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Posts tagged as “2016 presidential race”

Trump 95: Funded by foreign nationals

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High up on the lines of Donald Trump appeal for many of his supporters, last year at least, was this: He's rich, he's paying for his campaign himself, so no one else can buy him.

It was never true; Trump accepted campaign money during the primary season as well as during the general. The deception - many Trump backers probably still think he's self-funding - is more significant than the contributions, which all the other candidates for president, of all parties, have been accepting and using this cycle like the many before it. No blame from here on Trump for accepting contributions ...

... except ...

He's seeking a kind of contribution other candidates of all parties, who mostly at least have been trying to conform to federal law on the subject, have not been seeking:

Money from foreign nationals.

On June 29 the watchdog groups Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission said that fundraising emails from Trump this year have been going not just to Americans but to politicians in Britain, Australia, Scotland and Iceland.

FEC guidance sheets say federal campaigns cannot accept donations from foreign nationals, and "It is also unlawful to help foreign nationals violate that ban or to solicit, receive or accept contributions or donations from them."

An email from Trump's son drew this from a British member of Parliament: "Quite why you think it appropriate to write emails to UK parliamentarians with a begging bowl for your father’s repugnant campaign is completely beyond me. ... Given his rhetoric on migrants, refugees and immigration, it seems quite extraordinary that he would be asking for money; especially people who view his dangerous divisiveness with horror."

Others called it "pathetic."

The Associated Press, in a show of wit, said, "Call it ‘Trexit.’ Members of the British Parliament and other foreign politicians want off Donald Trump’s email list, and are seeking to block the presidential candidate from asking them for campaign donations."

There are some gray areas in the law, and Trump's legal counsel may be able to keep him out of the penalty box here. But really: You're running for president of the United States and you want people from foreign countries to underwrite that? What sort of message is this? (Oh wait. We're talking about Donald Trump here.)

Political resurrection

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It won’t be an unrecorded miracle of the Lord. Nor will it be a modern-day Houdini act, but one can bet in six months the herd mentality that dominates the news of the nation will be talking about the political resurrection of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s presidential candidacy.

Remember that fella a few years back written off because of bimbo eruptions? He surprised the media by running second in the New Hampshire primary, and thus became “the Comeback Kid.”

So pervasive is the view that Jeb is roadkill one shouldn’t be surprised if those institutions of collective wisdom---the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal---don’t editorialize that Governor Bush should withdraw to help clear the field.

Jeb ought to print up a greeting card to send to all those writing him off with that famous Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain, his nom d’plume) quote embossed on the outside in both English and Spanish: “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

Twain, ironically, was responding to a reporter’s inquiry about his health and had written the reporter back. His response was published in the June 2nd, 1897 edition of the now defunct New York Journal.

There are at least two prominent Idaho Republicans who think it is too early, before even one ballot has been cast, to be reading Jeb’s obituary.

They are Boise attorney and former Idaho Attorney General, Lt. Governor and almost Governor David Leroy; and, Emily Baker, the office managing partner for the region-wide Gallatin Public Affairs firm.

Both can be called Bush loyalists as each has worked for either Bush “41” (George Herbert Walker Bush) or Bush “43” (George W. Bush). Neither, though, is a designated spokesperson for the Jeb Bush campaign. They are, however, members in good standing of the extended Bush family, and both articulated why it is way premature to write Jeb’s obit.

First, is the “competency and qualified” issue, which both think will matter when voters actually step into voting booths. They reason even many Tea Party Republicans will come back to their guy - it has been fun to flirt with the two major outsiders - but voting for president is serious business. Most folks will want the experience and qualifications of someone who has actually run a large government bureaucracy.

In the current Republican field only two have: Jeb Bush and Governor John Kasich of Ohio. Asked to respond to speculation that to jump start his campaign (and get past the debacle of the “Jeb Can Fix It” slogan) Bush might try to entice Kasich to be his “running mate” now. The thinking is there would be a clear perception that together they can deliver their home state’s electoral votes (Florida has 29 and Ohio has 18) in November, 2016.

Jeb knows the Republican ticket has to carry their home states to offset the lock presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will have on California’s 55 electoral votes.

This is a version of the second argument against counting Jeb down for the count. Jeb can win in November and he is the only Republican in the field that national polls have shown can run even or even defeat Mrs. Clinton.

Third, Jeb has the money (reportedly around $110 million) to stay in the game right to the convention . He has raised the most, still has the most (the exception being billionaire Trump who is self-financing), and more importantly the “money boys” on Wall Street are standing by him because they know those that run the RNC know the party is headed for extinction if its nomnee is an outsider, or an inexperienced senator.

One may ask just how can the national party manipulate the process to ensure a brokered convention?

The answer is GOP powers will mandates changes in the process of selecting national convention delegates. States will have to forego any winner-take-all-the-delegates primaries and caucuses. The party will mandate proportional to the vote allocation of delegates and/or whoever receives the most votes in a congressional district. The result regardless will be a brokered convention.

Then, in a back room behind closed doors “Wall Street” will dictate either the Bush/Kasich ticket, or give Mitt Romney another shot. Most intriguing, though, would be a “draft” of House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Fifth, and finally, there is a tenacity to the Buahes that they mask, but its there just beneath the skin. It is best exemplified by the matriarch, Barbara Bush. Quite simply all the Bushes know politics is a contact sport. They play to win, a simple fact one should never underestimate. They may forgive, they never forget.

Leroy and Baker make a compelling case reports on Jeb’s political demise if not exaggerated, are certainly premature.

First take

It's under pressure that (and fiction writers know this well) character is most readily revealed. We now have a great vise that stands to be a useful character-revealer, in the form of the first Republican presidential debate of the new cycle, a little more than a week off. In the interest of holding a debate in which the various candidates have more than three or four minutes to speak, organizers have limited participation to the "top 10" candidates, as determined mainly by polling results. There's a problem here. While three of the current candidates - Donald Trump, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker - hold a discernible lead over the others, the other 13 "major" candidates are all clumped together in the mid- or low single digits, and most within a margin of error. There's no easy way to differentiate among them in polling terms, which means there's no easy way to determine which six won't make the cut - and thereby risk being characterized afterward as the minor candidates with minor support. What is this leading to? The New York Times describes some of it in its email report this morning: "Until Monday, most of the Republican-on-Republican violence in the 2016 presidential contest had been along familiar lines — Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey against Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky; Donald J. Trump against almost everybody. But the impending first Republican debate, which has a 10-candidate limit that has already prompted some attention-getting stunts, is quickly turning the race into a food fight." Which may dominate news reports for some days to come. - rs (photo/Senator Ted Cruz, by Michael Vadon)