Clinton 1761
Sanders 1103
 Needed   2383
Trump 742
Cruz 499
Rubio 171
Kasich 143
Needed 1237

News from the Votemaster

Voting in Wisconsin a Fiasco

It has taken 24 hours for the stories to trickle in, but the new Voter ID law in Wisconsin made for a disastrous day (and evening). The Nation's Ari Berman reports on the experience of black voter Dennis Hatten, who prepared in advance for the new law and yet still had to expend six hours to vote as he jumped through hoops, cobbling together "acceptable" proof of his identity from a state ID, a veteran's ID, and a utility bill. "I've never had any problems voting until I came to Wisconsin," said Hatten. Berman also documents the experience of students at Marquette University, who had to wait two to three hours in line to vote as poll workers tried to sort out the various sets of documentation that each voter presented. "I didn't realize how much the voter-ID law would hinder the voting experience," lamented Marquette junior Maggie Stang, after waiting nearly two-and-a-half hours to cast her ballot.

Of course, by making it extremely difficult—and often impossible—for black and student voters to register their preference, the law is doing exactly what it was designed to do. The legal challenges are surely coming, the only question is whether or not they will be resolved by November. If they are not, it is entirely possible that the new restrictions could move the swing state of Wisconsin from the Democratic to the Republican column. (Z)

Ryan's Noncampaign Heads to the Middle East

According to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), he is not running for President. In fact, he is so busy not running for President that he has scheduled an extensive tour of the Middle East, with stops in Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. A Ryan spokesman insisted that the trip has nothing to do with the election, explaining that, "Speaker Ryan is focused on restoring traditional alliances that have been neglected under this administration and putting forward a vision of what U.S. foreign policy should look like in the future."

We may need to check the Constitution on this one, but managing America's alliances and setting forth a foreign policy vision sound a lot more like the prerogative of the executive branch than the legislative branch. Maybe once Ryan is done not running for President in the Middle East, he can look into it. (Z)

Where Do the Republicans Stand Now?

Below is a table showing where the Republican candidates stand. It has been constructed from two sources. First, for the primaries and caucuses that have already been held, we used the Green Papers data. For the contests in the future, we used Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball for best guess estimates. Here are the results for all states and territories. The cells in yellow are Sabato's predictions.

Delegates by state

If you want to try this at home, here are the data in Excel format. The first conclusion is that Trump probably will fall a little short. Actually, it could be worse than a little since he has momentum—but in the downward direction. So Sabato's predictions may be too optimistic for him.

The second thing to note is that together, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), other, and uncommitted add up to a whopping 554 delegates. Neither Kasich nor Rubio has released any delegates, but by the third ballot, all of them will be released with or without the candidate's permission. In the period between June 8 and the start of the convention on July 18, all the candidates, including Trump, are going to be calling those 554 delegates to see if they can make a deal. However, a big problem Trump has that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) doesn't is that many of the Trump delegates don't like Trump, whereas nearly all the Cruz delegates like Cruz. So Trump will bleed more delegates on subsequent ballots than Cruz will. His best shot is to round up enough uncommitted or rogue delegates on the first ballot.

The New York Times has a model using statistics rather than examining every congressional district yet to vote. In many of the simulated runs, Trump makes it to 1,237. Both analyses say it will be close, though. (V)

Now the Hard Part for Cruz and Sanders: the East

The South has had its turn and so has the Midwest. Now it is the East's turn to whack the piñata. New York is next, on April 19, and might give Trump a huge boost because if Trump hits 50% statewide, he gets all the at-large delegates. If he hits 50% in any congressional district, he gets all those delegates. He is currently polling at 52% in the state and could conceivably get all 95 delegates, which would make up for his loss in Wisconsin. Sabato's table above gives Cruz 14 New York delegates. If Trump wins those, his projected total becomes 1,227, only 10 short of the magic number. (V)

Nate Silver Is Betting on Cruz

There are a lot of scenarios out there about what could happen at a contested Republican convention. The party leaders and donors clearly are rooting for Paul Ryan but would accept John Kasich with no argument. The problem is nobody is asking them for their opinion, least of all the voters and delegates. Nate Silver thinks that the most likely winner at a contested convention is Ted Cruz. As he and we have pointed out many times, what the voters are (usually) doing at the caucuses and primaries is allocating slots to the candidates, not picking actual delegates. The process of selecting the actual delegates is completely separate from the primaries and caucuses in most cases.

Cruz has been paying a huge amount of attention to the delegate selection process and put an enormous amount of energy into getting people favorable to him to be elected as delegate. Yes, most are bound to some other candidate on the first and sometimes second ballot, but by the third or fourth ballot, nearly all are free agents and can vote for Cruz from then on. Also, all delegates are free to vote their consciences on all votes relating to rules, credentials, etc. It is to Cruz's advantage to keep rule 40, which says that only candidates who have won a majority in eight states can be nominated, as this keeps Ryan off the ballot. If enough of Trump's delegates vote to keep rule 40, Ryan can't be nominated. If a candidate is not on the ballot, he can't win. Current rules do not allow for write-ins.

Neither Trump nor Kasich has any ground operation like Cruz's at all. So Silver reasons that if the convention goes to fourth ballot, a large number of the Trump delegates will jump to Cruz. We certainly agree with that but also think the establishment will try to get Ryan's name on the ballot, too, to make it a three-way race. They may or may not succeed, however, especially if Cruz supporters control the all-important Rules Committee.

