Bertrand’s Primary Challenge Obviously Got Under King’s Skin

SKingOn Thursday, State Senator Rick Bertrand made it official, announcing that he’s challenging Republican Congressman Steve King in the 4th Congressional District primary.

High profile primary challenges against incumbents are rare occurrences in Iowa, especially one challenging a conservative stalwart in the most conservative district in the state.   Not only is King universally known, but Bertrand is also attempting to oust a sitting Congressman in a campaign that will last just 82 days.

The word daunting just doesn’t quite seem to describe the task Bertrand has chosen to take on. Some may believe it will be impossible for Bertrand to be successful in this endeavor. That sort of thinking is justified, but as is the case with most things in life, where there is great risk, there is also great reward.

King’s strengths are well known. He’s intelligent. He has developed a real connection with the grassroots of the Republican Party because he’s willing to fight the good fight and champion core issues. King has also has a history of being a good campaigner, the type that goes everywhere and does everything.

King’s weaknesses are equally known. While smart, his choice of words or use of certain analogies repeatedly get him in trouble with the media. He’s a notoriously poor fundraiser. Despite being a 14-year incumbent, King has never figured out how to keep his campaign coffers full which, at times, makes him a charity case but also means that he’s not able to help the effort to expand the Republican majority in the U.S. House.

Since redistricting in 2012, King’s Democrat opponents have raised more money than he has for his campaigns. That doesn’t bother King one bit. He wears the fact that he has won despite being outspent as a badge of honor. King will likely be outraised in the abbreviated primary against Bertrand. At the end of 2015, King reported having just $118,000 in the bank. Even without a primary challenger until now, King has spent more money than he has taken in during the current election cycle.

While Republican activists may struggle with Bertrand’s decision to run against an incumbent congressman, the hill he now has to climb is not insurmountable. There has always been a rub between King and the business community is Sioux City, which is something Bertrand will have to exploit if he is to be successful. Furthermore, the current configuration of the fourth district provides Bertrand opportunity to stake out territory as there are more counties in the fourth district that were represented by Tom Latham than King before redistricting.

In some ways, trying to knock of King in a primary may be easier than waiting and running once King vacates the seat. There are plenty of Republicans who are eager to run for the seat, which would make for a costly and crowded primary. While challenging an incumbent will not make him popular with some people, he is the lone alternative to King. With no other Republican primaries taking place, it’s a rather simple game – whoever turns out the most people to vote wins. Bertrand may benefit from some Democrats and independents who do not like King playing in the Republican primary.

Besides fundraising, another King liability is message discipline.   Just look at the press release his campaign sent out Thursday evening. It was petty and defensive. It said nothing of what he hopes to accomplish for the fourth district, and instead read like a “how dare they challenge me” letter.

King’s release also included the following paragraph.

Over the last few weeks, calls came from a surprisingly large number of potential candidates who were asked to challenge me in a primary by a couple of wealthy and petulant establishment Republicans who think they should own a Congressman. In every case but one, the answer was a resounding ‘No.’

What King fails to mention is that those “petulant establishment Republicans” are also constituents who donated to his campaign and organized fundraising events for him in his previous two campaigns. King is obviously bitter and distracted by a couple of individuals instead of his actual opponent.

King would be wise to rise above petty bickering, but he chose to close out his press release with the following snide sentence. “I regret the impending needless and blatant dishonesty which will surely come from my opposition.” Again, how dare someone challenge The King?

Bertrand is a talented politician, and it is a mistake to not take him seriously. He not only was able to win a tough State Senate District in 2010, but he was able to also get re-elected. I don’t know really know Bertrand all that well, but he’s impressive on the stump and meets people well. His business background should also be a benefit.

At his announcement on Thursday, Bertrand painted a positive vision for his campaign and the fourth district. Bertrand believes that the Highway 20 expansion, which is being completed in large part because of the gas tax increase that he supported, makes the district the state’s new economic frontier.

As for his challenge to King, Bertrand told the Sioux City Journal, “The District needs a more effective congressman to push for changes required to maximize that growth.” He added, “I am not going in there to be a national figure. I am going to be likable and effective.” Over the past 14 years, Bertrand believes that King has become institutionalized.

