Mitch Perry Report for 5.27.16 – Lighting strikes no more

The somewhat improbable Tampa Bay Lightning run for a second straight appearance in the Stanley Cup ended last night around 11 p.m. when they lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 2-1. The Lightning were pretty thoroughly outplayed if you go by shots-on-goal, but the last eight minutes or so were absolutely nail-biting.

There’s a reason why the National Hockey League is considered a distant fourth when it comes to our major sports leagues in the U.S., and that is that it’s not as popular as the NFL, NBA and MLB. Need more proof? The fact that the league informed the Lightning to cancel their official “watch party” scheduled last night in front of the Amalie Arena, because the team had violated some arcane rule about how many they could host during the playoffs.

The speculation was that this had to do with concern about television ratings. Say what? No doubt the Tampa Bay area market probably had some of the highest ratings in the country, but the NHL is concerned that several thousand people wouldn’t be in front of their own TV’s, thus hurting future advertising? Talk about insecure.

When I ilved in the Bay Area, people used to say in the 90’s that the only 20,000 people in the region who cared about the San Jose Sharks were the people who attended the games. You probably can’t say that here, where there’s no NBA franchise. But yesterday’s decision by the league shows how far it still has to go to feel like it’s on a level playing field with the other major sports leagues in America.

Meanwhile, what does Marco want? There’s been a flurry of speculation over the past 24 hours about Rubio re-entering the senate race that he dropped out of a year ago. He seemed to end that yesterday in a conference call. Yet..

:Look, if the circumstances were different,” he said about possibly getting into the contest, “but they’re not. This is the fact: Carlos (Lopez-Cantera) is in the race. He’s a good friend, he’s a good candidate, he’ll be a great senator. So my answer today is no different than it was 24-48-72 hours ago. All right?”

It is legitimate to question what Rubio will do in the immediate future that theoretically makes him viable for president in 2020 or beyond. Another memoir? He just wrote one a couple of years ago, so how many tales does he have to tell? Jeb Bush was pretty rusty after nearly a decade of being out of the arena in the past year. Maybe it’s a thing of honor for Rubio not to reenter the race, but there have been far crazier things happen.

In other news..

In what can only be described as a radical move for a Florida local government, the Sarasota County Commission this week rejected offering incentives to a national roofing company to relocate their headquarters to the region. At least one group is praising them, however.

Alan Grayson is sponsoring a bill that would restore the voting rights for the nearly 6 million people around the country currently disenfranchised because of a previous felony conviction.

Kathy Castor is backing Ben Diamond over Eric Lynn in the House Democratic 68 race in Pinellas County.

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce supports a re-vote on putting the Go Hillsborough measure on the November ballot, with one caveat: They support the tax lasting at least 20 years, not 15 years, which is the duration the BOCC is poised to vote on next month.

Donald Trump reaches the magic number to clinch nomination

Donald Trump reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president Thursday, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and set the stage for a bitter fall campaign.

Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party’s unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the national convention in July. Among them is Oklahoma GOP chairwoman Pam Pollard.

“I think he has touched a part of our electorate that doesn’t like where our country is,” Pollard said. “I have no problem supporting Mr. Trump.”

It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination. Trump has reached 1,238. With 303 delegates at stake in five state primaries on June 7, Trump will easily pad his total, avoiding a contested convention in Cleveland.

Trump, a political neophyte who for years delivered caustic commentary on the state of the nation from the sidelines but had never run for office, fought off 16 other Republican contenders in an often ugly primary race.

Many on the right have been slow to warm to Trump, wary of his conservative bona fides. Others worry about his crass personality and the lewd comments he’s made about women.

But millions of grass-roots activists, many of them outsiders to the political process, have embraced Trump as a plain-speaking populist who is not afraid to offend.

Steve House, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party and an unbound delegate who confirmed his support of Trump to the AP, said he likes the billionaire’s background as a businessman.

“Leadership is leadership,” House said. “If he can surround himself with the political talent, I think he will be fine.”

Trump’s pivotal moment comes amid a new sign of internal problems.

