April, 2016

Sanders Shifts Focus to Party Platform

“Quietly acknowledging that a direct path to the Democratic nomination is all but blocked, Bernie Sanders and his advisers are zeroing in on making policy changes to the party platform and reforming the presidential nominating process,” Politico reports.

“The Vermont senator and his closest aides have been considering convention end-game scenarios for months, and they have already been in contact with the Democratic National Convention’s organizers to talk through the logistics of July’s party gathering in Philadelphia.”

The Hill: How Sanders is actually winning

Trump Mocks Cruz Pick of a Running Mate

Donald Trump kept uncharacteristically quiet about Carly Fiorina in his first campaign stop since Ted Cruz announced the former Hewlett Packard CEO as his running mate, Politico reports.

Said Trump: “First of all you have to look. Cruz can’t win. What’s he doing picking vice presidents? He is the first presidential candidate in the history of this country who’s mathematically eliminated from being president who chose a vice presidential candidate.”

Wealthy, Educated Voters Fueled Trump Sweep

“Wealthy, well-educated voters helped carry Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump to victory in this week’s East Coast primaries, a demographic the famously blunt-spoken billionaire had struggled to attract in the past,” Reuters reports.

“His sweep of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island on Tuesday included wins in some of the richest and best-educated counties in the country – like Fairfield County, Connecticut, and Newport County, Rhode Island – and added to victories in his more traditional strongholds of white working-class neighborhoods.”

Will Ferrell as Ronald Reagan

Sources tell Variety that Will Ferrell is going to star as President Ronald Reagan in a new comedy.

“Penned by Mike Rosolio, the story begins at the start of the ex-president’s second term when he falls into dementia and an ambitious intern is tasked with convincing the commander in chief that he is an actor playing the president in a movie.”

Graham Blasts Trump’s Foreign Policy Speech

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tore into Donald Trump’s speech on foreign policy, calling it “unnerving,” “pathetic” and “scary,” Politico reports.

Said Graham: “If you had any doubt that Donald Trump is not fit to be commander in chief, this speech should’ve removed it. It took every problem and fear I have with Donald Trump and put in on steroids.”

Why Cruz Picked Fiorina as His Running Mate

The Lid: “On the plus side, Cruz was at least partially able to shake up a bad news cycle by teasing and then confirming the announcement. The pick of a woman who’s never held elected office and has a good record of fiery debates gives him a high-value surrogate who is eager to fight a two-front war against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And Fiorina is the kind of candidate who’s gotten under Trump’s skin before and could conceivably provoke a damaging reaction from the GOP frontrunner.”

“But plenty of critics are deriding the move as desperate, presumptuous and calculating – themes that Donald Trump is sure to repeat for the rest of the week. And being perceived as desperate is a tough place for Cruz to be with a must-win contest in Indiana just days away.”

Politico: “It was a bid for a game changing moment — and a not-so-tacit acknowledgment that, unless something significant in the current nominating game changed, Cruz was headed for defeat.”

Trump Pledges Big Military Build Up

Donald Trump promised a foreign policy that he said would put “America first,” while “castigating President Obama and Hillary Clinton for what he described as Middle East missteps that had disillusioned the nation’s allies and emboldened its rivals,” the New York Times reports.

Trump “pledged a major buildup of the military, the swift destruction of the Islamic State and the rejection of trade deals and other agreements that he said tied the nation’s hands. He also pointedly rejected the nation-building of the George W. Bush administration, and reminded his audience that he had opposed the Iraq war.”

Sanders Will Lay Off Hundreds

Sen. Bernie Sanders is planning to lay off “hundreds” of campaign staffers across the country and focus much of his remaining effort on winning California, the New York Times reports.

“The Vermont senator revealed the changes a day after losing four of the five states that voted Tuesday and falling further behind Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Despite the changes, Mr. Sanders said he would remain in the race through the party’s summer convention and stressed that he hoped to bring staff members back on board if his political fortunes improved.”

Cruz Picks Fiorina as Running Mate

Sen. Ted Cruz, “desperate to alter the course of a presidential primary fight in which Donald Trump is closing in on victory, will announce that Carly Fiorina will be his running mate if he wins the Republican nomination,” the New York Times reports.

“The move, a day after Mr. Trump scored unexpectedly wide victory margins in sweeping five East Coast states, amounts to the grandest diversionary ploy a presidential candidate can stage — or at least the grandest one available to a candidate trailing by more than 400 delegates who failed to win more than 25 percent of the vote in any state on Tuesday.”

How Democrats Can Retake the House

Nathan Gonzales: “As Democratic chances of taking back the House improve with the success of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, party strategists are trying to figure out exactly how and where it’s going to happen. It’s not too difficult to see Democrats gaining 10, or even 20, seats in November, but gaining the 30 required for a majority is more difficult and will require Democrats winning a large swath of seats where Republicans are currently heavy favorites.”

“In order to win the majority, Democrats likely need to win a clear majority of a batch of 16 seats, which includes pricey plays, scenario seats, late bloomers, and slippery targets.”

Hastert Sentenced to 15 Months In Prison

A federal judge sentenced former House Speaker Dennis Hastert to 15 months in prison for evading banking rules in what prosecutors said was a bid to hide sexual misconduct allegations from decades ago, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin: “The defendant was a serial child molester.”

“The sentence of 15 months, plus two years of supervised released, was beyond the up to six months in prison that was suggested in the plea agreement he reached with federal prosecutors last year.”

The Reagan Era Has Ended

William Galston: “The minute-to-minute coverage of the 2016 presidential primaries threatens to obscure the larger story: While Sen. Bernie Sanders is pressing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to move further and faster down the progressive road, Donald Trump is waging and winning the third major revolution in the Republican Party since World War II.”

“Mr. Trump’s candidacy has showed that the cadre of genuine social conservatives is smaller than long assumed, that grass-roots Republican support for large military commitments in the Middle East has withered, and that the business community is politically homeless.”

“So it has come to this: A mercantilist isolationist is the odds-on favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination.”

Demography Is Destiny

The Atlantic: “On both sides, the leading candidates have established clear patterns of support—and have faced largely intractable pockets of resistance. For the most part, demography has trumped geography, with the big exception that in the Democratic race challenger Bernie Sanders has run much better against front-runner Hillary Clinton among several groups of voters outside of the South than in Dixie, including whites, the middle-aged, and those who describe themselves as very liberal.”