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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Corey Lewandowski’s exit creates room for Trump to grow

We start today with news of an ending – and perhaps because of it, a beginning – in Donald Trump’s campaign.

Gabby Morrongiello of the Washington Examiner reports, “Donald Trump has reportedly fired his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, a little over one year after the Republican operative joined the billionaire's Corey Lewandowskicampaign.

“’The Donald J. Trump Campaign for President, which has set a historic record in the Republican primary having received almost 14 million votes, has today announced that Corey Lewandowski will no longer be working with the campaign,’ Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Trump, said in a statement to the New York Times.”

This news comes as a bit of shock and is not surprising at the same time. It’s a shock because Trump has stood by Lewandowski during the former campaign manager’s darkest hours over the Michelle Fields assault in early March, even publicly denying Lewandowski grabbed Fields despite some damning video evidence.

The fact we haven’t heard much about Lewandowski in months indicated to me the flap had blown over and the often peevish political strongman had maintained his favor with The Donald.

There were rumors of internal discord in the Trump campaign, of course, with Lewandowski’s backers reportedly in competition with campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s people for Trump’s ear.

It’s all just gossip, of course, but Manafort has apparently been trying to steer Trump towards being more “presidential” in an attempt to smooth over relations with top Republicans and perhaps pat down some of the fear factor that’s developed with the public since The Donald clinched the nomination.

Fear that’s only being fanned by Hillary and Obama in claiming how “dangerous” it would be if Trump were elected president. As if another four years of the same policies would represent a more attractive, less fear-provoking proposition.

The media will no doubt claim Lewandowski’s firing is a sign of desperation for Trump, but I think it’s little more than a move to clean house. Donald Trump values winning. Lewandowski’s guidance hasn’t proven particularly useful lately, with the nominee’s noticeable dip in the national polls coming after several media-generated controversies.

The campaign’s ground operation doesn’t appear to be preparing for the hard work of the fall campaign, either.

(Note: There is also speculation that Ivanka Trump gave The Donald an ultimatum: either Lewandowski goes or the campaign goes on without her.)

Trump’s bringing on of Manafort in March showed people he was serious about running a professional campaign. Now, with Lewandowski gone and Manafort completely in charge, Republican elites will see it as a sign Trump will get his act together, stop generating negative publicity for untimely statements and get down to the business of focusing on his winning economic message.

Needless to say, Trump’s delivering of more policy-oriented speeches with the aid of a teleprompter has Manafort’s fingerprints all over it. Even with prepared remarks, Trump always adds his own personal style to the presentation – but the message discipline has been much improved.

With some polls placing Trump’s unfavorable ratings as high as 70 percent, something needed to change. With the ouster of the controversy-generating Lewandowski, Trump is showing he’s trying harder to become more acceptable to the general electorate.

Time will tell if he’s able to pull it off.

Electing Hillary means four more years of the government targeting YOU

We have spent the past month devoting a lot of attention to refuting the #NeverTrump movement’s arguments in favor of abstaining from participating in this year’s election because the Republican nominee is wholly unfit to serve as President of the United States.

I have talked often about how awful Hillary Clinton is and how her election would prove ruinous for America in so many ways. One of those disasters would show up prominently in the federal bureaucracy. Simply put, Hillary’s appointees would be turning the wheels of government, just as Barack Obama’s have been doing for the past seven-plus years.

And it does make a difference. Conservative groups have felt the wrath of Obama’s ideological war on administration critics, none more so than “Dissident Prof” Mary Grabar, who set up a conservative advocacy business in her basement and decided to apply to the IRS for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

Grabar writes in PJ Media, “In 2011, while working as a college English instructor and writing articles…about corruption in education, I set up a website called Dissident Prof with my own funds and by working in my basement. After one of my long-time readers sent an unsolicited $500 donation, I decided to apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

“Thus began the ordeal with the IRS.”

Grabar then described a nightmare that lasted over three years and included numerous run-ins with the IRS including invasive questionnaires, excessive and burdensome paperwork and a hostile anti-citizen attitude from agents of our own government.

“We finally received approval in September 2014. They forced me to waste money and time when we should have been building on the momentum of our launch and fundraising. Other groups also lost opportunities, namely in 2012.

“That’s how this IRS, this administration, works.”

Grabar’s story corresponds nicely with that of many conservative groups that endured run-ins with the IRS under Obama’s rule and led to IRS Commissioner Lois Lerner’s admission that such organizations were given special scrutiny and ultimately to her resignation (though of course no charges were brought against her, so there’s no accountability).

This is one of many reasons why this year’s election matters. The federal government has become so large and intrusive that it even reaches one woman’s attempt to run a small computer based business out of her basement. When you add agenda-driven Democrats to the mix, you’ve got all the right conditions for serious government overreach and corruption of the highest order.

This year, at the very least, government needs reform. In reality, it needs a complete overhaul. Grabar’s is just one example of the type of yoke being placed on citizens and job creators across the country who are being nailed to the floor by excessive regulations, snooping government agents and political leadership that looks on the People with an eye towards suspicion, not service.

