Tuesday, December 22, 2015

John Kasich's year as a presidential candidate: From coy to joy to annoyed

I like to think of John Kasich's 2015 in three phases.

First there was the coy phase. For months the Ohio governor danced around the obvious – that he was preparing a campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

Next came the joy phase. Once Kasich finally made it official, he seemed to be having the time of his life. Not even Donald Trump could spoil his fun.

Then we saw Kasich's annoyed phase. As GOP voters look to fresh faces and anti-establishment voices, he grew frustrated over how hard it was to translate his 18 years as a Washington insider and five years as a swing-state governor into a winning message.

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Why Lindsey Graham's exit from the presidential race means more than you might think

Lindsey Graham dropped out of the Republican presidential race Monday. Before you get all smug and say how insignificant this is, given that the South Carolina senator is polling at 0 percent, consider the following ...

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hey Cleveland, here's what you should know about the prospects of a brokered Republican convention

There's a fresh round of brokered convention buzz.

The Washington Post, citing unidentified sources, reported Thursday that Republicans are preparing for the possibility of coming here next summer without a presidential nominee.

If that happens – and, really, let's not get carried away until the first votes are counted in February – Cleveland will earn a special chapter in the nation's history.

There hasn't been a true brokered convention since 1952, when Democrats nominated Adlai Stevenson. Republicans haven't had one since 1948, when they nominated Thomas Dewey, he of the infamous "Dewey Defeats Truman" headline.

So much has changed since, most notably the emergence of caucuses and primaries to select convention delegates. Of course there have been moments of high convention drama since the 1950s. In recent cycles it has become a rite of passage for political observers to game out all the scenarios that could lead to an impasse.

So, Clevelanders, here are a few things you should know ...

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George Voinovich for president?

Gov. John Kasich's staunchest supporters will tell you they can't fathom anyone else winning Ohio's Republican presidential primary on March 15.

But say it happens. To whom would Kasich's pledged convention delegates turn?

Jeb Bush? Chris Christie? Marco Rubio? Any of these choices would make sense, given that they are courting the same center-right voters Kasich is targeting.

We can rule out Donald Trump. He and Kasich have been trashing each other for weeks.

Ben Carson? Ted Cruz? Carly Fiorina? Mike Huckabee? Rand Paul?

How about none of the above?

The Kasich campaign asked its delegates to declare George Voinovich – the former U.S. senator, governor and Cleveland mayor – as their second choice. Presidential candidates have until 4 p.m. Wednesday to file delegate slates with the Ohio secretary of state.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Absent from the Donald Trump outrage: A strong rebuke from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus often points proudly to his party's efforts to embrace diversity and be more inclusive.

It was Priebus who demanded the "autopsy" after a devastating 2012 cycle in which GOP candidates, including presidential nominee Mitt Romney, offended Hispanics, women and other voting blocs key to winning at the national level.

And it was Priebus who watched approvingly last summer when Gov. Nikki Haley called for the Confederate flag to come down at the South Carolina Capitol.
But it's also Priebus who has been conspicuously quiet as Donald Trump – the party's 2016 front-runner, according to most polls – makes a hash of the GOP's message.

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