Clinton 2384
Sanders 1569
 Needed   2383
Trump 1239
Cruz 559
Rubio 165
Kasich 161
Needed 1237
TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  Clinton Clinches Democratic Nomination
      •  Sanders Is Getting the Full-Court Press
      •  California, Here We Come
      •  Clinton Will Take an Early Lead in California Tonight
      •  Obama May Endorse Clinton This Week
      •  Maybe Trump Isn't So Rich After All
      •  Trump Overrules His "Not So Smart" Staff
      •  Voters Think Trump Is More Honest Than Clinton
      •  The Gipper Would Not Vote for The Donald

Clinton Clinches Democratic Nomination

As we suggested might happen, there was a rush of undecided superdelegates declaring their allegiance to Hillary Clinton on Monday. As a consequence, Clinton has now claimed the 2,383 delegates needed for nomination, and is the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Nothing is official, of course, until the Democratic National Convention actually bestows its blessing. Which means there is still the possibility of delegate shenanigans, or of a "July surprise" of some sort. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), noting the possibility of these things, has already lashed out at the media and accused them of a "rush to judgment." But the chances are remote, and will grow more so once Clinton picks up some breathing room with Tuesday's contests. So, she is set to make history as the first woman nominated for president by a major party. (V)

Sanders is Getting the Full-Court Press

Officially, Bernie Sanders is saying that he will keep the fight going until the Democratic Convention. Behind the scenes, however, the pressure is on to bow to reality and to fall in line behind Hillary Clinton. On Monday, Sanders spoke with President Obama via phone for 45 minutes. The central subject of the conversation was towels, and when they should be thrown in. Tonight, once primary season is effectively over (sorry, D.C.), Clinton will also place a phone call to Sanders to discuss the same subject.

Up until the polls close tonight, we would expect Sanders to keep the fight going, so that all of his supporters have a chance to register their preference without feeling they are wasting their time. But campaigning is exhausting and, at this point, without purpose. Further, every day that Sanders is a fly in the ointment, as opposed to toting water for the Democratic Party, he decreases his leverage. Undoubtedly, Obama pointed all of these things out, and Clinton will (gently) do the same on Tuesday night. One wonders if the Vermont Senator would not secretly prefer to lose California, so he will have cover for bowing out gracefully. Either way, rhetoric notwithstanding, we should know what Sanders' real plans are sometime later this week (or maybe later this month, depending on how much he values D.C., which is going to go for Clinton in a landslide). (Z)

California, Here We Come

We have had so many super Tuesdays this year that it is hard to keep track of them, but today we have another one. Democrats in six states vote today, as follows:

Date Location Delegates Expected winner
June 7 California 475 ?
June 7 Montana 21 Sanders
June 7 New Jersey 126 Clinton
June 7 North Dakota 18 Sanders
June 7 New Mexico 34 Clinton
June 7 South Dakota 20 Sanders

The winners in all but California are clear now. In the Golden State, Hillary Clinton has led Bernie Sanders among likely voters in all polls, but her lead varies from 2 points to 18 points, so anything could happen, even a Sanders win. Clinton is expected to win New Jersey by a large margin, however.

If Clinton wins California decisively, Sanders really has no case to make to the convention. She won nearly all the big states, has 3 million more popular votes than he does and hundreds more pledged delegates. If she squeaks by in California, he could go on, but it is a weak case. If Sanders wins California, the Democrats will be in full-blown panic mode. (V)

Clinton Will Take an Early Lead in California Tonight

No matter how the California primary finally turns out, the initial television coverage will show Hillary Clinton with a large lead. The reason has to do with the order in which the ballots are counted. The absentee ballots that were submitted weeks ago will be tallied first and 69% of the 2.7 million absentee ballots have come from voters 55 and older. Most of these are Clinton supporters. Just 10% are from voters 16 to 35, most of whom are Sanders supporters.

A second problem for Sanders is that voters who are not registered with any political party can vote in the Democratic primary if they so choose. But they have to specifically request a Democratic ballot. Of the absentee ballots already cast, only 15% of the independents cast a Democratic ballot. If that holds up, a large group of potential Sanders supporters won't cast a vote for him.

It is possible that Sanders is doing better in the polls than he will in the election due to this factor: voters who like him but forgot to ask for a Democratic ballot. The pollsters will count them as Sanders voters but the county officials who count the votes won't. (V)

Obama May Endorse Clinton This Week

It is an open secret that President Obama is chomping at the bit to start campaigning for his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton. He has held off so far to avoid offending Bernie Sanders' supporters. However, now that Clinton has passed the magic 2,383 number, and given that she will put that total far in the rearview mirror tomorrow when the votes are all tallied in the six states that vote, he may no longer be able to restrain himself and may formally endorse her. If she wins California, his endorsement may even come within a few days. If Sanders wins California, Obama may hold off at least until the final contest, in D.C. next week.

