With about a month to go before the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, there is an emerging political dynamic in both the Republican and Democrat races for president: Electability vs. anger.
Anger has driven much of the contest from both sides. Republicans are angry at President Obama and even angrier at the establishment Republicans who did little to stop him. The argue they had to hold their nose and vote for perceived moderates like John McCain and Mitt Romney, which makes them even more likely to chose someone who speaks their language this time.
Democrats are also angry. Progressives are not happy that President Barack Obama has done little for comprehensive immigration reform, continued a highly controversial drone program, made no progress at campaign finance reform, and oversaw a nation where income inequality and mass shootings increased. This anger has helped the dramatic rise of US Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
At the same time, Republicans want to do whatever it takes to defeat the Democratic national front-runner, Hillary Clinton, and Democrats cannot stand the idea of the words "President Donald J. Trump."
In recent days, campaigns have begun to shift their rhetoric shift from the candidates to their electability. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave a speech in New Hampshire Monday where this was the sole topic. Winning the general election is essentially Ohio Governor John Kasich's main argument now. For former Florida governor Jeb Bush, it is both is greatest strength and greatest curse. That Trump and Clinton shared a back and forth last week served both campaigns well in reminding the base they will take the fight to the other side.
Historically, campaigns typically start arguing their electability about this time in the cycle, so this is nothing new. But with only 27 percent of national polls saying the country is on the right track, and deep disappointment running in both parties, anger could be more electable than electability this year.
Here today: Jim Gilmore, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Carly Fiorina
New Hampshire GOP Race Still Wide Open in the Wall Street Journal: "Despite Donald Trump’s dominance in Republican polls in New Hampshire, interviews with voters and prior voting patterns suggest the GOP race in the state is still very much in play. The contest on the Democratic side also may be tighter than expected.
Franne Ciriello is the kind of undecided independent that presidential candidates from both parties are trying to win. The 62-year-old Manchester small-business owner had warmed to former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina, and was impressed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio when she saw him over the summer. On the Democratic side, she had hopes for former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. Now, she is among a growing number of state voters giving New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie a long look.
New Hampshire voters have long relished putting presidential candidates through intense scrutiny, and voters interviewed at eight political events in recent days revealed a vacillating electorate burdened by the prospect of choosing just one primary contender."
Trump jokingly reprimands supporters in New Hampshire from CNN: "A mostly jovial Trump entertained a full house in a New Hampshire high school gym for about an hour, poking fun not only at political correctness, but the press and potential general election rival, Hillary Clinton.
Trump's reaction to the supporter's claim on Tuesday deviated from how the Republican front-runner handled a similar interaction with a supporter at an event in New Hampshire four months earlier.
Trump took heat in September when he stood silent and chuckled as a man at a town hall event told Trump 'We have a problem in this country ... called Muslims' and accused Obama of being a Muslim.
The Republican also pretended to rebuke a supporter later during his event on Tuesday when supporters suggested Clinton was 'in the bathroom' when not on the campaign trail."
GOP Candidates Get Personal About Addiction in New Hampshire from ABC News: "In the midst of a drug epidemic sweeping the state, several GOP candidates shared their own families’ devastating stories of addiction on Tuesday, joining state leaders at the Addiction Policy Forum at Southern New Hampshire University.
A recent poll by ABC affiliate WMUR and the University of New Hampshire showed for the first time in eight years, Granite State voters don’t view the economy as the top issue facing the state, but rather its skyrocketing rate of overdoses.
In New Hampshire, Silver Is as Good as Gold from Real Clear Politics: "A second-place finish by Christie -- or Rubio or Bush or Kasich, who are all within mere points of one another -- will not only earn delegates (New Hampshire awards them proportionally to candidates who garner more than 10 percent of the vote) but also help to consolidate support within the crowded lane of mainstream Republicans.
'If Trump wins New Hampshire, the Republican Party elite will pay special attention to who finishes second,' says Dante Scala, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire. 'Second prize could be, in that scenario, especially valuable.'"
Here today: Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio
Clinton's tenuous grasp on Iowa from Politico: "Hillary Clinton began 2016 with a two-day, six-stop swing across Iowa aimed at locking down her fragile lead over Bernie Sanders in the Feb. 1 caucuses.
There’s little doubt that Clinton is outpacing the insurgent Vermont senator in Iowa: It’s been four months since Sanders led Clinton in a reliable poll of likely or potential Democratic caucus-goers here. But it’s also been nearly a month since the most recent poll was conducted — a result of pollsters staying out of the field as Iowa voters were focused more on the holidays than on politics.
And while the former secretary of state has led in the past 14 polls conducted by live telephone interviewers, there is another caveat that could give the Clinton campaign pause: In those 14 polls, the only two that show her with a lead of less than 10 points were from The Des Moines Register and legendary Iowa pollster J. Ann Selzer."
In Tight Iowa Race, Ted Cruz Is Counting On Evangelical Voters from NPR: "Cruz is campaigning across Iowa in a bus tour focused on organizing and inspiring the state's influential evangelical voters. More than half of Iowa's Republican caucusgoers are conservative Christians, and a Cruz victory here hinges on his ability to win their support. So Cruz is here asking Republicans to vote for him in the caucuses next month. And at each and every campaign stop he also asks them to pray.
'Just one minute each day to lift up in prayer this country that the awakening, that the spirit of revival that is sweeping this country that it continue and in particular that conservatives continue to unite,' he said at the bookstore."
All about the ground game: GOP campaigns crank up Iowa ops from Fox News: "Going into the Iowa caucuses in 2012, Rick Santorum trailed Mitt Romney by 5 points. Yet when all was said and done – and it took two weeks to figure it out – Santorum prevailed, beating Romney by one-tenth-of-one-percent.
How did he make up the deficit on caucus day? With an extensive ground operation that brought out 29,839 very motivated supporters.
Fast forward to 2016. With 11 candidates still in the race, there is more pressure to identify people who will put on their hat, coat and gloves on a cold Iowa night, warm up the car and spend three to four hours talking politics. With less than a month to go until the caucuses, many of the campaigns are significantly ratcheting up those ground games."
Here today: No one
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to give State of the Union response from USA Today: "South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will deliver the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech next week.
The appointment by Senate and House Republican leaders will only further speculation that the second-term governor of the state that holds the South's pivotal first primary on Feb. 20 is a potential vice presidential candidate in 2016.
Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, has seen her political stock rise since she engineered the removal of the Confederate flag from the state Capitol grounds after the June mass shooting at a prominent black church in Charleston."
Marco Rubio Super PAC Releases South Carolina TV Ad from Time Magazine: "The super PAC supporting Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio aired its first television ad Tuesday in South Carolina.
A 30-second spot by the Conservative Solutions PAC recruits South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy to pitch his home state on the merits of the Senator from Florida."