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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kashkari on the Streets

By one measure, California has the nation's highest poverty rate. Underdog gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari is highlighting the issue in a way that's unusual for a Republican:

Scandalabra and Lerner's Language

CBS reports:
A former IRS official at the heart of the agency's tea party controversy called Republicans "crazies" and more in newly released emails. And a key GOP lawmaker says the remarks show that Lois Lerner was biased against conservative groups and targeted them for extra scrutiny.
Lois Lerner used to head the IRS division that handles applications for tax-exempt status. In a series of emails with a colleague in November 2012, Lerner made two disparaging remarks about members of the GOP, including one remark that was profane.

Republican Rep. Dave Camp, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, released the emails Wednesday as part of his committee's investigation. Camp says the emails show Lerner's disgust with conservatives.
In one email, Lerner called them crazies. In the other, she called them "a**holes." The committee redacted the wording to "_holes" in the material it released publicly, but a committee spokeswoman confirmed to the AP that the email said "a**holes."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Blunder in California

At Fox and Hounds, Tony Quinn notes a blunder by Ashley Swearengin, GOP candidate for controller:
Swearengin’s campaign decided not to spend the $7,000 for a ballot statement. Her campaign manager told the Fresno Bee “We don’t believe that it gets read or has any impact. In the grand scheme of what matters and what doesn’t, we decided to let that one go.” This conclusion is simply not true. Experienced ballot measure campaigns can see a shift in public opinion when the ballot pamphlet begins arriving. The small percentage of Californians that actually votes want to be well informed, and they read the pamphlet fairly closely.
The proof of course is in the pudding. In 2010, Gavin Newsom paid for a ballot statement for Lieutenant Governor; he won. Bill Lockyer paid for a statement for Treasurer; he won. John Chiang paid for a statement for Controller; he won. Debra Bowen paid for a statement for Secretary of State; she won. Dave Jones paid for a statement for Insurance Commissioner; he won. Tom Torlakson paid for a statement Superintendent of Public Instruction; he won. These victorious candidates certainly would not agree that the ballot statement has “no impact.” The only winning candidate who did not buy a ballot statement was Kamala Harris, and she ran way behind the rest of the Democratic ticket and nearly lost to Republican Steve Cooley who did buy a statement.
And the 2014 primary made that point even more forcefully. [Betty] Yee paid for a statement; Perez did not, and she beat him by 481 votes although he outspent her three to one. David Evans, another Republican candidate for Controller, raised no money at all and only had a one line ballot pamphlet statement. He got 850,000 votes and nearly made the runoff.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Nunn Documents

Eliana Johnson of National Review got campaign documents for Senate candidate Michelle Nunn (D-GA):
The documents reveal the campaign’s most sensitive calculations. Much of the strategizing in the Georgia contest, as is typical in southern politics, revolves around race. But the Nunn memos are incredibly unguarded. One is from Diane Feldman, a Democratic pollster and strategist who counts among her clients Minnesota senator Al Franken, South Carolina representative James Clyburn, and former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Feldman, who did not return calls seeking comment, is frank in her characterization of the demographic groups — Jews, Asians, African Americans, Latinos, and gays — that are essential to a Democratic victory. The Nunn campaign declined to comment about the document on the record.
The campaign’s finance plan draws attention to the “tremendous financial opportunity” in the Jewish community and identifies Jews as key fundraisers. It notes, however, that “Michelle’s position on Israel will largely determine the level of support here.” That’s a position she has yet to articulate — her message on the subject is marked “TBD” in the document — and Israel goes unmentioned on her campaign website.
Asians are also identified as key fundraisers. The community is described as “very tight,” one in which people work to “become citizens quickly.” Nunn’s strategists also say there is a “huge opportunity” to raise money from gays, bisexuals, and transgender individuals, who are described as having “substantial resources.”

As southern whites have moved to the right, Democrats have been forced to cobble together a coalition of minority voters. Feldman recommends as a goal winning just 30 percent of the white vote while working to increase turnout among African Americans and Latinos. So while Jews, Asians, and gays are characterized as potential “fundraisers,” African Americans and Hispanics are the ones the campaign needs to get to the polls in historic numbers, the document makes clear.
The document in its entirety can be viewed below.

2014 Michelle Nunn Campaign Memo

Monday, July 28, 2014

King Andrew

At The Daily Beast, Lloyd Green writes about the governor of New York:
Andrew Cuomo, meet Louis XIV, France’s Sun King. As tradition has it the Bourbon monarch, who ruled from the mid-1600s until 1715, quipped “L’État, c’est moi,” which translates “I am the State.” Fast-forward three centuries, and Cuomo II sounds awfully like the long-dead Louis.
When confronted with pushback over his decision in March to disband an anti-corruption commission—the so-called Moreland Commission—which Cuomo himself appointed in 2013, the governor was defiant. He bellowed to Crain’s: “It’s my commission. My subpoena power, my Moreland Commission. I can appoint it, I can disband it. I appoint you, I can un-appoint you tomorrow...It’s my commission. I can’t ‘interfere’ with it, because it is mine. It is controlled by me.” For history buffs, the commission itself takes its name from a 1907 law that empowers New York’s governors to appoint investigative bodies to root out wrongdoing.
Cuomo may now be learning that executive arrogance comes with a price. Immediately after the governor’s self-aggrandizing pronouncement, Preet Bharara, the federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, expressed his dismay with Cuomo, particularly given the state’s corruption-rich environment. So there’s no doubt, the Empire State is among the most corrupt in America. Between 1976 and 2010, New York led America in federal public corruption convictions with more than 2,500.
The March disbanding of the commission didn’t generate much outrage. But then last week, The New York Times dropped a bombshell story on how Team Cuomo rigged the game, and how this latest Moreland Commission was never about being independent. Rather, it was about beating the legislature into submission.

