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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Benghazi, Continued

USA Today reports:
Republicans say e-mails released Tuesday on the attack in Benghazi, Libya, include "the smoking gun" that shows a White House official urged that the assault on the U.S. consulate be blamed on a protest that never happened.
The e-mails, obtained by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act request, include one in which White House official Ben Rhodes lists "goals" for then-U.N. ambassador Susan Rice to meet in explaining the attack and protests occurring across the Middle East that week to the American public.
Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in the assault, which the White House subsequently acknowledged was an al-Qaeda-linked terror attack.
The e-mail, sent to various officials including White House spokesman Jay Carney, said one goal was "to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy."
Another goal was "to reinforce the president and administration's strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges."
At the Daily Beast, Eli Lake adds detail:
By the time Rhodes wrote that email at 8:09 pm on September 14, 2012, the deputy U.S. chief of mission in Libya, the CIA station chief and theTunisian President called those protests a terrorist attack at least in Benghazi. (Protests against an internet video depicting the life of the Muslim prophet Mohammed had sprung up in several Arab capitals on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11). That email and others were published Tuesday after Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the State Department. The Rhodes email offers the clearest evidence to date that the talking points read by Susan Rice two days later on Sunday talk shows were indeed directed by the White House.
The Daily Beast has learned that these latest emails were only provided to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform two weeks ago, despite requests from the committee for such material that date back to August 2013. The committee received them on April 17, the same day they were received by Judicial Watch.

“Even as Congressional Democrats were calling for an end to the Benghazi investigation with false claims that everything had been turned over and examined, the State Department was hiding this e-mail and other documents covered by the Committee’s August 2013 subpoena,” the committee’s deputy staff director, Frederick Hill told The Daily Beast.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bad Poll News for Democrats

Less than one-in-four (23%) young Americans under the age of 30 say that they will “definitely be voting” in the fall, a sharp decrease of 11 percentage points since November 2013 IOP polling (34%) and eight percentage points lower than seen during a similar time period prior to the 2010 midterm elections (31%: Feb. 2010). In addition, traditional Republican constituencies seem to be showing more enthusiasm than Democratic ones for participating in the upcoming midterm elections and are statistically more likely to say they will “definitely be voting.” For example, 44 percent of those who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 say they will “definitely be voting,” a statistically significant difference compared to the 35 percent of 2012 Barack Obama voters who say the same. Additionally, self-identified conservatives (32%) are 10 points more likely to vote than liberals (22%); men (28%) are 9 points more likely to vote than women (19%); and young Whites (27%) are more likely to vote than African Americans (19%) and Hispanics (19%).
Scott Clement writes at The Washington Post:
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll offers fresh evidence that Democrats are facing major enthusiasm problems within their base that make it difficult -- if not impossible -- for them to rebuild the winning coalition put together by President Obama in 2012.
While nearly seven in 10 of all registered voters say they are "absolutely certain" to vote in November, several key Democratic constituencies are much less committed to voting. Barely half of voters ages 18 to 39 are certain about voting (53 percent) and 55 percent of non-whites describe themselves as certain to cast a ballot. By contrast, more than seven in 10 whites and voters older than 40 say they will definitely cast ballots -- both groups that have favored Republicans in the past two elections.
Dan Balz and Peyton Craighill have more on the poll:
The Affordable Care Act is expected to be a major issue in the midterm elections. Obama recently urged Democrats to defend the law energetically, particularly after the administration announced that 8 million people signed up for it during the initial enrollment period. Republicans are confident that opposition to the new law will energize their supporters.
The Post-ABC poll found that 44 percent say they support the law while 48 percent say they oppose it, which is about where it was at the end of last year and in January. Half of all Americans also say they think implementation is worse than expected.
Last month, a Post-ABC poll found 49 percent of Americans saying they supported the new law compared with 48 percent who opposed it. That finding was more positive for the administration than most other polls at the time. Democrats saw it as a possible leading indicator of a shift in public opinion, but that has not materialized.
A 58 percent majority say the new law is causing higher costs overall, and 47 percent say it will make the health-care system worse. While a majority say the quality of the health care they receive will remain the same, a plurality expect it to result in higher personal costs for that care. 
At National Journal, Charles Cook writes of a Democrcy Corps memo urging Democrats to avoid any mention of economic recovery:
Technically speaking, the recession lasted 18 months, starting in December 2007 and ending in June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the official arbiter of when business cycles and recessions begin and end. That 18-month duration is not quite twice as long as the 11.1-month average length of economic retraction in the 11 business cycles since 1945. From a political perspective, what a cross section of American voters think of the economy matters more than a panel of the top economists. Last month's NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that 57 percent of Americans believe we are still in a recession; just 41 percent say we are not, with pessimism just gradually diminishing over the last few years. It is what average people think that's important, not what economists say.
But back to the Greenberg/Carville memo. If voters flip out at the mere suggestion that a recovery is underway, that reaction is very telling. In fact, it may help explain why nonconservative voters are so down on President Obama and, inferentially, his party. Sure, the Affordable Care Act is an element, but maybe it isn't all of the equation.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Dems to Play in CA Primary?

At Fox and Hounds, Joel Fox notes that some Democrats want Tim Donnelly as Jerry Brown's November opponent:
A whispering campaign urging some loyal Democrats to vote for Donnelly in the open primary to assure Donnelly a place on the November ballot wouldn’t work according to Allan Hoffenblum, a keen observer of the California political scene and publisher of the California Target Book which tracks candidate elections. “It would have to be out in the open, you would need to use persuasion techniques and that couldn’t be kept secret. And it would cost money.”
However, Hoffenblum says that it might be possible for a mischief effort to boost the Donnelly campaign by running ads against Donnelly’s opponents in the primary, particularly his best-funded opponent, Neel Kashkari.
It’s been done before, Hoffenblum reminded me, although he didn’t have to since I was involved on the receiving end of such mischief. When former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan was seemingly running away with the Republican nomination for governor in 2002, Garry South, Gov. Gray Davis’s campaign strategist hit Riordan with negative ads during the primary. I was on the Riordan team. The shots hit their mark and Riordan’s huge lead in early polls vanished as Bill Simon bested him on Election Day.
Another option for Democrats is to do for Donnelly what Claire McCaskill did for Todd Akin in 2012:  run an ad that nominally attacks Donnelly but actually (and intentionally) helps him get GOP votes.  As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explained at the time:
To conservatives, McCaskill's "criticisms" in the Akin commercial sound more like compliments: that he opposes big government and wants to cut the federal departments of energy and education; and that he has been hotly critical of Obama.
At one point, the ad makes an allegation that sounds as if it could be on an Akin bumper sticker: "Todd's pro-family agenda would outlaw many forms of contraception."
The ad closes with the narrator speaking words that are shown on the screen next to Akin: "Missouri's TRUE conservative ..." Only after a pause does the rest of the phrase come up: "...is just TOO conservative."
"That's music to their ears" in the Akin camp, said [St. Louis University's Ken] Warren, the political scientist. "No one is 'too conservative' for a Tea Party Missourian.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Tea Party Racket


