Clinton 1759
Sanders 1100
 Needed   2383
Trump 739
Cruz 496
Rubio 171
Kasich 143
Needed 1237

News from the Votemaster

TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  Cruz Crushes Trump in Wisconsin
      •  Sanders Wins Big over Clinton
      •  Sanders Stumbles in Interview
      •  Paul Ryan Is Running for President
      •  A Possible Convention Scenario
      •  Trump Enlists His Wife to Campaign for Him
      •  Cruz Catching Up To Trump Nationally
      •  Michigan Republican Party Won't Try To Steal Trump's Delegates
      •  Clinton Could Beat Trump in Mississippi
      •  Why Do So Many People Fail to Vote?

Cruz Crushes Trump in Wisconsin

With the anti-Trump forces uniting behind Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), it was widely expected that he would triumph over Donald Trump and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH). He did, and the win was even more substantial than anticipated. Here are the numbers, with 99% of the vote in, and six delegates still pending:

Wisconsin Results
48.3% 33 35.1% 3 14.0% 0

As we—and many others—have noted, Tuesday's defeat is going to make it very hard for Trump to secure the delegates needed for nomination on the first ballot. Including the six left from Wisconsin, there are 775 delegates left to be awarded on the Republican side, and The Donald would need 498 of them. That's 64%. Possible, but not likely, given that he's taken just shy of 48% of the delegates awarded thus far.

The unlikelihood increases when considering that the Trump campaign appears to be in serious disarray. He had a notoriously bad week last week, of course, and on Tuesday he took yet another position on the issue of abortion. Meanwhile, according to a piece from Politico's Kenneth P. Vogel, Ben Schreckinger and Eli Stokols, morale is cratering among members of the Trump 2016 team, there have been mass layoffs, and to many the ship feels rudderless.

Of course, it's entirely possible that Trump is going to get the exact result he wants. There have always been questions about whether or not he is really interested in being President. If he goes into the convention with the delegate lead, but then has the nomination wrested away from him, he will avoid a low-paying, difficult job in the White House while being able to make a plausible argument that he didn't really lose, he just got cheated by the politicians. Thus, he's not President, but he's still a "winner." We may never know for sure what Trump's true feelings are; although, given the money to be made in tell-all books, maybe we will. Trump: The Art of the Steal coming to bookstores near you in 2017. (Z)

Sanders Wins Big over Clinton

The polls of Wisconsin, taken as a whole, suggested that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had a slight edge heading in to Tuesday's primary. The majority of pollsters had him up by a few points, while the most favorable had him up by eight. And that was without being able to account for Wisconsin's new voter ID law, which had significant potential to cut into the Senator's vote totals. In other words, there was every reason to expect a nail-biter. So, what did we get? A blowout. Here are the numbers, with 99% reporting, and 15 delegates still pending:

Wisconsin Results
56.5% 45 43.2% 36

Sanders is on an excellent run right now, having won six of his last seven match-ups with Hillary Clinton. The word "momentum" is going to be used liberally by the commentariat in the next 48 hours.

Even with such an impressive streak, however, the overall calculus essentially remains the same. Because the Democrats allocate delegates proportionally, wins aren't enough—he needs big wins. A look at his recent string of victories tells the tale (note that the Washington totals are projections from The Green Papers):

Democratic Results since March 20
Wisconsin 45 36
Washington 74 27
Hawaii 17 8
Alaska 13 3
Utah 26 6
Idaho 17 5
Arizona 30 44
Total 222 129

Even with as good a run as he could reasonably hope for, Sanders has only shaved 93 delegates off of Clinton's lead. It's just not enough to pose a serious threat.

Indeed, it is very possible that the Sanders wave crested on Tuesday night. There's likely going to be some fallout from his regrettable New York Daily News interview published Monday (see below). Further, in the three biggest contests remaining, namely New York (April 19), Pennsylvania (April 26), and California (June 7), Clinton currently leads Sanders by 11 points, 23.5 points, and 10.6 points, respectively. It's true that he overcame a 10-point deficit in Wisconsin, but that kind of catch-up is harder to do in larger states, where advertising is more expensive and the candidate's personal appearances are spread more thinly.

