What Supporters See in Trump; the Man Selling Jeb to America; Papal Encyclical; Tragedy in Charleston

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Hello, it’s Thursday, June 18, 2015. Americans awoke this morning to the grim news that another mass shooting has claimed the lives of innocent people in this country. These murders, by a gunman described as a clean-shaven white man in his early 20s, were carried out in a historic African-American church in Charleston, S.C., adding an unwelcome racial element to the horror of the crime.

Nine worshipers at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church were killed, police said. Among them is the congregation’s head pastor, Clementa Carlos Pinckney, a well-known member of the South Carolina state legislature.

“He was called to the ministry when he was 13, ordained at 18, elected to the House at 23 and the Senate at 27,” J. Todd Rutherford, Democratic leader in the state House of Representatives, told reporters. “He was a man driven by public service.”

The church, located on Calhoun Street in the heart of historic Charleston, is known affectionately by its members as “Mother Emanuel.” A prayer meeting was being held when the gunman entered at 9 p.m. After opening fire, he escaped into the night. Police, who believe they are dealing with a hate crime, fanned out into the city in a search that continues this morning.

Hillary Clinton spent the day campaigning in South Carolina, and had headlined a fundraiser in a private home less than half a mile away hours before the shooting. According to local news accounts, the Rev. Pinckney was present at that event.

Jeb Bush has cancelled his campaign schedule today out of deference to the victims.

So, no whimsical walk through history in today’s note. Charleston now takes its reluctant place in the litany of 21st century place names that conjure up senseless carnage:

Ford Hood in Texas and the Washington Navy Yard; Virginia Tech; an immigration center in Binghamton, New York; the Century 16 theaters in Aurora, Colorado; Hartford Distributors in Manchester, Connecticut; Isla Vista, just outside the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara; Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska; Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

The question, as distraught members of the Emanuel AME church were plaintively asking the heavens last night, is “Why?”

We will have coverage of events in Charleston, and their political ramifications, in the hours and days to come on RCP’s front page, which aggregates columns, video clips, and analysis spanning the ideological spectrum. We also offer original material from RCP’s reporters and contributors, including the following:

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At Trump’s N.H. Rally, True Believers and Big Fans. Caitlin Huey-Burns sampled the crowd’s sentiments at the Wednesday night event in Manchester.

Mike Murphy: The Man Selling Jeb! to America. Rebecca Berg profiles the storied GOP campaign manager with outsized talent -- and an ego to match.

Pope’s Climate Letter Puts Catholic Candidates on Spot. Andrew Desiderio examines the papal document’s possible impact on messaging in the presidential race.

Graham E-Book Recalls Childhood, Military Service. Matthew Disler reports on the GOP presidential candidate’s new autobiography.

Latest Push for ISIS War Authorization Fails. The House is not yet ready to pass a resolution forcing Congress and the president to define the limits of America’s commitment to the war on terror, James Arkin reports.

Rachel Dolezal, America’s Newest “Victim.” Heather Wilhelm shares some thoughts on the Spokane woman who identifies as black.

Poll: Most Voters Want Open GOP Debates. Courtney Such has the numbers.

Terror in the “Happiest Place on Earth.” In RealClearWorld, Daniel Kochis points to a growing Islamic State influence in Nordic countries.

Eliminating Annual Tests Would Hurt Teachers. In RealClearEducation, Stephenie Johnson highlights some pitfalls of switching to “grade-span” testing for students.

Top 10 Athletes Pushed to the Limit. LeBron James’ herculean effort in the NBA Finals prompted this slide show from Brian Colella and Samuel Chi.

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Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics
@CarlCannon (Twitter)


Carl M. Cannon is the Washington Bureau Chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.

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