Hours before clinching the nomination, he announced the abrupt departure of political director Rick Wiley, who was in the midst of leading the campaign’s push to hire staff in key battleground states. In a statement, Trump’s campaign said Wiley had been hired only on a short-term basis until the candidate’s organization “was running full steam.”

His hiring about six weeks ago was seen as a sign that party veterans were embracing Trump’s campaign. A person familiar with Wiley’s ouster said the operative clashed with others in Trump’s operation and didn’t want to put longtime Trump allies in key jobs. The person insisted on anonymity because the person was not authorized to publicly discuss the internal campaign dynamics.

Some delegates who confirmed their decisions to back Trump were tepid at best, saying they are supporting him out of a sense of obligation because he won their state’s primary.

Cameron Linton of Pittsburgh said he will back Trump on the first ballot since he won the presidential primary vote in Linton’s congressional district.

“If there’s a second ballot I won’t vote for Donald Trump,” Linton said. “He’s ridiculous. There’s no other way to say it.”

Trump’s path to the Republican presidential nomination began with an escalator ride.

Trump and his wife, Melania, descended an escalator into the basement lobby of the Trump Tower on June 16, 2015, for an announcement many observers had said would never come: The celebrity real estate developer had flirted with running for office in the past.

His speech then set the tone for the candidate’s ability to dominate the headlines with provocative statements, insults and hyperbole. He called Mexicans “rapists,” promised to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and proposed banning most Muslims from the U.S. for an indeterminate time.

He criticized women for their looks. And he unleashed an uncanny marketing ability in which he deduced his critics’ weak points and distilled them to nicknames that stuck. “Little MarcoRubio, “Weak” Jeb Bush and “Lyin’ TedCruz, among others, all were forced into reacting to Trump. They fell one-by-one — leaving Trump the sole survivor of a riotous Republican primary.

His rallies became magnets for free publicity. Onstage, he dispensed populism that drew thousands of supporters, many wearing his trademark “Make America Great Again” hats and chanting, “Build the wall!”

The events drew protests too— with demonstrators sometimes forcibly ejected from the proceedings. One rally in Chicago was canceled after thousands of demonstrators surrounded the venue and the Secret Service could no longer vouch for the candidate’s safety.

When voting started, Trump was not so fast out of the gate.

He lost the Iowa caucuses in February, falling behind Cruz and barely edging Rubio for second. He recovered in New Hampshire. From there he and Cruz fiercely engaged, with Trump winning some and losing some but one way or another dominating the rest of the primary season — in votes or at least in attention — and ultimately in delegates.

Republican leaders declared themselves appalled by Trump’s rise. Conservatives called the onetime Democrat a fraud. But many slowly, warily, began meeting with Trump and his staff. And he began winning endorsements from a few members of Congress.

As with other aspects of his campaign, Trump upended the traditional role of money in the race.

He incurred relatively low campaign costs — just $57 million through the end of April. He covered most of it with at least $43 million of his own money loaned to the campaign. He spent less than $21 million on paid television and radio commercials. That’s about one-quarter of what Jeb Bush and his allies spent on TV.

Trump entered a new phase of his campaign Tuesday night by holding his first major campaign fundraiser: a $25,000-per-ticket dinner in Los Angeles.

Trump, 69, the son of a New York City real estate magnate, had risen to fame in the 1980s and 1990s, overseeing major real estate deals, watching his financial fortunes rise, then fall, hosting “The Apprentice” TV show and authoring more than a dozen books.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Jeb Bush to return as chair of Foundation for Excellence in Education

Former Gov. Jeb Bush is not one to stay out of public life for too long. On Tuesday, his plans for what comes next after departing from the 2016 GOP presidential primary came into focus.

The Excellence in Education Foundation Bush created in 2007 announced will again assume the reins as president and chairman of its board of directors. In doing so, Bush takes over for former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

“One of the greatest challenges and opportunities we have in America today is to create a 21st century education system that ensures all students have the skills, teachers and educational options they need to succeed in life,” said Bush, known in Tallahassee as an ardent fighter of for-profit charter schools and against teachers’ unions.

