FORKEN | How an Autopsy and Jeb Bush Predicted Donald Trump’s Presidential Run

After a 332-206 shellacking in the 2012 Electoral College, the Republican National Committee issued an autopsy diagnosing the failure at hand and providing guidance to future Republican candidates. In the months preceding the election and prior to the auto-autopsy, two congressional scholars with bipartisan Beltway credentials penned a notorious op-ed in The Washington Post titled, “Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.” In December 2014, before he had declared himself a candidate, Jeb Bush imagined that the 2016 nominee would have to be willing to “lose the primary to win the general without violating your principles.” Roughly three years after the autopsy report was published, Donald Trump revealed his candidacy to capture the Republican nomination for President of the United States. The announcement seemed like a gag at the time, a publicity stunt to sell neckties and brand hotels; of course, it was unforeseeable that Trump intended to double down on the aforementioned evaluations in the most perverse manner imaginable, positioning himself for primary success yet general doom. Before President Barack Obama won his second term over Mitt Romney, political scientists Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein — who was, and still is, employed by the conservative American Enterprise Institute – wrote that, “The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

FORKEN | Non-Democratic Country Calls for Democratic Nominating System

Alas, the Big Apple is finally a political epicenter in national politics. Given a prolonged Democratic race that few foresaw mere months ago, along with the potential for a contested convention on the Republican side, New York finds itself playing host to scrambling candidates grasping to secure delegates. Though Manhattan typically provides substance for a national media, it is the surrounding countryside that the candidates have crisscrossed the state to reach. If you’ve happened upon Republican front-runner Donald Trump (R?) or insurgent Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Upstate area over the past weeks, chances are you’ve heard about how the elites and/or wealthy have corrupted and perverted our supposed democratic nominating system. Take Trump in reference to a would-be contested contention, “But I will say this: It’s a rigged system.

FORKEN | Nominate Trump to Save The Republican Party

From July 18 to 21 in Cleveland, Republican delegates will vote for the nominee to represent their Party for President of the United States, with 1,237 delegates required for any candidate to receive the nomination on the first-ballot. With Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) consistently leading polls ahead of the Wisconsin Republican primary, the chances of front-runner Donald Trump winning the presidential nomination on the first-ballot — the only candidate with a chance to do so — at the GOP convention appear poised to decline, perhaps fatally. If a candidate doesn’t receive the support of the required 1,237 delegates on the first-ballot, when certain delegates are bound to candidates based on the primary results of the states they represent, then delegates are no longer tied to state results and a contested convention is in full swing. Most interpret this turn of events as the increasingly inevitable scenario in which the Republican Party can finally rid itself of Trump and install Cruz, Governor John Kasich (R-OH) or a currently-not-running Republican elite as a unifying candidate. However, if the ultimate goal of the Party is to retain voters and maintain the longevity of existence, then the Party should nominate Trump.

FORKEN | Dormant Populists Emerge From the Republican Party

The candidate in line to become the Republican nominee for president is not a Republican. From policy positions to party affiliation, it appears businessman Donald Trump is more RINO (Republican-In-Name-Only), than Ronald Reagan incarnate. While this isn’t breaking news and Trump may still fail to capture the nomination, the underlying factors empowering Trump suggest a deeper schism between establishment Republicans and the rest of the party. Question: If Donald Trump isn’t a Republican — nor is he pretending to be one — how is he the front-runner for the Republican nomination? Answer: A significant bloc of voters, who typically identify as Republicans, are also RINOs.

FORKEN | A Political Revolution: No, Not That One

As primary season swings into Super Tuesday, business mogul Donald Trump appears poised to collect a massive delegate haul, while Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) remains a thorn in the side of Hillary Clinton. Seemingly able to generate headlines at will, the businessman owes his success to the media coverage that has suffocated rivals, leaving a multitude of establishment figures — Governor Scott Walker (R-Ohio), Governor Chris Christie (R-N.J.), Governor Jeb Bush (R-Fla.), Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), etc. — incapable of gaining traction. Though the “political revolution” Bernie Sanders so fondly mentions seems to have stalled for the moment, the formerly independent Senator from Vermont continues to remain viable and push the Clinton campaign past its comfort zone. How is it possible that two candidates squarely outside the mainstream of presidential politics have been able to continuously thwart detractors and mount a formidable run at the nomination of either party?

