A lot of people who tell pollsters that they like Donald Trump actually do show up.
Marco Rubio did better than the polls predicted, though where that leaves him going forward remains unclear.
Bernie translated those big rallies into a lot of caucus votes, and if he wins NH (as polls suggest he will), he has a lot of momentum.
The Democratic race is officially, rather than just effectively, a two-person race.
As of now, a little after 11 pm, the Republican side goes Cruz (28), Trump (24), Rubio (23), with all the vote in. The Democratic side, with 90% in, is incredibly close: Clinton (49.8%), Sanders (49.5%), O’Malley (0.6%), and O’Malley has already announced that he is suspending his campaign.
The rest of the GOP field goes Carson, Paul, Bush, Kasich, Fiorina, Huckabee, Christie, Santorum. Jim Gilmore, who apparently is still technically running, is losing to “other.”
There’s a school of thought that says that, if Trump comes in second, it’s devastating to him because he talks about “winning” all the time. I don’t buy it. He didn’t try very hard, at least in terms of ground game, and he’s not an evangelical in a heavily evangelical state, yet he beat almost everyone. If he wins New Hampshire and South Carolina, I think he still looks pretty good. Iowa has a bad record of picking winners recently on the GOP side, and there’s no particular reason to think that this year is any different.
OK folks, we’ve all been watching debates, scouring polls, and otherwise reading tea leaves for months now. But on Monday evening, actual voting begins. The Iowa caucuses are a weird way to kick off the selection of a presidential nominee (read this and this for some details on how delegates are actually awarded), but, to paraphrase a certain former Secretary of Defense, you nominate a president with the delegate system you have, not the system you might want or wish you had at a later time.
So, have at it in the comments. Give us your top three finishers on both the Democratic and Republican sides, with expected percentages (don’t worry about allocating actual delegates – let’s leave that to Iowa party officials). Winner determined by getting the top-3 orders right, and then by getting closest to the actual percentages. Tiebreaker points for getting the correct order of Republicans further down the ballot. Best finisher gets, in addition to bragging rights, a beverage on me at Tom’s upcoming BMG Stammtisch gathering in Somerville on Wednesday. (Obviously, you have to be 21 to collect that prize. If you win but either you or I can’t make it Wednesday, we’ll work it out another time.) Entries close when the caucuses begin: 8 pm (Eastern time) on Monday.
The State Department acknowledged for the first time Friday that “top secret” information has been found in emails that passed through the private email server Hillary Clinton used while leading the agency, elevating the issue in the presidential campaign three days before the hotly contested Iowa caucuses.
The information was contained in 22 emails, across seven email chains, that were sent or received by Clinton, according to a State Department spokesman. The emails will not be disclosed as part of an ongoing release of Clinton’s email correspondence from her years as secretary of state, even in highly redacted form.
The timing of this announcement, just days before the Iowa caucuses, catches my attention — surely the political fallout is not unexpected. Is there a chance that there are some Hillary Clinton detractors in the State Department who are playing politics?
In any case, this creates an interesting scenario … What if this blows up, and makes Ms. Clinton unelectable?
Is Bernie Sanders the beneficiary of this?
What is the likelihood that:
1. Martin O’Malley surges, as a more mainstream alternative for Hillary Clinton supporters unable to get behind Mr. Sanders?
2. Somebody new steps in, because the heavyweights who have been funding the Clinton campaign find themselves unwilling to fund Mr. Sanders?
3. Bernie Sanders is the nominee, with only lukewarm support from Democratic Party stalwarts?
4. Democrats across the US rally behind Bernie Sanders as a mortally-wounded Hillary Clinton falls by the wayside?
5. None of the above (I invite your speculation)
Perhaps this all this just blows over, again — at least until the general election.
Senator Clinton should be thanking her lucky stars that Bernie Sanders is the greatest of her worries these days. If Warren had run, the outcome of the Democratic primary might be in serious doubt. NYT Op-Ed by Senator Warren:
I just released a report examining 20 of the worst federal enforcement failures in 2015. Its conclusion: “Corporate criminals routinely escape meaningful prosecution for their misconduct.”
