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

Planned Parenthood to Endorse Hillary Clinton

For the first time in its 100 year history, Planned Parenthood is going to endorse a candidate in a primary, and the candidate is Hillary Clinton. The Republican Party has been trying to defund Planned Parenthood for months, so it is not surprising that it is fighting back and planning to spend $20 million helping its chosen candidate this year. What is slightly surprising is its taking a stand in the primary, rather than waiting until the general election. This endorsement must be disappointing to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who has been just as strong a supporter of women's reproductive health and rights over the years as Clinton. This endorsement is going to draw the line between the Democrats and the Republicans even sharper than it already is. (V)

Chairman of Congressional Black Caucus Endorses Clinton

Clinton picked up another key endorsement yesterday, that of Rep. George Butterfield (D-NC), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. His endorsement is personal, not as spokesman for his caucus. However, it is significant because to reassemble the Obama coalition in 2016, the Democrats will not only need to win the black vote, they will need to win it very decisively and with the massive turnout Obama got. Butterfield can help with that. Also important is Butterfield's effect on the upcoming Democratic primaries in the South. Sanders' Achilles heel has been his lack of support from black voters, and Butterfield is going to work hard for Clinton to make sure it stays that way. (V)

McCain Raises Questions about Cruz's Eligibility

When John McCain ran for President in 2008, questions about his eligibility came up because he was not born in the United States. He is a Zonian. But McCain has always been popular in the Senate, so on April 3, 2008, the Senate passed a resolution declaring him to be an American. Legally, such a resolution is completely meaningless, but his colleagues liked him, so why not?

Currently, the eligibility of Canadian-born Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is in discussion and rather than help out his colleague in the matter of eligibility, McCain stuck in his knife and twisted it a bit by saying "It is worth looking into, whether Cruz is a citizen." The Senate is definitely not going to come to Cruz's rescue, as it did to McCain's, because nearly all the senators of both parties despise Cruz for his antics, such as shutting down the government in 2013.

Not entirely surprising, Cruz's wife Heidi defended her husband and said that the definition of "natural-born citizen" is not in dispute. Actually, it is very much in dispute, but Cruz's problem is deeper than that. His issue is whether he is a citizen at all. That depends on whether his mother met certain residency tests before his birth, an issue that has not been explored yet. His mother, Eleanor Darragh, is alive and could clear this up once and for all by providing a detailed list of all of her addresses up to the moment of Cruz's birth, but so far she has remained silent.

Cruz himself commented on McCain's remark by saying: "Everybody knows John McCain is going to endorse Marco Rubio." (V)

Trump Advocates Huge Tariff on Chinese Goods

Some of Donald Trump's proposals are offensive, some are unrealistic, some are vague to the point of being meaningless, and some are...well, stupid. He came up with one in the last category on Thursday, when he declared that the U.S. should impose a tariff rate of 45% on Chinese imports.

Trump is a businessman, so he presumably has at least a high school-level grasp of macroeconomics. And if so, he knows that China would respond to such a maneuver by raising its tariff rates on American goods, thus hurting American exporters like Boeing and Microsoft. He must also know that the United States depends on the products it gets from China, and that the prices that consumers pay for goods—clothing, computers, and electronics, among others—would skyrocket in the face of such a levy. Given that The Donald certainly knows these things, we must assume that this proposal is just blather. And if he is serious, and really has no awareness of the effects this policy would have, then he needs to read up on Herbert Hoover's presidency, paying particular attention to the passages on the Hawley-Smoot tariff. (Z)

Trump Throws Protesters Out in the Cold

A group of Sanders supporters tried to sneak into a Donald Trump rally in Burlington, VT yesterday. Some were caught by security when they refused to pledge allegiance to The Donald, but others got through. Half an hour after the rally began, the ones who got in began chanting. Trump reacted by telling his security guards to throw one of them out, adding: "It's about 10 degrees below zero outside. You can keep his coat; tell him we'll send it to him in a couple of weeks." Trump needs a new thermometer. It was slightly above freezing. He then continued with his speech but noted that his rallies were always more exciting that those of Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton. (V)

Second-Tier Republicans Have a Bad Day

Some of the longshot Republican candidates experienced embarrassments of various sorts yesterday, earning yet another bit of bad publicity as their campaigns march onward to D-Day.

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) likely had the reddest face, albeit through no fault of his own. His first major endorsement—and, until Thursday, his most important one—came from Gov. Paul R. LePage (R-ME). LePage is well-known for speaking off the cuff and, while addressing a crowd, decided to hold forth on the heroin epidemic in the Pine Tree State, blaming it on marauding black invaders from other states. His exact words:

These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty—these types of guys. They come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing, because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.

The commentariat has suggested that LePage's statement just might be a tad bit racist. So has Hillary Clinton. Presumably, LePage's name won't be appearing on Christie's campaign letterhead anymore.

Meanwhile, as Christie was essentially losing his biggest endorsement, Jeb Bush was essentially losing his biggest (known) donor. Maurice R. "Hank" Greenberg, who gave $10 million to Bush's super PAC, took a shot at the candidate, decreeing that "he's not living up to expectations." The billionaire insurance tycoon can't get his money back, so instead he's claiming that it wasn't really his money, and that the donation was actually made by his company. Translation: "At least I'll get a tax write-off out of this."