Anti-Incumbent Consultants

Alexander Burns reports at Politico:
Not that long ago, consultants say, it might have been a professional death sentence to sign up with even one candidate targeting a veteran incumbent like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell or Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran. These days, Cold Spark is only one of a limited but growing number of Republican firms that operate heavily in the black market of anti-incumbent campaigns.
The Pennsylvania company took in an eye-popping sum from the campaigns of Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel, Idaho attorney Bryan Smith and Kentucky investment manager Matt Bevin. Hopping from one anti-incumbent race to the next, the firm collected a total of $2.4 million for services including ad production, digital strategy and data analysis.

Thanks to an explosion of outsider Republicans running for office and the Supreme Court’s loosening of campaign finance rules, the economics of political consulting have shifted. Suddenly, there’s enough anti-incumbent work to sustain not just a skeleton crew of mercenary consultants, but a full-fledged cottage industry of ideological renegades — interlocking firms that pop up in one divisive primary after another, often working together or for different entities in the same race.
Other firms in the niche include:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

GOP Edge

Nate Cohn writes at The New York Times:
On Sunday, the research firm YouGov, in partnership with The New York Times and CBS News, released the first wave of results from an online panel of more than 100,000 respondents nationwide, which asked them their preferences in coming elections. The results offer a trove of nonpartisan data and show a broad and competitive playing field heading into the final few months of the campaign.
The Republicans appear to hold a slight advantage in the fight for the Senate and remain in a dominant position in the House. They need to pick up six seats to gain Senate control, and they hold a clear advantage in races in three states: South Dakota, Montana and West Virginia. The data from YouGov, an opinion-research firm that enjoyed success in 2012, finds the G.O.P. with a nominal lead in five additional states.
The five states where the Republicans hold a slight lead in the YouGov panel include three Southern ones — Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina — where Democratic incumbents face tough re-election contests and where Mitt Romney won in 2012. Republicans also have a slight edge in Iowa and Michigan, two open seats in states that usually vote for Democrats in presidential elections.
The Republican advantage, however, is not especially significant in these states, suggesting that the campaign remains up for grabs. The results are broadly consistent with the Times’s forecasting model, which incorporates surveys, fund-raising data and other information, and currently gives the Republicans a 60 percent chance of winning the Senate.
CNN reports:
The new CNN poll illustrates the turnout problem for the Democrats.
In the generic ballot question, the Democrats have a four percentage point 48%-44% edge over the Republicans among registered voters. The generic ballot asks respondents to choose between a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without identifying the candidates.
But when looking only at those who say they voted in the 2010 midterms – when the GOP won back the House thanks to a historic 63-seat pick up and narrowed the Democrats' control of the Senate – Republicans hold a two-point 48%-46% margin.
The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from July 18-20, with 1,012 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dems Move Farther Left

At Politico, Douglas Sosnik writes:
The progressive domination of the Democratic Party is already being felt across the country at the state and federal levels. Much less ticket-splitting is taking place these days, as the overall political leanings of most states increasingly determine how people vote from the top of the ticket down to the local level. As a result, a growing percentage of Democratic federal and statehouse officeholders come from blue states and districts across the country where progressive views tend to predominate. Democrats elected in more purple areas often tend to be more moderate in their views, but when these seats open up due to retirements or defeats, the more progressive forces will likely determine the primary election outcomes.
Just look at the U.S. House of Representatives. Democratic House members are overwhelmingly liberal, due in large part to 2010 midterm election losses and the 2012 reapportionment and redistricting process, when they were packed into as few seats as possible by Republicans intent on keeping control of the House. As a result, moderate Democrats are somewhat of an anomaly in the House—there are currently only nine Democratic members of the House in seats carried by Romney in 2012. And this number is certain to drop due to retirements and defeats in the upcoming midterm elections. The House Blue Dog Caucus, a moderate-to-conservative group of Democratic lawmakers, currently has only 19 members—down from 54 only four years ago. This number will also decrease after November.
The last bastion of moderate elected Democrats is the U.S. Senate—but even that base appears threatened. Although there are currently 12 Democratic seats from states that Romney carried in 2012, seven of them are up for re-election in November. As in the House, this bloc will almost certainly shrink.

Friday, July 25, 2014

American Crossroads v. Braley

Midterm Dropoff

At Pew, Drew DeSilver writes:
Though political scientists long have noted the midterm dropoff, they don’t agree on precisely what it means. In an influential 1987 article, James E. Campbell theorized that “the surge of interest and information in presidential elections” typically works to the advantage of one party or the other; that party’s partisans become more likely to vote, while those of the disadvantaged party are more likely to stay home during presidential elections. Independents, “lacking a standing partisan commitment…should divide disproportionately in favor of the advantaged party.” Midterm elections lack that “wow” factor, according to Campbell, and turnout among both partisans and independents return to more normal levels and patterns.
A recent paper by Brown University researcher Brian Knight seeks to evaluate that surge-and-decline theory, as well as two competing explanations of why the president’s party nearly always loses seats at the midterms: a “presidential penalty,” or general preference among midterm voters for expressing dissatisfaction with the president’s performance or ensuring that his party doesn’t control all the levers of government, and recurring shifts in voter ideology between presidential and midterm elections. Knight concluded that while all three factors contribute to what he calls the “midterm gap,” the presidential penalty has the most impact.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Voter Enthusiasm in Midsummer

