I would not want to be responsible for electing some right-wing Republican president.
— Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), saying he “will not run for president as an Independent if he falls short in his bid to secure the Democratic 2016 nomination,” The Hill reports.
I think that I would be a great uniter. I think that I would have great diplomatic skills. I think that I would be able to get along with people very well. I’ve had a great success in my life. I think the world would unite if I were the leader of the United States.
— Donald Trump, quoted by The Hill.
To what do we owe this bumper crop of candidates? There are three main reasons. 1. This year there is no obvious front-runner; it’s no one’s turn (in stark contrast with the Democratic primary). 2. The outside groups known as ‘super PACs’ make it easier to fund campaigns — and while they guarantee that more money is spent, they also make it easier to raise that money. 3. Republicans believe the next president may very well be a Republican and the nomination is worth winning. While being near the back of the pack in a large field might seem hopeless, strange things happen in politics, and the odds of being the next president are definitely worse if you don’t run.
— Stuart Stevens, writing in the New York Times.
I think this is a temporary sort of loss of sanity, but we’re going to come back to our senses and look for someone serious to lead the country at some point.
— Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is attributing GOP presidential rival Donald Trump’s rise in the polls to a momentary “loss of sanity,” The Hill reports.
What does worry me is that Trump really is a proven visionary. He’s brilliant at seeing the next ego-leveraging opportunity. He’s the first interloping network star to jolt a presidential race, but no way is he the last… What Trump is doing, and it’s a twisted kind of public service, is showing all of us how easy it is now to successfully manipulate a media in economic distress and a presidential process that caters, more and more, to an ever-dwindling bloc of extremists on either side.
If this deal is consummated, it will make the Obama administration the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism. Billions of dollars under control of this administration will flow into the hands of jihadists who will use that money to murder Americans, to murder Israelis, to murder Europeans.
— Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), saying that President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran is essentially financing terrorism. Cruz didn’t back down after the president called his comments “outrageous,” Politico reports.
As a businessman and a very substantial donor to very important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do. As a businessman, I need that.
— Donald Trump, quoted by the Wall Street Journal, explaining campaign donations he once made to Hillary Clinton.
Despite what you may have read elsewhere — or heard from the man himself — Donald Trump is not all that popular with Republican voters. Sure, he’s in first place in many polls. But Trump is near the back of the pack by another important measure… Trump’s favorability ratings among Republicans are barely better than break-even: 47 percent favorable and 43 percent unfavorable. Among the 17 Republican candidates, Trump’s net favorable rating, +4, ranks 13th, ahead of only Chris Christie, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham and George Pataki. … And yet, in these same polls, Trump is the first choice of an average of 20 percent of Republican voters — the highest in the field, ahead of Scott Walker (14 percent) and Jeb Bush (12 percent).
I don’t care what his actual positions are. I don’t care if he says the wrong thing. He says what’s on his mind. He gives honest answers rather than prepared answers. This is more important than anything any candidate has done in years.
— Billionaire Mark Cuban, telling Business Insider that Donald Trump is “probably the best thing to happen to politics in a long, long time.”
Trump’s key lieutenants tend to fit the same consumer profile that his discount luxury brand targets: They are men with middle- and working-class roots; lacking in elite credentials; mesmerized by made-for-TV displays of lavish wealth. They are impressed with brashness and bored by subtlety. They are amused by dirty jokes and averse to irony. They are likely to buy a Trump-branded necktie sometime this year, and if they feel like splurging they’ll get the matching cufflinks, too.
— McKay Coppins writes on Buzzfeed.