisconsin Slipping Away from Trump?

Trump Meets with RNC Officials

“Donald Trump is meeting on Thursday with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus during his trip to Washington, just two days after he disavowed his pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee,” Politico reports.

“The real estate mogul has had a fraught relationship with the RNC, openly flirting at times with a third-party bid and often complaining about mistreatment from the Republican Party in general and the RNC in particular.”

Bentley Used ‘Burner’ Cell Phones

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) “personally bought multiple inexpensive, disposable cell phones last year at a Best Buy in Tuscaloosa,” the Birmingham News reports.

“The revelation that Bentley purchased disposable ‘burner’ phones comes as he attempts to politically recover from allegations by former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency head Spencer Collier that Bentley had a sexual relationship with former top political adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason.”

Paul Plans ‘Major Announcement’ Tomorrow

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is teasing a “major endorsement announcement” that he plans to give tomorrow, The Hill reports.

“Paul has maintained that he won’t endorse during the primary season after dropping out of the bitter GOP race on Feb. 3. A spokesman told The Hill on Wednesday that Paul still planned to wait until after the primary season to endorse, despite a narrowing Republican field.”

Another GOP Power Struggle Brewing

The Hill: “It’s the race to succeed Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who’s expected to step down in January 2017 after a record six years.”

“If Donald Trump or another Republican is elected president this fall, the chairman’s contest will probably be a moot point. It’s tradition for the president to handpick the chairman of his own party.”

“But if Democrats win four more years in the White House, it will trigger an all-out scramble in the race for RNC chairman — a role that involves raising loads of cash and communicating the party’s message. To win, a candidate needs support from a simple majority of the 168 GOP national committee members, who represent all 50 states, D.C. and some territories.”

Alabama Lawmaker Says Majority Favor Impeachment

Alabama House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D) told the Birmingham News that Rep. Ed Henry (R) was planning on bringing the articles of impeachment against Gov. Robert Bentley (R) as early as next week and that “over half” of the House is in favor of impeachment. A majority is needed to impeach the governor.

Ford said he didn’t know what charges would be leveled against Bentley in the impeachment articles, but said the move is necessary because “the governor’s lost the trust of the people of Alabama.”

Polls Shows Wisconsin May Be Close

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Wisconsin shows Ted Cruz just edging Donald Trump in the GOP presidential primary, 38% to 37%, with John Kasich at 17%.

Caveat: “There are indications within the numbers that Cruz could win a wider victory though. In a head to head match up with Trump he leads 49/41. That’s because Kasich voters prefer him over Trump by a 51/19 spread. Only 63% of Kasich voters say they’re definitely going to vote for him (Cruz and Trump are both over 80% on that metric), so if his supporters end up moving to one of the top two it could mean a wider Cruz victory.”

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 49% to 43%.

How Trump Makes Life More Difficult for All Republicans

First Read: “Throughout the campaign, instances of Trump changing or amending a statement – or at least enduring withering criticism from within his own party for something he said — have become routine. On nearly a weekly basis now, downballot Republicans are facing maddening political choices as they’re asked to comment on Trump’s constantly-changing policy positions and shocking pronouncements. And the constant whiplash makes for a compelling case for those inside the party who say it’s worth risking the backlash with Trump voters by doing whatever it takes to stop him.”

“By the fall, can Republicans running downballot really afford to respond almost daily to something Trump said? It’s been tough enough this spring, and it’s only going to get more complicated.”

James Hohmann: “Increasingly, Trump is endangering Republicans down ballot. Even if he’s not the nominee, he’s damaging the GOP brand. Don’t think him retracting the statement about punishing women who get abortions will prevent Democrats from running negative ads featuring the clip. Or, for that matter, pressing any Republican incumbent who appears with him on whether they agree.”

How Gary Hart Predicted Donald Trump

Matt Bai writes that “not long ago I wrote an entire book on the collision of entertainment and political journalism, called All the Truth Is Out, which seems to have accidentally anticipated the Trump phenomenon. I borrowed from the brilliant work of the social critic Neil Postman, whose 1985 book “Amusing Ourselves to Death” feels more relevant today than it probably did then.”

“But the guy who really predicted all of this was Gary Hart, the protagonist of All the Truth Is Out. And man, did he try to sound the alarm.”

Bai’s book is one of the best political books in years. Highly recommended.