Pew reports:
The Republican Party holds a clear advantage in voter engagement in this fall’s midterm elections, according to a new national survey by the Pew Research Center. Yet GOP voters are not as enthused and engaged as they were at this point in the midterm campaign four years ago, prior to the Republican Party winning control of the House of Representatives, or as Democratic voters were in 2006, before Democrats gained control of Congress.
The latest survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted July 8-14 among 1,805 adults, including 1,420 registered voters, finds neither party has an advantage in voter preferences. Currently, 45% say if the election were held today they would support the Republican in their district or lean toward the Republican, while 47% favor the Democrat or lean Democratic.
The two parties also ran even on the so-called “generic ballot” throughout much of the 2010 campaign. The GOP’s victory in the national popular vote in 2010 – and their gain of 63 seats in the House – was ultimately fueled by a sharp rise in turnout by the Republican base, particularly among conservatives and older voters.
Today, the Republicans lead on a number of key engagement indicators, though in some cases by smaller margins than four years ago. Currently, 45% of registered voters who plan to support the Republican in their district say they are more enthusiastic about voting than in prior congressional elections; that compares with 37% of those who plan to vote for the Democratic candidate. The GOP had a 13-point enthusiasm advantage at this point in the midterm campaign four years ago (55% to 42%) and the Democrats held a 17-point advantage eight years ago (47% to 30%).
However, as many voters who support the Republican in their district say they are “absolutely certain” to vote this fall as said this in June 2010. Three-quarters of Republican voters (76%) say they are absolutely certain to vote, compared with 67% of Democratic voters. Four years ago, 77% of Republican voters and 64% of Democratic voters said they were absolutely certain to vote in the fall.
Barack Obama is as powerful a motivating factor for Republican voters as he was in 2010: about half (51%) of those who say they will vote Republican this fall consider their vote as a vote “against” Obama, little changed from June 2010 (52%). And Obama has become a less positive factor for Democrats – 36% of those who plan to vote for the Democrat in their district view their vote as being “for” Obama, down from 44% four years ago. (For more on Obama’s job ratings.)

Oppo Summer!

At The Hill, Cameron Joseph and Alexandra Jaffe report:
The battle for the Senate is shifting fully into opposition research season after Georgia's Tuesday primary decided one of the final marquee Senate matchups.
Campaigns across the country are beginning to crack their research books to leak embarrassing and incriminating stories about their opponents, seeking to disqualify them as the general election season heats up.
On Wednesday alone, the New York Times reported that Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) plagiarized much of his 2007 master’s thesis, Michigan papers continued their coverage of questions surrounding Michigan Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land’s (R) financial disclosures (which are missing any record of a joint account with her husband, which she’s said is being used to pump millions of their money into the race), and Iowa Republicans continued to make hay out of Rep. Bruce Braley’s (D-Iowa) poor attendance record at Veterans Affairs Committee hearings.
Opposition research dumps, always a key facet of campaigns, have become even more important with shrinking newsrooms and burgeoning outside groups such as American Bridge on the left and, this cycle, the GOP’s response with America Rising. At the same time, what used to be “October surprises” are now coming earlier as campaigns and super-PACs spend on early TV and candidates look to damage each other in the spring and summer.
A tracker for America Rising found an unhappy Walsh coming out of a fundraiser:

In Michigan, America Rising counters on the personal financial disclosure front:
Gary Peters loves to rail against companies that move overseas for tax purposes. He supports cracking down on offshore tax havens, voted for a bill that would crack down of offshore tax evasion, and said that the U.S. needs to keep corporations from exploiting offshore tax shelters.
But, according to his personal financial disclosure, Gary Peters owns between $15,001 and $50,000 worth of stock in Medtronic Inc:
In June, Medtronic bought Covidien Plc. The new combined company will be based in Ireland for tax purposes and the move would free up almost $14 billion that Medtronic would avoid paying taxes on in the U.S.
Peters talks a big game, but when it comes right down to it, he profits from companies that avoid paying U.S. taxes.
Meanwhile, Crossroads GPS deploys votes and quotes against Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Mark Udall (D-CO):

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Low Primary Turnout

A release from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate:
If the first 25 statewide primaries (for U.S. Senate and/or state governor) are any guide, the nation is likely to witness the lowest midterm primary turnout in history. It is also likely to witness the greatest number of states setting records for low voter turnout.
--National turnout for the 25 states which held statewide primaries for both major parties reported a decline of 3.5 percentage points or 18 percent from the turnout in 2010. The national percentage of eligible citizens who voted in these primaries was 14.8 percent, down from 18.3 percent in 2010. Only 18,201,718 out of 122,751,000 age-eligible citizens voted for governor and/or U.S. Senator in these primaries.
--Turnout in fifteen of the twenty-five states which held statewide primaries reached historic lows. Only three of those 25 states had higher turnout in 2014 than in 2010.
--Republican turnout at 8.2 percent dropped 1.4 percentage points or 15 percent from its 2010 level of 9.6 percent of the age-eligible citizens. But GOP turnout was only slightly off its 13 midterm election average of 8.9 percent.
These were among the highlights of a report on official and certified final turnout figures for all the contested statewide primary elections prior to July by the non-partisan Center for the Study of the American Electorate (CSAE). The aggregate national turnout figures in this report are based on the average turnout of all the states which held primaries in any given midterm election. (Some of the states that held primaries in 2014 did not do so in any given previous election. Mississippi, Montana and South Dakota did not do so in 2010. In the detailed charts section of this report, there are charts providing comparisons between states that held primaries in every prior midterm election. Those charts don’t change the essential conclusions based on averages in this report.)
Among other findings:
--Overall turnout, the turnout in both Democratic and Republican primaries combined was 17.1 percentage points or 54 percent lower that the most recent high of 31.9 percent of age-eligible citizens voting in 1966.
--Democratic turnout was 14.5 percentage points or 70 percent lower than their most recent high of 20.9 percent of eligibles voting in 1970.
--Republican turnout was down five percentage points or 38 percent from its high water mark of 13.2 percent of eligibles voting in 1966.
--There were only three states – West Virginia, Nebraska and North Carolina – of the 22 which held statewide primaries in both parties and had comparable elections that had higher turnout in 2014 than in 2010. Democratic turnout as compared to 2010 was higher four states. Republican turnout was higher in six of the 22 states.
--Both overall turnout and Democratic turnout reached record lows in 15 of the 25 states that had statewide primaries. The GOP recorded record lows in three states – Maine, Nevada and Pennsylvania – but also recorded record high turnout in four states – Arkansas, Mississippi (in the senatorial runoff), Montana and Oklahoma.

