Anyway, this is the part of Hillary Clinton’s mind that irks me and many others who want to be able to vote for her in the general election. Rather than tell West Virginians the truth that coal is the energy source of the past, not the future, Ms. Clinton apologized for speaking the truth in front of a different audience.
Voters in Appalachian coal country will not soon forget that Democrat Hillary Clinton told an Ohio audience in March that she would “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”
“It was a devastating thing for her to say,” said Betty Dolan, whose diner in this mountain hamlet offers daily testament to the ravages that mining’s demise has visited upon families whose livelihood depends on coal.
Mine closures, bankruptcies and layoffs are staples of lunchtime conversation for those who have not fled town in search of work. Like many fellow Democrats in the region, Dolan, 73, favors Republican Donald Trump for president, however rude he might seem to the proprietor of a no-frills restaurant known for its graham cracker pie.
“I’m going to go for the person who wants coal,” she said.
front-running Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton in West Virginia, where a pledge the former U.S. secretary of state made two months ago to kill coal miners’ jobs in favor of renewable energy continues to haunt her.…She had added that she doesn’t intend to abandon workers “who did the best they could to produce the energy we relied on” and apologized directly last week to an out-of-work foreman who confronted her in Williamson, West Virginia, but the general sentiment hasn’t played well in coal country.
“That was really a devastating comment,” said Robert DiClerico, a professor emeritus of political science at West Virginia University. He said he believes Clinton’s remark more than any other factor has boosted Sanders.
Solar Panels – Chicago Center for Green Technology
Mining coal is not even that big of a part of the Appalachian economy! 5% or something close to that per Wikipedia – $3.5 billion / $63.34 billion = approximately 5.5%
[West Virginia] has a projected nominal GDP of $63.34 billion in 2009 according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis report of November 2010…Coal is one of the state’s primary economic resources, first discovered in the state in 1742. The industry employs 30,000 West Virginians directly, resulting in $2 billion in wages and a $3.5 billion economic impact
In other words, coal is not that big of a slice of West Virginia’s current economy, more important for intangible reasons, like “optics”, and “tradition”, and “tradition” and other empty words. Ms. Clinton shouldn’t worry about putting coal miners out of business, she ought to suggest re-education programs to train coal extraction employees to work in solar and wind and other alternative energy fields instead! They get to keep being productive members of the 21st Century, and we make advances towards ameliorating global climate change.
Instead, she said this:
The exchange during a visit to a health center in Williamson, West Virginia, highlighted the challenge Democrats will face in November winning over working-class voters in states where that have lost jobs in manufacturing and mining.
“I don’t mind anybody being upset or angry” about the struggles of the industry, its workers and their families, Clinton said. “That’s a perfect right for people to feel that way. I do feel a little bit sad and sorry that I gave folks the reason and the excuse to be so upset with me because that is not what I intended at all.”
“I don’t know how to explain it other than what I said was totally out of context from what I meant because I have been talking about helping coal country for a very long time,” she responded at the start of several minutes of back-and-forth with Copley. “I understand the anger and I understand the fear and I understand the disappointment that is being expressed.”
and also, most maddening, Hillary Clinton’s pandering is not even necessary – West Virginia is not going to suddenly vote for a Democrat in the general election! They are a reliable Republican state!
David Myers, an out-of-work miner, echoed the profanity Trump has repeatedly used on Twitter to repudiate global warming. Like Trump, Myers and others in coal country say misguided plans to stop it are costing jobs.
“A man of my caliber should be able to get a job in a blink of an eye, but there’s no jobs to be had,” said Myers, 49, who wore miner coveralls to Trump’s rally.
Trump has dismissed global warming as a “canard,” “hoax” and “total con job,” citing cold weather snaps as evidence.
On the day of Obama’s 2012 reelection, Trump tweeted: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” In September, he told CNN, “I don’t believe in climate change.”
update: both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton already have retraining proposals, fwiw:
“We just don’t want to be forgotten,” said Betty Dolin, who co-owns a restaurant in Danville, about 20 miles southwest of Charleston, where customers tucked into hearty meals like meatloaf and country fried steak with gravy.
She pointed out the empty tables that would once have been filled. “We can’t have coal? Bring us something else,” she said. “And I don’t mean job training. A lot of these men are too old to train for another job.”
Presidential primaries tend to bring attention to local issues as candidates move from state to state, and as the candidates have come to West Virginia to campaign, coal has been no exception.
“These communities need help,” Mr. Sanders said last week at a food bank in McDowell County. “It is not the coal miners’ fault in terms of what’s happening in this world.”
In some ways, Mr. Sanders is not a natural candidate to be courting the votes of coal miners: He is outspoken on climate change and advocates moving away from fossil fuels. But his message of economic fairness has been embraced by white, working-class voters.
Music Monday continues with the never-ending struggle of Republicans to drape themselves with the coolness of liberal-leaning rock musicians, and failing to secure permission first…
Don’t Say I Never Warned You
Technically speaking, copyright laws allow political candidates to use just about any song they want, as long as they’re played at a stadium, arena or other venue that already has a public-performance license through a songwriters’ association such as ASCAP or BMI. However, the law contains plenty of gray area. If a candidate refuses to stop using a song in this scenario, an artist may be able to protect his “right of publicity” – Springsteen’s voice blaring over a loudspeaker is part of his image, and he has a right to protect his own image. “It’s untested in the political realm,” says Lawrence Iser, an intellectual-property lawyer who has represented the Beatles, Michael Jackson and many others. “Even if Donald Trump has the ASCAP right to use a Neil Young song, does Neil have the right to nevertheless go after him on right of publicity? I say he does.”
Iser represented David Byrne when the ex-Talking Head successfully sued Florida Republican Charlie Crist for using “Road to Nowhere” in a video to attack opponent Marco Rubio during a 2010 U.S. Senate campaign. He also helped Jackson Browne win a suit against John McCain in 2008 when the Republican presidential candidate played “Running on Empty” in an ad bashing Barack Obama on gas conservation.
And there was the allegation that Ted Cruz’s religiously-insane former Cuban Communist father, Rafael Cruz was friends with Lee Harvey Oswald, and was photographed with Oswald in New Orleans before President John Kennedy’s assassination.
The trouble really started yesterday when Donald Trump referenced the burgeoning conspiracy theory on Fox News. During an interview, the host brought up Rafael Cruz’s supposed influence over the evangelical community. Trump, a noted lover of both Philippians, countered with his own Christian credentials (read: Jerry Falwell Jr.). And then he said this:
And you know, his father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald being… you know—shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this? And nobody even brings it up. They don’t even talk about it. And that was reported, and nobody talks about it.
… I mean, what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting? It’s horrible.
The Fair Play for Cuba Committee was an American grassroots group for sympathizers of the Cuban revolution, with Oswald heading up the New Orleans branch. A branch that supposedly only consisted of two people—Oswald himself and a man named A.J. Hidell. Of course, A.J. Hidell was also probably just Lee Harvey Oswald again.
Which means, when it came time for Oswald to start handing out pamphlets in the summer of 1963, he needed to hire some people to get the word out. According to the Warren Commission report, that meant hiring two men (one of them Cuban, just like Rafael) out of the unemployment line for a bit of afternoon flyer work. One of the young men later provided testimony about his brief working relationship with Oswald, the other was never found.
According to records from Ancestry.com, Rafael did live in Dallas briefly in 1962 before moving to New Orleans. Now, here’s a photo from Dealey Plaza on the day of JFK’s assassination.
Probably not true, but we’ll never know unless President Trump1 decides to waterboard Rafael Cruz to get the truth out. And even then we’ll never know:
In February 1967, FBI official W. A. Branigan told deputy FBI director William Sullivan that the mystery man remained unidentified after an “ex[h]austive investigation.” In the context of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover’s query about gaps in the investigation, this person was singled out as an individual associated with Oswald who could not be identified.
