2016 Elections

In 2016, Vision Matters More Than Experience

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e5/The_Bosses_of_the_Senate_by_Joseph_Keppler.jpg

Though it seems this election season started the morning after the 2014 midterms, last night marked just the second state to have cast votes for a presidential nominee. Historically, Americans have rarely chosen senators as their presidents, turning instead to governors (or generals) with a leadership record that can be examined. But this is no ordinary election year.

On the Democrat side, the only remaining candidates (not that they had many in the first place, with the DNC telegraphing a coronation) are former Senator (and Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton, and sitting Senator Bernie Sanders. On the Republican side, the current frontrunners are casino mogul Donald Trump, and Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio (though the last is a huge question mark after a disappointing fifth-place finish in New Hampshire).

Matt Lewis Is Right: Rand Paul Is Wrong on Term Limits, Here’s Why

(Editor’s note: this post first appeared on George Scoville’s personal blog.)

The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis has a really important piece up this morning critiquing Rand Paul’s rhetoric on congressional term limits from Paul’s announcement of his 2016 presidential campaign yesterday. During his speech, Paul said, “We limit the president to two terms … It is about time we limit the terms of Congress.”

Here are the counterpoints Lewis offers (emphasis added):

Democrat “economic wedge issue” playbook failed in 2014, but they’ll probably re-hash it in 2016 anyway.

Hillary Clinton 2016

After suffering a historic beating at the polls in 2014, many leading Democrats now say a big reason for their losses is that they failed to drive home with voters a message of economic populism; namely, income inequality, wage stagnation, and the need to raise the minimum wage. They say they are determined to fix that failure in their quest to win back seats from Republicans in 2016.

Democrats, fleeing from Obama’s myriad failures and seeking wedge issues with which to win close races, actually did implement quite a bit of economic populism in the months leading up to the midterms; it just didn’t resonate with voters. As for why it did not resonate, it might be that after six years of Obamanomics – from the “stimulus” package that actually increased unemployment by more than 2%, Son of Stimulus, Cash for Clunkers, Summer of Recovery, Summer of Recovery 2, Summers of Recovery 3 and 4, and so on and so forth - voters simply no long gave Obama and the Democrats credibility on economic matters.

And with good reason. The issue of raising the minimum wage polls well, but in actuality has little bearing on the lives of most voters. The reality is that, according to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Labor earlier this year, only 2.8% of the U.S. labor force earns at or below minimum wage. Of that 2.8%, many workers, such as restaurant servers, make much higher than that due to tips, which reduces the number of Americans actually earning minimum wage to just 1.1%. Of those earning minimum wage, roughly half are workers between the age of 16 and 24 years, and most of these are students working part-time.

Hillary Clinton’s potential soon-to-be campaign team wants to “punish” conservative voters

Hillary Clinton

Liberals have long thought of politics as a zero-sum game, where the winners revel in the spoils of victory while punishing the losers. Furthermore, liberals have long equated political activism with violence. Radical liberal groups — particularly environmentalists and so-called ‘animal rights’ activists — use violence and force to advance their cause. Domestic terrorists like Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground bombed buildings to achieve political success.

So it’s no surprise that potential Hillary 2016 staffers would use words like “punish” when referring to political opponents in private email exchanges.

A source leaked private emails of Democrat activists to ABC News earlier this week, pulling back the curtain on a listserv that reaches more than 150 activists. Well-known Democratic activists Robby Mook and Marlon Marshall use the listserv — titled “Mook Mafia” — to have an ongoing discussion about politics, campaigns, and 2016. Think of the liberal journalist listserve “JournoList,” only with activists instead of reporters.

From the ABC News exclusive:

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signs on to Rand Paul 2016

Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled his support for Rand Paul’s potential 2016 presidential campaign in a wide-ranging interview with the Lexington Herald-Reader after Tuesday night’s Republican sweep of key Senate races and McConnell’s own stunning defeat of his Democratic challenger.

From the interview:

McConnell also is intrigued by Paul’s plans for 2016, when Kentucky’s junior senator faces re-election to his Senate seat while potentially running for president.

It’s a safe bet that Paul won’t be the only member of McConnell’s GOP caucus who considers trying for a move to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Does that require a tricky balance?

“(It’s) not tricky at all,” McConnell said. “Obviously, I’m a big supporter of Rand Paul. We’ve developed a very tight relationship, and I’m for him.”

For president?

“Whatever he decides to do,” McConnell said. “I don’t think he’s made a final decision on that. But he’ll be able to count on me.”

Paul endorsed McConnell in early 2013, months before McConnell’s tea party-backed primary challenger — Matt Bevin — materialized. McConnell trounced Bevin in the May primary.by an almost 2-to-1 margin.