In The Temper of Our Time, Eric Hoffer wrote: "What starts out here as a mass movement ends up as a racket, a cult, or a corporation."  Through many repetitions, the actual quotation has morphed into the following misquotation, which is arguably better than the original:  "Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket."
Either way, it applies to the Tea Party.
When the Tea Party Patriots threw its support last month behind Matt Bevin, the underdog conservative challenger trying to unseat top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, President Jenny Beth Martin vowed the group would be “putting our money where our mouth is.”
So far, its super PAC has mustered just $56,000 worth of mailers in Kentucky on Bevin’s behalf — less than half the amount it has paid Martin in consulting fees since July.
The Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, which blew through nearly $2 million on expenses such as fundraising, polling and consultants in the first three months of this year, is not alone in its meager spending on candidates.
A Washington Post analysis found that some of the top national tea party groups engaged in this year’s midterm elections have put just a tiny fraction of their money directly into boosting the candidates they’ve endorsed.
The practice is not unusual in the freewheeling world of big-money political groups, but it runs counter to the ethos of the tea party movement, which sprouted five years ago amid anger on the right over wasteful government spending. And it contrasts with the urgent appeals tea party groups have made to their base of small donors, many of whom repeatedly contribute after being promised that their money will help elect conservative politicians.
Out of the $37.5 million spent so far by the PACs of six major tea party organizations, less than $7 million has been devoted to directly helping candidates, according to the analysis, which was based on campaign finance data provided by the Sunlight Foundation.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Shunning Obamacare

Sheila Timmons reports at The Hill:
In a review of battleground races, The Hill found that out of 50 Democratic candidates with active campaign websites, only 11 mention the healthcare law by name, either as "ObamaCare," "Affordable Care Act," or "ACA." Fourteen more mention the law, but not its name, and half the candidates omit it entirely from their websites.
President Obama has trumpeted that more than 8 million people have enrolled in ACA-related plans. Meanwhile, congressional Democrats have been more cautious, focusing on jobs and the economy.
"On campaign websites, nobody has to say anything they don't want to say," said David Karol, associate professor of government at the University of Maryland. "What they have on their website shows what they think will be helpful to them — not what is important to them."
Republicans, on the other hand, clearly find talking about ObamaCare helpful, as 55 out of the 83 candidates in the same House contests mentioned the law by name on their websites.
The same trends were seen in an analysis of Senate candidates' websites. Of 37 Republican candidates with active websites, 27 mentioned ObamaCare by name. In the same races, 14 of 20 Democrats don't mention it at all, including Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Kay Hagan(N.C.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Udall (Colo.) and John Walsh (Mont.) as well
Politico explains why the Democrats may have good reason for skittishness:
The Obamacare website may work for people buying insurance, but beneath the surface, HealthCare.gov is still missing massive, critical pieces — and the deadline for finishing them keeps slipping.

As a result, the system’s “back end” is a tangle of technical workarounds moving billions of taxpayer dollars and consumer-paid premiums between the government and insurers. The parts under construction are essential for key functions such as accurately paying insurers. The longer they lag, experts say, the likelier they’ll trigger accounting problems that could leave the public on the hook for higher premium subsidies or health care costs.
...

Without a fully built and operational system, federal officials can’t determine how many of the 8 million Obamacare sign-ups announced last week will have actually paid their premiums. They won’t even know how many enrollment attempts were never completed. That, in turn, could affect the amount of money the government spends on premium subsidies. And once the system finally does all come on-line, the data delays could force a sharp revision in that celebrated 8 million figure.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Good Ads

Republicans actually have some really good Senate challengers who are running really good ads.

Dr. Monica Wehby, is running for the GOP Senate nomination in Oregon:



At The Wall Street Journal, Kimberly Strassel tells why it's so effective:
Political commentators are praising the ad for its positive message, though the spot contains a more subtle power. Ms. Wehby's main opponent in the primary is Jason Conger, a GOP state legislator. She's highlighting her fiscal conservatism and her opposition to ObamaCare, though Mr. Conger is attacking her for her more libertarian social views. The unsaid message of the Wehby ad is that while she may be pro-choice, she clearly cares deeply about life and put her skills to work to help a mother avoid a termination.
In Arkansas, Tom Cotton has a clever response to an attack by incumbent David Pryor:




Remember, this race is in the Deep South.  In the 1960s, could one have imagined an ad in which an African American authority figure scolds a white candidate?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

PPIC Poll on California Governor Race

At KQED, John Myers reports on a PPIC poll showing Governor Jerry Brown with 46 percent support in the June first-round election.
But among Republicans, he’s the choice of 7 percent of those surveyed, while Kashkari only musters 5 percent GOP voter support.
A small plurality of Republican voters — 20 percent — favor Tim Donnelly, the Tea Party-aligned assemblyman from San Bernardino County. Andrew Blount, the mayor of Laguna Beach, barely edges the governor among Republicans with 8 percent support. The vast majority of GOP voters — 58 percent — are undecided.
The PPIC survey is just the latest statewide to show Donnelly, a staunch conservative who gets a warm reception from die-hard GOP audiences, as the de facto frontrunner. And yet his support remains relatively small, with some political observers arguing that Donnelly has limited appeal beyond core Republican voters. Some have started publicly saying they fear a Brown vs. Donnelly fall matchup could hurt the GOP’s chances in other races.
And yet Kashkari, a former federal official who crafted the TARP effort of 2008 and a first-time candidate for office, clearly has failed so far to make any noticeable inroads among likely voters. And it’s not as though he’s not trying: the 40-year-old Newport Beach resident has been traveling the state for more than a year, he’s released relatively substantive position papers on jobs and education (the latter coming just Tuesday), and it’s hard to browse a California news or political website without seeing a “Kashkari for Governor” ad pop up on the screen.
...
If Kashkari can gain any traction with voters, education issues could be part of his arsenal. The PPIC poll, which is largely about how Californians view K-12 and higher education, shows Brown is on thinner ice with the electorate when it comes to schools. Just 33 percent of likely voters approve of his work on public schools. And on Tuesday, Kashkari released his thoughts on schools — which, in a nutshell, are to send tax dollars to individual schools and let them pretty much do whatever they want with it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"War on Women" Ad

Former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) is out with the first ad of her Senate campaign, making fun of Democrats' "war on women" attacks against her record.