The failure to investigate
By February 1967, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison was investigating an alleged JFK conspiracy in New Orleans and the FBI and the CIA began to watch him closely.
In April 1967 CIA director Richard Helms sent out a worldwide memo seeking to identify critics of the Warren Commission as irrational and anti-American and claiming that the Agency had fully cooperated with the Commission. Last October, Politico reported that CIA historian David Robarge now acknowledges that the CIA did not cooperate with the Commission but rather foisted a supposedly “benign coverup” on JFK investigators.
In September 1967 the CIA’s Counterintelligence Staff, headed by James Angleton, set up a “Garrison Group” to monitor the New Orleans investigation. Angleton’s people never identified Oswald’s collaborator in handing out pro-Castro pamphlets either.
The Garrison Group was more concerned about preventing Garrison from identifying Cubans who had worked with the agency than it was about investigating Oswald’s Cuban contacts. One possible explanation: George Joannides, undercover case officer for the CIA-funded Cuban Student Directorate in Miami in 1963, maintained a residence in New Orleans, according to sworn testimony of U.S. Attorney Ron Machen.
The bottom line
So while there is no reason to think that the man in the picture is Rafael Cruz, the theoretical possibility cannot be eliminated, thanks to the government’s failure to thoroughly investigate JFK’s assassination. Once again the malfeasance (or incompetence) of the CIA and FBI has empowered a conspiracy theorist whose speculations serve to obscure, not clarify, the historical record.
I’d read before that the law was squishy about whether photographing one’s ballot was legal or tolerated, or not. Since I looked this law up today, I’m posting it here.
On this page, we provide a list of election laws, websites, and contact information for election officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Contacting your state election officials is a great way to get information about what your state allows in terms of documenting the vote. As you learn new information, please contact us and let us know how your state is handling these requests, so we can share that information on this site.
This page begins with a chart summarizing the law in each state in order to determine whether your state allows recording inside polling places. Click on your state for specific information and notes. For general guidelines on photography and videography in and around polling places, see the general Documenting the Vote 2012 page.
Select a state below to jump to its relevant information.
Contact Information: Illinois State Board of Elections Springfield Office: (217) 782-4141 Chicago Office: (312) 814-6440 E-mail: email@example.com
10 Ill. Comp. Stat 5/29-9 states that “any person who knowingly marks his ballot or casts his vote on a voting machine or voting device so that it can be observed by another person, and any person who knowingly observes another person lawfully marking a ballot or lawfully casting his vote on a voting machine or voting device, shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.” It is not clear whether this provision would apply to display of a ballot after it has been marked, or just to the actual act of marking the ballot. If the latter interpretation were followed, it would still be unlawful to livestream your activities in the voting booth, and possibly to post video of your filling out your ballot.
As far as I can tell, nobody has been prosecuted in Illinois for photographing an actual ballot since smartphones became prevalent, but to my non-lawyer eyes, the law is not crystal clear. Even still, why risk it?
And from a 2014 article:
Illinois: According to state election code, voters are not allowed to take pictures of their marked ballots and show them to other people. Doing so could result in a class 4 felony. Bernadette Harrington, legal counsel for the Illinois State Board of Elections, said that there is no specific prohibition on photography in a polling place, although taking a photo of another person’s marked ballot is barred. Verdict: Ballot photography banned. Polling place photography allowed.
Trump did not, in fact, fall down, instead he exposed the chasm between GOP elites and the rubes who historically voted against their own interests. If given a choice, the GOP rank and file don’t support GOP orthodoxy as much as expected…
But as the results from Tuesday’s Nevada caucuses confirmed again, Trump has built a large constituency inside the Republican Party based on a set of positions that marry two streams of thought not typically brought together by liberal or conservative politicians.
On the one hand, his call to deport 11 million immigrants who are here illegally, his support for a ban on the entry of Muslims into the United States, his invocation of law-and-order themes and emphatic support for the police, his endorsement of even rougher treatment of terrorism suspects — all speak to an authoritarian side of Trump’s appeal that clearly resonates with many on the Republican right.
But Trump embraces positions on economics and foreign policy anathema to most conservative politicians. He is an ardent critic of recent free-trade agreements, opposes cuts to Social Security and Medicare, has been even more vocal than many Democrats in criticizing President George W. Bush and the Iraq War, and even endorses the Democrats’ long-standing call for government negotiations with pharmaceutical companies to drive down drug costs.
This mix has allowed Trump to win votes from self-described moderates and conservatives alike, but his strongest support comes from voters at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale. This was true again in Nevada, as CNN reported from an entrance poll: Trump took 57 percent of the vote from caucus-goers who did not attend college but only 37 percent from those with postgraduate degrees.
No wonder that after the Nevada results were known, Trump offered one of the most memorable sound bites of the campaign: “I love the poorly educated.”
The key lies in that rejection of conservative economic and fiscal orthodoxy (except in his endorsement of big tax cuts).
Don’t forget though, Trump has no real belief in anything other than the brand, “Donald Trump”, so any political rhetoric or promises should be considered suspect. He isn’t running for Supreme Dictator of the Earth, that position isn’t on the ballot.
Blow Your Own Horn Sometimes
Who is going to stop Trump from winning the GOP nomination? Maybe a Hispanic surge of Democrats?
Those victories came in spite of Trump’s derogatory statements about Mexicans, Muslims, women and plenty more groups and individuals. Pundits and politicians predicted for months that Trump would be unsuccessful and drop out, but his wins indicate large portions of the GOP base support him regardless of his comments.
In other words, everyone, including Democrats, has to grapple with the fact that Trump’s views aren’t necessarily on the fringe, including on immigration.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the only Latino Democratic senator, said he’s “never seen a greater confluence of challenges at one time” for the Latino community.
“When I look at what is happening across the landscape of the political discourse in this country and I hear the language about walls and deportation and no more birthright citizenship and the list goes on and on, I recoil thinking that we are going back to a time and place that none of us want to go to,” he said.
He said he has “learned over a lifetime that [comments about undocumented immigrants] are not about the undocumented alone, they’re about all of us,” referring to Latinos.
The problem isn’t just with Trump, it’s also with his GOP rivals. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has called for mass deportation, while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has said he would immediately end the president’s relief for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) noted Wednesday those comments represent a shift for Rubio, since he helped draft and pass a bill through the Senate a comprehensive reform bill that included assistance for the same young people.
“I’m very disappointed,” said Durbin, who was also part of the so-called “gang of eight” that wrote the comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013.
I doubt Marcobot Rubio is going to stop the Trump train:
What’s particularly interesting here is that Rubio’s new attacks on Trump remain comfortably within the boundaries of GOP orthodoxy: Obamacare is bad, being insufficiently pro-Israel is bad, being weak on terror is bad. All of those arguments will probably have some appeal to GOP voters.
But if we’ve learned anything, it’s that Trump may be succeeding in part precisely because he’s breaking out of conventional ideological categories. Trump does not proceed from the assumption that government is the problem; government mismanaged by stupid and/or corrupt elites is the problem. He is not committed to the idea that free markets and limited government are the solution to people’s economic ills. He promises to destroy Obamacare — reflexively — but he envisions a government role of some kind in making sure everyone has health care. He pledges not to touch entitlements, breaking with the sacred Paul Ryan covenant. He does not genuflect before George W. Bush’s national security greatness; he ridicules it.
