I knew something like this was coming and quite frankly I’m surprised it took Trump so long to play the voter fraud card. It’s a logical extension of his demonization of Hispanics, Muslims, refugees and all the other people he believes are preventing America from being great again. It’s become an article of faith among Republicans that Democrats must cheat to win elections. The only difference here is that Trump is accusing another Republican of doing so. The GOP’s fraud crusade goes back to the George W. Bush administration. The 2000 election in Florida, which was marred by a disastrous voter purge of alleged ex-felons, empowered a new right-wing voter fraud movement, which hyped the threat of fraud in order to restrict access to the ballot for partisan gains. The Justice Department was taken over by ultra-conservatives like Attorney General John Ashcroft who made combating fraud a top priority. US Attorneys in states like New Mexico and Washington were fired for not undertaking new prosecutions, and new voting restrictions, like Georgia’s voter ID law, were approved by the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division over objections from career lawyers. Rick Hasen dubbed these people the “fraudulent fraud squad.” (I write extensively about this in my book Give Us the Ballot Though little fraud was ever found, the fraud craze grew much louder when Barack Obama ran for president. John McCain alleged in 2008 that ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history.” After the election, one poll found that 52 percent of Republicans believed that ACORN had stolen the election for Obama.
Editorials: Ted Cruz’s Iowa Mailers Are More Fraudulent Than Everyone Thinks | Ryan Lizza/The New Yorker
… On Saturday, Twitter came alive with pictures from voters in the state who received mailers from the Cruz campaign. At the top of the mailers, in a bold red box, are the words “VOTING VIOLATION.” Below that warning is an explanation:
You are receiving this election notice because of low expected voter turnout in your area. Your individual voting history as well as your neighbors’ are public record. Their scores are published below, and many of them will see your score as well. CAUCUS ON MONDAY TO IMPROVE YOUR SCORE and please encourage your neighbors to caucus as well. A follow-up notice may be issued following Monday’s caucuses.
Below that, a chart appears with the names of the recipient of the mailing as well as his neighbors and their voting “grade” and “score.”
… After looking at several mailers posted online, I was more curious about how the Cruz campaign came up with its scores. On all the mailers I saw, every voter listed had only one of three possible scores: fifty-five per cent, sixty-five per cent, or seventy-five per cent, which translate to F, D, and C grades, respectively. Iowans take voting pretty seriously. Why was it that nobody had a higher grade?
It says something about the topsy-turviness of the Republican presidential race that TV star and frontrunner Donald Trump spent more on his “Make America Great Again” hats in the last quarter than down-the-field candidate Bobby Jindal spent on his entire campaign. In the US money and politics are firmly bound in a mutually beneficial relationship. The quarterly fundraising figures are as closely watched as the day-to-day polls for indicators of how the candidates are performing. The money race is the “invisible primary” as the cash totals are used as a proxy for viability and popularity. Large numbers of small donors show broad support which can turn on big donors too. “Success begets success,” said Rick Hasen, a professor at the University of California, Irvine who specialises in election law. “Being able to show you have lots of people supporting you is a good way to get the big fish to give you money too.”
Even a presidential candidate’s most devoted supporters could be forgiven for trying to tune out the torrent of campaign emails, Twitter messages, Facebook posts, Instagrams and Snapchats that steadily flood voters’ inboxes and social-media feeds in this digitized, pixelated, endlessly streaming election cycle. But a text message is different. A text message — despite its no-frills, retro essence — is something personal. Something invasive. Something almost guaranteed to be read. So last month, when Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont staged what his aides called the most important night of his three-month-old campaign for the Democratic nomination — cramming 100,000 of his followers into house parties from coast to coast, to whip them into foot soldiers — he did not solicit email addresses or corral the attendees into a special Facebook group. Instead, his digital organizing director, Claire Sandberg, asked each participant to send a quick text establishing contact with the campaign.
