And I still can’t believe it. Honestly, after witnessing Donald Trump’s campaign from the beginning, I have to come back to the question — how on earth could anyone run such an cringeworthy, divisive, unending gong show of a race and still win the White House?!
There is only one answer I can come up with: the Trump campaign wanted it more. That’s it, in a nutshell.
That, and the fact that voters really were mad as hell at Washington D.C., and they expressed their outrage the only way they could: by voting for the guy who wasn’t from D.C. and had no political experience. They sure as hell weren’t going to change things by voting in Hillary Clinton, that was for sure. They were ready to boot the Establishment, and Trump connected with that mood and caught fire in a major way. It was a sight to behold.
His campaign simply outworked and outhustled Clinton. No doubt about it, Trump’s criss-crossing of the country, staging rallies in so many of these battlegrounds, paid off. He even paid visits this year to places like Montana and North Dakota, and my buddy Brian Zinchuk even went down to North Dakota and hurled questions at Trump at a news conference there — the highlight of his career.
Trump went everywhere, and it paid off. I think it was telling that Trump made a last-minute decision to stage one last rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan the night before the election — after hearing that Hillary was staging a rally there. Trump left nothing to chance. No wonder he won the election, in spite of himself.
During this campaign, Donald Trump was crude, lewd, and oftentimes rude. He insulted opponents, had no end of verbal gaffes and embarrassments, and was embroiled in controversy right from the beginning. Members of his own party disowned him, his own convention was chaotic, and the debates were a circus act. The media absolutely hated him, with editorial boards all over the United States rejecting his bid for President.
And yet Trump won the campaign. For better or worse, everyone was talking about him, all campaign long.
He won by setting the agenda from day one. His issues — on immigration, trade, terrorism and law and order — were exactly in tune with the hot issues going on in America. The Democrats kept on trashing him for promoting this dark vision of America, but the reality is Trump was in tune with what was happening, and proposing to address the problems. I still think he was offering dead-wrong solutions, building walls and all that, but at least he was proposing something.
As for Hillary Clinton, all the baggage associated with her 33,000 deleted emails and all the other failures and controversies that she and the Democrats had been associated with over the past eight years finally caught up with her. What finished her off was when James Comey reopened the FBI investigation into her emails, and that simply reminded voters about all the reasons why they hated the Clintons.
But I think what really ticked people off was her campaign’s overall disrespect for the electorate. It really was one of the most arrogant, above-the-fray campaigns I have ever seen anywhere. When Hillary went on stage to label Trump voters as “deplorables,” it really was an insult to the voters. You can’t do that in an election — you can’t slam the supporters of the other candidate. It’s as if you’re ignoring their legitimate concerns. I think that statement made people even more mad, particularly these suffering blue-collar workers who felt their concerns weren’t being taken seriously, and it made them even more determined to get rid of the Democrats.
That was probably the biggest gaffe of the campaign — bigger than all of Trump’s gaffes, and that says a lot.
And Hillary was totally out-hustled on the stump, holding fewer rallies and blowing off entire states like Wisconsin because her campaign assumed that state was in the bag. Meanwhile, Trump had gone to Milwaukee and made his big speech there imploring African-Americans to abandon the do-nothing Democrats. (“What have you got to lose?”) As I said, the Trump campaign was everywhere.
For me, the surprise of the election was what happened in Wisconsin. I simply couldn’t believe Wisconsin had gone for Trump. I was watching the Fox News coverage online on election night and when they called Wisconsin for Trump, I was going “OMG, Trump is going to win.”
And then they called Pennsylvania for Trump, where Trump was trailing almost all night, and I couldn’t believe that, either. This was the political equivalent of the Cubs winning the World Series.
The flip of the whole rust belt from blue to red — Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania — was the deciding factor of the election, just as director Michael Moore had predicted when he wrote about it over the summer. The same voters who put President Barack Obama back into office because of his bailout of the auto industry were the same ones who were mad as hell this time about NAFTA and TPP and their jobs being shipped overseas.
No doubt about it — the voters of the rustbelt are the kingmakers of American politics. They elected Ronald Reagan (the famed “Reagan Democrats”), they put in Bill Clinton and then Obama, and now they’ve put in Trump. And I’m surprised, because Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have notorious reputations for letting down Republican presidential candidates on election night. They couldn’t even carry Wisconsin with Paul Ryan on the Romney ticket in 2012. The last GOP candidate to carry Wisconsin was, in fact, Reagan. The last one to carry Pennsylvania was Bush, in 1988.
Every election since then, the GOP would think they would have a chance to win these states, and every time, they’d lose. Until last Tuesday. Holy cow.
You could tell that all the Clinton supporters at the Javits Center in New York were shellshocked on election night by what transpired. It seemed like they really took it hard, everyone was crying.
It’s bad enough to lose an election even when you expect it, but it’s far worse when you think you’re about to make history (first female President) and when almost all the polls had your side winning the election. Instead, you are sitting there in the hall watching the big screen and witnessing shock defeats in absolute locks like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and Michigan, three states you thought for sure were going to put you in the White House. No wonder the Clinton supporters were crying or throwing up.
We should have seen this upset coming, though. Everyone saw the big crowds and excitement Trump was getting in these states, everyone saw the outrage being expressed in the primary results of both parties, no less, and yet right to the end of the campaign no one wanted to believe it.
Well, believe it. The craziness we have come to expect in American politics over the last year, ever since that famous Trump escalator ride to announce his candidacy, gets to continue on for four long years.
And then we’ll have another election. You know what we’re in for in 2020: the same clown show we got in 2016. Trump II: The Sequel. God help us all.
So, that is about all I have to say about the US election. Now, it’s time to decompress and look forward to the next big election campaign of significance.
That’s right, folks: the French presidency! “France 2017.” But honestly, the French will have an impossible task topping what we just witnessed from the USA.
It has been a bad last several days for “Crooked Hillary” Clinton, as Donald Trump loves to call her. All this business of these emails showing up on Anthony Weiner’s laptop, followed by FBI director James Comey reopening the investigation of the Clinton emails, has opened the hornets’ nest against Clinton in the past several days.
It has been nonstop coverage for days of Clinton scandals: deleted emails, the Clinton Foundation, everything to do with Weiner, you name it. Plus, you have all these WikiLeaks happening. It has been dismal.
All the Clinton critics, who say this is all a preview of what a Hillary Clinton administration would be like, are absolutely right! It’s going to be four long years of scandal and investigations of Hillary, assuming she isn’t impeached first. This woman truly is looking like the female Nixon.
Then you look at the opposition and you go “what a choice!” Still, it seems like some people are beginning to forget how big a P.T. Barnum act the Trump campaign has been up to this point.
He’s been on a roll lately going to rally after rally, attracting big crowds and bashing “Crooked Hillary”, and assuring them “we’ll build the wall,” and urging voters to “drain the swamp!”.