Immigration Polls

With thousands of undocumented immigrant minors crossing the nation's southern border in recent months, the percentage of Americans citing immigration as the top problem has surged to 17% this month, up from 5% in June, and the highest seen since 2006. As a result, immigration now virtually ties "dissatisfaction with government," at 16%, as the primary issue Americans think of when asked to name the country's top problem. 
This is not the first time that immigration has spiked in the public's consciousness. Most recently, Gallup found the issue increasing to 10% in 2010, at a time when a new immigration law in Arizona was making news. And prior to that, it increased twice in 2006 to 15% or higher, amid congressional debate over immigration reform. 
Signaling that public mentions of immigration today could be stemming more from concern about illegal immigration than from support for immigration reform, mentions of the issue are significantly higher among Republicans (23%) than Democrats (11%). Gallup polling earlier this year showed Republicans with a preference for focusing on sealing the border, while Democrats prioritized addressing the status of illegal immigrants already here.
Even in Massachusetts, there is considerable opposition to taking the young migrants and other undocumented aliens.  The Boston Globe reports:
Massachusetts voters are split on Governor Deval Patrick’s plan to provide temporary shelter for up to 1,000 unaccompanied immigrant children on a state air base or military training installation, according to a new Boston Globe poll. 
Given the details of Patrick’s proposal, including the fact that the facilities would be staffed and paid for by the federal government and open for up to four months, 50 percent of those polled expressed support, with 43 percent opposed. That’s within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

But on national immigration initiatives, respondents were more skeptical. Asked more broadly whether the migrant children should be allowed to stay in the United States after judicial hearings, only 39 percent answered yes, compared with 43 percent who said the children should be deported.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Single-Candidate Super PACs

Open Secrets reports:
We’ve written before about “single-candidate super PACs,” outside spending groups that exist solely to support or oppose a sole office-seeker. Last cycle, virtually every presidential candidate had at least one dedicated super PAC. Some are managed by the candidate’s close associates, most notablyRestore Our Future, last cycle’s top-spending super PAC and one of Mitt Romney’s most important allies; others are run by wealthy outsiders with no connection to the candidateexcept a shared ideology.
Now, we’ve given these groups a permanent home on our site. Our single-candidate super PAC page will put these groups in focus and highlight their growing importance.
Conservatives have dominated the single-candidate super PAC scene in both the 2012 and 2014 cycles (so far), outspending their liberal counterparts by about three-to-one. Of the 30 single-candidate groups that have reported independent expenditures this cycle, 26 lean conservative – although the largest, Put Alaska First PAC, backs Democrat Mark Begich. This is partly a reflection of the importance of super PACs in primaries, where a few million dollars in independent expenditures can make or break a candidacy; most of the hottest primary battles in 2012 and 2014 have been Republican contests.
The Washington Post reports:
As one of their first to-do items, congressional hopefuls are now asked to identify wealthy family members, friends or business associates willing to spend on behalf of their candidacies. As a result, deep-pocketed political patrons and special interests have a greater ability than ever before to influence the outcome of individual races, with a relatively modest investment of funds. 
“It is the norm this cycle,” said Saul Anuzis, a former Michigan Republican Party chairman, noting that he told every potential candidate to identify generous friends and family members. “Anybody giving advice to campaigns that did not recommend super PACs as part of the strategy mix would be committing political malpractice.”
So far in 2014, at least 64 such groups have poured more than $21 million into television ads, mailers and robo-calls to help their chosen candidates, according to campaign finance data collected by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. That means such groups are on track to far exceed the nearly $31 million spent in the 2012 elections by 42 super PACs focused on individual congressional candidates, according to data analyzed by the advocacy group Public Citizen.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Lincoln Labs and the Iron Law of Emulation

At The Los Angeles Times, Seehma Mehta writes of GOP and conservative efforts to reach out to the tech community.
"It does make you stand out a little bit. You have to be careful how you position yourself. You have to be careful what you say in public," Eric Jackson, co-founder of CapLinked, said during a panel discussion Saturday about conservatives in the industry at the inaugural Lincoln Labs Reboot conference. 
Having taken a drubbing in the last couple of elections, I think the party has woken up to the idea of having better technology," said Harmeet Dhillon, vice chair of the California Republican Party, during a panel Friday evening. "I can order Uber to come to my house in two minutes. We still don't have good apps to give me a good map to walk precincts on a weekend." 
Lincoln Labs is one of several efforts born in the aftermath of the 2012 election, which set off tsunami warnings in GOP circles because of the Democrats' stark advantage in the use of technology and data. The Republican National Committee is spending $17 million on efforts to modernize its technology and use of data, with mixed reviews.
The founders of Lincoln Labs said they saw the need firsthand when their technology efforts were rebuffed by some party and campaign officials in 2012.
They face obstacles in their current endeavor: One of Lincoln Labs' first hackathons had to switch locations when employees of the firm that had planned to host it complained about the group's backing by entities related to the Koch brothers, two wealthy donors who give money to conservative causes. 
The iron law of emulation kicks in:
Bret Jacobson, co-founder of the digital advocacy firm Red Edge, said conservatives need to understand what the left did well, create their own digital approaches, and replicate them across the party and campaigns. 
"We view 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 as a continuum, and a process the right will go through culturally, and then we'll be able to judge whether it worked," he said during a panel discussion Saturday.

Partisans and the Mideast

The Pew Research Center reports on a survey conducted July 8-14 among 1,805 adults:
Currently, 51% of Americans say that in the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, they sympathize more with Israel. Just 14% sympathize more with the Palestinians, while 15% volunteer that they sympathize with neither side and 3% sympathize with both.

These views are little changed from April, before the recent outbreak of Mideast violence. However, the share of Republicans who sympathize more with Israel has risen from 68% to 73%; 44% of Democrats express more sympathy for Israel than the Palestinians, which is largely unchanged from April (46%). The share of independents siding more with Israel than the Palestinians has slipped from 51% to 45%.

