News from the Votemaster
• Ted Cruz is Cratering
• Why Hasn't Rubio Endorsed Cruz?
• Trump and Clinton Have Massive Leads in California
• What Kind of General Election Candidate Will Trump Be?
• What Would Have Happened If Each Party Used the Other's Rules?
• SCOTUS Obstruction Is Bringing Down Chuck Grassley
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is doing everything in his power to win the Indiana primary today. If he loses it, he will have a steep uphill battle to prevent Donald Trump from winning the nomination on the first ballot. Staffers and volunteers were trying to make 20,000 calls yesterday in order to get the Cruz voters energized and remind them to vote. The most recent poll in Indiana has Trump ahead by 15 points. It is going to be very difficult for Cruz to erase that in a few days.
The fundamentals of the race work against Cruz. While there are evangelical voters in the southern part of the state, Gary, IN and its surrounding area are part of the Rust Belt, with many blue-collar workers now unemployed as factories closed and jobs left the state. More recently, Carrier decided to move a large plant from Indiana to Mexico. The workers displaced by all this dislocation are prime Trump voters, and nothing Cruz has to say about abortion or gays or which bathrooms transgender people should use is going to make a whit of difference. For these people, the election is about jobs and nothing else and Cruz has nothing to offer on that score.
If Trump wins Indiana convincingly, Cruz's only real chance to snag the nomination would be to play dirty; for example, forcing credentials fights to get some of the delegates pledged to Trump on the first ballot to be replaced by a Cruz-friendly slate. Or Cruz could ask delegates who are required to vote for Trump on the first ballot but actually are loyal to Cruz to go use the restroom when their state comes up in the roll call and "accidentally" miss the vote. If enough Trump delegates "forgot" to vote, it could force a second ballot, since the rules say that a candidate must have 1,237 votes, not simply a majority of those present and voting. (V)
The wheels are coming off the Cruz campaign, as the Texas Senator has already seen his week get off to a lousy start. The Carly Fiorina VP maneuver has not only failed to help him, it's left him to answer uncomfortable questions about her history of outsourcing jobs. Indianans do not like outsourcing (see above). Also on Monday, Cruz ended up in a nasty argument with a Donald Trump supporter, was heckled by a 12-year-old who shouted "you suck!", had to defend himself against a crowd of people who insisted that he is a Canadian, and had to ask his wife to refute claims that he is the Zodiac Killer. Oh, and for the first time, more Republicans view Cruz unfavorably than view him favorably (45% to 39%). So, losing Indiana may end up being less like a defeat, and more like putting Cruz out of his misery. (Z)
It's not a secret that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) does not care for Donald Trump, and would prefer to see the nomination go to his colleague and fellow Cuban Ted Cruz. So, how come there has been no endorsement? The short answer is that politics is a nasty business (and Ted Cruz is a nasty person).
Rubio's calculations begin with an assumption, almost certainly correct, that an endorsement won't do any good at the present time. Indianans and Californians have little interest in what the Florida Senator has to say. It is only at the convention, where Rubio commands a certain number of delegates, and might influence a certain number beyond that, that his words might have sway. And he is willing to flex his muscles if he believes that it will be the difference between Trump getting the nomination and Cruz getting the nomination. But, absent that circumstance, Rubio would prefer not to go on the record as pro-Cruz. He's eyeing 2020, and a possible rematch with the Texas Senator, and he believes that Cruz would use the endorsement as a weapon. Something along the lines of, "How can you be critical of me if you liked me so well that you gave me your endorsement four years ago?" With another colleague—say, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)—this would be less of an issue, but those who do not watch their backs around Ted Cruz often find themselves with a knife buried there. (Z)
Just in case Indiana doesn't do in Ted Cruz, California will finish the job. A new SurveyUSA poll of the Golden State looks grim for the Texas Senator. Here are the numbers:
At stake are 172 Republican delegates and a whopping 475 Democratic delegates. Cruz and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are counting on huge victories in California to save their campaigns, but it doesn't look like that is in the cards. In a potential general election matchup, Clinton crushes Trump 56% to 34%.
