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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Monday, November 30, 2015

GOP Senators Favor Rubio Over Cruz

Burgess Everett and Seung Min Kim write at Politico:
Ted Cruz has built his Senate career and presidential campaign on his willingness to stick it to the Republican establishment. And now that he’s gaining momentum in the primary, his many GOP nemeses in Congress are returning the favor by quietly coalescing behind Marco Rubio.
Senior Republican senators who’ve clashed with Cruz for years have had nothing but nice things to say about Rubio even as he’s dissed — and largely ditched — his day job in the Capitol. Just this month, Rubio has racked up endorsements from nine members of Congress, compared with two for early GOP front-runner Jeb Bush. More House endorsements for Rubio are set to roll out in December, according to campaign sources, and several GOP senators said privately they expect their colleagues to get behind Rubio once the GOP field thins.
Mainstream elected Republicans now see Cruz as a bigger threat than Donald Trump or Ben Carson to clinch the nomination — but equally damaging to their party’s chances of winning the White House and keeping the Senate next fall. Rubio would be a much stronger general election standard bearer, they believe.
“Marco is a true next-generation conservative,” said Steve Daines (R-Mont.), one of three senators who endorsed Rubio in November. “Every time there’s a debate, his stock goes up.”
Cruz winning the nomination "could happen with the angry situation we have out there” among the GOP electorate, said one Republican senator who hasn't endorsed in the race but does not want Cruz.
Cornyn, Thune and Coats have not endorsed in the presidential primary, and lawmakers interviewed for this story said many senior Republicans do not want to embarrass long-shot presidential hopeful Lindsey Graham by endorsing Rubio while the South Carolina senator is in the race. They’re also aware that endorsements from top GOP lawmakers at this point in the primary wouldn’t help Rubio’s cause with the Republican base.

The Conservative Solutions Super PAC portrays him as an outsider who took on the establishment:

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Union-Leader for Christie

Maggie Haberman reports at The New York Times:
Chris Christie’s long-shot presidential campaign got a lift on Saturday night with the endorsement of The New Hampshire Union Leader, an influential paper in the state where the New Jersey governor has camped out in the hopes of catching fire.
The newspaper’s endorsement, coming 10 weeks before the first-in-the-nation primary, arrived earlier than it had in the past two election cycles involving crowded Republican primary fields.
The endorsement, however, was framed in terms of the changed landscape of the 2016 presidential race in the wake of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, the aftermath of which Mr. Christie has pointed to as a moment for which his skill set is perfectly matched. And it is the strongest suggestion of the vibrancy of a candidate who has fought for survival in a sprawling field, after the so-called Bridgegate scandal in New Jersey dampened his national prospects and hindered his standing in the polls and in fund-raising.
“Mr. Christie is right for these dangerous times,” wrote Joseph W. McQuaid, the paper’s publisher, in the endorsement editorial. At another point, he wrote: “As a U.S. attorney and then a big-state governor, he is the one candidate who has the range and type of experience the nation desperately needs.”

Rubio: Insider, Outsider

In the 1992 election, James Ceaser and Andrew Busch wrote in Upside Down and Inside Out:"The outsider appeal," they wrote, "resonates with fundamental elements of the American tradition that can be traced back to certain themes of the revolutionaries, the anti-federalists, the Jeffersonians, and the Jacksonians."  William Jefferson Clinton pulled off the feat of running as an insider and outsider at the same time. He came from a modest background (though not quite as modest as he claimed), was governor of a poor state, and challenged party orthodoxy.  At the same time, he was a Rhodes Scholar with a Yale law degree who had been courting party elders ever since a college internship with Senator J. William Fulbright.

Patrick O'Connor and Byron Tau writes at the Wall Street Journal:
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio likes to remind GOP primary voters of the long odds he faced running for the Senate in 2010.
“Everybody in the Republican establishment came forward and said, ‘You can’t run, it’s not your turn, you’ve got to wait in line,’ ” Mr. Rubio told the crowd at a recent campaign stop in early-voting Iowa.
The underdog narrative helps Mr. Rubio cast himself as a political outsider to a party desperate for change. But it glosses over a basic fact: The 44-year-old Florida senator has spent the bulk of his working life in politics, reared by the party whose leaders he occasionally campaigns against.
This tension between Rubio the insider and Rubio the outsider cuts to the heart of his biggest challenge in the Republican primary—positioning himself as a bridge candidate, while some of his rivals specifically target evangelicals and tea-party conservatives and others focus on rallying the establishment.
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst recently polled Republican primary voters and found they move fairly fluidly between the top four candidates—Messrs. Trump, Carson, Cruz and Rubio. However, the Florida senator served as a link between the outsiders and the establishment contenders, such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
“Rubio shares a lot of support with Trump, Carson and [former Hewlett-Packard Co.Chief Executive Carly] Fiorina and with establishment candidates, like Bush and Christie,” said Mia Costa, one of the researchers on that poll. “He’s well-positioned to pick up supporters from both camps.”

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Primary Ballot Access

In the 2012 campaign, an early sign of trouble for Newt Gingrich was his failure to make the Virginia primary ballot.

Shane Goldmacher writes at Politico:
Barring a major organizational misfire, there’s little doubt that the top-tier Republicans with big money operations – Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump – will be on the ballot nationwide. But for everyone else – including Chris Christie, John Kasich and Rand Paul, whose campaigns say they are on track to be on the ballot everywhere – ballot access is an expensive challenge.
Carly Fiorina’s campaign, which says she will appear on the ballot everywhere, has estimated ballot access will cost her $2 million. In a video sent to her supporters this week, she complained about the difficulty of the endeavor by accusing “party bosses” of trying to “rig the game…to protect the establishment candidates and then try to keep everyone else out.”
“Every conservative candidate deserves to be on the ballot,” Fiorina said. “Not just those with Jeb Bush money or Hillary Clinton money.”
In Alabama, one of the few states where the filing deadline has passed, neither Jim Gilmore nor George Pataki, two longshot former governors running bare bones 2016 campaigns, paid the $10,000 fee to appear on the March 1 ballot. Failing to file guarantees that Gilmore and Pataki won’t win any of Alabama’s 50 delegates up for grabs next year.
While it’s true mathematically that candidates need not compete in every state to win the nomination, the political reality is that each failure to appear on a ballot undermines a candidate’s credibility as a national figure. “Nobody pats you on the back if you get on every ballot,” Ginsberg explained. “But if you don’t get on the ballot in every state, boy, there are huge ramifications for your campaign.”
The Republican National Lawyers Association made all their jobs much easier when, for the first time, it made available a state-by-state guide to getting on the ballot, free of charge, to every campaign this year. The so-called “Ballot Access Initiative” document is likely saving campaigns thousands of dollars in research costs.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Independents and the New Hampshire Primary