Just 17% of Democrats, 17% of independents and 6% of Republicans sympathize more with the Palestinians than Israel. These numbers have changed little since April.
White evangelical Protestants remain more likely than members of other religious groups to sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians (70%). White evangelical Protestants make up nearly a third of Republicans (31% of all Republicans and Republican leaners), so this accounts for at least some of the partisan gap in sympathies. However, even among Republicans who are not white evangelicals, two-thirds (66%) sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians. This compares with 78% of white evangelical Republicans.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Name ID of Potential Democratic Candidates

Except for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, Democrats don't know much about potential 2016 Democratic candidates. Gallup reports:
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and O'Malley do not have the long political careers that Biden and Clinton have, and at this point, they are struggling to attain a high profile on the national stage.
  • Andrew Cuomo, son of three-term New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, is running for his second term as governor this year after previously being the state's attorney general and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton. Despite that long career and being in a prominent family that includes his brother Chris Cuomo, a CNN news personality, nearly half of Democrats (48%) have never heard of or don't have an opinion of the governor.
  • Elizabeth Warren, a first-term senator, was a former Harvard Law professor and served in the Obama administration as a special adviser to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She has been campaigning nationally for Democratic candidates, some of whom are running in traditionally strong Republican states, such as West Virginia and Kentucky. Warren has said that she is touting her populist message to ensure the Democratic agenda succeeds in the next Congress. However, Warren is still far from a household name among Democrats: 57% of Democrats nationally have never heard of or don't have an opinion of the senator.
  • Martin O'Malley is finishing his second term as governor of Maryland, having been elected in 2006 after eight years as the mayor of Baltimore. While he counts as a success signing same-sex marriage into state law in 2012, O'Malley has not gained much traction with the American public. The vast majority of Democrats (84%) have neither heard of O'Malley or don't have an opinion of him.

They Knew

The Washington Post reports that a team of experts visited a Brownsville Border Patrol site last year and saw the coming surge of young migrants.  
Thirty Border Patrol agents were assigned in August 2013 to drive the children to off-site showers, wash their clothes and make them sandwiches. As soon as those children were placed in temporary shelters, more arrived. An average of 66 were apprehended each day on the border and more than 24,000 cycled through Texas patrol stations in 2013. In a 41-page report to the Department of Homeland Security, the team from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) raised alarms about the federal government’s capacity to manage a situation that was expected to grow worse. 
The researchers’ observations were among the warning signs conveyed to the Obama administration over the past two years as a surge of Central American minors has crossed into south Texas illegally. More than 57,000 have entered the United States this year, swamping federal resources and catching the government unprepared. 
The administration did too little to heed those warnings, according to interviews with former government officials, outside experts and immigrant advocates, leading to an inadequate response that contributed to this summer’s escalating crisis. [emphasis added]
Federal officials viewed the situation as a “local problem,” said Victor Manjarrez Jr., a former Border Patrol station chief who led the UTEP study. The research, conducted last year, was funded by the Department of Homeland Security and published in March. A broader crisis was “not on anyone’s radar,” Manjarrez added, even though “it was pretty clear this number of kids was going to be the new baseline.”
 The story's revelations about congressional Democrats are just as politically hazardous:
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) said Democrats recognized the urgency but feared that if they raised too much of a public outcry, it would create political blowback for the Obama administration’s push to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul....
Democrats worried that the escalating border crisis would help Republicans make a case that the administration’s policies had failed, Roybal-Allard said. 
“That was always a concern of mine: How to address the issue in a way that did not detract from the need for comprehensive immigration reform,” she said.
Rick Perry, like Mitt Romney, is having a "See I Told You So" moment.  Over two years ago, The Texas Tribune reported:
Citing an unprecedented level of unaccompanied illegal-immigrant minors breaching the U.S.-Mexico border, Gov.Rick Perry sent a letter Friday asking the Obama administration to address the “humanitarian crisis.” 
Calling the issue a byproduct of Obama’s failed effort to secure the border, Perry citesrecent media reports that indicate 5,200 unaccompanied and illegal-immigrant minors crossed into the country during the first six months of the 2012 fiscal year, including 1,300 in March alone. It is unclear from the letter how many minors crossed into Texas. 
“To be clear, Texas has been working diligently to protect the immediate health and safety of our citizens and the unaccompanied minors now in our state. However, by failing to take immediate action to return these minors to their countries of origin and prevent and discourage others from coming here, the federal government is perpetuating the problem,” Perry wrote.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Border Trouble, Political Trouble

Pew reports:
As the president and Congress struggle over how to deal with the influx of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America across the U.S.-Mexican border, a new survey finds that the public favors a shift in U.S. policy to expedite the legal processing of the children. 
President Obama gets very low ratings for his handling of the issue. Just 28% of the public approves of the way he is handling the surge of children from Central America, while twice as many (56%) disapprove. That is one of the lowest ratings for his handling of any issue since he became president. But Obama’s overall job rating is virtually unchanged from April: 44% approve of his job performance while 49% disapprove. 
And as was the case in January, neither party has a significant edge when it comes to dealing with immigration; 42% say the Republican Party could do a better job on the issue while 40% say the Democratic Party.
Gallup reports:
With thousands of undocumented immigrant minors crossing the nation's southern border in recent months, the percentage of Americans citing immigration as the top problem has surged to 17% this month, up from 5% in June, and the highest seen since 2006. As a result, immigration now virtually ties "dissatisfaction with government," at 16%, as the primary issue Americans think of when asked to name the country's top problem. 
This is not the first time that immigration has spiked in the public's consciousness. Most recently, Gallup found the issue increasing to 10% in 2010, at a time when a new immigration law in Arizona was making news. And prior to that, it increased twice in 2006 to 15% or higher, amid congressional debate over immigration reform. 
Signaling that public mentions of immigration today could be stemming more from concern about illegal immigration than from support for immigration reform, mentions of the issue are significantly higher among Republicans (23%) than Democrats (11%). Gallup polling earlier this year showed Republicans with a preference for focusing on sealing the border, while Democrats prioritized addressing the status of illegal immigrants already here.