The poll also showed California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) advancing to the general election for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). So no Republican will even be on the ballot for the Senate race in November due to California's having adopted Louisiana's jungle primary system, in which the top two finishers in the primary face off in November, no matter which party they are in. (V)
The odds are pretty good that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for President. A lot of people—in both parties—are wondering what he will be like in the general election. Dan Balz has made some guesses. First, the leopard doesn't change his spots. Trump will be Trump. He probably isn't going to do the Etch-A-Sketch thing. Nobody would believe him if he tried. So expect more of what we have seen all year. Second, he is unpredictable and will continue to be so. That could put Hillary Clinton off her game. Last week he said she wouldn't get 5% of the vote if she were a man. He is likely to continue to make statements that are outrageous, politically incorrect, and downright lies, but get lots of attention. At a debate he could bring up subjects not on anyone's radar to make her squirm. What about that time in 1964 when you said Barry Goldwater was the best candidate in American history or the time you cut gym class in 9th grade?
Clinton's team is carefully studying the primaries to see what Trump's opponents did wrong. One thing they already have noted is that his opponents didn't hit back fast enough or hard enough. She won't make that mistake. She probably wants to remain presidential, so it is doubtful that she will personally hit back hard, but she could easily use surrogates to do the dirty work. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who served with her in the Senate and who is a strong backer, is a Brooklyn street fighter at heart. She could unleash him. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) was a professional comedian before he was elected to the Senate. Imagine that she told him to send out zingers every day to get his goat. How about: Hey, Donald Short Fingers, how come every time you decide to dump your wife, you usually end with with a foreigner? Aren't you able to impress American women? The reaction to that is likely to be unpresidential and Clinton can brush it off saying Franken is a professional comic. Ultimately, people are going to have to decide if they want to entrust the toughest job in the world to this guy, not which side has the best one-liners. (V)
Many of Bernie Sanders supporters are jealous of the Republican Party rules, which don't include 712 superdelegates (although they do include 168 RNC members as voting delegates). So Sanders would have done much better under the Republican rules, right? Actually, no. Not at all. He would have done much worse. As FiveThirtyEight computed, some of the other Republican Party rules would have hurt Sanders enormously. For example, if the Democrats allocated Florida's delegates winner take all as the Republicans did, Clinton would have picked up 214 delegates in the Sunshine State instead of only 141.
Daniel Nichanian at 538 worked out two scenarios. First, what if the Democrats in every state used the Republican allocation rules for that state? Second, what if the Democrats had allocated all delegates in all states strictly proportional to the statewide vote? Currently Clinton has 1,662 pledged delegates. Under the Republican rules (including WTA in some states), she would have 1,955, almost 300 more pledged delegates than she has now. Under strict proportionality, she would have 1,670, just 8 delegates more than she has now. The latter result is not surprising because the Democratic rules, while complicated, are more-or-less based on proportionality, albeit by congressional district in some cases. The article also notes that Sanders has won a larger share of the pledged delegates (45.2%) than he has of the popular vote (42.3%). Thus the rules have actually treated Sanders well and far better than the Republican rules would have.
The Republican rules have favored Donald Trump, especially in WTA states. He won about 40% of the popular vote but has about 50% of the delegates so far. So what is the takeaway here? The Democrats' rules are "fairer" than the Republican rules in the sense of winning x% of the popular vote gives you close to x% of the delegates. Also, if the Democrats had used the Republican rules (no superdelegates but a number of WTA states), Clinton would have wrapped it up long ago. Finally, if the Republicans had used the Democrats' rules, they would certainly be staring at a contested convention. (V)
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) should win re-election in a walk, as a popular six-term incumbent in a state whose reddish-purple tint matches his own moderate-but-not-too-moderate Republicanism very well. However, as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he finds himself as poster boy for the GOP's unwillingness to consider President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. And as a new poll reveals, this is having a significant and negative impact on his election chances. His favorability numbers have dropped by almost 20 points and, more concerning for him, one in five people who say they would otherwise support the Senator are considering changing their vote because of the Supreme Court blockade. If Chuck Grassley, of all people, is in trouble, then Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), among others, should be absolutely terrified.