Trump combines all this with an even harder line on immigration than most GOP elites can accept, one suffused with explicitly articulated xenophobia. As Michael Brendan Dougherty has shown, this odd mixture, shaped around the basic idea that the global economic order is rigged against you, often by those piously invoking “free trade,” is Trump’s formula. Trump is appealing to GOP voters by arguing that elites are cheating and failing them by rigging the system to help illegals, multi-nationals, and China and Mexico through stupid, shady global deals. Whether this is through corruption or simple incompetence — in which various villains are simply snookering our elites — varies by the day. In Trump’s telling, the incompetence of GOP elites was also glaringly obvious in Bush’s Iraq invasion.
Thus, arguably, Rubio cannot go hard at the very things that may be enabling Trump to succeed. Rubio is largely constrained into launching thoroughly conventional Republican attacks on this thoroughly unconventional politician. Rubio has not yet explained to Trump’s voters why they should prefer conventional Republican economic and foreign policy promises and doctrines to Trump’s overarching story-line, which is that our system and our elites (including Republican ones) have been playing you suckers for decades; that he gets this; and that he will bust things up and set them right.
Paul Ryan and the GOP party leaders are already worried that Trump isn’t going to be a traditional Republican, they cannot control him and Trump’s mouth2 any more than the GOP elite can control the weather in July:
Speaker Paul D. Ryan, chairman of the Republican National Convention, recent vice-presidential candidate and the highest elected Republican in the country, has one goal for this year: to form a conservative policy agenda for the Republican presidential nominee to embrace.
If that nominee is Donald J. Trump, that may be a waste of time.
Panicked Republicans question whether Mr. Trump will be able to unite a Republican-controlled Congress that would normally be expected to promote and promulgate his agenda, an internal crisis nearly unheard-of in a generation of American politics. On nearly every significant issue, Mr. Trump stands in opposition to Republican orthodoxy and his party’s policy prescriptions — the very ideas that Mr. Ryan has done more than anyone else to form, refine or promote over the last decade.
Mr. Ryan’s positions embody the modern institutional Republican Party. He has been a crucial promoter of free trade on Capitol Hill, which Mr. Trump opposes. Mr. Ryan supports taking away money from Planned Parenthood — a central target of Republicans for years — while Mr. Trump has said the group provides needed care to women. Eminent domain, the right of the government to seize private property for public use? The concept is despised by Republicans. Mr. Trump, who has used eminent domain to try to demolish an older woman’s home in Atlantic City to build a parking lot, calls it “wonderful.”
There is more: Mr. Ryan is the architect of his party’s plan to rein in spending on entitlement programs, which Mr. Trump has said is the reason the party lost the White House in 2012, name-checking Mr. Ryan in his swipe. Mr. Ryan supports all forms of domestic energy development, but Mr. Trump has called for colonizing Iraq’s oil reserves through military intervention.
Mr. Trump’s signature issue — deporting millions of undocumented workers — also stands in contrast to Mr. Ryan’s belief that his party needs to change the current system to help some immigrants, and in the process attract them to the party. Not least, Mr. Trump said last week that he would be “a neutral guy” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but Mr. Ryan holds the traditional Republican position of strong support for Israel.
The Republicans seem afraid that Donald Trump will take their lunch money right in front of their home room teacher:
But surely the well-heeled donors within the Republican establishment who are scared of Trump running away with this thing will take care of him while the non-Trump candidates sort themselves out, right? Nope. And nope in large part because they’re scared that Donald Trump will call them mean names. These donors, Politico reported earlier this week, “worry that, if they fund higher-profile attacks, they could come under attack from Trump, who this week fired a warning shot at one of the few major donors to the anti-Trump efforts, Marlene Ricketts, tweeting that her family ‘better be careful, they have a lot to hide!’ ”
The will to stop Trump does not appear to exist, and that is pathetic. Far too many party forces are misreading the “winnowing” theory, which argues that Trump can be defeated if he is positioned in a one-on-one matchup. I think there’s merit to this theory, though less so with each passing contest and day crossed off the calendar. What this theory never entailed, though, is the idea that Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich would let Trump proceed unimpeded while they were sorting the anti-Trump process out among themselves. It is campaign malpractice for the Rubio campaign, in particular, to be holding its fire on Trump, and it’s indicative of that campaign’s glib belief that delegates will naturally funnel Rubio’s way in the long run because … because they just will.
Now that the South Carolina primary and the Nevada Caucus results are in, we can probably agree that Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee. What is going to stop him? other than him becoming bored of “inflating his brand”, which as we know, is the main point of his existence.
Jeb Bush blew through hundreds of millions of dollars on the campaign, and netted exactly 4 delegates. If we use the $130,000,000 cited by the NYT, even though I’m sure the actual amount spent by John Ellis Bush! Bush’s campaign was greater than this number, that works out to $32,500,000 spent per delegate acquired. Damn! I should really start a political consulting business, there is some sweet, sweet cash available…
When Jeb Bush formally entered the presidential campaign in June, there was already more money behind him than every other Republican candidate combined. When he suspended his campaign on Saturday night in South Carolina, Mr. Bush had burned through the vast majority of that cash without winning a single state. It may go down as one of the least successful campaign spending binges in history.
Why exactly are business moguls and other wealthy people going to keep giving and giving to Super PACs if they get nothing to show for the largesse? David Frum explores this thought in greater detail:
The 2016 super PACs certainly had the funds to do it! In addition to the nine-digit haul at Right to Rise, super PACs aligned with Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker all raised amounts somewhere between handsome and staggering. Yet in this Republican presidential contest, “never in the history of political campaigns has so much, bought so little, so fleetingly.”
Or more exactly…
Never has so much bought so little of what it was meant to buy. Obviously the funds expended on behalf of Jeb Bush have bought a great deal for a great many people. Even if the estimate of Mike Murphy’s take is overstated—or possibly confuses gross billings by his firm with net income to himself—the 2016 super PACs have provided princely incomes for their principals and comfortable livelihoods for hundreds more. The question that is bound to occur to super PAC donors is: “Are we being cheated?” Increasingly, super PACs look like the political world’s equivalent of hedge funds: institutions that charge vastly above-market fees to deliver sub-market returns.
Disgust with the costly ineffectiveness of super PACs may explain one of the most important mysteries of the current phase of the 2016 campaign. We keep hearing that Marco Rubio has replaced Jeb Bush as the new darling of establishment Republicans. Yet Rubio’s fundraising has lagged. Rubio’s super PAC, Conservative Solutions, raised $14.4 million in the second half of 2015—the period in which Jeb Bush’s candidacy cratered. In January 2016, by which time Bush was plainly doomed, and Rubio cast by almost all reporters as theoretical front-runner, Conservative Solutions raised only $2.46 million.
And flashing forward in time, one has to wonder: How voluntary, really, were those gifts to Right to Rise? The campaign finance system is often described as organized bribery, but to many of those writing the checks, it must often feel like organized blackmail. How many would have appreciated some way to reply to the call from the Jeb Bush campaign: “Sure! Gladly! Love Jeb! Happy to give the legal maximum!”—in a world in which the legal maximum was $5,000 or $10,000 or $25,000. Like all human beings, multimillionaires have finite funds and infinite possibilities to expend those funds. Some must regard the local hospital or the homeless shelter or the city opera or their alma mater as more deserving causes than the ambitions of this politician or that. But the politician can retaliate, and the hospital, the homeless shelter, the opera, and the alma mater cannot. So it’s the politician who shoves his or her way to the head of the giving queue.
Cruz, deep down, knows he is not going to win, but is continuing the grift, to build his own brand, for those post-Senate years ahead…
Instead, Trump trounced the two senators, defeating Rubio, who came in second place, by twenty-two points and beating Cruz by almost twenty-five points. Combined, they still lost.
Rubio had enough good sense to leave the state before the results were tabulated and to stay off the television after Trump was declared the winner, at midnight.
