• Republicans Fear that the Election Will Be a Referendum on Trump
• The Republican Cold War
• Trump: Bernie Is Crazy As a Bed Bug
• Trump Needs $100,000
• Charles Koch Gives $3 million to the GOP but Not To Trump
• Doctors Will Protest Trump in Cleveland
• Warren Stops By Clinton Headquarters
• Clinton Welcomes a Grandson
Donald Trump's numerous controversies this month, including attacking a federal judge and claiming that President Obama was responsible for the Orlando massacre, are drastically limiting his options for a running mate. The problem is that most credible politicians who envision a future in elected office probably don't want to be associated with him. It would take a special kind of person to cuddle up to someone as toxic as Trump. Multiple sources have said that the list consists of Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and Gov. Mary Fallin (R-OK). Christie and Gingrich have little to lose running with Trump, since their toxicity approaches his. Even after a disastrous run, Sessions can go back to being senator from Alabama for the rest of his life if he wants. Fallin might or might not be available since she probably is interested in succeeding Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), who is 81. The junior senator from Oklahoma, James Lankford, is 48. Fallin, however, might be too toxic for Trump given her recent veto of an anti-abortion bill.
Trump's limited set of options could be a real problem for him. Christie would jump at the chance, but his approval rating in New Jersey is 26%. You can imagine the Democrats' ads already: "The people who know him best can't stand him." Gingrich has a long trail of statements and behaviors that would provide ammo for the Democrats, not the least of which was his carrying on an extramarital affair while he was busy accusing Bill Clinton of doing the same thing. His recent suggestion that we bring HUAC back to life would also provide fodder. Sessions is practically unknown outside Alabama and would add little to the ticket. Alabama would vote for Yellow Dog (R). Finally, even if Fallin is willing to run, and Trump overlooks her current unpopularity with social conservatives, she is completely untested on the national stage and Trump's advisers might be a tad nervous about picking a completely unknown female governor from a low-population deep-red state. Been there, done that.
As Trump's polling gets worse in the next few weeks once Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) calls it a day, fewer and fewer serious politicians are going to want to be on the ticket. Maybe Trump will find an unknown retired general or admiral. Unfortunately for Trump, Admiral James Bond Stockdale died in 2005. (V)
Donald Trump's polling has been going down for the past several weeks, with no end in sight. A more important question is which states among the ones Romney lost could Trump win? Maybe Pennsylvania, but that's a big maybe, and there are probably no others. And he could lose North Carolina, for a net gain of five electoral votes. This situation has Republicans extremely nervous that the only issue in November could be Donald Trump, and it could sink Republicans up and down the ballot. Normally, a general election asks the voters to choose between the major parties, but this year it could turn into an up-or-down vote on Donald Trump, and that is not something Republicans are looking forward to.
Senate Republicans are especially worried about this possibility. The GOP is defending 24 seats, and in the worst case scenario, they could lose a dozen of them. The only Democratic seat in any real danger is that of Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who is retiring. One sign that Senate Republicans see as particularly ominous is the refusal of major companies who sponsored the 2012 convention, such as Wells Fargo and UPS, to sponsor the 2016 convention. Apple, which provided $140,000 worth of MacBooks and other tech tools to each party in 2008, has also decided to refrain from helping the Republicans this year. Many other companies are also gun shy this year. It is about not wanting to be associated with Donald Trump.
Some Senate Republicans are trying to put on a brave face, saying many voters will split their tickets this year. However, in recent years, ticket splitting has become extremely rare and there is little reason to think this year will be different. The verbal gymnastics that some senators are trying is unlikely to help much. For example, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) says she "supports" Trump but does not "endorse" him. How many voters understand what that means? Heck, how many professional linguists understand it? Are voters who dislike Trump going to vote for someone who supports Trump even if she doesn't endorse him? (V)
There is a curious, almost unprecedented, relationship between the Trump campaign and the GOP establishment—particularly the de facto head of the establishment Republicans, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). On one hand, everyone has offered plenty of kumbaya rhetoric about being on the same team and working for the same goals. On the other hand, they keep sniping at each other. Just this week, for example, Trump threatened to ban Muslims from coming to the United States, and Ryan said he would be willing to sue President Trump to stop him from doing such a thing. Similarly, Ryan, in something of an anti-endorsement, said Republicans should follow their conscience when deciding to vote for Trump. Trump promptly suggested that the Speaker should shut his mouth.
