The big media story from the debate will be Marco Rubio’s confrontation with Chris Christie. But the larger picture might be about how well Donald Trump did.
Trump was relatively reserved. He wasn't bombastic. Or erratic. He was—by Trumpian standards—presidential? Okay, let's not get crazy. Trump wasn't able to stay in check for the full three hours—he couldn't help himself from lashing out at Cruz in his closing statement. And where candidates often lash out at the media when they get in trouble in a debate, Trump attacked the audience. The move was classic pro-wrestling—like Vince McMahon baiting the crowd. And it was so crazy that it kind of worked.Read more
Do Republicans deserve to lose? Consider the state of play as we write this in late January, just days from the first GOP nominating contests.
The Republican frontrunner is a longtime liberal whose worldview might best be described as an amalgam of pop-culture progressivism and vulgar nationalism. His campaign rallies are orgies of self-absorption, dominated by juvenile insults of those who criticize him and endless boasting about his poll numbers.Read more
When political strategist Karl Rove spoke in Washington last week, he was reluctant to talk about the 2016 presidential race. His most extensive comment to a packed crowd at the American Enterprise Institute was to say that the Republican nominee should emphasize “economic security" for everyone, safety from attack, and national unity.
Rove stuck to his topic, William McKinley and his path to winning the presidency in 1896, about which he has written a superb book, The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters. That election is famous for the political realignment it created and the 36-year Republican era that followed.
But Rove achieves something new. He elevates McKinley's status to thatRead more
The conventional wisdom about Republican presidential nominations goes something like this: Either (1) a single candidate wins Iowa and New Hampshire, then sweeps the rest of the field; or (2) the winner in Iowa fails to take New Hampshire, and we wait a few weeks for South Carolina and Nevada to figure out who the nominee will be. Either way, the whole thing wraps up early, and the later contests do not matter.
These scenarios have played out, though, when the top candidates have been generally acceptable to the majority of Republicans. Under those circumstances, letting Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada sort out the candidates makes sense: The rest of the party will endorse that selection.Read more
The Charleston debate may have been more consequential than it looked at first glance. For starters, neither Jeb Bush nor John Kasich nor Ben Carson registered. (Except for Bush’s bizarre decision to make his most impassioned argument of the campaign in service of the rights of Muslim citizens from foreign countries. This was political malpractice.) The night further underscored the extent to which the race has really drilled down to four plausible candidates, who are competing in two very different races.
In the Christie vs. Rubio war, you saw a gotcha fight over Christie's past transgressions on conservative policy orthodoxy.Read more
The Republican National Committee is responding to Barack Obama's final State of the Union Address by releasing this video, focusing on national security failures:
The web ad is titled, "The State Of Our Union Is Less Safe."
“After seven years under President Obama, America has become less prosperous, less safe, and less free," the chairman of the RNC, Reince Priebus, says in a statement. "Americans are reminded daily of this president's failures and broken promises, whether it's higher costs under ObamaCare, the continued decline of the middle class, or the increased threat posed by ISIS and radical Islamic terrorists.Read more
After nearly a year of buildup, the Republican nomination process is finally set to begin. What do we know about how things will unfold?
Precious little, as it happens. This is the most open Republican nomination battle in a generation, if not more. The large number of candidates, the unpredictable behavior of Donald Trump, and the lack of a clear frontrunner all conspire to make this race as hard to predict as defeating Garry Kasparov in a game of three-dimensional chess. Time and again, predictions about the state of the race have been quickly exposed as erroneous.
These forecasting errors could persist. In fact, there are four very good reasons why we might not have our first clue about the real shape of the race untilRead more
Sioux Center, Iowa -- Ted Cruz was running a few minutes late for his appearance at Dordt College, having to reply to the latest provocation from Donald Trump without angering the erratic businessman.
