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“Not A Single Senate Endorsement: Even Now, Senate Republicans Still Don’t Like Ted Cruz

When it comes to endorsements from Senate Republicans, the current tally has to sting a little for Ted Cruz. Aside from the two sitting GOP senators who are still in the race, there are 52 Republicans in the chamber – 14 of them have backed Marco Rubio, while Donald Trump and John Kasich have just one endorsement each.

Ted Cruz, who’s worked alongside his Republican colleagues for a few years, has zero.

Shortly before the Iowa caucuses, Trump made this dynamic a part of his message. “Think about it, not endorsed by one United States Senator and he works with them every day,” Trump said of Cruz. He added, “Not one Republican senator. How do you do that? How do you run a country that way? … The guy doesn’t have any endorsements.”

Yesterday, however, National Review published a report that captured quite a bit of attention, noting that the endorsement race would soon be jolted.

With the prospect of Donald Trump’s nomination looming over the GOP, Cruz is set to unveil endorsements from more than four senators this week, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

This, naturally, prompted quite a bit of chatter about which Senate Republicans would back Cruz and what effect it’d have on the race. Late yesterday, however, National Review updated its piece:

An earlier post stated that Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign was set to unveil a series of endorsements from Cruz’s fellow senators. The report was erroneous. As of this writing, the campaign has no pending Senate endorsements to announce.

As of this morning, National Review has revised the piece once again.

With the prospect of Donald Trump’s nomination looming over the GOP, Cruz is set to unveil a slew of endorsements – at least one from a Senate colleague – as early as this week, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Whether or not the piece will be updated again is anyone’s guess, but as of this minute, that’s what it says.

For what it’s worth, the actual answer to the question about Cruz’s Senate support is more than just trivia. It’s no secret that Senate Republicans detest their Texas colleague – Lindsey Graham recently joked, “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you” – and they’ve directed their endorsements elsewhere for a reason.

If, however, GOP senators started to see Cruz as a credible, competitive rival to Donald Trump, and they started endorsing him at this key point in the race, it would send a powerful signal about the direction of the overall race and the steps the party might be willing to take to derail their own frontrunner.

As things stand, yesterday’s reporting about Cruz’s sudden popularity among his own colleagues was apparently wrong. Senate Republicans still hate Trump, but as it turns out, they still hate Cruz, too.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, March 8, 2016

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Conservatives, GOP Presidential Candidates, Senate Republicans | , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Poetic Justice, A Big Beautiful Wall”: Will Latinos Wall Off Trump From The White House?

How’s this for poetic justice? Donald Trump’s favorite scapegoats could end up having the satisfaction of blocking him from the White House.

Latino voters have the potential to form a “big, beautiful wall” between Trump and his goal. If Trump gets the Republican nomination and Hispanics are provoked into voting in numbers that more nearly approach their percentage of the population — and if, as polls suggest, they vote overwhelmingly against Trump — it is hard to see how the bombastic billionaire could win.

Such an outcome would serve Trump right. Unfortunately for the GOP, it would also threaten to make Latinos a reliable and perhaps monolithic voting bloc for the Democratic Party, just as African Americans have been since the 1960s. If this were to happen, simple arithmetic would make it increasingly difficult for Republicans to win the White House.

In 2012, Mitt Romney won just 27 percent of the Latino vote; his policy of “self-deportation” for undocumented immigrants is believed to have contributed to this poor showing. After Romney’s defeat, a GOP postmortem called on the party to regain its footing with the nation’s largest minority group. “We must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform,” the report said.

This never happened. A group of senators who became known as the Gang of Eight, including Marco Rubio, managed to win passage of a reform bill, but House Republicans refused even to consider the legislation. It seemed the immigration issue would once again be a liability for the GOP in the presidential contest.

Then along came Trump, who opened his campaign by charging that immigrants coming from Mexico were criminals and rapists — and promising to build a wall along the border to keep them out. As for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already here, Trump’s solution is not self-deportation but rather forced deportation: He pledges to round them all up and send them home.

Trump may be all over the map on a host of issues, but xenophobic opposition to Latino immigration has been his North Star. He invites supporters to see their nation under siege from Latinos who allegedly take away jobs, commit crimes and alter traditional American culture. Last year, he criticized campaign rival Jeb Bush — whose wife is from Mexico — for speaking Spanish at a rally. “He should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States,” Trump said.

Trump’s chauvinism has been winning approval among the mostly white, working-class voters who form the core of his support. But there are signs that he may also be animating Latinos — to come out and vote against him.

