Live Blog/Open Thread: GOP Debate #10Posted: February 25, 2016 Filed under: U.S. Politics | Tags: CNN GOP Debate, live blog 125 Comments
Yes, another Republican debate. How many more are there going to be? As I wrote this morning, I don’t know how long I’ll last, but I’ll try to watch at least some of it. Here’s a fresh thread to document the atrocities. You can also free free to post about anything else you desire. This is an open thread.
The debate will be on CNN, beginning at 8:30 ET. A preview from the Washington Post:
Front-runner Trump is the focus of tonight’s Republican debate in Houston.
The four Republican candidates trailing Donald Trump will face him in a debate in Houston on Thursday evening in what may be their last best chance to stop the billionaire businessman before he runs away with the GOP presidential nomination — and disrupts their party…
It is the last debate before the Super Tuesday primaries next week, when 11 states and 595 Republican delegates will be at stake. Trump has already won three of the first four GOP contests. If he can win most or all of those 11, he will have a commanding advantage in the Republican race.
The other candidates onstage will include two men who have the best shot at defeating Trump — but who for months have been more concerned with fighting each other in Trump’s shadow. On Thursday, Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ted Cruz (Tex.) will have a chance to suspend their fight for second place and attack Trump directly.
In the days leading to the debate, Rubio already signaled that he may take on Trump more forcefully than he has in the past. In remarks at rallies and fundraisers, Rubio has criticized Trump’s calls for higher tariffs on China — saying it would lead to a trade war that would make everything more expensive — and for saying he would be “sort of a neutral guy” in mediations between Israel and Palestinians.Rubio also reportedly told donors said that Trump was effectively fooling Republican voters. He reportedly called “Trump University,” a failed for-profit venture that had resulted in at least two fraud lawsuits against the mogul, a “scam.” One attendee said Rubio described a President Trump as the proverbial dog who caught the car, with no idea of what to do next.
The big news for Republicans today is that David Duke has endorsed Donald Trump.
David Duke, a white nationalist and former Klu Klux Klan grand wizard, told his audience Wednesday that voting for anyone besides Donald Trump “is really treason to your heritage.”
“Voting for these people, voting against Donald Trump at this point, is really treason to your heritage,” Duke said on the David Duke Radio Program. BuzzFeed News first reported the comments.
“I’m not saying I endorse everything about Trump. In fact, I haven’t formally endorsed him. But I do support his candidacy, and I support voting for him as a strategic action. I hope he does everything we hope he will do.”
The former Louisiana representative told listeners to start volunteering for Trump.
“And I am telling you that it is your job now to get active. Get off your duff. Get off your rear end that’s getting fatter and fatter for many of you everyday on your chairs. When this show’s over, go out, call the Republican Party, but call Donald Trump’s headquarters, volunteer,” he said. “They’re screaming for volunteers. Go in there, you’re gonna meet people who are going to have the same kind of mind-set that you have.”
Wow. Will they wear their white hoods when they go out to canvass?
Will the moderators ask about this story tonight?
CNN: Multiple deaths reported in Kansas workplace shooting.
Authorities are working reports of at least four different crime scenes in connection with a workplace shooting Thursday afternoon at Excel Industries in Hesston, Kansas, said Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton.
“There could be as many as three or four others (dead), and possibly up to 20 people that have been injured,” Walton said.
The suspected shooter, an employee at Excel, was killed.
The sheriff told reporters that authorities first received a report of a man having been shot while driving. Second, a person was reported shot in the leg. Third, a report came in about a shooting in the parking lot of Excel. Finally, an active shooter was reported inside the workplace, Walton said.
A couple more links:
CNN: Rubio prepares for contested convention.
NPR: Here Are 5 Texas-Sized Things To Watch When Republicans Debate Tonight.
See you in the comment thread!
Thursday Reads: Political ParasitesPosted: February 25, 2016 Filed under: Barack Obama, morning reads, Republican politics, U.S. Politics | Tags: 2016 Democratic nomination fight, 2016 Republican nomination race, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, political parasites 40 Comments
I’m illustrating this post with drawings from a vintage French fashion magazine. You can read about it at Abe Books: Gazette du Bon Ton: A Journal of Good Taste.
