Clinton 1730
Sanders 1053
 Needed   2383
Trump 739
Cruz 465
Rubio 166
Kasich 143
Needed 1237

News from the Votemaster

Sanders Wins Three States, but Not So Many Delegates

The comedian Will Rogers once said, "I am not a member of any organized party—I am a Democrat." This weekend, we learned what he meant, as all three Democratic caucuses were a bit of a mess. The Washington State Democratic Party still has not released final tallies, so for now we will rely on the generally accurate projections from Here's how things shook out on Saturday, give or take a delegate or two:

Democratic Results
Alaska (100%) 18.4% 3 81.6% 13
Washington (100%) 27.1% 27 72.7% 74
Hawaii (100%) 30.0% 8 69.8% 17
Total   38   104

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) thumped Hillary Clinton in all three states, Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington. He posted a net gain of roughly 66 delegates, and reduced her lead in pledged delegates to 237 (1261 to 1024), though overall she is still ahead by 677 delegates. That's part of the bad news for the Vermont Senator, the other part is that he's running out of states/territories where he would be expected to have the advantage (see below for more). There is simply no way he will get the Democratic nomination solely on the strength of primaries and caucuses; his only hope is to pry away a substantial number of superdelegates. Sanders himself acknowledged this last week, in a rather dramatic change of course.

Meanwhile, the commentariat generally sees Sanders' continued survival as bad news for Hillary Clinton, both because he is a thorn in her side, and also because he's a reminder that many Democrats lack enthusiasm for the front runner. There may be something to this, but then again, there may not be. As we have noted, Clinton and her allied SuperPACs are not spending money on the primaries any more, so Sanders is not hurting her in that way. Meanwhile, as CNN's Julian Zelizer observes, the Vermont Senator may actually be doing Clinton a favor. As he is conducting a principled, issue-focused campaign, he's not forcing her into GOP-style mudslinging that could come back to haunt her. Meanwhile, his inequality-focused approach had directed Clinton's attention to issues that previously she had tended to overlook, while also forcing her to tighten her argument for the presidency.

In any event, next up for the Democrats is Wisconsin on April 5. Polls have Clinton with a slight lead although the demographics favor Sanders. Probably neither one will win a dramatic, race-changing, victory there. (V & Z)

White People Love Sanders

In states where there is a high percentage of white people, Bernie Sanders has done very well. In states with a high percentage of blacks and/or Latinos, Hillary Clinton has done well. We have tried to use race as a way of predicting what will happen next. The methodology is simple: make a scatterplot of the percentage of white people in a state vs. the percentage of delegates Sanders has won in the states that have already voted. If this presumed correlation is true, it should show up in the scatterplot. Here are the data, with the blue diamonds representing states that have already voted.

Race vs. Sanders

If we ignore Hawaii and Alaska as clear outliers with unusual demographics (Hawaii is dominated by Asian Americans and Alaska has many indigenous people), there is a clear correlation between whiteness and Sanders' strength: The whiter the state, the better Sanders' performance is. The scatterplot shows the least-squares regression line through the data points (excluding the two outliers, Hawaii and Alaska). Interesting, but now what?

For the eight states that have Democratic contests in April, we know the percentage of white people in each state. The regression line gives us a way to translate "whiteness" into "percentage Sanders wins." So we added these data points to the graph in green. For each state we assume that the percentage of Sanders' vote will be exactly what the regression line predicts. Any data point above the purple (50%) line will be a Sanders victory and any point below it will be Clinton's. Using this model we predict that Sanders will win Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The model also predicts that Clinton will win Maryland, New York, Delaware, and Connecticut.

But we can go further than that. From the model, we can derive the percentage of the vote each candidate will get. Since the Democratic primaries are all proportional (more or less), based on race, we can get a prediction of how many delegates each of the Democratic candidates will receive in each state. Here are the results.

State Pct.White Pct. Clinton Pct. Sanders Delegates Clinton Dels Sanders Dels
Maryland 54% 68% 32% 95 65 30
New York 57% 66% 34% 247 163 84
Delaware 63% 60% 40% 21 13 8
Connecticut 71% 52% 48% 55 29 26
Pennsylvania 77% 47% 53% 189 89 100
Rhode Island 77% 47% 53% 24 11 13
Wisconsin 82% 41% 59% 86 35 51
Wyoming 86% 36% 64% 14 5 9
April total         409 322
Total pledged         1,670 1,346
Grand total         2,139 1,375

When adding up the delegates per state, we see that the model predicts Clinton will get 409 delegates to Sanders' 322 delegates in April. So her net result for April will be a gain of 87 delegates. She will then lead him 1,670 to 1,346 in pledged delegates, for a net lead of 324 delegates. In total delegates, her lead will be 2,139 to 1,375, a net lead of 764 delegates.

