Clinton 1606
Sanders 851
 Needed   2383
   
Trump 673
Cruz 411
Rubio 169
Kasich 143
Needed 1237

News from the Votemaster


And Then There Were Three for the GOP

MiniTuesday has come and gone, with excellent news for Donald Trump, good news for Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) and the GOP establishment, and not-so-good news for Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL). Here are the numbers, with 98-100% reporting in all states, and Missouri still too close to call:

Republican Results
 
Trump
Cruz
Kasich
Rubio
State
Pct.
Del.
Pct.
Del.
Pct.
Del.
Pct.
Del.
Florida 45.8% 99 17.1% 0 6.8% 0 27.0% 0
Ohio 35.7% 0 13.1% 0 46.8% 66 2.9% 0
North Carolina 40.2% 29 36.8% 26 12.7% 9 7.7% 5
Illinois 38.8% 24 30.3% 0 19.7% 0 8.7% 0
Missouri 40.8% 0 40.6% 0 10.1% 0 6.1% 0
Total   152   26   75   5


Trump takes the night's biggest prize in Florida, the majority of the five states in play, and the lion's share of the delegates. He's now more than halfway home to the nomination, and that's before Missouri is counted. Once their results are in—probably not until Wednesday morning or afternoon—he's likely to add another 30 or so delegates.

The anti-Trump, at least on Tuesday, was Rubio. He was crushed in his home state, and came in last in the other four contests, netting a meager 5 delegates for the night. It was the end of the line for him; he dropped out of the race early Tuesday evening. This was just a few days after he unambiguously stated that he would not drop out, even if he lost Florida. He was clearly lying through his teeth when he said that. Is it any wonder that people don't trust politicians?

In his concession speech, clearly addressed to The Donald, Rubio lambasted the politics of division and declared that, "America needs a conservative movement, one that is based on ideas, principles. Not on fear. Not on anger. Not on preying on people's frustrations." It's an admirable sentiment, but one is left wondering if Rubio really thinks that was the kind of campaign he was running.

Kasich, meanwhile, managed to salvage his home state thanks to a late surge. He thus becomes the "establishment" candidate, and the Party will pull out all the stops to help him. Money, logistical support, data, high-profile speakers for his campaign events—all are his for the asking. The widely-held presumption that the Rubio voters will fall in line behind the Ohio Governor, and that's certainly what Reince Priebus & Co. are hoping for, may not be true. Rubio was considerably to the right of Kasich in recent months, and though the two were seen as the "establishment" candidates, they didn't particularly cater to the same constituencies, with Rubio appealing to religious conservatives, minority voters, and young Republicans, and Kasich connecting with blue-collar workers (at least, the ones not voting for Trump), business leaders, and fiscal pragmatists. If Kasich is not able to forge a much broader coalition than he's had thus far, it is difficult to see what states he might compete in. Pennsylvania, perhaps, or maybe New Mexico/Arizona. It will be worth watching the next few weeks' polls and primaries very closely.

Ted Cruz also had a poor showing on Tuesday. He took a chunk of the delegates in North Carolina, and he'll get another 10-30 in Missouri once the results are in. Meanwhile, he was not remotely competitive elsewhere (-8 points in Illinois is not "competitive"). We"re running out of states where Cruz has a substantial base of support, and, outside of his home state of Texas, he's not making up ground on Trump even in the states where he does have such a base. He may inherit some of Rubio's voters, but it's not enough—the fact is, he has no path forward. He cannot possibly get to 1,237 delegates, and there is zero chance that a contested convention will choose him as its candidate. His wisest course of action would be to throw in the towel, and give his endorsement to Kasich in exchange for some sort of juicy concession. How about Secretary of Religion in a Kasich cabinet?

Under Republican-Party rules, the delegates won by candidates who have dropped out, such as Rubio and Ben Carson are free agents, even on the first ballot. No doubt there will be a big behind-the-scenes attempt to lure them to the camps of the remaining contenders. For the most part, delegates are just ordinary citizens who have an abnormally large interest in politics, for example, county chairs.

