Clinton 1614
Sanders 856
 Needed   2383
Trump 678
Cruz 423
Rubio 164
Kasich 143
Needed 1237

News from the Votemaster

Could Rick Perry Run for President on a Third-Party Ticket?

Republican insiders have been meeting furiously all week to try to figure out how to dump Trump. Part of it consists of fighting him in all the remaining states. Ideally that would include having the weaker of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) drop out of the winner-take-all states, so the stronger of the two gets all the delegates. If both are in the race, they will split the delegates and allow Trump to come in first. In the states with proportional allocation that doesn't matter, but in the WTA states it does. For example, if the vote is 40% for Trump, 30% for Cruz, and 30% for Kasich, in a proportional state, the non-Trump candidates will get 60% of the delegates, but in a WTA state, they get nothing. If one of them drops out, the other might win and Trump gets nothing. But getting Cruz and Kasich to agree may not be so easy.

If Trump does get the nomination, the fallback plan is to run a real Republican as a third party candidate, although getting on the ballot everywhere will be tough. To have any chance of that working, the candidate has to be very well known. The former Texas governor, Rick Perry, is a possibility there. So is former Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn. But this is really a longshot. (V)

Trump vs. Clinton Could Reshape the Electoral Map

If Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, his greatest strength is likely to be in the Rust Belt—the states of the Upper Midwest where millions of jobs have been lost in recent decades. There are many angry, older white men there who will be susceptible to his pitch. On the other hand, Trump is a huge negative force for blacks and Latinos, putting states with large populations of either out of his reach. Together this might mean Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio might be battleground states whereas Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico would become solid blue. In any event, the list of battleground states might be somewhat different from in previous elections.

Also important is the gender gap, which would become gigantic in a Trump-Clinton contest. Trump is strongly favored by men. However, women hate him, and even women who don't think they should support Clinton just because she is a woman might vote for her (actually, against Trump) in large numbers. (V)

The Rest of March Could Be Good to Sanders

There are six nominating events left in March and five of them are caucuses in the West. The caucuses are in Idaho, Utah, Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington. Except for Hawaii, which is very liberal, these are very white states that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has a real chance of winning. The first four have 96 delegates combined; Washington has 101. Caucuses favor Sanders because they require a fair amount of dedication. You have to go there and hang around for a few hours. His supporters are more likely to do that than Clinton's.

The other state that votes in March is Arizona, which has a primary with 75 delegates at stake. Arizona has many Latinos and Clinton is likely to do very well there. So, it seems likely that Sanders will win more contests in March and get more headlines but probably not a lot more delegates. It is doubtful that he can win a net of more than about 20 delegates in March. (V)

Obama to Campaign Hard for the Democratic Nominee

President Obama has already been active in raising money for the 2016 election cycle, and once the Democrats have chosen their nominee, he plans to kick his efforts into high gear. In addition to being a team player, he is mindful of his legacy as president, recognizing that most of his signature accomplishments—Obamacare, the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris environmental accords, and so forth—would be at grave risk with a Republican in the White House.

As MSNBC's Steve Benen points out, Obama's campaigning is going to create a situation that is rather unusual in modern politics: A sitting president hitting the trail on behalf of his hoped-for successor. In fact, it has not happened in over a century, with Theodore Roosevelt's stumping for William Howard Taft in 1908 the last real example. Since then:

  • Taft, Herbert Hoover, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush were defeated campaigning for themselves.

  • Warren Harding, FDR, and JFK died in office.

  • Richard Nixon resigned midway through his term.

  • Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and George W. Bush were too unpopular to be an asset on the campaign trail, and so largely remained holed up in the White House.

  • Woodrow Wilson, Ronald Reagan, and Dwight D. Eisenhower were still fairly popular at the ends of their terms, but health problems (stroke, Alzheimer's, and a heart attack, respectively) precluded active campaigning.

  • Calvin Coolidge was still popular when he left office, but disliked campaigning and also felt his involvement in the process was not appropriate.

  • Bill Clinton was still popular when he left office, but Al Gore preferred to distance himself from the President and from the Lewinsky scandal, and so asked Clinton to stay home.

So, it's yet another way in which 2016 is not like anything we've seen in a long time. (Z)

What Scary Politician from the Past is Trump Most Like?