Clearly, the race is getting tight again. Supposedly, there are states in play that have no business being in play at this point in the election: New Hampshire is too close to call, and Michigan is too close to call, and both campaigns are fighting in Pennsylvania, and the Trump campaign even plans a trip to Minnesota of all places!
Last night, though, was scary down in Reno, Nevada, as Trump was rushed off the stage by security. I’m thinking that incident may have slowed down some of Trump’s most recent momentum, simply because it reminded people of all his other out-of-control rallies he has had.
One thing Trump’s campaign keeps pointing out is that Hillary can’t draw a crowd on her own, and he’s right. She has to rely on the celebrities all the time. The other night she had a rally featuring Beyoncé and rapper Jay-Z, and was it ever expletive laden, with Jay-Z dropping the F bomb and using the N word, and so on. And Trump called them out for it and criticized it.
Last night, Hillary had a rally in Philadelphia where Katy Perry showed up, and there is going to be another big Hillary rally in Philadelphia on Election Eve in which they roll out Jon Bon Jovi. All in all, Trump isn’t impressed, he’s saying he doesn’t need any big celebrities at his rallies to draw people in. (Of course, Trump himself is a big celebrity but he glosses over that fact.)
Anyway, it seems to me Trump has the momentum right now, but whether it can carry him over the top is another question. It could be simply a case of the Republican base coming home to him, now that they all realize that Hillary has to be stopped at all cost. What’s going on reminds me of the end of Mitt Romney’s campaign four years ago, when he also supposedly had all this momentum and these big rallies with lots of people showing up. And he still lost.
There are now conflicting polls as to who’s actually ahead in this race. Quite honestly, I don’t think I believe any polls anymore after so many of them were wrong about Brexit, the British election, the Israel election, and even the Iceland election just last week. Remember these polls predicting an anti-establishment “Pirate” victory? What nonsense that turned out to be.
As for these latest US polls — while ABC News/Washington Post and most others gives the lead to Clinton, others such as Investors Business Daily and the USC/LA Times tracking poll have Trump in front!
Folks, somebody’s going to be wrong on Election Day. Whichever polling firms are wrong surely deserve to be put out of business.
Update: Now Comey has made his announcement that the review into these new emails is completed and the decision not to prosecute Clinton stands.
I don’t know what to make of this latest development. I’m sure the Clinton supporters will say “see, she isn’t crooked after all,” but Trump’s supporters will surely say Hillary’s getting away with something. So this latest news could just as easily hurt Hillary instead of help her, if the voters feel the same way.
Someone tried to storm the stage at Donald Trump’s rally tonight in Reno, Nevada and Trump was rushed off the stage by the Secret Service. Scary business, but it appears order was restored quickly. Story here.
We are at the weekend, a time when we all ought to take time out from following politics to tune into baseball or football, or hockey, or soccer from England like I’m doing now. Whatever will get you away from the nonstop, unedifying politics on CNN and Fox News.
This whole week has been a gong show, with the New York Times and others interviewing all these women hurling sexual accusations at Donald Trump, followed by Trump’s vicious pushback and threats to sue the Times, and his other rantings and ravings. He’s also been fighting fellow Republicans and trashing the “Establishment”. This Trump campaign is back to being what it was during the primaries: a maniacal, anti-everyone campaign.
All the bad campaign habits that the Trump effort needed to get out of its system before Labor Day are back and as bad as ever — undisciplinedness, going off-message, nonstop attacks on everyone in sight, you name it. Worse yet, his controversies managed to upstage this week’s latest WikiLeaks dump. This week ought to have been a thoroughly embarrassing one for Hillary Clinton, but this news is all being lost in the shuffle.
The “air of death” is rapidly taking over the Trump sinking ship. Americans are sick of Trump’s craziness and scandals, not to mention the general combativeness and hyper-partisanship of his biggest supporters who appear on TV. Even the attacks on Hillary Clinton and her hilarious husband Bill are getting tiresome, it just makes his whole campaign look negative. He’s clearly losing, and everyone knows it except Trump’s die-hard supporters who still are convinced he is winning.
Why do we know he is losing? According to this week’s polls, apparently even Utah is in play now, thanks in large part to Evan McMullin’s spoiler role there on the ballot. If it is even a race in Utah, a state that is traditionally one of the reddest Red States in the whole Union, Trump can forget the White House. Period. End of statement.
The news of the day is that the Donald Trump 2016 presidential run has taken on Steve Bannon to head their campaign.
Steve Bannon is the same guy who is executive chairman of Breitbart, the man who turned that organization away from being a mainstream conservative website to being a full-on vehicle for Trump and for the “Alt Right.” For those who don’t know what that means, as best as I have figured it out the Alt Right describes the nationalist, protectionist, isolationist, white-supremacist, anti-everyone crowd.
Needless to say, mainstream conservatives like Ben Shapiro, who worked for Bannon at Breitbart before quitting over the Michelle Fields fiasco, are appalled. In general, they see the Bannon hire as evidence Trump is going all-in with the Alt Right crowd instead of trying to expand his base – a sure-fire way to lose an election.
Also hired as campaign manager is Kellyanne Conway, which is fine, but she’s not really a professional campaign organizer as far as I can tell — she’s more an established professional pollster, which is different. I guess my main issue is that Trump really needs people who know how to run and organize on the ground and who can mobilize people to get out the vote, James Carville or Ed Rollins types of people. Bannon and Conway know about media and about messaging, which is great, but elections are ultimately won or lost on the ground.
And that’s the problem — Trump’s ground organization looks like a mess. I’m reading reports that Trump doesn’t even have many field offices set up in states he needs to win. Trump needs organization and he needs to start being presidential, but this Bannon hire is an especially bad sign. Pundits see it as a sign that Trump is determined to run a rock-em, sock-em campaign whether Republicans, or voters, like it or not.
Update: Kellyanne Conway went on PBS NewsHour and categorically told Judy Woodruff ‘no’, Trump is not embracing the Alt Right philosophy.
So here we go, the final night of the GOP convention, and Donald Trump will be giving his acceptance speech tonight on what sounds like a “law and order” theme. Thank God, I was getting tired of listening to all this Hillary-bashing. Right now, the RNC chair Reince Priebus is up there bashing Clinton. It’s basically the same stuff we’ve heard all week.
Hopefully, Trump will be more reserved in the Hillary-bashing and will look “presidential” tonight, for a change. His daughter Ivanka speaks tonight, too.
As for Ted Cruz, he explained today there was no way he was going to endorse someone who had insulted his wife and insulted his father like Trump had. So you can basically blame last night’s Cruz speech debacle on Trump, too, because he went too far during the campaign in bashing Cruz. What goes around, comes around.
As for my further thoughts on Trump’s nomination, here is my newspaper column which ran this week, in which I try to make sense of his rise to the top of the Republican Party. The key word is “try”. Obviously, I don’t think I’ll ever make any sense of him.
I guess the other big news on this day was of Roger Ailes resigning from Fox News, so if Fox News anchors look a little distracted in today’s coverage, that is why.