Even though King has led the vocal opposition in Washington during his time there, he’s not been able to land key leadership positions in the house, mainly because of his poor relationship with leadership. This sounds like it will be the main argument put forth by Bertrand’s campaign. There have been numerous occasions where King was in line to chair a committee, only to be passed up. The most recent example was the influential Ag Committee, which King lost to Texas Congressman Mike Conaway. Unlike King, Conaway raised big money to help the GOP effort in the 2014 mid-term elections.

Presidential politics also helped pave the way for Bertrand’s decision to primary King. King is one of Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s national campaign chairmen. Presidential campaigns cause people to splinter in different groups, and with a field of 17 candidates, people fell into a number of different camps. King’s endorsement of Cruz came as no surprise, but it did pit him against the ethanol industry, which was already weary of the freshman Senator from Texas because one of the first pieces of legislation Cruz pushed was a repeal of the Renewable Fuels Standard.

Despite being a staunch support of the RFS, King repeatedly sang Cruz’s praises and helped convince Iowa voters that a Cruz presidency would be good for the ethanol industry. Ironically, after the campaign left Iowa, Cruz now makes a point in election night speeches and on national debate stages to tell people how he took on the ethanol industry in Iowa and won. Most people can understand why members of Iowa’s renewable fuels industry are a little upset with King.

This race is sure to be in the political spotlight from now until primary day on the first Tuesday in June. If King’s press release is any indication, this is going to be a bitter battle.




Ted Cruz’s Road to Nowhere.

Photo by Dave Davidson –

Larry Sabato loves to quote T.S. Eliot. In writing about the demise of Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s campaign on Wednesday, Sabato wrote, “To borrow from T.S. Eliot: This is the way Marco Rubio’s campaign ends, not with a bang but a whimper.”

Cleaver. Accurate. Well done!

At this time four years ago, Sabato was also quoting T.S. Eliot. “Three of the four candidates for the Republican presidential nomination — Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul — might soon agree with T.S. Eliot: for them, April may indeed be ‘the cruelest month.’”

Before we get too carried away, lets look at where things stand today in the GOP delegate race. According to Real Clear Politics, Trump has accumulated 646 delegates, Cruz 397, Rubio 169, and Kasich 142. For comparison’s sake, in 2012, Mitt Romney had racked up 494 delegate to Santorum’s 251 right before St. Patrick’s Day.

One would think comparing the current nomination fight with the one just four years ago would be an apples-to-apples comparison, but it’s not that easy. The states that have gone are similar, but the most notable difference is Texas, which didn’t vote until May 29th in 2012. The delegate haul from the Lone Star state accounts for a fourth of Cruz’s delegates to date.

Sabato’s blog post on Wednesday morning was titled, “Titanic Tuesday: Trump Leads but Doesn’t Finish the Job.” It is notably different from his March 15, 2012 headline that read, “Romney Set to Dominate Race Through April.” What’s fascinating to me is how differently the media and prognosticators are treating the 2016 frontrunner in comparison to Romney four years ago.

Let’s be honest, not only could Sabato’s most recent headline legitimately read, “Trump Set to Dominate Race Through April,” but one could have borrowed the same opening sentence. “Two of the three candidates for the Republican presidential nomination — Ted Cruz and John Kasich — might soon agree with T.S. Eliot: for them, April may indeed be ‘the cruelest month.’”

Like Romney, Trump is set to pad his delegate lead in the month of April. This year’s slate of April primaries mirrors what was on the docket back in 2012. Wisconsin, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island are the states in play next month, and they comprise a total of 309 delegates.

Sabato’s 2012 guesstimate before the April contests awarded Romney 193 of the 282 delegates that were available. Sabato had Santorum winning his home state of Pennsylvania, which made up nearly half of the 89 delegates Sabato projected for him. As we know, Santorum ended his campaign before Pennsylvania voted.

In order to make this easy, let’s just assume that Trump wins Arizona and American Samoa to close out March with 713 delegates. Let’s give Cruz all the delegates from Utah. And even though North Dakota’s delegates are all unbound, lets just give those all to Cruz while we are at it. That brings Cruz up to 465 delegates.

If we stick with the same percentage allotment of delegates that Sabato used in 2012, it means after April’s 309 delegates are accounted for, Trump’s delegate count reaches 923. If we award Cruz the other 99 delegates available, which frankly isn’t going to happen, he only gets to 564 delegates. Why does this matter? Because after April, it will be mathematically impossible for Cruz to win the necessary delegates to capture the GOP nomination.

