Posted: January 5, 2021 Filed under: Afternoon Reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: David Perdue, Donald Trump, Georgia Senate runoffs, John Ossoff, Josh Hawley, Kelly Loeffler, Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell, Raphael Warnock, Ted Cruz, Trump Georgia rally, Trump phone call to Raffensperger, Trump supporters' Jan. 6 protest
Is it really only Tuesday? I’m already exhausted and the week has barely begun. Today is the day that voters in Georgia will decide which party controls the U.S. Senate. Trump held a rally in Georgia last night, supposedly to support Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue, the GOP candidates, but he spend most of his time arguing that he actually won the November election and should remain in office for four more years. Tomorrow Trump’s army of seditionists will be trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election–in Congress and in the streets of DC. Trump has been encouraging them to come and cause trouble in the streets and yesterday, he announced plans to address the angry rabble during their “protests.” Here’s the latest:
Georgia Runoff Elections
NBC News: Georgia voters head to the polls in pivotal Senate runoff elections.
Georgia voters are heading to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots in pivotal runoff elections that will determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.
Polls opened at 7 a.m. ET in the state and they close at 7 p.m. ET. Voters who are in line by 7 p.m. can still cast a ballot, according to the Georgia secretary of state’s office. More than 3 million Georgia residents have already cast ballots in the two races during the early voting period that started Dec. 14.
In the races, Democrat Jon Ossoff is running against Republican David Perdue, whose Senate term expired on Sunday with the start of the new Congress, and Democrat Raphael Warnock is trying to unseat GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler. The runoffs come after none of the candidates captured 50 percent of the vote in November’s election.
The outcome Tuesday will decide whether Republicans will retain control of the Senate or Democrats retake the majority, which would give President-elect Joe Biden a better chance at passing his agenda through Congress. If both Democrats win, the chamber would be split 50-50, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris acting as the tie-breaker for Democrats on party-line votes. But the party would still face obstacles given the need for 60 votes to advance major legislation.
From Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball:
Tomorrow’s Trump Fan “Protests”
Politico: MAGA marchers plot final D.C. stand on Jan. 6.
Timed to the day when Congress will formally certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win, the MAGA crowd is trying to pressure Vice President Mike Pence and Republican lawmakers to refuse to seat Biden over fabricated voter-fraud claims. It’s a doomed plan, given the makeup of Congress, the absent evidence behind the rigged election allegations and the fact that every important state has already certified Biden’s win. Yet that hasn’t stopped a swell of Trump supporters from making plans — and the president from teasing his own appearance.
According to disinformation and extremist researchers, the Jan. 6 gathering will look similar to November’s Million MAGA March — a mashup of garden-variety Trump supporters and more extreme members of the far right, with no apparent central organizing apparatus. Stop the Steal, a group affiliated with pro-Trump super PACs and allies of Trump adviser Roger Stone, has filed for permits and plans to protest outside the Capitol, but other groups have also claimed to be the true official planners.
Click the link for more details.
ABC News: As he seeks to prevent certification of election, Trump plans to attend DC rally.
As a joint session of Congress convenes Wednesday to formally certify the Electoral College votes, President Donald Trump plans to speak at a “Save America” rally near the White House according to sources familiar with his plans.
Thousands are expected to attend the rally on the Ellipse, a 52-acre park just south of the White House, as pro-Trump supporters descend on the nation’s capital for a series of marches to protest the results of the 2020 election.
The gathering will mark the first rally-style event Trump will attend in Washington since he was defeated by President-elect Joe Biden in November. Trump has previously done drive-bys in his motorcade and flyovers aboard Marine One to support those gathered to protest in Washington, D.C.
Over the weekend the president tweeted, “I will be there. Historic day!” replying to a tweet from one of the rally organizers.
Yesterday, the Proud Boys leader was arrested and also sued. Read the details at The Washington Post: Proud Boys leader arrested in the burning of church’s Black Lives Matter banner, D.C. police say.
DC is preparing for possible violence from the Trump cultists.
NBC News: D.C. mayor calls on National Guard as pro-Trump protests set for capital.
The Washington Post: D.C. houses of worship beef up security as Trump defenders descend on the nation’s capital.
On Trump and the GOP Congressional Sedition Caucus
John Cassidy at The New Yorker: Trump’s Authoritarian Moment Is Here.
If there were any doubt remaining that Donald Trump still represents a dire threat to American democracy, the events of this weekend dispelled it. As a new Congress gathers to confirm that the voters chose Joe Biden to be the next President, a proceeding that should be a mere formality, Trump is desperately trying to overturn the result and stay in office. Even more disturbing, large numbers of elected Republicans are joining in this unprecedented effort to reject the popular will. If the Republic gets through the next two weeks without a catastrophe, we must surely take steps to protect ourselves against the next would-be authoritarian, which could well be Trump himself in 2024.
On Sunday, the Washington Post reported the contents of a lengthy phone call that took place on Saturday between Trump and Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state. Raffensperger is one of the honorable Republicans at the state and local level who have stood up against the President’s efforts to bully them into calling the election for the loser: him. The conversation was a long one—it lasted almost an hour—but the transcript shows that this wasn’t the Trump of the campaign trail or the White House press room, endlessly going off on tangents. Throughout the conversation, he remained focussed on his counterfactual narrative—that he carried Georgia easily—and a specific set of demands for Raffensperger.
