From The Reporter's Notebook
It’s too soon to say that Trump's campaign is ending or even taking significant hits because he is still leading national and state polls, according to TPM's Caitlin Cruz. But, many of his opponents—including fellow anti-establishment candidates Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson—are seeing significant gains. In Bloomberg’s poll, Carson jumped 11 points and Fiorina jumped 10. In the Quinnipiac poll, Trump actually saw a decline while Carson and Fiorina saw gains. And in the Fox News poll, Carson polled six points higher than last month. With his opponents gaining, Trump may have to finally start announcing specific policy positions—something neither of his two policy papers have done so far.
"I want everyone to win. When I run for president, I’d prefer not to run against someone. I would be like 'I want to work with you."
- Kanye West thinks Ben Carson is brilliant.
BUZZING: Today in the Hive
From TPM live chat guest and criminal justice expert Eli Hager: "I do think that there's a growing sense among policymakers I've spoken with that we need to be less punitive with the types of people you're describing -- people whose crimes were minor or victimless. On Capitol Hill, the right and left seem to agree that "low-level, nonviolent" offenders, especially drug offenders, need to go to prison for fewer years or not at all. But there are a few problems with this growing consensus. One, it is frighteningly fragile. When one terrible crime happens (like the murder of Kate Steinle in San Francisco this summer), policymakers start talking about creating mandatory minimum sentences all over again. Second, policymakers have an incredibly distorted definition of "violent" crimes. They're willing to be less punitive about nonviolent crimes like you describe, but NOT less punitive about "violent crimes" like having -- but not using -- a handgun, or like stealing a backpack, which Kalief Browder was accused of doing. Second, I think the influence of policymakers is actually less than influence of prosecutors. In an overwhelming majority (over 90%) of criminal cases, whether or not the defendant goes to prison and for how long is decided not by a judge and jury, but by the prosecutor."
Related: Kate Steinle was fatally shot at a San Francisco tourist spot.
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What We're Reading
How did prescription drugs get so expensive? (Wired)
California is still seeking answers for dealing with its most troubled children. (ProPublica)
As the Pope pushes to help the poor, Catholic universities are leaving them behind. (Guernica)