Ryan and Santorum Disagree on Meaning of Democrats’ VA Election Sweep

Nearly every observer has an interpretation of yesterday’s electoral sweep of Virginia by the Democratic Party, the first significant, positive performance the party has displayed since the election of Donald Trump.

President Trump quickly tossed gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie beneath a bus after his loss, which unexpectedly was by 9 points, despite the fact that Trump had tweeted and robo-called in support of Gillespie just before the election. He likes winners, you see, and those who “embrace” him.

 

But Gillespie was not a winner, despite not only Trump’s endorsement, but the Trumpian atmosphere of his campaign, which included strong criticism of his opponent Ralph Northam via ads on the issues of illegal immigration and sanctuary cities, as well as echoes of the president on Confederate monuments and kneeling NFL players.

He wasn’t the only Republican loser on Tuesday; it was a sweep.

Democrats also won at least 14 seats in the state’s House of Delegates and could gain control of the chamber for the first time since 2000, depending on the outcomes of four races that qualify for recount, The Washington Post reported.

Additionally, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio won reelection and Chris Christie, formerly among the most unpopular governors in the country, certainly contributed to his Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno’s loss in her bid to replace him — she was defeated Democrat

So what happened in Virginia? Is this a rejection of Trump, dissatisfaction with the performance of the Republican Congress, or both? (The New Yorker triumphantly finds Trumpism in decline. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Rick Santorum came down on opposite each other in their interpretations of the results.

Ryan spoke at a tax reform event held by The Washington Examiner. Responding to the election results in the context of the GOP’s new tax bill, he said the following:

“It doesn’t change my reading of the current moment. It just emphasizes my reading of the current moment which is we have a promise to keep…. We’ve got to get on with keeping our promise, and one of the chief promises we made when we ran for office … in 2016 was that we would do tax reform and tax cuts for families, for people, and so we’ve got to get on with that.”

He went on to say, that “If anything, this just puts more pressure on making sure we follow through…That’s what I take out of it. I adore Ed Gillespie. I feel bad that he lost, but I think it simply means we’ve got to deliver.”

The Republican party is even less popular than Trump himself, as is Congress as a whole. Despite majorities in both houses, the GOP has accomplished almost nothing of its legislative agenda. Most victories for Trump are the fleeting sort executive orders bring. That makes Ryan’s (and Trump’s) interpretation plausible.

Santorum had a different interpretation. Appearing on CNN on a panel analyzing the results, the former Pennsylvania senator blamed Trump’s “Twitter bombs” and “personal attacks”, arguing that “it is hurting him” and the Republican Party. (“Everyone is telling him that.”)  He went on to say that the voters who were turned off by Trump in Virginia, not because they were opposed to his agenda, but because they were opposed to the way he demeans others in public. That doesn’t include his treatment of the media, which Santorum believes goes over very well.

While Santorum acknowledged the lack of legislative accomplishment, he alluded to promises made by Trump in that regard, implying that a lack of leadership on the part of the president was at least in part responsible for Republicans having nothing to show for their nearly ten months of control of the federal government. In other words, the buck stops in the Oval Office.

Ironically, prior to Trump’s election, Santorum sought to appeal to the same working class voters Trump did, adopting unusually protectionist economic positions for a Republican. He validated Trump’s popularity in debates as well. By contrast, Ryan kept his distance from Trump for some time, and even easily fought off a supposedly Trump-like primary challenger, before ultimately embracing the inevitability of the Donald. Now the two appear to have flipped in where their locate the blame and aim their criticisms, and thus how they see Tuesday’s results.

Perhaps the answer simply is that all politics is local. That at least appears to have been the case in New York and New Jersey. Everyone wants to read the tea leaves in Virginia though, hoping to gain some insight into the future of the Trump presidency and Trumpism. Personally, I think it’s doubtful that this one case study can tell us much. What do you think?

Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum Try to Challenge Ted Cruz




Remember that scene in Iowa? Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum headed off to an event with Donald Trump after failing to get traction. Both thought Iowa was theirs having seized on Christian conservative sentiment in 2008 and 2012? Now, with Ted Cruz taking all the oxygen away from them they were bitter and, plotting with the establishment, out to get Cruz. They showed up at a Donald Trump rally where they did the “kneel before Zod” routine while attacking Cruz.

They are still at it, having never forgiven Ted Cruz for beating them in Iowa. Their latest ploy is to get an establishment challenger against Cruz who will pretend to be to Cruz’s right.

Bruce Jacobson, the executive producer of a Christian cable television show called called Life Today TV, has been quietly weighing a run against Cruz, according to a spokeswoman for the group Texans for Texas.

Jacobson has not returned phone calls from The Dallas Morning News, but a decision to launch his campaign could come within days. The filing period for the March primaries starts in November.