“So look, all I want to do is this,” the President said at one point. “I just want to find eleven thousand seven hundred and eighty votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.” At numerous points, Trump repeated incendiary allegations about voter fraud in Georgia that some of his supporters have been putting forward. Among other things, he claimed that five thousand dead people voted, three hundred thousand fake ballots were submitted, and that Fulton County, an area the former Vice-President won big, shredded three thousand pounds of ballots and covertly removed voting machines. Raffensperger and his general counsel, who was also on the call, calmly pointed out that his office had investigated all of these claims and found them to be false. (Georgia’s state supreme court and a federal judge appointed by George W. Bush rejected the Trump campaign’s claims as well.) Trump wasn’t to be put off. “So what are we going to do here, folks? I only need eleven thousand votes,” he repeated. “Fellas, I need eleven thousand votes. Give me a break.”
Since the election, some commentators have downplayed Trump’s refusal to accept the result, saying that he was merely exercising the inviolate American right to sue. But this wasn’t Rudy Giuliani standing outside Four Seasons Total Landscaping, in a Philadelphia strip mall. It was the President of the United States speaking from the Oval Office and leaning on a local election official, with the backing of his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who was also on the call, and a number of other Trump lawyers, including Cleta Mitchell, a partner at the corporate law firm Foley & Lardner. “The entire call is astonishing,” Michael Bromwich, a former inspector general at the Justice Department, commented on Twitter, after the Post report was published. “The bullying, the threats, the insults, the credulous embrace of discredited conspiracy theories. Like a crime boss, Trump occasionally says that all he wants is the truth. But he doesn’t—he wants the win.”
George F. Will at The Washington Post: Hawley, Cruz and their Senate cohort are the Constitution’s most dangerous domestic enemies.
On a conference call last Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told his caucus that, in his 36 Senate years, he has twice cast votes to take the nation to war and once to remove a president, but that the vote he will cast this Wednesday to certify Joe Biden’s electoral college victory will be the most important of his career. McConnell (R-Ky.) understands the recklessness of congressional Republicans who are fueling the doubts of a large majority of Republicans about the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
The day before McConnell’s somber statement, Missouri’s freshman Republican senator, Josh Hawley, announced that on Wednesday, 14 days before Biden will be inaugurated, he will challenge the validity of Biden’s election. Hawley’s conscience regarding electoral proprieties compels him to stroke this erogenous zone of the GOP’s 2024 presidential nominating electorate.
Hawley’s stance quickly elicited panicky emulation from Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, another 2024 aspirant. Cruz led 10 other senators and senators-elect in a statement that presents their pandering to what terrifies them (their Trumpkin voters) as a judicious determination to assess the “unprecedented allegations” of voting improprieties, “allegations” exceeding “any in our lifetimes.”
So, allegations in sufficient quantity, although of uniformly risible quality, validate senatorial grandstanding that is designed to deepen today’s widespread delusions and resentments. While Hawley et al. were presenting their last-ditch devotion to President Trump as devotion to electoral integrity, Trump was heard on tape browbeating noncompliant Georgia election officials to “find” thousands of votes for him. Awkward.
Read the rest at the WaPo.
The New York Times: Pence’s Choice: Side With the Constitution or His Boss.
Speaking to supporters of President Trump on Monday at the Rock Springs Church in Milner, Ga., Vice President Mike Pence implored the crowd to vote in the two runoff elections Tuesday that will determine whether Republicans maintain control of the Senate.
“I am here for one reason and one reason only, and that is that Georgia and America need David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler back in the Republican majority,” Mr. Pence said.
But the crowd had a message for him, too.
“We need you do the right thing Jan. 6!” one supporter cried out. “Stop the steal!” shouted others. The crowd applauded.
If Mr. Pence has tried to skirt Mr. Trump’s efforts to cling to power, his reception in Georgia on Monday served as the latest reminder of the delicate role he will play on Wednesday, when Congress conducts what is typically a ceremonial duty of opening and counting certificates of electoral votes.
As president of the Senate, Mr. Pence is expected to preside over the pro forma certification of the Electoral College vote count in front of a joint session of Congress. It is a constitutionally prescribed, televised moment in which Mr. Pence will name the winner of the 2020 presidential election, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
What Pence said in Georgia:
“I know we all have got our doubts about the last election,” Mr. Pence said Monday in Georgia, attempting to assuage Trump supporters. “I want to assure you that I share the concerns of millions of Americans about voting irregularities. I promise you, come this Wednesday, we will have our day in Congress.”
It was not clear, perhaps by design, what he meant. Mr. Pence does not have unilateral power to affect the outcome of Wednesday’s proceedings. But he has carefully tried to look like he is loyally following the president’s lead even as he goes through a process that is expected to end with him reading out a declaration that Mr. Biden is the winner.
We’ll find out tomorrow.
So that’s what’s happening over the next two days. It should be interesting. Take care of yourselves and take breaks from the news as needed!
Posted: March 28, 2016 Filed under: 2016 elections, Afternoon Reads | Tags: Bernie Sanders, Delegate math, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Primaries, Ted Cruz, zombie delegates
We’re beginning to make that transition from primary season to the lull before the General Election. I thought I’d celebrate the shift with some reads that signal the shift or should signal the shift. I’ve really been struck by the number of people that really don’t understand how parties choose their candidates and seem to be following the overall results on a state by state basis even when that state basically doesn’t add much to the delegate count. The other thing that’s rather astounding is the number of people that seem to think that a party sponsored election for delegates is akin to a normal election. This is when I really feel the irony of the situation.
We have two outsider populist candidates running for election within a party system. Neither of them has been either active or genuine members of that party. Their followers are apoplectic by the scent of cigars in the backrooms and conventions of the state and national parties. I’m being somewhat cynical in that I think both of these candidates had to realize at some point that the parties were not going to be all that accommodating to them running amok. Their voters, however, appear to be completely stumped and angered because it’s pretty much the kind of behavior that has driven them straight to the arms of populist charlatans.