Please, no: Hillary vs. Jeb 2016 is already happening

Hillary vs. Jeb 2016

Please, no. It’s already happening.

The slow-moving train toward the inevitable candidacies of both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush left the station this week with the latter’s announcement on Facebook that he would launch a leadership committee in January to begin a possible run for the White House.

The Facebook note reads:

Columba and I are so proud of the wonderful adults our children have become, and we loved spending time with our three precious grandchildren.

We shared good food and watched a whole lot of football.

We also talked about the future of our nation. As a result of these conversations and thoughtful consideration of the kind of strong leadership I think America needs, I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.

In January, I also plan to establish a Leadership PAC that will help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation. The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.

In the coming months, I hope to visit with many of you and have a conversation about restoring the promise of America.

This, apparently, caught the Clinton machine off guard.

POLITICO reports on this “tortoise and hare” race:

Big money is betting on Hillary Clinton in 2016

Hillary Clinton

You know, for all the whining and complaining Democrats do over “big money” in politics, they sure do love to cash those checks when donors write them. In fact, during the 2014 election cycle, Democrats pretty much stayed competitive with Republicans overall, but in hotly-contested Senate races like North Carolina and Virginia, the Democrats far-and-away outspent the Republicans.

Even The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart took notice of the Democrats’ love of campaign money during this cycle.

So it’s really not surprising when billionaires like Warren Buffett write $25,000 checks to Democratic political action committees. According to Bloomberg Politics writer Lisa Lerer:

Ted Cruz is dominating Facebook, Twitter

Ted Cruz

Facebook and Twitter revealed that “Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz together accounted for 40 percent of the discussion on Facebook and nearly half — 47 percent — of mentions on Twitter among 10 top presidential possibilities in the past three months” though neither of them were on the ballot during the November election, according to POLITICO this morning.

From the report:

Of the 27 million Facebook posts, comments and content likes related to the potential White House candidates between Aug. 22 and Nov. 22, Clinton and Cruz each were mentioned in 20 percent of the posts, according to Facebook’s data scientists. Clinton topped Cruz though in the number of people talking about her with 2.3 million people making 5.6 million interactions, while Cruz had 1.8 million users referencing him in 5.6 million interactions. (POLITICO provided the list of contenders to Facebook and Twitter.)

Of the 15.9 million mentions of candidates’ names or Twitter handles between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1, Cruz snagged 4.6 million mentions, or 29 percent, while Clinton garnered 2.9 million mentions, or 18 percent.

A former digital director for President Obama’s 2012 campaign noted, “Imperfect as it is, [Facebook] is probably the biggest trove of data of what actual human beings outside of Washington, D.C., are talking about day to day and that makes it intrinsically important, and these platforms are actually important for reaching people and motivating them.”

Hillary — not ‘truly well off’ — Clinton made $300k for one speech, FOIA request reveals

Poor Hillary Clinton

Over the summer, Hillary Clinton made headlines when she defended her husband’s commnets on their personal wealth. In June, the Washington Post reported:

In an interview with Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Clinton was asked whether she could be a credible champion for fighting income inequality in the United States despite her wealth.

“But they don’t see me as part of the problem,” she told the paper, “because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we’ve done it through dint of hard work.” The Guardian wrote that Clinton let off “another burst of laughter” in answering the question, suggesting that she found the question “painful.”

Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, have earned well over $100 million giving paid speeches and writing books since leaving the White House in 2001.

The National Journal reported that Clinton would likely be wealthier than four of the five former Presidents.

So why is this relavent now?

Rand Paul hires top Establishment GOP fundraiser — and that’s a good thing for the grassroots.

Rand Paul 2016?

According to National Review Online’s “The Corner,” Kentucky Senator — and prospective 2016 Republican candidate for President — Rand Paul has hired incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s top fundraiser, Laura Sequeira.

NRO reporter Eliana Johnson writes:

Rand Paul is bringing on Mitch McConnell’s national finance director, Laura Sequeira, to play a key fundraising role at his political-action committee ahead of an expected 2016 presidential campaign.

Over the past two years, Paul, a tea-party darling, has labored mightily to woo establishment donors into his camp. Sequeira’s arrival will certainly help with that. She is fresh off the campaign trail, where she helped McConnell, the incoming Senate majority leader, raise millions for his reelection campaign.

Paul’s fundraising shop now includes operatives with reach into both the Republican establishment and its insurgent wing: Sequeira joins Erika Sather, the former director of development at the Club for Growth, on Paul’s fundraising team.

In a thorough investigation of “McConnell world” last week, POLITICO highlighted Sequeira’s role on McConnell’s re-election campaign. According to the most recent reports available to Open Secrets, the McConnell campaign raised just over $31 million for the 2014 cycle.


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