On the Hustings
National Journal: "Reid exit turns Nevada race into wild card" (Alex Roarty)
Labels: On the Hustings
Labels: On the Hustings
Just weeks before announcing his 2016 presidential bid, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is completing an about-face on a longstanding pledge to curb the growth in defense spending.
In an olive branch to defense hawks hell-bent on curtailing his White House ambitions, the libertarian Senator introduced a budget amendment late Wednesday calling for a nearly $190 billion infusion to the defense budget over the next two years -- a roughly 16 percent increase.
The nation's latest legislative battle over religious freedom and gay rights came to a close Thursday when Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a controversial "religious freedom" bill into law.
His action followed two days of intense pressure from opponents — including technology company executives and convention organizers — who fear the measure could allow discrimination, particularly against gays and lesbians.
Pence and leaders of the Republican-controlled General Assembly called those concerns a "misunderstanding."
"This bill is not about discrimination," Pence said, "and if I thought it legalized discrimination I would have vetoed it."
Interviews with more than a dozen people close to the vice president paint a picture of a politician torn between a decades-long aspiration for the presidency, a deep commitment his family and a recognition of a political reality tilted against him.
For reasons both bigger and smaller than Hillary Clinton, Biden will not achieve the dream to which he’s now come so close. But he refuses to rule himself out completely and will keep a presidential pilot light burning as long as possible. If nothing else, the fiercely loyal Biden will use these next two years to defend the legacy of the Obama administration and his role in it.
While Biden has been largely left out of Washington chatter about 2016, he has forced himself into the conversation whenever possible. He recently made a series of visits to promote the White House agenda to early voting states including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Biden frequently appears in the same city the same week as Clinton does. And he readily tells interviewers he’s taking a serious look at a run.
In 2012 super PACs were used as blunt instruments of destruction: the group backing Mitt Romney devoted about 90% of the $142 million it spent overall to TV attack ads. But in the 2016 presidential race, these organizations are poised to play a much bigger role, taking over more-traditional campaign duties ranging from field organizing and voter turnout to direct mail and digital microtargeting. “They are becoming de facto campaigns,” says Fred Davis, a Republican media consultant who ran former Utah governor Jon Huntsman’s presidential super PAC in 2012.
Such efforts are the latest way to game the traditional campaign-finance system, which limits the amount of money individuals can give to candidates and forbids direct donations from corporations. The Cruz super PAC, for instance, is barred from directly coordinating campaign spending or strategy with Cruz, but it is able to raise and spend unlimited sums on the candidate’s behalf while collecting money from just about anyone.
Speaking to the Texas Tribune on Tuesday, Cruz said that contemporary "global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-Earthers."
"You know it used to be it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier," he said.
In Cruz's opinion, when it comes to climate change, his denier position places him alongside 17th Century scientist Galileo Galilei, who was also considered to be denying the mainstream knowledge of his day. According to Cruz's logic, he is taking the minority view that human-caused climate change is not happening, just as Galileo took the minority view that the scientific method should be trusted over the Catholic Church.
Christie’s PACs will provide a momentum boost should he decide to officially launch a bid for the presidency, helping his potential campaign solicit major donors for repeated, large-money contributions.
Both PACs could allow Christie a chance to gauge early fundraising support among donors and build operatives for an eventual campaign apparatus.
Silver puts New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's chance of winning at just 5%. "I think Chris Christies chances are vastly overrated. In part because he has a lot of issues where he deviates from the Republican base and in part because he’s not a guy who’s seen as a team player." says Silver. Christie's New Jersey administration has been tainted in recent controversy. First Christie received heat over lane closings near the George Washington Bridge and is now under Federal investigation for firing an employee who objected to Christie dismissing indictments against his political allies.
Labels: GOP presidential nomination
“I had an emotional reaction that said, ‘These are my people,’” Cruz said. “So ever since 2001, I listen to country music.”
Representative Peter King went on CNN to talk with Wolf Blitzer about Senator Ted Cruz's presidential announcement yesterday. His praise for his colleague was muted. Although Cruz "may be an intelligent person," King said, " ... he oversimplifies, he exaggerates ... he doesn't provide leadership and he has no real experience." He added, "To me, he's a guy with a big mouth and no results."
When asked to consider a future in which Cruz wins the nomination, King said, "I hope that day never comes. I will jump off that bridge when we come to it."
Well he’s got, you know, a hurdle that nobody else seems to have at this moment," said Trump, who was born in Queens. "It’s a hurdle and somebody could certainly look at it very seriously. He was born in Canada … if you know … and when we all studied our history lessons … you’re supposed to be born in this country, so I just don’t know how the courts would rule on it. But it’s an additional hurdle that he has that no one else seems to have.
Labels: On the Hustings
Political scientists argue that the single most important determinant of the outcome of the nomination is support from party elites: those operatives who can staff a winning campaign; the donors who fund it; the elected officials and interest group leaders who bestow the credibility necessary to persuade voters and affect media coverage.
The candidate with the most support from party elites doesn’t always win the nomination, but support from elites is probably a prerequisite for victory.
“A candidate without substantial party support has never won the nomination,” said John Zaller, a political-science professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and one of four authors of “The Party Decides,” an influential work on the role of parties in the nominating process.
Mr. Cruz has done nothing to endear himself to the elites. He won the party’s nomination for the Senate by defeating David Dewhurst, an establishment favorite and the sitting lieutenant governor of Texas. He led congressional Republicans to shut down the government to prevent the inevitable enactment of the Affordable Care Act.
Less than three years into her Senate term, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has established herself as the country’s leading advocate for working and middle-class families. The Democrat has proven equally adept behind the scenes and in the media spotlight, and has stood up to Wall Street banks and other powerful interests to win changes that are improving millions of Americans’ lives. Already, more than one observer has compared her to Massachusetts’ first “liberal lion” in the US Senate, Ted Kennedy.
[. . .]
Warren should run. Our country will be better off if she does. She would be a strong candidate — one who injects valuable ideas into the conversation and ensures the kind of debate our country needs. And she could win.
[. . .]
Put simply, this moment was made for Elizabeth Warren. With income inequality at its highest level on record, and corporations and lobbyists wielding enormous power in Washington and state capitals around the country, we need a president who is firmly grounded in making government work for regular people. Senator Warren has spent her career taking on corporate interests and winning historic financial protections for workers and small businesses.
"I don't consider him a mainstream candidate, and usually to win you've got to be inside the 45-yard lines," said Greg Valliere, a political adviser to Wall Street firms who believes that if Cruz did earn the nomination, he would not win more than a dozen states in the general election. "The enthusiasm for him will be tremendous in maybe a third of the party, but another third of the party will be strongly opposed and another third of the party will be wary.