And so, Sanders and his team should be very pleased at the success had on Tuesday night, and in the last two weeks. But there still remains a daunting hill to climb. (Z)

Sanders Stumbles in Interview

On Monday, the New York Daily News published a transcript of the interview it conducted with Bernie Sanders on April 1. That newspaper is openly anti-Clinton, and so the Vermont Senator might have been expecting the kid gloves treatment. Didn't happen—he was subject to a merciless grilling on a variety of subjects, and—by all accounts—he did not perform well. Sanders was unable to explain his plan to break up the big banks, was unaware of several laws pertinent to his policy positions, and he fumbled on several foreign policy questions. For example, when asked for details on his controversial declaration that Israel needs to pull back from the West Bank positions it currently holds, he said, "Well, again, you're asking me a very fair question, and if I had some paper in front of me, I would give you a better answer." It was bad enough that the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart produced a list of nine things Sanders should have known but didn't.

This is exactly the sort of interview that marked the beginning of the end for Ben Carson. It probably won't have quite the same effect on Sanders—his supporters are likely unconcerned by the Senator's inability to provide specifics. However, it could very well hurt with Democratic voters who are on the fence, particularly in New York and California, both of which have sizable Jewish populations. At very least, Sanders had better be sure he comes up with answers to the questions he booted by April 14, since the Clinton campaign and the CNN moderators will undoubtedly be using the Daily News interview as the template for their debate prep. (Z)

Paul Ryan Is Running for President

The Republican Party is between a rock and a hard place. The leaders had a mixed day yesterday. They are happy that Donald Trump lost but they are unhappy that Ted Cruz won. They wanted both of them to lose. Their preference would be John Kasich, but if "None of the above" had won, that would have been fine, too. At this point, the only realistic outcome the Party can aim for is a contested convention in which the delegates ultimately pick Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) after half a dozen deadlocked ballots. Ryan keeps saying that he is not running, which is true, but he hasn't pulled a General Sherman. When someone really isn't available for some office, he or she invariably (mis)quotes Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, who almost said: "If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve." Actually he said: "I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected," but the mythical statement sounds nicer to the ear. Ryan has had plenty of opportunity to quote Sherman but he never has. What he has said is: "If you want to be President, you should go run for President." That is a far cry from: "Nope. Never. No way. Ain't gonna happen." The full Gen. Sherman.

But nominating Ryan is no panacea for the GOP. First, the Trump and Cruz voters would be extremely angry that the establishment just ignored them and parachuted their own choice into the nomination without his even having to work for it. Second, his views on the issues are precisely the opposite of what the Trump voters like: He is for free trade, loves immigrants, can't wait to abolish Medicare, and above all, wants to cut taxes for rich people. Third, the various groups that Trump has insulted all year, especially Latinos, aren't going to suddenly forget what Trump said and how Ryan didn't call him out for any of it. Finally, Trump could react badly. He could tell his supporters to chant: "We want Trump" until the security guards pulled them out of the hall one by one. They could protest once outside. There could be violence. It could get really ugly.

A new McClatchy/Marist poll shows what the establishment is up against. To start with, a majority (52%) want the party to nominate the candidate with the most delegates, even if it the number falls short of 1,237. Even worse is that by a margin of 65% to 29%, Republican voters want only candidates who have run in the primaries to be eligible. This suggests that someone like Jeb Bush or Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) would be more acceptable than Ryan. (V)

A Possible Convention Scenario

It looks more and more now like the Republicans will have a contested convention. Predictit puts the chances at 76%. No one knows what will happen there. Pundits will be throwing out all kinds of scenarios. None of them will seem plausible and all will have internal contradictions, but something has to happen. So let's pund. On the first ballot, Donald Trump comes in first but falls short of 1,237 delegates. Convention chairman Paul Ryan immediately calls for a second ballot to gauge how things really stand. Some of the newly unbound delegates switch to Cruz and maybe a couple to Kasich (assuming he is even formally nominated, something impossible if rule 40 stands). However, most of them abstain to prevent Cruz from getting a majority. Ryan calls for a third ballot to free nearly all the remaining delegates. Same result: no winner.