FORKEN | Republican Race May Come Back Down to Earth

The campaigning in preparation for the Iowa caucuses has rewritten the traditional playbook for how to win a presidential election. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the $100-million man who smashed previous fundraising records when he declared his run for the nomination, has struggled to register in national and statewide polls. Senator Ted Cruz, the architect of the 2013 government shutdown and a Senator with virtually no congressional allies, has benefited from the contentious political environment and found traction in Iowa and throughout the SEC primary states. Governing experience is a liability, and policy rollouts have proved trivial. A billionaire businessman and reality-TV star is about to find out if his frontrunner status is built upon his celebrity or actual votes.

FORKEN | Reckless GOP Rhetoric Endangers Planned Parenthood

Three people were killed and nine others were injured following a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs this past Friday. Though an official motive remains unclear, law enforcement officials report that, following his surrender, the suspect stated, “no more baby parts,” an apparent reference to leaked Planned Parenthood videos that surfaced earlier this year. Erick Erickson and Ben Shapiro — editors of RedState and Breitbart, media outlets influential on the right, respectively — initially attempted to cast the incident as a bank robbery, given that the shooting took place near a Chase Bank. Chase refuted these claims, and the tweets have since been deleted or retracted. After the suspect was captured, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told CNN, “You can certainly infer what [the motive] may have been in terms of where it took place and the manner in which it took place,” and Attorney General Loretta Lynch called the attack a, “crime against women receiving health care services.”
The attempt of Erickson and Shapiro to represent the violence as a bank robbery gone wrong illustrates an effort to absolve the right of any responsibility for this attack.

FORKEN | Terrorism Implications Enter 2016 Race

The aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris will continue to reverberate throughout the presidential race. On Saturday night, CBS altered the focus of the Democratic debate to include more national security and foreign policy questions, placing front-runner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the defensive for most of the evening. Despite heightened scrutiny and a few missteps by Clinton, the consensus was that the debate would do little to rework the Democratic field. Though traditional political thought suggests an event that seriously threatens national security would cause voters to align with candidates that have more serious foreign policy experience, it seems likely that the Republican field will remain unchanged as well. Currently, Ben Carson and Donald Trump are the only Republican candidates garnering over 20 percent of the national vote; the first three primary states — Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — each feature Carson and Trump in either first or second place with Ted Cruz placing third in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

FORKEN | Question Candidates, Not Questioners

On Sunday night, representatives from 13 Republican presidential campaigns — staff from the Carly Fiorina team was absent — met in Virginia to discuss the format of future debates and to decide whether the Republican National Committee would have any role in the proceedings. The assembly culminated after days of backlash ensuing CNBC’s handling of the Republican debate last week. During the debate, Ted Cruz slammed the moderators as untrustworthy while Marco Rubio panned journalist John Harwood for misrepresenting his tax plan. Chris Christie found a breakout moment in questioning the legitimacy of questions surrounding a billion-dollar unregulated betting industry. The resulting demands from the campaign summit were sent out to future debate hosts, including Fox Business Network and CNN, without input from the RNC, which had previously managed debate criteria and logistics.

FORKEN | Partisan Politics in House Committee

After 17 months and $4.5 million, the House Select Committee on Benghazi still pushes forward. What was originally designed to investigate the deaths of four Americans at the U. S.  consulate in Benghazi has descended into cross-party allegations of partisanship targeting then-Secretary of State and current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The Committee, headed by Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), has seemingly staggered from one damaging headline to the next over the past two weeks, ultimately undermining the standing of the investigation and lending credibility to accusations of a partisan witch-hunt. First, Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was forced to withdraw his almost certain bid to replace the resigning John Boehner as Speaker of the House after appearing on Fox News and declaring, “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee, [and] what are her numbers today?