“Too many children right now are failed by a deeply flawed bureaucratic system, but I’m optimistic about the future because I’ve seen the great results produced by states across the country. It is an honor to rejoin ExcelinEd as we continue to support states in bringing choice, innovation and accountability to the classroom. I am thankful to Dr. Rice and this exceptional board for their leadership over the past year,” said Bush.

Rice served as chair of the foundation’s board of directors starting in 2015. She will remain on the board.

Bush also takes over as head of the ExcelinEd in Action, an affiliated 501(c)(4) organization with a more political bent. Under federal tax rules, such groups need not disclose their donors unlike 501(c)(3)s like the Excellence in Education Foundation.

Bush also maintains a government consultancy practice under the moniker Jeb Bush & Associates.

Darryl Paulson: It’s now or never for #NeverTrump

The opposition to Donald Trump has been constant from the start of the 2016 presidential campaign. However, it has been unfocused and essentially leaderless. Many Trump opponents believed he would not enter the race. When he entered, they believed he had no chance of winning. Now that Trump has won the nomination, they believe he can be stopped by an independent or third party campaign.

As early as December 2015, before the first caucus or primary, Mike Fernandez, a Coral Gables, Florida health care executive and financial backer of Jeb Bush, took out full-page ads in the Miami Herald and other newspapers stating that he would support Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.

Fernandez described Trump as a narcissistic ”Bullyionaire” with a hunger to be adored. Fernandez was critical of fellow Republicans “blinded by the demagoguery” of Trump.

In January 2016, National Review devoted an issue to conservative writers who made the case that Trump was not a conservative, and his nomination would do long-term damage to conservatism and the Republican Party. The issue contributed to the formation of the #NeverTrump movement, but it failed to stop Trump from winning the GOP nomination.

With Trump having secured the nomination, many Republicans now look at the race as a binary choice:  Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Most Republicans, unlike Mike Fernandez, see Trump as the preferred option. Foster Friess, a Wyoming financier and supporter of Republican candidates and causes, said Trump was not his first choice, but “he’s better than Hillary.” During the presidential primaries, even Jeb Bush stated that “Anybody is better than Hilary.”

Some of Trump’s strongest critics have now jumped aboard the bandwagon. Texas Governor Rick Perry, who called Trump a “cancer” on the GOP who would lead the party to “Perdition,” has now offered to help Trump win the election. Oh, by the way, he would also be interested in being Trump’s Vice President.

Many Republicans believe it is now a question of party loyalty. As Republican strategist Ford O’Connell observes, “political parties are not meant to be ideological vessels, but competing enterprises whose job is to win elections.”

Rick Wilson, one of the most vehement anti-Trumpers, described the party loyalty argument as nothing more than “the DC establishment rolling over and becoming the Vichy Republicans we all know they would.”

The last hope of the #NeverTrump movement is recruiting an independent or third-party candidate to provide an alternative to Trump and Clinton. RNC Chair Reince Priebus calls such efforts a “suicide mission.”

Supporters argue that an independent candidate would not only give discontented voters a choice, but they believe such a candidate could win. At the very least, such a candidate could siphon off enough electoral votes to throw the election into the House, where the Republican majority could select someone other than Trump or Clinton.

Supporters of an independent option argue that recent polls show 58 percent of voters are not happy with their choices, and 55 percent say they support an independent candidate. Historically, the idea of an independent candidate is more appealing than the reality.

Teddy Roosevelt and his Bull Moose Party is widely regarded the most effective third-party movement. Roosevelt actually came in second and swamped incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft. Roosevelt received 27.4 percent of the vote and 88 electoral votes to only 23.2 percent and 8 electoral votes for Taft.

In 1948, Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina won only 2.4 percent of the national vote but, because it was concentrated in a few Deep South states where Truman’s name did not appear on the ballot, Thurmond captured the electoral votes of four states. Twenty years later, Governor George Wallace replicated much of Thurmond’s success in winning 13.5 percent of the vote and 46 electoral votes in five southern states.

In 1992, Texas businessman Ross Perot and his Reform Party won almost one out of five votes, but failed to capture a single state. At one point, Perot led both George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton but, as Election Day approached, many of his supporters returned to support their traditional party.

To run as an independent or third-party candidate, there is one important requirement:  you need a candidate. So far, the #NeverTrump movement has not found a willing person to oppose Trump.