A poll last month by The Post and Univision showed that just 16 percent of Latino voters had a favorable view of Trump, as opposed to 80 percent who view him unfavorably. The remaining GOP candidates — Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich — all do considerably better. But no Republican does nearly as well as Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, both of whom are seen favorably by healthy majorities.

In a hypothetical matchup, according to the poll, Clinton would beat Trump among Latino voters by 73 percent to 16 percent. Assuming those who had no opinion went equally for the two candidates, Clinton’s share of the Latino vote would approach 80 percent. Swing states with large Hispanic populations such as Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado would effectively be off the table for the GOP.

Moreover, the sheer number of Latino voters will almost surely increase across the nation. According to the Pew Research Center, the 23.3 million Hispanics who were eligible to vote in 2012 will have grown to 27.3 million by Election Day, mostly from young citizens who turn 18. The specter of a Trump presidency is giving urgency to widespread voter-registration drives.

Trump’s claim that he “won” among Hispanic voters in Nevada is based on entrance polling at the party caucuses, but the sample was so small as to be virtually meaningless. More pertinent is that more than twice as many Hispanics participated in the Democratic caucuses as in the Republican ones.

Assuming Trump wins the nomination, where does this leave him? If Latinos come out to vote against him in greater-than-usual numbers, he would have to win what looks like an impossibly high percentage of the white vote to be competitive. Even if the Latino vote just grows proportionally with population, he would have a hard time winning states that GOP presidential candidates can’t afford to lose.

He may wish he could say “I’m sorry” in Spanish.

 

By: Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, March 7, 2016

March 8, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Presidential Candidates, Hispanics, Latinos | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Trump’s Flirtation With Fascism”: Evoking The Sort Of Scene Associated With Grainy Newsreels From Italy And Germany

So it has come to this: The front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, at a campaign rally in Orlando Saturday, leading supporters in what looked very much like a fascist salute.

“Can I have a pledge? A swearing?” Trump asked, raising his right hand and directing his followers to do the same. He then led them in pledging allegiance — not to the flag, but to Trump, for which they stand and for whom they vowed to vote.

Trump supporters raised their arms en masse — unfortunately evoking the sort of scene associated with grainy newsreels from Italy and Germany.

Among those not engaging in such ominous imagery were the demonstrators, who, by my colleague Jenna Johnson’s account, interrupted Trump’s event more than a dozen times. The candidate watched a supporter grab and attempt to tackle protesters, at least one of them black, near the stage. “You know, we have a divided country, folks,” Trump said. “We have a terrible president, who happens to be African American.”

Loaded imagery, violence against dissenters and a racial attack on the president: It’s all in a day’s work for Trump.

In the preceding days, he had asserted (and later retracted) his confidence that as president the military would obey his orders to do illegal things: torture detainees and target non-combatant kin of terrorists for death. He said House Speaker Paul Ryan, a fellow Republican, would “pay a big price” for defying him, and he said Sen. John McCain, who criticized Trump, needs to “be very careful.” Trump explained his initial hesitance to disavow support from the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists by saying such groups could have included “the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies” — prompting the head of the Anti-Defamation League to call his words “obscene.”

And some still deny Il Duce Donald’s autocratic tendencies?

Abe Foxman, a Holocaust survivor and the retired longtime head of the ADL, said that Trump leading thousands in “what looks like the ‘Heil Hitler’ salute is about as offensive, obnoxious and disgusting as anything I thought I would ever witness in the United States.” He told the Times of Israel that Trump is “smart enough” to know what he was doing.

I’ve perhaps never agreed with Glenn Beck before, but the right-wing radio personality was right to hold up a Nazi ballot on ABC’s This Week on Sunday morning. “We should look at Adolf Hitler in 1929,” said Beck, who usually saves his Nazi analogies for liberals. Beck added: “Donald Trump is a dangerous man with the things that he has been saying.”

The Germans, too, find him dangerous — and they should know. Der Spiegel, the German newsmagazine, last month called Trump “the world’s most dangerous man” and leader of a “hate-filled authoritarian movement” who “inflames tensions against ethnic minorities …while ignoring democratic conventions.”

I wish I could enjoy Trump, who at last week’s debate defended the size of his penis. But this isn’t a conventional debate between Democrats and Republicans or insiders and outsiders. Trump is on the wrong side of a struggle between decency and bigotry, between democracy and something else.

Yet, incredibly, the other candidates in the race — Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich — all said they’d support Trump if he wins the nomination. The morning after Trump’s salute, the morally neutral Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus told CBS’s John Dickerson that his “role is to basically be 100 percent behind” the eventual nominee.

