Saturday Morning Post: The Weekly View from Washington
The end of Donald Trump’s campaign has been predicted continuously and erroneously since the beginning of Donald Trump’s campaign. Yet there’s reason to believe that if the billionaire comes up short in his bid for the Republican nomination, this will be remembered as the week he finally started sinking. To review, this week, the frontrunner said:
- “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who get abortions (earning a swift rebuke from pro-life groups and a statement from the campaign reversing course);
- two of the federal government’s top three functions are healthcare and education, despite earlier promising if elected to eliminate the Department of Education;
- he no longer intends to honor his signed pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee, while renewing his threat that denying him the nomination could unleash violence from his supporters (“I hope nothing bad happens”);
- he’s standing by his campaign manager, charged Tuesday with battery for allegedly grabbing a female reporter, and will continue to do so if the operative is convicted;
- he couldn’t rule out the use of tactical nuclear weapons, including on Europe;
- and he’d seek to nominate Supreme Court justices who would “look very seriously” at Hillary Clinton’s “email disaster,” in an apparent misunderstanding of what Supreme Court justices do.
To varying degrees, any one of those statements would be disqualifying under ordinary circumstances. As we’ve seen, Trump’s core supporters hardly mind. But in Wisconsin, which holds its primary Tuesday, surveys show his inability to expand his backing beyond roughly a third of voters looks poised to cost him the state. Over the last month, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz surged 21 points there and now leads by 10 points since Trump has plateaued, according to a Marquette University poll. Losing Wisconsin would complicate Trump’s path to clinching the nomination before the party’s July convention. And that task will prove tougher if his already record-breaking unpopularity with the broader electorate continues to rise following this week’s comments.
Trump has made clear what a sore loser he’ll be if he’s denied the nod despite piling up more delegates than his competitors. But the toxicity of his daily outbursts now presents an undeniable threat to down-ballot Republicans, and that alone simplifies the squeeze facing party leaders. Ripping the crown from Trump at a contested convention would be ugly. Letting him leave with it would be uglier.
• Clinton argues against fossil fuel charge
Hillary Clinton is angry at the continued accusations from the Bernie Sanders campaign that she is taking money from fossil fuel companies. She is stressing that while employees of these companies may donate to her, she is not taking money directly from the industry. Politico
• Sanders is on the money
Bernie Sanders set another fundraising record in March, outpacing his own campaign from February. His campaign raised $44 million, and it will likely need every penny if it hopes to close the delegate gap with Clinton. USA Today
• Trump talks to the establishment
Even if this is the election of the outsider, the party bigwigs still matter. Donald Trump, the master of outside agitation, sat down with Republican party insiders this week. Their relationship will be crucial if Trump ends up winning the nomination. New York Times
Around the Water Cooler
• What would Donald Trump have done on 9/11?
National Security and terrorism has been a central theme for this election cycle, especially on the Republican side. Here’s a link at how Donald Trump might respond to a massive terrorist attack. Politico
• The delegate game
The voting is almost over, with more than half of the states having made their choice for Republican nominee. But with the very real possibility of no one getting a majority of delegates, candidates are getting to the business of courting those delegates who will actually vote at the national convention in July. New York Times
• No sleep ’til Brooklyn
With the Democratic race shifting towards New York, both candidates will be on familiar territory. Sanders, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, is embracing his inner New Yorker to win over voters. Fox 5 New York