News from the Votemaster
• Sanders Is Trying to Pilfer Clinton's Superdelegates
• Trump Threatens to Sue over Louisiana Delegation
• Supreme Court Vacancy Not Currently a Top Issue for Many Voters
• Former Trump Strategist Confirms What Everyone Suspected
• Trump Could Hurt Republicans for a Generation
• Why Not Al Franken?
• How Much Does a Poll Cost?
• No Guns at the Republican National Convention
• No Apple vs. the FBI in Court
• Rubio Removes Himself from the California Ballot
Sanders Has Raised Millions Since Saturday
Whenever Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) wins something, the money just rolls in. Since his three victories in Western caucuses on Saturday, he has raised another $4 million. His campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, said that the Senator's grassroots fundraising has been extremely strong. Although Sanders has little chance of catching Hillary Clinton in delegates, he has so much money he is unlikely to drop out for financial reasons. (V)
Sanders Is Trying to Pilfer Clinton's Superdelegates
Having already acknowledged that his only path to victory lies with the Democratic superdelegates, Bernie Sanders' campaign is working hard behind the scenes to try to poach some of the ones who have already committed to Hillary Clinton. His arguments are that he has the momentum, that he is a better matchup for Donald Trump, that he's more popular with young voters, and that it's not proper for superdelegates to vote differently from the voters of their states.
The Clinton campaign is not taking the threat seriously. When asked by reporters, Clinton pollster Joel Benenson reportedly "kind of chuckled," while also observing that many of the pledged superdelegates are longtime members of Congress who have known Bernie Sanders for many years, and would presumably have endorsed him already if they were inclined to do so. It's a good point, and it's also hard to avoid the feeling that the Sanders campaign is grasping at straws at this point (Z).
Trump Threatens to Sue over Louisiana Delegation
Donald Trump won the Louisiana primary, but doesn't like how things are developing there. He claims there was a secret meeting of the delegates, but somehow his delegates weren't informed about it. He apparently also objects to how the delegates were chosen and plans to file a formal objection with the Republican National Committee to get the Louisiana delegates decertified. This could be the first step towards a credentials fight at the convention itself. (V)
Supreme Court Vacancy Not Currently a Top Issue for Many Voters
While the vacancy on the Supreme Court is a hot-button issue for many political zealots on both sides of the aisle, for many ordinary voters, it is a low-priority issue, despite the extreme impact the Supreme Court has on so many areas that so affect so many people. Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Report calls it a "base issue," not a "voting issue." In other words, it is one that both parties' bases care about deeply, but which isn't one that swings a lot of votes. And if voters don't really care about the Supreme Court so much, the Republicans in the Senate are very unlikely to cave and hold hearings on Merrick Garland.
With that said, the issue hasn't had a lot of time to gain traction. Garland was nominated just two weeks ago, and so we haven't really entered into prime "obstructionism" territory. Once he's languished for a couple of months, then it's worth checking to see how voters feel. At very least, the GOP leadership made a serious error in declaring their refusal to consider a nominee so quickly, which is presumably why one-quarter of Republican Senators have now said they are willing to meet with the nominee, including Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mark Kirk of Illinois, and Jerry Moran of Kansas. Nearly all of the "defectors" are running for re-election, and they are clearly giving themselves some cover in case the issue starts to develop some teeth. (V & Z)
Former Trump Strategist Confirms What Everyone Suspected
Stephanie Cegielski was involved with the Donald Trump campaign for several months, explaining that, "I fell in love with the idea of the protest candidate who was not bought by corporations. A man who sat in a Manhattan high-rise he had built, making waves as a straight talker with a business background, full of successes and failures, who wanted America to return to greatness." After one too many shoot-from-the-hip tweets on Muslims and foreign policy, however, she became disenchanted. Now, she has written a scathing essay for xojane.com about what she witnessed behind the scenes.
The essay is full of unflattering observations, like "The man does not know policy, nor does he have the humility to admit what he does not know." But the central revelation is that Trump never expected or wanted to be a candidate, and that he launched his bid to "send a message to America and to increase his power as a businessman. " Now that The Donald has taken off, Cegielski says, "his pride is too out of control to stop." Trump's campaign, of course, declared that Cegielski was never more than a minor functionary, and that she has no idea what she is talking about. So it's a classic he-said, she-said situation, although in this case the she-said is awfully believable. (Z).
