News from the Votemaster
• Trump Threatens the Republican National Committee
• Can the GOP Survive 2016?
• Priebus Prefers to Face Clinton
• Only Three Publications Have Endorsed Donald Trump
• Trump May Win the West Virginia Primary but Get Few Delegates
• Hillary Clinton Gets the Most Negative Media Coverage
• Clinton Repudiates Clinton
• Sanders Supporters Throw Money at Clinton
The Wyoming Republican convention was held yesterday and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is at it again. He won all 14 delegates at stake. Cruz also won all the delegates in Colorado last weekend and cleaned up in North Dakota the weekend before that. Donald Trump is beginning to notice that delegate selection is very important, but so far all he has really done is whine about it. Yesterday he said: "I don't want to waste millions of dollars going out to Wyoming many months before to wine and dine and to essentially pay off all these people because a lot of it's a pay-off." Cruz had no such problem. He showed up in Wyoming and wooed the delegates. Trump seems to think the Republican Party rules don't apply to him. He is slowly learning. (V)
As Donald Trump slowly becomes aware of how the game is played, his threat level goes up. Yesterday he said that the Republican National Committee had better get going or face a "rough July." He didn't elaborate on what that meant. Perhaps the RNC will need to create a "Trump threat level" system with colored lights, analogous to the terrorist threat level system. Although with Trump, it will be mostly orange.
Trump may or may not be aware that the RNC doesn't actually have much control over how the delegates are chosen. The state parties come up with their plans and announce them a year before the convention. Thus, not only can the RNC not change how this year's delegates are chosen, but it probably can't change it in 2020 either. Nevertheless, the states that don't have a primary or caucus are likely to come under increasing fire to choose one or the other next time. The one reform that is feasible for 2020 is to allow each candidate to submit a slate of delegates and if a candidate wins x delegate slots in the primary or caucus, then the top x people from the candidate's list are the delegates. That would eliminate all the maneuvering Cruz is doing. (V)
Adam Clymer, writing for HuffPo, wonders if the Republican Party is on death's door. He runs through the three basic convention scenarios: Donald Trump is nominated, Ted Cruz is nominated, and Sir Galahad—a white knight who comes to the rescue—is nominated. Concluding that all three end disastrously in various ways, Clymer borrows the words of Republican insider Donald Dwight to render his final assessment: "The Republican Party as I have known it...exists no longer. We are headed into a re-run of the Whig and Know Nothing parties' 1856 dissolution."
It is tempting to make such grandiose statements, and Clymer's piece is not the first, nor will it be the last, to reach this conclusion. He is almost certainly wrong, however. Recall that it is not enough for the GOP to be in disarray, there has to be a successor party to take its place. The Federalists merely faded away, and the Know Nothings were never a national force. That leaves the Whigs—the only major party in American history to truly collapse—as the only instructive example. Their dissolution was predicated on three essential points:
- An issue (slavery) arose on which the Party simply could not reach agreement
- Their split still left a large enough faction intact to form the core of a new party
- That faction was concentrated in one part of the country, thus making them instantly viable competitors for the Electoral College
Any argument that the GOP is done for must address these questions. It must explain what issue(s) will form the core of the new party, and how those issues will allow the new party to attract (at bare minimum) 30% of the voters and 200 electoral votes' worth of states. Otherwise, we are left with the much less dramatic, but more likely, conclusion: The Republican Party is in bad shape nationally (but not doing badly at all at the state level). Most likely it will eventually evolve its way out of those dire straits, just as it (and the Democrats) has always done since 1856. (Z)
Or, so he says. Interviewed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer, RNC Chair Reince Priebus said that he feels "much more comfortable" facing Hillary Clinton than Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the general election. His reasoning:
I'd rather run against Hillary Clinton because she's defined, she's not liked. And you know, in a popular cultural vote in America, that's a really important question, and she doesn't do well on that question. I don't know what's going to happen with the FBI.
File this one in the "yeah, right" file. To start with, Priebus is not exactly in the business of helping the other party pick its strongest candidate, so his "insights" should be taken with a truckload of salt on that basis alone. Beyond that, it is remarkable that he can keep a straight face talking how important likability is in this election, given that his party is likely to be stuck with Donald Trump or Ted Cruz—both of whom have considerably worse likability numbers than Clinton. Finally, Priebus is certainly aware of all the news and analysis that we and others have reported on, all of it indicating that an FBI indictment of the former Secretary is highly unlikely.
