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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Trump, Bush 41, and Abortion Penalties

At Bloomberg, Kevin Cirilli reports on an MSNBC town hall:
“I am pro-life,” Trump said. Asked how a ban would actually work, Trump said, “Well, you go back to a position like they had where they would perhaps go to illegal places but we have to ban it,” Trump said.
Matthews then pressed Trump on whether he believes there should be punishment for abortion if it were illegal.
“There has to be some form of punishment,” Trump said. “For the woman?” Matthews asked. “Yeah,” Trump said, nodding.
Trump said the punishment would “have to be determined.”
I am writing a book on the 1988 election, so this story sparked a memory

The issue came up at the first debate between Bush and Dukakis (September 25, 1988).  Ann Groer of The Orlando Sentinel got to the point:
GROER: Yes. Mr. Vice President, I'd like to stay with abortion for just a moment if I might. Over the years you have expressed several positions, while opposing nearly all forms of government payment for it. You now say that you support abortion only in cases of rape, incest, or threat to a mother's life, and you also support a constitutional amendment that if ratified would outlaw most abortions. But if abortions were to become illegal again, do you think that the women who defy the law and have them anyway, as they did before it was okayed by the Supreme Court, and the doctors who perform them should go to jail?
BUSH: I haven't sorted out the penalties. But I do know, I do know that I oppose abortion. And I favor adoption. And if we can get this law changed, everybody should make the extraordinary effort to take these kids that are unwanted and sometimes aborted, take the - let them come to birth, and then put them in a family where they will be loved. And you see, yes, my position has evolved. And it's continuing to evolve, and it's evolving in favor of life. And I have had a couple of exceptions that I support - rape, incest and the life of the mother. Sometimes people feel a little uncomfortable talking about this, but it's much clearer for me now. As I've seen abortions sometimes used as a birth control device, for heavens sakes. See the millions of these killings accumulate, and this is one where you can have an honest difference of opinion. We certainly do. But no, I'm for the sanctity of life, and once that illegality is established, then we can come to grips with the penalty side, and of course there's got to be some penalties to enforce the law, whatever they may be.
AP reported the next day:
Bush's campaign chairman James A. Baker III, meanwhile, sought to deflect any repercussions from the vice president's assertion in the debate that he hadn't decided whether women who obtain abortions should face legal penalties.
Baker said Bush, an opponent of abortion, believes that only those who perform the operations, not the patients, should be prosecuted.

After stressing strong anti-abortion views during the debate, he said, Bush decided on further reflection that women who obtain abortions should be regarded as "additional victims" rather than criminals.

"After thinking about it overnight, we went in and discussed it this morning and concluded it was an issue that should be addressed and we addressed it," Baker told reporters.

Bush told a debate questioner that "I haven't sorted out the penalties" he would impose under a constitutional amendment he seeks to outlaw abortions.

". . . I'm for the sanctity of life and, once that illegality is established, then we can come to grips with the penalty side and, of course, there's got to be some penalties to enforce the law whatever they may be," Bush said.

Dukakis immediately responded that Bush was "prepared to brand a woman a criminal for making that decision. It's as simple as that."

That exchange left the issue an "open question" that needed to be clarified, Baker said.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

#NeverHillary

Gabriel Debenedetti reports at Politico:
American Crossroads, the high-profile Republican super PAC founded by Karl Rove, is set to kick off a digital ad campaign targeting Hillary Clinton, titled #NeverHillary, on Tuesday — a move suggesting that the group believes the GOP is at risk of overlooking the main objective of defeating Clinton while a debate over the #NeverTrump  movement targeting front-runner Donald Trump consumes the party.

 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Liberal Culture Created Trump

At The Intercept, Jim Lewis writes:
After all, it wasn’t some Klan newsletter that first brought Trump to our attention: It was Time and Esquire and Spy. The Westboro Baptist Church didn’t give him his own TV show: NBC did. And his boasts and lies weren’t posted on Breitbart, they were published by Random House. He was created by people who learned from Andy Warhol, not Jerry Falwell, who knew him from galas at the Met, not fundraisers at Karl Rove’s house, and his original audience was presented to him by Condé Nast, not Guns & Ammo. He owes his celebrity, his money, his arrogance, and his skill at drawing attention to those coastal cultural gatekeepers — presumably mostly liberal — who first elevated him out of general obscurity, making him famous and rewarding him (and, not at all incidentally, themselves) for his idiocies.

