Monthly Archives: February 2016

A Scenario in Which McConnell’s Senate Approves Obama’s Choice for #SCOTUS

I’ve already written about how I think whether a SCOTUS Obama nominee gets a hearing and possible vote depends upon whether the controversy looks like it is causing trouble for Republican Senators in blue/purple states up for reelection. If they face pressure, and McConnell can lose the Senate, I think Republicans will relent.

But here’s a more extreme version of this scenario. Suppose Obama nominates a very strong candidate who is a moderate, like a Sri Srinivasan. Trump is the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton the Democratic nominee.  Trump looks like he’s going to lose (or perhaps he already loses). Clinton signals she will nominate a liberal Scalia or second Brennan  (think Pam Karlan) after inauguration.  The Senate might even flip (or be about to flip after a lame duck) to Democrats, who can kill the filibuster.

In that scenario, it is completely in McConnell’s interest to allow a vote (and perhaps even vote for) the Obama nominee.  The alternative would be worse.

(Now if it is Clinton but it looks like it will still be a Republican Senate, the incentives and play are a bit harder to imagine).

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“Even as He Rises, Donald Trump Entertains Conspiracy Theories”

Maggie Haberman for the NYT:

It was a question that most major presidential candidates would have quickly dismissed as absurd, even offensive: What do you make of these theories that Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered?

For Donald J. Trump, it appeared unavoidably juicy, and possibly the next big pop-culture fixation. “You know, I just landed, and I’m hearing it’s a big topic,” Mr. Trump told the radio host Michael Savage from South Carolina, in an interview just a few days after the Supreme Court justice’s unexpected death. Even as he said he could not speak to whether a special commission should investigate the death, he added, “They say they found a pillow on his face, which is a pretty unusual place to find a pillow.”

Mr. Trump, unlike most presidential candidates, does not shrink from addressing, and in some ways legitimizing, the wildest of hypotheticals. He has declared on a presidential debate stage that he knew a 2-year-old who immediately developed autism from a vaccination. He has appeared on the radio show of the noted conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has suggested that the government played a role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. He has said on Twitter that President Obama might have attended Justice Scalia’s funeral had it been held at a mosque, feeding into the pervasive rumor that the Christian president is actually a Muslim. And he shared with a rally crowd a dramatic story of a United States general executing Muslim insurgents with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood, which has been dismissed as an Internet rumor.

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“More than half a million registered Texans don’t have the right ID to vote on Super Tuesday”


As voters go to the polls on Super Tuesday, many will be casting ballots in states that have passed strict election laws that didn’t exist during the last presidential race.

Out of the 13 states holding primaries or caucuses, there are five where voters will face new rules: Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. The laws range from asking voters to present photo IDs at the polls to requiring proof of citizenship when registering to vote.

Voting experts say that primary voters tend to be of demographics relatively unaffected by such requirements, as they are typically older and wealthier. The primaries also tend to attract more white voters. Still, Super Tuesday could serve as an early test of how the new laws will play out in the general election in November. This presidential race will be the first since the Supreme Court  invalidated a key part of the Voting Rights Act and triggered a number of states to pass stiffer requirements for voting.

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“Jeb Bush’s ambitions paid dividends for GOP admaker over the years”


Since 1998, when Murphy helped Bush remake his image and win the Florida governor’s office after an earlier failed bid, the strategist’s firms have received nearly $36 million from Bush’s campaigns, allied political committees and educational foundation, according to campaign finance and tax records compiled by The Washington Post. While the vast majority of the money went to purchase advertising, Murphy got a significant cut as the media consultant.

In this year’s presidential contest, the pugnacious strategist helmed the big-money super PAC that Bush and his allies believed would give him a key edge in the race. By the time the former governor bowed out, Right to Rise USA had raced through more than $101 million of the nearly $119 million it had amassed, to little effect.

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“EXCLUSIVE: Foreign Clinton Donor Made Donations To U.S. Campaigns”

Daily Caller:

Hansjorg Wyss, a billionaire Swiss citizen and multi-million dollar Clinton Foundation donor, gave 30 contributions to American political campaigns over a nine-year period, according to an investigation by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Federal law has imposed a strict, across-the-board ban since 1966 on foreign nationals giving to U.S. political campaigns. The ban was later included in the 1974 Federal Election Campaign Act. The only exception is for foreign nationals who possess a green card. The ban applies to all levels of political campaigns.

Wyss donated $41,000 to seven congressional candidates and to four national political action committees from 1998 to 2003, according to Federal Election Commission records under the name of Hansjorg Wyss.

This is very unusual, and could be quite serious.

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“A.F.L.-C.I.O. Prepares to Create Its Own ‘Super PAC’ to Get Voters to the Polls”


The second motivation is a concern on the part of A.F.L.-C.I.O. officials thatthe network of conservative philanthropists assembled by Charles G. and David H. Koch is far along in building a sophisticated turnout infrastructure that could give Republican candidates an advantage in November’s elections. These officials note that Americans for Prosperity, a group funded by the Koch network, has hired field staff in numerous states.

Officials at the A.F.L.-C.I.O. believe the asymmetry could be exacerbated by President Obama’s absence from the top of the ballot, who created a cutting edge turnout operation for his campaigns, although other progressive groups have been active in this area.

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