In what has become a new development this campaign cycle, Cruz took the stage to deliver what sounded like a victory speech after a resounding loss. It was like watching a broadcast from North Korea. Cruz came onstage to cheers and applause from smiling supporters, who arrayed themselves behind him. “God bless the great state of Nevada!” Cruz announced. Even though the race had been called for Trump, Cruz said the ballots were still being counted and suggested there was some mystery about the results. “I want to congratulate Donald Trump on a strong evening tonight.” He couldn’t bring himself to admit Trump had won. “The only campaign that can beat Donald Trump is this campaign,” Cruz said, as the chyron next to his face on the cable screens showed him winning fewer than half as many votes as his rival. T
his morning, Rubio similarly tried to make the most of his poor Nevada showing during a round of TV interviews. “We did well, and we picked up delegates there last night, and we move on,” he said in one appearance.
So, who are the people who support Trump? Do they realize he cannot fulfill most of his campaign promises, unless he overthrows the US government and become dictator? Doesn’t matter, they are just pissed off at the status quo, and have been trained by years of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, et al, to despise the government, and undocumented workers, and non-Caucasians, and non-Christians, and you get the gist…
At this point, the only thing surprising about Donald Trump winning a Republican primary is the fact that we all—the media, the panicked liberal voters, the GOP Establishment—continue to be surprised. Almost immediately after voting ended in the chaotic Nevada caucuses Tuesday, the networks called the race for the Republican frontrunner, confirming what polls had long predicted in the Silver State. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Trump won 46 percent of the vote, nearly double the total for Marco Rubio, whose second-place finish somehow didn’t stop him from sounding triumphant in interviews.
The breakdown of the vote was similar to what it was in South Carolina days earlier, with Rubio barely edging out Ted Cruz, and Trump wiping the floor with both of them. According to CNN exit polling, Trump dominated across every demographic, even the ones he wasn’t supposed to win. He won among young voters and educated ones, among evangelicals and ultra-conservatives—hell, he even won among Hispanics.
But while Cruz may have the support of far-right state politicians—the sort of new Republican Establishment birthed by the Tea Party—Trump seems to have a solid lock on their rank-and-file. Obviously, this is a bad sign for Cruz, signaling that when conservatives are faced with the choice between him and Trump, they will continue to choose the candidate who’s louder, brasher, and even more of a dick. And should Cruz drop out of the race, it’s hard to imagine those ultra-conservatives deciding to embrace Rubio over Trump.
What Nevada demonstrated is what observers who’ve been dreading a Trump nomination haven’t been willing to admit: Republican voters really love Donald Trump. From the Deep South to the Northeast to the West, voters are angry and have found someone who validates, reflects, and amplifies their anger. It doesn’t particularly matter that he might not share their specific anger about land use rights or whatever.
This was the plot of the 2006 cult comedy “Idiocracy,” a satirical movie that poked fun at an imagined dystopian version of America, where everyone — including lawmakers and government officials — were morons. But this week, the film’s writer said the world of “Idiocracy” had become all too real.
“I never expected ‘Idiocracy’ to become a documentary,” Etan Cohen, who co-wrote the film, posted on Twitter on Wednesday.
Less-well educated voters are a core constituency for Trump:
“Actually, I won everything,” Donald Trump said this week, after his victory in South Carolina and before his rout in Nevada. “I won short people, tall people. I won fat people, skinny people. I won highly educated, OK educated, and practically not educated at all. I won the evangelicals big and I won the military.”
The Republican presidential frontrunner was, broadly speaking, correct. After his third consecutive victory, one that puts him on course to win the Republican nomination for the White House, it is less useful to ask who is voting for him than who isn’t.
The only state he didn’t win was Iowa, where he came second.
In New Hampshire, South Carolina and, on Tuesday, Nevada, Trump did not just win resoundingly by leveraging one or two types of conservative voters. Entrance polls reveal he triumphed by drawing on a pool of voters as wide as it was deep.
Who are Trump supporters? Insofar as the Republican electorate goes, the answer, for the moment at least, seems to be everyone.
Analysis of recent polling and elections survey data indicates that while his base his broad, its members tend, overall, to be older, whiter, poorer, less conservative, less-well educated and, going by past voting records, less likely to turn out than supporters of rival candidates. Many have spent their lives on the fringes of politics.
Don’t you find it amusing that Rubio and Cruz (and earlier, John Ellis Bush! Bush) assert that coming in second or third is a big victory? Even in a basically three person race? I realize 95% of politics is just spin, but that’s pathetic…
We Three Pigs
Sen. Ted Cruz had a massive “third-place win,” a term his campaign actually relayed to reporters, on the record, intending for it to be published. This third-place win, per the Cruz campaign, marked an absolutely dominating victory over second-place loser Sen. Marco Rubio. “Nevada, Rubio’s Firewall: The Place Where He Would Win Big,” read the alert from the Cruz campaign Tuesday night. It is true that the Rubio campaign had pointed some months ago to Nevada as the early state where their guy had the strongest chance of winning. What a devastating silver medal it was, then, to Cruz’s victory bronze.
Take a lap, Marco, and slap some fives. You may not have anything close to an old-fashioned “first-place victory” under your belt yet, and in no contest have you bested Donald Trump. But that’s all going to change soon when the intimidating streak of second- and third-place finishes you rack up on Super Tuesday forces Cruz, who may actually win a very large state on March 1, to drop out. After all, as you said Wednesday morning on Fox News, “you don’t win the nomination by how many states you win.”
The will to stop Trump does not appear to exist, and that is pathetic. That’s particularly great news for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who finished in fifth place in the Nevada caucuses, pummeling Rubio in the for-pretend game that Kasich’s campaign is playing. “Contrary to what his campaign is trying to portray,” the statement from Kasich campaign manager John Weaver read, “Senator Rubio just endured another disappointing performance despite being the highest spending candidate in Nevada. He also missed an opportunity to back up the notion that he can bring new people into the Republican Party or succeed above expectations in a diverse state.” Fair, but come on: Isn’t it a little crass for the fifth-place winner to be rubbing it in so nastily to the second-place loser? At least give the guy who finished 20 percentage points ahead of you a couple of days to recuperate before mocking him.
If you’d noticed, there have been a lot of headlines about how Hillary Clinton has nearly won the nomination, and yet…
The final figures are in from the Nevada caucus, with the last unassigned delegate going to Hillary Clinton.
With the delegate–who came from the state’s fourth Congressional district–pledged to Clinton, the final Nevada tally sits at 20 delegates for Clinton and 15 for Bernie Sanders, according to figures released by campaign the Clinton campaign.
The Nevada results put the race’s overall delegate count thus far at for 52 Clinton and 51 for Sanders.
The only real concern for the Bernie Sanders campaign should be the party hacks who have superdelegate status.
But the often overlooked delegate count in the Democratic primary shows Mr. Sanders slipping significantly behind Hillary Clinton in the race for the nomination, and the odds of his overtaking her growing increasingly remote.
Mrs. Clinton has 502 delegates to Mr. Sanders’s 70; 2,383 are needed to win the nomination. These numbers include delegates won in state contests and superdelegates, who can support any candidate. She is likely to win a delegate jackpot from the overwhelmingly black and Hispanic areas in the Southern-dominated Super Tuesday primaries on March 1, when 11 states will vote and about 880 delegates will be awarded.
Mrs. Clinton already has a huge lead over Mr. Sanders in support from superdelegates — elected officials and party elders who each count toward the magic number of 2,383. But superdelegates could switch candidates if Mr. Sanders is the overwhelming choice of regular voters.
Superdelegates are a thumb on the scale of democracy, usually supporting the establishment’s candidates at the expense of insurgents. But, since there are no real enforceable rules about how superdelegates vote, the will of the people could, in theory, prevail. Whether party hacks will support a Democratic Socialist over a Clinton’s cash remains to be seen.
