It’s Marco’s Turn to Experience Trumpism’s Vile Spew

First, from my own Twitter Feed from a Trump supporter:

Don’t really need any commentary on that, but consider this from Trump in FOX News:

Marco Rubio has joined Ted Cruz in Donald Trump’s crosshairs.

Fresh off his Saturday win in the South Carolina Republican primary, Trump said Sunday he didn’t know whether Rubio, a Florida senator who finished second, was eligible to run for president and that “the lawyers have to determine that.”

“I don’t know,” Trump told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.” “I really – I’ve never looked at it, George. I honestly have never looked at it. As somebody said, he’s not. And I retweeted it. I have 14 million people between Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and I retweet things, and we start dialogue and it’s very interesting.”

And Trump’s aforementioned retweet:

And the obligatory Ann Coulter quote:

Rubio has been better than other GOP candidates at dealing with taunts. He’ll be best served if he lets surrogates handle them.

 

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Marco Rubio as Harry Potter, Donald Trump as Lord Voldemort

Alex Leary, one of Florida’s best political journalist, has this in the Tampa Bay Times:

THe super PAC supporting Marco Rubio sent donors a memo arguing that Donald Trump can be defeated and asking for donations. The memo casts Rubio as Harry Potter taking on Voldemort.

In Harry Potter lore, Voldemort, the Dark Lord, had a secret to his strength. His secret was his horcruxes. The horcruxes were objects that allowed Voldemort to maintain immortality. As each horcrux was destroyed, Voldemort became increasingly vulnerable, not increasingly strong. When all of the horcruxes were gone, Voldemort lost his one-on-one battle with Harry Potter.

Donald Trump has a solid claim on one-third of the Republican vote. He has virtually no claim on the other two-thirds. The data consistently and overwhelmingly shows Trump with the highest unfavorables among the remaining candidates, and that he is the last choice of more voters than any other Republican by far. That means Trump’s support will grow very little as the field continues to narrow. His 33% is formidable when the field is large; it isn’t when the field is small. Trump won a victory in South Carolina, but the field shrank once again. Like Voldemort’s horcruxes, the large candidate field shields Trump from harm. At each step of the primary process, Trump is losing his shields, and that is making him more vulnerable.

This phenomenon is unlike anything we’ve seen before. In the years in which they won the GOP nomination, when Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney started racking up successive primary victories, they faced no similar barriers because they were not disliked by very large numbers within the party. Even if Trump continues to win on March 1, he will remain vulnerable as the field continues to shrink.

Extending this analogy puts Marco Rubio in the role of Harry Potter.

A recent NBC/WSJ poll shows Rubio besting Trump 57-41. Small wonder Trump is pulling a Voldemort-like smear on Rubio’s eligibility to be president.

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Trump’s Low Ceiling Still the Elephant in the Room and The Donald Knows It,Too

A CBSNews/YouGov poll taken before Donald Trump’s debate meltdown on February 13 gave him 42 percent of the vote. He won last night’s South Carolina primary with 32.5 percent. A win is a win, but percentages matter. Trump still has a ceiling among primary voters the tops out between 30-35 percent. The Donald can demagogue all he wants, but the professionals know it still matters. Hence today’s news of Mitt Romney endorsement of Marco Rubio.

Rubio said so much on Face the Nation today writes Rebecca Kaplan:

He hasn’t placed first in any of the three states that have cast their votes, but Florida Sen. Marco Rubio still believes that he can win the GOP nomination – in part because he sees a limit to how much support there is for Donald Trump.

“Part of the dynamic up to this point is Donald has been, you know, in the mid 30s to low 30s, high 20s in most polls and then you have 70 percent of the Republican electorate that says, ‘We’re not voting for him,'” Rubio said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation. “But they’re divided up among five or seven people. So as that five or seven people continues to narrow down, I think it’s going make the race clearer and clearer.”

He’s aiming higher than just picking up the anti-Trump vote, though. Rubio said, “There are people supporting Donald Trump that we believe we can win over as well.”

One of the nation’s best analyst of polling data is Nate Silver. He writes this today in FiveThirtyEight  on this point of view:

What did the Trump skeptics find to like about South Carolina? Quite a lot, actually. They’d point out that Trump faded down the stretch run, getting 32 percent of the vote after initially polling at about 36 percent after New Hampshire, because of his continuing struggles with late-deciding voters. They’d note that Trump’s numbers worsened from New Hampshire to South Carolina despite several candidates having dropped out. They’d say that Rubio, who went from 11 percent in South Carolina polls before Iowa2 to 22 percent of the vote on Saturday night, had a pretty good night. They’d also say that Rubio will be helped by Jeb Bush dropping out, even if it hadalready become clear that Rubio was the preferred choice of Republican Party “elites.”

