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The Washington Post says today, “Donald Trump is well on his way to the 1,237 delegates he needs to be the GOP nominee.”

The Super PACs are afraid to take him on. Most of his opponents have fled the field. Only two men stand between Trump and the Republican nomination: Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

That is the definition of dire straits.

There’s only one person with the brains and (pardon the expression) the balls to beat him. Hillary Clinton.

The Republican wussies all wimped out when they went up against Trump. They cowered, pulled their punches and attacked each other. They gave a flawed front-runner a pass. Now it may be too late.

Do you think Hillary has any fear of facing Trump in a debate? After she embarrassed Trey Gowdy and a full committee of Republicans in a day-long congressional witch hunt that turned into a Republican nightmare?

Do you think Independent and Republican women will vote for Trump? Do you think a candidate who appeals only to angry, racist whites can be elected President of the United States in 2016?

Well, yes, he could. A terrorist attack in October or something equally dire could conceivably do the trick. But, even then, voters will want a leader who is not only strong and tough, but also smart and tested. Not a wild man.

The Clinton campaign, unlike the Republican campaigns, will dig up and air out every speck of dirt in Trump’s business record. There’s probably a mountain there.

Admit it. You want to see it: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump head to head, face to face, on stage, on national TV, for the future of America and the leadership of the free world.

Now, a word here for supporters of Bernie Sanders: No.

Bernie has done a great job channeling our justified anger over a rigged economic and political system. But he’s not the man to beat Trump. In fact, he’s just the man to lose to Trump, or open the otherwise-closed door for Michael Bloomberg and all the electoral chaos that would cause.

Yes, polls today might show Sanders running stronger in the fall than Clinton. But that’s misleading. Voters know everything about Clinton. They know almost nothing about Sanders – yet.

Then there’s this: a Clinton-Trump race suddenly makes a lot of races across the country more winnable for Democrats. And that’s just as the Republicans’ redistricting overreach is coming apart in the courts.

It’s time for Democrats to start thinking BIG about this year.


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After South Carolina voted Saturday, Marco Rubio proclaimed, “The children of the Reagan Revolution are ready to assume the mantle of leadership.”

If so, he’s just the boy for the job.

Rubio is inheriting all the Establishment Republicans who hopped on the Bush-dynasty bandwagon early. (Inheritance is big with these people.)

Now Wonderboy moves into Donald Trump’s field of fire. And Trump’s bully’s instinct for an opponent’s weakness has been unerring and devastating.

Trump called Jeb “low energy,” and Jeb! became Jeb:(

Trump called Ted Cruz “a very nasty guy,” and Cruz proceeded to prove him right.

Already, Trump has mocked Rubio for sweating on stage. What’s next? His “Cuban heels”? Or maybe, “Don’t send a boy to do a man’s job”?

Soon enough, we’ll see whether Rubio is the JFK of 2016, as his supporters dream. Or the Dan Quayle.


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Remember a lifetime ago – actually, last week, after New Hampshire? The Democratic presidential story line was: Hillary’s in trouble. She’s losing young people to Bernie. This could go on a long time.

This week, after Nevada, there’s a new story: Hillary has an unassailable lead with delegates. With South Carolina and the SEC primary coming up, there’s no way Bernie can close the gap now.

How long before the story changes again?


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Do they like him because he’ll “make America great again” – or make America white again?

Granted, some South Carolinians may have voted for Trump because they want a strong leader.

But you know more than a few voted for him because – like Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms and George Wallace before him – he knows how to use the code words and dog whistles for race.

Why else would he win evangelicals, despite his sybaritic lifestyle, and ideological conservatives, despite his political promiscuity?

Trump started years ago, claiming Obama was born in Kenya. Then he attacked the Mexicans. Then the Muslims.

Of course, his supporters rarely admit that’s why they like him. Instead, they say “he’s not politically correct” or “he’s not afraid to say what he thinks.”

It’s just like when Thurmond, Helms and Wallace stopped using the N-word and started talking about states’ rights and a too-powerful federal government.

Wink, wink. Nod, nod.

Now the Republican Party Establishment is in a panic over Trump.

Contemplate the irony here. For decades, the GOP Establishment has been happy to play ball with the Stroms, the Jesses and all their ilk.

Now the chickens have come home to roost. Big time.


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Today’s blog is written by my brother, Florida Man Fred:

The Pope insinuated that Donald Trump might not be a real Christian.

Donald Trump issues a cease and desist letter, calls the Pope an idiot who is worthy of impeachment, and threatens to build a wall around the Vatican.

Ted Cruz states that he was thrilled that the Pope has endorsed his campaign and is excited to learn that the Pope plans to register to vote in Florida just so he can cast a ballot for Cruz.

Mario Rubio states that, while he agrees with the Pope on this one issue, Ted Cruz is a liar. He further points out that the Pope knows exactly what he is doing.  He is trying to destroy America from the outside.  Also, the Pope knows exactly what he is doing.  He is trying to destroy America from the outside.

Jeb Bush tweets a picture of his rosary beads and a cross with the caption “America.”

Ben Carson states that the Pope is not to be trusted. No one can claim to be a Christian when he refuses to speak the language of Christ, English.  Besides, Carson once used a shiv to stab the Pope during a youthful indiscretion, which is why the Pope only has one lung. But the Pope has since forgiven him and don’t ask him about it because he will pretend it did not happen, but believe me, it did.  Because he said so.  Why would anyone question that?

