News from the Votemaster
• 50 Trump Delegates Could be in Jeopardy
• A First Look at the Electoral College
• What's Going on in Wisconsin?
• GOP's "Information" Campaign Is Underway
• Fundraising Picture More Complicated Than it Seems
• Corporations Are Getting Nervous about Being Associated with the GOP Convention
• Race for Top GOP Job Heats Up
Political campaigns, like chess games, have an opening, a middle, and an end game. Now that April is here, we are getting into the primary end game phase. A piece on the BBC Website discusses five ways the Republican race could end, as follows:Trump Wins Outright. If Donald Trump comes into the convention with 1,237 or more delegates pledged to him, it will be nearly impossible to deny him the nomination. If the convention's Rules Committee tries some monkey business to stop him, he will be enraged and completely uncontrollable. Riots in the streets, a third-party effort, and worse are likely.
Trump Falls Short of 1,237 but wins on the second ballot. If Trump comes in with 1,200 delegates and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) comes in with 800, enough unbound delegates might decide Trump can't be stopped and there will be hell to pay if they try, so he wins on the second ballot.
Cruz wins in a contested convention. If Trump fails to make it on the first ballot, the party leaders could decide Cruz is less dangerous and manage to round up enough delegates to put Cruz over the top on the second or third ballot. Trump would be angry, but since he lost according to the normal rules, he wouldn't have much of a case.
Someone else wins in a contested convention. The leaders could decide that Cruz is almost as toxic as Trump and go for someone else. It is very unlikely to be Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) since the voters have made it clear they don't like him. Most likely: Speaker Paul Ryan or, just maybe, that old favorite Mitt Romney.
The party fractures. If Trump wins, a bunch of Republicans could form a new party and run their own candidate. If Trump loses, he could form a new party and run himself. Either way, the Republican party would be badly fractured and would certainly lose the presidential election, the Senate, and maybe even the House. Creating a new party is not easy because eight states' filing deadlines will already have passed by the time of the convention and many others would be only a week or two away.
In a year as wacky as this one, almost anything is possible, but these seem to be the most plausible scenarios. If Trump loses Wisconsin on Tuesday, the odds of a contested convention will go through the roof and Republican hearts will go pitter-patter at the thought of nominee Ryan. (V)
At the moment, GOP officials are looking under rocks for loopholes that might deny Donald Trump the Party's nomination. And they've come up with a pretty good one in South Carolina, potentially putting all of the 50 delegates he won there at risk. At issue is a decades-old loyalty pledge that all Republican presidential candidates are required to sign when appearing on the ballot on South Carolina. By appending their John Hancock, the candidates commit to supporting the Party's eventual nominee, whoever he may be. The particular version that Trump signed says: "I hereby affirm that I generally believe in and intend to support the nominees and platform of the Republican Party in the November 8, 2016 general election."
Of course, Trump has now declared that he will not commit to supporting the Party's nominee if he is not it, which would seem to put him in breach of the pledge he signed. But it's not a done deal, yet. The Donald is lawyering up, of course, and he's got at least two good arguments in his favor. The first is that the other two candidates have also declared that they might not support the Party's nominee, meaning it would be rather questionable if they were somehow "awarded" the 50 delegates. The second is that the wording of the pledge is rather flabby, and Trump can very plausibly say that he did "intend to support" the candidate when he signed it, but that he made no guarantee that he would actually give his support. It is hard to say how this might turn out, and it might very well depend on whether the matter is heard in a court of law, or by the Republican convention's Committee on Contests. If Trump does lose those 50 delegates, it's hard to see how he can get to 1,237. (Z)
While the primaries are still going full force, Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball has already called both races and is starting to look at the Clinton-Trump general election match-up. Last May, the Crystal Ball published the map on the left, below.
The May 2015 map shows a generic Democrat with 247 electoral votes, a generic Republican with 206, and 85 toss-ups. The toss-up states are Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Florida. With a large number of caveats, the Clinton-Trump map is shown on the right. Not only does Clinton win every swing state, but she also flips North Carolina, which Obama won in 2008 and Romney just barely won in 2012. The result is a blow-out, with Clinton winning 347 to 191.
Sabato doesn't expect a Goldwater-type disaster because politics is so polarized now. There are tens of millions of people who will vote for anyone with an (R) after his name, so Trump will probably carry all the usual red states, except maybe North Carolina. Conceivably, though, Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, and Indiana might also be in play. No blue state will be in play for Trump, although he might make some of the states in the rust belt closer than usual as a result of angry blue-collar men voting in larger numbers than usual. But this is countered by women and minorities possibly also voting in larger numbers than usual.