That is all the news for now, time to watch the rest of the convention.
Hi, we are still a couple of hours to the opening gavel. CNN has a rundown here of the agenda of items for this week. I guess the big event of today is Melania Trump speaking.
Also, I found this list of television coverage and if you aren’t thrilled with the number of hours NBC, CBS, ABC or FOX are devoting, don’t worry — gavel-to-gavel will be available on the cable news channels and online.
Today, I am going to link to the flood of stories stemming from Donald Trump’s unhinged, inflammatory post-Orlando mess of a speech in Manchester, New Hampshire the other day. The speech has basically drawn negative reviews from just about everyone I’ve seen.
I tuned in Trump’s speech myself the other day and honestly, it was quite jaw-dropping. About half the time I was going “right on, Donald, you give ’em hell!” while the other half was “Trump is completely nuts!!”
His effort Monday really reminded me of speeches WWE wrestlers would give at Wrestlemania or somewhere like that. It really was down to that level, this speech.
As I said before many times, Trump is really good at IDing the real problems facing America — like terrorism and ISIS. He’s excellent at that. What he is consistently no good at is articulating coherent, sensible, sober solutions on how to deal with these issues. And it’s been getting worse. In this New Hampshire speech, Trump takes the Islamophobic rhetoric to a new level as he slammed Muslim immigration, Syrian refugees, you name it. Now, the rest of the GOP are running for cover.
Anyway, here are some of the stories I’ve seen about Trump’s latest speech:
Donald Trump Has Lost the Plot – New Republic.
And in other news, Trump’s campaign has revoked the press credentials of the Washington Post. Typical.
And here’s an amusing piece, simply titled Sad!, on three campaign managers whose candidates all were hammered in the primaries by Donald Trump. All I will say is “sad!” aptly describes the state of the GOP and the entire presidential race at the moment.
It is the last primary night of the season, and I had to spend most of it on assignment. Anyway, there was little at stake, as Hillary Clinton has clinched the number of delegates needed for the Democratic nomination as of a day earlier. Victory in New Jersey simply was the icing on the cake tonight to remove all doubt. There is nothing more Bernie Sanders can do now to stop her. He may, or may not, finally quit — it would not surprise me if he stands on principle and fights on to the bitter end at the convention.
As for the Republicans, folks in that party probably wish there was some way to stop Donald Trump or shut his mouth — which, as you know, he has been opening again with incendiary remarks about a Mexican-American judge. Terrible. People have been hoping this guy would show some sign of turning the corner and becoming more presidential, but it isn’t happening. It just never stops with him.
Anyway, I’m going to now tune in to the California and Montana results to see if there is any drama left this night. I’m going to miss primary season — a lot.
The Libertarians held their convention in some hotel in Orlando, and unfortunately they looked every bit like a fringe group. I watched some of the proceedings on C-SPAN in between sporting events on TV. It was entertaining, but not in a good way. Quite honestly, it seemed like a lot of the delegates in there were lunatics. These folks were just way, way, way too into politics, there is no other way to describe them. The proceedings went on and on; the convention was full of “point of order” this and “point of information” that. It is amazing they got anything done. It surely was an unimpressive performance, and really bad television.
How these delegates were still able to do the right thing and nominate Gary Johnson for President, and his choice William Weld for Vice-President, is beyond me, but they managed. Even so, it took these foolish delegates two ballots to make their minds up. It should have been all over on the first for both of them. At least there weren’t any fights breaking out in the hall — unlike at Donald Trump’s rallies.
Johnson (pictured), for those who don’t know, was formerly Governor of New Mexico, and Weld was Governor of Massachusetts. After they were nominated, I noticed a lot of whining on social media from these true-Libertarians decrying the “sellout” of their principles and the “sellout” of their party to the Republicans. In reality, though, these two are more of a fit for the Libertarians given their views, which have been out of step with the social conservatives in the GOP for years. And the fact is there is a whack of “liberty” GOP supporters who are upset and in need of a new home, at least for this election cycle.
This ticket is surely going to produce the best election result the Libertarians have ever had — better than what that party deserves, frankly. These two are more experienced and, yes, more stable than what you will find on this year’s GOP ticket led by that wild man Trump. So yes, I’m impressed with their picks, but in general still unimpressed by the party. A lot of those delegates don’t know a good thing when they see it.
Meanwhile there are still a few #NeverTrump social conservatives still trying to decide what to do. I read some blurb about how William Kristol was teasing on Twitter that some well-known conservative was about to enter the race for President as an Independent. And Trump responded his usual way by calling Kristol a “dummy.” We’ll see. If an independent Conservative joins the race for President, I say bring it on. I’ll really enjoy seeing Trump’s reaction to that news, if it happens.
On to the Canadian conventions, and I am surprised that the Liberals (in Winnipeg) and Conservatives (in Vancouver) scheduled their gatherings on exactly the same weekend. They sort of cancelled each other out, publicity-wise.
But on the positive side, both conventions were a heck of a lot more successful than the shambles that the NDP put on earlier this year in Edmonton, where they voted for the LEAP Manifesto and then also stabbed leader Tom Mulcair in the back. That was political suicide at its finest. But enough about the NDP.
I would say the Conservatives convention went very smoothly. Not only was there a classy farewell to Stephen Harper on the first night, but they also voted to change their constitution to get rid of their policy opposing same-sex marriage.
Interestingly, I noticed most of the Saskatchewan delegation voted to keep the policy! That doesn’t surprise me, though, because the Saskatchewan wing of the party is hopelessly full of social conservatives and family-values people. Anyway, that was interesting.
I also notice a lot of prospective leadership candidates were campaigning and had their hospitality suites going, and that Kevin O’Leary had officially joined the party. Gee, I almost wish I was there.
I wasn’t really tuned in to what the Liberals were doing, their convention seemed boring in comparison. I guess the big news was that Bob Rae made a gagging reflex when a tribute was paid to Stephen Harper by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. I actually find that kind of funny.
That is all for the moment.
Well, the final KO to this Republican presidential race was delivered Tuesday night in Indiana. Donald Trump won so handily that he has driven both Ted Cruz and John Kasich out of the race. Both are done, while Bernie Sanders, fresh off an Indiana victory, still trudges on in his hopeless Democratic race against Hillary Clinton. So the GOP race has ended, even before the Democratic race has. Those professional prognosticators who’ve bet against Trump and said he would never win look foolish today. This Republican presidential race is in the refrigerator.
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to miss all these Tuesday nights and Saturday nights tuning in to GOP primary and caucus results, and I’m going to miss all these wild Republican debates that have taken place. But there is a silver lining to all of this. We can now all look forward to this wild man Trump going out there on the stump and wreaking havoc on the American political establishment for several more months yet. And maybe for four years after that, too, in the White House.
It’s been fun, but trust me, more fun is ahead. We’re just getting started.