Speaking of John Kasich, his path to the nomination seems unlikely, especially as more attention gets paid to him and his teeth-grinding.
Last summer Elizabeth Nolan Brown wrote:
If you talk to Ohioans—and Ohio is my home state, so I do—you’ll find that most people don’t really like Kasich, not even Republicans. They might like his stance on spending, or taxes, or abortion, but Kasich himself? Arrogant. Condescending. Manipulative.
Kasich has “a resume seemingly tailor-made for a serious run for the Republican nomination: blue-collar upbringing, congressional budget hawk, Fox News commentator, investment banker, successful two-term governor of Ohio,” writes Isenstadt. “But there’s just one problem, according to interviews with dozens of those who’ve worked in politics alongside him at various points over the last several decades: his short fuse.” Isenstadt collects myriad, anonymous examples of people (including wealthy donors) that Kasich has pissed off with his prickly personality. Even Sen. John McCain—not exactly known as a model of decorum and restraint—has spoken of Kasich’s “hair-trigger temper.”
Kasich’s crew is trying to play this potential liability as a sign of the governor’s authenticity and willingness to call the proverbial spade a spade, something they say voters will recognize and appreciate. I guess we’ll see. There’s no doubt that shtick plays well with the GOP base (see Bush the second) but Kasich’s particular brand of brimstone seems more pouty narcissist than rhetorical rebel or iconoclast
I spent several days with Kasich in Ohio in February, and during that time he told me, repeatedly, that he did not read The Atlantic—and his wife didn’t, either. He said that my job, writing about politics and politicians, was “really a dumb thing to do.” … At a Kasich press conference I attended at a charter school in Cleveland, he interrupted several speakers, wandered off to rummage on a nearby teacher’s desk as he was being introduced, and gleefully insulted the Cleveland Browns, to a smattering of boos.
Kasich has previously said that he does not read Ohio newspapers, either (they don’t provide him with an “uplifting experience”).
Kasich may have been “the Paul Ryan of his day” when he was in Washington, but perhaps the reform-minded yet combative upstart who won’t take no for an answer has a shelf life. Politicians are supposed to evolve and become more effective with time, and what can be admirable and ambitious at 40 just seems immature, churlish, and curmudgeonly by 63.
(more on that weird claim not to read newspapers in Ohio via Vince Grzegorek)
The governor of Ohio doesn’t read Ohio newspapers.
That’s fact, straight from the mouth of John Kasich himself. The exact quote: “I don’t read newspapers in the State of Ohio.”
We’ll forgive his feeble grasp on the English language and assume he didn’t mean that he doesn’t read newspapers while he’s physically within the geographic boundaries of Ohio, and that he really meant he doesn’t read newspapers that are based in Ohio.
One could infer from the wording that he at least reads some newspapers, just not ones headquartered in the Buckeye State, but that’s still a flabbergasting statement.
Why doesn’t he read them? Via Ohio Capital Blog and Plunderbund, it’s because it doesn’t give him an “uplifting experience.”
The first primary of the 2016 campaign is officially over, and let the spin begin. Well, 92% counted, as of this moment, but close enough to finished to call. Despite the breathless nature of most political commentary, the race for the nomination for either party is far from over.
A few tidbits of interest, beginning with good news re: Democratic turnout. Well good news for Bernie Sanders, anyway…
Sanders has already cleared one hurdle that no Democratic insurgent in past presidential contests has managed: He’s become the party’s beer-track candidate, at least among white voters. In past election contests, stretching from Eugene McCarthy in 1968 to Barack Obama in 2008, the underdog outsiders won the support of the young and the upscale, but couldn’t gain a majority of the working-class vote. Sanders, by contrast, won the vote of lower income caucus attendees in Iowa, and in New Hampshire, he ran strongest among voters with annual incomes beneath $30,000, and beat Clinton handily, though with declining margins, up to the $200,000-plus category, where she prevailed by 7 percentage points.
The age gap between the two candidates’ supporters was so vast that that could have affected the outcome among income categories, as voters under 30 invariably have lower incomes than their elders. What’s particularly impressive about Sanders’s support from young voters is less his immense margins of victory—he won 82 percent of voters under 25 and 85 percent of voters between 25 and 29—and more the level of their turnout. Voters under 30 constituted 19 percent of the Democratic turnout on Tuesday, while voters 65 and older constituted 17 percent—a notable reversal of normal voter participation levels, and clear testament to Sanders’s ability to mobilize the young.
If you follow Matt Bruenig at all, you’d know by now that the idea of the “Bernie Bro” is a complete myth. Indeed, poll after poll shows that the perceived “gender” gap is really nothing more than an age gap. Sanders polls much better than Clinton with young women. It’s like this entire primary is just old Democrats telling young Democrats to get off their lawn.
So, Sanders was recently forced to condemn mean sexist people on the internet. Yet, as Gloria Steinem says that young women support Bernie because they are just boy crazy, Clinton is not called to condemn her sexist supporters. And when Madeline Albright tells people that “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other out,” Clinton does not apologize. In fact, she just laughed.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on Tuesday became the first Jewish candidate in history to win a presidential primary election, setting off a familiar mixture of celebration and anxiety among Jews in the United States and abroad, who pondered what his milestone victory meant for the broader Jewish community.
I believe we can say with a reasonably high level of confidence that Marco Rubio’s quest for the presidency is over. I don’t expect he realizes it yet. I don’t expect he’ll drop out any time soon. But a broad appraisal of the fundamentals should tell us fairly clearly that the end is only a matter of time. Late on Saturday evening I started to think if I could remember a debate where one candidate had damaged another candidate quite that badly in a single encounter. The only instance that came to mind was Lloyd Bentsen’s notorious “you’re no Jack Kennedy” assault on Dan Quayle in 1988.
But on reflection I realized that Christie’s evisceration of Rubio was worse.
His campaign team seems to realize just how badly that trust has been damaged. As he did in his concession speech tonight, in an overnight email to supporters Rubio said he “dropped the ball” and promised that it would “never happen again.”
But it’s hardly the first time. There was of course the notorious if rather trivial water bottle grab during his 2013 State of the Union response. But that was followed by his far more consequential immigration reform gambit.
Rubio embraced the post-2012 RNC “autopsy” and put himself forward as a charismatic young Hispanic legislator who would both buck and deliver his party for comprehensive immigration reform, setting himself up for a presidential run in 2016 and at least mitigating the GOP’s historic and mounting estrangement from the country’s rapidly growing Hispanic minority.
It was a bold and audacious move at which he failed utterly.
Indeed, more than simply fail, he completely abandoned his own position in the process of failing. By last fall he was reduced to referring to his own bill as something that somehow happened to him and explaining its current irrelevance as somehow having something to do with ISIS. Again and again, Rubio seems to choke at key moments – sometimes in trivial and comical ways and at other times more monumentally.
seems like even the Rubiobot’s campaign staff knew the gig was up:
After video circulated online Tuesday showing Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) New Hampshire chairman locked in a physical altercation with a protester dressed as a robot, the political organizer behind the stunt said in a phone interview with TPM that the tussle was unprovoked.
Aaron Black, a progressive activist, said in a phone interview that he had no idea the man who grabbed him at a event on the day of the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation primary was Cliff Hurst, Rubio’s state campaign chair.
“I just felt his hands and arms around my neck,” Black told TPM. “I asked, ‘Why are you putting your hands on me?’”
In the video, Hurst can be seen grabbing Black, who’s toting a homemade “ROBOT RUBIO” sign, around the neck in an effort to drag him away from where Rubio was speaking while others attempt to force Black from the area with massive campaign signs.
Black told TPM he asked Hurst, “Do you realize all these cameras are here and it doesn’t look good?” before the chairman released him and walked over to shake hands with Rubio.