"I'm Terri Lynn Land. Congressman Gary Peters and his buddies want you to believe I'm waging a war on women. Really? Think about that for a moment," she says before taking a sip from a coffee mug, shaking her head and checking her watch.
"I'm Terri Lynn Land, and I approve this message because as a woman, I might know a little more about women than Gary Peters," she concludes.

Land and Peters are locked in a tight race in the swing state.

Peters and his Democratic allies have been attacking Land for opposing equal pay legislation.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

LLC is the New 501

A limited liability company is a hybrid type of legal structure that provides the limited liability features of a corporation and the tax efficiencies and operational flexibility of a partnership.

The "owners" of an LLC are referred to as "members." Depending on the state, the members can consist of a single individual (one owner), two or more individuals, corporations or other LLCs.

Unlike shareholders in a corporation, LLCs are not taxed as a separate business entity. Instead, all profits and losses are "passed through" the business to each member of the LLC. LLC members report profits and losses on their personal federal tax returns, just like the owners of a partnership would.
The Sunlight Foundation says of LLCs:
Not only can they donate money to super PACs while obscuring the identity or identities of the donors behind them, they can also spend directly to influence elections. A recently formed conservative group that churns out ads attacking Democrats, America Rising, organized as an LLC rather than a political committee, and CQ Roll Call reported that conservatives‚ increasingly frustrated with the Internal Revenue Service handling of the tea party nonprofit applications, may turn to LLCs as an alternative to dark money groups like Crossroads GPS that do not disclose their donors.
The latest FEC filing from American Crossroads lists two donors, LMD Properties LLC and Boston Holding Company LLC, which gave $50,000 and $100,000 contributions, respectively. Neither company has a website and neither is listed at the addresses they provided American Crossroads.
In the CQ report, Eliza Carney explains:
“Many of these groups are being formed intentionally in a very low-key way,” says Robert Kelner, who chairs the election law and political law practice group at Covington & Burling, an international business and corporate law firm. “So it may be a while before they become widely known and visible.”

But Kelner says numerous clients are approaching him with questions about how to organize themselves as for-profits, or as limited liability companies. They’re preparing for the possibility that the IRS will impose new political curbs on 501(c)(4) social-welfare groups, says Kelner. Even if the new IRS rules never take effect, conservative and tea party organizers, in particular, are convinced that the agency is on a partisan campaign to shut them down. IRS and administration officials say the agency’s mistakes in the tea party cases resulted from confusion and human error, not ill intent.
“There’s an increasing appetite to get out from under IRS scrutiny,” confirms Indiana election lawyer James Bopp Jr., who has led numerous constitutional challenges to campaign finance restrictions.
...
“Regardless of whether these [IRS] rules die, there’s already a process that’s unfolding of deleveraging these social-welfare organizations,” says Kelner. “Money is beginning to flow away from them toward taxable vehicles.” Indeed, Kelner argues, “I think this whole kerfuffle about the proposed (c)(4) regulations is really an echo of the last war, rather than the next war.”

Monday, April 21, 2014

Democrats and Turnout in 2014

At The Washington Post, Dan Balz writes:
The groundwork for the Democrats’ get-out-the-vote operation began in earnest months ago in the offices of Civis Analytics, in a seventh-floor loft of an old office building in Chicago’s Greektown and in a townhouse near Washington’s Dupont Circle. Under contract to the DSCC, Civis Analytics started to model the electorates in states with the most competitive Senate races.
Civis is a descendant of Obama’s 2012 campaign. One of its founders is Dan Wagner, who began as a volunteer in the 2008 campaign and by 2012 was overseeing the sprawling data and analytics operation that helped guide many of the decisions in the campaign’s effort to find and turn out as many voters as possible.

“Campaigns do five things,” Wagner said. “They register people who like you; they turn out people who like you at higher rates; and they persuade people who don’t like you to get them to like you. Those are the three big things. Then to support those three things, they build a fundraising organization and then build a voter contact organization that makes all those things possible.”
Modeling produces indexes on a 1-100 scale for each voter. One index estimates how likely someone is to support a particular candidate; another measures how likely someone is to vote; the third projects how open to persuasion someone is. A campaign would target someone with a high support score and low turnout score but would not go after someone with a high turnout score but low support score.
...
At its core, what Democrats are trying to do is replicate the electorate that helped Obama win by maximizing turnout among young people, African Americans, Hispanics and unmarried women.
“Figuring out how to win is actually not the difficult part,” said Paul Dunn, the DSCC’s national field director. “It’s easy to do a model and put all the model into the calculators and it all spits it out. . . . The strategy isn’t the challenge. It’s enacting the strategy.”

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Common Core

Jeb Bush is for For Common Core.  Most other potential GOP presidential candidate are against it.  At The New York Times, Jonathan Martin writes:
The Republican revolt against the Common Core can be traced to President Obama’s embrace of it, particularly his linking the adoption of similar standards to states’ eligibility for federal education grants and to waivers from No Child Left Behind, the national education law enacted by President George W. Bush.
It underlines the ascendance of a brand of conservatism notably different from that of the most recent President Bush. Less than 15 years after No Child Left Behind passed with just 34 House Republicans opposed to it, the conservative center of gravity is shifting toward a state-centric approach to education.
“When I arrived on Capitol Hill in 2001, not only was the Republican administration not devolving power to the states, the No. 1 priority of the administration was a massive expansion of the federal Department of Education,” recalled Mr. [Mike] Pence, who, as a congressman, opposed No Child Left Behind.
The opposition to the Common Core also captures another shift since the Bush administration: While long contemptuous of an expanding federal government, some Republican activists are growing wary of big business, too, including figures like Bill Gates, the billionaire Microsoft founder whose foundation supported the development of the standards.
“There is a legitimate concern about large institutions, be they government or others, who haven’t really delivered the America everybody thought we were on our way to,” acknowledged John R. McKernan Jr., a former Maine governor who leads the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. But, he said, that fear is “totally misplaced” when it comes to the Common Core.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

"DESTROYING THEM..."

