Tentative Primary and Caucus Schedule
  March 1 (Super Tues)
  March 2-14
L blue   March 15-31
Delegates needed for nomination:
GOP: 1236,   Dem: 2242
Map explained
New polls:  
Dem pickups:  
GOP pickups:  

News from the Votemaster

Bush Debating How to Debate Tomorrow

Jeb Bush has participated in debates before and he generally has had a fairly intellectual style, giving complex, serious answers to serious questions. Against similar opponents who are also policy wonks like he is, that works fine. He can demonstrate his superior knowledge of the issues and score points. But in the first Republican debate in August, that approach didn't work. He didn't challenge Donald Trump at all and his polling numbers have been going south. Now he has to make a decision about how to handle himself in the second Republican debate, to be held tomorrow at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA. Should he continue with his usual wonkish style, with the danger that Trump dismisses him as "low energy"? Or should he start shouting at Trump and try to match him insult for insult? If he does that he could lose his image as the only adult in the room. So he has to calibrate this carefully, which is always hard to do on live television when you know that one slip-up could mean the end of your career, as former candidate Rick Perry discovered the hard way in 2011.

Fiorina Not Debating How to Debate

In contrast to Jeb Bush, who has to decide how to attack Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina (who will be included on the main stage because CNN revised its rules for the sole purpose of letting her on the main stage) has it easy. In the first debate, Trump had to defend calling women "fat pigs" and "disgusting animals." Fiorina, who has nothing to lose and everything to gain from giving it to Trump with both barrels, is undoubted going to confront him head on. Her strategy is most likely to bait him and get him to insult women more, in the hope of getting more Republican women to back her.

Political consultants always warn male candidates debating female candidates to attack their opponents' policies but not the women themselves as this plays badly with female voters. The classic example of how not to do it came in the Sept. 13, 2000 Senate debate between Rick Lazio and Hillary Clinton when Lazio left his lectern and walked over to Clinton and handed her a piece of paper to sign. The impression that stunt left with many voters was of an aggressive man invading a woman's personal space and trying to intimidate her. Clinton won the Senate race by 12 points.

Trump is no Lazio and might get away with going after Fiorina, but it if he is too aggressive, it could cost him female support. Fiorina has nothing to lose and will probably try to provoke him into being too aggressive to his detriment.

Sanders Tries Reaching Out in Virginia

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) understands he has to expand his base of well-off white liberals if he wants to have a serious chance of winning the Democratic nomination. Yesterday he gave two speeches that show he is trying. The first one was at Liberty University, a conservative Christian school in Lynchburg, VA, founded by the late evangelist Jerry Falwell. There he talked about inequality as a moral issue and sprinkled his speech with quotes from both the Old Testament and New Testament. He also quoted Pope Francis' concern for the poor. During the question-and-answer period, the subject of abortion came up. Sanders didn't hide from it and once again stated he believes the decision to end a pregnancy should be up to the pregnant woman, not the government. As expected, this was not received well. Still, he received some respect from the audience for reaching out to them. Sanders is the first Democratic presidential candidate ever to speak at the school.

Sanders had two reasons for speaking at Liberty University. First, such an unusual venue got him a lot of free publicity. Second, he is very popular with college students and young people generally. He also realizes that young evangelicals are not the same as their parents. Their idea of morality consists of more than just condemning abortion and homosexuality. It also includes the welfare of post-fetal children and helping the poor. Sanders asked the audience about the morality of having millions of children going to bed hungry every night in the wealthiest country in the history of the world. It is estimated that three-quarters of evangelicals just punch the button for any candidate with an (R), but a quarter, especially the young, are up for grabs.

His second speech was at the Prince William County Fairgrounds to a mixed audience of about 8000 people. Prince William County has become a bellwether county in a bellwether state. In the west, it has wealthy Republican enclaves. In the middle, around Manassas, there is a large Latino population. In the east, many blacks live. Virginia is a key swing state in the general election and also has its primary on Super Tuesday (March 1), making it especially important to Sanders, who has to show he can beat Clinton in the South. His task in Virginia won't be made any easier by the governor, Terry McAuliffe (D-VA), who is about as close to the Clintons as you can get without actually being a Clinton. He will do everything in his power to help Hillary Clinton in both the primary, and if she is the nominee, the general election.

Panic on Wall Street: Trump Could Win

One might think that the prospect of a billionaire winning the Republican nomination and maybe even the presidency would be an occasion for Wall Street to break out the champagne. One would be wrong. In an interview with Wall Street heavyweights, one of them said: "I don't know anyone who is a Donald Trump supporter." To the CEOs of the big banks, he is a mystery, unlike Mitt Romney, who probably had something close to 100% support from financial CEOs. What really got to them was Trump's remark on Face the Nation this past Sunday that CEO pay is "a complete joke" and a "disaster." That really hits close to home. They have always feared the peasants with pitchforks but never expected the peasants would be led by one of their own.

