Why Trump Will Tap Christie for VP

by Alex Knepper

Pundits sometimes accuse Donald Trump of having no guiding principles. Of course he does: Ted Cruz got it right months ago when he said that “everything in Donald’s world revolves around Donald.” That’s why he’s going to pick Chris Christie as his VP.

Christie put his reputation on the line for Trump earlier than anyone else of his stature — and endured an avalanche of ridicule and humiliation for it, without blinking. It took him only two weeks after the end of his campaign in New Hampshire to provide a full-throated endorsement of Trump: “He is rewriting the logic of American politics” and is a “strong and resolute leader,” Christie said of his “good friend.”

Continue reading

Advertisements

Trump, The Ol’ Lamplighter

By Cinzia Croce

As Donald Trump’s candidacy was gathering steam over the summer, I asked a friend and longtime Republican activist what he thought about him. He replied that Trump was just like the old lamplighter going down the streets, firing up gaslights, chasing shadows away and allowing voters to see for themselves the state of American politics.  Since joining the presidential campaign trail, Trump has repeatedly exposed the corruption, incompetence, arrogance, hypocrisy, and dearth of policy ideas that have dominated our political system for decades. Continue reading

The Trumpening

By Alex Knepper

The outcome in New Hampshire could not have been more favorable to Donald Trump: Chris Christie’s operatic kamikaze mission against Marco Rubio succeeded in spectacular fashion, humiliating the boy wonder for a second time by reducing him to a fifth-place finish in a state where just one week ago he had dreamed — plausibly — of finishing in second. But that is not all: John Kasich, roughly matching Jon Huntsman’s 2012 total, was the one to snag Rubio’s prize — and he will find himself utterly incapable of capitalizing on it. And because God has a sense of humor, Ted Cruz was able to block Jeb Bush from even claiming a spot in the Top 3.

With Rubio deflated and Kasich a poor fit for the state, Mr. Bush may win 2nd place in South Carolina — especially since he is finally wising up and bringing George W. Bush, beloved among the GOP base, to campaign for him. But even a strong second-place finish would be too little, too late for the unhappy warrior. And this result would only further muddle the prospects for the ‘establishment lane,’ besides. A relatively strong Iowa finish by Rubio, a relatively strong New Hampshire finish by Kasich, and a relatively strong South Carolina finish by Bush all amount to this: Donald Trump steamrolling the competition. (As for Ted Cruz, he is likely to meet the same fate as the last two ‘winners’ of Iowa.)

Trump1

I am writing all of this not because I like it, but because it is true. One week ago, I endorsed the conventional wisdom that we had a three-man race on our hands. The race is now effectively over. Let’s be blunt: Rubio had his shot to consolidate the center-right against Trump, and he blew it. Some will be tempted to blame Christie for spoiling a beautiful opportunity, but we should really be thanking him for doing us the favor of quickly exposing Rubio for the empty suit he’s always been. Why the Republican ‘establishment’ ever tried to convince the center-right to rally around a hiding-in-plain-sight religious-rightist with no legislative accomplishments or policy heft is utterly mystifying. Since last autumn, conservative pundits have been trying to force Rubio down people’s throats — maybe out of envy toward Obama, who knows? — but they somehow forgot that he had competitors who weren’t going to just passively let that happen. The long-prophesied Rubio surge finally — finally — arrived, and it took just five days for an able prosecutor to snuff it out. (Maybe they should have tried to force Christie down people’s throats instead?)

Given these dynamics, Trump is probably unstoppable. He is dominating the polls in every state that will vote over the next month, and he will only gain momentum from New Hampshire. There seems to be nothing he could possibly say that could alienate his current supporters.

As for the other personality-cult leader who triumphed last night: it is truly the height of chutzpah to declare that SuperPAC money corrupts our democracy on a night in which neither of the winners have SuperPACs, the second-place Republican finisher pulled it off via retail politicking, and the $100,000,000 man placed a distant fourth. Disciples of St. Bernie should enjoy the week in which their candidate leads the delegate count, because the race is about to shift to the South, and they will have to face the reality that not everyone in America is a white bourgeois-type aspiring to imitate the Swedes.

Next Time, Let’s Just Skip Iowa

By Cinzia Croce

The Iowa results are in, and the speculation over whether Donald Trump’s decision to skip the last debate cost him a victory has already begun. I do not believe attending the debate would have made any difference: it carried many downsides, and it is more than possible that Ted Cruz might have won by an even larger margin had Trump chosen to attend. Nevertheless, it is quite an achievement for a thrice-married, secular, brash New Yorker to finish just four points behind the Evangelical candidate of choice, who had parked himself in Iowa since July 2013 and visited all 99 counties.

Trump took a gamble and decided to try to run the table, knowing fully that Iowa would be a difficult state to win. In itself, this was not such a bad strategy. But to hedge his bets, he should have done a better job at managing expectations. Instead of boasting about his unrivaled ability to win, Trump should have limited his remarks to wanting to perform well. A second-place finish for someone who has never run for office before would have been seen as a perfectly respectable result on its own. Just look at Rubio: he came in third and delivered what was essentially a victory speech.

wpid-150815_donald_trump_fair_1160_msm71_1160x6293

Going all-in on Iowa was always a major gamble for Trump, which became readily apparent when he started to fall behind Ben Carson in the autumn. The risks of pandering to these voters are high. Iowa caucus voters seem more concerned about the Second Coming of Christ than about the Second Coming of the Caliphate in Iraq. They often seem as if they might be more at home in the Philippines, where abortion, divorce, and same-sex marriage are illegal, than in Trump’s native New York. A candidate that is tailor-made for the Iowa caucuses is a complete electoral disaster in November. There is simply no reason for the Republican Party to give such a prominent spot to Iowa. If caucus participants were to prevail, the Democrats would be permanently installed in the Oval Office. If their prayers were ever answered, we would become the Philippines.

