News from the Votemaster
• Sanders Pulls Another Midwestern Surprise
• It's Not about Trump--It's about the Map
• "Stop Trump" Was a Big Waste of Money
• Is Housing the Next Big Political Issue?
• Cruz Makes TV Ad for Hillary Clinton
• Clinton Tries to Make Nice to Laid-Off Coal Miner
Polls projected an easy win for Donald Trump in Indiana, and were they right. Here are the numbers:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called Indiana a "must win" state, and apparently he meant it. After losing badly to Trump (including being defeated among evangelicals), Cruz surprised everyone and suspended his campaign, acknowledging that his "path has been foreclosed." RNC chair Reince Priebus promptly took to Twitter and declared that Trump is the presumptive nominee. So, it appears that the great white whale of politics, the brokered convention, will not be making an appearance this year. Sorry, Captain Ahab.
Following Cruz's concession, Trump gave a victory speech that surely had to make Democratic insiders nervous. He was gracious, humble, calm, and showed gentle good humor. He complimented his fellow Republican contenders, including Cruz (despite having suggested earlier in the day that Cruz's father was involved with the JFK assassination). The speech did have its share of barbs at Hillary Clinton's expense, but they weren't nearly as over-the-top as we are used to. It also had a fair bit of nonsense, like claiming that Trump will capture the black and Latino vote. In any case, if this is what Trump 2.0 looks like, he's going to be a lot more competitive than Trump 1.0.
The next big question, as Tuesday's news sinks in, is whether Cruz will throw his weight behind The Donald. The consequences could be far-reaching either way. If Cruz doesn't support Trump, it will make it harder to unify the Party before November. If he does support Trump after his Tuesday morning harangue (see below), as well as The Donald's attacks on Rafael, Sr. and Heidi Cruz, he will be called a hypocrite. He could also end up holding the bag in terms of Trump's positions, like his statements about women. These things might hurt him down the road, especially if he runs in 2020.
What Cruz really should be doing is thinking about what will best position him to be the candidate in 2024 or 2028. The road is littered with the bodies of Republicans who had success with evangelicals, then came back for a second go-round and performed worse (Mike Huckabee, Pat Buchanan, Rick Santorum, etc.) There is no way for a candidate to ride that base to victory any more, and maybe there never was. The Texas Senator should take some time to reinvent himself, maybe extend some olive branches and repair some burned bridges, a la the "New Nixon" in 1968.
There was, of course, a third candidate on the ballot Tuesday. Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) turned in a performance that was nothing short of humiliating, especially given that Indiana borders Ohio. He hasn't dropped out yet, but he's now running fourth in a two-man race. The writing is not only on the wall, it's also on the ceiling, and on the floor, and is even being written in the sky by airplanes. He has no mathematical way of winning the nomination in the primaries, and there is no way the establishment is going to wrest the nomination from Trump on his behalf. It's up to him to decide exactly how many days he wants to spend (and how much ethnic food he wants to consume) as a dead man walking before he throws in the towel.
And so, it has now come to pass: Donald Trump, 2016 Republican nominee for president. A sentence that only would have been written in jest just six months ago. If Lincoln's body was not encased in concrete to foil robbers, he'd undoubtedly be rolling in his grave right now. (Z)
The handful of polls taken of the Hoosier State suggested that Hillary Clinton would defeat Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) by a comfortable margin. So, what happened? Sanders won easily, of course:
So what does Sanders' win mean? Virtually nothing. If Clinton had performed as the polls predicted, she would have picked up seven delegates. Instead, she loses six. That's a swing of 13, or 0.5% of the total needed for nomination. So, the victory gives Sanders "momentum," which he will "maintain" for the rest of the month, since the next few states to vote (West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon) are very friendly to him. And then, we will get to June, by which time Clinton will have about 2,300 delegates, and she will be put over the top by New Jersey and California.
In his victory speech, Sanders insisted he still has a path to victory. If we humor him, and agree that he does, what would that path look like? Well, in addition to winning the remaining May contests, he would need to (a) crush Clinton in California and New Jersey, and then (b) leverage those wins to convince a lot of superdelegates to flip. But those are two enormous ifs; there's currently no evidence to support any of it taking place. And note that flipping superdelegates is now literally Sanders' only path to nomination: He was mathematically eliminated from winning the nomination in the primaries on Tuesday.
