Tag Archives: GOP primary

Evangelical infatuation with Trump still confuses

Someone has to explain something to me in simple language.

My question goes like this: How does Donald J. Trump continue to hold tightly onto support from the evangelical Christian community?

I ask because of a blog posted by R.G. Ratcliffe in Texas Monthly. Ratcliffe writes about a potential Republican challenger for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz next year from an evangelical TV network executive who is angry that Cruz didn’t endorse Trump at the 2016 Republican presidential nominating convention.

The challenge might come from Bruce K. Jacobson Jr., vice president for LIFE Outreach International and an aide to James Robison, a noted televangelist.

I do not get this! Honest! It confuses me in the extreme!

Christians line up behind Trump

The president of the United States would seem to be totally anathema to the evangelical movement, given the president’s past. He has bragged about his marital infidelity; he has admitted to groping women; he never has been associated with faith-based causes or associated openly with religious organizations.

Sen. Cruz has been much friendlier to evangelical causes than Trump ever had been prior to his becoming president. Jacobson, though, holds Cruz’s non-endorsement at the RNC in 2016 against him.

As Ratcliffe writes: Cruz had signed a pledge to support the party’s nominee, Jacobson said, but then didn’t follow through at the convention. “I’m concerned about anybody who doesn’t keep their word. I’ve very concerned about that. In Texas, when we give our word, it’s our word,” Jacobson said.

If memory serves, Cruz made that pledge early in the GOP presidential primary campaign, only to be humiliated personally by Trump’s insults and lies. Trump disparaged Cruz’s wife with a cruel tweet and then suggested the senator’s father was linked somehow to the assassination of President Kennedy. Cruz called Trump an “amoral” liar, which I also happen to believe he is.

Did the eventual Republican nominee conduct himself as a “good Christian” with that kind of behavior?

I don’t know about you, but I am not at all surprised — nor displeased — that Ted Cruz chose not to “endorse” Trump at the 2016 Republican convention.

So here we are. Cruz stood on a principle of fair treatment and for that he might get a Republican Party primary challenge from an evangelical Christian leader?

Explain it to me. Please.

President continues his insult tirade

One of the many promises Donald J. Trump made when he became president was that he would “act like a president.” He would talk like one, too.

He was elected to the highest office in America after burying his Republican primary foes in a mudslide of insults. Then he turned his insult machine loose on Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Lyin’ Ted Cruz, Low Energy Jeb Bush, Little Marco Rubio all ran against Trump in the GOP primary. Trump also told an interviewer that Sen. John McCain was a Vietnam War hero “only because he was captured; I like people who aren’t captured, OK?”

Then he turned his guns loose on Crooked Hillary Clinton. He urged on campaign rally crowds to yell “Lock her up!”

His core of supporters didn’t mind. Trump merely was “telling it like it is,” they said. He’s not a politician, they insisted. He talks like the rest of us, they added.

Has he stopped hurling insults now that he’s president?

Nope. Not a chance. Now we hear — from the “fake news” mainstream media outlets such as the New York Times — that he fired FBI Director James Comey because he’s a “nut job,” that he’s “crazy.”

Ah, yes. That’s how the president refers to the nation’s top federal cop, America’s top law enforcement officer. A nut job. He’s crazy.

Who heard the president offer this bit of presidential dignity? The Russian foreign minister and Russia’s ambassador to the United States. They were invited into the Oval Office on a suggestion from Russian President/dictator/killer Vladimir  Putin, who asked Trump to have these fellows stop by for a visit.

Oh, and then there’s this: Trump banned American journalists from the meeting. The Russian news agency, Tass, was present. Tass photographers took pictures of the meeting.

If you’ll forgive me for borrowing a term that Trump himself used in one of his endless string of tweets: This man’s behavior is so “unpresidented.”

‘Tag team’ gangs up against Trump

cruz and kasich

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio have formed a tag team.

The want to stop Donald J. Trump’s march to the Republican Party’s presidential nomination so badly they’re willing to forget the mean things they’ve said about each other.

Will it work? I am not holding my breath for this strategy to cause the sky to crash down on Trump’s campaign.