In a single year, in case after case, across many sectors of the economy, federal agencies caught big companies breaking the law — defrauding taxpayers, covering up deadly safety problems, even precipitating the financial collapse in 2008 — and let them off the hook with barely a slap on the wrist. Often, companies paid meager fines, which some will try to write off as a tax deduction.
The failure to adequately punish big corporations or their executives when they break the law undermines the foundations of this great country. Justice cannot mean a prison sentence for a teenager who steals a car, but nothing more than a sideways glance at a C.E.O. who quietly engineers the theft of billions of dollars.
Of course, enforcement would likely have been weaker or non-existent if Mitt Romney had won, which was the choice we were given, but Obama’s two-term effort to compromise with the Republicans has yielded nothing but legislative ashes, an emboldened GOP, and a weaker country. Fool me once, shame on the GOP. Fool me for seven years in a row, shame on the president.
Dazed Marco Rubio Wakes Up In Koch Compound To Find Cold Metal Device Installed Behind Ear
‘Hello Marco, We Will Now Begin The Program,’ Says Soothing Voice
A disoriented Rubio says he is unsure if he has been in the room for five hours or five days.
UNKNOWN LOCATION—The brightly lit, stark-white room gradually coming into focus as he regained consciousness, GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio reportedly awoke in the Koch brothers’ secret compound Thursday and reached suddenly to his throbbing head to discover a cold metal device implanted behind his left ear.
As Rubio sat up slowly on a steel cot—the room otherwise empty except for a large Koch Industries logo emblazoned on one wall—sources said he was startled to hear a soothing voice reverberating inside his aching skull, evidently emanating from the smooth metal disk that he gingerly touched while panic began to well in his chest.
“Hello, Marco,” said the oddly familiar voice. “We are very pleased to have you as our guest. We have so much planned for you.”
“Remember, what’s best for us is best for you, Marco. Now, let’s begin with an exercise on threats to American free enterprise and prosperity.”
“Now that you’ve rested, we can begin,” the voice continued.
Rubio, whose heart was reportedly racing, is said to have broken into a cold sweat as he frantically tried to piece together the hazy details from the night before. Though he could vaguely recall having attended a fundraising dinner at the Cato Institute the previous evening, the presidential candidate was reportedly only able to remember drinking a strange-tasting glass of champagne at the event before everything went blank, leaving him without any recollection of the intervening hours before he awoke in the windowless, featureless room somewhere inside the Koch brothers’ sprawling subterranean facility. …
Palin Endorsement Widens Trump’s Lead Among Idiots
DES MOINES, Iowa (The Borowitz Report)—An endorsement from former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is expected to widen Donald J. Trump’s already impressive lead among so-called “idiot voters,” an aide to the billionaire said on Tuesday.
While Trump was previously thought to have a lock on the idiot vote heading into the Iowa caucuses, a recent surge by Senator Ted Cruz, of Texas, has put the idiots back in play.
Cruz has worked tirelessly in recent weeks to tailor his message to undecided idiots, even revamping his stump speech to rid it of two-syllable words.
“That’s why Palin supporting Trump and not Cruz is such a win for us,” the Trump aide said. “She’s been out of politics for awhile, but she still has idiot cred.”
The aide said that no one should be surprised by the bond between Palin and Trump. “They’re both reality-show hosts,” he said. “And by lowering the bar in 2008, Palin singlehandedly made Trump’s candidacy possible.”
But even as the Trump campaign staffers celebrate the Palin endorsement, they recognize that they still have their work cut out for them to secure victory in Iowa. “Getting the idiots to support Trump is only half the battle,” the aide said. “Now we have to make sure that they make it to the caucuses without getting lost on the way.”
