• Obama, Trump Blast One Another
• Clinton Leads Trump in Latest National Poll
• Washington Post Responds To Trump's Ban
• Trump Stands by WaPo Ban
• Russian Hackers May Have Stolen Democrats' Trump File
• Guns as a Wedge Issue Helps Trump
• Gingrich Wants to Bring Back HUAC
In a development that comes as a surprise to nobody, Hillary Clinton won the nation's capital in a walk. Here are the numbers:
This brings the Democrats' primary season to a close (the GOP's came to an end last week). In the final assessment of Clinton vs. Sanders, the operative number is 57%. She took about 57% of the delegates (58.7%, to be precise), she took about 57% of the states and territories (57.7%), and she took about 57% of the popular vote (56.7%). She ended on an up note, with a big victory in California and a smaller one in Washington, D.C., and she won in a more diverse array of places. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) ran one of the more remarkable upstart campaigns in recent memory (and perhaps in all of American history), but his case for the nomination is nowhere near as strong as hers.
Now that everyone has had a chance to register his or her vote, the time has come for Sanders to decide "what next?" He has been signaling his intention to bow to the will of the voters, and met with Clinton on Tuesday night. Reportedly, no suspension of the Sanders campaign is imminent. That may just be talk, or it may well be the truth. It's unlikely that the Vermont Senator will keep running for president, but he might well keep his campaign technically alive, shifting the focus to Donald Trump and to reforming the Democratic Party. Presumably, we will have some clarity later this week. (Z)
Usually, Barack Obama is a pretty level-headed fellow. On Tuesday, however, his fury was on full display as he lambasted Donald Trump's response to the Orlando shootings. The President took aim at Trump's bigotry, while also arguing that The Donald's rhetoric just serves to fan the flames of anti-American hatred. He also called out the GOP leadership, specifically Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), for allowing Trump's rhetoric to go essentially unchallenged. A harangue of this sort, with a sitting president targeting the nominee of one of the two major parties, is unprecedented in recent memory.
Trump, of course, promptly responded to Obama. The billionaire described the President as "a lousy president" who has "done a terrible job." Continuing a theme that he first introduced on Monday—that the President either doesn't take the attacks seriously, or else may have been involved in some way—Trump declared that Obama, "was more angry at me than he was at the shooter."
This exchange may well be a preview of what we're going to see in the next several months, with Obama getting his hands dirty and directly engaging The Donald. If so, Trump will surely get the worse of the deal. Obama is pretty popular for a president in his eighth year, with an approval rating around 55% at the moment. Further, while Trump is certainly a talented and charismatic speaker, he's not a match for Obama in this department (among politicians of the last half-century, only Ronald Reagan, and possibly Bill Clinton, are in Obama's class). Finally, Obama has the bully pulpit at his command—the awesome power and prestige of the presidency. No use of Twitter, no address delivered in front of people holding "Make America Great" signs, no amount of bloviating on Fox News, can match that. If Obama continues the full-court press, and he certainly seems ready to do so, it will be very bad news for Trump, indeed. (Z)
With the usual caveat that polls this early, particularly national polls, should be taken with a truckload of salt, Bloomberg released a new survey on Tuesday, and it is full of bad news for Donald Trump.
To start with, Trump had pulled relatively even with Clinton when he was the Republicans' presumptive nominee, and she had not yet secured the Democratic nomination. Now, as predicted, that trend is reversing itself. Bloomberg has Clinton up by 12 points (49% to 37%) over Trump. The really bad news, however, is in the details. First, 9% of respondents said they were planning to vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Nearly all of that will come from Trump's total, and if even half of those 9% really mean it, he's in big trouble in light red/purple states. Even worse for The Donald, 55% of respondents said they would not vote for him under any circumstances. There is essentially no way to win the presidency in a two-way race with 45% of the vote, no matter how it's divided up. (Well, unless you're Abraham Lincoln in 1860.)
The poll was conducted, in part, before the Orlando shootings. It's possible that Trump's aggressive response will result in an uptick in his numbers, though the smart money says otherwise. Many pundits, including CNN's MJ Lee, have argued that Hillary Clinton's response to the shootings has been more impressive and politically savvy than Trump's. Add in Obama's two cents (see above), and it's hard to see how Trump's talk will impress anyone beyond those who already supported him. We will learn more when Bloomberg releases its next poll in about a week. (Z)
Donald Trump has often said that if he is elected president, he will act to rein in the media. On Monday, he took the first small baby step in that direction by banning the Washington Post from his press conferences. Yesterday the Post responded:
Donald Trump's decision to revoke the Washington Post's press credentials is nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press. When coverage doesn't correspond to what the candidate wants it to be, then a news organization is banished. The Post will continue to cover Donald Trump as it has all along—honorably, honestly, accurately, energetically, and unflinchingly. We're proud of our coverage and we're going to keep at it.
This is not the first time Trump has barred a news organization from his events. He has also barred the National Review, Daily Beast, HuffPo, BuzzFeed, and DMR. Somehow he overlooked the New York Times, but his staff will surely remind him soon. These outlets are all going to continue to cover him and his banning them is unlikely to make their coverage more friendly—to put it mildly.
So why is he doing it? It's pretty clear. Both the right and the left are constantly attacking the media. The right says the media are in the tank for Hillary Clinton. Sanders' supporters say that the media are in the tank for Hillary Clinton. The facts say that Clinton has gotten the most negative coverage of all the candidates, but the public is convinced that the media are biased and so Trump's attacks on the media reinforce what many people already believe. Expect him to continue banning media that report even the smallest thing he doesn't like. This won't scare the big outlets, but it could intimidate some of the smaller ones.
