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Wall Street Journal: An Airwaves Strategy to Beat Trump

Doug Sachtleben - February 29th, 2016

The Club for Growth says what worked in Iowa can work elsewhere: ads that link his business record to a lack of character.

Wall Street Journal

February 28, 2016
By Kimberley A. Strassel

David McIntosh has been fighting for economic freedom for 30 years, and he is convinced the battle has reached a hinge moment. “The stakes really are that high,” says the president of the Club for Growth [Action]. “If we don’t do this, it’s all at risk. This is the moment.”

 

By “this” he means denying  Donald Trump the Republican presidential nomination. The club is one of America’s most effective free-enterprise advocacy groups, and for months it has tried to alert voters, often without much other support, to the risks of a Trump nomination.

 

With the primary race now at a decisive moment, Mr. McIntosh is trying to rally support for a sustained anti-Trump push leading up to the winner-take-all primaries on March 15. With Sens.  Marco Rubio and  Ted Cruz finally confronting the front-runner, Mr. McIntosh is convinced that the billionaire can still be defeated with the help of a sustained TV and social-media assault.

“We’ve got people on our side still saying, ‘Let’s wait and see.’ Or ‘maybe we can fix this in a brokered convention,’ ” says Mr. McIntosh. “My message is that’s too late. It’s got to be now.”

 

When Mr. McIntosh took over the Club for Growth presidency more than a year ago, the former Indiana congressman had no idea his first real fight would be trying to stop a TV celebrity from hijacking the Republican Party. The club [PAC] usually plays in House and Senate campaigns, and it is backing no presidential candidate. “We’re neutral on the other candidates. We’ve said that both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are gold standards—either would be great on economic issues. This is about stopping Trump.”

 

The Club for Growth has warned about Mr. Trump for months, even as others slumbered. The group produces white papers on every presidential candidate, parsing records and policies on taxes, trade, spending and entitlement reform. The summaries on most candidates this year are either complimentary or mixed. The one on Mr. Trump began, “Donald Trump is not a pro-growth conservative.”

 

Mr. McIntosh’s concern escalated as the billionaire rose in the primaries even as polling showed that Mr. Trump would lose in November. “He loses the general. But his presence on the ticket also loses us the Senate,” he says. With the recent death of Justice  Antonin Scalia, he adds, “that means we lose the Supreme Court too. And that’s the most devastating. You can win back the Senate in two; you can compete for the White House in four; but the court, you lose every issue for a generation.”

 

Club for Growth [Action] believes voters must be educated about Mr. Trump’s long history of progressive economic views. But those views must also be seen as a function of Mr. Trump’s commercial interests—that is, that he has a political character problem.

 

The group produced two such ads in Iowa that it says hurt the candidate who had otherwise brushed off criticism. One focused on Mr. Trump’s support for the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision that let government seize private property for developers. The ad said: “Trump can make millions. We lose our property rights.”

 

A second Iowa ad recounted Mr. Trump’s past calls for higher taxes, government-run health care and the Wall Street bailout, and argued that he is conning voters. It ends: “Trump. Just another politician.”

 

The club [CFG Action] spent $1 million on those ads from Sept. 15 through Oct. 5. According to the RealClearPolitics polling average, Mr. Trump peaked in Iowa around Sept. 21, with 28% of the vote, then began a slide to 22% by Oct. 6—where he stayed for nearly a month after the ads came down. He finished second with 24%.

 

Mr. McIntosh’s group skipped New Hampshire, where Mr. Trump dominated and no one took him on. The club [CFG Action] did put up ads in South Carolina. Mr. Trump won, though Mr. McIntosh believes that the ads helped cut a 20-point lead to 10. “The message of all those ads was: ‘He’s playing us for chumps.’ And it resonated,” he says.