Meanwhile, President Obama apparently senses blood in the water. He's in the midst of a round of TV appearances, all in markets with vulnerable Senate Republicans, pushing for Garland's confirmation. Another six months is a long time to hold out, and so there's plenty of time for the walls to come crumbling down. Particularly if someone like Chuck Grassley, who knows his pork better than anyone in Washington, decides that he's got to save his bacon. (Z)Email a link to a friend or share:
May02 Trump Not Interested in Healing the GOP
May02 Trump Accuses China of Raping the U.S.
May02 A Short List of Possible Running Mates for Donald Trump
May02 Cruz's Advisers Are Nervous
May02 Cruz Delegates May Defect
May02 Issa Says that Clinton E-Mail Probe Could Linger Past November
May02 Are Open Primaries a Good Idea?
May01 Trump Might Have Trouble Finding a Running Mate
May01 Gender Hurts Trump but Doesn't Help Clinton
May01 How Trump Will Attack Clinton
May01 Trump May Mention Monica Lewinsky
May01 Can Trump Win the White House?
May01 Another Saturday, Another Slate of Cruz Delegates
May01 Indiana Unlikely to Be a Repeat of Wisconsin
May01 Will Fiorina Help Cruz in California?
May01 Clinton Is Already Moving Staff to General Election Swing States
May01 Why Are the Highly Educated Getting More Liberal?
May01 Will 2016 Campaign Set Spending Records?
Apr30 GOP Has Split into Ryan and Trump Wings
Apr30 Republicans Have a Big Latino Problem
Apr30 The GOP Is Losing Millennials, Too
Apr30 Model Shows That Trump Will Win the Nomination
Apr30 Republican Women Want Trump To Pick a Woman as Running Mate
Apr30 Democratic Veeps Are Nearly Always Senators
Apr30 Politico's Panel of Insiders Think Clinton Will Crush Trump
Apr30 Closed Primaries Are Not Going to Cost Sanders the Nomination
Apr30 Sanders Drops DNC Lawsuit
Apr30 Trump + Garland = Trouble for Endangered GOP Senators
Apr29 The General Election Has Already Started
Apr29 Trump Has Defined Gender as a Major General Election Issue
Apr29 Get Your Official Hillary Clinton Woman Card
Apr29 Indianapolis Star Slams Trump
Apr29 Bobby Knight Campaigns for Trump
Apr29 Large Majority of Americans Have an Unfavorable View of the Republican Party
Apr29 Trump Has Insulted 210 People, Places, and Things
Apr29 Journalist Who Profiled Melania Trump is Subjected to Abuse
Apr29 Energy Could Determine Control of the Senate
Apr28 Trump Is Very Close To a Majority
Apr28 In Hail Mary Play, Cruz Picks Fiorina for Veep Slot
Apr28 Trump Likely To Get More Primary Votes Than Any Republican in History
Apr28 Trump's Speech Does Not Impress Experts
Apr28 Latinos Registering in Record Numbers
Apr28 It's California or Bust for Sanders
Apr28 Democrats Want to Win While Republicans Want to Send 'em A Message
Apr28 Putin Has Chosen His Horse
Apr28 Clinton May Get Some Help With Doobie-ous Sanders Supporters
Apr27 Trump Goes Five-for-Five on Super Tuesday Four
Apr27 Clinton Effectively Puts Sanders Away
Apr27 Democratic Senate Primaries Go the Establishment's Way