ON THE RECORD ....

Mexico is "not going to pay for that f*cking wall." -- Former Mexico President Vicente Fox 2/25/16

“Voting for these people (Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio), voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage. I’m not saying I endorse everything about Trump, in fact I haven’t formally endorsed him. But I do support his candidacy, and I support voting for him as a strategic action. I hope he does everything we hope he will do.” -- David Duke, former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard. 2/24/16

“If you kill Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody could convict you.” -- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) 2/26/16

"I didn’t know him that well, but I did know him. And I think it’s been most surprising to me to see somebody who was affable and was good company and had a reputation of being kind of bigger than life really traffic in a lot of the prejudice and paranoia. And some of the comments that he’s made, which have been so divisive and mean-spirited, doesn’t quite fit with what I thought I knew about him." -- Hillary Clinton on "Morning Joe"

“You all have friends thinking about voting for Donald Trump. Friends do not let friends vote for con artists.” -- Marco Rubio. 2/26/16

“The fruit salad of their life is what I will look at.” -- Dr. Ben Carson on how he would select a justice to nominate for the supreme court. 2/25/16

“I’m always audited by the IRS which I think is very unfair. I don’t know whether it’s maybe because of religion or because of something else, maybe because I’m doing this. ... maybe because of the fact that I’m a strong Christian and I feel strongly about it, so maybe there’s a bias.”--Trump2/25/16

"He's just generally a loser as a person and a candidate. ...What Hispanic person would vote for the Republican Party when the leader of the party has just called illegal immigrants as a group mostly rapists and drug dealers, and is going to deport 11 million people including American-born children? Everybody in the Hispanic community knows at least one illegal immigrant, like I do." -- Sen. Lindsey Graham about Donald Trump

“Mr. Priebus and everyone else 'leading' the GOP are Americans before they are Republicans. They should act like it.” -- WA Post Editorialcriticizing Reince Priebus for committing to supporting Trump if he becomes the party's nominee despite his extreme views on immigration and foreign policy.

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Trump is “everybody’s loopy uncle, constantly repeating and asserting the most spurious and sensational misinformation.” But the uncle is largely harmless, so long as he sits in the corner and babbles to himself. Imagine him as president, chronically sleep deprived, and you’ve got the probable 2016 Republican nominee. -- Timothy Egan 2/26/16

“I was Donald Trump before Donald Trump became popular, so I think I should support him since we’re one of the same cloth.” -- Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) endorsing Donald Trump for president.

“The guy with the worst spray tan in America is attacking me for putting on makeup…. Donald Trump likes to sue people; he should sue whoever did that to his face.” — Sen. Marco Rubio 2/27/16

"I mean, it could be that, it could be because I'm a believer in the Tea Party. I love the Tea Party, I love the people of the Tea Party. And you know, I have a lot of different likes and maybe dislikes. And I don't know why, but why is it that every single year I get audited and I have friends that are very wealthy and they've never been audited?" --Donald Trump. 2/28/16

“It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” — CBS executive chairman Leslie Moonves on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. 2/29/16

“The Republican Party is reaping what they’ve sown with a front-runner that attacks his opponents with childish insults and schoolyard threats. Some Republicans may try to fight it, but the Party of Trump is here to stay.” --Correct The Record President Brad Woodhouse. 3/02/16

“Paul Ryan, I don’t know him well, but I’m sure I’m going to get along great with him. And if I don’t, he’s going to have to pay a big price.” — Donald Trump 3/01/16

"No, I'm not [seeming] to say that. I am saying that. Like a drum." -- Sen. LIndsey Graham on whether Hillary could beat Donald Trump. 3/01/16

“We have a tendency to underestimate non-traditional candidates. Jesse Ventura got elected governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger got elected governor. These were non-political figures that had a resonant political message at a certain time in history and they found an audience.” -- DNC Democratic strategist on the threat from Donald Trump 3/02/16

"It's time for Republicans to stop the Frankenstein they created. If Republicans fail to stop Donald Trump, he will tear their party apart." -- Sen. Harry Reid on the Senate floor. 3/02/16

"We’re fed up with Gov. Chris Christie’s arrogance, we’re fed up with his opportunism. We’re fed up with his hypocrisy. For the good of the state, it’s time for Christie to do his long-neglected constituents a favor and resign as governor." -- Six New Jersey newspapers joint editorial in the wake of Christi's failed presidential campaign and his subsequent endorsement of rival Donald Trump. 3/01/16