Among the possible candidates are Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee. Romney has name recognition and money, and would likely qualify for the debates. Romney was opposed by many conservatives in his 2012 race which would once again be a problem. In addition, Romney’s enthusiastic acceptance of Trump’s endorsement in that campaign would be another concern.

Marine Corps General James Mattis seriously considered running before backing out. Mattis would have commanded support as a military figure and a political outsider. But, Mattis is not an Eisenhower and is an unknown commodity.

Marco Rubio‘s name is being tossed about as a possible candidate. Rubio is young, charismatic and has appealed to woman and minority voters. The downside is that Rubio won only in Puerto Rico, Minnesota and the District of Columbia, and badly lost his home state of Florida to Trump. In addition, Rubio signed the pledge to support the Republican nominee “and I intend to keep it.”

Ben Sasse, a first-term Republican Senator from Nebraska, has been a leader in the #NeverTrump movement. Sasse is only in his second year as a senator, which will raise questions about his experience. He also is unknown outside of Nebraska.

Finally, former House member and Senator Tom Colburn has expressed interest in running and is highly respected by conservatives for his attempts to cut federal spending. Colburn has stated that Trump “needs to be stopped,” but recently said he would not be the candidate.

One of the maxims of politics is that it takes something to beat nothing. So far, nothing looks like he has the race all wrapped up.


Darryl Paulson is Professor Emeritus of Government at USF St. Petersburg.

Poll finds Florida voters down on leaders, political choices, especially Marco Rubio

Florida voters are dissatisfied with their political leaders and national candidates, and profoundly unhappy with Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, a new Gravis Marketing poll shows.

The survey found Florida voters showing high dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama, presumed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

But Florida’s two former presidential candidates? Much worse.

In the poll, Florida voters — who propelled Rubio from long-shot to U.S. Senate stardom in 2010 and then abandoned him in the March 15 Florida primary — now have an almost unprecedented low opinion of him. Only 20 percent said they approved of his job performance while 56 percent said they disapproved.

Some of that could be attributed to the hammering Rubio took from Trump and others during the campaign, charging that he was neglecting his Senate duties. But Bush drew no such charges; he fared only slightly better than Rubio.

Bush dropped out before the Florida primary. That may have been a good thing. The Gravis poll found that 28 percent of Florida voters said they have favorable opinions of him, while 53 percent said they have unfavorable views.

Winter Springs-based Gravis conducted the poll of 2,542 registered Florida voters last Tuesday and Wednesday. The firm said the survey was conducted using automated telephone calls and weighted by anticipated voting demographics, and Gravis claimed a 2 percent margin of error.

Polling like that may justify Rubio’s steadfast position that he would not jump back into the U.S. Senate race this year even though the Republican field is scrambled with no clear front-runners; or that he has no intention of being Trump’s vice presidential running mate; or of running for governor in 2018.

Bush also appears to be done with elected politics.

The same, obviously, is not true of Trump or Clinton, who head toward their parties’ conventions also holding low approvals among Florida voters.

Obama, by contrast, may be showing a little rebound: 46 percent of Florida voters said they disapprove of his job performance in the Gravis poll. But he broke even: 46 percent stated that they approve.

Trump drew a 38 percent favorable rating among Florida voters and a 54 percent unfavorable rating.

Clinton drew a 40 percent favorable rating and a 52 percent unfavorable rating.

Carlos Beruff’s ‘Angry Man’ campaign always ready to pick a fight

Carlos Beruff is running the kind of campaign you would expect from someone looking to pick a fight at a bar.

The Angry Man approach in his TV ads has certainly earned the Bradenton businessman name recognition as he seeks to win the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Marco Rubio, but that can work both ways.

It’s a safe bet many Florida voters were repulsed recently when Beruff went full-out Roadhouse by calling President Barack Obama an “animal” and also suggested a total ban on Muslims entering this country.

Beruff’s “animal” comment – used as part of an attack on Obama’s handling of the military – was deservedly slammed from both Democrats and Republicans as racist and inflammatory.

