Republican platform proposal demeans non-biological families, belies "family values"

Commentaries on either party’s platform are welcome here. -promoted by desmoinesdem

As an adult, I accept that not everyone is going to share my views on all things. Part of living in a democracy means that we come together to discuss our individual perspectives and try to find means of compromise that allow us to move forward together.

But I have my limits.

Behold, an amendment to the Republican national platform, addressing—of all things—no-fault divorce:

“We believe children have a natural right to be raised in an intact biological family. While brokenness can befall children in a myriad ways [sic], we acknowledge that children are made to be loved by both natural parents united in marriage.”

As an adoptee, I find this language viscerally offensive, bordering on the obscene.

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Paul Ryan says he won't accept GOP nomination. Is he for real?

image from House Speaker Paul Ryan’s video, "Politics These Days"

A few minutes ago, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters, "Let me be clear: I do not want, nor will I accept the Republican nomination." According to Amber Phillips of the Washington Post, today’s announcement was the nineteenth time Ryan or someone speaking on his behalf has ruled out running for president in 2016. Yet many Republicans hope that neither Donald Trump nor Ted Cruz will win the 1,237 votes needed to secure the presidential nomination at the GOP national convention in Cleveland, allowing delegates to turn to Ryan as a unifying figure on the third or fourth ballot. That scenario may be the least-bad among a number of unappealing possibilities facing Republicans, as the party’s front-runner has historically high unfavorable ratings.

Ryan said today that delegates should "Count me out" if there is a brokered convention: "I simply believe that if you want to be the nominee for our party – to be the president – you should actually run for it. I chose not to do this. Therefore, I should not be considered. Period. End of story."

Meanwhile, the House speaker is running a "parallel policy campaign," which he calls #ConfidentAmerica. This campaign could be designed to insulate GOP House candidates from a landslide loss at the top of the ticket. But to me and many other observers, the #ConfidentAmerica materials resemble presidential candidate tv ads. I’ve enclosed one video after the jump, so you can judge for yourself.

Any speculation about what might happen in a GOP brokered convention is welcome in this thread. Whether Trump can lock down the nomination on June 7 depends on several factors Bleeding Heartland user fladem discussed here, and on whether Cruz continues to outperform late polling in the remaining primaries.

Governor Terry Branstad has so far refused to say how he would vote on a second or subsequent ballot, if he becomes a delegate to the RNC. Senator Joni Ernst has suggested that "it would be hard to get buy-in" for nominating someone who did not run for president this year.

UPDATE: NPR’s Susan Davis observed, "Paul Ryan raised $17.2m in Q1. He’s raised $23.5m since becoming speaker in Oct. This probably means he’s running for president." Yes, it probably does.

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Iowa GOP will continue straw poll fundraiser

The Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee voted unanimously today to hold a "straw poll" fundraiser next August, as has occurred every year before the Iowa caucuses since 1979. The date and location will be announced later; the three most likely venues are the Iowa State University campus in Ames, the Farm Progress Show in Boone, and the State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

I’ve enclosed the official Iowa GOP statement after the jump. Note that it identifies former Republican presidential nominees George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bob Dole, and Mitt Romney as past winners of the straw poll, but does not mention Michele Bachmann, who won the 2011 straw poll and went on to finish fifth on caucus night. O. Kay Henderson posted the audio from the committee deliberations and vote. State party chair Jeff Kaufmann emphasized that Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus is strongly supportive of Iowa’s first in the nation status, and said the straw poll will not jeopardize that role.

Shortly after the 2012 presidential election, Governor Terry Branstad declared that “the straw poll has outlived its usefulness.” That’s easy for him to say when he is able to raise millions of dollars through other events. There’s no way the Iowa GOP would fail to hold some kind of statewide fundraiser featuring as many presidential candidates as possible. Continuing the straw poll element will increase the national media’s interest in the event.

Speaking to State Central Committee members after today’s vote, Kaufmann thanked Branstad, Senator Chuck Grassley, and Representative Steve King for their feedback on the straw poll. He added that Branstad had offered to help the party secure presidential candidates’ participation if the straw poll continues. Some analysts have speculated that certain candidates would skip the fundraiser, either because the event is seen to skew toward social conservative activists, or simply to save money. (Texas Governor Rick Perry joined the presidential race shortly after the Ames straw poll.) Kaufmann said today that if some candidates decide not to participate, “I can guarantee that RPI will maintain its strict neutrality policy whether or not that candidate attended the Straw Poll or not.”

During today’s meeting, several State Central Committee members praised the straw poll’s role in giving every presidential candidate, not just well-funded ones, an opportunity to address activists from all over Iowa. A few also favorably cited the straw poll’s function in “winnowing the field.” Sam Brownback ended his presidential campaign soon after the 2007 straw poll, and Tim Pawlenty did the same soon after finishing a distant third at the 2011 event. I suspect that this year, presidential candidates will not invest as much money in winning the straw poll, nor will they over-react to a less than stellar showing. Bachmann started fading almost immediately after winning the 2011 straw poll. By the time the Iowa caucuses rolled around, Republicans had cycled through three more front-runners (Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich), before Rick Santorum surged to finish in a near-tie with Romney and Ron Paul. According to some reports, Pawlenty regretted dropping out of that race so early.

Any comments about the next Republican presidential campaign are welcome in this thread.

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Twitter was used in "cutting edge" scheme to evade campaign finance laws

The Federal Election Commission rarely enforces laws against coordination between political campaigns and groups making independent expenditures for and against candidates. Meanwhile, outside spending is exploding to the point that in some races, independent expenditures dwarf money spent by the candidates.

As a result, each election cycle brings more actions that raise suspicions of campaigns and outside groups coordinating their work. In Iowa’s U.S. Senate race, Joni Ernst’s campaign magically knew exactly when to launch a very small ad buy to maximal effect—on the same day an outside group released a months-old unflattering video of Bruce Braley. Later on, a super PAC came into existence solely to run a $1 million television commercial targeting Braley, and that super PAC just happened to be headquartered in the same office as a senior consultant for Ernst’s campaign.

CNN’s Chris Moody reported today on a newly uncovered, brazen scheme to share information between campaigns and political advocacy groups. Click through to read his whole piece about Twitter accounts that communicated polling data from competitive U.S. House races.

At least two outside groups and a Republican campaign committee had access to the information posted to the accounts, according to the source. They include American Crossroads, the super PAC founded by Karl Rove; American Action Network, a nonprofit advocacy group, and the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is the campaign arm for the House GOP. […]

The accounts that CNN reviewed were active in the months ahead of this month’s election, which gave Republicans their largest majority in the House since World War II and control of the Senate. They were live until Nov. 3 but deleted minutes after CNN contacted the NRCC with questions. […]

The tweets captured by screenshots stretched back to July, but the groups have communicated in this manner for four years, the source said. Staffers for each group deleted individual tweets every few months, so only the past few months of data were available when CNN first viewed the Twitter accounts.

Deleting online content minutes after a journalist starts asking questions sends a strong signal that these operatives knew they were doing something shady. Moreover, Philip Bump noticed that the American Action Network was one of the biggest outside spenders in the Congressional race in Florida’s 26th district. That race was the apparent focus of at least one now-deleted tweet containing polling data, which showed a very close race in FL-26.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.

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