News from the Votemaster
• Clinton and Sanders Split the Wyoming Delegates Evenly
• Trump Has Huge Leads in New York and Pennsylvania
• Clinton Has Large Leads in New York and Pennsylvania
• Electoral Math Is Ugly for the GOP
• National Review Keeps Tilting at Trump Windmill
• Clinton Pins Her Hopes on Upstate New York
• Obama: Clinton Never Jeopardized National Security
• Trump Learned His Style from Roy Cohn
• Why Are Polls Often Wrong Now?
• Obama Acknowledges "Biggest Mistake"
• Could Barack Obama Put Garland on SCOTUS Without Senate Approval?
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is on a roll. He just swept up delegates in Colorado and Indiana and now he won 11 of the 12 national delegates Iowa selected on Saturday. Four of Iowa's congressional districts picked their delegates Saturday and 11 of the 12 delegates are firmly committed to voting for Cruz on the second ballot and beyond. The last one, Marianette Miller-Meeks, hasn't made up her mind yet.
In case anyone has missed it, Trump and Cruz have different strategies. Trump's strategy is to say a lot of outrageous things and get a lot of media attention. Cruz's strategy is to win actual delegates, a few at a time, as they are elected at state and district conventions. In some cases, such as Iowa, the delegates may be required to vote for someone else on the first ballot, but if no one wins on the first ballot, they will support Cruz until the bitter end.
Also very important is that every delegate is free to vote as he or she wishes on convention rules and credentials' fights. It is not inconceivable that Cruz will challenge the 50 delegates Trump won in South Carolina because he reneged on his promise to support the Republican nominee, something required by the South Carolina Republican Party. It doesn't actually matter if he actually reneged or not and it doesn't matter if Cruz did the same thing. What matters is how many delegates want Trump to lose and delegates who are bound to Trump are nevertheless free to vote against Trump on the South Carolina and other credentials fights in order to force a second ballot, when they will be unbound. State by state, Cruz is picking up stealth delegates. No one really knows how many of the delegates already chosen really support the candidate they have to vote for on the first ballot. If Cruz keeps picking up delegates, as he did this weekend in Iowa, Colorado, and Indiana, Trump could really crater on the second ballot. (V)
Although Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) got more votes than Hillary Clinton in Saturday's Wyoming caucuses (56% to 44%), he didn't get any more delegates than she did. They each got seven delegates due to the fact that all Democratic contests award delegates proportionally, both statewide and per congressional district. This shows how hard it will be for Sanders to overcome Clinton's lead of over 200 pledged delegates. Even a double-digit win sometimes doesn't help. In larger states it will help more, but catching up by winning a few delegates here and a few there is going to be very difficult for Sanders. (V)
A pair of Fox News polls released yesterday show Donald Trump with enormous leads in both New York and Pennsylvania, as follows:
If Trump passes the 50% mark in New York, which three consecutive polls show he is likely to do, he gets all the statewide delegates. In every congressional district that he also crosses the 50% mark, he gets all three delegates. New York votes before Pennsylvania and the other MidAtlantic states, so a big win in New York could give him even more momentum going into Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the other states that vote on April 26.
Pennsylvania is definitely a special case because 54 of its 71 delegates will go to the Republican National Convention unpledged, which means they can vote for anyone they want to on the first ballot. Thus, who is elected as a delegate is extremely important. (V)
It looks like Bernie Sanders' winning streak is about to come to an abrupt end. A new Fox News poll released yesterday showed Hillary Clinton with double-digit leads in both New York and Pennsylvania. Sanders desperately needs not only to win these states, but to win them big time to cut into Clinton's delegate lead. Here are the results of the polls:
If Clinton wins these two states, she is also likely to win Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island, all of which are demographically similar to Pennsylvania and which vote on the same day, April 26. If Sanders sustains serious losses in all six states, it is very hard to see how he could possibly end up first in pledged delegates, short of running the table in California. Current polling shows Clinton with a large lead in California. (V)
We, and many others, have observed that the Electoral College math is grim for the GOP's presidential candidate, whoever he may be. WaPo's Chris Cillizza, working with data from the Cook Political Report, has taken up the question, and put the matter in particularly clear terms.