There’s another Republican debate tonight, this time in Houston. I honestly don’t think I can stand to watch it, but I’ll keep an eye on today’s thread and put up another one tonight if necessary. The debate is on CNN, so you shouldn’t have any trouble streaming it on-line if you want to watch from your computer or other device. The freak show starts at 8:30PM ET.
Reuters: Trump versus Rubio and Cruz at Houston Republican debate.
At a CNN-hosted debate at the University of Houston, [Donald] Trump’s rivals will have one of their last best chances to try to derail the blunt-spoken political outsider before the Super Tuesday contests.
Whether they can pull it off is an open question. On stage with Trump will be U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Ohio Governor John Kasich and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. None have been able to slow Trump’s momentum in previous debates.
“Trump is on cruise control,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, a former senior adviser to 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney. He said Trump should ignore his opponents and focus on the key planks in his platform – a border wall to keep out illegal immigrants, a stronger military, defeating Islamic State and fair trade.
“It’s getting late in the game for everyone else. People who are expecting a sudden shift in the direction of the race are deluding themselves. Trump is Goliath, and we’ve seen enough of the other candidates to know there are no Davids in this field,” Fehrnstrom said.
Rubio, 44, has an added incentive to change the makeup of the race. He is scrambling to attract the financial donors who supported one-time establishment favorite Jeb Bush, who dropped out of the race after his disappointing finish in South Carolina on Saturday….
Cruz, 45, enters the debate under pressure. He must do well in his home state of Texas on Super Tuesday. Recently, he has been accused by his rivals of using negative tactics, including one that led to the resignation of his spokesman, Rick Tyler.
Mitt Romney has inserted himself into the GOP race with a highly ironic attack on Donald Trump. The Boston Globe reports:
Mitt Romney, whose 2012 presidential campaign was bedeviled over his own reluctance to publicly release his personal income tax returns, aggressively criticized Donald Trump on Wednesday for not releasing his returns….
“I think we have good reason to believe that there’s a bombshell in Donald Trump’s taxes,” Romney said on Fox News. “I think there is something there. Either he is not anywhere near as wealthy as he says he is, or he hasn’t been paying the kind of taxes we would expect him to pay, or perhaps he hasn’t been giving money to the vets or the disabled like he has been telling us he’s been doing.”
Trump quickly responded, ridiculing Romney — whom he endorsed in 2012 in a gold-studded event at Trump Tower in Las Vegas — and calling him a loser.
“Mitt Romney, who totally blew an election that should have been won and whose tax returns made him look like a fool, is now playing tough guy,” Trump wrote on Twitter. Then, he added: “When Mitt Romney asked me for my endorsement last time around, he was so awkward and goofy that we all should have known he could not win!”
In 2012, Republican candidates like Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain were running vanity campaigns–basically running for president in order to sell books.
That also seemed to be the case this year with Ben Carson. He even suspended his campaign for time to go to book signings. But it turns out that Carson’s campaign may be even a worse “scam”–one that Carson himself may not have been aware of until recently. From The Atlantic:
Carson has taken in incredible amounts of money during the race. His campaign has raised more than any other Republican presidential rival, though they’ve raised more when super PACs are included. But he’s also spent more than any of them, so that despite his prolific fundraising, he has barely $4 million in cash on hand.
That’s because Team Carson has been plowing a huge portion of the money it raises back into fundraising, using costly direct-mail and telemarketing tactics. Pretty much every campaign uses those tools, but the extent to which Carson was using it raised eyebrows around politics. First, many of the companies being paid millions and millions of dollars are run by top campaign officials or their friends and relations, meaning those people are making a mint. Second, many of the contributions are coming from small-dollar donors. If that money is being given by well-meaning grassroots conservatives for a campaign that’s designed not to win but to produce revenue for venders, isn’t it just a grift?
These questions have been circling since last summer. If they’re right, the most sympathetic interpretation is that Carson, like his donors, was being taken for a ride by his aides, and wasn’t in on the scam. Carson seemed to suggest as much on Tuesday, implying he was taken advantage of by aides who treated the campaign as an ATM.
Read more at the link.
