A United States parliament?

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US Parliamentary Pie:

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Cruz Trumped

After losing the Indiana primary Ted Cruz has announced he will withdrawal from the Republican presidential contest.

This means Donald Trump is virtually assured of getting the delegate votes necessary to become the Republican presidential candidate.

In the Democrat contest Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton but is still a long way off beating her overall.

So Trump versus Clinton looks almost inevitable now.

US News: America, Your 2016 GOP Nominee

Take a step back and consider: Donald Trump is indisputably the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

All of that will be background music to the main event, which will now almost certainly be Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton. (Yes, I know, Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders won the Indiana primary; no he still doesn’t have a plausible path to thenomination or even a second round of balloting.)

The election could redefine ugly – Trump after all views having read something on the Internet and/or the National Enquirer as reason to air it out; we might as well skip right past the question of his airing former President Clinton’s peccadilloes and go straight to the “the Clintons killed Vince Foster”-accusation countdown clock.

It is now May. The election isn’t until November. That’s still half a year away.

 

Cruz and Kasich versus Trump

Ted Cruz and John Kasich have come to an agreement to compete less against each other to try and limit Donald Trump’s accumulation of delegates.

ODT (ex Reuters): Cruz, Kasich reach ‘stop-Trump’ deal

Republican White House rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich announced a deal to stay out of each other’s way in some upcoming state primaries in hopes of blocking front-runner Donald Trump from winning the party’s presidential nomination.

Cruz’s campaign said in a statement he would focus on Indiana and give Kasich a clearer shot in Oregon and New Mexico, states where the Ohio governor expects to do well. Kasich, in turn, agreed to shift resources west and away from Indiana.

The Indiana primary is on May 3, Oregon’s is May 17 and New Mexico’s June 7.

That may make those states more head to head contests, but voters who dislike establishment orientated political deals may rebel against it.

Trump has won the most state nominating contests, but he has a tough path to earn the 1237 delegates needed to secure the nomination. The Cruz and Kasich campaigns believe their agreement to cede states where the other candidate appears strong could help limit Trump’s ability to win more delegates.

Some Republican strategists who oppose Trump have been calling for such a deal for weeks. The question for Cruz and Kasich is whether their agreement is too late.

If no candidate has enough support by the first vote at the Republican National Convention in July, many delegates will be allowed to switch sides on subsequent ballots.

There was no way Kasich could compete on pre-convention delegates, and it Cruz has given up trying as well:

Cruz campaign manager Jeff Roe said Trump, who has offended women, Hispanics and other groups with controversial statements, would lose a general election contest against the eventual Democratic nominee in the November 8 election.

“Our goal is to have an open convention in Cleveland, where we are confident a candidate capable of uniting the party and winning in November will emerge as the nominee,” Kasich chief strategist John Weaver said in a statement.

They aim to use the convoluted Republican nomination system to bypass popular vote to beat Trump.

Not surprisingly Trump has blasted this.

Politico in Cruz and Kasich team up to stop Trump:

Trump fired back late Sunday on Twitter, writing, “Wow, just announced that Lyin’ Ted and Kasich are going to collude in order to keep me from getting the Republican nomination. DESPERATION!”

He added, for good measure: “Lyin’ Ted and Kasich are mathematically dead and totally desperate. Their donors & special interest groups are not happy with them. Sad!”

If Trump fails to get the necessary 1237 delegates and it comes down to a new ball game at the convention it could be that Kasich, trailing the other two by a large margin, could become the favoured contender.

Trump back on track

Donald Trump has recovered from a difficult couple of weeks to convincingly win New York state in the Republican primary. Ted Cruz came a distant third and looks to have little chance of closing Trump’s delegate lead anywhere near enough.

  • Donald Trump 60.5% (89 delegates)
  • John Kasich 25.1% (3 delegates)
  • Ted Cruz 14.5% (0 delegates)

Trump has also made major changes to his electoral team to put a bit of professionalism into his campaign.

Trump even referred respectfully to Kasich and Cruz in his victory speech. He seems to be learning from some bad mistakes.

The odds must now be on him contesting the presidency with Hillary Clinton.

UPDATE: Nate Silver on Trump’s prospects from here.

I’m not sure we’ve learned as much about how Trump will perform outside the Northeast.

It’s been a highly regional campaign so far, and Trump will probably still need to win both Indiana and California to clinch 1,237 without uncommitted delegates.

If he loses both states, we’re probably headed for a multi-ballot convention, which would be trouble for Trump.

