NATION POLITICS TRAIL GUIDE

Clock is ticking for second-tier candidates vying for debate stage

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How does Clinton or Trump get to 270 electoral votes? Play with our map.

Third debate scorecard: Here's who's winning each round

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Welcome to your Wednesday trail guide, a daily tour through the twists and turns of the 2016 presidential campaign. We are 30 days away from the first Republican debate, which means some candidates are prepping what they plan to say on stage and oh-so many others are still just trying to get on stage. Fox News will take the top 10 candidates, based on ranking in the national polls, for the prime time debate. That could leave as many as seven candidates relegated to a pre-debate “forum.” Getting one of two open seats at “big kids’ table,” as some describe it, will mean using all means necessarily to juice your name recognition over then next month. Brace yourself for a rush of Republican-on-Republican violence, cable TV appearances and complaints about debate rules.

Here’s what else we’re watching today:

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is trying to position himself as the foreign policy candidate, will deliver a speech on America’s role in the world at the Atlantic Council in Washington. This will be the extended version of the remarks Graham would like to deliver on the debate stage, but probably won’t get to. He is among the second-tier candidates headed for the “forum.”
  • Jeb Bush is holding a town hall in New Hampshire. Republican Ben Carson and Democrat Martin O’Malley are also in the state.

 

Kasich on-air in New Hampshire

A group associated with Ohio Gov. John Kasich released its first TV ad Wednesday, which will air in New Hampshire.

Kasich, a Republican in his second term, is expected to enter the 2016 presidential race later this month. The move to hit the airwaves by the group supporting Kasich is an effort to boost the governor's name identification and poll numbers.

Based on a top 10 polling formula by FOX News for the first GOP debate Aug. 6, Kasich would not qualify because of his low polling numbers.

On immigration, Rand Paul assails both parties

We have not had a president, Republican or Democrat, who is willing to enforce immigration law. Now we have whole cities and states who stand up and say, 'We just don't care. We want these people here at all costs, and we're not going to do anything about it.' And I think the time's come for that to end. But it's not going to end until you have an executive in the White House who says, 'I will enforce immigration laws.'
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on conservative talk radio

College affordability enters 2016 campaign stump speeches

Martin O'Malley has called for tuition freezes. (Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

Hillary Rodham Clinton has made it a core argument in her pitch to help everyday Americans.

Martin O'Malley has listed it as a key component to living out the American Dream.

And Marco Rubio has called it something that must be extended to everyone.

The debate over how to make college more affordable ¿ and lower debt -- has become ingrained in stump speeches as 2016 hopefuls traverse the country courting voters in early nominating states. Several national surveys have found that affordable college is an issue of wide importance to Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters.

The populist message on the campaign trail of making college more affordable is geared ostensibly toward two subsets of voters: young people and cash strapped parents.

“Right now, student loan debt is holding us back - student by student, family by family, and as a nation, we have to do better,” O'Malley, a former Maryland governor, said while speaking in New Hampshire on Wednesday.

In his remarks, O'Malley, a Democrat, called for lower interest rates when students refinance loans and, in a bold proposal, pushed for states to immediately freeze public college tuition rates.

O'Malley's views toward making higher education more affordable stand in contrast to those of Rubio, who in the Spring taught a political science course at Florida International University.

Along with calls for income-based repayments of student loans, he's called for students to partner with investors who would pay tuition costs in exchange for a percentage of future earnings. The move, argues the GOP Florida senator, would work in conjunction with requiring institutions to tell students how much they could expect to earn with each degree before applying for student loans.

“I have seen higher education shape my own life,” said Rubio in an economic speech Tuesday in Chicago. “Both in terms of the enormous costs and in terms of the enormous pay off we must extend to all.”

In 2012, the issue of college debt played a role in the presidential campaign. With little action from Congress, President Obama assailed House Republicans on the campaign trail for not presenting legislation to prevent student loan interest rates from reverting from 3.4% to 6.8%. Republicans, feeling pressure, eventually presented and passed temporary legislation that prevented the increase.

With affordable college a key issue among families nationwide, it's certainly going to continue as a bread-and-butter issue on the campaign trail throughout 2016.

-- Kurtis Lee

Latinos outnumber whites in California

LAT's @jpanzar marks the moment demographers have long said was coming: Latinos are now the largest ethnic group in the state. Panzar's piece has several notable statistics about how the shift happened and when. But these last three paragraphs should be required reading for any politician with national ambitions:

"The continued influx and growth of Latinos in the United States is not being fueled exclusively by immigration but by second- and third-generation immigrants who are settling down and starting families, said Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, a professor and dean of education at UCLA's Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

"California is a harbinger of the national rise in Latinos. The nation's Latino population has grown 57% since 2000, when Latinos numbered 35.3 million. Latinos accounted for most of the nation's growth ¿ 56% ¿ from 2000 to 2010, according to the Pew Research Center.

"Where L.A. goes is where the rest of the state goes and where the rest of the country goes," he said. "We announce demographically speaking, the future for the rest of the country."

Read more

O'Malley outlines debt-free college plan

(Susan Walsh/ Associated Press)

The former Maryland governor is trying to find a way into a race that's been dominated by Clinton and, recently, Bernie Sanders. O'Malley has a day full of events in New Hampshire today and this major policy announcement to tout. From the Baltimore Sun's @jfritze:

"O'Malley's plan relies in part on using federal matching dollars to encourage states to pursue some of his more ambitious goals, such as freezing tuition rates and eventually reducing tuition at four-year public schools to 10 percent of states' median incomes."

"The pitch is geared to younger voters in a state that has the highest average debt in the nation. New Hampshire college graduates carry an average of nearly $33,000 in debt, according to the Institute for College Access & Success."

Read more

Papal planning continues

Clinton on GOP, immigration and trust

(David Greedy / Getty Images)

@evanhalper writes up the highlights of Hillary Rodham Clinton's first national TV interview. Clinton took aim at Republican promises on a path to citizenship, those probing her husband's foundation and, yes, the right. From Halper's piece:

"Hllary Rodham Clinton says there is an obvious reason so many Americans are skeptical of her trustworthiness: It's the handiwork of what she once termed the 'vast right-wing conspiracy' against her and her husband."

Read more

Scott Walker heads to Nevada after announcement

Nicolas Kamm/AFP

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is set to travel to Nevada a day after he formally announces his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.

Walker will make his announcement on Monday in Waukesha, Wis., then travel to Las Vegas, said an aide granted anonymity because an official announcement has not been made.

Walker, who has survived a recall effort driven by big labor unions, is expected to enter the presidential race toward the top of the crowded field.

In a primary, Walker's proven ability to battle with Democrats gives him bonafides with the GOP base.

Nevada's caucuses are among the earliest of nominating contests, following Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Read more

By the numbers

How does Clinton or Trump get to 270 electoral votes? Play with our map.

Third debate scorecard: Here's who's winning each round

All things Clinton | All things Trump

Who's endorsing who? Find out which celebrities support each candidate.

Find out which Republicans support Donald Trump

Get free news and analysis in your inbox daily from our political team.

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