Tentative Primary and Caucus Schedule
  March 1 (Super Tues)
  March 2-14
L blue   March 15-31
Delegates needed for nomination:
GOP: 1237,   Dem: 2242
Map explained
New polls:  
Dem pickups:  
GOP pickups:  

News from the Votemaster

Bernie Sanders Keeps Pace with Hillary Clinton in Fundraising

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced that he raised $33 million in Q4, almost as much as the $37 million Hillary Clinton raised in the same period. For the year 2015, he raised $73 million, somewhat less than her $112 million, but still an enormous sum and more than any Republican except Jeb Bush and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Sanders' money came from 2.5 million donors, an all-time record for a non-election year. Turning money into votes is not so easy, as Jeb Bush can testify, but in his battle with Clinton, Sanders won't be hamstrung for lack of funds. (V)

Bush's Strategy: Destroy Everyone Else

In a last-ditch effort to get the nomination, Jeb Bush's strategy appears to be to try to move Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) from third place to fourth place in Iowa. Does it matter? According to Bush's team, yes. The best they can hope for is that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz flame out, leaving Rubio as Bush's main challenger. If Bush can take Rubio down a couple of pegs so he doesn't even make the top three in Iowa, he will be weaker in New Hampshire, where Bush hopes to at least make the top three. In New Hampshire, he is going after Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH). Is this a sign of desperation? As Sarah Palin would say: "You betcha." But it's all Bush has left. (V)

Previously Unknown Big Donors Getting Ready to Donate

By now, everyone knows about the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, George Soros, and Tom Steyer, but so far these potential megadonors haven't gotten out their checkbooks. The Hill is reporting that several other families and donors are about to start pouring serious money into the races. Here is a short rundown of them.

  • The DeVos family (founders of Amway) like to give hard dollars to Republican campaigns
  • Farris Wilks (who made his billions in fracking) likes Ted Cruz and will probably pour millions into his super PACs
  • Mel Heifetz (who is a real estate investor) said he will probably be supporting Hillary Clinton
  • John Jordan (who owns a California winery) is a hands-on data nerd and will probably support Marco Rubio
  • Bill Koch (who fought legal battles with his brothers Charles and David for years) is probably going to back Rubio

No doubt many other megamillionaires and billionaires will be coming out the woodwork in the months ahead to donate. (V)

Trump Appears in Al Qaeda Recruitment Video

When Hillary Clinton said that Donald Trump was helping ISIS recruit terrorists, the fact checkers rated that as a lie because she couldn't point to a smoking gun. Now the smoking gun has emerged in the form of a video Al Qaeda is using to recruit new terrorists that includes clips of The Donald. Now, Trump could argue that he is helping Al Qaeda, not ISIS, but for most Americans, who are barely aware of the difference, precisely which terrorist group is profiting from his remarks is a minor difference. So Clinton's point is now essentially true. (V)

Trump Says That Clinton, Obama Created ISIS

Normally, Donald Trump comes up with provocative things to say all by himself. However, on the very same day it became clear he is indeed helping recruit people to Al Qaeda, he decided to dust off a nearly two-year-old Republican talking point and to declare that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are to blame for the rise of ISIS.

The Donald offered no evidence for his obvious attempt to deflect attention from himself and to muddy up the "who's to blame for Middle Eastern terrorism?" debate. In fact, ISIS was founded in 1999, and a more knowledgeable analysis recognizes that some of the blame belongs to George W. Bush and his administration, and some belongs to Obama and his, but—American hubris notwithstanding—it turns out that not everything in the world is within our control, and not everything in the world is a response to us. One of the central goals of ISIS is to recreate the caliphate that existed in the 7th century. The U.S. really doesn't have much to do with that. This being the case, a lot of the blame belongs to "none of the above." In any event, Donald Trump continues to demonstrate that his foreign policy is almost entirely reactionary, and is about as nuanced and thoughtful as his understanding of immigration or tax policy. (Z)

New Year, Same Old Maneuvering

Congress will be back in session next week, and GOP leadership has made clear that the first items on the agenda will be canceling federal funding for Planned Parenthood and a repeal of Obamacare.