It won't play out exactly like this because other factors always play a role, but it does give a ballpark figure. Based on the model, Clinton will need only 244 more delegates after April to clinch the nomination. In theory, we could extend the model into May and June, but since a week is a lifetime in politics, 5 weeks is a really, really, really long time. In May and June, 1,016 pledged delegates are up for grabs. Clinton would need to win only 24% of them to get the nomination. She is likely to do quite a bit better than that consider that states like New Jersey (58% white) and California (39% white) vote in June. (V)

The Fight for South Carolina Is Starting All Over

William Faulkner famously said of the South: "The past is never dead. It's not even past." This certainly holds for South Carolina, in more ways than one. Even though Donald Trump won all 50 delegates in the South Carolina primary, the fight for the actual delegates is just beginning. Now that the primary is over, the actual delegates are about to be chosen.

South Carolina Republican Party rules state that candidates for delegate must have attended the 2015 Republican state convention. The 925 insiders who showed up last year are virtually all elected officials or party activists. Almost none of them support Donald Trump. Most of them despise him. The first batch of national delegates will be chosen at county and congressional district conventions in the next month. The rest will be chosen at the state convention in May. Ted Cruz has been actively involved in the process, trying to put as many Cruz supporters as possible in the delegation. On the first ballot, all delegates are supposed to vote for Trump, but things could get dicey if some of them defect to Cruz. The convention will have to rule on what to do about "faithless" delegates. On the second ballot, all of them are free agents and Cruz is trying to make sure he gets most of the 50 votes on the second ballot, if there is one. This under-the-radar campaigning for the actual delegates is going to happen in most states fairly soon. (V)

Obama's Approval Rating Is Now 53%

Hillary Clinton is running for President as Obama's third term. This is obviously a big gamble because if he sinks, she sinks. Fortunately for her, his latest approval rating is 53% to a 44% disapproval. To the extent it remains steady or continues to rise, he will be great asset in the general election if Hillary Clinton is the nominee. But even if Sanders is the nominee, a Republican slogan of "throw the bums out" doesn't work so well if the bums are quite popular. (V)

When Was America Great?

Donald Trump's slogan—"Make America Great Again"—rests on the implied assumption that there was some period in America's past that was better (presumably far better) than the period in which we currently live. The New York Times finally pinned The Donald down as to exactly when those halcyon days were. He had two answers: "a period of time when we were developing at the turn of the century which was a pretty wild time for this country and pretty wild in terms of building that machine, that machine was really based on entrepreneurship" and "the late '40s and '50s [when] we were not pushed around, we were respected by everybody."

Apparently, Trump never took U.S. history in high school. Or elementary school, for that matter. People of color didn't find those eras to be so great, inasmuch as they were systematically discriminated against (and often targeted for violence). Women neither, nor immigrants. Turn of the century America was not great in so many ways that it gave rise to two of the largest reform movements in the nation's history—the Populists and the Progressives. And the 1950s had a little thing called the Cold War, in which the Soviets most certainly didn't respect the United States as they held out the threat of a nuclear strike that makes ISIS' attacks look like child's play. Of course, there was one type of person for whom America was great for in both of those eras: business tycoons. Hmmm...maybe Trump did take a history class, after all.

It is human nature to look at the past through rose-colored glasses (or, in Trump's case, white-colored glasses). But the truth is always more complicated, and any politician who says otherwise is just peddling nostalgic nonsense. (Z)

Grave Criticism for Trump

Visitors to New York's Central Park on Sunday were greeted with an interesting sight: A tombstone for Donald Trump, emblazoned with the slogan "Made America Hate Again." It was in place for several hours before being spirited away (no pun intended).

Meanwhile, on the other side of the continent, in Mexico City, the symbolism was a bit sharper. In celebrations of the Judas festival on Saturday, an effigy of Trump filled in for the man who betrayed Jesus. As the 10-foot-tall paper mache sculpture was ignited, the crowd chanted, "Death! Death! Death!" Perhaps the Mexicans will not be paying for that wall, after all.

Naturally, these incidents are both silly theatrics. But they nonetheless remind us that Trump has inspired a rare kind of negativity. One would have to look long and hard to find a candidate who triggered this kind of visceral response and yet still made it to the White House. Maybe Andrew Jackson, though even he was never burned in effigy by the people of Mexico. (Z)

How the Republicans Created Donald Trump

Most Republican elites seem surprised at the rise of Donald Trump, but they shouldn't be. Someone like him was bound to show up sooner or later as a consequence of decisions the Party made years ago, according to a long article in the New York Times today. Basically, blue-collar workers deserted the Democrats years ago when the Democrats decided to stand up for blacks and other minorities, whom blue-collar workers see as competitors for jobs and resources. Then Karl Rove revved up the culture wars and convinced these culturally conservative people that they shouldn't pay so much attention to economics when there were more important issues around, such as abortion and gay rights, which the Democrats supported and the Republicans opposed. The capstone was put in place with the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which unleashed billions of dollars of money from wealthy Republican donors. All the GOP had to do was follow their policies, in particular, lower taxes on the rich, less regulation of business, lots of free-trade agreements, and more immigration, to drive down wages. Somehow the Party elites assumed its base wouldn't protest. After all, gay people were now getting married and unborn babies were being aborted left and right.

