Clinton 1130
Sanders 499
 Needed   2383
Trump 384
Cruz 300
Rubio 151
Kasich 37
Needed 1237
New polls:  
Dem pickups:  
GOP pickups:  

News from the Votemaster

TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  Democratic Debate Postmortem
      •  Two Democratic Primaries Today
      •  Republicans Vote in Four States Today
      •  The Stop-Trump Movement Is Gaining Steam
      •  Scared by Trump, Latinos Are Becoming Citizens
      •  Bloomberg Is Out
      •  Sanders Donors Want Him To Keep Going
      •  Supreme Court Makes a Decision on Gay Adoption
      •  Are the Intramural Fights Over?

Democratic Debate Postmortem

Sunday night's meetup between Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders in Flint, Mich. was lucky number seven for the Democrats; here's what the commentariat thinks:

Left-leaning commentators
Chris Cillizza, WaPo Winners: Clinton, President Obama, the Import-Export Bank, CNN. Losers: Sanders, foreign policy, the 1990s. "A total of zero minutes of the debate were dedicated to questions beyond the nation's borders. I get that with the Flint setting this was going to be a largely domestic policy-focused affair. But, NO foreign policy questions? A little odd."

Dara Lind and Libby Nelson, Vox Winners: Sanders, Clinton, Flint. Losers: Don Lemon, the Republican candidates. "For anyone who watched both this debate and Thursday's Republican debate, the contrast between the two was remarkable. Clinton and Sanders went after each other on their policies and their records, but managed to avoid ad hominem attacks."

Steve Benen, MSNBC Winners: Clinton, Sanders. Losers: The Republican candidates. "[T]he end result was two candidates who obviously take their responsibilities and their platforms seriously, which is more than could be said about their rivals' debate from four days prior."

Sam Frizell, Time Winner: Obama. Loser: None. "The President, it appears, is not leaving the campaign trail anytime soon."

Yoni Applebaum, The Atlantic Winner: Flint. Loser: None. "Sunday night's debate was also a powerful reminder of the purposes of politics. It was held in a city already devastated by the loss of jobs, and now victim to catastrophic failures of governance at every level. As local residents stepped up to ask their own questions of the candidates, they spelled out the stakes of this election in deeply personal terms, grounding the debates over abstract principles in the questions with which their communities are struggling."

Right-leaning commentators
Caleb Howe, RedState Winners: Anderson Cooper, Republicans. Losers: Clinton, Sanders. "[I]f watching the battle between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton trying to prove which of them hates free enterprise, business, profit, and private ownership more doesn't convince you to vote Republican I can't imagine what will."

William Whalen, Fox News Winner: Clinton. Loser: Sanders. "Sanders needs to call out Clinton in more glaring terms. Otherwise, he's gum on her shoe—a protest vote that won't win many states and, as we've already seen post-New Hampshire, will get rolled in the contest that counts most: the delegate count."

Jonathan Swan and Ben Kamisar, The Hill Winner: None. Loser: None. "Sunday night's debate is unlikely to change the contours of the race. Clinton and Sanders in many ways reinforced the images that voters already have of them. Clinton was cautious and often gave long and complex policy-laden answers to questions, while Sanders offered blunter, and more liberal, solutions."

Byron Tau, The Wall Street Journal Winner: Clinton. Loser: Sanders. "All in all, the auto bailout attack on Mr. Sanders seemed to catch him entirely off guard and set the tone for a debate where Mrs. Clinton emerged as aggressive and on the offense."

Tory Newmyer, Fortune Winner: Clinton. Loser: Sanders. "Hillary Clinton turned in another steady and substantive performance in a head-to-head matchup with Bernie Sanders that turned chippy by Democratic standards but wonky compared to the latest Republican free-for-alls."

Foreign commentators
Tim Marcin, International Business Times Winner: Clinton. Loser: Sanders. "Sanders [needs] to change the political conversation and steer away from his campaign's typical talking points to make headway." staff (New Zealand) Winner: Clinton. Loser: Sanders. "[Sanders] poorly handled delicate racial and gender dynamics. He seemed angry, and he came across as someone who is running to make a point—not to win. He even managed to offend the mentally ill."