I’m wondering if Bernie Sanders will use his higher visibility from his campaign–which is basically a vanity campaign at this point–to get a big book contract and increase his speaking fees. It turns out Sanders has done something similar in the past. From The Center for Public Integrity:
Sanders turned a fiery, hourslong filibuster against extending the Bush tax cuts into a book. During the 2012 election cycle, his campaign gave a copy to donors of at least $50.
What he did was use campaign funds to purchase a lot of the books and then “gave” them to donors who contributed at least $50.00 That’s a pretty good profit on a paperback book that sold for around $10.00. I don’t think this is illegal, but it seems a little bit questionable for a man who calls himself a socialist (he isn’t one). Here’s a graphic posted on Twitter.
From US News: Sanders’s 8.5 Hour Tax Cut Filibuster Gets a Book.
It wasn’t exactly Washington’s version of The King’s Speech, but independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 8½-hour blast in December at President Obama’s deal with Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts is getting star treatment. Nation Books is printing it in its entirety in The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class. The senator’s passionate address, which runs over 255 pages in the book, was a rare oratorical tour de force: It attracted so many online viewers it crashed the Senate television website. Some say Obama was so miffed by the speech that he held an impromptu press conference with former President Clinton to divert attention.
So he used the speech to undermine President Obama twice–by giving the speech against the Obama’s wishes and using it to run Senate during the president’s reelection campaign. By the way, Sanders’ book “The Speech” was published by Nation Books, the publishing arm of The Nation magazine which has endorsed Sanders in the 2016 race.
At Politico, Jack Shafer has an interesting piece on Trump and Sanders as “political parasites.”
Think of the Republican Party as a host organism that has only now discovered the parasite it acquired eight months ago. The parasite, of course, is Donald J. Trump—no more a Republican than I—who has inserted himself into the party and appears to be on his way to winning its presidential nomination. Feeding on the Republican Party’s primary and caucus process, the Trump parasite has progressed from egg to larva and has now commandeered many of the Republican Party’s metabolic functions. But it’s been managed growth, as the smart-thinking parasite likes to keep its zombie host alive long enough to develop into the next stage and lay its own eggs and begin the process anew.
Trump isn’t the only political parasite on the hustings this season. Bernie Sanders, who never ran as a Democrat before this election, has likewise attempted to colonize the gastrointestinal tract of a major party in hopes that it will eventually deposit him at the White House. True to his parasitical nature, Sanders loves the idea of the party but has little interest in actually supporting it. He has raised only $1,000 for the Democratic Party’s fundraising alliance, while Hillary Clinton, who is many things but assuredly not a parasite, has raised $26.9 million.
Trump has similarly stiffed his party’s fundraising operations, canceling a scheduled appearance at a December Republican National Committee fundraising event, and Twitter-shouting his fury at the RNC for allegedly using his name in a fundraising solicitation without his consent. “Totally unauthorized, do not pay,” Trump tweeted. The true parasite never supports the host!
The life cycles of the Trump and Sanders parasites are nowhere near as gruesome as the life cycles of the Guinea worm and the parasitoid wasp, but they are as striking as anything we witness in nature. Viewing Trump and Sanders with an ideological microscope, it’s apparent that neither has much affinity for the parties they’ve joined. Their object and their genius has been to seize as much control as they can of the major parties from the various “establishments” and wage their outsider third-party candidacies from inside. Suitably camouflaged, neither Trump nor Sanders is seen by the average voter for political freeloaders they are.
I’m not a big fan of Schafer’s but that makes a lot of sense to me. Are both parties being hollowed out from within?
If the polls in upcoming primary and caucus states are anything close to correct, Sanders has no chance to get the Democratic nomination. But he is still out there trying to tear down the party and attacking Hillary Clinton–the likely nominee–in the most vicious ways he can think of. It is really starting to bother me a great deal, and I’m glad that the party seems to be coalescing around the potential first woman president.
I’ll end this post with another powerful essay from Sady Doyle: America loves women like Hillary Clinton–as long as they’re not asking for a promotion.