Texans for Texas, a super PAC that’s been around for about a year, is having a fundraiser Monday in North Richland Hills, where Jacobson lives. He’s listed as the event’s special guest.

According to Federal Election Commission reports, the group has raised $25,000 for the 2018 elections.…

Jacobson, who is well-known among Christian conservatives, could court support from former presidential contenders such as former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Apparently, Jacobson isn’t even a principled conservative like Cruz. He’s just a Huckabee sort of clone who talks Jesus while being okay with growing the secular state. And notice that last paragraph. There are some people wondering what the actual relationship is there. I’m told pretty reliably that Huckabee is pushing this and Santorum is probably connected. That paragraph about getting their support was not a random, throw away paragraph.

Cruz already has one establishment hack coming after him from the left within the GOP primary. The guy is a lawyer who claims Cruz isn’t playing well with Mitch McConnell. Now we’re going to get this guy pretending to come at Cruz from the right. The media will love both so they can attack Cruz from all sides. But if I were Cruz, I’d be looking around thinking I’ve got attacks from left and from pretend right, so I must be doing something actually right.

By the way, don’t think the timing here is coincidental. Steve Bannon came out yesterday and said Cruz would be the one GOP Senator who does not get challenged in 2018 in the primaries. Huckabee probably wants to assert his supposed power and influence, not that he really has much.

Establishment Republicans Are Rallying to an Al Gore Lobbyist to Replace Mick Mulvaney. Stop Them.

Mick Mulvaney is now at the Office of Management and Budget. In the House of Representatives, he was a strong conservatives who supported limited government and fiscal discipline.

One of the major candidates to replace him in a special election in South Carolina is a man named Tom Mullikin. Mullikin is a liberal who donated to Debbie Stabenow and Jim Clyburn. He also worked as a lobbyist for Al Gore. For reasons unbeknownst to me, Rick Santorum has come out for this liberal and conservatives need to rally to Chad Connelly to make sure Mulvaney’s seat is kept by conservatives.

While Mullikin was helping Al Gore, Chad Connelly was growing the GOP in South Carolina.

While Mullkin was funding leftist Debbie Stabenow, Chad Connelly was defending Christian liberty.

We absolutely must hold Mulvaney’s seat. The GOP Establishment wants to move it left and they have found their man. Conservatives, we have our own guy in Chad Connelly.

Donate to his race now. We absolutely must help Chad raise money.

With An Assist From Rick Santorum, Chris Christie Becomes the Most Hated Man in the GOP

It started off bad enough. Rick Santorum went on Morning Joe to endorse Marco Rubio and through several painful moments could not name one thing Marco Rubio had accomplished.

Chris Christie then took the Santorum awkwardness and turned it into a pretty powerful commercial against Marco Rubio.

On Saturday night, Christie then leveled a devastating line of attack against Marco Rubio. I actually thought Rubio’s repetition helped him, but voters in New Hampshire clearly disagreed.

And just like that, the man who allegedly had the momentum coming out of Iowa crashed and burned in New Hampshire. Chris Christie, in two minutes in a debate, did what Jeb Bush and his super PAC have been unable to do for months — ruined Marco Rubio.

Rubio is the precious of the Washington GOP pundit class. They had an orgasm by his third place loss in Iowa. They ran panel discussions on news programs about how the media loved Marco and why. Then this.

Chris Christie is to blame and he will have hell to pay. Christie has disrupted Marco Rubio’s path to victory. Christie, of course, threw everything he had at New Hampshire and did nothing but drive up his own negatives and decline in the polls.

Christie will drop out. He is not a viable candidate. But along the way, he seriously wounded Rubio. For that, Christie will be persona non grata for much of the pundit class and GOP in DC.

Good Political Ads

Good political ads create two reactions.

They make voters stand up and cheer.

Or they make them cringe and think, “That’s gonna leave a mark. . . aanndd I need to watch that again.”

Such is the nature of the ad Chris Christie dropped on Marco Rubio this evening.

So grab some popcorn and a chair and watch “It’s A Simple Question.”

For full disclosure, I am helping the Keep the Promise PAC team.

 

Thus Ends Rick Santorum’s Aspirations

By historic measures, Rick Santorum should be the Republican nominee this time. He was the last man to stand against Romney in 2012 and historically the GOP gives that man the nomination the next time out. But Santorum did nothing to capitalize on that.

Now, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz have taken the Kim Davis battle as their own. Huckabee, as I write this, is on a stage with Kim Davis offering to go to jail for her. Ted Cruz also is making a pilgrimage to Kentucky to be seen with and see Kim Davis.

On the opposite side, Donald Trump says the law is the law and so Kim Davis had to go to jail. Carly Fiorina says Kim Davis should have resigned.

