Clinton 2360
Sanders 1562
 Needed   2383
Trump 1239
Cruz 559
Rubio 165
Kasich 161
Needed 1237

Clinton Wins the Puerto Rico Primary

The people of Puerto Rico went to the polls on Sunday and, as predicted, handed Hillary Clinton a resounding victory over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Here are the numbers, with 69% reporting:

Puerto Rico
Candidate Delegates
Hillary Clinton 31
Bernie Sanders 14

Sanders did what he could to eke out a victory (or, at the very least, keep it close.) On Sunday, he went on CNN's "State of the Union" and blasted Clinton, suggesting that she is something of a warmonger, and that she is being improperly influenced by foreign governments that give money to the Clinton Foundation. These attacks did not have any impact on the results, obviously, and—generally speaking—the scorched earth approach is not a good look for the Vermont Senator, as his campaign was originally built on integrity and being above petty politics. In any event, Clinton is now on the cusp of crossing 2,383 delegates (pledged + superdelegates). She will actually cross the line next Tuesday, right around 8:30 p.m. EDT. When the California vote comes in three hours later, it will be Sanders' move. (Z)

Trump Failed to Keep Promise to Donate Some Trump U. Profits to Charity

When Donald Trump launched Trump University in 2005, he said he wanted to build a legacy as an educator. He also said that if Trump University made a profit, he would turn some of it over to charity. The enterprise took in $40 million in revenue and Trump's profit was $5 million. He has now admitted that none of that went to charity.

In addition to the lawsuits for fraud in New York and California, Trump University is also in the news due to what happened in Texas. Investigators in the attorney general's office had decided to sue Trump for fraud there as well, but then the inquiry was suddenly shut down. Somewhat later, Trump donated $35,000 to the gubernatorial campaign of then-Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is now governor of Texas. Both Trump and Abbott claim there is no relationship between the donation and Abbott's decision to terminate the investigation by his staff into Trump University. (V)

Trump Doubles Down on Judges

The outrageous comments of the week from Donald Trump were about Indiana-born Latino Gonzalo Curiel, the judge hearing one of two cases against Trump University. The billionaire believes Curiel is biased against him, and should not be hearing the case, because of his Latino heritage. It's a shocking and petulant response from The Donald, and one that has been roundly denounced from all parts of the political spectrum, even including would-be veep Newt Gingrich, who called Trump's remarks "inexcusable."

Beyond the utter contempt that Trump's views show for the rule of law and for one of the three branches of the federal government, there is another big problem: Who else is "disqualified" from being a judge, in Trump's view? How about, for example, women? Trump has had some run-ins with members of the opposite gender, so maybe women would be biased too. Or what about Muslims? Trump has said some pretty harsh things about them, too. And, in fact, he has already confirmed that his thinking would extend to the latter group, declaring that he would not be happy with a Muslim judge hearing his case.

Needless to say, GOP leadership is tearing its hair out over this line of commentary, and Trump's unwillingness to let it go. Not only would he have to work with the judiciary as president, he would have to appoint judges, including at least one Supreme Court justice. It would be awfully hard for citizens to have confidence that The Donald could perform these tasks impartially, given the views he has already expressed. (Z)

What Hillary Clinton Could Learn from Donald Trump

Last week Hillary gave a speech about foreign policy in which she called Donald Trump every name in the book, a first for her. She thinks he is completely incompetent. Nevertheless, an article in The Hill suggests five things she could learn from him.

1. Be less cautious. Clinton is by nature overly risk-averse. While this reduces the chances of an unforced error, it does little to inspire the young people she will need when Bernie Sanders finally calls it a day. Trump, of course, never thinks about anything before he opens his mouth, but maybe a bit more spontaneity would help her.

2. Seize the initiative. When she skewered Trump last week, she was in command on the news cycle, and Trump had to react to her. That is very rare. He constantly generates headlines and she has to react. She should make the headlines more often and force him to react.

3. Be more accessible. Clinton dislikes the media and avoids interviews. Trump revels in interviews. If a 12-year-old reporter for a middle school newspaper in East Cupcake wants to interview him about how high allowances for middle school students should be, he'll do it. Clinton should seek out friendly journalists and give far more interviews. The network anchors, by nature, are not hostile. She could give each one an exclusive interview over a period of weeks.