Trump Is Not Attracting Voters to the GOP: He Is Driving Them Away

Emily Guskin and Scott Clement report at The Washington Post:
The data show Trump’s support didn’t peak in high-turnout states. Among those states with the largest turnout increases compared with 2008 -- 85 percent or more -- Trump garnered 34.3 percent of the vote, lower than his average overall (34.9 percent). He performed slightly better in states with a moderate turnout increase, and worse in states where turnout did not rise as much. The comparison does not differ much when looking at 2012 turnout data; Trump won 32.9 percent in states that had the largest turnout increases, which is below his cross-state average.
...
State-level comparisons are fairly rough, so we asked Post voting data guru Ted Melnik to investigate county-level data for any evidence of Trump-driven surge. He found the opposite: In primary contests, counties that were more supportive of Trump had slightly smaller increases in turnout compared with 2008. The correlation was negative but fairly small, at -0.13.

What do all these numbers mean? Basically, Republicans’ turnout surge is not being caused by a hypodermic shot of Trump voters into the primary electorate. Non-Trump Republicans also have been inspired to vote at higher rates -- some probably in opposition to Trump and others simply because the contest is competitive.
Ben Kasimar reports at The Hill:
Donald Trump’s controversial attacks on Heidi Cruz are spotlighting what could be one of his biggest vulnerabilities in the general election: his poll numbers with women.

The GOP front-runner has faced accusations of sexism throughout the presidential race, with members of both parties denouncing remarks he has made about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly and former GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.


A new CNN poll released Thursday, taken before the spat with rival Ted Cruz over his wife, found that 73 percent of registered female voters in the United States had an unfavorable view of Trump. That’s in line with a Reuters poll from last week that found more than half of American women hold a “very unfavorable” view of the billionaire.
Cathleen Decker reports at The Los Angeles Times:
A quarter of California Republican voters polled said they would refuse to vote for Trump in November if he is the party's nominee. Almost one-third of those backing Trump's leading competitor, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, said they would not cast a ballot for Trump. Voters who back Trump, meanwhile, are critical of Cruz, with only half holding a favorable impression of him.
...

Overall, about three-quarters of California voters polled had an unfavorable view of Trump, an eye-opening level for a front-runner. Even among Republicans, only 51% had a favorable impression of Trump, while 43% had an unfavorable view.
And the unfavorable views were expressed with vehemence. Two-thirds of nonpartisan voters, who are essential to any chance of success for a member of the Republican minority in California, had a “very unfavorable” view of Trump. Seventy-seven percent of Latinos, 74% of those under age 50, 67% of women, 61% of men, and more than 3 in 5 voters of all education and income ranks had a very negative view of him.
“He's an egomaniac who does very stupid things,” Barry Kolom, a Los Angeles optometrist, said of Trump. “He shoots from the hip; he has no filters. I just think he's a loose cannon.”

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sanders Wins 3 States, But...

Philip Bump reports at The Washington Post:
Sen. Bernie Sanders had the best night of his presidential campaign on Saturday, dominating Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the Washington, Hawaii and Alaska state caucuses by wide margins. He cut into Clinton's pledged-delegate lead by at least one-sixth and potentially more. It was the sort of night that he needs more of.
But which he's almost certainly not going to get.
The reason it was such a big night for Sanders was that he dominated in Washington state, beating Clinton by more than 40 points. Washington has a big delegate total, so splitting up the delegates gave Sanders a big margin. His giant wins in Alaska and Hawaii were icing on that cake.
But Alaska and Washington had two characteristics that made them very friendly terrain for Sanders: They were caucuses in predominantly non-black states. And there aren't many more of those on the calendar.
At FiveThirtyEight, Harry Enten picks up the story:
So why is Sanders doing better in caucuses than primaries? The most obvious answer is that caucuses reward candidates with diehard supporters. There are often speeches, and sometimes multiple rounds of voting at caucuses. Typically, you have to stick around for a while to vote. That takes devotion, and if you’ve ever met a Sanders fan, you’ll know that many would climb over hot coals to vote for him.

Sanders’s strength in caucuses may also be, in part, coincidental. Every state that has held or will hold a Democratic caucus this year has a black population at or below 10 percent of the state’s total population, and black voters have been among Clinton’s strongest demographic groups. Without those black voters, Clinton just can’t match the enthusiasm of Sanders’s backers. (In Southern states, where Clinton romped, her voters were far more enthusiastic than Sanders’s supporters were.)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Not-So-Cuddly Kasich

At The New York Times, Thomas Kaplan, Michael Barbaro, and Steve Eder report that many voters view John Kasich as a warm fellow who is too nice for the roughness of this campaign.
Mr. Kasich’s colleagues in Ohio and Washington do not share that worry. In interviews, they recall a three-decade career in government punctuated by scolding confrontations, intemperate critiques and undiplomatic remarks.
...

