Clinton 2811
Sanders 1879
 Needed   2383
Trump 1542
Cruz 559
Rubio 165
Kasich 161
Needed 1237

Hillary Re-backs Public Option for Health Insurance

Hillary Clinton is going all out to convince Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to concede defeat and endorse her. On Wednesday, she adopted his plan for free tuition at state colleges, with some footnotes. He said her idea was a very profound proposal.

Yesterday, she re-adopted something close to his health insurance plan, letting people 55 and older opt into Medicare. It is not his first choice, but he will surely see this as a major step in his direction. Actually, this is not a new development. Back in May she said the same thing, but saying it again now reminds his supporters that she is taking over major pieces of Sanders' platform. She is not playing to Sanders, who already knows what her positions are, but to his supporters, who may not. It also reassures them that he is having a huge impact on her campaign.

According to multiple reports, Sanders is planning to endorse Clinton Tuesday in New Hampshire and say that he is going to spend every day from then until Nov. 8 trying to defeat Donald Trump. If he really does this, and doesn't simply say: "I hereby endorse Hillary Clinton" and then vanish for 4 months, it could make a big difference with his supporters. If both Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are out there campaigning their hearts out either for Clinton or against Trump or both, it is hard to imagine many Sanders supporters staying home on Election Day or voting for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. The combined support of Sanders and Warren carries a lot of weight with the progressive movement. (V)

Democrats' New Plank Is Dope

In another sop to Bernie Sanders' supporters, the Democrats' platform committee made a somewhat unexpected move on Saturday afternoon. By a very close vote, 81-80, they decided to add a plank calling for the federal government to, "remove marijuana from its list as a Class 1 Federal Controlled Substance, providing a reasoned pathway for future legalization."

It's a fairly blunt statement, but also a shrewd move by the Party. Pot is already legal or semi-legal in more than a dozen states, and a dozen more will be voting on the issue in November. So, the Democrats might as well roll with the issue while there's still time. Further, taking a position that Bernie Sanders and his followers embrace will make it seem like more of a joint Clinton-Sanders platform, rather than just an "establishment" platform. Perhaps most importantly, getting young people out to the polls is a chronic problem, and if any plank is going to motivate them, this is it. (Z)

Trump Is Considering a Retired General as Veep

Despite his saying earlier that he wants someone with governing experience as his running mate, Donald Trump is seriously considering Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (ret.) as his running mate, according to several sources familiar with what Trump is doing. The turn toward a military leader is something Trump himself is interested in, rather than something his advisers are interested in. He thinks it projects "tough and steady" to a broad audience.

The problem with Flynn, however, is that he would have a difficult time convincing many people that he is able to take over the White House at a moment's notice, if the need arose. He has been a career military officer his whole life. His only real executive experience was as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency for two years. He has never held any elected office. If Trump picks him and Clinton picks Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), the contrast will be striking, since Kaine has been mayor of Richmond, governor of Virginia, senator from Virginia, and head of the DNC. He clearly understands how government works. With a pick of Flynn, Trump would be betting that foreign affairs in general and defeating ISIS in particular will so dominate the election that people will overlook the fact that he doesn't have any experience in civilian life in either an executive position or a legislative one.

Another problem with Flynn is that he is a lifelong registered Democrat. While Trump will try to spin this as a "bipartisan approach" to governing, conservative Republicans are more likely to interpret it as more evidence that Trump isn't a Republican at all. (V)

Trump May Not Get the Veep He Wants

As noted below, there may be all sorts of shenanigans at the GOP convention. And on Saturday came news of yet another possible rebellion. The anti-Trump delegates are angling for a rule change that would allow the convention to choose the Party's VP candidate, instead of allowing The Donald to do so.

If this maneuver is successful, it would upend a custom that has held sway for at least 70 years. The last time the RNC selected the VP was 1944, when it chose both of the candidates on the ticket—Thomas E. Dewey for president, and John Bricker for Veep. It would also be a huge slap in the face to Trump, who could react in a variety of ways, most of them not very presidential. It is hard to ascertain what the purpose of this scheme might be; perhaps the anti-Trump delegates hope that insulting him will cause him to throw a temper tantrum and quit, or perhaps they really think he might resign before being inaugurated. In any case, the fireworks begin in just one week. (Z)

Trump Also May Not Get the Abortion Plank He Wants

Donald Trump has taken many different positions on abortion, often within the same day. At the moment, he is embracing a fairly standard moderate-Republican point of view, namely that abortion should be illegal except in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother's life is in danger. That is the plank he wants in the Republican platform, but it may not be the one he gets.

This revelation comes from platform committee co-chair Gov. Mary Fallin (R-OK) who finds herself in a very tricky position. On one hand, the GOP platform does not generally include the so-called "three exceptions," and to add them would anger the social conservatives and Christians. On the other hand, Fallin is potentially interested in being Trump's running mate, and may want to try to make nice with The Donald. On yet another hand, Fallin just vetoed a bill that would make providing abortions a felony, and she may need to shore up her anti-abortion credentials. A public fight with Trump over the abortion plank would probably help.

Whatever happens on this particular issue, it is becoming clear that the usual custom of deferring to the nominee on platform issues will not be closely observed this year. And so, Donald Trump may end up running on a platform that he essentially ignores. That would not be good for party unity. (Z)

Priebus Is Preparing for a Chaotic Convention

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is heading off to Cleveland with his fingers crossed. Next week, the Rules and Platform committees meet there, and protesters and activists are starting to show up as well. There will be conflict a-plenty both inside and outside the convention hall and Priebus has little control over it. A small, but loud, group of delegates is planning to try to derail Trump's nomination. They probably won't succeed, but if Trump narrowly wins a floor fight, there goes party unity. Nearly all Republicans are hoping and praying that Trump turns down the volume and stops making incendiary remarks, but so far there is little sign that he plans to do so. It's not only Priebus who is worried. For example, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said that Trump "risked losing Arizona because his insults and incendiary rhetoric would chase away independent and Hispanic voters." Many other Republicans feel the same way.