It has been a big day and night of news. As you know, earlier I was waiting and watching for these dangerous tornadoes to hit Kansas and Oklahoma today. After a while, I got tired of waiting and tuned in the primary night coverage from the Northeast instead, where Donald Trump swept Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island on the GOP side, while Hillary Clinton has taken three states and Bernie Sanders one (Rhode Island) on the Democratic side. (Connecticut is still not decided as of this writing.)
To me, it still looks like Sanders is wasting his time remaining in the Democratic race. Trump actually just said in his speech tonight that he thinks Sanders ought to run as an independent! I’m guessing maybe he could, because that is the only shot he has now at the White House. If that indeed happens, wow, would that ever pose problems for Hillary.
As for the GOP side, it really looks now like John Kasich and Ted Cruz are wasting their time. I don’t see how anyone can make any kind of case of denying Trump the nomination, even though lots of Republicans still hate him. The cold hard truth is that Trump is winning too many states. I know Cruz and Kasich have this sort of “alliance” going now to try and stop Trump in the primaries, and I know Cruz is going through the motions interviewing vice-presidential candidates (including Carly Fiorina).
But efforts to deny Trump the nomination, after this latest string of wins, really do threaten to be a debacle for the party. If this happens at the convention it really will reek of the “establishment” trying to block the will of the people, and it would surely lead to Trump quitting the party and running as an independent. But I don’t think that will happen, because Trump looks like he will clean up the remaining states anyway. He is certainly going to take California, in my opinion. Honestly, this looks like it is all over but the shouting.
So that is my thought about that. The other thing I was following tonight was that crazy Toronto Raptors comeback against the Indiana Pacers to win 102-99 — a game decided right at the end when it was ruled Indiana failed to get off a three point bucket in time for the buzzer. So the Raptors are up in their series 3-2, and we’ll see if they can advance in game six.
And speaking of Indiana — that state is next up on the hit list for Trump and crew on the road to Cleveland.
Brief update on the presidential race in the wake of “Western Tuesday,” which produced the split verdict a lot of people expected it would.
But yet again, the story is Donald Trump, who is now embroiled in, you guessed it, another fight. It looked for a moment this week as if he was turning the corner, becoming more presidential. But that was before he went and trashed the looks of Ted Cruz‘s wife Heidi, this after the Make America Awesome Super-PAC trashed Donald’s wife Melania over her racy GQ spread from years ago.
These people obviously didn’t get the memo that candidates’ wives are supposed to be off-limits during a campaign. This is another new low for a race that is full of them.
How many more months until the election? Not until November, you say?
I have been watching yet another Donald Trump livestream, this time of his big rally in Phoenix today. He was going on and on bashing China and Mexico and bashing his opponents, and calling Mitt Romney a loser again, and so on.
I’ve come to the conclusion Trump is just out of control. This week, the latest controversy was about whether or not Trump could be blocked from the Republican nomination at the national convention in Cleveland this summer. There is all this talk this week of a brokered convention, and Trump was going around saying that there would be riots at the convention if he was blocked from the nomination. People were up in arms and saying this talk disqualified Trump from the Presidency. This is on top of all the other outrageous things Trump has said or done to disqualify himself from the Presidency.
I don’t think Trump really wants to encourage people to riot at the convention — but he is giving the impression he couldn’t care less if violence happens or not. That is disturbing, because the one thing you need in the White House is someone who will at least stand up for maintaining order in the country. Heck, even when the polarizing Nixon got in, his theme was “bring us together.” But we aren’t getting any lip service to bridge-building from this Trump campaign, that is for sure. Trump ought to be telling his supporters to take the high road and cool off a little, but I don’t think he cares. That’s my take on it.
Increasingly, it looks like the voters don’t care, either. We shall see if the usually sane, upright GOP voters in Utah and Arizona, who are voting soon, will decide to reject all this Trump nonsense — or join the rest of the country in supporting it.
Update: I understand there were protesters blocking the highway to Trump’s rally today.
It is an important primary day tomorrow in Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and of course Florida — the same state I flew past last December on my way to my vacation in Cuba.
In honor of that important primary state, I have put up this logo of the Florida Gators — which illustrates perfectly what is likely to happen to Marco Rubio tomorrow. He may be the state’s U.S. Senator, but he and his presidential hopes are likely going to be swallowed up by the Donald Trump juggernaut — just like what happens when alligators swallow up a human being. A Rubio defeat in Florida will surely finish him off.
(I guess I could have perhaps put up the Florida State Seminoles logo instead, to signify Rubio’s presidential campaign potentially getting the “tomahawk chop.” Either way, Rubio looks like toast.)
As for Ohio, it looks like John Kasich might win there, which would keep him alive for another week, perhaps. But really, the opponents to Trump are dropping like flies. If Rubio is KOed tomorrow and Trump also wins everywhere else, this could be it for everyone, Kasich and Ted Cruz included.
Over on the Democrat side, we have the potential for more Bernie Sanders upsets tomorrow as well. So be ready for a big night tomorrow — potentially a night when we could see a knock-out blow delivered in the presidential race.
Then after that who knows, maybe I’ll be able to concentrate on the Saskatchewan election race.
So that is the big US political story. I suppose the other news is the crisis over at Breitbart, with reporters quitting the conservative news site in disgust over its support for Donald Trump.
Other years we’ve seen “Twitter” and “Facebook” elections but 2016 has to be the “Year of the Livestreams”, because that is where all the action is.
This is especially true when it comes to the campaign of Donald Trump. His live streams of his political rallies are all over YouTube and are can’t-miss viewing every night.
They are too entertaining for their own good, with Trump insulting his opponents and being his usual self. Plus you never know what will happen — whether fights will break out in the crowd or whether people will storm the stage, and so on.
So I am watching that tonight. Trump is speaking in Boca Raton and the primary is in two days. The Democrats are also holding a CNN Town Hall in another primary state, Ohio. Fun times in US politics.
I don’t have much to say about the latest primaries today. I’m rapidly getting to the point where I am past caring — that is how disgusted I am with what is happening in the Upset States, I mean the United States.
Bottom line is Donald Trump won Michigan and Mississippi, and on the Democrat side Hillary Clinton won Mississippi and it has just been called in Michigan: Bernie Sanders won in a big upset.
Idaho polls have now closed and Ted Cruz is ahead there. (Update: he won.)
That is it for me for now. Results here.
I don’t have a lot more to say about the South Carolina results that others have not already said. After last night, the only three viable candidates left in the Republican race for President are Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and of course the now-undisputed frontrunner Donald Trump.
Also left are two other not-so-viable stragglers who both ought to quit. Ben Carson says he will stay on no matter what, but he is running out of money and electorally is a non-factor. John Kasich will likely stay in the race long enough to fight and win the Ohio primary (his home state) and deny Trump some much-needed delegates, but he hasn’t got much money either and is barely in the running in a lot of states.