Meanwhile, Trump will only be 314 delegates away from claiming the nomination. As the only viable candidate in the race, Trump should be able to secure the necessary delegates he needs. Do you really think voters is states like California, Oregon, and Washington are going to turn out for Cruz who doesn’t have a path to the nomination? I don’t.

As the race draws to a close, Trump, like every frontrunner before him, will grow stronger as winning the nomination become inevitable. The same stories we see today about contested conventions were also written four years ago. The only difference is that Romney actually had a communications team that proactively drove the narrative that only he could win the nomination.

Donald Trump may be the master of dominating a news cycle, but not having a communications team that pushed back every day on what others are saying about the race is making life difficult for him. Don’t fool yourselves, Trump has clear path to 1237. Ted Cruz and John Kasich on the other hand, have a road to nowhere.



Kasich gets his, but Trump begins to pull away

Photo by Dave Davidson –

While the news media continues to report on how Republicans can’t stomach Donald Trump, the New York billionaire continues to rack up wins and accumulate delegates. Reaching the necessary 1,237 delegates to claim the nomination may be difficult for Trump, but he is the only candidate with a reasonable shot at winning the nomination outright.

Trump won contests in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and the Northern Mariana Islands on Tuesday.  The only blemish on the night was Ohio, where John Kasich, the current governor of the state, won with 47 percent of the vote and took home all 66 delegates. Even still, Trump was able to hold the home state governor under 50 percent and garnered 36 percent of the vote for himself.

Kasich, who finally won a state on Tuesday, has no possible route to accumulate the necessary delegates to win the nomination. Regardless, by preventing Trump from getting Ohio’s 66 delegates, Kasich makes it more difficult for Trump to get the delegates he needs. The problem for Kasich is that he probably can’t post a win anywhere else. On Tuesday night, he announced he was headed to neighboring Pennsylvania. While the move makes plenty of sense, a quick look at the Ohio results map shows that Trump won counties all along the eastern portion of Ohio that borders Pennsylvania.

If Trump was again the big winner, Florida Senator Marco Rubio was the big loser. Rubio was trounced in his home state, losing to Trump by 19 points. In fact, Rubio only carried Miami-Dade County. It was evident that Rubio wasn’t surging in his home state, but such a lop-sided loss has to sting. Rubio clearly saw the writing on the wall and announced he was suspending his campaign early in the night.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz repeatedly says that he is the only credible alternative to Donald Trump in the Republican presidential race. He also likes to say that he is the only candidate who has “repeatedly” beaten Trump. While both statements are factual, Cruz continues to fall behind Trump in the delegate count, and there doesn’t appear to be a roadmap that would actually allow him to edge out the New York billionaire for Republican nomination. Once again, Cruz was competitive with Trump in states like Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina, but he failed to pull out an actual victory.

Despite not winning any state on Tuesday, Cruz will continue to accumulate delegates, but he needs to beat Trump in a primary contest if he ever hopes to derail Trump. The upcoming calendar also isn’t favorable to Cruz. His best chance to post a victory will be next Tuesday when Utah voters caucus, but Trump is expected to win Arizona. The month of April is comprised of only primaries and the friendliest turf for Cruz is Wisconsin.

Even though it currently appears possible to prevent Trump from getting the1237 delegates he needs, the pressure is still on Kasich and Cruz to find places to win. The month of April, in which New York, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin vote poses a difficult obstacle for the Cruz campaign to maneuver. With every win Trump gets, the more he is able to pull away from Cruz in the delegate count, and the more inevitable Trump becomes.

More Questions than Answers

trump-cancelledIn 2010, an Iowa-based Tea Party Group created a billboard that compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin. Do you remember that?

The sign read, “Radical leaders prey on the fearful & naive.”

The group was castigated by folks on both ends of the political spectrum, but vilified by the liberal left and by the liberal media for comparing President Obama to two of history’s most ruthless leaders. We didn’t know it at the time, but the North Iowa Tea Party was ahead of their time. Now everyone from NPR to some of Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s closest advisors and advocates have free rein to compare Donald Trump to Hitler.

If you want a more recent example of the media’s hypocrisy, one only needs to go back to last summer. Mike Huckabee, then a presidential candidate, created storm of controversy when he compared President Obama’s hideous nuclear deal with Iran to the Holocaust. “This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven,” Huckabee said.

