Clinton 2800
Sanders 1881
 Needed   2383
Trump 1542
Cruz 559
Rubio 165
Kasich 161
Needed 1237

Rubio Changes His Mind and Files for Reelection

Now that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is convinced that he is not going to be the Republican presidential nominee in 2016, at the last minute he has decided to run for reelection, despite his earlier decision not to run for reelection. Unfortunately for him, while incumbent senators running for reelection are normally shoo-ins, his dismal performance in the Republican presidential debates and Florida primary are going to be a drag on his candidacy. Also, unlike 2010, 2016 is a year that he is going to face an electorate that is far less friendly to Republicans. His general election opponent is not known yet. It will be either Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), a firebrand leftist whom the Democratic Party regards as too crazy to win the general election, or Rep. Patrick Murphy, a more traditional congressman who used to be a Republican but switched to the Democrats out of disgust over the tea party. (V)

Why Clinton Might Not Pick Warren as Veep

There has been a lot of buzz recently about Hillary Clinton vetting Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) as her running mate. There are certainly some arguments for this, the biggest of which is that it might make some of the supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) hold their noses and vote for Clinton even though they are convinced that she is a dishonest, untrustworthy, crooked corporate stooge. But there are also strong reasons for her not picking Warren, among them:

Personal Chemistry: It helps a lot if the running mates really like each other. Clinton and Warren don't really like each other much. Part of it is policy, part of it is just personality. Their frosty relationship is not everything, though. After all, John F. Kennedy picked Lyndon Johnson as his running mate despite his despising Johnson and regarding him as crude and boorish. Still, personal relationships are an issue.

The Two-Women Factor: Democrats in general and Clinton in particular are strong with women. Does adding a second woman to the ticket really pick up more women? There is little reason to think so. However, Clinton really wants to pick up more moderate white male Republicans who dislike Donald Trump, and putting a very liberal woman on the ticket might actually be counterproductive in targeting this group. In 2008, Barack Obama didn't choose another black politician to sew up the black vote. Instead, he chose a white guy, Joe Biden, who was popular among working-class white voters. Clinton might see this as a powerful argument for picking a moderate man.

Politics and Geography. Warren doesn't bring in any key swing state or region. She doesn't even bring in any key group of voters who don't normally vote for Democrats. All she does is make liberal Democrats work through their denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, to get to acceptance, but their fear of Donald Trump might do the job for Clinton, even without Warren.

Ideology. Clinton is first and foremost a politician. She wants to win and will do what she thinks she needs to in order to get votes. She tends to change as times change. A case can certainly be made for listening to what the voters want and changing accordingly. Warren is not like that at all. She has a clear ideology that she supports and won't change her views just because the voters don't like it. She sees her job as educating the voters to come to realize that she is right and they are wrong. These two approaches don't merge easily. Also a factor here is that Clinton is actively trying to raise a ton of money from Wall Street, and Warren's presence on the ticket would be a big impediment.

Ambition. Vice presidents are expected to be seen and not heard unless requested to do otherwise by the president. Warren has a base of her own and is ambitious. She is a fiery speaker and a deadly tweeter. She draws huge crowds. She could easily overshadow Clinton. Furthermore, the real job of being vice president is to be ready to become president at a moment's notice. As a first-term senator with no previous government experience, she can hardly make the case that she is ready for the White House at any moment.

Warren's main competitors for the job are HUD Sec. Julian Castro and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA). Castro's resume is extremely thin; his main selling point is that he is a Latino. But Clinton really doesn't need a lot of help with Latinos since nearly all Latino voters hate Trump. Further, Castro said he was not being vetted, which would be a strange thing to lie about. That leaves Kaine, who has a lot of government experience (governor, senator, and chairman of the DNC). He is also a white male, a group Clinton wants to attract, or at least not repel. Furthermore, he is from a key swing state and if he is elected vice president, term-limited Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) would almost certainly appoint himself to the Senate, thus holding the seat. Ultimately, Clinton has to decide if making a pitch to disgruntled Republicans is more important than making a pitch to disgruntled Sanders supporters. (V)

House Democrats Stage Sit-In

House Democrats are trying to force Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to bring several gun-control measures to the floor for a vote. Unlike their colleagues in the Senate, however, they do not have the filibuster as an option. And so, led by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), several dozen of them have been staging a sit-in on the floor of the House. The demonstration began Wednesday afternoon, and is continuing into the early hours of Thursday morning.

Ryan, of course, is very unhappy about this. He had the video cameras in the House chamber (which are owned and operated by the federal government) shut off, so that the protest would not be viewable on C-SPAN or other stations. He ordered the sitters-in off the House floor (though he declined to resort to force to execute the order). Ryan also took to Twitter to denounce the demonstration as a "publicity stunt," and was promptly and widely lambasted.