So, it's a three-way race now, and—given the likelihood of a contested convention, whether because no candidate has claimed 50.1% of the delegates, or because of parliamentary shenanigans—it's probably going to stay that way until Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) gavels the GOP convention to order in July. (Z)

Momentum Shifts Back to Clinton

Though the nomination is ultimately decided by delegates, where Hillary Clinton has always held the advantage over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), narrative has a powerful impact on presidential campaigns. With his upset win in Michigan last week, Sanders seized the narrative. With an impressive showing on Tuesday night, possibly even a sweep (Missouri is still pending), Clinton seized it back. Here are the numbers:

Democratic Results
 
Clinton
Sanders
State
Pct.
Del.
Pct.
Del.
Florida 64.5% 124 33.3% 60
Ohio 56.5% 75 42.7% 54
North Carolina 54.6% 59 40.8% 42
Illinois 50.5% 66 48.7% 64
Missouri 49.6% 2 49.4% 0
Total   326   220


The most important result for Clinton was Ohio. Bernie Sanders' message plays much better there than in the four other states that voted on Tuesday, and he spent much time and money trying to swing the ultimate swing state. His loss, especially coupled with Illinois, makes Michigan an anomaly rather than a harbinger.

And if the math wasn't ugly for Sanders before, it certainly is now. Including superdelegates, Clinton is just shy of two-thirds of the way to the nomination; once Missouri is included she will cross that line easily. Sanders needs to triple the number of delegates he has now. Not an easy task.

Despite that daunting task, Sanders declared that he would soldier on with the campaign. Clinton, for her part, has quite clearly begun to think in terms of the general election. Her victory speech on Tuesday, much like Marco Rubio's concession, was clearly addressed to Donald Trump: "When we hear a candidate for president call for rounding up 12 million immigrants, banning all Muslims from entering the United States, when he embraces torture, that doesn't make him strong—it makes him wrong."

As long as Sanders, backed by his massive war chest, wants to keep going, then Clinton and the Democratic Party will politely humor him. They still want his voters, and so don't want to do anything that might seem dismissive or disrespectful. However, as far as Clinton and the party pooh-bahs are concerned, she is now the nominee, and they are going to proceed accordingly, if quietly, along that path.

Hillary Clinton's lead over Bernie Sanders in pledged (i.e., elected) delegates is now over 300. Her total lead, including the supers, is over 750. To catch up to her in pledged delegates, Sanders would have to win 58% of the remaining 2020 pledged delegates. That is an extremely tall order given that yesterday he won 33% in Florida, 49% in Illinois, 41% in North Carolina, and 43% in Ohio. In Missouri, the votes are still being counted, but it looks like he will get about 49%. It is very hard to see how he could average 58% going forward. If Clinton wins New York (247 pledged delegates), which she represented in the Senate for 8 years by 60%, which is likely, Sanders would have to average 60% in the remaining states, which together have 1,773 delegates. In theory he could win 80% of California's motherlode of 475 pledged delegates for a net gain of 285 pledged delegates, but the most recent Field Poll in the Golden State showed her leading him of 46% to 35% there. Absent a massive and completely unexpected surge from Sanders now, the hundreds of superdelegates already committed to Clinton are not going to jump ship.

If you want to play prognosticator at home, you might want to download this Excel spreadsheet with a list of states and delegates already won. For the states yet to vote, you can fill in the fraction of the delegates you expect Hillary Clinton to win in cell B1 and watch all the states and totals update automatically. Note that the data, from RCP, are incomplete for yesterday's voting and also for a few earlier states and territories.