The John Kasich of 2016 is a much mellower politician than the hard-charging congressman of the 1990s, who could be so difficult that House Speaker Newt Gingrich, never known for his diplomacy, offered Mr. Kasich firm advice about his tendency to bulldoze colleagues.
“I talked to him a lot about unlocking people rather than running them over,” Mr. Gingrich recalled, adding of his counsel, “I think some of that actually stuck.”
But not all of it. In Ohio, Mr. Kasich is known for flashes of impatience, anger and disdain. A police officer who pulled him over? An “idiot,” Mr. Kasich said (though he later apologized). Lobbyists? Farm animals with “their snouts in that trough,” in his words. Out-of-state rivals? “Wackadoodles.”
...

Friday, March 25, 2016

When You've Sunk Low Enough to Lose Michael Savage...

Andrew Kirell writes at The Daily Beast:
Donald Trump is the candidate fighting to keep women safe from terrorism. That’s how campaign spokesman Stephen Miller defended the GOP frontrunner’s shameful retweet of a sexist meme comparing Heidi Cruz to Melania Trump—stunning a CNN host in the process.

Late Wednesday evening, Trump approvingly retweeted a supporter’s message showing side-by-side images of Heidi and Melania with the caption: “No need to ‘spill the beans,’ the images are worth a thousand words.”

The chauvinistic attack was the latest in a feud that started Tuesday evening when Trump threatened to reveal information about his rival Ted Cruz’s wife in response to an unaffiliated anti-Trump super PAC’s ad mocking Melania Trump for having once posed nude in GQ. For his part, Cruz has refused to actively engage Trump in the race to sexualize each other's wives.
World Net Daily reports:
One of Donald Trump's most ardent supporters says he may walk away from the billionaire over the alleged "sex scandal" story published by the National Enquirer on Thursday.
Radio host Michael Savage told his listeners on Friday that Trump's ties to National Enquirer CEO David Pecker raises red flags as to who started rumors claiming Sen. Ted Cruz cheated on his wife, Heidi, with five women. The "Savage Nation" host said Pecker is known to fly on Trump's jet from New York to Florida, which is why the Republican front-runner must condemn the story. (The relevant portion of audio begins at 1:40).

"He should get rid of this connection, because this is not going to help him at all. This is utter garbage and Cruz is rightly offended," Savage said. "I've supported Trump and probably still will, but if he won't disavow this guy Pecker and this story, I may withdraw my support from anyone in this campaign. ... I am not going to support anyone who engages in assassination by innuendo."
Amy Chozick and Trip Gabriel report at the New York Times:
“I want Donald Trump to talk every single day for the rest of this election,” said Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. “He just needs to keep spewing what he has been spewing.”
Although Mrs. Clinton will present herself as a protector of women, the political strategy is more about math than morality.
Mr. Trump has shown a particular weakness among female voters, who favored Mrs. Clinton 55 percent to 35 percent in a New York Times/CBS News poll released this week, twice the gender gap of the 2012 presidential election, when President Obama defeated Mitt Romney. And 31 percent of Republican women said they would be upset if Mr. Trump were the party’s nominee, according to the most recent CNN/ORC poll.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

California Primary: Watch the Districts

Matthew Artz reports at The San Jose Mercury News:
Donald Trump has roared into the lead in the upcoming California Republican primary, bolstering his hopes of winning the GOP nomination and avoiding a nasty convention fight, a new poll has found.
 In the first independent survey since it became apparent that the Golden State will play a major role in deciding the Republican presidential nominee, the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that Trump has the support of 38 percent of likely voters, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is favored by 27 percent. Ohio Gov. John Kasich placed a distant third with 14 percent
So if the poll is on target and if the primary took place today, would Trump get 38 percent of the delegates?  Not necessarily: indeed, the delegate count could diverge a great deal from the vote count.

California’s primary is a winner-take-all system by congressional district. The candidate who gets a plurality in any given district will receive all 3 delegate appointments for that district. Ten at-large delegates go to the  candidate winning the greatest number of votes statewide.  The state party chair, the national committeeman and national committeewoman also serve as delegates.

California has 53 districts, meaning that there are 159 district delegates.  But GOP registration varies greatly, from a low of 27, 209 in the 13th district (Barbara Lee's constituency, encompassing Oakland and Berkeley) to a high of 175,401 in the 4th district (Tom McClintock's constituency, Northern suburbs of Sacramento).   That's a six-to-one ratio, even though both districts have the same number of delegates.