The most apt metaphor to describe this situation is "cold war." Like the US and the USSR in the post-World War II era, Trump/the outsiders and Ryan/the establishment are not in an open state of warfare, and are even partners in some ways. But they are also constantly trying to undermine one another. TPM's Josh Marshall doesn't use this exact verbiage, but he has noticed the same thing, and he wonders how long this state of affairs can last. He writes:
You can't have the Speaker of the House endorsing the party's presidential candidate and also calling him a racist for very long. Something has to give. This is especially true because I see little to suggest the run of punches will end any time soon. Again, Trump U., Curiel, mass casualty high fives, accusing the President of collaborating with terrorists. The hits just keep coming. They keep coming because Trump is Trump. And in front of an audience not focused on provocation, resentment and white backlash it does not always play well.
Marshall thinks it can't last, and he's probably right, though like everyone he has no idea what the next chapter is. Will the cold war thaw, or will it turn into World War III? (Z)
Once again, Donald Trump has said something that is making his advisers tear out their hair. It was: "Crazy Bernie, he's crazy as a bed bug." What is the value of that statement? The only thing it is going to do is make Bernie Sanders angry at Trump, and make him resolve to do his utmost to defeat The Donald. It would have made far more sense to be nice to him and say something like: "Bernie and I are the only ones fighting against the corruption in Washington. People who support him and can't stand Crooked Hillary should vote for me to fight a system rigged against ordinary people." Furthermore, it is in Trump's interest to keep Sanders fighting for the nomination all the way to the convention. Why annoy him? This is just another example of Trump's saying things without thinking through the consequences, a habit that is probably going to plague him all the way to November. (V)
Speaking of tone-deaf maneuvers by Trump & Co., they sent out an email to supporters on Saturday telling them: "Right now we're facing an emergency goal of $100,000 to help get our ads on the air. We need your contribution by 11:59 p.m. Tonight!" This is a direct response to Hillary Clinton's multimillion-dollar ad buy earlier in the week.
These kinds of "emergency" fundraising appeals are sent out all the time by politicians, by the various arms of the political parties (like the DCCC and RNSC), and by activist groups (MoveOn, the NRA). There are a trio of reasons that this particular appeal is tone-deaf, however. First, Trump promised to fund his own campaign, and this obviously goes against that. Forgivable, perhaps, but it leads to the second problem: $100,000 is pocket change for The Donald. If this were a true "emergency," he should be able to take care of it by going through his couch cushions. Third, and worst of all, it reminds us yet again that Trump and his people do not seem to grasp the economics of a modern presidential campaign. $100,000 is a drop in the bucket—Clinton's ads are going to be running in eight states; and $100,000 won't make a dent in even one of the eight, much less all of them. The email would have been much less questionable if the Trump campaign had set a much more aggressive goal—$1 million, perhaps, or even better, $5 million. Once he finally starts to grasp the kinds of numbers he needs to be working with, it may be too late for Trump 2016. (Z)
For anyone wondering what the Koch brothers are going to do this year, half of the duo has already made it clear. Charles Koch last month gave $3 million to a super PAC, Freedom Partners Action Fund, whose goal is to preserve the Republicans' Senate majority. None of their money will go to Donald Trump. His brother David is likely to follow suit, as will many other big donors. In other words, the big GOP money men are essentially ready to accept Hillary Clinton as president and will put all their effort and money into preserving the Republicans' control of Congress. But if the election turns out to be a referendum on Trump, that may be a lost cause as well. (V)
A group of medical professionals are planning to protest Donald Trump's stand against Muslims outside the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Organizer Bryan Hambley said that anyone who has lived in a big city knows that there are Muslim doctors saving lives every day. Many of these doctors are immigrants from countries with large Muslim populations, especially Pakistan and India.
