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Analysis and perspective about what's happening in the political realm.

Next Phase of the Republican Campaign May Look More Like What We've Seen in Past Elections

One or even two opin­ion polls don’t con­sti­tute a trend, and it’s fool­hardy to put too much em­phas­is on such a small sampling. But the first live-tele­phone-in­ter­view sur­vey re­leased after last week’s Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial de­bate, the CNN/Opin­ion Re­search Cor­por­a­tion Poll con­duc­ted Septem­ber 17-19, will get—and de­serves—a lot of at­ten­tion. It gives Re­pub­lic­an lead­ers and strategists, at least those of a tra­di­tion­al bent, the first re­as­sur­ing news in a while: It sug­gests that sup­port for the can­did­ates who are most anti-es­tab­lish­ment may have reached—or passed—its peakwhile oth­er can­did­ates are show­ing signs of life. 

The poll of 444 voters (two-thirds of them Re­pub­lic­ans and the rest GOP-lean­ing in­de­pend­ents) put Don­ald Trump, the real es­tate ty­coon, still in first place, with 24 per­cent. But he has slipped by 8 per­cent­age points...

What's Behind the Recent Political Upheaval?

Nor­mally, the hopes and fears of the two ma­jor polit­ic­al parties are roughly sym­met­ric. If one party is wor­ried or pess­im­ist­ic, the oth­er party is usu­ally hope­ful or op­tim­ist­ic. There are oc­ca­sion­al ex­cep­tions—say, if one side is in­creas­ingly op­tim­ist­ic about an elec­tion while the op­pos­i­tion is in deni­al or even de­lu­sion­al; they should be wor­ried but aren’t.

None of that is the case now. This is one of the few times when the lead­ers, top strategists, and es­tab­lish­ments of both parties are pan­ickyand for good reas­on. Demo­crats are un­der­stand­ably wor­ried that their long-time front-run­ner for the pres­id­en­tial nom­in­a­tion, Hil­lary Clin­ton, is fall­ing be­hind Sen. Bernie Sanders of Ver­mont in the cru­cial states of Iowa and New Hamp­shire. Na­tion­ally, Sanders’s sup­port is grow­ing while, in vir­tu­ally every opin­ion poll you...

The Story Behind Ben Carson's Surge in the GOP Polls

The Ben Carson surge that everyone was waiting for is finally here.

The conservative neurosurgeon has been a source of fascination for both the Republican grassroots and the media ever since he critiqued President Obama, who was seated only a few feet away, at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013. He’s been a steady, if middling, presence in GOP primary polls for most of the year—always earning at least 5 percent, but rarely more than 10. Yet over the last two weeks, Carson has secured a second-place spot after Donald Trump, both nationally and in the crucial opening battleground of Iowa, where he is a favorite of the state’s sizable evangelical community. A Monmouth University pollreleased this week even showed him tied with Trump for the lead in Iowa, at 23 percent.

That Carson is a different kind of Republican presidential contender is obvious both by his race and his biography: Raised in poverty by a single mother in Detroit, he went to Yale and then worked a series of odd jobs before going to medical school and becoming a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon. His best-selling book is taught in home-school classrooms throughout Iowa, which has helped...

Donald Trump and the Price of Loyalty Oaths

Would he or wouldn’t he? In the end, Donald Trump signed the Republican National Committee’s pledge, but he did it his own way, in that inimitable, inch-high Sharpie scrawl, at once as angular and overstuffed as the man himself.

The document is Trump’s agreement (along with other Republican candidates) not to mount a campaign as an independent or with a third party in the even that he loses the GOP nomination.

Not that he’s too worried about that. “We’re leading in every single poll,” he noted, correctly, at a press conference Thursday. “A new poll came out today where we’re over 30 percent.” Moreover, he felt that the Republican Party had treated him fairly—at least since he shot to the top of the polls—so he decided to go along with the pledge.

“Frankly, I felt that the absolute best way to win and to beat the Democrats ... is if I win the nomination and go directly against whoever they happen to put up,” Trump said. “For that reason I have signed the pledge.”

The RNC’s pledge is the culmination of weeks of handwringing about what the Republican Party could do about...

Trump Proves Again That He's Not Apologizing For Anything Soon

Donald Trump apologizes to no one. Not even to Roger Ailes.

The head of Fox News on Tuesday demanded an apology from the real estate mogul and Republican presidential candidate for his tweetstorm Monday night against Fox News host Megyn Kelly. “Donald Trump rarely apologizes, although in this case, he should,” Ailes said in a statement, calling the tweets “unacceptable” and “disturbing.”

Too bad, Trump responded. Here’s his statement, per Politico:

I totally disagree with the FOX statement. I do not think Megyn Kelly is a quality journalist. I think her questioning of me, despite all of the polls saying I won the debate, was very unfair. Hopefully in the future I will be proven wrong and she will be able to elevate her standards to a level of professionalism that a network such as FOX deserves.

Ailes’s statement is the first time the Fox News chairman has publicly reacted to Trump’s dispute with Kelly, which began in earnest earlier this month when Trump described Kelly’s tough line of questioning during the first GOP presidential debate.

“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her—wherever,” he told CNN...