It is an interesting alliance and an interesting strategy.

Kasich is going to bow out of campaigning actively for the Indiana GOP primary in two weeks, intending to leave the field more open to Cruz. Meanwhile, Cruz said he’s going to cede the anti-Trump vote in Oregon and New Mexico to Kasich.

What does this to — or for — Trump? It gives him some ammo to fire in his effort to suggest the GOP primary nomination selection process is “rigged” against him.

Yep, it’s going to fire up those devoted Trumpsters — or should I call them Trumpkins? — who are standing by their man through thick and thin.

My nagging question, though, is this: Suppose this strategy works. Who between the tag-team partners is going to emerge as the top dog in this fight for the party’s presidential nomination?


Gov. Kasich faces a bitter irony


John Kasich must feel like the unluckiest politician in America.

He’s caught in perhaps the most bitter irony in recent political history.

The Ohio governor is running for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. He’s one of three men still standing in what began as a 17-candidate GOP primary free-for-all.

Given that we’ve been talking — a lot! — about public opinion polling in this presidential campaign, it’s good to mention this: Kasich stands alone among the three men still running as the only candidate who can defeat probable Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton. Donald Trump loses big to Clinton; so does Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Why, then, does Gov. Kasich still struggle as the longest shot of all the GOP candidates who will become the party’s presidential nominee this summer?

The Republican base has endorsed Trump and Cruz in all those primaries and caucuses. Kasich has won exactly one contest: in Ohio, the state he governs. Hey, man, he had to win that one, right?

I’ve heard pundit after pundit, voter after voter say the same thing: Gov. Kasich is the last grown-up in this race.

Trump and Cruz are despised by the Republican establishment for varying reasons. Trump lacks a governing philosophy; Cruz seems to have virtually no friends in the U.S. Senate, where he has served since January 2013.

It appears, though, that one of those two individuals is going to carry the GOP banner into the fall against Clinton. Those polls? They keep showing they’ll lose. Maybe by a lot.

Kasich continues to poll far better vs. Clinton than either of them.

He also continues to lag far behind in the Republican Party polls of primary voters.

Poor guy. I feel sorry for Gov. Kasich.


Game changer in Wisconsin?

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt,  and his wave Jane acknowledge the crowd as he arrives for his caucus night rally in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Feb. 2, 2016.  (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Bernie Sanders has scored the victory he was expected to get in Wisconsin.

Does that change the Democratic Party presidential primary game? Not just yet. The U.S. senator from Vermont has another big test ahead of him: New York. More on that in a bit.

The game now does appear to have changed in the other primary, the Republican one, where U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz drubbed Donald J. Trump in the GOP primary.

Cruz has cruised — pun intended — to a 20-point-plus victory in Wisconsin.

This sets up a longer-range battle as the GOP field slogs its way to the national convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

Trump’s insults, his inattention to detail, his innuendo and his inability to articulate a detailed policy platform on any issue under the sun finally — finally! — seems to have caught up with him.

Is the Texan, Cruz, any better? To my way of thinking, well, no. He’s not.

There well might be a situation setting up whereby Trump arrives in Cleveland a good bit short of the delegates he’ll need to win the nomination on the first ballot. After that? All bets are off. Let the chaos reign!

As for Sanders’ victory in Wisconsin, he’s now heading into the belly of the beast. New York ain’t Wisconsin.

My concern about Sanders is that he is singing a one-note aria. Income inequality? The shrinking middle-class? Big banks? Wall Street hedge fund manager? What in the heck does Sanders intend to do about any of it?

The more I think about it, Sanders is sounding almost as demagogic on his pet issues as Trump is sounding on his.

Is Hillary Rodham Clinton the perfect candidate? Far from it. She’s flawed, too. But she’s been pounded and pilloried by her enemies for more than two decades. She’s still standing, still fighting back.

The way I see it, that speaks to this woman’s political courage.

Moreover, she did represent New York in the Senate for eight years and by all accounts — even from her Republican colleagues — became an effective senator for the Empire State.