Friday, July 18, 2014

"It Didn't Happen"

Andrew Kaczynski reports at Buzzfeed:
Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday the “hope and change” promised by President Obama and himself in 2008 never happened. Biden was speaking at the Generation Progress, a segment of the Center for American Progress dedicated to student and youth advocacy.
“Look folks, this is within our power to change,” Biden said to the crowd. “Everybody says because we tried in ‘08 and it didn’t happen, it’s not possible. Wrong. We’ve gone through these periods before.” 
Biden later said change was still possible if youth were the force behind it. 
“But folks, this is totally within our power. Change. Change for the better is absolutely possible and I believe it’s close to inevitable, if you’re the drivers of it.”
For more on the fate of the "hope and change" theme, see our related blog, After Hope and Change

Keep an Eye on Huckabee

The Gallup poll shows that Hillary Clinton is the best-known and best-liked potential presidential candidate.  That is utterly unsurprising in light of her long record.  The more noteworthy poll finding involves a Republican:
Former Arkansas governor and current talk show host Mike Huckabee is arguably in a slightly better position image-wise among the national adult population than other potential Republican presidential candidates. His +12 net favorable rating edges out Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's +9 for the highest among Republican candidates. Huckabee's 54% familiarity score trails those for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (65%) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (65%), but is above the 52% average for the 11 Republicans measured in the poll. Christie's and Bush's net favorable ratings are among the lowest.
As we discuss in After Hope and Change, Huckabee went into the 2012 election with high favorables and would have been a serious contender had he chosen to run.  Four years later, with more money in the bank (his need to build up personal assets played a part in his noncandidacy) and no obvious front-runner, he might decide to go for it.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Stock Market America and the Rest of Us

At The Daily Beast, Lloyd Green notes that assets are at record levels.
For most working Americans, the story is very different. Income ticks upwards at a crawl. Year to year, private sector wages were up just 2 percent and that was before inflation, which stands at a little over 2 percent. That’s called running in place, but Democrats and Republicans ignore the hollowing out of working and middle-income America.
In contrast, life for the donor base is good, regardless of party. The S&P 500 has grown more than 19 percent over the past year, and more than 6 percent since January 1st. It’s the best of times for a relative few, and the worst of times for many.
He says that most politicians aren't talking about the recovery's failure to reach so many.  Two exceptions are Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio.
In a recent speech, Rubio hit upon the right combination of anxiety and hope. According to Rubio, “The American Dream is still attainable. But it has gotten increasingly difficult to achieve for far too many. Wages have stagnated; everyday costs have risen… millions go to sleep each night overcome with the sense that they are one bad break from financial ruin.” Not bad for a party that hated on the 47 percent.
In March of last year, Pew reported on the demographics of stock ownership:


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Clinton and Warren

Katie Zezima writes at The Washington Post:
Hillary Clinton appeared Tuesday on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to promote her book, "Hard Choices." Stewart briefly discussed the 656-page tome about Clinton's tenure as secretary of state and then asked exactly what everyone is wondering.
"No one cares," about the book, he said. "They just want to know if you're running for president."
Stewart, like so many, tried to get the answer -- even telling Clinton that it sounded like she had just declared that she was running. Like so many others Stewart couldn't confirm anything, but he gets points for asking the most creative questions.
While the show was edited, it was done so in such a way that Clinton pivoted right to income inequality -- prompting Stewart to remark that it was a clear sign that she plans to run for president. Clinton backed away from the comments she made a few weeks ago about how she and Bill Clinton were "dead broke" after leaving the White House. Instead she focused on how lucky the two of them were to start their careers at a time when they thought they could make it simply by working hard, climbing the ladder and being fortunate enough to take advantages of opportunities given to them.
Sean Sullivan of the Washington Post reports:
Move over, "Ready for Hillary." There's a new kid on the 2016 block.
A new group that hopes to encourage Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to run for president in 2016 has formed, adopting similar tactics to a super PAC designed to do the same thing to former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton (D).
But it does not have Warren's blessing.
"Warren is the backbone that the Democratic Party too often forgets it needs. Warren has inspired a movement—yet to jump into the race for president, we need to show Warren that she’s got support all across the country, from Oklahoma to Massachusetts, from Florida to Nevada," the group writes on its Web site.

News of the group's plans, first reported by the Huffington Post, comes as Warren is stepping up her presence on the 2014 campaign trail. She stumped for Democratic Senate nominee Natalie Tennant in West Virginia Monday and intends to campaign for Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), another Senate hopeful, later this week.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Crossroads for Ernst

Conservative fundraising group American Crossroads is filling in for Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Joni Ernst while she participates in Iowa National Guard training for two weeks.

Group spokesman Paul Lindsay told The Associated Press on Monday that the group backed by GOP strategist Karl Rove is spending $415,000 on a 30-second television ad that begins airing statewide Tuesday. That's in addition to the $3.1 million in advertising time the group has reserved in Iowa as part of the $20-million blitz the group plans in Senate battleground states.

Ernst herself ran the most memorable ad of the year so far:

Monday, July 14, 2014

American Crossroads v. Warren & Tennant

In the West Virginia Senate race, American Crossroads is using Elizabeth Warren against Democratic candidate Natalie Tennant:

The Rust Belt

At The Daily Beast, Lloyd Green notes that the GOP will hold its convention in Cleveland and argues that it should focus on the Rust Belt, not just the Bible Belt.
Although Republican presidential candidates can’t seem to catch a break in the Midwest, the GOP still manages to win statewide races there, unlike California and New York which are lost causes and don’t look like they are coming back anytime soon.. Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania all have Republican governors, while Ohio and Pennsylvania each send a Republican senator to Washington, and Ohio’s John Boehner is the Speaker of the House.

Part of the national Republicans’ problem is cultural, part of it is regional, and part of it is programmatic, or lack of one to be clear. A campaign message that plays well at 11 o’clock on a Sunday morning in South Carolina is great for South Carolina, but it’s not what the Rust Belt wants to hear on Election Day. With Hillary Clinton waiting in the wings on the Democratic side, the Republicans need to recalibrate quickly. Betting on economic catastrophe is not a campaign strategy.

So instead of just Obama-bashing from now through 2016, the GOP should be talking programs. Musing about impeachment is both stupid and bad politics. Lest anyone need a refresher, impeachment cost the Republicans seats in the 1998 midterms, as well Newt Gingrich’s job as speaker.