Outside the convention hall, there could be clashes between anti-Trump protesters, pro-Trump supporters, and police. With the country on edge due to the killings of multiple black men by police officers in recent months and well as the killings of five police officers in Dallas, trouble could easily erupt and get more attention than what is going on inside the hall. (V)

Six More Women Accuse Roger Ailes of Sexual Harassment

After Gretchen Carlson's bombshell that Fox News head Roger Ailes had sexually harassed her, now six more women have made similar allegations. Ailes has denied all of them. In fact, over a dozen women have now contacted Carlson's attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, but not all the names have been made public. Some of the women were as young as 16 at the time of the alleged incidents.

Fox is being run by Rupert Murdoch's sons, who have long been trying to force Ailes out, but so far with little success. This alleged misconduct could easily be the excuse they can use to dump him. Given the political importance of Fox News, any change in top management could have enormous consequences. Since Fox is a private company, Murdoch's sons don't have to wait for an admission of guilt and don't have to give him his day in court. They can just call him up and do a Donald Trump: "You're fired." That's all it would take.

Ailes is trying to have the case be removed from a public courtroom and be adjudicated in a secret arbitration proceeding. Having a dozen or more women testify in open court that he has harassed them won't look good on TV, not even on Fox News. So better to keep the whole thing secret, pay Carlson a bit of money, and be over with it. Carlson's contract calls for arbitration on matters concerning contract disputes, but her beef isn't with Fox News as an organization, it is with Ailes personally, so it is not clear if the arbitration clause applies. There will be a lot of preliminary fighting about where the case will be heard, in court or in arbitration, before it even starts. (V)

Missouri Governor Vetoes Voter ID Bill

The Missouri state legislature passed a bill requiring voters to have a valid ID in order to vote, but it may not become law because Gov. Jay Nixon (D-MO) has vetoed it, calling it "an affront to Missourians' fundamental right to vote." Nixon explained his veto further by saying it would disproportionately disenfranchise senior citizens, people with disabilities, and others who don't have an ID that meets the requirements of the law. Nixon also said the bill solves a non-problem, since voter impersonation is exceedingly rare. The state legislature could possibly override the veto, however, since it passed with very large majorities in both chambers. (V)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jul09 Dallas Shootings Dominate News on Friday
Jul09 Trump Hints That He Might Decline if Victorious
Jul09 Ginsburg Doesn't Want to Think About President Trump
Jul09 Clinton Wins California
Jul08 Clinton's Mail Server Not Going Away
Jul08 Trump's Anti-Semitic Tweet Not Going Away, Either
Jul08 Trump Underwhelms in Capitol Hill Meetings
Jul08 Cruz Will Speak at Republican Convention
Jul08 Format for Presidential Debates Announced
Jul08 2016: The New Year of the Woman?
Jul07 Trump Raises $51 Million in June
Jul07 Corker Withdraws as Potential Republican Veep
Jul07 Ernst Also Withdraws as Potential Republican Veep
Jul07 The Anti-Semitic Tweet that Would Not Die
Jul07 Trump Delegate Math Getting a Little Hairy
Jul07 Rubio Will Skip GOP Convention
Jul07 Democrats Getting Very Angry with Sanders
Jul07 Clinton-Sanders Endgame Appears to Be Underway
Jul07 Did Comey Abuse His Power?
Jul07 Cruz Working Hard on His 2020 Race
Jul07 Trump Raises $51 Million in June
Jul07 Corker Withdraws as Potential Republican Veep
Jul07 Ernst Also Withdraws as Potential Republican Veep
Jul07 The Anti-Semitic Tweet that Would Not Die
Jul07 Trump Delegate Math Getting a Little Hairy
Jul07 Rubio Will Skip GOP Convention
Jul07 Democrats Getting Very Angry with Sanders
Jul07 Clinton-Sanders Endgame Appears to Be Underway
Jul07 Did Comey Abuse His Power?
Jul07 Cruz Working Hard on His 202 Race
Jul06 Hillary Clinton Will Not Be Indicted
Jul06 Republicans Take Non-Indictment Poorly
Jul06 Sanders Still Won't Quit
Jul06 A New Proposal for Conservatives: Don't Run Anyone for President
Jul06 Clinton Gets Obama's Email List
Jul06 Trump Praises Saddam Hussein
Jul06 Clinton Either Crushing Trump or It's Tied
Jul05 Trump Wants an Unconventional Convention
Jul05 Trump's Swing State Problems
Jul05 Trump's Son-in-law Is His De Facto Campaign Manager
Jul05 The Top Ten Senate Challengers
Jul05 Tech Industry Likes Clinton and Dislikes Trump
Jul05 Not Many Ex-felons Are Registering To Vote in Virginia
Jul05 Kaine May Not Be in the Right Place on Abortion
Jul05 Sanders Still Being Protected by the Secret Service
Jul04 Was the American Revolution a Mistake?
Jul04 Sanders Is Not Happy with the Democratic Party Platform
Jul04 Cory Booker Cagey about Veep Vetting
Jul04 Trump Says Convention Lineup is Set
Jul04 Cabinet Secretaries Won't Speak at Democratic Convention