Sunday, July 31, 2016

Nina Turner weighing offer to join Green Party ticket as VP candidate

Nina Turner, the Democratic former state senator from Cleveland who has emerged as a rallying figure for Bernie Sanders' disappointed supporters, said she is considering an offer to run for vice president on the Green Party's national ticket.

Massachusetts physician Jill Stein, the party's presumptive presidential nominee, reached out with the pitch, Turner told cleveland.com Sunday evening in a telephone interview.

The Green Party opens its convention Thursday in Houston. Turner would stand for nomination there if she agrees to be Stein's running mate. Her decision is expected in the coming days.

Turner is less than a year removed for a top position at the Ohio Democratic Party, which she left last fall after joining Sanders' Democratic presidential bid as a high-profile surrogate. The move caused a stir. Turner initially had favored Hillary Clinton, whose husband, former President Bill Clinton, helped Turner raise money for her unsuccessful Ohio secretary of state run in 2014.

Read the full story

Friday, July 29, 2016

Brace yourself for a brutal battle between Clinton and Trump

PHILADELPHIA – Hillary Clinton made history this week as the first woman to win a major party's nomination for president. But with the feel-good moment of her Democratic National Convention now in the books, brace yourself for a brutal general election campaign.

Clinton and her A-list surrogates offered a message of optimism and inclusion.

Advancing it will require a persistent shredding of the case Republican nominee Donald Trump pressed at his convention in Cleveland. The New York businessman pushed a nationalist agenda and spoke of the country as a village of the damned unless voters hire him this fall.

Read the full story

Thursday, July 28, 2016

For Ohio Democrats, the 2018 gubernatorial race is in a holding pattern

PHILADELPHIA – There's something missing in all the 2018 talk taking place here this week as Ohio Democrats huddle over breakfasts, beers and Bloody Marys.

A candidate for governor.

Connie Pillich is "pressing a lot of flesh," as one county chairman put it. But many wonder if the former state representative, who lost a race for state treasurer in 2014, is their best option.

Betty Sutton is milling around, too. But the former congresswoman's federal job running the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. makes active campaigning a no-no. Whatever she might have cooking – if she has anything cooking at all – was kept on a low flame.

"I am here in my personal capacity to support these Democrats," Sutton said rigidly and repeatedly in response to questions about her interest in the gubernatorial race.

Joe Schiavoni, the party's leader in the Ohio Senate, all too eagerly confirms he is thinking about a bid. But he arrived late in the week and seems happy just having his name in the mix. It's a trait he may have acquired from his fellow Mahoning Valley pol, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan.

Ryan has a reputation as a political tease. Every other year he might be running for governor or senator, but he always sticks with his forever-safe House seat. He could clear the field and make many Democrats happy if he declared his candidacy. But in true Ryan fashion, the scuttlebutt surrounding him this week was that he already has ruled out a run and instead might be in line for a Cabinet appointment if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency this fall.

Then there is Richard Cordray. Many Democrats believe the field will remain murky until the former Ohio attorney general decides what to do. But Cordray, like Sutton, runs a federal agency that precludes him from politics. He was nowhere to be found in Philadelphia.

Read the full story

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Bernie Sanders backer Nina Turner says she was dumped from DNC speaking assignment

PHILADELPHIA -- Nina Turner, the former state senator from Ohio who emerged as one of Bernie Sanders' most passionate champions, planned to deliver a speech nominating Sanders for president at the Democratic National Convention.

But Turner, in a telephone interview Wednesday with cleveland.com, said that when she arrived here Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center, she was barred from going backstage. Instead, she was sent to speak with Sanders' staff.

"They would not allow it," Turner said.

Turner would not elaborate on who made the decision. A Sanders representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Nor did spokesmen for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton or the Democratic National Committee.

Read the full story

Monday, July 25, 2016

How not to kick off a convention, Part II: Democrats and the Debbie Wasserman Schultz drama

PHILADELPHIA -- Republicans opened their convention a week ago in Cleveland on a discordant note – highlighted by a feud between presidential nominee Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich – that continued all week and had the other side oozing confidence.

Democrats, who began their convention here today, had everything going for them.
A Bernie Sanders endorsement. A rock-star lineup of speakers that includes the sitting president, a former president and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the party's most electrifying progressive voice. The kind of clear and present unity that had eluded the GOP.

But if last week brought the textbook lesson in how not to kick off a political convention, Democrats have now provided a worthy follow-up.

Read the full story

Friday, July 22, 2016

From Donald Trump to David Duke, RNC week rewrites Reince Priebus' 'open door' policy

When Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says that his is the "party of the open door," presumably he's not welcoming David Duke.

But as they rallied around Donald Trump's nationalist campaign for president at their convention this week, Priebus and the Republicans cracked that door open for the white supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader. And on Friday, Duke waltzed right through it.

"I'm overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues that I have championed for years," Duke, who emphasizes the rights of European-Americans, said in a video declaring his candidacy for a Senate seat in Louisiana. "My slogan remains 'America first.'"

Read the full story

Thursday, July 21, 2016

How RNC week took an awkward turn for Ohio GOP Chairman Matt Borges

This has been a rough week for Matt Borges.

While playing host to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, the Ohio GOP chairman also found himself stuck in the middle of more Donald Trump drama.

Borges was furious Monday when top Trump campaign adviser Paul Manafort repeatedly hammered Ohio Gov. John Kasich over his refusal to endorse Trump. He grew angrier when Trump's convention programmers snubbed Jo Ann Davidson, the state's Republican national committeewoman, by excluding her from a tribute to two late Ohio GOP icons.

Meanwhile, Trump escalated the feud with Kasich. And Kasich plowed ahead with a schedule of non-convention activities designed to promote his brand at Trump's expense.

Read the full story

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ted Cruz gets booed, but he also gets the better of Donald Trump

Ted Cruz got booed off the stage Wednesday night.

Think about that for a second. This Republican National Convention has no bigger goal than to heal a fractured party so that it can soldier on in unity around Donald Trump.

Cruz, the Texas senator who emerged as Trump's strongest rival in the primaries, was a key part of that. And inexplicably, Trump, the New York businessman who prides himself on making shrewd deals, gave Cruz a prime time speaking slot without the promise of an endorsement.

Even more puzzling: The Trump campaign knew ahead of time that Cruz would urge his fellow Republicans to vote their conscience – a text of his remarks was shared with reporters beforehand – and somehow failed to realize what a disaster that would be.

Read the full story

Monday, July 18, 2016

Donald Trump shows how not to kick off a convention

Here is how not to open your Republican National Convention if you are a presidential hopeful who desperately needs a unifying moment this week.

You don't insult the popular host governor, the Ohio delegates pledged to him, or the many other voters who have given him robust job-approval ratings in a must-win battleground state.

But that is precisely what Donald Trump did.

Read the full story

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.

Read the full story

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
Read the full story

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.

Read the full story

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.

Read the full story