Clinton 2259
Sanders 1518
 Needed   2383
Trump 1128
Cruz 564
Rubio 166
Kasich 153
Needed 1237

News from the Votemaster

TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  How Does Donald Trump Treat Women?
      •  Appalachia is the Key for Trump
      •  Trump-Putin Mural Goes Viral
      •  Adelson Throws His Weight Behind Trump
      •  Cruz May Rewrite GOP Rulebook at Convention
      •  Surprise! Clinton Already Has a Trump Tax Ad
      •  Nevada Democratic Convention Gets Contentious

How Does Donald Trump Treat Women?

Throughout this campaign, Donald Trump has regularly veered into misogynist territory. But is it an act? A persona adopted only for political purposes? That is what the New York Times wanted to know, so they interviewed 50 women that he has dated, worked with, or socialized with. Their verdict: It's not an act.

The longform piece took six weeks to research and write, but the gist comes early on:

Their accounts—many relayed here in their own words—reveal unwelcome romantic advances, unending commentary on the female form, a shrewd reliance on ambitious women, and unsettling workplace conduct, according to the interviews, as well as court records and written recollections. The interactions occurred in his offices at Trump Tower, at his homes, at construction sites and backstage at beauty pageants. They appeared to be fleeting, unimportant moments to him, but they left lasting impressions on the women who experienced them.

We've already seen ads with women reading Trump's quotes about women. Presumably, ads with women talking about their experiences with Trump are coming soon. (Z)

Appalachia is the Key for Trump

Donald Trump has few plausible paths to the White House. In fact, he may have only one plausible path: winning over the blue-collar voters of Appalachia. Those individuals went for Barack Obama twice, Al Gore, and Bill Clinton twice. However, many of them are coal miners (or have ties to the industry), and so they are not thrilled with Hillary Clinton's thoughts on putting coal miners out of business. At the same time, they find much to admire in Trump's brand of economic populism.

If Hillary Clinton is able to capture the states that the Democrats have taken in all of the last six elections, she will already have 242 electoral votes. Meanwhile, Trump is in trouble in many swing states (Florida, North Carolina, Virginia) and even in several not-so-swing states (Arizona, possibly Georgia, possibly Mississippi). There is simply no chance that all of the troublesome states will break his way, so it is essential that he cut into that 242-vote block. The Appalachian voters, who have the potential to flip Ohio (not part of the 242) and Pennsylvania (definitely part of the 242), may be his only viable point of entry into Hillary's base of support. It's a tall order, but that may be the only kind of order that Trump can place. (Z)

Trump-Putin Mural Goes Viral

Not long before the Berlin Wall fell, someone adorned it with a mural that showed Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and East German President Erich Honecker sharing a passionate kiss. Now, a restaurant in Lithuania has re-created that scene, except that the subjects are Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Shortly after artist Mindaugas Bonanu finished the work, photos found their way online, and they quickly went viral.

This story would be a mere curiosity, but for the fact that it adds to the body of evidence that (a) Donald Trump is a figure of derision and mockery beyond America's borders, and (b) He is also perceived as being in lockstep with Putin. One can expect both of these things to be brought up during the general election, either by Hillary Clinton or by her surrogates. And if he does manage a victory, things like this do not bode well for American foreign policy. (Z)

Adelson Throws His Weight Behind Trump

Speaking of two men kissing (and making up), Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has now made clear that he will throw his full support behind Donald Trump, to the tune of $100 million. This makes him the first of the GOP's superstar donors to embrace The Donald. The partnership between the two men comes as something of a surprise. Long before 2016, they battled over Trump's plans to build a casino in Las Vegas. They also exchanged some nasty words early in this campaign, with Trump taking to Twitter to blast Adelson for supporting Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

It's hard to guess what exactly is behind Adelson's $100 million change of heart. Maybe he's telling the truth when he says he thinks that the US needs a CEO to break the gridlock in Washington. Or maybe he knows he's getting up there in years (he's 83), and he's not going to have too many more opportunities to get involved with presidential politics. It's even possible that there is some sort of quid pro quo going on here, and that this is more like a $100 million "promise to never again try to build a casino in Vegas" bribe. Whatever the case may be, Trump is trying to scrape together $1 billion, more or less. He's now 10% of the way there. (Z)

Cruz May Rewrite GOP Rulebook at Convention

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), though he has dropped out of the presidential race, has nonetheless made clear that he intends to be a part of the process at the convention. He has no interest in aiding Donald Trump, however, something he made obvious yet again on Saturday when he gave a speech to Texas voters without finding time to even mention The Donald. He's playing the long game; trying to set himself up to assume leadership of the Party and claim the GOP nomination in 2020.

