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
Map explained
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)
      •  Why the GOP Is Not Going After Trump
      •  The Mud Is about to Start Flying in the Republican Race
      •  Trump Running an Ad Showing Illegal Immigrants Climbing a Wall
      •  The Big Dog Is Back
      •  Best to Avoid Sarcasm on the Campaign Trail
      •  Obama to Issue Executive Orders on Guns
      •  New Carson Book Out Today

Why the GOP Is Not Going After Trump

It is hardly a secret that the Republican establishment is scared to death of Donald Trump. Not only does it expect Hillary Clinton to crush him, but they expect him to hurt the party badly downticket. In particular, loyal Republicans who think Trump is a clown and can't bring themselves to vote for Clinton may stay home on Election Day, depressing Republican turnout. So why isn't the GOP establishment making a bigger effort to cleanse itself of Trump?

Byron York at the Washington Examiner has a few ideas about this, briefly summarized as follows:

  • Creating an organization with millions of dollars to carpet bomb Trump would be hard to set up quickly
  • Some donors think that such a plan would backfire since many Republicans hate their leaders
  • Those who think it would work want to wait until there is a clear alternative, which there isn't yet
  • The anti-Trump forces can't agree on who should lead the movement
  • Most GOP leaders are still in the denial stage and think Trump will fail on his own without them pushing

Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney's chief strategist in 2012, is all for going after Trump. He said: "The fact that someone who has been married three times, been bankrupt four times, is in the gambling business and has speculated publicly about the possibility of dating his daughter is a leading candidate is absurd." But Stevens appears to be in the minority for the moment. Given the time it would take to organize a really major effort to take Trump down, if it doesn't happen soon, it will never happen. (V)

The Mud Is about to Start Flying in the Republican Race

With only four weeks until the Iowa caucuses, the Republican candidates are about to take off their gloves and fight like real men (and one real woman). Experts expect as much as $100 million to be spent on negative television, radio, Internet, and direct mail ads this month. Although Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been leading in Iowa polls for a month, the race is still fluid and a barrage of ads could change things quickly.

The trouble with negative ads in a multicandidate race is that spending money to shoot down a candidate—even if the ad campaign works—may not help the candidate running the ad. General elections are pretty much zero-sum games: every voter the Democrats can dislodge costs the Republicans a vote and vice versa. Not so in primaries. If, for example, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), attempts to bludgeon front-runner Cruz, the now-disillusioned Cruz supporters may caucus for Ben Carson instead. Cruz is bracing himself for an onslaught. He told his supporters: "Strap on the full armor of God."

The worst of the ads may come in New Hampshire, where the race is more fluid than in Iowa. Any one of half a dozen candidates could win there. There will be blood on the floor before it is over. Even worse for the Republicans is that the Democrats are going to be recording every word of this and will be ready to replay the negative remarks for the voters in September to show what the other Republicans think of whoever the nominee is. (V)

Trump Running an Ad Showing Illegal Immigrants Climbing a Wall

Donald Trump is finally running an ad, one with the caption: "Stop illegal immigration." It depicts dozens of people running through the desert and trying to climb over a wall. Unfortunately, the wall is in Morocco and the people are trying to get into a Spanish enclave in Morocco called Melilla. And there is a wall there, but it isn't having much of an effect. Maybe Trump needs to hire a professional geographer to handle his next ad. (V)

The Big Dog Is Back

Up until now, Bill Clinton has played a very small role in his wife's campaign. No more. He is now campaigning full bore in New Hampshire, a state he nearly won in the 1992 primary, when he rescued his failing campaign. Whether the magic will work again remains to be seen, but he is giving it his all. His pitch is that Hillary is eminently qualified for the job and that the economy does better with a Democrat in the White House. He didn't address any of the attacks Donald Trump has launched on him. (V)

Best to Avoid Sarcasm on the Campaign Trail

Generally speaking, sarcasm depends upon vocal inflection and does not work well when being written or repeated. Carly Fiorina is taking advantage of this fact to try and dodge the fallout from her tweet expressing support for Iowa football against her alma mater Stanford in the Rose Bowl. Accused of some very ham-fisted pandering to primary voters in the Hawkeye State, Fiorina now claims that she was misunderstood and was just joking.