4. Let the mask slip. Everyone who knows Clinton personally says she is warm and friendly and cares greatly about the people she works with. In public, she is a robot. One of her greatest hits was an interview just before the 2008 New Hampshire primary, after she had lost Iowa to Barack Obama. She talked about the toll campaigning was taking on her life. She almost cried. A dozen polls showed that Obama was going to crush her in New Hampshire, but she won. The post mortem was that the interview, which made her look human, changed a lot of minds the day before the primary.

5. Embrace family, warts and all. Donald Trump is going to keep bringing up Monica Lewinsky and trying to blame Hillary for Bill's affairs. She should point out that many couples have problems but she and Bill worked out theirs and are still together. Then point out that Trump has had two very visible divorces and his philandering was all over the New York newspapers for years. She has a ton of material to throw in his face about how he treats women. At the very least, he could have quietly divorced his wives without intentionally and publicly humiliating them.

Trump listens to no one. Clinton listens to everyone. What Clinton needs to do is hold a few focus groups to see how voters react to the above proposals. That's probably the only way to get her to change. (V)

Do Trump's and Clinton's Unfavorables Really Matter?

That is the question asked by the New York Times' Karen Dourish, who took a look at the historically bad approval ratings of the two major parties' frontrunners. And her answer is: Not very much. She argues that these numbers are really a product of three things:

  1. It's been a contested election on both sides, and a lot of those "unfavorables" are just Never Trump folks or Bernie Bros. who are still smarting.

  2. We're in a time when the other political party, and their candidate, are the enemy. It's been that way at other times in U.S. history (1800, the 1830s, the Gilded Age) but not always. The people who voted against Eisenhower in 1952, for example, largely still liked and respected him.

  3. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have both led high-profile lives for multiple decades prior to this election, and so have had ample time to rub some people the wrong way.

The upshot is that, except for an extra dollop of notoriety that comes from their pre-2016 careers, Clinton and Trump are putting up the kind of favorability numbers that any candidate would be putting up under these circumstances. And, no matter how unpopular they may be, it is the case that someone has to win. (Z)

What If Sanders Wins California?

So far, no poll has shown Bernie Sanders leading Hillary Clinton in California among likely voters. Some have shown it to be a statistical tie, others have shown her with double-digit leads. However, 2 million new voters have registered in California since January, most of them young. Probably close to all of them will vote for Sanders. On the other hand, many voters have accidentally registered with the American Independent Party and will not be allowed to cast a ballot in the Democratic primary. True independents may vote in the Democratic primary, but only if they realize they have to explicitly request a Democratic ballot. Depending on how these hard-to-predict factors play out, we could have a surprise and Sanders could pull off the upset of the year.

Would that be unusual? Actually, no. In the period 1976 to 1984, California upset the frontrunner's applecart multiple times. In 1976, frontrunner Jimmy Carter was walloped by Jerry Brown, who got three times as many votes as Carter. In 1980, Carter, by then a sitting president, lost to Ted Kennedy, an insurgent on the left, much like Bernie Sanders this year. In 1984, frontrunner Walter Mondale was defeated in California by another leftist insurgent, Gary Hart. There were messy conventions in all three years, with lots of floor fights, which led to a badly fractured Democratic Party. The fractured Democrats lost two of the three general elections.

So what happens if Sanders wins California? Sanders has promised a messy convention and may well get it. Unless Sanders gets 70% of the vote, he has virtually no chance to pass Clinton in terms of total popular votes or pledged delegates, so convincing the majority of superdelegates to switch to the candidate who the voters put in second place is going to be nearly impossible, especially since party professionals understand what kind of withering attacks Sanders will come under if he is the nominee. There is footage of him supporting Fidel Castro and the Republicans will say Sanders is a Communist. After $500 million in TV ads have run, 10% of the voters will believe it and that will be enough to elect Trump. If Sanders wins California, the party leaders may have to give him most of what he wants in return for his going back to Vermont and leaving them alone. Of course, if Clinton wins California, all this is moot. (V)