First, on the Democratic side, we imagine that the Party's candidate is able to secure the 18 states + D.C. that have gone Democratic in all of the last six elections. That's 242 of the necessary 270 electoral votes right there. There are a great many viable paths to the other 28. Florida, all by itself. Or Ohio plus New Mexico plus Nevada. Or Iowa plus New Hampshire plus Ohio. Or a run of the smallish swing states: Colorado plus New Hampshire plus New Mexico plus Nevada plus Iowa. Or the blue-trending upper-Southern states: Virginia plus North Carolina. Or the Southwestern states with lots of Latino voters: Arizona plus Colorado plus New Mexico plus Nevada. Any of these combos gets the job done.
Then, the Republican side. If we give the GOP candidate the 13 states the Party has swept in the last six elections, that's just 140 electoral votes. Then we add the states that Republicans have taken in five of the last six and the ones where they have taken four of the last six. At that point, they're only up to 219. And if we then give them Florida and Ohio (in the case of a wildly unlikely Kasich-Rubio ticket, for example), the GOP is still four electoral votes short.
The upshot is that the Republicans need a candidate who can capture all wings of the party to have a reasonable chance of victory. And, barring the discovery of a Ronald Reagan clone under a rock, they do not seem to have one. (Z)
Given his behavior, not to mention his indictment, there is a perception that Donald Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is a thug and a misogynist. The National Review decided to get to the heart of the matter, by interviewing some of Lewandowski's former co-workers and associates. As it turns out, the reason that Lewandowski seems like a thug and a misogynist is that he is a thug and a misogynist.
This revelation is not terribly surprising. What's more interesting is that the Review, the same magazine that published an entire anti-Trump issue, continues to work all angles in its quest to undermine The Donald. In just the last month, their anti-Trump headlines have included the following:
- Reminder: Most Republicans Have Voted Against Trump
- How Pro Wrestling Taught Donald Trump to Be the Perfect Showman
- Donald Trump: The Art of Self-Sabotage
- How to Dump Trump
- Trump: The Kremlin's Candidate
- Donald Trump, Master Seducer
- Trump's Counterfeit Masculinity
- Why White Nationalist Thugs Thrill to Trump
- The Trump Trainwreck
- Trump's Border Wall Plan is Ridiculous on Its Face
- Yet Another Trump Debacle
- Inside Donald Trump's Twitter Potemkin Army
- Trump Only Cares About Trump
The National Review is the voice of the conservative movement, more so than Fox News. Its coverage gives us a refresher on how much the different wings of the Republican Party hate The Donald and how far they will go to stop him. (Z)
Hillary Clinton's path to recovering from losing seven of the last eight nominating contests runs through upstate New York, an area she is thoroughly familiar with as a result of three campaigns there and her eight years in the Senate. It is a depressed area, suffering from a loss of manufacturing jobs, with a lot of working poor rural people as well. Fortunately for her, many people upstate have met her and some of them speak fondly of her attempts to help bring jobs to upstate New York when she was a senator. On the other hand, the area is still depressed, so despite Clinton's attempts to help, things are still in bad shape there and people are unhappy with the status quo. In contrast, Sanders is much less well known there, but his leftist message is surprisingly potent in a rural Republican area.
One advantage that Clinton has is the support of most state officials. These include Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), plus various members of the House. For example, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) campaigned in Rochester for her this week and reminded people that Clinton brought in planeloads of Japanese businessmen looking for places to invest. Most polls show Clinton ahead of Sanders by double digits in New York. (V)
President Obama said yesterday that while Hillary Clinton was careless in using a private email server, nothing she did ever put national security in danger. He added that there are many kinds of classified information and not everything that is classified is really that secret. Some of it is available from public sources. Obama added that he is not involved in the FBI's investigation of her email server and has not discussed it with the FBI director or Attorney General and has no intention whatsoever of doing so. He will not interfere with the ongoing investigations at all. (V)
Roy Cohn was the chief counsel who helped Senator Joe McCarthy with his red-baiting tactics in the 1950s. After he got out of politics, he became a New York power lawyer and was close to Donald Trump, who was then morphing from a rich kid working for his Dad's real estate business into a mover and shaker in his own right. Cohn taught Trump a lot about how to operate. His slogan was: "Always attack, never apologize." Trump absorbed the lesson well and it explains a lot about who he is now.