Obama's endorsement is important because many of the young people who have flocked to Sanders still like and respect the President. If he makes a speech praising Sanders and saying what a fantastic job he did in getting young people to become politically active, he could win their hearts. But then he would say that in every election there is but one winner and the majority of the Democrats preferred Hillary Clinton, so now it is time for the Democrats to close ranks to defeat Donald Trump. If Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) also endorses Clinton a few days later, it could have a big effect on the Sanders supporters and help them at least past denial and anger and into bargaining about the platform. (V)

Maybe Trump Isn't So Rich After All

Donald Trump claims to be very very rich, but maybe that isn't true. It is true that his name is plastered all over the place, but that doesn't mean he owns the buildings, resorts, and golf courses with his name on them. Part of his business model is leasing his name to other businesses in which he has no financial stake. He just gets a fee for leasing his name. For example, a few years ago you could buy Donald Trump steaks, but Trump owns no cattle ranches and knows nothing about the meat business.

The reason that his wealth is very much in doubt comes from a new report about his property tax bill. An interesting aspect of it is that once again Trump qualifies for a School Tax Relief program deduction, this year for $304. To qualify for this reduction, a property owner has to have an income below $500,000. Apparently Trump qualifies. There is another program for people whose income is below $84,550 for which Trump does not qualify. These bits of data suggest that his income is between $84,550 and $500,000. Trump qualified in 1999 through 2009 and again since 2014. From his FEC statements, it is known that Trump has a lot of assets, but that is not the same as income, of course. Also, Trump has already said that he does everything legally possible to reduce his tax bill.

Now the devil is in the details. How is income measured? Is this taxable income? Maybe Trump owns a vast quantity of municipal bonds, whose interest is tax free, so even if he is pulling in millions in interest, his taxable income might be low. Also, buildings depreciate in value over time and Trump can count the decreased value of his buildings as negative income. Until Trump releases his tax returns, we will just have to speculate about how rich he is, but property tax deduction suggests that maybe he is not as rich as he claims to be. (V)

Trump Overrules His "Not so Smart" Staff

As judged from the response across the political spectrum, Donald Trump's ongoing war of words against non-white judges (and journalists) is not terribly politic. His advisers have wisely counseled him to knock it off. Trump has, not so wisely, declined to accept their counsel. And on Monday, he explained why he chose not to listen to the advice of those he pays to advise him: They are, in his words, "not so smart."

Needless to say, attacking one's own campaign staff like this is...unorthodox. And given how well Trump has done breaking all the rules of modern politics, perhaps he will be vindicated again. Certainly, the white nationalists are thrilled by this current line of attack. On the other hand, the Democrats are engaged in well-coordinated and withering attacks against GOP officeholders who support Trump, particularly vulnerable senators like Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Mark Kirk (R-IL). Perhaps the billionaire feels he does not need any Republican support to win the White House, and that he also will not need the Senate to be controlled by his party when he gets there. Maybe he's right, but that way of thinking really seems, well, not so smart. (Z)

Voters Think Trump Is More Honest Than Clinton

Practically every day Donald Trump says something that Politifact rates as a pants-on-fire lie. Clinton rarely tells out-and-out lies. So it might be surprising that a Quinnipiac poll shows that when asked who is more honest and trustworthy, 44% pick Trump and 39% pick Clinton. Other polls have shown the same thing.

How can this be, when Trump demonstrably lies all the time? One theory is that Bernie Sanders' supporters are telling the pollsters they trust Trump more as a way of hurting Clinton. A second theory is that many of Trump's supporters are not well educated and have no idea what Politifact is or who Glenn Kessler (the WaPo Fact Checker) is. A third theory hinges on what "honesty" means. Bill Clinton famously once said: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." Whether that is a true statement depends critically on the precise meaning of a couple of words in that sentence. In a narrow technical sense, Clinton might have been right, but many people felt he was lying anyway. Same goes for Hillary. She often says things in a way that may be technically correct but gives the wrong impression, which causes some people to think she is not trustworthy. With Trump, what you see is what you get. He rarely beats around the bush. He says what he thinks very directly and without complicated constructions, which people could interpret as honesty, even when he clearly lies about so many things. (V)

The Gipper Would Not Vote for The Donald

Ronald Reagan is no longer around, of course, to tell us for whom he's voting. But he does have a fairly good surrogate in son Michael Reagan, who is president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation and—unlike his half-brother Ron, Jr.—is still a devoted member of the GOP.

In advance of Tuesday's primary in California, Reagan has taken to Twitter to make his views on the 2016 campaign known, and has declared that not only will he not be voting for Donald Trump, but that his father would not have done so, either. Calling The Donald "an embarrassment," Reagan said that he is the first Republican candidate since the 1980s that his family would not be able to get behind. With the Bushes already having declared their intention to sit this one out, the Lincoln line all dead, and the Roosevelts now seen as Democrats, that means that Trump will not be able to call on any of the nation's Republican royalty to support him at the Republican convention, at rallies, etc. Perhaps he can scrape up an obscure Eisenhower or a Coolidge somewhere. (Z)

Email a link to a friend or share:

---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jun06 Clinton Wins the Puerto Rico Primary
Jun06 Trump Failed to Keep Promise to Donate Some Trump U. Profits to Charity
Jun06 Trump Doubles Down on Judges
Jun06 What Hillary Clinton Could Learn from Donald Trump
Jun06 Do Trump's and Clinton's Unfavorables Really Matter?
Jun06 What If Sanders Wins California?
Jun06 McConnell Attacks Trump on Judge But Won't Call Trump a Racist
Jun06 Independent Bid Surely Dead Now, Right?
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