On Republican Campaign Trail, Slow and Steady May Win the Race

11 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘He has gone way over the line': Hillary Clinton tells Seth Meyers she no longer finds Donald Trump funnyURBANDALE, Iowa (AP) — Hillary Clinton had just finished detailing the dangers of terrorism, recalling tough calls in the White House situation room as secretary of state and lashing out at her Republican rivals for threatening the safety of Americans. WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans don’t see Donald Trump as likable or compassionate, but he’s viewed by Republican registered voters as their party’s most decisive, most competent and most electable candidate, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

Washington – Hillary Clinton took aim at fellow White House hopeful Donald Trump over his call to ban Muslims from entering the United States, saying: “I no longer think he is funny.” Appearing on NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers” later on Thursday, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination said Trump had overstepped the mark with his latest comments.WASHINGTON • In previous attempts to explain the racist, xenophobic bile that periodically spews forth from Mr Donald Trump’s mouth, pundits have been partial to an explanation that combines brashness and egotism. But when an Iowa man broke into her riff with a question about how the country could confront a new wave of hate and fear, her response sounded less like that of a commander in chief than of a soothing self-help guru. “We’ve got to do everything we can to weed out hate and plant love and kindness,” she told a crowd of several hundred. The businessman, now a leading contender for the Republican nomination for United States President, speaks so loosely and is too proud to apologise that, so the thinking goes, he ends up always having to double down on crazy things he did not always mean to say in the first place. Clinton, dressed in a kelly green tunic paired with black slacks, pointed black heels and a chunky black rock necklace, noted how Meyers and his late night peers have been having a ball with Trump’s candidacy.

Donald Trump’s surprising staying power atop the polls as the first primary events draw nearer has made the possibility — once considered somewhere between remote and nonexistent — now conceivable enough to merit the worry of GOP brass. Clinton was quick – but not as quick as her Democratic rivals Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders – to tweet out criticism of Trump’s plan Monday night, several hours after it was announced. ‘This is reprehensible, prejudiced and divisive,’ she wrote. ‘You don’t get it. The scenario, in short, sees Trump maintaining sufficient hold on his loyalists to pile up a significant number of delegates heading into the party’s July convention in Cleveland. Of the other four Republican candidates tested in the poll, Ted Cruz came closest with 56 percent calling him very or somewhat decisive, followed by Ben Carson at 53 percent, Marco Rubio at 52 percent and Jeb Bush at just 42 percent. Then, arcana like the rules governing how a candidate’s name gets placed into nomination at the event would suddenly become relevant again for the first time since 1976, when an insurgent Ronald Reagan almost snatched the nod from Gerald Ford.

She suggested, however, there was a way to uphold the Constitution and make sure ‘felons and fugitives and stalkers and people with serious mental illness and now potential terrorists’ couldn’t get guns. ‘If you are trying to keep people paying dues and supporting your organization, you want to keep them upset,’ Clinton said. ‘And so, the NRA 30, 40 year ago, is not the NRA of today.’ Chris Christie, Trump’s idea is “a ridiculous position and one that won’t even be productive.” Dick Cheney said the proposal “goes against everything we stand for and believe in.” House Speaker Paul D. But she’s also talked about compassion for decades, dating back to her earliest days as first lady when she decried a national “crisis of meaning” in a 1993 address. Ryan (Wis.) declared that it was “not what this party stands for” and, “more importantly, it’s not what this country stands for.” Ben Carson added, “We do not and would not advocate being selective on one’s religion.” Sen. Trump’s lead hasn’t much budged since, and the math is the same: The first four contests, in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada — all in February — together will award only 133 delegates, out of a total 2,470 up for grabs over the length of the race.

The investment and training in law enforcement, emergency preparedness and intelligence gathering have been second to none, but there does not seem to have been similar interest in trying to build a more inclusive society – one where people do not so quickly regard one another with suspicion. But while 9 in 10 Republican voters said decisiveness and competence are extremely or very important in a candidate for president, just 6 in 10 said compassion is that important, and only half said it’s that important for a candidate to be likable. Despite the outpouring of condemnation that greeted his proposal, it will shock no one if the presidential hopeful’s polling numbers suffer no ill effects. The size of the media markets in play in this period (including Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, and Seattle) would seem to favor the best-funded contenders.

