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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Trump: Bad Punctuation and Worse Spelling

I told you so- just lost it's top person. Poor results and no money to pay him. If they were legit, they would be doing far better!

Rubio Wins the Appleknocker Primary...

Marco Rubio is now the candidate of establishment/appleknocker/somehat-conservtive Republicans.

Maggie Haberman and Nicholas Confessore report at The New York Times:
One of the wealthiest and most influential Republican donors in the country is throwing his support to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a decision that could swing millions of dollars in contributions behind Mr. Rubio at a critical point in the Republican nominating battle.
The decision by the donor, Paul Singer, a billionaire New York investor, is a signal victory for Mr. Rubio in his battle with his rival Jeb Bush for the affections of major Republican patrons and the party’s business wing.
It comes as a major blow to Mr. Bush, who is seeing his once vigorous campaign imperiled by doubts among supporters, and whose early dominance of the race was driven by his financial muscle. Mr. Bush and several other candidates, including Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, had competed fiercely for Mr. Singer’s blessing.
In a letter that Mr. Singer sent to dozens of other donors on Friday, which was obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Singer described Mr. Rubio — who was elected to the Senate in theTea Party wave but has been embraced by the party’s Washington elite — as the only candidate who can “navigate this complex primary process, and still be in a position to defeat” Hillary Rodham Clinton in a general election.
About the same time in the 2012 cycle, there was a similar shift toward Mitt Romney. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Bush's Playbook and Anti-Rubio Oppo

US News reports on a leaked Bush Powerpoint:
While the slides released to the press highlight Bush's Sunshine State endorsements and Rubio's lack of experience, another page for donor edification gets dirtier.
It's titled "Marco Is A Risky Bet," and it bullet-points Rubio's "misuse of state party credit cards, taxpayer funds and ties to scandal-tarred former Congressman David Rivera."
When Rubio was a state lawmaker, he used the state party credit card for personal expenses, a decision he later called a mistake. In 2005, he and Rivera jointly purchased a home that later faced foreclosure.
Another bullet point says Rubio's "closeness with Norman Braman, who doubles as personal benefactor[,] raises major ethical questions."
Braman, a billionaire auto dealer, is expected to pour $10 million into Rubio's White House endeavor, The New York Times reports. He's also paid Rubio's wife to oversee his charitable work.
The Bush team also mocks Rubio's "tomorrow versus yesterday" argument as one that would be "widely ridiculed by media" should he run against the first potential female president.
The most cryptic slight is left for last: "Those who have looked into Marco's background in the past have been concerned with what they have found."
A Bush aide says that line refers to concerns Mitt Romney's team unearthed when they vetted Rubio for vice president in 2012

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Rubio Wins the Debate

Chris Cillizza writes:
The Florida Senator was good in the first two debates. He was outstanding in this one. The long-awaited showdown between Rubio and Bush wound up being a romp; Jeb tried to attack on Rubio's Senate attendance but got schooled by a very well-prepared Rubio. Rubio repeatedly took tough questions and turned them to his advantage, finding ways to tell his compelling personal story and steer the conversation toward what the GOP needs to do to beat Hillary Clinton. Rubio, as I've long noted, is the most naturally talented candidate in either party's field; he showed it tonight.
Andre Tartar writes at Bloomberg:
Rubio received nine direct questions or rebuttal invitations to Bush's six, and spoke for more than 10 minutes while Bush squeaked out less than seven minutes of air time. The audience engagement gap proved even wider. Rubio landed at least nine applause and laugh lines throughout the two-hour debate, compared to just one recorded laugh for Bush, according to an analysis of a Federal News Service rush transcript conducted by Bloomberg Politics in partnership with Adam Tiouririne (@Tiouririne) of Logos Consulting Group. He advises senior business executives on high-stakes communication, grounded in research about how leaders perform at their most important—and most public—moments.
Michael Barone points out that the hostile questions were actually good for the field:
The Republican debaters got great mileage out of bashing the moderators, and justifiably so. But I think their call for more sympathetic moderators is unwise. The unsympathetic moderators not only produced a debate which benefited the Republicans with their constituency, but also elicited from them some major themes which work for their party and against the Democrats — notably the arguments against crony capitalism and the argument, made most cogently by Carly Fiorina but echoed by others, that big government policies favor the wealthy and the well-connected and leave ordinary people and the poor worse off. Hostile moderators gave the candidates a chance to make strong arguments which could work for the eventual nominee.
Greg Sargent gets the Rubio formula:
Last night, Rubio, in what appeared to be an appeal to the deep resentment of many of these voters, skillfully converted legitimate questions about his personal financial management into evidence of Democratic and elite media contempt for his relatively humble upbringing, which he proceeded to explain he had overcome through hard work. Rubio’s narrative is both laden with legitimate resentment and inspiring!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