So by now, you’ve figured out that it’s Bernie and Trump and their voters with the lack of knowledge and understanding of primary and party dynamics. Let me get started by saying that I’ve always supported a national set of primaries with openness to any party that can get to some kind of threshold TBD. I have felt that they should be regulated by the Feds to ensure that no one is disenfranchised and that they should be in keeping with the spirit of the Voting Rights Act. So this viewpoint is not in the interest of the duopoly that is our two party system, It’s also not in keeping with the philosophy of the party that loves “local control” and “states’ rights”.
Irony is not lost on me when I read that Trump is talking about suing the State of Louisiana over the tricks that the Cruz campaign pulled at the party convention. His voters tend to hate big gubermint, yet it’s federal control of primary elections that would eliminate these back channel deals. The problem in Louisiana is basically the delegates won by Marco Rubio. Rubio suspended his campaign. He has delegates that were basically elected but they now have a dead candidate. They’ve essentially become free agents as zombie delegates.
Following a report that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) may win more delegates in Louisiana’s primary than Donald Trump, even though Trump won the state, the Republican presidential frontrunner threatened to file a lawsuit on Sunday.
Trump complained about the “rotten political system” during a Sunday interview on ABC’s “This Week.”
“The Republican tabulation system is a broken system. It’s not fair,” he said.
“I won Louisiana and now I hear he’s trying to steal delegates,” Trump added, referring to Cruz. “What’s going on in the Republican Party is a disgrace. I have so many more votes and so many more delegates.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, Republican in Louisiana expect the five unbound delegates that had been awarded to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to back Cruz now that the Florida senator is out of the race. Cruz’s supporters have also secured key positions on convention committees, which could help the Texas senator at a contested convention, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Jason Doré, the executive director of the Louisiana Republican primary, told the Times-Picayune that the party is “really confident in the rules” and is prepared for a lawsuit from Trump.
Doré said that any disagreement over Rubio’s delegates is “is between Mr. Trump and those guys,” and added that the delegates have not yet made any final decision.
Zombie delegates may also wind up being very important should Trump not achieve the proper amount prior to the Republican National Convention. If Trump can’t win on the first ballot, then Zombie delegates can go anywhere.
“Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd took on the issue Sunday of why Donald Trump needs to score a first-ballot win at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer.
Delegates who may support Trump on the first ballot, but could abandon him after that.
Here’s the transript from the show:
Donald Trump is in a race to 1,237. It’s a number now we’re all getting used to and familiar with. And he can’t afford to miss hitting that magic number. And here’s why. Because there’s already an effort underway to stop him on a second ballot at the convention in Cleveland. Right now, Trump has 752 delegates and a 282 delegate lead over Ted Cruz.
In order to hit the magic 1,237 majority number and earn that glide path the nomination, Trump has to win 54 percent of the remaining delegates. And he has some favorable contests coming up, like his home state of New York, which has 95 delegates up for grabs, and a winner-take-all state of New Jersey, where maybe his buddy Chris Christie can help him win those 51 delegates.
But, the race is already on to create sort of delegate double agents. If Trump fails to win that majority on the first ballot these are people who will promise to dump Trump on the second ballot. And then there’s an effort underway to mobilize zombie delegates. These are delegates who are pledged to candidates who have dropped out of the race.
They could switch their vote over to someone else in the race, maybe even on the first ballot. Maybe it’s Cruz, maybe it’s Trump. So to discuss all of this, I’m joined by our resident zombie expert, Ben Ginsberg, Republican delegate guru, who served, of course, as lead counsel to the Bush/Cheney campaign of 2000 and he was Mitt Romney’s lawyer in 2012. So the zombie apocalypse will hit Cleveland.
So we have free-agent delegates, we have zombie delegates. I want to talk about the free-agent delegates first, because we have Donald Trump this morning already angry about this. Louisiana, he wins the primary big, he should get a lion’s share of the delegates. The Cruz campaign claims they actually are going to have more delegates out of Louisiana, a state they lost, than Trump. How did they do it? Explain.
The way they managed to do it is that 44 of the 56 states and territories give the candidates no role in choosing who the delegates will pick.
Who the individuals are.
Who the individuals are. And so a well-organized campaign will go into all these state conventions and state executive committee meetings and manage to get supporters of theirs. They’ll be bound on the first ballot to the winner of their state primary, but not for any of the procedural rules issues, and not for the second ballot.
All right. So they’re the double agents. Now, let’s talk about zombie delegates. These are the people, and I want to put up a graphic here. There are a group of unbound delegates. We know there were always going to be over about a hundred, we’ve done the math here, over about a hundred of them, 169 of them come from states that have chosen not to hold a contest, Colorado chief among them. And then there’s another 175 of the zombie delegates. These are people, mostly Marco Rubio delegates out of Virginia and Minnesota, but there a handful of Carson, maybe one or two Jeb Bush’s. What is their role in all of this?
So basically, this is a problem with free delegates, zombie delegates and double agents. I learned about all of this from Ginsberg and Todd on Sunday.
Bernie’s issues are different. He’s way behind but his campaign has decided to try to hype up his supporters, continue fundraising, and whine about the delegate math set up by the Democratic Party. We’ve been seeing the Deadenders for Bernie for some time now. It’s been basically over since the Steel Magnolias of the South Sung. But, we’ve been seeing all kinds of attempts by the campaign to spin a different tune. Sanders–who was once berating superdelegates–has been actively courting them. However, that’s backfiring according to Reuters. It seems that we have more instances of BernieBro Bullying.
Interviews with 10 of the 505 super delegates supporting Clinton Reuters has reached show that nine of them have been approached by people purporting to back Sanders, and nearly all were displeased by the tone of the outreach.
Isabel Framer of Ohio, a superdelegate for Clinton, for example, got a voice mail last week urging her to vote for Sanders “in accordance with the will of the people.”