A braver man, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), sent a letter Friday to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff asking if he would heed orders to torture detainees or to target noncombatant relatives of terrorists. Trump, who in reply said Graham “should respect me” and bragged that he “destroyed” Graham’s presidential candidacy, has retreated slightly, saying he’d change laws to allow things such as waterboarding. Without that, he said, “we’re weak.”

Trump lately shows his strength by talking about his wish to punch protesters in the face or by asking them “are you from Mexico?”

As some Republican office holders and donors belatedly try to unify the anti-Trump movement, more are seeing Trump’s words and deeds foreshadowing darker things. On Monday, Jane Eisner, editor of the Jewish Forward, quoted Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt: “Some people didn’t approve of Hitler’s anti-Semitism, but they went along with it because he was going to make Germany great again.”

And comedian Louis C.K., who says he would like to see a conservative president, wrote to his fans about Trump this weekend that “we are being Germany in the ’30s. Do you think they saw the [expletive] coming? Hitler was just some hilarious and refreshing dude with a weird comb over who would say anything at all.”

Where does Trump’s flirtation with fascism end? Nobody knows.

But don’t say you didn’t see it coming.

 

By: Dana Milbank, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, March 7, 2016

March 8, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Fascism, GOP Presidential Candidates, Republican National Committee | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“The Establishment Gets What It Deserves”: Republicans Stopped Producing Moderates And Wound Up With Trump

The Republican establishment, the one we hear so much about: That wall is crumbling in plain sight.

You may ask how I know this. Once the media and powers that be chose Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida as the last best hope to slow Donald Trump’s rise to the nomination on Super Tuesday, things felt surreal. If that’s true, then the establishment deserves to lose. It is sending too few moderate Republicans to Congress.

From what I’ve seen in the Senate, Rubio does not have the chops to challenge Trump, despite their nasty verbal brawling. In his 40s, Rubio is a slight figure in the Senate, when he is actually there. A bit vacuous, he’s what they call a showhorse, not a workhorse. Few bills bear his name. He balked at his big chance to take part in actually passing legislation, a bipartisan immigration bill that failed in 2013 in a close call.

Rubio comes from the Cuban-American community in Miami and rose on the financial wings of a wealthy car dealer. His base is hard-right, especially bitter when it comes to Fidel Castro and Cuba. Rubio held up an administration diplomatic appointment because the woman had worked on normalizing relations with Cuba. The exiled generation that raised Rubio – and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, roughly the same age – vowed to never forget nor forgive the revolution. They tend to have a dark outlook on foreign policy. At home, Rubio is equally stark, all for requiring – forcing – girls and women victimized by rape or incest (or both) to carry their pregnancies to term. I don’t think he will sell well outside the South.

It’s a lot for the Republican establishment to take in a week. First there was Jeb Bush’s unimaginable fall from tall heights of family and fortune. He had to leave the party early after a fatal fourth finish in South Carolina. It was fun to watch him unwind. The pundits said the environment wasn’t right for Jeb Bush this cycle. The truth is, he was a terribly flat candidate, whatever the cycle. He could not spin anything to his advantage. And it is not as if there is anything noble about his family tree. The Bushes play rough to win, as his father and brother did in their presidential campaigns; just remember the Willie Horton ads against Gov. Michael Dukakis and the Swift Boat campaign wielded against Sen. John Kerry in 2004

So it likely comes down to Trump vs. Rubio. Let’s not forget Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are resilient, stubborn candidates. Cruz is wicked smart – both in equal measure – and Kasich comes across as the reasonable man in this field. Still, it’s a safe bet Trump will take the party on a forced march to the nomination like General Sherman to the sea in the Civil War. He’s just the bracing medicine the formerly grand old party needs to see what it has become.

And it wasn’t overnight. It just seems that way with Bush’s meteoric fall from grace. Observers say Trump will set the party back for years if he becomes the standard-bearer. Let it be. In the meantime, the Republican Party has some serious soul-searching to do.

 

By: Jamie Stiehm, U. S. News and World Report, February 29, 2016

March 7, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, GOP Presidential Candidates | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Six Years Later, Still In A Bind”: RNC Chair’s Broken Promise Caused 2016 Nightmare

Reince Priebus had an awkward morning.

The chairman of the Republican National Committee appeared before some of his biggest skeptics at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and all but conceded that Trump will be the nominee.

It was hard to watch.