Trump’s concession speech was brief and gracious. That’s a good start. Going forward, I would only recommend that he dial down the I’m-a-winner persona and instead focus on the two policy pillars of his campaign: trade and immigration. If he wants to win, he must draw a clear distinction with the other candidates who will continue to drive down wages by enlarging the pool of labor through high levels of immigration and loose trade agreements. That — in addition to being a bit more judicious with the re-tweets.

Continue reading

5 Takeaways From Iowa

By Alex Knepper

1.  Despite Pundits’ Nail-Biting, Hillary’s Sitting Pretty

In the wee hours of the morning, Hillary Clinton eked out a win in the Iowa caucuses. As far as redemption stories go, Hillary will take what she can get: Iowa delivered her a humiliating third-place finish in 2008, behind not only Barack Obama but also John Edwards. Caucuses are public spectacles, often subject to arcane and eyebrow-raising rules, and tend to amplify the roles of activism and electioneering, encouraging the extremes of each party. Hillary won vanishingly few caucuses against Barack Obama in 2008. Iowa and New Hampshire are demographically very well-tailored to Bernie Sanders — if he was going to demonstrate that he could pose a serious threat to Clinton, he would have needed a full head of steam from both Iowa and New Hampshire, heading into South Carolina. Tonight’s results indicate that Hillary’s upcoming Southern firewall remains secure. If Bernie can’t overcome Hillary in a lily-white caucus state, what chance does he stand in a much more demographically diverse primary state?

2. The GOP Establishment Exhales

John Kasich, Jeb Bush, and Chris Christie surely will opt to remain in the race through the New Hampshire primaries just for the sake of closure. But Marco Rubio’s not-totally-unexpected over-performance last night made it abundantly clear who is the one capable of snuffing out the Trump/Cruz cyclone. The worst-case scenario for the GOP ‘establishment’ would have been a Trump victory, which would have knocked Cruz out of contention, prompting anti-establishment voters to consolidate behind Trump. But with an Iowa victory under his belt, we can expect Cruz to remain in the race through at least Super Tuesday, allowing an ascendant Rubio to consolidate the non-Trump/Cruz vote. We have a three-man race on our hands.

facebook_trumpclintoncruz_getty

3. All the Celebrity In the World Can’t Beat a Good Ground Game

Trump’s frenzied rallies and celebrity-driven media dominance was not enough to overcome the entrenched network of Reaganite activists and Evangelical die-hards represented by the likes of kingmakers such as Rep. Steve King and Bob Vander Plaats. That a thrice-married New York City billionaire and reality TV star who has been subject to a Comedy Central roast and once flirted with Rudy Giuliani in drag on national television was able to capture a fourth of the vote of the Republican ‘heartland’ is a rather remarkable feat — but we see that even total media dominance cannot serve as a substitute for talking to voter after voter after voter, in diners, farms, and town halls.

4. What’s the Meaning of a Big Turnout?

Last night’s record turnout would have been expected to benefit Trump and Sanders, according to the conventional wisdom — but it turned out that new voters followed a lot of the same patterns as the old voters. Despite a massive turnout, the conventional choices — Clinton and Cruz — ultimately prevailed. A flood of new voters does not necessarily translate into unexpected or less-conventional outcomes.

5. Money and Endorsements Are Overrated

How much bluster did we hear from surrogates for Jeb Bush and Chris Christie about how they might over-perform, thanks to their plugged-in connections to Iowa’s movers and shakers? All of that amounted to a whole lot of nothing. The rise of technology and 24/7 social media have rendered a lot of the old networks increasingly obsolete. Jeb Bush decided to run a campaign in 2016 straight out of 2006 — and it showed.

Cinzia Croce: Donald Trump for President

This opinion piece represents the views of Cinzia Croce alone. It does not represent the editorial perspective of The New American Perspective.

After famously descending the escalator at Trump Tower, Donald Trump opened his campaign for president with a simple statement of fact: “Our country is in serious trouble. We don’t have victories anymore.” For me, these words crystallized the stakes in the election. All the other candidates – with the exception of Bernie Sanders – represent the same political class, sponsored by the same donor class, promoting the same policies that have led to the current sad state of affairs both at home and abroad. Bernie is not a viable alternative for the simple reason that he has been in Congress for decades and has little to show for it. We don’t need another well-intentioned but ineffective president. If the objective is to change the status quo, there is only one candidate: Donald J. Trump.

Continue reading

Cruz Meets His Match

By Cinzia Croce

Just a few weeks ago, Ted Cruz was sitting comfortably at the top of the Iowa polls and was declared by the pundit class as the prohibitive favorite to win the GOP caucuses. He won praise for running a flawless, disciplined campaign centered on consolidating evangelical voters and building a superior ground game. His backers applauded his strategy of bear-hugging Donald Trump in public while privately plotting the moment he would expose Trump as a flaming New York liberal and win the the GOP nomination. It seemed like a brilliant plan but if failed to take one small detail into account: Donald Trump is a worthy opponent.

trump-cruz-liar1

Continue reading