Only Rubio and Cruz are in any sort of position to stop Trump anywhere, and even their ability to do that is questionable given the poll numbers in a lot of these upcoming states. I’ll tell you right now, these two ought to forget Nevada and focus their energies elsewhere. I think Trump should win Nevada easily, the state is tailor-made for him with all those blue-collar folks and casino workers voting for him. The real race will be in the South March 1.
The main news from South Carolina, however, is that it did its job in finally driving Jeb Bush out of the presidential race.
This frees up a sizeable chunk of the more moderate “establishment” vote and that should help Rubio, but the problem is Jeb may have stayed in this race one state too long. The stop-Trump effort really had to happen, or at least start happening, before South Carolina voted. Now, Trump has so much momentum that it may be too late.
Anyway, the bottom line is Jeb is done. Let me say: there was no campaign in more dire need of being put out of its misery than this effort. We were seeing Jeb having to call in family members to his rallies simply to get people motivated enough to show up at them. And then there was that rally in New Hampshire where Jeb had to implore the audience to “please clap!” It really was sad to watch this former presumptive GOP frontrunner go down in flames as badly as he did before the Trump juggernaut, but that is politics and political life can be cruel.
Yahoo Politics has this piece about awkward Jeb moments from this campaign, and Vox came up with this list of 17 saddest moments from his campaign. Anyhow, that’s it for South Carolina. On to Nevada for the GOP.
Read this piece from Howard Kurtz about that vicious, out of control CBS Republican debate from South Carolina on Saturday night.
As he pointed out, the general consensus from the media was that Donald Trump had a poor performance — he got piled on by Jeb Bush, he was booed by the audience, he attacked and insulted fellow Republicans, and his act was not received well. But then Kurtz referred to a headline from a Rich Lowry piece in National Review that said “Trump Was Half-Crazed — but Does Anyone Care?”
And that is the $64,000 question, folks, do people at home in South Carolina really care? Trump was really aiming his debate remarks not at the people in the hall who were booing him, but the masses watching on TV who probably agree with him! By that standard, Trump seemed to hold his own, because he hit really hard — especially when he was trashing Ted Cruz and calling him a liar and so on.
As for the audience booing him — well, so what? It looks like there is a big controversy brewing about whether or not the hall was stacked in favour of Trump’s establishment opponents.
In general, though, Trump was out of control. But it really does seem as if the crazier Trump is, the better his poll numbers seem to get.
Anyway, we shall see in the final South Carolina results on Feb. 20 what the impact is from this most recent, vicious, all-out war of a debate, one which I described on Twitter as “utter mayhem”. This CBS debate was more vicious than the last one for ABC News just prior to New Hampshire. The reason for the tense atmosphere: several candidates could be on their last legs. If you recall, the New Hampshire debate also had people really going after each other. Chris Christie really hammered Marco Rubio in that debate and the reason was obvious — Christie was fighting for his life (and, in fact, his campaign did go belly-up with the New Hampshire results). On Saturday, Rubio had a much better night, and you finally saw Jeb Bush putting up a fight, and it is all because Bush is fighting for his own survival against the other individuals who are trying to emerge as the alternative to Trump.
That, in a nutshell, was why this CBS debate was the most vicious yet. The stakes were high, because if something doesn’t happen very soon to stop Trump, all these rival campaigns could be doomed. And they know it.
Our friends in the Republican Party go right back to work beating up on each other tonight in South Carolina as CBS News hosts the latest presidential debate.
But casting a pall over it all is news of the death today of conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at age 79. That is really the big news today — not any of this Donald Trump v. Ted Cruz nonsense.
Among the stories circulating is a statement from Republican Senator Mitch McConnell who has called for the confirmation of his replacement to be pushed back until after the next election.
I have a feeling this will be a debate question tonight. Also, I think this kind of puts the Democrats on the spot and on the defensive a bit — this issue could make them look like the “playing politics as usual” people, which is not a good idea, especially this election year.
It is debate night again for the Democrats, but I don’t think any effort tonight by Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders can match the dramatics we have seen from the Republicans lately. Still, the debate from Wisconsin is about to start on PBS, and the live stream can be found here.
Before we all move on from New Hampshire I just want to say a few words about the state of the presidential race right now. I’ll stick with the GOP today, and save my rant on Hillary Clinton and her lousy sinking ship of a campaign for later on.
What happened yesterday for Donald Trump was absolutely the best case scenario for his campaign going forward. You could not have scripted it any better. Not only did he win by a massive margin in the “Live Free or Die” state, but looking at the results, the entire effort to stop him is a complete shambles.
There is no consensus on an “establishment” challenger at all. None. Marco Rubio, who was the best hope as a consensus going into Tuesday, crashed into fifth place on the heels of his disastrous ABC performance. While John Kasich did finish in second place behind Trump, based on what I’ve read in the National Review and other places he’s got very little strength in these upcoming states. His campaign organization is spread way too thin and money is in short supply; he basically bet the house on New Hampshire. And yes, it worked this time, but how long Kasich can last before the money runs out, I don’t know.
As for Jeb Bush, it was another lousy night, but because there is still no breakout candidate to oppose Trump and because Rubio did so poorly, Jeb is encouraged enough to stay in this race. He really ought to throw in the towel.
So even though we lost two candidates today – both Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie have suspended their campaigns — we really didn’t get the shakeout on the Republican side that was needed for a real stop-Trump coalition to emerge. Everyone else is still running, there is no real consensus on any one of them in particular, and not a lot of extra votes are freed up. And the candidate who finished second – Kasich – is the one who is least able to capitalize on it. In short, this situation is a mess.
Going forward, I agree with the pundits who say the candidate in the best position to rival Trump is Sen. Ted Cruz, since he finished third in New Hampshire which wasn’t exactly the best state for him anyway. His true-conservative message should appeal to more voters in the Southern states.
But Cruz, the Tea Party favorite, has lots of baggage. He’s burned so many bridges and ticked off so many people, and so much of the GOP establishment hates his guts. His confrontational stand-on-principle style of politics grates on people, especially those in his own party. If Cruz does emerge as number two to Trump, I really wonder if he will be able to consolidate enough support from supporters of the others who drop out.
In short, I kind of agree with Fred Barnes and his take in the Weekly Standard about the results. Trump trumped the field, big time, in New Hampshire. The results there have made the chore of trying to prevent him from winning the GOP nomination very difficult indeed.
Just got back home to find out the big New Hampshire primary results. Bernie Sanders clobbered Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side, while Donald Trump clobbered everyone on the Republican side.
Moreover, the rest of the GOP field is in utter chaos. It sounds like it was an awful night for Marco Rubio, and it looks like Chris Christie’s done, he is going home to New Jersey. And the biggest winner on the GOP side other than Trump: John Kasich. Second place means he lives on to South Carolina.
And now it’s on to the next one.
The polls have been closed in parts of New Hampshire for about twenty minutes as I write this, and in another 40 minutes all polls will be closed. Even though I was hoping there would be some definitive news by now of who is winning, there has been very little as of yet.
