Donald Trump may be an imperfect candidate — he is coarse, impetuous, antagonistic — but he presents the Republican Party with a perfect dilemma.
Since 1980, when Iowa held its first seriously competitive GOP caucuses, the first-place finisher has gone on to win the party’s nomination less than half the time.
The candidates’ split, in the end, is between optimism and pessimism, between those channeling the anger of unhappy voters and those aiming, in the style of the sunny Ronald Reagan, for inspiration and uplift.
If you’ve got a Twitter account, a Facebook page and a millionaire to fund your ‘super PAC,’ why not run for president?
By Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times INDIANOLA, Iowa — Hillary Rodham Clinton returned Sunday to Iowa for the first time since her devastating loss in the state’s 2008 presidential caucuses and dropped a few hints but nothing definite about her intentions regarding another run in 2016. “I’m back,” the former secretary of State said […]
By Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has a history of insensitive and off-color remarks, apologized Friday for a pair of jokes he made before the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce. “I don’t think you’re smarter than anybody else, but you’ve convinced a lot of us you are,” […]
By Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times As long as there have been state capitals, there have been people outside those capitals lamenting that lawmakers — in Sacramento, Denver, Des Moines, Atlanta, fill-in-the-blank — are too far removed and too far detached from the people and interests they’re supposed to be representing. In California, those […]
By Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times Returning to Iowa in grand fashion, Hillary Rodham Clinton will appear next month at Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry, accompanied by her husband in a double bill that will close out a decades-long Iowa tradition. Harkin, who is retiring after 40 years in the Senate, has long […]
By Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times It’s been nearly three years since Rick Perry stood on a debate stage in Michigan and fumbled fruitlessly for the name of the third federal agency he vowed to eliminate as president. Since then, the Texas governor has worked assiduously to restore his once-platinum political reputation — the Republican […]
By Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times Texas Gov. Rick Perry was indicted by a grand jury Friday, accused of two felony counts of abusing his power by eliminating funds for the state’s ethics watchdog. The byzantine case involves the drunken-driving conviction of a Democratic prosecutor, deep-seated partisan tensions and a test of Perry’s powers […]
By Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times EMPORIA, Kan. — In a seemingly dismal year for Democrats, who face the prospect of losing House seats and possibly control of the Senate, there is one bright spot: a chance to elect governors in several states run by Republicans. The mathematics and political map both favor Democrats, […]
By Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times There may be no more self-abasing profession than politics. Consider: You visit the grocery store. When you cross the parking lot, you won’t run a gauntlet of critics from a rival supermarket bad-mouthing the produce section, demeaning the selection of dog food, and questioning the sell-by date on […]
By Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times DES MOINES, Iowa — The visit had all the trappings of a full-fledged presidential campaign: a speech at the state Democratic convention, a pep talk to door-knocking volunteers, breakfast with labor leaders, appearances alongside the party’s candidate for governor. The only thing absent was a formal announcement by Martin […]
By Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times SAN FRANCISCO — There are some who look at Hillary Rodham Clinton’s activities — the book tour; the serial radio, newspaper, and television interviews — and her opportunity to shatter what remains America’s ultimate glass ceiling and figure a 2016 run for president is something close to a […]
By Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times The Republican Party continued its convention winnowing process Wednesday, narrowing the candidates for its 2016 national gathering to two cities: Cleveland and Dallas. The Democrats, meantime, announced they would scout six cities as the possible venue for their 2016 convention: Birmingham, Ala.; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; New York City; Philadelphia; […]
By Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times DES MOINES, Iowa — There were 500 of the truest-believing Iowa Democrats outside the ballroom doors waiting to get in, but Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) had one more story to tell, even as an aide tugged his sleeve and admonished, “Tom, you’ve got a lot of people here […]
By Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times Texas Governor Rick Perry is not exactly a beloved figure in California. The swagger and the twang are all too reminiscent, for some, of another former Texas governor-turned-Republican-presidential-candidate, who twice lost the state by landslide margins. He’s made sport of coming to visit, seeking to entice companies with […]