A candidate could conserve resources, then, by targeting districts with lower GOP registration figures.  In a hypothetical two-person matchup, a candidate could win a majority of district delegates with just one-third of the overall vote.  These low-GOP registration districts tend to be Democratic:  of the 35 that have fewer than 100,000 Republicans, only one (the 21st district in the Central Valley) sends a Republican to the House (David Valadao).  Most of these districts also have heavy concentrations of Hispanic or African American voters.

Ironically, then, the primary contest between Trump and Cruz could end up depending on which one does better in the kind of districts that would never support them in the general election.

David Siders writes at The Sacramento Bee:
In an effort to deny him the nomination, Cruz, a favorite of evangelicals and tea party conservatives, is expected to compete with Trump for delegates in the Central Valley and northern reaches of the state. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a more moderate Republican, could do well in coastal districts, including in the Bay Area.

“The fact of the matter is this is an unprecedented event for California,” said Robert Molnar, an adviser to former state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, who is working for Kasich in the state. “So the idea that anybody has this great idea and plan of how it’s going to turn out, they’re just lying to you.”

If the presidential primary remains undecided when it reaches California, it will be the first time the state’s June election has been decisive in a presidential primary since California went for George McGovern as the Democratic nominee in 1972.

US Congressional 13 27,209
US Congressional 34 28,560
US Congressional 12 30,619
US Congressional 40 31,204
US Congressional 44 34,870
US Congressional 37 35,887
US Congressional 29 40,112
US Congressional 51 45,395
US Congressional 17 50,507
US Congressional 35 51,022
US Congressional 43 53,417
US Congressional 14 54,090
US Congressional 20 62,308
US Congressional 46 62,570
US Congressional 19 63,351
US Congressional 21 63,430
US Congressional  6 68,244
US Congressional  5 71,012
US Congressional 15 73,125
US Congressional 16 73,439
US Congressional 32 77,909
US Congressional 28 79,134
US Congressional  2 81,006
US Congressional 18 81,485
US Congressional 41 82,101
US Congressional 11 82,514
US Congressional 38 84,589
US Congressional 53 89,400
US Congressional 31 89,624
US Congressional 30 91,555
US Congressional 27 96,116
US Congressional  9 97,078
US Congressional  3 98,062
US Congressional 47 98,505
US Congressional 36 99,204
US Congressional  8 103,316
US Congressional 26 108,255
US Congressional 24 115,186
US Congressional 10 116,031
US Congressional 52 120,099
US Congressional 33 120,265
US Congressional 42 126,455
US Congressional  7 128,064
US Congressional 39 131,656
US Congressional 25 136,276
US Congressional 49 136,307
US Congressional 22 139,518
US Congressional 23 139,605
US Congressional 50 143,522
US Congressional  1 153,220
US Congressional 45 160,511
US Congressional 48 164,919
US Congressional  4 175,401

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Trump Advisors

Alan Rappeport reports at The New York Times that Trump's foreign policy "experts" are largely unknown to the foreign policy community.
While most presidential campaigns have been offering lists of their high-profile advisers, Mr. Trump had repeatedly declined to reveal his, offering only that he developed his views about world affairs from listening to experts on television, and that he liked to come up with his own ideas.
That changed on Monday when, in an interview with The Washington Post editorial board, he shared the names of five advisers who signed up to be on his team: Joseph E. Schmitz, Gen. Keith Kellogg, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos and Walid Phares.
But in many cases, even Google offered little but outdated biographies of Mr. Trump’s new cast of experts, and on Tuesday, most of them proved elusive when sought for interviews.
...Mr. Papadopoulos, a London-based energy analyst who lists his participation in the 2012 Model United Nations on his résumé, was traveling, and his employer said he was unreachable.
And others could say little about how they were helping Mr. Trump. None have spoken to their new boss.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Why Clinton Is Likely to Win the Nomination

Joan Walsh writes at The Nation:
In the 2008 presidential primary, Democrats chose between a black candidate and a white candidate. Yes, that described the race of the two leading rivals,but also their constituencies: Barack Obama won 82 percent of African-American votes, while Hillary Clinton won most whites, including 62 percent of whites without a college degree.