Silver does the other point of view as well, but said this earlier last week:

There’s a fair bit of evidence that Trump is likely to encounter some upward resistance. Which is not quite the same thing as a hard ceiling. In both Iowa and New Hampshire, his favorability ratings were only around 50 percent. In fact, in New Hampshire, about half of Republican caucus-goers said they’d be unhappy with him as their nominee.

Trump tried to bluster through the reality last night that as under-card candidates leave the race, Cruz and Rubio will be the beneficiaries. Polling data support this assumption. Trump must realize it, too, as he signaled today that Rubio, like Cruz, may not be eligible for president either.

Posted in 2016, Florida, GOP16, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Trump | Leave a comment

A Cruz Collapse, a Lowering Trump Ceiling, a Rubio Ascendancy

A creepy robocall from a PAC supporting Ted Cruz targeted Donald Trump on Thursday night for his dry and inconclusive statement about the Confederate battle flag. Writing for MSNBC, Vaughn Hillyard has this:

Courageous Conservatives, the pro-Cruz super PAC who paid for the calls, intends to send out two new robocalls on Friday night as well — just hours before the polls open for the state’s GOP primary.

Rick Shaftan, the head of the group, told NBC News the robocall about Trump’s opposition to the flag went out to 180,000 homes of Republicans who have voted in past primaries in South Carolina.

Haley, the governor of South Carolina, endorsed Cruz’s other main rival, Marco Rubio, on Wednesday.

Such a robocall with subtle racial undertones is the bare knuckles stuff South Carolina is used to. But its negative bent about another candidate conveys weakness. So do desperate calls for campaign cash on the eve of a primary. 

And what of Donald Trump’s missteps? The utterance of the uber-leftist lie that George W. Bush lied to get us into the Iraq War last Saturday night sure didn’t get him many votes. Nor did his odd statement that he would be a “neutral” party in any Israeli-Palestinian negotiation places. This place him closer to President Obama than any other GOP candidate. In all, we’ve seen a Trump lurch to the left in South Carolina.

Trump has never surpassed 35 percent in polling data. He received 35.3 percent of the vote in New Hampshire. The fluctuation of his numbers between 32 and 34 percent in early week data indicated that the 11 percent of the vote earned by departed candidates Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina were not going to him. Some numbers favor Trump. Others don’t. Like this analysis from Public Policy Polling at the beginning of the week which favors Marco Rubio:

There are some reasons within the numbers to think Rubio might put in an unexpectedly strong performance on Saturday night. If voters have to choose just among the top three candidates he finishes in a clear second place with 28% to Trump’s 40% and Cruz’s 22%. Among voters who are either undecided or support one of the also rans- Bush, Carson, Kasich- 37% say they would move to Rubio compared to 19% for Trump and 13% for Cruz if they had to choose one of the top three. So if strategic voting occurs, that’s likely to be to Rubio’s benefit.

One surprising finding from the poll is that Ted Cruz has the worst net favorability rating of the candidates, with 42% of voters seeing him positively to 48% who have a negative opinion of him. He and Jeb Bush (41/43) are the only candidates under water. Showing that popularity isn’t everything Ben Carson is by far the most widely liked hopeful in the state with a 68/23 favorability rating, followed by Rubio at 58/32 and Kasich at 52/29. Trump is only the fourth most well liked at 50/43, but in contrast to the other candidates most of the voters who like him are also planning to vote for him.

Then there are the results of the Opinion Savvy poll which were released yesterday whic scored it Trump:27: Rubio: 23 Cruz: 19 Bush: 10.6 Carson: 8 and Kasich: 7. A surging poll in its own right, it caught Rubio’s surge in Iowa. Ed Morrissey offers this:

In case you’re wondering, Opinion Savvy is the same firm that had Trump and Cruz ahead of Rubio one week ago today, 36/19/15 respectively. As Allahpundit noted last week, they also came close to getting it right in Iowa, picking up on Rubio’s late surge, even if they missed the magnitude of the vote for all three candidates.

If this is a solid poll, then Rubio has gained nine points in a week while Trump has lost a similar amount, an eighteen-point flip in the gap between the two while the rest of the field stayed relatively static. On the plus side, it has a sample of 780 likely voters, a relatively large sample size for a single state, and “likely” was defined by “I will definitely vote” and those who had already sent in an absentee ballot.