And for what it’s worth, as reported by the Stockholm International Peace Research Foundation, in 2015 the U.S. spent $596 billion on the military – more than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United Kingdom, India, France and Japan combined.

To hear Beruff put it, though, that’s not nearly enough.

Of course it isn’t. For the Angry Man, it’s never enough.

But just as most people know better than to start an argument with a belligerent bar patron looking for a scrum, so you think voters can size this up as unhinged gibberish.

Oh, wait.

Donald Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee for president by saying anything that sounded good to the crowd, even if a lot of it sounded like something you’d hear in a middle-school locker room.

That’s what Campaign 2016 has created.

Facts don’t matter as much as swagger. Personal insults and mocking taunts have become more important than grasping policy. Temperament is for wusses (or have we forgotten how Trump torpedoed Jeb Bush with that low-energy tag).

Judgment is dismissed as weakness. Experience is a liability. Anyone seeing the world as a complicated place requiring nuanced decisions is mocked. Science is dismissed when it doesn’t an agenda.

And out of that smoldering cauldron, Donald Trump and his Mini-Me, Carlos Beruff, aspire to hold two of the most powerful titles in this country – President of the United States, and U.S. Senator.

It’s enough to drive you to drink, but not at a bar. Someone might be looking to pick a fight.

Today on Context Florida: Picking our presidents, our half-right campaign, Time’s 100 Most Influential and online buying patterns

Today on Context Florida:

Now that Donald Trump is nearing the number of delegates necessary to assure him the Republican Party nomination and super delegates all but guarantee Hillary Clinton the Democratic nod, the 2016 presidential race is set. Are you excited about the choice? Steven Kurlander bets you are not. “Annoyed” is more like it. It’s a sure bet the next person you ask is not happy either. While many Americans are distressed about the choice, Kurlander says they also should be asking whether the process for picking our presidents needs to be fixed.

The 2016 presidential election cycle thus far has been a study in frustrated attempts to analyze and understand a larger shift among the voting public. We saw it a year ago, says A.G. Gancarski, when the conventional wisdom saw Jeb Bush emerging on the Republican Party side to take on Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side. “Not another Bush/Clinton race” was the common complaint. People were worried about a choice between two political dynasties. In the end, that seeming inevitability was proven, Gancarski adds, as so much has been this campaign season, half-right.

Some people are born to greatness; others achieve it on their own; still others have it thrust upon them by fate. The rest of us just sit on the curb and cheer as the Big Boys and Girls march by to Valhalla, Cooperstown or wherever great folks go. That’s Bob Driver’s customary reaction each year when Time magazine publishes its list of “The 100 Most Influential People” in the world. Driver always hopes his name and picture will be included, but it never happens. He is left to wallow in insignificance. Which, of course, is preferable over other fates such as being a failed presidential contender.

Blake Dowling discusses how retailers use your online data to determine what to charge for a product. The servers at retailers are stirring up this data and crunching it into analytics that they can use to identify and predict your buying patterns as a consumer. They are also sizing up your browser and device type as well as how much time you spend online and many other factors. By finding out what you buy and for how much, the online retailers can spit out a price to you that may be higher than it is to someone else. It sounds almost ridiculous, but it is happening and it is legal.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.

No mending in sight for fractured GOP

Donald Trump grudgingly agreed Friday to meet with House Speaker Paul Ryan to work out their differences in the midst of an extraordinary display of Republican vs. Republican strife. But he said he had “no idea” if they would patch things up and it didn’t really matter that much when compared to all the votes he’d won in this year’s primary elections.

“The thing that matters most are the millions of people that have come out to vote for me and give me a landslide victory in almost every state,” Trump said moments after Ryan, the nation’s highest-ranking Republican officeholder, announced their planned meeting.

Ryan said that the meeting would occur next Thursday and that Trump also would meet with other House GOP leaders. Discussions will center on “the kind of Republican principles and ideas that can win the support of the American people this November,” Ryan said.

The unlikely back-and-forth came a day after Ryan injected new uncertainty into the turbulent presidential contest by refusing, for now, to endorse Trump. Aides said that, far from seeking to helm an anti-Trump movement, Ryan hopes to exert a positive influence for the general election campaign after a nominating contest that has alienated women, minorities and other voter groups.

