Trump vs. Baby? More Like Trump vs. the Media.

I had the opportunity to attend a Donald Trump rally in Ashburn, Va., this morning. Crowds were lined up around the building, chants of “we want Trump” were plentiful, the playlist was stale as usual, and the talking points were usual Trump fare: he’s self-funding his campaign; we’re getting killed in trade; and he will make this country great again. The mood was light-hearted, and the event went smoothly, despite a few protesters.

Nothing seemed out of the ordinary for a Trump rally. However, upon checking my phone before heading home from the event, it seemed every news outlet imaginable was piling on the idea that Trump somehow went toe-to-toe with a crying baby and its mother, to the point of having them removed from the venue. However, from my seat in the press box, I witnessed the entire exchange, an incident which played out much differently than is widely being reported.

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Initially, Trump was very accommodating of the crying baby and mother, as detailed first by Rebecca Shabad at CBS News:

“Don’t worry about that baby, I love babies. I love babies. I hear that baby crying. I like it. What a baby, what a beautiful baby. Don’t worry, don’t worry. The mom’s running around, like don’t worry about it, you know. It’s young and beautiful and healthy and that’s what we want,” the GOP presidential nominee declared.

However, Shabad’s account subsequently goes off the rails. I watched as the mother, of her own volition, carried her baby out into the hallway and out of sight. Continue Reading

A Divided GOP Will Not Defeat Hillary Clinton

Photo credit: PBS NewsHour via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

According to the current Republican convention rules, Donald Trump is the GOP nominee. Months ago, when Trump was leading, the Krauthammers and Kristols of the world were quick to point out that Trump needed to get 1,237 delegates to claim the nomination. They were just as quick to predict that Trump wouldn’t get to that number and legitimized calls for an open convention. Trump now stands at 1,542 delegates, but that hasn’t put to rest the calls for a floor fight in Cleveland.

Just as Trump’s campaign should be staffing up and pivoting to the upcoming general election campaign, the campaign now needs to focus on winning a primary campaign that they have already won. Trump employs a staff of roughly 70 people—an incredibly low number when compared to Clinton’s staff of 700. Yet, Trump is now forced to devote manpower and resources to fend off a challenge from the floor. Politico reports that Trump “will rely on a team of 150 volunteers and paid staff to keep the convention’s 2,472 delegates in line.”

However, it’s not just in terms of manpower where the Trump campaign is lagging behind. According to The New York Times:

Mr. Trump began June with just $1.3 million in cash on hand, a figure more typical for a campaign for the House of Representatives than the White House. He trailed Hillary Clinton, who raised more than $28 million in May, by more than $41 million, according to reports filed late Monday night with the Federal Election Commission.

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Can Trump Challenge Hillary Among Millennials?

Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in New Hampshire (photo credit: Michael Vadon, CC BY-SA 2.0)

As Paul noted, Donald Trump has been surging in recent head-to-head polls between himself and Hillary Clinton. The latest ABC/Washington Post poll, which shows Trump leading Clinton by two points, indicates that Trump is closing the gap within a very interesting demographic: millennial voters, or in this case, voters 18-29 years of age.

Back in March, the last time this poll was conducted, Clinton was beating Trump 50 percent to 41 percent overall. In that same poll, Clinton was running the table with millennials, winning that demographic 64 percent to 25 percent. However, in the May edition of the poll released over the weekend, Trump now leads Clinton 46 percent to 44 percent, and perhaps even more interestingly, Trump is receiving 42 percent of the vote among voters 18-29 compared to Clinton’s 45 percent — a 36 point swing among millennial voters.

What is the impetus for Trump’s 17 percent gain among young voters? Are they disillusioned Bernie Sanders voters, supporting Trump to protest the DNC-backed Clinton machine? Or has Trump’s message begun to resonate with young voters who are fed up with politics-as-usual, many of whom supported Sanders for that very reason? Will Trump be able to bring young voters into the GOP fold?

It will be very interesting to see if this poll is an outlier or signals the start of a new trend, but for a candidate like Donald Trump, who doesn’t seem to adhere to conventional wisdom, either eventuality is a possibility. Continue Reading

Clinton Supporters Are Recycling These 3 Failed Attacks on Trump

Donald Trump (photo credit: Disney | ABC Television Group via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee, an onslaught of negative ads are, undoubtedly, on the horizon. Trump is, by now, no stranger to negative campaigning, having already faced numerous attacks from his former Republican primary rivals, as well as high profile GOP leaders like Mitt Romney.