On the voice mail, heard by Reuters, the anonymous male caller says: “I think it’s crap that you get to vote whichever way you want… I’ll be watching your vote.”
“I’m not easily frightened,” Framer told Reuters. “I’m not going to change a vote over threats.”
Akilah Ensley, a North Carolina superdelegate, said she started hearing more often from Sanders supporters after her name appeared on a Wikipedia list noting her support for Clinton. “Some of them were nice, and some were rather abrasive,” she said, adding “attacking my decisions is probably not the best way” to change her mind.
Luis Heredia, an Arizona superdelegate for Clinton, said he has received over 30 phone calls, emails and instant messages from Sanders supporters. “The majority of them are more angry, and the tone is more demanding,” Heredia said.
Lacy Johnson, an Indiana superdelegate backing Clinton, meanwhile, said he had received a mix of messages, including one that he said threatened: “we will make you pay.”
Andres Ramirez, a political consultant in Las Vegas, Nevada, and a superdelegate supporting Clinton, said in the past campaigns would typically try to soft-sell their candidates rather than use pressure tactics.
“The way this has gone down, in my experience, has never happened before,” said.
Sanders continues to attack the party which probably isn’t the best approach when wooing party insiders.
“Bernie’s campaign is focused on reaching out to all voters and earning delegates at primaries and caucuses,” he said in a statement, stressing that the Sanders campaign was not coordinating with supporters to contact superdelegates.
However, the unofficial push could complicate the U.S. Senator from Vermont’s efforts to woo the critical bloc in the coming months.
The effort has at times taken an angry tone, some of the messages reviewed by Reuters showed, reflecting the anti-establishment tinge of the 2016 presidential race where many voters are unhappy with Washington insiders.
Some 85 percent of the 4,763 delegate votes to the Democratic National Convention that will decide who will face a Republican rival in the November election are determined by the results of states’ nominating contests. But the remaining 15 percent are held by superdelegates, who get to vote however they like – meaning they could hold the key to a tight contest.
Superdelegates are made up of party leaders and elected Senators, members of Congress, and governors. The Democratic party adopted the system in the early 1980s as a way of giving party leaders more control over the nominating process, though they have yet to play a decisive role in a nomination.
“The idea there is that you’ve got people who have a long view … who have, arguably, the best interests of the party at heart,” said Terri Fine, a professor of political science at the University of Central Florida.
Bernie’s folks continue to see all states and all primary efforts as equal. The Michigan win may have been meaningful, but this weekend’s Western Caucuses were not. I’ve had to continually remind my Bernie friends that the Washington Caucus gave the state win to Howard Dean AFTER he’d lost the election. But, hope and not math, springs eternal with these folks who still keep pouring money down the Bernie Drain. It is going to give us about a week of insufferable Bernie worship.
Hillary’s popular vote lead was almost identical before and after Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii voted.
According to the website RealClearPolitics, 15.3 million Democratic primary voters had cast their ballots prior to Saturday. Of those voters, 8.9 million had voted for Hillary, and 6.4 million had voted for Bernie. This amounts to a margin of 58% vs. 42% — a blowout margin by most electoral standards.
Saturday’s voters preferred Bernie by a large margin, but these were small states. As of Sunday, official reports only showed about 60 thousand total votes in the three states, while the higher estimates of party officials still indicated fewer than 300 thousand total votes. This means that the overall popular vote remains basically unchanged: Hillary has roughly 9 million votes, while Bernie still has roughly 6 and a half million. Translated into percentages, the total effect of Bernie’s “landslide” victories was that Hillary is still winning 58% to 42%. Only if you add a decimal point does Bernie’s Western sweep even change the percentages.
The Donald has a huge woman voter problem that he may be sharing with Sanders now. Sanders may be catching up to Trump quickly because he gave his wife a rude, public brush off with a condescending wave and a few brusque words. Twitter was agog yesterday feeling the Bern bullying his wife. No woman whose been a wife could miss it.
There’s an awkward video of Bernie Sanders and Bernie’s interaction with his wife Jane Sanders that’s making the rounds, and it’s not a good look for Bernie. Senator Sanders was speaking in Madison, Wisconsin, when the “snub” against Jane happened. The Democratic presidential candidate spoke at a campaign stop on Saturday, March 26, with Bernie being exuberant over his recent victory — however, during that celebration, Sanders made a move against Jane that isn’t going down well over the Interwebs.
Additionally, Bernie is spending a ton of money on those huge rallies.
Bernie Sanders’ revolution may be growing directly from the grass roots, but he’s paying top dollar for the places where it’s coming together.
In February, the Sanders campaign, flush with cash from its small-donor network, spent $1.6 million on site rentals, ticketing and “sound/stage/lighting,” pursuing ever-larger venues for his followers to gather in, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
And the spending this month may well exceed February. On Friday, for instance, the Sanders campaign is staging a pep rally for the Washington state caucuses at Safeco Field in Seattle, the Mariners’ baseball stadium that holds up to 54,000 people.
It’s a sign that the Sanders campaign plans to keep spending big as it works to compete with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton across the board.
Meanwhile, the Beltway Press has moved on. This is from The Hill today: Who will be the 2016 running mates? Bernie may be holding huge vanity rallies but his name is missing from this piece.
Now that GOP front-runner Donald Trump has released the names of some of his foreign policy advisers, it’s only a matter of time before pundits, reporters and voters start demanding to know whom he intends to pick as his vice presidential running mate.
When politely asked now, Trump responds, “I need to win the nomination first. After that, I’ll think about it.”
To the untrained eye, this seems like a reasonable answer; however, no insider I know believes The Donald hasn’t already begun to create a short list of possible candidates.
