A close vote in Ohio keeps the race tough for Mitt Romney and allows the former Pennsylvania senator to stay in the delegate hunt.
STEUBENVILLE, OHIO -- Mitt Romney's people thought Mitt Romney was going to win Ohio on Super Tuesday. Rick Santorum's people thought Mitt Romney was going to win Ohio, too.
But in the end, the result was closer than anyone anticipated, with Romney pulling narrowly ahead late Tuesday night by a margin of a single percentage point. Santorum, who had led early returns for much of the evening, had clearly given Romney a bad scare, and it was enough for him to claim a moral victory.
"We've won races all over this country against the odds," Santorum told a few hundred supporters who gathered in a high-school gymnasium in this Ohio Valley steel town, not far from Pittsburgh on the other side of the Ohio River. "When they thought, 'OK, he's finally finished,' we keep coming back. We are in this thing."
Santorum nearly won this pivotal state despite having been outspent by a wide margin. In the other states that voted, Romney also underperformed somewhat. He won Idaho, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Virginia, but Santorum took Oklahoma, Tennessee, and North Dakota, while Newt Gingrich ran away with Georgia.
Santorum's chief strategist, John Brabender, said GOP voters were sending a message to Romney: Not so fast. "He's saying, 'It's halftime, I'm winning, let's call the game.' And people aren't buying it," Brabender said.
The Republican race has taken on a Groundhog Day quality. Every state that votes seems to reset the clock from zero. Every step toward victory by the ostensible front-runner gets greeted by an equal and opposite backlash.
Santorum has proven to be an unexpectedly resilient candidate. Unlike Romney's previous chief rival, Newt Gingrich, he has declined to implode on his own, despite a penchant for regrettable statements and a slapdash campaign operation. The barrage of attacks from Romney and his super PAC do not seem to have convinced voters he's unacceptable.
"He has something you can't buy and can't make up, and that is he's got the ability to connect with people," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who switched his support from Romney to Santorum, his former Senate colleague, a couple of weeks ago. "He may mathematically lose tonight, but he has won."
Romney, meanwhile, "is not improving. He's no better a candidate than he was four years ago," DeWine said.
In his speech here Tuesday night, Santorum signaled he plans to continue his focus on Romney's health-care record, using new evidence of Romney's recent support for federal health-insurance mandates to paint him as not only a traitor to conservatism but deceptive as well. Santorum has yet to explain his own imperfect record on the issue, but it's a topic that undoubtedly resonates with primary voters.
Michael Foit, a 58-year-old delivery truck driver in Amsterdam, Ohio, who came to see Santorum in Steubenville, said he saw Romney's pursuit of health-care reform as indicative of a dangerous openness to government intrusion in people's lives. "I'm leery when it comes to people with socialistic ideas," he said. "We are not a socialistic country."
How big a setback Romney has really been dealt remains to be seen. Next on the calendar come primaries in Kansas, Alabama, and Mississippi, all of which could be difficult territory for Romney. Though Gingrich remains a wild card, his failure to perform in Tennessee and Oklahoma -- he finished third, behind Romney, in both states -- doesn't bode well for his supposed strategy of doing well in the South. Santorum hopes that even if Gingrich stays in, voters will now abandon his candidacy as unviable.
Nonetheless, Romney retains a sizable advantage in terms of delegates and will get more delegates out of Ohio because Santorum failed to file delegate slates in some counties. If he does manage to pull it out, it seems clear it will be not with a bang but a whimper. As in Ohio, it will be narrowly, down to the wire, and with the maximum amount of stress and suffering.
He lives near San Francisco, makes more than $50,000 per year, and is voting for the billionaire to fight against political correctness.
For several days, I’ve been corresponding with a 22-year-old Donald Trump supporter. He is white, has a bachelor’s degree, and earns $50,000 to $60,000 per year.
He lives near San Francisco.
“I recently became engaged to my Asian fiancée who is making roughly 3 times what I make, and I am completely supportive of her and proud she is doing so well,” he wrote. “We’ve both benefitted a lot from globalization. We are young, urban, and have a happy future planned. We seem molded to be perfect young Hillary supporters,” he observed, “but we're not. In 2016, we're both going for Trump.”
At first, we discussed Bill Clinton.
Last week, I wrote an article asking why Trump supporters aren’t bothered that their candidate called Clinton a shameful abuser of women who may well be a rapist. After all, Trump used to insist that Clinton was a victim of unfair treatment during his sex scandals. Either Trump spent years defending a man that he believed to be a sexual predator, even welcoming him as a guest at his wedding, or Trump is now cynically exploiting a rape allegation that he believes to be false.
A 1979 book on presidential selection inadvertently predicted the rise of Trump—and the weakness of a popular primary system.
Predictions are dangerous business, especially in the hall of mirrors that American politics has become. Suffice it to say, no one called this U.S. presidential election cycle—not Trump, not Sanders, not any of it.
Except, perhaps, in a round-about way, a 1979 book about the presidential-primary system. James Ceaser, a University of Virginia professor, outlined the history and potential weaknesses of various nomination processes, including one that largely relies on popular primaries. Starting in the early 1970s, Democrats and Republicans began reforming their primary-election processes, transferring influence over nominations away from party leaders to voters. This kind of system is theoretically more democratic, but it also has weaknesses—some of which have been on display in 2016. When I spoke with a couple of conservative political-science professors about their field last month, one of them remarked, with just a hint of jealousy, “I expect Jim Ceaser to take a victory lap around the country saying I told you so.”