Chris Christie didn’t move up much in the polls after his Rubio-bot interaction though:
After a disappointing sixth-place finish in the state upon which he had staked his presidential bid, Gov. Chris Christie is heading home to New Jersey on Wednesday to weigh his options for the future of his campaign.
The governor had originally planned to fly to South Carolina to attend a forum, saying Tuesday morning that he had already booked a plane ticket. But his showing led him to change his plans as the vote totals came in Tuesday night.
“We’re going to go home to New Jersey tomorrow, and we’re going to take a deep breath,” he told supporters, adding that he and his family “will make a decision on our next step forward based on the results that come in here in New Hampshire.”
Mr. Christie spoke in a solemn tone, and his wife, Mary Pat, at one point wiped her eyes. But true to his campaign slogan of “telling it like it is,” Mr. Christie spoke pragmatically about his situation.
And like every presidential election cycle, some are speculating that there will be a brokered convention, for reals this time:
New Hampshire sure left its mark on the GOP race by decisively reshaping it from a three-man race into a five-man race: Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump. Essentially, none of the “mainstream” (to use that word loosely) candidates has emerged as a serious challenger to Trump and Cruz, which means the GOP is likely looking at a very very long nomination fight, reports Alexander Burns:
Michael O. Leavitt, a former governor of Utah and a top adviser to Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, said he believed the window for any Republican candidate to clinch the nomination before the party’s convention in Cleveland this summer was rapidly closing.
Mr. Leavitt, who has not endorsed a candidate in the race, said he had reviewed the delegate allocation rules for every state and concluded that Mr. Trump would have to capture about 45 percent of the popular vote to win a majority of delegates for the convention. Mr. Trump has not approached that threshold in the polls so far, and Mr. Leavitt said no other candidate was likely to do so as long as so many of them remained in the race. “It will be difficult for him to be a breakaway front-runner,” Mr. Leavitt said of Mr. Trump. “There are a lot of candidates that have staying power, whether it’s by living off the land or a ‘super PAC’ or a combination.”
John Kasich is the sanest Republican candidate, but I agree with John Ellis Bush! Bush’s assertion: the path for Kasich is tenuous at best.
As primary results trickled in Tuesday evening, Jeb Bush’s campaign made the case that that the former Florida governor is well-positioned for a strong showing in South Carolina — a state where Granite State second-place finisher John Kasich has no viable path. Calling Kasich the “leading Republican advocate for expanding Obamacare” and pointing to the Ohio governor’s past cuts to defense spending, Tim Miller, spokesman for Bush, told reporters: “He doesn’t have a constituency past New Hampshire. He does not have a viable path to the nomination, and he certainly does not have a viable path in South Carolina.”
though of course Kasich is happy to keep trudging on. Well, skipping tra-la-la perhaps:
“Tonight, John Kasich is the story coming out of New Hampshire,” John Sununu, a former US senator from the state, declared as he introduced the Ohio governor to a packed ballroom of supporters here in Concord. The crowded risers at the back of the room, lined with TV cameras and photographers, attested to the shifting narrative created by Kasich’s surprise second-place finish in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary.
Kasich himself seemed slightly shell-shocked by how well he had performed, after initially laboring in “totally obscurity” as he criss-crossed New Hampshire to introduce himself to voters. “There’s something that’s going on that I’m not sure that anybody can quite understand,” he said when he took the podium. “There’s magic in the air with this campaign. Something big happened tonight.” The question for the Kasich campaign, which has focused its resources heavily on New Hampshire, with the candidate holding nearly 190 events in the state, is what comes next? South Carolina, with its base of religious conservative voters, is not considered Kasich country. And more than a month will elapse between his strong New Hampshire finish and the contest in his native Ohio.
Kasich has run a positive if deeply introspective campaign. “We never went negative because we have more good to sell than to spend our time being critical,” he said, adding, “Tonight the light overcame the darkness.” His message of hope and healing—he has repeatedly urged his supporters to “just slow down” and listen to others—has seemed out of place in a race that has been dominated by a candidate, Donald Trump, who has thrived on divisiveness.
Americans who are not religious have long been marginalized and ignored by politicians. And yet our numbers keep growing. When will the nonreligious get a representative who respects us? The opposite of Christian Taliban like Ted Cruz, in other words…
Susan Jacoby writes:
THE population of nonreligious Americans — including atheists, agnostics and those who call themselves “nothing in particular” — stands at an all-time high this election year. Americans who say religion is not important in their lives and who do not belong to a religious group, according to the Pew Research Center, have risen in numbers from an estimated 21 million in 2008 to more than 36 million now.
Despite the extraordinary swiftness and magnitude of this shift, our political campaigns are still conducted as if all potential voters were among the faithful. The presumption is that candidates have everything to gain and nothing to lose by continuing their obsequious attitude toward orthodox religion and ignoring the growing population of those who make up a more secular America.
The question is not why nonreligious Americans vote for these candidates — there is no one on the ballot who full-throatedly endorses nonreligious humanism — but why candidates themselves ignore the growing group of secular voters.
Never Seems To Smile
Freedom of conscience for all — which exists only in secular democracies — should be at the top of the list of shared concerns. Candidates who rightly denounce the persecution of Christians by radical Islamists should be ashamed of themselves for not expressing equal indignation at the persecution of freethinkers and atheists, as well as dissenting Muslims and small religious sects, not only by terrorists but also by theocracies like Saudi Arabia. With liberal religious allies, it would be easier for secularists to hold candidates to account when they talk as if freedom of conscience is a human right only for the religious.
Even more critical is the necessity of reclaiming the language of religious freedom from the far right. As defined by many pandering politicians, “religious freedom” is in danger of becoming code for accepting public money while imposing faith-based values on others.
Secularists must hold candidates to account when they insult secular values, whether that means challenging them in town hall meetings or withholding donations. Why, for example, would any secular Republican (yes, there are some) think of supporting the many Republican politicians who have denied the scientific validity of evolution? Politicians will continue to ignore secular Americans until they are convinced that there is a price to be paid for doing so.
“God bless America” has become the standard ending of every major political speech. Just once in my life, I would like the chance to vote for a presidential candidate who ends his or her appeals with Thomas Paine’s observation that “the most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is Reason.”
I confess I follow American presidential elections as closely as some people follow sports. In many ways, modern American politics is covered like a sporting event, or season. Like I have many times in the past, I’ve created a spreadsheet to keep track of the delegate count, including super delegates. Don’t judge.
The short-fingered vulgarian didn’t win, despite leading in polls. I would say it is pretty safe to be suspicious of polling data in our modern mobile phone era. However, the actual delegate count is pretty minuscule: Cruz has 8, Trump and Rubio have 7. No wonder Trump’s concession speech wasn’t that fiery. How many millions did John Ellis Bush! Bush spend to get that one delegate? Yikes.
I got back from Haysville in time to listen to Marco Rubio declare his magnificent victory as the show horse in the Republican field. I will grant you that he surpassed everyone’s expectations—including my own—by clearing the 20 percent mark on Monday night. I even will grant you that he is probably the choice now of every Republican terrified of He, Trump and utterly skeeved out by Tailgunner Ted Cruz. Some of the others might get some run in New Hampshire. (Not Jeb-!-, please god. That would be cruel.) But this looks like a three-man race now, and the Rubio campaign did a masterful job pitching that notion over the last four days before the caucuses, and much of the elite political press bit for it. Now, Rubio was up there, defining himself as The Alternative in a political environment already primed by his campaign to believe it.
We’re going to hear a lot of it going into New Hampshire and going forward. I suspect we might hear a bit less about Rubio’s having turtled on immigration and his enthusiastic embrace of every euphemism for “torture” that can be found in the thesaurus. If the Republican “establishment” is going to groom him, those are the topics that are going to be limited to the inside voice, at least until we all get to South Carolina, where Rubio once again can run as the fanged chameleon that he is. But, give him credit. The man’s got a campaign that knows its business.