In The Perfect Tie, the third book in this series, James Ceaser and Andrew Busch explain that the 2000 New Hampshire primary involved an "invisible primary" between John McCain and Bill Bradley.  They were running in different parties but competing for the large bloc of independent voters.  McCain won, enabling him to beat George W. Bush.  Bradley lost, meaning that the primary went to Gore.

James Pindell writes at The Boston Globe:
Unlike in many other states, New Hampshire voters who don’t register as Republican or Democrat can participate in either party’s primary. Republican officials are predicting that these “undeclared” voters — as many as 90,000 of the 250,000 Republican primary voters next year, according to one campaign’s count — will be inclined to pull a ballot for the GOP in the first-in-the-nation primary in large part because that contest is much more heated.
“There is no doubt that independent voters will decide this primary,” said Sarah Crawford Stewart, who ran former Utah governor Jon Huntsman’s independent-focused 2012 Republican campaign here. “And now is the time when every campaign begins looking for the unicorn: the truly independent voters that you know are there, but you have no idea where to find them.”
A Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll this week suggested that undeclared voters would make up 32 percent of the Republican primary electorate. Their preferences were largely the same as likely Republican voters as a whole.
New York businessman Donald Trump and Governor John Kasich of Ohio topped the list for undeclared voters with 19 percent and 14 percent, respectively. Senator Marco Rubio had the support of 12 percent of undeclared voters and Senator Ted Cruz received the support of 11 percent of the undeclared voters who were polled.
Indeed, undeclared voters could have the most impact in selecting among the more establishment-oriented candidates — like Bush, Kasich, Rubio, or Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey. These candidates are investing time and money in identifying independent voters.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Trump Keeps Getting Worse

CNN reports that Donald Trump mocked a reporter with a disability:

Reuters reports:
"We're not gonna take it anymore," a crowd of thousands sang as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump entered a South Carolina convention center on Tuesday night as a 1980s heavy metal song by the band Twisted Sister blared from speakers.
The billionaire real-estate developer's packed rallies have been among the liveliest events in the long build-up to the November 2016 U.S. presidential election.

But they are increasingly becoming known for their undercurrent of aggression, which escalated into a physical altercation over the weekend when white Trump supporters attacked a black protester at his rally, to the candidate's approval.

Out in the crowds, the mix of emotions is heady, setting a Trump rally apart from those of virtually all the other Republican and Democratic White House hopefuls. The rallies combine a gleeful rejection of establishment politics, a fear that the country is about to be transformed into something un-American, and a simmering aggression toward those who dissent from Trump's world view.
Although he has been the front-runner almost without interruption for four months in the race for the Republican Party's presidential nomination, Trump is not the only candidate who can draw more supporters than a venue has chairs.
But at rallies other than Trump's, it would be unusual for disputes over blocked views between those who are standing and those who are sitting to escalate into yelling matches, as happened a couple of times mid-speech on Tuesday. On one occasion, police officers intervened to calm tempers.
At a Trump rally in Alabama on Saturday attended predominantly by white people, Trump supporters punched and kicked a black civil-rights activist who shouted "Black lives matter!" as Trump called from the stage for the activist to be thrown out.
Trump later said the activist was "obnoxious" and deserved to be "roughed up."
The New York Times reports:
How alarmed were New Jersey officials by reports of Muslims dancing in the streets of Jersey City and Paterson on Sept. 11, 2001, to celebrate the destruction of the World Trade Center?

They feared riots would break out and were ready to send in the National Guard and the State Police to preserve order.
But John J. Farmer Jr., then the New Jersey attorney general and the state’s chief law enforcement officer, said on Tuesday that he ordered an investigation that very day and found the reports to be bogus, more wild stories born in the stricken hours after the attacks.

Nevertheless, those ancient, false rumors were recycled as truth over the weekend by Donald J. Trump, who has folded them into his calls for the national registration of Muslims and possible closing of mosques. Speaking in Alabama, Mr. Trump said: “Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Marco Skywalker

Henry Olsen writes:
Somewhat conservatives are like investors: when panic happens, they flock to the stability of the 30-year bond. Rubio is clearly aiming to position himself to be the GOP’s T-bill, a stable, conservative choice for voters who like that balance between return (ideology) and minimal risk (maturity, experience). Rubio won’t go after moderates directly, but he will position himself to be the beneficiary of their second choice support once their first choices drop out. Thirty percent of moderates in the most recent PPP national poll support either Bush, Christie, Fiorina, or Kaisch. It’s hard to see any of these candidates reviving their campaigns, and it is even harder to see the bulk of their supporters moving to Cruz or Trump if the race winnows down to a three-man race by March 1. If this happens, it will fuel a quick rise in Rubio support, support that could allow him to jump past Trump and become Cruz’s main challenger on and after SEC Super Tuesday.
There’s a lot of time left, and Rubio’s competitors are smart and able men. Perhaps they will push Rubio to make an error; perhaps they will adapt their efforts to become more appealing to the somewhat conservative. This, after all, is why they play the games. But right now, the trend lines favor Rubio.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Associating with a Nut