If Rubio does indeed finish second in front of Cruz and Trump’s percentage falls below 30 percent in a victory, the playing field changes. Especially so if a disappointing Jeb Bush performance drives him from the race. Inside Opinion Savvy’s numbers show Rubio continuing as to lead as everyone’s 2nd choice but is followed closely by Cruz. Trump is last in this category.

 

What if Trump has repeated his pre-Iowa caucus performance and suppressed his own vote in which his over-sized vanity prompted him to sit out the last debate. His rhetorical  lurch leftward this past week could certainly produce those same results. This could already be represented in his nine-point fall that Morrissey observed. Who benefits most? Or to ponder the once unthinkable: who could upset Trump today? The polling trends say that candidate would be Marco Rubio.

 

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The Cruz Campaign Desperately Emails for Cash

From Lauren Lofstrom, the National Finance Director of Cruz for President writes this in an email:

There’s not a delicate way to put this. We’re falling behind.

I’m emailing you now, and I need to hear back in the next 30 minutes if at all possible. Because in 30 minutes I go into my last pre-South Carolina meeting with Ted, and as of the last report an hour ago — we are still behind by more than $150,000 dollars.

Ted emailed you earlier about the time for choosing, and let me tell you Robert, that time is now.

There is no way to sugarcoat it.

Ted needs you more than ever before.

And is Ted Cruz himself signaling his own poor showing today in South Carolina with this from his iPhone:

After the vote tomorrow, the talking heads and so-called “media experts” will be rushing to pick apart our campaign, trying to determine if we have the resources to compete against Donald Trump’s billions — they will be asking if we can “go the distance.”

It would give me such a huge boost if you would consider making a late night or early morning contribution to help me demonstrate that while I don’t have Donald’s billions — I do have millions of supporters.

Is the Cruz campaign reeling from a lack of cash flow and poor internal polling? The emails infer as much.  In Red State, Dan McLaughlin posted this about the surprisingly accurate upstart poll Opinion Savvy:

Tomorrow’s Republican primary in South Carolina could provide some big surprises, if you believe some of the latest polls. The most dramatic is a new poll from Opinion Savvy showing that Marco Rubio might be in striking distance of longtime frontrunner Donald Trump……..  taken the last two days, has Trump 27, Rubio 24, Cruz 19, Jeb 11, Carson 8, Kasich 7, and 4% undecided.

McLaughlin cautions against reading too much in polls, yet he, too, knows about Opinion Savvy’s accurate call in Iowa. Here is their take:

Rubio has increased his support in several key demographics, including the 45-64 and 65+ age cohorts. Rubio is also ahead of Trump in the Lowcountry, a less conservative area of the state with a lower percentage of Republican voters. In our most recent polls, Cruz has hovered around 19%, which he maintains once again.

Trump has managed to improve his ranking within the youngest demographic, and he maintains the highest commitment from voters: 97% of Trump supporters indicated that they do not foresee changing their vote.

The campaigns have the best numbers. Most observers have been hinting at a surge by Rubio in South Carolina. Charleston Post & Courier journalist Robert Behre explains that whomever finishes first will only get 29 of the state’s 50 delegates, with the other 21 being divided up depending on results in the seven congressional districts. A 3rd place finish by Cruz could signal a delegate shutout if Rubio wins the low country vote. Perhaps it is this possibility which drives the Cruz campaigns pessimistic emails of the last 24 hours.

 

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Jeb Bush Calls POLITICO “Trash”, Yet Used Them to Advance Ed Policy Agenda in 2011

Last evening POLITICO printed a story from Florida-based journalist Marc Caputo that staffers from Jeb Bush’s campaign were shopping their resumes.

Several Jeb Bush campaign workers are already shopping their résumés with Florida political consultants as expectations mount inside his team that their candidate won’t push on after South Carolina.

“I can unequivocally tell you that people are looking for work, because they say they’ve been led to believe that they won’t have a job because the campaign won’t be around any longer or their jobs won’t because the campaign won’t have any money,” said one Republican who helps run one of the Florida campaigns and who is a Bush donor.

Four separate and senior political consultants in Florida said they have been negotiating with potential employees who are preparing for the end of the Bush campaign. The entreaties for new work from these Bush staffers — most of whom are not top-level campaign hands — have markedly increased apace with signs that the former Florida governor is under pressure to exit the race after Saturday’s GOP primary if he performs poorly.

