Clinton 1761
Sanders 1103
 Needed   2383
Trump 742
Cruz 520
Rubio 171
Kasich 143
Needed 1237

News from the Votemaster

Republican Insiders: It Will Be A Contested Convention

Politico asked its panel of Republican insiders, and 90% think there will be a contested convention. Only 7% think Donald Trump will win on the first ballot. They noted that Trump has to win almost 60% of the remaining delegates to get to 1,237, and that is a very tall order. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has virtually no chance at a first-ballot victory. Some of the panel members were worried about what would happen if Trump had almost enough delegates but was somehow denied the nomination.

Most of the Democratic panel members think that Hillary Clinton need not be worried about losing the nomination for a second time. Only 26% said she should be worried. (V)

Trump and Cruz Have Completely Different Approaches

Donald Trump is a showman. Ted Cruz is a detail-oriented calculating politician. They are about as different as two politicians can be. When Trump speaks, no one knows what he is going to say because he wings it every time. Cruz repeats exactly the same stump speech from memory every time. Trump changes his position on the issues, like abortion, multiple times a day; Cruz is totally rigid and never changes his position on anything.

One other key way that they differ is on tactics. Cruz knows, in detail, all the rules about how delegates are selected and is using this knowledge to acquire as many friendly delegates as he can, even if they are pledged to Trump on the first ballot. If it goes to two or three or more ballots, this strategy could pay off big time. Trump is barely aware of the delegate selection process and only last week did he hire an aide, Paul Manafort, who understands the game. Ultimately, this difference may prove to be the most important of all. If Cruz can use the rules to work for him, he might be able to snatch the nomination away from Trump after the first ballot, even if he comes in with fewer pledged delegates. (V)

Republican Rodeo in Colorado

Ted Cruz's strategy of working the rules is being put into action this weekend, as the Colorado Republican Party holds its state convention in Colorado Springs. The first order of business was allocating the state's 21 congressional district delegates; by the end of the night Friday, Cruz's hustling had secured all 21 for his campaign.

Next up is electing Colorado's 13 statewide delegates to the Republican National Convention. Each of the approximately 4,000 attendees will get a ballot with the names of the 600 people running for delegate. Then each of the 600 candidates will get 10 seconds on stage to make a pitch why the attendees should vote for him or her.

Cruz fully understands how important it is to add those 13 delegates to his total, so he will be present at the convention to make a speech. Trump and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) are not planning to come. In fact, Cruz was been working for months planning how to snare the 13. His aides will be passing out a flyer telling people who his preferred 13 candidates are, so his supporters will concentrate their votes on these people and hopefully get them elected. This is where Cruz's nuts-and-bolts strategy is really paying off—the main Trump adviser assigned to Colorado, Alan Cobb, is managing expectations by saying that even a single delegate would be a "win," since The Donald invested so little in the way of time and resources in the state. In other words, "We know Cruz is probably going to sweep this."

What is really unusual about Colorado is that there was no primary or caucus of Republican voters, so the 13 statewide delegates are all free to vote for their preferred candidate (viz., Cruz) from the get-go. So are the 21 congressional district delegates who have already been awarded. And naturally, the three RNC members are all free agents as well. Consequently, Cruz's attention to detail in a state with a fairly conservative Republican electorate is likely to get him all (or, at least, a large majority) of Colorado's 37 delegates.

The convention will also choose the Republican nominee for the Senate to face Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO). There is a large field for the Senate nomination and it is not clear who will come out on top.

The Democrats will hold their state convention in Colorado next week in Loveland but less is at stake their because the allocation of delegates is tied to the caucus results, which Bernie Sanders won handily. (V & Z)

Trump May Command a Fake Twitter Army

There's a well-known story, maybe apocryphal but maybe not, about a pair of men working for Lyndon B. Johnson's U.S. Senate campaign in 1948. They went to the local cemetery to collect the names off of headstones, so that they could register "votes" on behalf of the deceased. After the first hundred or so names had been collected, one of the men spent many minutes peering at one of the older headstones, trying to make out the name. His partner asked why he was spending so much time on one grave, and told him to move on. "Hey," said the first man, "This guy has as much right to vote as anyone in this cemetery."

Now it appears that Donald Trump's campaign might have developed the modern version of this old political trick. Trump, of course, has already taught the pros a lesson or two about the power of social media in modern politics. Through the use of his personal Twitter account, he has effectively avoided the need to spend lots of money on commercials and the like. In addition, it would seem that someone working for the campaign, or perhaps a very enthusiastic supporter, has created many hundreds (or even thousands) of pro-Trump Twitter bots. First noticed by digital analytics expert Patrick Ruffini, these accounts all appear to send out the same, selected, pro-Trump tweets. For example, they all repeated an identical message telling voters to call the FCC if Ted Cruz's campaign failed to respond to do-not-call requests. Whoever is behind the apparently fake accounts did not come up with very interesting names, however (JBaker, Mdyer, Intuitive Girl, SaySomething, and M Maria, for example). Maybe they should have visited the local cemetery. (Z)