Rather, the Republicans need to start talking about jobs, roads, and infrastructure. Contrary to what Jim DeMint and the Heritage Foundation may say, that stuff is as American as apple pie. Heck, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution expressly empowers Congress to establish roads. It is also a matter of political necessity if the Republicans want to expand their appeal beyond the usual suspects.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


At The Los Angeles Times, Mark Z. Barabak writes of Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, a potential liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton:
Fellow Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton says she hasn't decided whether to run, and neither, O'Malley says, has he. In the meantime, he is running one of the most vigorous noncampaign campaigns of any 2016 possibility in either party — raising money, stumping in early-voting states such as Iowa and New Hampshire, traveling abroad to boost his foreign policy credentials and honing a message that might be characterized, for brevity's sake, as compassionate competence.
"People want problem-solvers," O'Malley, a former Baltimore mayor, said in a late-night interview after the first of two well-received speeches to Democratic activists in Des Moines. "They want leaders that will bring people together to solve problems, not people that will take their ideology and try to beat round pegs into square holes."
Noted for his data-driven approach to policy, starting when he used computer analysis to chart citizen complaints and fuel millions of dollars of new efficiencies in city government, O'Malley is a devout Roman Catholic grounded in the Jesuit emphasis on social justice. His religious faith, he suggests, informs his secular beliefs.

GOP in Good Shape for Governor Races

At The New York Times, Jonathan Martin and Nicholas Confessore report that GOP gubernatorial candidates are in surprisingly good shape even though the party has to defend 22 of the 36 spots that are up for election this year.
While the sheer scale of Republican gains four years ago offers Democrats a wealth of opportunities to win, the political environment appears to be tilting again in the Republicans’ direction.

The recession that doomed Democrats in 2010 has shifted into a recovery, driving down jobless rates and bolstering Republican incumbents. At the same time, President Obama’s approval ratings have fallen even in states that he won in 2012.
And campaign money is gushing into national Republican groups that focus on state capitals, including the Republican Governors Association, whose chairman, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, has set fund-raising records for the group even under the glare of multiple state and federal investigations. The association raised $100 million during the 18 months ending in June, dwarfing the amount it amassed for 2010, and had $70 million in cash at the beginning of July. The chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont, said his group would be outraised by about two to one.
It is not only in governors’ races where Republicans are building an advantage: The Republican State Leadership Committee, a Washington-based group that supports the party’s candidates for state offices, is also well ahead of its 2010 fund-raising pace.
Matt Walter, the committee’s president, said it had raised more than $24 million through June, close to twice as much as it had raised by the same point in the 2010 election cycle, when his party took control of 21 state legislative bodies.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

California: Low Turnout, High Voting by Mail

Jeremy B. White reports at The Sacramento Bee:
Official tallies released by the California secretary of state’s office capture a record low and a record high. Total turnout for the June primary was the lowest ever for a statewide election, sitting at 25.2 percent. That fell below the previous nadir of 28.2 percent, set in 2008.
“There is no doubt the turnout number is disappointing, but if ever there was a statewide election where every vote mattered, this was certainly it,” Secretary of State Debra Bowen said in a statement.
While fewer voters participated in an election that was slim on high-profile contests, more than two-thirds of those who chose to vote did so by mailing in ballots. The 69 percent of voters who weighed in by mail broke the previous high-water mark of 65 percent.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Crossroads and Primaries

At National Journal, Josh Kraushaar writes that the Crossroads groups have backed Bush alumni in GOP primaries for a New York House seat and an Alaska Senate seat.
To be sure, Crossroads' decisions have proven to be strategically sound, helping stronger candidates prevail through difficult primaries. In Doheny, Stefanik faced a flawed candidate who lost the district twice before and had been photographed making out with one of his fundraising consultants. Sullivan, meanwhile, boasted a compelling resume as a Marine Corps officer, presidential adviser, and statewide officeholder in Alaska. He proved his fundraising viability before Crossroads backed his campaign, while his leading Republican opponent, Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, has struggled to put together a professional operation.
But critics of the group's tactics argue that valuable resources were diverted to an inconsequential House primary, when other Republican establishment groups were fighting to save Sen. Thad Cochran's career in Mississippi, and by extension, the GOP's Senate prospects. After Cochran finished second in the initial primary, Crossroads publicly telegraphed it wasn't doing anything more to help the embattled incumbent for the runoff. Crossroads has also stayed out of other contested Republican primaries where the quality of the nominee made a big difference, like in Georgia and Iowa. By contrast, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has played an outsize role in nominating fights this cycle, aired ads in those races on behalf of Joni Ernst and Rep. Jack Kingston.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bridge and Rising

And of course Bridge and Rising are at war over Hillary Clinton. The Republicans have a dedicated anti-Hillary team, are building a video archive of all her appearances, have published an e-Book to pick apart her recent memoir and are posting shareable barbs, such as pictures of two rather grand houses the Clintons bought around the time when Mrs Clinton said they were “dead broke”. Mrs Clinton’s defenders at Bridge have created an organisation called “Correct the Record” to rebut Republican attacks on the former secretary of state. 
Over the past decade oppo has turned from an art into a science, with fewer camera-wielding college students hiding behind trees and more staff staring at screens all day, monitoring livestreamed interviews and campaign events. Both sides dream of upending an opponent with an Akinesque “gotcha”, but the daily reality is more mundane. On Rising’s website, the self-explanatory headline above one video is “Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL) Picks His Ear And Eats It”.

First-Term Seeds of Second-Term Trouble

At The Daily Beast, Jeff Greenfield explains that first terms often contain the seeds of trouble for the second term.
Let me explain. My case, which is spelled out in detail here, looks back at what bedeviled Presidents as the glow of their return to office

faded. For Lyndon Johnson, it was the stealth escalation in Vietnam he plotted even as he ran as a peace candidate in 1964. For Nixon, it was the Watergate break-in, designed to filch political plans of his 1972 foes. For Clinton, it was Monica Lewinsky’s arrival at the White House during the government shutdown of 1995. For George W. Bush, it was the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the disastrous post-invasion fiasco. 
And Obama? In that 2012 piece, I wrote that the first-term roots of second term trouble might come “mostly from abroad, where the potential for instability, violence and anti-American hostility could make presidential decisions look very bad. … Imagine Iraq exploding into a new civil war, or aligning itself with a still-governing Assad in Syria, or with Iran.”