A newly released memo from Hillary Clinton's 1993 health care task force provides insights into Team Clinton's attitudes toward politics as combat (she came up with the name of the "War Room") and its polarizing approach to health care.
AMERICANS TRUST·THE PRESIDENT MORE THAN THE REPUBLICANS IN
CONGRESS (62%-21%) ON HEALTH CARE (USA TODAY POLL 12/16).
WE SHOULD ENGAGE THE CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS ON PRINCIPLES, PITTING OUR PHILOSOPHY AND PRINCIPLES AGAINST THEIRS. WE SHOULD NOT ATTACK REPUBLICAN MEMBERS, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE FAR RIGHT MEMBERS, LIKE SENATOR GRAMM, BUT WE SHOULD ATTACK THEIR PRINCIPLES AND SUPPORTERS.
WE HAVE BEEN THE ONLY TARGET. WE MUST HAVE AN OPPONENT TO
PROVIDE CONTRAST ON THE ISSUES. COOPER, CHAFEE AND THE SINGLE-PAYER SHOULD NOT BE THE PUBLIC OPPONENTS. WE NEED THEM AT THE END. WE MUST AND CAN DISCREDIT THE CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN PHILOSOPHY WHICH SAYS THERE IS NO PROBLEM AND PROPOSES NO SOLUTION.
  • THEY ARE OUT TO DESTROY HEALTH REFORM AND WILL NEVER BE WITH US.
  • DESTROYING THEM MAKES IT EASIER FOR MODERATE REPUBLICANS AND CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRATS TO SUPPORT A MODIFIED VERSION OF OUR PLAN.
  • THEY ARE VULNERABLE ON OUR CORE ISSUES OF SECURITY AND AFFORDABILITY.
  • THEY CAN BE PORTRAYED AS DEFENDERS OF WHAT PEOPLE DON'T LIKE IN THE CURRENT SYSTEM.
  • THEY ARE AND CAN BE PORTRAYED AS EXTREMISTS. -THEY HAVE LITTLE ORGANIZED INTEREST GROUP SUPPORT.
JUST AS THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION ENERGIZED DEMOCRATS, INDEPENDENTS AND MODERATE REPUBLICANS FOR THE PRESIDENT, ENGAGING REPUBLICAN CONSERVATIVES WILL ENERGIZE OUR BASE.
THE CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS ARE INVITING US TO DO THIS
  • CALLING OUR PLAN SOCIALIZED MEDICINE
  • ARGUING THAT THE HEALTH CARE STATUS QUO IS GOOD
  • PROPOSING EXTREME SOLUTIONS WHICH TAKE AWAY SECURITY AND DISCIPLINE THE CONSUMER
  • THEY HAVE .INDICATED AN UNWILLINGNESS TO WORK TOGETHER TO SOVLE [sic] THE PROBLEM UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
WE SHOULD DEVELOP A COORDINATED CAMPAIGN TO PROMOTE OUR
PRINCIPLES VS. THEIRS TO BEGIN IN EARLY JANUARY.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Celebration, Then and Now

John Podhoretz writes:
Ever since ObamaCare supposedly hit the arbitrary target of 7 million sign-ups by March 31, its supporters have been taking the most premature victory lap since conservative proponents of the Iraq War (like me) crowed about the results of the three elections inside Iraq in 2005 and how they demonstrated the country was on the verge of a historic peace.
CNN reports:
But after the administration ended up exceeding its original goal of 7 million sign-ups by the end of March, the President and the White House have not been shy in celebrating a victory.
"This thing is working," Obama said Thursday.
On May 1, 2003, Richard Perle published a USA Today article titled, "Relax, Celebrate Victory."
In full retreat, the war's opponents have now taken up new defensive positions: "Yes, it was a military victory, but you haven't found Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction." Or, "Yes, we destroyed Saddam's regime, but now other dictators will try even harder to develop weapons of mass destruction to make sure they will not fall to some future American preemptive strike."
From the 2005 National Strategy for Victory in Iraq:
Our strategy is working: Much has been accomplished in Iraq, including the removal of Saddam's tyranny, negotiation of an interim constitution, restoration of full sovereignty, holding of free national elections,
Three years later, President Bush said:  "Our strategy was not working and the world was watching."

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Marianne Williamson Uses a Fake Quotation

Now, removed by over a century from the struggles of the Civil War, we face what Abraham Lincoln himself considered the greatest threat to the United States at the end of that war: the rise of corporate power. In Lincoln's words:
"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless."
As I pointed out in the comments section of that article, the Lincoln quotation is bogus.  Lincoln never wrote anything of the kind, and as a former lobbyist and railroad lawyer, he would not have agreed with it.

Either she does not read the comments section or does not care about historical accuracy, because she used the same fake Lincoln quotation in her 2014 book, Healing the Soul of America.

Now she is running for Congress.

Dems Try to Take Down Tillis

Alex Roarty reports at National Journal:
Democrats are getting involved in the North Carolina Republican primary, a sign that the party is hoping to encourage GOP voters to nominate weaker candidates in closely contested primaries.
A new ad from the Senate Majority PAC targets the Tarheel State's GOP front-runner, state House Speaker Thom Tillis, whom both parties regard as the only Republican running who can defeat Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. The 30-second spot, backed by an ad buy worth nearly $1 million (news first reported by TheWashington Post), cites two resignations of top Tillis aides for conducting extramarital affairs with lobbyists.
The timing and language of the spot appears targeted specifically at Republican primary voters. The accusation of sexual misconduct, not to mention public corruption, is designed to resonate with evangelical voters, a major voting bloc among North Carolina Republicans. And the ad's final words are designed to question Tillis's fiscally conservative credentials.
"Thom Tillis: Spending our money to clean up his mess," the narrator says.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

American Crossroads Tweaks Tillis Ad

In Raleigh, NC, The News & Observer reports on American Crossroads support for Senate candidate Thom Tillis:
The latest American Crossroads ad calls Tillis “a fiscal conservative with the guts to repeal and replace Obamacare.” (See ad below.)
The original spot from the Karl Rove-backed group’s – which is spending $1.1 million in April to boost the House speaker’s contested primary race – described his stance this way: “the conservative guts to replace Obamacare with honest health care reforms.”
The rephrasing comes as Tillis faces criticism from his Republican rivals, particularly tea party candidate Greg Brannon, who suggest he is soft on the issue.