Rick Santorum is no where to be seen. He is crowded off the stage. He is overshadowed by others. His campaign was always a long shot, but now it is a longer shot still. Mike Huckabee is owning this issue as is Ted Cruz. They, along with Bobby Jindal and Trump, are making inroads into a base of support that was once Rick Santorum’s.

Now he has no base, not that he ever had much of a shot. Still, he exists. Because there’s nothing better for him to do right now and no place to land. So he campaigns despite what the rest of us can see as the end game: an exit and the end to his aspirations.

Why Rick Santorum Matters

Earlier today, Rick Santorum declared his candidacy for President of the United States. Santorum lost his re-election bid for the Senate in Pennsylvania in 2006. He has not held office since. There are a lot of people who wonder why Rick Santorum thinks he has a chance and why he is running. That reason comes from his debate performance in Mesa, AZ on February 22, 2012. I remember being at that venue for CNN. And I remember the crowd response to Santorum with just one answer. That answer lingered in the days after the debate.

Santorum had said something that baffled people about contraception and John King asked Santorum about it. Their exchange is captured in this transcript, but you need to hear Santorum’s voice on the relevant part. I’ve included the sound here. Here is the key part:

What we’re seeing is a problem in our culture with respect to children being raised by children, children being raised out of wedlock, and the impact on society economically, the impact on society with respect to drug use and all — a host of other things when children have children.

And so, yes, I was talking about these very serious issues. And, in fact, as I mentioned before, two days ago on the front page of “The New York Times”, they’re talking about the same thing. The bottom line is we have a problem in this country, and the family is fracturing.

Over 40 percent of children born in America are born out of wedlock. How can a country survive if children are being raised in homes where it’s so much harder to succeed economically? It’s five times the rate of poverty in single-parent households than it is in two-parent homes. We can have limited government, lower tax — we hear this all the time, cut spending, limit the government, everything will be fine. No, everything’s not going to be fine.

There are bigger problems at stake in America. And someone has got to go out there — I will — and talk about the things.

And you know what? Here’s the difference.

The left gets all upset. “Oh, look at him talking about these things.” You know, here’s the difference between me and the left, and they don’t get this. Just because I’m talking about it doesn’t mean I want a government program to fix it.

That’s what they do. That’s not what we do.

Cruz is the candidate of conservatives. Huckabee is making a play as the evangelical’s choice. Santorum is the guy who talks about the plight of collapsing families in a collapsed economy whose jobs are getting outsourced or taken by lower paid workers. He has been talking about this issue for years. He knows how to talk about the issue and he talks about it in a way that resonates with Americans, not just Republicans.

But there is a problem for Santorum here. He was Mike Huckabee’s replacement in 2012 — a proxy for a campaign that could have been. Huckabee is here now. And unlike Huckabee, Santorum could not win re-election in his home state of Pennsylvania and I highly doubt he could win it in 2016. Like Al Gore losing Tennessee and Mitt Romney losing Massachusetts, the odds are against Santorum, even with Pat Toomey predicted to win in 2016.

Likewise, Santorum is not the only candidate this time to address those issues and connect them to larger areas. Cruz talks about them. Huckabee talks about them. Jindal talks about them. Perry talks about them. Rubio talks about them. Walker talks about them. Bush talks about them. . . . You get the idea.

Santorum was a voice in the wilderness in 2012. Now he is one of many. He has to try to stand up and speak louder and more boldly than the others. Today, when he announced his campaign, he showed he got that. He was quite forceful and bold. Unfortunately for Santorum, his campaign last time became the evangelical/social-conservative campaign to stop Mitt Romney. Santorum’s star only rose after every other Romney alternative had risen, crested, and collapsed.

There’s no Mitt Romney this time for Santorum to run against. On top of that, Cruz, Rubio, Paul, Walker, and several of the other candidates have what Romney never did — their own cults of personality not readily willing to gravitate to Santorum to stop a Romney or a Bush. Santorum will need a different path, but he already has the message. As importantly, he also has the force of conviction in how he delivers his message. Authenticity counts on this particular issue and Santorum conveys in both tone and demeanor that he believes what he says on the collapse of the family.

Rick Santorum matters because of these family issues. But he does not matter in 2016 like he mattered in 2012. That just might be fatal to his candidacy.

The First of Many 2016 Polls

Let the games begin for 2016. RedState readers, who do you prefer?

Who is your preferred candidate for 2016
Jeb Bush
Ben Carson
Chris Christie
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Ted Cruz94%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard94%
Mike Huckabee
Bobby Jindal
John Kasich
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Rand Paul92%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard92%
Mike Pence
Rick Perry
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Marco Rubio81%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard81%
Rick Santorum
Scott Walker
Other
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com


The post The First of Many 2016 Polls appeared first on RedState.