Trump and Clinton Lead in New York Poll

An Emerson College poll of Republicans and Democrats in New York shows the national frontrunners also leading in the Empire State, as follows:

New York
Rank Candidate Pct.
1 Donald Trump 56%
2 Ted Cruz 22%
3 John Kasich 17%
New York
Rank Candidate Pct.
1 Hillary Clinton 56%
2 Bernie Sanders 38%

Except for California, New York is the biggest state left. For the Republicans, 95 delegates are at stake; for the Democrats, it is 247. If a Republican passes the 50% threshold statewide, he gets all 14 of the statewide delegates. Similarly, if he gets 50% or more in any of the 29 congressional districts, he gets all three delegates. The Democrats allocate delegates proportionally. (V)

Trump and Clinton Lead in California Poll

The Field Poll, the gold standard for California polls, asked both Republicans and Democrats for whom they will vote in the June 7 primary. Here are the results:

Rank Candidate Pct.
1 Donald Trump 39%
2 Ted Cruz 32%
3 John Kasich 18%
Rank Candidate Pct.
1 Hillary Clinton 47%
2 Bernie Sanders 41%

The California contest could be the decider for both parties. For the Republicans, the rules are very important. 10 delegates are allocated to the statewide winner and 3 delegates are allocated to the winner of each of California's 53 congressional districts. So, in principle, with 39% of the vote, Trump could get all the delegates and wrap the thing up. However, the poll showed that while Trump is leading in the Bay Area, Cruz is leading in Southern California, making a Trump sweep unlikely.

The Democratic rules are different, with no winner-take-all delegates either statewide or per congressional district. If Sanders wins 41% of the vote, he is likely to get about 41% of the 475 delegates. Although Sanders has moved up compared to the last Field Poll, even a small win won't help him much. He needs to get something like 70% to really cut into Clinton's lead in pledged delegates. (V)

Cruz Would Be the Most Conservative Nominee in Generations

Ted Cruz makes Barry Goldwater look like a pinko commie. He would be the most conservative candidate in generations. Consider some of his positions:

  • Go back to the gold standard
  • No abortions at all, not even for victims of rape or incest
  • All income should be taxed at a flat 10%
  • Eliminate payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare
  • Carpet bomb the Middle East until the sand glows
  • Repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with [to be supplied]
  • Eliminate the Export-Import bank, which finances foreign purchases of American-made products
  • Climate change is a hoax

Nearly all these positions are going to be fodder for the Democrats in November if Cruz is the nominee. For a complete list of Cruz's positions on everything, click here. (V)

Paul Ryan Releases Campaign Ad

No, not for his own campaign. After all, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is not running for president—just ask him. It's merely a call for Republican unity behind whoever the GOP presidential candidate might be. The ad does not name any particular candidate, so it doesn't tell voters behind whom they should unite. It simply features Ryan delivering a speech about American values. Oh, and the URL for his website. The Speaker is just doing his part to pull a divided Party together in support of its nominee. Whoever that might be. (Z)

Economy is Playing Out in the Democrats' Favor

The state of the economy has a significant impact on presidential elections. If things are good, the party that holds the White House benefits. If they are not good, it's time to "throw the bums out."

At the moment, it certainly looks like things are breaking the blue team's way. It's already been announced that the economy grew moderately in the first quarter of 2016. Now, with the benefit of additional information, the economists say that is not correct—it actually shrunk a little. However, the shrinkage was due to factors that will set the stage for robust growth in the second and third quarters. So, the Democrats got news coverage of "growth" in Q1, and then will have actual growth in Q2 and Q3. Barack Obama couldn't have asked for better if he had scripted it himself. (Z)

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---The Votemaster
Apr08 Candidates Move to New York
Apr08 Conservatives Are Pushing for Mike Lee to Fill Scalia's Seat
Apr08 More People Are Struck by Lightning than Commit In-person Voter Fraud
Apr08 GOP Leaders Hate Cruz but Desperately Need Him
Apr08 Clinton Blows it in Philadelphia
Apr08 Can the Democrats Survive the Clinton-Sanders Breach?
Apr08 Obama Chomping at the Bit
Apr08 Sessions Would Like to Be Trump's Veep
Apr08 Giuliani Would Like to Be Trump's Attorney General
Apr08 Maryland Senatorial Primary Shows a Racial Divide
Apr08 McConnell Is Taking Sides in Indiana Senatorial Primary
Apr07 Voting in Wisconsin a Fiasco
Apr07 Ryan's Noncampaign Heads to the Middle East
Apr07 Where Do the Republicans Stand Now?
Apr07 Now the Hard Part for Cruz and Sanders: the East
Apr07 Nate Silver Is Betting on Cruz
Apr07 Republicans Could Employ Many Tricks to Stop Trump
Apr07 Cruz Could Hurt the Republicans Almost as Much as Trump
Apr07 Quinnipiac: Clinton and Trump Lead in Pennsylvania
Apr07 Gloves Are Coming off on the Democratic Side of the Contest
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