At this point, Sanders' only realistic hope is that (1) Clinton is indicted for something and (2) after an indictment is made public, Joe Biden decides to sit this one out. Prosecutors generally indict only when they are sure they can convince a jury that the accused is guilty, so the chance of Clinton being indicted is extremely low. And, of course, while using a private email server was foolish, it is far from clear that it constitutes an actual felony. Remember that when Gen. David Petraeus intentionally gave secret information to a journalist, even that wasn't sufficient grounds for an indictment. (Z & V)

Clinton is Way Ahead of Where Obama Was on March 16, 2008

By way of contrast to 2016, on March 16, 2008, Barack Obama led Clinton by between 106 and 149 delegates (including superdelegates), depending on whose count of the supers one believed. Thus, to catch Clinton even in the pledged delegates would require a feat of Sanders greater than that which Clinton failed to achieve in 2008. She needed to pick up a net of roughly 125 delegates starting March 16 and couldn't do it. Sanders needs to pick up a net of 750 delegates. It's a steep hill to climb.

As an aside, this Website was operating full blast during the 2008 primary season. You can go to the corresponding page in 2008 by clicking on the "This Website on Mar. 16, 2008" link in the legend box to the right of the map. That link will be updated every day. If you want to jump to any particular date in 2008 or 2012, just type the correct URL into the address bar. The syntax is the same as this year, for example, today it is


http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2016/Pres/Maps/Mar16.html

Just put in the year, three-character abbreviation for the month, and the day (including a leading zero for days before 10). (V)

Anti-Trump Ad Features Only Women Quoting Trump

A Republican anti-Trump group operating the Website www.trumpquestions.com has an ad on its home page with a number of women simply quoting Donald Trump on women. Here is a transcript:

Bimbo.
Dog.
Fat pig.
Real quotes from Donald Trump about women.
A person who is very flat chested is very hard to be a 10.
I'd look directly in that fat ugly face of hers.
Look at that face; Would anyone vote for that?
She had the height, she had the beauty. She was crazy, but these are minor details.
I like kids. I mean I won't do anything to take care of them. I'll supply funds and she'll take care of the kids.
You know, it really doesnt matter what they write, as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of [bleep].
That must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees.
There was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.
Women, you have to treat them like [bleep].
This is how Donald Trump talks about our mothers, our sisters, our daughters.

The big question here is whether the licensing fee Our Principles PAC, which runs the site, would charge Hillary Clinton to run the ad verbatim all Fall would be more or less than it would cost her to remake the ad with new actresses. It can't be too much, because surely Clinton can find a campaign staffer who is willing to be on screen for one second saying the word "dog" for free. On the other hand, if Clinton did this, union groups would criticize her so she might be better off hiring female members of Actors' Equity to be in the ad and paying them union wages. And Clinton could improve the ad by adding a Latino woman, an Asian woman, a woman in a wheelchair, and maybe a lesbian couple. (V)

How Would Donald Trump Fund a General Election Campaign?

Suppose Donald Trump is the Republican presidential nominee. It's by no means a sure thing, but just suppose. If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, she is going to raise a billion dollars, probably half from large donors and half from small ones. Trump will need to match that. So far, he has run a cheapskate campaign, relying on making outrageous statements to get free air time. In the general election, that won't work because modern general elections aren't about convincing the 107 undecided voters left in the country, but about getting your own supporters to the polls. Barack Obama ran a brilliant (but very expensive) big data operation in 2008 and 2012 and Clinton will surely ask him for his database and try to do the same thing. Where will Trump get the money to match her? Jonathan Alter has some thoughts on the matter.

The first possibility is just write a check. Except he can't. Federal rules aren't the problem. The problem is that he doesn't have the cash. The amount of Trump's net worth is in dispute. He claims it is $10 billion. Forbes says it is $4 billion. Even if that was all in cash, spending a quarter of his net worth on a probably pointless campaign would be a big gamble. But Trump's net worth is not in cash. It is in buildings and contracts that license the use of his name for a diverse range of products. None of these can be converted to a billion dollars in cash in a few weeks. Unlike Michael Bloomberg, who could just call his stock broker and tell him to liquidate a billion dollars worth of stock, Trump can't pay for a general election campaign on his own. He is too poor.

Plan B might be to go to a bank and ask for a loan, using his assets for collateral. However, any banker who lent a billion dollars to someone who has used strategic bankruptcies four times to repudiate his debts and sees this as standard operating practice would be fired the same day. And not by The Donald.

