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“The Sunday Political Brunch”—January 24, 2016

Sunday, January 24, 2016


The Mid-Atlantic States and some others are getting hit with a severe winter storm this weekend – including over 18 inches on the ground where I live. In the meantime the political campaign has gotten equally as frosty. It’s getting so nasty, it makes me wonder if both sides can “kiss and make up” with just over a week until the Iowa Caucuses. Let’s “brunch” on that this week:

“Shifting Polls” – According to the Real Clear Politics composite poll, Donald Trump leads in Iowa with 29 percent of the vote, to 26 percent for Ted Cruz. No one else in the GOP is even close. On the Democratic side, it is much closer with Hillary Clinton at 48 percent to 42 percent for Bernie Sanders. Can you become President without winning Iowa? Yes, just ask Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton (who only received 3 percent of the vote in 1992). But placing well in Iowa can bring “The 4 ‘M’s of Politics” - momentum, money, manpower and media buzz.

“Don’t Take Granite State for Granted” – Just eight days after Iowa, comes the New Hampshire Primary. Right now on the GOP side, Donald Trump is at 32 percent, with Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) suddenly sliding into the number-two position at 13 percent. Trump has held a steady lead, but the runner-up spot has changed often, from Bush, to Rubio, to Carson, to Cruz, and now, to Kasich. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders has pulled out to a huge lead over Hillary Clinton, 52 to 40 percent. New Hampshire really revitalized Clinton’s campaign in 2008, so a loss there would be tough.

“Third State is the Charm” – Both parties have debated recently in the third state to vote - South Carolina – but polling there has not changed much. Trump and Clinton hold substantial leads. If no one takes them out by the third contest, are their nominations inevitable? We’ll see.

“Nastiness Sets In” – When the vote gets close; the gloves come off. Former First Lady Barbara Bush appeared in her son Jeb’s latest TV ad saying he “has real solutions rather than talking about how popular they are or how great they are” - an obvious slap at Donald Trump. Trump fired back on Twitter saying, “Just watched Jeb’s ad where he desperately needed mommy to help him. Jeb – mom can’t help you with ISIS, the Chinese, or with Putin.” Ouch! How low will they go?

“Nastiness, Part II” – Hillary Clinton hit hard on Bernie Sanders and his socialist viewpoint saying, "Theory isn't enough. A President has to deliver in reality." Clinton went on to say, "I am not interested in ideas that sound good on paper but will never make it in the real world." Then there’s more. "He [Sanders] has suggested that we invite Iranian troops into Syria," Clinton said. "That is like asking the arsonist to be the firefighter.” Sanders, in turn, continues to attack Clinton’s ties to Wall Street, and the millions in campaign contributions she receives from there.

“Why All of this Matters” – One wonders if either party will survive these blistering attacks. It’s hard to imagine George H.W. Bush, Barbara Bush, George W. Bush, or even Jeb Bush endorsing Donald Trump after the nasty things he’s said about the Bush family. Yes, Bob Dole and Sarah Palin both endorsed Trump this week, but their voices are miniscule compared to the vast Bush political empire (and the money that comes with it). Hillary Clinton will need the far, far left of her party in November – many of whom now back Sanders. Will they warmly jump aboard the Clinton train?

“The Politics of Anger” – Well now we are seeing nasty ads and even more angry rhetoric, but that’s nothing new to politics. Campaigns always get aggressive when a vote nears. What makes this year different is that the anger started at the very beginning of the campaign. Trump and Sanders built their campaign on voter anger and frustration from the very start, and that has fueled their surging popularity. I’ve often said Trump and Sanders are two sides of the same coin. They are bookends of the political spectrum, appealing to the same sense of disenfranchisement (and disengagement) on each end of the political conversation. It’s very powerful.

“Back to the Polls” – Say what you want about Donald Trump, but he may be able to do something no one else can. A Florida Atlantic University poll now shows him beating Hillary Clinton in Florida, by a close 47 to 44 percent margin. Republicans have their best shot at the White House, if they can win back Florida. A candidate who can do that is very appealing. Yes, the same poll also shows Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio also beating Mrs. Clinton in Florida, but it’s their home state. Neither man has the broad appeal of Trump nationally.
“Mending Fences” – In 1980 George H.W. Bush excoriated Ronald Reagan’s plan for job growth and taxes by calling it, “voodoo economics.” Yet, even after that blistering attack the two men joined forces and collectively held the White House for twelve years. If they can “kiss and make-up,” all of the above mentioned people can, too. The only question is whether they are willing.

Have you chosen your candidate yet? If so, tell us who and why by clicking the comment button at http://www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

© 2016, Mark Curtis Media, LLC.