If he splits Indiana and California, Trump will be right on a knife’s edge — that’s the case where the extra two or three dozen delegates he’ll pick up in the Northeast tonight and next week could be the most helpful to him.

http://fivethirtyeight.com/live-blog/new-york-primary-presidential-election-2016/?lpup=14437872#livepress-update-14437872

Unfavourable view of US candidates

The most likely candidates to run off for the US presidency are getting seriously unfavourable ratings from voters:

USUnfavourableCandidates

That’s an awful look for Clinton, Cruz and Trump, and a terrible look for the quality of candidates for one of the most important and powerful positions in the world.

Deportations to begin in US

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This is a front page of a fake issue put out by the editorial board of the Boston Globe aimed at revealing where a Trump presidency might lead the US if he becomes president.

The Boston Globe editorial – The GOP must stop Trump

DONALD J. TRUMP’S VISION for the future of our nation is as deeply disturbing as it is profoundly un-American.

It is easy to find historical antecedents. The rise of demagogic strongmen is an all too common phenomenon on our small planet. And what marks each of those dark episodes is a failure to fathom where a leader’s vision leads, to carry rhetoric to its logical conclusion. The satirical front page of this section attempts to do just that, to envision what America looks like with Trump in the White House.

It is an exercise in taking a man at his word. And his vision of America promises to be as appalling in real life as it is in black and white on the page.

They paint an ugly picture.

But then nothing about the billionaire real estate developer’s quest for the nation’s highest office has been pretty. He winks and nods at political violence at his rallies. He says he wants to “open up” libel laws to punish critics in the news media and calls them “scum.” He promised to shut out an entire class of immigrants and visitors to the United States on the sole basis of their religion.

The toxic mix of violent intimidation, hostility to criticism, and explicit scapegoating of minorities shows a political movement is taking hold in America. If Trump were a politician running such a campaign in a foreign country right now, the US State Department would probably be condemning him.

And they call on the Republican Party to do everything they can to prevent Trump from getting their nomination.

For now, Republicans ought to focus on doing the right thing: putting up every legitimate roadblock to Trump that they can. Unexpectedly, a key moment in American democracy has snuck up on the GOP. When he denounced Trump, Romney said he wanted to be able to say he’d fought the good fight against a demagogue. That’s the test other Republicans may want to consider.

Action doesn’t mean political chicanery or subterfuge. It doesn’t mean settling for an equally extreme — and perhaps more dangerous — nominee in Ted Cruz. If the party can muster the courage to reject its first-place finisher, rejecting the runner-up should be even easier.

The least worst is seen as a bad option (whoever that is).

The Republican Party’s standard deserves to be hoisted by an honorable and decent man, like Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan, elected on the convention floor. It is better to lose with principle than to accept a dangerous deal from a demagogue.

Mitt Romney was nominated and then beaten by Barack Obama in 2012 by 332-206 electoral colleges and by 51%-47% of the popular vote.

Paul Ryan is the current Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives (Congress).

PDF: A front page in Trump’s America

 

Challenges for Trump

Challenges are stacking up for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. He was easily beaten by Ted Cruz in Wisconsin today.

Cruz savored the victory, casting it as proof that the GOP race had turned. The party’s anti-Trump forces had coalesced behind an unlikely champion: a Texas senator who seemed like the worst possible choice for the GOP establishment, right up until they met candidate Trump.

Washington Post

Current delegate count:

  • Trump 740
  • Cruz 514
  • Kasich 143
  • Needed for nomination: 1237
  • Still available: 888

So Trump needs about 500 more delegates from an available 888. It’s doable but he will need to try and regain the momentum he has lost in the last couple of weeks.

From Twitter: “Trump is like a hammer looking for a nail. Sometimes he hits a nail, sometimes he hits a puppy. ”

ODT (Reuters): Trump reveals plan to finance Mexico wall

Donald Trump proposed forcing Mexico to pay for his planned border wall by threatening to block remittances from illegal immigrants, which he said amounts to “welfare” for poor families in Mexico that their government does not provide.

The Republican presidential candidate’s campaign said in a memo that if elected in November, Trump would use a US anti-terrorism law to cut off such money transfers unless Mexico made a one-time payment of $US5 billion ($NZ7.3 billion) to $US10 billion ($NZ14.7 billion) for the wall.

The memo elaborated on an idea Trump floated in August, when he suggested seizing all remittances tied to “illegal wages”. It said that upon taking office a Trump administration would propose a rule mandating companies such as Western Union Co WUN to require customers to prove they were legally in the United States. If Mexico agreed to fund the wall, Trump would drop the proposed rule, it said.

“It’s an easy decision for Mexico,” his campaign said, adding the country receives about $US24 billion a year in remittances from Mexicans in the United States, most of them in the country illegally.

Blackmailing a neighbouring country is not a great way to do international relations.

From WaPo:

In a private document circulated over the weekend and obtained by The Washington Post, Trump campaign senior adviser Barry Bennett revealed the mounting frustrations among the billionaire’s top aides as they closed what had been a tumultuous week.

