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Bridge Brief — Week of June 29th, 2015

The Supreme Court last week did what the Republican Party refuses to: It respected the Affordable Care Act as the law of the land and deemed it unconstitutional to ban people the right to marry based on their sexual orientation.

The momentous decisions will continue to ripple into the campaigns of those running for the White House this week, putting in stark relief the GOP’s inability to offer positions and policies that reflect the direction America is moving, not the way they hoped it was.

None of the GOP’s leading presidential candidates celebrated the decision to legalize gay marriage. Their responses ranged from woefully tepid (see Jeb Bush’s contradictory statement on preserving the freedom to discriminate based on sexual orientation) to the laughably extreme (see Bobby Jindal’s suggestion to eliminate the court).

In the week ahead we can expect more of the same, as the GOP further reinforces their image as hopelessly out of touch. It’s not just about Scott Walker proposing a constitutional amendment — all it’s going to take is one question for Chris Christie about Social Security and we’ll see his announcement transform into an anchor for the whole party.

QUESTIONS ON THE TRAIL THIS WEEK:

  • Do Republican candidates support a constitutional amendment on same-sex marriage?  Scott Walker says yes, Jeb Bush says no, and Marco Rubio’s trying to avoid the subject.
  • How far will the 2016ers go in bashing SCOTUS? Do they agree with Ted Cruz’s and Bobby Jindal’s bombastic criticisms?
  • Donald Trump is going nowhere…but up in the polls in New Hampshire. How is the field going to react?
  • Chris Christie was successful in pulling the field to the right on entitlements. How will his formal entry into the race this week impact the landscape?

CATCHING UP ON MEDIA CLIPS:

THE WASHINGTON POST: IN A FAST-CHANGING CULTURE, CAN THE GOP GET IN STEP WITH MODERN AMERICA?

“Across the cultural landscape, the national consensus is evolving rapidly, epitomized by this year’s convulsions of celebrity, social issues and politics — including the acceptance of Caitlyn Jenner’s gender identity, Pope Francis’s climate-change decree and the widespread shunning of the Confederate flag. Then came Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. As rainbow colors bathed the White House and other landmarks in celebration, the entire field of Republican presidential candidates condemned the ruling. This uneven terrain is now a key battlefield in the 2016 campaign, unnerving red America and fueling intense debate within the Republican Party about how to navigate such changes — or whether to adapt to the mainstream at all.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS: CHRISTIE $33B BUDGET: MILLIONAIRES WIN; SCHOOLS, UNIONS LOSE

“WINNERS: MILLIONAIRES: Christie spared residents with income over $1 million from a ratcheted-up tax rate under the Democrats’ plan…BUSINESSES: Christie sliced the 15 percent surcharge on New Jersey’s corporation business tax out of the budget. Democrats expected their one-time levy to haul in more than $400 million for the state, but Christie called the proposal ‘ridiculous’…

“LOSERS: PUBLIC-SECTOR UNIONS…Democrats say he breached the public’s trust by going back on the 2011 law. SCHOOLS: For another year, funding for schools is below what the School Funding Reform Act called for, this time by about $1 billion… TRANSPORTATION…Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox warned legislators that the state’s transportation trust fund, which pays for capital improvements, will reach insolvency by the end of June 2016. The budget doesn’t address this concern.”

LAS VEGAS SUN: EDITORIAL: AS GOP CANDIDATES HUDDLE WITH FAR RIGHT, CLINTON DEALS WITH REALITY

“To appreciate how high a priority is placed on Latino issues by Republican presidential candidates, just look at how many of them attended a recent national Latino leadership convention in Las Vegas… So how many of the 16 invited GOP candidates showed? You can count them on one finger: retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Most of the others cited scheduling conflicts, saying they instead would attend a rally in Washington sponsored by the ultraconservative Faith and Freedom Coalition, an organization endorsed by Sarah Palin, Donald Trump and Michele Bachmann…UNLV political scientist David Damore put it this way: ‘Their absence spoke loudly and was another salient example of the gulf between the GOP’s rhetoric and actions when it comes to reaching out to the Latino community.’ Republicans would be fools not to understand the importance of the Latino vote. But the GOP candidates know their bread is buttered by social conservatives who claim to embrace social justice, even while failing to act on it.”

POLITICO: TRUMP: IT’LL COST ME ‘PEANUTS’ TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT
“The cost of running for president? ‘Peanuts,’ says Donald Trump. ‘I’m in it to win it. I gave up a lot. I gave up hundreds of millions in deals, you know, things that I do. In all fairness, I don’t want it to sound trivial — NBC renewed ‘The Apprentice’ because we had a great season last season, and they would love me not to be doing this, they will tell you right now,’ the newly minted Republican presidential candidate said in an interview aired Sunday on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.'”

**Reminder: CNN: TRUMP GAINS ON BUSH IN NEW HAMPSHIRE AMONG REPUBLICANS, POLL FINDS