I will await the next primary round to commence in New York. We’ll see if the game has changed for the Democrats as much as it appears to have changed for the Republicans.


Why was this ballot lost — allegedly — in the mail?


I’ll admit to a letting out a chuckle when I heard the report.

It dealt with whether former Texas Gov. Rick Perry cast a vote in the March 1 Texas Republican Party primary election.

He made a big show of his endorsement of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a fellow Texan, for the GOP presidential nomination. He joined other political leaders in urging other Texans to get out and vote for their candidate.

Then, lo and behold, it turns out no record of “James Richard Perry” voting has turned up in Fayette County, where Rick and Anita Perry now reside.

What happened to that ballot?

My first instinct was to think the worst: The former governor was upset at having to drop out of the race a second time because Republican voters around the country didn’t love him as much as Texas Republicans have shown they do. He became governor in 2000 and served longer in that office than anyone in state history.

Then he endorsed Cruz, one of the nemeses on this year’s GOP campaign trail.

Maybe, I figured, he just said “Aww, to heck with it. No one’ll know the difference.”

Then my more compassionate side kicked in.

Perhaps the ballot was simply lost in the mail. Stuff happens, right?

But why this ballot? Why this man’s ballot? Of all the ballots to lose in the mail, it just had to be the one belonging to the Pride of Paint Creek, the state’s record-setting former governor and two-time Republican presidential candidate.

Is the mail carrier a mole for the Democratic Party? Might he have tossed the ballot when no one was looking?

Well, of course not. It’s just kind of fun to speculate on the absurd.

I am now prepared to give Gov. Perry the benefit of the doubt. He voted. The ballot got lost.

Someone, somewhere within the U.S. Postal Service probably should be offering up a contrite “oops.”


Dr. Carson may be a tad too candid


Man, you have to hand it to Dr. Ben Carson.

When politicians switch their allegiance and make surprise endorsements, they usually waffle, wiggle and weasel their way out of answering direction questions as to, “Why?”

Not the doc.

He said he endorsed fellow Republican Donald J. Trump because he couldn’t find another candidate to back, meaning another candidate who (a) could win and (b) fit his own political world view.

There’s another reason: Trump has offered him a spot in a possible (gulp!) Trump administration.

Yep, Carson said so. Out loud. For the record.

Don’t you just love it? I surely do.

Carson’s candor seems to have caught the attention of some legal experts as well. Some have suggested that Trump might have broken federal election law by flat-out “buying” an endorsement by offering a paid position within his administration in the even hell freezes over and Trump is actually elected in November.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the only other former GOP presidential primary foe to endorse Trump. His own explanation for his switch was so standard. He sought to tap dance all around the fact that he once declared Trump “unfit” to be commander in chief. Now, according to Christie, Trump is, um, “fit.”

Dr. Carson’s candor is refreshing in its way. Politicians are schooled on evasiveness. If you ask a trained pol a direct question about, say, a statement they or someone they support has made, they’re going to revert immediately to a rote response.

It’s as though they’re under some sort of post-hypnotic spell: Ask them a tough question and you trigger a telepathic switch that makes them say what they’re programmed to say.

The good doctor isn’t like that.

I appreciate that he answered so directly: Trump isn’t really my guy. I would have preferred to back someone else. But heck, he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.



Good news, bad news in GOP primary fight


The good news for me tonight occurred in Ohio, where my favorite Republican presidential candidate, Gov. John Kasich, scored a home-state victory in the GOP primary.

The bad news is that my second-favorite Republican candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, dropped out of the race because he couldn’t win his home state of Florida.

I’m sad to suggest that the bad news outweighs the good news.

Why? Because I don’t know where Kasich goes from here.

He doesn’t appear ready to win more state primaries as the field of three GOP contenders marches on down the primary trail. Sure, he’s going to proclaim a huge victory tonight.

Donald J. Trump, though, won most of the rest of the state battles. His delegate lead has grown a bit over the other scary GOP candidate, Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

At least, though, the remaining grown-up, the guy with an actual record of accomplishment in government, the fellow who speaks of compassion and constructive outlooks, the guy who said business owners should “pray” for customers with whom they might have spiritual difference is still in the race.