Ditto Hillary Clinton. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has been around the block too many times not to have several running mates in mind, even if it still is March.
Here are some more examples of folks telling Bernie to listen to that singing lady. From the LATIMES: As California primary nears, state Democrats are uniting behind Clinton and against a common enemy: Trump
Most of Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ supporters in California say they expect that come November, Hillary Clinton will be elected president — and, by and large, they’re OK with that.
While both Democratic camps prepare for a final battle in the state’s June 7 primary, the latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times statewide poll found that just over half of Sanders’ supporters said they expected Clinton to be the next president. About a third of Sanders’ backers said they expected the Vermont senator to emerge the winner, and 12% said they thought Donald Trump would prevail.
Close to 8 in 10 Sanders supporters said in the survey that they would vote for Clinton in a race against Trump, although many said they would do so reluctantly.
Those findings show the reality underlying the still-heated rhetoric of the Democratic primaries: By contrast with the civil war that divides Republicans,Democrats in the country’s largest state have begun to coalesce behind their front-runner.
Meanwhile, Bernie is dying for more debates. The Clinton Campaign is beginning to pushback. They have little to gain if Bernie continues to attack her while each debate brings no new information to the table.
Hillary Clinton’s chief campaign strategist laid into Bernie Sanders’ camp on Monday for its insistence upon a debate before the April 19 primary in New York, remarking that the Vermont senator has reneged on his promise to avoid running a negative campaign and therefore does not get to dictate the terms of any future debates.
Appearing on CNN, Joel Benenson was asked about comments from the Sanders campaign over the weekend calling for another debate before the New York primary, though he said he did not see that as the most notable story out of the weekend. Instead, he referred to a Washington Post story in which Sanders’ campaign discussed possible efforts to sharpen rhetoric against the former secretary of state. “They’re talking about running harsher negatives now,” Benenson said, responding that he was not distracting from the issue but explaining the campaign’s stance.
“Because I think the real question is what kind of campaign is Sen. Sanders going to run going forward,” Benenson remarked. “He pumped $4 million in the weekend before March 15, and he lost all five states on March 15. They spent about $4 million running negative ads.”
“This is a man who said he’d never run a negative ad ever. He’s now running them, they’re now planning to run more,” he continued. “Let’s see the tone of the campaign he wants to run before we get to any other questions.”
CNN’s Kate Bolduan then inquired why the campaign would not agree to debate in New York despite agreeing in January to more debates. Benenson responded, “Because we agreed to debates up to a certain point. We’re now out campaigning in these states.”
“What’s the risk?” Bolduan asked.
“There’s no risk. She’s done very well in the debates. The debates have been very good, but Sen. Sanders doesn’t get to decide when we debate, particularly when he’s running a very negative campaign against us. Let’s see if he goes back to the kind of tone he said he was going to set early on. If he does that, then we’ll talk about debates,” Benenson said.
It seems that everyone but the Bernie Bros is getting tired of Bernie the Bully. Listen to the chorus of singing fat ladies instead of the songs of angry men for a change!!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Posted: March 25, 2016 Filed under: 2016 elections | Tags: Ben Carson, Bernie, extra marital sex, not doing his job, quid pro quo, Ted Cruz, Trump misogyny and plagiarism
Outrageous and untrue conspiracy theories have followed wherever Hillary Clinton has ventured. This week appears to be one major attack of the killer gossip for nearly all our usual suspects. For once, Hillary is not the center of any of them. I’m just going to go with all of this even though my better wisdom beings tell me that it’s a lot of idle chatter.
So who doesn’t like a good scandal every once and a while?
The National Enquirer which is well known for breaking the seal on famous extra marital adventures of pols like John Edwards started following the adventures of lying–and possibly cheating–Ted. Yesterday’s headlines spun stories of five women who could actually hold their noses long enough to have sex with this really sorry excuse for a human being. The most self-righteous “family values” pols are frequently the biggest hypocrites when it comes to adventurous sex lives. So, while Cruz is so vile it’s hard to believe he could get one woman let alone a number of them, I’m going to go with the story here. Now, the author of this is like 1 degree of separation from a Trump crony but still, the intrepid Enquirer usually brings home the bacon and Ted Cruz is a pig among men. How much money does it take to get a lady to bed this dud?
“Private detectives are digging into at least five affairs Ted Cruz supposedly had,” claimed a Washington insider.
“The leaked details are an attempt to destroy what’s left of his White House campaign!”
The ENQUIRER reports that Cruz’s claimed mistresses include a foxy political consultant and a high-placed D.C. attorney!
There are also whispers of other intimate late-night sessions Ted has had in Washington — and even a wild sex worker makes the cut!
There’s actually names and pix!
Despite being partially-obscured, three of the five women alleged to have been involved with Cruz have already been identified: Katrina Pierson, Sarah Isgur Flores and Amanda Carpenter. This story was already in the works at Breitbart, as Allum Bokhari had it back in February but was not permitted to run with it. The current timing strikes me as intriguing given the fact that Donald Trump already warned the Cruz campaign that there would be reprisals for their advertised attack on his wife Melania.
It also looks as if the Rubio campaign had the dirt on Cruz, but sat on it in order to keep him viable against Donald Trump.
So, what would this kind of story be without a link to a right wing conspiracy site? Uh, you can go there if you want because it’s rather interesting actually.
Interestingly Sarah Isgur Flores, in addition to being a well known political operative, was also the campaign manager for Carly Fiorina. And that little factoid brings an earlier discovery into question; where the Super-PAC for Ted Cruz (Keep the Promise) actually sent the Super-PAC for Carly Fiorina (Carly for America “CfA”) $500,000 (link).
