The Hill with a problem for Bernie to work on:
Pelosi distances Democrats from Sanders's plan to raise taxes
Democrats are not on board with the tax hikes Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has proposed to pay for his single-payer healthcare proposal, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday.
"We're not running on any platform of raising taxes," Pelosi said during a press briefing to launch the Democrats' yearly issues conference in Baltimore, Md. "We do want to have a fairer tax system, and … we hope that we can do that this year.
Sanders on Monday acknowledged that his "Medicare-for-all" healthcare plan would require tax hikes on the middle class.
“We will raise taxes, yes we will,” Sanders said during a Democratic town hall in Des Moines, Iowa.
On September 9, 2002, as the George W. Bush administration was launching its campaign to invade Iraq, a classified report landed on the desk of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It came from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and it carried an ominous note.
“Please take a look at this material as to what we don’t know about WMD,” Rumsfeld wrote to Air Force General Richard Myers. “It is big.”
Monkey Cage Blog:
At the last two Republican debates, the looming center-stage presence wasn’t Donald Trump; it was the Islamic State. Many news articles have suggestedthat 2016 will be the rare election in which foreign policy will be central to the campaign.
Will those predictions come true? Not likely. But while foreign policy may only feature occasionally in the campaign, the voters’ chosen candidate will matter significantly for U.S. foreign policy.
The race remains fluid, with 71 percent of Republican primary voters saying that they can still be persuaded to support another candidate. Even among Republicans who did not back Trump, 52 percent of them said they could still be persuaded to do so; 42 percent said they could not. The rest remained unsure.
"Trump is continuing a long trend of polls that show him in a strong position nationally, but the poll suggests there could be more fluidity in the race after Iowa," said Doug Usher, a managing partner at Purple Strategies.
The heroic professor who helped uncover the Flint lead water crisis has been asked to fix it
In Flint, Mich., there is a famous block of concrete that for decades has served as a community message board. Like an old-school Facebook feed, residents use it to post personal news, images, upcoming events and commentary in sprawling graffiti.
This week, several residents went to “The Block” (or “The Rock,” depending on whom you ask) with a message. In big, black capital letters they painted: “YOU WANT OUR TRUST?? WE WANT VA Tech!!!” Underneath they wrote “PSI” and circled it in red with a line through it. It stands for Professional Service Industries Inc., the independent business the city had wanted to hire to test its water for contamination, and which the residents don’t trust.
They want Marc Edwards.
And now, they’re getting him.
On Wednesday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced that he was appointing Edwards to the newly created “Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee,” tasked with finding a long-term strategy to address the water crisis. The 17-person team of experts will have three years to report their recommendations.
Great move. But if Snyder thinks this buys him 3 years, he’s crazy.
In politics, it is the small things that count. In Iowa politics, it is the tiny things that count.
For all the hoopla, media attention and money lavished on the Iowa caucuses, hardly anybody bothers to vote in them.
TV reporters know that the one question they don’t want to ask a voter in a live interview is: “Did you vote in the last caucus?”
The answer is usually an embarrassed no, quickly followed by a pledge to vote this time, which happens to be Monday.
The embarrassment is genuine; the pledge to vote Monday is not.
Charles P. Pierce:
This was the way it was supposed to be—a town hall-ish thing in the immaculate cafeteria of a big downtown insurance company, fielding polite questions from the assembled burghers who came out in the middle of the afternoon to see him. When Jeb (!) Bush put this campaign together in his head, this must have been how it looked to him: Well-mannered by-play with well-mannered people who understand what's best for them, which is being ruled by the people who were born to do it. That's probably how Jeb (!) envisioned Iowa, and New Hampshire, and Florida and all the other places along the road to the place where all male members of the Bush family are meant one day to arrive.
He can use “vulgar talking yam” ( and Princess Dumbass of the Northwoods) as a description of trump as often as he wishes.
Heading down the homestretch to the Iowa caucuses, Donald Trump has increased his advantage over his Republican primary opponents among Republican voters nationwide. One-third (33%) of Republican voters say they would prefer Trump to be the nominee, a ten percentage point increase over his level of support in November 2015, and more than double that of those expressing support for Ted Cruz (14%), Ben Carson (14%), and Marco Rubio (12%). The remaining GOP contenders demonstrate very little support among Republican voters, including Jeb Bush (5%), John Kasich (2%), Mike Huckabee (2%), Rand Paul (1%), Chris Christie (1%), and Carly Fiorina (1%)...
Since November 2015, white evangelical Protestant voters have become more amiable towards Trump. A majority (53%) of white evangelical Protestant voters express a favorable view of Trump today, up from 37% last November. Currently, only about four in ten (41%) white evangelical Protestant voters express a negative view of Trump, down from 56% in November.
Thus, yesterday’s endorsement left many political cognoscenti raising a question that has been asked many times this election season, including by Trump himself: How could so many evangelicals, a group known for their pursuit of spiritual purity, flock to a twice-divorced, theologically challenged man like Donald Trump?
The answer is complicated and somewhat unclear, and the small cadre of evangelical leadership currently backing Trump is of a slightly different breed than what you might find at most conservative theology conventions. But when it comes to understanding Trump’s popularity with the evangelical masses, the key lies in a simple reality: Lots of evangelicals — especially Trump supporters — simply aren’t that “religious.”
Harry Enten notes that Marco Rubio is too conservative to suit ‘the establishment’ :
Rubio’s ideology tends to get lost next to that of Cruz, but he is one of the most conservative members of Congress. We can see this using DW-Nominate, an algorithm that rates members of Congress on a liberal-conservative scale based on their voting record. Rubio is more conservative than 77 percent of Republicans serving in Congress this term.
Rubio has only received 10 endorsements from members of Congress who are more liberal than the median Republican. Despite being outflanked on the right by Cruz, he has 17 endorsements from House members and senators more conservative than the median Republican in Congress.
Cruz has the most conservative voting record of any member of Congress, according to DW-Nominate, and all but one of his 17 endorsements have come from members more conservative than the median Republican member of Congress.
More moderate members have been more likely to choose Bush.
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