Sabato ends the excellent piece with a warning: A year ago nobody predicted Donald Trump would even be in the race in April, let alone be the overwhelming favorite, so take this prediction with a bucket of salt. While we agree with Sabato that a lot can happen between now and November, we also think his current prediction is spot on for a Clinton-Trump race. However, if the Republicans manage to dump Trump and nominate Paul Ryan, then we go back to the map on the left, with Wisconsin probably going red. Unless Trump runs as a third-party candidate, in which case color Wisconsin blue again. Stay tuned. (V)
The Badger State would seem to be fairly fertile ground for Donald Trump, as it is full of working-class white folks. Meanwhile, its demographics aren't very Ted Cruz-friendly—not a huge number of evangelicals there. So how is Cruz comfortably leading Trump in polls of Wisconsin?
The answer is the Wisconsin Republicans are showing what happens when the Party gets serious about stopping the Donald. To start, the state's most popular conservative radio host, Charlie Sykes, has been on the warpath, rallying the #NeverTrump forces. At the same time, prominent Republicans in the state have been repressing their gag reflexes, and flexing their political muscle on behalf of the Texas Senator. One declares that they are going for "a narrow hold-your-nose vote for Cruz" majority. At very least, they hope to forestall the damage that Trump might do to the Party as its nominee. And in their fondest dreams, they hope that derailing Trump might lay the groundwork for the GOP to nominate Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), someone whom Wisconsin Republicans would be delighted to vote for. (Z)
GOP chair Reince Priebus has decided that he wants voters to know that, "Conventions are democracy in action and our Party's gathering in Cleveland will be an exciting, transparent, and fair process." To that end, the National Committee launched a website on Thursday, ConventionFacts.gop, to help "educate" people about the nomination process.
Of course, one person's information might be another's propaganda, designed to provide cover, perhaps, for whatever might happen in Cleveland in July. The site includes the helpful reminder that "The RNC plays a purely administrative role at Convention, ensuring that the rules and processes are carried out in a transparent manner." So remember Republican voters, if Donald Trump is denied the nomination, the RNC had absolutely nothing to do with it. It is purely administrative. Chairman Reince Priebus will just run errands for the delegates, make photocopies for them, bring them hot dogs, keep them supplied with funny hats, stuff like that. One thing is definitely true though: There will be no smoke-filled rooms full of brokers trading votes. (Z)
Following a rally in New York, Hillary Clinton was confronted by Greenpeace activist and Bernie Sanders supporter Eva Resnick-Day, who made a sarcastic remark about the former Secretary's support for tackling climate change, and then asked, "Will you act on your word to reject fossil-fuel money in the future in your campaign?" Highly annoyed, Clinton answered that, "I do not... I have money from people who work for fossil-fuel companies," and then continued, "I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me. I'm sick of it." Video of the confrontation quickly went viral.
Undoubtedly, no politicians liked to be called out on their vulnerabilities, but is there more to Clinton's frustration than that? A piece by the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart, with the provocative headline "Here's why a Bernie Sanders victory for the nomination would make him a hypocrite," argues that there is. In it, Capehart observes that Sanders is very good at raising funds, but only for his own campaign. Clinton, meanwhile, has not only raised millions for herself, but also for the DNC and for the state parties. The article uses an upcoming Clinton-George Clooney dinner, where a seat at the main table goes for $353,400, as a case study. Only $5,400 of that can go to the Clinton campaign, while roughly $33,400 will go to the Democratic National Committee, and $10,000 will go to each of the state Democratic parties that are part of the Hillary Victory Fund.
So, how does this make Sanders a hypocrite? Because, in addition to not being a team player, he would be the beneficiary of those "tainted" millions that Hillary raised if he were the candidate. Put another way, he's not only letting Clinton do the dirty work, he's also attacking her for it. Viewed in that light, her frustration is certainly more understandable. (Z)
The Republican National Convention is expected to cost $60 million. Where will that money come from? The city of Cleveland will put some money in the pot, but it doesn't have much to put in, so a lot will have to come from private contributions, especially from corporations that will get to display their logo all over the place. With the prospect of Donald Trump being the nominee, however, a lot of potential corporate sponsors are becoming gun shy. They don't want their good corporate name associated with racism, sexism, and crazy talk that offends many voters/customers. A number of companies that have donated generously in the past are worried about being dragged through the mud with Trump. For example, Coca-Cola has spent decades appealing to minorities, and having its logo prominently displayed while Trump goes off on a racist tirade is not exactly what the marketing department ordered. As a consequence of Trump-o-phobia, the Republicans may not be able to fully finance their convention, which would mean having to use funds that would otherwise go to helping candidates win races. (V)
The race is on to see who will be the alpha male—or quite possibly the alpha female— of the Republican Party come January 2017. Current RNC chairman, Reince Priebus is expected to step down after 6 years running the party apparatus, especially if he loses the White House for a second consecutive time. If a Republican is elected President, all bets are off because the President can hand pick the chair himself. But if Hillary Clinton is elected President, there will be a big fight for Priebus' job. The chair is chosen by the 168 members of the Republican National Committee, three from each state and territory.