It appears to respond to the Brannon’s campaign’s criticism of the initial ad. In a statement at the time, the Brannon campaign noted the Crossroads ad made “no mention of repealing Obamacare, which would take real guts, and surprisingly it even references the same radio interview in which Thom says Obamacare is a great idea that can’t be paid for.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Immigration and GOP Prospects

At the Center for Immigration Studies, Jim Gimpel has a new analysis of immigration's partisan impact.  From the summary:
Three key conclusions emerge from this analysis:
  • First, the enormous flow of legal immigrants in to the country — 29.5 million 1980 to 2012 — has remade and continues to remake the nation's electorate in favor of the Democratic Party.
  • Second, the partisan impact of immigration is relatively uniform throughout the country— from California to Texas to Florida — even though local Republican parties have taken different positions on illegal immigration. The decline does not seem to vary with the local Republican Party's position on illegal immigration.
  • Third, if legal immigration levels remain at the current levels of over one million a year, it will likely continue to undermine Republicans' political prospects moving forward. Further, if the substantial increases in legal immigration in Senate's Gang of Eight bill (S.744) were to become law it would accelerate this process. Conversely, lowering the level of legal immigration in the future would help stem the decline in the Republican vote.
Three related findings help explain why immigration reduces the Republican vote:

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Tax Issue

Gallup reports:
 As many Americans scramble to prepare their taxes ahead of the April 15 deadline, a majority, 52%, say the amount they have to pay in federal income tax is "too high," while 42% say it is "about right." The percentage who say their taxes are too high has hovered around 50% since 2003, although the current 52% is up from 46% two years ago.
Trend: Americans’ Views on Their Federal Income Taxes

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sun Tzu and the Kochs

Sun Tzu, The Art of War:
When the enemy is at ease, be able to weary him; when well fed, to starve him; when at rest, to make him move. Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
...
The enemy must not know where I intend to give battle. For if he does not know where I intend to give battle he must prepare in a great many places. And when he prepares in a great many places, those I have to fight in any one place will be few.
Nicholas Confessore reports at The New York Times:
Democrats in races that will help determine control of the Senate are rapidly burning through their campaign cash, whittling away their financial advantage over Republican opponents as they fend off attacks from conservative groups, according to figures released through Friday.
The spending on both sides underscores the critical role that outside conservative groups are playing as Republicans try to retake the Senate. In state after state, organizations like Americans for Prosperity, the nonprofit linked to the conservative billionaires David H. and Charles G. Koch, have kept Democrats on the defensive with a barrage of negative ads while establishment-backed Republican candidates raise money and navigate their way through primaries.
In Alaska, the Democratic incumbent, Senator Mark Begich, spent about as much money as he raised during the first three months of the year, while Dan Sullivan, a Republican candidate and former state attorney general, increased his fund-raising and substantially narrowed Mr. Begich’s advantage in cash on hand.
In Montana, Senator John Walsh, a Democrat, spent almost three-quarters of the money he raised since January, ending with about $700,000. Representative Bruce Braley of Iowa, the likely Democratic nominee for Senate, spent over 60 percent of the cash he raised.
Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, spent only about a third of what she collected through the end of March. But last month, Ms. Landrieu reserved $2.7 million of advertising time, according to strategists tracking both parties’ television spending, which will cut deeply into the $7.5 million she reported at the beginning of April.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Scandalabra Continues: More on the IRS

Washington, DC – Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) announced that the Committee, acting under its authority granted in Sec. 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, voted out a criminal referral letter to Department of Justice (DOJ) Attorney General Eric Holder regarding actions taken by IRS employee Lois Lerner. Chairman Camp, in sending the letter on behalf of the Committee, urged Holder to take a serious review of the evidence uncovered through the Committee’s investigation to determine whether Lerner violated criminal statutes.
The Committee uncovered three specific acts undertaken by Lerner that may have violated one or more criminal statutes documented in the letter:
  • Lerner impeded official investigations by providing misleading statements in response to questions from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
  • Lerner risked exposing, and may actually have disclosed, confidential taxpayer information, in apparent violation of Internal Revenue Code section 6103 by using her personal email to conduct official business.

If convicted of these crimes, Lerner could face up to 11 years in prison.
Upon releasing the letter, Chairman Camp stated, “This investigation has uncovered serious, unprecedented actions taken by Lois Lerner that deprived conservative groups of their rights under the Constitution. Almost a year ago we learned that the IRS subjected certain groups to extra scrutiny because of their political beliefs. At the time, Lois Lerner shamefully attempted to blame the mistreatment on low-level employees in Cincinnati. The investigation to date has demonstrated that the targeting did not happen until IRS headquarters in D.C. intervened.
Today’s action highlights specific wrongdoing for the Department of Justice to pursue. DOJ has a responsibility to act, and Lois Lerner must be held accountable. It is also important that the American people know what really occurred at the IRS, so this powerful agency cannot target American taxpayers ever again.”

The Internal Revenue Code explicitly provides a procedure for the House Ways and Means Committee to release taxpayer information to the House under section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code. The letter to DOJ was marked up by the Committee in closed executive session. Upon approval of the letter, it was then made public to the House.

The letter to DOJ can be read here.