J.A., The Economist Winner: Clinton. Loser: Sanders. "It unexciting, but accomplished performance by the former secretary of state, which did nothing to upset a suspicion that her passage to the Democratic nomination is now inevitable. Her answer to Mr. Sanders's demands to see her speech transcripts—when everyone publishes such things, so will I—was painfully weak. Yet the fact that this is such a prominent weak point for such a high-profile candidate perhaps also suggests that Mrs. Clinton is not quite as scandal—riddled as her opponents often claim. "

Across the thirteen outlets, the tally ends up like this:

Clinton: 8 wins, 1 losses
Sanders: 2 wins, 8 losses

The consensus, then, overwhelmingly favors Hillary Clinton. This is not surprising; she's a good debater and, more importantly, she had much the easier task: Just don't screw up.

Sanders, of course, took all the online polls. That does not necessarily mean that he "won" social media, however. The two big stories on Monday—besides the striking contrast between Democratic and Republican debates—were the negative response to Sanders' aggression and to his somewhat stilted racial thinking/vocabulary. You can take the Senator out of the lily white state, but you can't take the lily white state out of the Senator, it would seem. In any case, it's some of the strongest criticism Sanders has gotten from the left this cycle, at a time when he really doesn't need it.

The fact checkers, including CNN, CBS, Politifact, and FactCheck came up with a few flubs from each candidate, but nothing quite like the assaults upon the truth we're seeing from the other side of the aisle. Sanders incorrectly blamed the loss of 800,000 jobs on NAFTA and also erred in suggesting that more blacks live in poverty than whites (as a percentage, yes, as an absolute number, no). Clinton oversimplified the Senator's position on the auto bailout, and also had the Sandy Hook shooter using the wrong kind of gun.

If you just can't wait to hear more from the Democratic candidates, you're in luck, because their next meeting is tomorrow. So get your bets in now on how long it will take on Wednesday for Clinton to praise Barack Obama and for Sanders to utter the phrase "millionaires and billionaires." (Z)

Two Democratic Primaries Today

The Democrats have primaries today in Mississippi and in Michigan. We needn't spend a lot of time on Mississippi. Hillary Clinton won 78% of the votes in the Alabama primary, and Mississippi is West Alabama. The state as a whole is 37% black and the Democratic electorate is expected to be around 50% black. Given Clinton's popularity with black voters, she will sweep the state and get the lion's share of its 36 pledged deelgates.

Michigan is a different story. It is a racially mixed state that fell on hard times in 2008 when the recession almost destroyed the automobile industry. It would have gone under had it not been for the government bailout, which Clinton approved of and Sanders opposed. That issue came up in Sunday's debate and could have an influence. Big states like this in the rust belt could have a major impact on the delegate allocation. A new Monmouth University poll of Michigan has Clinton with a big lead, as follows:

Rank Candidate Pct.
1 Hillary Clinton 55%
2 Bernie Sanders 42%

The poll was taken before yesterday's debate but it is unlikely the debate changed much. Michigan is a big prize, with 130 delegates. if Clinton wins in a rout in both states, she will have momentum going into Minisuper Tuesday next week, when Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, and North Carolina vote. (V)

Republicans Vote in Four States Today

Republicans have primaries in Mississippi and Michigan today as well. A Monmouth University poll shows Donald Trump with a double-digit lead, as follows:

Rank Candidate Pct.
1 Donald Trump 36%
2 Ted Cruz 23%
3 John Kasich 21%
4 Marco Rubio 13%

In principle, a conservative state like Mississippi could go for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), but Trump won Alabama, so he has a good shot at Mississippi as well. In addition, Idaho has a Republican primary and Hawaii has a Republican caucus today, as well. There has been little polling of either state. Idaho is very conservative, so perhaps Cruz has a shot at it. Hawaii is one of the bluest states in the country, so perhaps Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) or Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) could do well there. (V)

The Stop-Trump Movement Is Gaining Steam

It is now or never for those Republicans who want to stop Donald Trump. Millions of dollars are pouring into several organizations whose mission is to defeat Trump. The millions are going into television ads in Florida, Illinois, and other states that will vote today and next week. Four different groups have reserved $10 million worth of television time in Florida alone. One ad already running there shows a decorated veteran calling Trump a poseur, coward, and draft dodger who hasn't served his country for a single day. The Club for Growth is going after him on taxes. A third group, the Our Principles PAC, has reserved $3.5 million in Illinois and Florida and is also going after him via direct mail. Other groups have other strategies, for example, calling him a huckster, or even that all-purpose Republican curse word, a liberal.