Alabama’s governor has also be caught up in a sex scandal. More-Pious-than-Thou Republican Governor Robert Bentley’s wife has filed for divorce over the release of a some what juicy but not as juicy as Anthony Wiener’s sexting audio tape. Ah, a Republican, their dick, and their mistress! What could be more apropos during the election season!
A day after shocking audio tapes revealed Gov. Robert Bentley made inappropriate comments of a sexual nature to his chief political advisor, questions over the future of the Alabama governor remain.
In the wake of accusations by former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency chief Spencer Collier, who Bentley fired Tuesday, the governor apologized for comments made to advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason but denied having a physical affair with the married mother and his former communications director.
On Tuesday, Bentley announced the firing of ALEA chief Collier, who said he learned of his dismissal on social media. Collier later announced he had seen and heard evidence of an affair between the married governor and Mason. Collier’s statements were the first on-the-record comments regarding the governor’s relationship with his advisor. Rumors of the affair began circulating shortly after Dianne, Gov. Bentley’s wife of 50 years, filed for divorce in the summer of 2015.
Bentley held a Wednesday press conference to deny a sexual relationship with Mason but apologized for what he described as “inappropriate comments.”
“I am truly sorry and I accept full responsibility,” Bentley said, adding, however, he had broken no laws.
Donald Trump continues his absolute scandalous behavior with women. He can’t stop saying sexist and misogynist things. His Twitter account is a trifecta of terror against women. He’s said horrid things about Hillary Clinton already. It can only get worse as the election wears on and wears on all of us.
The altercation underscores the striking nastiness of the GOP primary race and the uncomfortable gender politics surrounding Trump, who has a long history of making incendiary remarks about women and their appearance. Trump has shown little reluctance in attacking his female rivals — or some of his rivals’ spouses — in ways that strike many as sexist or demeaning, and many fear that the insults are a harbinger of the gutter rhetoric to come if he faces Clinton in November.
Trump has called Clinton “very shrill,” belittles her for a lack of stamina and energy, and late last year jabbed her and husband, Bill Clinton, for the latter’s marital indiscretions while he was president. In another instance, Trump said Hillary Clinton “got schlonged” in her 2008 primary fight against then-Sen. Barack Obama.
“I have some very real concerns should he become the nominee. I think it would be catastrophic for our party,” said GOP strategist Katie Packer, who leads the Our Principles PAC, an anti-Trump super PAC. “Half of the reason why I’m fighting so hard to stop Donald Trump is because I think he’s a walking, talking stereotype of a sexist misogynistic pig.”
Polling shows Trump sliding among women in recent months, hurting the GOP’s already shaky position with that demographic. Trump’s favorability numbers have decreased 10 points among women nationwide since November, to 23 percent, while his unfavorable number among women has jumped to 75 percent from 64 percent, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll taken this month.
Ben Carson continues to amaze his with statements that seem to come from a parallel universe. He’s taking credit now for Trump “seeming more presidential”. I’m not sure what’s the bigger lie. Is it his characterization of his role or Trump?
Ben Carson says he’s rubbing off on Donald Trump and has convinced him — at least in flashes — to act more presidential.
“I’ve had talks about being presidential, about toning it down a bit, appealing to a broader group of people,” Carson said in a phone interview on Friday morning. “You did notice that he wasn’t nearly as caustic in the last debate. People appreciated that. It’s a matter of cultivating and capitalizing on that.”
But Carson acknowledged he couldn’t hold back Trump’s instincts forever. Trump provoked another food fight this week when he accused Ted Cruz of disseminating a racy magazine photo of Trump’s wife, Melania, and threatened to “spill the beans” on Cruz’s wife, Heidi. He went further, retweeting a supporter’s unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz, prompting Cruz to lash out and call Trump a “sniveling coward.”
Carson said the moment is part of a broader craving by the public for gladiatorial combat among politicians.
“You know, when I was in the race, that was what I complained about constantly, the fact that it was getting into personalities,” he said. “We have all these serious things. Nobody wanted to hear that. We want to hear juicy stuff … Maybe it’s just human nature.”
This is the same pious dude that’s under suspicion of a quid pro quo for throwing his support behind STrump. STrump also appears to have plagiarized an Op Ed of Carson. I guess cheating is all in the Republican Family.
After Ben Carson on Monday said that he discussed with Donald Trump a possible role in his administration, Carson on Wednesday said that the two “did not discuss any quid pro quo.”
CNN’s Erin Burnett asked Carson on Wednesday about his discussions with Trump and what kind of role he would expect in the administration if Trump were elected president.
“First of all, we did not discuss any quid pro quo. There seems to be a great desire by many people to try and make it seem that way,” Carson said in response. “But we did agree that we’re both extremely interested in saving America — particularly for the next generations, and that we will continue to work together in the process of doing that.”
During a Monday interview with Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg, Carson said he would be involved in an “advisory capacity” when Malzberg asked if he would be part of Trump’s administration. When pressed for details, Carson said he could not share more since nothing was final.
Burnett also asked Carson about a report showing that Trump appeared to plagiarize parts of an op-ed written by Carson. The retired neurosurgeon seemed unfazed by the potential plagiarism.
“I would say that many of the people who worked for me previously are now working for Donald Trump, so that doesn’t surprise me at all,” Carson said. “Let me put it this way: it doesn’t bother me at all.”
Well, at least it gets our minds off Benghazi!!!! and Email!!!!
So, let’s look at a scandal here of the Bernmeister. He’s not to be left off our hypocrite of the day list.
Dozens of veterans died while waiting for medical care at Phoenix Veterans Health Administration facilities, a scandal CNN broke in the spring of 2014. The imbroglio spread with reports of secret waiting lists at other VA hospitals, possibly leading to dozens more preventable deaths.