GOP's Ongoing Tech Talent Deficit

Tech’s leftist leanings are often cited as the main reason Democrats have excelled in the tech talent battle. Some of Silicon Valley’s marquee names, after all—Eric Schmidt, Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, Sergey Brin, Marc Benioff, and others—are known Democratic supporters. And while a Libertarian strain certainly runs through the tech industry, San Francisco’s liberal values tend to dominate. As former RNC chief technical officer and Facebook veteran Andy Barkett once put it in The Washington Post, “I knew who was gay on my team at Facebook, but I had no idea who was a Republican.”
But for some, like Zac Moffatt, Romney’s 2012 digital director and founder of the digital shop Targeted Victory, that rationale doesn’t cut it. Conservative tech minds might be a minority, he says, but they do exist, and it doesn’t require that many of them to pull off a campaign. “I don’t need 100,000 engineers,” he says. “I need 100 good ones.”
Moffatt argues, instead, that the difference in the two parties’ ability to recruit tech talent is that one has had the benefit of winning the last two elections. “It’s a lot easier to work for Barack Obama than it was to try to convince someone to work for Mitt Romney, who they might not have known,” he says.
Obama’s incumbent status meant that members of his tech team, many of whom had already worked together and operated under a common philosophy, could get a jumpstart on building technology for the general election. Romney’s team, meanwhile, had to weather a primary cycle and ramp up almost instantly once he won the nomination. And though Hillary Clinton isn’t technically an incumbent, she’s been the expected frontrunner for her party since before she even announced she was running. The Republican party, on the other hand, has been splintered throughout primary season and dominated by unexpected frontrunners like Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Tea and Anger

Karlyn Bowman writes at AEI:
Alongside the disapproval of both parties, discontent inside the GOP has been mounting as well. Only 26 percent of Republicans in a new Quinnipiac poll of registered voters approved of the way Republicans in Congress were handling their jobs (59 percent of Democrats approved of the way the way Democrats were handling theirs). In a May Pew poll, just 37 percent of Republicans felt the Republicans in Congress were keeping their campaign promises; 65 percent said they weren’t. In a YouGov online poll, only 27 percent of those who identified with or leaned to the GOP felt their party was united, while 53 percent said it was divided. Given Republican dissatisfaction with their party’s performance, it isn’t a surprise that Republicans are voicing stronger support for one-party control of government. Forty percent of them, up from 24 percent last year, said they preferred Congress and the president to be controlled by the same party, while 26 percent preferred different parties and 30 percent said it would make no difference. Gallup speculates that two things have caused the uptick in support for united control: first, the November 2014 GOP victory that put both houses of Congress under their control and, second, the upcoming 2016 election, where they clearly believe they can be more successful with one party control.
Gallup reports:
Americans' support for the Tea Party has dropped to its lowest level since the movement emerged on the national political scene prior to the 2010 midterm elections. Seventeen percent of Americans now consider themselves Tea Party supporters, and a record 54% say they are neither supporters nor opponents.
...

Almost two-thirds (63%) of conservative Republicans were supporters in the earliest polls. About four in 10 (42%) still support the Tea Party, but the 21-percentage-point drop since the 2010 polls is second only to the plunge in support from Republican leaners (independents who lean toward the GOP). A majority (52%) of GOP leaners, a key source for Republican votes, were supporters in the 2010 polls, but a 29-point drop has left only 23% still supporting the movement.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Trump Goes After Carson's Religion