“Trump said that he’s not going to the Fox News debate, because moderator Megyn Kelly is biased against him. And Trump has a right to be scared, because usually when a younger, attractive woman disagrees with him, she ends up taking half his stuff.” –Jimmy Fallon
“Last night, Ted Cruz challenged Donald Trump to debate him ‘mano a mano.’ In response, Trump said, ‘See, he’s not from this country.’” –Conan O’Brien
“Dr. Ben Carson said today that although Donald Trump has announced he will boycott the debate, Carson ‘wouldn’t be surprised if he did show up.’ Then again, it’s Ben Carson. He wouldn’t be surprised if he was licked awake in the morning by a unicorn.” –Seth Meyers
“We’re one week away from the Iowa caucuses and all the candidates are doing whatever they can to appeal to voters. Donald Trump even went to a church service in Iowa over the weekend. You can tell he doesn’t go to church much because he was like, ‘I really like the part where they passed me the basket of free money.’” –Jimmy Fallon
“Ted Cruz has been joined on the campaign trail by former candidate Gov. Rick Perry. So in other words, Ted Cruz is the No. 1 choice of the guy who was nobody’s choice.” –Conan O’Brien
“We give so much attention to who Iowa picks. Since 1980 the Iowa Caucus has predicted the Republican nominee incorrectly four times. They only got it right twice. You get better odds when you have a zoo animal predict the winner of the Super Bowl than these Iowa caucuses.” –Jimmy Kimmel
“Donald Trump said that Ted Cruz is a liar who looks like a jerk. Not to be confused with Trump, who is a jerk who looks like a liar.” –Seth Meyers
“One thing’s for sure, if Donald Trump started shooting people on Fifth Avenue he wouldn’t hit any Trump supporters. They’re not going to Saks, they’re over in Times Square at the M&M store.” –Seth Meyers
“After a really warm December, this was kind of a relief. Climate change has not ended winter, it just packed the whole damn thing into one weekend.” –Stephen Colbert
“The Iowa caucuses are coming up and yesterday, Lindsey Graham criticized Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and said choosing between them is like having to choose between being shot or poisoned.” –Jimmy Fallon
“Graham said supporting Jeb Bush is like choosing to be slowly suffocated by an expensive pillow.” –Jimmy Fallon
“At a Donald Trump rally in Oklahoma, Sarah Palin called President Obama a ‘weak-kneed capitulator in chief.’ When asked if she knows what a capitulator is, she said, ‘Of course I do — it’s one of those worms that turns into a butterfly!’” –Jimmy Fallon
“Tea party Senator Ted Cruz claims he currently does not have health insurance. Man, this guy will say anything to prove he’s not Canadian.” –Conan O’Brien
“Jeb tweeted today that if Donald Trump is the nominee Hillary Clinton will be elected president and we can’t let that happen. Jeb is painting himself as the only candidate who can beat Hillary. Meanwhile his brother George is at home painting portraits of his dog.” –Jimmy Kimmel
As you know, the final Republican debate before the voting actually begins on Monday went ahead without the clear Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump. Let’s review what we learned from seeing how these guys (and they were all guys, as Carly Fiorina, along with Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, didn’t make the cut) performed without Trump’s outsized presence on stage with them.
In a word, they were awful. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio spent much of the debate trying to tear each other apart to prove how soft the other one was on immigration. Rubio also had a couple of especially bizarre moments when he declared that he was not a savior; that the only savior was (I believe this is an exact quote) “Jesus Christ who came to earth and died for our sins”; and that he was hoping to spend eternity with his Creator; all the while speaking in the exact same rapid-fire monotone that he uses to talk about tax policy. You’d think he could muster something resembling a human emotion when discussing what is presumably the core of his faith. It was strange and unappealing. He did himself no favors last night, IMHO.
Cruz, for his part, did not weather the assault on his supposedly consistent conservative principles well. He was on the defensive most of the night, and he looked it. The consensus reaction, as far as I can tell, is that Cruz failed to capitalize on what should have been a big opportunity for him to control the stage without Trump and to solidify his generally decent poll numbers. Didn’t happen.