 

The plan now is to apply this strategy across the key remaining primary states. The club [CFG Action] has already raised enough money to run anti-Trump ads in two states that vote Tuesday: Oklahoma and Arkansas. The goal is to soften up Mr. Trump enough to let his competitors win a state or two. “This part is about showing that he can be beat,” says Mr. McIntosh. The Super Tuesday states allocate their delegates on a proportional basis, so a stronger Rubio or Cruz showing would limit Mr. Trump’s delegate lead.
The main targets are the first winner-take-all primaries on March 15—Florida, Ohio, Missouri and Illinois. The club is producing new ads that will focus on the victims of Mr. Trump’s business practices—his bankruptcies, Trump University, eminent domain. “They’ll show that when Trump is in charge, real average people get hurt—that he’s dangerous, that he’s not who he says he is,” Mr. McIntosh says.

 

The club [CFG Action] president knows that Mr. Trump’s core supporters won’t be moved. The ads are aimed instead at the 10% to 15% of the GOP electorate who are intrigued by the billionaire’s brashness but peel away when they learn more about his past. If the club [CFG Action] can diminish Mr. Trump, then other candidates might be able to win those states, and Mr. Trump will have a harder time getting a delegate majority.

 

Mr. McIntosh is also pleased that Messrs. Cruz and Rubio have picked up the club’s strategy. Mr. Rubio is hitting Mr. Trump’s business past and Mr. Cruz is hammering the point that Mr. Trump “takes advantage of the little guy.” This is a theme, Mr. McIntosh says, “that can work.”

 

Mr. McIntosh must raise enough money to mount a sustained campaign, and he admits some donors have been reluctant to join the fight. Some still hold the fantasy that Mr. Trump will implode, while others want their favorite candidate to attack the other non-Trumps and be the last one standing.

 

Others worry about becoming a Trump target. The billionaire recently tweeted about a donor who had given money to a separate anti-Trump effort: “I hear the Rickets [sic] family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending $’s against me. They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!” Cubs owner  Tom Ricketts said his family will continue to “stand up for what we believe in,” but others have been intimidated.

 

Mr. Trump has threatened to sue the Club for Growth [Action] for its ads and has demanded Mr. McIntosh’s resignation. Mr. McIntosh called the club’s board chairman,  Steve Stephens, to warn him: “I said, ‘Trump’s calling for me to be fired.’ And he was great. His response was: ‘Just go get him.’ And that’s what we’ve all got to do.”
Ms. Strassel writes the Journal’s Potomac Watch column on Fridays.

 

Paid for by Club for Growth Action and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. 202.955.5500

Sen. Ben Sasse Endorses Jim Banks

Stacy French - February 25th, 2016

Why I’m endorsing Jim Banks in the 3rd District

By Ben Sasse for The News-Sentinel

Thursday, February 25, 2016 8:01 AM

There is a debate raging today about what being a conservative means. Are you “establishment” or are you “anti-establishment”?

These terms get thrown around so much that sometimes they lose their meaning.

I’m anti-establishment — and by that I mean that Washington is a mess and we must change the way we do business. We have to have more urgency about fighting for the big things, and we should call nonsense on fake budgets and fake math.

But saying that by itself is not enough.

Being “anti” anything is not enough. It’s not enough to persuade anyone to join your cause or your project, whether we are talking about your non-profit, your business or your political party. This is bigger than winning an election. We face a constitutional crisis, and defending the American creed requires candidates who can explain what we are for.

That’s why I have decided to endorse Indiana State Sen. Jim Banks for Congress in the 3rd Congressional Dstrict.

I first got a chance to meet Jim in Afghanistan, where he was deployed with the U.S. Navy.

He has a record of service to our country and to others. I’m a rookie in politics, (I was just elected to the United States Senate in 2014), but so far, I’ve made protection of religious freedom and the promotion of American leadership in the world to defeat ISIS and turn back Iranian and Russian expansionism two of my focuses. Jim has a record of leadership on both of these issues.

There are lots of good people running in this congressional primary, and I’m sure that most of them would vote right. But “voting right” is not enough in and of itself. This year, the people of Indiana’s third congressional district have a chance to do something truly unique. Banks isn’t going to be just another back-bench congressman. He’s going to be an immediate leader.

