Trump Continues to Roll with Big Arizona Win– Cruz Scores Symbolic Victory in Utah

DJT Osky
Photo by Dave Davidson –

Americans woke up on Tuesday morning to news of terrorist attacks in Brussels that left at least 30 people dead and hundreds more wounded. By night’s end, voters in Arizona, Utah, and Idaho would cast their votes in the presidential race. As has been the case for Republicans for the past five Tuesday’s, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump continues his march to the Republican nomination.

Trump easily won Arizona’s 58 delegates, meaning he was able to keep pace in winning enough of the available delegates to reach the 1237 delegates necessary to claim the Republican nomination. Texas Senator Ted Cruz was able to win the Utah Caucuses, and even broke the 50 percent threshold that garners all of the state’s 40 delegates, but it’s more of a symbolic victory. The Utah win helps Cruz continue on, but does little to stop Trump’s momentum.

For weeks, national media outlets have devoted significant time and space to covering the “Stop Trump” movement, yet to date, there hasn’t been any indication that the effort has been effective in slowing Trump’s momentum. The month of April looks even better for Trump as the race heads back east with contests in Wisconsin, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

Not only is the GOP race returning to the northeast, an area where Cruz is likely to struggle, but the terrorist attacks in Brussels only underscore the main themes of Trump’s campaign. Trump has made securing the border between the United States and Mexico his main objective. Before the attacks in Brussels and Paris, most Republican voters already supported securing the border. The recent attacks only make Trump’s plan to build a wall only more desirable.

With Arizona’s 58 delegates now in Trump’s column, he needs 498 delegates to claim the Republican nomination. With 984 unallocated delegates remaining, Trump now only needs to capture about 51 percent of those delegates to win. The next big contest will be in Wisconsin on April 5th. It is by far the friendliest turf for Cruz in the month of April, but in order to actually stop Trump, Cruz will need to win at least five of Wisconsin’s congressional districts, something we have yet to see him do outside of his home state of Texas.

Arizona and Michigan May Provide a Glimpse of What’s to Come

The results from today’s primaries in Arizona and Michigan will do more than just tell us who Republican voters in each state prefer to be the nominee.  The results will also provide us a glimpse as to how the race may unfold moving forward.

The race to watch is in Michigan, where both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have been campaigning extensively for weeks.  Romney has a home field advantage in the state.  Not only was Romney raised in the state, but his father is a former three-term governor there and his mother was once the Republican nominee for the United States Senate.  Santorum doesn’t have any Michigan ties, but he relates to blue-collar workers as well as the state’s social conservatives.

Romney is expected to win Arizona, a winner-take-all state that Santorum has not has not focused on or spent much money in.  The Michigan contest is expected to be a nail-biter despite Romney’s deep roots in the state.  It is also conceivable that both Romney and Santorum could win tonight.  One candidate could win the popular vote, while the other wins more delegates.

That doesn’t lessen the value of the results from Michigan, but it does mean that that what happens there will do more to shape the race moving forward than anything else.  Below are two scenarios that could play out.  One focuses on how wins in Arizona and Michigan could put Romney well on his way to the Republican nomination.  The other possible scenario involves Romney continuing to struggle.  Both are plausible, but the results from today’s contests could provide an indication as to what scenario is more likely to happen.

Scenario One: Romney Actually Becomes Inevitable Nominee

The only way that Romney can once again become the inevitable nominee is if he stops losing.  Already twice in this campaign, it looked as if Romney had secured the nomination.  In early January, he was riding high after wins in Iowa and New Hampshire.  He saw his Iowa win vanish after the vote was certified.  Two days later Newt Gingrich won South Carolina by a large margin.  Romney recovered and had impressive wins in Florida and Nevada, then got thumped by Santorum in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri.

If Romney wants to start the process of securing the nomination, he must start by securing wins in Arizona and Michigan.  He also needs to claim more delegates in Michigan than Santorum.  If he can do that, he needs to follow it up by winning the Washington caucuses that follow on March 3rd.  That would give Romney three victories leading into Super Tuesday, but more importantly, it would limit any Santorum momentum.

Winning Arizona, Michigan, and Washington would create some much-needed momentum for Romney, especially since Super Tuesday is not all that favorable to Romney.  He should be able to easily secure victories in Massachusetts, Vermont, and Virginia, but it’s the other seven states that are problematic.  For Romney to essentially begin locking up the nomination, he must win Ohio.  Ohio is a battleground state, a loss there would be a crippling blow to his campaign.  Unlike in today’s contests, Romney is not going to have the luxury of focusing on just one state at a time after this ponit.  Romney also must prove that he can win a southern state.  His only options to do that are in Oklahoma or Tennessee.

