First Read: Two Months to Go Until the Iowa Caucuses

30 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Behind Ted Cruz’s Rise in the Polls: Lopsided Support.

Newton, Iowa— As questions continue to surround last week’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Spring, Colorado, Republican candidate Ted Cruz on Sunday readily shifted focus to what he called “some vicious rhetoric on the left.” “I think there’s been some vicious rhetoric on the left blaming those who are pro-life,” Cruz said. “I’ll tell you, I’m proud to be unambiguously pro-life.” When asked about the shooter reportedly telling authorities “no more baby parts,” Cruz resisted suggestions that recent conservative condemnations of Planned Parenthood — including discredited allegations that the organization profited from fetal tissue donations — contributed to the Colorado shooter’s motives for killing three and staging an hours-long standoff with authorities. The GOP presidential primary contest is about to enter crunch time with just two months left until the voting begins with the Iowa caucuses followed a week later by the New Hampshire primary.

After the Thanksgiving holiday and a relatively quiet week last week on the campaign trail, here is the reality — we are now just over 60 days until the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses.But the same polls suggest he has a big challenge: He has very little support outside of a growing base of self-described “very conservative” voters. “Very conservative” voters can propel Mr.

Never fear, Ted Cruz fans, his campaign is making sure this holiday season you have your very own festive Cruz Christmas sweater for all those crucial December happenings. During a campaign stop here in Iowa, the Texas senator seemed to reference unconfirmed reports, including one relating to the shooter’s gender and political identification.

We are about to find out if the Donald Trump phenomena is a mirage that will evaporate when things get serious or a lasting movement that could deliver the nomination to the bellicose billionaire. Here’s where your GOP race stands with two months to go: Trump (after the Paris terrorist attacks) is leading in almost every poll; Ted Cruz is rising; Ben Carson is dropping; Marco Rubio remains in double digits; and Jeb Bush is stuck in the single digits. One of the reasons Marco Rubio might actually have a chance to be the Republican nominee—and to advance his mostly positive and optimistic message—is (perhaps ironically) because he’s willing to play the game of politics. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Iowa GOP’s Growth and Opportunity Party at the Iowa state fairgrounds in Des Moines on Oct. 31, 2015. (Nati Harnik, AP) “The folks that are gathered here tonight, y’all scare the living daylights out of Washington. Cruz to victory in Iowa, a caucus state, but according to exit poll data from 2008 and 2012, those types of voters represent a smaller share of the electorate in every primary state.

The wrangling over how to repeal Obamacare with budget reconciliation will come to a head this week, beginning with a kick-off meeting tonight among Senate Republicans to chart a path forward. The Cruz campaign told MSNBC that the senator was making a point that there were many different things that were reported, much of which is possibly not based on fact. “It’s also reported that he was registered as an independent and as a woman and a transgender leftist activist, if that’s what he is,” Cruz said. It does not sound like there are currently 51 votes for the plan to defund Planned Parenthood and strike down the health care law’s individual and business mandates, but top Republicans are insisting they will get there as early as this week and there is a method to their madness.

Standing by the cash register, the final question the firebrand senator received was one he was well-prepared to answer: Why should Iowa Republicans pick him to carry their torch over Donald Trump, the billionaire juggernaut with whom he is now statistically tied in the Hawkeye State? “I think the reason people got excited about Donald Trump is they’re fed up with Washington. As the days tick closer to Iowa’s Feb. 1 caucuses, Cruz’s campaign is pushing to get him in front of as many Iowans in as many counties as they can — even if it means an event at 10 p.m. at a gas station in a town with a population just above 4,000.

In the most recent Quinnipiac survey of Iowa, he had a large 16-point lead among voters who described themselves as “very conservative.” With 38 percent of their support, his strength there was greater than that of any other candidate in any ideological category. And when, after the Paris attacks, the topic of conversation followed the circuitous route from terrorism, to refugees, to immigrants, Rubio drew a more obvious connection: National security. (More specifically, Ted Cruz’s vote to supposedly weaken national security.) The attack on Cruz is apparently tied to the latter’s support for the USA Freedom Act, which altered the way intelligence agencies conduct surveillance and gather data. “As the recent terrorist attacks in Paris have shown, now is the worst possible time to undermine the very tools that keep our people safe,” Rubio said on Saturday. The effort is in part due to a pledge the presidential candidate made in June: to visit all of Iowa’s 99 counties, a feat dubbed the “full Grassley” in reference to Sen.

