Posts Tagged The Democratic Party
Americans began voting Tuesday in what is deemed the most pivotal day in the presidential nominating process, with frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump hoping to wipe out their rivals.
Voters in a dozen states will take part in “Super Tuesday” a series of primaries and caucuses in states ranging from Alaska to Virginia, with Virginia the first to open its polling stations at 6:00 am (1100 GMT).
If Democrat Clinton and Republican Trump an outspoken billionaire political neophyte who has unexpectedly tapped into a vein of conservative rage at conventional politics win big, it could spell doom for their challengers.
Hours before polls opened, the duo made last-ditch appeals to supporters ahead of a day like few others on the calendar leading up to the November election for the White House.
Trump’s Republican rivals, Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, were frantically trying to halt the real estate magnate’s march toward nomination, seeking to unite the party against the man they see as a non-conservative political interloper.
Clinton is riding high after thrashing rival Bernie Sanders in South Carolina over the weekend, securing an astronomical 86 percent of the African-American vote in her third win in four contests.
Should she win black voters by similar margins in places such as Alabama, Georgia and Virginia, she should dominate there to become once again the inevitable candidate.
That was her status at the start of the campaign before the rise of Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist.
She was leaving nothing to chance, traveling to multiple states on Monday to urge a strong turnout.
Clinton also took aim at the increasingly hostile campaign rhetoric on the Republican side led by Trump.
– Scapegoating, finger-pointing –
“I really regret the language being used by Republicans. Scapegoating people, finger-pointing, blaming. That is not how we should behave toward one another,” she told hundreds gathered at a university in Fairfax, Virginia.
“We’re going to demonstrate, starting tomorrow on Super Tuesday, there’s a different path that Americans ought to take.”
Trump’s incendiary campaign has infuriated Republican rivals, including mainstream favorite Rubio who has intensified his personal attacks and stressed Trump would have trouble in a general election.
The Florida senator warned supporters in Tennessee that US media and Democratic groups will jump on Trump “like the hounds of hell” if he wins the nomination.
But Trump is clearly in the driver’s seat. He is leading in polls in at least eight of the 11 Super Tuesday states.
And a new CNN/ORC poll shows the billionaire expanding his lead nationally, earning a stunning 49 percent of support compared to second place Rubio, at 16 percent.
Cruz of Texas is third, at 15 percent, followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 10 percent and John Kasich at six percent.
Trump punched back against Rubio, calling him “Little Marco,” mocking him for sweating on the campaign trail and warning that he could not stand up to strong men like Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric, in which he has accused Mexico of sending rapists across the border, mocked women and the disabled and urged a ban on Muslims entering the country, would have been the undoing of a normal candidate.
But the 2016 cycle has been anything but normal, with a furious electorate keen to back an outsider who scorns the political establishment.
“I’m representing a lot of anger out there,” Trump told CNN.
“We’re not angry people, but we’re angry at the way this country’s being run.”
In the latest controversy, Trump came under withering criticism for not immediately disavowing the support of David Duke, who once led the Ku Klux Klan.
Rubio said Trump’s failure to promptly repudiate Duke, who has expressed support for Trump, makes him “unelectable.”
Some conservatives have said they will shun Trump if he is the nominee.
“This is the party of Abraham Lincoln,” said Senator Ben Sasse, accusing Trump of being a non-conservative plotting a “hostile takeover” of the party.
Trump supporters “need to recognize that there are a whole bunch of other people who say, if this becomes the David Duke/Donald Trump party, there are a lot of us who are out,” he told MSNBC.
If Trump sweeps the South, where many of the Super Tuesday races are taking place, it could be lights out for his Republican challengers.
Texas is the largest prize on Tuesday, and Cruz is banking on winning his home state. He trails in nearly all other Super Tuesday states.
595 Republican delegates are up for grabs Tuesday, nearly half the 1,237 needed to secure the nomination.
Some 865 Democratic delegates are at stake, 36 percent of those needed to win.
Bill Clinton stepped into the limelight Monday, making his first solo campaign appearance in wife Hillary’s 2016 bid for the White House, calling her the most qualified US presidential candidate in decades.
The 69-year-old former president went to in support of the former secretary of state, senator and first lady who leads national polls for the Democrats ahead of the state’s voting contest next month.
Popular among party faithful, Clinton is nonetheless still tainted by allegations of infidelity and sexual impropriety that his wife’s Republican rival, Donald Trump, has sought to exploit by calling him “fair game.”