Titled “Digging through the Bull S—,” Bennett’s memo urged Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski — who was charged with battery last week after allegedly yanking a reporter — and others to ignore critics who have questioned whether Trump’s campaign has waned.

“America is sick of them. Their idiotic attacks just remind voters why they hate the Washington Establishment,” Bennett wrote, citing tracking poll data favorable to Trump.

But…

A Cruz win in Wisconsin makes it much harder for Trump to win the nomination without a fight at the convention. And if it comes down to a fight at the convention, Cruz has out-hustled Trump to secure support among individual delegates.

In early exit polling, only about one-third of Republican voters in Wisconsin said Trump had the best chance to beat Clinton in a general election, according to polls reported by ABC News. Cruz did better: More than 4 in 10 named Cruz as the Republican with the best chance. And fewer than 2 in 10 choose Ohio Gov. John Kasich, the more moderate candidate running a distant third.

And exit polling reported by CNN found a striking note: Among the 68 percent of voters who supported a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, Ted Cruz carried 50 percent to Trump’s 42 percent.

A growing number of poll numbers are not looking flash for Trump. But he stills has the delegate advantage, for now.

“A Trump-Hillary death match will be a national nightmare”

Gezza posted this image in Social Media today:

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While scathing of both the presidential front runners I think many people will laugh ruefully at this.

Camilia Paglia writes in Salon:This is why Trump’s winning, and why I won’t vote for Hillary

GOP needs to wake up and realize Trump is its fault. But the Trump/Clinton death match is a national nightmare.

Republicans need to wake up and realize that Trump’s triumph is not due to some drunken delusion by a benighted rabble but is a direct result of the proven weakness of their other candidates.

Ted Cruz, the last one still standing, is bombastic, sanctimonious and coldly sharkish behind that forced smile. Is Cruz a truly convincing model of Christian values of charity, compassion and humility? Jimmy Carter did it way better than this. Cruz seems consumed by a vainglorious conviction of his own destiny, tied to an apocalyptic view of history.

So the GOP is stuck with Trump, and through every fault of their own. Are we really hurtling toward a Trump-Hillary slugfest?

If Bernie Sanders had gotten a hundredth of the press coverage lavished on Hillary over the past three years, he would have had an excellent chance of overtaking her.

But thanks to the outrageous press blackout (Clinton Incorporated’s vast vulture-wing conspiracy), Sanders remains too unknown to too much of the electorate, particularly in the South. The now widespread claims that Sanders voters will automatically vote for Hillary in the general election aren’t true in my case: I will never cast my vote for a corrupt and incompetent candidate whose every policy is poll-tested in advance.

If Hillary is the Democratic nominee, I will write in Sanders or vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party, as I did in 2012 as a protest against Obama’s unethical use of drones and the racially divisive tone of his administration.

Voters have a tremendous opportunity this year to smash the tyrannical, money-mad machinery of both parties. A vote for Bernie Sanders is a vote for the future, while a vote for Hillary Clinton is a reward to the Democratic National Committee for its shameless manipulation and racketeering. A primary vote for Donald Trump is a rebuke to the arrogantly insular GOP establishment, which if he wins the nomination will lose its power and influence overnight.

But a Trump-Hillary death match will be a national nightmare, a race to the bottom for both parties, as Democratic and Republican operatives compete to dig up the most lurid and salacious dirt on both flawed candidates. We’ll be sadistically trapped in an endless film noir, with Trump as Citizen Kane, Don Corleone and Scarface and Hillary as Norma Desmond, Mommie Dearest and the Wicked Witch of the West.

However, there is one way out to ensure a rational, future-oriented, issues-centered presidential campaign: Democrats, vote for Bernie Sanders!

While Trump and Clinton have built a lot of support both also carry a lot of baggage and opposition.

Is Bernie Sanders the answer? Or is he just the least questionable option currently on offer in the US?

Republicans campaign for open convention

Prominent Republicans are more strongly and openly campaigning for an open convention, seen as the best chance of stopping Donald Trump from becoming the Republican nominee for the presidential contest in November.

If Trump doesn’t get 1,237 delegates in the State voting then the weird Republican rules mean that the nomination is up for grabs at their convention. Someone who has not yet taken part in the circus could potentially stand and be selected. Has this ever happened before? If it happened this year it would be highly contentious.

Trump’s campaign successes seem to be tearing the once Grand Old Party apart.

If Trump wins the nomination it is likely to be very divisive. If Trump is dumped at the convention it is likely to be highly divisive – Trump has suggested/threatened there could riots.

The best thing going for Hillary Clinton’s fairly lame campaign is her potential opponents tearing themselves apart.

