Clinton 1606
Sanders 851
 Needed   2383
Trump 673
Cruz 411
Rubio 169
Kasich 143
Needed 1237

News from the Votemaster

What Happens to Rubio's Delegates?

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) won 169 delegates before he dropped out. What happens to them could become crucial in determining who the Republican nominee is. As a simple scenario, imagine that Donald Trump comes into the convention 100 delegates short of a majority. Can he beg, borrow, or steal some of Rubio's? Let's start with the obvious. Rubio cannot sell them to Trump, no matter how much the billionaire is willing to pay the always financially troubled Rubio. Buying and selling people went out of fashion in 1863.

In some states where Rubio won delegates, Republican Party rules require them to vote for Rubio on at least the first ballot. This is true in Iowa (7 Rubio delegates), Georgia (14), Massachusetts (8), Oklahoma (12), Hawaii (1), North Carolina (6), Virginia (16), and Arkansas (9). In Virginia, the delegates are only bound on the first ballot; in some of the other states they are bound longer. In Alabama (1), D.C. (10), Kansas (6), Louisiana (5), Minnesota (17), New Hampshire (2), Puerto Rico (23), Tennessee (9), Texas (3), and Wyoming (1) delegates are either automatically unbound or can be unbound when Rubio formally releases them. Formally freeing the delegates requires some paperwork in a number of states, not quite the Emancipation Proclamation, but something like that. So far, Rubio has not released his delegates.

In Alaska (5), Nevada (7), and Kentucky (7), the delegates will be reallocated to other candidates, with each state having different rules. In Alaska, they are proportionally redistributed. In Kentucky, the unbound delegates meet with the bound delegates to hold a secret ballot reassigning them. In Nevada, Rubio can choose between (1) keeping them, (2) freeing them altogether, or (3) proportionally reallocating them at the state convention. In the case of Nevada, Trump got 46% of the vote, so if Rubio chooses option (3), Trump would get the majority of them, something Rubio is unlikely to support.

After some number of ballots, most of the delegates are free to do what they like. These delegates are going to be fought over furiously by the remaining candidates, especially if Trump shows up in Cleveland just shy of 1,237. (V)

Delegates Are Real People and Will Not be Anonymous

Delegates are not numbers on an Excel spreadsheet (unless you want them as a spreadsheet). They are actual people and their identities will be known by convention time, and in many cases, much earlier. Who the delegates are and what their true allegiances are could be critical. While most of the delegates are bound to vote for a certain candidate on the first (and maybe second) ballot, every single one is a free agent if someone on the Rules Committee introduces a proposed rule saying the nominee's last name may not rhyme with "rump," or anything else. The rules could be critical. Normally the delegates are props in a week-long infomercial, but this year they could be real power brokers. Everyone knows how the delegate slots are chosen (usually proportional or winner take all), but how are the actual delegates chosen?

An article in the Washington Post addresses this issue. In some states, the candidates file a slate of delegates and the slots are filled from the list starting at the top. In other states, the delegates are directly elected by the primary voters. In some of the caucus states, wannabe delegates stand up after the slots have been allocated and say things like: "I am running for Trump delegate" and give a little speech. After the speeches, there is a vote and the winners go to the county caucus, where the process is repeated for the district caucus, and finally the state convention.

But in the vast majority of the cases (73%), the delegates are chosen without any input from the candidates, either by the state Republican Party or by election at the state convention. For example, 33 of Virginia's delegates will be chosen at the district conventions and 13 will be chosen at the state convention. The national committee members and state chairman are automatically delegates.

Once they are chosen, the names of the delegates are public, so they are subject to lobbying by anyone and everyone. South Carolina GOP chairman Matt Moore has already told potential delegates to assume that every person in America will have their cell phone numbers and email addresses. Being a delegate this year gives you real negotiating power. The Republican Party is a private organization so it is not illegal for candidates to offer to do things for delegates to get their votes—certainly on the rules and procedural issues—but also on candidate preference as soon as they are unbound. From private citizens who ran for delegate and who won, candidates can expect questions like: "The playground on Maple Ave. in my town needs new swings and a slide. Do you think your administration could help?" For a delegate who is a representative, it might be: "Our airport needs a new runway; can you arrange for this?" For a governor, it could be: "Have you already decided who will be secretary of the interior?" Since the last contested Republican convention was in 1976, probably few of the delegates have ever been subjected to what is about to happen to them. (V)

Is Disaster Looming?