IN THIS ISSUE

FYI

1. The Borowitz Report: Trump Tremendously Relieved That K.K.K. Ties Did Not Hurt Him in Alabama
2. Jimmy Kimmel live: Trumped" Starring Matthew Broderick & Nathan Lane
3. The DAILY GRILL
4. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
5. GunFAIL CLXXVI 
6. Late Night Jokes for Dems
7. Late Night with Seth Meyers: Trump, Rubio, Christie and the KKK: A Closer Look
8. The GOP’s war against women (cont.): Abortion Clinics Are Closing at a Record Pace
9. "The Daily Show" w/ host Trevor Noah: Donald Trump’s Fascist Week
10. Full Frontal w/Samantha Bee: 2010
11. Trump Is Paying Himself to Run for President
12. Converted Trump Now Running for Pope
13. Last Week Tonight w/John Oliver: Donald Trump

OPINION

1. Matt Taibbi: How America Made Donald Trump Unstoppable
2. NY Times Editorial: Senate Republicans Lose Their Minds on a Supreme Court Seat
3. Peter Wehner: What Wouldn’t Jesus Do? 
4. Jonathan Martin and Michael Barbaro: As Donald Trump Rolls Up Victories, the G.O.P. Split Widens to a Chasm
5. Jon Favreau: Why Electing Hillary in ’16 Is More Important Than Electing Obama in ’08
6. Eugene Robinson: The GOP’s Schoolyard Scuffle
7. Paul Krugman:Twilight of the Apparatchiks 
8. Goldie Taylor: Donald Trump and the Rise of the New Dixiecrats 
9. Laurence Lewis: Donald Trump is the candidate the Republicans deserve
10. Washington Post Editorial Board: Is Mr. Trump a threat to democracy?
11. Paul Krugman: Planet on the Ballot
12. Juan Williams: GOP hits new low on court 
13. John Cassidy: Donald Trump Is Transforming the G.O.P. Into a Populist, Nativist Party

FYI  

1. The Borowitz Report: Trump Tremendously Relieved That K.K.K. Ties Did Not Hurt Him in Alabama

The Republican front-runner, Donald Trump, said on Tuesday night that he was “tremendously relieved” that the recent controversy linking him to the Ku Klux Klan had apparently not hurt him with voters in Alabama.

Trump pointed to exit polls showing that ninety-seven per cent of Alabamans who voted for him were aware that he had been praised by the former K.K.K. leader David Duke “and voted for me anyway.”

“The fact that they knew I was endorsed by the K.K.K. but were able to look beyond it says something great about them,” he said. “I guess I was worried about nothing.” Read more at  http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

2. Jimmy Kimmel live: Trumped" Starring Matthew Broderick & Nathan Lane

https://youtu.be/OemqVWi_R0k

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3. The DAILY GRILL

“We have expanded the Republican Party,I am a unifier. I know people will find it hard to believe, but I’m a unifier.” -- Donald Trump on Tuesday night http://www.politico.com/story/2016/03/the-day-the-republican-party-ruptured-220108

VERSUS

It is a war the GOP as we know it may not survive, “a big and strong fight going on about the future of the Republican Party as intense as we’ve ever seen. A Trump victory would be catastrophic to the Republican Party and a terrible danger to the republic itself. If he wins the presidency, you may see the efforts to form a new party.” -- Pete Wehner, a veteran of the GW Bush White House

“I don’t remember anything like this in my lifetime of effectively 30 years in Republican Party politics. People don’t know what to do. They call me in tears and say, ‘I can’t vote for him because he’s a liar, a cheat and a racist and yet everything I’ve ever cared for in politics is on the line and could be lost if I don’t vote for him.’” -- Bruce Haynes, a GOP operative in Washington. “

“I cannot support Donald Trump. If Donald Trump ends up as the GOP nominee, conservatives will need to find a third option.” -- Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse

“Please for the love of God go vote in the Republican primary against Trump.” -- Tim Miller, who’d served as Bush’s campaign communications manager.