NZH has reposted a Washington Post article: Republicans unite to disarm Trump

Like Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Mitt Romney does his party and the country a service by a no-nonsense stance on Donald Trump:

“This week, in the Utah nominating caucus, I will vote for Sen. Ted Cruz.

“Today, there is a contest between Trumpism and Republicanism. Through the calculated statements of its leader, Trumpism has become associated with racism, misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, vulgarity and, most recently, threats and violence. I am repulsed by each and every one of these.

The GOP problem is that many people don’t seem to care that Trump is associated with associated with racism, misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, vulgarity and threats and violence, either they support his stance on issues or they don’t care as long as he flies the anti-establishment flag.

“The only path that remains to nominate a Republican rather than Mr. Trump is to have an open convention. At this stage, the only way we can reach an open convention is for Senator Cruz to be successful in as many of the remaining nominating elections as possible.”

Romney does not insist Cruz must be the nominee; to the contrary Romney makes clear Cruz is a vehicle to an open convention. It is an important distinction that should alleviate voters’ queasiness about voting for Cruz. They are essentially voting for an open convention to stop Trump.

So the Republican battle has become the anti-establishment warts and all Trump versus the establishment anyone-but-Trump.

Romney and other respected Republicans — former Cabinet members, Bush 41 and Bush 43, former VPs and highly-respected, retired military officials should appear either in person or in media in each and every remaining primary and caucus state to reiterate that message. It is especially critical that they make that case in California, whose 172 delegates must be kept out of Trump’s clutches. It is time they defended the GOP from a putsch by the Trumpkins.

The message, in short, is not merely #NeverTrump, but #YesOpenConvention.

The GOP establishment has failed to come up with a credible or competitive candidate, and Cruz is not widely liked, he has just ended up the best of the rest.

The battle is on for an open convention to try to stop the Trump bid, and even then success is not guaranteed.

Trumped up violence

Donald Trump has successfully tapped into widespread anger at the political establishment in the US.

But he has also wound up the anger levels, and that is breaking out into violence. Trump has appeared to have encouraged violence.

A supporter punched a protester last week, and it’s being reported that Trump is going to help fund the attacker’s legal defence – Trump looking into paying legal fees for man who allegedly sucker-punched protester.

Trump’s campaign may now be reaping what he has sowed. Can he put out the flames? Or is he happy to keeping pouring petrol on his fiery campaign?

Washington Post: Trump has lit a fire. Can it be contained?

An already ugly presidential campaign has descended to a new level — one where the question is no longer whether Donald Trump can be stopped on his march to the Republican presidential nomination, but whether it is possible to contain what he has unleashed across the country.

Violence at Trump’s rallies has escalated sharply, and the reality-show quality of his campaign has taken a more ominous turn in the past few days.

The racially tinged anger that has both fueled Trump’s political rise and stoked the opposition to it has turned into a force unto itself.

But Trump should not be viewed in isolation or as the product of a single election, President Obama said Saturday at a fundraiser in Dallas.

Obama said those who “feed suspicion about immigrants and Muslims and poor people, and people who aren’t like ‘us,’ and say that the reason that America is in decline is because of ‘those’ people. That didn’t just happen last week. That narrative has been promoted now for years.”

This year’s presidential campaign, however, seems to have fallen into a bottomless spiral.

Trump’s Republican opponents are starting to speak up about the violence.

“I think it is also true that any campaign, responsibility begins and ends at the top,” Cruz said.

“Look at the rhetoric of the front-runner in the presidential campaign,” Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said Saturday. “This is a man who at rallies has told his supporters to basically beat up the people who are in the crowd and he’ll pay their legal fees. Someone who’s basically encouraged the people in the audience to rough up anyone who stands up and says something he doesn’t like.

Trump blames others.

“My people are nice,” Trump said at his rally in Dayton. “Thousands and thousands of people, they caused no problem. They were taunted, they were harassed by these other people. These other people, by the way, some represent Bernie, our communist. . . . He should really get up and say to his people: ‘Stop. Stop.’ ”

No sign of Trump saying “Stop”.

Blaming others for what you yourself are doing is an old political strategy, but it may be difficult for Trump to look credible beyond his baying crowds.

Sanders retorted in a statement issued by his campaign: “As is the case virtually every day, Donald Trump is showing the American people that he is a pathological liar. Obviously, while I appreciate that we had supporters at Trump’s rally in Chicago, our campaign did not organize the protests.”

“What caused the protests at Trump’s rally is a candidate that has promoted hatred and division against Latinos, Muslims, women, and people with disabilities, and his birther attacks against the legitimacy of President Obama,” Sanders added, referring to Trump’s false assertions that Obama was born in Africa and was therefore disqualified to be president.

Trump has sowed, he had benefited from raising anger levels, but can he manage the reaping? Or will it grow more out of control?

Political morals in the US have gone from low to plummet.