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“Will The GOP Truly Choose To Risk The Wrath Of Trump’s Voters?”: It Would Almost Certainly Be Very Ugly For The GOP

After all the sturm und drang of the Republican contests it appears to come to this: all signs point to a brokered GOP convention, as it’s unlikely that Donald Trump will reach the absolute majority of delegates required to take the nomination outright. If current electoral patterns hold, Trump will likely fall just short of the magic number required to win on the first ballot. Though I wouldn’t normally link to anything out of Breitbart, their delegate predictions showing Trump falling short by 50 to 100 delegates for the upcoming GOP contests seem sober and likely accurate barring unforeseen events.

If no candidate reaches a majority on the first ballot, the race moves to a second ballot in which the delegates are (mostly) free to vote for whomever they please. And that person will almost certainly not be Donald Trump. Whether it’s in Colorado where the Cruz campaign outworked Donald Trump to win all 21 delegates, or in Indiana where state and county party officials are so hostile to Trump that nearly every delegate will bolt from him after the first ballot, the table is set to prevent the clear winner of the majority of votes in the GOP primary from getting the nomination.

The beneficiary of the second-ballot vote will almost certainly be Ted Cruz. As Nate Silver notes, the possibility of Paul Ryan or another white-horse knight being nominated at the convention is fairly low, the actual human delegates making the decisions are mostly conservative activists from suburbs and rural areas all across the nation much likely to back a more legitimate hardliner like Cruz than the handpicked choice of the beltway and Charles Koch.

In either case, though, there’s the problem of what to do about Donald Trump and his voters. He (like the other candidates still in the race) has already rescinded his pledge to back the eventual nominee. If he is denied the nomination despite earning a clear plurality of actual votes, there’s no telling what he might do, but it would almost certainly be very ugly for the GOP. While the chances of an independent candidacy are next to nil, he would likely spend the entire rest of the election season creating headlines by sabotaging the eventual nominee and directing his voters to stay home and/or decline to vote for him. If even 10% of Trump’s voters chose to stay home, that in turn would have disastrous consequences for the GOP ticket both at the top and downballot.

One might say that a Trump nomination would be so toxic to the GOP brand that party officials will be inclined to take their chances on that scenario. There’s certainly plenty of data to show that while Trump’s voters might stay home from the polls in a huff, a large number of less populist GOP voters would refuse to vote for him in the fall. But it’s not entirely clear that Ted Cruz is any more likable or appealing to the general electorate–and Cruz’ actual policy positions on everything but immigration are significantly more extreme than Trump’s. So in essence Republican officials might end up infuriating the most dedicated and motivated plurality of their voting base for not that much advantage.

Would they really make such a move to protect social conservatism and Reaganomics from even the slightest challenge of Trumpist heresy? It seems increasingly likely, but it would be a shortsighted move.

 

By: David Atkins, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, April 9, 2016

April 11, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, Trump Supporters | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Partisanship: Blame Grover Norquist, Not The Founders

Everyone recognizes that Washington is not working the way it should. This  has led some on the left, like Harold Meyerson, to question whether the Founders “screwed  up.”

Many on the right, meanwhile, are promoting radical changes to our  constitutional system. They talk about a version  of a Balanced Budget Amendment, which would require a super-majority for most  changes in financial policy. This would enshrine in our Constitution the right’s  do-little government philosophy.

But the Constitution is not the problem. If we want to get  Washington working again, we should listen to the Founders — not blame them for  problems of our own making or change the ground rules of the system of  government they bequeathed to us.

True, the Founders established a deliberative democracy, with a series of  checks and balances designed to prevent the majority from running roughshod over  the rights of political minorities. But these checks and balances have served  our nation well.

The problem is not the democratic system bestowed upon us by George  Washington, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. The problem is the additional  obstacles to action – the filibuster, hyper-partisanship,  and special  interest pledges – that our Founders would have found abhorrent.

Our Founders struck a delicate balance  between the promotion of majority rule – the essential predicate for a  democratic government of “We the People” – and the desire to protect minority  rights and prevent the “tyranny of the majority.” The Constitution is designed  to delay and temper majority rule while allowing a long-standing majority to get  its way.