Sean Sullivan reports at The Washington Post:
Donald Trump on Saturday contrasted his Presbyterian faith with that of Seventh-day Adventists, apparently attempting to draw attention to and raise doubts about Republican presidential rival Ben Carson's religious beliefs.
Speaking at a campaign rally here, Trump was in the midst of discussing his standing in the polls, including recent Iowa surveys that showed him falling behind Carson in the GOP race. Then, he brought up religion.
"I love Iowa. And, look, I don't have to say it, I'm Presbyterian," said Trump. "Can you believe it? Nobody believes I'm Presbyterian. I'm Presbyterian. I'm Presbyterian. I'm Presbyterian. Boy, that's down the middle of the road folks, in all fairness. I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don't know about. I just don't know about."
Politically, the matter could become an issue in the lead-up to the Iowa caucuses. As the Des Moines Register notes, "some conservatives have argued Seventh-day Adventists … aren't Christians."

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Will Rubio Take the Establishment Slot from Bush?

Even though not everything is going well for Rubio, Justin Wolfers writes at The New York Times:
It’s official: Jeb Bush is no longer the leading contender to become the Republican candidate for president. Instead, prediction markets now rate Marco Rubio as far more likely to get the nod.
One broad measure of the betting markets puts Mr. Rubio’s chances at 34 percent versus Mr. Bush’s at 23 percent.
The extent of this reversal is stark. Mr. Bush’s name recognition, executive experience and links to the Republican establishment led the betting markets to rate him the most likely winner even before he announced his candidacy. He took an early and commanding lead in fund-raising and won the most endorsements from fellow Republicans. He also led in most national polls, at least until mid-July, when Donald Trump wrestled the national spotlight from him and has continued to entertain its bright glare. Recent polls suggest that only around 7 percent of potential Republican voters plan to vote for Mr. Bush. 
Indeed, Philip Rucker, Ed O'Keefe and Sean Sullivan write at The Washington Post that Bush is cutting salaries.
Privately, some donors have been fretting and eyeing Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who won plaudits for his debate performances and has shown momentum in polls as an establishment alternative. Donors said senior campaign officials have sought to quiet their concerns. Finance director Heather Larrison held a conference call this week explaining the steps the campaign was taking to improve its financial outlook.
But one Bush fundraiser who requested anonymity to speak freely said: “It feels very much like a death spiral, and it breaks my heart. I don’t know anyone who wants to reinvest now.” The campaign, this person added, has been “head-scratchingly bad in every element. I wouldn’t be shocked in 60 days from now if he wasn’t in the race.” 
What happened to Bush? Henry Olsen compares him to Rip Van Winkle:
If this seems harsh, consider the facts. Jeb has not run for office since his easy re-election in 2002. He has not had a tight, competitive race since 1998, and he has not run in a GOP primary since 1994. When Jeb ran his tough races, his brother had not yet won the Presidency; 9/11 had not happened; economic growth was both plentiful and widely shared. Latino immigration had not yet reached the level that has sparked the immigration wars of the last decade, and the Republican base had not exploded in anger over the sense that its leadership, including his brother, had betrayed them time and time again.
And, of course, Barack Obama had not yet been elected. Obama’s ambitious agenda has moved the country much farther to the left than when Bush was active in politics.
One can see how Bush has struggled with these changes time and time again. His two policy passions seem to be education and immigration reform. These were state of the art conservative priorities in 2000 when W ran, but have long since stopped being animating features of the movement. NCLB is widely derided on the right and Common Core is seen as the further federalization of education in the same vein as his brother’s landmark effort. Doubling down on these priorities, as Bush has done, has simply reinforced the notion that he is running on yesterday’s platform.

