Archive

May 1st, 2016

Trump's blowout forces his rivals to double down

    The Ted Cruz-John Kasich alliance failed on Tuesday night as Donald Trump rolled up huge victories in five Northeastern states. The two anti-Trump candidates have only one real option left: to double down on the troubled strategy.

    With Kasich out of the way in Indiana next week, Cruz faces a must-win showdown against Trump. If the billionaire takes that state, it may be close to impossible to stop him from winning the Republican presidential nomination. If Cruz prevails, however, his camp and Kasich's already are discussing a plan for dividing up the final huge primaries on June 7.

    Trump's pathway to the 1,237 delegates necessary to capture the nomination became easier with big victories on Tuesday. He won more than 100 delegates, putting him less than 300 shy of the magic number.

    On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton continued her seemingly inevitable march to the nomination, winning four of five contests: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Connecticut. But Sen. Bernie Sanders, her only rival, won Rhode Island and insists that he will keep competing at least through the final June primaries.

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April 30th

Trump 2.0? Don't bet on it

    Oh, so now Donald Trump cares about whom he offends?

    The New York billionaire's Republican presidential candidacy is in for a makeover. In fact, his new campaign adviser Paul Manafort told a meeting of Republican National Committee leaders in Hollywood, Fla., that the Donald's pivot to a more cool and cuddly candidate already has begun.

    "You'll start to see more depth of the person, the real person," said Manafort, according to a recording obtained by the Associated Press in the closed-door meeting. "You'll see a real different way."

    "The negatives will come down," Manafort said. "The image is going to change."

    Is he -- and Trump -- for real? The announced transformation conveniently comes at a time when Trump is trying to woo a constituency he underestimated, if he expected it at all: Republican convention delegates who do the actual nominating of the party's presidential candidate.

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The only man who can stop Trump

    Donald Trump has decided that sexism in the quest for victory is no vice.

    Trump's supporters have regularly asked why his long string of primary successes has not led his Republican opponents to accept him as "the presumptive nominee," the phrase he used about himself Tuesday night. The candidate helpfully answered the question by showing that there is nothing normal about his campaign for the presidency.

    A candidate on the verge of taking it all is usually gracious about his foes inside the party and conscious of the need to broaden his appeal beyond it. But graciousness is not a Trumpian concept.

    On his most glorious night so far, he again showed Republicans why choosing him would produce an avalanche of Democratic votes from American women -- and from many men who respect women more than Trump seems to.

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The Good Food Movement Needs Science, Too

    Perhaps you’ve heard some organic food advocates say, “We should just roll back the clock and farm the way we used to” — before modern science gave us factory farms and genetically modified ingredients.

    Others disagree, saying that we’d all starve if we didn’t use science and technology in farming.

    It’s a big debate. But maybe the turning of a clock isn’t the right metaphor.

    Instead, I thought recently of an old Chinese saying: “Draw snake, add legs.” It refers to when someone gets so carried away in doing something that they carry it too far, ruining it by adding extra, useless things.

    A study of how our food system developed over the last century appears to be a clear case of drawing a snake and adding legs.

    My master’s thesis is on chickens. I’ve dug into historical documents going back to the late 1800s to learn how Americans raised chickens over time. It’s not a pretty picture.

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The fault line between parties and voters

    Donald Trump claims the Republican presidential primary system is "corrupt" and "rigged" against him. If anything, the opposite is true: The party's rules have largely operated in Trump's favor. Witness the fact that, going into Tuesday's primaries, Trump had won just 38 percent of the popular vote but 47 percent of the delegates awarded so far.

    Still, Trump's griping seems to have resonated even beyond his own supporters. The dispute highlights the friction between the parties' institutional interests in self-preservation and voters' convictions that they run the show. This inherent tension tends to be submerged in less contentious election years, when those competing imperatives can both be accommodated.

    Trump has "discovered what a lot of Americans have discovered, which is that the nomination of a president is not a public process," the Brookings Institution's Elaine Kamarck told me. "It's a party process that the parties in modern times have allowed the public to participate in."

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The end of 'Never Trump'

    Once upon a time, it looked like Donald Trump might have a ceiling. As more and more GOP rivals dropped out in January, February and March, his share of the vote in national polls remained unchanged around or below 35 percent, and a majority of Republicans voted for other candidates in state after state. But beginning with the New York primary a week ago and continuing with a sweep of five more states Tuesday night, Trump has won clear majorities of primary voters.

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Sanders's next crusade may be for attention

    His hour upon the nation's biggest political stage is almost up. The Democratic nomination is receding from his reach. And a 74-year-old doesn't have a lot of presidential runs in his future. So it's time for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to take stock: What does he want?

    Yes, yes, everyone knows -- a revolution. But Sanders is not Lenin and this isn't Russia circa 1917. So what does he really want? He has surprised us all, himself surely included, with the depth and breadth of his support in the Democratic primary. As a result, he has valuable leverage, afforded by millions of votes, and a trove of digital addresses, afforded by his supporters' passion.

    Sanders has a few months left to take full advantage of those assets. For himself, he'll want a prime-time slot for a convention speech and a serious role as a surrogate on the campaign trail. For his followers, he'll no doubt have the opportunity to insert some pet peeves into a Democratic platform, for whatever that's worth.

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Presidential Frontrunners Close In

    Donald Trump's sweep of five Northeastern primaries and Hillary Clinton's victories in four of the five have moved the 2016 presidential election process to the brink of decision in both parties, and a prospective Trump-Clinton faceoff in November.

    Trump's pickup of 109 convention delegates was a particular blow to his closest Republican challenger, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who finished an embarrassing third behind Ohio Gov. John Kasich in four states -- Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware and Maryland.

    The results raised Trump's total to 954, only 283 delegates short of the majority 1,237 required for the Republican nomination, calling into question Cruz's earlier declaration that Trump would fall short on the first ballot, necessitating an open convention in Cleveland in July.

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No, Donald Trump, beating Hillary Clinton will not be easy for you

    Following a five-primary sweep Tuesday night, Donald Trump repeatedly insisted that he would beat Hillary Clinton "so easily," because she is a crooked politician and a flawed candidate whom people do not like. It is undoubtedly true that Clinton is beatable. By her own admission, she is "not a natural politician." But that does not mean that Trump can beat her, let alone easily.

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Mrs. Christie's face makes an eloquent case against Trump's appeal to women

    It should be a new rule of the campaign that Donald Trump is allowed to give speeches only with a member of the Christie family standing behind him and making faces. (One will do, but both are preferable.)

    First, Chris Christie hung, albatross-like, around Trump's neck as he spoke in Palm Beach, Fla.

    And on Tuesday night, Mary Pat Christie's facial expression behind Donald Trump, as he expressed why he would do well with women and Hillary Clinton would not, was beyond words.

    This is different from her husband's wordless cry. That was something the likes of which we had not seen before.

    This, by contrast, is intensely familiar.

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