Romney doesn’t need to be perfect on Super Tuesday, but he has to be careful where and who he loses to.  For example, Romney can lose to Gingrich in Georgia since it’s Gingrich’s home state.  He can also lose states like Alaska, North Dakota, and Idaho so long as he loses them to Ron Paul, not Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich.

Romney needs a resounding victory tonight because he needs to weaken Santorum, who is leading in polls in Ohio, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.  For Romney to emerge as the eventual nominee, he has to keep Santorum out of the win column, and only lose to Gingrich in Georgia.  It’s hard to imagine Romney winning both Oklahoma and Tennessee, but momentum has been one of the biggest factors in the race thus far, and with it, wins in those states could be possible.

Scenario Two: Two-person race between Romney and Santorum.

There is no doubt that Romney will do well in tonight’s contests in Arizona and Michigan, but it may be difficult for him to prevent Santorum form picking up an equal amount of delegates in Michigan, which would be seen as a push by some.  That outcome may also be seen as a victory for Santorum due to Romney’s deep roots in Michigan.

Washington could also be problematic for Romney.  The state legislature there just recently legalized gay marriage, which means that the political climate might favor Santorum.  Any combination of either Santorum winning Michigan, fighting to a tie in Michigan, or winning Washington should give Santorum a nice bump heading into Super Tuesday.

Santorum is currently leading in the polls in Ohio, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.  Those three states make up nearly 40 percent of the delegates available on Super Tuesday.  If Santorum can create some momentum in Michigan or Washington, he should be able to hold on to his lead in those states, which would be devastating to Romney.

States such as Alaska, Idaho, and North Dakota are not as significant, but are not irrelevant either.  Ron Paul may be able to get a victory in Alaska or Idaho, but North Dakota could be favorable for Santorum.  Gingrich doesn’t seem to be much of a factor except in the south, and his ability to win outside of Georgia will be limited if Santorum doesn’t stumble heading into Super Tuesday.

It is entirely possible that Santorum could rack up wins in Tennessee and Oklahoma, while severely wounding Romney by winning Ohio.  Ron Paul may win a state but in the overall scheme of things he’s still a non-factor.  Gingrich seems well positioned to win his home state unless Santorum pulls off an upset and wins big in Michigan.  Under that scenario, Santorum many challenge Gingrich there.  Romney could also be hurt if Gingrich pushes him to third place in states like Georgia, Oklahoma and Tennessee.  The narrative that Romney can’t win southern states would be very damaging.  If he can’t win Ohio or a southern state on Super Tuesday, his campaign would be in serious trouble.

Gingrich Factor

Right now, it doesn’t seem like Gingrich is much of a factor outside of Georgia.  If Santorum underperforms tonight and in Washington on Saturday, there may be an opening for Gingrich in Oklahoma and Tennessee, but that also would increase Romney’s chances there.  With Gingrich’s Super PAC now beginning to place ads in multiple states, he will be a much bigger factor.  However, if Santorum gets some additional momentum, it seems unlikely that Gingrich would be able to overcome him in the week between now and Super Tuesday.


Either Romney is going to emerge from Arizona and Michigan with some serious momentum, or Santorum is going to continue to be a thorn in his side and a serious contender.  The decision by Gingrich and Paul not to compete in either contest might prevent them from taking a loss, but it also means it’s nearly impossible for them to gain much momentum before Super Tuesday.

If Romney is going to be tripped up, it’s going to happen on Super Tuesday.  There probably isn’t going to be any sort of major defeat that will send Romney home. Instead, it’s going to continue a narrative that Romney just can’t close the deal, especially in important swing states.  It’s these swing states that the Republican nominee needs to win to do well in this fall.

The other narrative that could develop on Super Tuesday is the lack of appeal for Romney in the South.  If Romney can’t win a southern state on Super Tuesday, it will continue the narrative that was set when Gingrich won South Carolina.  Both narratives would be bad for the Romney campaign.

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Presidential Race Continues Shift as Super Tuesday Nears

Don’t pay any attention to all the political pundits and cable news talking heads speculating about a brokered convention in Tampa.  While the Republican nomination fight is as interesting and as volatile as it has ever been, it’s too early to spend time talking about possible convention scenarios.

The Arizona and Michigan primaries next Tuesday will kick-off a series of contests that could render all the talk of a brokered convention null and void.  While none of the candidates are currently projecting a lot of strength, wins create momentum.  Wins help a candidate rise in the polls, which also creates momentum.

