Tuesday Reads: Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?Posted: February 23, 2016
Today the Republicans will caucus in Nevada, and Donald Trump will probably win. The Republican leadership is slowly moving through the stages of grief as they come to terms with the likelihood that the clowniest clown in the clown car will be at the top of their ticket in November.
Politico: GOP wakes up to Trump nightmare.
Establishment Republicans are reckoning with something they thought would never happen: That it might soon be too late to stop Donald Trump.
With the controversial businessman the clear front-runner heading into Nevada and next week’s Super Tuesday contests, there’s an emerging consensus that the odds of dislodging him are growing longer by the day. Whispered fears that Trump could become the Republican nominee have given way to a din of resigned conventional wisdom – with top party officials and strategists openly wondering what the path to defeating him will be….
Lately they are telling themselves that if only the weaker candidates would drop out maybe Rubio or Cruz could win.
The biggest hurdle confronting the mogul’s four rivals is that they continue to divide support among themselves. In each of the three contests that have been held so for, the anti-Trump field has fractured, making it impossible for any single contender to surpass him. A similar dynamic could play out again in Nevada, with Trump failing to win a majority of support but still earning more than his opponents.
While the field has winnowed somewhat in recent days, the compressed nature of this year’s Republican primary calendar means there is precious little time for the anti-Trump field to consolidate. Should Trump notch his third consecutive win on Tuesday, some foresee him steamrolling through Super Tuesday a week later, when a quarter of the party’s delegates are awarded. A batch of newly released polls show him with sizable leads in several of those states, including Massachusetts and Georgia.
“Either Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio would have a shot at the nomination, but I don’t see how they can stop Donald Trump while both of them are splitting votes,” said Al Cardenas, a former Florida Republican Party and American Conservative Union chairman who had supported Jeb Bush. “I don’t see either senator, both of whom have strong-willed backers, dropping out any time soon. Maybe after March 15, but will that be too late to stop Trump?”
It should be funny to see the GOP panicking, but I dread having to watch the repulsive spectacle that the presidential election would be if Trump were one of the candidates. The primary race has already been way beyond disgusting.
Washington Post: GOP candidates make intense 11th-hour arguments in Nevada.
Front-runner Donald Trump delivered a broadside against competitor Ted Cruz, telling thousands in Las Vegas he thinks the Texas senator “is sick.”
“There’s something wrong with this guy,” said Trump.
For his part, Cruz spent significant time Monday seeking to explain the ouster of his spokesman for tweeting a story that falsely accused White House hopeful Marco Rubio of insulting the Bible. And when the candidates weren’t directing their fire at each other, they used scattered appearances on the eve of Tuesday’s caucuses to assail Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
So raucous was this day that Trump stopped short at one point in his talk to bemoan the very delegate-selection he was in Nevada to tap.
“Forget the word caucus,” he told a crowd of some 5,000. “Just go out and vote, OK?” At another point, he said, “What the hell is caucus?”
This is the kind of idiocy that we have to look forward to this fall.
Ted Cruz tried to steal some of Trump’s thunder by promising to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants. The Dallas Morning News:
Ted Cruz said…that he would use federal immigration officers to round up and deport all 12 million people in the country illegally — a markedly tougher stance that he has struck in the past.
“Yes, we should deport them,” Cruz told Fox host Bill O’Reilly. “That’s what ICE exists for. We have law enforcement that looks for people who are violating the laws, that apprehends them and deports them.”
The toughening stance comes after a disappointing, if narrow, third place finish in South Carolina on Saturday, with immigration hardliner Donald Trump strengthening his grip on the race.
“There’s no change here,” Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said late Monday by email. “Cruz has been very clear: people who are here illegally should be deported. That is the law today. Period. They broke the law, they face the consequence. ICE exists for that purpose and they should continue to do their job. And on top of that any law enforcement that encounters those here illegally should follow the law and deport them.”
Marco Rubio is still the GOP “establishment’s” chosen candidate, but it’s difficult to see how he has much chance against Trump.
Here’s Paul Waldman at The Week: Donald Trump is about to do terrible things to Marco Rubio.
As bullies go, Donald Trump is unusually skilled.
When Trump decides to go after you, he considers carefully both your weak points and the audience for his attack. So when he decided to pummel Jeb Bush — apparently for his own amusement, as much as out of any real political concerns — he hit upon the idea that Bush was “low energy,” something Bush had a hard time countering without sounding like a whiny grade-schooler saying, “Am not!” More than anything else it was a dominance display, a way of showing voters he could push Jeb around and there was nothing Jeb could do about it. With a primary electorate primed by years of watching their candidates fetishize manliness and aggression, the attack touched a nerve.
And now with the Republican race effectively narrowed to three candidates, the one Trump hasn’t bothered to go after too often — Marco Rubio — must prepare for the mockery and rumor-mongering that will surely be coming his way from the frontrunner. Whether he can withstand it could go a long way toward determining how this race turns out.
