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

Anti-Trump Movement Grows To Hundreds of Delegates

Nearly 400 delegates to the Republican National Convention are on board with a plan to dump Trump. They understand that a messy floor fight wouldn't look good on national television, although it would draw an immense audience. On the other hand, replacing Trump with a normal politician could make life a lot more pleasant in November for Republican candidates up and down the line. The leader of the dump Trump movement, Kendal Unruh of Colorado, said that her base is the "church-going grandmas who aren't out protesting in the streets."

The first step to dumping Trump would be to get the 112-member rules committee, which meets before the convention starts, to adopt rules unbinding some or all delegates. The most extreme scheme would unbind all delegates and make them all free agents. In some cases, a delegate who voted against the candidate to whom he or she is bound would violate state law, but in states where the attorney general is a Republican, prosecution is exceedingly unlikely. A milder variant of the plan is to allow any delegate to register a religious or personal objection to the candidate and get permission to be unbound.

Even if the rules committee passes such a rule, it needs to be approved by the convention itself. That could be a messy floor fight, with Trump supporters fighting it tooth and nail, in prime time. Finally—and this is the biggest concern—the anti-Trump people would have to find a candidate around whom the entire convention could unite. Establishment Republicans would be happy with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), but Trump loyalists would never accept that. Most likely, the plan will ultimately fizzle and Trump will be the nominee. (V)

Clinton Is Planning To Turn Convention into an Entertaining Show

Hillary Clinton knows that many people won't be all that interested in spending four evenings in late July watching three hours of gray-haired politicians (and one blonde) talking about Donald Trump. And if the Republicans put on a real show, complete with fireworks (without using any potassium nitrate), the Democratic National Convention could seem boring by comparison. So, Clinton is busy lining up A-list stars from Broadway and Hollywood to liven things up. Needless to say, finding top-of-the-line black and Latino stars will be child's play. Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda seems probable. Clinton also needs to attract young people, so count on Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham to get prime slots, too. With Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Oprah Winfrey in her corner, lining up talent shouldn't be much of a problem.

Trump's plans for his convention aren't known yet, but leaks suggest he will try to line up top figures from sports, like New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. In order to do some Clinton-style outreach, Trump also needs to find a few black Republican stars who are also good speakers. That will be much harder than Clinton's job of finding actors, who after all, are very used to repeating memorized lines before a camera. (V)

Clinton Really Doesn't Like Press Conferences

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza notes that Hillary Clinton reached something of a milestone on Monday: 200 days since her last press conference. She is notoriously uncomfortable in that particular forum, preferring one-on-one sit-downs and other forms of interacting with the media and the voting public.

Cillizza, for his part, sees this as a huge problem. He writes:

Clinton's willingness and ability to keep the media at arm's length is part of a disturbing trend pursued by Democrats and Republicans alike in recent years. The rise of Flickr, YouTube channels, Twitter, Facebook and a thousand other technological innovations has made it incredibly easy for candidates to end-run the media—pushing their message undiluted to their supporters. What all of that end-running doesn't and can't do is this: convince anyone not already for you of anything. The media are the lone referee—or the only people who can possibly play referee. You may not like the referees. But you do need to deal with them.

He might be right about this. Or, as a card-carrying member of the media, he could be engaging in some hyperbole and self-righteousness. Pop quiz: How many solo press conferences has Barack Obama held in the last 200 days? The answer is two. But one would hardly know, since he, like Clinton, is very good at keeping in communication with voters through social media and regular appearances on various television, radio, and Internet programs. At the same time, he and Clinton both appear to get plenty of scrutiny and lots of criticism. So maybe the American public is able to be discriminating and to reach their own conclusions even without a helping hand from professional reporters. And maybe the relationship between politicians and the media is simply evolving, rather than deteriorating. (Z)

Trump Launches New Site:

Commercials are expensive. Data collection is expensive. Hiring staff in all the battleground states is expensive. What's cheap, by contrast, is building a website. So, the cash-strapped Trump campaign has done just that, unveiling a site called According to the announcement, the site will, "showcase some of Clinton's most disastrous lies to the American people."