Now it’s Democrats’ turn. Politico reports that a pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC, Priorities USA Action, will start running anti-Trump messages this week:

The three central tenets of the message will be that the real estate investor is a divisive character, that he’s too dangerous to vote for, and that he’s a con man, Priorities’ chief strategist Guy Cecil explained to POLITICO on Monday — two days before the organization started its run of television advertising that’s set to effectively stay on the air straight through Election Day in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia.

Given the failure of the GOP establishment to stop Trump, one would expect the Left to pursue a different set of tactics when attacking him. However, if Cecil’s statement represents their current plan, they are bound to be disappointed. These three “central tenets” are not new to voters. In fact, Trump’s GOP primary rivals tried all three to no avail.

Take, for example, the accusation that Trump has a “divisive character.” In August of last year, Jeb Bush compared Trump’s rhetoric to President Obama’s, stating that Trump used “[l]anguage that divides us,” and that “[a]ll [Trump] does is push people who don’t agree with him down to make his side look better and the divide makes it hard to solve problems.” Bush further cautioned the GOP against buying into rhetoric that is “really, really divisive that preys on peoples’ legitimate angst.” But despite Bush’s attacks, Trump’s poll numbers continued to rise, and after finishing well behind Trump in several primaries, Bush dropped out on February 21st. Continue Reading

BREAKING: Kasich to Suspend Campaign This Evening

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Last night, after finishing a distant third in the Indiana Primary, a defiant John Kasich appeared poised to continue his quest for the presidency, even as Ted Cruz ended his own. Despite his position far behind Donald Trump in the delegate count, Kasich’s campaign released the following statement through John Weaver, their chief strategist:

Tonight’s results are not going to alter Gov. Kasich’s campaign plans. Our strategy has been and continues to be one that involves winning the nomination at an open convention. The comments from Trump, on the verge of winning in Indiana, heighten the differences between Governor Kasich and his positive, inclusive approach and the disrespectful ramblings from Donald Trump.

However, many outlets are now reporting that Kasich has cancelled a Washington, D.C., fundraiser and subsequent press conference at Dulles Airport in favor of a press conference in his home state of Ohio. These same outlets are also reporting that Kasich’s Ohio press conference will be the end of the Governor’s longshot bid for the GOP nomination.

Kasich’s departure from the race removes the last potential, although highly unlikely, roadblock to Trump’s nomination and will officially cement Trump as the GOP’s presumptive nominee.

Joshua Pinho is a Digital Communications Associate for the American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @Josh_Pinho. Continue Reading

Could Marco Rubio Be Trump’s VP?

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Ted Cruz’s announcement last week of his pick for Vice President, Carly Fiorina, in conjunction with Trump’s likely win in Indiana this evening, will undoubtedly spur new talk of potential VP picks for Donald Trump. Enter Marco Rubio, who has already been mentioned by Trump confidante Roger Stone as a potential pick for Trump’s VP.

Rubio would be a great water-under-the-bridge candidate for Trump in terms of uniting his coalition with the GOP establishment. Trump himself has gone on record saying that he wants a VP with political experience in order to help him push his agenda in congress:

“I do want somebody that’s political, because I want to get lots of great legislation we all want passed,” Trump said Wednesday in a Q&A at Regent University. “We’re going to probably choose somebody that’s somewhat political.”

A potential hurdle to a VP nod from Trump is the fact that the negative campaigning between Rubio and Trump did get particularly dirty, especially when Rubio brought up Trump’s small hands and “what they say about guys with small hands.” However, Trump has shown that he’s able to smooth things over with his former rivals. Back in November, Trump said of his then-rival Ben Carson:

“It’s in the book that he’s got a pathological temper,” he said. “That’s a big problem because you don’t cure that … as an example: child molesting. You don’t cure these people. You don’t cure a child molester. There’s no cure for it.

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Trump Isn’t Wrong When He Says Process Is “Rigged”

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

By nearly every metric, Donald Trump is expected to win big tonight in Pennsylvania. With 71 delegates up for grabs, one would think that Trump would win a vast majority of the delegates — 40, 50, maybe even 60 delegates.

