Clin­ton’s court pledge re­vives in­ter­est in Trump

Con­ser­va­tives, evan­gel­i­cals hear rea­son to vote for GOP Po­lit­i­cal odds traders ride out bumpy pres­i­den­tial elec­tion

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY S.A. MILLER BY DAVID SHERFINSKI

ST. LOUIS | Hil­lary Clin­ton ended up help­ing Don­ald Trump re­pair some of the dam­age from his lewd com­ments about women this week­end when she ran hard left on the Supreme Court — re­in­forc­ing the one over­rid­ing rea­son con­ser­va­tive Repub­li­cans have for vot­ing for their flawed pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee.

Her prom­ise to use Supreme Court nom­i­na­tions to push a left-wing agenda did more than any­thing Mr. Trump said dur­ing the de­bate to win back his sup­port­ers, con­ser­va­tive lead­ers said. That in­cluded evan­gel­i­cal vot­ers who were re­pulsed by a 2005 video­tape that sur­faced over the week­end show­ing the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee us­ing vul­gar lan­guage to boast of his sex­ual ex­ploits.

“I be­lieve it jus­ti­fies over­rid­ing other con­cerns like those gen­er­ated by this tape,” said the Rev. Frank Pavone, na­tional di­rec­tor of Priests for Life.

“Virtue ex­er­cised in our own per­sonal choices is im­por­tant, but poli­cies con­tain or con­tra­dict virtues as well, and there is a cor­rup­tion in our pub­lic pol­icy right now,” he said. “So it is not only that it out­weighs the per­sonal fail­ing, of which of course he is re­pu­di­ated him­self and is re­pent­ing of, but cor­rup­tion and im­moral outrageous are also in­car­nated in pub­lic poli­cies.”

Mrs. Clin­ton, the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, never men­tioned the Con­sti­tu­tion in her an­swer to a ques­tion about the jus­tices she would nom­i­nate. In­stead, she vowed to pick judges who would pur­sue abor­tion rights and im­pose new carve-outs of First Amend­ment pro­tec­tions for po­lit­i­cal speech.

“I have very clear views about what I want to see to kind of change the bal­ance on the Supreme Court,” Mrs. Clin­ton said dur­ing the de­bate.

Mr. Trump pledged that as pres­i­dent he would nom­i­nate “peo­ple that will re­spect the Con­sti­tu­tion of the United States,” in­clud­ing the Sec­ond Amend­ment.

“While that ex­change didn’t make head­lines, it may have been the most im­por­tant ex­change of the evening,” said Gary Bauer, pres­i­dent of the ad­vo­cacy group Amer­i­can Val­ues.

He said Mrs. Clin­ton’s pledge is a wake-up call for all Repub­li­can vot­ers.

“Ev­ery part of the Repub­li­can coali­tion — eco­nomic con­ser­va­tives, na­tional de­fense con­ser­va­tives and social con­ser­va­tives — have rea­son to fear a Supreme Court with one to three more ap­point­ments like the ones that Barack Obama has al­ready put on the court,” he said. “Vot­ers that don’t un­der­stand that are run­ning the risk of los­ing ev­ery­thing that they hold dear be­cause of a 10-year-old tape with in­ap­pro­pri­ate lan­guage on it.”

He said val­ues vot­ers are par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant to Mr. Trump.

“It is a nar­rowly di­vided coun­try, and it doesn’t take much. It only takes peel­ing away 1 per­cent of val­ues vot­ers or caus­ing a cou­ple per­cent to stay home,” said Mr. Bauer. “So it is ob­vi­ously a wor­ri­some sit­u­a­tion.”

The death of Jus­tice An­tonin Scalia in Fe­bru­ary added ur­gency to the Supreme Court is­sue. Sen­ate Repub­li­cans’ re­fusal to act on Pres­i­dent Obama’s nom­i­na­tion of Mer­rick Gar­land, a fed­eral ap­pel­late judge, guar­an­tees that the next pres­i­dent will make at least one ap­point­ment to the high court.

The ad­vanced ages of sev­eral jus­tices have in­vited spec­u­la­tion that the next pres­i­dent could make two more nom­i­na­tions to the Supreme Court.

Vir­ginia ra­dio show host John Fred­er­icks told Don­ald Trump in April 2015 that he could win the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion if he got into the pres­i­den­tial race — and said he got ridiculed.

But Mr. Fred­er­icks put his money where his mouth was, buy­ing shares on Mr. Trump in the po­lit­i­cal pre­dic­tions mar­kets at 100-1 odds to win the nom­i­na­tion and 200-1 odds to win the White House. He is now look­ing at a ma­jor pay­day if Mr. Trump can pull off a Hail Mary come­back.

“I don’t do ‘I told you so,’ but ob­vi­ously I’m in the pre­dic­tion busi­ness, so I’m not shy about telling peo­ple when I’m right, and I do have a high per­cent­age of be­ing right, as you know,” said Mr. Fred­er­icks, who is now vice chair­man of Mr. Trump’s Vir­ginia campaign.

A sort of fan­tasy league for politi­cos, pre­dic­tions mar­kets have be­come fea­tures of cam­paigns in re­cent years. Pre­dic­tIt, the mar­ket Mr. Fred­er­icks used, launched three days be­fore the 2015 midterm elec­tions, and now boasts 150,000 traders who have signed up, in­clud­ing about 70,000 who are ac­tive.

This year’s crazy race has given them plenty to worry about.

On the one hand is Hil­lary Clin­ton, who was the front-run­ner from the start but strug­gled to sur­vive a weak Demo­cratic field. Then there was Mr. Trump, the bom­bas­tic po­lit­i­cal novice who man­aged to out­last 16 other can­di­dates to win the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion.