It's hard to imagine how this will move the needle much, since the only type of people likely to visit a site like that are going to be members of the choir. Although that may actually be the point—to access the site, one has to send a text message, get an "exclusive" access code, and agree to receive periodic text messages from the Trump campaign. In other words, the point of the venture may not be to convert new voters, but to harvest contact information from existing supporters, so that they can be shaken down for campaign contributions. (Z)

Trump Is Causing an Identity Crisis for the GOP

The New York Times Magazine has a long piece today by its chief national correspondent Mark Leibovich about Donald Trump's effect on RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and the Republican Party in general. Leibovich met with Priebus every week during the primaries to get a feeling about how things were going. Priebus' signature line, "I haven't started pouring Baileys in my cereal yet," gives a summary of how he feels, though. The whole year has been a slow-motion disaster that he sees unfolding in real time but can't stop.

Leibovich describes his meetings with Priebus as "therapy sessions," with Priebus playing the role of the betrayed spouse who was trying to convince him that his tormentor could really change. Priebus also suggested that he could build a big beautiful wall around Trump and not have the Republican Party pay for it.

Priebus has spent a lot of time recently calling Republican donors and trying to convince them to help the party. While he had them on the line, he also suggested that they ask—no, make that, beg—Trump to stop dissing elected Republican officials, especially the top minority women in the party, Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) and Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM).

Priebus noted, to his dismay, that at this point in 2008 and 2012 the Party had built up massive campaign and fund-raising operations, orders of magnitude larger than Trump's. The nominees had also made peace with their primary opponents and were paying courtesy calls on party leaders and elected officials in the name of unity. Trump would be the first to point out that both Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) lost, but blaming their losses on party support would be a bit unusual.

When Leibovich tried to contact top Republicans for the article, their spokespersons (who clearly didn't want to talk about Trump) gave some, er, unusual responses, including:

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): He's sorta had his fill talking about Trump
  • Rick Perry: Thanks for thinking of him
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): Not great timing on our end
  • Mitt Romney: You are kind to think of me
  • Gov. Charlie Baker (R-MA): The governor won't be available
  • Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): We are free anytime after Nov. 8.

Leibovich also tried to talk to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who said he would be honored to speak at the Republican Convention, even after he had said that Trump was unfit to hold the American nuclear codes. But no dice there, either.

It doesn't stop there. Neither of the two living Republican former presidents, George W. Bush and Bush H.W. Bush will endorse Trump or attend the convention. Neither will the two most recent Republican nominees. Three of top five runners up in the primaries haven't endorsed Trump. It is a picture of a badly fragmented party in chaos. (V)

Will Lewandowski's Departure Matter?

Donald Trump fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski this week, much to the relief of the Republican establishment, but will it actually make a difference? Some observers think not. Unlike, say, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook, who is running an operation with 700 employees and a revenue stream of $30 million a month, Lewandowski had almost no staff and no money at all, which translates into no power and no influence. Worse yet, the candidate himself made all the decisions, leaving little for Lewandowski to do. All in all, his departure may not mean much unless Trump appoints a new campaign manager and gives him the authority and resources to run a real campaign. Otherwise, Trump 2016 will go down in history as a giant political science experiment of running for office with almost no money, no staff, and no plan. (V)

Evangelicals Have Lost Faith (in Trump)

Donald Trump met with hundreds of evangelical leaders yesterday in an effort to shore up his troubled relationship with Christian conservatives, the core of the modern Republican Party. As they left the room, many indicated that they were getting closer but he hadn't sealed the deal. Veteran social conservative leader James Dobson said: "I'm pleased with what I saw today. That's about as far as I can go." The head of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, said: "Because of the alternative, I would like to be at a point where I find that I can support him." Not exactly unalloyed praise.

What are these and other leaders waiting for? To learn that Trump goes to church every day? To hear him say Jesus is and has always been his best friend? It's not going to happen, and even if he did any of this, they wouldn't believe it. In truth, they don't care about his religion (or lack thereof). They want him to make right-wing political statements, like "I oppose abortion under all conditions." While these groups operate under the banner of religion, what they really care about is politics.

One evangelical group apparently didn't get the memo and endorsed Hillary Clinton. Deborah Fikes of the World Evangelical Alliance said she is praying for Sister Hillary because Trump is un-Christian.