On Monday, he addressed a rally at a community college in the city of Nashua, paying tribute to Hillary’s determination to make America a fairer, safer country for the poor and struggling middle classes.
“I do not believe in my lifetime anybody has run for this job in a moment of great importance who is better qualified by knowledge, experience and temperament to do what needs to be done,” he said.
New Hampshire hosts the nation’s first presidential primary on February 9.
Calling himself a “happy grandfather,” a relaxed Clinton said he thought Hillary was “the most amazing person” when they met and fell in love, 45 years ago at Yale Law School.
She could have won any job but wanted only to provide legal aid to the poor, said her husband, dressed in an open-necked shirt, dark pullover and blazer, wearing a Hillary pin on his lapel.
– ‘One of the great women abusers’ –
“Everything she touched, she made better,” he said, calling her a “change maker.”
“In an uncertain world, where borders look more like nets than walls, and no one is in total control, she understands what it takes to keep our country as safe as possible,” he added.
But Trump, the real estate tycoon who has led Republican polls for months, has blasted Bill Clinton’s “terrible record” with women an apparent allusion to his past alleged marital infidelities.
He stepped up his personal attacks on the Clintons on Monday, criticizing Hillary for calling him sexist.
“How can she do that when she’s got one of the great women abusers of all time sitting in her house, waiting for her to come home for dinner,” he said.
“The worst thing Hillary could do is have her husband campaign for her. Just watch,” he tweeted to his 5.5 million followers on Sunday.
Republicans in Congress tried but failed in 1998 to remove Bill Clinton from the White House for alleged perjury and obstruction during an investigation into an alleged affair.
On Sunday, Hillary Clinton was heckled by a Republican state representative in New Hampshire about her husband’s alleged sex scandals. “You are very rude,” she snapped back before addressing another audience member.
Her husband did not mention Trump during his 30-minute speech in Nashua, but warned that key gains in environmental and health care policy would be reversed if the country elects a Republican president.
“It’s kind of scary,” he said in reference to the campaign, urging supporters to take the candidates seriously. He later addressed another campaign event in Exeter, New Hampshire.
According to Real Clear Politics, Clinton trails her party rival, Bernie Sanders, by 44.7 to 49 percent of the Democrat vote in the state.
On Monday, she was in Iowa, hundreds of miles apart from her husband. “I think I can be the president America and Iowa needs, with your help,” she told supporters.
Trump on Monday unveiled his first TV ad of the campaign, fanning fresh controversy by incorporating footage of migrants fleeing Morocco into a Spanish enclave with a voice over talking about the Mexico-US border.
The 30-second ad will be broadcast from Tuesday, costing $2 million a week ahead of the first-in-the-nation voting contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.
It spotlights his call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, pledge to crush the so-called Islamic State extremist group and promise to end illegal immigration from Mexico.
But a fact-checking website gave the ad a “Pants on Fire” rating, saying it uses footage, not from the Mexico-US border, but from Melilla, a small Spanish enclave across the Atlantic Ocean on Morocco’s coast.
Vice President Joe Biden has extended his window for deciding whether to jump into the 2016 presidential campaign, several Democrats say, allowing the contest to play out even longer before he answers one of the biggest questions hanging over the race for the White House.
He is not preparing for the first Democratic debate on October 13 in Las Vegas and is not expected to participate, people close to him say, because he feels no pressure to reach a decision by then. He is likely to reveal his plans in the second half of October.
For more than two months, Biden has been studying the mechanics of what it would take to launch a candidacy. He and his team have been inundated by mounds of research and battle plans, but his original end-of-summer deadline passed without him reaching a conclusion.
Campaign managers in key early-voting states have already been identified. Dozens of major donors have stepped forward. Domestic and foreign policy advisers are waiting in the wings.
The speculation about Biden’s future has reached a fever pitch, fueled by Democrats searching for an alternative to Hillary Clinton or a backup plan in case her candidacy falters. But with every passing week, many Democrats close to Biden are hardening in their beliefs that he will ultimately decide against challenging Clinton and the rest of the party’s field.
He has stopped short of asking his advisers to actually pull the trigger on any of their plans-in-waiting, including setting up the legal structure of a campaign organization and taking steps to qualify for ballots in Michigan, Texas and other states with early deadlines.
