Open thread: Welcome to the Fall campaign season
We’ve made it to the post-Labor Day portion of the campaign when things will begin to hit high gear as we run up to the primaries early next year. For Republicans, the next debate could be a deal-breaker for some candidates who may end up dropping out in the next sixty days or so. For Democrats, it’s gut-check time if they will carry on with Hillary Clinton, and whether Vice President Joe Biden may also enter the race.
Report on the post-Labor Day Hillary campaign revamp from the Washington Post:
After this summer of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s discontent, when her public support dropped while the stock of real and potential challengers rose, her checklist for a campaign revamp this fall is long.
New humble posture when asked about her use of a private e-mail system for government work? Check.
New reckoning with the possibility that she may lose the New Hampshire primary, and perhaps even the Iowa caucuses? Check.
Feisty, give-as-good-as-she-gets zingers about Republican front-runner Donald Trump? Newsy policy speeches like one on Iran, slated for Wednesday? Not-so-subtle muscle-flexing to discourage a challenge by Vice President Biden? Check, check and check.
“It is going to be a fight,” Clinton said here Sunday, part of a full Labor Day weekend schedule in New Hampshire and Iowa despite a hoarse and raspy voice. “Make no mistake about it. It is going to be a hard election.”
The polls are taking a toll and her campaign is beginning an offensive to steady her sagging numbers and fight back against a Bernie Sanders insurgency.
Republicans are currently dealing with how to approach the situation in Kentucky where a County Clerk (who is an elected Democrat) is defying a court order and refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Report on the field split from Fox News:
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is planning a rally Tuesday in support of Davis, and says he’s offered her “prayers and support.” The Southern Baptist minister, who won the 2008 Iowa caucuses with the help of a social conservative coalition but is struggling in the polls this time around, argues Davis is on sound legal footing and commended her Friday for “not abandoning her religious convictions and standing strong for her religious liberty.”
On his campaign website, Huckabee posted a “Free Kim Davis” petition and demanded “we must end the criminalization of Christianity!”
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum also has come out strong in support of Davis, as has Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Cruz called Davis’ jailing an act of “judicial tyranny” and encouraged “every believer, every constitutionalist, every lover of liberty to stand with Kim Davis.” And he criticized any 2016 candidate not doing so.
Huckabee, Cruz, and Santorum are speaking loudly in support of Kim Davis. On the other hand, many other Republicans are taking a different approach:
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said “she is sworn to uphold the law.”
Former HP executive Carly Fiorina told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday, “I think that we must protect religious liberties with great passion and be willing to expend a lot of political capital to do so now because it’s clear religious liberty is under assault in many, many ways.”
She added: “Having said that, when you are a government employee, I think you take on a different role. When you are a government employee as opposed to say, an employee of another kind of organization, then in essence, you are agreeing to act as an arm of the government. And, while I disagree with this court’s decision, their actions are clear.”
Fiorina told the host it was now up to Davis to make a personal decision about what is required of her at her job.
The matter of Kim Davis may become a topic at the next GOP debate on September 16.
Finally, also on the GOP side, Donald Trump’s poll numbers continue to skyrocket while Jeb Bush and Scott Walker continue falling. Report from Breitbart:
Current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump maintains a strong lead in New Hampshire, while establishment pick Jeb Bush has steadily lost support in the early-voting Granite State, says the new NBC News/Marist poll.
Trump is 16 percentage points ahead of his closest competitor, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and has 28 percent of likely Republican voters backing him.
Dr. Ben Carson came in third place with 11 percent of the vote, while Bush dropped to fourth place at eight percent.
Bush has lost almost half his supporters in New Hampshire since July, when he was in second place behind Trump with 14 percent to Trump’s 21 percent. Since February’s, he’s lost almost two-thirds of his support, when he was at 18 percent.
Bush’s support in Iowa also dropped by half, according to NBC/Marist poll. In July, he placed third with 12 percent. Now, only six percent of likely Republican voters in the Hawkeye state chose him as their first pick.
In New Hampshire, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker suffered the greatest decline. He’s lost almost three-quarters of his support, and has crashed from 15 percent in February to four percent in early September.
So that is the state of the race at the moment. Consider this an “open thread” for all things related to 2016 as we swing back into campaign mode.