But he held the support of just 14 percent of “somewhat conservative” voters and a mere 6 percent of self-described moderate or liberal Republicans. The featured item is a red Christmas sweater with the Texas Republican presidential candidate’s face in the middle of the chest, flanked by two “Don’t Tread On Me” snakes, with a White House directly under it all.

Rubio won’t be at the meeting intended to snag his vote, he’ll be campaigning in New Hampshire, and Cruz will be campaigning in North Carolina on Monday. Because Trump has helped frame the central question of this primary as: Who will stand up to Washington?” Cruz continued: “Now if that’s the central question, it leads to a natural follow-up question. Cruz rejected the possibility of taking his support of a potential path to legal status off the table — despite his cries in the past against “amnesty.” “Let’s demonstrate we can stop illegal immigration, we can protect our national security interests, we can protect our law enforcement interests,” Cruz said in Iowa. “Then once that’s done, we can have a conversation at that point about whatever people remain here illegally.” Cruz has insisted the border must be secured before addressing proposals of how to deal with the millions of undocumented immigrants still living in the United States.

Second, USA freedom did not stop the practice of obtaining information; the government must now obtain a warrant—and the records are kept by the phone companies as part of their normal business practices. Federal transportation policy expires on Friday and the omnibus will need to be delivered shortly after on Dec. 11, so time is beginning to become a factor for Republican leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. Nothing Trump has said or done in recent weeks — from clinging to a debunked story about Muslims celebrating in New Jersey after 9/11 to mocking a reporter’s handicap to canceling a press conference with black ministers — seems to be hurting him too badly. But today’s biggest political story isn’t playing out on the 2016 campaign trail; it’s taking place in Paris. “Some 150 world leaders including President Barack Obama joined U.N. Third, it’s important to note that USA Freedom was compromise legislation—and that, in fact, one could reasonably argue that Cruz’s efforts helped keep us safe by preventing the complete repeal of the Patriot Act’s provisions.

If the sweater ($65 donation) is too festive for you the website is also offering up baseball caps, t-shirts, polo shirts, scarves, beanies, and hoodies with Cruz’s campaign logos emblazoned on them. He compared the Senate’s bill to the 1986 immigration reform passed by Congress and signed by President Ronald Reagan that ultimately granted a pathway to legalization while also promising stronger enforcement on the U.S. As US News & World Report noted last year, “There [were] not enough votes in the House to reauthorize the Patriot Act without amendments limiting its authority, according to statements from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Rep. The popular “Blacklisted and Loving It” poster is also up for grabs, which Cruz was recently seen showing off with “Saved By the Bell” star Mario Lopez on Twitter. And Cruz has done a very deft job of first cozying up to Trump supporters and then presenting himself as the natural heir to the billionaire’s followers, a maverick who has consistently battled the establishment in Washington to champion conservative causes from spending restraint to abortion.

Environmental activists hope that the images from the United Nations conference will send a powerful message of unity on the issue of global warming,” NBC’s Rachel Witkin and Halimah Abdullah write. For example, a scheduled evening stop in Northwood in September resulted in a closed welcome center; Cruz, campaign staff and two reporters spoke briefly before parting ways.

The electorate is so conservative because the delegate selection process begins with caucuses, which draw the most engaged, activist and conservative voters. More House endorsements for Rubio are set to roll out in December, according to campaign sources, and several GOP senators said privately they expect their colleagues to get behind Rubio once the GOP field thins,” Seung Min and I report this morning. Cruz appears to be gathering momentum at the right time in Iowa and could be positioned to out-organize Trump and get his supporters to caucus locations to cast their votes. English called it “an anomaly.” But the best-laid plans can be easily waylayed by Iowa’s harsh winter, congressional votes or myriad other issues. CRACKIN’ DOWN: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is cracking down on the “Hope Yes, Vote No” crowd that are likely to turn the omnibus into a mostly Democratic affair, per an internal welcome back note obtained by Huddle. “Too many in our Conference are falling into the pattern of voting no on tough bills while actually hoping the bill passes because they know that the outcome will be even worse if the bill fail … The vote that hurts our Conference is the no vote from a Member who hopes the bill passes, but relies on others to carry that load.