Biden has said he would only run if he was certain he had a path to victory, several Democrats who have spoken to him say, a hurdle that he increasingly believes is within reach. But he is still unsure whether he and his family are ready for the campaign’s emotional toll, these Democrats say, which he has said is the chief benchmark for running.
Yet in conversations with nearly two-dozen Democrats close to Biden, the same caveat emerges: He simply hasn’t made up his mind. His closest circle of advisers is small enough to fit around his kitchen table and Biden is keeping limited counsel on this decision, which is why several people close to him urge caution against prejudging his final decision.
Sen. Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat, who has known Biden for decades and served alongside him in the Senate, said he believes the vice president is growing closer to a verdict. But he said the timeline isn’t as imminent as it once seemed.
“If you would have asked me several months ago, I would have said he should decide by the beginning of October,” Carper said. “But as time goes by, his numbers continue to improve and more and more people want him to run. I don’t think he has to do something this week. This month? Yeah.”
While Clinton has gone to great lengths to give the vice president space to make his decision, some of her loyalists quietly wonder whether the growing chatter about a Biden candidacy has contributed to an erosion of support in recent weeks. Some even go as far as suggesting that Biden could be playing the role of a spoiler.
Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton supporter, said Biden still deserves time to announce his intentions. He said he did not believe Biden’s process has damaged caused Clinton political damage.
“I don’t think he’s trying to artificially take more time than he needs,” Kaine said in an interview this week. “You have to respect his timing, but as days go by, some things get harder for him, practical things like getting on the ballot.”
The prospect of Biden jumping into the 2016 race has been a lingering question, and, at times, a punchline from late-night television shows to his appearances this week at the United Nations.
The Biden decision is the biggest uncertainty on the Democratic side of the presidential race. His deliberations, which have unfolded in an unusually public fashion over the last two months, have drawn more people to his side through the Draft Biden movement, which has exploded with interest in early-voting states and across the country.
Some donors who have met with Biden have walked away absolutely convinced he is running, while other longtime friends seem equally certain he will not.
But Biden has been uncharacteristically quiet about his decision, according to several people who chatted with him in recent weeks at the Naval Observatory, his official residence. He rarely weighs the pros and cons of a run in public, they say, but seems more eager to be surrounded by familiar faces as he continues to grieve his oldest son Beau, who died of cancer only four months ago.
The best guide to Biden’s thinking, several people close to him say, can be found by carefully studying his own words, rather than listening to the growing chatter about the possibility of his candidacy. In two televised interviews last month, he voiced skepticism about whether he was ready to plunge into another bid for the presidency.
“It’s just not there yet and it may not get there in time to make it feasible to be able to run and succeed, because there are certain windows that will close,” Biden said in a September interview, “But if that’s it, that’s it. It’s not like I can rush it.”
In the Senate, Democratic supporters now claim a decisive 34 votes in favor, after Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland called the pact “the best option available to block Iran from having a nuclear bomb.”
That will allow backers to uphold Obama’s veto, if necessary, of a resolution of disapproval Republicans are trying to pass this month. GOP lawmakers who control the House and Senate say Iran got too many concessions in the agreement, which aims to curb the country’s nuclear program in exchange for hundreds of billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., grudgingly acknowledged that his side would not be able to block the deal, which he said leaves Iran “with a threshold nuclear capability.”
Israel also has railed against the deal, arguing that its conditions would keep Iran perilously close to developing nuclear weapons while enriching a government that has funded anti-U.S. and anti-Israel militants throughout the Middle East.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest called the growing support a validation of Obama’s effort to “make sure that every member of the Senate understands exactly what’s included in the agreement.” The deal sets Iran back so that it is at least a year away from being able to produce enough nuclear material for a weapon, before the restrictions ease after a decade.
For all the geopolitical ramifications, the debate in the U.S. has often seemed more about domestic partisan politics over a resolution that, on its own, wouldn’t be able to reverse a multi-country agreement already blessed by the United Nations. A vote of disapproval, however, could signal Congress’ readiness to introduce new sanctions at the risk of causing Tehran and other governments — to abandon the accord and blame the U.S. for the failure.
Republicans, defending their congressional majorities and aiming for the White House in next year’s elections, have denounced the deal in apocalyptic terms. The bulk of Democrats have rushed to the president’s defense.
Next week, Donald Trump and fellow presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz will rally outside the Capitol against the agreement, as lawmakers return from a five-week recess to begin debating it.