Naturally, Ben Carson had to make some headlines, too. Speaking to a group of schoolchildren, he asked, "Who's the worst student?" Apparently, the doctor planned to say "just kidding," and then to make a point about how he was once considered a bad student. The problem is that kids are both quick and tend to lack discretion, and so half a dozen of them quickly pointed at one of their classmates. Carson was compelled to apologize, and to give the 10-year-old student a one-on-one pep talk.

In 1962, After he lost the California governor's race, Richard Nixon told the press "Gentlemen, you won't have Dick Nixon to kick around any more." With days like this (and probably even without them), we are not going to have Chris Christie, Ben Carson, or Jeb Bush to kick around much longer.(Z)

Rubio Playing the Trump URL Game

The 2016 election cycle has seen the advent of domain squatting as a political tactic. The domain www.jebcanfixit.com is owned by a local politician in Texas who is using it to criticize Bush for stealing his idea. And, of course, www.jebbush.com redirects to www.donaldjtrump.com. Now, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has decided he wants to steal a little unwarranted web traffic, too. Unlike Jeb Bush, Donald Trump has laid claim to the obvious domain names. So, Rubio is left with www.donalddtrump.com (note extra 'd'). If the Senator is going to play that game, one would think he would make certain to grab www.marcoorubio.com, but that one remains available to anyone who wants it. (Z)

Republicans Want Nikki Haley To Be the Veep Candidate

While no one has a clue yet who will occupy the #1 slot on the Republican ticket, it looks like there is agreement on who should be #2: Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC), née Nimrata Randhawa. Many in the party seem to think her gender would neutralize the "first woman President" pitch they expect from Hillary Clinton in the general election. Of course, the Republicans have nominated a woman for Vice President before and it didn't work out so well. Haley is a more serious politician than Sarah Palin is, but the exit polls from her 2010 and 2014 gubernatorial elections don't seem to provide any evidence that she pulls in women in larger numbers than male Republicans on the ballot with her. And like Palin, she has no experience in national security or foreign affairs, topics that are likely to be important in the general election. Also, she has not been thoroughly vetted and there might be skeletons in her closet. (V)

Obama Mounting Full Court Press on Gun Control

Following his executive orders designed to curtail gun violence (at least a little), Barack Obama took his case to the American people. He held a town hall meeting to explain his actions (with the NRA and the GOP pointedly declining their invitations to the discussion). The President also penned an editorial for the New York Times in which he not only explained himself, but also warned Democrats running for reelection in 2016 that if they do not come out in favor of gun control, they can forget about his support.

Given how politically-charged this issue is, a surprisingly high percentage of Americans—67%—say they approve of Obama's actions. That said, nearly 60% are not hopeful the executive orders will help, and 53% oppose the specific means by which the President chose to act. One wonders what alternative they would have favored. (Z)

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---The Votemaster
Jan07 Cruz: I am Tougher Than Trump on Illegal Immigrants
Jan07 The Trump Gap Is Getting Bigger
Jan07 Cruz with Small Lead over Trump in California
Jan07 Cruz Now Running an Ad With Bankers, Lawyers, and Journalists Crossing a River
Jan07 RNC Now Running an Ad With a Firefighter, Student, Haitian Immigrant, and Former Prostitute
Jan07 Other Republicans Join the Ted Cruz Birther Movement
Jan07 Right-Wing Media Fuel Hillary Health Conspiracies
Jan07 Why Doesn't Rubio Resign from the Senate?
Jan07 Rubio Swaps Commercial Flights for Private Charters
Jan06 Republicans Differ on their Approach to Oregon Protest at Bird Refuge
Jan06 What Will Trump's Loss Look Like?
Jan06 Could the Republican Nominee Be ... Paul Ryan?
Jan06 Do TV Ads Still Matter?
Jan06 As It Turns Out, Trump Does Have a Data Operation
Jan06 Trump Finally Gets around to Questioning Cruz's Citizenship
Jan06 Nikki Haley to Give GOP Response to SOTU
Jan06 Jeb: My Brother Is Most Popular President Among Republicans
Jan05 Why the GOP Is Not Going After Trump
Jan05 The Mud Is about to Start Flying in the Republican Race
Jan05 Trump Running an Ad Showing Illegal Immigrants Climbing a Wall
Jan05 The Big Dog Is Back
Jan05 Best to Avoid Sarcasm on the Campaign Trail
Jan05 Obama to Issue Executive Orders on Guns
Jan05 New Carson Book Out Today
Jan04 January Candidate List
Jan04 Rundown of Republican Primaries and Caucuses
Jan04 Everyone's Angry about Something
Jan04 Three-time Loser Endorses Carly Fiorina in New Hampshire
Jan03 Bernie Sanders Keeps Pace with Hillary Clinton in Fundraising
Jan03 Bush's Strategy: Destroy Everyone Else
Jan03 Previously Unknown Big Donors Getting Ready to Donate
Jan03 Trump Appears in Al Qaeda Recruitment Video
Jan03 Trump Says That Clinton, Obama Created ISIS
Jan03 New Year, Same Old Maneuvering
Jan03 Senators' Fates Might Be Beyond Their Control
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