But that will not be the case. When Trump wins Pennsylvania tonight — and he is leading by 20-plus points in all the polls — he will be guaranteed just 17 delegates. The remaining 54 delegates are elected by congressional district, which sounds reasonable on the surface, but there’s a catch — the delegates that appear on the ballot are not required to announce who they will support at the convention, nor are they bound to the winner of the statewide race.

This means that Pennsylvania, essentially, has a large swath of wild card delegates that aren’t beholden to the results of the voting. In fact, the Cruz campaign recently bragged to NBC News that, even if Senator Cruz were to finish in a distant third in Pennsylvania, “[t]hey’re looking at more than 30 [delegates].”

This nonchalant dismissal of the will of the voters is staggering and will only add to the frustration many have with the Republican establishment, and what they see as a “rigged system.” While a winner-take-all system of awarding delegates isn’t perfect, it seems preferable to a system of winner-take-some-vague-amount-determined-by-political-insiders.

Joshua Pinho is a Digital Communications Associate for the American Principles Project. Follow him on Twitter @Josh_Pinho. Continue Reading

I Attended a Trump Rally: Here’s What Went Down

Donald Trump (photo credit: iprimages via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

On Friday, I made the trip out to Harrington, Delaware, to attend one of Donald Trump’s rallies as “one of the world’s most dishonest people,” a member of the media. Doors to the event opened at 12 p.m., but when I arrived at 11:30, the line to get in had already snaked around the venue and out into the parking lot. As I made my way past the line to the security checkpoint near the press entrance, I saw people from all walks of life standing in line, with the sun beating down on them.

The typical media coverage for these events simply doesn’t give a sense for the type of crowd that Trump is able to draw. From the finely tailored suits to the Dale Earnhardt t-shirts, and from white senior citizens to Hispanic teenagers, the crowd had all of the demographic bases covered — without even a hint of self-segregation or bigotry from any of the different groups of people.

When the first few people began to trickle into the event, I left the press area to ask them when they got in line. They took their spot in line at three in the morning — a full thirteen hours before Trump was slated to speak — and they weren’t alone, as several groups of people arrived around the same time in order to make sure they got a good spot in line.

In the hours between noon, when the doors opened, and 4 p.m., there was a steady stream of people flowing into the event. Continue Reading

How Ben Carson Quietly Helped Trump Dominate New York

Dr. Ben Carson (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Despite officially suspending his campaign at CPAC in March, Ben Carson had a major impact on Tuesday’s New York primary. Even after his endorsement of Donald Trump, Carson has recently made statements that some have interpreted as pro-Cruz sentiments. However, after Tuesday’s primary, Carson has effectively laid to rest any doubts about his loyalty to Trump.

New York’s system of awarding delegates hinges on gaining a majority in each of its 27 congressional districts, as well as statewide. Thus, having fewer candidates in the race makes it significantly easier for a single candidate to win all of the delegates at stake. If no candidate receives 50 percent in a district, the delegates are proportionally awarded to candidates who received over 20 percent. For Trump, it was crucial that he win as many of the 95 delegates at stake as he possibly could, and with a little help from Ben Carson, Trump exceeded expectations.

Heading into Tuesday’s primary, four candidates were slated to appear on New York’s GOP ballot: Donald Trump, John Kasich, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson. Carson had missed the deadline to have his name stricken from the ballot. However, Carson sent a last minute letter to the N.Y. Board of Elections requesting that his votes not be counted toward his campaign. The request was granted by the Board of Elections, and all of the votes for Carson were voided.

This move by Carson undoubtedly made it easier for Trump to gain a 50-percent-plus-1 majority in many of N.Y.’s congressional districts. Continue Reading

Ben Carson Bows Out of GOP Race

Dr. Ben Carson (photo credit: John Pemble via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

This evening at CPAC, Dr. Ben Carson officially suspended his — now quixotic — quest for the presidency, stating that he would be “leaving the campaign trail.” Despite leading several national polls earlier in the cycle, Dr. Carson was unable to seize on his grassroots momentum and turned in a number of lackluster showings in the early voting states.

However, in spite these poor performances, Dr. Carson had time and time again committed to continuing his campaign. It would seem that a key aspect of his decision to finally bow out of the race is his new job. Carson will serve as the national chairman for My Faith Votes, a self-described non-partisan organization that “exists to inspire and motivate Jesus followers to vote.”

With Carson’s announcement, the field is down to just four candidates: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and Marco Rubio.

Joshua Pinho is a Digital Communications Associate for the American Principles Project. Continue Reading