In 2016, once again, throughout most of the primary campaign, there’s been a black candidate and a white candidate—when it comes to their supporters, anyway. Only this time, it’s Clinton who’s racking up the black vote, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders who has been leading among whites, especially the white working class, while losing roughly 4–1 among the African-American voters who are the bedrock of the Democratic Party. In states like Iowa, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Michigan, Sanders beat Clinton among whites without a college degree. And this time, it’s Sanders who is making the political case for the importance of winning back white voters, particularly working-class whites, to the Democratic Party, as Clinton did eight years ago
At The New York Times, Noam Scheiber notes that African Americans tend to be more upbeat about the economy  than other groups, and that they have benefited more from the Affordable Care Act:
Larry Cohen, a senior adviser to Mr. Sanders and past president of the Communications Workers of America, said that Mrs. Clinton’s perceived loyalty to the administration, as well as the nearly uniform support for Mrs. Clinton within the black political establishment, especially in the South, were key factors in limiting Mr. Sanders’s support among African-Americans.
Others largely agree. “I don’t think you can discount how important President Obama is,” said Stanley B. Greenberg, a former Clinton White House pollster who recently conducted focus groups with African-American voters in Philadelphia and Cleveland. “Obama and his election and re-election is seen as on a scale of what the civil rights movement achieved.”
He added that Mrs. Clinton, by way of her service in the administration and her eagerness to defend the president’s policies on the campaign trail, “is seen as having a more instinctive identification with Obama.”
I’m intrigued by the parallels to the 2008 campaign perhaps because it’s where FiveThirtyEight cut its teeth. I spent a lot of time in the spring of 2008 arguing that Obama’s lead in elected delegates would be hard for Clinton to overcome. But Clinton’s lead over Sanders is much larger than Obama’s was over Clinton at a comparable stage of the race. At the end of February 2008, after a favorable run of states for Obama, he led Clinton by approximately 100 elected delegates. Clinton’s lead is much larger this year.1 Clinton entered Tuesday’s contests ahead of Sanders by approximately 220 elected delegates. But she’ll net approximately 70 delegates from Florida, 20 from Ohio, 15 from North Carolina and a handful from Illinois and Missouri. That will expand her advantage to something like 325 elected delegates.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Mormons & Other Practicing Christians Dislike Trump

At The Washington Post, Philip Bump asks why Trump is doing poorly in Utah. It's not just that Mormons hate him:
Daily prayer and regular church attendance are two of the components of the Barna Group's definition of a "practicing Christian." Barna, a California-based research firm, conducts regular surveys of the religious lives of Americans. In February, it looked at how different groups viewed the Republican contenders. No group had a more negative view of Donald Trump than "practicing" Christians.
What may be prompting the stiff resistance to Trump, then, isn't just that Utah is home to a lot of Mormons -- it's that those Mormons are more religious and that religious voters are more likely to view Trump with hostility.
The good news for Trump is that most of the states with the largest groups of regular churchgoers have already voted. Most are in the Bible Belt, as you might expect -- a region where Trump did very well. Political beliefs are more complicated than they might appear at first glance. Sort of like religious ones.
In fact, he would lose the state in November.  The Deseret News reports:
If Donald Trump becomes the Republican Party's nominee, Utahns would vote for a Democrat for president in November for the first time in more than 50 years, according to a new Deseret News/KSL poll.
"I believe Donald Trump could lose Utah. If you lose Utah as a Republican, there is no hope," said former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, a top campaign adviser to the GOP's 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney.
The poll found that may well be true. Utah voters said they would reject Trump, the GOP frontrunner, whether former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is the Democratic candidate on the general election ballot.
While Clinton was only slightly ahead of Trump — 38 percent to 36 percent — Sanders, a self-declared Democratic socialist, holds a substantial lead — 48 percent to 37 percent over the billionaire businessman and reality TV star among likely Utah voters.
"Wow. Wow. That's surprising," said Chris Karpowitz, co-director of Brigham Young University's Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy. "Any matchup in which Democrats are competitive in the state of Utah is shocking."

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Sleeping Giant Awakens

It is a cliche that the Hispanic vote is the "great sleeping giant" of American politics.  This sleep has taken two forms.

First, Hispanic citizens of the United States are less likely than black or non-Hispanic white citizens to go to the polls.

Turnout among citizens in the 2012 presidential election:

White, Non-Hispanic............64.1%
Black...................................66.2%
Asian...................................47.3%
Hispanic..............................48.0%

Second, many Hispanic residents have not yet taken the crucial step that would enable them to vote:  becoming citizens.