Then the recession of 2008 hit and jobs became the big issue again among blue-collar workers but not among hedge-fund managers. They were doing fine and didn't notice or care that the Republican base was very unhappy about the donor class' policies, especially on free trade (i.e., shipping jobs abroad) and immigration (i.e., importing low-wage competition). Along came Donald Trump, as unlikely a spokesman for blue-collar workers as one can imagine, and his spark set off a wildfire. But if Trump hadn't come along, some other opportunistic Republican would surely have. He just had the advantage of already being famous. All he had to do was throw in some racism and sexism and he was good to go.

The Republican elites completely misread their base. Nominating John McCain in 2008 wasn't a problem. He was a genuine American hero (at least to everyone except Donald Trump), but the nomination of Mitt Romney in 2012 showed how tone deaf the Party had become. When millions of Republicans were worried about losing their jobs, the GOP nominated a guy whose career consisted of buying up struggling companies, stripping their assets, and then firing all the workers. It is hard to imagine a worse fit. But the donors were ecstatic about one of their own as a possible President and ignored the base. This time it caught up with them. But if Trump hadn't come along, eventually there would have been another Trump or Ross Perot type preaching the same message. The lesson here is that when the leadership of a party gets completely out of step with its own voters, it is going to have a problem.

The same can be seen on the Democratic side. The Sanders phenomenon shows that many Democrats are also very angry with the status quo. Unfortunately for Sanders, he has only one opponent but she has a long and solid record and is wildly popular with blacks and Latinos and is quite acceptable to older and centrist Democrats. There are enough of them to propel her to a likely victory. (V)

Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery, but Talking about It Is Fine

This week featured Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) attacking each other's wives. The National Enquirer had a story claiming that Cruz was a quintuple adulterer. Cruz repeatedly called it garbage and accused Trump of planting the story. On the Sunday talk shows, the two of them continued their discussion of the subject. Cruz also pointed out that the CEO of the Enquirer, David Pecker [sic], is a close friend of Trump who hesitates not a second to smear Trump's opponents. Trump continued to blame Cruz for the ad featuring an almost nude Melania Trump, even though Cruz has denied it and Liz Mair's Make America Awesome SuperPAC has taken credit for it. And we are only in March. By July, this could get downright dirty. (V)

Trump Wins Blue States and Sanders Wins Red States

Donald Trump has won every primary state Barack Obama carried in 2012 except Ohio. These include Massachusetts, Vermont, Michigan, and Illinois. He is also leading in California and expected to do well in most, if not all, of the states in the Mid-Atlantic region. His strength there is something unusual in Republican politics: his complete lack of interest in religion. Jesus Who? doesn't play well in Mississippi, but it does just fine in Maryland.

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders has triumphed in places like Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Idaho, Utah, and Alaska, all very red states. Hillary Clinton has also won red states, but only those with extremely large black populations. Still, Trump as the blue-state champion and Sanders as the red-state champion is not something that anyone would have predicted even 6 months ago.

Even more surprising is that Trump has said that he expects to win New York in the general election because he is a New Yorker. Of course, if he faces Hillary Clinton, she has also been a New Yorker for the past 16 years, so that would be a kind of a subway series. Within New York City, Trump would run strongest in the Outer Boroughs, while Clinton would dominate Manhattan. Upstate, Clinton is better known since she was senator of the whole state for 8 years and Trump doesn't have any major projects upstate. A Siena Research Institute poll earlier this month showed Clinton beating Trump 57% to 34% statewide. Since both candidates are fairly well known and there were only 9% undecideds in the poll, it seems unlikely that the results will dramatically change in the Fall. (V)

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---The Votemaster
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Mar25 Can Trump Hit 1,237 Delegates?
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Mar25 Lobbying of the Delegates Is Already Underway
Mar25 Cruz Calls Trump a Sniveling Coward
Mar25 Cruz and Kasich Begin the Air War in Wisconsin
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Mar25 Can Trump Legally Expel Protesters from His Rallies?
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Mar24 Voting Was a Disaster in Arizona
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Mar24 Trump's #1 Cheerleader: Newt Gingrich
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Mar24 Pros and Cons of a Third Party to Stop Trump
Mar24 Trump and Clinton in a Word
Mar24 Clinton Preparing a Massive General Election Ad Campaign
Mar23 A Night of Blowouts on Western Tuesday
Mar23 Cruz Calls for Patrols of Muslim Neighborhoods
Mar23 Rudy Giuliani Picks a Candidate by a Process of Elimination
Mar23 Jeb Bush Backs Cruz
Mar23 Trump Resorts to Ill-Conceived Threats
Mar23 Why the GOP Establishment Doesn't Like Kasich
Mar23 Trump's Foreign Policy Team Leaves Experts Scratching Their Heads
Mar23 The Virgins Are Shaking
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Mar23 AIPAC Apologizes for Trump's Speech
Mar 23 Jeb Bush Backs Cruz
Mar23 A Night of Blowouts on Western Tuesday
Mar23 Cruz Calls for Patrols of Muslim Neighborhoods
Mar23 Rudy Giuliani Picks a Candidate by a Process of Elimination
Mar23 Trump Resorts to Ill-Conceived Threats
Mar23 Why the GOP Establishment Doesn't Like Kasich
Mar23 Trump's Foreign Policy Team Leaves Experts Scratching Their Heads