This is solely performance art—the bills will get through Congress, and then will be vetoed by President Obama. As the GOP does not have the numbers to override a presidential veto, that will be the end of it for at least a year. The entire purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate to voters what could be achieved if only a Republican is in the Oval Office, and the real question whether the GOP's clearly-indicated intentions to strike down Obamacare and to undermine Planned Parenthood will gain or will cost them votes. In particular, given the fact that 60% of Hillary Clinton's donors are women, the Republicans may very well be gift wrapping a wedge issue that she can use to rally supporters and get them to the polls. (Z)

Senators' Fates Might Be Beyond Their Control

The U.S. Senate will get a great deal of attention next year, with a dozen or so closely-watched races that will determine control of the chamber. As Politico observes, there is a bit of irony in the fact that, due to 2016 being a presidential year, people who are accustomed to having a great deal of control may have relatively little on the most important night of their lives.

There are a number of reasons that this is the case. To start, there is a strong correlation between performance at the top of the ticket and down-ballot. Of course, senators—unless they happen to be running for president—have little control over the name to which their wagon is hitched. Further, the presidential candidates tend to dictate the narrative, leaving the other candidates to adapt on the fly. As Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) laments, "How do you know what the issues are when we're a lifetime away from an election right now?" Specifically, presidential years tend to focus attention on foreign affairs and foreign policy; an area that is not a strength for many senators, and one over which they exert very little influence. The upshot is that the Senate pharmacy will be doing a land office business in Pepto Bismol and Advil this year. (Z)

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---The Votemaster
Jan02 Clinton Raised $37 Million in Q4
Jan02 Carson Appoints a New Campaign Chairman
Jan02 Trump and Cruz on the Fence
Jan02 Politico's Insiders Talk about 2016
Jan02 Who is the Messenger?
Jan02 Carly Fiorina, Running for Panderer-in-Chief, Roots against Her Own School
Jan01 History of the Early States
Jan01 Bettors Think It's Rubio by a Nose
Jan01 Trump's Supporters May Be Prevented from Voting for Him
Jan01 Polls May Be Underestimating Trump Support
Jan01 Trump's Attacks on Bill May Help Hillary
Jan01 O'Malley Fails to Qualify for Ohio Ballot
Jan01 More Clinton E-mails Released
Jan01 No Matter Who Retires From the Supreme Court, Liberals Might Win
Dec31 Rubio Used His Position in Florida House of Representatives to Help Brother-in-Law
Dec31 Bush Cancels Ads in Iowa and South Carolina
Dec31 Can Trump Maintain His Lead in January?
Dec31 Trump Continues Attacking Bill Clinton
Dec31 Who is Raising the Most Money?
Dec31 The Worst Political Predictions of 2015
Dec31 The Big Stories of 2016
Dec31 British Professional Gambler Explains His Bets
Dec30 Trump Leads in Nevada
Dec30 The Attacks Are Increasing
Dec30 Trump Sets Sights on Bill Clinton; Plays With Fire
Dec30 Key Republican Lawyer Worrying about Logistics of a Brokered Convention
Dec30 Sanders Gets a New Superdelegate
Dec30 I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Bernie
Dec30 Hillary Clinton Is the Most Admired Woman in the World, for the 20th Time
Dec30 Pataki is Dropping Out
Dec30 Listen for the Dog Whistle
Dec30 One Person Attends an O'Malley Event in Iowa
Dec29 Trump about to Start Advertising Blitz
Dec29 Trump Attacking Hillary about Bill's Infidelities
Dec29 Too Many Polls?
Dec29 Election Math Strongly Favors the Democrats
Dec29 Breyer Won't Say If He Will Retire Under a Republican President
Dec29 Conservatives Are Lukewarm on Burr Challenger
Dec29 Republicans Are Afraid That Cruz Would Hurt Their Senate Chances
Dec29 Judgment Day For Each Campaign
Dec29 Data on 191 Million Voters Exposed on the Internet
Dec28 Millennials Prefer a Democrat in the White House
Dec28 Why Young People Don't Vote
Dec28 Could Clinton Get Nominated Today?
Dec28 Could Reagan Get Nominated Today?
Dec28 Data Analytics Will Be King in 2016
Dec28 Trump Angry About Virginia Loyalty Oaths
Dec28 Sanders Says He's After Trump Voters
Dec28 Logos Psychoanalyzed
Dec27 Clinton Missing Some Key Endorsements