“I have people in [Marco] Rubio’s campaign and various campaigns I talk to and said ‘Hey, if it doesn’t work out for you, come and work for us,’” said one of the consultants. “Suddenly in the past week, I’m getting calls and they’re asking me: ‘Are you looking for somebody?’ And those people are exclusively Jeb people.”

POLITICO has indeed been reporting this week on the Bush campaign’s demise. A remarkable piece from Michael Kruse yesterday afternoon provided a timeline to the relationship between Bush and Marco Rubio and is tellingly titled How Marco Rubio Slew His ‘Mentor’ . A morning story, Bush Machine Running on Fumes was penned by Eli Stokols.

Obviously seeing a pattern, Bush struck back last night:

In response to POLITICO’s report, Bush told FOX’s Megyn Kelly on Friday night: “I don’t read Politico. I think it’s trash.” He didn’t deny the substance of the report.

Embolden print mine – and for a reason.

Bush clearly didn’t think that way in 2011 when he used POLITICO to advance his education policy agenda. In an ironically titled opinion piece, Lead or Get Out of the Way on Schools Bush sought to influence then Education Secretary Arne Duncan to grant ESEA (No Child Left Behind) waivers to states which had education infrastructure which pleased him.

Such an exercise in federal power over education policy was not new to Bush. During the same month he penned his POLITICO piece, he used his tremendous political influence to squash opposition to common core standards at the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) annual meeting in New Orleans.  Bush was only able to stall ALEC temporarily as they passed anti-common core legislative measures 4 months later in Scottsdale, Arizona.

All signs point to the curtain falling on Bush’s campaign today in South Carolina. Of his primary opponents only Donald Trump has made Bush’s education record an issue predictably calling it “a joke.” Opponents of Bush’s education agenda in Florida – including this writer – have homes on both sides of the political spectrum. For us, his demise comes as no surprise. Maybe even a bit of schadenfreude, too.

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“Pajama Boy With ‘Roid Rage, Tweeting Until His Thumbs Fall Off”

Wishing this were mine. It belongs to David French who writes in National Review:

When you combine fever-swamp leftism with his protectionism and border policies, Trump looks less like a new sensation in American politics and more like a famous and talented gene splice of an old-school Teamster and a millennial Salon.com editor. He’s an old-fashioned union Democrat and a new-fangled conspiracy theorist. He’s got a chronic case of Bush Derangement Syndrome. I used to think his public persona was that of a WWE wrestler. Now I think he’s Pajama Boy with ’roid rage, tweeting until his thumbs fall off.

In South Carolina today, Donald Trump attempted to blame CBS moderator John Dickinson for his exchanges with Bush, but it was Trump who went off. French provides the transcript:

Trump: They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.

A New York Times story last year from C.J. Chivers refuted the long told myth that no WMD were found in Iraq.

From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule.

In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Meanwhile, today in South Carolina, Trump is going back to his subtle blackmail technique by threatening to run as an independent and to file a lawsuit against Ted Cruz’ eligibility to run for the presidency.

 

 

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Great News! Code Pink Praises Donald Trump and is Now to the Left of Bernie Sanders

They snarky hits on Donald Trump’s “Bush Lied” Saturday keep coming. Now, Code Pink! From The Hill‘s Rebecca Stavransky:

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is being praised by Code Pink, a group working to end U.S. wars and militarism that has protested the Iraq War.

Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin said in an email to the Huffington Post that she “loved” the debate.

“It felt surreal to hear Donald Trump, the leading Republican contender for President, saying what we at CODEPINK have been shouting to the winds for 14 years now: that Bush and his cronies lied about WMDs, that the Iraq war was catastrophic, and that Bush never ‘kept us safe’ because 9/11 happened on his watch.”

Benjamin said that she also agrees with Trump that the war wasted money that could have been used to rebuild the country’s infrastructure — a theme the group uses in a campaign called “Bring out war dollars home.”

“It was wild,” she said.

Benjamin also told the Huffington Post that Trump has gone farther on the issue than Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. But she added that this might not be the best way to win votes.

“He certainly won’t win over the anti-war crowd with his Islamophobia and anti-immigrant tirades. But on this issue, I’d give him a Pink Badge of Courage,” Benjamin said.

Code Pink, the anti-Israel, pro-Iran deal and pro-Castro lefty group’s endorsement wasn’t sought be any other GOP candidate. Nor will they begrudge him for getting it. But to the left of Bernie Sanders?

