We believe the road to power is paved (primarily) with good intentions, cold hard cash and a lot of luck. Dishonesty, entitlement and inequality may be words you use to describe American politics … but we couldn’t possibly comment. What we can do is lift the lid on the 2016 campaign’s melodrama to relish the gaffes, slips, feuds and falls of the candidates as they elbow their way toward the Oval Office. This special PDB is brought to you by House of Cards. Season 4 is now streaming only on Netflix.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Seal your windows and hide your children, a scorched-earth political firestorm is coming to America. Super Tuesday confirmed what the polls told us for months: We’re headed for a clash of the titans between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in November. Can the billionaire insurgent take down the seasoned politician? Expect the real estate mogul to slam Clinton’s big donor ties while targeting her scandals, both old and new, and embracing an economic populism that plays well in the Rust Belt. But, most of all, expect the unexpected … and the downright ugly.
The hunched hippie from Vermont — boosted by millennial love — got a lot farther than we thought. But Democrats nationwide are a little too content to hum his tune en masse, and while the socialist has declared he’ll stay on through June, he’ll be doing little more than standing in Hillary Clinton’s shadow. For the GOP, meanwhile, ever-optimistic Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, known for giving victory speeches after losing, won only one state on Super Tuesday, and might be looking to give another “victory” speech in his home state on March 15.
We like the strong, not-silent types. Still wondering how so many Republicans can support an untested populist who’s prone to extremist rhetoric? Ph.D. student Matthew MacWilliams says authoritarianism is the most important variable impacting voter support for Donald Trump — and he’s not referring to the candidate, but rather voters’ desire for order and fear of outsiders. Other researchers have noticed that polarization in American politics is increasingly fueled by a large group of authoritarians, and they believe the influence this voting group wields on U.S. politics will only intensify — with or without Trump.
Police Test Knife Found at O.J. Simpson’s Former Home, Ex-Brazilian President Detained in Petrobras Probe
Republican Ben Carson drops 2016 presidential bid at CPAC (Politico)
L.A. police are testing a knife found at O.J. Simpson’s former home. (CNN)
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva detained in Petrobras probe. (BBC)
EU announces plan to restore Schengen open-border area by end of 2016. (DW)
U.S. jobs report shows healthy boost in February hiring. (NYT)
As the world grapples with the possibility that Donald Trump might be the next U.S. commander in chief, former George W. Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer tackles the questions we’re all dying to have answered. Will the billionaire ad-lib his inaugural address? Lavishly redecorate the White House? Torment U.S. adversaries on Twitter? And just wait until he boasts that his first Supreme Court pick “is the greatest nominee ever selected for anything ever.” It’s hard not to chuckle, even if for many in both parties a Trump presidency is no longer a laughing matter.
He ain’t no Barbie. Brooklyn-based design firm FCTRY has prototyped a 6-inch version of the Vermont senator, launching a Kickstarter campaign to put his slouching, finger-wagging likeness into production. It raised $40,000 within a day, and fans will get their “Early Bern Special #1” this July. The firm also sells Hillary Clinton dolls, donating $1 per order to either candidate’s real-life campaign, but Republicans can put down the phone: FCTRY won’t be pouring Donald Trump, or any of his rivals, into plastic hot pants anytime soon.
Bernie Sanders may be the candidate of choice for most millennials, but that hasn’t stopped others from trying. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is targeting America’s youth with an arsenal of cheesy ’80s references, Clint Eastwood impressions and viral videos like one of “machine-gun bacon” cooking around a gun barrel. Will Cruz’s litany of Princess Bride and Scarface allusions help woo a voting bloc that traditionally leans left on everything from same-sex marriage to immigration? Some critics find it absolutely, totally and, in all other ways, utterly inconceivable.
If you can’t beat the circus, join it. After being mocked as a “lightweight” with a dry mouth, the man Donald Trump diminishes as “Little Marco Rubio” has fought back with a series of his own size- and moisture-related attacks that paint the mogul and GOP front-runner as a “con man” with a “spray tan” and unusually “small hands.” “And you know what they say about guys with small hands,” the Florida senator quipped. “You can’t trust ‘em!” Trump’s short fingers did not tweet a response.
Not long before she left Bernie Sanders’ South Carolina primary hopes in a shambles, the Democratic front-runner and her entourage disrupted a bachelor party at a café in Charleston. The bachelor and his 10 groomsmen were good sports, even posing for a rather awkward photo in which they kneeled around Clinton as if she were the betrothed. “I love having men at my feet,” the blushing bride joked. The groom-to-be, who lives in Georgia, says he remains undecided about whom to vote for in this election.