In the wake of last month’s terror attacks in Paris and the mass shooting in California by a self-radicalised couple, American society is once again divided, with some going so far as to say that the anti-Muslim sentiment now is even worse than it was in the weeks after the Sept 11, 2001 attacks in New York and other cities. But while each of those contests has its own rules for distributing its spoils, they have this in common: Delegates will be awarded, in some fashion, proportionally. As disheartening as it was to hear one man – albeit an influential one – put forward such a proposal, the sight of a room of Americans giving him a standing ovation for it was worse.

Assuming four — or five or six or more — candidates can remain standing through this phase, they could well slice up the winnings sufficiently to deny an otherwise-favored frontrunner a clear path to a delegate majority. Clinton has assiduously courted women, with the historic nature of her candidacy, economic policies such as expanded family leave and a promise to bridge political divides. “That sort of language very much tracks with what a lot of women voters say,” said Democratic pollster Margie Omero, who helps oversee research of female swing voters who shop at Wal-Mart. “They say, ‘Let’s go back to a time in which we’re being nicer to each other.

Even as the leadership of his own party was denouncing his remarks, thousands of supporters in South Carolina gave the candidate resounding applause the moment he uttered his Muslim ban. Sure, Trump expanded this religious litmus test to all immigrants, rather than just those fleeing for their lives, but in so doing he merely took an existing, Republican-establishment-endorsed proposal and made it a little bigger and flashier. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest Muslim advocacy organisation in the US, said that it received more reports about acts of Islamophobic discrimination, intimidations, threats and violence targeting American Muslims and Islamic institutions in the week-and-a-half since the Paris attacks “than during any other limited period of time since the 9/11 terror attacks”. In one of the most extreme cases, a group of “protesters” turned up outside a mosque in Irving, Texas, armed with loaded rifles and carrying anti-Islam signs.

The world was introduced to the town in September when 14-year-old student Ahmed Mohamed was arrested because a teacher thought his homemade clock looked like a bomb. Bush pooh-poohed Trump’s plan as lacking in “fiscal responsibility.” But is the $7 trillion hole that Bush’s own plan would blow in the budget (per the Tax Policy Center) really so much more responsible? And with Muslims forming anywhere between 1 and 2 per cent of the population, the candidates can rest easy knowing that even a complete loss of the Muslim vote would not make a significant difference to their chances.

Bernie Sanders was viewed favorably by 54 percent of Democratic voters and unfavorably by 21 percent, with 24 percent saying they still don’t know enough about him to have an opinion. Mr Bush may not have been able to stop the anti-Muslim prejudice but, by promptly and pointedly refusing to blame Muslims, he limited the poisonous xenophobic and anti-Muslim invective in post 9/11 politics. As Mr Nathan Lean, director of research for the Pluralism, Diversity and Islamophobia project at Georgetown University, said: “Thanks in large part to the patient language of President Bush at that time, those within the Republican Party who might have otherwise expressed or acted upon antipathy towards Muslims were not given the licence to do so. In fact, despite constant Republican- establishment bellyaching that their party and primary have been hijacked by an unserious candidate, Trump’s campaign has in a way been helpful to the likes of Rubio, Cruz, Christie and Bush. Just a day before Mr Trump’s wild proposal, President Barack Obama made a televised address where he urged Americans not to discriminate against Muslims.

By comparison, their own far-right, unserious, unreasonable ideas start to look moderate, serious and reasonable, and their own xenophobic rhetoric sounds a little more mannerly. Americans were divided in their views of Democrats Clinton (44 percent favorable to 46 percent unfavorable) and Sanders (31 percent favorable to 32 percent unfavorable). Not to mention that Trump’s bombast and self-obsession make just about any other politician look grounded, polished and temperamentally tame (no small feat if you’re Chris “sit down and shut up” Christie). But Clinton stood out from the field as the candidate viewed as most able to win a general election, with 78 percent thinking she could win if nominated.

The AP-GfK Poll of 1,007 adults was conducted online Dec. 3-7, using a sample drawn from GfK’s probability-based KnowledgePanel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The choice was either to do it upstream or tackle the consequences downstream – either design policy to mitigate social forces from the get-go or be forced to react to any negative outcomes that emerge.

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