It is possible that this group is the only one planning to protest Trump at the convention, but probably not. If there are many groups protesting him, there could be clashes with the police. At the very least, the media will be drawn to the protests and give less time to Trump than would otherwise be the case. (V)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was in New York doing some fundraising. So, she decided to stop by Hillary Clinton's national campaign headquarters, since she was in the neighborhood. Warren gave the staff there a pep talk, telling them "Don't screw this up!" while also praising Clinton as a "fighter" and a "tough cookie who is going to be out there fighting on behalf of working families." Warren also shook hands and posed for photos with staffers.
Clinton was not present for the drop-by, and Warren took no meetings with any high-level staffers. Nonetheless, this is exactly the kind of thing that politicians do when they are auditioning for the VP slot. In fact, one-time short listers Julian Castro and Tom Perez have done the same. Warren would almost certainly have more power remaining in the Senate than moving to Number One Observatory Circle, but more and more she is acting like someone who very much wants the #2 slot. And if so, Clinton would almost certainly have to accept the offer—the Bernie Bros. would not be pleased if Hillary defeated Sanders and rejected Warren. (Z)
Hillary and Bill Clinton already have a granddaughter: three-year-old Charlotte. And now, they have a grandson as well, welcoming Aidan Clinton Mezvinsky on Saturday morning.
Perhaps this should not be a political story, since it involves the candidate's private life. But, of course, it is. Children and grandchildren, particularly young ones, do a great deal to humanize candidates (pets, too). The Kennedys learned this lesson, as did the Carters (and before them, the Theodore Roosevelts and the Lincolns). Clinton stands to particularly benefit, since she is often seen as cold and robotic. She certainly won't be trotting an infant (or a three-year-old) out at campaign events, but making campaign ads with her grandchildren on her lap and her saying:" I want to make America a better place for my grandchildren and your children and grandchildren" is a no brainer. (Z)Email a link to a friend or share:
---The Votemaster and Zenger
Jun18 RNC Names Rules Committee Chairwoman
Jun18 Can Trump Dig Himself Out of the Hole He Is In?
Jun18 Republican Insiders Want Newt as Veep
Jun18 Cross Two Names Off the Veep Lists
Jun18 Sanders Signals Willingness to Endorse Clinton
Jun18 All Signs Point to a Rubio Run
Jun18 Trump TV Is Not Going To Be on a Screen Near You Any Time Soon
Jun17 Donald Trump Misbehaved with Women in Private
Jun17 Trump Is Having Trouble with the RNC
Jun17 Clinton Is Beginning to Advertise
Jun17 AFL-CIO Endorses Clinton
Jun17 High-Ranking Reagan/Bush Official Backing Clinton
Jun17 George W. Bush Is Back in the Saddle
Jun17 John McCain Does a Full Trump
Jun17 Orlando Attacks Probably Won't Move the Needle
Jun17 Senate Races Updated
Jun16 Top Republicans Condemn Trump's Remarks on Orlando
Jun16 Negative Views of Trump Are Back To an All-Time High
Jun16 Politico Makes an Initial Electoral-College Map
Jun16 Trump May Have a Money Problem
Jun16 Sanderscrats Not Doing Well
Jun16 Union Leaders See No Migration of Workers To Trump
Jun16 Rubio Senate Run Getting More Likely
Jun16 Senate To Vote on Gun Control Measures
Jun16 Heck Wins Nevada Senatorial Primary
Jun15 Clinton Takes Washington, D.C.
Jun15 Obama, Trump Blast One Another
Jun15 Clinton Leads Trump in Latest National Poll
Jun15 Washington Post Responds To Trump's Ban
Jun15 Trump Stands by WaPo Ban
Jun15 Russian Hackers May Have Stolen Democrats' Trump File
Jun15 Guns as a Wedge Issue Helps Trump
Jun15 Gingrich Wants to Bring Back HUAC
Jun14 Two Candidates, Two Very Different Responses to the Orlando Shooting
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