“No one is going to call for us to get behind [Trump]. They know that the nomination of Donald Trump means the end of the modern conservative movement and the modern Republican Party in a very devastating way.” --Marco Rubio. http://www.politico.com/story/2016/03/the-day-the-republican-party-ruptured-220108

 

“We have good reason to believe that there’s a bombshell in Donald Trump’s taxes. Either he’s not anywhere near as wealthy as he says he is, or he hasn’t been paying taxes we would expect him to pay or perhaps he hasn’t been giving money to vets or to the disabled like he’s been telling us he’s been doing.” -- Mitt Romney 2/24/16

VERSUS

“Mitt Romney, who was one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics, is now pushing me on tax returns. Dope! -- Donald Trump, on Twitter. 2/24/16

 

“I’ve never met him, and I cannot read his mind any better than you can. But someone who wants to send home all illegal immigrants and at least temporarily ban Muslim immigration is acting in the interest of whites, whether consciously or not.”-- Jared Taylor, long one of the country’s most prominent white supremacists. 3/01/15

VERSUS

“You can’t help who admires you, but when white supremacists start endorsing you for president, you ought to start asking why.”-- Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. 3/01/15

 

4. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)

Fox's Guilfoyle Says Asking For Donald Trump's Tax Returns Is "Discrimination... Against Rich People" http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/02/25/foxs-guilfoyle-says-asking-for-donald-trumps-ta/208819

Erick Erickson Compares Planned Parenthood President To A Nazi Doctor http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/02/25/erick-erickson-compares-planned-parenthood-pres/208800

Fox Business Lashes Out At The Former Mexican President Who Refused To Pay For Trump's Border Wall: He's "An Arrogant S.O.B." http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/02/26/fox-business-lashes-out-at-the-former-mexican-p/208833

NY Times Endorses Holding Clinton To Separate Disclosure Standard http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/02/26/ny-times-endorses-holding-clinton-to-separate-d/208830

National Review's Jonah Goldberg: Trump Is Creating a "Meaner Toned And Less Inclusive" GOP http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/02/26/national-reviews-jonah-goldberg-trump-is-creati/208829

Fox's Eric Bolling Hypes Myth That Trump Is Popular Among Latino Voters http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/02/26/foxs-eric-bolling-hypes-myth-that-trump-is-popu/208859

Fox's Krauthammer: Chris Christie's Endorsement "Legitimizes Trump" http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/02/26/foxs-krauthammer-chris-christies-endorsement-le/208851

Roger Stone Floats Theory GOP Establishment Will "Steal" Nomination From Trump, Launches Fundraising Campaign http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/02/26/roger-stone-floats-theory-gop-establishment-wil/208846

Fox's Chris Wallace: CNN's GOP Presidential Debate "An Embarrassment For The Republican Party" http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/02/26/foxs-chris-wallace-cnns-gop-presidential-debate/208856

Fox's Chris Wallace: CNN's GOP Presidential Debate "An Embarrassment For The Republican Party" http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/02/26/foxs-chris-wallace-cnns-gop-presidential-debate/208856

Anti-Defamation League CEO: "Trump Should Just Come Clean" On Support From David Duke And Other White Supremacists http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/02/28/anti-defamation-league-ceo-trump-should-just-co/208871

CNN's Jeffrey Lord Defends Trump's Refusal To Disavow KKK By Claiming It Is "A Function Of The Left" http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/02/29/cnns-jeffrey-lord-defends-trumps-refusal-to-dis/208874

Leonardo DiCaprio Calls For Climate Action At Oscars, Deniers At Fox News Quickly Object http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/02/29/leonardo-dicaprio-calls-for-climate-action-at-o/208884

Fox & Friends Hosts Celebrate Donald Trump As Other Right-Wing Media Panic http://mediamatters.org/research/2016/03/02/fox-amp-friends-hosts-celebrate-donald-trump-as/208956

After Super Tuesday, It's Time For The Press To Drop Its Doomsday Clinton Coverage http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/03/02/after-super-tuesday-its-time-for-the-press-to-d/208948

5. GunFAIL CLXXVI

46 guns were discovered by TSA agents at airports across the country, during the week of January 8-14.

