Clinton 1959
Sanders 1240
 Needed   2383
Trump 846
Cruz 559
Rubio 171
Kasich 147
Needed 1237

News from the Votemaster

TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  Five States Vote Today
      •  Tuesday Also Has Senate Drama
      •  Kasich-Cruz Truce Lasted One Day
      •  Cruz Is Already Working on the Unbound Delegates
      •  Trump Hires Another Heavyweight
      •  Meet the New Trump, Same as the Old Trump
      •  Bad News for Candidate Trump
      •  Federal Judge Upholds NC Voter ID Law
      •  Oppo Research Is Now Open Source

Five States Vote Today

Yet another "Super Tuesday" is upon us. The first one was March 1, when most of the South voted. Then we had March 15, when Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Missouri, and Illinois voters went to the polls. Today, five states in the East vote. The states and the number of delegates at stake are as follows:

State GOP delegates Dem delegates
Pennsylvania 71 189
Maryland 38 95
Connecticut 28 55
Rhode Island 19 24
Delaware 16 21
Total 172 384

Most polls show Donald Trump way ahead in all of them. Hillary Clinton is also ahead in all of them, but not by as much, and there could be upsets in Rhode Island and Connecticut. One important thing to note, however, is that 54 of Pennsylvania's Republican delegates will be unbound on the first ballot. The delegate candidates there are running as individuals, without stating which candidate they prefer. This group is going to get a lot of attention between June 8 and the start of the convention, when the lobbying will start in earnest.

For Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the stakes are very high today. If Hillary Clinton can pull down, say, 55% of the delegates, which is entirely likely, she will raise her total to about 2,170, only 213 delegates short of a majority. With 1,016 delegates yet to be chosen after today, getting 21% of them shouldn't be very hard. If today plays out as expected, Sanders' goose is cooked.

However, although he won't be the Democratic nominee, he could still play a very important role in this year's election. Hillary Clinton will desperately need his full-throated, unambiguous endorsement and an agreement to work hard for her in the fall. Well, he doesn't have to work hard for her, but he has to work very hard against the Republicans. He can go to his supporters and say: "Hillary is not perfect. I've told you that already, but do you want Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) replacing Antonin Scalia with a 30-year-old far to Scalia's right? We have to stop that at all costs." That is plausible for him to say.

Naturally, his support won't come for free. He could demand that she agree to a few things he considers important. No doubt various lists of what they might be will be showing up soon. Here is one from Eric Pianin:

  • A big say in the choice of her running mate. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) would be just fine.
  • Guaranteed positions for his top advisers in her campaign, so his message gets through
  • A prime-time speaking slot at the convention
  • A major influence on the Democratic Party platform
  • A commitment to changing the rules to make them more democratic next time

If his demands are reasonable, she will probably grant them since she really needs his full support, not just on paper. (V)

Tuesday Also Has Senate Drama

In addition to the presidential contests, there will also be two Senate races on Tuesday that bear watching. The first is in Maryland, where—as we've noted—things have been very contentious between the two Democrats running to succeed Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D). Rep. Chris Van Hollen is white, and has the backing of the Democratic establishment. Rep. Donna Edwards is black, and does not. Curiously, though, Van Hollen's supporters actually look like a Bernie Sanders rally (young, white, liberal) while Edwards' support mirrors that of Hillary Clinton (black, female). President Obama and Clinton have both made no endorsement, but it's an open secret that they both favor Van Hollen. Whoever wins the nomination—the polls have been all over the place, though it appears Van Hollen is the favorite—will be Maryland's next senator, as the state is very blue.

Of greater consequence, at least in terms of controlling the Senate, is Pennsylvania. In that race, the establishment has gone all-in to try and get Katie McGinty nominated. That includes millions of dollars in funding, and even a commercial that Obama recorded for her. McGinty has only served in appointed office, but the Party is salivating about how many women will show up to the polls to vote for a woman president and a woman senator. Perhaps just as important, she takes marching orders from the Democratic pooh-bahs, while her opponent most certainly does not. Former representative Joe Sestak is a retired three-star admiral, and the highest-ranking soldier ever elected to Congress. He also does things his own way, which means hiring his friends and family to run his campaign, and telling the pros to butt out. This probably cost him the 2010 Senate election, which he lost 51% to 49% to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA). The Party fears he'll lose to Toomey again, which is why they want the safer, more loyal McGinty. The Admiral was leading in early polls, but now it's a tossup. Either way, the Keystone State is far from the sure thing that Maryland is, so the winner is going to get a lot of attention from the DSCC, even if it's Sestak. (Z)