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Is Trump Running as a Democrat Now or is He Melting Down Over Another Grudge?

It’s clear that Donald Trump is in control of his own Twitter account. No intern or staffer would dare put this out.

Not sure how many South Carolina voters feel how many blame George W. Bush for 9-11 and I’d imagine that only Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are running against him.

Good stuff here. Disparaging George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush are sure to be winner in South Carolina and beyond. One would think it sounds better coming from a Democrat in the general election. No?

Nice to see Donald’s an early riser, isn’t it. I’d imagine that Democrat voters agree with him about Krauthammer. And that liar card about a conservative icon like Krauthammer: it, too, kills with Democrats.

So, is this all about Trump’s true partisan Democrat leanings, or is it about his well-documented weakness in holding grudges. His irrational assault on FOX News host Megyn Kelly after tough questioning in an early debate is only matched by Trump’s dislike for Jeb Bush. It was during exchanges with Bush that Trump began his astonishing assertions about his elder brother’s presidency which were seen by one-time Trump supporter Ace of Spades:

Trump damaged himself with his claim that Bush lied us into war in Iraq. Not botched the intelligence, not read too much into thin intelligence.

Most Republicans, I think, would agree that that.

No, Trump claimed that Bush deliberately lied us into war.

First, this is alarming because it once again demonstrates that Trump has a conspiratorial mind. It’s not enough for the conspiracist to say someone was wrong — no, they have unrealistically black/white minds, and if you made a bad call, you must have lied.

That conspiracism was always present in his claims about Obama’s birth certificate. But that bit of fantasy was about Obama, someone the average Republican voter isn’t exactly eager to man the battlements for.

This corker — this Al Gore roar of quote — is about George W. Bush, someone still looked upon with affection by most of the party.

Trump was booed in Greenville on Saturday night, but those really could have been Jeb Bush supporters. Bush has always been good packing a house to give the impression of support. But he got booed nonetheless, something the extremely media conscience Trump couldn’t like. And he sounded like a Democrat Saturday.

Or like in his ill-advised boycott of the Iowa debate over his grudge with Kelly and FOXNews, has Trump  shot himself in the foot again over his grudge against Bush.

 

 

 

 

 

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Trump Wrote in 2000 of Iraq That “It’s Madness Not to Carry the Mission to It’s Conclusion”

Donald Trump said a lot last night that’s put him in hot water with voters. Along with the creepy lefty accusation that George W. Bush lied about Iraq’s WMDs that predictably went along with the his assertion that the Iraq War was a mistake, came Trump’s claim that he’d been against it all along.

The leftward leaning media has been robust in its coverage of Trump’s claims. Here’s James Fallows in The Atlantic and Michael Calderon for The Huffington Post. A conservative writer, Jeff Dunetz of the The Lid does too,  and offers this from BuzzFeed‘s  Andrew Kaczynski:

The week the war started Trump was quoted as saying it was turning into a “mess” but also said the war would positively impact the stock market, causing it “to go up like a rocket.”

Similarly his 2000 book, The America We Deserve Trump noted Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction and targeted Iraq strikes had little impact on their overall capabilities. The Donald said the best course might be against Iraq to “carry the mission to its conclusion.”

Wrote Trump:

Consider Iraq. After each pounding from U.S . warplanes, Iraq has dusted itself off and gone right back to work developing a nuclear arsenal. Six years of tough talk and U.S. fireworks in Baghdad have done little to slow Iraq’s crash program to become a nuclear power. They’ve got missiles capable of flying nine hundred kilometers—more than enough to reach Tel Aviv. They’ve got enriched uranium. All they need is the material for nuclear fission to complete the job, and, according to the Rumsfeld report, we don’t even know for sure if they’ve laid their hands on that yet. That’s what our last aerial assault on Iraq in 1999 was about. Saddam Hussein wouldn’t let UN weapons inspectors examine certain sites where that material might be stored. The result when our bombing was over? We still don’t know what Iraq is up to or whether it has the material to build nuclear weapons. I’m no warmonger. But the fact is, if we decide a strike against Iraq is necessary, it is madness not to carry the mission to its conclusion. When we don’t, we have the worst of all worlds: Iraq remains a threat, and now has more incentive than ever to attack us.

Trump’s paper trail doesn’t match his claims. For someone who so easily calls someone a liar, he should be more careful. At best, he can channel John Kerry and say that he was for the Iraq War before he was against it.

 

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