Earlier this month, three Republican presidential candidates – Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Bobby Jindal (who has since dropped out of the race) – appeared at a National Religious Liberties Conference held in Des Moines and hosted by Kevin Swanson, a Colorado pastor and host of the Generations Radio Show. A member of the Christian Reconstructionist Movement (Christian Reconstructionists believe in theocracy and the restoration of Mosaic Law), Mr. Swanson gave the conference’s opening and closing remarks and interviewed Messrs. Cruz, Huckabee, and Jindal.
Here’s the thing: Pastor Swanson is a man consumed with hatred for gays. He has spoken wistfully about the passing of a period in which the death penalty applied to gays. He also supports Uganda’s draconian anti-gay laws, which punishes some homosexual behavior with life in prison. (“In Uganda, these guys are standing strong.”)
I have several thoughts on all this, the first of which is that Republican presidential candidates ought to have no part of a conference like the one hosted by Swanson and should have nothing to do with him. Pleading ignorance about what Pastor Swanson has said (which Cruz and Huckabee have done) is lame. Any campaign doing due diligence would be aware of Swanson’s views, and Cruz was told by CNN’s Jake Tapper some of what Swanson has said. Mr. Swanson is a man overflowing with venom, and his views should disqualify him from any association with Republican presidential hopefuls and, really, any serious person.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Trump's Nazi Crime Nonsense

A day after a black activist was kicked and punched by voters at a Donald Trump rally in Alabama, Trump tweeted an image packed with racially loaded and incorrect murder statistics.
The image shows a masked, dark-skinned man with a handgun and a set of points, ostensibly about deaths in 2015:

"Blacks killed by whites -- 2%"
"Blacks killed by police -- 1%"
"Whites killed by police -- 3%"
"Whites killed by whites -- 16%"
"Whites killed by blacks -- 81%"
"Blacks killed by blacks -- 97%’
The image cites the "Crime Statistics Bureau - San Francisco"
None of the numbers are supported by official sources. The figures on black-on-white homicides and white-on-white homicides are wildly inaccurate. And, as several news organizations quickly noted, the "Crime Statistics Bureau" doesn’t exist. We looked for that agency as well and the closest we found in San Francisco were a number of crime scene clean-up services.
Little Green Footballs reports:
So let’s recap. The leading candidate for the Republican Party’s nomination for president is tweeting absolute nonsense with a blatantly racist slant.
But where did this graphic come from? My first thought was that it must have originated at a white supremacist website like Stormfront, because it really is that bad. But neither Google Image search nor found it posted at any websites. Google Images did, however, find the earliest tweet in which this horrible racist image appeared:
(I saved a screenshot in case it suddenly goes missing.)

Here’s the bio of the person who posted it:

Notice that he’s an admirer of Hitler:
Should have listened to the Austrian chap with the little moustache.
And his avatar, that looks like a modified swastika, is the symbol of the neo-Nazi German Faith Movement.

So there you have it. Donald Trump is posting racist imagery that comes directly from neo-Nazis.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Trump Lies Again

David Mack reports at Buzzfeed:
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Sunday criticized Republican presidential contender Donald Trump for his comments that thousands of Arab Americans cheered as the Twin Towers fell on 9/11.
On Saturday and Sunday, Trump said he observed “thousands and thousands” of Arab people in New Jersey “cheering as the World Trade Center came down” — an online conspiracy debunked by police and media.
“It was well covered at the time,” he told ABC on Sunday. “There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good.”
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an international NGO that monitors anti-Semitism, said: “It is unfortunate that Donald Trump is giving new life to long-debunked conspiracy theories about 9/11.”
“This seems a variation of the anti-Semitic myth that a group of Israelis were seen celebrating as the Twin Towers fell,” the ADL said.
“His comments are irresponsible — not to mention factually challenged.”

Friday, November 20, 2015

Trump and Carson Say Stupid Things About Terrorism and the Middle East

Reuters reports:
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Thursday likened refugees fleeing violence in Syria to "rabid dogs," and said that allowing them into the United States would put Americans at risk.
"If there is a rabid dog running around your neighborhood, you're probably not going to assume something good about that dog,” Carson, a front-runner in some opinion polls, said Thursday at a campaign event in Mobile, Alabama.
"By the same token, we have to have in place screening mechanisms that allow us to determine who the mad dogs are, quite frankly," the retired neurosurgeon said, criticizing President Barack Obama's plan to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees within a year.
The Daily Beast reports:
As a means to fighting terrorism, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump wouldn’t rule out the closing of U.S. mosques and issuing special identification and/or setting up a database of Muslim Americans. When presented with the latter idea in an interview with Yahoo News, the business mogul said, “We’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely. We’re going to have to look at the mosques. We’re going to have to look very, very carefully.” During a Wednesday evening interview with Fox News, Trump doubled down on his support for possibly closing mosques, telling Sean Hannity the U.S. may have “no choice.”

Thursday, November 19, 2015

HRC v. Comedy

From Judicial Watch:
In what appears to be a first for a serious presidential contender, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is going after five comedians who made fun of the former Secretary of State in standup skits at a popular Hollywood comedy club.
A video of the short performance, which is less than three minutes, is posted on the website of the renowned club, Laugh Factory, and the Clinton campaign has tried to censor it. Besides demanding that the video be taken down, the Clinton campaign has demanded the personal contact information of the performers that appear in the recording. This is no laughing matter for club owner Jamie Masada, a comedy guru who opened Laugh Factory more than three decades ago and has been instrumental in launching the careers of many famous comics. “They threatened me,” Masada told Judicial Watch. “I have received complains before but never a call like this, threatening to put me out of business if I don’t cut the video.”
Practically all of the country’s most acclaimed comedians have performed at the Laugh Factory and undoubtedly they have offended politicians and other well-known personalities with their standup routines. Tim Allen, Jay Leno, Roseanne Bar, Drew Carey, George Carlin, Jim Carrey, Martin Lawrence, Jerry Seinfeld and George Lopez are among the big names that have headlined at the Laugh Factory. The First Amendment right to free speech is a crucial component of the operation, though Masada drew the line a few years ago banning performers—including African Americans—from using the “n-word” in their acts.
The five short performances that Clinton wants eliminated include some profanity and portions could be considered crass, but some of the lines are funny and that’s what the Laugh Factory is all about. The video features the individual acts of five comedians, four men and a woman. The skits make fun of Clinton’s wardrobe, her age, sexual orientation, the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the former First Lady’s relationship with her famous husband. The Laugh Factory has appropriately titled it “Hillary vs. The First Amendment.”
Masada told Judicial Watch that, as soon as the video got posted on the Laugh Factory website, he received a phone call from a “prominent” person inside Clinton’s campaign. “He said the video was disgusting and asked who put me up to this,” Masada said. The Clinton staffer, who Masada did not want to identify, also demanded to know the names and phone numbers of the comedians that appear in the video. Masada refused and hung up. He insists that the comedy stage is a sanctuary for freedom of speech no matter who is offended. “Just last night we had (Emmy-award winner) Dana Carvey doing Donald Trump and it was hilarious,” Masada said.