Chairman Ryan then recesses the convention until the next day to give everyone a chance to think things over. The next day the fourth, fifth, and sixth ballots still produce no results given the many abstentions. Then one delegate begins hopping up and down and waving his arms wildly to get Chairman Ryan's attention. Ryan recognizes him and the delegate says: "I move that rule 40 be stricken." Ryan says: "Is there a second?" and a thousand people raise their hands. There is a vote and the rule is stricken. Then another delegate gets the floor and says: "I move that Chairman Ryan's name be placed in nomination." Ryan blushes on cue and asks for a second. He gets a second, a third, and a thousandth.

On the seventh ballot, no one wins because the true Trump and Cruz supporters refuse to budge. After after a few more ballots it begins to get dicey. No one really knows what is going to happen. Finally, Ryan recesses the convention for the day. Ryan and Cruz go out for a beer. Over the beer, Ryan says: "Rafael, you went to Princeton and Harvard. Surely you can count to 1,237. You're not going to make it. But you are only 45. In 2020, you will be 49. I have an idea: a Ryan/Cruz ticket. If we win, you get an easy job that pays $230,700. It's indoor work and doesn't require any heavy lifting and you can run in 2024 at age 53. If we lose, you will be the front runner in 2020." Cruz whips out his phone and starts the calculator app, then grudgingly agrees. The next day the Ryan/Cruz ticket is approved. The donors are happy, the Cruz supporters can live with it, but a lot depends on what Trump does next. Best case for the party is that he goes off and sulks. Worst case is that he instigates a riot.

Could this happen? Maybe. But so many other scenarios are possible it is anybody's guess. (V)

Trump Enlists His Wife to Campaign for Him

Donald Trump claims he's great with the ladies, but the ladies don't seem to be in the mood to reciprocate—not after he has called them pigs and dogs, insulted Megyn Kelly, and generally done the Full Misogynist. So he pulled out his secret weapon, his third wife, Melania, who helped him campaign in Wisconsin and will probably help him in other states as well. A possible problem is that she knows nothing about campaigning and looks very uncomfortable trying. She has a heavy Slovenian accent and reads short sentences from a piece of paper (or maybe a gold-plated iPad) written at a level any half-competent second grader would find childish. It is very doubtful that her appearances help at all. If Trump were smarter, he would make more use of his daughter, Ivanka, as a campaigner. She is smart (cum laude degree in economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania), and a far more accomplished speaker than her stepmother. (V)

Cruz Catching Up To Trump Nationally

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that Ted Cruz has almost closed the gap with Donald Trump. Here are the results:

Rank Candidate Pct.
1 Donald Trump 40%
2 Ted Cruz 34%
3 John Kasich 19%

The poll's margin of error was 5%. (V)

Michigan Republican Party Won't Try To Steal Trump's Delegates

In state after state, Republican Party leaders have tried to stack the deck by electing delegates to the Republican National Convention who hate Donald Trump, even if they are required to vote for him on the first and possibly second ballot. Ted Cruz has taken maximum advantage of this willingness and has managed to get "Trojan horse" delegates elected in Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina. But it looks like his strategy will fail this weekend when Michigan picks its 56 delegates at the state convention. Bill Runco, a congressional district chairman, said: "We don't want to be part of the carnage of the presidential campaign." Friday evening, each district will convene a caucus to elect its three delegates, but the rules vary widely among the districts. Still, it seems that Trump may get a fairer shake in Michigan than he has in other states. (V)

Clinton Could Beat Trump in Mississippi

No Democrat has carried Mississippi in a presidential election since Southerner Jimmy Carter pulled the trick in 1976. However, a new Mason-Dixon poll of the Magnolia State has Donald Trump at 46% and Hillary Clinton at 43%, with a margin of error of 4%. Trump's problem in Mississippi is that women don't like him very much. Polls like this are going to give the GOP leaders a conniption. When Mississippi becomes a swing state, they have a problem. Hence the enormous desire to prevent him from becoming the nominee. One advantage that the otherwise despised Ted Cruz brings to the table is that with him on top of the ticket, Mississippi would definitely not be a swing state. And as Mississippi goes, so goes Alabama. (V)

Why Do So Many People Fail to Vote?