Every candidate needs momentum to win.  Romney needs momentum to dry up his opponents fundraising ability.  His opponents need momentum to raise money for their campaigns and affiliated Super PACs. Without money, it’s impossible to run a campaign in multiple states, which is required at this stage of the process.

Thursday’s debate in Arizona was the last major event besides an actual primary or caucus that could alter the course of the race.  That debate, and the results from next week’s primaries in Arizona and Michigan, will alter the race before ten states vote on Super Tuesday on March 6th.  With that in mind, let’s look at how the remaining candidates are positioned as we enter into this critical stage of the race.

Mitt Romney

Since getting swept by Rick Santorum in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri on February 7th, the Romney campaign was out of sorts for the two weeks that followed.  Romney began to rebound as Santorum got bogged down on social issues, but it was Thursday’s debate that reenergized the Romney campaign.

Romney has huge advantages over the rest his opponents.  Unlike Gingrich, Paul and Santorum, he has a large staff and a well funded Super PAC that makes running a campaign in multiple states much easier.  While other candidates are forced to scrape together enough money to place TV ads, the Romney effort has been able to place ad buys wherever necessary throughout the campaign.  Even while some establishment Republican began to talk about Romney’s inability to secure the nomination, he has always maintained his money advantage over the rest of the field.

Santorum’s less than perfect showing in the debate combined with an aggressive performance by Romney provided a little momentum for Romney before next Tuesday’s contests.  Romney’s debate performance probably helps him the most in Arizona, where he was already leading, but the positive news from the debate will also help him elsewhere.

While Romney is likely to see an uptick, he’s not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination.  Romney’s problem throughout the campaign is that he has been unable to seal the deal with conservative voters, and thus, can’t secure the nomination.

Super Tuesday is also not all that favorable to Romney.  He should get big wins in Massachusetts, Vermont, and Virginia, but the remaining seven states could prove to be difficult.  What Romney desperately needs is big wins in Arizona and Michigan, which may create enough momentum for him to win a state like Ohio.  If Romney wins Michigan and Ohio, he will once again be able to make the case that he is the inevitable nominee.

Many pundits have pointed out that Santorum and Newt Gingrich both still being in the race at this stage makes it easier for Romney to divide the conservative vote and win, but it also means he has to fight a two front war.  Having to campaign against both Santorum and Gingrich in states makes things more complicated and expensive for Romney.

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum had a not-so-great debate on Thursday, and it capped a week of bad media coverage for the underdog frontrunner.  Santorum didn’t do anything to help himself in the debate, which will probably hurt him the most in Arizona where his campaign has not dedicated many resources.  While the debate was bad for Santorum, it’s too early to write him off.

Besides Romney, only Santorum and his Super PAC who have been able to campaign and run ads in the Super Tuesday states.  He also has solid leads in the polls in Ohio, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.  With only Santorum and Romney actively campaigning in Arizona and Michigan, it’s going to be difficult for Gingrich to generate any momentum before Super Tuesday besides the bump he got from the debate.  That helps Santorum greatly, but he still needs to perform well and pick up delegates in Michigan.

Regardless of what happened in the debate, if Santorum is able to beat Romney in Michigan, Santorum will once again have a full head of steam coming into Super Tuesday.  That kind of momentum could even help him challenge Gingrich in his home state of Georgia, where he trails in the polls by less than five points.

Between now and Tuesday, Santorum has to find a way to change the narrative following the debate.  If he is able to dust himself off and get back up, he could basically make this a two-person race.  All that said, Santorum made things much more difficult for himself with his debate performance.

Newt Gingrich

Gingrich breathed some life into his candidacy with another one of his classic debate performances.  Another advantage for Gingrich is that the biggest prize on Super Tuesday is his home state of Georgia.  If Gingrich is able to generate enough buzz, he may also surprise in some other the other southern states that day.

The problem for Gingrich is resources.  While the media went crazy over Sheldon Adelson’s remarks that he “may” give Gingrich’s Super PAC another $10 to $100 million, he actually needs to cut the check for it to help Gingrich.  For Gingrich to be competitive, he needs to be able to run TV ads in multiple states.  Neither Gingrich nor his Super PAC have indicated that they will be able to run TV ads like Santorum and Romney currently are doing.

The Gingrich campaign has said that they will be airing 30 minute infomercials in various TV markets in Super Tuesday states, it’s an unconventional approach that would likely only appeal to people who find themselves watching CSPAN on a regular basis.  Gingrich can reemerge, but to do so, he needs to have a paid media presence.  Otherwise, he’s going to be drowned out in every state except Georgia by Romney and Santorum.  Gingrich also runs the risk of even losing Georgia if he’s not on TV there.  That will be especially true if Santorum can regain some of his momentum.

