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

Republican Platform Committee Fighting over Gay Rights

The Republican Platform Committee met yesterday and promptly got into a fight with itself over gay rights. Most of the subcommittee responsible for writing the planks on social issues took a hard-line position, but some people didn't agree. In particular, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who is very conservative on social issues, got into a battle with Annie Dickerson, an adviser to billionaire donor Paul Singer, who favors same-sex marriage and other positions supported by the LGBT community. Dickerson, who has adopted children, said that there are children who need to be adopted and she fully supports allowing gay couples to do so. Perkins and a majority of the subcommittee did not agree and so her proposal was shot down. Instead, the platform contains language saluting North Carolina for passing a law saying that transgendered people must use the bathroom matching the gender on their birth certificate. Dickerson was furious, but to no avail.

Many social conservatives do not trust Donald Trump on issues they care about and want absolutely unambiguous language in the platform stating their positions as plain as day. Of course, Trump will just ignore positions he disagrees with, but this is the best they can do under the circumstances. Republican politicians—who care more about winning elections than about ideology—generally like to play down divisive issues, but movement conservatives, who would rather lose on their issues than win without them, are going to battle them tooth and nail. (V)

Judge Grants RNC Delegate Right to Vote His Conscience

By Virginia law, RNC delegate Carroll "Beau" Correll was bound to cast his ballot for Donald Trump, even though he prefers Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Consequently, Correll filed a lawsuit in which he argued that being forced to vote for Trump was a violation of his First Amendment rights. Now, a federal judge has ruled in Correll's favor, blocking enforcement of the Virginia law.

It is unclear how broadly the ruling might be applied, because the 20 different states that bind their Republican delegates do so in different ways. Further, state law and federal judges' rulings do not necessarily have any bearing on the rules of the RNC, a private entity that can largely do as it wishes. So it's possible that Correll's victory will affect only him. On the other hand, the ruling could give some cover to Trump Dumpers who might otherwise fear breaking the law. (Z)

Trump Radio Clips Give Democrats Even More Ammunition

When you are a public figure and an entertainer (of sorts), as Donald Trump has been for decades, you can pile up quite a lot of material that might prove embarrassing in the event of, say, a run for the presidency. Enterprising reporters have explored yet another Trump project of days past, and have again struck gold. This time it is the archives of "Trumped!," a series of 60-second commentaries from The Donald that were syndicated on various radio stations from 2004 to 2008.

The series lasted long enough to span two presidential elections, and on more than one occasion Trump praised Hillary Clinton, declaring that she would "make a good president." Also, in a truly stunning turn of events, he may have issued forth with a sexist remark on one occasion—or ten. For example, speaking admiringly of Saudi Arabia, Trump said:

There are a lot of male chauvinists in this country who really agree with what's going on over there. Men in Saudi Arabia have the authority to divorce their wives without going to the courts. I guess that would also mean they don't need prenuptial agreements.

Trump also regularly engaged in his habit of ogling attractive celebrity women from afar, including actress Keira Knightley, tennis player Maria Sharapova, and singer Britney Spears. So, it's another boon for the Clinton oppo research team. (Z)

Trump Has an Enthusiasm Problem

Donald Trump is very enthusiastic about his campaign, but the voters are not. A new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that voter enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton is now about the same as it was for Barack Obama at the same point in 2012. However, voter enthusiasm for Donald Trump is about 6 points lower than it was for Mitt Romney in 2012. Voter enthusiasm often correlates with turnout in November.

A further breakdown of the poll shows Trump doing very poorly compared to Romney with both very conservative men and men who lean conservative. Among very conservative women, he actually beats Romney, but there aren't enough of them to make up for his losses in other categories. (V)

Republican Ground Game Is Behind Schedule

Ohio Republicans were expecting to have 220 paid staff on the ground by May; they currently have 50. In Pennsylvania, they planned to have 190 but only 60 have been hired and deployed. In Colorado, the goal was 80 but only about two dozen are working in the field. In Iowa it was supposed to be 66 but it is about 25 to 30. And this is true of nearly all other swing states as well. The gulf between the plans and the reality for the GOP is enormous. The lack of staff on the ground hinders the Republicans in the presidential race, but also downticket. In Florida, the mother of all swing states but also the location of a hotly contested Senate seat, Trump's state headquarters, in Sarasota, has a sign on the door that reads: "THANKS FOR STOPPING BY OUR OFFICE!" Next to that, the sign continues with: "Our office is TEMPORARILY CLOSED to the public, while our office works to prep for the National Convention in Cleveland." A well-organized campaign does not go dark for a week or two in the most important state just when political activity is picking up.