Confused Candidates

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was “often confused,” according to a 2013 email from her longtime aide Huma Abedin.
The comment, which is likely to attract attention from Clinton’s critics on the presidential campaign trail, was revealed on Monday following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit from conservative legal group Judicial Watch.

In the Jan. 26, 2013, message, Abedin gave the note about Clinton while discussing the secretary’s schedule with another Clinton aide, Monica Hanley.
“Have you been going over calls with her for tomorrow?” Abedin asked Hanley. “So she knows [then-Indian Prime Minister Manmohan] singh is at 8?”
“She was in bed for a nap by the time I heard that she had an 8am call,” Hanley responded. “Will go over with her.”
“Very imp to do that,” Abedin said in response.
“She’s often confused.”
Trip Gabriel reports at The New York Times that Ben Carson is struggling on foreign policy, an increasingly important difficulty in light of the Paris attacks
Faced with increasing scrutiny about whether Mr. Carson, who leads in some Republican presidential polls, was capable of leading American foreign policy, two of his top advisers said in interviews that he had struggled to master the intricacies of the Middle East and national security and that intense tutoring was having little effect.
“Nobody has been able to sit down with him and have him get one iota of intelligent information about the Middle East,” said Duane R. Clarridge, a top adviser to Mr. Carson on terrorism and national security. He also said Mr. Carson needed weekly conference calls briefing him on foreign policy so “we can make him smart.”

Indicted on charges of lying to Congress in the Iran-contra scandal (he was later pardoned), Mr. Clarridge today runs a private network of intelligence sources, including, he said, experts on Iran, China and the Middle East, who have all briefed Mr. Carson in phone calls or Skype sessions.
Mr. Clarridge, who contacted Mr. Carson nearly two years ago to offer his services without pay, has helped the candidate prepare for debates. But the briefings do not always seem to sink in, Mr. Clarridge said. After Mr. Carson struggled on “Fox News Sunday” to say whom he would call first to form a coalition against the Islamic State, Mr. Clarridge called Mr. [Armstrong] Williams in frustration. “We need to have a conference call once a week where his guys roll out the subjects they think will be out there, and we can make him smart,” Mr. Clarridge said he told Mr. Williams.
Mr. Williams, one of Mr. Carson’s closest friends, who does not have an official role in the campaign, also lamented the Fox News interview. “He’s been briefed on it so many times,” he said. “I guess he just froze.”

Mr. Carson, 64, who retired as one the world’s foremost pediatric neurosurgeons, has sometimes struggled to adapt his thoughtful manner and speaking style to the rat-a-tat of debates and TV interviews. “Sometimes he overthinks things,” Mr. Williams said, adding that he had spoken to Mr. Carson after the Fox News stumble. “I could tell, talking to him, it was a bummer for him.”
After this article was posted online, the Carson campaign issued a statement saying The New York Times had taken advantage of Mr. Clarridge, “an elderly gentleman.” Mr. Williams had referred The Times to Mr. Clarridge, describing him as one of Mr. Carson’s top advisers on foreign policy and providing his phone number. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Refugee Politics

Margaret Talev reports at Bloomberg:
Most Americans want the U.S. to stop letting in Syrian refugees amid fears of terrorist infiltrations after the Paris attacks, siding with Republican presidential candidates, governors, and lawmakers who want to freeze the Obama administration’s resettlement program.
The findings are part of a Bloomberg Politics national poll released Wednesday that also shows the nation divided on whether to send U.S. troops to Iraq and Syria to fight the Islamic State, an idea President Barack Obama opposes, and whether the U.S. government is doing enough to protect the homeland from a comparable attack.
Fifty-three percent of U.S. adults in the survey, conducted in the days immediately following the attacks, say the nation should not continue a program to resettle up to 10,000 Syrian refugees. Just 28 percent would keep the program with the screening process as it now exists, while 11 percent said they would favor a limited program to accept only Syrian Christians while excluding Muslims, a proposal Obama has dismissed as “shameful” and un-American.
David A. Graham writes at The Atlantic:
Between April and October of 1980, amid an economic downturn, Fidel Castro announced that Cubans who wanted to leave could do so. It precipitated a mass exodus toward the United States. Around 125,000 Cubans fled the island in the Mariel boatlift. The question was what to do with them once they arrived. After all, huge infusions of refugees are often unwelcome, and rumors that the “Marielitos” included many released criminals made many Americans even less welcoming.
In May, President Jimmy Carter informed Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, then nearing the end of his first term in office, that 20,000 of the immigrants would be housed temporarily at Fort Chaffee in northwest Arkansas. Clinton backed the move by his fellow Democrat publicly, but was privately furious: “How could you do this to me? I busted my ass for Carter. You’re gonna get me beat.” Once they’d arrived, the resettlement process ground to a halt, and in June, a riot erupted, and Clinton called out the National Guard. Several months later, as he’d predicted Clinton lost his bid for reelection to Frank White, a first-time candidate for office. In the same election, Carter lost the White House. The story turned out happily for Clinton, who defeated White in 1982 and went on to become president, but Carter and Clinton reportedly still dislike each other.

