Tentative Primary and Caucus Schedule
  March 1 (Super Tues)
  March 2-14
L blue   March 15-31
Delegates needed for nomination:
GOP: 1237,   Dem: 2242
Map explained
New polls:  
Dem pickups:  
GOP pickups:  

News from the Votemaster

TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  Millennials Prefer a Democrat in the White House
      •  Why Young People Don't Vote
      •  Could Clinton Get Nominated Today?
      •  Could Reagan Get Nominated Today?
      •  Data Analytics Will Be King in 2016
      •  Trump Angry About Virginia Loyalty Oaths
      •  Sanders Says He's After Trump Voters
      •  Logos Psychoanalyzed

Millennials Prefer a Democrat in the White House

A poll by the Harvard Institute of Politics among 18-29-year-olds shows that 56% would prefer a Democratic President to 36% who would prefer a Republican President. This represents a 5-point increase for the Democrats since the poll last spring. Fortunately for Republicans, young people have a rather spotty record at actually voting. In fact, 78% said they weren't really interested in politics. The millennials are also quite hypocritical, as 60% were in favor of sending ground troops to fight ISIS but only 16% were considering joining the military to do some of the fighting personally. Of the 16% who would consider it, a significantly larger percentage were Latinos or blacks than were whites. This could be either because Latinos and blacks are more patriotic than whites or because they have fewer employment opportunities in the economy at large. The survey didn't ask. (V)

Why Young People Don't Vote

Even in a presidential election year, only about half of the potential voters actually cast a ballot. Why? David Lightman interviewed 80 young people across Pennsylvania to see what their attitudes toward government and politics were. Executive summary: They don't care. One student said: "I don't pay taxes. I don't pay for my health insurance. I don't feel I'm being affected." Although they are constantly online, they are not interested in national and world events. On the three days of Lightman's interviews, the shootings in San Bernadino dominated the news. Virtually no one mentioned it. Most of them grew up during an era of divided (and thus gridlocked) government and see Washington as incapable of doing anything that could affect their lives. They see it as a "bloated bureaucracy managed by confrontation-prone, self-absorbed lawmakers unwilling to bend."

When asked about the plans Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Hillary Clinton have to reduce the cost of college, few of them believe Congress would enact them and even if it did, they would be long out of college when it happened.

In a way, it is a Catch-22 situation. They won't get involved because they dislike how dysfunctional the government is. But if they don't vote for candidates they like, other people will choose the government and it will remain dysfunctional. (V)

Could Clinton Get Nominated Today?

No, not that Clinton. The other one. Bill. While the Republican Party has moved sharply to the right since 1992 when incumbent President George H.W. Bush was the Republican nominee, the Democratic Party has moved to the left. In 1992, none of the Democrats were calling for breaking up the big banks, free college, or single-payer health insurance as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is. Some of the things Bill Clinton did, such as deregulate Wall Street, eliminate welfare, cut investment taxes for the rich, and sign the NAFTA agreement would never fly with today's Democratic primary electorate. While Hillary Clinton likes to point out how good the economy was when Bill was President, quite a few of his policy positions would lose her many votes today. James Pethokoukis at The Week makes the point that this puts Hillary Clinton in the odd position of having to run on her husband's legacy, but not really being comfortable with it. (V)

Could Reagan Get Nominated Today?

Ronald Reagan's daughter Patti Davis was interviewed last week, and was blunt in her assessment of the current state of the Republican Party. She noted that many of the 2016 candidates—particularly Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)—claim to be disciples of Reagan, but asserted that:

My father would be so appalled at what's going on—he would be so appalled at these candidates. I don't think he would be a Republican. If another Ronald Reagan came along right now, I don't think the Republican Party would accept him.

Davis also listed a number of issues on which she feels the Gipper and the modern GOP would be out of step; gun control, same-sex marriage, and the Middle East among them.

Davis is an avowed liberal who disagreed strongly and openly with her father on many issues while he was president. And it is hard to be certain what Reagan's position on today's issues would be. He was a shrewd politician who knew how to win elections, and it's certainly possible that he would—for example—use Islam/the Middle East to rally voters in the same way he used Communism/Russia in the 1980s. Or, he might be more aggressive about using religious imagery/language, as opposed to just engaging in occasional flirtations with Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority.

However, there is certainly much truth in what Davis says. One very important way in which Reagan differed with the modern GOP was his willingness to reach across the aisle—to embrace Democratic positions on some issues (including tax increases), to compromise when necessary, and to do some horse trading. As a former Democrat himself, he could grasp the other side of many questions. Indeed, in this way, Reagan has much in common with Bill Clinton. As a Democrat coming from the conservative South, he too understood the other side, and was willing to go against his party's position on some very important issues.

