planning ahead
July 3, 2020

Tucker Carlson for president? It's not inconceivable.

According to Politico, a number of Republican Party insiders are hoping the Fox News host will "parlay his TV perch into a run for president in 2024," believing he could be the next-generation leader of Trumpism. It's undeniable that Carlson has a massive platform from which he could make his pitch. As Politico reports, Tucker Carlson Tonight is the most watched cable news program in history, and Luke Thompson, a Republican strategist who worked for Jeb Bush's super PAC in 2016, told Politico this would make him a "formidable" candidate. But if he were to become the nominee, a "debate over the future of the party" would erupt, Politico says, about "whether Trump was an aberration or a party-realigning disrupter — a fight that will be all the fiercer if Trump loses in November."

Carlson's high ratings come alongside an advertiser exodus following his on-air claim that the Black Lives Matter movement "is definitely not about Black lives. Remember that when they come for you, and at this rate, they will." His ability to repeatedly withstand a barrage of backlash seems to be one of his selling points for the Republican base. "What he's been saying speaks for a lot of people, and it's basically not expressed or serviced by most Republican politicians," Rich Lowry, editor of the conservative National Review, told Politico. "There's a lot to be said for being fearless, and he is, while Republican politicians, as a breed, are not."

The question, though, is: Would Carlson run? According to one former top political aide to Trump, Carlson is "disgusted" with politicians, so he probably won't be interested in becoming one. He also has zero political experience under his belt, but as Lowry notes: "Political experience matters less than it once did."

Read more at Politico. Jessica Hullinger

August 26, 2018

A spreadsheet is going from Republican to Republican in Washington, D.C., listing all of the different investigations that Democrats could start if they are able to flip the House this fall, Axios reports.

The spreadsheet predicts that Democrats will look into, among other things, President Trump's tax returns, the hush money payment made to Stormy Daniels, the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, the business dealings of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the travel ban, the discussion of classified information at Trump's Florida club Mar-a-Lago, and the response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Axios' Jonathan Swan was told the spreadsheet originated in the office of a senior House Republican, and also includes details on formal requests House Democrats have made for hearings to obtain sworn testimony and attempts to interview committee staff members. Catherine Garcia

March 1, 2016

As Hillary Clinton heads into Super Tuesday as a heavy favorite, her team has begun to work on a battle plan against Donald Trump in the ever-increasing likelihood that he and she become their party's nominees. Speaking with many of Clinton's aides, advisers, and strategists, The New York Times found that it was agreed by Democrats that the best chance against the Trump steamroller was turning his wild comments and promises against him.

Along those lines, Clinton's super PAC Correct the Record is ready to go with "a montage" of Trump's "hateful speech" — a turn for Clinton, who has so far fought back at Trump with positive energy ("Instead of building walls, we need to be tearing down barriers").

However, if those tactics fall short, Trump threatens to take the volatile states President Obama managed to win in 2008 and 2012:

"Can you imagine what he'll do?" [Matthew] Dowd, the former Bush strategist, said. [Clinton] will bring up equal pay for women and abortion rights, Mr. Dowd said, "and he'll turn to her and say, 'You can't even handle your stuff at home.'"

Mr. Clinton calls Mr. Trump ideal in the era of the "Instagram election," when voters want bite-size solutions ("Build a wall!" "Ban the Muslims!") to complex problems. Mrs. Clinton, by contrast, can appear scripted and static when she tries to hurl planned one-liners in debates. [The New York Times]

Further, the off-the-script nature of Trump's attacks threatens Clinton's tidy campaigning. “Hillary has built a large tanker ship, and she's about to confront Somali pirates,” said Dowd.

It is a concern that stretches to the White House: "The president sees Trump as formidable, no question. He takes him seriously. The campaign takes him seriously," Former South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges said. Jeva Lange

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