Friday, October 23, 2015

House GOP Factions, 2015

At FiveThirtyEight, David Wasserman writes of the factional divisions that will challenge Paul Ryan as he becomes speaker-in-waiting.
The Cook Political Report has plotted House GOP members on this leadership/anti-leadership spectrum by assessing members’ records on five critical votes in 2015. On all but the election of the speaker, the GOP required at least some Democratic votes to obtain a majority needed for passage:
Share of House Republicans who backed leadership on five key 2015 votes
  • 87% — Election of John Boehner for speaker (Jan. 6)
  • 86% — Long-term fix for Medicare physician reimbursement rates (March 26)
  • 53% — Reauthorizing federal support for Amtrak (March 4)
  • 37% — Funding government without defunding Planned Parenthood (Sept. 30)
  • 30% — Funding Department of Homeland Security without overturning Obama’s immigration executive order (March 3)
Then we grouped members together according to their propensity to vote for or against party leadership on these votes, using a rubric devised by Cook National Editor Amy Walter in 2013:
House GOP factions in 2015
  • 51 “Dependables”: voted with leadership all five times
  • 39 “Allies”: voted with leadership four of five times
  • 51 “Helpers”: voted with leadership three of five times
  • 53 “Skeptics”: voted with leadership two of five times
  • 25 “Agitators”: voted with leadership one of five times
  • 11 “Rebels”: voted with leadership zero of five times
Note: 17 Republicans didn’t cast enough votes to be counted in one of the above groups.
Most House Republicans aren’t simply “establishment” backers or “tea party” rebels. In fact, the plurality in the middle belongs to what The New York Times has dubbed the “Vote No, Hope Yes” caucus. These Republicans vote strategically with the leadership just enough of the time to jockey for plum committee assignments, but they voted against Boehner enough to shield themselves from a tea party primary back home.

Conservative Cannibal Scam PACs

Eric Lipton and Jennifer Steinhauer report at The New York Times that conservative scam PACs are making money by attacking GOP leaders.
It is a practice that has accelerated with the explosion of social media. The latest example came on Wednesday with a new attack on Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, just a day after he said he was willing to serve as House speaker.
Even some members of Congress who might benefit from the petitions are highly critical of the approach. “A lot of people are wearing their hearts on their sleeves trying to help, and only later may find out that this money is not going where they thought it was,” said Representative David Schweikert, Republican of Arizona and a member of the Freedom Caucus, the group of conservative lawmakers who helped force out Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio as speaker.
...
“That is an absolute self-serving lie fostered by people who are usually on the receiving end of political attacks of these organizations,” said Dan Backer, whose Virginia-based consulting firm, DB Capitol Strategies, is treasurer and legal adviser to several of the groups, including the Tea Party Leadership Fund, the Constitutional Rights PAC and the Conservative Action Fund.
...
Almost all of the rest of the money it has raised since 2013 has been spent on consulting firms involved in helping collect the donations.
One of them, Strategic Fundraising of St. Paul, has been paid $2.3 million by the Tea Party Leadership Fund since 2013 to follow up the appeals with phone calls soliciting contributions. (After being fined late last year by South Carolina’s secretary of state, who accused it of deceptive fund-raising tactics, Strategic Fundraising went out of business this year.)
Mr. Backer and his various business enterprises run out of his office in Alexandria, Va., are another major beneficiary. His law firm provides legal and campaign advice to the Tea Party Leadership Fund. He also has an ownership stake in a campaign fund-raising company called SCM Enterprises that the Tea Party Leadership Fund relies on. And he helped create a conservative website, American Action News, where the Tea Party Leadership Fund routinely places advertisements. Collectively, the corporate entities Mr. Backer owns or has financial ties to have been paid at least $1.1 million in fees since 2013 by the Tea Party Leadership Fund and other PACs he helps run, federal records show.
While some of Mr. Backer’s activities were reported in Politico this year, the intensity of the effort by his groups has surged with the turmoil in the House and Mr. Boehner’s surprising decision to resign as speaker.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Biff Trump

Ben Collins writes at The Daily Beast:
There’s a very specific analog between Biff Tannen, the bully and bad guy in almost every timeline in Back to the Future Part II, and a certain political figure who is rather popular in the United States right now. He’s been handed the keys to fortune, he’s unrepentantly used that fortune exclusively for himself, and he’s even become a public advocate for plastic surgery for women in his family.
It is not hard to put two and two together.
So, Bob Gale—writer of Back to the Future Part II and man who helped predict the IMAX theater and the self-checkout line—in these past few months, were you thinking what we’re all thinking?