The most popular thing to do by accident with your gun remains shooting yourself with it. By far. Another 21 people did it in the week of January 10th. Second-most popular: shooting kids. Eleven were accidentally shot that week. And 10 people were accidentally shot to death. Nine were accidentally shot by family members or significant others.  In other words: a routine week. Happens all the time. Details at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/2/27/1468406/-Free-idea-Gun-range-targets-shaped-like-your-own-leg-GunFAIL-CLXXVI

6. Late Night Jokes for Dems

"Although she herself is an immigrant, Donald Trump's wife Melania says she is fine with her husband's tough anti-immigration stance. When asked why, Mrs. Trump said she had about 4.5 billion reasons." – Conan O'Brien

"Wealthy GOP donors are now lining up behind Marco Rubio. Not because the donors think he can stop Trump, but because they think Rubio is the valet." – Conan O'Brien

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"Despite Jeb Bush's poor campaign, some analysts are already talking about the political rise of his son, George P. Bush. George P. Bush has already got his campaign slogan: 'Don't Worry I Was Adopted.'" – Conan O'Brien

"I was thinking about why Ben Carson is still running today and my first guess is he's retired and he's bored. He has $10 million in the bank. Why not run? But there's another possibility. Maybe he's sleepwalking." – Jimmy Kimmel

"Following his win at the Nevada caucus, Donald Trump told supporters that he won in almost every voter demographic, and said, quote, 'I love the poorly educated.' To which they replied, 'Us love you more, Mr. Trunks!'" – Seth Meyers

"Ted Cruz's dad said that God sent a message to Ted Cruz's wife giving his permission to run for president. Though I'm not sure that's what God meant when he told Cruz's wife, 'Run!!'" – Jimmy Fallon

"Yesterday, a group of more than 20 unions released a statement supporting Hillary Clinton for president, including the Bricklayers Union. Then Donald Trump was like, 'Et tu, wall builders?'" – Jimmy Fallon

"Donald Trump said as president he would prosecute Hillary Clinton for using a private email server. He also said he would arrest Hillary Clinton for being a woman over 40." – Conan O'Brien

"In a recent interview, Ben Carson said President Obama couldn't identify with black Americans because he was 'raised white.' So if you're keeping score, according to Republicans, President Obama was raised white as a Muslim in Kenya." – Conan O'Brien

"Ted Cruz said on 'The O'Reilly Factor' that if he is elected, he would not allow aliens to return. Cruz says he is so strict on immigration, if he is elected president, he will even deport himself back to Canada." – Jimmy Kimmel

7. Late Night with Seth Meyers: Trump, Rubio, Christie and the KKK: A Closer Look

https://youtu.be/n5q1cxIU01M

8. The GOP’s war against women (cont.): Abortion Clinics Are Closing at a Record Pace

Abortion access in the U.S. has been vanishing at the fastest annual pace on record, propelled by Republican state lawmakers’ push to legislate the industry out of existence. Since 2011, at least 162 abortion providers have shut or stopped offering the procedure, while just 21 opened. 2/24/16 Read more at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-24/abortion-clinics-are-closing-at-a-record-pace

9. "The Daily Show" w/ host Trevor Noah: Donald Trump’s Fascist Week

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/2jigsm/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah-donald-trump-s-fascist-week

10. Full Frontal w/Samantha Bee: 2010

https://youtu.be/fw41BDhI_K8

11. Trump Is Paying Himself to Run for President

Between June 16, when he announced his candidacy from the lobby of Trump Tower, through the end of 2015, the Trump campaign spent $2.2 million patronizing Trump businesses. The majority—$2 million—was spent on Tag Air, Inc., where Trump is CEO. 3/01/16 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/03/01/donald-trump-is-paying-himself-to-run-for-president.html

12. Converted Trump Now Running for Pope

In shocking news first reported a week ago, businessman Donald Trump has converted to Catholicism and has now declared his candidacy for Pope. Today's announcement coincides with critical statements Pope Francis made about Mr. Trump not being a Christian. Mr. Trump just held a rally outside of New York City. Although video is not available, A-CNN has just acquired the audio transcript which we are providing below:

Thank you….thank you. You know, when I first started this campaign, people didn’t believe me. First they said, he’s not converting, he’ll never convert. Then I converted. Then they said, he’ll never get baptized, he won’t want the water to mess up his hair. But then I got baptized. Then they said he won’t get confirmed, and I got confirmed. And then they said he’d never run for pope. Well here I am, and I’m running for Pope; and I’m doing very well I must say.