Timeline of Lois Lerner’s Targeting of Conservatives

January 21, 2010:
Citizen’s United Ruling : Supreme Court issues ruling in Citizens United case, which would lead to an active campaign by Democrats against conservative groups – a campaign Lerner was well aware of and reacted to.
January 27, 2010:
President Obama Goes on the Attack : In his State of the Union address, President Obama states: “With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections. I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.”
March-April 2010:
IRS Targeting Begins : According to TIGTA, the IRS’s Determinations Unit “began searching for other requests for exemption involving the Tea Party, Patriots, 9/12 and IRC § 501(c)(4) applications involving political sounding names, e.g., 'We the People' or
'Take Back the Country.'"
September 26, 2010:
White House Steps Up Attacks: David Axelrod, then-senior advisor to President Obama, referred to Crossroads GPS and similar groups as “front groups for special interests. These are front groups for foreign-controlled companies, which would have been banned under the bill that we put through Congress, and they don't want the American people to know, and the American people ought to be alert to that."
October 12, 2010:
Democrat Leaders Join Attack: Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin urges the IRS to investigate the tax status of Crossroads GPS and “other orgs” – though no other organizations were named.
October 19, 2010:
Lerner on Alert: Speaking to students at Duke University, Lois Lerner states that 501(c)(4) organizations were spending money on campaign activity in the wake of the Citizens United decision and claimed, “[E]verybody is screaming at us, ‘fix it now before the election….”
February 2011:
Lerner Calls Conservatives “Dangerous,” Start to Take Control: Lois Lerner sends email to IRS employees “Tea Party Matter very dangerous ….Cincy should probably NOT have these cases.”
March 24, 2011:
Democrats Step Up Attacks : DCCC launches website to “expose donors of Crossroads GPS.”
June 3, 2011:
Congressional Inquiries Begin: Chairman Camp sends letter to Commissioner Shulman inquiring about IRS targeting of taxpayers who donated money to conservative groups, as well as information regarding audits of 501(c)(4) organizations.
June 19, 2012:
White House Continues to Attack: President Obama’s lawyer demands that Crossroads GPS disclose its donors, saying in a complaint to the Federal Election Commission that the group is plainly a “political committee” subject to federal reporting requirements.
February 1, 2012:
Democrats Continue to Attack : National Public Radio reports that Senate Democrats, led by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), want to investigate groups such as Crossroads GPS.
July 10, 2012:
Lerner’s Mindset Revealed : Lois Lerner, in response to a story sent to her regarding the complaint to the FEC against Crossroads GPS replies “Perhaps the FEC will save the day.”
July 17, 2012:
Lerner Starts to Prepare Cover Story : Lerner sent an email to Holly Paz and Nikole Flax offering comments on a talking point that referred to an “uptick in political advocacy cases,” drafted for then-Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement Steve Miller. However, Lerner admits that, “I know we don't have published SOI stats” to support such a claim." [See letter to DOJ]
July 27, 2012:
Democrats Attack, Again : Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) sends another letter to the IRS regarding Crossroads GPS and others, seeking a probe and status.
December 14, 2012:
IRS Leaks : Crossroads GPS’s application is leaked to ProPublica, though the tax-exempt status of the group had not been determined, a violation of federal law.
November 2, 2012:
Lerner Misleads TIGTA : Lerner sends misleading response to TIGTA investigatory audit questionnaire. [See letter to DOJ]
January 4, 2013:
Lerner Leaps Into Action : Lerner organizes a meeting with Democracy 21 and also with the Office of Chief Counsel and the Office of Tax Policy at the Department of the Treasury for January 4. This begins a series of specific actions by Lerner that targets only conservative groups. [See letter to DOJ]
January 4, 2013:
Lerner Pressures Review Committee : Lerner inquires to the status of Crossroads, and finds that the group had not been selected for audit. She subsequently sent an email to the Director of Examinations in Dallas, TX, Nanette Downing, demanding to know why the group had not yet been audited. In her email to Downing, she notes that she wants all moves regarding Crossroads to be coordinated in DC. [See letter to DOJ]
January 24, 2013:
Lerner Ponders Job for Obama Organization : In response to a news story about the formation of the President’s Organizing For Action, a 501(c)(4), Lerner remarked to EO Senior Technical Advisor Sharon Light, “Oh—maybe I can get the DC office job!” [See letter to DOJ]
January 31, 2013:
Lerner Attempts to Influence Independent Appeals Process : In an email to the Chief of IRS Appeals, Chris Wagner, Lerner offers unsolicited advice on the independent appeals process notwithstanding a prohibition against such contact. [See letter to DOJ]
May 10, 2013:
Lerner Misleads Public : At an American Bar Association function, Lois Lerner, director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Division, publicly apologizes for what she claimed were inappropriate actions by the Cincinnati office of the IRS to subject conservative groups to extra scrutiny.
###

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Impact of Health Care Law

Susan Page reports at USA Today:
The Affordable Care Act looms as a powerful issue in this year's congressional elections, a USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll finds, and one that is reverberating in ways likely to boost the GOP.
In the survey, taken after President Obama announced a surprising 7.1 million Americans had signed up for health care through the law's exchanges, more than eight in 10 registered voters say a candidate's stance on the law will be an important factor in determining their vote. A 54% majority call it very important.
By 2-1, those who rate the issue as very important disapprove of the law.
That means it is more likely to motivate opponents than supporters to vote — a critical element in midterm elections when turnout often is low.
Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, chairman of the Republicans' Senate campaign committee, says he has seen other evidence of that intensity gap. "If you don't care about Obamacare, you're less likely to vote," he said at an interview with USA TODAY's Capital Download. "If you think Obamacare is good, it's not a big issue for you. But if you think it's bad, it's an intense one."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Brown First, Donnelly Second, Spelling Last

The Field Poll reports that Tim Donnelly is running second in California's top-two primary
[Governor Jerry] Brown also holds a huge preference lead when likely voters in the June open primary election are asked whom they would support if the election were being held today. When listed with three Republicans, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, Laguna Hills Mayor and businessman Andrew Blount and businessman Neel Kashkari, Brown is the choice of 57%. Donnelly places a distant second at 17%. No other candidate receives more than 3% of voter preferences.
A 2005 article by Donnelly:
Another challenge that I would love to see fought in the Supreme Court is the seemingly forgotten 9th Ammendment [sic], which says, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." Why can't this Ammendment [sic] be used to override the "equal protection" clause of the 14th Ammendment [sic], which is clearly used to "deny" and "disparage" so many rights of American citizens in favor of lawbreakers.
The most notable, of course, is the questionable interpretation of the 14th Ammendment [sic] that allows any child born on US soil to become an instant citizen, in spite of the fact that the parents broke US Federal law just by being here. This "anchor baby" or "Jackpot Baby", using Terry Anderson's term, has rights to social services that law-abiding citizens can never get. The "baby" qualifies for welfare payments, and medicare [sic] because the parents, many of whom arrived shortly before the birth of their "anchor baby" have no assets in the United States that routinely disqualify our citizens known as the "working-poor". If you think this is discriminatory on it's [sic] face, you are not alone. This is a battle that must be fought and must be won if we are to prevail in saving our country.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tim Donnelly, Karl Rove, and Jim Bowie