Trump has almost no organization and no pollsters, so he has to rely entirely on the public polls. He has nothing but disdain for political consultants. So far that has worked, but with big guns trained on him now, things might change. If the attacks don't work and Trump wins most of the states that vote today and next Tuesday, it will be well nigh impossible to stop him.

One complication is that the big money behind the ad campaigns doesn't like Cruz much better than it likes Trump. Trump is a loose cannon who would be completely unpredictable as President and beholden to no one. Worse yet, he might just want to stick it to the people who financed the ads against him. (V)

Scared by Trump, Latinos Are Becoming Citizens

Donald Trump has been a master at scaring people, but it cuts both ways. In the Republican primaries, it has brought out new blue-collar workers to support him. However, it is also causing many legal immigrants from Mexico to become naturalized citizens simply so they can vote against Trump in the general election. Applications for naturalization were up 14% in the second half of 2015. They could reach 1 million this year. About 2.7 million Mexicans have been in the U.S. legally long enough to qualify for citizenship. Historically, only 36% became citizens, but that rate is shooting up now.

Various groups as well as the federal government, are making it easier for green-card holders to become citizens. For example, they can now pay the $680 fee with a credit card and practice the civics test online. Many libraries have employees or volunteers who understand the naturalization process and who can guide people through the steps. Naturalization drives are taking place in Nevada, Colorado, and Florida, among other states. Various groups have tables at sporting events and other places where green-card holders can pick up information about the process.

None of these efforts are good for the Republican Party. Polls show that 80% of Latinos hold an unfavorable view of Trump and 72% hold a very unfavorable view. In many cases, the new citizens have relatives who are already citizens and who are likely to register to vote for the first time. It is hard to tell what the net Trump effect is: more blue-collar workers voting for the first time (for Trump) or more Latinos voting for the first time (against Trump). (V)

Bloomberg Is Out

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that he will not run for president this year. There have been constant rumors—partly spread by Bloomberg himself—that he will jump into the fray and spend $1 billion of his own money to be elected President. In his announcement, Bloomberg said that he believes he could win a few states, but not 270 electoral votes, and that helping to elect Donald Trump or Ted Cruz is a risk he was not willing to take.

Although he did not say so in so many words, Bloomberg was afraid that Bernie Sanders might get the Democratic nomination and then be subjected to a hate campaign the likes of which the country has never seen before, with the result of Trump or Cruz becoming President. Now Bloomberg is convinced that Clinton will be the Democratic nominee and is the country's best hope for averting a Trump or Cruz presidency. (V)

Sanders Donors Want Him To Keep Going

It is becoming clearer to Bernie Sanders' donors that he is facing a very difficult climb now and it will probably get much steeper with a certain loss in Mississippi today, a probable loss in Michigan today, and possible losses in multiple states next Tuesday. They don't care. They want him to keep going, even in the face of insurmountable odds. They see his campaign as shifting the Overton window to the left. The want to see discussions of inequality, breaking up the big banks, and the influence of money in politics front and center in the campaign, rather than things that Democrats are scared to talk about. Even if he doesn't win the nomination, his campaign can have a lasting effect by changing the topics that the media ask about and which the public discusses. (V)

Supreme Court Makes a Decision on Gay Adoption

While the eight-member Supreme Court is certainly going to deadlock on many issues, in one area it is not split 4-4: gay rights. Justice Anthony Kennedy has always been supportive of gay rights and he was again yesterday in a case involving an adoption by a lesbian couple. Very briefly, a lesbian woman had three children using donor insemination. Her partner legally adopted the children in Georgia in 2007. After the couple broke up, the mother wanted to cut off contact with her former partner, who had legally adopted the children. The case went to the Alabama Supreme Court, where the mother now lives, and that court said that a same-sex couple may not adopt children so the adoption was invalid and the mother's partner has no rights. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed that decision yesterday, effectively saying that adoptions by same-sex couples are legal.

Also at issue here is whether states have to respect other states' laws. The High Court basically said that if an adoption is legal in one state, Georgia in this case, other states, in this case Alabama, have to respect that, even if their laws are different.