The Fort Chaffee story is largely forgotten by the general public, but it’s a good bet that some governors haven’t forgotten its political lessons.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Democrats and ISIS

Right after Saturday night's television debate, Joe Klein wrote at Time:
The three Democrats who debated in Iowa last night were very, very concerned about the Paris terror attacks and the growing evidence that ISIS—or Da’esh, as it is called in the region—has metastasized into a true global threat. Very concerned. Bernie Sanders even thought that this barbaric challenge to civilization should be “eliminated”…although it was not as great a threat as global warming, he allowed, which—hold on, here—causes terrorism. You know, droughts and floods set people in motion and…well, never mind.
Sanders’ utter lack of proportion on this issue—and yes, climate change is a serious problem, but not the immediate threat to our security that Islamic terror is—is a classic example of how the American left lives in a hermetically sealed bubble, just as the American right does. And the left, and its solipsistic insistence on political correctness, is having an undue influence on the Democrats’ presidential candidates in 2016.
Indeed, political correctness makes it impossible for Democrats to face, head on, by name, the essential problem: the rise of Islamic radicalism—or jihadi-ism, as Hillary Clinton tried to call it (and almost succeeded). This is not just a word game. If we are to come to terms with Da’esh and Al Qaeda and other jihadis, we have to acknowledge that they represent a basic conflict within Islam: the rise of Wahhabi-style fundamentalism over the past century. If we recognize the nature of this battle, it becomes easier for us to identify our friends and enemies, especially the latter. Our enemies are those who have funded and promulgated Wahhabi-style Islam through radical Madrasas throughout the Middle East. That would be Saudi Arabia, whose tottering monarchy made a devil’s bargain with the Wahhabis decades ago. In recent weeks, the Saudis and their gulf allies, have turned their attention away from ISIS and focused on the Shi’a rebels in Yemen, who represent a far less potent threat to global stability (even though they are supported by Iran). And yet, Saudi Arabia—and Wahabi-style Islam–was not mentioned by any of the candidates last night.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Clinton, Podesta, and Coroprate Fleeces

Hunter Walker reports at Yahoo:
At the barbecue on Sunday, reporters surrounded Clinton’s top aides ahead of her speech and peppered them with questions about the remark. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, pointed to Clinton’s record pushing for increased financial regulatory reform during her time in Congress and on the campaign trail.

“I think she’s got a strong record on Wall Street reform. She’s put forward the strongest policies on Wall Street reform,” Podesta said.
Podesta, who was wearing a fleece jacket that bore the logo of Equilibrium Capital, a $1 billion financial and investment company, also pointed out that Clinton met with union leaders who represented Wall Street-area workers in the aftermath of 9/11.
John Podesta is quite comfortable with corporate fleeces, On December 12, 2013, Eric Lipton reported at The New York Times:
The defense contractor Northrop Grumman gave money to the left-leaning Center for American Progress, founded by John D. Podesta, as the nonprofit group at times bemoaned what it called theharmful impact of major reductions in Pentagon spending.

Pacific Gas and Electric sent in a donation as Mr. Podesta championed government incentives to promote solar energy and other renewable sources that the California company buys more of than nearly any other utility.
The pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly was also a donor because of what it said was the Center for American Progress’s advocacy for patients’ rights — and just as the debate heated up in Washington over potential cuts to the Medicare program that covers Lilly’s most profitable drugs.
Mr. Podesta, named a senior adviser to President Obama, is not currently a lobbyist and therefore does not have to worry about the Obama administration’s self-imposed ban on hiring lobbyists to administration jobs. But he will nonetheless arrive at the White House after having run an organization that has taken millions of dollars in corporate donations in recent years and has its own team of lobbyists who have pushed an agenda that sometimes echoes the interests of these corporate supporters.
But Mr. Podesta, who was paid $220,000 last year by the center and who last served as a registered lobbyist in 2006, also arrives at the White House after serving on the corporate boards of at least two companies with ties to the clean-energy industry, Equilibrium Capital of Portland, Ore., and Jouleof Bedford, Mass. The future of both companies depends in part on environmental policies set by the government and heavily promoted by the White House.

Mr. Podesta has also served on an advisory board to Gryphon Technologies, a Washington-based contractor that has done work for the Defense Department and Homeland Security, an assignment that earned him $10,000 this year. In addition, he earned $90,000 as a consultant to the HJW Foundation of West Chester, Pa, according to an aide working with him on the disclosure report he is preparing. HJW is a nonprofit group run by Hansjörg Wyss, a billionaire businessman and major contributor to the Center for American Progress. 
With Obama bemoaning the prevalence of lobbyists in Washington, weekly family dinners at the Podesta households occasionally have grown awkward. Lobbying power couple Tony and Heather Podesta take turns hosting meals with Tony's brother, Obama transition boss John Podesta, and his wife, Mary, a mutual funds association lawyer. Now, sometimes, "we'll say something, and John won't respond. There'll be silence," says Heather, who changes the subject to wine or contemporary art. "Frankly, we're counting the days until the end of the transition so things can go back to normal."
Still, John's temporary gig hasn't exactly been bad for business. Tony and Heather have separate firms: He built his, The Podesta Group, into one of Washington's 10 largest lobbying outfits over the last two decades, while she started her fast-growing firm, Heather Podesta+Partners, two years ago. Both say they're signing clients at an unparalleled clip.
Tony and Heather have since split. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

HRC Cray-Cray

At Politico, Glenn Thrush writes of last night's D debate:
The pressure of the dual Sanders-O’Malley attack on Clinton’s Wall Street connections prompted her to say one of the craziest things she’s uttered in public during this campaign or any other. When Sanders acidly pointed out that Clinton has raked in millions from the wealthy executives at Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, she riposted with a clever reference to gender politics: “You know, not only do I have hundreds of thousands of donors, most of them small, and I'm very proud that for the first time a majority of my donors are women, 60%.”
Cool. But things got weird. Even though Bill Clinton had close ties to Wall Street (his Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin would go on to become head of Citigroup) and financial sector’s donors ponied up plenty of cash for her 2000 New York Senate run, she claimed that the main reason bankers have flocked to her cause is – wait for it – because of the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. “So I— I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked,” she said, as the moderators from CBS gaped, gob-smacked. “Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy, and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.”
Needless to say, the remark – delivered in her emphatic shout-voice -- raised eyebrows 24 hours after the terror attacks in Paris killed more than 120 people. And it’s not likely to go away. A cascade of obligatory, outraged piling-on ensued: “@HillaryClinton, you reached a new low tonight by using 9/11 to defend your campaign donations,” Tweeted RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Obama and "Containment"