It’s hard to remember these days, but just a few years ago, everybody loved Hillary Rodham Clinton. When she stepped down as US secretary of state in January 2013 after four years in office, her approval rating stood at what the Wall Street Journal described as an “eye-popping”69%. That made her not only the most popular politician in the country,but the second-most popular secretary of state since 1948.The 2012 “Texts from Hillary” meme, which featured a sunglasses-clad Clinton scrolling through her Blackberry aboard a military flight to Libya, had given rise to a flood of think pieces hailing her “badass cool.” The Washington Post wanted president Barack Obama to give vice president Joe Biden the boot and replace him with Clinton. Taking stock of Clinton’s approval ratings, Nate Silver noted in a 2012 piece for the New York Times that she currently held “remarkably high numbers for a politician in an era when many public officials are distrusted or disliked.”
How times have changed. “The FBI And 67 Percent of Americans Distrust Hillary Clinton,” booms a recent headline in the Huffington Post. Clinton’s favorability ratings currently hover around 40.8%. Bob Woodward complains that “there is something unrelaxed about the way she is communicating.” “Hillary’s personality repels me,” Walker Bragman writes in Salon.How can we reconcile the “unlikable” Democratic presidential candidate of today with the adored politician of recent history? It’s simple: Public opinion of Clinton has followed a fixed pattern throughout her career. Her public approval plummets whenever she applies for a new position. Then it soars when she gets the job. The wild difference between the way we talk about Clinton when she campaigns and the way we talk about her when she’s in office can’t be explained as ordinary political mud-slinging. Rather, the predictable swings of public opinion reveal Americans’ continued prejudice against women caught in the act of asking for power.
I hope you’ll go over to the Quartz link and read the whole thing.
So . . . what stories are you following today?
Wednesday Reads: You know that I’m no good.Posted: February 24, 2016 Filed under: 2016 elections, Discrimination against women, Hillary Clinton, morning reads, open thread, Planned Parenthood, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights, Republican politics, U.S. Politics, War on Women, Women's Healthcare, Women's Rights 49 Comments
Last night Trump took down Nevada.
That makes “tree” in a row for the man who feels it is “Presidential” to show disrespect by swinging his dick around…and busting balls at some other wiseguy’s party.
Trump crashes Glenn Beck’s caucus speech – POLITICO
Donald Trump crashed the Nevada caucus location at which conservative talk show host Glenn Beck was speaking Tuesday night on behalf of Ted Cruz.
MSNBC was broadcasting a live look at the caucus site, Palo Verde High School in Summerlin, when Trump suddenly showed up and made an impromptu speech of his own.
“We are going to have hopefully a historic night,” Trump said. “I appreciate everybody being here. I wanted to be here myself and say a few words.”
Geez, talk about yuuge ballz. It is like some kind of set-up reality show smack-down, right?
At what point will this all just stop. It is so embarrassing.
President Camacho’s State of the Union – YouTube
That is all I’ve got to say on that. If you want more info on the Nevada results:
Donald Trump wins Nevada caucuses; Marco Rubio edges Ted Cruz for 2nd – Chicago Tribune
Now on with the other stories for today. The images you see are from illustrations during the 60’s and 70’s, with many from Milton Glaser. I found them on Pinterest.
First up, some links on the cooch…well, links that somewhat relate to the cooch.
Remember that report about what has happened to women’s reproductive health in Texas after they defunded Planned Parenthood? Check this out: Texas Official Forced Out After Peer-Reviewed Study Critiques GOP’s Contraceptive Policy
A Texas official is being forced to retire due to pressure from Republican legislators who took exception to a study he co-authored. The study found GOP efforts to exclude Planned Parenthood from the state’s family planning programs had a detrimental effect on access to reproductive health care.
Rick Allgeyer, director of research at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, was one of five co-authors of a study that found widespread negative consequences for contraceptive users after Republicans in 2013 banned Planned Parenthood from the Texas family planning program.
The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that after Planned Parenthood affiliates were excluded from the Texas Medicaid program beginning in 2013, delivery of the most effective reversible methods of contraception, including IUDs, implants, and injectable contraception, declined.
There was a substantial reduction, for example, in use of injectable contraception among patients reliant on this method of birth control and a 27 percent increase in births covered by Medicaid.
State Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) told ABC News that state employees should not have been co-authors of the study.