If only I could look a lot farther down the GOP campaign road to see him staying in the hunt for the presidency.

I can’t.

As for Rubio, well, he had emerged as my clear second pick among the Republicans. Yes, despite his childish counterattack against Trump in that debate, I believe young Marco — hey, he’s about the age of my older son, so I feel free to refer to him by his first name — came back strong in the Miami event with Trump, Cruz and Kasich.

It was for naught. He got smoked tonight in his home state by a charlatan masquerading as a serious candidate for the nation’s most glorious office.

So now we’re down to three candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. As I see it, we’ve got one adult left in the hunt competing against a know-nothing narcissist (Trump) and a fire-breathing demagogue (Cruz).

If only the adult had a chance to compete in this crazy, wacked-out GOP primary campaign season.


Marco about to exit … too bad

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland March 14, 2013. Two senators seen as possible candidates for the 2016 presidential election will address a conservative conference where Republicans will try to regroup on Thursday after their bruising election loss last year.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3EZQO

It’s not looking good for my second-favorite Republican still running for president of the United States.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida appears to be trailing badly in his home state, which on Tuesday votes along with four other states in this on-going GOP primary campaign.

Dammit anyway!

I thought Rubio acquitted himself quite well on one key issue at the recent GOP primary debate in Miami: Islam’s alleged “hatred for America.”

He challenge Republican frontrunner Donald J. Trump’s ridiculous assertion that Islam’s religious doctrine hates this country. That is patently ridiculous on its face, not that it matters to the Trumpsters who keep scarfing up his nonsense like some sort of political energy food.

Rubio took exception to Trump’s pronouncement by reminding him of the presence of gravestones at our national cemeteries where our fallen soldiers are buried. He told of how many of those stones have Islamic crescents carved into them to signify the religious affiliation of the warrior buried there.

These men and women love our country as much as anyone, Rubio said. They do not hate America simply because they practice a certain religious faith, he scolded Trump.

Rubio also made sure to point out that none of the men on that debate stage ever had worn a military uniform; not even Trump, who has sought to equate his enrollment at a military high school with actual service in the military.

Rubio scored points with me that evening when he correctly sought to discredit that ridiculous and patently false Trump statement.

It likely won’t help him in his home state. I saw a poll this morning that suggests that Trump has virtually doubled Rubio’s standing in Florida. If the young senator can’t win there, well, he cannot hope to win anywhere else.

Hey, there’s still Ohio to be decided Tuesday, where my favorite Republican — Gov. John Kasich — is hoping for a home-state victory to slam the brakes on Trump’s momentum.


Campaign hits fever pitch … so very early


As we political junkies seek to make sense of that Republican presidential debate bloodbath, I’m trying to grasp the feverishness with which the media are covering this event and its immediate aftermath.

All the mainstream cable news network political reporters are frothing at the mouth over New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s endorsement of Donald J. Trump.

They’re trying to determine how U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio can ride whatever momentum he gained from the Houston dog-and-pony show with his four GOP debate mates.

Some of them were actually aghast at how Trump and Christie “tag teamed” their attacks on Rubio. Indeed, I was utterly flabbergasted as I listened to Trump ridicule Rubio in such a juvenile manner. Listen to this Republican presidential campaign frontrunner try to string sentences together.

Trump is so astonishingly inarticulate that it utterly boggles my mind how in the world we’ve come to this point in this presidential nominating process.

Others were wondering: Whatever happened to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who figures to do well in the Texas primary coming up Tuesday?

Oh yeah, no one’s talking  today about Ohio Gov. John Kasich or Dr. Ben Carson.

I guess my wonderment lies in how it’s gotten to this pitch so early in what I thought was supposed to be a marathon.

Is this what we’re going to get from now until the nominating conventions adjourn this summer? Or will this white-hot coverage continue until the election this November?

Man, oh man. I don’t know if I have the stamina to keep up with it. I might have tune this out — if only long enough to catch my breath.

And hold on to my sanity.