The Speaker is essentially right that this, like Sen. Chris Murphy's (D-CT) filibuster, is just for show. Lewis and the other Democrats know that if the measures do come up for a vote, they will fail even more miserably in the GOP-controlled House than they did in the Senate. Nonetheless, the protest reiterates the Party's message that they are committed to gun control measures, and are being stymied at every turn by the Republicans. Further, by resorting to a core tactic of the Civil Rights Movement, and having the last living member of the Movement's Big Six lead the demonstration, and singing the anthem "We Shall Overcome," the Democrats are making a fairly powerful symbolic statement that implicitly draws a parallel between the modern GOP and the intransigent Southern segregationists of the 1950s and 1960s. Ryan might do well to review his history books to see how the latter story turned out. (Z)

Trump Prepares to Fight the Dump Trump Movement

Some 400 delegates to the Republican National Convention are hatching a plan to dump Trump at the convention, but Newton's Third Law of Politics says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Team Trump is now creating an operation to fight the dumpers. Paul Manafort, Trump's chief strategist, is organizing a whip operation with 150 people to keep the 2,472 delegates on the right path. The 150 whips will be supervised by eight regional superwhips, each in charge of seven states or territories. Many of the whips are not delegates themselves but their travel and lodging costs will be paid by the campaign, despite the dire financial straits it is in, with only $1.3 million in the bank now. This shows how serious Trump takes the threat to his nomination.

The Don't Dump Trump Team is creating a database with entries for each of the 2,472 delegates. Each of them will be contacted and asked what concerns they have and the Trump campaign will try to take their concerns into account. (V)

Trump Says Clinton is Corrupt and a Liar

Finley Peter Dunne's Mr. Dooley often observed that "politics ain't beanbag," but this year it is worse than that. Even "politics ain't beanball" doesn't begin to get at the viciousness we are seeing, and this is only the start. Yesterday, Donald Trump said: "Hillary Clinton may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency of the United States." Warren G. Harding is probably rolling over in his grave now, not to mention James G. Blaine (aka "The Continental Liar from the State of Maine"). Trump also said Clinton is a world-class liar. Trump further criticized the Clintons for letting Saudi Arabia donate to the Clinton Foundation.

Many of the other things Trump said about Clinton are simply not true. He said that Clinton would admit hundreds of thousands of refugees to the U.S. with no screening. But under the rules established by the State Dept. when Clinton was in charge, applicants for admission often wait years while their background is investigated. Trump also said Clinton was sleeping in her bed when the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi was attacked and Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was killed. However, State Dept. records show that Clinton was in her home office when the news came in and she stayed up all night dealing with the situation in Libya.

Candidates have attacked their opponents going back to at least Julius Caesar, if not earlier, but this campaign is already extremely vicious for an American general election and far more lies are being told than is normal. Candidates have always exaggerated a little bit, but making up stories that are completely false has reached new heights this year and it is going higher every day. (V)

Trump's Foreign Experience: A Failing Golf Course

Donald Trump has limited experience outside the U.S., but the one exception is his resort and golf course in Scotland, his mother's native country. It has not lived up to his promises when the project began. When he first proposed the project to the local authorities, he said he would build two golf courses, a 450-room luxury hotel, hundreds of villas, condos, and homes, creating 6,000 jobs in all. A decade later it consists of one golf course, 19 rooms for rent in a renovated mansion, and a total staff of only 150 people. No major golf tournament has ever been held there and neighbors say the parking lot is never full.

Trump has also constantly battled local people. He has tried to use eminent domain to seize nearby properties because he didn't want his guests views' "obliterated by a slum." When that failed, he went after local landowners one by one. In one dispute, he ripped out a local landowner's fence, replaced it with his own fence with a locked gate, and sent the owner a bill for the new fence. In another dispute, he constructed a two-story hill in a landowner's front yard, which turns their steep driveway into a mudslide when it rains, something it does a lot in Scotland.

But at least it has been a business success, right? Actually, not. In a report filed with the British government, Trump has admitted that the project has lost almost $7 million since it opened it 2012. The whole project could easily fit into Clinton's theme that Trump is sleazy and not really a very good businessman, as he claims to be. Some of the local landowners might be quite happy to appear in Clinton's ads. (V)

Sanders Acknowledges that He Will Not Be the Nominee

It has been clear for at least two months that Bernie Sanders was not going to be able to overtake Hillary Clinton's commanding delegate lead. And once the people of Washington, D.C. had a chance to cast their votes, there was really nowhere else for the Sanders campaign to go. So, since that time, the Vermont Senator has been executing a carefully-choreographed series of maneuvers designed to end his run gracefully and to let his supporters down gently.