I guess I am out of luck as far as providing results is concerned, at least for now. I’ll be back here later tonight, and by then I am sure there will be news of some sort. See you later. I’m heading off now to cover a Chamber dinner.
Results are in in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire!
For the Democrats it is Bernie Sanders 4, Hillary Clinton 0. For the Republicans it is John Kasich 3, Donald Trump 2, everyone else 0. Fun stuff.
It is on to New Hampshire for most of the remaining Democratic and Republican field and I thought I would throw a few thoughts out there. In the end, really, I hesitate to join the chorus of people who are already overstating the significance of the results from Iowa. It is only one state, and too often its winners end up going down the tubes later. And everyone who covers politics knows this, yet you are seeing opinions from the “instant pundits” who think the Iowa results signify far more than they do.
All Iowa did for me was confirm things about the Donald Trump campaign that I have suspected all along — namely, that its lack of an overall organization would cost them dearly at some point. And in Iowa, it did. All the shortcomings of the Trump campaign were laid bare for everyone to see in the final results — he was out-organized on the ground by Ted Cruz, pure and simple. As for Trump’s idiot decision to pick fights with Megyn Kelly and skip the final Fox News debate, all that did was set the stage for a strong debate performance for Marco Rubio which helped him surge to within striking distance of Trump on caucus night. Anyway, let all of what happened in Iowa be a lesson for Trump. His campaign got schooled by the political pros in Iowa, badly. That is all I have to say on that.
Two things I want to say going into New Hampshire. First, I know that both Trump and Bernie Sanders have massive leads there at the moment, according to the polls. As you now know from Iowa, polls are for dogs. But also it should be pointed out that, traditionally, opinion is known to shift in NH after Iowa is over.
For proof of that, look no further than the surge to Gary Hart in 1984, when he went to NH and toppled Walter Mondale, who was supposed to have a massive lead. And part of the reason Hart did so well was because word had gotten out about how well Hart had done in Iowa. So again, that probably helps a guy like Rubio who really exceeded expectations in Iowa. For the people who don’t want either Trump or Cruz, Rubio is starting to look really good.
But also, it could be that Iowa ends up meaning nothing. Remember what happened in 1980 in Iowa, when George Bush upset Ronald Reagan? And it was eerily similar circumstances, too, to the 2016 race, with frontrunner Reagan infamously skipping a major debate right before the caucuses.
But look what happened after Iowa: Reagan basically ran the table. He slaughtered Bush in New Hampshire. And in the general election, Reagan slaughtered Jimmy Carter and was elected President.
Like I said before — Iowa is only one state. Don’t think for one moment the results mean Trump is finished. We could be far from finished with him and his big mouth.
In a nutshell: a big, big win for Ted Cruz, a good night for Marco Rubio, a humbling night for Donald Trump that should shut him up for a while. On the Democratic side, it is razor-thin between Hillary and Bernie.
And for Martin O’Malley and Mike Huckabee, this is the end. They confirmed tonight they are suspending their campaigns. And so the shakeout begins.
Well, it should be a fun night for the political junkies. There will be Iowa coverage tonight on Fox News (if you’re an elephant) or CNN (if you’re a donkey), as well as on C-SPAN and Politico. And of course, local coverage on WHO TV from Des Moines. I also plan regular updates on my Twitter feed.
So enjoy yourselves and be sure to fire up some popcorn to eat while you watch the results come in. It could be a long night (and in 2012, it was).
Tomorrow night is the big Fox News Republican presidential debate. We have good news and bad news. The good news is Rand Paul has made the cut and will actually be on the main stage this time.
The bad news is Donald Trump won’t be. This will surely disappoint Fox executives who were hoping for the usual ratings bump that his presence would bring to any debate, but unfortunately the petulant Trump has an issue with Megyn Kelly being the moderator. Anyway, here is the statement from Fox News on the situation.
I do not know what Trump or his people are thinking here. Avoiding debates is bound to make you look bad. Heck, I’ve covered election debates before where I’ve made a point of publishing pictures of the empty chairs of candidates who skipped out. But usually the people who don’t show up are the people who aren’t serious about winning anyway. It makes a candidate look like a rank amateur, skipping out on a debate.
Here, Trump looks like a guy who cannot take the heat. Not that it is likely to hurt him (more on that later), but still, it’s ridiculous. It’s like a guy who is the head chef at a restaurant who doesn’t want to show up to cook the food because a particularly demanding and obnoxious customer (Megyn Kelly) has made a reservation.
If you can’t take the heat, you really have no business being in the kitchen and that goes for anyone wanting to be a chef or a President of the United States.
As for the other candidates, I am absolutely sure at least one of them will get a big reaction by saying “I’m really happy to be here tonight” when posed their first question. And I’m sure another will roast Trump by saying anyone who cannot deal with Megyn Kelly is unfit to deal with the Russians or with ISIS. Maybe one of them will make a joke that maybe Trump has decided to drop out of the race.
Rand Paul has already quipped this will be the best debate they ever had, and that “the IQ level of the debate went up” with news Trump won’t be there. Expect similar piling-on by the rest of the field tomorrow.
My point is tomorrow’s debate should still be fun, just to see how the other candidates bash Trump without him being there to defend himself.
As a side note — I notice my former journalism school classmate Lisa Oake, who lives in Singapore these days, wrote a piece for Forbes trying to make sense of Trump’s domination of the media and lessons to learn from it.
It’s nice to see someone try to do that — make sense of Trump — because I gave up on that attempt a long time ago.
I can see why he’s popular. His speeches and rallies are entertaining and he’s a larger than life personality, and he clearly has a sense of humor, and he takes no prisoners. Trump is fully prepared to take his enemies down a notch, and people like that.
Trump has also always been good at identifying the real problems in America — such as political correctness, for example. He nails those issues dead-on. His trouble has always been with his quasi-Fascistic, Mussolini-esque proposals to fix the problems in America, which always come across as if he thought it up on the fly five minutes before he went on stage to speak.
Yet Trump seems to get away with it. It is almost as if the guy is the Teflon candidate — none of the conventional rules apply to him.
For example, he made that outlandish comment the other day about how he could “shoot somebody” and not lose any voters. That’s the kind of unhinged statement that would normally sink a candidate in our uptight times we live in. Not Donald Trump. In fact, I’m convinced his support goes up with every outlandish statement he makes, because that is exactly what the American people are looking for. They’re looking for the Un-candidate.
Which is maybe why Trump probably thinks he can get away with a usually foolish move like skipping out on a Fox News television debate.
We’ll see. Iowa caucuses are next Monday.
Welcome to News from Nowhere for this Tuesday, and as usual I am once again watching the live continuing coverage of the US presidential campaign on my iPad. This is my life, folks, this is what passes for entertainment in my household at the moment.
As I write this, I am watching a live feed of Donald Trump campaigning in Ames, Iowa. I guess the big news is he is getting a big endorsement from none other than Sarah Palin herself tonight. So the ultimate “rogue” candidate for Vice-President is endorsing this year’s “rogue.” Makes sense to me.