“It’s one thing for an agency to provide data upon request. It’s quite another to be listed as a ‘co-author’ on a deeply flawed and highly political report,” Nelson said. “I’ve communicated strong concerns to the agency. This should not have happened, and we need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
This reaction has become so expected.
Nelson wrote a letter to Chris Traylor, executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission, requesting that the commission review the study. “While I appreciate efforts to shine light on policy challenges, it is important for that information to paint an accurate picture,” Nelson wrote.
“Critical evaluation is essential to good government,” Nelson continued. “But women should not be misled into thinking the services they need are not available to them. Those services are readily available, and Texas women need to know that.”
Nelson has a long history of supporting policies that choke off access to reproductive health care, and Nelson has defended these policies againstmounting evidence that they have had a detrimental impact on women’s health in the state.
Bryan Black, spokesperson for the state health commission, told the Texas Tribune that Allgeyer violated the agency’s policy for working part-time outside of the agency, without explicit permission.
“Rick Allgeyer is eligible for retirement and has decided to retire from the Health and Human Services Commission,” Black said in an email. “His retirement is effective March 31.”
And so it goes. The bullies of the GOP in action. Doesn’t this behavior fit in with the squirrel topped coiffure bully we talked about up top?
Continuing the coochie theme:
Period pain can be “almost as bad as a heart attack.” Why aren’t we researching how to treat it? – Quartz
Because, and I will again use a clip from the film Idiocracy…
Idiocracy: Mankind gets stupider by the year – YouTube
…the greatest minds and resources where focused on conquering hair loss and prolonging erections.
Yup. As you can see. It all goes back to the asshole with the swinging dick…oh, I should say the bald asshole with the swinging dick.
Now this next link takes this cooch theme to a whole new meaning. Literally. This is some fucked up shit. More parents want ‘vaginal seeding’ for their newborns. But it might not be safe. – The Washington Post
I can’t bear to quote from this article. Here is a Wonkette version of the trend if you want to read a different take on the subject:
The Snake Oil Bulletin: Please Do Not Smear Your C-Section Baby With Vagina Goo. Really. | Wonkette
Other links with a cooch flavor:
Feminist Library facing eviction on first day of Women’s History Month
Juxtapoz Magazine – Women Street Artists of Latin America
This Woman Might Not Get Into The Marines Because Of A Discriminatory Tattoo Policy
Give this op/ed a full read, I love this bit:
There’s a Strong Feminist Case for Hillary Clinton | Al Jazeera America
…there are lots of people, male and female, who simply by virtue of seeing a female name on a resume presume the applicant is less competent and less qualified. Many Americans hear a female voice and read into it shrillness or anger. Many more interpret female anger as frightening or unprofessional and penalize women for it. Male anger, meanwhile, is seen as authoritative and commanding.
All those assumptions work against Clinton, just as they work against every woman in America. The way we change them is by stripping out associations between maleness and power, maleness and competence, maleness and influence. That doesn’t happen in one day of corporate diversity training. It happens by normalizing female power, female competence and female influence — including having women in charge, especially in the highest political office in the country.
Okay, the rest of today’s links…I want to get this posted…
O’Connor undermines GOP talking points on Court vacancy | MSNBC
Keep Smiling-Via The Paris Review
For the origins of the selfie, look to the dandy.
This looks interesting: 17th-century horror film ‘The Witch’ creeps you out long after credits roll – The Washington Post
Zundert flower parade: Vincent van Gogh’s birthplace honors the 125th anniversary of his death with a flower parade inspired by his life and work.
Bones found at prison may belong to real-life Tess of the d’Urbervilles | Books | The Guardian
Archaeologists may have unearthed the remains of a woman whose execution had a lasting impact on the writer Thomas Hardy, inspiring the fate of one of his most beloved creations – Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
Excavators found the bones at Dorchester prison in Dorset, where a 16-year-old Hardy watched the public hanging of Martha Brown after she was convicted of murdering her violent husband.
Legend of Bonnie Prince Charlie granddaughter’s exile – The Scotsman
THEY called her “the Lady of the Heather”, and she was rumoured to be the illegitimate granddaughter of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
If she was, she could hardly have come further from Scotland. For the place she called home was at the very edge of civilisation, if not over it: the now uninhabited Campbell Island, 450 miles south of New Zealand.