Kasich-Cruz Truce Lasted One Day

The temporary truce between Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) and Ted Cruz is over. It didn't quite hit the 24-hour mark. The idea was that Kasich would concede Indiana to Cruz and focus on Oregon and New Mexico. But today, Kasich told Indiana voters to vote for him. That wasn't the deal. He was supposed to encourage them to vote for Cruz and Cruz was supposed to encourage voters in Oregon and New Mexico to support Kasich. If enough Indiana voters mark the ballot for Kasich on May 3, Donald Trump could scoop up most of the delegates. Kasich doesn't seem to understand basic arithmetic. If Trump gets 1,237 delegates, it doesn't matter how many Kasich has. His only route to the nomination is to stop Trump, and breaking the agreement with Cruz before the ink is dry doesn't help matters. (V)

Cruz Is Already Working on the Unbound Delegates

Although Donald Trump has figured out how politics works (see below), Ted Cruz is already working the unbound delegates to the hilt. At least 26 unbound delegates who have already been chosen are publicly committed to Cruz, with more sure to follow. If Trump comes into the convention with just under the 1,237 delegates needed to win, the fight for the unbound delegates will be fierce, and this small group of people could determine who wins the GOP nomination.

Trump has already admitted that he may need a fair number of these delegates to push him over the line. But some are going to be tough to convince. Tony Ada (Guam), Ben Koppelman (ND), and Bette Grande (ND), for example, said they will vote for Cruz as long as he is a candidate. Others, like Abe Malae (American Samoa) have said they would never support Trump, but otherwise don't know what they will do. The seven delegates from the U.S. Virgin Islands could also make a difference, since a big fight is currently underway about which of two competing slates will be seated. (V)

Trump Hires Another Heavyweight

Donald Trump is getting it. He finally understands the race is about who has the most delegates, not who has the most tweets. First he hired Paul Manafort, a veteran lobbyist, as delegate wrangler. In late March he added Ed Brookover, Ben Carson's campaign manager. A week ago he acquired Rick Wiley, Gov. Scott Walker's (R-WI) campaign manager. Yesterday, he added Ken McKay, who was the campaign manager for Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), as a senior adviser. McKay's focus will be trying to outfox Ted Cruz on the ground. With all this talent, Trump has put together a package of top-level talent worthy of a serious campaign.

Two questions come to mind about all these acquisitions, however. First, is it too little, too late? Second, all of these guys are used to being the boss. Will they play together nicely or will there be lots of infighting about strategy and tactics? At the very least, as more delegates are chosen in the coming weeks, Trump won't be blindsided. But knowing what to do and being able to execute it are two different things. For example, California is one of the few states where candidates can supply their own list of delegates. Trump's problem, however, is finding slates of loyal delegates in all of California's 53 congressional districts. Maybe these new hires have college roommates or drinking buddies in all the districts, but it is doubtful. But at least Trump won't be caught by surprise any more as Cruz makes out like a bandit at the state conventions. These guys know how they work. (V)

Meet the New Trump, Same as the Old Trump

The Washington Post is more than a bit skeptical about Donald Trump v2.0. The Post made a list of all the things he has said that got him this far. He would like everyone to kindly forget them. Nice try, but Hillary Clinton's oppo team has them all nicely recorded, probably in high definition, for playback in the fall should Trump be the Republican nominee. Here is a summary of some of the highlights.

  • He mocked a disabled reporter and then lied about it
  • He said Mexicans crossing the border are rapists
  • He claimed that thousands of American Muslims celebrated the destruction of the WTC on 9/11
  • He made fun of Carly Fiorina's face, which many women did not find very funny
  • He explained away a tough question from Megyn Kelly by noting she had blood coming out of her wherever
  • Then, he called her a bimbo, sick, overrated, and crazy
  • Although Trump never served in the armed forces, he said that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was not a war hero
  • He threatened a Chicago family who donated to a PAC opposing him
  • When attacked by reporters for lying, he threatened freedom of the press altogether
  • As President, he would not allow Muslims to enter the country
  • He cited "Operation Wetback" as the model for rounding up and deporting 11 million undocumented aliens
  • Unlike almost every scientist in the world, he does not believe in man-made climate change
  • Being a generous man, he said he would pay the legal fees of supporters who attacked protesters at his rallies
  • Killing the children of terrorist suspects seems like a good idea to him

The list goes on and on. And if he thinks Clinton's oppo team doesn't have all this on tape, he's right. They have all of it in digital format for easier editing. The Etch-a-Sketch isn't going to work for him (and didn't work for Mitt Romney in 2012, either).