McConnell Attacks Trump on Judge But Won't Call Trump a Racist

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to thread the needle while riding a horse. It's not easy. It is no secret that McConnell is scared to death that due to Trump he will be a former majority leader come January, yet he has to be careful about what he says about Trump lest he offend Republican voters. On NBC's "Meet the Press" yesterday, McConnell said that he couldn't disagree more with Trump's attacking Indiana-born Judge Gonzalo Curiel on the grounds that his Mexican heritage disqualifies him from handling a Trump University fraud case. McConnell defended the judge and his heritage and added "all of us came from somewhere else." McConnell's problem is that while the Latino vote in the presidential race is lost, it could still play a role in some Senate races that McConnell cares about a lot. Nevertheless, McConnell refused to label Trump a "racist." He wants to have it both ways. (V)

Independent Bid Surely Dead Now, Right?

Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, and a few other prominent Republicans have been desperately casting about for an independent conservative alternative to run against Donald Trump. Mitt Romney declined, and so too did Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). The white knight du jour was writer, commentator, and political novice David French, but now he too has declined.

Surely, this has to be the end of such talk. Nobody wants the thankless job of, effectively, helping to get Hillary Clinton elected. Nobody wants to put up the money to fund such an effort. And now deadlines for getting on the ballot are upon us—Texas has already passed, and several more states, including Illinois and North Carolina, will pass this month. The time has come for the Never Trump folks to go home. (Z)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jun05 Clinton Wins Democratic Caucus in the Virgin Islands
Jun05 Puerto Rico Holds Its Democratic Primary Today
Jun05 Is Cleveland Ready for the Republican National Convention?
Jun05 Harry Reid Looking at Filling Warren's Seat If She Is Elected Veep
Jun05 2017: A Bad Time to Be Vice President
Jun05 Trump is Like...Zachary Taylor?
Jun05 Trump's African American Speaks Out
Jun05 Republicans Are Asking Lobbyists To Help Write Their Platform
Jun05 Sanders' Voters and White Entitlement
Jun04 Clinton Ahead of Sanders in New California Poll
Jun04 Scholars Say Trump Could Threaten Rule of Law
Jun04 Not All Trump Supporters Are Blue-Collar Men
Jun04 There Is No Trump 2.0
Jun04 Foreign Policy Experience Doesn't Move the Voters
Jun04 Clinton and Trump Both Hate the Media, but in Different Ways
Jun03 Another California Poll Puts Clinton and Sanders in a Tie
Jun03 Ryan Now Supports Trump
Jun03 McConnell Worries About Trump's Possible Goldwater Effect
Jun03 Hillary Clinton Viciously Attacks Trump on Foreign Policy
Jun03 What's Behind the Trump Phenomenon?
Jun03 New York Attorney General Says Trump University was Straight Up Fraud
Jun03 Primaries May Not Have Prepared Trump for General Election
Jun03 Ohio Purges Voter Rolls
Jun02 Sanders Close to Clinton in California
Jun02 Trump University Documents Released
Jun02 Trump Has A Few Other Lawsuits as Well
Jun02 Obama Beginning to Wade into the Contest
Jun02 I Can Watch It on TV
Jun02 Clinton to Attack Trump in National Security Speech Today
Jun02 Dynamic Scoring about To Become a Political Football
Jun02 Class and Gender Are the Big Divides This Year
Jun02 How Should Clinton Deal With the E-Mail Scandal?
Jun01 Computer Model Predicts Near-Certain Clinton Win
Jun01 Charlie Cook: General Election Is Not as Close as It Looks
Jun01 California Poll: Clinton 13 Points Ahead of Sanders
Jun01 Jerry Brown Endorses Clinton
Jun01 Libertarians Off To a Good Start
Jun01 Sessions to GOP: Adapt To Trump or Die
Jun01 Trump's Donation to Veterans: $5.6 Million
Jun01 Things Still Quite Ugly on the GOP Side of the Contest
Jun01 Kristol May Have His Horse
May31 Weld Could Help the Libertarian Party Raise Money
May31 Can Trump Win?
May31 Ryan Still Not Endorsing Trump
May31 McConnell Has Advice For Trump
May31 Never Trump Folks Not Giving Up Yet
May31 What Do the PUMAs Think of the Bernie-or-Bust Crowd?
May31 Trump Should Be Careful about Bringing Up Old Sex Scandals
May31 Sanders is Now Openly Mocking Trump
May31 Clinton to Hit California Hard