Clinton 2159
Sanders 1370
 Needed   2383
Trump 955
Cruz 562
Rubio 171
Kasich 153
Needed 1237

News from the Votemaster

The General Election Has Already Started

Political guru Charlie Cook says that the general election began Tuesday evening. Although there is some mopping up left, it is going to be Trump vs. Clinton, and most people already realize that. He makes a number of interesting points about this. First, #NeverTrump is #NeverMore and never had a chance because you can't beat somebody with nobody and all they were offering was nobody. Second, most people now see there is no realistic way to stop Trump, even if he comes to the convention with slightly under 1,237 delegates. Third, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) lost to Trump in Montgomery County, MD and Greenwich, CT. If a moderate can't win those bastions of establishment Republican voters, he can't win anywhere and Cruz can win outside the South only by freak accident.

Even the GOP elites are now resigned to the fact that Trump will be their nominee. Former Colorado Republican state party chairman Dick Wadhams said: "Fatigue is probably the perfect description of what people are feeling." Nevertheless, there are still pockets of Republicans where the fight goes on. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is certainly not giving up on winning on the second or later ballot now that he has been mathematically eliminated from winning on the first ballot. Cruz claimed that Trump's success was due to the fact that media network executives are all liberal Democrats.

The big question now is whether Trump and Clinton can unify their fractured parties. Both have favorability ratings deeply under water and many supporters of their respective parties really despise them. Clinton has the easier job, especially if she makes some concessions to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), such as a picking a progressive running mate and adding some planks to the platform that he cares about, such as a $15 minimum wage and restoring Glass-Steagall to its former glory. If he gets what he wants, Sanders will consider his quixotic run a success and campaign for her. He doesn't personally hate her or think she is crazy or a threat to the country or world. He just thinks she is too cozy with Wall Street and he doesn't agree with some of her positions, although he does agree with the majority of them.

On the other side of the aisle, it is much, much harder. Most of the GOP establishment thinks that Donald Trump is a dangerous nutcake who is going to rebrand the Republican Party for a generation as a bunch of racist, sexist bigots and not only lose the White House and Senate, but put the House in jeopardy as well. Putting Humpty Dumpty together again is going to be well-nigh impossible. The party will be deeply fractured all the way to November. It can't be papered over. (V)

Trump Has Defined "Gender" as a Major General Election Issue

Donald Trump has accused Hillary Clinton of playing the "woman's card." This is without question the first shot in what is going to be a big war about gender in politics. He said: "Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don't think she'd get 5 percent of the vote." That is manifestly untrue. Given how partisan politics is nowadays, if Hillary Clinton were a yellow dog, she'd still get 40% of the vote.

What was once a latent issue—sexism in America—is suddenly going to be the defining issue of the campaign. Trump may or may not be aware that 53% of the voters in 2012 were women and 55% of them cast votes for Barack Obama. To a considerable extent, the more Trump rants about women, the larger the gender gap is going to be. A recent Suffolk University poll shows that 66% of women have an unfavorable view of Trump. Clinton is going to exploit this issue for all it is worth. In particular, she is going to make a major push to get married suburban women, most of whom normally vote Republican, to cast their ballots for her. If she can win 50% of this group, Trump is toast. Historically, male candidates running against female ones have to be very careful to keep their attacks focused on the issues rather than on gender or they could backfire. It looks like 2016 is going to be a very large-scale experiment on that question. (V)

Get Your Official Hillary Clinton "Woman Card"

In politics, you have to strike while the iron is hot. And Hillary Clinton's campaign staff certainly has; they are now offering donors an official Clinton campaign "woman card," designed to mimic a New York subway card. The advent of television, and then the Internet, has largely killed off the once-thriving trade in political ephemera that characterized election years: buttons, ribbons, signs, hats, and other sorts of presidentially-themed goodies. This gimmick, in addition to raising a few bucks for the campaign, is a nice throwback to that bygone era. (Z)

Indianapolis Star Slams Trump

Days from the Indiana primaries, the state's largest newspaper declined to endorse a candidate on either side of the race, instead turning the traditional editorial into a strongly-worded anti-Trump screed:

Trump has demonstrated repeatedly during the months-long campaign that he is wholly unsuited to serve as president. He's offered simplistic proposals on national security, job creation, immigration, international trade and foreign affairs. He has sounded off with appalling comments about women and others. He's appealed to voters' worst instincts by trying to pit racial and ethnic groups against one another. He's responded when challenged with reasonable questions from political opponents and from journalists with insults and diatribes that fall far outside the bounds of decent political discourse. Those are not the qualities that made America great—or that will make it even greater. A President Trump would be a danger to the United States and to the world.

