March, 2016

Bentley Says He Won’t Quit

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R), “who is confronting a deepening political morass after acknowledging last week that he had sexually charged conversations with a top aide,” said he has “no intentions of resigning,” the New York Times reports.

“By day’s end, it was uncertain whether it would be politically feasible for Mr. Bentley, 73, to remain in office in this state, which has a gaudy history of scandal but has been in something of a morals-driven meltdown since the governor’s admission last Wednesday.”

Birmingham News: “But here’s the rub: the likely timeline for investigation, trial and conviction is longer than the remainder of the governor’s term.”

Anti-Trump Forces See Hope In Wisconsin

“The danger signs are mounting for Donald J. Trump in Wisconsin: Right-wing radio hosts are flaying him, Gov. Scott Walker and other elected Republicans have endorsed Senator Ted Cruz, and a new poll showed Mr. Cruz with a 10 percentage-point lead in the state before Tuesday’s primary,” the New York Times reports.

“The Stop Trump movement may never have another opportunity like the one here, where resistance to Mr. Trump was running high even before his campaign became consumed by a new round of controversies, from his mocking of Mr. Cruz’s wife to the arrest of his campaign manager to his comments in favor of punishing women who get abortions.”

For members: Is Wisconsin Slipping Away from Trump?

Clinton Would Crush Trump In Electoral College

Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball takes advantage of the lull in the primary season to put together an electoral map forecast for a general election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

2016_03_31_pres_600

“Our new map is one that will evolve, maybe substantially, after the conventions. Remember that independent and/or third-party candidates could change the calculus. Nonetheless, here is our extra-early, ridiculously premature projection of the Electoral College map in a possible Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump matchup. Yielding completely to boldness, or recklessness, we eliminated Toss-ups, and leaned all states to one or the other nominee. Each state’s electoral history, developing demographics, and current polling data guided our choices.”

Trump Would Be Least Popular Nominee Ever

“If Donald Trump secures the Republican presidential nomination, he would start the general election campaign as the least-popular candidate to represent either party in modern times,” the Washington Post reports.

“Three-quarters of women view him unfavorably. So do nearly two-thirds of independents, 80 percent of young adults, 85 percent of Hispanics and nearly half of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.”

“Those findings, tallied from Washington Post-ABC News polling, fuel Trump’s overall 67 percent unfavorable rating — making Trump more disliked than any major-party nominee in the 32 years the survey has been tracking candidates.”

GOP Nears Breaking Point

“The presidential primary has been a wrenching experience for the GOP so far — and it’s about to get even worse,” The Hill reports.

“Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich have all backed away from their pledge to support the party’s eventual nominee, foreshadowing a fight at the convention and beyond that could cleave the GOP into warring factions… Instead of helping to unify the GOP behind a candidate, as the primary process typically does, the race has instead created deep wounds between the candidates that are unlikely to heal.”

Dan Balz: Republican candidates shatter the party’s illusion of unity

Trump Faces Backlash Over Comments

Politico: “Donald Trump yanked the Republican Party toward a contested convention over the past 24 hours as he let rip an extraordinary series of statements on abortion, the Geneva Conventions, violence against women and his own commitment to supporting the GOP presidential nominee that seemed to obliterate the notion that the party will unite behind him anytime soon.”

“The fallout for Trump has been swift, as Republican rivals denounced the real estate mogul’s escalating attacks on a reporter who accused Trump’s campaign manager of battery and his suggestion that women should be punished for seeking abortions if the procedure is outlawed — a statement Trump quickly tried to walk back.”

Aide to Bentley Resigns Amid Scandal

“A top political aide to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) resigned Wednesday, a week after he publicly admitted making inappropriate remarks to her but denied the two ever had an affair,” the AP reports.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Ed Henry (R) told WHNT that he will seek the impeachment of the governor based on “incompetence and moral turpitude.”

Trump Says Abortion Ban Should Include Punishment

Donald Trump said there would “have to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions if the procedure were outlawed, NBC News reports.

He didn’t offer specifics, noting that the punishment would “have to be determined.”

When asked if a man should bear responsibility for abortions as well, Trump said “no” he didn’t think so.

Quote of the Day

Sponsors Nervous About GOP Convention

New York Times: “Some of the country’s best-known corporations are nervously grappling with what role they should play at the Republican National Convention, given the likely nomination of Donald J. Trump, whose divisive candidacy has alienated many women, African-Americans and Hispanics.”

“An array of activist groups is organizing a campaign to pressure the companies to refuse to sponsor the gathering, which many of the corporations have done for both the Republican and Democratic parties for decades. The pressure is emerging as some businesses and trade groups are already privately debating whether to scale back their participation.”

Will Paul Ryan Steal the GOP Nomination?

Vanity Fair: “Because Ryan is so beloved by many inside the Beltway, some are suggesting that he parachute into a contested Republican convention—one in which Donald Trump fails to win the 1,237 delegates required on the first vote—and become the party’s nominee.”

There are signs that Ryan is open to being drafted. He didn’t mind the idea of being vice president back in 2012, so maybe he wouldn’t mind the idea of being president today. He has shaved his beard, quieting suspicions of a secret fealty to Islam. He represents the opposite of Trump on many policy fronts, like trade, immigration, and foreign policy. Yes, he has denied interest in the nomination. ‘While I am grateful for the encouragement I’ve received, I will not be a candidate,’ he has averred. But…oh, sorry, that quote is from last October. It’s what Ryan said about becoming Speaker of the House about three weeks before becoming Speaker of the House.

How Trump Hacked the Media

Nate Silver: “An underappreciated problem is that Trump’s candidacy is relatively lacking in precedent, which means we’re all trying to figure this out as we go along. Traditional journalists have had trouble covering Trump, but so have empirically-minded ones like us here at FiveThirtyEight. We laid long odds against Trump getting this far, in large part because no similar presidential candidate has done so since primary and caucus voting became widespread in 1972.”

“Put another way, Trump has hacked the system and exposed the weaknesses in American political institutions. He’s uncovered profound flaws in the Republican Party. He’s demonstrated that third-rail issues like racism and nationalism can still be a potent political force. He’s exploited the media’s goodwill and taken advantage of the lack of trust the American public has in journalism. Trump may go away — he’s not yet assured of winning the GOP nomination, and he’ll be an underdog in November if he does — but the problems he’s exposed were years in the making, and they’ll take years to sort out.”