The others? Good Lord. We were reminded of just what a bullying, boorish, unpleasant person Chris Christie actually is – he’s just been overshadowed by Trump’s even more outlandish behavior. I can’t imagine anyone walked away from last night’s debate thinking, gosh, it would be great to hear from this guy every day for four years. Rand Paul, as usual, made some decent policy points, but in a peevish, whiny way that is distinctly un-presidential. Carson … well, he didn’t make any more sense than he did the last time, and his closing statement consisted of reciting the preamble to the Constitution (and screwing it up, saying “benefits of liberty” instead of “blessings of liberty”). So, enough said on that.
Kasich, as usual, came across as a generally decent guy who isn’t totally clear on why he’s running for president. His positions are too conservative for anyone left of center to consider him, but too moderate for the GOP. He’s a man without a party, and he will not be the nominee.
Which brings us to Jeb!. Everyone thinks – and I agree – that last night was by far his best debate performance. But the reason is painfully clear: it’s because Trump wasn’t there. Jeb simply cannot handle Trump, and you can’t be president if you can’t function in the presence of an unpleasant guy in your own party. So, even though Jeb had a good night, he also had a bad one.
In short, nobody on stage last night made a credible case for why voters should pick him rather than the guy who didn’t show up. All indications so far seem to be that Trump did, indeed, win the debate by skipping it. Polls still have him ahead in Iowa, and the murmurs are growing ever louder within the GOP that if he wins it, he’ll win it all, especially given his much larger lead in NH.
Pioneer Institute : education :: propaganda : understanding - promoted by Bob_Neer
Oddly enough, that’s the rallying cry from our Education Secretary Jim Peyser
Education Secretary James Peyser’s firm rejection of a proposal that would generate $1.9 billion for Massachusetts transportation and education evoked a strong response from proponents and opponents of the measure, Gov. Charlie Baker appears comfortable taking a wait-and-see approach on the issue.
So what’s Peyser is so strongly against? An amendment that would raise revenue by establishing a surtax of 4% of income over a million dollars that would fund education and transportation expenses.
Peyser outlined his opposition to the notion that higher taxes are necessary to improve education, adding that the proposed constitutional amendment could “weaken our economy” and “damage our ability as a commonwealth to support the schools and the other services we desperately need.”
Peyser, who shockingly once headed the Pioneer Institute, hot take is based what? Experience of the last three decades when conservative policies crashed our economy? Think about it, parents who are now taking their children to schools have lived their entire lives experiencing failed economic policies of conservative presidents. Economic failure based on what Jim Peyser has been try to push has been clearly debunked.
So what’s Jim solution?
I don’t think the issues that we face as a Commonwealth here are really about the fact that we don’t have enough revenue. It’s about how we’re using our revenues wisely and well
Charter Schools? I also heard that it will stop hunger, global warming and will bring world peace. Just ask any unicorn, they will tell you. Or maybe all you have to do is ask a charter school lobbyist, which by chance happens to be our own ed secretary. (Maybe still a lobbyist? they won’t say.)
EduShyster posted filings to the commonwealth by Families for Excellent Schools which still lists Jim Peyser as a Director for the non-profit organization, but also more disturbing their lobbying arm Families for Excellent Schools Advocacy Inc. If that name sounds familiar, Families for Excellent Schools is funding Great Schools Massachusetts that is spearheading lifting the cap on charter schools. Jim’s charter school lobbying group is a 501(c)(4) dark money group that does not list it’s donors. Funny thing, while Family for Excellent Schools posted Jim’s resignation to the non-profit, they haven’t commented on Jim’s involvement in the lobbying group which filed it’s annual report in August 2015 with Jim Peyser’s name listed as a Director.
You sure can’t criticize this primary season for being boring. After all the nuttiness that we’ve seen (especially on the GOP side, it must be said) up to now, this week’s goings-on still stand out as, perhaps, unprecedented.