Ron Paul

Paul doesn’t seem overly interested in winning anything besides uncommitted delegates in caucus states.  Paul is still a factor in the race, but more for his willingness to provide aide and comfort to Romney by attacking Santorum or Gingrich than anything else.

Current Standings

Frontrunner: Mitt Romney
Serious Challenger:
Rick Santorum
Dark Horse:
Newt Gingrich
Ron Paul


Photo by Dave Davidson –

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Is Herman Cain’s Eloquence Too Good To Be True?

By Craig Robinson

Herman Cain is a gifted orator. His ability to stand and deliver a speech is better than those who will end up competing with him for the Republican presidential nomination. But, are Cain’s words his own? Surely most are, but he also seems to be creating a bad habit of lifting other people’s words without referencing the original source.

Last Saturday, a Facebook post by Caree Severson, an Iowa activist who is actively supporting Cain, caught my eye. Severson quoted the beginning of Cain’s speech at The Tea Party Patriots policy summit in Arizona.

Cain said, “Let it be born in mind that the tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching your goals, but tragedy lies in having no goals to reach for.”

Cain’s words were powerful, but also familiar. While at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, I took a class on peace and non-violence. We spent a lot of time learning about many leaders of the civil rights movement. The words, “Let it be born in mind that the tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching your goals but tragedy lies in having no goals to reach for” do not belong to Cain, but were originally spoken by Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays.

I like Cain. I think he’s a serious candidate here in Iowa, and I thought that maybe he simply forgot to cite Mays, a well-known Georgian who has a high school named in his honor in Atlanta.

Then today, I see that Cain is making hay over the fact that Khloe Kardashian tweeted the Cain quote, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

There is just one problem. Those are not Cain’s words either. Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer is credited for that phrase. Whoops.

Maybe Cain and those who quote him should make sure they are giving credit where credit is due.

It is also worth noting that the Kardashian’s have been known to charge as much as $25,000 to simply mention and link to a brand or company in a tweet.  One has to wonder if the Kardashian tweet was organic or a paid advertisement.

Photo by Dave Davidson

Update: Response from Cain Campaign

I just want it to be clear that Mr. Cain has never stolen words from any of those people. He considers Dr. Mays one of the primary inspirations of his life, and he would never steal words from a man of whom he is so fond. He has, time and time again, attributed Dr. Mays when quoting him. He just didn’t one time at CPAC.

As far as the Khloe Kardashian story is concerned, we have never been in communication with her or anyone else. Our team simply found it to be humorous that his name was mentioned in her Twitter feed. If you read her timeline, she has a history of pulling quotes from inspirational/ motivational quote aggregates. This is not an isolated incident that motivational quote aggregates share that. Our reply to her was not “making hay” or a publicity ploy. Instead, it was a good-humored attempt to acknowledge that supporters were excited about the tweet mentioning Mr. Cain’s name.

The insinuation that perhaps we could have paid Khloe Kardashian for her tweet is also a stretch. $25,000 is a considerable sum of money, and it would be obviously better spent elsewhere than to ask a reality television star to tweet on our behalf.

We just want to be clear. Plagiarism is a very serious accusation, and I would hope you would take into account our comments when revising your post.

Very best,

Ellen Carmichael
Friends of Herman Cain- Communications Director

From Politico

A spokeswoman for Cain, Ellen Carmichael, said Cain had never actually claimed credit for the quote Kardashian picked up, that nobody on his staff had ever heard him say it, and that she believed Kardashian had found it on a website that aggregates motivational quotes. “None of us had ever heard that quote before,” she said, adding that Cain had never met or spoken to Kardashian and that her tweet was an utter mystery to them.

As for Mays, she said, he’s the former president of Morehouse College and a huge, and oft-cited, influence in Cain’s life.

“He has a painting of the man on the wall of his office,” she said, adding that he regularly credits Mays both for inspirational quotes and for his own life, and that if he failed to attribute the quote once it was not a matter of theft.

“Mr. Cain has been very vocal about his admiration for Dr. Mays, including in his published work,” she said, emailing over an article Cain wrote on Mays.

Cain is the most eloquent man on the right hands down, and to think that Herman Cain needs to be stealing words from someone is baloney,” she said.

“Also, I’d like to add, I’m pretty sure Mr. Cain isn’t the first person to say ‘Stupid people are ruining America,’ as he did in his CPAC speech,” she added.