Clinton, for her part, has some deciding to do. Trump will undoubtedly begin hitting her with both barrels, maybe getting up early on Wednesday morning so he can get started. So, does she ignore Sanders and start running against The Donald? That might come off as presumptuous, and dismissive of the voters of West Virginia/Kentucky/Oregon, as well as of Sanders' supporters. Or does she ignore Trump for now, until Sanders is finished? Risky, because once Trump establishes a narrative (Little Marco, Lyin' Ted), it's been hard to challenge it. Or does she take on both at once? Not easy, and it will leave her spread thin on many levels, but it may be her only real option.
It's a real surprise that Donald Trump is going to be the GOP nominee. But it's arguably an even bigger surprise that he managed to finish the job more quickly than Hillary Clinton could. (Z)
As we have pointed out many times, presidential elections are not much about the candidates—although with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both historically unpopular, it might be a little bit. The country is so partisan that if Donald Trump were the Democratic nominee most Democrats would vote for him, just as most Republicans would vote for Hillary Clinton if she had that all-important (R) after her name. As the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza points out, there are 19 states plus D.C. that the Democrats have won in every election from 1992 to 2012. Together they add up to 242 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. A new general-election poll of a Clinton-Trump matchup shows Clinton ahead by 13 points in Florida, a state with 29 electoral votes. A simple sum shows 242 + 29 = 271. Game over. If Trump won every other state, this is what the map would look like.
But Trump has so many problems in so many states that this is almost the best-case scenario in a year when Colorado and Virginia are probably lost causes and Utah, Arizona, and even Mississippi may be in play.
Several factors are at work here. The first is demographics. The Republican Party is basically an all-white party and hostile to people who aren't white. As national demographics change, states that used to be all white, like Virginia and Colorado, aren't any more, so they have moved towards the Democrats. Few states are getting whiter.
The second problem is the old "Be careful what you wish for; you might get it" thing. Republicans strongly supported the run up to the Citizens United Supreme Court case and celebrated the decision. Maybe they shouldn't have. Yes, it brought in tons of money for Republican-oriented SuperPACs, but it also completely blinded the Party. It wholeheartedly embraced all the big donors and completely adopted their goals, oblivious to the fact that much of its base hated those goals. Donald Trump, clever businessman that he is, saw that nobody was advocating what the base wanted: an end to immigration, to trade agreements, to outsourcing of jobs, and to tax cuts for the rich. Add some xenophobia and racism, stir well, and you have Trump's secret sauce. Even if Trump loses in 2016, the genie is out of the bottle and next time the party may be confronted by a more polite and less overtly racist candidate who wants the same policy goals that Trump supported—and which the donors strongly oppose. The Democrats don't have any kind of problem like this. If a future candidate like Bernie Sanders got the nomination, the Democratic Party donors would be fully behind him or her. His problem is simply that he is a bit ahead of his time and Clinton is actually quite popular with Democrats; not that there is a fundamental conflict between what the donors want and what the base wants. (V)
The Republicans who tried desperately to stop Donald Trump at all costs not only failed, but they burned through tens of millions of dollars doing it. They ran a total of 64,000 critical television advertisements, with the final price tag coming in at $75,723,580. So it's not just Karl Rove who's good at throwing donors' money into the fireplace and watching it burn.
Already, the blue team is getting ready to try its luck. Progressive organization MoveOn, while ostensibly still campaigning for preferred candidate Bernie Sanders, is hard at work on a multimillion-dollar anti-Trump campaign, and has already begun testing various messages. So, we should soon know if The Donald is just mud-proof. (Z)
Outsourcing of jobs is one of the biggest political issues this year, with both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders latching onto it. Another issue that is a huge problem for many middle-income people is housing. It could easily become the Next Big Thing in politics. The basic problem is simple but the solution is not: Too many people want to live in cities that are already full and this has driven housing costs through the roof so that teachers, nurses, and police officers can no longer afford to live anywhere near their work. The median cost of a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is now $3,600/month. Brooklyn is cheaper at $2,600, but catching up fast. Buying isn't an option for middle-income people either: It now costs $438,000 to build a 1,600 square foot apartment in Boston and don't even ask what a house costs.