In the House, the disapproval resolution is certain to pass by a wide margin when it comes to a vote next week. But in a letter to fellow Democrats on Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she has the votes to back up an Obama veto.
Supporters of the deal are seeking a bigger victory in the Senate. If they can assemble 41 votes in favor, they’d be able to block the disapproval resolution from passing at all, sparing Obama the embarrassment of having to veto it. They need seven of the remaining 10 undeclared Democrats to back the agreement, though several in this group could still come out in opposition.
Either way, Obama has succeeded in selling a package that prompted immediate and intense opposition from Republicans in the days after it was concluded on July 14 by Iran, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.
Millions were spent lobbying against the pact and polls registered significant public distrust. But none of the skepticism translated into enough Democratic opposition to threaten the deal, and only two Senate Democrats, Chuck Schumer of New York and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, have announced their opposition so far.
U.S. Democratic voters would choose Vice President Joe Biden as their preferred candidate for president in 2016 if current frontrunner Hillary Clinton shows signs of faltering, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.
More than 38 percent of Democrats polled said they would vote for Biden in the Democratic Party nominating contest, if polling indicated that Clinton would lose to a Republican candidate.
Thirty percent of Democratic voters said they would back liberal Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders should Clinton, a former secretary of state, run into trouble, according to the tracking poll conducted from Aug. 28 through Sept. 1.
Fewer than a quarter of voters said they would stick by Clinton. The survey suggested that while Clinton’s support is broad, voters are far from committed, which could indicate risks for her if Biden were to jump into the race.
Biden has been consulting with advisers over whether he should launch a 2016 presidential bid. With the first Democratic presidential primary debate planned for Oct. 13, Biden is under pressure to make a decision within the next few weeks.
A total of 499 people who identified themselves as Democrats took part in the poll, which had a credibility interval of plus or minus 5.1 percentage points.
Clinton remains the top choice for Democratic voters, with more than 44 percent favoring the former first lady, according to Tuesday’s Reuters/Ipsos polling data. Sanders had the support of a quarter of those surveyed, and Biden almost 17 percent.
But Clinton’s lead narrowed in recent days as her polling numbers fell below 50 percent in August and as Sanders, a self-described socialist, drew a bit closer.
Sanders’ campaign has focused on wealth inequality and the economic struggles of the middle class. He has drawn large crowds and has appeared to gain traction especially among students, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling.
Every few days it seems, there is another signal that Vice President Joe Biden might be getting ready to do something that would have seemed unthinkable at this time last year, challenge the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.
In the latest indication that a major political bombshell could be coming after Labor Day, Biden said this during a conference call with Democratic Party members when someone asked if his future plans included a third run at the White House.
“If I were to announce to run, I have to be able to commit to all of you that I would be able to give it my whole heart and my whole soul,” Biden said. “And right now, both are pretty well banged up.”
Still grieving the recent death of his son, Beau, from brain cancer, Biden acknowledged that he is making this important decision in consultation with family members.
“I’m not trying to skirt your question. That’s the truth of the matter, but believe me, I’ve given this a lot of thought and dealing internally with the family on how we do this,” he added.
There is rampant speculation in political circles that Biden could decide to “do this” by late September or early October.
Voters in various polls have said they lack trust in Clinton as she struggles with a controversy over her use of a private email server for official business during her tenure as the top U.S. diplomat.
The FBI is investigating the security of the private server and any classified information on it. Clinton says she did nothing wrong and only used the private account out of convenience.
An August interview survey of 22 voters who had participated in Reuters/Ipsos polling and supported Biden found many of them describing the vice president as “honest,” “genuine” and “trustworthy.”
Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, their parties’ early front-runners in the 2016 presidential race, shared the spotlight on Saturday at the state fair in the early voting state of Iowa.
Clinton, walking with the former Democratic U.S. senator from Iowa, Tom Harkin, shook hands with supporters, with a large press pack in tow.
As the group neared a meat-on-a-stick stand, a helicopter began circling overhead.
“It’s the Donald!” yelled an onlooker, as eyes shifted to the sky.
Trump, the brash, provocative real estate mogul and television personality who has rocketed to the top of the Republican polls, was making his entrance at the Iowa state fairgrounds outside Des Moines.
The fair has become a crucial proving ground for candidates because the Midwestern state holds the first party nominating contests in the 2016 campaign for the White House.
