Tentative Primary and Caucus Schedule
  March 1 (Super Tues)
  March 2-14
L blue   March 15-31
Delegates needed for nomination:
GOP: 1237,   Dem: 2242
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New polls:  
Dem pickups:  
GOP pickups:  

News from the Votemaster

TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  NYT Analyzed Trump's Speeches
      •  WaPo Analyzed Mass Shootings
      •  Gun Control Is Becoming a Hot Partisan Campaign Issue
      •  Are Trump and Cruz Like Goldwater?
      •  Is Rubio Scandal Brewing...Or Just Half-Baked?
      •  Bush Backers Are Sticking with Their Man

NYT Analyzed Trump's Speeches

The New York Times collected every word Donald Trump spoke in public last week and analyzed how many times he said various words and had experts study his way of speaking. The first thing that came out is his appeal to emotion over rational thinking. Whereas traditional candidates such as Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton come with detailed programs for taxes, jobs, foreign policy, and everything else, with Trump it is just "us" versus "them" and man are "they" scary. Psychologists and political scientists said that his way of speaking is in the tradition of demagogues like Charles Coughlin, George Wallace, Joseph McCarthy, Huey Long, and Pat Buchanan. Unlike George W. Bush, who said he wanted to be a uniter, Trump wants to divide people. There are winners (like him) and losers, like illegal immigrants, people captured during a war, and people with handicaps.

Unlike previous demagogues, however, Trump does not have a nasty, mean speaking style. He is easygoing and often tells jokes. This makes it easier for people to like him and trust him. In particular, since he doesn't offer 10-point programs to fix anything, he is just saying: "Trust me and when elected I'll fix the problem." He makes very complex problems, like immigration or the Middle East, sound easy to fix. Audiences like the idea that all they have to do is elect him and there will be unicorns dancing in the streets and all will be well with the world. (V)

WaPo Analyzed Mass Shootings

Not to be outdone, the Washington Post also has a detailed analysis of something in the news, but it chose to look at mass shootings over the past 50 years. The data cover 121 events in which four or more people were killed by a lone gunman (or two gunmen in three cases) and which were not related to robberies or other crimes where the shooters were trying to escape or kill police officers. An associated graphic allows you to see the details of each event. The article has far more statistics than can be summarized here.

It appears that the shootings in California have already overshadowed the events in Paris and the Republicans are going to use the California event to emphasize that they are better at stopping this kind of horrible crime, although they are unlikely to explain how they will do it since one of the California shooters was born in the U.S. and couldn't have been stopped at the border no matter how restrictive immigration policy was. Their most likely approach is simply to scare people and claim that Republicans are tougher on crime and criminals than Democrats. (V)

Gun Control Is Becoming a Hot Partisan Campaign Issue

The Washington Post is not alone in bringing up the subject of gun violence. As many voices have noted, mass shootings tend to trigger a very vocal short-term response, but little long-term change. That pattern may well hold with the recent shootings in San Bernardino, though there are some signs that things may be different this time. The New York Times took the very unusual step of running an anti-gun editorial on Page 1. Meanwhile, President Obama will deliver a special address from the Oval Office; only the third time in his presidency that he has done so.

Thus far, the response from the right has been predictable. Gov. Chris Christie blasted the NYT editorial as "liberal claptrap," while radio talker Erick Erickson shot the editorial full of holes...literally. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) observed that nobody is talking about "bomb control." Actually, that makes his opponents' point. You can't buy a bomb and as a consequence, bombings are rare because a would-be bomber has to build his own bomb. If a would-be shooter couldn't buy a gun but had to build his own gun, there would presumably be a lot fewer shootings.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Donald Trump both lamented California's restrictive gun-control laws, declaring that the victims of the shooting might be alive if they had been able to defend themselves. One wonders, then, what went wrong during the Charleston church shootings, or the incident in Arizona where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot—since those two states have some of the least restrictive gun laws in the nation. Not to mention the two different Fort Hood shootings, which took place in gun-friendly Texas, and at a place where many people (the MPs) are armed and nearly everyone is trained in how to deal with gunfire.

Meanwhile, at a different event, Cruz also put forward the argument that guns are an essential insurance policy against government tyranny. This may have been true in Thomas Jefferson's time, when the average citizen had access to essentially the same exact technology the government did. But not any more—in the extremely unlikely event that the U.S. government decides to impose its will by force, its B-2 bombers, M-1 Abrams tanks, and missiles will trump any number of small arms that private citizens may own.

Presumably Rubio and Cruz (and maybe even Trump) know that their assertions are facile and will not stand up to even the most cursory scrutiny. But they repeat them, ad infinitum, because they work with the voters that they are trying to court. There is a reason that these simplistic arguments sound like memes that could be posted to Facebook—because they are, and they have been. This is what President Obama is up against, and it is almost inconceivable to think that he will say anything that will change anyone's mind. As such, if today's address is not an announcement that he plans to use executive orders in place of legislative action, then he might as well save his breath. (Z)

Are Trump and Cruz Like Goldwater?

