News from the Votemaster
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is widely despised on both sides of the aisle in the Senate and his Republican colleagues are beginning to show it. They are increasingly coming out in favor of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), not so much because they like Rubio but because they believe if Cruz is the Republican nominee, Hillary Clinton will crush him in the general election.
Republican leaders say the best indicator of who is really the strongest candidate is how the Democrats are reacting to Rubio and Cruz. The Democrats pound Rubio daily on his attendance record in the Senate, his missed briefings, his personal finances, and his policy proposals. They have nary a bad word to say about Cruz. Senate Republicans are thinking not only about the White House, but also about their own chamber. They are afraid that with a conservative firebrand at the top of their ticket, he will wreak havoc downticket and cost many of them their seats. Rubio is seen as safer and less polarizing.
The problem that Republican senators have, however, is that if large numbers of them openly come out in support of Rubio, it could help Cruz since much of the Republican base hates its own leadership. So help for Rubio has to be subtle, such as in the area of fundraising. (V)
Having raised a few eyebrows with his suggestion that the Planned Parenthood shooter was possibly a "transgendered leftist activist," Ted Cruz doubled down on that theme Monday evening, declaring:
Here is the simple and undeniable fact—the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats...Every time you have some sort of violent crime or mass killing you can almost see the media salivating, hoping, hoping desperately that the murderer happens to be a Republican so that they can use it to try and paint their political enemies.
It is unclear how Cruz "knows" this. Most violent criminals are disenfranchised and so, technically speaking, aren't a member of any party. We might also speculate that many of them are antisocial, and don't take much interest in politics. In any event, Cruz' assertions are mostly of interest because they make clear that he is committing lock, stock, and barrel to his strategy: Get the conservative Republicans excited; Democrats (and independents, and even moderate Republicans) be damned. He's going to ride his evangelical base to the White House, or else go down swinging. (Z)
Up until now, Gov. Kasich (R-OH) was the only candidate who has dared to fully confront Donald Trump, although Jeb Bush is just starting to get into the act as well. Once more than one or two start sniping at him, Trump is far less effective at shooting back. The word is starting to get out among the other candidates that Trump has to be taken down. Kasich has continued his now-unrelenting criticism. In addition to the ad that compares Trump to Hitler, he is now airing one that takes the billionaire to task for mocking disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski. Meanwhile, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ)—who last week hedged his bets and left open the possibility that Trump really did see thousands of New Jersey Muslims celebrating the 9/11 attacks—declared unequivocally on Monday that it "didn't happen." Finally, Carly Fiorina—appearing on Fox News Sunday—had some particularly pointed remarks regarding Trump's denials that he made light of Kovaleski's handicaps:
This is the pattern, isn't it? The pattern is—he says something insulting, offensive and outrageous; the media pays attention; then he claims we all misunderstood him. This is the pattern, perhaps, of an entertainer. It's certainly not the pattern of a leader.
Perhaps these attacks are just a blip on the radar. Or perhaps we have reached the Trump tipping point, and the decline and fall of the candidate has begun. GOP leadership is certainly hoping the latter is the case, though—as CNBC's Ben White points out— the party may still have a "Trump problem" even if the billionaire exits the race. He argues that Trump's constituency—disaffected white voters who are angry with the "establishment" in both parties—don't have a clear alternative to fall back on, and could well sit the election out if their champion is not on the ticket. Capturing (or recapturing) those voters may prove to be even more challenging than getting rid of Trump. (Z)
Asserting that the solid ratings for the GOP debates are entirely due to his presence, Donald Trump has announced that he won't participate in the next contest unless host CNN donates $5 million in his name to veterans' charities.
Trump knows that CNN is not going to write that check. So what is his game here? Perhaps he has tired of the debates and wants to give himself an out. Or maybe he is trying to create some sort of leverage, so he and CNN can reach a "compromise" in which he gets some other concession instead of the $5 million. Probably it is just blather, and tomorrow he will claim he was misunderstood. In any event, Trump himself acknowledged that if he does not appear on stage on December 19, he will look "chicken." So the odds remain excellent he'll be there, sans $5 million check. (Z)
From the amount of publicity he gets, one might be tempted to think half the country supports Donald Trump. In fact, it is quite a bit less. In reality, he is supported by about 25-30% of Republicans. Republicans represent about 25-30% of all voters, so Trump's support is in the range of 6-9% of all voters. To put this in perspective, about 9% of voters are Latinos, and they really dislike Trump.