The Pew Hispanic Center reports:
Nearly two-thirds of the 5.4 million legal immigrants from Mexico who are eligible to become citizens of the United States have not yet taken that step. Their rate of naturalization—36%—is only half that of legal immigrants from all other countries combined, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.
On both fronts, Trump is rousing the sleeping giant.  Robert Schlesinger reports at US News:
Welcome to the backlash to the backlash. Welcome to what might be the answer to the corrosive campaign of Donald Trump's angry, white America. Meet the Democrats' turnout ace in the hole: Donald Trump. "I am seeing people who have never voted in their life registering so they can vote against Donald Trump," Serena Perez of New Florida Majority told reporters in a conference call organized by pro-immigration groups this week.
And as noted earlier, many Hispanic noncitizens are starting the naturalization process for the express purpose of voting against Trump. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Reagan Consulted a Brain Trust. Trump Consults Himself.

Ronald Reagan, the former movie actor who symbolizes the affinity between show business and electronic-era politics, is surrounding himself with a star-studded supporting cast.

Already performing like the 1980 Republican presidential nominee -- perhaps with good reason in view of his comfortable lead over struggling rivals -- Reagan has cultivated an advisory "brain trust" composed of many of many of the most prominent figures in economics, domestic policy matters and national security affairs.

Included are representatives of the defense and intelligence community, such as Frank R. Barnett. president of the National Strategy Information Center, Lt. Gen. Daniel O. Graham, co-chairman of the Coalition for Peace Through Strength and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency; and Adrn. Thomas H. Moorer, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

From academe come Nathan Glazer of Harvard University., Jeane J. Kirkpatrick of Georgetown University and Eugene V. Rostow, a Yale University law professor.
Eliza Collins reports at Politico:
 Donald Trump finally shared the name of someone he consults on foreign policy: himself.
"I know what I’m doing and I listen to a lot of people, I talk to a lot of people and at the appropriate time I’ll tell you who the people are," Trump said. “But my primary consultant is myself and I have a good instinct for this stuff."
Asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” who he talks with consistently about foreign policy, Trump responded, “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things."

Friday, March 18, 2016

El ‘efecto Trump’

Trump is inspiring lots of resident aliens to become citizens -- so they can vote against him.

Julia Preston reports at The New York Times:
Over all, naturalization applications increased by 11 percent in the 2015 fiscal year over the year before, and jumped 14 percent during the six months ending in January, according to federal figures. The pace is picking up by the week, advocates say, and they estimate applications could approach one million in 2016, about 200,000 more than the average in recent years.
While naturalizations generally rise during presidential election years, Mr. Trump provided an extra boost this year. He began his campaign in June describing Mexicans as drug-traffickers and rapists. His pledge to build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it has been a regular applause line. He has vowed to create a deportation force to expel the estimated 11 million immigrants here illegally, evoking mass roundups of the 1950s.
Kyung Lah and Alberto Moya report at CNN:
When Donald Trump speaks at one of his rallies, Gisell Broch physically reacts. She cringes.
"He's like a punch to the gut."
That punch is so palpable that it's shaken the Cuba native out of a 22-year contentment at simply holding her green card. Thanks to Trump, she's seeking her U.S. citizenship in time to vote against him in November.

"He's a racist," said Broch, from her front row seat at a naturalization information session in Homestead, Florida. When Broch files her paperwork, she expects she'll vote for "anyone but Trump" as her first vote as a U.S. citizen.
Dianne Solis reports at The Dallas Morning News:
Presidential candidate Donald Trump wants to build a huge wall along the Mexican border.
Mexican immigrants Lilia García and Antonino Reyes want to build one around themselves.
Last weekend García and Reyes joined a growing surge of legal permanent residents in Dallas and elsewhere inspired to seek U.S. citizenship in an effort to defend themselves against the leading Republican candidate.
Call it “efecto Trump,” the Trump effect.
“I want to vote now,” says García, a 52-year-old native of Irapuato. “It will be easier to get my rights, and I want to show solidarity with the people who still need documents.”
Reyes, who is 84, fingers yellowed Mexican documents that look fragile like leaves and explain life passages like birth, marriage and entry into the U.S. Reyes wants to vote,
Jean Guerrero reports at PRI:
It has been nearly half a century since Concepción Álvarez, a 75-year-old Mexican immigrant who lives in Vista, California, became eligible for US citizenship. But it wasn’t until this year that she decided to dive into the naturalization process. The reason? She points to Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.
“I think we are all waking up, because we’ve never heard things so ugly as what that man says,” Álvarez says.
Álvarez is among a rising number of Latino immigrants rushing to become citizens so they can vote in the 2016 presidential elections. Many say they are spurred by fear of Trump, who has proposed deporting millions of immigrants and building a 2,000-mile wall between the United States and Mexico.