He held one-sixth of the hearings on oversight that his House of Representatives counterpart held. Republicans griped that they had made multiple requests for more oversight hearings, but received no response. A news host even challenged Sanders as the scandal erupted, saying he sounded more like a lawyer for the VA than the man responsible for overseeing it.
“We feel that he did not live up to his responsibilities as SVAC chairman to provide oversight into this. He keeps hiding behind the mantle [of the title]. And yes, he did pass the $15 billion piece of legislation, but that’s… akin to closing the barn door after the chickens have escaped,” said Matthew Miller, the chief policy officer of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
By the time the scandal broke, Sanders had been chairman for more than a year. While the House VA committee held 42 hearings on VA oversight, the Senate VA committee chaired by Sanders held only about seven hearings on the matter.
“The House needed a partner in the Senate to help flesh out the problems at the VA, and unfortunately Bernie Sanders was not that partner. Jeff Miller and his committee were the ones who pursued this and ultimately uncovered [the VA scandal]… only when the VA scandal broke was when [Sanders] ultimately decided to do oversight hearings,” said Dan Caldwell, the vice president for political and legislative action of Concerned Veterans for America.
Ah, Saint Bernie! We know ye far too well!
Well, that’s something completely different from me!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Posted: March 22, 2016 Filed under: Barack Obama, Foreign Affairs, morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Arizona primary, Bernie Sanders, Brussels attacks, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Idaho caucuses, ISIS, Mitt Romney, Mormon women, Mormonism, Obama in Cuba, Salah Abdeslam, Ted Cruz, terrorism, Utah caucuses
A series of terrorist bombings took place in Brussels, Belgium early this morning just days after the capture of Salah Abdeslam, the last surviving member of the group that perpetrated the attacks in Paris last November. This is a breaking story.
NPR: Terrorist Bombings Strike Brussels: What We Know.
At least 26 people are dead and more than 100 wounded, after explosions struck Brussels during the Tuesday morning rush hour, Belgian officials say. Two blasts hit the international airport; another struck a metro station. Belgium has issued a Level 4 alert, denoting “serious and imminent attack.”
“What we feared has happened, we were hit by blind attacks,” Prime Minister Charles Michel said at a midday news conference Tuesday. He added that there were many dead and many injured.
Citing Minister of Social Affairs and Health Maggie De Block, Belgian media say 11 people died in the airport attack. Transit and other officials say 15 people died at the metro station. Those same sources say there were 81 injured at the airport and 55 hurt in an attack on a train near the Maelbeek station.
French President Francois Hollande says, “terrorists struck Brussels, but it was Europe that was targeted — and all the world that is concerned.”
Obviously, the number of dead and injured could go up as authorities learn more. See live tweets with photos at the link.
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – MARCH 22: Passengers are evacuated from Zaventem Bruxelles International Airport after a terrorist attack on March 22, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. At least 13 people are though to have been killed after Brussels airport was hit by two explosions whilst a Metro station was also targeted. The attacks come just days after a key suspect in the Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, was captured in Brussels. (Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)
Slate is posting updates on a live blog.
Three explosions rocked Brussels on Tuesday morning, killing more than two dozen people and injuring an untold number of others, according to local authorities and reports from the ground. While the cause of the blasts—two at the city’s airport and then one in its subway system about an hour later—remain unknown, officials are treating them as acts of terrorism. The carnage comes only days after Belgium police arrested Salah Abdeslam, the man believed to be the sole remaining survivor of the 10 men who carried out the terrorist attacks in Paris this past November that killed 130 people.
The latest update says “several of the apparent attackers may still at large.”
Metro train after Brussels attack
CNN reports: Brussels eyewitness: ‘A lot of people were on the floor.’
Jef Versele, from the Belgian city of Ghent, was making his way to check-in for a flight to Rome at Brussels Airport Tuesday morning when he heard a loud noise emanating from several floors below him.
“At first I was not aware that it was a bomb,” he told CNN. “I had the idea that an accident had happened in a food court or something like that.”
The explosion set off a panic, with people screaming and running through the terminal, before it was followed by a second explosion, “which was in my eyes much more powerful than the first one.”
The second blast, which blew out windows at the airport and brought ceiling panels down, left people collapsed on the floor and triggered even greater panic.
“It was quite a mess,” he told CNN.
He said although he was two floors above the source of the explosions — at least one of which was a suicide bombing, according to Belgian prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw — many people around him were injured by the blast. He said there about 50 to 60 injured on his level of the airport, while the scenes on the lower levels were worse.
“A lot of people were on the floor. They were injured,” Versele said. “I think I was lucky, I was very lucky. I think I have a guardian angel somewhere.”
More eyewitness accounts at the link. Brussels is now on lockdown, according to the Boston Globe, which is also posting live updates.
U.S. President Barack Obama tours Old Havana with his family at the start of a three-day visit to Cuba, in Havana March 20, 2016. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters
President Obama is still in Cuba with his family, but he has been briefed on the attacks in Brussels. The Washington Post: Obama to address the Cuban nation in historic Havana visit.
President Obama will address the Cuban people directly Tuesday, delivering a speech that will be televised live on state television.
The address in Havana’s newly renovated Gran Teatro, before an audience of invited guests of the U.S. and Cuban government, is the keystone event in Obama’s two-and-a-half-day visit to the island. His top advisers said it represented his best chance to outline his vision of the future to ordinary citizens here, and to Cuban Americans at home.
White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters Monday the speech was “important because it’s the one chance to step back and to speak to the Cuban people, and all of the Cuban people,” including “Cubans in the United States.”
One of Obama’s overarching goals in fostering a diplomatic thaw with America’s longtime adversary, Rhodes said, was “reconciliation of the Cuban American community to Cubans here on the island.”