Hillary Clinton may be delivering up a similar clarification later this week. Reportedly, while fielding questions at a campaign stop, she declared that she would "get to the bottom" of the UFO mystery. If she really meant this, and has no concerns about looking kooky, she's bound to disappoint the true believers. Either there's no evidence of UFOs, or if there is, it's been kept classified for a reason. In any event, Clinton—who also called for an "a task force to go to Area 51"—was likely speaking tongue-in-cheek. Unfortunately for her (if that is indeed the case), the media seems to have missed this, and is reporting the story as straightforward news. So she may well be cleaning this one up on Tuesday. (Z)

Obama to Issue Executive Orders on Guns

With no hope of getting gun-control legislation through Congress, President Obama will turn to the one very limited option he has available: executive orders. Reportedly, on Tuesday he will declare that anyone who makes their living selling guns is a "dealer" and therefore has to conduct background checks when conducting a sale, while also emphasizing that federal laws regarding gun sales will be more stringently enforced.

The reaction to the President's maneuvering has been predictable. The NRA is angry, while the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is thrilled. Democrats lauded the move, and Republicans slammed it. Paul Ryan was particularly vocal; though he has not yet seen the actual orders, he nonetheless was able to determine that they represent a "dangerous level of executive overreach." The President's decision may come back to haunt the Democrats on Election Day, since "They're coming to get your guns" could absolutely get some otherwise unenthused Republicans out to the polls. (Z)

New Carson Book Out Today

It appears that Ben Carson, after briefly interrupting his book tour to run a presidential campaign, will finally get back to work—this time in support of his wife's new volume A Doctor in the House. Doctor is reportedly chock full of the kind of stories—Tall tales? Fantasies? Parables?—we've come to expect from the Carson family. The time he delivered his son in the bathroom, using a hair clip. The time he tried to commit suicide with rat poison. The time he single-handedly foiled a carjacking. No doubt journalists across the country are racing to see who can score the first debunking. (Z)

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---The Votemaster
Jan04 January Candidate List
Jan04 Rundown of Republican Primaries and Caucuses
Jan04 Everyone's Angry about Something
Jan04 Three-time Loser Endorses Carly Fiorina in New Hampshire
Jan03 Bernie Sanders Keeps Pace with Hillary Clinton in Fundraising
Jan03 Bush's Strategy: Destroy Everyone Else
Jan03 Previously Unknown Big Donors Getting Ready to Donate
Jan03 Trump Appears in Al Qaeda Recruitment Video
Jan03 Trump Says That Clinton, Obama Created ISIS
Jan03 New Year, Same Old Maneuvering
Jan03 Senators' Fates Might Be Beyond Their Control
Jan02 Clinton Raised $37 Million in Q4
Jan02 Carson Appoints a New Campaign Chairman
Jan02 Trump and Cruz on the Fence
Jan02 Politico's Insiders Talk about 2016
Jan02 Who is the Messenger?
Jan02 Carly Fiorina, Running for Panderer-in-Chief, Roots against Her Own School
Jan01 History of the Early States
Jan01 Bettors Think It's Rubio by a Nose
Jan01 Trump's Supporters May Be Prevented from Voting for Him
Jan01 Polls May Be Underestimating Trump Support
Jan01 Trump's Attacks on Bill May Help Hillary
Jan01 O'Malley Fails to Qualify for Ohio Ballot
Jan01 More Clinton E-mails Released
Jan01 No Matter Who Retires From the Supreme Court, Liberals Might Win
Dec31 Rubio Used His Position in Florida House of Representatives to Help Brother-in-Law
Dec31 Bush Cancels Ads in Iowa and South Carolina
Dec31 Can Trump Maintain His Lead in January?
Dec31 Trump Continues Attacking Bill Clinton
Dec31 Who is Raising the Most Money?
Dec31 The Worst Political Predictions of 2015
Dec31 The Big Stories of 2016
Dec31 British Professional Gambler Explains His Bets
Dec30 Trump Leads in Nevada
Dec30 The Attacks Are Increasing
Dec30 Trump Sets Sights on Bill Clinton; Plays With Fire
Dec30 Key Republican Lawyer Worrying about Logistics of a Brokered Convention
Dec30 Sanders Gets a New Superdelegate
Dec30 I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Bernie
Dec30 Hillary Clinton Is the Most Admired Woman in the World, for the 20th Time
Dec30 Pataki is Dropping Out
Dec30 Listen for the Dog Whistle
Dec30 One Person Attends an O'Malley Event in Iowa
Dec29 Trump about to Start Advertising Blitz
Dec29 Trump Attacking Hillary about Bill's Infidelities
Dec29 Too Many Polls?
Dec29 Election Math Strongly Favors the Democrats
Dec29 Breyer Won't Say If He Will Retire Under a Republican President
Dec29 Conservatives Are Lukewarm on Burr Challenger
Dec29 Republicans Are Afraid That Cruz Would Hurt Their Senate Chances