I will say this about Trump: I may not agree with his policies and his rhetoric, he really is the “intolerance” candidate as I said before, but I agree with some of what he is saying — like whenever he says “America is going to hell.”
And you know what? He’s right! Just look at what is going on down there with their politics! It’s all this hate-mongering. Of course, you also have people shooting at each other, there, too. America is really a mess. So yeah, Trump’s right, but it is his proposed “solutions” that leave me shaking my head in disbelief.
Anyway, here is the News from Nowhere.
First, there is the news about President Obama and Iran. I guess Republicans consider this bad news and proof the world is going to hell.
It is not just America going to hell. Tennis is going to hell. The sport is embroiled in a match-fixing scandal. This is bad, bad news.
The Academy Awards are going to hell. Their nominations came out and the acting nominations are lily-white, as usual. No wonder African American folks are upset and boycotting — they are underrepresented both in the nominations and in the movie business in general. They have every right to be mad.
The Canadian economy is going to hell. The dollar is sinking and the oil industry is a mess, and people are out of work everywhere. Opposition leader Rona Ambrose is begging and pleading for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to do something about the situation. Also, the Conservative leadership vote is officially set for next May and Kevin O’Leary is thinking of running.
And terrorism in Burkina Faso has claimed the lives of Canadians — six of them.
Canadian journalism is going to hell. But this is nothing new. Just today, Postmedia cut 90 newspaper jobs by merging newsrooms in four cities. Good luck trying to gain more readers with a decision like that. The “race towards mediocrity” continues for the media business in Canada, thanks to all these layoffs. And all of us notice that the quality of the finished product is really suffering.
This is the type of news which makes people still in journalism in Canada want to quit the business, or better yet, leave the country. Maybe it’s time to move to China and cover the economic problems there. Come to think of it, maybe not.
In other journalism news, Al Jazeera America is shutting down. Honestly, though, few Americans were watching.
It is a bad time for music. Glenn Frey of the Eagles is dead. This follows on the heels of news that another big legend, David Bowie, is dead. And Celine Dion lost both her husband Rene Angelil and her brother Daniel within days. Wow. Tragedy.
I guess I haven’t been on the media bandwagon about El Chapo getting recaptured or about the interview Sean Penn did with him for Rolling Stone which helped landed him back in captivity in the first place. Anyway, this has been a huge story.
Also, I haven’t seen Making a Murderer on Netflix so I can’t comment on the recent controversy about whether the filmmakers left stuff out in their account of accused killer Steven Avery. For the record, Nancy Grace is convinced this guy is guilty, but a lot of viewers of this show seem to disagree.
Finally, I should point out this past weekend was a cold and miserable one here on Canada’s prairies with wind chills below minus 40! It’s been terrible!
Is there any good news out there? Just this — Canadian Mike Watson won the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event.
Happy dead of winter, folks. That is all.
I am done my weekend reporting duties, and the NFL games are over, so tonight for rest and relaxation I going to spend tonight watching politics. It figures. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley are on stage for the NBC-YouTube debate from Charleston, South Carolina, their final debate before the Iowa caucuses. That is going to be my evening.
I will talk more about the Fox Business GOP debate and the whole GOP race later on this weekend.
Right now I am too busy watching this debate — it’s far more entertaining than what passes for politics in Canada. Sort of like the difference between the NFL and the CFL, when you think of it.
Well, finally, at long last, Donald Trump’s arena-filling US Presidential campaign has released its first political commercial on Monday.
About time, too. I was wondering whether his ads were ever going to show up on Boston TV stations, which have been littered for weeks with commercials from the PAC backing the sinking Jeb Bush campaign, and from the Marco Rubio folks, and the Chris Christie folks, and others, all aimed at New Hampshire. But nothing from Trump, until now.
Just as I expected, though, his new TV commercial is like his whole campaign has been so far: amateur hour-ish, and loaded with Trump’s usual Mexico-and-Muslim-bashing we have all come to expect.
Most controversial was the wall footage supposedly showing Mexican migrants “at our southern border” — except this footage was actually from Morocco.
You can see for yourself the Trump ad effort below. Seriously, folks, I can’t believe this campaign is actually winning.
Tonight the GOP presidential contenders again go at it on the debate stage, this time in Las Vegas in swing-state Nevada on CNN. The debate is at the Venetian, owned by famous Republican donor and renowned anti-online-poker-activist Sheldon Adelson.
And once again, the focus is on another famous real estate tycoon and casino-owner: Donald Trump, whose domination of the Republican race continues to baffle the heck out of me and everyone else, given all his idiot statements and comments as of late.
Even while I was in Cuba and more or less cut off from the Western world in general, I found out about Trump’s latest outrage: a call for a ban on all Muslims travelling to the USA.
That’s right. All Muslims — the entire religion.
The media, and other Republicans, freaked out over this statement. They all denounced his comments as un-American and reacted as if Trump was some sort of dangerous individual.
I have a somewhat different take on it. I don’t think Trump is dangerous — only his big mouth is. This is simply another example of Trump opening his mouth and saying something nonsensical before actually thinking it through. We have seen this sort of thing from him way too often in this campaign, starting with his anti-Mexico ranting and raving early on. He has since moved on from trashing Mexicans to trashing Muslims. I am now wondering who’s next? Canadians?
It would not surprise me. This guy Trump really is looking like the “intolerance” candidate of this election.
I keep wondering when the heck the Trump bandwagon is finally going to hit the ditch. I keep waiting for the anti-Trump coalition to emerge and coalesce around somebody. On the one hand, you have some polls now suggesting that Ted Cruz has moved into the lead in Iowa now with the backing of the social conservatives in that state. On the other hand, national polls are giving Trump over 40 percent of the GOP vote — an enormous lead.
What I don’t understand is Trump is supposed to be winning, yet I don’t see ads from him on the Boston TV stations, which all beam into New Hampshire to voters there. Instead, I’ve mainly seen commercials for Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, and even John Kasich!
It makes me wonder about Trump’s whole political organization, and whether that will catch up to him eventually. Then again, the way things are going, maybe he doesn’t need one.
Since I am on such a roll tonight ranting about the media, I thought I would talk about the format change at Gawker.
Nick Denton’s company has had a big overhaul and cut some jobs, and are going to be ditching the gossip and the irreverent news and media obsession at the Gawker site, and will be focusing on politics from now on.
I notice this article at Breitbart is highly skeptical of this move and basically trashes Gawker Media – it’s pretty funny stuff, actually.
For me, I have conflicted feelings. On the one hand, the political junkie in me looks at this and says “great!” On the other hand, there was nothing wrong with the old Gawker format. Beyond that, there are lots of political news sites out there — a glut, in fact.
I kind of see this as yet another example of how politics is taking over every aspect of life in the United States – not even the irreverent blog sites are safe anymore, clearly. Even on these late night shows, it seems like instead of movie stars and comedians, they want to focus on the politicians.