Of course, Trump is taking a gamble here. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and others are going to call him an out-and-out Fascist. How does Benito Trump sound? While his base will revel in this, independent voters may be more attuned to criticism that unlike Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) or Mitt Romney, Trump is an actual threat to democracy itself. (V)
Though Donald Trump has banned other media from his events (see above), his move against the Washington Post—arguably the nation's second most important newspaper—has gotten far and away the most scrutiny. On Tuesday, he stood by the ban, saying that since he pays for the venues, it's his right to toss out whomever he wants. He also explained that he would not ban reporters from the White House Press Room, should he become president, because he does not own/pay for the White House.
It's some very interesting logic, but also a bit hard to swallow. He may really believe what he said today, but what happens if he gets angry with a reporter in the White House press pool? Would Trump really develop the restraint that he's not showing at the moment? And even if he would not actually ban a White House reporter, the implied threat is still there, meaning that the damage—to a large extent—has already been done. Given the rather dictatorial overtones of his move, Trump would be well-served to admit that the ban was an error, and to reverse it immediately. That hardly seems likely to happen, though. (Z)
As we have noted, the Democratic Party has been working diligently for months on their Donald Trump oppo research file. Reportedly, Russian hackers have broken into the DNC's servers, and stolen the information. There is suspicion that the Russian government is behind the move, though this has not been confirmed yet.
Assuming that this is true, and in particular assuming that these were agents of the Russian government, the news is rather troubling, and would be an obvious sign of increased aggression on the part of Vladimir Putin. That said, their choice of target is certainly...interesting. The contents of that file aren't much of a secret; stealing those data is like stealing the menu at McDonald's. The incident may be used to underscore that Clinton and/or the Democrats are not careful about data, and don't take security seriously. We will see what happens, though it could be a while until we get to the bottom of the matter. (Z)
Most issues that act as red meat to Donald Trump's working-class base simultaneously offend the 31% of Republicans who say they are moderates. Bashing Muslims and immigrants, for example, probably loses him more votes among swing moderates than it gains him among swing blue-collar workers. One issue that is win-win, however, is gun control. A study shows that three-quarters of Republicans think that gun rights are more important than gun control. So Trump can talk about how important the Second Amendment is and not lose many Republicans. It is an issue that really resonates among blue-collar workers without antagonizing white-collar Republicans, as do immigration, trade, and racism in general. (V)
Newt Gingrich has Bachelor's, Master's, and Ph.D. degrees in history. Apparently, in all the time he spent getting that education, not to mention the time he spent as a professor, he never managed to take a careful look at early 1950s U.S. history, because now he wants to bring back the House Un-American Activities' Committee (HUAC).
The old saying is that those who do not remember the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. Well, HUAC was one of the most supremely bad ideas in all of American history. It did virtually nothing to make Americans safer, but it did create fear and paranoia, while also ruining the lives of many innocent people and trampling over the First Amendment. Ultimately, it also rebounded on the politicians who were involved, giving their opposition potent ammunition that was used to portray the leaders of HUAC as tyrants and demagogues. Presumably, Gingrich is at least vaguely aware of all of these things; if so, it suggests that the would-be Trump veep's political instincts are either very rusty, or have veered in an ultra-right-wing direction. Either way, it seems unlikely to help the Republican ticket. (Z)Email a link to a friend or share:
---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jun14 The Final Primary Will Be Held Today, in D.C.
Jun14 Is Debbie Wasserman Schultz Finished?
Jun14 Tulsi Gabbard's Petition to Eliminate Superdelegates Gaining Traction
Jun14 Voter Registration Laws Are Not Enforced
Jun14 States That Could Swing in 2016
Jun14 Rubio Pressed to Reconsider Running for Senate
Jun14 Trump Turns 70 Today
Jun13 Orlando Shootings Already a Political Football
Jun13 The Reality of Having Trump's Finger on the Nuclear Trigger
Jun13 Trump's Business Career Under Increasing Scrutiny
Jun13 Trump Lists Dream Team of Convention Speakers
Jun13 Sanders to Meet With Clinton
Jun13 Massachusetts Could Increase Warren's Chance of Being Veep
Jun13 Does Clinton Have a Millennial Problem?
Jun12 Trump Calls for GOP Unity
Jun12 Trump Fires Back at Warren
Jun12 Trump Campaign Has Money Problems
Jun12 Clinton Thinks She Can Win Texas
Jun12 Clinton Releases Trump U. Commercial
Jun12 Jackson Endorses Clinton
Jun12 Gabbard Is Going After the Superdelegates
Jun12 Obama's Tax Policy Hits the Rich Where it Hurts
Jun11 Clinton Planning How to Deploy Obama
Jun11 Sanders Meeting With Campaign Insiders This Weekend
Jun11 How Honest Is Hillary Clinton?
Jun11 How Honest Is Google?
Jun11 RNC Will Run Trump's Campaign Operation
Jun11 Koch Brothers Won't Support or Attend the Republican Convention
Jun11 There's Still Talk of Dumping Trump
Jun11 Evangelical Group Supports Trump
Jun11 Trump Wants Warren as Hillary's Veep
Jun11 McConnell Says Trump Doesn't Understand the Issues
Jun10 Obama Endorses Clinton
Jun10 Warren Also Endorses Clinton
Jun10 Democrats Are Making Nice to Sanders
Jun10 Sanders Appears to Be Coming to Grips with Reality
Jun10 Trump Doesn't Pay His Bills
Jun10 40% of GOP Insiders Still Want to Stop Trump
Jun10 Hillary May Be Ready to Assume Sanders' Twitter Mantle
Jun10 Poll Shows Clinton on the Rise
Jun10 CNN Has 11 Takeaways from the Primary Season
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?