In contrast, the Clinton machine is rolling along nicely. Money is pouring in and being spent just as fast to get people into the field. For example, in Ohio, the Democrats have twice as many paid staffers on the ground as the Republicans. They also have big head starts in other states.

Another key issue is that Clinton's campaign and the DNC are seamlessly integrated, in no small part due to the close relationship between Hillary Clinton and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, something Bernie Sanders has been complaining about all year. The Trump campaign and the RNC are not working closely at all. Having them work closely in states where there is a Senate race in which an incumbent Republican senator wants to get as far from Trump as he or she can won't be easy. (V)

Sanders Will Campaign With Clinton Today

Today is the day supporters of Hillary Clinton have long awaited and supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have long feared. Sanders is set to endorse Clinton and campaign with her in New Hampshire, a swing state adjacent to Vermont, which he represents in the Senate. The two primary opponents have been having talks for more than a week now, the result of which is that Clinton has adopted a number of key ideas from Sanders' platform. Sanders didn't get everything he wanted; in particular, he wanted the Democratic platform to unambiguously oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership but didn't get it. He did largely get his way on health care, regulation of the financial sector, and education, however. It is certain that some of his supporters will howl at his endorsement and call him bad names, but what we won't know for a while is how big a group this is. (V)

Ryan Rebuffed; Clinton Will Get Security Briefings

In the wake of FBI director James Comey's scathing rebuke of Hillary Clinton, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) pushed for her security clearances to be revoked, so that she would not be privy to the briefings customarily given to presidential nominees. That proposal was shot down on Monday by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who advised Ryan that, "Briefings for the candidates will be provided on an even-handed non-partisan basis." Translation: I know political posturing when I see it.

Revoking the clearance and denying Clinton the briefings was the longest of long shots, as we and others noted last week. Ryan wanted to keep the issue in the headlines as long as is possible, but this particular gamble left him with a fair bit of egg on his face. Sometimes his political instincts aren't the best, and it would seem that this is one of those times. (Z)

Evan Bayh Will Replace Baron Hill in Indiana Senate Race

Republicans got some bad news in Indiana yesterday. Former Democratic congressman Baron Hill is dropping out of the Senate race in Indiana to succeed the retiring Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN). His replacement will be Evan Bayh, who has won five statewide races in Indiana, the most recent three of which were landslide victories with margins exceeding 25 points. His father, Birch Bayh, was a three-term senator from Indiana as well.

Clearly, Bayh is a much more formidable opponent for the Republicans than Hill, since he has won five statewide races and Hill has never won anything more than one congressional district. In addition, Bayh has $9.3 million in his campaign account left over from when he left the Senate, during which time he was a potent fundraiser.

Bayh's opponent will be Rep. Todd Young (R-IN), who won a hotly contested primary. Between the name recognition and the money, Bayh is expected to make what had looked like a fairly easy Republican hold into a very competitive race, even in red Indiana. If Donald Trump chooses Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) as his running mate, as many Republicans are fervently hoping, then Indiana, which Barack Obama won in 2008, will suddenly become a huge battleground state. (V)

Stock Market Hits Record High

Buoyed by a strong jobs report for June, the U.S. stock market reached a record high on Monday, with Dow jumping 251 points, and the the S&P 500 closing above 2,137. The previous high was set in May of 2015.

In presidential politics, the economy matters—a lot. More than it really should, given that its ups and downs are largely beyond human control. In any case, there have been concerns for over a year that the U.S. was headed for a downturn, based on (a) China's economic upheaval, then (b) sluggish oil prices, then (c) the Brexit. Now, a recession does not appear to be imminent, and the economy looks like it will be strong for the rest of 2016. If so, that is very good news for Hillary Clinton, indeed. (Z)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jul11 The Young and the Old Are Key Voting Blocs
Jul11 Bettors Not Completely Convinced Trump Will Be Nominated
Jul11 Five Things To Watch for This Week
Jul11 Republican Lawmakers Want Pence as Veep
Jul11 Chris Christie Wants Chris Christie as Veep
Jul11 Newt Gingrich Wants Newt Gingrich as Veep
Jul11 Could Paul Ryan Be in Trouble?
Jul11 Donald Trump Just Can't Help Himself
Jul10 Hillary Re-backs Public Option for Health Insurance
Jul10 Democrats' New Plank Is Dope
Jul10 Trump Is Considering a Retired General as Veep
Jul10 Trump May Not Get the Veep He Wants
Jul10 Trump Also May Not Get the Abortion Plank He Wants
Jul10 Priebus Is Preparing for a Chaotic Convention
Jul10 Six More Women Accuse Roger Ailes of Sexual Harassment
Jul10 Missouri Governor Vetoes Voter ID Bill
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