For Trump to win the Republican nomination or the general election, he is going to have to expand his base considerably. Conceivably, if Ben Carson collapses or drops out, some of Carson's supporters might end up in Trump's column, but that is unlikely since Trump's supporters are largely less-educated, lower-income blue-collar workers. Carson's are better-educated evangelicals and if Carson drops out, the most likely candidate for them to gravitate to is Ted Cruz, not Trump. Trump is also viewed with extreme distaste by Democrats and even by Republican leaders. If Trump wants to occupy an oval office, most likely he will have to build one for himself in one of his buildings. (V)
Members of the House Freedom Caucus would love to attach a rider defunding Planned Parenthood to the omnibus spending bill that must pass by Dec. 11, in order to cause a government shutdown. But Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), said yesterday that the government will not be shut down, no matter what the Freedom Caucus would like. McCarthy knows very well that if the government shuts down, the Republicans will be blamed and this will hurt them in the elections next year. Since he controls the flow of legislation to the House floor, he can make sure the Freedom Caucus does not get its way. He also said that his focus for future legislation will be on improving national security, such as requiring all countries in the visa-waiver program to issue e-passports. Planned Parenthood is not on his agenda. (V)
After her husband, Bill Clinton, lost the governor's race in Arkansas in 1980 in part because voters didn't like her using her maiden name (Hillary Rodham), she changed her name to Hillary Rodham Clinton. She is not taking any more chances and is now just plain Hillary Clinton. That is the name she has placed on the official ballots in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, and other states. Media outlets generally use the name the candidates prefer, so no more "Hillary Rodham Clinton" anywhere. (V)
Yesterday the State Dept. released another 7,800 pages of Hillary Clinton's emails, including one that was mistakenly said to contain classified information but actually didn't. In all, about 2/3 of the 55,000 pages of her emails that are scheduled for release have already been released. No smoking guns have been found yet, but Republicans keep hoping that one will appear in one of the not-yet-released emails. (V)Email a link to a friend or share:
Nov30 Trump Campaign Showing Some Signs of Weakness
Nov30 New Hampshire Union Leader Endorses Christie
Nov30 Trump Scores Much Better in Online Polls than in Live-interviewer Polls
Nov30 Cruz and Rubio Plan to Divvy Up Jewish Bush Supporters
Nov30 Fewer White Voters Expected in Swing States
Nov30 Republicans May End Up with a Three-Way Race
Nov30 Clinton Releases Infrastructure Plans
Nov29 GOP Candidates: No Comment on Planned Parenthood Shootings
Nov29 Karl Rove Helps Ben Carson
Nov29 Carson Visits Refugee Camp in Jordan
Nov29 Carson A Product of...ObamaCare?
Nov29 Rubio Releases His First TV Ad
Nov29 Ballot Access May Separate the Sheep from the Goats
Nov29 Cruz Makes Campaigning a Family Affair
Nov29 Cruz' Shaky Electoral Math
Nov28 Trump Drops in New Poll
Nov28 DAPA Could Affect over a Million Voters
Nov28 Sanders Has More Women Donors Than Clinton
Nov28 GOP Insiders: Cruz Will Win Iowa
Nov28 What Happened to Carly?
Nov28 Alan Grayson Will Challenge Ted Cruz' Eligibility in Court If He Is Nominated
Nov28 2016 Candidates Using Some Really Shitty Language
Nov28 A Panacea for Fixing Congress?
Nov27 Cruz and Rubio Gun for Each Other, not for Trump
Nov27 What Happened to Bush?
Nov27 Trump's Pants on Fire, Yet Again
Nov27 Carson Headed to Jordan
Nov27 McConnell Wants to Eliminate Caps of Party Spending
Nov27 Obama Equates Syrian Refugees to the Mayflower Pilgrims
Nov27 Some of the Ways Candidates Are Trying to Appeal to Millennials are Lame
Nov27 Thanksgiving-themed Political Cartoons are Rampant
Nov26 Thanksgiving is Upon Us
Nov26 Koch Brothers Give Free Turkeys to Latinos
Nov26 Koch Brothers, Karl Rove, and Jeb Bush Are Afraid to Take on Trump
Nov26 Cruz Moves Up to Second Place in National Poll
Nov26 Trump Don't Know Much About History
Nov26 Rubio: God's Law Trumps Federal Law
Nov26 Clinton Still Ahead of Sanders in Iowa
Nov26 Islamophobia Has Consequences
Nov25 Half the GOP Delegates Will Be Chosen by March 15
Nov25 Is Trump's Nomination Inevitable?
Nov25 81% of Americans Don't Trust the Government
Nov25 Sanders, Trump, and Cruz Make the New Hampshire Ballot
Nov25 Does Clinton Have a Wall Street Problem?
Nov25 Clinton Apologizes for Use of Term Illegal Immigrant
Nov25 Rubio-backed Provision Could Cripple the ACA
Nov25 Kentucky Governor Restores Voting Rights to Some Criminals
Nov24 Americans Trust Clinton More Than Republicans on Terrorism
Nov24 Republicans Plan for Super Tuesday