You know, it’s a sad thing to say, but the Church is in such bad shape; terrible shape under Francis. The Catholic Church doesn’t win anymore. We just don’t. When is the last time Catholics won anything? Lepanto? When was that, the 1500’s? We don’t win anymore. But, let me just say, Under a Trump papacy, we are going to win again. We are going to win so much. We are going to win so much you are all going to be sick of winning, ok? But right now, it’s terrible. Just the other day, I see the Pope is praising Martin Luther. Martin Luther! Can you believe it? Read more at http://a-cnn.com/index.php/articles/item/2027-trump-becomes-catholic-now-running-for-pope

13. Last Week Tonight w/John Oliver: Donald Trump

https://youtu.be/DnpO_RTSNmQ

OPINION  

1. Matt Taibbi: How America Made Donald Trump Unstoppable

In person, you can't miss it: The same way Sarah Palin can see Russia from her house, Donald on the stump can see his future. The pundits don't want to admit it, but it's sitting there in plain view, 12 moves ahead, like a chess game already won:

President Donald Trump.

A thousand ridiculous accidents needed to happen in the unlikeliest of sequences for it to be possible, but absent a dramatic turn of events – an early primary catastrophe, Mike Bloomberg ego-crashing the race, etc. – this boorish, monosyllabic TV tyrant with the attention span of an Xbox-playing 11-year-old really is set to lay waste to the most impenetrable oligarchy the Western world ever devised.

It turns out we let our electoral process devolve into something so fake and dysfunctional that any half-bright con man with the stones to try it could walk right through the front door and tear it to shreds on the first go.

And Trump is no half-bright con man, either. He's way better than average. Read more at  http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-america-made-donald-trump-unstoppable-20160224

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2. NY Times Editorial: Senate Republicans Lose Their Minds on a Supreme Court Seat

Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Senate Republicans apparently believe they can profit by creating a political crisis that the nation has never seen before. On Tuesday, the leadership doubled down on its refusal to take any action on any nominee from President Obama to replace Justice Scalia.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader who seems to have lost touch with reality and the Constitution, accused Mr. Obama of plunging the nation into a “bitter and avoidable struggle” should he name anyone to the court.

Forget an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. Top Republicans are pledging not to hold hearings or even to meet with a nominee.

In a statement dripping with sarcasm, Mr. McConnell said that Mr. Obama “has every right to nominate someone,” and “even if doing so will inevitably plunge our nation into another bitter and avoidable struggle, that is his right. Even if he never expects that nominee to actually be confirmed but rather to wield as an electoral cudgel, that is his right.”

Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the majority whip, said, “We believe the American people need to decide who is going to make this appointment rather than a lame-duck president.”

These statements are so twisted that it’s hard to know where to begin. Read more at http://nyti.ms/1LcyH05

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3. Peter Wehner: What Wouldn’t Jesus Do?

Many evangelicals feel increasingly powerless, beaten down, aggrieved and under attack. A sense of ressentiment, or a “narrative of injury,” is leading them to look for scapegoats to explain their growing impotence. People filled with anger and grievances are easily exploited. As the great Christian apologist C. S. Lewis wrote, “We must picture hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement and where everyone has a grievance.”

Enter Donald Trump, alpha male.

Mr. Trump’s evangelical supporters don’t care about his agenda; they are utterly captivated by his persona. They view him as the strongest, most dominant, most assertive political figure they have ever seen. In an odd bow to Nietzschean ethics, they respect and applaud his Will to Power. And so the man who openly admires tyrants like Vladimir V. Putin and praised the Chinese crackdown in Tiananmen Square because it showed “strength” has become the repository of their hopes.

Set aside the fact that Mr. Trump is a compulsive and unrepentant liar. Set aside, too, that he has demonstrated no ability for statecraft or the actual administration of government and has demonstrated much incompetence at business to boot. 3/01/16 Read more at http://nyti.ms/1TNJj7f

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4. Jonathan Martin and Michael Barbaro: As Donald Trump Rolls Up Victories, the G.O.P. Split Widens to a Chasm

Democrats are falling in line. Republicans are falling apart.

The most consequential night of voting so far in the presidential campaign crystallized, in jarring and powerful fashion, the remarkably divergent fortunes of the two major parties vying for the White House.

The steady and seemingly inexorable unification of the Democratic Party behind Hillary Clinton stands in striking contrast with the rancorous and widening schisms within the Republican Party over the dominance of Donald J. Trump, who swept contests from the Northeast to the Deep South on Tuesday.

Now, as the parties gaze ahead to the fall, they are awakening to the advantages of consensus and the perils of chaos.