Related Slideshow: 10 Ways Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump Are Actually Similar

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Universal Health Care 

Despite sitting on opposite sides of the aisle, Trump and Sanders essentially share the same healthcare plan. But you don’t have to take our word for it—Ted Cruz, Trump’s chief rival, said himself that Trump and Sanders “have basically the same healthcare plan," in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

"Donald Trump enthusiastically supported the TARP bailout of big banks. I opposed it. He enthusiastically supported Barack Obama's stimulus plan. He thought it should have been bigger. I think it was a disaster and a waste of money. Actually, Donald not only supported both of those, but he argued that Obamacare should be expanded to make it socialized medicine for everyone,” Cruz told Hannity

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Reforming Wall Street

Both candidates have made serious noise talking about reforming Wall Street. Bernie Sanders has just about made his whole career on taking on financial kingpins, and has attracted many young fans in the process.

While the uber-capitalist Trump may seem like the candidate to take on his fellow one-percenters, his words say something different. Trump blasted hedge fund managers on CBS, saying they are “getting away with murder,” on CBS’ “Face the Nation" in 2015.

"The hedge fund guys didn't build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky,” Trump said.

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They Don't Take Money from Wall Street

It’s not just that the candidates criticize Wall Street and big banks—plenty do that. But Trump and Sanders back up their tough talk by not attracting campaign donations from those same financial institutions.

Sure, Hillary Clinton has taken aim at the major financial mavericks during her time on the campaign trail—what self-respecting Democrat hasn’t? But a closer look at her campaign financials shows that she isn’t putting her money where her mouth is.

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Their Campaigns are Populist Movements

Neither Trump nor Sanders are what you would call a “party darling.” Both have taken aim at the lions and leaders of their own parties have been unafraid to make controversial statements regarding the political establishments.

Instead, their campaigns have been buoyed by passionate, typically politically apathetic people. People who have finally found someone they  can relate to in the political landscape and someone they feel they can trust. Despite repeated predictions of failure, regular people continue to respond to their campaigns, as both Sanders and Trump remain near or at the polls as the primaries begin.

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The Most Unusual Candidates (Ever?)

Trump and Sanders are certainly the most unusual candidates this year, as both the Republican and Democratic fields contain typical governors, senators and congressman vying for the ultimate government job. It goes one step further, however—they may be the most unusual candidates a Presidential campaign has ever seen.

Sure, Trump isn’t the first rich eccentric to take a run at the Oval Office (just google Ross Perot if you don’t believe us.) But he’s certainly the first candidate to speak about immigrants and other races as he has.

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Massive Crowds

Political candidates of any variety like going where they are wanted. They make sure that there are plenty of warm well-wishers to make campaign events see exciting and full.

Trump and Sanders, however, seem to be able to attract raucous crowds that are more akin to rock concert or playoff game than a political rally. People come in costume, dressed as their favorite candidate. Teenagers, even though they cannot cast a vote, turn out in full face paint to support their candidate.

It’s happened all over the country. Record-setting crowds packed the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon and thousands filled the DCU Center to see Trump in Worcester, Massachusetts. Everywhere these candidates go, people rush to see them.

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Lots of Small-Money Donations

Typically, leading Presidential campaigns are powered by big money donations, but that’s not the case for Trump and Sanders.

As Graphiq shows us below, Sanders and Trump are one and two, respectively in the amount of campaign donations under $200—a sure sign of grassroots support.

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Real Talk

How often do you watch and listen to a political speaking, and find yourself drifting off to sleep or reaching for your iPhone?

That rarely seems to be the case when Trump or Sanders are on the mic. You never quite know when Trump will insult an entire religion or ethnic group in one thirty-second soundbite. 

Not to be outdone, Sanders folksy and frantic style of speech has attracted attention—and plenty of jokes and memes—from all across the internet.

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 Slated for Failure

Since the first day that each candidate announced their campaign, the political intellectual and elite have told everyone that they just don’t stand a chance. Trump and Sanders are too controversial, their too radical and they are too inexperienced. How many times did political analysts or other talking heads say they would be out of the race before the first votes are ever cast?

Yet here we are, just a few days away from the first caucuses and primaries. Neither Trump nor Sanders are out of the race. Neither is on their dying breaths. They are thriving. And, as you’ll see in our next slide, they are winning

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Leading in Iowa (and New Hampshire!)

If the latest polls are to believed these massively unusual candidates—one socialist, one real estate magnate/reality tv star, both with tons of small donations, both told they never had any chance—will be making victory speeches in Iowa and New Hampshire soon.

According to CNN, Trump has an 11 point lead among Republicans and Sanders an eight point lead among Democrats in Iowa just a few days before the caucus.

And in New Hampshire, as you’ll see below,  Trump and Sanders have double digit leads as we approach the first true primary.


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