So, for example, the Constitution staggers the election of senators so that  only one third of the Senate can change hands in any one election. As a result,  it usually takes more than one election for any one party to gain a governing  majority.

Modern politicians have placed layer after layer of lard on this deliberative  system of government, ultimately producing the gridlock now plaguing Washington.  The Senate Republicans now use the filibuster rule as a virtual requirement.  Every piece of legislation must enjoy a super-majority of 60 votes in the Senate — meaning a determined minority can permanently stop the majority from getting  its way.

President George Washington, in his farewell  address to the nation, warned about just such “alterations” to our  constitutional system. He said this would “impair the energy of the system.”

Washington also decried political parties. He passionately warned the nation  against any effort “to put in the place of the delegated will of the nation the  will of a party.”

While political parties were forming and solidifying even as Washington  uttered these words, our modern politicians have enshrined hyper-partisanship  through tricks like the “majority of the majority” rule, whereby the House  speaker will only bring to the House floor legislation that has the support of  the majority of his political party.

It is hard to imagine a more powerful example of the precise  party-over-country danger Washington warned us about.

Washington may have had the likes of Grover Norquist in mind when he warned  that some men “will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp  for themselves the reins of government.”

Even anti-tax Republicans, like Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Rep, Frank  Wolf, have now decried the oversized role Norquist’s no new taxes pledge played  in forcing the debt ceiling showdown and helping to prevent any solution that  would have included new revenues. Coburn and others have warned their colleagues  against putting Norquist’s “no–tax” pledge over their oath to support the  Constitution and to serve “we the people” – not Norquist or any other special  interests.

Washington today has serious problems, but we should not blame the city’s  namesake for them. Rather, politicians of both parties should support a reform  agenda designed to remove from our political system the modern procedural  obstacles that have produced our current gridlock.

Maybe even in these divided political times we can all agree that when  casting blame for what ails Washington, the fault it not with George Washington  and our other Founding Fathers. It’s with the causes of our current gridlock – including figures like Norquist and his no-tax pledge.

By: Doug Kendall, Opinion Contributor, Politico, October 22, 2011

October 24, 2011 Posted by | Class Warfare, Congress, Democrats, Elections, Equal Rights, GOP, Government, Ideologues, Ideology, Lobbyists, Middle Class, Republicans, Right Wing, Teaparty | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grover Norquist “Is Paralyzing Congress”

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) is one of just six Republican in Congress who haven’t signed Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge. On the House floor Tuesday, he attacked Norquist for single-handedly enforcing this hard line within the GOP, creating a destructive impasse in the legislative process. “Everything must be on the table and I believe how the ‘pledge’ is interpreted and enforced by Mr. Norquist is a roadblock to realistically reforming our tax code,” Wolf said. “Have we really reached a point where one person’s demand for ideological purity is paralyzing Congress to the point that even a discussion of tax reform is viewed as breaking a no-tax pledge?”

Wolf also attacked Norquist personally, claiming that he has “deep ties to supporters of Hamas and other terrorist organizations,” as well as to Jack Abramoff and other “unsavory groups and people.” Norquist fired back by accusing Wolf of racism. “I’m married to a woman who’s Muslim, and it’s sad and it’s disgusting,” Norquist told Yahoo News. “He’s going to spend a lot of time apologizing for getting into the gutter and anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry.” Norquist claims Wolf is targeting him because he’s been unable to persuade his colleagues to budge on their anti-tax pledge.

Americans for Tax Reform continued the counterattack on Wolf in a series of e-mail blasts on Tuesday evening. “Frank Wolf Admits He Supports Trillions in Tax Hikes,” ATR titled one e-mail, calling the congressman’s support for the Bowles-Simpson commission’s recommendations an endorsement of a “net tax increase of $1-3 trillion over ten years.” (In fact, Bowles-Simpson raises $2.3 trillion in revenue by lowering rates but eliminating deductions and exclusions.) ATR also accused Wolf of borrowing the “Obama/DCCC Playbook to Craft Lies About the Tax Pledge,” saying that the pledge allows for the elimination of tax breaks so long as overall level of taxation doesn’t increase.