Plan C would be to ask the RNC to cough up the money. That won't work because (1) the RNC doesn't have that kind of money, (2) the RNC hates him, and (3) with Trump as nominee the RNC will spend every penny it has to try to save its Senate majority.

Plan D is go to the really big Republican donors and beg. Begging does not come easily to him, but you gotta do what you gotta do. How would they react, given that he has spent a year saying people should vote for him because he is beholden to no one? How would his supporters feel about his suddenly becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, with its priorities (like free trade and lots of cheap immigrant labor) instead of his?

Plan E is to go after, say, 1,000 medium-sized Republican donors and hit each one up for $1 million. Even Mitt Romney, who coddled all Republican donors for years and never said a harsh word about them ever, came nowhere near this goal.

Plan F is the small donors. How about 10 million people each giving $100? Bernie Sanders, the most successful politician of all time at getting small donations, with a passionate and dedicated base, has pulled in $100 million in donations averaging around $30. That total is off by a factor of 10 from what Trump will need. And Trump is no Bernie. Trump has raised only $27 million so far, the same as John Kasich.

Plan G is to put in maybe $100 million of his own money and try to match that from big and small donors and then be resigned to being outspent by Clinton 2 to 1 or maybe 3 to 1. (V)

Trump Is Like Manna from Heaven for the DSCC

The (possible) nomination of Donald Trump as the Republican standardbearer is already causing trouble downticket and it will only get worse. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is already running an ad that mixes Trump swearing and cussing and acting anything but presidential with footage of half a dozen endangered Republican incumbent senators all saying they will support him in the general election.

This approach could be especially deadly because Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's plan for dealing with Trump at the top of ticket is to have the Republicans put lots of daylight between themselves and Trump. But with the DSCC running ads showing these senators saying they support Trump, it will be hard to pretend they live on different planets and have never met. As a consequence, Trump could do a lot of damage downticket. (V)

Conservatives To Meet Thursday to Plot Running Someone Against Trump

A number of leaders in the conservative movement have scheduled a meeting Thursday to discuss what to do if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. They are considering running a third-party candidate against him. If they want to get a new party on the ballot, they have to start gathering signatures soon, as the filing deadlines start appearing in May. A major GOP consulting firm has already been hired to make plans about how to proceed. An effort would have to start fairly soon because the first deadline is May 9, in Texas. That state requires almost 80,000 valid signatures from people who did not vote in either the Democratic or Republican primaries this year. Collecting them will be a time-consuming and expensive process, and must start immediately. The second deadline is June 9, in North Carolina, which requires 89,000 signatures. Pulling this off would require finding donors who are sufficiently pessimistic about the chances of a true conservative (read: Ted Cruz) winning the Republican nomination that they are willing to put real money into a longshot bid that might end up electing Hillary Clinton. But to many conservatives, Trump is as bad as Clinton, and maybe worse. They have heard Bernie Sanders talk endlessly about her ties to Wall Street, and from their point of view, there are worse places to be tied to. (V)

Would Ivanka Trump Be the De Facto First Lady?

Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka, is his main campaign surrogate. She is well-spoken and well-educated (summa cum laude from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania). She is Executive Vice President of the Trump Organization and also has her own jewelry company. Furthermore, she is hot enough that The Donald has said that if she weren't his daughter, he would want to date her. She is her father's most trusted advisor and his unofficial campaign wife.

She is also possibly a Democrat, having donated $1,000 to Hillary Clinton's 2008 race and raised $40,000 for the Senate campaign of Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), although she nominally endorsed Mitt Romney in 2012.