Yet Trump’s reaction Friday made it unclear what impact Ryan could have on the bombastic billionaire.

“With millions of people coming into the party, obviously I’m saying the right thing,” Trump said on Fox News Channel. “I mean, he talks about unity, but what is this?”

So next week’s meeting could prove the beginning of a healing process in the GOP or another outlandish episode in an election season full of them. “This is not entertainment. This is not a reality show,” President Barack Obama said Friday when asked about Trump’s ascension.

Yet just days after Trump essentially clinched the GOP presidential nomination with a win in Indiana’s primary, Ryan’s surprise decision to withhold his support dashed any hopes that the party could turn immediately from the brutal infighting of the primaries toward the November election.

Ryan wasn’t alone. Two unsuccessful White House candidates, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, issued statements saying they couldn’t support Trump, with Graham saying he is not “a reliable Republican conservative.” Trump responded to Graham by mocking his poor showing in the presidential race and declaring: “Like the voters who rejected him, so will I!”

As the reality of those divisions sank in Friday, some Republicans were not shy about expressing their displeasure with Ryan. The telegenic Wisconsin Republican served as his party’s vice presidential nominee in 2012, was drafted to the high-profile role of House speaker last fall and is seen as having designs on the 2020 presidential nomination himself.

“Yesterday’s statement emboldens others to be equally publicly difficult. And that runs the risk of creating a Goldwater kind of moment where the party really does split,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told The Associated Press, referring to the 1964 Republican presidential nominee whose candidacy divided the GOP and was followed by a big Democratic victory.

“I don’t necessarily know that that’s his role, to be a sticking point for the Republican nominee,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, one of a growing number of Trump supporters in the House. Added Rep. Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania: “The voters of our party have spoken loud and clear, and it’s their voice that matters.”

Trump has criticized Ryan in the past and renewed his attacks Friday by arguing that Ryan and presidential candidate Mitt Romney, “lost a race that should have been won” in 2012. Trump and Ryan also have disagreements on policy, from immigration to Social Security to trade.

In his latest surprising breach of orthodoxy on Friday Trump questioned whether the U.S. government would make good on its commitment to fully honor Treasury notes, suggesting he might try to get a better deal.

It all comes at a moment when Trump needs to be reaching out to the women, minorities and others who will be crucial for him to triumph in November over Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee. Trump made what he appeared to believe was an overture in that direction Thursday by tweeting a photo of himself eating a taco bowl in celebration of Cinco de Mayo and declaring his love for Hispanics.

The gesture landed with a thud, and many Latino leaders reacted negatively, although Trump insisted Friday that “People loved it.”

Underscoring the split in the party, Ryan’s defenders Friday came from the ranks of the establishment.

“This is what leadership is,” said former Republican National Committee chief of staff Mike Shields, who now heads a super PAC dedicated to helping House Republicans. He added that Ryan’s move gives vulnerable Republicans badly needed cover as they contemplate Trump’s impact on their elections this fall.

Ryan himself said in his initial comments on CNN that he hopes to be able to come around to supporting Trump. He’s just not there yet.

“You have to unify all wings of the Republican Party in a conservative movement,” he said. “And we’ve got a ways to go from here to there.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Jeb Bush: ‘I will not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton

Jeb Bush will not vote for Donald Trump in November.

Nor will he cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton.

In a lengthy Facebook post Friday, the former Florida governor congratulated Trump “on securing his place as the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee.” However, Bush said the New York Republican would not receive his support — or vote — in the general election.

“The American Presidency is an office that goes beyond just politics. It requires of its occupant great fortitude and humility and the temperament and strong character to deal with the unexpected challenges that will inevitably impact our nation in the next four years,” said Bush in his statement. “Donald Trump has not demonstrated that temperament or strength of character. He has not displayed a respect for the Constitution. And, he is not a consistent conservative. These are all reasons why I cannot support his candidacy.”

Bush was one of more than a dozen Republicans vying for their party’s nomination in 2016. Bush’s campaign failed to take off, and he suspended his campaign after the South Carolina primary.