Still, even the speech’s setting spoke to the ongoing challenge the United States faces when it comes to engaging in a public dialogue in Cuba. American officials had originally hoped to do the address in an open-air setting, which would have allowed more ordinary citizens to attend. Instead, the national theater accommodates roughly 1,000 people, and the two governments evenly divided the tickets.
And even as the president seeks to highlight how his approach to Latin America has paid dividends, a series of blasts at Brussels’s airport and a metro station Tuesday served as a powerful reminder that terrorism overseas continues to threaten global stability. The apparently coordinated strikes have killed at least 26 people.
Back in the USA, Arizona is holding a presidential primary today and there will be caucuses in Idaho and Utah. (In Idaho, the Republicans have already voted.) On the Democratic side, Arizona, with 75 delegates, is the biggest prize.
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with supporters at a campaign rally at Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, Arizona March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni MARIO ANZUONI / Reuters
NBC News: Clinton, Sanders in Primary Showdown for Arizona’s Latino Vote.
PHOENIX, Ariz. — Guadalupe Arreola can’t vote in the Arizona primary Tuesday because she is undocumented, so she has spent the last few weeks encouraging Latinos who can to vote for Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. On Sunday, she hosted a phone bank at her house. More than 50 people showed up.
“There are people who still don’t know Bernie Sanders, and I want to raise awareness of who he is,” said Arreola, whose daughter Erika Andiola is Sanders’ Latino media spokeswoman.
Martin Hernandez said he likes Clinton’s stance on a number of issues important to Latinos, including healthcare and immigration. An organizing director for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 99, hesaid he especially likes that that she seems to understands the needs of Latino workers.
“I want somebody in the presidency who is going to help workers, especially those in our immigrant community,” he said. “They are the ones who face the most abuse. Many of them are underpaid and their rights are violated by their employers.”
Arreola and Hernandez represent the split that exists among Latino Democrats in Arizona on whether Sanders or Clinton should be the Democratic nominee for president. Both candidates have the backing of prominent Latino leaders, some of whom have appeared in television and radio ads being broadcasted across the state.
I’m not sure if NBC is just trying to make the primary look close or not. According to the Real Clear Politics average, Clinton is leading Sanders in Arizona 53-23, but FiveThirtyEight says there hasn’t been enough polling for them to project a winner. From everything I’ve heard, I think Hillary will win Arizona, and Sanders could win the Iowa and Utah caucuses.
Horrifying photo of Donald Trump at a rally in Salt Lake City.
However, there’s a wild card in Utah, according to Al Giordano (from privately distributed newsletter). He says that more and more Mormon women are voting Democratic, and it’s possible they could caucus for Clinton. Mormons absolutely hateand fear Donald Trump, so Giordano argues that it’s even possible that Utah could turn blue in November if Trump is the GOP nominee.
From McKay Coppins (who is a Mormon) at Buzzfeed: Mormon Voters Really Don’t Like Donald Trump — Here’s Why.
So far in 2016, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have proven to be one of the most stubbornly anti-Trump constituencies in the Republican Party — a dynamic that will likely manifest itself in Utah’s presidential caucuses next week.
National polling data focused on Mormon voters is hard to come by, but the election results speak for themselves. Even as Trump has steamrollered his way through the GOP primaries, he has repeatedly been trounced in places with large LDS populations.
In Wyoming, the third-most-heavily Mormon state in the country, Trump was able to muster just 70 votes in the low-turnout Republican caucuses there — losing to Ted Cruz by a whopping 59 points.
In Idaho, the country’s second most Mormon state, Trump lost the primary by 18 points.
And in the Mormon mecca of Utah, the most recent primary poll has Trump in third place — more than 40 points behind Cruz and 18 points behind Kasich.
The pattern holds at the county level as well. As New York Times data journalist Nate Cohn illustrated, the larger the proportion of Mormons in a given county, the worse Trump has generally performed in the primary contest there.
Much more at the link.
Mitt Romney will caucus for Ted Cruz in Utah.
Philip Bump at The Washington Post: Why Utah hates Donald Trump (Hint: it’s not just about Mormonism).
Donald Trump is getting crushed in Utah.
First, the state’s adopted son, Mitt Romney, went gunning for Trump for weeks on end, and eventually revealed that he was backing Ted Cruz in the upcoming caucuses. Utah is adjacent to Idaho and Wyoming, where Trump has seen two of his biggest losses so far, both to Cruz. In a poll from Y2 Analytics released over the weekend, Trump comes in third, 42 points behind Cruz. (If Cruz wins more than half of the votes in the state, he gets all of the state’s 40 delegates.)
What’s even more remarkable, though, is that another poll suggested that Trump would lose to either Democrat in Utah in the general election. Utah is, of course, one of the reddest states — if not the reddest state — in the country. “Any matchup in which Democrats are competitive in the state of Utah is shocking,” Brigham Young University’s Christopher Karpowitz said to the Deseret News about that result.
Why? Mormon voters, of course; but polling (see lots of graphics at the link) show that people of any religion who are regular church-goers are more likely to be anti-Trump.
What may be prompting the stiff resistance to Trump, then, isn’t just that Utah is home to a lot of Mormons — it’s that those Mormons are more religious and that religious voters are more likely to view Trump with hostility.
The good news for Trump is that most of the states with the largest groups of regular churchgoers have already voted. Most are in the Bible Belt, as you might expect — a region where Trump did very well. Political beliefs are more complicated than they might appear at first glance. Sort of like religious ones.
It’s an interesting wild card, and something to keep an eye on. I’d certainly expect Jewish voters to be frightened by Trump’s strong-man campaign.
So . . . lots of things happening around the world today. What stories are you following? Dakinikat will post a live blog this evening for us to discuss primary and caucus results.