At an NFIB meeting in Sacramento, Karl Rove discussed the California gubernatorial race. Carla Marinucci reports at The San Francisco Chronicle:
One source who was at the event told us that Rove said he’s met Neel Kashkari, the former Treasury Department official who is running for governor as a Republican. Although he didn’t deliver a formal endorsement, Rove told the audience “that if the Republicans have to pick someone to lose to Jerry Brown, they’d be stupid not to pick” Kashkari, the source told us.
Then Rove also weighed in on the Tea Party gubernatorial favorite, GOP Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who was the first runner-up to Brown in a March poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.
“The comments that the other guy has made in the past are going to damage the party with Latinos on Election Day,” Rove said, according to our source.
At The Los Angeles Times, Seema Mehta provides an example:
Comparing illegal immigration to a war that threatened the United States' future, GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly once exhorted citizens to rise and join his fight to stop people from crossing the border, according to audio of a speech he gave in 2006.

"I am a descendant of Jim Bowie, who died at the Alamo," Donnelly, then a leader in the Minuteman border-patrol group, said at a rally in Temecula that year. "It is rumored that he took a dozen Mexican soldiers to their deaths before they finally killed him. How many of you will rise up and take his place on that wall?"
He was speaking to about 200 people at a Save Our Nation event on March 25, 2006, held on the same day 500,000 people rallied in support of immigrant rights in Los Angeles, an event Donnelly noted.
"We are in a war. You may not want to accept it, but the other side has declared war on us," Donnelly said, railing against those marching with Mexican flags.
In the nearly 12-minute address, parts of which are patterned on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, Donnelly refers to illegal immigration as an insurgency.
"There is a growing insurgency, right here in Los Angeles," he said. "…We need to begin to root out the insurgency in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, just as we are doing in Baghdad, Samarra and Tikrit, 9,000 miles away.
"Right now, in the United States of America, there are 850,000 gang members, two-thirds of whom are illegal aliens," he said.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Red Shift

Preferences for control of Congress are tight, but Republicans have gained on Democrats since January. Thirty-six percent in last month's poll said they would rather see the Democrats in charge of Congress and 37 percent chose Republicans.
Democrats held a narrow advantage on that question in January, when 39 percent favored the Democrats and 32 percent the Republicans.
The shift stems largely from a change among those most interested in politics.
In the new poll, registered voters who are most strongly interested in politics favored the Republicans by 14 percentage points, 51 percent to 37 percent. In January, this group was about evenly split, with 42 percent preferring Democrats and 45 percent the Republicans.
That's not the only positive sign in the poll for the Republicans.
Favorable views of the GOP have improved, with 38 percent overall now saying they hold a favorable impression of the Party. Republicans' positive view of their own party has increased from 57 percent in January to 72 percent now.
Even impressions of the tea party movement have shifted more positive in recent months. GOP favorability still lags behind that of the Democrats, however, with 43 percent holding a favorable view of the Democratic Party.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Outsiders, Insiders, and the Tea Party

At The Washington Examiner, David Drucker notes how Tea Party outsiders morph into insiders:
In the four years since the Supreme Court struck down fundraising regulations that effectively gave the Democratic and Republican parties a monopoly on large-scale political activity, a collection of Tea Party-affiliated organizations has arisen in Washington that competes with the GOP for campaign contributors, money and influence -- and over what legislation to push and which candidates to nominate.
The groups, including the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and the Senate Conservatives Fund, have moved aggressively to kill legislation they oppose and oust incumbent Republicans they deem insufficiently conservative.
Like the national Republican Party, which they deride as the “GOP Establishment,” they have become an establishment of their own, a confederation of well-financed Tea Party groups that support a web of sister organizations and employ a legion of political professionals who live and work inside the Beltway. Having a leadership class in Washington is an awkward contradiction for a once-decentralized movement that represented the grassroots of middle America against the entrenched interests of a GOP elite mainly based in Washington.
Jon Fleischman, a conservative activist in Orange County, Calif., and persistent critic of the national Republican Establishment, said some — though not all — of the conservative groups in Washington suffer from the same problems as the GOP. To his mind, they are headquartered in the capital, driven by a few people at the top, promote whatever policy agenda suits them and fail to take the time to understand what the grassroots want from government.
“There are groups that I think started with good intentions that have gone native,” Fleischman said. “I have a concern that there are organizations in D.C. today that used to be the outside groups and now they’re the inside groups. I worry that others could follow that path, and that’s why I stay vigilant."

Friday, April 4, 2014

Braley's Bad Buzz

From Buzzfeed:
Bruce Braley is a Democratic congressman and candidate for Senate in Iowa.
He recently called the state’s Republican senator Chuck Grassley a “farmer” with no law degree.
...
Then Braley sent out a press release touting his farmer credentials and the Des Moines Register found that it misspelled several basic farming terms like “detasseling” and “baling.”
Via desmoinesregister.com
A photo he posted to Facebook is actually a farm in England, NOT Iowa.


TripAdvisor lists the farm as a fruit farm in England and an employee of the farm named Sonya confirmed to BuzzFeed the photo was of Cammas Fruit Farm.
...
It has since been taken down:
A Google search shows, however, it is the first result that comes up when you search for “Iowa farm.”
Another photo on Braley’s Facebook page, the display image for a poll on the minimum wage, featured a worker in Mazatlan, Mexico, NOT the U.S.
America Rising provides a final kick:
In an attempt to shake off the elitist moniker he’s been cultivating, Bruce Braley today told The Des Moines Register that being a lawyer was just like being a farmhand:
“One of my highest honors as a lawyer was being invited into the home of my clients to share a meal. To me, it was no different than putting up hay all day in Poweshiek County and sitting down to dinner at noon with the farm family I was helping that day.”
Good attempt, Bruce Braley, Esq, but client power-lunches are not the same as a family meal after a day on the farm.