We’re less than a week away from the Iowa caucuses. Donald Trump holds a modest lead in the most recent Iowa polling, but Iowa is tough to poll because of the caucus system, so it’s certainly possible that Ted Cruz, or even someone else (most likely Rubio), could pull off a win based on those numbers. Trump holds a much bigger lead in other upcoming contests, as well as nationally. Standard campaign strategy in those circumstances would probably be not to rock the boat too dramatically. Try to win or take a strong second place in Iowa, and hope that the polling numbers hold in NH and beyond. Ride the wave.
Instead, Trump has gone far out of his way to antagonize the news network that holds the most sway over Republican primary voters: Fox News. Fox News is sponsoring the final pre-Iowa debate. Trump insisted that Megyn Kelly be removed as a moderator; Fox refused; so Trump walked. Bill O’Reilly tried desperately to get Trump to reconsider, but Trump now appears committed to holding a fundraising rally for veterans at the same time as the Fox debate.
Adding to the bizarreness of this whole thing, super-rich Ted Cruz backers offered to donate $1.5 million to the charity of Trump’s choice if he would debate Cruz one-on-one before Monday. Carly Fiorina then hopped on that alt-debate bandwagon, offering an additional $2 million to veterans’ charities if she could get in on the action.
The stakes are extraordinarily high in all this, it seems to me. By refusing to debate, Trump has succeeded in keeping himself in the headlines in the run-up to Iowa, while also removing the risk of saying something dumb that hurts him, or having an opponent finally figure out a way to get at him, during the debate. Both very big pluses for Trump. On the downside, the entire Fox News apparatus is now mightily pissed off at Trump, and may well intensify its efforts to bring him down. If the overlap between potential Trump voters and Fox News watchers is as substantial as you’d probably imagine, that seems to hold the possibility of really hurting Trump.
Cruz and Fiorina seem to me to have only helped Trump by making their alt-debate offers. It just makes them look desperate to appear on the same stage with him. And the weirdness of offering to give a lot of money to charity if he’ll agree is distasteful and pathetic. Once again, as has happened repeatedly this cycle, Trump lays a trap, and the others just walk right into it.
So. Will Fox News be so furious with Trump that they actually manage to bring him down? Or will Trump’s effort to shield himself from harm in the last week before voting begins by ducking the debate mean that the polls basically stay where they are? What do you think?
One thing seems certain. If Trump wins Iowa and New Hampshire, his withdrawing from the debate will probably be seen as one of the most brilliant political gambits in recent memory.
Game theory enthusiasts, have at it! - promoted by david
Surprised not to see much discussion of this five days out from Iowa. For anyone fortunate enough not to see the perversion of democracy that is Iowa, there is a significant rule that bears mentioning. And it means the forgotten Democratic candidate might be making some huge headlines the next day…
The endless controversy rages on... - promoted by david
From Politico Mass Playbook:
DELEO TO THROW SUPPORT BEHIND CHARTER SCHOOLS ON WEDNESDAY — “Prepping for charter school fight,” by Hillary Chabot, Boston Herald: “Beacon Hill bosses Robert A. DeLeo and Stanley C. Rosenberg will sound off on Boston Herald Radio this week as the battle to expand charter schools takes center stage — and DeLeo prepares to renew his charter school support in a high-profile speech Wednesday.” http://bit.ly/1UlGWXv
Last Friday, 22 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus led by Senators Dick Durbin (IL) and Pat Leahy (VT) called on Obama to halt the ongoing deportation raids targeting Central American refugees and to consider granting them temporary protected status. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey were both among the signers.
Here are some key passages.
We are deeply concerned that in its eagerness to deter additional arrivals from this region, the Department is returning vulnerable individuals with valid protection claims to life-threatening violence. This is not hyperbole. There have been multiple reports of individuals, including children, being killed within days or weeks of their deportation. Moreover, we do not accept the argument that removing these individuals will deter additional children and families from fleeing the Northern Triangle. That argument relies on the false premise that most of these people are not fleeing extraordinary danger….The global refugee crisis has provided countless examples of people taking enormous risks against all odds in order to escape persecution and there is no reason to believe that is any less true for those in Central America.
