Clinton 2800
Sanders 1881
 Needed   2383
Trump 1542
Cruz 559
Rubio 165
Kasich 161
Needed 1237

Republican Delegates Working on a Plan to Dump Trump

A group of die-hard delegates who can't stand the idea of Donald Trump as their nominee are busy hatching yet another plan to get rid of Trump as the Republican nominee. Their strategy is simple: Change the convention rules to unbind any delegate with a religious or moral objection to the candidate to whom he or she is bound. Let them vote for anyone they want to. In theory, it is doable if enough delegates vote for the new rule, but this idea has been kicking around for weeks to no avail. The sticking point seems to be finding a candidate is willing to run for the nomination and has a high enough profile to be a serious general-election candidate.

In addition, there is the problem that if the convention picks someone other than Trump, the millions of people who voted for him are going to be hopping mad and many of them will write in Trump or vote for the Libertarian candidate or stay home on election day. Nevertheless, the movement to dump Trump is still not dead. (V)

RNC Names Rules Committee Chairwoman

The first step towards dumping Trump would be to have the Republican National Convention's Rules Committee adopt a rule that either unbinds all delegates or allows any delegate to request being unbound for religious or personal reasons. Expect contentious fights in the 112-member rules committee over any such proposals. The person in charge of managing the food fight will be the Committee's chair. The RNC has now named the person who will chair the committee and thus be the target of the flying broccoli. It is former Utah representative Enid Mickelsen. The announcement contained the usual boilerplate about her being a proven leader, etc., but this test will be unlike any she faced in the House, pitting members of the Republican Party against other members in a high-stakes debate that must be completed in about a week. (V)

Can Trump Dig Himself Out of the Hole He Is In?

Republican leaders all understand that Donald Trump is in a deep hole of his own digging. They also understand that getting out first requires that he recognize the situation. What they see and he doesn't see is that just continuing the strategy he used in the primaries, including insulting multiple major voting groups, will not work in the general election. His polling against Hillary Clinton is not looking good and will get worse when Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) finally gets out of the race. Also, his unfavorables are around 70%. It is hard to win an election when 70% of the voters don't like you, and this include 94% of blacks, 89% of Latinos, and 77% of women.

Matthew Dowd, George W. Bush's 2004 chief strategist, recently said: "Nobody has ever gotten elected President of the United States with a 70 percent unfavorable rating." Other experts, including Republican pollster David Winston, say that Trump first has to come to grips with the fact that large groups of people dislike him intensely. All of them agree that he has to do something fast, since Hillary Clinton is beginning a large-scale ad campaign in all the swing states.

The experts agree that his first opportunity to change people's perception of him will be at the Republican National Convention. There he will get the chance for millions of people to hear his message unfiltered by the media. He has to convince them that he has the temperament to be president. They think he should showcase his business successes, the money he has given to charities, and the kind of father he has been. His second chance will be in the presidential debates, but that may not be so easy since Hillary Clinton is a skilled debater and has a far better grasp of policy than he does. Just calling her "Crooked Hillary" 100 times is not going to do the job. Most important, Trump must learn to discipline himself, and that might be the hardest of all. (V)

Republican Insiders Want Newt as Veep

Donald Trump has a month to pick his running mate. Politico's panel of Republican activists, strategists, and operatives is badly splintered on who would be be strongest Veep, but more are for New Gingrich at 13% than for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) at 8%, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) at 8%, Condoleezza Rice at 8%, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) at 7%, or Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) at 7%.

The argument for Gingrich is that he has a deep knowledge of how Congress works and how to push the executive branch. He is also quick on his feet and is very acceptable to conservatives. On the other hand, he is also very divisive and has been out of politics for a long time. The argument for Rubio is that he has a lot of legislative experience (at the state level), is young, good looking, and women like him. Of course, Rubio may not be interested in being a human sacrifice and destroying his political future. The argument for Kasich is that he brings stability and Ohio. Unfortunately for the GOP, one Pennsylvania Republican summed up what a lot of the others were probably thinking when he said: "There is no one Trump can pick that would make him palatable." (V)

Cross Two Names Off the Veep Lists

In the next month or so, as we wait for the candidates to make an actual decision, political junkies' favorite game will be "Guess who's #2?" Both Hillary Clinton's and Donald Trump's supposed short lists are well known, though only the candidates know for certain how accurate those lists are.

On Friday, two of the hypothetical short listers made clear that they are not in the running. Starting with the Democrats, HUD Secretary Julian Castro said he's not being vetted by Clinton's team. Though he was an early favorite, his addition to the ticket no longer makes a lot of sense. She does not need to shore up her support with Latinos, she's not likely to take his home state of Texas, and—given her age—she probably needs someone with more executive experience, potentially ready to step in as Commander-in-Chief.

Meanwhile, on the GOP side, Condoleezza Rice declared that she was not the slightest bit interested in being Donald Trump's #2, and that she's perfectly content running Stanford University's Global Center for Business and the Economy. Rice was a pipe dream, at best. The presidency might well have been hers, and she wasn't interested. This being the case, why would she want the vice presidency? Further, she is both a person of color and a national security expert—it's hard to believe she is ok with everything The Donald has said, and that she would be willing to go out and campaign for his agenda. So, the short lists on both sides just got a little shorter. (Z)

Sanders Signals Willingness to Endorse Clinton

Bernie Sanders wants to maximize his leverage over the Democratic Party and its platform, and at the same time does not want to "betray" his supporters. Therefore it behooves him to join team Clinton very, very slowly. He started by not attacking her any more. Then he quietly dropped his claim that he might still be the nominee. After that, he declared that his main goal, from here on out, would be defeating Donald Trump.

On Friday, Sanders' aides finally hinted at the ultimate concession: an actual endorsement of Clinton. This is the natural progression of Sanders' carefully-choreographed dance of the last week. And, by putting the words in the mouth of an aide—and not yet the Vermont Senator himself—it breaks the news just a bit more gently. The coming together of the Democratic Party, then, is moving forward as scheduled. (Z)

All Signs Point to a Rubio Run

This week, Marco Rubio has been increasingly vocal about potentially running for re-election, despite a previously-stated intention to retire from the Senate. He is now telling people that he is leaning heavily toward running again, and says he will take the weekend to make a final decision.

As Rubio decides, his path is being cleared of opposition. His good friend Carlos López-Cantera has already given his blessing and promised he would step aside for the Florida Senator. And on Friday, the other moderate Republican in the race dropped out, with Rep. David Jolly saying he is going to focus on getting re-elected to his House seat instead. That means that Rubio's only viable opponent would be Rep. Ron DeSantis, a tea partier whose only real hope of victory was a split in the moderate vote. If Rubio does officially declare, he's likely to drop out, too. So, it looks like there will be an ongoing need for, after all. (Z)

Trump TV Is Not Going To Be on a Screen Near You Any Time Soon

Donald Trump is apparently annoyed that media companies are making so much money from his utterances and tweets and would like to get some of the action himself. He has talked about starting his own television channel so he can cash in on his fame. It is not likely to happen. Before launching, Trump might want to talk to Al Gore or Al Jazeera about new television channels. After losing the election in 2000, Al Gore grew a beard and looked for new ways to occupy his time. He hit upon an interesting one: Start a new television channel to bring progressive news to cable TV. He launched Current TV in 2005, and after 8 difficult years sold it to Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera rebranded it "Al Jazeera America" and after noticing that the audience was so small that Nielsen couldn't measure it, closed it down permanently in 2016. If Trump is elected president, he won't need his own channel to get his message across. If he is not elected president, no one will care what he has to say. So the whole project is just a pipe dream. (V)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
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