Is the GOP no longer the party of big business? Donald Trump vs. Macy’s. The battle over the Ex-Im bank. Conservatives decrying the same-sex marriage ruling, immigration reform and normalization of relations with Cuba. A lot of stories in the past week have demonstrated how the Republican Party just isn’t a reliably comfortable home for big business anymore. A big part of that has to do with the fast-changing landscape on social issues. Big brands raced to find catchy ways to embrace the same-sex marriage decision last week even as the 2016 Republican candidates denounced it.
As we’ve seen with the spectacularly quick race of businesses like Macy’s and now professional golf organizations away from Donald Trump, companies had no interest in being associated with anti-Latino statements. This is all for financial reasons, by the way; businesses have decided that they don’t want to offend customers and they don’t want to be boycotted. That’s a cynical way to look at, we know. But it also shows just how influential groups like Latinos and the LGBT community have become – not just politically, but when it comes to purchasing power as well.
But Democrats won’t become the party of big business anytime soon, either: As much as social issues or purely policy ones (like the conservative push to nix the Ex-Im bank) complicate businesses’ relationship with the GOP, we’re not suggesting that Chamber of Commerce types are leaping into the arms of Democrats wholesale either. Whether it’s tax policy, the EPA or regulatory reform, there are plenty of reasons that Democrats are still foes when it comes to policies that directly affect the bottom line for big business groups. But as we saw with TPA, the biz community might be realizing that it’s going to take a coalition of pro-business Democrats AND establishment Republicans to get their agenda items addressed. After essentially pulling for one party over the other, don't be surprised if key business groups go back to assessing their political agenda on a case by case basis.
Feel the Bern, again: Two pieces of news are fueling another round of headlines about a Bernie Sanders surge today. One: He drew a crowd of a whopping 10,000 in Madison, Wisconsin last night, the largest of the 2016 race so far. And two,a Quinnipiac poll in Iowa shows that Sanders has cut into Clinton’s lead with Iowa Democratic caucusgoers, going from 15 percent support in May to 33 percent support now. We’ve noted the enthusiasm for Sanders plenty of times before, but we’ll add this: Unlike the Trump bump, the surge for Sanders comes to a candidate who’s going about campaigning the old-fashioned way, camping out in early primary states and talking about the kind of policies that really resonate with the base.
While Republicans are doing everything they can to grab attention, build name recognition and get on the debate stage, Sanders is plodding along – and reaping some dividends for it. By the way, as we’ve said before, the person hurt the most by these Sanders stories is NOT Hillary Clinton right now. It’s Martin O’Malley, who looks less and less like the Clinton alternative with every Sanders headline.
More on Clinton’s $45 million haul: As we wrote yesterday, Hillary Clinton will announce an impressive $45 million-plus fundraising haul. And this morning, POLITICO reports that the trio of super PACs backing her will announce a $20 million total, including about $12 million from Priorities USA Action. There’s been plenty of hand-wringing on the Dem side that Clinton isn’t going to be able to compete with Republicans on the super PAC front, but here’s one reminder: Unlike GOP candidates, she’s not going to burn super PAC cash on the primary. The Hillary super PAC story is most worth revisiting once we get to the general election.
Rubio’s big ad time cache: Marco Rubio has now poured about $10 million into reserved TV air time in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, with nearly $5 million in Iowa, according to WMUR’s John DiStaso. It’s smart, and we’re surprised that we haven’t seen other campaigns talking about doing the same thing. The early buys give Rubio a competitive advantage over other candidates, since he’s been able lock down good time slots for ads – not to mention at a cheaper rate. With a combined 20 or so candidates of both parties running for president – and at least one super PAC for each of ‘em – there could be as many as 40 different political committees jockeying for ad time. There’s only so much advertising time between 6am and 11pm in Iowa and New Hampshire, and candidates who reserve late are simply going to get stuck airing ads in the dead of night. Sooner or later, you’re going to see a panicked run on the available time that’s left.