Once again, the media reminded us that any reference to the Holocaust was out of bounds. Heck, even my old college history professor felt compelled to send me a Facebook message to convince me that Huckabee’s choice of words was insensitive.

The front page of the New York Daily News featured “Trump is Hitler” in bold print last week. The newspaper’s cover corresponded to an article that featured the opinions of comedian Louis C.K. Following the provocative newspaper cover, Sarah Silverman mockingly dressed up as Hitler, to “defend” Trump on Conan O’Brien’s Late Night TV Show.

And how did all of these Donald Trump-Adolf Hitler comparisons get started? He asked people to hold up their right hand and pledge to vote for him while campaigning in Florida last week. When did raising your right hand to make a promise equate to the Nazi salute? Was Ted Cruz doing the Nazi salute when Glenn Beck pretended to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and imagined to swear in Ted Cruz as president at an event in Iowa before the caucuses? Of course not.

This isn’t just nonsense. It’s a double standard that we shouldn’t tolerate because just because it might happen to serve a political purpose we currently like.

I’m equally disturbed by some of the comments from over the weekend blaming Trump for the out of control protesters at his events. Protestors are opportunistic in picking when and where to take a stand. It’s not Trump’s rhetoric that set them off. They came in looking for a fight because they knew the media there were either sympathetic to their cause, or were desperate to blame the Republican frontrunner. Either way, the disobedience and disruptiveness of the protestors is ignored, and thus rewarded.

Unfortunately there are some people who are looking for any excuse to riot. This weekend in Chicago, it was Donald Trump. In the summer of 1992, it was the Chicago Bulls first NBA championship. Do the same people who want to blame Trump for this past weekend’s riots blame the Bulls for winning it all in 1992? Of course not. Had the Bulls lost, the same goons would have rioted anyway.

Last summer we saw riots in Baltimore, Maryland, and Ferguson, Missouri. Both were fueled by altercations with the police that left a young African American dead. Conservatives were united in standing behind law enforcement and called out the protestors that who took to the streets destroyed public and private property to vent their frustrations.

I’m not suggesting that Trump doesn’t need to watch or change his tone, but it’s important for conservatives and everyone else to be consistent in how they apply judgment. From my vantage point today, I see a lot of my fellow conservatives being inconsistent because doing so now serves their personal political purpose.

Frankly, I don’t know what to think about the 2016 Republican presidential race any more. I spend most of my time shaking my head at all parties involved. Maybe this Tuesday’s contests will provide a little clarity. I’m looking forward to a time when everyone just calms down.

3/11/2016 Mid-Day Mist Reads

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 12.35.34 PMBen Carson endorses Donald Trump

“He’s actually a very intelligent man who cares deeply about America,” Carson said at a press conference at the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Forida. “There’s two different Donald Trumps. There’s the one you see on stage and the one that’s very cerebral, sits there and considers things very carefully.”

“We buried the hatchet,” the retired neurosurgeon said. “We moved on because it’s not about me. It’s not about Mr. Trump. This is about America.”

Why Donald Trump’s Defense of Social Security is Brilliant

Saying “let’s not panic about Social Security” puts Trump closer to liberal economist Paul Krugman than Ted Cruz.

It’s this kind of busting ideological barriers has made Trump the leader. He’s broken with GOP policies on entitlements, on the individual mandate that was central to Obamacare and on trade. He’s not a liberal or a Democrat but he is charting new waters and given the total ossification of both parties, this kind of glasnost has to be welcomed.

There’s much that’s creepy about the Trump campaign—the pummeling of protestors at some of his rallies, the loopy, ugly proposed ban on Muslims entering the country “until we figure out what the hell is going on.” (When is that?) But the fresh air of having a candidate, a Republican candidate, say that campaign contributions buy influence and that America was not safe on 9/11 isn’t something that should be discounted.

Uncommitted GOP strategists win Virgin Islands contest, denying delegates to Cruz and Trump

Six delegates were up for grabs in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Thursday. None of them went to one of the four Republican candidates still running for president. In a surprise that sneaked up on every campaign, Republican strategists who were uncommitted to any candidate swept the contest, led by the (formerly) northern Michigan-based strategist John Yob and his wife.