So what is Priebus' game, then? Perhaps he's just trying to influence the election as best he can. However, it seems more likely that he's trying to save face. He waited too long to do something about the Trump problem, and now he's left holding the bag. He's facing the ignominy of being the guy who fiddled while the GOP burned. By getting in the trenches and throwing a few grenades, he may be trying to recast himself as someone who tried hard to fight the good fight, and just came up short. It won't work, of course, but it can't hurt to try. (Z)
It is a good thing Donald Trump doesn't care about endorsements from publications as he has racked up a grand total of only three of them so far. Furthermore, one of the papers that endorsed him is owned by his son-in-law. Another is a notorious scandal sheet, the National Enquirer, which is owned by a good friend of his, David Pecker. That leaves Rupert Murdoch's New York Post as the only legitimate newspaper to endorse him. And the Post is his home-town paper so it is cheering on the local guy over the Texan. Not that it matters and not that he cares, but it gives an idea of how popular he is once you get out of the angry blue-collar worker world. (V)
Many states have complicated ways to select their delegates to the Republican National Convention, but West Virginia takes the cake. It is mind-bogglingly complicated and is not likely to work out well for Donald Trump. The ballot is a six-page form that places the delegate list after dozens of state and county races. Many voters will probably stop before even getting to the delegates. But those who get there will probably get it wrong and have their ballot invalidated. More than 220 people are running for 22 delegate slots. They are sorted by which candidate they support, first with the potential Christie delegates in alphabetical order, then the Rubio ones, etc. That sounds easy—just vote for the first 22 who support your favorite candidate. Unfortunately, that is not a good idea because a voter who picks more than seven from a single congressional district or more than two from a single county will have his or her ballot disqualified. These rules are nowhere stated on the ballot.
Trump has the problem that nine of his first 22 supporters are from Kanawha County. So if a voter just picks the first 22 delegates who support Trump, the ballot will be disqualified. Cruz understood this problem and tried to solve it. His preferred delegates are all people well known to West Virginians, and he is encouraging voters to select people they have heard of, rather than just the first 22 on his list.
So once again we are likely to have the situation that Trump wins big on May 10 when the state votes, but Cruz will rack up the most delegates. However, they will be bound to Trump on the first ballot. (V)
Despite Donald Trump's inability to rack up many endorsements and the constant criticism of his utterances, a new study shows that the candidate who has been most criticized by big media outlets is not Trump, but Hillary Clinton. Not only have 41% of the news stories about Clinton been negative, but she has had fewer positive stories than any other candidate—including Donald Trump. Bernie Sanders has often said that the media are in the tank for Clinton, but the facts indicate the opposite. The list of publications tracked included the Washington Post, Politico, Fox News, Huffington Post, and CNN.
Some of the negative coverage concerned her email server, which has been a major news story for a year. Also, journalists love nothing better than to go after serious candidates and Clinton has been serious since day 1. No journalist wanted to bother digging up dirt on, say, Mike Huckabee or Jim Gilmore. They were never even relevant. So being the front runner makes you a bigger target.
Clinton is being skewered from both the left and the right. Left-wing publications like Salon and Slate are 100% for Sanders and practically every story is about something Clinton has done wrong recently or in the past. Right-wing publications like RedState and The Resurgent know that Clinton is going to be their opponent and just ignore Sanders and aim all their fire at Clinton. Mainstream outlets just like juicy scandals and Clinton is a veritable buffet for them. (V)
An Investors' Business Daily editorial makes an interesting observation: Hillary Clinton has essentially repudiated all of her husband's trademark initiatives. That includes the 1994 crime bill, NAFTA, bank deregulation, welfare reform, and lower capital gains taxes.