Nearly all candidates are making stops at the fair. Most spend 20 minutes at the “soap box” to deliver a brief speech and take questions. Nearly all pay respects to the famed “butter cow” sculpture. Various foods are served on sticks.
But Clinton and Trump were working off a different script on Saturday. Neither spoke on the soap box and instead ad-libbed their way through the fairgrounds as the crush of onlookers grew.
After speaking to reporters behind the cattle barn where she talked to a boy with his cow, Clinton ducked into a display next to a food stand to talk with a supporter away from the glare of a dozen television cameras.
About an hour later, Trump traced a similar path.
After landing by chopper in a nearby lot, Trump invited some children to take a ride in the helicopter and spoke to reporters before riding a golf cart to the entrance of the fair. Cellphones were taken out and pictures snapped.
“Get over here!” Trump called to a middle-aged woman, motioning her over for a photo as he walked through the crowd while security cleared a path.
Shouts of “Keep stirring the pot, Donald!” and “You’ve got more people than Clinton!” came from the crowd, which swelled to hundreds within minutes.
“Say that again!” Trump called.
Both Trump and Clinton have stepped up their attacks on each other in recent days.
“Hillary Clinton was the single worst secretary of state in the history of this country, the world collapsed around us,” Trump told reporters on Saturday.
Clinton referred to Trump on Friday evening as the “flamboyant front-runner” in the Republican race.
“But don’t let the circus distract you,” Clinton said at a Democratic fundraising dinner in Clear Lake, Iowa. “If you look at their policies, most of the other candidates are just Trump, without the pizzazz or the hair.”
Trump, who has been pressed by the media for more policy specifics, told reporters he would outline his immigration policy on a Sunday morning talk show and release a paper on taxes in two weeks
“I know the press wants it. I don’t think the people care. I think they trust me,” he said.
Both candidates spent just over an hour touring the fair, without ever crossing paths.
The campaign is spending about $1 million in each state over the next five weeks to air two 60-second biographical spots aimed at telling voters why Clinton is running for president. One features Clinton speaking directly to camera about her late mother, Dorothy Rodham, and the other focuses on how Rodham’s rough childhood inspired Clinton’s work over the last four decades.
Clinton’s team had long planned to begin TV advertising this summer, a campaign official said, pointing to the earliest ads Clinton that aired during her last White House bid, in August 2007, and noting that the footage of Clinton in both spots was filmed two months ago.
But the buy also comes as the Democratic front-runner is beginning to feel more pressure in her bid for the nomination, with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders polling at less than 10 points behind in some New Hampshire surveys, and with a new round of speculation about whether Vice president Joe Biden will get into the race.
The campaign’s media buyers estimate that Republican campaigns and super-PACs have already spent or reserved $34 million in airtime and anticipate that much of it will include negative messaging about the Democratic front-runner. The Clinton team has already reserved some airtime, too—a combined $7.7 million for in Iowa and New Hampshire between the beginning of November and early February. The Iowa caucuses are set for Feb. 1 and the New Hampshire primary is scheduled for Feb. 9.
The ads will air in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s two largest markets, and in the Boston/Manchester and Burlington, Vt., markets, which together reach all of New Hampshire.
In the ad that focuses on Dorothy Rodham, Clinton discusses her mother’s childhood at length, noting that she was abandoned by her parents but encountered a few kind adults who cared for her. “When she needed a champion, someone was there. I think about all the Dorothys all over America who fight for their families, who never give up,” Clinton says. “That’s why I’m doing this. That’s why I’ve always done this. For all the Dorothys.”
The other spot, titled “Family Strong,” includes Clinton telling an abridged version of her mother’s story before shifting into a narrated list of Clinton’s work experience and achievements, including working at the Children’s Defense Fund after graduating from law school and fighting for kids while serving as first lady of Arkansas and first lady of the United States. “You probably know the rest,” the narrator says in a nod to Clinton’s well-known recent history, before offering some highlights: “The senator who made sure the heroes and families of 9/11 got the care they needed” and, with a picture of Clinton and President Barack Obama on screen, “the secretary of state who joined the Cabinet of the man who defeated her, because when your president calls you serve.”
The narrator continues, with a photo of the candidate and former President Bill Clinton holding baby Charlotte in the hospital 10 months ago: “And now a new title: grandma.”
Finally, Clinton returns to screen and closes. “I believe that when families are strong America is strong,” she says. “It’s your time.”