At the same time, the paper tacitly acknowledged the dilemma that the GOP is in, noting that Ted Cruz "also is ill-suited to serve in the Oval Office." This led to their conclusion—essentially a backdoor endorsement—that John Kasich on the GOP side and Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side are the best from a list of bad choices. Undoubtedly, the Governor and the Secretary are delighted to have the Star's "support." (Z)

Bobby Knight Campaigns for Trump

Former Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight is a curious kind of celebrity endorser. He lost his job coaching because he couldn't keep himself from abusing players, and he lost his television job because he was ill-prepared and boring. So, his popularity in the other 49 states is not great. But in Indiana, he's a god. He's like a living version of Washington Irving's Headless Horseman, whose powers end at the bridge leading into Sleepy Hollow.

In a development that will make up for the Indianapolis Star's non-endorsement (and then some), Knight has been campaigning hard for the Donald throughout the Hoosier State. And, given his penchant for shooting from the hip, he's an eerily apropos surrogate for the candidate. On Wednesday, Knight said of Trump: "I was very, very selective with players [but] that son of a b--- could play for me!" And on Thursday, Knight compared Trump with "Harry Truman, with what he did in dropping and having the guts to drop the bomb in 1944, saved, saved millions of American lives." Now, many voters might feel that "he's willing to drop nuclear bombs" is not exactly a selling point. Others might note that Truman ordered the bombs to be dropped in 1945, and was not even president in 1944. But those are the kinds of trivial details that do not matter to Donald Trump, or to his new BFF Bobby Knight. (Z)

Large Majority of Americans Have an Unfavorable View of the Republican Party

The primary season has caused a major problem for the Republican Party: Most Americans don't like it. A new Pew poll shows that 33% of Americans have a favorable view of the Republican Party while 62% do not. For the Democrats, the numbers are 45% favorable and 50% unfavorable. Just 28% of independents view the Republican Party favorably while 37% have a favorable view of the Democrats. The dislike of the Republicans includes every demographic group, including men, women, whites, blacks, Latinos, young people, middle-aged people, old people, high school graduates, and college graduates. Just about everyone. For the Democrats, blacks, Latinos, young people, and people with postgraduate degrees have a favorable view. Other groups have a negative view. (V)

Trump Has Insulted 210 People, Places, and Things

Donald Trump takes to Twitter like a duck takes to water. Only ducks don't do it to insult coots, geese, swans, and other fellow waterfowl. The New York Times has compiled a list of 210 people, places and things Donald Trump has insulted. These include:

  • Barack Obama ("Perhaps the worst president in U.S. history!")
  • Bernie Sanders ("Wacko")
  • Hillary Clinton ("Does not have the STRENGTH or STAMINA to be President")
  • George H.W. Bush ("No more Bushes")
  • Ted Cruz ("Lies like a dog-over and over again")
  • John McCain ("Graduated last in his class")
  • Karl Rove ("A Bush plant who called all races wrong")
  • Jennifer Rubin ("One of the dumber bloggers")
  • Nikki Haley ("The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley")
  • Chuck Todd ("Knows so little about politics")
  • David Brooks ("Is closing in on being the dumbest of them all")
  • Glenn Beck ("A real nutjob")
  • George Will ("Wrong almost all the time")
  • Juan Williams ("When I saw you at Fox you ran over like a child and wanted a picture")
  • Frank Luntz ("A total clown")
  • National Review ("Very few people read")
  • New York Daily News ("Dying tabloid")
  • New York Times ("Truly one of the worst newspapers")
  • Wall Street Journal ("Bad at math")
  • Univision ("Controlled by Mexican government?")
  • Fox News ("Other networks seem to treat me so much better than Fox News")
  • ("Small crowds")
  • Macy's ("Wow! I hear that thousands of people are cutting up their Macy's credit card")
  • ("No profit company")
  • T-Mobile ("I think the service is terrible")
  • Fox News polls ("Another phony hit job on me")
  • Super Bowl 50 ("Very boring")
  • Early voting in Florida ("Very dishonest")
  • The United States ("Has become the dumping ground for the world")
  • Great Britain ("Trying hard to disguise their massive Muslim problem")
  • Germany ("Going through massive attacks to its people by the migrants allowed to enter the country")
  • Mexico ("We get the killers, drugs, & crime, they get the money")
  • New Jersey ("Deeply troubled")

And many, many others. The article gives the tweet or tweets for each of them. (V)

Journalist Who Profiled Melania Trump is Subjected to Abuse

On Wednesday, GQ's Julia Ioffe published a profile of Melania Trump that, while certainly not fawning, was not particularly negative either. Still, it did not please the prospective First Lady, who took to Facebook to register her unhappiness. By the end of the day Thursday, Ioffe had been heaped with scorn and abuse, including death threats, comparisons to Hitler and Goebbels, harassing phone calls, and anti-Semitic slurs.