It’s even gotten to the point where you have online dating sites which hook you up based on whether you are a Democrat or a Republican!! Can’t these folks give it a rest occasionally? It is getting to be all politics all the time down there and even Americans are getting sick of it. No wonder Donald Trump is winning.
Last night was the CBS News Democratic presidential debate from Iowa. Good debate, and a decent job by CBS News based on the portion I saw of it. Moderator John Dickerson seemed to keep it in control, but it is hard not to when the Democratic field is down to only three people.
As for the content of it, from my Canadian vantagepoint I thought these folks should have added the word “New” in front of “Democratic,” because that’s what it was policy-wise.
In particular, Bernie Sanders was especially strident, going on and on and on with his continual attacking of Wall Street and his plans to break the banks up. “The business model of Wall Street is fraud,” Sanders was saying up there.
My God, man. Tone it down a bit, eh?
As for all this talk about how foreign policy and the Paris attacks were going to be the focus of the night, I guess I tuned into the wrong portion of the debate for that, because there wasn’t a lot of discussion from what I saw. I only caught the second half in which Sanders was doing his usual class warfare routine.
I wasn’t too impressed, and neither were a lot of Democrats, apparently. Politico ran this piece about the debate and all these political operatives were giving Sanders low points for focusing on the economy instead of the Paris terrorism situation.
But keep in mind, these are operatives saying this, and these political people could be Hillary Clinton supporters for all I know. Democratic voters could still throw a wrench into things.
Still, I have a lot of trouble taking Sanders seriously as a presidential candidate. This remains a one-woman show on the Democratic side as far as I am concerned.
I did not watch last night’s Republican presidential debate, I could not find a feed of it online and was too interested in the NBA anyway. Still, it sounds like this CNBC debate last night was a gong show, with the moderators losing control and candidates talking over one another, and a lot of inane and irrelevant questions being asked.
Gov. Chris Christie was particularly livid that a question was even asked about government regulation of Daily Fantasy Sports, of all things. (You know, I sort of agree with Christie here. The government really should be more concerned with ISIS than with Fantasy Football.) According to reports, the general feeling from the crowd and candidates was that the moderators were hostile.
Don’t expect the GOP to do any more debates on CNBC any time soon after this debacle.
Update: here is some more debate piling-on by Fox News.
Well, it is confirmed now that Joe Biden is not running for President. Why did he wait this long, you are probably wondering? I think this was one of those “head says this, but heart says that” kind of situations.
I actually think he was likely leaning this direction all along for a host of reasons — personal family tragedy (death of his son) being the biggest one, along with reluctance to put his family through a campaign which would have been a difficult, uphill one in any event. I don’t think he was ever truly scared off by Hillary; I simply think these other factors were holding him back.
But dreams die hard, and when you have spent your entire life with this ambition to one day be President, as Biden has, your gut instinct is to want to keep the door open. I think he really, really agonized over this decision.
So that’s why it took all this time for Biden to finally say no, and that is my theory and I am sticking to it.
Incidentally, I still laugh at everyone who insists the 78-day Canadian election campaign was somehow a long “marathon”. You want a real “marathon”? This US presidential race still has more than 12 months to go!
The big countdown is on to tomorrow night’s Republican presidential debate, a telecast that is sure to give CNN record ratings because of the inclusion of the unpredictable and always entertaining Mr. Donald Trump.
But while Trump has been riding high in polling numbers for a number of weeks now, I wonder whether it is going to last much longer. He’s still getting into trouble, such as after that Rolling Stone piece came out in which he insulted Carly Fiorina by saying “look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?”
So Trump has again put his foot in it, and he’s gotten into more fights again with Bobby Jindal and other people. Maybe all this nonsense might finally be catching up to him. New polling numbers indicate that Dr. Ben Carson is closing in, and honestly, I think Carson is a real threat at this stage to take down Trump in Iowa.
The thing about Iowa is that even though the place has this “moderate” reputation and is a swing state at the presidential level, with very close races usually, the political parties there seem polarized ideologically. As I see it, the Iowa GOP is particularly chock full of social-conservatives and born-again Christians, and they care about the hot-button social issues. I think those folks are suspicious of a guy like Trump, who they might see as a turncoat liberal, but would really go for the faith-based ideas of a guy like Carson.
On top of that, I still think a lot of rank-and-file Republicans simply hate Trump’s guts and are looking for any way possible to stop him. So the Iowa caucuses may yet pose some big problems for Donald Trump and possibly bring a screeching halt to all of his momentum.
Anyway, we will see what goes on tomorrow night on the CNN debate stage.
The race for the Republican nomination for President has dropped from 17 candidates down to 16. Former Texas governor Rick Perry has quit the race.
This is no surprise, rumors had been flying for weeks about his campaign’s money troubles and how they had to lay off staff, and how badly the fundraising was going for them and so on. The polling had been awful, and to add insult to injury he wasn’t even getting invited to the top-tier debates.
The reality is that Perry was bringing nothing to the race. I guess he tried to be the true “conservative” option, except that’s hard to do when at least a dozen or more of your competitors are as conservative as you say you are. The real problem for Perry is most of this field was saying pretty much the same thing he was saying.
If you are going to survive as a GOP contender you really need to distinguish yourself in some fashion, for better or worse. Donald Trump is the “populist outsider”, Ben Carson is the “Christian outsider”, Mike Huckabee is simply “the Christian”, Jeb Bush is “the Establishment”, Rand Paul is the “liberty” candidate, Ted Cruz is the “Tea Party”, Carly Fiorina is the “feisty businesswoman”, and so on.
They’ve all got varying degrees of traction right now because they all bring something to the table policy-wise that is unique. The ones that don’t are the ones in the biggest difficulty. For Perry, he couldn’t claim to be the “conservative” in a race full of them; he couldn’t be the “Christian” candidate with so many candidates supporting “family values” and seeking approval from the religious right; and he couldn’t even claim to be the “Texas candidate” with Cruz also in the race. What’s worse, Cruz seems to be doing pretty well at the moment.
In short, the message just didn’t stand out. Plus, Perry has all kinds of legal problems at home, and is a famously lousy debater.
So that’s that. One down, and 15 left to dispose of before we finally get a GOP nominee.
Now the question is who is next to go? I have seen rumors that Lindsey Graham could quit the race soon, his campaign has almost nothing going for it. In fact, Graham actually visited Saskatchewan this year to see that carbon-capture facility in Estevan, and the province’s press was playing up how our great and important province was being visited by this great American presidential contender. I was going “contender? That’s a stretch.”
At least one non-contender is not going down without a fight: Bobby Jindal.
This week the Louisiana governor just unloaded on Trump, calling him a “narcissist” and a “non-serious carnival act.” So now Trump is feuding with Jindal now, which is exactly what Jindal needs to lift up his sinking ship of a campaign. The story about Jindal’s remarks here — it’s pretty funny stuff.