April, 2016

Morning In America Again

John Sides: “The longest-running measure of American attitudes about the economy is the Index of Consumer Sentiment. Before I had looked at these data, I was sure I’d find that sentiment was only a bit more positive than it was when Obama took office. But in fact, the upward trend — with the exception of the drop during the 2011 debt ceiling crisis — is striking. This upward trend is also reflected in data from Pew and Gallup.”

“As of the first quarter of 2016, even with a slight downturn in the second and third quarters of 2015, consumer sentiment was as positive as it had been since the mid-2000s. It was also as positive as it had been in the mid-1980s during the recovery from the recession of 1981-1982. For example, the value of consumer sentiment at the end of 1983, as Ronald Reagan’s reelection campaign was gearing up, was 91.6. In the first three months of 2015, it was almost exactly the same: 91.5.”

“In other words, consumer sentiment is as positive as it was at the beginning of the election year when Reagan argued that it was ‘Morning in America.'”

Quote of the Day

“I have a lot of experience dealing with men who sometimes get off the reservation in the way they behave and how they speak… I’m not going to deal with their temper tantrums or their bullying or their efforts to try to provoke me…He can say whatever he wants to say about me, I could really care less.”

— Hillary Clinton, quoted by CNN, on how she’ll deal with Donald Trump’s insults.

Trump Says He Can Win Without GOP Unity

Donald Trump “mocked his conservative critics and his current and former rivals as dumb, ‘disgusting’ and losers,” the New York Times reports.

“He claimed at least twice that he could win even if the party did not come together. And with some conservatives still uneasy about his beliefs, he breezily dismissed questions about his principles.”

Said Trump: “Folks, I’m a conservative, but at this point, who cares? We got to straighten out the country.”

Clinton Says Trump Won’t Win Over Sanders Supporters

“Hillary Clinton flatly dismissed Donald Trump’s suggestion that he can win over supporters of rival Bernie Sanders in the fall election, arguing that the Republican’s views on a range of issues would repel them,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said Clinton: “I don’t think that’s very appealing… I’m going to be very aggressive in…reaching out to Sen. Sanders’s supporters, but we have so much more in common. And we have far more in common than they do with Donald Trump or any Republican.”

Republicans In Competitive Races Have Shunned Trump

Nate Silver: “Indiana Gov. Mike Pence endorsed Ted Cruz on Friday, which may not be enough to help Cruz win Indiana, where he currently trails Donald Trump in polls, let alone the Republican nomination. Nevertheless, the endorsement is part of a pattern: With the exception of a single congressman from Western New York, no Republican who faces a competitive gubernatorial, Senate or House election this November has endorsed Trump.”

“There are 11 Republican senators and 34 Republican members of the House who face competitive races, according to Cook. The only one to have endorsed Trump is Tom Reed, the incumbent from New York’s 23rd Congressional District, a Republican-leaning swing district that covers much of the rural, western part of the state.”

The Case for a Clinton-Warren Ticket

Eugene Robinson: “As Clinton’s running mate, Warren could erase this potential weakness with the Democratic base. She has spent her Senate career becoming known as the scourge of Wall Street. No political figure is more closely identified with efforts to curb the excesses of the financial system.”

“Warren would also help address another potential vulnerability. If the general-election matchup is Trump vs. Clinton — and that seems increasingly likely — it is becoming clear that on the question of U.S. military involvement around the world, Trump will position himself to the left of Clinton.”

“Clinton is a foreign policy traditionalist. As secretary of state, she was more hawkish than President Obama — she pushed for more vigorous intervention in Syria, for example. She has long since apologized for her vote to authorize the Iraq War, but Sanders continues to attack her for it. Trump would surely do the same. Warren wasn’t in Congress when the Iraq War began, and national security isn’t the issue with which she is identified. But her views fit squarely with those of the party’s progressive wing.”

Have We Seen This Race Before?