Trump: The Man With No Name on the Hill

Lauren French reports at Politico:
POLITICO interviewed a half-dozen lawmakers in tough reelection races, ones who have perhaps the most to fear about Trump as their general election standard-bearer.
Their plan, in a word, is to ignore him. Disregard the racket in the presidential race and keep it local. Whether voters will do the same is another matter, but they're playing the hand they've been dealt.
Few of the Republican lawmakers were comfortable discussing Trump. Some wouldn't utter his name.
“I’m focusing on the 10th District in Illinois and really focusing on trying to come up with the solutions that are out there,” said Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.), who won his seat in 2010, lost it two years later, then won it back in 2014. His race this year is rated a pure toss-up. “Honestly, I’m focused on one race. I’m focused on one race alone.”
...

[Carlos] Curbelo [R-FL] has blasted Trump for his comments about immigrants and Muslims, and vowed not to vote for the business mogul if he wins the nomination.
Still, the Trump caucus on the Hill is notably small for a candidate this far ahead in the delegate count. Four lawmakers, Chris Collins of New York, Duncan Hunter of California, Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee and Tom Marino of Pennsylvania, were early Trump backers. More recently, Reps. Tom Reed of New York and Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, as well as Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, have announced their support for him.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Nondisclosure, Nondisparagement

The Trump campaign will probably yield fewer insider accounts than normal campaigns. Patrick Howell O'Neill reports at The Daily Dot:
Donald Trump's campaign requires volunteers to sign a contract that forbids them from criticizing the Republican presidential front-runner, his family members, any Trump businesses or products, or his campaign. The six-page contract, reviewed in full by the Daily Dot, theoretically lasts for the entirety of a volunteer's life.
Legal experts say, however, that the contract's non-disparagement clause would likely never hold up in court.
The tight control of volunteers stands in stark contrast to not only American political-campaign norms but also Trump's reputation for speaking his mind.
The contract first came to light late last week after Trump campaign emails indicated that some prospective volunteers were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement in order to make calls for the campaign from Trump Tower in Manhattan.

“I don't see how a court enforces this.”
It wasn't until Monday that the contracts were unveiled to prospective volunteers at Trump Tower. A Daily Dot review of the contract found that the document extends beyond the non-disclosure agreement that was originally reported.
It would not be the first time that a candidate relied on non-disclosure agreements.  The 2010 California gubernatorial campaign of Meg Whitman reportedly used NDAs, which is probably why officials from her campaign skipped the customary post-election conference at Berkeley.  As CalBuzz explained; "The Team Whitman principals deny they have non-disclosure agreements that are keeping them from discussing the internal workings of the campaign (although their agreements could require them to deny they exist)."

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Trump: Nominate Me -- Or Else

The Washington Post reports:
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Wednesday that a contested GOP convention could be a disaster if he goes to Cleveland a few delegates shy of 1,237 — and doesn't leave as the party's nominee.
"I think you'd have riots," Trump said on CNN.
Noting that he's "representing many millions of people," Trump told host Chris Cuomo: "If you disenfranchise those people, and you say, 'I'm sorry, you're 100 votes short' ... I think you'd have problems like you've never seen before. I think bad things would happen."

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Trump: a "Television Character" Who Gets Lots of Free Media

At The New York Times, Nicholas Confessore and Karen Yourish explain that the difference between Trump and other contenders is that he gets vastly more free media.
No one knows this better than mediaQuant, a firm that tracks media coverage of each candidate and computes a dollar value based on advertising rates. The mentions are weighted by the reach of the media source, meaning how many people were likely to see it. The calculation also includes traditional media of all types, print, broadcast or otherwise, as well as online-only sources like Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.
Its numbers are not quite an apples-to-apples comparison to paid advertising. But they do make one thing clear: Mr. Trump is not just a little better at earning media. He is way better than any of the other candidates.

Mr. Trump earned $400 million worth of free media last month, about what John McCain spent on his entire 2008 presidential campaign. Paul Senatori, mediaQuant’s chief analytics officer, says that Mr. Trump “has no weakness in any of the media segments” — in other words, he is strong in every type of earned media, from television to Twitter.

Over the course of the campaign, he has earned close to $2 billion worth of media attention, about twice the all-in price of the most expensive presidential campaigns in history. It is also twice the estimated $746 million that Hillary Clinton, the next best at earning media, took in. Senator Bernie Sanders has earned more media than any of the Republicans except Mr. Trump.

At TPM, Kristin Salaky reports a remarkable admission:
A Donald Trump spokeswoman said in an interview Tuesday that the real estate mogul's sexist comments about women, some of which were recently used in an ad from an anti-Trump super PAC, were made when he was playing a "television character."