Scott Walker to file FEC paperwork for 2016 run this morning: Aides confirm to NBC that Scott Walker will file paperwork with the FEC this morning to formally jump into the race, with an announcement event planned for July 13 in Waukesha.
OBAMA AGENDA: Obama touts his Cuba move
He trumpeted the reopening of diplomatic relations in Cuba yesterday, saying “The progress we make today is another demonstration we don't have to be imprisoned by the past.” Here’s our full report.
From the AP: “Loud but hardly universal catcalls from Republicans underscored the obstacles and opportunities ahead as U.S. and Cuban leaders announced an opening of embassies in Havana and Washington and a resumption of diplomatic relations severed the year President Barack Obama was born.”
The latest on the Greek crisis, from Bloomberg: “Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said his country won’t “extend and pretend” that it can pay its debts and that he’ll quit if voters don’t back him up in Sunday’s referendum.”
“Now, in the final push for a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran, accounting for the accomplishments of Mr. Fakhrizadeh and his team of university scientists, missile engineers and military officers is emerging as one of the last and most formidable obstacles — perhaps on a par with the question of whether inspectors will be able, on short notice, to step into any place they suspect might conceal bomb-related work,” writes The New York Times.
OFF TO THE RACES: Feel the Bern?
BUSH: The AP first reported on his voluntary release of a list of donors to his Foundation for Excellence in Education.
CARSON: He’s raised $8.3 million this quarter, per the Wall Street Journal.
CHRISTIE: He broke with social conservatives yesterday in New Hampshire, saying that government workers who oppose same-sex marriage shouldn’t be able to opt out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. “I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” he said.
CLINTON: Here’s our story on her $45 million-plus fundraising haul.
“A trio of pro-Hillary Clinton groups raised more than $20 million in the first half of the year, including at least $1 million from billionaire financier George Soros,” POLITICO scoops.
Another big question for Clinton coming from Democratic donor types: Why isn’t Bill giving an assist to Priorities USA Action?
POLITICO has a big piece on the expanded role that Clinton aide Huma Abedin is playing in Clinton’s campaign. “Abedin, inside sources said, is weaning herself slowly away from a life on the road to occupy a perch overseeing the campaign operation and serving more often as an independent surrogate for her boss.”
The New York Times looks at how she’s playing up her “pop culture status” with gay men.
GRAHAM: He told the Des Moines Register editorial board that he’s “trying to be a practical kind of guy.” MORE: “I'm not the most ideologically pure person in this contest," he said. "But I am a solid conservative fiscally and socially. But above all else I'm ready to be commander in chief. I hope that matters to Iowans. Because I think it will matter to all of us here pretty soon."
RUBIO: WMUR’s John DiStaso writes that Rubio’s planned spending for TV ads leading up to the first four primaries is about $10 million.
SANDERS: In his first stop in Wisconsin since launching his presidential bid, Sanders drew a huge crowd of nearly 10,000 – twice what Hillary Clinton drew to her announcement speech.
His message, per the Journal-Sentinel, included plenty of jabs at Scott Walker. “What this campaign is about is creating a political revolution in America — a revolution which takes on the greed of Wall Street and corporate America,” he said.
A new Quinnipiac poll of Iowa Democratic caucus-goers shows that he’s chipping away at Hillary Clinton’s lead, now trailing her 52% to 33%.
TRUMP: The Washington Post, on his most recent surge: “For Democrats, Donald Trump amounts to a kind of divine intervention. With the Republican Party on an urgent mission to woo Latino voters, one of its leading presidential candidates has been enmeshed for two weeks in a nasty feud over his inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants.”
The AP reports that New York City officials are reviewing the city’s contracts with Donald Trump, and Mayor Bill de Blasio called his comments about Mexican immigrants “disgusting and offensive.”
WALKER: The New York Times writes that Scott Walker’s aggressive shift to the right in Iowa could hurt him in more moderate states.
And around the country…
ALASKA: The Alaska Dispatch News reports that the state has officially dropped its case challenging same-sex marriage.