Friday, July 15, 2016

5 things I'm looking for at the Republican National Convention

What a week it will be for Cleveland – and the Republican Party.

The GOP will soon become the party of Donald Trump, an unorthodox and unpredictable candidate known for his racially charged rhetoric and in-your-face showmanship.

It's an existential crisis for what once was the party of Lincoln, Reagan and the George Bushes. And it will loom large over everything that happens in and outside of The Q.

Here are five things I'll be looking for at the Republican National Convention.

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The risks and rewards of Mike Pence as Donald Trump's vice president

One of the great mysteries of Donald Trump's always-unpredictable campaign has been solved. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will run as his vice president.

Brilliant move? Risky move?

It didn't help that Trump engineered such a clumsy roll out for Pence. He seemed to allow his new running mate to twist in the wind for nearly 24 hours after word first leaked that the decision had been made.

There will be a lot to chew on between now and Wednesday, when Pence is scheduled to deliver his Republican National Convention acceptance speech at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena.
Let's assess the pick with these five quick takeaways
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Monday, July 11, 2016

Donald Trump leads the Republican Party down a troubling, fateful path to Cleveland: Analysis

Cleveland was supposed to represent a new frontier for Republicans.

Instead, it might well be where the party goes to die.

The GOP convention opens here in one week, poised to nominate Donald Trump for president. But so much of what the New York real estate mogul says and does is objectionable.

He indulges and inflames the worst impulses of an angry electorate. He speaks of Mexicans with condescension and contempt. He seems determined to find a way to block every Muslim from entering the country. He defends his team's use of anti-Semitic imagery.

He has mocked Arizona Sen. John McCain, a Vietnam veteran who claimed this same party's nomination eight years ago, for being captured during combat. He has praised Saddam Hussein, the late Iraqi despot, for killing some fellow terrorists among his many victims.

Then there was the time Trump suggested a black protester deserved the beating he received from white supporters at a campaign rally. That moment came to mind Friday. Responding to two fatal police shootings of black men and a deadly attack on police officers in Dallas, Trump released a statement lamenting that racial tensions "have gotten worse, not better."

Of course they have. Thanks in part to Donald Trump.

None of this has mattered, though. More than 13 million rank-and-file primary voters backed Trump, picking him out of a crowded lineup composed largely of career politicians. Now, the Republicans in the best position to lead seem more comfortable following the herd.

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Dump Donald Trump movement faces a do-or-die moment next week in Cleveland

GOP drama will start a week early.

The Republican National Convention won't kick off at Quicken Loans Arena until July 18. But efforts to derail Donald Trump's coronation will rise or fall on a series of lower-profile meetings scheduled to begin Monday and run through the week in downtown Cleveland.

Although the chances Trump will leave here without his party's presidential nomination appear slim, these sessions will indicate how much of a nationally televised embarrassment the New York businessman's opponents can create for him on the convention floor.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Reliving Cleveland's championship week

Now that was a party.

One night of celebrating just wouldn't do. A parade wouldn't be enough. The Cavaliers' NBA Finals win over the Golden State Warriors brought Cleveland its first major sports championship in 52 years.

The joy and the revelry lasted well into the week. Really, who could blame us?

We were making up for lost time. For all those seasons our teams fell short.

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Hillary Clinton is off to a faster start than Donald Trump is in Ohio -- and it isn't even close

When Hillary Clinton speaks Tuesday in Columbus, she will continue what has been a remarkably traditional beginning to her general election campaign.

The presumptive Democratic nominee for president is sticking with a battleground map that served President Barack Obama well. She and her allies have unleashed a blitz of early television ads aimed at shoring up their base. And Ohio, as always, is right in the thick of things.

Are there risks in playing it so safe in a year in which Donald Trump – the Republican poised to claim his party's nomination next month in Cleveland – thrives on chaos? Of course there are.

But Trump's strategy relies on successfully navigating one of two increasingly improbable paths.

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Monday, June 13, 2016

In Cleveland, Hillary Clinton takes on terror and Donald Trump -- but only mentions one by name

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Hillary Clinton didn't mention Donald Trump. She didn't have to.

In responding Monday to a deadly mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., the presumptive Democratic nominee for president drew countless contrasts with her Republican rival.

"Our open, diverse society is an asset in the struggle against terrorism, not a liability," Clinton, the former secretary of state, said during a speech here at Team Wendy, a manufacturer that develops military helmets and other products that protect against impact-related injuries.

"It makes us stronger and more resistant to radicalization," Clinton added. "America is strongest when we all believe they have a stake in our country and our future. This vision has sustained us from the beginning – the belief that yes, we are all created equal and the journey we have made to turn that into reality over our history. That we are not a land of winners and losers."

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The next Republican National Committee chairman? Here's the book on Matt Borges.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – This would be a comeback story even without the cliffhanger.

A dozen years ago, Matt Borges was, in his own words, radioactive. Political scandal had sidetracked his promising future as Ohio's next top Republican operative.

For a while he toiled in jobs beneath him. Turned down promotions. Worried that a higher profile might trigger stories about his past and embarrass his employers.

Slowly, Borges clawed his way back. Guided a little-known county prosecutor to statewide office.
Found a home in the governor's inner circle. But still couldn't shake the comma and the clause that always followed his name. He was Matt Borges, who was convicted in a pay-to-play case stemming from his work as the top adviser to a former state treasurer.

The 2016 election is helping Borges, now the Ohio GOP chairman, bury his baggage.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

As John Kasich reflects on presidential bid, he worries about Donald Trump and a nation of victims

COLUMBUS, Ohio – It's been three weeks since Gov. John Kasich ended his presidential bid as the last man standing against presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

But hearing him talk Tuesday, there was a sense of unfinished business.

Kasich seemed more eager than ever to draw contrasts with Trump, whom he acknowledged he may never endorse. He repeatedly described the New York businessman as a candidate who encourages voters to see themselves as victims but offers no tangible solutions.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Next up for John Kasich: Deciding how to deal with Donald Trump

The next decision of Gov. John Kasich's political career might be his biggest yet – bigger than anything involved in his recently suspended presidential campaign.

How will he deal with Donald Trump?

It's a choice filled with risks for Kasich, who framed his White House bid around a decidedly non-Trumpian theme: "I will not take the low road to the highest office in the land."

Kasich is taking his time. Since exiting the Republican race a week ago – a move that left the unpredictable Trump as the presumptive nominee – he has kept out of the public eye. He knows that whenever he resurfaces, the first question is bound to be about Trump.

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