Priebus walked onstage with Sean Hannity, and the pair plopped down in bright white chairs for a heart-to-heart about the state of the presidential race. They started with a fairly dry discussion of the RNC’s re-vamped role as a data-gathering organization, with Priebus insisting that the party was doing everything it could to replicate Obama’s 2012 voter-targeting successes.

In 2012, Priebus noted, the party was “embarrassed.”

(Would hate for anything embarrassing to happen this time around!)

Priebus then effectively put a stake in the heart of Rubio’s presidential hopes. According to reports, Rubio and his team are gearing up for a chaotic turn at the party’s convention this summer—that means they hope they can use back-room deals and horse-trading to help Rubio win the nomination, even if Trump or another candidate gets more votes than he does in the primaries. There’s an emerging consensus that this is the only way Rubio could become the party’s nominee. After all, he’s only won a single early state contest, the Minnesota caucuses. Not great.

But Priebus said he doesn’t think any machinations like that will work.

“I think a lot of this is early talk,” he said, alluding to Rubio’s strategy.

“I think the odds of a contested convention are very small.”

When Hannity pressed him further on the prospects of a contested convention, Priebus all-but-explicitly made a dig at Rubio.

“I would suggest that it’s better to win,” he said. “And it’s better to win races and accumulate delegates.”

There’s only one candidate who is on track to win the nomination the old-fashioned way, and last night he bragged about his penis size.

It wasn’t always this way for Priebus. He was hailed as a hero when he came into the position as Republican National Committee boss following the Tea Party-driven election of 2010. While the election results from that year were fantastic for the RNC, the committee had been rocked by a spending scandal—including a bill for nearly $2,000 at a bonage club in West Hollywood. Donors blamed then-chairman Michael Steele.

Six years later, it was Priebus who was in a bind.

Perhaps more significantly, though, Priebus telegraphed a wee bit of chagrin about his party’s undeliverable (and somewhat impossible) promises. Towards the end of their chit-chat, Hannity pressed Priebus on a fact that’s very ugly for the party: Its voters are pissed.

“You look at the state polls, exit polls in every state, there’s anywhere between 55 and 65 percent of Republicans that feel betrayed,” he said.

“On the issue of repealing and replacing Obamacare, on the issue of promising in 2014 to stop executive amnesty, there’s a feeling that Republicans didn’t fight, that they were too timid, that they were afraid they were gonna get blamed for a government shutdown. How does that —”

Priebus interrupted.

“Yeah, if I could singlehandedly repeal Obamacare, if I could, obviously, tear up executive amnesty, I would do it right here,” he said.

“But they had the power of the purse,” Hannity retorted.

“They do, but they also have the Constitution that provides for veto authority,” Priebus replied.

That might sound like a wonky discussion about the mechanics of Congressional funding. But the reality is that it went straight to the heart of why so many loyal, rank-and-file Republican voters are willing to support the guy with the little hands: because on immigration, the Republican Party has over-promised and under-delivered.

In the final week before the 2014 midterm elections, when Republicans were working furiously to defeat incumbent Democrat senators and regain control of the upper chamber, Priebus made a promise he couldn’t keep: He promised that Republicans would defund the president’s executive action protecting millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

“While I can’t speak for the legislature, I’m very confident we will stop that,” he told a Tea Party group on a conference call. “We will do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen: Defunding, going to court, injunction. You name it. It’s wrong. It’s illegal. And for so many reasons, and just the basic fabric of this country, we can’t allow it to happen and we won’t let it happen. I don’t know how to be any stronger than that. I’m telling you, everything we can do to stop it we

That didn’t happen.

In the months after Republicans won back the Senate—thanks in large part to activists rallying behind the party’s anti-undocumented-immigrant rhetoric—nothing happened. Some conservatives in the House and Senate tried to partially defund Department of Homeland Security, and the House took a symbolic vote on it. But fears of a government shutdown kept Republicans from going all-in on the immigration question. So Priebus’s promised opposition never truly materialized.

At CPAC, people remember.

“Look, I’m not—I’m for—I—I—I don’t think you can, you can’t promise things that you can’t deliver,” Priebus said, stammering. “That’s clearly something that you can’t do.”

The crowd murmured and booed.

“As the chairman of the RNC I don’t get—I don’t have the authority to walk across the street and pass the bills singlehandedly,” he said, after Hannity tried to shush the riled-up crowd.

“The people elected—that’s what are primaries for,” he continued.

Gulp.

 

By: Betsy Woodruff, The Daily Beast, March 4, 2016

March 6, 2016 Posted by | CPAC, GOP Presidential Candidates, Reince Priebus, Republican National Committee | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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