A great many people have suggested that Donald Trump is reminiscent of Adolf Hitler, from former Klansman David Duke to Trump's ex-wife Ivana. Indeed, the meme has spread widely enough that "Hitler" (comedian Sarah Silverman) appeared on the TV show Conan to defend "himself" against the charge. Now, a new commercial from Citizen SuperPAC, which generally supports Republican candidates, takes the comparison to the next level, interspersing clips of Trump speaking with clips of Hitler saying similar-sounding things. Some find the parallel instructive, others think it's terribly offensive.

Another common comparison is between Trump and the Republicans' 1964 candidate, Barry Goldwater. This one is particularly popular among Democrats, who know well that Goldwater went down to one of the worst defeats in American political history and are hoping for a repeat. Recently, a commercial from 1964 has been making the rounds. Entitled "Confessions of a Republican," it presents a Republican voter (actor Bill Bogert) explaining why he simply cannot bring himself to vote for Goldwater. His remarks are eerily apropos for 2016, particularly when he says, "I mean, when the head of the Ku Klux Klan, when all these weird groups come out in favor of the candidate of my party—either they're not Republicans or I'm not." Like Trump, Goldwater was also compared to Hitler. His defeat presaged a significant realignment of the two major parties; perhaps 2016 will initiate a similar process. (Z)

How Could the Democrats End Up in the Same Boat as the GOP?

Most Democrats have sat back this season, popcorn in hand, and watched the chaos on the Republican side of the contest with great delight. But is there a circumstance in which the blue team could find themselves in the same situation this year? The Hill's Ben Kamisar believes there is.

Kamisar's hypothetical begins, naturally, with Clinton being indicted as a result of investigations into her email server. If this were to happen after she secured 2,383 delegates, or after she had actually received the nomination, then she might very well bow to pressure to step aside, and the Convention (or the Democratic National Committee) would be tasked with choosing a replacement. That would be Bernie Sanders, right? Not so fast. If the Party thinks he's unelectable, they could choose an alternative they think would be more palatable to voters. Joe Biden is the likeliest pick, though Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) could be a progressive "compromise" candidate. Needless to say, if Sanders supporters think he was cheated out of the nomination by party machinations, they could revolt. Thus would the Democrats find themselves in a GOP-like situation in 2016.

It's an interesting intellectual exercise, but also very unlikely. It is hard to see how Clinton might have done anything indictable, and if she did, then why it would have taken this long to make that determination? Further, the judgment call is generally not "there is probable cause for indictment," but instead "we are nearly certain of a conviction." The Bureau would presumably be even more cautious knowing that their actions could disrupt a presidential election. Point is, don't start buying those "Joe for President" buttons quite yet. (Z)

Trump Rally Gets Messy, Again

There's an argument to be made that those who protest Donald Trump at his rallies are helping to affirm his message rather than derail his campaign. Whatever the case may be, the protesters keep showing up. The latest battlefield was Arizona, with three anti-Trumpites being arrested. They are fortunate, perhaps, that it wasn't more. Arizona is Joe Arpaio territory, and "America's Sheriff" loves Trump and hates both Democrats and protesters. In any event, there's no reason to believe that this kind of ugliness is going to abate anytime soon.

Meanwhile, evidence continues to mount that Trump's campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, is little more than a high-profile thug. Yet again, he has been captured on camera manhandling a protester. At least it was a man this time. A Trump spokesman declared that the candidate, "does not condone violence at his rallies, which are private events paid for by the campaign." It's hard to take that seriously as long as Trump continues to employ Lewandowski, a man whose primary qualifications for his current job are service as a lobbyist and as executive director of the New England Seafood Producers Association. One wonders how he concluded that his job description also includes the word "bouncer." (Z)

Liberal Democrats Hold Their Fire on Garland

Many liberal Democrats are disappointed in Obama's choice of an elderly, centrist white man to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Many had been hoping for a black woman or an Asian-American. So far they realize the strategic importance of holding their fire in order to make the Republicans look like they are playing politics with the courts. One thing they are attacking is the notion offered by some Republicans of waiting until after the election, and if a Democrat is elected, quickly approving Garland. That is rank hypocrisy to them; saying the people should decide and after the people decide to say: "We don't like what you decided so we will overrule you." (V)