First Read: “Two unpopular candidates. A larger-than-life businessman. A well-known (and controversial) politician. A Republican Party with sky-high negative ratings. Questions about the current White House’s competence. And all in an increasingly diverse and urban place. Are we talking about the emerging Donald Trump-vs.-Hillary general election?”

“Sure, but we’re referring more to the 2013 gubernatorial election in Virginia between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli, which appears to be a template for this year’s presidential election. McAuliffe won that race three years ago, 48%-45%, with a third-party Libertarian candidate getting 6.5% of the vote. And it’s worth noting how the presidential results in battleground Virginia have mirrored the national results.”

  • 2008: Virginia (Obama 52.6%, McCain 46.3%), Nationwide (52.9%, 45.6%)
  • 2012: Virginia (Obama 51.2%, Romney 47.3%), Nationwide (Obama 51.0%, Romney 47.2%)

Democrats Prefer Senators as Running Mates

Joshua Spivak: “Since 1940, every Democratic vice presidential nominee except two very notable exceptions has been a sitting U.S. Senator. From Harry Truman to Joe Biden, 13 of the last 15 choices have been taken directly from the Senate. Those two exceptions both stand out — U.S. Rep. Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 – who was taken from the House — and Sargent Shriver in 1972. The selection of Shriver deserves a huge asterisk itself. Shriver was George McGovern’s second, desperate choice after Senator Thomas Eagleton was picked and then forced to decline the nomination due to revelations about his having received electro-shock therapy treatments. The 1972 and 1984 elections were also noteworthy for a separate reason – those elections represent the two largest Democratic defeats in history.”

“Even before 1940, Democrats followed a very predictable pattern of selection, staying with House, Senate or cabinet members in Washington for their picks. The party has not chosen a sitting governor as a VP candidate since the 103rd ballot fiasco of 1924 — Nebraska’s Charles Bryan was tapped that year.”

Will the GOP Race End Early?

Rick Klein: “After all the anticipation, might the Republican race end early? Those are the stakes in Indiana, and they’re being reinforced by the optics and realities being projected by the GOP establishment. At the very moment that anti-Donald Trump forces need the party to turn against Trump, it’s turning against Ted Cruz instead. John Boehner calls Cruz ‘Lucifer in the flesh,’ and former Sen. Judd Gregg calls him a ‘demagogue’s demagogue.’ Trump, meanwhile, has picked up three new House endorsements, and – for the first time – showed grassroots organizing muscle in sweeping the delegate slates in Pennsylvania. Sen. Bob Corker offered praise for his foreign-policy speech, and Ron Kaufman – a prominent veteran of the Mitt Romney and George H.W. Bush campaigns – is equating Trump to an eastern version of Ronald Reagan.”

“A Trump win in Indiana would put an exclamation point on his recent win streak that will be near-impossible to erase. Historians will debate whether Trump is more lucky than good, and having a final matchup against Cruz will argue for the lucky camp. But this looks like a Republican Party coming to terms with Trump, rather than gearing up for a final battle to block him.”

Is Mark Zuckerberg Planning a Political Career?

Buried deep in Facebook’s latest proxy statement is a curious note about Mark Zuckerberg’s future such as possibly serving in a “government position or office,” Forbes reports.

“The 31-year-old Facebook cofounder and CEO is the sixth-richest person in the world and leader of an unstoppable social network/mobile ad empire. But does Zuckerberg aspire to more? A potential hint of that appeared yesterday, when Facebook proposed changes to its stock structure, creating a whole new class of non-voting shares that would allow Zuckerberg to donate and invest his fortune without losing control of his company.”

Pence Will Endorse Cruz

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will endorse Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz on Friday, ABC News reports.

Indianapolis Star: “Pence is probably most ideologically aligned with Cruz, who is facing a must-win situation in Indiana… Trump was leading Cruz in two Indiana polls last week, but Pence has publicly criticized Trump after he called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States and after he suggested women should be punished for seeking illegal abortions.”