Clinton 2777
Sanders 1876
 Needed   2383
Trump 1542
Cruz 559
Rubio 165
Kasich 161
Needed 1237
TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  Obama Endorses Clinton
      •  Warren Also Endorses Clinton
      •  Democrats Are Making Nice to Sanders
      •  Sanders Appears to Be Coming to Grips with Reality
      •  Trump Doesn't Pay His Bills
      •  40% of GOP Insiders Still Want to Stop Trump
      •  Hillary May Be Ready to Assume Sanders' Twitter Mantle
      •  Poll Shows Clinton on the Rise
      •  CNN Has 11 Takeaways from the Primary Season

Obama Endorses Clinton

In a gauzy 3-minute video released yesterday, President Obama officially endorsed Hillary Clinton. Obama also was careful to praise Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for raising important issues, especially inequality and money in politics. The video talked about what a tough fight the Democratic primary was this year and compared it to the 2008 primary, which was also tough. Obama said that after the 2008 primaries, the Democratic Party came together (hint, Bernie) and won. Obama also said than he knows how tough it is to be president and he thinks Clinton is more qualified that any previous aspirant to the job ever (sorry, Bill). Obama is going to start campaigning now for her and will no doubt be on the trail constantly until November.

Clinton is lucky to have three popular surrogates to help her: Obama, her husband, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). On the Republican side, Trump has nothing comparable. Earlier this week, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) castigated him in no uncertain terms for being a racist. Don't count on his helping Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) won't touch Trump with a barge pole. Trump is going to have to do it on his own. (V)

Warren Also Endorses Clinton

In a move that has been expected for the last 48 hours or so, Elizabeth Warren—who is competing with Bernie Sanders for the title of "most popular progressive in America"—went on "The Rachel Maddow Show" Thursday and joined the President in officially endorsing Hillary Clinton. With Sanders' sole Senate endorser Jeff Merkley (D-OR) jumping on board the Clinton Express on Wednesday, that now gives Clinton the complete set of Senate Democrats.

The first question that Maddow asked Warren, of course, is whether or not she is interested in being vice president. Warren responded by laughing merrily, and then saying that she had not discussed it with Clinton. Note that that response is very different from doing the full Sherman and saying, "No way, no how, not interested." Warren even helpfully noted that she felt ready to step in as commander-in-chief, if needed. She has also been practicing for the #1 job of a VP candidate—attack dog—and celebrated her endorsement of Clinton by blasting Donald Trump as a "loud, nasty, thin-skinned fraud." In short, the chances of a Clinton-Warren ticket are increasing by the day.

There are several obstacles to putting Warren on the Democratic ticket. First, Clinton and Warren don't like each other, but Clinton's dislike for Warren isn't anywhere close to JFK's aversion to LBJ, and Kennedy put Johnson on the ticket to win Texas. Clinton could put Warren on the ticket to win young people. Second, and probably more importantly, if Warren were inaugurated as vice president in January, Gov. Charlie Baker (R-MA) would appoint her interim successor until a special election could be held in about 5 months to elect a permanent replacement. This would allow the appointee to run as an incumbent. In a closely divided Senate, the Democrats could need that seat.

In principle, there is a solution for the Democrats, though. The Massachusetts state legislature could pass a law saying that the interim senator appointed by the governor has to be confirmed by the state senate. The governor would naturally veto such a bill, but since the Democrats control 76% of the seats in the state house and 83% of the seats in the state senate, they could override his veto. If the governor then appointed someone to Warren's seat who wanted to run for the job, the state senate could just reject the candidate. Ultimately, the state senate could force the governor to either (1) leave the seat vacant until the special election or (2) appoint an 82-year-old retired judge who never served in elected office and was simply a placeholder.

Would such a law be seen as political? Of course, but nothing new here. In 2004, when then-senator John Kerry was running for president and Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, the Democratic legislature passed a law over his veto stripping the governor of the power to make a permanent appointment to the Senate and requiring a special election. Requiring the state senate to approve the appointment wouldn't be much different. (Z & V)

Democrats Are Making Nice to Sanders

President Obama's kind words about Bernie Sanders are just the start. Now, just about anyone who is anyone in the Democratic party is going to make nice to Sanders, since only he can calm his millions of supporters, many of whom think of Hillary Clinton as the love child of Carly Fiorina and Jack the Ripper. Among others who are soon going to say how wonderful he is, are Joe Biden, Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). Nobody wants to make him angry but they have to convince him that Clinton won not because she is buddy-buddy with Debbie Wasserman Schultz, but because 4 million more people voted for her than for him.