The Hill has an early look at the contenders. When Barack Obama was elected President, the Republicans countered by electing a black man of their own, Michael Steele, as the leader of the party. If a woman is elected President, the odds are good that the Republicans will want their leader to be female as well. Nevertheless, the RNC chair is a very visible position, and plenty of Republican men would like it as well. Here are some of the main possibilities:
- Carly Fiorina just loves to attack Hillary Clinton and would wake up each morning thinking of new ways to do it
- Cathy McMorris Rodgers is currently the highest ranking Republican woman in Congress and is quite popular
- Ronna Romney McDaniel is Mitt Romney's niece and chair of the Michigan Republican Party
- Sharon Day is the current co-chair of the RNC, serving under Priebus and could try for a promotion
- Matt Pinnell is only 36 but has served as the National State Party Director and knows all 168 voters well
- John Ryder is a long-time GOP committeeman from Tennessee and knows the party machinery very well
- Sean Spicer is currently the party's chief strategist
- Robert Graham is a tech and financial services entrepreneur and current chairman of the Arizona GOP
- Matt Borges is the chairman of the Ohio Republican Party and will be in the spotlight at the convention
- Matt Moore is chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, and at 33 could appeal to millennials
We will have to wait a while to see what happens because the election isn't until January 2017 and if a Republican is elected President, it's his call (but most likely out of the list above). (V)Email a link to a friend or share:
Mar31 Cruz Leads Trump in Wisconsin
Mar31 Trump Calls for Punishing Women Who Have Abortions
Mar31 GOP Rules Committee Members Want to Scrap Rule That Helps Trump
Mar31 It's Almost Vice President Hunting Season
Mar31 Wisconsin's Voter ID Law is a Sham
Mar31 Conservative Talk Radio Hosts Are in a Tight Spot
Mar31 Democrats Are Beginning to Dare to Dream of a House Majority
Mar31 Frank Not Enthralled with Sanders
Mar31 Sanders Ballot Controversy Much Ado about Nothing
Mar30 Clinton Supporters More Enthusiastic than Sanders Supporters
Mar30 Another Schism Threatens the Republican Party
Mar30 Rubio Not Releasing His Delegates
Mar30 The Truth About Trump's Lies
Mar30 Democrats Go After Trump's Campaign Manager
Mar30 Trump's Path To the White House Runs Through the Rust Belt
Mar30 More Trouble in Paradise
Mar30 Five Myths Trump Is Exploding
Mar30 Union Non-Loss Helps the Democrats
Mar29 Sanders Has Raised Millions Since Saturday
Mar29 Sanders Is Trying to Pilfer Clinton's Superdelegates
Mar29 Trump Threatens to Sue over Louisiana Delegation
Mar29 Supreme Court Vacancy Not Currently a Top Issue for Many Voters
Mar29 Former Trump Strategist Confirms What Everyone Suspected
Mar29 Trump Could Hurt Republicans for a Generation
Mar29 Why Not Al Franken?
Mar29 How Much Does a Poll Cost?
Mar29 No Guns at the Republican National Convention
Mar29 No Apple vs. the FBI in Court
Mar29 Rubio Removes Himself from the California Ballot
Mar28 Sanders Wins Three States, but Not So Many Delegates
Mar28 White People Love Sanders
Mar28 The Fight for South Carolina Is Starting All Over
Mar28 Obama's Approval Rating Is Now 53%
Mar28 When Was America Great?
Mar28 Grave Criticism for Trump
Mar28 How the Republicans Created Donald Trump
Mar28 Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery, but Talking about It Is Fine
Mar28 Trump Wins Blue States and Sanders Wins Red States
Mar27 Pacific States Feel the Bern
Mar27 Could Trump's Sexism Trump His Racism?
Mar27 Come to Cleveland, Bring Your Guns
Mar27 Which Contested Convention Would 2016 Most resemble?
Mar27 Which Republican Party Will Survive?
Mar27 Jan 20, 2017 Under President Cruz
Mar26 Democrats Caucus in Three States Today
Mar26 National Enquirer Claims Cruz Has Had Multiple Extramarital Affairs
Mar26 Half of Republican Women Won't Vote for Trump
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Mar26 Democrats Nervous About Cash Shortage in Senate Races