In a handful of Democratic caucus precincts Monday, a delegate was awarded with a coin toss.
It happened in precinct 2-4 in Ames, where supporters of candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton disputed the results after 60 caucus participants apparently disappeared from the proceedings.
As a result of the coin toss, Clinton was awarded an additional delegate, meaning she took five of the precinct’s eight, while Sanders received three.
Similar situations played out at various precincts across the state, but had an extremely small effect on the overall outcome, in which Clinton won 49.9 percent of statewide delegate equivalents, while Sanders won 49.5 percent. The delegates that were decided by coin flips were delegates to the party’s county conventions, of which there are thousands selected across the state from 1,681 separate precincts. They were not the statewide delegate equivalents that are reported in the final results.
The statewide delegate equivalents that determine the outcome on caucus night are derived from the county-level delegates, but are aggregated across the state and weighted in a manner that makes individual county delegate selections at a handful of precincts count for a tiny fraction of the ultimate result.
There was still confusion on Tuesday morning over the razor-close results of Iowa’s Democratic caucuses, with Bernie Sanders’s campaign planning an internal conference call to decide whether to ask for a recount.
Mr. Sanders said on his flight to New Hampshire late Monday night, after a virtual tie with Hillary Clinton, that he would ask the Iowa Democratic Party to reveal the raw vote count underlying the percentages it reported showing Mrs. Clinton defeating Mr. Sanders, 49.9 percent to 49.6 percent.
Asked by an MSNBC reporter if he would contest the vote count, Mr. Sanders said, “Honestly, we just got off the plane and I — we don’t know enough to say anything about it.”
Overnight, the Iowa Democratic Party said in a statement that the count from a single precinct was still outstanding, though it appears that even if all its votes go for Mr. Sanders, it would not change the overall results.
The state party does not report raw votes. Caucus attendees at each of 1,681 precincts elect delegates to a county convention, who in turn will elect delegates to a state convention. The results from caucus night are reported as “state delegate equivalents,’’ expressed as a fraction. After 171,109 Iowans turned out, larger than almost all projections, the party said Mrs. Clinton won 699.57 delegate equivalents and Mr. Sanders had 695.49. A single precinct, Des Moines 42, worth 2.28 delegate equivalents, had not been counted.
Also unclear was the fate of the 7.68 state delegate equivalents won by Martin O’Malley, who suspended his campaign on Monday after his dismal showing — the former Maryland governor received less than 1 percent of the Iowa vote..
Steve Johnson of the Trib notes that the short-fingered vulgarian isn’t that much of a reality show star, more of a middle-of-the-pack guy:
Donald Trump is many things, but “reality star genius” is not one of them.
One of the oft-spoken assumptions of this oddball campaign season — the one that gets its first real results with Monday’s Iowa caucuses — has been that Trump was a TV reality star and therefore canny about manipulating media. This, supposedly, has given him an edge over the rest of the candidates in the Republican presidential field, who are merely politicians and a brain surgeon.
But the ratings history over the 12 years of his two reality shows, “The Apprentice” and “The Celebrity Apprentice,” tells a different story. Reality participant, perhaps. Reality middle-of-the-packer. Person on TV.
But NBC put it into its Thursday night prime time lineup, once revered as “must-see TV,” and the long slow decline for that network was underway. “The Apprentice” didn’t help: Its ratings declined steadily each year after that, to 11th place overall in its second season, then 15th, then 38th. When, after its sixth season in 2007, it finished as the 75th-most-watched show (with 7.5 million viewers on average), NBC decided to scrap real people as contestants and bring on celebrities close enough to rock bottom to appear on a reality show where success depended on ingratiating themselves to Trump.
The celebrity show did better, but it has been middle of the pack all the way, with finishes ranking from 46th to 84th before Trump announced his candidacy and NBC replaced him with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Iowans clearly took Trump being AWOL as a snapshot of how erratic a Trump Presidency could be. At a time as perilous as this (with a possible Recession on the horizon, low wages, broken borders, a ballooning deficit, ISIS and urban crime), Iowa’s GOP voters gave a strong vote of confidence to the comparatively more emotionally stable Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
Televised Fox News and CNN exit polls showed that 45% of Iowa GOP caucus voters made up their minds in the last three days. And, of these voters, most broke for Rubio and Cruz. Because Trump skipped the debate – proving Cruz’s claim about his “New York values” – he did not get a chance to make a direct pitch to these late-breaking voters, far more of whom watched the Fox News Des Moines debate than Trump’s hastily assembled and concurrent Des Moines fundraiser for vets.
Oh, here’s Bush’s dollar count: 1 delegate at a cost of over $14,000,000. The real winners are political consultants, television, radio stations, and other media outlets.
Jeb Bush and his allies spent more than $14 million on ads in Iowa but failed to break 3 percent of the vote total on Monday night — a setback for a campaign already struggling with diminished expectations and anemic support.
“In hindsight, it was probably a lot of money wasted,” said Matthew Dickinson, a political science professor at Middlebury College, in an interview.
In the new math, coming in third place is a victory:
First up was the perpetual load billed as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who emerged at his headquarters to announce, “So this is the moment they said would never happen.” Well, no. He was polling in third place, and that’s where he finished. Apparently that’s enough for victory.
He went on:
“For months, for months they told us we had no chance. For months they told us because we offer too much optimism in a time of anger, we had no chance. For months they told us because we didn’t have the right endorsements or the right political connections, we had no chance…. But tonight, tonight here in Iowa, the people of this great state have sent a very clear message.”
Once again, he came in third, which is where the Real Clear Politics average has had him ever since Ben Carson’s numbers started nosediving around mid-December.
What Rubio was really saying — through the perpetual vocal quaver of alternately traumatized patriotic horror or beatific patriotic awe he has sported during every public speech since 2010 — was that he needed to repudiate the Cruz/Trump argument that this was a two-man race and prove that a third person was involved. But, “I showed ’em all by coming in third!” isn’t much of a sales pitch.
Clinton’s narrow victory doesn’t really mean that much:
Clinton still has a problem with liberals and progressives.
But what Sanders did do was bring in more liberal voters to buoy him. Twenty-eight percent of voters described themselves as very liberal — a 10-point jump from 2008. Sanders won those voters by 19 points. Clinton had a 6-point edge with the 40 percent of voters who described themselves as somewhat liberal.
Her real strength was with middle-of-the-road Democrats — but unfortunately for her, that share had significantly dropped. This year, just 28 percent of voters identified themselves as moderates, down 12 points from 2008. She had a 23-point edge over Sanders with that bloc, though.
even though Clinton has structural advantages, including a compliant national media:
But if you want maximal spin, just raw, thick tar spin, look to the Democratic Party and a legion of electability-policing flunkies.
What Bernie Sanders did Monday night was incredible. Until very recently, even a good showing would have sufficed to confirm his candidacy’s seriousness, and any characterization of his loss as critical merely demonstrates how rapidly the goalposts can be moved when narratives need to be upheld.
At the start of last May, he was 54 points behind in Iowa to Hillary Clinton, a frontrunner with the most open path to the eventual nomination in primary history. Sanders is a cranky old Jewish man from a tiny state and proudly considers himself a socialist, which in the rarified air of Beltway Centrism and in the swamp-gas of an America that still thinks the Cold War can be lost at any moment is somehow a more revolting word than “pederast.”
