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To hear the DFL tell it, you’d think that Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is high and that economic growth is virtually nonexistent. That’s just additional proof that the DFL isn’t hinged to the truth. This article demolishes the DFL’s arguments.

In the second paragraph in Collin Roth’s article, Roth states “The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced new economic numbers Thursday that reveal an improving economy in the Badger state. The unemployment rate is down to 4.5% and the state added a statistically significant 13,100 private sector jobs from February to March. 4,200 of those jobs were in manufacturing.”

Those aren’t the only positive statistics from the article that prove Gov. Walker’s policies are working. The article also states that “Wisconsin added 47,500 private sector jobs from March 2015 to March 2016, making it the best year-over-year growth since August 2004.”

It isn’t just that the unemployment rate is low. It isn’t just that lots of jobs are getting created. It’s that Wisconsin’s workforce participation rate is high. According to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, “the labor force participation rate reached 68.8%, making it the sixth highest in the country and above the national rate of 63%. An estimated 3 million Wisconsinites are now in the workforce, an all-time high for the state.”

Finally, there’s this:

“Today’s report shows that Wisconsin’s employment was higher than ever in March, our unemployment rate dropped over the month while the national rate increased, and the state experienced the best 12 months of job growth since 2004,” DWD Secretary Allen said. “All indicators show that under Governor Walker’s leadership, Wisconsin’s economy is expanding and adding jobs in 2016.”

It’s possible to lie with statistics. Still, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to say that these economic statistics are deceptive. These statistics argue that Wisconsin’s economy is healthy, that Wisconsin’s economy is being built to last and that people are noticing the change since Gov. Walker straightened out Gov. Doyle’s mess.

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It isn’t a secret that hardline progressives hate Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. It isn’t surprising to find out that they aren’t the brightest bulbs in the political chandelier, either. This post is a perfect example of hardline progressives hating Scott Walker without a legitimate reason. According to this post, Scott Walker is to blame for Wisconsin’s economic woes for time when he wasn’t governor.

The post cites “state-by-state analysis from the Pew Charitable Trusts” to blame Gov. Walker for Wisconsin’s economic problems, saying “Wisconsin experienced the biggest decline in middle-class households in the country between the years 2000 and 2013.” That’s interesting because Jim Doyle, a Democrat, was Wisconsin’s governor for 8 of those years. What’s annoying is that that isn’t the first time Democrats have blamed Gov. Walker for Gov. Doyle’s decisions. Originally, Gail Collins’ column blamed Gov. Walker’s budget cuts for teacher layoffs that happened before he took office.

Collins column originally said “All of that came as a distinct surprise to Claudia Felske, a member of the faculty at East Troy High School who actually was named a Wisconsin Teacher of the Year in 2010. In a phone interview, Felske said she still remembers when she got the news at a ‘surprise pep assembly at my school.’ As well as the fact that those layoffs happened because Walker cut state aid to education.

The budget cuts that supposedly led to those teacher layoffs happened in 2010, the year before Scott Walker took office. As for Gov. Walker’s accomplishments, this information is definitely positive:

Proponents of the measure, including Chris Rochester, MacIver Institute spokesperson, said Act 10 has saved taxpayers $5.24 billion. These taxpayer savings come from government employees putting more money into their own retirement and health benefits, of which taxpayers previously pay a significant portion, Rochester added.

Saving taxpayers $1,000,000,000+ a year is an impressive amount of savings. At that point, taxpayers have the option of approving the hiring of more teachers and staff, giving teachers raises or keeping property taxes inexpensive or a combination of those options. That sounds like a positive outcome.

This op-ed reminds us that Ronald Reagan’s Republican Party didn’t start smoothly. In fact, it’s true that the Republican Party initially rejected Ronald Reagan’s reforms. Then as now, the GOP preferred policies that maintained the status quo. Then as now, there was a rebel wing to the GOP. Back then, Ronald Reagan was that rebel. That rebel wing of the GOP was idea-driven and idealistic.

Today, the GOP Establishment, in its truest definition, prefers policies that maintain the status quo and that took care of big corporations through corporate welfare, aka crony capitalism. Today, the GOP’s rebel wing has a formal name. It’s called the TEA Party. At its best, the TEA Party is bustling with ideas that would solve America’s biggest problems. At its worst, the GOP has been the party of crony capitalism and corporate welfare.

These days, both parties are guilty of supporting crony capitalism and using the governments’ regulatory authority to limit competition.

In 1981, the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, (D-NY), called the Republican Party the party of ideas. When Republicans got crushed in the 2006 midterms, Mara Liasson said that that election was “the ideology-free election.” It was a referendum on GOP corruption. It was about Democrats running on criticism alone. They opposed the Iraq War for the wrong reasons but at the right time.

It’s obvious that Donald Trump isn’t an ideas guy. Ted Cruz isn’t the Republicans’ top idea man but he’s a good candidate with a very good campaign organization. That’s why I think Sen. Cruz translates into being the Republicans’ best hope of recapturing the White House.

Sen. Cruz isn’t just comfortable with Gov. Walker’s reform agenda. It’s that he gets the importance of getting government off the people’s backs so they can innovate and prosper. While a well-trained work force is essential, it’s indisputable that a good education is wasted if people aren’t willing to put their capital at risk.

I’m not advocating for a return to the glory years of the Reagan administration. I’m advocating for rejecting Donald Trump so the GOP can return to being the party of ideas.

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It’s indisputable that Donald Trump has gotten lots of traction attacking specific media figures. This time, though, Trump won’t gain traction attacking a media figure. That’s because Trump’s attacked Charlie Sykes, saying “Charlie Sykes is a lowlife. Charlie Sykes is a guy who is not a real believer, he wants the establishment to win because it’s good for his third-rate show. He’s not a smart man, he’s actually a dumb man. He’s a dummy.”

In the past, like now, Trump has attacked media figures to take attention away from Trump’s misstatements. That’s worked well when he’s attacked ‘the media’ or if he’s attacked Megyn Kelly. It won’t work this time because Wisconsin conservatives know that Charlie Sykes is one of the smartest conservatives in Wisconsin. The only way that Trump benefits from picking this fight is if it helps him in later primaries. With New York’s primary 2 weeks away, attacking Sykes isn’t likely to benefit Trump there. Criticizing Sykes in Wisconsin isn’t as fatal as criticizing the Packers or cheese but it isn’t bright, either. Attacking Sykes is like criticizing Scott Walker. To use Sykes phrase about attacking Walker in Wisconsin, it’s “weapons-grade stupid.”

Sykes didn’t take the criticism sitting down:

“I believe he was quoting Abraham Lincoln,” Sykes said. “Seriously though, he took time out from talking about ISIS, the war on terror, international trade, immigration and the economy, to talk about me? A talk-show host who asked him some questions? Kind of sad. But kind of typical.”

Trump has proven that he’s the thinnest of thin-skinned candidates in recent presidential history. His ‘rattle-factor’ is off-the-charts high.

Wisconsin voters, from what we’ve seen, aren’t easily distracted. They aren’t shiny object voters like Laura Ingraham, Eric Bolling and Sean Hannity. Finally, Trump made this foolish statement:

“I would tell you, I think this has the feel of a victory,” Trump told reporters Sunday during a campaign stop at a Milwaukee diner. “This has the feel of a victory.”

Trump’s onto something … if you define victory as finishing second, 8-12 points behind the guy getting the most votes. Trump cited the PPP ‘poll’ as reason for optimism. The Marquette University poll is Wisconsin’s gold standard. Their final poll before the primary didn’t show a tight race between Sen. Cruz and Mr.Trump.

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Kim Strassel’s article highlights what I’ve been saying for most of this week. Wisconsin is shaping up to be Mr. Trump’s Waterloo.

Ms. Strassel notes that “some prognosticators have gone so far as to suggest the billionaire could place third—behind even John Kasich. The opposition to Mr. Trump is deep and wide enough that he could lose most districts.” That would be extraordinary. It doesn’t seem possible, considering the fact that Trump leads Gov. Kasich by 9 points in the Marquette Poll. Further, Trump leads Gov. Kasich by 13 points in the Fox Business poll. The only poll showing a close race is PPP’s poll, which shows Sen. Cruz leading Trump by 1 point.

Strassel insists that national pundits haven’t noticed that Wisconsin has “been in continuous political warfare for six years. Over that time, Republicans lived through Gov. Scott Walker’s epic battle for his Act 10 public-sector bargaining reform; judicial races; a Senate recall effort; a gubernatorial recall effort; a political assault in a vicious John Doe probe; another election cycle; campaign-finance reform; an overhaul of the state’s ethics body; a right-to-work law; and prevailing-wage reform.”

As much as I’d like to see Trump’s fortunes take a nosedive, I won’t believe it until it’s recorded in the history books. Still, there are some things that are starting to hurt Trump. Pundits like Charlie Hurt repeat the line that others have predicted doom for Trump before and been wrong before. That’s undeniable. Still, this is different in a couple important ways.

At this point, virtually everyone stipulates that Trump’s supporters are incredibly loyal. That’s indisputable. That isn’t the dynamic, however, that’s in play here. What’s in play is the fact that Trump isn’t expanding his base. His attacks against Heidi Cruz and Michelle Fields have hurt him with women. Trump’s abortion gaffe has hurt him, giving people whose first choice candidate has dropped out a reason to not trust Trump.

While Trump’s base is modest-sized, Cruz’s base is growing. Whether people are noticing and caring about Trump’s policy chops remains to be seen. Still, with fewer candidates left, there’s never been a better time to question Trump’s policy chops.

Mr. Trump stumbled onto three of the four biggest shows on Monday, seemingly unaware that all the hosts are part of the “Never Trump” movement. Mr. Sykes likened Mr. Trump to a “12-year-old bully” and insisted he was no conservative. Ms. McKenna was similarly rough, though Mr. Trump did himself no favors by hanging up on her.

Unlike Sean Hannity, a charter member of the Trump Adoration Society, Wisconsin’s conservative talkers didn’t give Trump a pass. They’ve given him tons of well-deserved grief. It’s better to be exposed now before he’s the nominee than after he’s the nominee and you don’t have other options.

This article features a Trump quote that isn’t attached to reality. Campaigning in Wisconsin earlier this week, Trump said “if we win Wisconsin, it’s going to be pretty much over.” The thing is that Sen. Cruz will win the Wisconsin primary with a fairly solid margin.

Last night, Megyn Kelly asked conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes if the Walker endorsement would help Sen. Cruz. Sykes affirmed that it would, saying that Trump attacking Gov. Walker in a state where he’s still popular “is weapons-grade stupid.” Sykes said that Trump would lose “vote-rich southeastern Wisconsin” and lose it badly because he’s offended too many conservative women. That most likely means Trump will get hurt badly in the Milwaukee suburbs because that’s the source of Gov. Walker’s electoral strength and because Sen. Cruz does better with well-educated voters than with less-educated voters.

Trump simply couldn’t resist criticizing Gov. Walker. Trump’s been critical of Gov. Walker for months. During one of Trump’s rallies, he said “But you had a $2.2 billion budget deficit and the schools were going begging and everything and everything was going begging because he didn’t want to raise taxes because he was going to run for president.”

Campaigning in Janesville, WI, Trump said “Cruz likes to pretend he’s an outsider and in the meantime he gets all the establishment support, including your governor.” That’s quite the turnaround from what Trump said about Sen. Cruz in January:

“Look, the truth is, he’s a nasty guy. He was so nice to me. I mean, I knew it. I was watching. I kept saying, ‘Come on, Ted. Let’s go, OK.’ But he’s a nasty guy. Nobody likes him. Nobody in Congress likes him. Nobody likes him anywhere once they get to know him,” the real estate mogul said.

Apparently, Trump can’t decide whether Sen. Cruz “gets al the establishment support” or whether everyone hates him because he’s a nasty guy. While speaking out of both sides of his mouth won’t deprive Trump of the nomination by itself, it’s just another thing that’s getting in his way.

Sykes decimated Trump in this interview:

Here’s the pull quote worth noting:

SYKES: Donald Trump, I just don’t think of the term nuanced in terms of Donald Trump. I think he’s a bad mix for Wisconsin.
CHARLES PAYNE: Why is he a bad mix for Wisconsin? Is he not a conservative? Doesn’t he have some of your conservative principles? No?
SYKES: No. He’s not a conservative. He’s a narcissist — He’s a content-free narcissist and he’s an authoritarian who has not even take the time to learn about the issues he’s talking about. I think that, instead of articulating the kind of conservative values, for example the kind that Paul Ryan and Scott Walker have talked about, he’s essentially created a brand, which is Donald Trump and it’s a cult of personality.

Ouch. As I watched the interview, I kept waiting for Sykes to stop and say ‘Other than that, though, Trump’s a great guy.’ That line didn’t arrive. Unfortunately for Trump, this line arrived with a punch:

SYKES: I don’t think he’s gonna win in Wisconsin and I think you’re going to see that over the next week, that in fact, in southeastern Wisconsin, which is a very voter-rich area, he’s got an approval rating of about 25% and a disapproval rating of more than 60% because when voters start to pay attention to what he actually represents, it doesn’t resonate with voters.

Mathematically speaking, it’s difficult to picture how a candidate gets trounced in the most voter-rich part of the state, then makes it up in the rest of the state. That’s assuming that Trump is somewhat popular in the rest of Wisconsin.

It’s been reported that Gov. Kasich pulled his ads from Wisconsin. Sykes said that isn’t true, noting that he’s pulled his ads off of southeastern Wisconsin radio stations and putting them up in western Wisconsin.

Whether Trump wins the nomination is still too far out to predict. Still, Trump isn’t close to closing the deal with Republicans. It’s understatement to say he isn’t heading in the right direction.

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Lou Dobbs isn’t usually prone to being a bonehead. Still, there’s no disputing the fact that this retweet isn’t one of Dobbs’s finer examples of thinking clearly. The original tweet said “Via @NPR: Trump Gains Support From Teamsters, Who Normally Vote For Democrats http://n.pr/1p1CyTC #Wisconsin #PA” It was posted by someone with a screen name of Tahquamenon. Dobbs’s baffling reply was “Lou Dobbs Retweeted Tahquamenon Great News for @realDonaldTrump supporters in Wisconsin. It’s #Trump2016 against Wisconsin GOP Establishment.”

First, it’s worth noting that Dobb’s tweet came minutes after Scott Walker announced on the Charlie Sykes Show that he’d endorsed Ted Cruz. Clearly, this was intended to compete with the positive news that Gov. Walker, one of the best reform governors in the United States, had endorsed Sen. Cruz. Next, it’s worth noting that the Teamsters leadership aren’t Republicans. Trump is clearly making a play for Democrats to vote in the GOP primary, which is an open primary. The Teamsters hate Gov. Walker with a passion. He’s hoping this will attract union voters to his campaign.

Let’s understand something important here. Lou Dobbs is either foolish or he’s totally in the tank for Trump. I’m betting the latter. Calling Scott Walker part of the GOP Establishment is a bit like saying that Bill Clinton is as liberal as Bill Ayers. Put bluntly, it’s absurd to think of Scott Walker as establishment. Couple that with Ted Cruz’s reputation of fighting “the Washington Cartel” in both parties and it’s utterly absurd to call Cruz and Walker the GOP Establishment.

It’s stunning to see how stupid otherwise intelligent people have become after they’ve interviewed Trump.

This is the chief takeaway from today’s announcements: Ted Cruz was endorsed by Scott Walker, a man who dealt with death threats against himself and his wife to pass union reforms. Donald Trump announced that he’s being supported by the people who protested against Gov. Walker’s reforms. Walker is a conservative’s conservative with a lengthy list of conservative accomplishments. The Teamsters are part of the Democrats’ base that tried to destroy Gov. Walker.

By those facts, there’s no question who the conservative in this race is and who the liberal is. Lou Dobbs should be ashamed of himself.

After Jeb Bush suspended his campaign, Sen. Rubio praised him profusely. Almost instantly, the Bush money machine started supporting Sen. Rubio.

While that’s the most noticeable benefit for Sen. Rubio, it isn’t the only benefit Sen. Rubio will get from Jeb’s decision. Other than in Nevada, where Gov. Bush was in the low single digits, Sen. Rubio will pick up most of Jeb’s support, especially in the important state of Florida. Further, while Trump is gaining momentum by winning, he isn’t expanding his support. Leon Wolf’s post highlights something of a struggle for Mr. Trump when Wolf writes “John McCain’s standing in the national polls went up 10% (per RCP average) between the day of the Iowa caucuses and the day of the South Carolina primary. Mitt Romney’s went up 8.5%. Donald Trump’s went down 1.5%. Donald Trump is not building momentum. He is bitterly opposed by a huge remaining contingent of Republicans.”

South Carolina was a damaging blow to the Cruz campaign because the state should’ve been right in Sen. Cruz’s wheelhouse. Instead, he finished third while losing support all week. As Charles Hurt said last night, if Sen. Cruz can’t win in a state rich with evangelical Christian voters, where can he win? That’s a legitimate question but I don’t want to overreact just on the basis of a single primary.

What’s likely to happen, as I wrote here, is that Sen. Rubio will start picking up endorsements from reform-minded governors like Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Mike Pence in Indiana. He’s certain to gain Mitt Romney’s endorsement soon, too. When/if Scott Walker endorses Sen. Rubio, Sen. Rubio will be able to say that he proudly stands with another great pro-reform governor whose state is working infinitely better than DC. If/when Gov. Pence endorses him, Sen. Rubio will be able to deliver the same message.

Most importantly, though, Gov. Bush’s withdrawal from the race raises the floor of support for Sen. Rubio. If/when Sen. Cruz withdraws, Sen. Rubio will pick up a portion of Sen. Cruz’s supporters. That’s before factoring in the negative ads that will certainly pound Mr. Trump.

Jeb’s attacks weren’t sharp. They certainly didn’t put Trump on the defensive. Imagine a Rubio ad showing Trump taking different positions on different days, then Trump denying that he’s shifted in an interview with Sean Hannity. Then see a question pop up on the screen asking “Mr. Trump, were you lying the first time or were you lying the other time?” You could do that with Iraq, Obamacare and Planned Parenthood, just to name a few targets of opportunity.

Thus far, the punditocracy has said that the rules of politics don’t apply to Mr. Trump. I question that because Mr. Trump hasn’t been hit with barrage after barrage of negative advertising exposing him as a liberal. Mr. Trump’s nutroots base won’t abandon him because they’re delusional. Will that apply to Mr. Trump’s sane supporters? At this point, we don’t know. It will be interesting to find out.

During the second segment of last night’s All Star Panel of Special Report, George Will made some news about Scott Walker. First, it’s important to preface Mr. Will’s information by saying he said, as he always does, that his wife works for Gov. Walker’s campaign. Second, A.B. Stoddard preceded Mr. Will’s opinions by saying she thought Gov. Walker was all but finished.

With that out of the way, Mr. Will said “Beyond that, because I’m sleeping with the campaign, I might as well give inside information. They have polls showing the following: among those in Iowa who have voted in the last caucus — these are actually people who don’t just talk to pollsters — he is ahead of Trump and with those real Republicans who’ve been to the last 2 Iowa caucuses, he’s in the lead.”

That doesn’t mean Gov. Walker will win the Iowa Caucuses. It doesn’t mean that Gov. Walker is leading outright, either. As Charles Krauthammer pointed out moments later, we don’t know if Trump will bring out a new batch of activists to the caucuses. That’s a distinct possibility, though it isn’t a certainty for Trump, either.

Still, the Iowa Caucuses aren’t like other presidential nominating events. Often times, these caucuses are held in people’s homes or at the local fire station or public school. Each of the caucus-goers has the potential to be called on to defend their upcoming vote. Theoretically speaking, if there’s a pair of caucus-goers who like Lindsey Graham, that might not meet the threshold of that precinct. That’s when those caucus-goers have the option to support another candidate.

Theoretically speaking again, if there’s a pair of caucus-goers who support Gov. Huckabee but there aren’t enough Huckabee supporters to meet the threshold, those 4 caucus-goers might support Gov. Walker. It’s possible that those 4 ‘second-choice’ supporters of Gov. Walker might tip things in Gov. Walker’s favor, helping him win the most delegates from that precinct.

That’s why it’s important to be people’s second choice if they’re supporting lower tier candidates initially. Those ‘second-choice’ voters might be the margin of victory in lots of precincts.

But I digress.

It’s quite possible that the Trump effect isn’t that big as the national polls suggest. I’m not disputing whether Trump is supported by lots of people. It’s apparent that he is. Still, national polls of adults that finally screen 350-375 likely GOP voters nationwide aren’t great predictors of electoral success. It’s one thing to show up at a Trump rally. It’s another thing to volunteer for Trump as a precinct captain, then organize call operations for Trump.

Gov. Walker’s GOTV operation knows this. They’ve been at his side for 3 elections in the last 4 years. Gov. Walker’s supporters will turn out.

That’s why I’m skeptical of Mr. Trump’s staying power.

This NY Times article falls squarely into the GOP establishment’s wheelhouse:

After Mr. Walker moved to support Iowa’s prized ethanol subsidies, abandoned his support for an immigration overhaul and spoke out against the Common Core national education standards, his pointed tone on marriage caused some Republicans to ask publicly whether he is too willing to modify his views to aid his ambitions.

“It seems like pollsters gone wild,” said Scott Reed, a longtime Republican strategist and top adviser to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, discussing Mr. Walker’s call for a constitutional amendment. To Republicans like Mr. Reed, Mr. Walker appears increasingly willing to lose the general election to win the primary.

Apparently, Mr. Reed didn’t notice that Republicans ran to the center the last 2 elections and got thrashed. If the GOP doesn’t figure out that conservatism is popular, they’ll continue to get thrashed in presidential elections.

But the expectations created by that early prominence, as well as a growing threat from conservative firebrands like Senator Ted Cruz, have taken a toll. To protect his lead in Iowa, a state with a heavily conservative Republican electorate, Mr. Walker has taken a harder line on a number of issues than his allies had anticipated. Now a growing number of party leaders say Mr. Walker is raising questions about his authenticity and may be jeopardizing his prospects in states where voters’ sensibilities are more moderate.

Moderates don’t excite the GOP base. They frequently run on the issue of electability but they’re usually unelectable themselves because principled voters want principled politicians fighting for them. The last thing that the GOP needs is another Bush at the top of the ticket.

They’ve underperformed in the past. Their Supreme Court justices haven’t turned out well, either.