Trump Could Hurt Republicans for a Generation
An academic study has shown that by age 30, most people have determined what their political views are and these don't change in later years. A recent poll shows that voters under 35 prefer Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump 52% to 19%. If this cohort, which also supported Barack Obama twice, gets into the habit of always supporting Democrats, the Republican Party has a long-term problem.
There is no clear-cut explanation why very few younger voters are attracted to Trump, but one hypothesis is that Trump's big selling point to older voters is his blatant racism and younger voters just don't feel that at all. Race is not such a big deal to them as it is to older voters. But whatever the reason, if the Republican Party loses young voters, it may never get them back. (V)
Why Not Al Franken?
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) had a lengthy career in entertainment before entering politics. This included two stints at Saturday Night Live, appearances in a number of movies, and authorship of several books of political satire. In the latter group, his two best sellers were Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, and Other Observations and an account of an imaginary Franken presidential run entitled Why Not Me? The Inside Story of the Making and Unmaking of the Franken Presidency. Though Franken has now been a successful and hardworking Senator for seven years, he's not generally viewed as presidential or vice presidential timber, primarily because of his past statements and indiscretions, like openly endorsing the use of cocaine on SNL in the 1970s. But now, as Politico's Bill Scher compellingly argues, he might be the ideal running mate for Hillary Clinton.
Scher begins by observing that Franken's biggest liability, the aforementioned indiscretions of his previous career, are not going to matter in a race against Donald Trump since a few wild statements made during the wild 1970s pale in comparison to the things that issue forth from The Donald's mouth on a daily basis. Meanwhile, Franken would bring three valuable benefits to a Clinton-led ticket: (1) He would appeal to progressive Democrats, (2) He would help defend the rust belt for Clinton, and (3) He is well-equipped to navigate the Trump media circus. Just six months ago, Vice-President Franken was the longest of longshots. But now, he's likely to get a long look from Hillary. (Z)
How Much Does a Poll Cost?
The media are full of polls and this site has covered the general election presidential and senate polls going back more than a decade, but people rarely talk about the details of polling. Roll Call has an interview with PPP's Tom Jensen about how polling works. PPP does robopolls, with computers calling people and then a recorded voice saying things like: "Press 1 for Clinton, press 2 for Sanders." Jensen said that PPP has 2,016 phone lines, so the company can make over 2,000 calls at the same time. On a typical day, PPP calls 100,000 to 200,000 people for 30 to 40 surveys a night. PPP polls are cheap, typically $2,000 to $3,000, vs. the $15,000 a traditional firm would charge. (V)
No Guns at the Republican National Convention
Despite 44,000 signing an online petition requesting that convention attendees be allowed to carry weapons into the convention hall, the Secret Service, which is charged with protecting the candidates, has announced that no guns will be allowed, even though Ohio is an open-carry state. It's pretty obvious why the Service said no way. Passions are expected to run very high at the convention and all it would take is one hothead to gun down a nominee he doesn't like. That is a risk it has no interest in taking. Nice try, but no. (V)
No Apple vs. the FBI in Court
Readers may recall that Apple Computer's refusal to write an iPhone backdoor for the FBI was a budding political issue a month ago, pitting "liberal" Apple against conservative types who believe that there should be few limits to government power when it comes to fighting terrorism. Donald Trump was the loudest voice, as he so often is with issues where he has no idea what he's talking about. His contribution to the debate included sending a tweet from his iPhone calling for a boycott of Apple products.
The issue is not budding any more. The FBI has reportedly cracked the phone in question on its own, and so has dropped their case against Apple. They are refusing to reveal how they did so, however, which may be a case of sour grapes, or it may indicate that the Bureau—having lost the PR battle in this particular instance—is just saving face. Whatever it may be, experts agree that this is just a temporary delay, and that the government will be putting this issue to a judicial test sooner or later, with the smart bet being "sooner." (Z)
Rubio Removes Himself from the California Ballot
On Monday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) filed paperwork with the California Secretary of State to have his name removed from the Golden State's Republican primary ballot. Though he did not explain his reasoning, his goal was undoubtedly to avoid siphoning votes away from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), who will need every ballot they can get in their tag team effort to stop Donald Trump. By taking one for the red team, Rubio is clearly signaling his belief that he still has a future in politics. Perhaps he's eyeing a run for dogcatcher somewhere. (Z)Email a link to a friend or share:
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