“We thought about it when we made the movie! Are you kidding?” he says. “You watch Part II again and there’s a scene where Marty confronts Biff in his office and there’s a huge portrait of Biff on the wall behind Biff, and there’s one moment where Biff kind of stands up and he takes exactly the same pose as the portrait? Yeah.”
Of course, in the movie, Biff uses the profits from his 27-story casino (the Trump Plaza Hotel, completed in 1984, is 37 floors, by the way) to help shake up the Republican Party, before eventually assuming political power himself, helping transform Hill Valley, California, into a lawless, dystopian wasteland, where hooliganism reigns, dissent is quashed, and wherein Biff encourages every citizen to call him “America’s greatest living folk hero.”
“Yeah,” says Gale. “That’s what we were thinking about.”
At RealClearPolitics, Heather Wilhelm writes:
Is the comparison over the top? Absolutely. Yet, in the movie, there’s power-hungry, sordid Biff, bragging about how he buys off the police; in reality, one might remember Mr. Trump proudly describing his own ability to buy off cash-poor politicians in the first Republican debate. In the movie, there’s Biff bending whatever’s left of the law to exploit hapless victims; in reality, there’s our friend Donald Trump, a man with a proud past of targeting elderly Atlantic City widows using the government’s power of eminent domain.
“A decade and a half ago,” as Robert VerBruggen noted in National Review, it was still “fresh on everyone’s mind that Donald Trump is one of the leading users of this form of state-sanctioned thievery.” Today, Trump is better known for his Biff-like verbal bombast than anything else. Unfortunately, his fans tend to ignore the fact that his riffs are filled with prescriptions that would require equally bombastic uses of government power.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Autism in the 2016 Election

At Autism Live, I talk about the issue of autism in the 2016 presidential election, mentioning Trump and Rand Paul, among others.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Freedom Caucus

Drew DeSilver writes at Pew:
Amid all the coverage of House Republicans’ unruly efforts to select a speaker who can command broad support from their fractious ranks, one name keeps coming up: theHouse Freedom Caucus. But what, exactly, is the House Freedom Caucus?
Pew Research Center has confirmed the identities of 36 Freedom Caucus members through representatives’ public statements, their comments to the media or their offices’ direct responses. A handful of other House members who reportedly belong to the group could not be confirmed. (The communications director for Rep. Darrell Issa of California, for example, said he could neither confirm nor deny Issa’s membership in the caucus.)
Ideologically speaking, they’re among the most conservative of House Republicans, though not all are on the rightmost end of the spectrum.
...
Freedom Caucus members also have spent decidedly less time in the House. Of the 36 identified members, 26 (72%) were first elected in 2010 or later, compared with 54% of other House Republicans.
But in many other ways, the Freedom Caucus looks much like the rest of the House GOP. Of the members we were able to identify, there is only one woman (Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming) and one ethnic or racial minority (Raúl Labrador of Idaho, who is Hispanic). They’re a bit younger, with an average age of 54 (as opposed to 56 for the rest of the House Republicans), and somewhat more likely to come from the South (56% versus 45%) or the West (22% versus 16%).

Monday, October 19, 2015

The GOP's Flexibility Advantage in State Races

At Vox, Matthew Yglesias makes a perceptive point that runs against conventional wisdom:
Liberals accustomed to chuckling over the ideological rigor of the House GOP caucus won't want to hear this, but one of the foundations of the GOP's broad national success is a reasonable degree of ideological flexibility.
Essentially every state on the map contains overlapping circles of rich people who don't want to pay taxes and business owners who don't want to comply with labor, public health, and environmental regulations. In states like Texas or South Carolina, where this agenda nicely complements a robust social conservatism, the GOP offers that up and wins with it. But in a Maryland or a New Jersey, the party of business manages to throw up candidates who either lack hard-edged socially conservative views or else successfully downplay them as irrelevant in the context of blue-state governance.
Democrats, of course, are conceptually aware of the possibility of nominating unusually conservative candidates to run in unusually conservative states. But there is a fundamental mismatch. No US state is so left-wing as to have created an environment in which business interests are economically or politically irrelevant. Vermont is not North Korea, in other words.
But there are many states in which labor unions are neither large nor powerful and non-labor national progressive donor networks are inherently populated by relatively affluent people who tend to be emotionally driven by progressive commitments on social or environmental issues. This is why an impassioned defense of the legality of late-term abortions could make Wendy Davis a viral sensation, a national media star, and someone capable of activating the kind of donor and volunteer networks needed to mount a statewide campaign. Unfortunately for Democrats, however, this is precisely the wrong issue profile to try to win statewide elections in conservative states.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Trump's Victims