Here’s why I think so: We need more people in the Republican party who, in addition to voting for constitutional values, will also be winsome, articulate explainers of conservatism. The fact is that the Republican Party has lost the last two elections. If we are ever going to be in power again, we are going to have to persuade a whole bunch of people who voted twice for Barack Obama to join our cause.

How do we do that? Not by compromising our core conservative principles, but by making the case for limited government — explaining to the American people why we are not just against bad policies, but why we are for working people. We aren’t against failed big government programs because we’re mean old Republicans. No, we’re against them because they hurt the poor and the middle class.

The fact is that America is the most exceptional national nation in the history of the world because the United States Constitution is the best political document that’s ever been written. It says something different than almost any other government or political document has ever said in human history.

Just about every other government says that might makes right, that government gets to decide what rights are and the people are just dependent subjects. Our Founders believed something very different. They said no, God gives us rights by nature, and government is just our shared project to secure those rights.

Government is not the author or source of our rights. Government simply exists to secure a framework for ordered liberty where people can voluntarily come together in community together out of a heart of gratitude and build something great for their children, friends and neighbors.

This is a special inheritance we have been given, and we are on the verge of losing it. Ronald Reagan said that we are always just one generation away from losing freedom. We don’t get it via the bloodstream or by osmosis. We have to constantly re-teach our kids and our neighbors the meaning of America.

Banks understands this, and more than that, he can actually explain it. That’s a pretty rare thing in our party today.

The era of Republicans functioning as the party of opposition must come to an end. We must show the American people that we can lead by explaining what we are for. This takes wisdom, experience, a commitment to conservative principle and an ability to persuade.

That’s Jim Banks. Hoosiers need him in Congress.

Ben Sasse is a Republican United States senator from Nebraska.

See more: http://www.news-sentinel.com/opinion/your-voice/Why-I-m-endorsing-Jim-Banks-in-the-3rd-District

Paid for by Club for Growth PAC and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. 202.955.5500

In The News… 2.25.16

Stacy French - February 25th, 2016
  • San Diego residents to vote on a minimum wage hike in June. Local business owners are urging residents to vote against the proposal, Daily Signal
  • ‘Obamacare is wide open to fraud, and they’re not going to fix it,’ Fiscal Times

  •  NJ.com on the ad campaign exposing Trump by Club For Growth Ation in Oklahoma and Arkansas
Paid for by Club for Growth Action and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. 202.955.5500

Birds Of A Feather…

Stacy French - February 24th, 2016

Liberal corporate welfare millionaire Republican in Congress endorses Trump

The Buffalo News reports:

“Donald Trump has clearly demonstrated that he has both the guts and the fortitude to return our nation’s jobs stolen by China, take on our enemies like ISIS, Iran, North Korea and Russia, and most importantly, reestablish the opportunity for our children and grandchildren to attain the American Dream,” Collins said in a statement released first to The Buffalo News. “That is why I am proud to endorse him as the next President of the United States.” …

“If we want to get our nation’s economy growing again and deal with the daunting fiscal issues threatening America’s future, it’s time to say no to professional politicians and yes to someone who has created jobs and grown a business,” Collins said.

Collins’ business benefitted from $8 million in subsidies from the Export-Import Bank. He hustled around the Hill to save and later revive Ex-Im.

So, like Trump, he is a liberal Republican corporate-welfare beneficiary who opposes free enterprise. It’s fitting he endorsed Trump.

See more: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/liberal-corporate-welfare-millionaire-republican-in-congress-endorses-trump/article/2584065?custom_click=rss

Paid for by Club for Growth Action and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. 202.955.5500

 

In The News… 2.24.16

Stacy French - February 24th, 2016

  •  Times Record on Club For Growth Action’s ad campaign attacking Trump in Arkansas and Oklahoma
Paid for by Club for Growth Action and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. 202.955.5500