March, 2016

Perry Didn’t Vote In Texas Primary

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) may have stumped for Ted Cruz for president, “but there’s no record he voted in this year’s Republican primary in Texas,” the Texas Tribune reports.

“Perry’s failure to vote in this year’s Texas primary could lead to more speculation that he is interested in running as an independent candidate for president.”

“There are two key requirements in Texas for someone to run as an independent candidate for president. First, a candidate would have had to abstain from voting in one of the state’s primaries because doing so would declare themselves as either a Democrat or Republican. Second, a candidate would need to gather 79,939 signatures by May 9 from Texans who had also not voted in either of the primaries that year.”

Bentley Ordered Law Enforcement to Target Critics

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) “pressured law enforcement officers to use federal and state resources to target those critical of his relationship with senior advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason,” according to the Alabama Political Reporter.

Meanwhile, Yellowhammer News reports Bentley and Mason “share a secret safe deposit box at a Montgomery bank.”

Wisconsin Is the Showdown We’ve Been Waiting For

Rick Klein: “Donald Trump said Tuesday night that a reporter’s pen might have been a ‘little bomb.’ That has nothing on what came out of Trump’s mouth in the CNN forum, where he renounced the famous pledge to support the GOP nominee, and proceeded to make conservative jaw drops with his answers to policy questions. Trump named education and healthcare as two of the top three functions of the federal government, and seemed to endorse the idea of Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia getting nuclear weapons. That doesn’t even get into the Corey Lewandowski incident, where Trump is now threatening legal action against reporter Michelle Fields, despite the criminal charges filed against his campaign manager.”

“It’s now more clear than ever that if Trump wins the Republican nomination, he won’t do it as a conservative in any traditional sense of the word, or as a candidate who fits any norm in American politics. Maybe that’s the secret to his success. But if Trump wins Wisconsin next week despite all of this – or even because of it – will a plausible path to blocking Trump continue to exist? This could be the showdown all sides have been waiting for.”

Kasich Helps Trump by Staying In Race

A new Public Policy Polling survey shows Donald Trump leading the GOP field nationally with 42%, followed by Ted Cruz at 32% and John Kasich at 22%.

Key finding: “Kasich’s continued presence in the race really is providing a boost to Trump: In a head to head match up he would lead Cruz only 46% to 44%, as Kasich voters would move to Cruz over Trump by a 51% to 23% spread”

Judge Says Clinton Email Setup Was In ‘Bad Faith’

“A second federal judge has taken the rare step of allowing a group suing for records from Hillary Clinton’s time as U.S. secretary of state to seek sworn testimony from officials, saying there was ‘evidence of government wrong-doing and bad faith,'” Reuters reports.

“The language in Judge Royce Lamberth’s order undercut the Democratic presidential contender’s assertion she was allowed to set up a private email server in her home for her work as the country’s top diplomat and that the arrangement was not particularly unusual.”

 

Trump Tries to Turn Staffer Arrest Into Strength

First Read: “Once again, it was a roller-coaster of a 24-hour news cycle with yesterday’s arrest of Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Here’s one piece of this story that really struck us, though: Not only has Trump stood by – and vehemently defended – an aide now charged with battery, but Trump has essentially tried to turn it into an illustration of why he’d be a good leader.”

Said Trump: “I don’t discard people. I stay with people, that’s why I stay with this country. That’s why I stay with a lot of people that are treated unfairly. And that’s one of the reasons I’m the frontrunner by a lot.”

“Setting aside the fact that he has in fact ended his relationship with two aides in this campaign already – Roger Stone and Sam Nunberg – AND setting aside the fact that much of his fame is derived from a show featuring the catchphrase ‘You’re Fired’ – it’s really a remarkable way to approach an incident that in any other campaign would be an unquestionable liability.”

How the GOP Might Stop Trump at the Convention

Jonah Goldberg: “If Trump misses the mark by, say, 150 delegates, that would be significantly more than the delegate totals of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina combined. It’s one thing to deny the trophy to the guy who finished a few yards shy of the finish line. It’s another if he misses it by a mile. The bigger the shortfall, the easier it is to persuade delegates that they are not defying the popular will by denying Trump, particularly given the widespread conviction that Trump would be crushed in a general election (with the GOP being torn apart in the process).”

“Cruz would be the most likely victor in a floor fight, but that isn’t assured. The longer the balloting goes, the more likely it is that the bitter and bleary-eyed delegates will opt to order off-menu. That’s what Kasich is allegedly counting on. But Kasich is widely disliked, and it might be a good deal easier to find a unifying candidacy in, say, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Nikki Haley, or Mike Pence.”

White House Maps Strategy for Garland Nomination

“With small cracks emerging in the Republican Supreme Court blockade — and private indications from some GOP senators that they’d likely back Merrick Garland if he ever did come up for a vote — the White House is preparing to press its perceived political advantage when senators return from their recess next week,” Politico reports.

“The next month will be all about meetings: The Supreme Court nominee will have met with 10 senators as of Wednesday, and the White House is looking to load his schedule full with the 52 additional senators (including 16 Republicans) who’ve said publicly they’ll see the judge once they’re back from the two-week break.”

“That will bring them to the next, one-week recess in May. Once senators get back from that time in their home states, the White House will shift its focus to calling for hearings: Garland has met with everybody who’s been willing to see him, they’ll argue, including a majority of the Senate.”

Rubio Trying to Keep His Delegates

“Despite suspending his campaign, Sen. Marco Rubio is attempting to keep every delegate he won while running for president,” NBC News reports.

“The unusual move reflects preparations for a contested convention this summer — and comes as Donald Trump backed away from an earlier pledge to support the Republican party’s nominee if he is treated unfairly after winning more delegates than his rivals.”

First Read: “Rubio won a total of 172 delegates during his presidential run, a pool of support that would make up about half of the unbound delegates up for grabs between the end of the primaries and the convention in Cleveland. If Trump falls short of 1,237, he’d need to go fishing in that pool to try to make up the difference. A successful effort by Rubio to keep his delegates could reduce the overall pool of 323 unbound delegates down to as few as 151, making it harder for Trump to get to the finish line if he doesn’t have a majority by the end of the second week of June. And that makes a second ballot vote at the convention much more likely.”

Trump Runs Against Walker In Wisconsin

Donald Trump arrived in Wisconsin and made it abundantly clear that he’s running against Scott Walker in this state’s looming presidential primary, saying Wisconsin “is doing very poorly,” is “losing jobs all over the place” and is mired in “vitriol” over the governor, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

“Trump is trying to win the Wisconsin primary while repudiating his party’s most influential figures here. He bragged Tuesday about crushing Walker’s presidential bid. He accused him of sowing discord and starving the schools because he refused to raise taxes.”

Wall Street Journal: GOP establishment unites against Trump in Wisconsin

Rules Panelists Open to Change at Convention

“All four early appointees of the rules committee for this year’s Republican convention told Politico they’re prepared to weaken or scrap a rule that could limit the convention’s alternatives to Donald Trump.”

“The four took issue with a rule, originally imposed by Mitt Romney forces in 2012 to keep rival Ron Paul off the convention stage, requiring a candidate to win a majority of delegates in eight states to be eligible for the party’s nomination — a threshold only Trump has exceeded so far. If preserved, the rule could block John Kasich or Ted Cruz from competing with Trump at the convention, set for July in Cleveland.”