ABC reports:
Critics are lashing out at President Obama in the wake of the attacks in Paris on Friday for remarks he made to ABC's George Stephanopoulos a day earlier in which he said that ISIS was "contained."
“From the start, our goal has been first to contain, and we have contained them," Obama told ABC on Thursday. "They have not gained ground in Iraq. And in Syria it -- they'll come in, they'll leave. But you don't see this systematic march by ISIL across the terrain."
The comment came just hours before the announcement of a U.S. airstrike in Syria that had targeted 'Jihadi John.' But the mainly symbolic victory was cut short following the attacks in Paris on Friday in which at least 127 people were killed.

French President Francois Hollande blamed ISIS for the attacks on Saturday, calling it "an act of war."
Several Republicans, including candidates for the GOP presidential nomination, seized on Obama's comments as his latest mistake in underestimating the terror group.
“They are not a JV team. They are not contained. They are on the march," Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said in an interview with conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt. "Secondly, I think it reminds us that when the United States is not leading the world is a more dangerous and a more tragic place."

Friday, November 13, 2015

Trump Keeps Insulting Carson (and Iowa)

Daniel Strauss writes at Politico:
Donald Trump's slam of Iowans as "stupid" would usually be a breathtaking gaffe for a presidential candidate, but the billionaire businessman has proved time and again that this isn't any normal presidential race and that he isn't any normal candidate.
Top Republicans and Republican operatives in the state on Friday disparaged Trump's comments from his Thursday evening rally at Iowa Central Community College in which he questioned the intelligence of voters who believe rival Ben Carson's claims of a violent past and subsequent redemption. "How stupid are the people of Iowa? How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?" Trump yelled.

"Not good to insult Iowa voters," Doug Gross, the former chief of staff to Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, told POLITICO on Friday.
Steve Grubbs, the chief Iowa strategist for rival Rand Paul, was happy to pounce on the comment. "Trump's meltdown last night makes me worry what would happen in a stressful situation in the White House," Grubbs said.
But many Iowa Republicans also don't see lasting damage. They see the comments as unfortunate but not nearly enough to send Trump packing

Meanwhile, his attacks on Carson escalate:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Carson Vetting Continues

AP reports:
Ben Carson has called for harsh criminal penalties for health care fraud, but the Republican presidential candidate and his wife also have kept millions invested with a close friend who admitted defrauding insurance companies, according to an Associated Press review.
Pittsburgh dentist Alfonso A. Costa pleaded guilty to a felony count of health care fraud after an FBI probe into his oral surgery practice found he had charged for procedures he never performed, according to court records.
Though the crime carries a potential sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison, Costa was sentenced to house arrest and probation after Carson helped petition a federal judge on behalf of the man he described as "one my closest, if not my very closest friend."
That's different from the position Carson later took as he prepared to launch his presidential campaign. In his 2013 political treatise, "America the Beautiful," Carson wrote that anyone found guilty of health care fraud should face the "Saudi Arabian Solution."
"Why don't people steal very often in Saudi Arabia?" asked Carson, a retired neurosurgeon. "Obviously because the punishment is the amputation of one or more fingers. I would not advocate chopping off people's limbs, but there would be some very stiff penalties for this kind of fraud, such as loss of one's medical license for life, no less than 10 years in prison and loss of all of one's personal possessions."

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Rubio's Good Night

Colin Campbell reports at Business Insider:
There was a clear winner inTuesday night's Fox Business Network debate, according to a Fox News focus group conducted by veteran GOP pollster Frank Luntz.
A majority of participants declared that Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida emerged the victor, and a several of them said they changed their support from other Republican presidential candidates, including Ben Carson and Jeb Bush, to Rubio.
Asked to describe Rubio in a word or phrase, the people in the focus group said things like "eloquent," "passionate," "young," "very articulate," "slick," "inspirational," and "fresh."
There was one moment in particular, according to Luntz, in which the participants' focus-group dials shot upward to indicate their approval: when Rubio delivered a powerful endorsement of vocational schools.
"For the life of me, I don't know why we have stigmatized vocational education. Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers. And if we do this, we will be able to increase wages for millions of Americans," Rubio said to loud applause.
Linda Feldmann writes at The Christian Science Monitor:
“There is no question that [Marco] Rubio is the Republican that Democrats fear most.”

Those words, written by former top Obama political aide Dan Pfeiffer before Tuesday night’s Republican debate, are truer than ever after the debate.
Here’s the moment that crystallized the point: Senator Rubio was presented with Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton’s credentials – an “impressive résumé,” said Fox Business moderator Maria Bartiromo – and then asked how he can compete. Rubio didn't miss a beat.

“This next election is actually a generational choice – a choice about what kind of nation we will be in the 21st century," Rubio said.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Problems for Clinton?

Greg Sargent writes at The Washington Post:
The new poll, which was commissioned by Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund and conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, shows that members of the Rising American Electorate — minorities, millennials, and single women — are significantly less tuned in to next year’s election than GOP-aligned voter groups are.
The poll has some good news for Democrats. The survey, which was taken in four key battleground states — Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin — suggests that in those states, the demographics do favor Dems. That’s because the poll finds that RAE voter groups — who helped drive Obama’s wins — now make up a “majority or near majority of the vote” in all those states. The poll also finds Dems leading in Senate races in two of those states and tied in two others.
But members of the RAE are insufficiently engaged in next year’s election when compared to Republican-aligned voter groups:

But note a couple of huge caveats.  First, there is a highly competitive nomination race on the GOP. Its outcome is uncertain.  Accordingly, it makes sense that it is generating far more interest than the all-but-settled Democratic race.  Second, the GOP had an enthusiasm edge four years ago, but Obama still won.