The Donald isn't even really trying. He keeps slipping back to Trump v1.0. Yesterday he mocked Kasich's eating style, saying it was disgusting. You can't teach an old dog new tricks. (V)

Bad News for Candidate Trump

A pair of new polls deliver some sobering news for the GOP if Donald Trump is the candidate. The first, from the Harvard Institute of Politics, reveals that millennials really, really dislike The Donald. 61% of them would vote for Hillary Clinton, compared to only 25% for Trump. Even young Republicans can't tolerate him: Only 17% have a favorable opinion, compared to 74% unfavorable. That net -57% unfavorable would be far and away the worst for any GOP candidate since such data were first collected in the 1970s. Put another way, Hillary Clinton's "problems" with younger voters disappear the moment Trump is nominated.

The other bad news poll comes from Arizona, where it is looking more and more like the "Safe Red" state could be in play in November. In a hypothetical matchup between Clinton and Trump, she wins by eight points. This is powered primarily by women voters and minority voters, with both groups breaking more than two-to-one for Hillary. This is also bad news for Trump's favorite non-war hero, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who's already in the reelection fight of his life. There would be a certain irony if the GOP's 2016 candidate ends the political career of its 2008 candidate. (Z)

Federal Judge Upholds NC Voter ID Law

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee, has upheld the entirety of North Carolina's 2013 voter-ID law in an exhaustive 485-page ruling. In addition to deeming ID requirements to be constitutional, Schroeder also said it was acceptable to reduce the number of early-voting days, to eliminate same-day registration, and to prohibit people from casting a ballot outside their precinct.

North Carolina is just one of many Southern states to adopt more restrictive voting rules after the Supreme Court struck down the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The case was being watched carefully by advocates on both side of the question; needless to say, civil rights and voting rights advocates were not happy with the decision. Activist Bob Hall, for example, took note of Schroder's declaration that, "There is significant, shameful past discrimination. In North Carolina's recent history, however, certainly for the last quarter century, there is little official discrimination to consider." and said, "Hopefully, other judges will take off the rose-colored glasses and look at the facts and law with more care."

Sooner or later, this case—or one of the similar cases that has been filed in other red states—is going to find its way to the Supreme Court. Whether that will happen before the general election, and whether or not the Court will be able to do anything beyond producing a non-binding 4-4 tie, is anyone's guess. (Z)

Oppo Research Is Now Open Source

Oppo research is expensive and time consuming to collect, which raises a problem for campaigns. By law, they can't share their hoard of goodies with the SuperPACs supporting them. That would be illegal coordination. So they have found a good workaround: publish it. For example, if Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) wonders what the Democrats are about to throw at her, all she has to do is look it up here. It's there. All 535 pages of it. By publishing this information, albeit at a not so easy to find Web address, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has made the information public. So any super PAC that just happened to notice it is free to feast on the buffet, no coordination with the DCCC needed. Of course, SuperPACs have to find the goodies, not unlike a political Easter egg hunt, but there are often links buried deep on Websites that hunters often check. For the DCCC, it is easy: Just go to the DCCC's Updates page and click on "Races 2016" at the bottom. According to Nathan Gonzales, both sides do this on a large scale.

Of course, telling your opponent how you plan to attack eliminates the element of surprise, but even if you know it is coming, that nasty divorce years ago or lawsuit isn't going to go away. And the advantage of saving your SuperPACs the time and money to rediscover what your campaign already has dug up is worth it. (V)

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---The Votemaster
Apr25 Kasich and Cruz Are Teaming Up
Apr25 Republican Contest Gets Uglier and Uglier
Apr25 Trump and Clinton Have Big Leads in Pennsylvania
Apr25 Trump and Clinton Have Big Leads in Rhode Island
Apr25 Clinton Campaigning Vigorously on Gun Control in Connecticut
Apr25 The Problems with Sanders' Superdelegate Strategy
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Apr25 Libertarian Bid for a Failed Republican?
Apr25 Betting Has Started on the Veep Slot
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Apr25 Kasich and Cruz Are Teaming Up
Apr25 Republican Contest Gets Uglier and Uglier
Apr25 Trump and Clinton Have Big Leads in Pennsylvania
Apr25 Trump and Clinton Have Big Leads in Rhode Island
Apr25 Clinton Campaigning Vigorously on Gun Control in Connecticut
Apr25 The Problems with Sanders' Superdelegate Strategy
Apr25 Will the Contests Committee Trump the Rules Committee?
Apr25 Libertarian Bid for a Failed Republican?
Apr25 Betting Has Started on the Veep Slot
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Apr23 Fisking the Fundraising Reports
Apr23 RNC Is Scaling Back Down-ballot Commitments
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Apr23 Politics in the 21st Century
Apr23 Sanders Has His Own Personal Holy Grail
Apr23 So Much for Little Marco
Apr23 McAuliffe Restores Voting Rights to 206,000 Ex-felons
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