No, not for the Republican Party. Disaster has already arrived for them. For the whole world. Each year, the Economist's Intelligence Unit (EIU) produces a list of the biggest potential global threats. They've just released this year's list, and here are the top five:

  1. China's economy collapses
  2. Russia's actions in the Ukraine or Syria trigger a new "Cold War"
  3. Currency volatility in emerging markets leads to a corporate debt crisis
  4. The European Union begins to break down
  5. Grexit leads to the breakup of the euro zone

What do these things have to do with the presidential election? Nothing, at least not directly. But #6 sure does, because it's "Donald Trump wins the US presidential election." The Donald thus outranks the UK leaving the EU (#8), an outbreak of hostilities in the South China Sea (#9), and a worldwide oil crisis (#10) as a potential global threat. But the most interesting thing that he outranks is #7: "The rising threat of jihadi terrorism destabilises the global economy." That's right, the world (or, at least, the EIU) now sees Donald Trump as a bigger threat to global stability than Islamic terrorism. The irony is thick. (Z)

Obama Tells Donors to Get Ready to Write Checks to Clinton

Although Yogi Berra once said: "It ain't over 'til it's over," the end is nigh for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). He trails Hillary Clinton by 308 pledged delegates, which means there is no way the 467 superdelegates on her side are going to change their minds. Mathematically, Sanders could yet win a majority of the pledged delegates, but that would require him winning large diverse states with substantial black and Latino populations by margins he hasn't achieved anywhere. So President Obama is now telling the big donors that it is almost time for the party to unite behind Clinton. In a recent meeting, when donors said that Clinton was not "authentic," Obama replied that George W. Bush was very authentic, but he wasn't a good president. It's not over yet, but by the end of April, Arizona, Utah, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Wisconsin, New York, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island will have voted. After the "MidAtlantic Primary" on April 26, the only big states left will be New Jersey and California. In principle, Sanders could get 100% of the California vote and its 475 delegates, but the most recent poll shows Clinton ahead by double digits there. So the end is not that far away. (V)

Cruz Gets Graham's Endorsement

Sen. Lindsey Graham took his second bite at the endorsement apple, inasmuch as his first horse (Marco Rubio) failed to finish the race. To the surprise of many, given some pretty hostile rhetoric just a few weeks ago, he threw his support behind Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

This is not all that interesting, in and of itself. However, it brings up a point we (and others) made on Tuesday: Don't assume that all the Rubio supporters will flock to Gov. John Kasich (R-OH). It's too early to know exactly how the voters will react to the Florida Senator's departure, but we do know how the endorsement primary has been unfolding since miniTuesday. Kasich has picked up just one major endorsement since then—Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK). Cruz, by contrast, has two—Graham and Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC). And Donald Trump has grabbed two as well, Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL). Five people is admittedly a small sample size, but the data set gets much bigger when we consider the 66 major Rubio endorsers who are playing it close to the vest, and haven't exactly rushed to endorse Kasich. It all points to a divided Republican Party, right up until Cleveland. (Z)

California Republicans May Actually Matter, For Once

California Republicans—those poor red teamers drowning in a sea of Golden State liberalism—are sort of the ugly stepchild of American politics. They don't usually get to help pick the GOP nominee, since California's primary is so late in the season. And their presidential votes haven't mattered since local candidate Ronald Reagan was on the ballot in the 1980s. But with a three-way contest and a brokered convention looming, they are finally going to get some attention.

One might presume that, given the overall liberal bent of the state, California Republicans are moderates who would gravitate towards John Kasich. But while there are pockets of moderate Republicanism (Malibu, parts of San Diego, parts of Orange County), there are considerably more staunch conservatives (the rest of San Diego, the rest of Orange County, the Inland Empire, Bakersfield, much of the far north). Therefore, California's 4.76 million Republicans are likely to behave like a bigger, juicier version of Missouri. Polling, which has been scarce, has Donald Trump with a slight lead over Ted Cruz. The two are likely to see-saw back and forth until primary day on June 7. And if one wins the lion's share of the state's 172 Republican delegates, it will not only give a nice boost to their total, but will also confer momentum going into the convention, since California is the last major state to vote. In other words, GOP voters in the Golden State are about to learn what it's like to live in Iowa during an election year. (Z)

