How Romney Just Helped Trump

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

I am not happy with the prospect of Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee. But if you are hoping for someone else to be the nominee, I think what happened Thursday morning hurts rather than helps.

Former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney delivered a major speech yesterday morning at the University of Utah attacking Donald Trump. Parts of Romney’s speech were conveniently leaked to major news organizations in advance.

Romney called the 2016 front-runner “a phony” and “a fraud.” He said Trump’s “promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University,” adding that he is “playing the American public for suckers.”

But Mitt was just getting warmed up. Here’s more:

[Trump’s] domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president. And his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill.

I have said many times that Mitt Romney is a wonderful family man and a decent fellow. But in what world is this speech from a two-time loser a good idea?

From a practical standpoint, it makes it more difficult for Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio to make their case about why they are a better alternative than Donald Trump. What were the media talking about yesterday? Mitt Romney. Not Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. If Mitt wanted to run for president, he should have thrown his hat into the ring! Continue Reading

New Poll: With Carson Fading, Can Any GOP Candidates Close the “Empathy Gap”?

Dr. Ben Carson (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

According to 2012 exit polling on the presidential race, one of the most lopsided measures between GOP nominee Mitt Romney and Democratic incumbent Barack Obama was perceived empathy, or voters’ opinions about whether each candidate “cares about people like me.” For voters for whom this measure was the most important, Obama trounced Romney, 81-18, proving the existence of an “empathy gap” between the two candidates about which many pundits had speculated prior to the election.

The good news for Republicans? A new Quinnipiac national poll shows Hillary Clinton struggling in the empathy department. When respondents were asked whether or not they believe Clinton “cares about the needs and problems of people like you,” only 46 percent said yes, while 51 percent said no. The ratio was even worse among independents: 40-56.

The bad news? Not all the GOP candidates fare much better.  The “empathy rating” for all the major candidates, both Republican and Democrats, is below:

  • Bernie Sanders: +18, 12% unsure
  • Ben Carson: +12, 13% unsure
  • Marco Rubio: +7, 23% unsure
  • Ted Cruz: -1, 15% unsure
  • Hillary Clinton: -5, 3% unsure
  • Donald Trump: -23, 4% unsure

I wrote last month on how Ben Carson, based on polling at that time, appeared to be the GOP candidate with the best crossover appeal.  That no longer seems to be the case, though he still scores the highest empathy rating among Republicans. Nevertheless, Carson’s image has clearly taken a hit as his negative publicity has piled up. Continue Reading

Mitt Romney: Savior of the GOP Elite?

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Amidst the near insanity of covering the campaigns of 16 serious GOP presidential candidates (sorry, Jim Gilmore), it’s easy to forget to be grateful for how deep the Republican field is this cycle.  While Democrats scramble for an alternative to the sinking Hillary Clinton, the GOP race offers a bevy of options for those still searching for a candidate to get behind.

However, despite this enormity of options, the National Review reports that some Republican donors are still dissatisfied—so much so that they are turning in an unlikely direction for help:

Though this election cycle was supposed to feature the most impressive field of Republican presidential candidates in decades, a handful of the party’s major donors and bundlers remain underwhelmed by their options. They are longing for the bad old days, and Mitt Romney is still their man. These holdouts continue to hope that the former Massachusetts governor, who said in January he would not run for a third time, will change his mind. They believe he could dispel the chaos that has reigned over the Republican field for months. Though they gave plenty of money to Romney’s presidential campaigns, this year they’re keeping their wallets shut, waiting for him to reenter the fray.

Dr. Greggory DeVore, who in 2012 raised more than $1 million for Romney, is one of these men. He’s even printed up Romney 2016 bumper stickers, and his black Audi S8 has two pasted on the back. “Romney 2016,” they say.

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Trump in 2012: Romney’s Immigration Plan “Maniacal”

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

It might be hard to believe given the furor over Donald Trump’s recent anti-immigration comments, but in the aftermath of the 2012 defeat for Republicans, Trump had some harsh words for former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney about his outreach to the Latino community:

Real estate mogul Donald Trump recently reflected on former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s loss, telling Newsmax that the candidate failed to resonate among certain demographics in part because of his “maniacal” immigration policy.

“He had a crazy policy of self-deportation, which was maniacal,” Trump said. “It sounded as bad as it was, and he lost all of the Latino vote … He lost the Asian vote. He lost everybody who is inspired to come into this country.”