John Kasich says something extremely intelligent and incredibly insightful. But he is sooo boring, no Republican voters notice.

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Since Iowa and New Hampshire, the Democratic story line has been Bernie Sanders’s ability to attract and excite young voters (at least, young white voters) and Hillary’s inability to do so, even among young women.

But let’s not get carried away by what happened in two snow-white states.

The math is simple: There aren’t enough white voters of any age to nominate, let alone elect, a President. A Democrat has to energize minority voters. Has to.

And there is a way to this year. Because African-American voters are angry about how Republicans have defied, disrespected and even tried to delegitimize President Obama. And Hispanic voters have seen the true colors, so to speak, of the Republican presidential candidates.

Now come Nevada and then South Carolina. Now comes a bit of color in the picture.

Let’s see if they feel the Bern.


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South Carolinians love a good war. The Swamp Fox bedeviled the British in the Revolution. The Civil War started in South Carolina. The place has more military bases than most countries.

So how is it that South Carolina Republicans may vote for Donald Trump, who blasted George W. Bush over the war in Iraq while W was campaigning in state for Jeb?

Trump even charged that W turned Iraq into “Harvard for terrorists.”

A Trump win in Saturday’s primary would be a clear sign that the GOP Establishment has lose control of the car.

And it would be a rebuke to all the war-hawk Republicans who want to send American men and women into another war in the Middle East.


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Here’s a bright-side scenario for Democrats:

Because of Justice Scalia’s death and the resulting 4-4 Supreme Court tie. Democrats win big cases like redistricting in NC.

Then President Obama nominates a replacement (or a series of them) that Republicans reject, solidifying their reputation as bitter partisans who are willing to hurt America so long as they also hurt Obama.

Which elects Hillary Clinton. Who nominates Obama to the Supreme Court. Where he’ll serve until 2040 if he lives as long as Scalia. (Probably longer, since he’s healthier).

Then Obama can really change America. Because, as Marco Rubio says, he knows exactly what he’s doing.

Unlike the Republicans.


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It was one of those rare moments when a candidate’s lips moved and, in the next breath, clairvoyance dawned.

The moderator at the New Hampshire debate looked across the stage at Marco Rubio and told him that Chris Christie had said he “wasn’t ready to be President.”

Rubio gave Christie the back of his hand, brushing him off in two sentences, then changing directions said: “And let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world.”

Christie, growling like an irritated bear, poked Rubio about missing votes in the Senate, saying, “That’s not leadership, that’s truancy.” And Rubio gave Christie the back of his hand, again, saying New Jersey’s credit rating had been downgraded nine times under Christie, then added, “Let’s dispel this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He know exactly what he’s doing. He is trying to change this country. He wants America to become more like the rest of the world.”

And that’s when clairvoyance started.

Clutching the podium with one arm, Christie turned and leaned toward Rubio.“That’s what Washington, D.C. does. The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information and then the memorized 25-second speech that is exactly what his advisers gave him.”

Rubio snapped back: “Chris, your state got hit by a massive snowstorm two weeks ago. You didn’t even want to go back. They had to shame you into going back…here’s the bottom line” – then Rubio did it a third time. It was eerie. His tone didn’t change. His inflection didn’t change. He repeated the same speech. And by then clairvoyance was in full throttle.

When Rubio’s lips started moving he was a bright young man and when they stopped he was a robot.

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Marco Rubio’s bad moment got the most attention at the New Hampshire debate but there was another moment we may see again.

When Ted Cruz was asked why his campaign had told Ben Carson’s supporters in Iowa that Carson was dropping out of the race, Cruz looked into the camera and explained how he respected Ben as a good and honorable man then, turning to face Carson, said solemnly, Ben, I apologize.

Cruz then straightened, lips pursed, and leaning forward over the podium, looking straight into the camera, continued.

“Let me tell you the facts for those who are interested to know. On Monday night [in Iowa], at about 6:30, CNN reported that Ben was not going from Iowa to New Hampshire or South Carolina – rather, he was, quote, ‘Taking a break from campaigning.’ They reported that on television. CNN’s political anchors, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash and Wolf Blitzer, said it was highly unusual and highly significant. My political team saw CNN’s report breaking news and they forwarded that news to our volunteers.”

CNN, Cruz went on to explain, didn’t correct its misleading story until 9:15 that night – three hours later.

It sounded reasonable. CNN had made a mistake. Cruz’s campaign had repeated it. And Cruz had apologized.

But, then, Ben Carson said softly, “In fact, the timeline indicates that initial tweet from CNN was followed by another one within one minute that clarified that I was not dropping out.”

Ben Carson had caught Ted Cruz red-handed. But he stopped there – and didn’t try to nail Cruz the way Chris Christie nailed Marco Rubio. He didn’t say, Ted, you intentionally left out that fact for one reason: You just tried to fool people in New Hampshire, the same way you tried to fool them last Monday night in Iowa.

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Carter & Gary
Carter Wrenn
Gary Pearce
The Charlotte Observer says: “Carter Wrenn and Gary Pearce don’t see eye-to-eye on many issues. But they both love North Carolina and know its politics inside and out.”
Carter is a Republican. 
Gary is a Democrat.
They met in 1984, during the epic U.S. Senate battle between Jesse Helms and Jim Hunt. Carter worked for Helms and Gary, for Hunt.
Years later, they became friends. They even worked together on some nonpolitical clients.
They enjoy talking about politics. So they started this blog in 2005. 
They’re still talking. And they invite you to join the conversation.
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