Marco Rubio Campaign Urges Supporters to Back John Kasich in Ohio

Alex Conant, Mr. Rubio’s spokesman, made the comments in an interview with CNN. He said that he hoped supporters of Mr. Kasich and of Senator Ted Cruz would support Mr. Rubio in his home state primary in Florida, and that he would suggest Mr. Rubio’s backers in Ohio do the same by supporting Mr. Kasich there.

“I’m just stating the obvious,” Mr. Conant said. “If you are a Republican primary voter in Ohio and you want to defeat Donald Trump, your best chance in Ohio is John Kasich, because John Kasich is the sitting governor, he’s very close to Donald Trump in some of the polls there.”

The Party of Reagan Is No More

Voters are complicit in this too; many of them have come to confuse cruelty, vulgarity and bluster with strength and straight talk. And Republican lawmakers compounded a problem they had promised to solve, promoting rather than ending corporate welfare and crony capitalism.

There’s another explanation as well–political and intellectual sclerosis, by which I mean the failure to apply enduring principles to changing circumstances. This is something that Reagan did quite well. He developed a policy agenda–on taxes, monetary policy and regulations–that addressed the problems of his era, including high inflation, high interest rates and high unemployment. He understood the hardships facing ordinary Americans. He gave voice to them. And he offered concrete solutions to them. He adjusted to the realities of his time.

Which Presidential Candidates Were Supported by Sports Stars

I love stuff like this!


It’s Harder and Harder to Stop Trump when he Keeps Winning

Trump Iowa Summit
Photo by Dave Davidson –

According to the Republican establishment and their friends in the media, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign had stalled or at the very least it had plateaued prior to Tuesdays elections. Some even suggested that it was on the verge of imploding.

Selling the public on the idea that voters have grown tired of Trump’s shtick has always been easy, and even if you are growing tired of the billionaire’s antics, one can’t dispute his ability to win states.

On Tuesday night, Trump claimed victories in Mississippi and Michigan, the two biggest delegate prizes of the night.  He also won Hawaii. The wins increase the number of states that he has carried to 15. Texas Senator Ted Cruz has won six states, but his campaign has yet to find a way to beat Trump in a primary outside of his home turf.

Cruz rightfully points out that he is the only candidate in the race who has actually beaten Trump in a nomination fight, but he hasn’t proved that he can consistently beat Trump in conventional primary contests. It’s surprising that Trump has been able to win states in the south that Rick Santorum won in 2012. Trump has won Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. Those are all states that a conservative like Cruz should have won.

Trump’s ability to win in Mississippi with nearly 50 percent of the vote, a state won by Santorum but split evenly between Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich in 2012, undermines Cruz’s claim that not only is he the best candidate to challenge Trump, but that he also has a pathway to wining the GOP nomination outright. Trump trounced the field in Michigan. With 90 percent of the vote in, he was leading Cruz by over 140,000 votes. His lead in Mississippi, which had a much smaller turn out, was almost 40,000 votes.

It appears that Cruz will get a win in Idaho, another low-turnout contest. Regardless of the size of the contest, wins are important, but if Cruz actually wants to challenge Trump for the nomination, he needs to do better than just notch an Idaho victory. Tuesday’s results also make it clear that the Cruz campaign’s decision to compete in Florida, a winner-take-all state, is a fool’s errand that actually could end up helping Trump secure the nomination.

3/8/2016 Mid-Day Must Reads

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 12.35.34 PMWhy Ted Cruz might torpedo the strategy to stop Trump

The payoff for Cruz is clear. Rubio is struggling tremendously in the primary so far. Even if he wins Florida, it’s really hard to envision him getting to 1,237 delegates. If he doesn’t win Florida, it could be so embarrassing for him that he could drop out of the race.

The Republican establishment wants to stop Trump. Ted Cruz wants to beat Trump.

The problem is that if Rubio doesn’t win Florida’s 99 delegates, someone else will. And that someone is likely to be Donald Trump. Then, he’ll be on pace to win an outright majority of delegates by the end of the primary.

That’s the “stop Trump” crowd’s worst nightmare.