Cohn was a tangle of contradictions. He was a Jewish anti-Semite and a gay homophobe. He was a lawyer to the rich and powerful, but was himself indicted (and later acquitted) on charges of conspiracy, bribery, and fraud. He lived an ostentatious lifestyle. He was Donald Trump's mentor on matters of law, business, and lifestyle in many ways. (V)
Polling has had a number of high profile failures in recent years in the U.S., the U.K., and in Israel, to name just three countries. Pollsters say two developments are causing most of the problems. First, response rates are down from 80% 40 years ago to 8% now. This means that a pollster may have to make 10,000 calls to get a valid sample. The low response rate is due to telemarketing poisoning the well. Many people only answer calls from numbers they recognize.
Second, the tremendous growth in cell phones is making a huge difference. Young people and poor people often have only a cell phone and no landline. These groups are heavily Democratic, so a survey of only landlines greatly overweights older voters, who skew Republican. In principle, pollsters can call cell phones, but only if they dial the numbers manually, which is expensive. It is illegal for a company to have its computers call cell phones.
A third, but smaller, issue is that it is no longer possible to tell where someone is from his or her phone number. It used to be that if a phone number had area code 212 it was in New York. That is no longer the case. When a New Yorker moves to California, the 212 cell phone owner is now a California voter and should not be counted in polls of New York.
But all is not hopeless. One technique that works well is averaging polls. Nate Silver got all 50 states right in 2012. We did almost as well, getting 48 right, missing Florida by 3 points, and claiming North Carolina was too close to call (it was ultimately the closest state in the nation).
Internet polling may be the way of the future, but not everyone has an Internet connection and getting a random sample is very difficult. Nevertheless, pollsters are experimenting with Internet polling. (V)
In an interview that aired on Fox News on Sunday, President Obama was asked about the biggest mistake that he made during his presidency. His answer was that, while he did not regret intervening in Libya, he did lament the lack of planning for what came next.
Obama's candor presents a fairly striking contrast to his predecessor, who famously was unable to think of a single mistake that he had made when asked the same question. However, he may just have tossed the GOP oppo teams a juicy bone. After all, the Secretary of State at the time of that mistake—who surely must share some of the blame—was Hillary Clinton. Given that the footage belongs to Fox News, it will surely find its way into RNC hands very quickly, available for deployment as needed in the general election. (Z)
Very possibly, according to Gregory L. Diskant, a lawyer and a former clerk for Justice Thurgood Marshall. He bases his argument on a well-established doctrine, affirmed by Supreme Court rulings, that a legal right that goes unused after a "reasonable" period of time is automatically waived. Diskant suggests that President Obama should announce that he expects a decision within a reasonable time frame, say 90 days, and declare that if no decision is made within that time he will consider the Senate's right of "advice and consent" to be waived and will make the appointment by himself. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) would undoubtedly sue as soon as Garland tried to take his seat, leaving the Supreme Court (with Garland presumably recusing himself) to decide the matter. The situation could well end with Garland being affirmed, and might also break the logjam of lower court nominees being held up by Senate Republicans.
As a legal matter, Diskant seems to be standing on firm ground. As a political matter, it's harder to say. At the moment, the GOP's obstructionism is giving Democrats a useful weapon, one being wielded by Senate candidates in the states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Missouri, among others. If President Obama was to try and outflank the GOP, that weapon would go away, and it could rebound on the Democrats. Voters might appreciate the President's willingness to stand up for himself, but they might also see the blue team as trampling on the Constitution even more outrageously than the Republicans. Odds are good that Obama chooses not to play with that kind of fire. (Z)Email a link to a friend or share:
Apr10 Sanders Trying Hard to Appeal to Black Voters
Apr10 Sanders Says Clinton Is Qualified to Be President
Apr10 Trump Is Losing Indiana Even Before the Voting Starts
Apr10 Cruz Finishes the Job in Colorado While Trump Fumbles
Apr10 Unbound Delegates Could Determine the Republican Nominee
Apr10 One-Third of Trump Supporters Won't Vote for Another Republican
Apr10 Adelson May Sit This One Out
Apr10 Fiorina Desperately Wants to Be Veep
Apr10 Boston Globe Running Fake Anti-Trump Front Page Today
Apr09 Republican Insiders: It Will Be A Contested Convention
Apr09 Trump and Cruz Have Completely Different Approaches
Apr09 Republican Rodeo in Colorado
Apr09 Trump May Command a Fake Twitter Army
Apr09 Trump and Clinton Lead in New York Poll
Apr09 Trump and Clinton Lead in California poll
Apr09 Cruz Would Be the Most Conservative Nominee in Generations
Apr09 Paul Ryan Releases Campaign Ad
Apr09 Economy is Playing Out in the Democrats' Favor
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?