“If the Republican Party were an airplane, and you were looking out a passenger window, you would see surface pieces peeling off and wonder if one of the wings or engines was next,” said Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota and a Republican candidate for president in 2012. 3/02/16 Read more at http://nyti.ms/1LvKBST

5. Jon Favreau: Why Electing Hillary in ’16 Is More Important Than Electing Obama in ’08

In her campaign against Sanders, Hillary has begun to tell that broader, more inclusive story about the future. There she is, comforting a crying child in Nevada who worries that her parents might be deported. There she is in South Carolina, with five mothers of African American children who died of gun violence, who told Mother Jones, “She listened and followed through for us. You can’t fake that…She cares. Not only does she care about victims of gun violence but she cares about women, she cares about African Americans. She cares!”

She cares.

Hillary Clinton isn’t perfect. She isn’t flashy or entertaining. She isn’t cool or hip, so please stop forcing the poor woman to learn the Dab on Ellen. As someone who’s been in politics for a few decades, she’s made plenty of mistakes, and will probably make many more.

But Hillary is also more than just a policy wonk who can’t wait to start shuffling through white papers in the Oval. She cares. She tries. She perseveres. And now she has a chance to tell the story she’s always wanted about America: the story about a country that found the courage to turn away from our darkest impulses; that chose to embrace our growing diversity as a strength, not a weakness; that pushed the boundaries of opportunity outward and upward, until there are no more barriers, and no more ceilings.

At stake in this election is control of a Tea Party-run Congress, at least one Supreme Court vacancy that could tip the balance for a generation, and the very real chance that a highly unstable demagogue could become the 45th President of the United States.

So while I may not have imagined myself saying this a few years ago, I certainly believe it now: It’s far more important to elect Hillary Clinton in 2016 than it was to elect Barack Obama in 2008. 2.25.16 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/02/26/why-electing-hillary-in-16-is-more-important-than-electing-obama-in-08.html

6. Eugene Robinson: The GOP’s Schoolyard Scuffle

The race for the Republican presidential nomination couldn’t possibly get any more bizarre, appalling, puerile, embarrassing, self-destructive or -

Hold on, this just in: It did.

When have we ever seen such a shameful and low-minded spectacle? Comparison to the seriousness and decorum of an elementary-school playground is an insult to second-graders. What this campaign needs is a timeout chair, or perhaps a stout wooden ruler for rapping knuckles.

Rubio, on the other hand, frantically tried to out-Trump Trump. The barrage of carefully prepared one-liners began at the debate, when Rubio said, among other things, that if Trump hadn’t inherited a fortune from his father, today he’d be “selling watches in Manhattan.”

Afterward, although such a thing seemed impossible, things got worse. Rubio went into flat-out “yo’-momma” mode.

Rubio managed to lower himself, and the debate, beneath even Trump’s level. But I’m not sure there was much of a choice. Trump is threatening to effectively lock up the nomination before Rubio even notches his first primary win.

While Rubio was teasing and taunting, Trump was racking up bombshell endorsements - most notably from ex-candidate Chris Christie, who had vied with Rubio for the votes of establishment Republicans. Christie’s support helps make it safe for others to join the Trump bandwagon; Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama climbed aboard Sunday.

Trash-talking, alliances, conspiracies, betrayals - this whole campaign has become a reality-television show. The problem is that it’s on every single channel.2/29/16 Read more at  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_gops_schoolyard_scuffle_20160229

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7. Paul Krugman: Twilight of the Apparatchiks

Lack of self-awareness can be fatal. The haplessness of the Republican establishment in the face of Trumpism is a case in point.

As many have noted, it’s remarkable how shocked — shocked! — that establishment has been at the success of Donald Trump’s racist, xenophobic campaign. Who knew that this kind of thing would appeal to the party’s base? Isn’t the G.O.P. the party of Ronald Reagan, who sold conservatism with high-minded philosophical messages, like talking about a “strapping young buck” using food stamps to buy T-bone steaks?

Seriously, Republican political strategy has been exploiting racial antagonism, getting working-class whites to despise government because it dares to help Those People, for almost half a century. So it’s amazing to see the party’s elite utterly astonished by the success of a candidate who is just saying outright what they have consistently tried to convey with dog whistles.