Donald Trump Would Be Easy To Stop Under Democratic Rules
By Nate Silver

Trump will have a chance to improve on his pace as the calendar turns toward states that have more aggressive delegate allocation methods — especially winner-take-all Florida and Ohio, which vote March 15. If Trump wins both states, he’ll have a good chance of eventually getting a delegate majority. If he loses both, we might be headed to a contested convention in Cleveland. And if Trump splits them — perhaps the most likely outcome based on where polls stand — we’ll continue to be on knife’s edge.

If the Republican nomination were contested under Democratic delegate rules instead, Trump would find it almost impossible to get a majority of delegates, and a floor fight in Cleveland would already be all but inevitable.

But switching to Democratic rules would make a big difference. Between the highly proportional allocation method and the large number of superdelegates, Trump would have received only 306 delegates so far, more than any other candidate but still just 34 percent of the total. It would be hard for Trump to ever get a majority under these circumstances; he’d have to get at least 72 percent of the elected delegates from the remaining states, or he’d need help from superdelegates who might not be willing to provide it to him.

Mike Huckabee wins Naples Derby

We have all watched the Presidential election this year and all know that candidate Mike Huckabee gave it all he had. He graciously bowed out in February. Although not in the Presidential campaign his four-legged namesake posted a winning campaign in the $50,000 Naples Fort Myers Derby series and finished on top on March 5th.  Brindle kennel’s Mike Huckabee a strapping 80-pounder and the bet favorite, thrilled both on and off-track fans that watched the handsome black son of Trent Lee and Twinkles come from behind and win in a powerful five-length victory over the 660-yard course.

Ted Cruz’s risky detour to crush Marco Rubio in Florida
By Margaret Carlson

It’s been a huge week in the presidential campaign. We’ve gone from Donald Trump having an unstoppable path to the Republican nomination to the possibility that he could be beaten.

That’s the good news for the majority of Americans who believe that an authoritarian, ill-informed, bellicose real estate mogul is unsuited to be president.

The bad news is that the vehicle of Trump’s defeat is turning out to be Sen. Ted Cruz.

With his faux-folksy recitations of Dr. Seuss and “The Princess Bride,” his singular insistence that Obamacare could be repealed, and non-stop obstruction fueled by his self-regard as the only principled man in Washington, he helped grind governing to a halt in recent years. One of the few points of bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill is antipathy to Cruz. Vice President Joe Biden captured the feeling at the annual Gridiron Club dinner on March 5, joking that if President Barack Obama really wanted to put his mark on the Supreme Court, he should name Cruz to the open seat. “Before you know it, you’ll have eight vacancies.”

The emergence of Cruz as the savior of his party offers the painful choice between a fast death by gunfire (Trump romping to an unbeatable plurality of delegates within days) or a slow one by poison, as Cruz chips away at Trump’s lead with his latest wins in Kansas and Maine. But there’s no time to waste. The most super of Tuesdays is coming up on March 15 with the winner-take-all contests in Ohio and Florida. If Trump were to win both, the fat lady has sung.

Kasich’s survival strategy
By Kyle Cheney

Blanked in the first 20 Republican presidential nominating contests, the Ohio governor is desperate for a breakout performance Tuesday night in Michigan and a win next week in his home state. That’s because even if he pulls it off — no guarantee when polls show him down by double digits to Donald Trump in Michigan and statistically tied with the mogul at home — his advisers rarely mention what’s likely to come next: another six weeks of winless hell.

That’s because Kasich won’t have another chance at a marquee day until April 26, when five northeastern states — including Pennsylvania, where he grew up — hold Republican primaries.

Don’t Overlook Rubio’s Island Hopping Strategy

Rubio TrumpIt was my belief that Sen. Marco Rubio would have capitalized off of a strong third place finish in Iowa by now, but the Rubio campaign’s poor campaign strategy of believing that early wins were not important combined with a horrific debate performance before the New Hampshire primary essentially has rendered him a non-factor.

Rubio has two wins under his belt, Minnesota and Puerto Rico. Neither are victories that candidates boast about. All that said, I expect Rubio to continue to do well in the U.S. Territories of American Samoa, Guam, Virgin Islands, and the Northern Marianas. I imagine Rubio will also do well in Hawaii. Those contests will only garner him 55 delegates if he gets every single delegate up for grabs.