As part of his outreach to evangelicals yesterday, Trump also said that Hillary Clinton has no religion. Actually, Clinton is a practicing Methodist who was written and spoken about her religion many times. In 2007, she once said she carried a Bible in her purse all the time. (V)

Save the Dates

Mark your calendar: Sept. 26, Oct. 9, and Oct. 19. These are the dates of the presidential debates (unless Donald Trump decides to skip one of them, as he has done in the past). They will be held at Wright State University in Dayton OH, Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and the University of Nevada, in Las Vegas, respectively. Unlike the primary debates, which are run by the parties in conjunction with the networks, the general election debates are run by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a bipartisan nonprofit. Debates aren't cheap, though. Wright State has a budget of $8 million for its event, which includes a new television studio and facilities for 5,000 members of the media. Studies have shown that the debates are the biggest single event that moves the needle on voters' preferences and this year's debates will be unprecedented, with candidates who differ in more ways than you can shake a stick at. Viewership is expected to shatter the record of 80 million people who watched Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter go at it in 1980. (V)

GOP Congressman Wants to Keep Jackson on the $20 Bill

There are seven circulating denominations of U.S. paper currency ($1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100) and another five that are still legal tender but no longer in use ($500, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000, and $100,000). 100% of them have white men on them (9 presidents, 2 secretaries of the treasury, and Benjamin Franklin). Apparently, some people are unhappy reducing that number to 91.6%, because Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has introduced a bill that would reverse the Treasury's decision to drop Andrew Jackson from the $20 in favor of anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman.

Nothing is going to come of this; it's just a sop from the ultraconservative King to those among his constituents who lament the waning power of white people in America. Still, the decision to drop Jackson was fairly high profile, and so King's machinations have gotten a lot of attention, too. And if the GOP wants to distance itself from Donald Trump, and to argue that it is, in fact, a party of diversity and inclusiveness, these kinds of stunts are just not helping. (Z)

Email a link to a friend or share:

---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jun21 Trump to Campaign Manager: You're Fired
Jun21 Trump Campaign Extremely Low on Cash
Jun21 Man at Rally Was Trying to Assassinate Trump
Jun21 Republican Party Is at an All-time Low in Bloomberg Poll
Jun21 Senate Rejects Gun-Control Measures
Jun21 Sanders and Clinton May Find Common Ground on Health Care
Jun21 Warren Intrigued by Vice Presidency
Jun21 Clinton Plans to Go After Millennials by Age Group
Jun21 Sanders Is on a Collision Course with the Congressional Black Caucus
Jun21 Clarence Thomas May Retire Next Year
Jun20 Can Disaffected Democrats and Republicans Write in a Candidate?
Jun20 Trump Isn't Really Running a Campaign
Jun20 Covering Donald Trump
Jun20 Trump at Odds with NRA
Jun20 Trump at Odds with Bush (Again)
Jun20 It's All about the Electoral College
Jun20 Senate Could Go Either Way
Jun20 Is the House in Play?
Jun20 Pressure Growing for Changes to Democrats' Nomination Process
Jun20 Profanity Reigns
Jun19 Will Anyone Be Willing To Be Trump's Running Mate?
Jun19 Republicans Fear that the Election Will Be a Referendum on Trump
Jun19 The Republican Cold War
Jun19 Trump: Bernie Is Crazy As a Bed Bug
Jun19 Trump Needs $100,000
Jun19 Charles Koch Gives $3 million to the GOP but Not To Trump
Jun19 Doctors Will Protest Trump in Cleveland
Jun19 Warren Stops By Clinton Headquarters
Jun19 Clinton Welcomes a Grandson
Jun18 Republican Delegates Working on a Plan to Dump Trump
Jun18 RNC Names Rules Committee Chairwoman
Jun18 Can Trump Dig Himself Out of the Hole He Is In?
Jun18 Republican Insiders Want Newt as Veep
Jun18 Cross Two Names Off the Veep Lists
Jun18 Sanders Signals Willingness to Endorse Clinton
Jun18 All Signs Point to a Rubio Run
Jun18 Trump TV Is Not Going To Be on a Screen Near You Any Time Soon
Jun17 Donald Trump Misbehaved with Women in Private
Jun17 Trump Is Having Trouble with the RNC
Jun17 Clinton Is Beginning to Advertise
Jun17 AFL-CIO Endorses Clinton
Jun17 High-Ranking Reagan/Bush Official Backing Clinton
Jun17 George W. Bush Is Back in the Saddle
Jun17 John McCain Does a Full Trump
Jun17 Orlando Attacks Probably Won't Move the Needle
Jun17 Senate Races Updated
Jun16 Top Republicans Condemn Trump's Remarks on Orlando
Jun16 Negative Views of Trump Are Back To an All-Time High
Jun16 Politico Makes an Initial Electoral-College Map
Jun16 Trump May Have a Money Problem