US politics

Ted Cruz is famous for having almost zero friends in Washington. But the Texas senator seems happy with that situation and is not about to add Donald Trump to his circle even after the New York property mogul visited the US capital to attempt to build bridges with the Republican Party. Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Wednesday night, Cruz was asked whether he preferred President Barack Obama or Trump more. Here was his response:

“I dislike Obama’s policies more, but Donald is a unique individual,” Cruz told the comedian. “If I were in my car and getting ready to reverse and saw Donald in the backup camera, I’m not confident which pedal I would push.” Read more

It’s the first week since the Iowa Caucus where there has not been a single Republican caucus or primary. And the news cycle has not been kind to Donald Trump.

Just one day after defending his campaign manager against battery charges, Trump has landed himself in fresh controversy after declaring that “there has to be some sort of punishment” for women who have abortions. Read more

The Easter Bunny has been unkind to Donald Trump. On Tuesday his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was charged with “battery” after a reporter alleged that the former state trooper had yanked, and bruised, her arm at a campaign event. Trump defiantly dismissed the claims and urged people to watch the video of the incident, which police in Florida police released after charging Lewandowski.

In a campaign that has made House of Cards seem tame, it transpired that one of the lawyers representing Lewandowski resigned as a top prosecutor in Florida in 1996 after being accused of biting a stripper. Speaking to reporters on his plane, Trump said he had urged Lewandowski to fight the charges. Texas senator Ted Cruz and Ohio governor John Kasich, the other Republican contenders, slammed Trump over the case. Read more

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Donald Trump escalated his ugly feud with Ted Cruz over the two Republican candidates’ wives on Thursday, retweeting a composite photo of Melania Trump, a former model, and an unflattering image of Heidi Cruz.

The Texas senator replied by calling Trump a coward: “Donald, real men don’t attack women. Your wife is lovely, and Heidi is the love of my life.” Speaking on television later, Cruz continued: “It’s not acceptable for a big loud New York bully to attack my wife … It is an action of a small and petty man who is intimated by strong women”. Read more

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Jeb Bush emerged from oblivion on Wednesday to hit Donald Trump by endorsing Ted Cruz. The anti-establishment Cruz has now lined up support from three establishment pillars: Bush, Mitt Romney and Lindsey Graham – yes, the South Carolina senator who previously said nobody would shed a tear if Cruz were murdered. “I’ve never had an event hosted by someone who three weeks earlier called for my murder,” Cruz joked. Read more

While the US election campaign has provided plenty of fodder for the entertainment shows, the horrendous attacks in Belgium have again ​underscored why the policies of the candidates should be scrutinised. But first, we ​would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to the families ​and friends ​of the victims of the massacre. Read more

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Another day, another stroll in Trumpistan. Donald Trump started by telling the Washington Post that the US should play a lesser role in Nato – the 28-member military alliance that has formed the bedrock of the transatlantic security relationship since the second world war. He then met a group of Republican lawmakers in an effort to convince the party to back his anti-establishment populist campaign – coming days after he warned about “riots” if the party stole the nomination from him.

Pivoting from politics and geopolitics to geotourism, he held a press conference at the Old Post Office in Washington – a historic building that will soon reopen as Trump International Hotel. The property mogul began with a description of the 300 luxury rooms – everything from bathroom fixtures to the marble – before turning the event into a reverse version of The Apprentice.

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With Republican elders’ anti-Trump battle shifting into desperation mode, party operatives are debating ways of torpedoing the tycoon’s candidacy at the GOP convention this summer.

One former candidate who has been on the wrong end of the establishment’s machinations is ex-congressman Ron Paul, who on Friday took to the airwaves to predict senior party figures would use any means necessary to block a Trump nomination. Read more

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As an Irishman, let me wish everyone Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. A US diplomat once asked if I knew the definition of Irish Alzheimer’s. When I confessed not, he said: “You forget everything except for the grudge.” Read more

After Jeb Bush scared Mitt Romney out of running in 2016 only to be outshone by Marco Rubio, his former protégé, one Republican joked that the ghost of Banquo had brought Macbeth to Miami. But on Super Tuesday – March 15 – it was Julius Caesar and the Ides of March that took centre stage in the Sunshine State. Donald Trump won a huge victory in the state, prompting “Little Marco” to drop out of the GOP race. Read more

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On Super Tuesday 2, the five primary races — in Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina — helped to draw the contours of the nomination for the White House. Donald Trump knocked Marco Rubio out of the Republican race by winning Florida and three more states, reinforcing his status as the party frontrunner, but lost to John Kasich in Ohio, complicating his path to Washington. Hillary Clinton secured overwhelming victories in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, and a far narrower win in Illinois, putting her much closer to securing the Democratic nomination.Track the results and reaction as it happened: 

Donald Trump’s press conference in Florida today was like a Peter Sellers movie. Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon who recently quit the race, endorsed Trump and said there were “two different Donald Trumps” – the public persona and the private “cerebral” persona who would be appearing more frequently on the trail.