Wolf’s hit on Norquist was an unusually open attack by a conservative against the anti-tax absolutism that Congressional Republicans have almost uniformly embraced. But there have been earlier signs of this rift within the GOP. Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.), a staunch fiscal conservative, pitted himself against Norquist by proposing to eliminate tax breaks for ethanol. Norquist insisted that ending such subsidies would only be acceptable if the revenue was used to pay for more tax cuts.

Wolf, in fact, referred to Coburn’s feud in his denunciation on the House floor yesterday: “When Senator Tom Coburn recently called for eliminating the special interest ethanol tax subsidy, who led the opposition? Mr. Norquist.” The question is whether other Congressional Republicans will join Wolf and Coburn in openly pushing back against the Norquist, anti-tax orthodoxy that has been at the heart of the bipartisan struggle to reduce the deficit.

Update: Another Republican is pushing now back against Norquist. Sen. John Thune (S.D.), who signed the ATR anti-tax pledge, suggested that such pledges could be broken to achieve broad-based tax reform in a Wednesday interview with MSNBC.

 

By: Suzy Khimm, The Washington Post, October 5, 2011

 

 

October 5, 2011 Posted by | Democracy, Economic Recovery, Economy, Federal Budget, GOP, Ideologues, Ideology, Lawmakers, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, Teaparty | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Things All the GOP Candidates Agree On And They’re Terrifying

By the very nature of political journalism, the attention of those covering the 2012 Republican presidential nominating contest tends to be focused on areas of disagreement between the candidates, as well as on the policy positions and messages they are eager to use against Barack Obama. But there are a host of other issues where the Republican candidates are in too much agreement to create a lot of controversy during debates or gin up excitement in the popular media. Areas of agreement, after all, rarely provoke shock or drive readership. But the fact that the Republican Party has reached such a stable consensus on such a great number of far-right positions is in many ways a more shocking phenomenon than the rare topic on which they disagree. Here are just a few areas of consensus on which the rightward lurch of the GOP during the last few years has become remarkably apparent:

1. Hard money. With the exception of Ron Paul’s serial campaigns and a failed 1988 effort by Jack Kemp, it’s been a very long time since Republican presidential candidates flirted with the gold standard or even talked about currency polices. Recent assaults by 2012 candidates on Ben Bernanke and demands for audits of the Fed reflect a consensus in favor of deflationary monetary policies and elimination of any Fed mission other than preventing inflation. When combined with unconditional GOP hostility to stimulative fiscal policies—another new development—this position all but guarantees that a 2012 Republican victory will help usher in a longer and deeper recession than would otherwise be the case.

2. Anti-unionism. While national Republican candidates have always perceived the labor movement as a partisan enemy, they haven’t generally championed overtly anti-labor legislation. Last Thursday, however, they all backed legislation to strip the National Labor Relations Board of its power to prevent plant relocations designed to retaliate against legally protected union activities (power the NLRB is exercising in the famous Boeing case involving presidential primary hotspot South Carolina). Meanwhile, at least two major candidates, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul, have endorsed a national right-to-work law, and Romney and Perry have also encouraged states like New Hampshire to adopt right-to-work laws.

3. Radical anti-environmentalism. Until quite recently, Republicans running for president paid lip service to environmental protection as a legitimate national priority, typically differentiating themselves from Democrats by favoring less regulatory enforcement approaches and more careful assessment of economic costs and market mechanisms. The new mood in the GOP is perhaps best exemplified by Herman Cain’s proposal at the most recent presidential debate that “victims” of the Environmental Protection Agency (apparently, energy industry or utility executives) should dominate a commission to review environmental regulations—an idea quickly endorsed by Rick Perry. In fact, this approach might represent the middle-of-the-road within the party, given the many calls by other Republicans (including presidential candidates Paul, Bachmann, and Gingrich) for the outright abolition of EPA.