Earlier in the day, Trump had wondered aloud whether Cruz might be ineligible for the presidency because he was born in Canada. Cruz has sedulously avoided criticizing Trump, even as he eagerly attacks other candidates. So Cruz once again offered a kind of jocular nonresponse response.Read more
On the surface it seems clear why Donald Trump’s campaign is effective. His fame, bluster, wit, and intuitive sense for one-liners can be easily converted into media currency and are symbiotic with the mechanisms and values of the digital era. But none of this would avail were it not for a disillusionment with the political class so deep and visceral that his supporters consent to the opposite of what is normally expected from right-leaning candidates: respect for traditional values; proven party loyalty; morals, manners, and maturity.
Nor would his appeal have been the same if Trump had garnered his fame from, say, the comedy circuit or the silver screen or the baseball diamond. It is his business credentials thatRead more
'Twas the night before Christmas, when out on the stump
Not a creature was stirring, not even a Trump;
The pundits were poring o'er laptops with care,
In hopes that enlightenment soon would be theirs;
The pollsters were nestled all snug in their beds;
While margins of error tapdanced in their heads;
And Susan with Chekhov, and I with Lee Child,
Had just settled down for a fun evening wild.
When out in the drive there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.Read more
Tuesday's debate wasn't boring, exactly. There was a good deal of substance and some demolition derby, too. Also, there was some real news toward the end when Trump doubled down on staying in the Republican party and not running a third-party candidacy if someone else is the nominee. But I don't know that the debate altered the strategic balance of power in this race in any meaningful way.
But it did get me thinking about the general election. To my mind, the most likely nominees, in descending order of probability, are Rubio, Cruz, and Trump. And watching them, it struck me that the consensus views about each of their chances against Hillary Clinton may not be correct.
Let's start with Rubio, who remains myRead more
Texas senator Ted Cruz kicked off Thursday's Republican Jewish Coalition presidential forum in Washington with a speech filled with applause lines that revved up the crowd.
Cruz focused primarily on national security and foreign policy, touting his record in the Senate and displaying his knack for rhetorical bombs. It went over well with the audience.
His biggest round of applause came when he made a pledge about the nuclear deal with Iran. "If I am elected president, I have pledged in my very first day in office to rip to shreds this catastrophic deal," he said. Audience members cheered and stood in their seats.
Cruz earned cheers for his characterization of the current stakes. "I believe this nation needs aRead more
The process of winnowing the Republican presidential field to a few candidates is beginning to take its toll, though the first actual voting won’t occur until February.Read more
There were a few weird moments at the debate last night, but none was stranger than the crowd reaction when John Kasich and Jeb Bush were talking about immigration. Both were unapologetically pro-amnesty. Neither bothered to make concessions about how problematic the breakdown of the rule of law is when it comes to illegal immigration. Bush didn't even make a kabuki gesture toward securing the border.Read more
President Obama inserted himself into the 2016 Republican presidential primary last night in New York City.
Mocking Republicans' complaints about the third presidential debate, which was sponsored by CNBC, Obama said that if they can't handle the moderators, they won't be able to worry the Chinese and Russians.Read more
A big part of liberal media bias is the insatiable need to create drama about any intra-party Republican disagreements, while downplaying or ignoring Democratic divisions.Read more
The Republican candidates for president were remarkably unified in the (few) policy preferences they espoused at their debates on Wednesday night. All support cutting taxes and reducing regulation, and all oppose crony capitalism. The candidates may be remarkably diverse in terms of ethnicity and race: Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are Hispanic (and, apparently, so is Jeb Bush); Ben Carson is black; Bobby Jindal is Indian, etc.Read more
In the undercard Republican debate on CNBC, Lindsey Graham bemoaned politicians who lie for political points:Read more
In a lot of ways, tonight’s Republican debate looks like the lowest-stakes of the three debates so far. We know what the candidates all look like in a debate setting; we know which lanes they're each slotted into. And while there will be ten candidates on stage, the field really isn't that big anymore-a few of these are zombie campaigns, just waiting for the candidate to put them down.Read more
The Florida Republican party has released video of Hillary Clinton supporters being unable to name an accomplishment of the former first lady, senator, and secretary of state. To make matters worse, the supporters the Florida GOP interviews are at a Clinton campaign event.
Watch here:Read more
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