Clinton 1121
Sanders 479
 Needed   2383
Trump 378
Cruz 295
Rubio 123
Kasich 34
Needed 1237
New polls:  
Dem pickups:  
GOP pickups:  

News from the Votemaster

Results of the Republican Caucuses and Primaries

Republicans in four states went to the polls on Saturday, and it was a split decision: Two states (Louisiana, Kentucky) for Donald Trump, and two states (Kansas, Maine) for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was kept out of the winners' circle, meaning that Minnesota remains the only feather in his cap. And Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) is still jealous that Rubio has that many. Here are the numbers:

Republican Results
Louisiana 41.4% 15 37.9% 14 11.2% 0 6.4% 0
Kentucky 35.9% 16 31.6% 14 16.4% 7 14.4% 6
Kansas 23.3% 9 48.2% 24 16.7% 6 10.7% 1
Maine 32.6% 9 45.9% 12 8.0% 0 12.2% 2
Total   49   64   13   9

In three of the four states, the result was pretty much as expected. Trump has done well in Southern states that are even slightly cosmopolitan and/or left-leaning (i.e. Georgia), and the two states he added are of that sort. Cruz does well in ultra-conservative states, and Kansas is certainly that.

The head-scratcher, of course, is Maine. That has been Trump and Kasich territory so far, with the Donald having scored the endorsement of Gov. Paul LePage (R-ME). Failing one of them, the prediction before Saturday would have been Rubio. For Cruz to win, then, is quite the surprise. Well, maybe not to Trump: He says that we should not be surprised that a state close to Canada should vote for Cruz, because he's essentially a native son. But media from across the spectrum are presenting the victory as a major development in the presidential race. Right-leaning RedState declares:

[It's a] stunning win for Ted Cruz and would be the first piece of evidence that Cruz has the ability to win outside of a deeply evangelical state like Iowa or Oklahoma.

The left-leaning HuffPo uses much the same verbiage:

The victory in Maine shows that Cruz is capable of winning outside of Southern and Western states, with their concentration of evangelical and very conservative voters—the groups whose support Cruz had most relied on until Saturday.

Not so fast, there. Only about 18,000 people voted in the Republican caucuses, and small turnout can generate idiosyncratic results. Further, Cruz has the strongest ground game of the four remaining candidates, which helps a lot in a caucus state. There's been little coverage of the political machinations taking place in Maine, but it would not be surprising to learn that Cruz invested money/personnel resources and made winning the state a point of emphasis precisely because it was a low-cost opportunity to change the "he can only win in the South and West" narrative. It's also possible that the votes for Cruz were really votes against LePage, who has become enmeshed in a few scandals recently as a result of his big mouth. In any case, the result will remain an oddity and nothing more unless it persuades Rubio/Kasich supporters to abandon their horses for Cruz.

Of course, at this point, Rubio and Kasich supporters may be looking to do just that. Both are counting on their winner-take-all home states to give their campaigns a major shot in the arm. Two problems, though: (1) Neither is likely to win those states, and (2) Even if they do, it's almost certainly too late. In 10 days, both will need to decide if they want to drop out, or if they want to help the GOP try and block the Trump nomination, presumably in exchange for promises of some sort of juicy patronage job. Ambassador Rubio? Secretary of Commerce Kasich?

Tonight's results, then, didn't really change anything. You've got: Trump, barely viable, and not viable times two. It's a two-man race now, or perhaps it is more accurate to describe it as a one-and-a-half-man race. (Z)

Results of the Democratic Caucuses and Primaries

It was just three states for the Democrats on Saturday, with one going into Hillary Clinton's column, and the other two going the way of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). The specifics:

Democratic Results
Louisiana 71.1% 35 23.2% 10
Nebraska 43.6% 10 56.4% 14
Kansas 32.3% 10 67.7% 23
Total   55   47

Because Sanders won two states and Clinton won one, the night is being declared a victory for the Vermont Senator. But note that Clinton actually won more delegates, and also that maintaining the status quo, delegate wise, is not enough. He needs big wins, and in big states.

Sanders will try to get those big wins in 10 days, but to do so, he's going to have to overcome demographic challenges that he has thus far been unable to surmount. Nebraska and Kansas are both extremely white (89.7% and 87.1%, respectively), continuing the Senator's pattern (only Oklahoma, among his wins, is less than 80%). The big states that Sanders needs look a lot more like Louisiana (where he got trounced) than they do Kansas or Nebraska. If he cannot make significant inroads with minority voters soon, Clinton could put the nomination out of reach by the end of the month. (Z)

Democrats Debate in Flint, Michigan

Fortunately for Bernie Sanders, he has an excellent opportunity to connect with minority voters tonight when the Democratic candidates meet for another debate in Flint, Mich. Surely everyone knows by now that the city was stuck with filthy drinking water as a consequence of government mismanagement of the water supply. Since the shady politicians were white and the water-drinkers were mostly black, the controversy is widely being framed in racial terms, an example of "environmental racism."

Tonight's debate is in Flint because that is where Hillary Clinton wanted it to be. In negotiations over the addition of more candidates' debates, one of her conditions was that Flint be one of the locations. She is going to use the debate to tighten her already strong connection with black voters. Sanders would be wise to do everything possible to turn the tables on her. We already know how much he hates Wall Street, so he should put that out of his mind tonight. Instead, he should summon the same passion and fury while denouncing systemic racism of all sorts: dirty water, police misconduct, incarceration rates, and so forth. No Wall Street talk at all, just race/racism over and over and over. A big part of the reason that Sanders does not connect with black voters is that they feel his class-based view of the world overlooks many of the challenges they face. He badly needs to convince them otherwise, and he has a real opportunity to do so, since the next Democratic debate is only three days away, affording an opportunity to reinforce his message.

