August 21, 2016

The idea that this Presidential election is a fool's errand for Republicans is definitely on many minds. RNC Chair Reince Priebus was sent to the Sunday circuit to allay the anxiety of Republicans who concur with this reality. This Week's George Stephanopoulos wanted the soon to be ex-RNC Chair's opinion on what the GOP establishment thinks. Have they given up on the presidential election and will now focus on the down-ticket races more? Several prominent Republicans, nervous about House and Senate races in jeopardy, penned a letter urging the RNC to shift their focus totally to House and Senate contests:


G. Stephanopoulos: Do you believe that Donald Trump is now doing what it takes to change the trajectory of this race?

Reince Priebus: Yes, I think -- I really do, George. I think he's had a great week. I think he's been on message. He's -- he's shown maturity as a candidate.

I think that he is getting into a groove. I think he likes the new style that he has been out on the campaign trail producing and speaking of. So I think he's done great. And I think what you're going to see is these polls will begin to tighten in the next couple of weeks and by Labor Day or thereafter, I think you're going to be back to an even race if we continue down this path.

The fact that maturity or lack thereof is an issue for a seventy year old man is, in itself, very telling. The host asked Reince more specifically about the letter urging the RNC to cut off the funding for the Trump/Pence ticket, showing how Republicans fear terrible consequences from neglected Congressional candidates. Naturally, Priebus evaded the question with overblown praise of the new and improved Trump, all thanks to one speech that had a non-specific apology. When he was asked what he thought about the (establishment GOP) people who wrote the letter and their concerns, he said,

RP: Well, I think some of those folks are good people. I'm sure many of them are. But they don't understand what we do. So for everyone out there to understand, if we're in Ohio, we've got an important race for Senate in Rob Portman and we've got an important race, obviously, for president with Donald Trump.

He argued that the money for down-ticket races isn't affected by the race for the White House race and explained what the RNC does, as if those who wrote the letter don't know.

RP: What we have is most of these states that are in play for president are also important states for the Senate. So the work that we do on the ground in building data files, it's work that both a Senate race and a presidential race needs to have happen. That's what the RNC does.

So there is no -- there's no $50 million or $100 million put away for television. We don't buy TV. So it's not like taking $10 million away from one candidate and giving it to another.

I guess that answers that, so the host asked if he agreed with the rebuke of the Trump ticket by those in other contests, like Senator Mark Kirk (IL) in order to prevent the loss of Congress.

GS: Is it OK with you if those candidates -- and we've already seen Senator Mark Kirk in Illinois repudiate Mr. Trump -- is it OK with you if those candidates follow the path that the RNC Republicans followed back in 1996, when it looked like Bob Dole was losing the race and they went on and said it's time to elect us so that we don't give a blank check to Bill Clinton then, Hillary Clinton now?

RP: ... in 1996, there was soft corporate money coming into the political parties. So nat -- DNC/RNC, back in 1996, could take millions of dollars from corporations and buy television ads. Well, the -- some of those same people that signed that letter were the same people that took away the right for national parties to be able to have that money for television ads.

So there is no soft money pass-through the national parties that, in October, could mean the difference between $100 million to a Senate race or $100 million to a presidential.

He flippantly claimed the history lesson was 'great' but not relevant. Now we pivot to this alleged 'pivot' and the new campaign staff, namely Breitbart's Stephen Bannon. Bannon has been derisive of Paul Ryan and other Congressional Republicans, to put it mildly. Stephanopoulos asked Reince, the invertebrate spokesman for the crazy party, what he thought about this militant fascist who is now Trump's number one guy. They play a clip which shows how Bannon wants to destroy the old-school GOP in favor of the morally bankrupt Tea Party.

GS: Are you confident that he can be in charge of the kind of campaign that the Republican leadership, like Speaker Paul Ryan, are going to be comfortable with?

RP: Well, first of all, I'm never happy with unearned criticisms of either the national parties or great leaders like Paul Ryan. But let me just say this. I think people can pivot into different roles. And ultimately, the person in charge of Donald Trump's campaign is Donald Trump.

And so let me just say, the last few days, I think everyone has seen that we have a continued pathway that Donald Trump has been pursuing, which I think is much better for this campaign. I think he's doing great. I think he's on a great pathway to -- to recalibrating the campaign and getting this thing tight.

He's on a great pathway? Apparently, Donald doesn't have to do a whole helluva lot to impress anyone. How simple it is to change years of career-ending gaffes! Just make one publicity whoring appearance that helped no one and a non-specific apology and presto! Trump has erased every bad thing he's ever done. His new white supremacist right hand man, who really is Priebus' sworn enemy, really isn't that bad after all and why not? If we're playing make believe, let's go "Big League."

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