Obama 332
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Romney 206
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Dem 46
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GOP 54
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  • Strongly Dem (191)
  • Likely Dem (72)
  • Barely Dem (69)
  • Exactly tied (0)
  • Barely GOP (15)
  • Likely GOP (16)
  • Strongly GOP (175)
270 Electoral votes needed to win Map algorithm explained
New polls: (None)
Dem pickups: (None)
GOP pickups: IN NC

News from the Votemaster

Could the Birthright Issue Cost the Republicans the Election?

Paul Waldman has a very interesting piece in the Washington Post entitled "Did Republicans just give away the 2016 election by raising birthright citizenship?" In his position paper on immigration, Donald Trump said he wants to eliminate the provision in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution that says anyone born on U.S. soil is automatically an American citizen. This is never going to happen because amending the Constitution is much too difficult, but the political fallout could be deadly. After Trump posted his immigration plank, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham, and Rick Santorum all said "me too." The story is playing all over Spanish-language television daily and won't be forgotten no matter who the nominee is.

Waldman said Democrats are going to be running ads like this until the cows come home: "My name is Lisa Hernandez. I was born in California, grew up there. I was valedictorian of my high school class, graduated from Yale, and now I'm in medical school; I'm going to be a pediatrician. But now Scott Walker and the Republicans say that because my mom is undocumented, that I'm not a real American and I shouldn't be a citizen. I'm living the American Dream, but they want to take it away from me and people like me. Well I've got a message for you, Governor Walker. I'm every bit as American as your children. This country isn't about who your parents were, it's about everybody having a chance to work hard, achieve, and contribute to our future. It seems like some people forgot that." It will be devastating.

The problem behind such an ad for the Republicans is the math. Under the most optimistic scenario for them, that white voters turn out at 2014 levels, black voters drop back to pre-Obama levels, and the expected growth in the Latino vote does not materialize, the Republicans would need 42% of the Latino vote to win the election. Romney got 27% in 2012 and McCain got 31% in 2008. With ads like the "Lisa ad" above, the chances of the Republicans increasing their share of the Latino vote by 50% compared to 2012 seem pretty small. So the more the Republicans follow Trump down the rabbit hole, the harder it is going to be to win over enough Latinos to win the general election. Things are going to change, of course, between now and Nov. 2016, but alienating a large and growing constituency is a really bad move. So far no Republican has had the nerve to stand up and say: "Trump is completely wrong on immigration and his views do not reflect what the Republican Party believes."

Supreme Court: Congress Can't Overule 14th Amendment

Some Republicans are saying that Congress could just pass a law making the children of noncitizens ineligible for American citizenship. It turns out that it can't. In U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, decided in 1898 the Court said that Wong was a citizen because he was born in San Francisco. So the only way to eliminate birthright citizenship would be to amend the Constitution, an extremely difficult process.

Selfies Threaten Democracy

It has occurred to more than one person to take a selfie of themself and their marked up election ballot and post it on Facebook. Some states have banned such photos, but last week a court in New Hampshire struck down the state ban in New Hampshire. Prof. Richard L. Hasen of UC Irvine, an election law expert, has decried the judge's decision as a huge mistake. Hasen said it could easily lead to vote buying. The biggest problem for the purchaser of a vote is getting proof that the seller did indeed vote as promised. If the seller can make a selfie showing the marked up ballot, that might be good enough for the purchaser to pay up. That is why some states have banned such selfies. If the courts overturn these bans, we may see an uptick in rich people paying poor people to vote as directed and take a photo of themselves with the ballot as proof.

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---The Votemaster