This observation reminds us of three things. The first is that Bill Clinton, with his Southern roots and interest in stimulating economic growth, was about as centrist as it gets for a post-1960s Democrat. The second is that even the best-intentioned policies invariably have unintended consequences. Bank deregulation stoked the economy, but also set the stage for the "too big to fail" meltdown. The crime bill helped reduce violent crime, but also led to vast over-incarceration. And so forth. The third, and final, reminder is that—as noted in the item above—the two major parties are always evolving. Looking back at the historical record, it is no surprise at all that the Democratic Party of 1996 looks very different from the Democratic Party of 2016. Readers with a keen sense of irony will note that the core of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's coalition was white working-class men, most of whom are now rock-solid Republicans. If a week in politics is a lifetime, then 20 years is a geologic era. We were in the Clintonocene, now we are in the Obamazoic. (Z)
Yesterday evening, George Clooney held a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton at his home in Los Angeles. Tickets started at $34,000, but given a guest list that included Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kate Capshaw, and Haim Saban, no doubt some of them opted for better seats, closer to Clooney.
Now this is where it gets interesting. Clooney's next-door neighbor's family founded the 99 Cents Only store chain. He held a competing fundraiser for Sanders, with tickets at $27, the average donation to Sanders' campaign. Sanders' supporters threw 1000 $1 bills at Clinton as she arrived at Clooney's house. While this stunt cost Sanders $1000, the resulting publicity is priceless. (V)Email a link to a friend or share:
Apr16 Republican National Committee to Debate the Convention Rulebook
Apr16 Trump Campaigns on New York Values
Apr16 Rove Dumps on Trump
Apr16 Nearly Half of All super-PAC Money Comes from 50 Families
Apr16 Nearly Half of All Super-PAC Money Comes from 50 Families
Apr16 The GOP Convention Could End in Chaos
Apr16 Sanders' Trip to Rome Was a Quickie
Apr16 Sanders Releases His 2014 Tax Returns
Apr15 Clinton, Sanders Spar in New York
Apr15 Trump Has a Big Lead in Pennsylvania
Apr15 Sam Wang: Trump Is Still the Favorite for the GOP Nomination
Apr15 One-Third of Republican Voters Are Open to an Independent Run by Trump
Apr15 New York Post Endorses Trump
Apr15 Senators Won't Support Cruz Even When He Asks Directly
Apr15 Trump Could Lose 100 Delegates This Weekend
Apr15 From Brooklyn to Vatican in 12 Hours
Apr15 Democrats Will Sue Arizona Today over Voting Rights
Apr15 Kirk Goes Full RINO To Save His Neck
Apr14 Cruz Likely To Stop Trump on the Second Ballot
Apr14 The Conservative Media Giants Are Badly Split
Apr14 Trump Lashes Out at Reince Priebus
Apr14 Cruz Is Outmaneuvering Trump in California
Apr14 Lewandowski Likely to Avoid Prosecution
Apr14 Is it Wise to Trick Your Supporters?
Apr14 Superdelegates Backfiring on the Democrats
Apr14 Merkley Endorses Sanders
Apr13 Ryan Does the Full Sherman
Apr13 Why Isn't Ryan Running?
Apr13 Reince Priebus Is in over His Head
Apr13 Many Republican Delegates Have No Idea What Is about to Hit Them
Apr13 Ted Cruz is Starting to Get the Frontrunner Treatment
Apr13 New Poll of Maryland Gives Big Lead to Trump, Bigger Lead to Clinton
Apr13 Each Party Is Jealous of the Other One
Apr13 No Matter How You Look at It, Clinton Is Ahead of Sanders
Apr13 Clinton Gets New York Daily News' Endorsement
Apr12 Trump Blasts the Republicans for Rigging the Rules
Apr12 Trump's Kids Also Not Great With Rules
Apr12 Clinton's New Ad is Aimed at Democrats and Attacks Trump Directly
Apr12 Politico: Clinton Won't Be Indicted
Apr12 Clinton and de Blasio Step in It
Apr12 Ryan is Running a Parallel Campaign
Apr12 Donald Trump Is A Cheapskate
Apr12 Maybe Obama Has No Basis for Forcing Garland's Appointment, After All
Apr11 Cruz Wins 11 More Delegates
Apr11 Clinton and Sanders Split the Wyoming Delegates Evenly
Apr11 Trump Has Huge Leads in New York and Pennsylvania
Apr11 Clinton Has Large Leads in New York and Pennsylvania
Apr11 Electoral Math Is Ugly for the GOP
Apr11 National Review Keeps Tilting at Trump Windmill