Key voters dubbed “Wal-Mart moms” have economic concerns that may transcend partisan lines in the 2016 election, and they're highlighting potential problems for top Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump ahead of the first presidential nominating contests in Iowa and New Hampshire in February.
In focus groups conducted Tuesday night, likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire and likely Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa cited the national deficit, the U.S. debt to China, insufficient wages, student loans, and dysfunctional government among their leading concerns.
One caution for Clinton, Newhouse said, is that the Democratic focus group was “less engaged.”
“There wasn’t an embrace of what a Hillary Clinton presidency would look like and that it was good for them,” he said.
Four of those 10 women said they are thinking of supporting Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Half said they believed Sanders might defeat Clinton in the primary. Several of the women described Clinton with positive words such as “strong,” “lovable,” and “intelligent.” But some of the women said they didn't trust Clinton and don’t think they have much in common with her. They used words such as “shady” and “shifty” to describe her. Most said they did not feel a special affinity for her because she’s a woman.
“In the beginning I’m thinking, ‘Trump might be good,’” said Jill, a married mother of one who works as a kitchen manager. “Then he started talking,” she said. “He’s so insulting to everyone.”
Another participant, Johanna, a customer service worker and mother of two, said her 5-year-old asked if Trump was “joking” because “you can’t talk to people like that.”

Monday, November 9, 2015

Rubio's Very Good Week

At The New York Times on Thursday, Nate Cohn wrote:
In the fourth quarter of 1991 and of 2011, Democratic and Republican officials broke toward candidates who would ultimately become their party’s nominee: Bill Clinton and Mitt Romney.
Each was imperfect, and each faced protracted resistance from dissenting factions in his party. But by late fall, the choice was clear for many party leaders. In 1991, Mario Cuomo decided not to run; in 2011, Rick Perry proved to be a disaster. And in both election cycles, no one else seemed to have the wide appeal necessary to unify the party or win the general election.
It’s still too early to say whether the Republican primary has reached a similar moment, but when analysts look back on the 2016 election, they may conclude that the G.O.P. reached a similar inflection point this week. Last week’s debate might have been a clarifying moment for party officials and donors, moving many toward deciding in favor of Marco Rubio and ultimately sending him on a path to the nomination.
Jonathan Easley reports at The Hill:
Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for president on Friday, giving the Florida Republican his fourth Congressional endorsement in as many days.
It’s the latest sign that establishment Republicans are gravitating towards Rubio.
Last week, Rubio won the backing of influential Republican billionaire Paul Singer over former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
This week, Rubio surged into the lead for Senate endorsements, picking up support from Sens. Cory Gardner (Colo.), Steve Daines (Mont.) and James Risch (Idaho). No one else has more than two senators supporting their candidacy.
Noem’s endorsement gives Rubio his 11th backer in the House, according to the FiveThirtyEight tracker.
Alex Isenstadt and Marc Caputo report at Politico:
Jeb Bush’s decision to attack old friend and new rival Marco Rubio is backfiring, pushing important supporters to criticize the campaign’s tactics and driving one of Florida’s top fundraisers to officially quit and signal a shift in allegiance to the senator.
“I think the world of Jeb Bush. He was a great governor of Florida and is a really good person, but the campaign has hijacked his message,” said Brian Ballard, a Tallahassee lobbyist who contributed more than $25,000 of his own money and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars more for Bush’s campaign and the super PAC supporting him.
Story Continued Below

“The campaign has become negative, one that is about attacking and trying to bring down Marco Rubio. And that doesn’t sit well—not only with me, but with anyone who knows the two,” Ballard said. “Marco’s a friend of mine. I didn’t sign up for a campaign that was going to be negative and attack a bright star of the party’s future. It doesn’t make sense. I’m over it. And I’m done.”
At Politico, Marc Caputo explains how the Rubio campaign has cleverly dispatched an issue that rivals had been hoping to use against him.
On Saturday, Rubio released his 2005 and 2006 statements that showed he only spent $65,000 on party business. That’s far less than other Republican leaders who succeeded him in the Florida House. And it’s just about half of the $117,000 Rubio himself charged on his party credit card after he became Florida House speaker in 2007-08.

The Rubio campaign’s decision to release the 2005-06 credit-card statements marks a tactical turnabout from to his 2010 Senate race, when they refused to release any documents after Crist’s campaign had them delivered to a Miami Herald reporter.
Then, the campaign correctly calculated that it could afford to take its lumps over the $117,000 in charges, about $16,000 of which Rubio said he paid because they were personal expenses. In this election, Rubio’s team had the luxury of time and knowledge that he charged only $65,000 -- about $7,200 for eight different items that Rubio deemed personal and said he paid. As the campaign began analyzing his bills and bank statements, it waited a little longer to set a trap for critics to repeat speculative exaggerations about the size and scope of his 2005-06 credit card expenses.
“He is a disaster with his credit cards,” Trump said in a speech this week. “For years, I’ve been hearing his credit card are a disaster.” The Democratic National Committee followed up with a Medium post that asked “What is Marco Rubio hiding?” And the campaign of Rubio rival and longtime friend Jeb Bush recently gave a presentation to donors in which it called the senator “a risky bet” and accused him of, among other transgressions, “misuse of state party credit cards.”