In Never Enough, Michael D'Antonio writes of Trump's corporate bankruptcies:
Lawrence Lambert, speaking for the investors who held Trump bonds, said, “I think it's morally reprehensible what he gets away with.” No one spoke for the millions of depositors and stockholders whose investments in various banks were diminished by the losses these firms accepted to square their accounts with Trump. Likewise, no one could place a value on the loss of public confidence caused by the spectacle of a tycoon walking away from obligations totaling more than half a billion dollars when ordinary American householders were ruined because they couldn't repay consumer debts of a few thousand dollars. In time, the phenomenon that spared Trump would be understood by the general public as "too big to fail."
Attacks on Trump's bankrupcties will have far more effect if the focus is on the people that he has hurt. The Press of Atlantic City reported in August:
But the bankruptcies — starting with Trump Taj Mahal, which bankrupted about a year after Trump opened it using $675 million in patently unsustainable junk bonds — were less displays of cool resourcefulness than frantic episodes of Trump scrambling to bail on bank debt and keep his perennially overleveraged casinos from going belly up.

“The project was dangerous in the beginning,” said Bryant Simon, a historian and Temple University professor who authored “Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America.”

“A lot of people got stuck holding the bag, and he didn’t. So people resented him for that and felt serious financial pain.”

And it wasn’t just faceless bankers who got burned in the bankruptcies.

In the 2009 case, unsecured creditors — low-level investors, contractors, small-time vendors — got less than a penny on the dollar for their claims against Trump Entertainment Resorts (Trump resigned as chairman four days before the bankruptcy filing).

“He defaulted, and he walked away,” said Harry Smith, 87, a retired trial attorney formerly of Manasquan, Monmouth County, currently living in Jupiter, Florida. Smith saw about $91,000 evaporate from his retirement account when his investment in Trump bonds soured.

In Atlantic City, “he did do great,” fumed Smith’s wife, Lillian, 76. “He walked away with our money. But none of those casinos did great.”

“Luckily, we could absorb the loss,” she said. “You can find a lot of people who have a lot sadder story than ours. We’re just mad as hell.”

Contractors, who often bear the brunt of corporate bankruptcy, regarded Trump “as a jerk and a bum,” said Dave Farragut, president of United States Roofing Corp., a large roofing firm based in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

Bush Underperforming, but Rubio Is Not Soaring Yet

At The Washington Post, Dan Balz writes:
What’s happened to Bush during the past three months? Nationally, Bush was running second in July with an average poll rating of 13 to 14 percent. Today he’s fallen to just about 8 percent and is fourth overall. In Iowa, his average has dropped a couple of points (within the margin of error) and his standing is now fifth rather than third. In New Hampshire, he’s gone from second place in the poll average to fifth and his support has fallen several points.
With Kasich and Christie farther down, Bush and Rubio are seen on a collision course in the mainstream conservative competition. Rubio has gotten the better of the coverage of late, the aspirational fresh face versus a candidate with experience and a family name that is a mixed blessing. Rubio’s debate performances have been well praised, and his approach to campaigning similarly has been commended for its patience and potential.

There are caveats, however. Rubio raised less than half of what Bush collected in the third quarter. In fact, he raised a million and a half dollars less than Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who quit the race last month. He raised about as million less than Carly Fiorina.
The same holds for what the polls show. Between July and today, Rubio’s poll numbers nationally have ticked up a point and he continues to occupy third place. In Iowa, he’s lost a point and has dropped from fifth to sixth. In New Hampshire, he’s also lost a point and dropped one place, to seventh. This is not evidence of a surge. If Bush has performed below expectations as a candidate, Rubio has not yet played up to the potential for attracting support that some Republicans see in him.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Rubio Problems

Kyle Cheney reports at Politico:
The hype surrounding Marco Rubio's presidential campaign just smashed into the wall of reality.
First, the Florida senator's team insisted it had stashed more campaign cash in the bank than fellow Floridian Jeb Bush -- only it hadn't. The campaign also told reporters it had raised $6 million in the last fundraising quarter -- also not true. That turned out to be an overly generous rounding of the underwhelming real figure: $5.7 million.