Utah man dies in police custody after being jailed for $2,400 unpaid medical bill
What Kind of Person Are You? ‘Two Kinds Of People’ Tumblr Illustrations
Navigating a Mother’s Mental Illness Through Photography | TIME
‘Like talking to a 30-year-old murderer’: Teen charged with killing his little sister – The Washington Post
Pauline Cafferkey: As Ebola nurse returns to hospital, scientists’ fears about virus living on in tissue are confirmed | Science | News | The Independent
And our last link…
Notice Anything Interesting On This Wall?
This is a dam in Italy.
See those little dots?
Can you see it now?
Yeah, fucking goats!!!!!
Have a good and safe day…This is an open thread.
Tuesday Night: Democratic Townhall and Republican Caucus Live BlogPosted: February 23, 2016 Filed under: 2016 elections | Tags: Bernie Sanders South Carolina Townhall, Hillary Clinton, Nevada Republican Caucus 35 Comments
Hello from Storm and Tornado riddled New Orleans! Tonight are two big events which probably won’t rival our weather today but could be interesting. Will Rubio try to convince us losing is winning? Will Bernie continue the attacks laid out in yesterday’s Presser? Will the Donald and Hillary edge closer to November?
First up at 8 pm eastern is a CNN Townhall between Sanders and Clinton.
Bernie Sanders will try to dent Hillary Clinton’s momentum Tuesday at a CNN Democratic town hall meeting, as he faces pressure to change the dynamics of a presidential race that is starting to trend against him.
After losing to Clinton in Saturday’s Nevada Democratic caucuses and another loss likely looming this weekend in South Carolina, Sanders needs a confident performance to project strength going into the multiple contests on Super Tuesday.
He will get the chance to draw sharper contrasts with his rival at the town hall meeting in South Carolina, from 8 p.m-10 p.m. ET, which will be moderated by Chris Cuomo and air on CNN, CNN International and CNN en Español and be streamed live online on CNNgo.
In the coming weeks, Clinton is counting on a strong showing in Southern states likely to showcase her dominance among African-American voters, putting the onus on Sanders to try to broaden his support or face falling behind.
It’s not quite Super Tuesday but you’ll get a taste of things to come!
The menu for politics lovers starts with a Democratic town hall featuring Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on CNN at 8 p.m. ET.
Then come the results from the Nevada Republican caucuses, where Donald Trump, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will battle it out for first place in the last GOP election before 12 states vote next Tuesday.
The Nevada Caucus will likely be won by Trump but watch closely at what goes on with Rubio he’s put up a firewall there and Cruz who seems to be struggling.
The townhall will probably show Hillary being positive and Bernie going on offense.
Trump is definitely on his way to the nomination.
With Jeb Bush out, Donald Trump has widened his lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Republican Voters finds Trump with 36% support, giving him a 15-point lead over Senator Marco Rubio who earns 21% of the vote. Senator Ted Cruz is in third place with 17%.
For Trump, that’s a five-point gain in support from the beginning of this month just after the Iowa caucus and right before the New Hampshire primary when it was Trump 31%, Rubio 21% and Cruz 20% among likely GOP voters. Rubio’s support has held steady, while support for Cruz has fallen slightly.
In mid-December, Trump led with 29% Republican support, with Cruz in second with 18% and Rubio at 15%.
Tuesday Reads: Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?Posted: February 23, 2016 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Nevada Caucuses, Ted Cruz 44 Comments
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:
Time: What to Watch at the Nevada Caucuses.
LA Times: Four big questions await answers Tuesday in Nevada’s Republican caucuses.
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.
Bernie Sanders’ path to the nomination runs squarely through Massachusetts.
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.
Washington Post: ‘Slaps on the wrist’ for white men who watched friend throw black man onto train tracks.
Politico: Spike Lee backs Sanders in radio ad.
Politico: Ben Carson: Obama was ‘raised white.’
Gawker: Hot Mic Captures Trump Chatting With Morning Joe Hosts: “You Had Me Almost As a Legendary Figure.”
Media Matters: 8 Things Trump And Morning Joe Hosts Discussed When Cameras Were Off.
Digby: When is MSNBC going to do something about this?
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?