In his statement Friday, Bush said there is no doubt Trump “successfully tapped into the deep sense of anger and frustration so many Americans around the country rightfully feel today.” He said the anger felt by the electorate is the result of people being fearful of the future and frustrated by the failure of those in Washington, D.C., “to make anything better.”

“American voters have made it clear that Washington is broken, but I’m not optimistic that either of the leading candidates for President will put us on a better course,” he said.

As for Clinton, Bush said she “has proven to be an untrustworthy liberal politician who, if elected, would present a third term of the disastrous foreign and economic policy agenda of Barack Obama.”

“In November, I will not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but I will support principled conservatives at the state and federal levels, just as I have done my entire life,” he said. “For Republicans, there is no greater priority than ensuring we keep control of both chambers of Congress. I look forward to working hard for great conservatives in the Senate and House in the coming months.”

Jeb Bush Facebook post


Democratic advertising blitz awaits Donald Trump

advertising blitz Donald Trump

Long before Donald Trump swatted away his Republican presidential rivals, his likely Democratic opponent and her allies began laying traps for him.

Priorities USA, the lead super PAC backing Hillary Clinton, has already reserved $91 million in television advertising that will start next month and continue through Election Day. In addition, Clinton’s campaign and Priorities USA have both debuted online videos that cast Trump in a negative light — a preview of what voters will see on TV over the next six months.

So far, Priorities USA is the only group on either side that has rolled out such an ambitious advertising plan geared toward the general election. The group’s leaders say they’re trying to avoid what they see as the core mistake made by Trump’s Republican rivals — not pushing hard enough against him until it was too late.

“There’s a reason that we have a head start,” said Justin Barasky, a Priorities USA spokesman, “and it’s that we’ve taken Donald Trump seriously all along, unlike the Republicans.”

The group’s ad strategy will test what has been a hallmark of Trump’s GOP primary rise: his ability to withstand — even thrive in the face of — tens of millions of dollars in attack ads.

An Associated Press review of Priorities USA’s TV buys, collected by Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, reveals a formidable 22-week advertising blitz through what the group considers key battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia.

In those states, Priorities USA will start ads in major metropolitan areas, then broaden its outreach to smaller cities as the November election approaches. The group will also start ads on satellite TV in September.

According to the CMAG data, Priorities USA plans to spend about $4 million a week through most of June. The group then slows spending through July, taking off the weeks of the Republican and Democratic conventions, when widespread television coverage essentially provides free media time for the candidates.

Priorities USA returns to the airwaves in August and begins unloading $60 million in ads between September and Election Day. The week of the election, Priorities USA plans to spend about $8 million in the seven battleground states.

The heaviest concentration is in Florida, where the group has reserved $23 million in time, mostly in Orlando and in Tampa.

The group also plans to spend about $19.5 million in the traditional presidential bellwether state of Ohio. More than half is for Cleveland, Akron and Columbus.

There’s no substantive GOP counterweight to the pro-Clinton effort — partly because Trump has repeatedly trashed big donors and called the outside groups that can raise unlimited money from them “corrupt.”

As the presumptive GOP nominee, Trump is now beginning his outreach to donors. But even if he fully embraces outside help, he’s far behind: One super PAC backing him, Great America, was almost $700,000 in debt at the end of March.

Another group that was a major player in the 2012 race, American Crossroads, is still “evaluating what our specific role will be,” said spokesman Ian Prior.

Television ads are only one part of Priorities USA’s strategy. It is putting at least $35 million into online advertising between June and Election Day, Barasky said. Those ads will largely aim to drive up turnout among core Democratic groups: African-Americans, Hispanics, women and younger voters, Barasky said.

Trump is already getting a taste of what some these ads will say.

On Thursday, Priorities USA overlaid audio of Trump talking about “unifying” the Republican Party with images of violence that has erupted inside and outside of his massive rallies. “I think we’re going to win in November,” Trump says at the end. “NOPE,” reads text on the screen. “Vote for Hillary Clinton.”

That follows an online video the Clinton campaign put out Wednesday that features clips of prominent Republicans, including his former rivals, bashing Trump in every possible way.

“He needs therapy,” says former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at the end of the spot.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.