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Joe Biden 1987, Ben Carson 2015

Like Ben Carson in 2015, Joe Biden in 1987 had, er, "inaccurate recollections" about winning a scholarship and other aspects of his academic record:

E.J. Dionne reported at The New York Times:
He then went on to say that he ''went to law school on a full academic scholarship - the only one in my class to have a full academic scholarship,'' Mr. Biden said. He also said that he ''ended up in the top half'' of his class and won a prize in an international moot court competition. In college, Mr. Biden said in the appearance, he was ''the outstanding student in the political science department'' and ''graduated with three degrees from college.''
In his statement today, Mr. Biden, who attended the Syracuse College of Law and graduated 76th in a class of 85, acknowledged: ''I did not graduate in the top half of my class at law school and my recollection of this was inacurate.''
As for receiving three degrees, Mr. Biden said: ''I graduated from the University of Delaware with a double major in history and political science. My reference to degrees at the Claremont event was intended to refer to these majors - I said 'three' and should have said 'two.' '' Mr. Biden received a single B.A. in history and political science.
''With regard to my being the outstanding student in the political science department,'' the statement went on. ''My name was put up for that award by David Ingersoll, who is still at the University of Delaware.''
In the Sunday interview, Mr. Biden said of his claim that he went to school on full academic scholarship: ''My recollection is - and I'd have to confirm this - but I don't recall paying any money to go to law school.'' Newsweek said Mr. Biden had gone to Syracuse ''on half scholarship based on financial need.'' 
In his statement today, Mr. Biden did not directly dispute this, but said he received a scholarship from the Syracuse University College of Law ''based in part on academics'' as well as a grant from the Higher Education Scholarship Fund of the state of Delaware. He said the law school ''arranged for my first year's room and board by placing me as an assitant resident adviser in the undergraduate school.''
Without a political record or government experience, Ben Carson is running on his biography.  But if his biography is wrong, what does he have?

Reid Epstein writes at The Wall Street Journal:
The day after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in 1968, Ben Carson’s black classmates unleashed their anger and grief on white students who were a minority at Detroit’s Southwestern High.
Mr. Carson, then a junior with a key to a biology lab where he worked part time, told The Wall Street Journal last month that he protected a few white students from the attacks by hiding them there.
It is a dramatic account of courage and kindness, and it couldn’t be confirmed in interviews with a half-dozen of Mr. Carson’s classmates and his high school physics teacher. The students all remembered the riot. None recalled hearing about white students hiding in the biology lab, and Mr. Carson couldn’t remember any names of those he sheltered.
“It may have happened, but I didn’t see it myself or hear about it,” said Gregory Vartanian, a white classmate of Mr. Carson’s who served in the ROTC with Mr. Carson and is now a retired U.S. Marshal.
In his 1990 autobiography, “Gifted Hands,” Mr. Carson writes of a Yale psychology professor who told Mr. Carson, then a junior, and the other students in the class—identified by Mr. Carson as Perceptions 301—that their final exam papers had “inadvertently burned,” requiring all 150 students to retake it. The new exam, Mr. Carson recalled in the book, was much tougher. All the students but Mr. Carson walked out.

“The professor came toward me. With her was a photographer for the Yale Daily News who paused and snapped my picture,” Mr. Carson wrote. “ ‘A hoax,’ the teacher said. ‘We wanted to see who was the most honest student in the class.’ ” Mr. Carson wrote that the professor handed him a $10 bill.

No photo identifying Mr. Carson as a student ever ran, according to the Yale Daily News archives, and no stories from that era mention a class called Perceptions 301. Yale Librarian Claryn Spies said Friday there was no psychology course by that name or class number during any of Mr. Carson’s years at Yale.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Carson's Problems

Kyle Cheney reports at Politico:
Ben Carson’s campaign on Friday admitted, in a response to an inquiry from POLITICO, that a central point in his inspirational personal story was fabricated: his application and acceptance into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
The academy has occupied a central place in Carson’s tale for years. According to a story told in Carson’s book, “Gifted Hands,” the then-17 year old was introduced in 1969 to Gen. William Westmoreland, who had just ended his command of U.S. forces in Vietnam, and the two dined together. That meeting, according to Carson’s telling, was followed by a “full scholarship” to the military academy.
West Point, however, has no record of Carson applying, much less being extended admission.
AP reports:
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Thursday stood by his belief that Egypt's great pyramids were built by the biblical figure Joseph to store grain, an assertion dismissed by experts who say it's accepted science they were tombs for pharaohs.
Neither Carson's church nor any other major Jewish or Christian sect shares his belief about the pyramids' origins. Jodi Magness, a specialist in biblical archaeology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, said she knows of no scholar or archaeologist who questions that the pyramids were used as royal tombs.

"This is not an academic topic of debate," Magness said in an email. "The use of the pyramids as tombs is verified by both written (literary) sources and archaeological evidence."

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Donald and The Rapist

At the Christian Science Monitor, I noted that Donald Trump has thanked convicted rapist Mike Tyson for his endorsement.

": [First Vote News Video | Mike Tyson Endorses Donald Trump for President] - " Thanks Mike!

Under questioning, Trump might try to raise doubts about Tyson’s guilt.  Like most rapists, Tyson knew his victim, and he claimed that the incident was consensual. But even though he could afford the finest lawyers in the land, a jury of his peers found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and an appeals court upheld his conviction.

America Rising v. Edwards in Lousiana

Polls show Vitter running behind John Bel Edwards in the Louisiana governor's race.  America Rising is now tying Edwards to Obama, who is unpopular in the state.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The GOP Nomination Process Tilts Toward Mainstream Candidates

At FiveThirtyEight, David Wasserman expands on blue-state influence in GOP nominations:
The average blue district awards one convention delegate per 28,912 Romney voters, while the average red district awards one delegate per every 56,714 Romney voters. Thanks to this disparity, if a hard-right candidate like Cruz dominates deeply red Southern districts in the SEC primary, a more electable candidate like Rubio could quickly erase that deficit by quietly piling up smaller raw-vote wins in more liberal urban and coastal districts.
The RNC partially compensates for this imbalance in the way it awards delegates on a statewide basis. Republicans award “bonus” delegates to states with lots of GOP officeholders and states with the best GOP performance in the last election. For example, despite both states having nine congressional districts, Tennessee will send 58 delegates to the Cleveland convention while Massachusetts will send 42.
But the bigger boon to Rubio, Bush and other moderates is that the opinions of GOP voters in places like Massachusetts count at all in this process — in an era when the Bay State sends zero Republicans to Congress. It’s a huge factor that many pundits tend to overlook, and it’s why the temperament and qualities that the broader party looks for in a nominee differ so much from those of the loudest and most ideological Freedom Caucus types in Washington.