The presidential decisions now undergoing very tough judgments include not just the decision to withdraw completely from Iraq, but the decision to keep Prime Minister Nouri-al-Maliki in power despite overwhelming evidence that he was assembling a sectarian Shiite state. Ali Khedery, who was at one time the longest-serving American in Iraq, has just published a lengthy, agonizing account of U.S. policy blindness. It follows the blistering critiques of American missteps by The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins, one of the most experienced of American war journalists writing today.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Fred Barnes writes at The Weekly Standard:
Here’s a rundown on the sad state of the Republican party in California. Republicans haven’t won a Senate contest since 1990. George H. W. Bush was the last Republican presidential candidate to win here. That was in 1988. Barack Obama was reelected with a larger percentage of the vote in 2012 (59 percent) than Ronald Reagan in 1984 (58 percent). And it was long ago in 1976 when S. I. Hayakawa ousted John Tunney from his Senate seat—the last Republican challenger to knock off an incumbent Democrat in a Senate or governor’s race. Since then, 38 years have passed, a span in which some elections have gone very well for Republicans (in 1980, 1984, 1994, 2002, 2010) but usually not in California.
It’s pretty simple why Republicans collapsed in California. The state changed. They didn’t. The Hispanic and Asian electorates grew without attracting heavy GOP attention. In 1990, Republicans were 39 percent of registered voters. Today they’re 29 percent. In the past two decades, four million middle-class families have left California. The guess is a majority were Republicans or at least Republican-minded. “We are exporting Republicans,” Steel says. 
The demographics are daunting for Republicans. The state is 39 percent Latino, 38.8 percent white, 13 percent Asian, 5.8 percent black. Democratic voters consist of California’s rich, poor, and Asians. The middle class is dominated by unionized state and local government workers. That doesn’t leave much for Republicans.
Barnes notes signs of hope in Jim Brulte's bottom-up strategy, along with the possibility for gains among Asian voters (but see here for a skeptical view.)

Undervote Impact

Jim Miller reports at The Sacramento Bee:
The ultra-tight finish in California's controller race might have been a lot different if some 422,000 voters last month had completed their ballots.
As of Friday, Board of Equalization member Betty Yee led former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez by 481 votes for second place. Monday is the last day to request a recount.
There were 4.46 million ballots cast statewide, but only 4.04 million votes in the controllers race – a difference of almost 422,000 votes and an "undervote" rate of 10.45 percent.
More than a quarter of those ballots were in Los Angeles County, where about 111,000 voters skipped over the controller's race, an undervote of 13.5 percent.

Read more here:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Crossroads GPS v. Mark Pryor & Mark Udall

From Politico Morning Score:
Crossroads GPS, the nonprofit arm of the Crossroads organization, is out with new television ads in Arkansas and Colorado. The Arkansas spot hits Pryor on Obamacare. The Colorado ad criticizes Democratic Sen. Mark Udall for calling new EPA regulations “a good start” and asks Coloradoans to urge him to support the Keystone XL pipeline. Both ads begin today; the Arkansas ad is backed by more than $435,000, while the Colorado spot has $460,000 behind it. Arkansas:, Colorado:

Monday, July 7, 2014

Reform Conservatism

At The New York Times Magazine, Sam Tanenhaus writes of Yuval Levin and other conservative reformers:
Levin and company, who do have the policy mentality, will happily fill in the blanks. In the wake of Cantor’s defeat, April Ponnuru said she was still hearing from legislators interested in connecting with the ideas of the YG Network, and she had more events scheduled to spread the word. Rubio volunteered to speak at one such event in late June. He, too, shrugged off Cantor’s defeat. “I don’t think Eric Cantor lost because he gave a few speeches advocating reforms,” said Rubio, who seems to understand that being elected as an insurgent — riding the crest of a movement — doesn’t mean he has to govern as one. American politics is the story, in large part, of outsiders who became skilled insiders, not by selling out but by growing into the demands of the office. It happened to Barry Goldwater and also to Reagan. It might happen again. When I spoke with him, Rubio also stood by his own antipoverty proposal, acknowledging it would not save any money but suggesting it might in the long run since it would lift many out of poverty. This is exactly the case Lyndon Johnson and Democrats made generations ago. “Our debt isn’t driven by discretionary spending on poverty programs,” Rubio said. “We’re not going to balance the budget by saving money on safety-net programs.”
It is hard to imagine the Republican candidate who will say this in a closely contested Red State primary in 2014 or during a presidential race in 2016. But some politicians say otherwise, including Levin’s own favorite senator, Mike Lee, the Tea Party firebrand from Utah, who stood by Ted Cruz’s side during the October shutdown but also has adopted the reformers’ middle-class agenda as well as its idioms

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Rand Paul and Foreign Policy

At The Hill, Niall Stanage reports on Rand Paul's effort to transcend concerns that he is an isolationist.
But Paul has been trying to tamp down those concerns. In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, he sought to compare his foreign policy to that of President Reagan. 
“I opposed the Iraq War. I thought we needed to be more prudent about the weightiest decision a country can make,” Paul wrote. “Like Reagan, I thought we should never be eager to go to war.” 
Last week, Paul wrote another opinion column, this time for National Review, in which he reacted to the killing of three Israeli teenagers, allegedly by Hamas. 
In the article, he referred scathingly to calls from the Obama administration for Israel to show restraint.  
“How many times must Israel hear this call? Children are murdered — please show restraint. Cafes and buses are bombed — please show restraint. Towns are victimized by hundreds of rockets — please show restraint while you bury your dead once again,” Paul wrote. 
The tone of the piece attracted its fair share of criticism, including from those who suggested Paul was seeking to ingratiate himself with wealthy, pro-Israel Republican donors such as casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.
Others, however, praised Paul and said his foreign policy views are maturing.