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  • Jonathan Last cautions Republican politicians tempted to give in to the drumbeat that they must endorse Donald Trump:

    To endorse Donald Trump is to make your political career hostage to a man who may, at any random moment, accuse a former president of treason. Or encourage his supporters to physically assault their opponents. Or spin wild conspiracy theories, or tell obvious lies, or praise murderous dictators.

    Later:

    Republicans considering whether to endorse Trump should ask themselves, honestly, whether they possess the same imperviousness as Trump. Because they’re going to need it. Over the next six months, any Republican running for election who is supporting Trump is going to be importuned to defend every insane utterance, every lie, every dangerous idea that emanates from the man. They’re going to be pestered, every day, at every campaign stop, to either endorse or disavow everything noteworthy Trump says.

  • Erick Erickson blows up the “you must vote for Donald Trump because he’s not Hillary Clinton” argument:

    Time and time again, Trump’s supporters in and out of his cult ultimately conclude that any sin committed by Donald Trump is okay because he is not Hillary Clinton. It cannot be that they are both unfit for office. Trump, in every case, is more fit for office because Trump is not Clinton. Never mind the bankruptcies, never mind the endorsement of war crimes, never mind the advocacy of torture, never mind the swindling, never mind the affairs and women and corruption and mob ties and nepotism and repeated failures and the list goes on and on. Trump is not Clinton.

    Later:

    Just four years ago, Reince Preibus rallied Republicans to surrender the Missouri Senate seat to the Democrats because of Republican Todd Akin’s muddled answer on abortions from rape. Now he demands we unite behind Donald Trump because Donald Trump is not Hillary Clinton.

    Erickson concludes with this:

    Hitler is not Hillary Clinton either. The neo-nazis and white supremacists backing Donald Trump fetishize Hitler too. Trump dog whistles to them and the Republican Establishment joins them in howls of delight. One need not stretch beyond Godwin’s law to conclude that the current Republican Party would support Hitler too because Hitler, thanks be to the reich, is not Hillary Clinton.

    Too few Republicans will come out of this with their integrity intact and too many Republicans, thinking they can change Donald Trump, will instead one day find that Trump has changed them instead. But hey, at least he is no Hillary Clinton.

    Hail victory, Republicans. Hail victory.

  • Donald Trump claims he’s expanding the GOP’s voter base, but a Politico analysis suggests Trump is only succeeding at convincing more GOP general election voters to participate in the primaries, which won’t help him much when the Electoral College landscape slants in Democrats’ favor.

  • According to Public Policy Polling, Kelli Ward is polling well against John McCain in Arizona’s GOP primary election for U.S. Senate, even though Ward’s name recognition is only 41%.

  • The Obama administration published a regulation that raises the threshold for overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476. In the future the threshold will be updated every three years and “indexed to ensure the threshold remains at the 40th percentile of full-time salaried workers in the lowest income region of the country.”

  • A military judge delayed Bowe Bergdahl’s court martial to early 2017. Bergdahl’s lawyers want access to classified documents, and sorting that out will take time.

  • Three bombings in Shiite areas of Baghdad killed more than 77 people and wounded more than 140. Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr deployed his militia to Shiite neighborhoods, which will increase the already high tension between Sadr and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

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  • Senator Bob Corker is shocked, shocked that President Obama is negotiating a bad nuclear deal with Iran. In that case Corker probably shouldn’t have sponsored the legislation that requires a two-thirds vote in the Senate to block the Iranian nuclear treaty. Allahpundit writes:

    I assume this is an elaborate form of “failure theater,” in which the GOP willingly capitulates to O while trying to make it look to their base like they put up a tough fight before being outmaneuvered. The more indignant Corker appears to be that Obama’s screwing up negotiations, the harder it’ll be convince Republicans who are barely paying attention to this that the party made this sellout possible by not insisting that the Iran deal be regarded as a treaty. If that’s not what Corker’s doing here then I can only assume he really is genuinely surprised to find that this deal may be worse than he feared, in which case he’s too much of a schmuck to be in the Senate. Which, given the usual standards of schmuckery there, is really saying something.

  • Stanley Kurtz uncovered video of a Brookings Institution event where advocates for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s forthcoming Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation talk among themselves and let the cat out of the bag:

    The June 1, 2015 Brookings event on “Place and Opportunity” was streamed on video by 30 officials at HUD and 9 officials from the Seattle Housing Authority, a national center of regionalist policies. The section of the video of particular interest comes in the form of a comment by event host, Brookings Fellow Richard Reeves, on remarks by panelist Margery Austin Turner. Turner, senior vice president for Program, Planning, and Management at the Urban Institute, is also a former deputy assistant secretary for research at HUD, and so (as Reeves points out) was addressing many of her former HUD colleagues online. What we’re seeing on video, then, is not an isolated opinion, but evidence of the state of mind of the core advocates and officials who shape the Obama administration’s housing policies.

    The key exchange comes between 1:21:08 and 1:23:59 on the video. In response to a question from Reeves about what “getting serious” about housing policy would mean, Turner cites AFFH, arguing that the rule could bring “incredibly important” changes to America. Slyly, she acknowledges that AFFH isn’t so much enforcing the original legal obligation to “affirmatively further fair housing,” as it is changing our understanding of what that obligation means. (In other words, AFFH is stretching a directive to prevent discrimination into a mandate for social engineering.) Turner then says that it would take decades for AFFH to fully transform society along the lines she desires. (I’d add that the rule won’t take nearly that long to gut local government in America.)

    What’s interesting is that when Turner finishes her discussion of AFFH by saying that the rule “sounds very obscure, but I think it could be hugely important,” Reeves breaks in and says: “Perhaps it’s important to keep [the AFFH rule] sounding obscure in order to get it through.” (In other words, to get the AFFH rule enacted before public opposition and congressional Republicans can block it, we’ve got to keep its existence and importance quiet.) At this point, the audience laughs sympathetically. Then Reeves adds: “Sometimes obscurity is the best political strategy, particularly in this area.”

  • Jeb Bush announced his campaign for president, and his first ad looks like a resurrection of compassionate conservatism.

  • Clayton Kelly, the blogger who broke into a nursing home and recorded video of Senator Thad Cochran’s wife, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison after pleading guilty. Cochran’s wife died in December, and Cochran married an aide last month.

  • A former CIA operative who ran a network of informants in Afghanistan claims that Bowe Bergdahl was high on hashish when he wandered off base and was captured.

  • The Magna Carta was signed 800 years ago today.

  • Firearm manufacturer Colt Defense filed for bankruptcy.

  • The city of Austin, Texas commissioned a report on the environmental effects of the single-use plastic bag ban it enacted in 2013. The report concluded that, on the whole, the ban was worse for the environment than the bags it outlawed.

  • The Kurdish YPG gained control of Tel Abyad, a Syrian town on the border with Turkey. The town was a major conduit for moving fighters, weapons, and oil to and from ISIS’ de facto capital, Raqqa.

  • Russia threatened an arms build-up if the U.S. stations heavy weapons in Eastern Europe.

Links for 4-24-2015