A conversation about how Game of Thrones’s latest twist fits in with George R.R. Martin’s typically cliché-busting portrayal of disability
In 2014, a few media outlets ran stories diagnosing Game of Thrones’s Hodor as having expressive aphasia, a neurological condition restricting speech. Some aphasia experts pushed back, saying that while Hodor has often been described as “simple-minded” or “slow of wits,” aphasia only affects linguistic communication—not intelligence.
Finally, an explanation for Bitchy Resting Face Nation
Here’s something that has always puzzled me, growing up in the U.S. as a child of Russian parents. Whenever I or my friends were having our photos taken, we were told to say “cheese” and smile. But if my parents also happened to be in the photo, they were stone-faced. So were my Russian relatives, in their vacation photos. My parents’ high-school graduation pictures show them frolicking about in bellbottoms with their young classmates, looking absolutely crestfallen.
It’s not just photos: Russian women do not have to worry about being instructed by random men to “smile.” It is Bitchy Resting Face Nation, seemingly forever responding “um, I guess?” to any question the universe might pose.
This does not mean we are all unhappy! Quite the opposite: The virile ruler, the vodka, the endless mounds of sour cream—they are pleasing to some. It’s just that grinning without cause is not a skill Russians possess or feel compelled to cultivate. There’s even a Russian proverb that translates, roughly, to “laughing for no reason is a sign of stupidity.”
A real-time chronicle of Donald Trump’s unpresidential statements.
People will look back on this era in our history, to see what was known about Donald Trump while Americans were deciding whether to choose him as president. Here’s a running chronicle from James Fallows on the ways in which Trump has been unpresidential in an unprecedented way. (If you’d like to flag examples to include, please let us know.)
In the 1990s, A.J. Benza learned first hand how the real-estate developer got his name––and his net worth––in all the New York City papers.
Earlier this month, I heard A.J. Benza, the host of the celebrity-scandal show “Case Closed with A.J. Benza,” tell the podcast host Adam Carolla about his younger days as a gossip reporter in New York City. He hung out with celebrities until the wee hours of the morning, reported out sensational rumors, and constantly traded favors in order to get juicy tidbits for columns at Newsday and the New York Daily News. Most trades involved information he wanted about a particular person at a particular moment––and he would then owe his source a favor in the future.
“Donald Trump was the biggest guy in the world with that,” he said. “Trump spent every morning on the phone with me, with Page 6––he loved to get his name in the paper. As a result, he would drop dimes on other people in every industry he knew dirt on. You put the story in the paper, and then, three days later, you say, ‘Donald Trump was at a Knicks game with this supermodel.’ And he’s happy. That’s all it took.”
Our peshmerga are the best fighting force against ISIS in Iraq. But we cannot force Sunni and Shia Arabs to live together in peace.
This week marked the start of offensives ultimately aimed at retaking two of ISIS’s last major urban strongholds—Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital in Syria, and Fallujah, the first major Iraqi city to fall to ISIS some two years ago. The final prize, Mosul, seems to remain out of reach for the foreseeable future, despite indications a year ago that a battle to retake the city could come any day. An Iraqi army offensive launched in late March stalled quickly.
Mosul is Iraq’s second-largest city. ISIS wrested it from Iraqi government control in 2014 in its first major show of strength, and it is where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a “caliphate” and demanded the allegiance of the world’s Muslims. Taking it back will be essential to winning the war against ISIS. But as fighters opposed to ISIS try to advance elsewhere on the battlefield, little is being done to promote the reconciliation between Shia and Sunni Arabs that Iraq really needs—both to construct a force capable of beating ISIS, in Mosul and beyond, and to create the political conditions to prevent its return.
A rock structure, built deep underground, is one of the earliest hominin constructions ever found.
In February 1990, thanks to a 15-year-old boy named Bruno Kowalsczewski, footsteps echoed through the chambers of Bruniquel Cave for the first time in tens of thousands of years.
The cave sits in France’s scenic Aveyron Valley, but its entrance had long been sealed by an ancient rockslide. Kowalsczewski’s father had detected faint wisps of air emerging from the scree, and the boy spent three years clearing away the rubble. He eventually dug out a tight, thirty-meter-long passage that the thinnest members of the local caving club could squeeze through. They found themselves in a large, roomy corridor. There were animal bones and signs of bear activity, but nothing recent. The floor was pockmarked with pools of water. The walls were punctuated by stalactites (the ones that hang down) and stalagmites (the ones that stick up).
The presumptive Republican nominee harshly criticized the judge presiding over a Trump University lawsuit.
Gonzalo Curiel is a federal judge in southern California and a former federal prosecutor. He is also, according to Donald Trump, “a hater of Donald Trump.”
The presumptive Republican nominee for president devoted almost a quarter of his hour-long rally in San Diego on Friday night to criticizing Curiel, who is currently presiding over a class-action lawsuit against the real-estate businessman for his role in Trump University.
During his disjoined remarks at the rally, Trump invoked Curiel’s ethnicity, said the judge should recuse himself from the trial, called for an investigation into him, described him as “negative” and a “hater,” insisted on a summary dismissal of the case, complained about being “railroaded by a legal system,” and asserted he would win the trial.