If Sanders is smart—and it remains to be seen if he is—he will give up his illusion of flipping 400 superdelegates and come up with concrete items that he wants before he will endorse Clinton. He could ask for a veto on the veep, planks in the platform, a role for his top campaign staff in her organization, and a partridge in a pear tree, but he has to move fast. Every day he refuses to endorse her, his popularity will wane and his leverage will decrease. He will also anger other Democrats and reduce his influence in the Senate next year. Since Elizabeth Warren is already on the Clinton bandwagon, if Sanders drags it out, she, and not he, is going to become the leader of the progressive faction within the Democratic Party. (V)

Sanders Appears to Be Coming to Grips with Reality

On Tuesday, Bernie Sanders said that his campaign would continue until the Democratic Convention. On Thursday, he seemed to be singing a different tune. After meeting with President Obama, he spoke to the press and talked at length about, "the issues that we will take to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia at the end of July." Note the absence of any reference to his candidacy, his nomination, superdelegates, etc.

Even more telling, perhaps, was the rally that Sanders held later in the day. In the past few months, his standard stump speech has picked up some fairly lengthy passages that are sharply critical of Hillary Clinton. Thursday's variant, however, lacked any anti-Hillary talk, and focused entirely on the issues and the need to stop Donald Trump. It's four days until voters in D.C. close the primary season, just the right amount of time to negotiate some juicy concessions before throwing in the towel. (Z)

Trump Doesn't Pay His Bills

USA Today did some investigative reporting on Donald Trump and discovered he frequently doesn't pay the bills for work he orders. For example, in the 1980s, Trump ordered some carpentry work for his casino in Atlantic City, NJ. When the work was completed, the firm submitted a bill of $83,000. Trump never paid it and the firm went under as a result. This is but one example. Trump has been involved in 3,500 lawsuits over the past 30 years, and a large number are from ordinary Americans who delivered a product or service to Trump or his businesses and he simply didn't pay.

Others he stiffed are a dishwasher in Florida, a glass company in New Jersey, a carpet company, and a plumber. Dozens of bartenders and waiters at his hotels and resorts weren't paid. Real estate brokers who sold his properties weren't paid. He didn't even pay his law firm.

His companies have been cited 24 times since 2005 for failing to pay the minimum wage or overtime where that was required by law. USA Today also found over 200 liens filed by contractors concerning bills he didn't pay. The total picture here is that Trump frequently stiffs the companies and individuals he hires, then ties them up in court for years. Trump's daughter, Ivanka, says the reason he didn't pay so many companies is that they did shoddy work. However, that excuse then brings up questions about Trump's judgment. Is he completely incapable of choosing individuals and companies to do good-quality work for him? As president, would be able to choose competent members of his cabinet and thousands of other positions?

The article goes on and on and is devastating. It opens a whole new line of attack for the Democrats: Trump cheats the people he does business with and is completely dishonest. This stuff is all small potatoes, but does show what kind of a person Trump is. On a larger scale, he has gone bankrupt four times, which the Democrats are going to point out means he borrowed large amounts of money from people and then decided to use the law to avoid paying them back. He also has famously cheated on his wives. The Cheater-in-Chief ads practically write themselves. Unlike the attacks on Romney in 2012, which accused him of buying companies and stripping the assets, something not everyone understands, most people can understand the concept of hiring a carpenter to build cabinets for you and then not paying the bill when he is finished. (V)

40% of GOP Insiders Still Want to Stop Trump

Politico asked its panel of Republican activists, strategists, and operatives what they thought of having Donald Trump as their nominee. An astounding 40% said they would favor changing the convention rules to unbind all the delegates and then have them nominate someone else. One thing that really irked them was Trump's attack on Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the American-born judge of Mexican heritage who is presiding over one of the Trump University fraud cases. The panel isn't worried so much about losing the election—that's already a foregone conclusion. Their real worry is the permanent branding of the Republican Party as a bunch of bigots and racists, something that could last for a generation. Many of the panel members were also scared that Trump will cause the Republicans to lose the Senate and maybe even the House.