The Donald certainly seems to be encouraging these kinds of responses, and—given that he pays the legal bills of supporters who are accused of committing assault on his behalf—apparently approves of them. This is one place where his amateur political instincts are way, way off. Physical attacks on protesters (there was another nasty incident in California on Thursday), verbal assaults on female reporters, etc., may impress the people who already support Trump, but they are a huge turnoff to most of the rest of the electorate. And there's simply no question that incidents like these will drive fence-sitters into the Hillary camp (or, at very least, will keep them at home on Election Day). (Z)

Energy Could Determine Control of the Senate

Control of the Senate could be determined by energy. Not the energy of candidates' supporters, but regular old energy, as in coal, oil, natural gas, and maybe even solar power. The Hill has a rundown of the states where energy is a factor in the Senate races, summarized as follows.

Colorado. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), the only vulnerable Democratic senator on the ballot, is an ally of the oil and gas industries and a supporter of the Keystone XL pipeline. He could be hurt by a variety of ballot initiatives on energy. One of them, #78, requires energy facilities to be 2,500 feet from occupied structures, including homes, schools, and hospitals. Drilling advocates say that would close 40% of the 53,000 wells in the state. Bennet will have to be careful because Colorado has many environmental activists as well as outdoor recreation enthusiasts. The one thing that might save him is the fratricide within the Republican Party, with a dozen candidates running for the GOP nomination to oppose him.

Florida. Both parties will have contested primaries in August but fracking is likely to be a big issue in the general election. Republicans are for it and Democrats are against it. Fracking is an especially big issue in Florida because much of the state's water comes from an aquifer that is only a few feet below the surface and could easily be polluted by fracking. Offshore drilling is always a big issue in Florida. Democrats are also attacking Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) for not pursuing a policy of harnessing solar energy in the Sunshine State.

Illinois. Coal is a wedge issue in Illinois, where 3,000 coal miners work. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) has a 20% rating from the League of Conservation Voters in this very blue state so he is caught between the coal industry and environmental voters. He has flip-flopped in his votes on energy and his opponent, Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), is going after him for it. Walking the tightrope will be tough for him.

New Hampshire. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) has a problem similar to Kirk's, albeit with a somewhat better voting record. Her opponent, Gov. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) is running on her record of vigorously fighting climate change, making her popular with environmental activists. Another big issue is a proposed transmission line that would bring electric power from Canada to southern New England. In addition, a proposed natural gas pipeline in southern New Hampshire is a hot potato.

Ohio. Ohio has about two dozen counties where coal is a major factor in the economy. Hillary Clinton's declaration that she intends to put a lot of coal companies out of business does not play well there. The Democratic senatorial nominee, former governor Ted Strickland, is a strong Clinton supporter as well as a supporter of most clean-air legislation. However, Strickland is going to hit Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) for trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which makes it easier for miners to receive benefits for black-lung disease. As governor, Strickland stimulated alternatives to coal and created 25,000 jobs in the renewable energy industry. So coal vs. renewables will be a big issue in Ohio.

Energy is far from the only issue on the table in these races, but it could play a decisive factor in close races. (V)

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---The Votemaster
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Apr27 Trump University Case Will Go to Trial
Apr27 Sanders Is Sending Supporters a Photo of Clinton at Trump's Wedding
Apr27 Clinton Wants a Cabinet that Looks Like America
Apr26 Five States Vote Today
Apr26 Tuesday Also Has Senate Drama
Apr26 Kasich-Cruz Truce Lasted One Day
Apr26 Cruz Is Already Working on the Unbound Delegates
Apr26 Trump Hires Another Heavyweight
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Apr26 Bad News for Candidate Trump
Apr26 Federal Judge Upholds NC Voter ID Law
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Apr25 Kasich and Cruz Are Teaming Up
Apr25 Republican Contest Gets Uglier and Uglier
Apr25 Trump and Clinton Have Big Leads in Pennsylvania
Apr25 Trump and Clinton Have Big Leads in Rhode Island
Apr25 Clinton Campaigning Vigorously on Gun Control in Connecticut
Apr25 The Problems with Sanders' Superdelegate Strategy
Apr25 Will the Contests Committee Trump the Rules Committee?
Apr25 Libertarian Bid for a Failed Republican?
Apr25 Betting Has Started on the Veep Slot
Apr25 Rubio Doesn't Want to Be Vice President
Apr25 Members of Congress Are Glorified Telemarketers
Apr25 What Could Sanders Demand of Clinton to Get His Support?
Apr25 Kasich and Cruz Are Teaming Up
Apr25 Republican Contest Gets Uglier and Uglier
Apr25 Trump and Clinton Have Big Leads in Pennsylvania
Apr25 Trump and Clinton Have Big Leads in Rhode Island
Apr25 Clinton Campaigning Vigorously on Gun Control in Connecticut
Apr25 The Problems with Sanders' Superdelegate Strategy
Apr25 Will the Contests Committee Trump the Rules Committee?
Apr25 Libertarian Bid for a Failed Republican?
Apr25 Betting Has Started on the Veep Slot
Apr25 Rubio Doesn't Want to Be Vice President
Apr25 Members of Congress Are Glorified Telemarketers