Rubio Rules Out Running for Veep or Governor

Now that he has dropped out the presidential race, Marco Rubio went further yesterday and also ruled out running for Vice President this year or governor in 2018. He said he would return to private life in January, meaning that he will also not run for his own senate seat, which is up this year. He joked that he might make some money writing a tell-all book about his experience running for President. And there is no truth to the rumor that page 2 of the book would be repeated five times. (V)

Republican Leaders Slam Door on a Lame Duck Session to Approve Garland

A few Republicans have suggested that if Hillary Clinton is elected President in November, the Senate will reconvene in a lame-duck session after the election to hastily approve Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, to prevent Hillary Clinton from naming a younger and more liberal justice. Yesterday Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) spoke out and said what he thought of that plan: "I think that is a terrible idea." Cornyn's fear is that such talk completely undermines the Republican position that the voters should have a say in who the new justice is through their votes for President. To suddenly say that we want the voters to decide who gets to make the nomination, however, we reserve the right to overrule them if we don't like what they said is a tough sell. And if they were to even try to do it, Obama would no doubt ask why senators who had just been fired by their constituents should get to vote on any nominee. (V)

Businessman Trump Does Not Understand Global Trade

The Washington Post's fact checker Glenn Kessler has run a number of Donald Trump's statements on trade though the lie-o-meter and they have all failed. Here are the summaries of a few of his misunderstandings.

  • We will keep the car industry in Michigan
  • Japan has cars coming in by the millions and we sell practically nothing
  • When Ford builds a plant [in Mexico] and they sell a car with no tax whatsoever, we are foolish
  • The devaluations of their currencies by China and Japan [hurt us] and we don't do it
  • We don't win at trade

Kessler concludes that it isn't so much the individual statements that are all wrong, which they are, but that Trump's whole vision of trade is stuck somewhere in the 1950s. For example, the U.S. has a vigorous domestic car industry, but a large part of it consists of plants owned by foreign companies. Most of these are in the South, which is not unionized and where wages are lower. So it isn't so much that Michigan is losing jobs to China as it is that Michigan is losing jobs to Tennessee.

And the idea that the U.S. sells nothing abroad would come as a very big surprise to Boeing, Caterpillar, Microsoft, Oracle, Intel, Apple, Exxon, GE, and Dow Chemical. It's true that Ford is moving some car production to Mexico—to free up capacity to produce more (higher-profit) trucks in the U.S. As wages rise in China, fewer American companies want to move their production there and in any case, supply chains are now worldwide and very complicated. All this escapes Trump, whose expertise is in real estate, not manufacturing. (V)

Downticket Republicans Scared to Death of Running with Trump

In a series of interviews with Republican lawmakers in swing districts, Politico has discovered what their strategy will be in dealing with The Donald at the top of their ticket: Bury their heads in the sand and hope for the best. Rep. Robert Dold (R-IL) summed it up by saying "I'm focusing on the 10th district in Illinois." Other members of Congress said that if Trump campaigns in their district, they would not appear with him. However, it may be hard to win on a slogan of: "Gee, is Trump also a Republican? I didn't know that." Tip O'Neill's comment that all politics is local is completely outdated. All politics is now national and for Republican members of Congress, they are going to have to answer questions like: "If President Trump asks you to vote for a bill authorizing and funding the deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants, will you vote for it?" The Democrats are already making plans to tie Trump around the necks of numerous Republicans in swing districts. Like it or not, everyone in the Republican Party will sink or swim together. (V)

Rabbis To Boycott Trump's Speech to AIPAC

On Monday, Donald Trump will address AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and a group of about 40 rabbis are organizing a boycott of the event. One of the leaders, Jeffrey Salkin of Florida said: "Jewish history teaches us that when hatred is unleashed, it takes on a life of its own." Trump's spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, responded that Trump is a strong supporter of Israel and has made significant contributions to Jewish causes over the years. Boycotts, walkouts, pickets, and similar activities are undoubtedly going to become more common as it begins to sink in that Trump is not only the front runner, but possibly unstoppable. (V)

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---The Votemaster
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Mar17 Missouri Results Are Finally In
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Mar17 Can Trump Be Stopped?
Mar17 Trump Warns That There Will Be Riots If He Doesn't Get the Nomination
Mar17 Some Life-long Republicans Will Never Vote for Trump
Mar17 Are Trump's Supporters Racist?
Mar17 Add 'Plagiarist' to the List of Trump's Transgressions
Mar17 Add "Plagiarist" to the List of Trump"s Transgressions
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