Silver has a table showing how each state selects its delegates. The main methods are as follows:

  • 55% of the delegates are selected at a state or local convention
  • 16% of the of the delegates are directly elected by the voters, sometimes after they state their preference
  • 12% of the delegates are chosen by state or local party committees
  • 10% of the delegates are chosen by the candidate (including the biggie, California)
  •    7% of the delegates are members of the Republican National Committee (i.e., like the Democrats' supers)

For the first time in human memory, California, and not Iowa, is the key contest. The Golden State has 172 delegates up for grabs and if Trump wins enough of them, that could put him over the top. But even if he just falls short, because he gets to pick the California slate, if the convention goes into extra innings, the California delegates are the least likely to jump ship and they are also the largest contingent. (V)

Republicans Could Employ Many Tricks to Stop Trump

The Republican leadership is likely go all out at the convention to stop Donald Trump. There are a wide variety of procedural and logistic traps he could fall in. Politico has compiled a list of some of the easier ones.

  • Disqualify his 50 South Carolina delegates because he has reneged on his pledge to support the GOP nominee
  • Elect a convention chairman who will rule against Trump on everything, very likely Speaker Paul Ryan
  • Set up rules that work against Trump
  • Delay the proceedings until the very end when delegates are in a hurry to get home and are easily swayed
  • Punish "uncooperative" delegates with threats of a hotel room in Cincinnati, etc.

Normally, hotel rooms and other logistics matters aren't important, but this year they could be. Even seating in the hall could be a weapon. Trump delegations from a state could be split up with each person far from the others in hostile territory and surrounded by pro-Ryan forces. Politics ain't beanbag.

If the Party goes too far and too visibly, it could backfire. Just imagine how Trump would react if he came into the convention with 1,250 delegates and there was a credentials fight over South Carolina's 50 delegates, with all the Cruz supporters (no matter who they were bound to) voting to seat an alternative, pro-Cruz delegation. Then Cruz or Ryan was nominated later on. Trump could go ballistic and decide to spend $100 million of his own money to defeat the Republicans in the half-dozen swing states that really matter. Imagine him telling his supporters to write him in, vote for a third party, or stay home. The theme of his campaign would be: "Teach the bastards a lesson," only using less polite language. (V)

Cruz Could Hurt the Republicans Almost as Much as Trump

No Republican wants to run on the same ticket as Donald Trump, but running with Ted Cruz up on top of the ticket is no picnic, either. The Washington Post has an article giving these reasons:

  • Senate Republicans hate Cruz for acting like he owns the place and being generally obnoxious
  • Cruz is unpopular, with a favorable/unfavorable rating of 35%/51%, better than Trump but worse than Clinton
  • Republicans downballot could claim Trump is not a real Republican; Cruz clearly is
  • The Democrats' oppo team has miles of footage of Republican senators attacking Cruz

The one plus (sort of) for the Republicans if Cruz is the nominee is that he is completely, 100% consistent and predictable. They know exactly where he stands on every issue and can plan to deal with it. Trump is totally unpredictable and can change his opinion on any issue multiple times a day. Cruz doesn't do that. (V)

Quinnipiac: Clinton and Trump Lead in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania holds its primary on April 26 and sends 86 Democrats and 71 Republicans to the national conventions. Quinnipiac University ran a poll there and concluded that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are leading in the Keystone State, as follows:

Rank Candidate Pct.
1 Donald Trump 39%
2 Ted Cruz 30%
3 John Kasich 24%

Rank Candidate Pct.
1 Hillary Clinton 50%
2 Bernie Sanders 44%

Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island vote on the same day as Pennsylvania and have somewhat similar demographics, so the voters' preferences are likely to be somewhat similar. The Democrats have 384 delegates at stake on April 26. The Republicans have 311 at stake. April 26 is the fourth most important day of the calendar, after Super Tuesday (March 1), March 15, and June 7. Also, after April 26, there is only one more big day, June 7, on which trailing candidates can catch up. (V)

Gloves Are Coming off on the Democratic Side of the Contest

For most of the campaign, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) tried to keep things civil. For the former Secretary, this was primarily pragmatic—she did not want to burn bridges with Sanders supporters that she hopes to attract in the general election. For the Vermont Senator, it was primarily philosophical—he aspired to something loftier than trench fighting and mudslinging.

Now, the peace appears to be no more. Clinton has grown tired of jockeying with Sanders, and has decided to take the offensive, with an olive branch to come later. Sanders, for his part, has slowly but surely grown much more comfortable going negative.

The duo traded harsh barbs on Wednesday, with each declaring the other unfit to be president. In Clinton's case, the critique stemmed from the general fuzziness on issues that Sanders conveyed in his now-infamous New York Daily News interview. "I think he hadn't done his homework and he'd been talking for more than a year about doing things that he obviously hadn't really studied or understood," she said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." Sanders, by contrast, argued that Clinton is unqualified for a broad variety of reasons: her support of trade agreements, her SuperPAC money, her vote in support of the Iraq War, etc.

At this point, the two candidates have gone all-in on the negativity, and there's presumably no turning back. They will exchange fire as long as both are left standing, and the two remaining debates are surely going to be contentious. Whether the two factions will unite behind the eventual nominee remains to be seen. (Z)

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---The Votemaster
Apr06 Cruz Crushes Trump in Wisconsin
Apr06 Sanders Wins Big over Clinton
Apr06 Sanders Stumbles in Interview
Apr06 Paul Ryan Is Running for President
Apr06 A Possible Convention Scenario
Apr06 Trump Enlists His Wife to Campaign for Him
Apr06 Cruz Catching Up To Trump Nationally
Apr06 Michigan Republican Party Won't Try To Steal Trump's Delegates
Apr06 Clinton Could Beat Trump in Mississippi
Apr06 Why Do So Many People Fail to Vote?
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