With the exception of a few pro-Biden holdouts, almost the entirety of the Democratic Party establishment and the big money lined up behind his opponent, including veteran organizers and advisors. The Democratic Party chair scheduled a tiny number of debates on broadcast evenings so hostile to reaching a mass audience that their only purpose must have been minimizing exposing the electorate to any names that aren’t Hillary Clinton’s. Against this apparatus, Sanders decided to refuse to use super PAC money.
Meanwhile, every dead-eyed hack angling for a gig taking “Socks II” for walkies in the new Clinton administration has responded to Sanders’ rising popularity with the Clinton-endorsement equivalent of Marge Simpson holding up her excised frontal lobe in a jar and groaning, “It’s bliiiiiiiiiiiissssss.”
You have Ezra Klein really taking it to some bozo named Ezra Klein over Sanders’ health care plan. Along with assists from The Atlantic and The New Republic, Salon has gone balls-to-the-wall stupid peddling a mythic creature named the Bernie Bro whose existence is about as well documented as Prester John’s.
The most substantial claim is that Bernie Sanders has some fans on the Internet who are assholes. Which puts him in exclusive company with literally everything. The same thinkfluencers who argue that Bernie Sanders needs to take personal responsibility for people he’s never met being rude to journalists on the Internet (who are already berated and ridiculed by fans of everything else) are also filling column inches by doing the human-dignity equivalent of reaching a whole arm through a buzzing garbage disposal to latch onto yet another slime-slicked take festering in the U-bend and explaining why Hillary Clinton does not need to explain anything further. She doesn’t need to justify that Iraq War vote again, or the destabilization of Libya, or that desire to go hog wild in Syria, or that 1990s support for welfare reform that hit women hardest, or those 1990s tough-on-crime policies she endorsed along with private prisons, or those speaking fees at Goldman Sachs or that opposition to reinstating Glass-Steagall.
Against this habitual sycophancy, you have a 24-hour news and legacy media structure that has consistently pushed the “conventional wisdom says that a socialist like Bernie Sanders can’t win” line to hammer home the message that Bernie Sanders can’t win underneath a veneer of objectivity. It’s not advocacy, after all, if you’re only saying what everybody thinks. Even if your job is literally to help shape how everybody thinks.
Against all that, Bernie Sanders fighting Clinton to an essential draw in a state in which his opponent held a huge advantage in terms of local political operators and influencers is nothing short of extraordinary. Which, combined with Sanders’ 18-point lead in New Hampshire, means it’s time to crank up the RPMs on the spin cycle fast enough to rip apart space-time.
Another part of the Clinton legacy from the 1990s, sadly, is that there is an entire industry devoted to creating faux scandals about the Clintons. Tiresome, tedious, but 99% of these breathlessly reported scandals and investigations and breaking news reports turn out to just be garbage.
Josh Marshall tackles the classified email faux scandal:
One of the greatest failings in journalism is the way that ideas, theories, nonsensical paranoid fears get ‘out there’ and then talked about, critiqued and so forth and yet there’s no point of stepping back where a considered, knowledgable, even common sense view would say that the entire concept is simply far-fetched, ridiculous or even impossible.
But as a legal matter, the chances of Hillary Clinton facing any kind of indictment are very, very low.
Start with the fact that as far as we know, she is not actually even being investigated for anything, let alone facing a looming indictment. The simple facts, as we know them, just don’t put her in line for an indictment. The first reason is the facts, which rest heavily on intent and reckless negligence. The second is tradition and DOJ regulations which make professional prosecutors very leery of issuing indictments that might be perceived or in fact influence an election. This was my thinking. But as the press coverage has become increasingly heated, I started trying to figure out if there was something I was missing – some fact I didn’t know, some blindspot in my perception. So I’ve spoken to a number of law profs and former federal prosecutors – based on the facts we know now even from the most aggressive reporting. Not like, is this theoretically possible? Not, what the penalties would be if it happened. But is an indictment at all likely or is this whole idea very far-fetched. To a person, very far-fetched.
So why the press coverage? I think it’s a combination of reasons. The most irreducible and perhaps most significant is simply prestige reporter derp and general ignorance of the legal system. Second is journalists’ perennial inability to resist a process story. And third, let’s be honest, wingnut page views.
As I’ve said, the political calculus and potential political damage is a different matter altogether. There is little doubt that this whole on-going controversy, along with stuff in the background about the Clinton Foundation, have hurt Clinton badly on public estimations of her honesty and trustworthiness. But again, on the possibility of an indictment, most of this chatter is just plain ridiculous – a mix of ignorance and tendentiousness.
Speaking of Clinton, I sincerely doubt the Clinton’s have changed much from their political stances in the 1990s: basically positioning themselves as “Rockefeller Republicans”, criticizing the left wing as much as or even more than criticizing the right wing. For instance, this is what a longtime Clintonite believes:
Douglas Schoen, founding partner and principal strategist for Penn, Schoen and Berland, and a former pollster for Bill Clinton.
The Republican Party has clearly lost its direction, and I dare say its soul. Anything Republican elites want, the base of the party instinctively opposes, as the rise of Trump and Cruz clearly demonstrates. Trump and Cruz have won support specifically because of the antipathy of the party establishment to both of them. The party dominates nationally with the exception of the presidency, yet is in danger of suffering an implosion and a possible (though not certain) historically large national loss.
That being said, one of the GOP’s great assets is a similar, though less extreme, process playing out in the Democratic Party. A large percentage of the Democratic base has rejected free market capitalism, which is at the core of how we organize our society and arguably guarantee and enhance our core values of freedom and liberty. The two leading Democratic presidential candidates are competing with one another to see who can demonstrate a greater commitment to redistributive politics and policies, instead of articulating a forward-looking vision for America.
I believe both parties are in a state of flux and fundamentally out of touch with what the broad mass of the American people wants: an inclusive pro-growth agenda and a cost effective social safety net, along with a politics built on results-oriented policies, instead of partisanship or ideology. Hence my strong commitment to prospective independent candidate Mike Bloomberg making a bid for the presidency.
Did you catch that? The Democrats are in trouble because they are rejecting plutocrats, and market capitalism. I don’t know where the evidence of this is, except for in the fever swamps of NewsMax and Fox News, where this former Clintonite spews his BS.
Douglas Schoen is an American political analyst, pollster, author, and commentator. He is a political analyst for Fox News and a columnist for Newsmax. …He believes that lower taxes would be a successful Democratic strategy, opposed President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, warned the Democratic Party to reject the Occupy Wall Street protest, and recommended that President Obama not run for reelection in 2012.
…While still a high school student, he canvassed the Upper West Side for Dick Morris…Schoen went to high school with Mark Penn and then worked together with him on The Harvard Crimson.
He has worked on the campaigns of many Democratic party candidates including Ed Koch and Bill Clinton, and on behalf of corporate clients. He also did work for Senator Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and following her defeat became associated with the People United Means Action movement of disaffected Clinton supporters who refused to support Barack Obama.
If Hillary Clinton does win the Democratic nomination, I’ll support her, reluctantly, since as right-wing as Ms. Clinton is, at least she isn’t as bad as the idiots and end-of-timers running as Republicans this cycle. Not the most enthusiastic endorsement, but there is a long list of Clinton policy proposals that I disagree with.
For instance, Clinton is signaling that she will continue to be pro-war…
Hillary Clinton’s campaign released a letter this week in which 10 foreign policy experts criticized her opponent Bernie Sanders’ call for closer engagement with Iran and said Sanders had “not thought through these crucial national security issues that can have profound consequences for our security.”
The missive from the Clinton campaign was covered widely in the press, but what wasn’t disclosed in the coverage is that fully half of the former State Department officials and ambassadors who signed the letter, and who are now backing Clinton, are now enmeshed in the military contracting establishment, which has benefited tremendously from escalating violence around the world, particularly in the Middle East.
Here are some of the letter signatories’ current employment positions that were not disclosed in the reporting of the letter: