Archive for the ‘Ted Cruz’ Category

In his primetime speech Wednesday night, Ted Cruz self-destructed because he put a higher priority on political opportunism than he put on keeping his promise. The opening of the speech was actually pretty good, drawing lots of applause from those in the hall. Unfortunately for Sen. Cruz, to use a gymnastic metaphor, he didn’t stick the dismount. Actually, that’s being charitable.

Last night, Ted Cruz showed, above all else, that he’s a political opportunist masquerading as a principled conservative. Let’s be clear. It isn’t that I think Sen. Cruz isn’t a principled conservative. It’s that I think he’s a political opportunist first and foremost. Let me explain.

At the first debate last summer, Ted Cruz raised his hand and pledged to support the nominee whoever it was. Amanda Carpenter, appearing on CNN’s panel, said that Sen. Cruz should have the right to renege on that promise after Trump criticized Sen. Cruz’s wife and after Trump all but accused Sen. Cruz’s father of being part of the team that assassinated JFK in 1963. That’s a fair argument that reasonable people can see from the other person’s perspective.

If Sen. Cruz wanted to be a principled conservative and not endorse Donald Trump, the thing to do is to say outright that he wouldn’t support Trump in a statement, then explain why he wasn’t endorsing Trump. That would’ve been the honorable thing to do.

Instead, Sen. Cruz wanted to have it both ways. He didn’t want to endorse Trump but he definitely wanted a primetime speaking slot at the Convention in the hopes of positioning himself for a presidential run in 2020.

In the end, the activists in the hall booed him:

After getting booed off the stage, Sen. Cruz tried visiting Sheldon Adelson’s booth. It didn’t go well:

On the donor suite level, people approached Cruz and insulted him, a source told CNN’s Dana Bash. One state party chairman reacted so angrily that he had to be restrained. Cruz, who has long sought the support of GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson, was turned away when he tried to enter Adelson’s suite.

Andy Abboud, a senior aide to the Las Vegas casino magnate, said Cruz was initially invited to come up to visit the Adelsons, but when he failed to endorse Trump the invitation was rescinded. “When he didn’t endorse, they were stunned and disappointed,” Abboud told CNN. “We could not allow Ted Cruz to use the Adelsons as a prop against Donald Trump,” he added. “The Adelsons support Donald Trump and made that clear. They like Ted Cruz, but there was no way the Adelsons were going to be the first stop after not endorsing. That would be disrespectful to our nominee.”

I can’t help but believe that there’s now a ton of bad blood between the activists in the hall and Sen. Cruz. If Donald Trump doesn’t win this November, those activists will blame Sen. Cruz’s speech as being a major contributing factor for that loss.

Michael Reagan’s tweet and Gen. Michael Flynn’s tweet said it all. First, here’s what Michael Reagan said:

Was Cruz thinking about 2020 not 2016. Is that why he didn’t endorse? How does that unite the Republican Party. Sad and Selfish

Here’s Gen. Flynn’s tweet:

I’m sorry, but tonight Ted Cruz demonstrated he is willing to place self before country.

I’ll just add that, as a strategist and as an opportunist, Sen. Cruz isn’t too bright.

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Since the start of 2016 or earlier, pundits have predicted that Democrats would retake their majority in the US Senate. That’s been the conventional wisdom pretty much the entire year. According to this article, those predictions might be greatly exaggerated.

This article isn’t the only thing that points to a contrary outcome in November. The latest Quinnipiac Swing State Poll brought smiles to the NRSC leadership team. Quinnipiac’s poll starts by saying “Republican incumbent U.S. Senators in three critical swing states fare better today as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida leads either of two Democratic challengers, while Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey outpoints his Democratic challenger and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman is in a dead heat with a well-known challenger, according to a Quinnipiac University Swing State Poll released today.”

It then highlights the fact that “Sen. Rubio leads U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy 47-40 percent and tops U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson 48-40 percent.” Amelia Chasse talked about the Florida race in a rather unflattering light towards Democrats:

Another DSCC primary pick, Florida’s Patrick Murphy, has had his inflated resume methodically torn apart by a series of investigative reports, to the point where Salon called him a “disaster candidate.”

Prior to that, Chasse spoke about Katie McGinty, the Democrats’ candidate in Pennsylvania in an unflattering light:

Establishment groups spent nearly $5 million to drag Katie McGinty, a bureaucrat with a revolving door problem, through another contentious primary, only to have her claim to be the first in her family to attend college immediately exposed as a lie.

According to Quinnipiac’s Swing State Poll, McGinty trails incumbent Pat Toomey “49%-40%.” That isn’t the type of margin that’s likely to produce a November nailbiter. In Ohio, pundits predicted Rob Portman’s demise. That might not happen:

Sen. Rob Portman is in a dead heat with former Gov. Ted Strickland in Ohio. But that is an improvement for Portman, who earlier in the campaign was down as much as 9 points.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice that Republicans are leading in the 2 biggest swing states and that they’re in much better shape in Ohio than they were a couple months ago.

Then there’s Ron Johnson. Though that race is tight, Wisconsin’s GOP GOTV operation is a powerful machine. Further, Feingold is running into difficulty explaining why he did nothing to fix the VA hospital in Tomah after getting notified about its difficulties.

That’s before talking about some potential GOP pickups. This video shows why Darryl Glenn has positioned himself well in Colorado:

Talking about a recent case of black-on-black violence in San Bernardino, CA, Glenn said that BLM wasn’t part of the solution before saying that what’s required is for policy leaders, community leaders and law enforcement to get together in a room and have a substantive conversation about the things that need to happen to end the distrust between law enforcement and minority communities. Couple the fact that he’s endorsed by Ted Cruz and that much of Cruz’s GOTV operation is now working for Glenn. That’s a powerful combination in Colorado.

Finally, don’t think that Harry Reid’s seat isn’t in play, too. If these things come together, it isn’t impossible to see Republicans holding a similar margin in 2017 as they have right now.

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Based on what his campaign manager just said, Rick Nolan isn’t living in northern Minnesota. Based on Joe Radinovich’s statement, it’s more likely that Nolan’s current neighbors include the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and some unicorns.

After the Tarrance Group released its first poll of the campaign, Radinovich said “The real takeaway from this poll and others we’ve seen is that, despite seemingly favorable conditions for Republicans, Congressman Nolan’s integrity, effectiveness and strong leadership is recognized by voters across the district and is reflected in his strong performance in this and other polls.”

Radinovich’s statements show that the Nolan campaign will rely on class warfare to win again. Radinovich also said “This poll also seems to show that voters remember Stewart Mills III and his support for tax breaks for the wealthy, while also believing that Congress should be ‘putting all options on the table’ when it comes to Social Security. Even in favorable conditions for Republicans, Mills can’t buy a lead.”

The poll that Radinovich is talking about shows some interesting things. For starters, it “has Nolan with 49 percent and Mills at 46 percent.” It also shows this:

The survey also showed 8th District voters supporting both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz over Hillary Clinton — Cruz by 49 percent to 40 percent and Trump 43 percent to 40 percent.

This isn’t good news for Hillary but it isn’t surprising either. This isn’t a tangential issue, either. If Cruz is the nominee and he’s able to maintain this lead, Nolan would have to run 10 points better than Hillary. That’s a daunting task for any candidate.

Put differently, if the presidential race tightens, which is inevitable, to a 5-point Cruz lead, Nolan would have to run 5 points better than Hillary. Another way of looking at it is to say Hillary will be a drag on Nolan.

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According to George Will’s latest column, saying that Ted Cruz’s campaign crew is incredible is understatement. Brother Will knows whereof he speaks. He’s spent time watching the Cruz machine operate. That’s why he wrote “Trump is a world-class complainer (he’s never being treated “fairly”) but a bush-league preparer. A nomination contest poses policy and process tests, and he is flunking both.”

Trump is the world’s greatest [fill-in-the-blank] except when it’s put to the test. Then it’s frequently revealed that he isn’t the world’s greatest [fill-in-the-blank]. Put a different way, Trump is a legend in his own mind. Actual results may vary.

When Will visited Sen. Cruz’s campaign HQ, he met Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe. In showing Will around the shop, Roe noted “the analytics people here knew how many undecided voters were choosing between Cruz and Trump (32,000) and how many between Cruz and John Kasich (72,000), and where they lived.”

Something that’s indisputable is that Cruz has built a state-of-the-art GOTV operation. It’s state-of-the-art because it operates with militaristic efficiency. Trump hired Paul Manafort “to lead his delegate-corralling efforts.” Manafort is, by all accounts, a topnotch operative. That’s the upside. The bad news is that he’s starting from scratch at a time when Cruz’s machine has been refining their methods and working together for months. Having the ability to differentiate between voters who are picking between Cruz and Kasich vs. which voters are picking between Cruz and Trump is refined. Having their addresses is super-refined. That’s why Will said this:

If Trump comes to Cleveland, say, 38 delegates short of 1,237, he’ll lose. Cruz probably will be proportionally closer to Trump than Lincoln (102 delegates) was to William Seward (173.5) who was 60 delegates short of victory on the first of three ballots at the 1860 convention.

That’s why I don’t buy into the notion that Trump is going to clean Cruz’s clock in the next few states. I’ll quickly admit that Trump will win many of these primaries.

That isn’t what’s important. At this stage, piling up delegates is what’s important. I agree with RedState that Trump’s lead in New York isn’t as daunting as it’s been reported:

It would be possible for Trump to win a clear majority of the vote in Pennsylvania and only get 17 delegates. This is not merely theoretical. Given the abject incompetence of the Trump campaign the overwhelming odds are that no matter what they win at the ballot box in terms of popular vote will not be converted into voting delegates.

The next big goal for Trump fans is New York and its 95 delegates. This is Donald Trump’s home state and no one who has lost their home state in a primary stays in the race for long. But New York is not the given that Trump fans seem to think it is and it certainly is not the Holy Grail that puts Trump back in the driver’s seat heading toward the nomination.

Then there’s this:

New York is a closed primary state and the deadline for registering or changing parties passed on March 25. The unstoppable Trump Train of late March suddenly looks rather decrepit but those Trump supporters who are either not registered to vote or not registered as Republicans — an issue in a state with roughly a half dozen parties on the ballot — couldn’t know that. And because they didn’t register as Republicans, they will not be a factor at the polling booth.

It’s a safe bet that the Cruz campaign will persuade most of the unbound delegates to support Cruz.

It isn’t a stretch to say that this fight really comes down to Trump’s cult of personality campaign vs. Cruz’s machine. That isn’t a fair fight.

Ever since the networks called the Wisconsin GOP Primary for Ted Cruz, Trump’s campaign has been spinning the victory as proof that Sen. Cruz is part of the GOP establishment. I wrote here about the Trump campaign’s statement. The statement said “Donald J. Trump withstood the onslaught of the establishment yet again. Lyin’ Ted Cruz had the Governor of Wisconsin, many conservative talk radio show hosts, and the entire party apparatus behind him. Not only was he propelled by the anti-Trump Super PAC’s spending countless millions of dollars on false advertising against Mr. Trump, but he was coordinating with his own Super PAC’s (which is illegal) who totally control him.

“Ted Cruz is worse than a puppet— he is a Trojan horse, being used by the party bosses attempting to steal the nomination away from Mr. Trump. We have total confidence that Mr. Trump will go on to win in New York, where he holds a substantial lead in all the polls, and beyond.”

The anti-Trump super PACs oppose Trump because he’s a policy lightweight, he isn’t a man of integrity, his campaign organization is nonexistent and because he’d get slaughtered by Hillary Clinton.

You can’t win electoral votes when you haven’t topped 50% in any state thus far. In fact, Trump’s best finish was 45% in Florida and Nevada. That won’t get it done. There’s no proof that Trump is capable of expanding his base of support. There is proof that Trump can’t expand beyond his fever-swamp base. It’s called the #NeverTrump movement. It’s called the Stop Trump movement, too.