Bloomberg Politics has a piece on why people refrain from voting. There is no single cause, but three of the top reasons are:

  • They can't get to the polls: High earners are away on business and low earners are often affected by illness
  • The elderly need assistance in voting for a variety of reasons
  • Registering to vote is too difficult

As voting restrictions go into effect this year in a dozen states, the top reason this year may be: "Didn't have acceptable ID." (V)

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---The Votemaster
Apr05 Wisconsin Votes Today
Apr05 Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to One-Person-One-Vote Rule
Apr05 Can Delegates Be Bought?
Apr05 Why A Dark Horse Carries Some Risks
Apr05 Trump Wants Kasich Out of the Race
Apr05 Don't Forget the Veep
Apr05 Trump's Children Have Donated to the Democrats
Apr05 Sanders Raises More Money than Clinton in March
Apr05 Clinton Grabs a Bit of Sanders' Thunder
Apr05 Sanders and Clinton will Debate in New York, After All
Apr05 Wisconsin Votes Today
Apr05 Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to One-Person-One-Vote Rule
Apr05 Can Delegates Be Bought?
Apr05 Why A Dark Horse Carries Some Risks
Apr05 Trump Wants Kasich Out of the Race
Apr05 Don't Forget the Veep
Apr05 Trump's Chidren Have Donated to the Democrats
Apr05 Sanders Raises More Money than Clinton in March
Apr05 Clinton Grabs a Bit of Sanders' Thunder
Apr05 Sanders and Clinton will Debate in New York, After All
Apr04 List of Republicans in Order of Likelihood of Getting Nomination
Apr04 Priebus Predicts It Will Be Trump, Cruz, or Kasich
Apr04 Is The Donald's Goose Cooked?
Apr04 Over 100 Delegates Will Desert Trump on the Second Ballot
Apr04 Hillary Clinton Runs Her First Ad in New York
Apr04 Sanders Picks Up Two Delegates in Nevada
Apr04 Sanders' Early Mistakes Come Back to Haunt Him
Apr04 Cruz Turns on Kasich
Apr04 Trump Could Help the Democrats in the House
Apr03 Trump's 1990 Interview in Playboy is Prophetic
Apr03 Trump Follows a Bad Week with a Bad Weekend
Apr03 A Trump Loss Tuesday Will Hurt Him More than a Clinton Loss Will Hurt Her
Apr03 Cruz Will Hold a Town Hall Meeting with Megyn Kelly as Moderator
Apr03 Tennessee Chooses Anti-Trump Delegates to the Convention
Apr03 Clinton, Sanders Bickering About Next Debate
Apr03 Voter Suppression in Arizona Worked Short-Term, Maybe Not Long-Term
Apr03 Two Senators Flip-Flop on Meeting with Garland
Apr03 Americans Are Really Angry--at the Other Party
Apr03 Rules Committee Will Be the Star of the GOP Convention
Apr02 The Great White Whale of Politics May Show Up This Year
Apr02 North Dakota Doesn't Vote Today
Apr02 Republican Pollster: Trump Would Be a Disaster
Apr02 Trump Flips on Abortion, Again
Apr02 Five Reasons the Ted Cruz Sex Scandal Story Won't Vanish
Apr02 The Economy Added 215,000 Jobs in March
Apr02 Clinton, Sanders, and Fossil Fuels
Apr01 Five Ways the Republican Race Could End
Apr01 50 Trump Delegates Could be in Jeopardy
Apr01 A First Look at the Electoral College
Apr01 What's Going on in Wisconsin?