More and more people, including Republican politicians, are beginning to compare both Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to the ill-fated 1964 Republican nominee, Barry Goldwater. Goldwater's defeat was so complete that not only was he crushed 61% to 39%, but he was a disaster downticket as well, with Republicans losing 36 seats in the House as well. Trump and Cruz are different from each other, but like Goldwater, each is focused on a very narrow constituency, which is what scares the pros. Trump appeals mostly to poorly educated blue-collar workers who are angry with their place in the new economy, gains by women, minorities, and gays, and the end of what they see as the natural order of things. Cruz is focused entirely on hard-edged conservatives and evangelicals. The reasons the pros are worried is that they know to capture the White House, Republicans need to broaden their base, not narrow it. (V)

Is Rubio Scandal Brewing...Or Just Half-Baked?

A week ago, there were reports that the Bush campaign planned to "take down" Marco Rubio by leaking information about a mistress (or several mistresses), as well as various other unsavory and scandalous details. In the last 24 hours, stories of exactly that sort have begun to percolate on the periphery of the blogosphere.

No mainstream, or even semi-mainstream, outlet has reported the "news" yet, but you can bet that they (along with GOP and Democratic oppo research teams) are looking into it. It's possible that the story goes nowhere, but there are also two distinct ways in which it could be a game-changer. The first is if the charges prove to be true—it would be all-but-impossible for Rubio to be the candidate of the "family values" party with a mistress in his past. The second is if the charges prove to be false, and can be traced back to the Bush campaign. That would presumably be the end for Jeb, while being a boon for Rubio, as he might get some sympathy support, and would also have Florida all to himself. It's a shame that this story bears watching, but that's the reality of American politics. (Z)

Bush Backers Are Sticking with Their Man

Despite Jeb Bush's poor showings in the polls, hardly any of his backers have publicly abandoned him. Bush's top staff have managed to convince the donors that the voters really haven't made up their minds yet and that candidates like Trump and Carson are still going to flame out, leaving Bush in a strong position.

The main Bush super PAC still has $75 million in the bank, which is more than any of Bush's challengers. One strategy it is considering is spending it all to carpet bomb Ted Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) into oblivion, but not touch Donald Trump at all. The idea is that in the end, the voters would have to choose between a potential President and a clown. (V)

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---The Votemaster
Dec05 Trump Has Massive Lead in New Poll
Dec05 Is Trump's Lead Deceiving?
Dec05 A Jeb Bush Premortem
Dec05 Clinton's Favorability Is Up Compared to Sanders
Dec05 Economy Added 211,000 Jobs in November
Dec05 Miami Healthcare Magnate Will Run Anti-Trump Campaign
Dec05 Anti-Trump Protestors Are Getting Louder
Dec04 Could Trump Run as an Independent?
Dec04 Trump Addresses Jewish Republicans and Gets Mixed Reaction
Dec04 New Information Turns Up on Rubio's Personal Finances
Dec04 Thursday Saw Lots of Posturing on the Hill
Dec04 Trump Will Debate After All
Dec04 Karl Rove is Worried about the Senate
Dec04 Where We Stand on Gerrymandering
Dec03 Poll: Trump, Rubio, and Cruz Rising, Carson Falling
Dec03 Another Day, Another Mass Shooting
Dec03 Secret Memo Advises Republicans How to Behave if Trump is the Nominee
Dec03 TV Ad Spending Is Not Delivering Results
Dec03 Everybody Hates Ted Cruz
Dec03 Cruz' Assertion about Violent Criminals Doesn't Hold Up
Dec03 Alan Grayson's Key Staff Members Quit
Dec03 Our December Ranking of the Republican Candidates
Dec02 Cruz Says Rubio is Like Hillary Clinton
Dec02 Marco Rubio Starts Retail Campaigning
Dec02 New Jersey Newspaper Dissents from the Union Leader's Opinion
Dec02 All the Female Democratic Senators Have Endorsed Clinton, Except One
Dec02 Clinton Campaign Misfires with Rosa Parks Logo
Dec02 Bush on His VP: She Will Be a Great Partner
Dec02 The Politics of Climate Science
Dec02 Zuckerberg Organization To Take Aim at Trump
Dec01 The Idea of Cruz as Their Nominee Scares Republican Senators
Dec01 Cruz Says Most Violent Criminals are Democrats
Dec01 GOP Candidates Continue to Chip Away at Trump
Dec01 Trump wants $5M to Debate
Dec01 How Many Trump Supporters Are There, Actually?
Dec01 Kevin McCarthy: No Government Shutdown over Planned Parenthood
Dec01 Hillary Rodham Clinton is Now Hillary Clinton
Dec01 State Department Releases More of Hillary's Damn Emails
Nov30 Republican Field Reacts to Planned Parenthood Shootings
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?