McCain Facing His the Toughest Race of His Career

The peasants are revolting at Washington and there are fewer people more emblematic of Washington than Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who has been in Congress since 1983. Polls show that in his reelection campaign he is running even with Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ). If Donald Trump heads the Republican ticket, large numbers of Latinos who don't normally vote are likely to register and vote a straight Democratic ticket. His negative coattails could spell doom for McCain. But before McCain can take on Kirkpatrick, he has to make sure he is the Republican nominee, and the primary isn't until August, forcing him to guard his right flank for longer than he would like. He is being challenged from the right by several candidates, the strongest of whom is former state senator Kelli Ward. While McCain is likely to beat her, the primary means he can't pivot to the center for months. (V)

Kasich Says He Would Consider Nominating Garland

While being interviewed for "Face the Nation" on Saturday, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) was asked about President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. The Governor offered a very mild rebuke of his party's obstructionism, while also conceding that, as president, he himself might consider nominating Garland.

These remarks reveal nothing about the future of the Supreme Court. Kasich is not going to become president, and even if he somehow does, he's going to nominate a fire-breathing conservative in order to shore up his right flank. They are quite revealing, however, in terms of Kasich's current campaign strategy. When the Republican field was still crowded with former governors, he tacked decidedly rightward—defunding Planned Parenthood in Ohio, for example. Now that he is the most centrist Republican remaining, he has obviously decided that the far right is Ted Cruz territory, and that it's best to shore up the moderate GOP and independent vote. Put another way, his answer to the question was almost entirely for the benefit of the good people of New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, the three blue states that vote in April and where he stands the best chance of picking up more delegates. (Z)

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---The Votemaster
Mar19 Romney Will Caucus for Cruz on Tuesday
Mar19 Trump Wonders About Romney's Faith
Mar19 CNN Will Interview All Five Remaining Candidates on Monday
Mar19 How Trump Could Beat Clinton
Mar19 How Clinton Could Beat Trump
Mar19 Could Sanders Still Win It?
Mar19 Will Sanders' Voters Support Hillary?
Mar19 Bridge Closure Reopened
Mar19 Thanks, Obama: Mitch McConnell Edition
Mar19 If Sanders Wins, He Will Ask Obama to Withdraw Garland
Mar19 An Unasked Question
Mar19 Sharron Angle Is Running for Reid's Seat in Nevada
Mar18 What Happens to Rubio's Delegates?
Mar18 Delegates Are Real People and Will Not be Anonymous
Mar18 Is Disaster Looming?
Mar18 Obama Tells Donors to Get Ready to Write Checks to Clinton
Mar18 Cruz Gets Graham's Endorsement
Mar18 California Republicans May Actually Matter, For Once
Mar18 Rubio Rules Out Running for Veep or Governor
Mar18 Republican Leaders Slam Door on a Lame Duck Session to Approve Garland
Mar18 Businessman Trump Does Not Understand Global Trade
Mar18 Downticket Republicans Scared to Death of Running with Trump
Mar18 Rabbis To Boycott Trump's Speech to AIPAC
Mar17 Missouri Results Are Finally In
Mar17 Can Trump Win on the First Ballot?
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 Trumps Transgressions
Mar17 Time for the Rubio Postmortems
Mar17 Clinton's super PAC Won't Spend any More Money in the Primary
Mar17 Does Clinton Have a Turnout Problem?
Mar17 Republican Debate Is Canceled Because Trump Doesn't Want to Debate
Mar17 Obama Nominates Merrick Garland to Supreme Court
Mar17 Attacks on Garland Have Already Commenced
Mar17 Missouri Results Are Finally In
Mar17 Can Trump Win on the First Ballot?
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
Mar17 Time for the Rubio Postmortems
Mar17 Clinton's super PAC Won't Spend any More Money in the Primary
Mar17 Does Clinton Have a Turnout Problem?
Mar17 Republican Debate Is Canceled Because Trump Doesn't Want to Debate
Mar17 Obama Nominates Merrick Garland to Supreme Court
Mar17 Attacks on Garland Have Already Commenced