Even if all the honchos on Wall Street think Trump is a bombastic buffoon, they are worried about the damage he is doing to the Republican brand among women and minorities and not sure what to do about it. Pour more money into Jeb Bush's campaign? Bush's problem is not lack of money. He raised $100 million in his first quarter trying. His problem is Jeb Bush, and more money won't fix that. Maybe fund Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), and Gov. Scott Walker (R-OH)? That might just prolong the primary season, something the Republicans don't want. They can't publicly attack Trump because the big banks are hated so much it could backfire ("If Jamie Dimon hates Trump, that's enough reason for me to support him.")

One candidate who is gradually picking up support on Wall Street is Kasich, who worked for Lehman Brothers for 7 years. He might pick up Bush's support if and when Bush wilts completely. He's someone to keep on eye on.

Could Hillary Pick Bill as Veep?

Hillary Clinton has joked that she has thought about making Bill her Vice President, but added that she thinks that would be unconstitutional. Not so fast. The first sentence of the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution reads: "No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once." The Amendment talks about being "elected." It doesn't mention succeeding to the office as a result of a vacancy. Nevertheless, despite Bill's continuing enormous popularity, it is very unlikely Hillary would pick Bill.

The issue is actually more general than just the vice presidency. John Quincy Adams was elected to the House after his presidency. Andrew Johnson was elected senator from Tennessee after leaving the White House. Suppose Bill were to run for Congress and due to his charm become either Speaker of the House or President Pro Tem of the Senate. Usually the Pro Tem is the longest continuously serving senator from the majority party [currently Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)], but that is only a custom; the majority can elect any senator they want to. The Speaker is second in the presidential line of succession and the Pro Tem is third. Could Bill be Speaker or Pro Tem? For that matter, could he serve in Hillary's cabinet? Every cabinet member who is a natural-born citizen, 35 years old, and 14 years a U.S. resident could also become President if all the people higher up on the list should suddenly die (for example, in an accident or attack).

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---The Votemaster
Sep14 Trump Is Ahead in the First Three States
Sep14 Sanders Leads in Two of the Early States
Sep14 Bernie Sanders' Southern Problem
Sep14 Poll Shows Clinton Beating Trump by Just 3 Points
Sep14 Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump Are Not Mirror Images of Each Other
Sep14 Congressional Democrats Divided over a Biden Run
Sep12 Perry Drops Out
Sep12 Walker Drops to 10th Place in Iowa
Sep12 Number of Democratic Debates Will Not Change
Sep12 Sanders' Challenge in South Carolina
Sep12 Romney's Team Wants to Stop Trump
Sep12 Hillary Clinton's Email Problem Explained
Sep11 Has Donald Trump Exposed a Fault Line Between the Elites and the People?
Sep11 New CNN/ORC Poll Puts Trump above 30%
Sep11 CNN Announces Debate Participants
Sep11 Biden Drops a Hint that He May Not Run
Sep11 Sanders Addresses the Congressional Black Caucus
Sep10 The Sheldon Adelson Primary Is in Full Swing
Sep10 Blue-State Republicans Matter
Sep10 Trump is Not At All Like Perot
Sep10 Bush Follows Trump on Taxes
Sep09 Can a Disorganized Party with 17 Candidates Beat an Incumbent Party?
Sep09 Huckabee and Cruz Rush to Meet Kim Davis
Sep09 Clinton Apologizes for Using a Private Email Server
Sep07 Ranking of the Republican Candidates
Sep07 Clinton Going South
Sep05 Republicans Are Quietly Plotting to Get Rid of Trump
Sep05 Kasich Is Running as a Politician
Sep05 Insiders Think Biden Will Not Run
Sep04 Trump Signs Loyalty Oath
Sep04 Heitkamp May Run for Governor
Sep04 Biden Still on the Fence about Run
Sep03 Nevada and South Carolina Will Be Critical in 2016
Sep03 Republicans Split on Defending Kentucky Clerk
Sep03 Some People Support Trump as a Protest Vote
Sep02 Winning Delegates Is What Counts
Sep02 Fiorina Will Make the Next Main Debate
Sep02 Ben Carson is Now in Second Place Nationally
Aug31 New Map Shows Dates of Primaries and Caucuses
Aug31 Clinton May Have 20% of the Needed Delegates Already
Aug31 Republicans Silent on Ashley Madison
Aug31 Trump May Sign Pledge Not to Run as an Independent
Aug27 First Look at the Senate
Aug25 RNC Chairman Reince Priebus Says Trump is a Net Positive
Aug25 Puerto Ricans Moving to Florida in Large Numbers
Aug25 Biden Must Consider His Family If He Decides to Run
Aug24 Republicans Differ on Birthright Citizenship
Aug24 Paul Can Run for President and Senator Next Year
Aug24 Fiorina May Fail to Make the Cut for the Second Debate
Aug24 Could Google Affect the Election?