2016 GOP Primary

Trump Fears A Brokered Convention, With Good Reason

trumpphoto

“Somebody said, ‘Well, there’s a rule and another rule.’ I don’t care about rules, folks… We win, we get the delegates.” ~ Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump

That, in a nutshell, summarizes the Trump campaign’s approach to winning the 2016 Republican nomination for the presidency; defying and discarding conventional rules of politics, refusing to abide by the traditional rules of decorum which provide a patina of civility to an often bitter political process, choosing instead to resort to character assassination and open mockery of his opponents (accusing Ben Carson of being a child molester, branding Cruz “Lyin’ Ted”, labeling Rubio “Little Marco”, and mocking Carly Fiorina’s looks, just to name a few).

Trump, with virtually no traditional political organization to start, relied on sheer force of will and a larger-than-life personality to rise in the polls. Trump’s faux pas and unapologetic coarseness seemed only to increase his popularity. Trump has been the front-runner in the race almost from the day he announced.

His non-traditional strategy has worked well thus far, but in recently, like Achilles’ heel, Trump’s lack of grassroots political organization has proven a serious liability. Long before Trump announced his candidacy; indeed, long before he announced his own candidacy, Ted Cruz was working in the political ditches, recruiting grassroots activists and local elected officials at the county and district level to serve as campaign chairs, and eventually, as delegates during the Republican convention cycle. It has paid off well for him. The race has come down to the strength of Trump’s cult of personality, versus the breadth and depth of Cruz’s grassroots campaign organization.

Strange Bedfellows Lead to the Iowa Caucus

With the Iowa caucuses less than a week away, on the Republican side this is shaping up to be one of the strangest nomination processes of my lifetime. Late last year, Scott Walker was the presumptive front-runner until he declared, after which his campaign imploded in a rapid and spectacular way. Jeb Bush was likewise a favorite, but having spent well over $100 million he is almost within the margin of error in most polls. Marco Rubio was the next hope for the establishment, palatable to them and most of the base, but his participation in the Gang of Eight immigration amnesty effort has damaged him. Ben Carson is imminently likeable and moral, but his near-comatose demeanor does not inspire confidence that he is ready for a dangerous world.

Chris Christie has been dogged by his anti-gun stance and his post-Sandy tarmac bromance with Obama. Rand Paul has not been able to recreate the fervor among his base that his father was able to. Carly Fiorina has great debate performances but is invisible in between. John Kasich comes across as an angry scold having a seizure. Rick Santorum? Mike Huckabee? No chance for either, but maybe they’ll get a good book deal for their efforts.

Rand Paul is doing more than any other Republican to reach out to voters, and that could put him in the White House

Libertarianism is starting to become so popular in the media that it’s annoying. Mainstream outlets like the New York Times Magazine, Time, Washington Post, and Politico are trumpeting the rise of libertarians within the Republican Party and the country as a whole, as well as Rand Paul’s corresponding march toward a 2016 campaign.

This week the civil libertarian Vice joins the chorus with as friendly a profile as you can hope for from a leftist publication. Vice uses Senator Paul’s recent unexpected Time op-ed as a launching point to tout his mass appeal on a wide array of issues:

Ben Carson says the “chances are reasonably good” that he’ll run for the president

There’s been a lot of focus on potential 2016 Republican presidential contenders in the last several months as commentators and pundits watch closely the moves they’re making ahead of the mid-term election.

Thus far, the talk is focused on a handful of names, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), and former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL). But Ben Carson, a former neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University and darling of the conservative movement, is seriously considering a bid of his own:

“Unless the American people indicate in November that they like Big Government intervention in every part of their lives, I think the likelihood is strong,” Carson said Monday night on “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” according to a show transcript, when asked about the chances of a presidential run.

Carson, who was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President George W. Bush, said that he will be waiting for “a few more months” before making any definite decisions, and predicted that he will make a formal announcement in May of next year.

“I think the chances are reasonably good of that happening,” Carson said. “I want to make sure that it’s clearly something my fellow Americans want me to do. And I’m also waiting to see what the results are in November, because if the people indicate that they truly do want a nation that is for, of and by the people, then I, along with I hope many other people, would be willing to give it everything we possibly have.”

Here’s the Republican presidential contender who could be a complete nightmare for Democrats

Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) outreach efforts to millennials and minorities as well as his focus on issues that aren’t typical of Republican politicians have not gone unnoticed by one of President Barack Obama’s closest political strategists.

White House advisor Dan Pfeiffer says that Paul, who is actively building up a campaign-like structure in early primary states, may be the biggest threat to Democrats’ hopes to keep the presidency in 2016:

Speaking to reporters, counselor to the president Dan Pfeiffer said the Kentucky Republican is “one of the most intriguing candidates” in the field because of his appeal to younger voters of both parties.

“He’s the only Republican I think who has articulated a message that is potentially appealing to younger Americans,” Pfeiffer said at a breakfast organized by the Christian Science Monitor. “Every other Republican running is basically just Romney-lite when it comes to younger Americans.” Rand has made reaching out to non-traditional voters a signature component of his political agenda, most recently delivering a speech Friday to the National Urban League.