What I find even more amazing, however, are the Republican establishment’s delusions about what its own voters are for. You see, all indications are that the party elite imagines that base voters share its own faith in conservative principles, when that not only isn’t true, it never has been. Read more at  http://nyti.ms/1TCzyII

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8. Goldie Taylor: Donald Trump and the Rise of the New Dixiecrats

There is one man who might be able to beat Donald Trump. But it would involve amending the Constitution, exhuming former Alabama governor George Wallace and re-constituting his ashes.

The current Republican frontrunner has been able to accomplish something that Wallace, in his living days, could not. In the months since Trump announced his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination, he has singlehandedly built a bi-partisan, largely white coalition of conservatives who are attracted to his nativist brand of economic populism. For them, the fine details of actual policy proposals appear to be less important than the notion that Trump is the one who can take their country back.

Much like Wallace—who was a Democrat—and despite his inconsistencies on the issues, Trump has tapped into a reservoir of resentment. He gives voice to the grievances of his supporters in a way that no other viable candidate for national office arguably has or can. As Trump continues to intensify his rhetoric, he has revealed deep fissures between the Republican establishment and the party’s grassroots. But his support does not stop at the water’s edge.

Those measuring Trump’s electoral “ceiling” should look again. There was certainly a ceiling on how much support Wallace received nationally. And, without a doubt, there is a cap on how high Trump’s stock will rise. But Trump is getting some unanticipated help—from Democrats.

Feasting on a public mood that is strikingly similar to what fueled Wallace, backing for the billionaire businessman has crossed the partisan aisle. The Trump voter is buoyed by his proclamations that he can “make America great again.” One constant refrain is that he “tells it like it is,” a thinly veiled reference to the way Trump eschews politically correct speech and frequently deploys bigoted, divisive language.

Among his electoral strongholds are so-called “blue dogs.” According to The New York Times, Trump carries a full 43 percent of voters who are registered Democrats, but who lean to the right.  In the mold of Wallace, Trump has given rise to a modern-day Dixiecrat—only this one is not contained to the American south.

Trump’s impact on party alignment is unknowable today. But Democrats and Republicans are right to fear the result. Like Wallace, Trump is shaking the table and there is no telling where the pieces might fall. 3.01.16 Read more at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/03/02/donald-trump-and-the-rise-of-the-new-dixiecrats.html

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9. Laurence Lewis: Donald Trump is the candidate the Republicans deserve

Republican insiders are so desperate to stop Donald Trump from winning their presidential nomination that they’re coalescing around Marco Rubio. Think about that. A guy who rarely shows up for work, has an agenda that’s almost as extreme as Trump’s, and who even the most expensive image-makers in the world will never make fit for prime time, is their last best hope. A guy who hasn’t yet come close to winning anything, and is polling far behind everywhere, is somehow supposed to win everything.

For decades the Republican establishment has played the faith-based voters for fools, but now it is they who are looking increasingly foolish in their desperate search for faith. They have no one to blame but themselves. For decades, they have played to racism, misogyny, bigotry, and thuggishness, and having loosed the American id, it’s now theirs to live with, untamed, unfettered, and out in the open where they never wanted it to be. It’s a monster of their own making. As Mitt Romney might say: They built that.

It’s been written about before and bears repeating, again and again: This is the inevitable end of a process that has been evolving for decades. Republicans like to pretend they are the Party of Lincoln, but that was not just more than 150 years ago—it was an entirely different political universe. The Republican Party was founded to oppose slavery, but now 20 percent of the supporters of its leading presidential candidate think freeing the enslaved was a bad idea. Trump himself openly laughs at the extremism his followers openly embrace. And all of it is the fault of the Republican Party establishment. 2/28/16 Read more at http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/2/28/1490942/-Donald-Trump-is-the-candidate-the-Republicans-deserve#read-more

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10. Washington Post Editorial Board: Is Mr. Trump a threat to democracy?

AS DONALD Trump’s presidential campaign gathers momentum, some people who initially were repelled by the prospect are reassuring themselves that the nation could easily survive his presidency. He’s a dealmaker and a pragmatist, they say. He doesn’t really believe the hateful messages he’s been spewing to win votes. He will be tamed by the American system of checks and balances.

Comments Mr. Trump delivered on Friday should shake that complacency. His remarks about using government to attack companies and newspapers he doesn’t like, and to change libel law so that he can shut down criticism in the press, are genuinely un-American. They reflect an attitude toward using government power to target opponents that would be entirely familiar to people who live in Vladi­mir Putin’s Russia or Chavista Venezuela. They have had no currency in Washington since the darkest, most paranoid days of Richard Nixon’s enemies list.