4.Radical anti-abortion activism. Gone are the days when at least one major Republican candidate (e.g., Rudy Giuliani in 2008) could be counted on to appeal to pro-choice Republicans by expressing some reluctance to embrace an immediate abolition of abortion rights. Now the only real intramural controversy on abortion has mainly surrounded a sweeping pledge proffered to candidates by the Susan B. Anthony List—one that would bind their executive as well as judicial appointments, and require an effort to cut off federal funds to institutions only tangentially involved in abortions. Despite this fact, only Mitt Romney and Herman Cain have refused to sign. Both, however, have reiterated their support for the reversal of Roe v. Wade and a constitutional amendment to ban abortion forever (though Romney has said that’s not achievable at present).

5. No role for government in the economy. Most remarkably, the 2012 candidate field appears to agree that there is absolutely nothing the federal government can do to improve the economy—other than disabling itself as quickly as possible. Entirely missing are the kind of modest initiatives for job training, temporary income support, or fiscal relief for hard-pressed state and local governments that Republicans in the past have favored as a conservative alternative to big government counter-cyclical schemes. Also missing are any rhetorical gestures towards the public-sector role in fostering a good economic climate, whether through better schools, basic research, infrastructure projects, and other public investments (the very term has been demonized as synonymous with irresponsible spending).

Add all this up, and it’s apparent the Republican Party has become identified with a radically conservative world-view in which environmental regulations and collective bargaining by workers have strangled the economy; deregulation, federal spending cuts, and deflation of the currency are the only immediate remedies; and the path back to national righteousness will require restoration of the kinds of mores—including criminalization of abortion—that prevailed before things started going to hell in the 1960s. That Republicans hardly even argue about such things anymore makes the party’s transformation that much more striking—if less noticeable to the news media and the population at large.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, The New Republic, September 19, 2011

September 24, 2011 Posted by | Class Warfare, Climate Change, Collective Bargaining, Congress, Conservatives, Economic Recovery, Economy, Education, Elections, Environment, Global Warming, GOP, Government, Ideology, Journalists, Media, Politics, Press, Pundits, Republicans, Right Wing, Teaparty, Unions | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Grover Norquist, The GOP, And The Payroll Tax Cut

For the last day or so, a few of us have been trying to get Grover Norquist’s group to say whether GOP opposition to extending the payroll tax cut — which Obama wants — constitutes a “tax increase” and a violation of Norquist’s infamous anti-tax pledge.

Norquist’s spokesman is now clarifying that the group isn’t yet willing to say.

Norquist’s pledge not to raise taxes has been signed by virtually every Republican in Congress, and Norquist has clearly stated that the failure to extend the Bush tax cuts would constitute a “tax increase.” The question now is this: With Republicans now opposing an extension of the payroll tax cut, which impacts workers but not employers, will Norquist’s group also declare the GOP opposition tantamount to a tax increase that violates the pledge?

John Kartch, a spokesman for Americans for Tax Reform, tells me that “one would have to see the final legislation” before making the call one way or the other, in order to determine ”what is the net effect on total taxes.”

The problem here, though, is that this doesn’t deal with the possibility of the payroll tax cut simply expiring through Congress doing nothing. If Congress doesn’t extend the payroll tax cut, as Republicans want, it will simply expire on January 1st.

So it’s fair to ask whether Norquist’s group — which wields great influence over Republicans in Congress — thinks that Republicans who favor doing nothing and letting the payroll tax cut expire are hiking taxes and violating the group’s pledge. And for now, the group isn’t prepared to say.

By: Greg Sargent, The Washington Post Plum Line, August 23, 2011

August 24, 2011 Posted by | Class Warfare, Congress, Conservatives, Democracy, Economic Recovery, Economy, Elections, GOP, Government, Ideologues, Ideology, Income Gap, Labor, Lawmakers, Middle Class, Minimum Wage, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, Tax Evasion, Tax Increases, Tax Liabilities, Tax Loopholes, Taxes, Teaparty, Wealthy | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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