March, 2016

Clinton Super PAC Prepares Early Attack on Trump

“Hillary Clinton’s biggest super PAC has already reserved $70 million in TV ads after this summer’s conventions in battleground states, but the group is preparing for an even earlier assault on Donald Trump — possibly while he is still busy battling his fellow Republicans to secure his party’s nomination,” Politico reports.

“As of the end of February, Priorities had nearly $45 million cash-on-hand and touted another $49 million in commitments from donors. That is far more than the total summoned by all the anti-Trump Republicans in the last eight months, and more than the total the Democratic super PAC spent against Mitt Romney four years ago.”

Cruz Challenges Trump to Another Debate

Sen. Ted Cruz urged Donald Trump “to join him at a debate in Wisconsin on Tuesday, rather than appear in consecutive town halls on cable television,” the Washington Examiner reports.

Said Cruz: “Tomorrow CNN has a town hall scheduled. It actually right now has two town halls back-to-back — Donald Trump and me each of us have an hour. The exact same location. The TV cameras are there. The moderators are there. And so I invite Donald, rather than two separate town halls let’s combine and do a two-hour one-on-one debate.”

Cruz continued to say that Trump would likely turn him down “because he’s scared of actually answering questions about substance.”

Cruz Won’t Work with Kasich to Deny Trump

“In a storyline that could be ripped from a House of Cards script, John Kasich’s campaign is looking to coordinate behind the scenes with Ted Cruz’s in a mutual effort to deny Donald Trump enough delegates to win the Republican presidential nomination. They even tried to get 2012 nominee Mitt Romney to help broker it,” CNN reports.

“The only problem for team Kasich is that Team Cruz is not interested.”

Trump Agrees Wives and Kids Are Off Limits

Donald Trump told a radio interviewer that he agreed that “presidential candidates shouldn’t attack each others’ wives or kids — but he suggested his opponent Ted Cruz is the one who really needs to commit to that standard,” CBS News reports.

Said Trump: “Well, that’s okay, but all you have to do is tell that to Cruz. Because he started it.”

Obama Partly Blames Media for ‘Crazy Politics’

President Obama “laid some of the blame for the tone of the presidential campaign on political journalism that has been pinched by shrinking newsroom budgets and cheapened by a focus on retweets and likes on social media,” Reuters reports.

“Obama urged journalists to ask tougher questions of the candidates vying to be president. He voiced dismay over the vulgar rhetoric, violence at rallies and unrealistic campaign pledges that have continually grabbed headlines, in a thinly veiled reference to Republican front-runner Donald Trump.”

Trump Could Upend Battle for Congress

“Donald Trump’s dominance in the Republican primary is upending the campaign for control of Congress, as Republican lawmakers seek to distance themselves from him while Democrats seize on the chance to run against a candidate who has offended huge sections of the American electorate,” the New York Times reports.

“Nominating Mr. Trump could create a political battlefield of extraordinary breadth and volatility. Polling shows that he would enter the general election trailing badly against Hillary Clinton, and he has become deeply unpopular outside of his white, heavily male political base.”

“Both parties are now racing to gauge the impact further down the ballot of a candidacy that could shatter traditional lines of combat in national politics.”

Trump Hires Veteran to Manage Delegate Fight

Donald Trump, “girding for a long battle over presidential delegates and a potential floor fight at the Cleveland convention, has enlisted the veteran Republican strategist Paul J. Manafort to lead his delegate-corralling efforts,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Manafort, 66, is among the few political hands in either party with direct experience managing nomination fights: As a young Republican operative, he helped manage the 1976 convention floor for Gerald Ford in his showdown with Ronald Reagan, the last time Republicans entered a convention with no candidate having clinched the nomination.”

The GOP’s Down-Ballot Dilemma

NBC News: “Republicans are growing increasingly concerned about the impact a Donald Trump presidential nomination could have on other GOPers whose names are on the ballot this November. Nearly every recent poll measuring a potential Trump v. Hillary Clinton general election matchup shows the real estate mogul with a double-digit deficit. And a potential blowout loss could have a major impact on down-ballot races. Case in point: Just eight of the 21 GOP senators up for re-election in 2016 have said they would unquestionably support Trump, according to an NBC News count.”

“Another data point to keep in mind shows just how much the confluence of statewide and national political factors have Republican biting their nails with a little more anxiety since last year. Back in November, the Cook Political Report ranked a total of five Senate races in the ‘Toss Up’ category, including four seats currently held by Republicans and just one held by Democrats. Now that’s up to six Republican-held seats, with no movement on the D side.”

Parties Flip on Foreign Affairs

Wall Street Journal: “The campaign has made it clear that weariness over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is still the most powerful force shaping Americans’ thinking on their role abroad. The influence of the neo-conservatives who pushed for the 2003 invasion of Iraq is fading; their last standard-carrier in this year’s campaign was Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who has disappeared.”

“The key question now is when the remaining candidates would be willing to use American power to intervene to shape global events. In a topsy-turvy campaign, it perhaps shouldn’t come as a surprise that the general-election candidate most willing to use American power to intervene in world hot spots may well turn out to be the Democrat, not the Republican, a turnabout of significant proportions.”

“None of the remaining Republican candidates—Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, Ohio Gov. John Kasich—has the kind of inclination to intervene abroad, particularly in the Middle East, that has marked their party’s recent history.”

Why McConnell Won’t Relent on Supreme Court Fight

Politico: “The activist right has been galvanized by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s quick and forceful insistence that the Senate will not take up a high court nominee for the rest of Barack Obama’s presidency, spending millions already to defend the GOP position with likely lots more to come. Tea party groups that have dissed McConnell for years as an establishment sellout are singing his praises.”

“It’s safe to say all of that would end the instant Republicans agreed to take up Merrick Garland’s nomination. And the fire would turn inward at the worst possible moment for Republicans, as the party is scrambling to save its narrow Senate majority in November.”

Secret Service Will Not Allow Guns at GOP Convention

“The Secret Service says people attending the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this July will not be allowed to carry guns,” The Hill reports.

“The statement comes in response to a petition that calls for allowing open carry of guns inside Quicken Loans Arena, the host venue. The petition has amassed more than 43,000 signatures as of Monday morning.”

Trump Never Thought He Would Get This Far

Former Trump strategist Stephanie Cegielski writes about why she left the campaign:

“I don’t think even Trump thought he would get this far. And I don’t even know that he wanted to, which is perhaps the scariest prospect of all. He certainly was never prepared or equipped to go all the way to the White House, but his ego has now taken over the driver’s seat, and nothing else matters.”

She adds: “Trump acts as if he’s a fictional character. But like Hercules, Donald Trump is a work of fiction.”

Georgia Governor Vetoes ‘Religious Liberty’ Bill

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) vetoed the “religious liberty” bill that triggered a wave of criticism from gay rights groups and business leaders and presented him with one of the most consequential challenges he’s faced since his election to Georgia’s top office, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

Said Deal: “Our people work side by side without regard to the color of our skin, or the religion we adhere to. We are working to make life better for our families and our communities. That is the character of Georgia. I intend to do my part to keep it that way.”