Asked about this, the cerebral Trump said: “Perhaps there are two Donald Trumps”. But minutes later his alter-ego corrected him: “I don’t think there are two Donald Trumps”. Trump likes to shout “Stand up!” to human props at his rallies. Well, would the @realDonaldTrump please stand up! Read more

 

What are we to make of President Barack Obama’s on-the-record criticism of the role of UK Prime Minister David Cameron over Libya? I would make four points. First, Mr Obama is trying to protect himself from criticism. Second, broadly speaking, Mr Obama is right. Third, that said, it is not clear that there were good alternatives in Libya that Mr Cameron somehow failed to embrace. Fourth, the larger context is US exasperation and alarm at the decline of Europeans as effective security partners in the Middle East and elsewhere. Read more

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President Barack Obama said it was “novel” that Republicans were blaming him for their primary “circus” and criticised the GOP for “creating an environment where somebody like a Donald Trump can thrive”. Here are his comments, made at a press conference alongside Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister. Read more

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Donald Trump is going for the kill in Florida on March 15. After sweeping three of the four states that voted on Tuesday, the pugnacious tycoon wants to knock out “Little Marco” – his pet name for Marco Rubio who has seen his Marcomentum turn into Marcollapse after he failed to win a single delegate on Tuesday night. Read more

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Polls will soon close in Michigan and Mississippi. Republicans are also voting in Idaho and Hawaii, but the focus is Michigan, which has the most number of delegates on offer and may give an indication of how rust-belt states, including Ohio on March 15, will vote. In the GOP race, the big question is whether Donald Trump is losing steam. Ted Cruz did better than expected on Saturday, winning two states and giving the mogul a run for his money in Kentucky and Louisiana – a performance that landed the Texas senator with more delegates than Trump on the night. Read more

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Michael Bloomberg is not running for president. The New York billionaire ended months of speculation that he might challenge another New York billionaire – no prizes for guessing who that is – and the Democratic contenders. The former New York mayor concluded that he could not win enough electoral college votes in November and worried that entering the race would hand the White House to a Republican.

“There is a good chance that my candidacy could lead to the election of Donald Trump or Senator Ted Cruz. That is not a risk I can take in good conscience,” he said in deciding not to launch an independent bid. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

He has been called a phoney, a fraud and a threat to democracy — and that is just by members of his own party. Other critics have compared Donald Trump to Hitler and Mussolini. I have shared in the widespread horror at Mr Trump’s rise but at the same time, a small voice in the back of my head has sometimes asked: “Is he really that bad? Might all this hysteria be a bit overdone?”

The Republican debate on Thursday ​elevated farce to new heights. ​​Donald Trump ​raised eyebrows when he hit back at earlier innuendo by Marco Rubio about his masculinity.

“He referred to my hands [suggesting that] if they are small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there is no problem. I guarantee,” he told the roughly 17m viewers who tuned in to the debate. Read more

The Donald Trump media feeding-frenzy is in full flow. But beyond all the fun stuff about the horse-race and the insults, have there been any really good articles explaining the Trump phenomenon? I have found two recent pieces particularly interesting. Thomas Edsall explains how – “The economic basis for voter anger has been building for over 40 years” – and has some interesting numbers on the stagnation of real wages, the shrinking of the middle-class, the disappearance of manufacturing jobs and the impact of Chinese accession to the WTO.

Another good analysis, this time on the Vox site, looks at the kinds of people who are attracted to Trump’s rhetoric – and in particular at political scientists’ work on the rise of authoritarian attitudes in America. Apparently, people’s attitudes to parenting are a good predictor of their attitudes to Trump. Those who value obedience in children, above all, are “authoritarian” types, who also like Trump. But there are also is a large group of people with “latent authoritarianism”, which is aroused when they feel under threat. Read more