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Washington Report January 29, 2016

29 Jan 2016

Washington Report January 29, 2016

IOWA, IOWA, TURNOUT, TURNOUT … THE TRUMPLESS GOP DEBATE … THE BRAWL BEGINS … GOP BATTLE BETWEEN MATHEMATICIANS AND PRIESTS … DAILY SHOW, BESIDE THE POINT … and other news of the week.

Best,

Joyce Rubenstein and the Capstone Team (John Rogers, Alan MacLeod, Diane Rogers, Erik Oksala and Kayla Baca)

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IOWA CAUCUS … 3 DAYS
NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY … 11 DAYS

VOTER TURNOUT KEY The Hill: “In the end, it’s all about turnout. With Hillary Clinton maintaining a paper-thin lead in Iowa over her rival Bernie Sanders, the Democratic candidates are spending the final days before the Iowa caucuses trying to increase the number of their supporters who will participate across the state. Polls suggest that a heavy turnout will benefit Sanders, who beats Clinton in polls among those who have never caucused before. If turnout is low, however, the edge goes to Clinton.”

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THE TRUMPLESS GOP DEBATE Republicans held their final presidential debate before Monday’s Iowa caucuses without Donald Trump, though his presence was certainly felt from the first question on. The Trumpless dynamic put Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on the hot seat as the sudden center of attention from his rivals.” FIVE TAKEAWAYS “Cruz mocks Trump, Rubio speeds through, and Bush lightens up a little”: “[1] Cruz: Why is everybody always picking on me? Trump … had plenty of tactical reasons to ditch the madding crowd. First, if the debate ratings dip (as they would likely have done even if he was onstage) he gets to chalk it up to his absence. But the real reason he skipped out was to create a circular GOP fire squad – with Ted Cruz at the center. And it worked. … It was the worst possible time – on the eve of the deadlocked Iowa caucuses – for Cruz to stumble, and Trump dug the pothole. … “[2] Rand Paul, reanimated. … [3] Christie just won’t answer a question. … [4] Rubio needed to be great — not grating. … Iowa Republicans say he’s hit a stride – and have been talking up a late-January surge that could upend the Trump-or-Cruz conventional wisdom. But Rubio seemed overly tense, hyper-emphatic and prone to his unflattering habit of delivering his answers in an annoying Gatling Gun crescendo of ever-increasing volume. … [5] Jeb, unleashed.”

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AN IOWA WIN … MAKES TRUMP TRAIN UNSTOPPABLE? Playbook “Mike McSherry, a longtime campaign consultant and former executive director of the Republican Governors’ Association, said: ‘If Trump wins Iowa, I don’t know how you’d stop him. All these guys are going to be chewing each other’s throats out for second place.’ A top official of a rival GOP campaign … said: ‘If Donald Trump wins Iowa, I think he has won-period. Ted Cruz is supposed to win Iowa. If Trump wins, he’ll be on a trajectory to come out of the SEC primaries [March 1] with close to triple the delegates of anyone else.NEVER MIND: Henry Barbour, an RNC committeeman from Mississippi who hasn’t endorsed a candidate but believes that nominating either Trump or Cruz would cost the GOP the general election: “Folks are getting ahead of themselves. It takes 1,237 delegates to win the nomination and only 30 at stake in Iowa-long ways to go.”

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THE BRAWL BEGINS! The Economist “THE muscle-bound rivals have entered the ring. The verbals are at fever pitch. On February 1st Iowans will caucus in the opening round of America’s presidential tussle. Just over a week later, voters will gather in New Hampshire. From there the contest will move on towards Super Tuesday on March 1st, and beyond that to the conventions in July. It is the world’s greatest electoral tournament. It is not going to plan. Across America, political elites and moderate voters are in a state of disbelief. Hillary Clinton, as much part of the establishment as the Washington Monument, is under pressure from Bernie Sanders, a crotchety senator from Vermont who calls himself a democratic socialist. The sensible squad on the right—“Jeb!” Bush, Marco Rubio, John Kasich et al—have been impaled by the gimlet gibes of Ted Cruz and swamped by the sprawling, tumultuous diatribes of Donald Trump. The choice was supposed to be between a Bush and a Clinton—more a coronation than an election. Instead, the race for the world’s most powerful office has been more dramatically upended by outsiders than any presidential campaign in the past half-century. America, what on earth is going on?” Full Article

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GOP … A BATTLE BETWEEN MATHEMATICIANS AND PRIESTS from Republican consultant Mike Murphy via The Fix: “There seem to be two schools of thought in the GOP. One group, the Mathematicians, look at the GOP’s losing streak [in national elections] and the changing demography of the country and say the party needs to make real changes to attract voters beyond the old Republican base of white guys. Not just mechanics, but also policy. They want to modernize conservatism and change some of the old dogma on big issues like same sex marriage. I’m one of them. The other group, the Priests, say the problem is we don’t have enough ideological purity. We must have faith, be pure and nominate “real conservatives” … who will fight without compromise against liberalism. The Priests are mostly focused on the sins we are against; they say our problem is a lack of intensity; if we are passionate and loud enough, we will alert and win over the rest of the country. The Mathematicians hear all this and think the Priests are totally in a 55-year-old white guy echo chamber of their own creation and disconnected from the reality of today’s electorate. They worry more about what the party should be for, and how we grow our numbers. They think the Priests fail to understand it is not 1980 anymore and votes are not there for the Old Pitch. The Priests hear the Mathematicians and think they are all sell-outs.”