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Donors Dread Post-McCutcheon Fundraising Pitches

Bloomberg Business Week reports:
Within hours of a U.S. Supreme Court decision paving the way for a new gusher of political cash, Ben Barnes’s telephone starting ringing.
He and his daughters had already given the maximum amount for this year’s congressional elections to candidates and committees under federal law. After that donation cap was overturned in a 5-4 court ruling issued by the justices yesterday, Barnes found himself on the telephone with two Democratic members of Congress seeking more money.
“This will make the phone ring all that much more,” said the longtime Texas donor who expects to be kept busy managing new solicitations in the days ahead. “Tomorrow’s going to be like Saturday at the grocery store,” said Barnes.

In a case brought by Shaun McCutcheon, an Alabama Republican official, the court struck the $123,200 overall limit on campaign contributions, which critics said hamstrung the number of candidates and committees that donors could support. The majority justices said the limit violated the donors’ free speech rights. The court left in place restrictions on how much a donor can give to one entity; for example, no more than $5,200 total to a candidate for a cycle's primary and general elections.
...

Standing to gain the most from the change are the Democratic and Republican parties. Until now, aggregate limits were so tight that it prevented donors from giving the maximum amounts to all three of the national party committees: one for House candidates, another for Senate contenders and the third to finance operations at the national headquarters.
In addition, contributors may now give $10,000 per year to federal units attached to the 50 state parties. Those state parties can transfer money freely to one another, enabling those with hotly contested races to stockpile funds from less-competitive states.
The bottom line: On April 1, a donor could give no more than $74,600 to all of the political parties every two years. Today, party contributions can be as much as $1,194,400.
Politico reports that big donors worry that McCutcheon will subject them to endless hounding by party fundraisers:
“I’m horrified, planning to de-list my phone number and destroy my email address,” said Ken Kies, who, along with his wife, has bumped up against the federal political contribution limits.
“What I was really hoping for is a ban on lobbyists making contributions entirely.”
While it’s an open question how much new money will come in, it’s certain some will — and insiders are eager to make sure it greases the Washington economy.
“I’m poor again as a result,” joked Tony Podesta, a top lobbyist and major donor who is among the small number of K-Streeters who contribute nearly the maximum amount to candidates each election cycle. “The fundraising consultants are the only winner in today’s decision.”
Podesta said for those donors, the new rule “eliminates an excuse that people have to say I’m done for the cycle and I can’t do anymore, which means that people who do max out will end up giving more money than they used to to candidates.”

A Donnelly Disaster?

At Fox and Hounds, Tony Quinn speculates on what happens if Tim Donnelly emerges from the top-two primary as California Governor Jerry Brown's opponent:
First, it is important to consider that Donnelly has no money and will raise no money. He burst onto the scene as a member of the Minutemen, a band of vigilantes who ride around the border threatening immigrants. Donnelly is a self admitted gun fanatic in a state highly suspicious of unregulated firearms. And Jerry Brown starts with $20 million in the bank to which will be added millions more from Democratic activists and labor unions.

Those millions will flow once Democrats figure out, as they will, that a Donnelly candidacy gives them the chance for an historic landslide that will create a super-super majority in the legislature of more than 60 Assembly members and more than 30 Senators. This will open the door for long sought progressive causes such as much higher taxes on business and the wealthy, getting rid of Proposition 13, and extending Obamacare to undocumented aliens.

Criminal conduct by politicians will be a major issue this election cycle; the media will see to that. Having a Republican candidate for governor with criminal convictions will send the business establishment scurrying to Gov. Brown while suburban Republican voters flee the ticket in droves.

Elections are about turnout. An embarrassing Donnelly candidacy will keep Republicans home in November but with a GOP candidate out of the Minuteman anti-Latino posse, it can be assumed Latino turnout will be massive. People do vote their fears, and Latino turnout has been much higher the past two cycles than Republicans expected. Along with Asians, they are now straight ticket Democratic voters. So a good estimate is that Brown will win re-election with 75 to 80 percent of the two party vote in November.

And that is the key to a massive Democratic landslide. The lesson of recent elections that there are no longer swing voters in California, ticket splitters are as rare as Dodo birds. Republicans thought they had some winners in the legislative and congressional races for competitive seats in 2012, but Gov. Romney failed to carry these districts, and the GOP candidates below him on the ballot did little better than he did. The top of the ticker dragged down everyone underneath, and all the competitive Republicans lost.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

McCutcheon and the Parties

Eliza Newlin Carney writes at Roll Call:
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus could hardly contain his glee during a conference call with reporters shortly after the Supreme Court ruled to strike the aggregate limit on campaign contributions.
“We are excited about the outcome of this case,” exulted Priebus, noting that the RNC bankrolled the constitutional challenge brought by businessman Shaun McCutcheon from beginning to end. In McCutcheon v. FEC, the court ruled 5-4 to overturn the overall limit on what an individual may donate collectively to parties, candidates and PACs in one election cycle, which was capped at $123,200 total.
The ruling “allows us to go to our donors and say: Look instead of being able to give to only nine Senate candidates, you can now give to the 14 that are most in play,” Priebus told reporters. “And you can give to the Senate committee, the congressional committee and the RNC, and you can max out to all three.”
Priebus wasn’t the only party official rejoicing in the wake of the high court’s Wednesday ruling. One Democratic campaign committee operative confided that he was “happy as a pig in shit.” While advocates of campaign finance limits on and off Capitol Hill assailed the ruling as an invitation to corruption and campaign finance abuses, party officials welcomed the decision.
The national party committees have good reason to celebrate, election lawyers say. Under the old rules, an individual contributor could give no more than $74,600 overall to the political party committees in a given election cycle. The “base” limit that caps the size of the contribution — $2,600 on what an individual may give to a candidate per election, for example — remains intact. But in the wake of the ruling, a big donor may give the maximum to all three party committees.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

American Crossroads for Tillis in NC

The GOP outside group American Crossroads is officially getting involved in North Carolina's GOP Senate primary, launching ads to back North Carolina Assembly Speaker Thom Tillis (R) over his Republican opponents
Tillis, the establishment favorite, is facing Tea Party favorite Dr. Greg Brannon (R), Rev. Mark Harris (R) and a number of other Republicans vying for the nomination to face Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.).
The ad campaign is Crossroads's second foray into a GOP primary in recent weeks, as it seeks to back candidates it views are more electable in general elections. Crossroads is also airing ads touting Alaska Senate candidate Dan Sullivan (R). The Hill reported last week that Crossroads was buying airtime in North Carolina to back Tillis.
Polls have been all over the place, but he hasn't topped the 40 percent needed to win the primary without a runoff in any of them.