Two developments caught the attention of the political fund-raising world last week. First is the eye-popping amount of presidential campaign money Senator Ted Cruz’s supporters reported raising in just a week — $31 million in big checks from affluent conservatives. This bonanza offers further evidence that the 2016 election has already become a runaway race of “super PACs” allowed to raise unlimited funds from uber-rich donors out to reap political influence.
The four super-PACs preparing to give a $31 million boost to the presidential hopes of Texas Senator Ted Cruz represent the latest twist in the infiltration of big money in politics—and a way for wealthy donors to have an even more direct say in how their money is spent. One of the constellation of committees first reported Wednesday by Bloomberg appears to be underwritten by Republican mega-donor Robert Mercer and his family. Campaign lawyers said the arrangement is unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. “It’s something to watch,” said Jason Abel of Steptoe & Johnson, who is not involved with the super-PACs. Abel and other lawyers speculated that multiple committees, all of which are named some form of “Keep the Promise,” were created to satisfy the whims of individual donors.
National: Presidential candidates-to-be make the most of fundraising rule-bending | Los Angeles Times
The charade comes to an end this month for many of the 2016 presidential contenders, who have long avoided saying they are running — while they are so obviously running — in order to sidestep rules that burden declared candidates. Ted Cruz is already in. Rand Paul is expected to follow suit Tuesday. Marco Rubio has a big announcement planned a week later. The timing, like most things in politics, is driven by money. April marks the start of a sprint to raise as much of it as possible for an official candidacy before the summer reporting deadline, which lands as televised primary debates are about to get underway. Candidates who fail to show that the early big money is flowing into campaign accounts could quickly falter. One big exception is Jeb Bush. Although he is perhaps the least coy of the pre-candidates about his plans to run — and among the most aggressive fundraisers — his announcement may not come for a while.
Editorials: Conservatives’ 17th Amendment repeal effort: Why their plan will backfire. | David Schleicher/Slate
ver the past year, an increasingly central plank of conservative and Tea Party rhetoric is that constitutional change is needed and that the 17th Amendment in particular, which gives state residents the power to elect senators directly, should be repealed. (Previously, senators were selected by the state legislatures). Hard-right figures across the country, from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to Georgia Senate candidate Rep. Paul Broun to a steady drumbeat of state officials, have now called for repealing the amendment and giving the power to select senators back to the state legislatures. Radio host Mark Levin’s book The Liberty Amendments, calling for repeal, among other constitutional changes, was the best-selling book on constitutional law last year. Clearly this is an idea with legs. This boomlet of energy for repealing the 17th Amendment is not the first in recent memory. Back in 2010, repeal was similarly endorsed by a bevy of conservative bigwigs from Justice Antonin Scalia to Gov. Rick Perry to now-Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). Back then, support for repeal was mocked in Democratic campaign ads as kooky, but perhaps it’s time to concede that it is no longer a fringe idea. Given the ascendance of the right flank of the GOP, it’s worth taking the argument for repeal seriously.
Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee were mostly no-shows at Wednesday’s high-profile hearing on restoring a portion of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court last month. The Republicans chalked up their absence to scheduling confusion. With a brief appearance, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz became the only Republican to join Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and a packed room to hear testimony about updating formulas in the 1965 law that required jurisdictions in 15 states to clear changes to voting procedures with the Justice Department. “I actually was asking my staff, I think that may have been an oversight,” Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who sits on the committee, said. “I think that might have been an oversight because I had other scheduling, other matters scheduled.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Monday said he would offer an amendment to the Senate immigration bill to counteract a Supreme Court decision striking down state laws requiring voters to prove their citizenship. Cruz’s amendment, which he plans to attach to the bipartisan Gang of Eight bill being debated this week in the Senate, would allow states to require IDs before voters register under the federal “Motor Vehicle” voter registration law. The high court on Monday overturned an Arizona law requiring people to prove their citizenship if they wanted to register through that law. In a 7-2 vote, the court ruled in the case of Arizona v. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. that state law was trumped by federal law and Arizona could not require voters to provide additional information.