Ivanka is everything Donald is not: calm, thoughtful, gracious, charming, poised, and diplomatic. She would be a first lady with a sense of style and graciousness like none since Jackie Kennedy. Of course, she is Trump's daughter, not his wife, but who cares? Trump's actual (third) wife, Melania Knauss, is rarely to be seen on the trail. The former Slovenian model has a strong accent and appears uncomfortable in public situations, leading to speculation that in a Trump White House, Ivanka might be the hostess at official social events. Ever since Ivanka converted to Orthodox Judaism in 2009, she has kept a kosher home, so she would probably not tolerate ham sandwiches at official White House state dinners. (V)

Duckworth Wins Democratic Senatorial Primary in Illinois

Illinois' Democratic senatorial primary was won yesterday by Tammy Duckworth over her opponent Andrea Zopp. It was a landslide, with 64% of the vote going for Duckworth compared to 24% for Zopp. An Iraq War veteran who lost both legs while the Army helicopter she was piloting was shot down, Duckworth is the establishment's preferred candidate. They will now go all out to help her defeat Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), who won his primary 71% to 29% over political unknown James Marter. Illinois is critical to the Democrats' hopes of retaking control of the Senate. (Z)

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---The Votemaster
Mar15 Rundown of the Democratic Primaries Today
Mar15 Rundown of the Republican Primaries Today
Mar15 Sanders Moving Up in Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri
Mar15 Could A Kasich Win in Ohio Help Trump?
Mar15 Joel Benenson Is Not Sweating Trump
Mar15 How to Steal a Nomination in Five Easy Months
Mar15 How an Obscure Committee Could Decide the Republican Nomination
Mar15 Rubio Apparently Not Much More Popular than Cruz
Mar15 Trump Could Be Charged with Inciting a Riot
Mar14 Hillary Clinton Leads in Three of the MiniTuesday States
Mar14 New Polls Show Kasich and Trump Leading
Mar14 What Happens Next for the Republicans?
Mar14 Can the Fire Trump Lit Be Contained?
Mar14 Trump May Pay Attacker's Legal Fees
Mar14 Clinton Blunders on Reagan and AIDS
Mar14 Trump-branded Products Made Abroad While He Decries the Practice
Mar14 Who Does Wall Street Want in the White House?
Mar14 Cruz's Campaign is Entirely Driven by Big Data
Mar14 How Not to Stop a Frontrunner
Mar13 Saturday's Winner: People Hoping for a Brokered GOP Convention
Mar13 Kasich Did Not Reciprocate Rubio's Peace Offering
Mar13 Seventeen Year Old Voters Can Vote in Ohio Tuesday
Mar13 Cruz Scours the Map Looking for Delegates
Mar13 Clinton Wins in the Northern Mariana Islands
Mar13 Rubio May Not Back Trump in General Election
Mar13 Boehner Endorses Kasich
Mar13 Thanks, Obama: Trump Edition
Mar13 Cruz Gets a Delegate in Guam
Mar13 Donna Edwards Takes the Lead in Maryland Senatorial Primary
Mar13 Saturday's Winner: People Hoping for a Brokered GOP Convention
Mar13 Kasich Did Not Reciprocate Rubio's Peace Offering
Mar13 Cruz Scours the Map Looking for Delegates
Mar13 Clinton Wins in the Northern Mariana Islands
Mar13 Rubio May Not Back Trump in General Election
Mar13 Boehner Endorses Kasich
Mar13 Thanks, Obama: Trump Edition
Mar13 Cruz Gets a Delegate in Guam
Mar13 Donna Edwards Takes the Lead in Maryland Senatorial Primary
Mar12 More Delegates Up for Grabs Today
Mar12 Three New Polls Put Trump Ahead in MiniTuesday States
Mar12 Three new polls Put Clinton Ahead in MiniTuesday States
Mar12 Three New polls Put Clinton Ahead in MiniTuesday States
Mar12 Republican Debate Postmortem
Mar12 Is A Cruz/Rubio Ticket In the Cards?
Mar12 Trump University Pressured Students into Giving Good Reviews
Mar12 What Would a Contested GOP Convention Look Like?
Mar12 How Clinton Should Debate Trump
Mar12 Ugliness at Trump Rallies
Mar11 GOP Candidates Play Nice in Miami
Mar11 Democratic Debate Postmortem