Wednesday night, Dave Wohl, one of Trump’s amateur spokesters, insisted that the only reason why the GOP Establishment was supporting him was because Sen. Cruz, in Wohl’s words, was “malleable.” That’s interesting, considering the fact that Jimmy Carter once said that the GOP Establishment preferred Trump over Cruz because the Establishment thought Trump was malleable.

Back in February, Trump spent a week accusing Sen. Cruz of being “a nasty guy that nobody liked.” That’s quite the transformation. In 2 months, Sen. Cruz has gone from being a nasty guy that nobody likes to being the Establishment’s “Trojan horse” because he’s “malleable.”

The Trump campaign’s storyline is as erratic as The Donald’s mood swings. That’s saying something, isn’t it?

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According to Jonah Goldberg, John Kasich is “the thing that wouldn’t leave.” Tuesday night, his campaign manager sang the same tired song that Gov. Kasich’s been singing for a month — that he’s the only candidate that can defeat Hillary this fall. Coming from a candidate that’s won a single primary in 32 attempts, you’d think that he’d have a better argument than that.

The fact that he doesn’t indicates that his neighbors in wherever he’s living include the Easter Bunny, Alice and Little Red Riding Hood.

Rather than argue against poll numbers, let’s fight about something important. The reason Kasich isn’t the most electable is because Republicans have repeatedly rejected him. That fact notwithstanding, the truth is that Gov. Kasich put everything into winning New Hampshire. Though he got beat there, he proclaimed “Tonight, the light overcame the darkness.” Right. Why didn’t I notice that?

Gov. Kasich won his home state primary to break his losing streak. Later that night, he started the losing streak he’s currently on. The first thing competitive candidates learn is that you can’t win if you don’t have your base locked down. Stating that Gov. Kasich doesn’t have his base locked down is understatement.

By comparison, I wrote this article to highlight all the different demographic groups that Sen. Cruz won Tuesday night. What we’ve found out is that Sen. Cruz pretty much won every demographic group:

Senator Ted Cruz won the Wisconsin Republican primary with support from voters across income and education levels. Mr. Cruz even won among voters without high school diplomas, and ran even with Donald J. Trump among those with family incomes below $50,000 per year, typical strongholds for Mr. Trump, according to exit polls by Edison Research.

Mr. Trump carried voters who said they wanted the next president to come from outside the political establishment. But Mr. Cruz pulled ahead among those who feel betrayed by Republican Party politicians, a group that has often broken in Mr. Trump’s favor. Mr. Cruz outpaced Mr. Trump by double digits among evangelicals, and he took more than three-fifths of very conservative voters, two of his most stalwart demographics.

The truth is that Kasich doesn’t have a path to the nomination. The longer he sticks around, the narrower the path to being someone’s running mate becomes.

It’s time The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave left the stage. Finally, it’s worth highlighting the fact that the trio of GOP candidates got 1,064,176 votes, which is 71,291 votes more than the Democrats won.

For about 2 weeks, Donald Trump has complained that Sen. Cruz is stealing the election. For almost 2 weeks, Trump’s complaints have been without merit. Trump’s latest complaint is about how Cruz’s campaign is outmaneuvering Trump’s campaign for second ballot delegates. Trump insists that this is outright theft. It isn’t.

Years ago, delegates weren’t bound to that state’s winner. Then the RNC passed a rule saying delegates were bound for the first ballot. At no point did the RNC say that delegates were committed to a specific candidate multiple ballots. That’s foolish on its face unless the RNC wanted a presidential nominee who won a plurality of delegates.

What Trump’s complaint is about is his campaign team’s ineptitude. Trump’s run a cult of personality campaign. In Iowa, for instance, Trump promised to have 1,681 precinct chairs in place before Thanksgiving. A month later, when they held their first training meeting, fewer than 100 people attended. Not surprisingly, Trump finished second despite the DMR poll showing him leading by a healthy margin. Simply put, Trump tried running his campaign on the cheap. As a result, he lost momentum and delegates.