Sooner or later some politician is going to notice that doing something about housing for middle-income people could be as potent an issue as stopping corporations from exporting jobs or letting in immigrants who take those jobs domestically. While it is easy to rant about the problem, there aren't a lot of things national politicians can do, and all of the things local politicians can do are very controversial. The easiest one is allow developers to build high-rise buildings everywhere, but many people do not want their city turned into Hong Kong. Applying rent control to all housing would be an attempt to repeal the law of supply and demand and would shut down all new construction. What would be feasible is to end the current practice of governments requiring builders to build low-cost housing and then heavily subsidizing it. But getting rid of poor people in cities and using the land their apartments take up for middle-income housing would start a class war. Banning Airbnb would certainly stop conversions of apartments into private hotels, but would not be popular and would be expensive to enforce. There is no simple solution, but a demagogue could come along and claim he has one. (V)
Yesterday Ted Cruz made a TV ad for Hillary, although that wasn't his primary goal. He called Donald Trump an "utterly amoral bully, narcissist, and pathological liar." When she runs the clip of him saying this in the fall, it will be prefaced by "This is what Republicans think of Donald Trump." Ronald Reagan once spoke of the 11th commandment: "Thou shalt not speak ill of any other Republican" but Cruz either doesn't know much history (Reagan said it in 1966, before Cruz was born) or doesn't think Trump is a Republican. Cruz went on to attack Trump for defending Mike Tyson, who was convicted of rape in Indiana. Cruz's tirade just went on and on. It is an oppo researcher's dream. (V)
When Hillary Clinton was campaigning in Ohio she said: "We are going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business." Environmentalists cheered. At a campaign stop in Williamson, WV, yesterday, the attendees weren't cheering. In fact, they weren't happy at all. Coal mining is the mainstay of West Virginia's economy, with few prospects for replacing it with anything else. Potential alternative energy sources like solar energy might be popular in, say, Nevada, and wind power might be a winner in the Great Plains, but all West Virginia has is coal. The altercation there does not bode well for Clinton in the West Virginia primary. Bernie Sanders is every bit as much of an environmentalist as Clinton, but he is judiciously keeping quiet about that in West Virginia—and probably also in Kentucky, another coal state that votes a week after West Virginia. (V)Email a link to a friend or share:
May03 Ted Cruz is Cratering
May03 Why Hasn't Rubio Endorsed Cruz?
May03 Trump and Clinton Have Massive Leads in California
May03 What Kind of General Election Candidate Will Trump Be?
May03 What Kind of General Election Candidate Candidate Will Trump Be?
May03 What Would Have Happened If Each Party Used the Other's Rules?
May03 SCOTUS Obstruction Is Bringing Down Chuck Grassley
May02 Trump and Clinton Lead in Crucial Indiana Primary
May02 Trump Not Interested in Healing the GOP
May02 Trump Accuses China of Raping the U.S.
May02 A Short List of Possible Running Mates for Donald Trump
May02 Cruz's Advisers Are Nervous
May02 Cruz Delegates May Defect
May02 Issa Says that Clinton E-Mail Probe Could Linger Past November
May02 Are Open Primaries a Good Idea?
May01 Trump Might Have Trouble Finding a Running Mate
May01 Gender Hurts Trump but Doesn't Help Clinton
May01 How Trump Will Attack Clinton
May01 Trump May Mention Monica Lewinsky
May01 Can Trump Win the White House?
May01 Another Saturday, Another Slate of Cruz Delegates
May01 Indiana Unlikely to Be a Repeat of Wisconsin
May01 Will Fiorina Help Cruz in California?
May01 Clinton Is Already Moving Staff to General Election Swing States
May01 Why Are the Highly Educated Getting More Liberal?
May01 Will 2016 Campaign Set Spending Records?
Apr30 GOP Has Split into Ryan and Trump Wings
Apr30 Republicans Have a Big Latino Problem
Apr30 The GOP Is Losing Millennials, Too
Apr30 Model Shows That Trump Will Win the Nomination
Apr30 Republican Women Want Trump To Pick a Woman as Running Mate
Apr30 Democratic Veeps Are Nearly Always Senators
Apr30 Politico's Panel of Insiders Think Clinton Will Crush Trump
Apr30 Closed Primaries Are Not Going to Cost Sanders the Nomination
Apr30 Sanders Drops DNC Lawsuit
Apr30 Trump + Garland = Trouble for Endangered GOP Senators
Apr29 The General Election Has Already Started
Apr29 Trump Has Defined Gender as a Major General Election Issue
Apr29 Get Your Official Hillary Clinton Woman Card
Apr29 Indianapolis Star Slams Trump
Apr29 Bobby Knight Campaigns for Trump
Apr29 Large Majority of Americans Have an Unfavorable View of the Republican Party
Apr29 Trump Has Insulted 210 People, Places, and Things
Apr29 Journalist Who Profiled Melania Trump is Subjected to Abuse
Apr29 Energy Could Determine Control of the Senate
Apr28 Trump Is Very Close To a Majority
Apr28 In Hail Mary Play, Cruz Picks Fiorina for Veep Slot
Apr28 Trump Likely To Get More Primary Votes Than Any Republican in History
Apr28 Trump's Speech Does Not Impress Experts