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CAMP BLOOMBERG The Fix: “Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) is once again engaged in his quadrennial ritual of wondering very publicly and very loudly if what the presidential race really needs is him. And he’s doing it in a very Michael Bloomberg kind of way. Voters can rest assured that the self-assured Bloomberg and the aides speaking to reporters believe that there are certain conditions or variables in the 2016 race that would carve a path for a Bloomberg win. Those conditions are, of course, a race between what Bloomberg’s aides have described as the extremists. That is a race between Republicans Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont running for the White House as a Democrat. Bloomberg’s team has reportedly done its research. You see, in an extremists race, Bloomberg a third-party candidate could do what no other American — including much-beloved former president Teddy Roosevelt — could not. He could run and win.”

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230b646fc59e8361281d91bc_440x225WHY GRIDLOCK IN WASHINGTON DC IS YOUR FAULT The Fix: “… 2016 in Congress is likely to be remembered more for head-butting than bill-signing. [Speaker] Ryan (R-WI) has already set the tone by sending a bill to repeal Obamacare to President Obama’s desk and trying to override the president’s veto.) But here’s what people miss about all this: Americans may say they don’t like congressional gridlock, but it’s a safe bet that … like their leaders in Congress, Americans don’t have much common ground on the issues, either. And it’s not just that they don’t agree on what to do; they don’t even agree on which issues are important.”
“But let’s end this compromise-is-dead article on a positive note. And that is that Pew researchers did find at least one policy that Republicans and Democrats agree should be a priority: Members in both parties rank education as one of their top two issues.”

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HOW IMPOSSIBLE IS IT FOR DEMS TO WIN BACK THE HOUSE? THIS IMPOSSIBLE (see picture) 0866d5393038a35e439ec868_220x164The Fix: “The Cook Political Report came out with ratings Wednesday for how House elections are shaping up. The simple math: Just 33 seats out of 435 are truly competitive, including 27 held by Republicans and six held by Democrats. For [Dems to take control] they would need to hold all six of their seats and pick up all 27 from Republicans — 12 of which the Cook team says “lean Republican.” And even then it wouldn’t be enough.

It’s the latest evidence that a combination of Americans’ polarization, the concentration of Democratic voters in fewer districts, and the GOP’s overwhelming control over redistricting after the 2010 Census have made it a very tall task for Democrats to take back the House at any point this decade. Or even, for that matter, next decade.”

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OBAMA’S ECONOMIC NUMBERS BETTER THAN ANY POINT SINCE 2009 The Fix: President Obama’s job-approval rating has rebounded into positive territory, boosted by improving assessments of his handling of the nation’s economy since 2012 and thawing ratings on handling the terrorist threat, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Obama’s improved ratings (50%) come at the end of a long decline in the federal unemployment rate, from 10% in 2009 to 5% last month, with 2015 the second-best year for hiring since 1999. Increasingly employment has been accompanied by only modest wage growth, perhaps one reason Obama’s ratings are still barely in positive territory.”

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CANCER MOONSHOT … TIME IS TICKING  RollCall: “VP Biden is widely seen as the engine behind the Obama administration’s “moonshot” anti-cancer push, raising questions about its fate once he leaves office next year. The White House on Thursday took the first tangible steps in its fight against cancer, formally establishing a task force first mentioned in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Biden, who will lead the task force, sounded at times bold and cautious. … But even while declaring his optimism, he acknowledged the challenges ahead. He will lead a task force composed of five massive government departments and nearly 10 offices, institutes and agencies from across the sprawling — and often hard-to-wrangle — federal apparatus. He has a year left in his term and no definitive budget identified yet.”

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REALITY CHECK – AUMF IS STILL GOING NOWHERE Morning Defense “Congress isn’t any closer to actually voting on the war against the Islamic State. Despite growing bipartisan frustration, Senate Republicans made clear on Thursday they have no plans to vote on authorizing the ongoing war against the Islamic State with the presidential race now fully underway.”

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT …GOT 54 MILLION VIEWS! CLICK HERE FOR THE Panda Tian Tian video

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NEW ‘DAILY SHOW’ … SO BESIDE THE POINT To all us Daily Show Devotees, how sad! Why Are Americans Ignoring Trevor Noah? Slate: “This crazy campaign should be his coming-out party. Instead, it’s our first election since 2000 where The Daily Show might as well not exist. … [T]here is a Daily Show-shaped hole in the culture, despite a lesser version of the show airing every weeknight. … Noah backs away from thorny issues like they are bombs that can be defused with a charming quip. He’s out to neutralize, not to awaken. How did the program devoted to scaling bull**** mountain in all its incarnations … come to feel so beside the point?” DO YOU AGREE?

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