The festivities begin at 8:00 EST and will be broadcast on CNN and on their digital platforms. It should be interesting, even if it's considerably less likely that we will have any discussions of the candidates' genitals. (Z)

Puerto Rico's Republicans Vote Today

The Republican Party allocates 20 delegates to Puerto Rico and today the island's Republican voters go to the polls to choose their delegates. This is their only opportunity to have their say in U.S. politics, since Puerto Ricans who live on the island cannot vote in the general election. Puerto Ricans who live in the U.S. can vote, as they are U.S. citizens.

Puerto Rican Democrats may vote in the open Republican primary today if they wish, but then they may not vote in the Democratic primary on June 5, and vice versa. Since the Democratic contest may well be over by June 5, some Puerto Rican Democrats may decide they can use their vote most effectively by voting today for the weakest Republican. If a candidate gets a majority of the votes, he gets all the delegates; otherwise they are divided proportionally. Here are some things to note about the election.

  • The number of polling places is down from 1,500 in 2012 to 110, so lines will be enormous.
  • The island's government is $70 billion in debt and wants candidates to promise to do something to help.
  • A million Puerto Ricans live in Florida and can vote there; this could be a preview of how Puerto Ricans will vote in Florida.
  • Last-minute rallies could affect the vote.
  • Donald Trump's xenophobic remarks are not playing well there.
  • Rubio's Cuban-American heritage and his ability to speak fluent Spanish may be a big help.
  • Ben Carson's support is now up for grabs.

What the Republican Party wants is for Marco Rubio to win over half the votes in order to get all the delegates, thus denying any to Donald Trump. The whole race now is about denying Trump delegates. (V)

Gov. Susana Martinez Endorses Rubio

Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM) endorsed Marco Rubio yesterday. She did it for two reasons, one political and one personal. Politically, as a sitting Republican governor in a swing state, she is doing her part for the establishment to make sure Donald Trump doesn't end up with half the delegates. Personally, she is a potential running mate for any Republican. A good-looking Latina governor from a Western swing state with a fiery conservative speaking style would be a good addition to any ticket. Comparisons will undoubtedly be made to Sarah Palin, but Martinez is completely sane and is fluent in two languages that Palin has little command of: Spanish and English. The one downside for her is that she was present at a Christmas party in a Sante Fe hotel in Dec. 2015 in which bottles were being thrown from the fourth-floor balcony. When the police arrived, they found her drunk. Whether this is a plus or a minus depends on how hard the Republicans want to go after the heavy-drinker demographic. (V)

Trump Could Help Democrats in the House

Under most circumstances, the Democrats have almost no chance to recapture the House due to the way it was gerrymandered after the Republican wave of 2010. However, the one circumstance in which they might have an outside shot at taking back the House is if Donald Trump is the Republican Presidential nominee and does especially poorly. In particular, if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, Trump is expected to be especially weak with moderate suburban women who resent his misogyny and would like to break the last glass ceiling. Such voters are concentrated in districts like PA-08, MN-02, NV-03, and NY-19. They could easily be persuaded to vote for Clinton, or at least stay at home. Such behavior would surely hurt Republicans downticket. The Trump effect is greater for the House than for the Senate because few people know much about their representative and just vote for the same party as they do for President. Senators are better known and split tickets between President and senator are much more common. (V)

Will Trump's Opponents Follow Karl Rove's Advice?

Republican strategist Karl Rove famously used to say that you don't go after an opponent's weaknesses, you go after his strengths. If you can negate those, there is nothing left. His masterpiece was swiftboating John Kerry, convincing people that the decorated war hero was a coward. Republicans are starting to use Rove's techniques against Donald Trump. Trump is a successful businessman and many of his supporters admire that and think because he is great at business, he must be great at everything. In his speech last week, Mitt Romney went right after his strength as a businessman, saying:

His bankruptcies have crushed small businesses and the men and women who worked for them. He inherited his business, he didn't create it. And what ever happened to Trump Airlines? How about Trump University? And then there's Trump Magazine and Trump Vodka and Trump Steaks and Trump Mortgage? A business genius he is not.

Trump's strategy is to license the use of his name to other projects but not invest any of his own money in them. If they succeed, he gets licensing fees. If they fail, he doesn't lose any money. Companies want to license his name because he is thought to be successful. If a Republican primary opponent or a Democratic general election opponent were to go all out pointing that that he has been a failure over and over (see above quote from Romney), a lot of that allure goes away and he is effectively swiftboated. Part of that attack would be to harp on his refusal to disclose his tax returns, possibly with a strong innuendo that he isn't nearly as rich as he claims to be and is afraid to show his tax returns because they would destroy his whole case. (V)

Sanders Raises More Money Than Clinton in February

Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders raised a lot of money in February, with Sanders raising more than Clinton. Sanders' haul was a whopping $42 million, compared to Clinton's also enormous $30 million. All this money will ensure that Sanders does not have to drop out for lack of funds, no matter how he does in the primaries. While money is very important, it is not everything, though, as Jeb Bush can attest. In South Carolina, for example, Sanders almost matched Clinton, spending $1.7 million to her $2.1 million, but he lost the state by 48 points. (V)

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---The Votemaster
Mar05 Republicans Hold Caucuses and Primaries in Four States Today
Mar05 Democrats Have Caucuses and Primaries in Three States Today
Mar05 Republican Debate Postmortem
Mar05 Trump Withdraws from CPAC Event
Mar05 Ben Carson Withdraws at CPAC Event
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