Pfeiffer also noted that Paul faces a tough Republican primary, a preview of which has been offered by way of attacks from his likely opponents, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who are trying weaken him before the 2016 horserace begins.

Here’s your dark horse Republican presidential candidate

There have been a number of names mentioned as potential Republican presidential candidates, each with their own niche. You have Chris Christie and Jeb Bush from the establishment, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum as the social conservatives, and Rand Paul and Ted Cruz from the grassroots base of the party.

While some have said that Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) could get a look, one name that has been flying under the radar, at least until recently, and could prove to be a formidable candidate is Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN).

Many pundits have opined that the Republican Party will need to nominate a governor in 2016, someone with executive experience. The usual names mentioned in the next breath are Christie and Bush as well as Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker.

Though he’s only been in office for a short time, Pence, who is been quietly making the rounds at some Republican state convention, has legislative experience and, now, executive experience. As Philip Klein explains, Pence also has something that the other Republican governors lack — limited government, grassroots credentials:

Jeb Bush for President? Thanks, but no thanks…

Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush knows that the nation is wary of putting another Bush in the White House, so why is he considering a run for president? That’s a question that many are asking, even as Republican donors are reportedly trying to draft the former Florida governor for 2016 after Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) became a less viable candidate.

Nevermind that Jeb Bush would have a tough time convincing Americans to elect another member of his family for president. Sure, each candidate rises and falls on his or her own merits, but there’s no question that the “Bush brand” was damaged after George W. Bush’s presidency, making Barack Obama’s ascendence to the Oval Office a possibility.

Regardless of how the nation views President Obama as it approaches the 2016 cycle, Jeb Bush would have a hard time overcoming voter fatigue with his family. This is a reason why Christopher Caldwell recently wrote that the Republican donors working behind the scenes to draft him “are nuts.”

Bush will have problems with Republican Party’s conservative base, something that has already become apparent after his comments on immigration. His backing of Common Core education standards is also a nonstarter with grassroots activists.

The Law of Unintended Consequences: GOP Style

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane right quick. Back to the late Summer of 2012 to a little place called Tampa, Florida and a little event known as the Republican National Convention.

As I reported back during this time, the GOP, for some unexplained and borderline-obsessive reason, was desperate to “maintain the narrative” that the GOP was a 100% united behind Mitt Romney. They thought it would be a good idea to completely re-write longstanding GOP rules and bylaws to keep Dr. Ron Paul from getting the guaranteed speaking slot that would come with his having captured the plurality of delegates in five states.

So, led by Romney’s lawyer, Ben Ginsberg, and the most awful Republican of all time, John Sununu, the GOP did just that - completely reworking and reshaping the entire power structure of the GOP.

As Rick Ungar mentioned in his column at Forbes.com yesterday, the main reason this was done was to put out that pesky Ron Paul fire and also to ensure a smooth process for Romney’s reelection during the 2016 delegate process.

Of course, there is one little problem there. Romney didn’t win, so now the GOP is stuck with Rule 40 that now mandates that a candidate has to have a majority (rather that plurality) of delegates from eight (instead of five) states.

With the very crowed field that the GOP primary season will almost undoubtedly see, is there a real concern that we might get to the 2016 Convention without the ability to nominate a candidate?

Rand Paul responds to Ted Cruz, other foreign policy critics

After months of attacks from hawkish conservatives against his foreign policy positions, especially in light of the situation in Crimea and escalating tensions with Russia, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) responded to critics on Monday in an op-ed at Breitbart.

Though the op-ed echoes previous defenses of his foreign policy positions, including an attempt to “correct the record” in a pre-CPAC interview with The Hill, the editorial was mostly pointed toward Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), though Paul never mentioned him by name.

But the lede in the op-ed is an unmistakeable jab at Cruz, who publicly stated on Sunday that he disagrees with Paul on foreign policy citing President Ronald Reagan’s vision of America’s role in the world.

“Every Republican likes to think he or she is the next Ronald Reagan. Some who say this do so for lack of their own ideas and agenda,” wrote Paul at Breitbart. “Reagan was a great leader and President. But too often people make him into something he wasn’t in order to serve their own political purposes.

Paul explained that Reagan was willing to talk with Mikhail Gorbachev, though he advanced the idea of a strong national defense and “peace through strength.” He notes that Reagan was reasoned in foreign policy decisions, citing his decision to pull back our military presence in Lebanon after a 1983 bombing claimed the lives of 241 Marines.

Rand Paul talks CPAC straw poll win, young people on Fox News Sunday

Rand Paul on Fox News Sunday

Fresh off a successful weekend at Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) joined Fox News Sunday to talk about his straw poll victory and young voters’ disenfranchisement with President Barack Obama.

“[T]he one thing about CPAC it’s just chock full of young people,” Paul told host Chris Wallace. “There are young people everywhere, and I think young people, their lives sort of rotate, and, you know, disseminate.”

“Everything goes out through their cell phone and they are very aware of their privacy,” he continued, “and they don’t think when the government tells them that the Fourth Amendment doesn’t protect your cell phone, doesn’t protect your records, they don’t accept that, so I think not only conservative young people from colleges and high school, I think young people across the country are fed up with the government that says, ‘Hey, the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to your records, doesn’t apply to your cell phone.’”


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