This is certainly not what the Founding Fathers had in mind when establishing the freest nation in history with a federal government that was designed to allow state and local governments to handle most if not all of the oversight. You know, having citizens look after their own communities where they live instead of a dominant central authority.

As far as #NeverTrump is concerned, are we really ready to say we’ll impose these kinds of shackles on Americans for another four years just because some Republicans and conservatives see Donald Trump as too loutish and “unfit” to serve in the Oval Office?

It’s an awful high price to pay for a little pride, #NeverTrumpers. When all of us are staring down at the working end of an order from the IRS, EPA or some other federal agency, we’re not thinking of what Trump said a couple weeks ago about the ethnic bias of the judge in his civil suit – we’re thinking we need to do something to bring our government back into line.

Donald Trump is an imperfect man and even more of an imperfect candidate. But he’s the nominee of the Republican Party, the choice of Republican primary voters and will certainly work to reform government, hopefully with the help of principled conservatives like Ted Cruz.

So instead of wasting your time pontificating about the latest off-the-wall utterance from The Donald and playing the “See, I told you so!” game on poll numbers, start focusing attention on the real problems in the country and how they might be fixed.

In essence, it’s time to start participating, people.

Something to think about the next time you press the send button on your next Tweet.

The whole story behind Marco Rubio’s wild ride to running for reelection

Usually when a potential candidate for high office delays his or her announcement of an intention to run it’s because they want to increase the drama, not tamp it down.

But not for Senator Marco Rubio. Ever since the former presidential candidate was forced from the Republican race after a crushing defeat in his home state primary on March 15, Rubio has faced a hailstorm of questions from party leaders and the media regarding his future plans and the possibility of running for reelection.

In the meantime, Rubio’s answers have run the gamut from full denials to cracking the door open slightly to strongly suggesting he’ll get back in.

Now that it appears Rubio is indeed going to run (he has until Friday to formally announce), it’s helpful to know the whole story.

Alexis Levinson of National Review provides it, writing, “The [Orlando] attack had a tremendous impact on Rubio, who has been particularly engaged on foreign policy and intelligence issues during his time in the Senate. ‘The event in Orlando really provided a moral crucible in which he, I think, then solidified the decision that this was something,’ says John Stemberger, a conservative and an Evangelical leader in Florida…

“Rubio allies say that if he does run, it will be because he wants to serve, not because he is weighing the costs and benefits to his political future. But the questions are one and the same: A failed Senate bid would severely limit his ability to serve in the future. A successful run could cast him as a hero. Whatever his choice in the coming days, his political future remains an open question.”

As is usually the case, Rubio’s reputation has been rehabilitated in the three months away from the national campaign spotlight. His presidential run showed he wasn’t quite experienced enough to overcome his lack of principles (Marco “Roboto”) or his razor-thin record of accomplishments.

Nevertheless, though Rubio probably wouldn’t be the first choice of many Florida conservatives in the senate primary, they would grudgingly admit he gives Republicans the best chance to win the state in November in both the senate contest and the presidential race. And for a man who doesn’t usually give the impression of taking too many political risks, running again for the Senate and losing could deal a serious blow to Marco’s future.

But I doubt he’d be “finished” either way. Look at Rick Santorum. Losing his senate seat in 2006 by 17-points didn’t stop him from doing well in the 2012 presidential primary race.

Rubio’s gift of gab and favor from the party establishment means they’ll find a place for him somewhere in the future, regardless of the outcome this year. As the “new face” of the GOP, party elites see in Rubio a chance to grow the party.

Whether conservatives will be so forgiving of Rubio’s foibles is another matter. His membership and leadership in the Gang of Eight’s amnesty proposal will follow him everywhere. If he does run and does get elected, he would be smart to put distance between himself and the big government elements of the GOP in his second term.

But I’m not holding my breath that he’d do it. At least the distancing part…

Trump staffer celebrates Lewandowski’s demise on Twitter, resigns

Finally today, it looks like Corey Lewandowski isn’t the only one who won’t be showing up for work today at Donald Trump’s campaign headquarters.

Daniel Strauss of Politico reports, “Donald Trump adviser Michael Caputo is no longer part of the presumptive Republican presidential candidate's campaign after writing a celebratory tweet that former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was fired.

“In response to news of Lewandowski's departure from the campaign Caputo, who runs communications for Trump's caucus team, sent out a tweet saying ‘Ding Dong the witch is dead.’”

Caputo’s message was accompanied by a picture of the Wicked Witch of the East’s ruby slipper adorned feet under Dorothy’s house from ‘The Wizard of Oz’. I couldn’t help but chuckle at such creativity.

It appears on the surface like Caputo was looking for an excuse to get out, resigning quickly after what seems to be a minor matter. I’m not familiar with the internal workings of the Trump campaign, but clearly the higher-ups are intent on making some wholesale changes to get the ball rolling downhill again.

Maybe Caputo was the next one to go…who knows. At any rate, the atmosphere of the entire Trump campaign is likely to be different starting immediately.

Perhaps now we’ll hear a little more about Trump’s policy suggestions and a little less about The Donald’s personal demons. And for that, we should all be grateful.

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