In the email obtained by CNN, Sam Stone from the Cairn Consulting firm contacted Republican precinct committee members in Arizona’s 10th legislative district and invited them to join Cruz.

“National delegates are required to pay their own way to Cleveland, but for those non-Trump supporters who are interested in doing so, the Cruz campaign is organizing a delegate slate at our state party convention to elect people who would be willing to support Sen. Cruz on a second ballot,” he wrote. “Being part of the slate will dramatically increase your chances of attending the national convention.”

Stone explained the effort: “As you know, the state convention will select our delegates to the national convention. At the convention, these delegates are bound to vote for Donald Trump on the first ballot. However, it looks increasingly unlikely that Trump will earn the 1,237 delegates needed to win on the first ballot, and after the first ballot most delegates, including those from Arizona, will be free to vote for the candidate of their choice.”

That’s an accurate statement. Further, to change that rule now would introduce chaos into the process intended to create order. I’ve stated it before but I’ll repeat it again. There are 2 options for people. One option is to follow the rules that were laid out in advance of the convention. The other option is to introduce anarchy into the process. It’s one thing to make a minor tweak to convention rules. That’s happened before. It’s another if the rules are dramatically changed.

Trump essentially wants the rules rewritten to help him win. On one level, that’s understandable. This is the ultimate competition. I’d be worried if candidates didn’t compete to win. That being said, the rules are there to maintain a level playing field so everyone can compete without worrying about a strongman stealing the election.

Trump talks about stealing the nomination. That’s a bit of verbal subterfuge. The nomination isn’t anyone’s until they reach 1,237 delegates. The nominee isn’t the candidate with the biggest plurality. The nominee is the candidate who wins a majority of delegates.

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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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If, God forbid, the general election pits Hillary against The Donald, the most important factor might be whether Hillary is better at playing the victim card or whether Trump is better at playing the whiner. At this point, it’s anyone’s guess on who wins that match-up.

What isn’t open for debate is whether Trump’s demographic troubles are too deep to dig out of. This graphic shows Trump underwater with Hispanics in a big way:

That’s a net -65 with Hispanics. By comparison, Romney lost Hispanics by 44 points in 2012. Trump performs worse than Romney. It’s interesting to note that Trump accuses Romney of running a terrible campaign and of losing an election he should’ve won. Then there’s Trump’s women problem.

I’m not talking specifically about Trump’s name-calling of women like Megyn Kelly and Carly Fiorina, although that’s contributing to his women problem. Trump’s rating with women is terrible:

The good news for Trump is that his net favorability with women is better than his net favorability with Hispanics. Trump is just a -47 with women compared with a -65 with Hispanics. The bad news is that women make up a majority of voters in the United States.

Which brings us to whether voters will vote for a whiner like Trump:

Trump: Honestly Kasich should not be allowed to run. And I’ll go opposite on you- he hurts Trump much more than he hurts Cruz. And, in New York, I have tremendous numbers in New York and I have tremendous numbers in Pennsylvania, those two numbers just came out from CBS, I guess you saw them…but Kasich shouldn’t be allowed to run.

Reporter: Under what grounds?

Trump: Under the grounds that Rand Paul could have stayed in, and he had nothing. Marco Rubio could have stayed in, Jeb Bush could have stayed in. They all could have stayed in. They could have just stayed in. That’s all he’s doing. He’s 1 for 29. And the one thing that he won barely, and if I spent one more day in Ohio, I would have beaten him because I came pretty close. The only thing Kasich won was Ohio, where he’s the governor and where he has the machine working. Which isn’t doing well, it’s in the middle of the pack of his neighbors. He’s only in the middle of his pack, he’s not doing well in Ohio. If you look at his neighboring states, he’s exactly in the middle of the pack. That’s not great. Kasich shouldn’t be allowed to continue, and the RNC shouldn’t allow him to continue. And Kasich has more of an impact on me than he does on Cruz.

Kasich shouldn’t be allowed to continue because he hurts Trump more than he hurts Cruz? What a whiner. A candidate’s supporters and family have the final say over who stays in and who needs to drop out, not King Donald.

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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