Yet those aren't even the most troublesome parts of the Florida senator's most recent campaign finance report. Rubio may be slowly rising in the polls, but his third quarter filing revealed a campaign that's also out-manned by many of its rivals in the early-voting states. His staff is largely concentrated in Washington, with just a small umbrella of on-the-ground, early-state operatives -- and he's already at a disadvantage because he hasn't invested the time in early-state visits that some of his opponents have.

Friday, October 16, 2015

HRC, Jeb, and Wall Street

Reuters reports:
Jeb Bush is leading the U.S. presidential campaign by at least one measure: financial support from Wall Street. 
The former Florida governor who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination received more financial backing than any competitor - Democrat or Republican - from employees of the major Wall Street banks between July and the end of September, campaign filings released on Thursday show. 
Employees from Bank of America (BAC.N), Citigroup (C.N), Credit Suisse (MLPN.P), Goldman Sachs (GS.N), HSBC HSBCUK.UL, JPMorgan Chase JPN.N, Morgan Stanley(MS.N) and UBS UBSAG.UL gave Bush a combined $107,000. He also received the maximum-allowed $2,700 from billionaire hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman. 
The sums are miniscule compared to Bush's total haul for the quarter of $13.4 million. But his popularity among financiers is starkly different from his standing in the multitude of national polls. 
Bush, seen as a moderate in the crowded Republican field where 14 candidates are competing for the nomination, trails Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, three candidates who have never held elected office, in every major poll.

The second most popular candidate on Wall Street according to giving patterns is Democratic front-runner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She took in nearly $84,000 from employees of the same banks.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Democrats Are More Liberal Now

Pew reports:
The share of Democrats who describe their political views as liberal has increased over the past 15 years. In surveys conducted this year, 41% of Democrats describe themselves as liberal, 35% say they are moderates and 21% say they’re conservative. In 2000, 43% were moderate, 27% liberal and 24% conservative.
This trend falls in line with how the nation has become more polarized at both ends of the ideological spectrum. Our polarization survey last year found that the share of Democrats and Democratic leaners who hold consistently liberal views (as well as the share of Republicans and Republican leaners who have consistently conservative attitudes) has increased over the past 2o years. Today, 94% of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican, and 92% of Republicans are to the right of the median Democrat.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Pundits Give the Debate to Clinton

Alexis Simendinger writes at RCP:
Tuesday night’s first debate among five Democratic presidential candidates did not shake up the race for the nomination.

And in that sense, Hillary Clinton cleared a significant hurdle after months of weak poll numbers and public preoccupation with her email server. She went in as the field’s leader, and came out that way. Her next challenge comes Oct. 22, when the former secretary of state will spend a day testifying before a Republican-led House committee.

But perhaps Clinton’s biggest question, unanswered at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel and casino, is what Vice President Joe Biden plans to do. If he decides to enter the race, Clinton’s practiced performance as the inevitable heir to President Obama could be upended.
But if Biden, who watched the debate at home in Washington, had wondered if the 2008 Democratic primary loser might stumble, she made every effort to beat back that notion.
Philip Rucker and John Wagner report at The Washington Post:
Overall, Sanders’s performance was uneven. At the start, he seemed easily bothered. At times on the defensive, Sanders seemed agitated, shouting his positions as if he were rallying thousands of supporters in a sports arena instead of conversing with four opponents on a debate stage. But he appeared to become more relaxed on stage and to relish his place as the outsider on the left.
Lincoln Chafee declared himself to a be a mineral:
Time and time again, I have never changed. You’re looking at a block of granite when it comes to the issues. So I have not changed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"I'm a Democratic Socialist"

At The Washington Post, Chris Cillizza reports:

Here's an exchange from Bernie Sanders's appearance on "Meet the Press" on Sunday:


CHUCK TODD: Are you a capitalist? : No. I'm a Democratic Socialist.
And, in those five words, Sanders showed why — no matter how much energy there is for him on the liberal left — he isn't getting elected president.
Why? Because Democrat or Republican (or independent), capitalism remains a pretty popular concept — especially when compared to socialism. A 2011 Pew Research Center survey showed that 50 percent of people had a favorable view of capitalism, while 40 percent had an unfavorable one. Of socialism, just three in 10 had a positive opinion, while 61 percent saw it in a negative light.