Politico's panel of Democratic insiders feels that 90% of Sanders' supporters will ultimately vote for Clinton, some albeit very grudgingly. A Nevada Democrat was worried that the battle at the Nevada state convention over two delegates may have permanently embittered some Bernie supporters, but he thought it was a relatively small minority of the 80,000 Democrats who caucused on February 20th. A Florida Democrat said that it is the Republicans who have a bigger crossover problem, with more Republicans who can't stomach Trump than Democrats who can't abide Clinton. (V)

Hillary May Be Ready to Assume Sanders' Twitter Mantle

Hillary Clinton is not known for being tech savvy. You may have heard, for example, that she had some issues with an e-mail server she was using a few years back. Bernie Sanders is the one who's king of tech among Democrats. But on Wednesday, Clinton (or her staff) fired off the first big twitter salvo of general election season, and they scored a direct hit. The message, in response to a "Crooked Hillary" tweet from Donald Trump, was: Delete your account.

"Delete your account" is a fairly well known Twitter meme—a touch of sarcasm roughly equivalent to rolling one's eyes. And the three-word message resonated well with the Twitter community, as it was retweeted over 480,000 times—far and away a record for Clinton. Maybe next time she can go after The Donald's "hair" and collect 1 million retweets. (Z)

Poll Shows Clinton on the Rise

We have consistently argued that all the "Trump or Clinton" polls we're seeing these days are dumb, for three reasons:

  1. It's still too early
  2. The president is chosen by electoral, not popular, vote
  3. Clinton was still fighting a competitor, Trump was not

The last of those things is no longer true, as Clinton is now the presumptive Democratic nominee. And predictably, the first national Trump v. Clinton poll to come out since she passed 2,383 shows her rising and The Donald falling. More precisely, the poll—conducted by Fox News— has her up 42 to 39. That's three points, and if we consider Fox News' house effect, it could be more like four or five. Now, there's no good reason that three or four or five people in 100 should flip; we don't really know anything today that we didn't know a week ago. So it really just underscores the overall point: Ignore the polls until after the conventions. We will then start updating the electoral-vote map daily. (Z)

CNN Has 11 Takeaways from the Primary Season

Time for post mortems of the primaries. CNN has 11 items in its list:

  1. Clinton makes history as the first female major-party presidential nominee
  2. This is the year of Trump
  3. Negativity rules
  4. Woe is the Republican establishment
  5. The Sanders revolution was much bigger than expected, but not big enough
  6. People are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails
  7. Candidates from both parties think the system is rigged
  8. Big money doesn't necessarily buy happiness
  9. Young people are the Democrats' tea party
  10. The GOP has become an all-white party
  11. Some of the losers are already running for the 2020 nomination

Few of these twists and turns were even conceivable a year ago, and the general election is likely to produce more surprises. (V)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jun09 Even If Sanders Gets What He Wants, He Still Loses
Jun09 Sanders Losing Key Supporters
Jun09 Takeaways from the Primaries
Jun09 Five Burning Questions
Jun09 Sanders Supporters Can Help Elect Trump
Jun09 Trump's Fundraisers See No Chance to Raise $1 Billion
Jun09 What Did We Learn from the Judge Curiel Episode?
Jun09 Guess Who's Not On the GOP Website?
Jun09 Trump Hires Eric Cantor's Pollster
Jun08 Tuesday is Super for Clinton
Jun08 Boxer Will Be Succeeded By A Democrat
Jun08 Ryan Calls Trump a Racist But Still Supports Him
Jun08 Democrats Use Trump To Hit Downballot Republicans
Jun08 Cruz Still Uncertain about Supporting Trump
Jun08 Gary Who?
Jun07 Clinton Clinches Democratic Nomination
Jun07 Sanders is Getting the Full-Court Press
Jun07 California, Here We Come
Jun07 Clinton Will Take an Early Lead in California Tonight
Jun07 Obama May Endorse Clinton This Week
Jun07 Maybe Trump Isn't So Rich After All
Jun07 Trump Overrules His Not so Smart Staff
Jun07 Voters Think Trump Is More Honest Than Clinton
Jun07 The Gipper Would Not Vote for The Donald
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