This was sort of an “I told you so” moment for the billionaire, as he predicted in the summer of 2012 that Republicans’ stance toward immigrants would cost the party in November:

“For people that have been here for years that have been hard-workers, have good jobs, they’re supporting their family — it’s very, very tough to just say, ‘By the way, 22 years, you have to leave. Get out,'” he said during an appearance on Fox News. “I’m one of the world’s very conservative people, but I have to tell you on a human basis, how do you throw somebody out that’s lived in this country for 20 years.”

His criticism wasn’t one sided.  He also attacked Democrats for not having a plan, while pointing out an aspect of their approach that might help Republicans with Latinos:

Trump accused Democrats of not having anything meaningful to offer in the field of immigration policy, but said that the party benefited from at least appearing to have the interests of immigrants in mind.

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Have Republicans Learned from Romney’s Mistakes?

In many ways, the presidential elections of 2012 seem like ancient history.  Since that November two and a half years ago, we have already been through a contentious midterm election which saw Republicans make widespread congressional gains and are well on our way into the 2016 campaign cycle with a new group of fresh-faced conservative candidates vying for the White House.

However, Republicans would be foolish to disregard the outcome of 2012 or the reasons the GOP lost that year.  Unfortunately, if his Sunday interview was any indication, it would seem Mitt Romney already has.  Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Romney had the following response when asked what his biggest mistake was as the GOP’s previous presidential nominee:

In my case, I think the biggest mistake I made was not focusing very early on minority voters: Hispanic Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans.

Our policies as a conservative group of people—our policies are designed to help people get out of poverty and to see rising incomes.  And the policies of the opposition party are to talk about that, but they don’t help people get out of poverty.  We have seen that.  They don’t create jobs.  Hillary Clinton said famously that business don’t create jobs.  How in the world can you be so out of touch as not to realize that if we want to have better jobs for people, we want small businesses to grow and thrive?  That’s what we’ll do.  Each of our candidates needs to communicate that to minority voters, and if we do, I think you’re going to see a lot minority voters say, ‘you know what?

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Can Republican Candidates Avoid Romney’s Fatal Error?

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

It may be hard to believe about a man who won just 28 percent of the Latino vote, but 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney didn’t plan on making immigration a big part of his campaign.  It originally started as a way to oust potential rival Rick Perry, according to the Huffington Post:

They found a potential weak spot: immigration. Perry had expressed some views, such as supporting in-state tuition for certain undocumented immigrants and opposing a border fence, that polled poorly with the GOP base. Although Romney hadn’t planned to make immigration a major campaign issue, some aides thought that taking a tougher stance could help his numbers, a former staffer said.

Sound familiar?  It should.  Candidates like Scott Walker and Chris Christie have also been hardening their immigration stances to beat primary rivals like Jeb Bush, and their flip flopping is hurting their chances with Latino voters, says APIA’s (and The Pulse contributor) Alfonso Aguilar:

“I think he (Walker)’s already done with Latino voters because of that statement questioning immigration, whether it depresses wages,” Aguilar said. “I mean, that’s it, he’s gone off the deep end… Of the top-tier candidates, Walker is the one that has really, really, really stepped on it.”

Jeb Bush once said that a successful candidate needs to be willing to “lose the primary to win the general.”  I don’t think they need to go quite that far: There’s considerable evidence that a majority of Republicans support a path to legal status, as do a supermajority of the evangelicals that dominate the early contests.  Continue Reading

Is Scott Walker 2016’s Version of Mitt Romney?

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Pulse’s own Terry Schilling was featured in The Daily Caller yesterday with a piece comparing Scott Walker to Mitt Romney.  After looking closely at the two candidates, many unsettling similarities begin to appear:

Mitt Romney’s appeal was due to the fact that he was a Republican who was able to overcome great odds by getting elected in a blue state and by passing a signature policy achievement with universal health care reform.

Scott Walker’s appeal is that he is a Republican who has managed to get elected (three times) in a blue(-ish) state and managed to secure his own signature legislative achievement with public sector union reform.

Unfortunately, that’s not where the similarities stop.

Like Romney, Walker is less than eager to talk about the policies he’d support to protect innocent, unborn children if elected President. Walker has even been hesitant about supporting widely popular proposals like Sen. Lindsay Graham’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection act, which limits abortion after the 20th week of a pregnancy when the child can feel pain. The bill polls at a strong 60 percent support among nearly all demographics, including women, youth, and Hispanic voters.

[…]

Walker can try to pivot away from abortion to jobs and the national debt, but unless he addresses the abortion issue head-on, he will follow the same end as Romney’s campaign. If Walker becomes the GOP’s candidate for President, would he ask Hillary Clinton, Liz Warren, or Martin O’Malley whether or not they support aborting a seven-pound baby?

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