Like Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Rubio needs a significant home-state victory in Florida on March 15th. Securing all of the state’s 99 delegates will not only get him back into the nomination fight, but it will also boost the establishment effort to prevent Trump from accumulating the necessary 1237 delegates to capture the Republican nomination. Many have been calling for Rubio to vacate the race, but if you are pushing a convention strategy, you actually need him to remain in the race and win wherever he can.

As of today Rubio has 151 delegates. If he can secure wins in Hawaii on Tuesday and Guam and Virgin Islands on Wednesday, he just might have enough momentum to win pull off a big Florida win, and all of a sudden he’s sitting there with at least 297 delegates, which isn’t anything to sneeze at. In fact, that would surpass the number of delegates that Santorum racked up in 2012.

There are 2,472 total delegates to be had. Trump is racing towards 1237, the number needed to secure the nomination, and while Cruz thinks he can play to win, it’s more likely that he, Rubio, and John Kasich could get to 1237 and prevent Trump from securing the nomination outright. In a race to 1237, Trump actually trails the field by over 100 delegates – 496 to 384.

There are only 1582 delegates remaining to be had. Trump needs over 53 percent of them to capture the nomination. It’s doable, but if he’s shut out in winner take all states like Ohio and Florida, that makes getting to 1237 that much more difficult. Instead of needing 53 percent to the remaining delegates, he suddenly needs to get over 63 percent of the remaining delegates.

It’s hard to see Rubio getting to 1237 on his own, but if Cruz can’t find a way to become more competitive with Trump in states outside of the Bible belt and Trump can’t get to 1237, it’s easy to see how Rubio might be able to be successful in a convention fight. If Rubio and Kasich were somehow able to become a joint ticket, they could easily become big factors at convention, especially if they control the Ohio and Florida delegations.

For all those calling for Rubio to drop out, I don’t think they really understand how the nomination process works. We may shrug off his victory in Puerto Rico, but it gives him momentum, and if he can win the three island contests this week, suddenly he’s back in the thick of things.

Trump Shows Strength on Super Tuesday

Trump DSM
Photo by Dave Davidson –

Even as establishment Republicans intensified the attacks on Donald Trump over the past week to ten days, the New York billionaire continued to put up impressive wins and continue his march to the Republican nomination.

Trump posted impressive victories in Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Virginia. Trump also won a narrow victory in Arkansas and Vermont. Even in Texas where Texas Senator Ted Cruz won easily, Trump still garnered 27 percent of the vote.

The only real blemish on the night was in Minnesota, a caucus state, where Trump finished well behind Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who finally got his first win under his belt. In addition to winning Texas, Cruz also pulled out a win over Trump in Oklahoma.

Even though Cruz and Rubio were able to get in the win column, Tuesday night’s results did nothing to quell Trump’s dominance over the Republican field. Cruz was expected to win his home state, and his six-point victory over Trump in Oklahoma was also in friendly territory. Cruz also ran strong in Arkansas and Minnesota, but he wasn’t much of a factor is states like Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee, other states that he needed to be competitive in.

Rubio’s win in Minnesota may have gotten the money off of his back, but his inability to win in states like Virginia, Arkansas, or Tennessee spell trouble for his campaign. Winning the low-turnout Minnesota caucuses isn’t a lot to hang his hat on before he goes head-to-head against Trump in his home state of Florida on March 15.

The problem for the anti-Trump crowd was on full display Tuesday night. As the frontrunner Trump runs strong everywhere. The same can’t be said of his opponents. Cruz ran strong in caucus states and southern states, but was uncompetitive in places like Vermont, Massachusetts, and Virginia.

Even more problematic for establishment Republicans is that even with all the talk about Rubio last week, he wasn’t able to post the necessary victories to slow Trump’s march to the nomination.

Super Tuesday Results Link

Jimmy Kimmel’s: Trumped Sketch

Jimmy Kimmel’s “Trumped sketch is definitely funny and well worth the few minutes it takes to watch. The Washington Post said the following about the sketch, “If you’re still trying to wrap your head around the inexplicable rise of Donald Trump, then Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane might have just given us the most plausible explanation yet.”

I’m not surprised but the authors of the sketch missed the mark because they are likely clouded by their own political leanings. The sketch had great promise until it decided to blame the uprising of Trump on money hungry political consultants funded by million-dollar political contributions in result of the Citizens United Case.

This would have been more accurate if it was called “Carsoned” or “Bushed,” since both campaigns and Super PACs were driven by money-hungry political consultants.