It is important to evaluate this as a humanitarian and refugee crisis involving a vulnerable population and not strictly as a border security and immigration enforcement matter. Targeting families contradicts the administration’s repeated commitment to focus its enforcement resources on removing felons not families.
Given the particular risks faced by these mothers and children, the tactic of using widely publicized, aggressive removal operations – often in the wee hours of the morning – is shocking and misguided. These raids have created widespread fear in immigrant communities around the country, and damaged trust in local law enforcement. Raids of this nature are not appropriate when the federal government is interacting with vulnerable children and will only exacerbate the trauma experienced by these children. We ask that you stop these aggressive raids against children and their families and rely on more appropriate approaches to fulfilling court orders.
There have also been multiple reports that individuals targeted by these raids were not provided meaningful due process or access to competent counsel. This is deeply concerning as it undermines the legitimacy of our immigration court system. We ask that you slow down the fast-track immigration process forced on many of these families and unaccompanied children, to ensure that this particularly vulnerable population is able to receive meaningful due process, access to counsel, and a full and fair hearing of their legal claims.
The letter is long, but you can read it in full here.
Massachusetts was one of six states whose two senators were both signers. The others were Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, and Vermont.
Much has been spoken and written about the philosophical differences between the top Democratic candidates: Bernie is idealistic and inspirational, while Hillary is realistic and pragmatic. While the Sanders campaign continues to raise important, progressive issues that many Democrats support, the recent Clinton response – echoed in much of the media – is that Bernie would be wholly unable to enact his agenda, presumably due to the expected Republican control of Congress.
The underlying message is that a Clinton presidency would result in incremental change that either (i) Clinton manages to cajole the Republicans to support, or (ii) the Republicans force Clinton to accept. Any other option puts her in the same place as Sanders. Given the long-time animosity within the Republican party for all things Clinton, I have a hard time believing option (i) is likely, and I believe option (ii) is not particularly desirable. So perhaps all a good progressive can hope for, in the short term, is that no harmful legislation is passed (and signed into law) and good thoughtful jurists are nominated to the Supreme Court, both of which Bernie and Hillary are capable of.
So, in a time where Washington gridlock is unlikely to end until Democrats have a fair chance to regain control of the House of Representatives, we should be looking to the elections that could have more impact on a progressive political agenda: the 2017, 2018 and 2019 gubernatorial elections in over 40 states. The Republicans adeptly sought state houses in and around 2010 so that they could control the redistricting process after the 2010 census. If the Democrats (and other progressives) want to reverse the harm done then, they need to develop the message that the 2016 election is only the first step in the process, and that the energy usually found in Presidential election years needs to carry over to the years leading up to the 2020 census.
In this light, I believe the inspirational, “revolutionary” candidate is more likely than the pragmatic incrementalist to build the movement necessary to carry this energy forward. Simply preventing a Republican from gaining the White House in 2016 – however important that is – is not enough if the Democratic party fails to have influence over the redistricting process in 2021. Short of having more nonpartisan redistricting commissions in place, or the greater adoption of ranked choice voting or proportional representation, that influence will come from getting more progressive voters to the polls in coming years, not just in 2016. I believe Bernie is more capable, and better positioned, to provide the inspiration and generate the interest and energy needed to accomplish this. Unlike the Clinton candidacy, which is focused on the incremental change that might be possible in the short term – essentially an Obama third term – the Sanders campaign is built specifically to build the requisite progressive movement. In fact, continued gridlock could serve as the rallying cry from the right bully pulpit. The Democrats need to begin their “long game” now, and Bernie, more so than Hillary, represents that long game.
We may have to accept congressional gridlock no matter the Democratic choice for President, but we shouldn’t have to accept it forever. But that will require us to elect a President who can inspire and energize the electorate beyond 2016. Bernie Sanders can do, and is doing, just that.