Of course, it's possible that years of gridlock, low approval ratings for Congress (and for politicians in general), and defections from the right/left will cause us to cycle back to a more Reagan/Clinton-style political environment, where there is at least some room for cooperation. As Politico's Burgess Everett observes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has found himself turning more and more to the Democrats to get things done, given the intransigence of the tea partiers on the right. Former Speaker John Boehner did the same, and current Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has thus far followed in Boehner's footsteps. Whether these are aberrations, or a precedent, remains to be seen. (Z)

Data Analytics Will Be King in 2016

When Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was denied access to the DNC's voter database, within 24 hours he sued the DNC. Data is that important. It is everything in modern campaigning. Mass communication is out. Microtargeting is in. For example, in the least Republican county in America, about 15% of the voters are Republicans. Running television or radio ads there is pointless, expensive, and probably counterproductive. But if those 15% of the voters can be isolated and their email or snail-mail addresses can be put into a file, they can all be contacted and encouraged to vote. Ideally, each one can be contacted with a message tailored to what that person cares most about, whether it be foreign policy, taxes, guns, or something else. One of the advantages that candidates with a lot of money have is a better data operation. They can collect more of it and hire more and better specialists to crunch it to come up with highly accurate ways to predict which voters can be convinced to vote for them (and what the approach should be), which voters need to be wheedled into voting at all, and which are hopeless. It is completely different world than it was 15 or 20 years ago. (V)

Trump Angry About Virginia Loyalty Oaths

In Virginia, voters do not register by party. Consequently, the Virginia State Board of Elections has granted the Republican Party of Virginia's (RPV) request that anyone wishing to cast a vote in the GOP primary must first sign a loyalty oath declaring themselves to be a Republican. Beyond the not-too-pleasant Cold War/Red Scare overtones, the Virginia Republican Party has not made clear how they expect to handle the messy logistics this will entail, nor how they will verify that someone is being truthful. Indeed, inasmuch as party loyalty is not permanent, a person planning to vote for a Republican on Election Day can truthfully call themselves a Republican on that day, even if they weren't a Republican the day before, and even if they don't necessarily plan to be one the day after. Or someone could say that he is a Republican but that the 2016 presidential nominee is too far from what they see as core Republican principles and is thus personally unacceptable. How is anyone to say (much less prove) they are being dishonest?

The move is a baldfaced attempt to undermine Donald Trump, who is performing well with Republican-leaning independents as well as people who aren't currently registered to vote. The billionaire is not happy about it, and—not surprisingly—has made his feelings known. In a series of Tweets, he blasted the RPV as "losers" who were making a "suicidal mistake" and being "stupid." On the last point, it's hard to argue with him. It is difficult to imagine that loyalty oaths will stop many Trump voters, but what they will do is give The Donald cover if he wants to claim the Republican Party has broken its word and then run as an independent. (Z)

Sanders Says He's After Trump Voters

In an interview Sunday, Bernie Sanders said that he is trying to appeal to the same voters that Donald Trump is, and that he hopes to bring some of them into his tent when The Donald fades.

Broadly speaking, Sanders is absolutely correct—he and Trump are both courting Americans who feel they have been cheated, left behind, or ignored by "the system." But the difference is that Trump primarily pins the blame for this on other groups of people (immigrants, Muslims, feminists, and so forth) while the Vermont Senator pins it on institutions (Wall Street, corporations, banks, and so forth). Sanders' perspective is surely more humanitarian and more correct than Trump's, but is also more of an abstraction. As such, he is able to reach people who are younger and/or more educated, while Trump tends to connect with people who are older and/or less educated. While not impossible, this will not be an easy gap for Sanders to bridge, even assuming that he remains a viable candidate longer than the billionaire does. (Z)

Logos Psychoanalyzed

NBC had a top graphical designer, Sagi Haviv, take a look at all the candidates' logos and make a short video discussing each one. Ted Cruz has a burning flag and a truncated star on his. Not good. Chris Christie's has no graphics at all, which makes it boring. Bernie's has toothpaste on it, which is quirky, but so is Bernie. Mike Huckabee's borrows too much from Obama's logo and is too busy. Gov. John Kasich's (R-OH) has a good idea behind it, but was not executed well. Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-FL) suggests that he is 10 times more important than the entire United States. And finally, Donald Trump's logo is straightforward, but it looks like he picked it out of the online do-it-yourself greeting card store. (V)

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---The Votemaster
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