Jimmy Wag­ner, a lawyer from the New York City area who re­cently won more than $20,000 play­ing fan­tasy foot­ball, has about $750 on Mr. Trump to win the gen­eral elec­tion.

But he hedged his bets early in the Repub­li­can pri­mary race by also putting cash on Sen. Rand Paul.

“I do be­lieve in the mes­sage that both of those nom­i­nees were speak­ing about, and that’s sort of what

Con­ser­va­tives are de­ter­mined to bal­ance Mr. Obama’s two re­cent Supreme Court ap­point­ments — Jus­tices So­nia So­tomayor and Elena Ka­gan — to pro­tect against ef­forts to weaken Sec­ond Amend­ment gun rights and Fifth Amend­ment prop­erty rights, which some view as un­der siege from fed­eral reg­u­la­tors such as those at the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency.

Over­rid­ing the high court’s de­ci­sions that made same­sex mar­riage and abor­tion the law of the land are also on con­ser­va­tives’ wish list for the court.

The va­cancy on the nine-mem­ber bench has high­lighted the court’s close ide­o­log­i­cal di­vide. The jus­tices dead­locked 4-4 in June on a chal­lenge to Mr. Obama’s ex­ec­u­tive amnesty for some il­le­gal im­mi­grants, leav­ing in place a lower-court rul­ing that blocked im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pres­i­dent’s plan.

Mr. Trump de­liv­ered a strong de­bate per­for­mance at Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity, but doubts per­sists about whether it was enough to re­pair dam­age wrought by the video­tape — much less ex­pand his sup­port to over­take Mrs. Clin­ton in bat­tle­ground states.

Demo­cratic strate­gist Jim Manley said Mrs. Clin­ton an­swered the Supreme Court ques­tion hon­estly and had no rea­son to fear that she un­wit­tingly en­er­gized con­ser­va­tive vot­ers.

“These guys are just look­ing to use any jus­ti­fi­ca­tion they can at this point in time to con­tinue to sup­port Trump,” he makes my mind up when I’m look­ing to buy into one of these po­lit­i­cal stocks,” he said.

Like Mr. Fred­er­icks, Mr. Wag­ner said some in the on­line com­mu­nity weren’t buy­ing his early bullish­ness on Mr. Trump.

“Pre­dic­tIt has a re­ally vi­brant com­mu­nity — a lot of very smart peo­ple in it — but a lot of them are trolls,” he said. “There are a lot of trolls. … I got called a lot of crazy things.”

Joel Kraut­ter, a lawyer from Mon­tana, said he didn’t put all of his early money on Mr. Trump. He said he also had some on for­mer Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — the an­tithe­sis of the bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man.

Mr. Kraut­ter also wa­gered that Vice Pres­i­dent Joseph R. Bi­den would ul­ti­mately en­ter the race for the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion. “I’m not some great fore­caster,” he said. Mr. Kraut­ter said a 2011 poll show­ing Mr. Trump run­ning com­pet­i­tively in a would-be Repub­li­can field, as well as his out­sider sta­tus and com­mand­ing me­dia pres­ence, led him to be­lieve that the busi­ness­man and re­al­ity TV star could be a com­pelling can­di­date.

“But with ev­ery­thing that’s hap­pened, I didn’t see it go­ing all the way that it has. It’s kind of amaz­ing,” he said.

“I’m a Repub­li­can. I won’t be vot­ing for Hil­lary Clin­ton, but I’m still un­de­cided on who I’m vot­ing for, given all the com­ments that have been made along the way,” he said.

In con­trast to Mr. Wag­ner, Mr. Kraut­ter said he in­vested about $2 in each can­di­date.

Mr. Fred­er­icks, mean­while, de­clined to say how much money he has on his boss to win. He called it “in­side base­ball.”

Mr. Trump has sagged in pub­lic polling in the wake of last week’s rev­e­la­tion of a 2005 tape in which the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee said he tried but failed to se­duce a mar­ried celebrity, and talked about grop­ing women’s gen­i­tals. He has since apol­o­gized for what he called “locker room” talk. said.

Adam Bozzi, a spokesman for End Cit­i­zens United, said Mrs. Clin­ton’s agenda for the Supreme Court has broader ap­peal than to only far-left vot­ers, es­pe­cially on his group’s is­sue.

Vot­ers across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum ap­plauded Mrs. Clin­ton’s prom­ise to over­turn the Supreme Court rul­ing in 2010 that al­lowed un­lim­ited po­lit­i­cal spend­ing by cor­po­ra­tions, as­so­ci­a­tions and unions, said Mr. Bozzi.

Over­turn the Cit­i­zens United rul­ing was a cen­ter­piece of Mrs. Clin­ton’s de­bate an­swer.

“Hil­lary Clin­ton’s call to re­verse Cit­i­zens United will en­er­gize vot­ers across the coun­try who want to re­store a voice for hard­work­ing fam­i­lies in our elec­tions,” said Mr. Bozzi.

The video­tape, which caught Mr. Trump on a hot mic talk­ing to “Ac­cess Hol­ly­wood” host Billy Bush aboard a bus en route to a cameo ap­pear­ance on a soap opera, was the last straw for many Repub­li­cans who were un­com­fort­able with their party’s nom­i­nee.

Mr. Trump boasted that he could kiss beau­ti­ful women and grab their pri­vate parts be­cause he was a celebrity. He also re­galed Mr. Bush with a story about his failed at­tempt to se­duce a mar­ried women.

Dozens of Repub­li­can Party lead­ers came out in op­po­si­tion or with­drew their en­dorse­ments of Mr. Trump. Some called on him to quit the race, which Mr. Trump firmly re­fused.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.