Until now, Trump has been relatively soft on Rubio. But with the increasing possibility that Rubio could be the greatest threat to Trump winning the nomination, he’s almost certain to go after him. If the past is any guide, Trump will throw a bunch of different attacks Rubio’s way until he happens upon one that seems to resonate; then he’ll stick with it as long as it works. Trump is already dabbling in Rubio birtherism (though he doesn’t seem quite committed to it), but eventually he’ll find a line of personal criticism with just the right note of cruelty and derision….
Rubio may have avoided Trump’s wrath up until now, but that won’t last. The only question is what brand of contempt Trump will heap on him. It might be some kind of attack based on Rubio’s ethnicity, or it might be the same kind of you’re-a-girly-man insults he used on Bush. That could be effective, since Rubio does look like he didn’t graduate high school all that long ago. He could go after Rubio’s occasionally shaky finances, which Trump surely looks on with utter contempt, since as far as he’s concerned, not being rich makes you a loser.
To be honest, the insanity is really getting to me today. I can barely stand to read about these clowns anymore, much less actually watch them spew their hateful nonsense on TV. That’s why I’ve illustrated this post with art by children and adults about world peace.
A couple more links on Nevada:
On the Democratic side, Senator Bernie Sanders is starting to look really desperate. Yesterday, instead of campaigning in South Carolina, where the primary is this Saturday, he came to Boston and then held a rally at another university–U. Mass Amherst. The appearance in Boston was billed as a “press conference,” but Sanders didn’t take questions. He just gave a variation of his stump speech with some more mean-spirited than usual attacks on Hillary Clinton thrown in. NBC News reports:
BOSTON—Just two days after losing to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Nevada caucuses, Senator Bernie Sanders launched a broadside against his rival, aggressively emphasizing differences between himself and Clinton on issues of campaign finance and trade policy.
“What I intend to do over the next number of weeks is kind of contrast my record to Secretary Clinton’s” Sanders began as he addressed the press at Boston’s International Association of Ironworkers, Local 7.
Keeping true to his word, the Vermont senator — who boasts of having never run a negative campaign — dove into a litany of contrast points he sees between himself and Clinton, launching some of the most direct swipes Sanders has taken at his competitor during this campaign season.
“I am delighted that Secretary Clinton month after month seems to be adopting more and more of the positions that we have advocated, that’s good,” he said.
“And in fact, she is beginning to use a lot of the language and phraseology that we have used,” Sanders added, joking that he saw a TV ad and thought it was him speaking despite Clinton’s photo being pictured in the spot.
Sanders hit Clinton hardest on her use of a Super PAC— the pro-Clinton Priorities USA – and used the group to tie her to Wall Street and big donor influences.
Nothing new there–just the same tired old smears and innuendo.
The headline in The Boston Globe this morning is kind of pathetic if you know anything about where most of the delegates are going to be won.
The Democratic primary could be effectively decided within the next two weeks, if Hillary Clinton’s campaign gets the outcome they’re looking for. With more than 1,000 delegates up for grabs, early March will be do-or-die for Bernie Sanders’ campaign….
“On Tuesday, March 1, we’re going to make history here in Massachusetts,” Sanders told a crowd Monday at UMass Amherst. “This great state is going to lead us forward to a political revolution.”
If Sanders’ political revolution is going anywhere on Super Tuesday, it will have to be in states like Massachusetts, where he has a demographic advantage [meaning lots of white liberals]….
As of Monday night, Clinton leads Sanders in pledged delegates 52 to 51, after votes were cast in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. Clinton is expected to trounce in South Carolina, where she has the strong support of black voters. Polls also show strong leads for the former secretary of state in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Texas, and Virginia—all of which vote March 1.
But even if Sanders wins in states with lots of white people–like Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Colorado–there no way he will win enough delegates to compete with Clinton. I just don’t see a path to the nomination for him when he’s polling so badly with people of color.’
I actually think it’s time for Clinton supporters to begin showing empathy and compassion for Sanders supporters–especially the young ones who really don’t understand how politics works. They are going to have broken hearts soon, and we need to help bind their wounds and make them feel welcome in the party. I don’t think we should start telling Bernie to quit–let him go on as long as he wants and let his followers vote for him.
More stories to check out:
Pew Research Center: Majority of Public Wants Senate to Act on Obama’s Court Nominee.
New York Times: Seas are Rising at Fastest Rate in Last 28 Centuries.
Politico: Spike Lee backs Sanders in radio ad.
Politico: Ben Carson: Obama was ‘raised white.’
Mass Politics Profs: Warren Won’t Endorse Sanders.
AP: Gun maker seeks dismissal of lawsuit over Newtown shooting. (Thanks to the bill Sanders voted for.)
Politico: Bernie’s Spring Break Blues. “When Bernie Sanders will need college students the most, they’ll be watching Netflix and partying.”
So . . . what stories are you following today?