Fox News host Martha MacCallum asked Katrina Pierson about the recent anti-Trump ad, paid for by Our Principles PAC, in which women read various quotes the former reality TV star has said about women over the years. Pierson said that she does not think the ad would be a problem for the campaign because the quotes were said by Trump, the former host of NBC's "The Apprentice," as a character on television.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Trump v. Women

Donald Trump says disgusting things about women.  Our Principles PAC offers a very small sampler:





For more, catch some of his Howard Stern interviews.

Rules and a Contested Convention

At Politico, Ben Ginsburg notes that party rules bind about 90 percent of GOP delegates on the first ballot.
If Trump does not get a majority of delegates on the first ballot, the rules make his hunt for a majority even more difficult on the second ballot. At that point, nearly three-quarters of the delegates—more than 1,800 of the 2,472—become instantly unbound. They are free agents who can vote for any nominated candidate, with no obligation to Trump even if he won their particular state. The national convention has no authority to amend these binding rules because they are set by each state, and the deadline for states to change their rules has passed.
On the third and subsequent ballots, things would get really unpredictable. Not only would even more delegates become unbound; the current rules also do not require the candidate with the smallest number of votes to drop out, meaning the deadlock can last for endless ballots until a remaining candidate bends.
At that point, a convention can have a mind of its own. The delegations will be a hotbed of rumors, deals and rumored deals. The absolute nightmare scenario is a convention so fractured with so many false rumors spread so quickly and repeatedly—all the more so thanks to social media—that no consensus can be reached. That’s a multi-ballot convention that stretches days beyond the scheduled adjournment.
It is only in this remotest of all scenarios that someone who is not currently a candidate could burst onto the scene. The convention rules committee won’t vote on the criteria for throwing a new candidate’s name into the nomination contest until the convention is actually under way. The committee also has yet to determine whether it can reconvene during the convention in order to loosen the criteria for an outsider to put his or her name up for nomination.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Trump Incites Violence, Lies About It

Kate Somers-Dawes reports at Mashable:
After he canceled a rally at a Chicago university Friday night due to safety concerns, Donald Trump told CNN's Don Lemon "I certainly don't incite violence."
Trump, however, has a history of calling for violent acts against those who protest at his events that goes back until at least August of last year.
And after canceling the rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion, which devolved into mayhem when protesters and supporters faced off, Trump pointed the finger at detractors for the violence that erupted.
Below are the recorded instances in which the Republican presidential candidate has called for, rejoiced in, or otherwise encouraged combat between supporters and detractors, in reverse chronological order.
At a press conference in Florida on Friday, Trump was asked about his rhetoric in the wake of an incident in which a supporter at a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, sucker-punched a black man in the face.

While he wasn't asked about that specific altercation, Trump said of violent behavior in general at his events: "The audience hit back and that's what we need a little bit more of."

He also praised people using physical force at his rallies as "appropriate." ...
Now he is tweeting a threat:

Bernie Sanders is lying when he says his disruptors aren't told to go to my events. Be careful Bernie, or my supporters will go to yours!

 Our Principles is up with a web ad:

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Data on the Roots of Trumpism

At RealClearPolitics, David Brady and Douglas Rivers use survey data to explain Trumpism:
If Trumpism is fueled by people who have become disillusioned with Washington, then it stands to reason that Republicans who believe that government is run for a few and that the politicians are crooked will be more inclined to support Trump over his opponents. This turns out to be exactly the case.

The Economist/YouGov results show that among Republicans who believe that the government is run by a few big interests (75 percent), Trump is preferred by 39 percent to Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, at 16 and 22 percent, respectively. (Numbers for John Kasich and Ben Carson are insignificant and not included here.) Among Republicans who believe that quite a few people running government are crooked (67 percent), Trump has 41 percent preferring him, as compared to 19 percent and 17 percent for Rubio and Cruz.

In both instances, Trump’s margin is double-digit and impressive. When income and education levels are factored in, the correlation becomes even sharper.
...
In sum, much of Donald Trump’s support appears to come from Republicans who have lost faith in Washington. Republicans’ attitudes on trust and corruption in the capital help determine their candidate preferences. In addition, the less-affluent are concerned with a different set of issues and are not as conservative as other Republicans when it comes to taxes on the well-to-do, while they are more conservative on immigration and social issues.

These voters are turning out in large numbers in the early primaries. Turnout through the first 14 Republican primaries in 2016 was more than double 2012 levels. Donald Trump has in his camp voters who are less affluent and highly committed—and they are sending the GOP establishment a strong signal that some of the the politics and policies it has been pursuing are not in sync with a significant portion of the voters the party acquired in the Reagan era.