Sanders' latest move, and one of his most definitive, came in an interview with C-SPAN on Wednesday. Asked about the possibility of speaking at the Democratic convention (an invitation that is undoubtedly his for the asking), he said, "Well, you know it's hard to say, it doesn't appear that I'm gonna be the nominee, so I'm not gonna be determining the scope of the convention." It's not a formal concession, per se, but it's about as close as you can get. Presumably, the actual concession will be coming soon, perhaps accompanied by an announcement of whatever deal Sanders and Clinton have reached in order to keep him and his supporters happy. (Z)

Libertarian Party Is Gaining Support

Many voters are unhappy with both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump so there is increasing interest in third-party candidates. In a new CNN poll, one-third of undecided voters said that they might choose Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. This is certainly a wildly optimistic estimate for Johnson, but if he actually gets 5% of the vote in some of the swing states, it could greatly affect the election.

Other indicators also show increasing interest in the Libertarian Party. State parties are also booming. The Massachusetts Libertarian Party, for example, has seen a three-fold increase in donations and a four-fold increase in volunteers this year. Still, in a race where Hillary Clinton will probably raise a billion dollars, Johnson will be lucky to raise $10 million. However, if he can get his polling numbers up to 15% and keep them there, he will be included in the presidential debates and then attention and money will zoom. (V)

Brexit Vote is Today

It's been debated for well over a year, and today the people of the United Kingdom will vote on whether or not to leave the European Union (EU). While this is not directly an American political issue, it could nonetheless have repercussions on this side of the pond. Among those:

  • It will give us a sense of the tenor of international affairs, following a series of high-profile terrorist incidents and an ongoing refugee crisis. Will America's closest ally continue to embrace Clinton-style multilateralism, or will they go in a Trump-style isolationist/"Britain First" direction?

  • It will almost certainly become a talking point in the presidential debates, regardless of which way the vote goes.

  • It could have a worldwide economic impact, with the likeliest scenario being a global downturn of several months (or longer) if Britain does indeed leave the EU. This could, in theory, help the Republicans.

  • A yes vote would be an embarrassment for President Obama, who has campaigned very aggressively and very openly against the Brexit.

  • A yes vote would also be an embarrassment for Prime Minister David Cameron, whose government might well fall. The new president could find themselves dealing with a very different kind of person in the premiership, come January.

  • Polls are calling the result too close to call. If one side or another wins in a walk, it could be another embarrassment for British pollsters, and another reminder that polling in a cell phone-dominated world is not always reliable.

Britain is five hours ahead of New York, so we should have a pretty clear picture of the outcome before most Americans sit down to dinner tomorrow. (Z)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
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Jun22 Clinton Is Planning To Turn Convention into an Entertaining Show
Jun22 Clinton Really Doesn't Like Press Conferences
Jun22 Trump Launches New Site:
Jun22 Trump Is Causing an Identity Crisis for the GOP
Jun22 Will Lewandowski's Departure Matter?
Jun22 Evangelicals Have Lost Faith (in Trump)
Jun22 Save the Dates
Jun22 GOP Congressman Wants to Keep Jackson on the $20 Bill
Jun21 Trump to Campaign Manager: You're Fired
Jun21 Trump Campaign Extremely Low on Cash
Jun21 Man at Rally Was Trying to Assassinate Trump
Jun21 Republican Party Is at an All-time Low in Bloomberg Poll
Jun21 Senate Rejects Gun-Control Measures
Jun21 Sanders and Clinton May Find Common Ground on Health Care
Jun21 Warren Intrigued by Vice Presidency
Jun21 Clinton Plans to Go After Millennials by Age Group
Jun21 Sanders Is on a Collision Course with the Congressional Black Caucus
Jun21 Clarence Thomas May Retire Next Year
Jun20 Can Disaffected Democrats and Republicans Write in a Candidate?
Jun20 Trump Isn't Really Running a Campaign
Jun20 Covering Donald Trump
Jun20 Trump at Odds with NRA
Jun20 Trump at Odds with Bush (Again)
Jun20 It's All about the Electoral College
Jun20 Senate Could Go Either Way
Jun20 Is the House in Play?
Jun20 Pressure Growing for Changes to Democrats' Nomination Process
Jun20 Profanity Reigns
Jun19 Will Anyone Be Willing To Be Trump's Running Mate?
Jun19 Republicans Fear that the Election Will Be a Referendum on Trump
Jun19 The Republican Cold War
Jun19 Trump: Bernie Is Crazy As a Bed Bug
Jun19 Trump Needs $100,000
Jun19 Charles Koch Gives $3 million to the GOP but Not To Trump
Jun19 Doctors Will Protest Trump in Cleveland
Jun19 Warren Stops By Clinton Headquarters
Jun19 Clinton Welcomes a Grandson
Jun18 Republican Delegates Working on a Plan to Dump Trump
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