Is Mr. Trump a threat to democracy? In history, it has generally been a mistake to laugh off the words of would-be dictators as they climbed to power. “If I become president, oh, do they have problems,” Mr. Trump says. If he acts on his threats, none of us will be able to say we received no warning. Read more at http://wpo.st/b7pG1

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11. Paul Krugman: Planet on the Ballot

We now have a pretty good idea who will be on the ballot in November: Hillary Clinton, almost surely (after the South Carolina blowout, prediction markets give her a 96 percent probability of securing her party’s nomination), and Donald Trump, with high likelihood (currently 80 percent probability on the markets). But even if there’s a stunning upset in what’s left of the primaries, we already know very well what will be at stake — namely, the fate of the planet.

Why do I say this?

Obviously, the partisan divide on environmental policy has been growing ever wider. Just eight years ago the G.O.P. nominated John McCain, whose platform included a call for a “cap and trade” system — that is, a system that restricts emissions, but allows pollution permits to be bought and sold — to limit greenhouse gases. Since then, however, denial of climate science and opposition to anything that might avert catastrophe have become essential pillars of Republican identity. So the choice in 2016 is starker than ever before. 2/29/16 Read more at http://nyti.ms/1TJUfCK

12. Juan Williams: GOP hits new low on court

By pledging not to hold confirmation hearings for any Obama nominee to the high court, McConnell has reached new depths of disdain for the president. That is saying something. Remember, during the president’s first term, McConnell said his greatest aspiration as leader of the Senate was preventing Obama from winning a second term.

Now McConnell’s view of responsibly governing descends to the unprecedented low of refusing any Obama nominee the courtesy of a simple visit to the Senate for an introductory meeting. 

For all of you who have been paying attention for the last seven years, there is little news in the McConnell and Tea Party-effort to obstruct the twice-elected president. What is newsworthy is that the strategy has now reached a nadir that involves a vulgar show of disrespect for the constitution, the presidency and the courts.

A Fox News poll that found 62 percent of all Americans want the opening on the court filled by an Obama nominee, whoever that may be – including 61 percent of independents. The same poll found that position was held by just 36 percent of self-described Republicans. 

Those numbers constitute a harsh verdict on the GOP congressional failure to responsibly govern. The result may be another Democrat in the White House and a return to a Democratic-majority in the Senate. 02/29/16 Read more at http://thehill.com/opinion/juan-williams/271024-juan-williams-gop-hits-new-low-on-court

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13. John Cassidy: Donald Trump Is Transforming the G.O.P. Into a Populist, Nativist Party

Ever since last Thursday night’s televised G.O.P. debate, the Republican primary race has turned into a demolition derby. Marco Rubio, who for a long time portrayed himself as the young, positive, Kennedyesque candidate in the race, is now calling Donald Trump a “con artist” and throwing every other insult at the front-runner that he can, including, over the weekend, a thinly veiled penis-size joke. Trump, for his part, has been berating “Little Marco” at every opportunity, labelling him a “choke artist” who is too unmanly to be President. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz is attacking both Trump and Rubio.

If you’ve been following all of this bile in real time, on social media, it is easy to miss the larger reality that it reflects. With Trump in a strong position to win the primary, Republicans are engaged in a bitter battle not just about who will represent them in November, but about the broader nature of their party. For the past forty years, the G.O.P. has been an uneasy alliance of social conservatives, free-market conservatives, and corporate interest groups, with the latter largely dictating economic policy. Trump has been drawing on a base of alienated white working-class and middle-class voters, seeking to remake the G.O.P. into a more populist, nativist, avowedly protectionist, and semi-isolationist party that is skeptical of immigration, free trade, and military interventionism.

If he were to succeed in this quest, he would arguably be the most consequential Republican since Ronald Reagan, in part by challenging some aspects of Reagan’s legacy. Of course, Trump’s own bequest could well up being ruinous: if he does get the nomination, his racism, xenophobia, and megalomania would hopefully condemn the G.O.P. to a massive defeat. But even then, the party establishment, in picking up the pieces, would have to deal with the issues and fault lines that his candidacy has exposed. 2/29/16 Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/donald-trump-is-transforming-the-g-o-p-into-a-populist-nativist-party

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