Both parties are going to spin this their way to raise money and point out to their supporters how important the President's power to nominate people to the Supreme Court is. Gay adoption is likely to be the new frontline in the culture wars, with Democrats saying that loving couples should be free to adopt children if they so wish, even if both are men or both are women. Republicans are going to be saying that children need a male parent and a female parent. (V)

Are the Intramural Fights Over?

At Daily Kos, founder Markos Moulitsas has announced that on March 15, the site transitions from a site about the primaries to a site about electing Hillary Clinton as President (barring an unexpected turn of events in which Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, suddenly catches up to her). Among other things, by executive order (them's his marbles) he has decreed:

  • No attacks on Clinton using right-wing tropes
  • Saying you won't vote or will vote for Trump or Jill Stein is verboten
  • No relitigating the primary; Clinton won and Sanders lost
  • We are really in this together

The comments section gives no indication that Sanders supporters are about to fall in line without any protest.

What about the other side? The top headline at RedState yesterday was: "It is Time to Unite Behind Ted Cruz. Right Now." It goes on to point out the Republicans' reality. Nobody over there can tolerate Donald Trump, but unless the fans of Sen. John Kasich (R-OH) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) drop their fantasies and get behind Cruz right now, they are going to be stuck with Clinton-Trump, which RedStaters uniformly consider an abomination. The rhetoric is similar to what Kos said, but pointed right instead of being pointed left. Among other points are:

  • Some people would have preferred a candidate with executive experience, but most of the voters didn't
  • The only way Kasich might beat Trump is if Trump fell dead tomorrow, and maybe his corpse would still win
  • Maybe you would have preferred a better communicator (Rubio), but the voters didn't
  • Cruz may not be your cup of tea, but the alternative is Donald Trump and the destruction of the Republican party

So both leading partisan sites are telling readers the time for hoping for the ideal candidate is over. The cards have been dealt. You play what you have, not what you might want. This kind of message never goes over well with strong partisans. (V)

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---The Votemaster
Mar07 Sparks Fly in Flint
Mar07 Sanders Wins Maine Big Time
Mar07 Rubio Wins Puerto Rico Primary
Mar07 Preview of This Week's Events
Mar07 Trump and Clinton Have Big Leads in Michigan
Mar07 Republican Leaders Are Really Stuck Now
Mar07 How Does It End for the Democrats?
Mar07 Republican Candidates Ranked
Mar06 Results of the Republican Caucuses and Primaries
Mar06 Results of the Democratic Caucuses and Primaries
Mar06 Democrats Debate in Flint, Michigan
Mar06 Puerto Rico's Republicans Vote Today
Mar06 Gov. Susana Martinez Endorses Rubio
Mar06 Trump Could Help Democrats in the House
Mar06 Will Trump's Opponents Follow Karl Rove's Advice?
Mar06 Sanders Raises More Money Than Clinton in February
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
Mar05 Marco Rubio Slinks Back to Florida
Mar05 Could Romney's Speech Be A Gift to Trump?
Mar04 America Gets Schlonged By Trump
Mar04 Seven Takeaways from the Debate
Mar04 Seven More Takeaways from the Debate
Mar04 Romney Slams Trump
Mar04 Is Romney a Hypocrite?
Mar04 Republicans are in Desperate Times; What Desperate Measures Might They Employ?
Mar04 The Republican Party Meets Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Mar04 Koch Brothers Will Not Oppose Trump Nomination
Mar04 Do the Demographics Favor Trump
Mar04 Do the Demographics Favor Trump?
Mar04 Pelosi against Superdelegates
Mar04 Grassley May Get Senate Opponent
Mar03 Carson Sort of Drops Out
Mar03 The Republicans Have Two Weeks to Stop Trump
Mar03 Mitt Romney Under the Impression That This Is Still 2012
Mar03 Trump Releases Healthcare Plan
Mar03 Why Did Rubio Fail?
Mar03 Bad (Fox) News for Rubio
Mar03 Why Did Sanders Win Oklahoma and Lose Massachusetts?
Mar03 Republicans Crush Democrats on Turnout
Mar03 Neocons Declare War on Trump
Mar03 When Should You Start Planning Your Move to Canada?
Mar03 Obama May Be Vetting Jane Kelly for Scalia's Seat
Mar03 Post-Scalia Court Takes Up Abortion
Mar03 Liberal Democrats Angry with Elizabeth Warren
Mar02 New Layout Starting Today
Mar02 Here Are the Maps of Who Won in Which State