Last year the world’s two largest carbon polluters and historically the biggest obstacles to a deal announced plans to jointly enact emissions reduction policies.” But the Times notes that any agreement won’t be in the form of a treaty. “Traditionally, negotiators have sought to forge a legally binding treaty that needed ratification by the governments of the participating countries to have force. That vote isn’t fair to the Members who shoulder the responsibility of voting yes … the story of a bill that passed with 150 Republican votes is much more positive and assertive than the story of a bill that passes with 79 Republican votes,” Scalise writes.

He has similarly pushed—unsuccessfully, albeit unapologetically—to use the power of the purse to stop Obama’s immigration policies and strip federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The candidate’s campaign has spent $1.2 million in Iowa through the end of September, more than any other Republican or Democrat, according to federal campaign finance filings.

Cruz mocked his fellow Republican presidential candidates for being absent in those fights. “It was like they were in witness protection,” he said. NBC News: “The day after a gunman killed three people and shot nine others at a Colorado Planned Parenthood office, officials tell NBC News a motive remains unclear, but say the suspect talked about politics and abortion. Robert Lewis Dear, a North Carolina native who was living in a trailer in Colorado, made statements to police Friday at the scene of the Colorado Springs clinic and in interviews that law enforcement sources described as rantings.

WEDNESDAY’S TRIVIA WINNER – Alexander Levine was the first to answer that Montclair, N.J., is home to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Stephen Colbert. Senior Republican aides and strategists think he’s kryptonite if the party, whose core base of older, white conservative voters is shrinking, wants to be viable on a national stage. Taking questions from voters and news media were ranked as important, however. “Especially (in) a little town like Chariton here, you don’t see people like that come around, and the little people need to get their word out too and see what’s going on and get their opinion in,” said Mark Goff, 54.

TODAY’S TRIVIA – Alexander has today’s question: This man stepped into the leadership void for his party in the ’20s and ran for president repeatedly. Mitch Sorensen, a 49-year-old physical education teacher in Creston, said the 99-county tour allows voters outside of larger cities to see a candidate’s passion. “When you personally come in contact with that person and they shake your hand, I think there’s so much more ownership. … Just being here, it’s so much different than being on TV.

Rubio courageously worked to fix our broken immigration system, and—proving no good deed goes unpunished—he has been attacked in vicious and unfair ways. Trump has fired up the base with a Cruz-on-steroids persona: more politically incorrect, scorched-earth and (unlike Cruz) self-financed and not dependent on large donors. Cruz worked across the aisle to address serious concerns about the intersection of civil liberties and national security, and today, that effort is being twisted and demagogued.

There certainly is, but for a lot of candidates, the full Grassley is perhaps their only avenue.” This year, Santorum is the first — and so far only — 2016 contender to complete the full Grassley. This could both deplete resources of the eventual GOP nominee — while Hillary Clinton waltzes to the Democratic nomination — and leave the Republican standard-bearer bloodied by rivals’ attacks. A Quinnipiac poll of Republicans in the state released last week found Trump leading with 25 percent, and Cruz surging to 23 percent, within the poll’s margin of error. Ben Carson, the former Iowa front-runner who has been sinking rapidly in the polls, could give Cruz room to grow—both are competing for the state’s outsize evangelical constituency. But the only candidate at the moment who appears dominant enough to close things out early — Donald Trump — is the last person the party actually wants to win the nomination.

If it comes down to Rubio, Cruz, Christie, Bush and possibly others duking it out, the party will have to just stand by and wait for a winner to emerge. At the convenience store, Cruz told the assembled Iowans that conservatives are “uniting behind our campaign” because they want “someone who doesn’t just talk the talk, they’re looking for someone who’s not just a campaign conservative but someone who’s been a consistent conservative.” It’s far from clear that conservative credentials will be the deciding factor in the Republican race—establishment-backed candidates with moderate inclinations have won the party’s presidential primaries for decades. The billionaire has energized a large block of disaffected white voters who feel betrayed by the establishment of both parties and lost in an increasingly globalized economy.

There are a large number of well-funded establishment candidates who could split the moderate vote, not to mention Donald Trump, who has underappreciated appeal to moderate voters. The decision was made on the assumption that his victory depended on uniting his Tea Party base with the religious right — two large factions that, together, would represent something near a majority of the Republican electorate but that often split in Republican primaries. Ultimately, candidates who start with lopsided, factional appeal usually struggle to broaden their base, even when they’re viewed favorably throughout a party, like Bernie Sanders.

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