Republicans

RNC Will Spend $250 Million on Midterm Strategy

The RNC “has committed $250 million to a midterm election strategy that has one goal above all else: Preserve the party’s House majority for the rest of President Trump’s first term,” the AP reports.

“Facing the prospect of a blue wave this fall, the White House’s political arm is devoting unprecedented resources to building an army of paid staff and trained volunteers across more than two dozen states. The RNC is taking the fight to Senate Democrats in Republican-leaning states, but much of the national GOP’s resources are focused on protecting Republican-held House seats in states including Florida, California and New York.”

Cohen Negotiated Settlement for GOP Fundraiser

President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen “negotiated a deal in late 2017 to pay $1.6 million to a former Playboy model who said she was impregnated by” top Republican fundraiser Elliot Broidy, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The deal, which hasn’t previously been reported, prohibits the Los Angeles woman from disclosing her alleged relationship with Mr. Broidy in exchange for $1.6 million to be paid to her over two years in quarterly installments, these people said. The first payment was due Dec. 1.”

Interesting: “The Broidy agreement uses the same pseudonyms for Mr. Broidy and the woman with whom he was allegedly involved—David Dennison and Peggy Peterson—as the earlier agreement used for Mr. Trump and Ms. Clifford, respectively… Both agreements had separate side letters that listed the real names of the parties.”

Paul Ryan’s Party Is Over

James Hohmann: “In an alternative universe, Paul Ryan is vice president. It’s his sixth year in the White House, and he is the presumptive Republican nominee to succeed Mitt Romney in 2020.”

“In another intriguing counterfactual, Eric Cantor is speaker of the House and Ryan is chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.”

“Romney’s struggles to secure the GOP nomination in 2012 over a historically weak field of has-beens and Cantor’s unexpected downfall in a 2014 primary both offered early warning signs of the potent forces that would propel Donald Trump to the presidency.”

“Ryan, who not long ago was considered both the GOP’s ideological standard-bearer and its future, has become a stranger of sorts in his own party.”

David Hopkins: “It’s impossible to understand Ryan’s speakership without understanding the bizarre circumstances under which he came to power. “

It’s All Trump’s Party Now

Washington Post: “Ryan’s decision to abruptly throw in the towel, just six months before the midterms, is likely to only further Trump’s control of the party. Republicans strategists worry that it will also make it harder for the GOP to hold onto the House, a prospect that seems less likely after a recent Democratic victory in a special election outside of Pittsburgh.”

“Not only are donors making clear they are more skeptical of the effort to retain the House, but the sudden departure of Ryan suggests the Republican ideological tent will continue to shrink.”

Ryan Upends GOP Hopes for the Midterm Elections

New York Times: “For House Republicans, and for a White House bracing for a potential Democratic impeachment inquiry, the more immediate and ominous impact of Mr. Ryan’s retirement was unmistakable: He has made it more difficult for his party to keep control of the House, where Republicans currently hold a 23-seat majority. With one decision, Mr. Ryan has turned an already difficult midterm election into a precarious task for his remaining colleagues.”

Said former Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA): “This is the nightmare scenario. Everybody figured he’d just hang in there till after the election.”

“Mr. Ryan’s exit is a destabilizing blow to Republicans’ 2018 plans on nearly every front.”

The Trumpification of the GOP Is Complete

Josh Kraushaar: “With 11 states holding primaries next month, a clear pattern is emerging from the messages of GOP candidates across the country: They’re all aboard the Trump train. In Indiana, all three of the candidates vying to challenge Sen. Joe Donnelly are testing messages that mimic themes from Trump’s successful presidential campaign. In West Virginia, one of the GOP Senate candidates launched an ad showing a boulder crashing on the Capitol, with a distinctly Trumpian message of ‘blowing up’ Washington. Down-ballot GOP candidates running in competitive primaries, even those in suburban districts, privately concede there’s no benefit to creating any space between their campaigns and the White House.”

“If the acquiescence of Republicans running in red states isn’t convincing enough, just look at the actions of some of the biggest Trump critics of yesteryear. Arizona Senate candidate Martha McSally, who didn’t endorse Trump in her 2016 House race, is now a reliable cheerleader for the president. Sen. Ted Cruz, who became Trump’s top GOP enemy during the convention, made amends with the president and has embraced a general-election campaign centered on cultural issues—even in a diversifying state where Democrats have gained some ground.”

Koch Network Grows Impatient with Republicans

James Hohmann: “Leaders of the conservative Koch political network are mad about President Trump’s tariffs, the failure to protect ‘dreamers’ and runaway government spending. They’re frustrated congressional leaders do not feel a greater sense of urgency to pass more ambitious legislation during what could be the final six months of unified Republican control for a long time. And they’re worried that squabbling might derail their efforts to roll back financial regulations, expand access to experimental medicines and overhaul the criminal justice system.”

“For now, the network led by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch still plans to spend between $300 million to $400 million on politics and policy during the 2018 cycle. But they’re growing impatient, rethinking their approach and signaling a willingness to work more closely with Democrats on areas of common ground.”

Mueller Investigating Russian Contacts at GOP Convention

“Investigators probing whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia have been questioning witnesses about events at the 2016 Republican National Convention,” Reuters reports.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team “has been asking about a convention-related event attended by both Russia’s U.S. ambassador and Jeff Sessions, the first U.S. senator to support Trump and now his attorney general… Another issue Mueller’s team has been asking about is how and why Republican Party platform language hostile to Russia was deleted from a section of the document related to Ukraine.”

Loyalty to Trump Becomes the Issue in GOP Primaries

James Hohmann: “Fealty to Trump has become more of a litmus test than ever for Republicans. Emboldened by private polling and focus groups that show the president is incredibly popular with the base, GOP candidates are stepping up attacks on their rivals over any daylight they’ve shown with Trump, even if it stemmed from his personal conduct toward women or apostasy on traditional conservative orthodoxy. It’s another illustration of the degree to which Trumpism has come to define the Republican Party. This is no longer the party of Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush. It’s the party of Donald J. Trump.”