To that end, Cruz appears determined to secure some very big changes in the GOP's election rules. Among the possible items on his agenda:

  • Closed primaries: No more independents voting for someone like Donald Trump
  • Rewriting the calendar: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada may lose their special status
  • Killing Rule 40B: The "Ron Paul" rule requires that a candidate win at least eight states or primaries
  • Revoking the RNC's rulemaking authority: This would weaken the power of "insiders"
  • The Conscience Clause: Delegates would no longer be required to support candidates they don't agree with
  • Killing delegate binding: A more radical version of the above; delegates would be free to vote as they see fit

These would all be, to a greater or lesser extent, pretty radical changes. Certainly, they won't all become reality, but don't put it past Ted Cruz to secure at least one or two of them. (Z)

Surprise! Clinton Already Has a Trump Tax Ad

For oppo research teams, particularly those of the Democratic variety, Donald Trump offers an embarrassment of riches. He's been the presumptive nominee for just more than a week, and Hillary Clinton's campaign has already produced four brutal ads that hit The Donald where it hurts. The latest blasts him for his unwillingness to release his tax returns, and his overall lack of transparency.

These ads are essentially a form of trial balloon—Clinton and her staff are going to try out all different kinds of punches and see which ones land. The tax return issue certainly has the potential to be one of those punches that land, particularly since it can be boiled down to the very simple question, "What is he hiding?" Indeed, that could prove to be the meme of the 2016 campaign, like John Kerry and flip-flopping, or George H.W. Bush and "no new taxes." Given the punishment he is going to take on the issue, there must be some very troublesome stuff in those returns that he does not want known. (Z)

Nevada Democratic Convention Gets Contentious

Nevada's Democrats met on Saturday to formalize the state's slate of delegates. Hillary Clinton actually picked up a pair of delegates, but well before that things turned ugly. There was a fair bit of shouting and some scuffling, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), was booed while she spoke to the convention, and ultimately Sanders supporters accused the Clinton campaign of corruption and of manipulating the results.

Such incidents have to be very worrisome for Clinton. She is both hoping and expecting that the Sanders supporters will ultimately come into the fold. What happened on Saturday certainly doesn't suggest that is going to happen. Yes, there is still time, but if Sanders contests the Democratic convention in late July, it will leave Clinton with only three months to build her bridges. That is not very much time. (Z)

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---The Votemaster
May14 Trump Says that His Tax Returns Are None of Your Business
May14 Nine House Committee Chairs Endorse Trump
May14 Democrats May Have a Messy Contested Convention
May14 The GOP Convention Could Still Be Messy, Too
May14 Democrats Hold a Registration Edge in Key Swing States
May14 Sanders Won in the North and Clinton Won in the South
May14 Sanders in Some Hot Water with the FEC
May14 Third Party Republican Candidate Not Going to Happen
May13 Trump Meets with Ryan, Other GOP Leaders in Washington
May13 Trump Would Consider Cutting Social Security
May13 Trump's Tariffs Would Be Catastrophic for the Poor
May13 Kochs Make Their First Big Move of 2016
May13 Final Democratic Debate Looking Unlikely
May13 Another Win for Bernie Sanders
May13 Biden Already Had His Running Mate Picked Out
May13 Obama Wants Election Day to Be a Holiday
May13 Beware of Professors Bearing Prediction Models
May12 Trump Won't Release Tax Returns Before the Election
May12 Trump Rejects the Use of Big Data
May12 Ryan Is Caught in a Trap
May12 Gingrich Reportedly Favorite in GOP Veep Sweepstakes
May12 Time Looks to Be Growing Short for Sanders
May12 Florida Senate Race Turns Ugly
May12 Cruz Will Run For Re-Election in 2018
May12 Liberal Democrats Becoming Less Friendly to Israel
May12 The Decline and Fall of the Evangelicals?
May11 West Virginia and Nebraska Vote; Nothing Has Changed
May11 Clinton Moves Towards Sanders on Health Care
May11 Cruz Declines to Support Trump
May11 Armageddon May Be Upon Us
May11 Maybe the Republicans Need a Better Voting System
May11 Democrats Are Using Trump to Hurt Republicans with Latino Voters
May11 Biden Says He Expects Clinton to Become President
May11 App May Help Some Democrats Survive a Trump Victory
May10 West Virginia Votes Today
May10 Rubio Doesn't Want To Be Trump's Veep
May10 It's Trump Versus Warren
May10 Trump Fatigue Setting In
May10 Time's Running Out for a Third-Party Alternative to Trump
May10 Cruz Not Going Away Yet
May10 Facebook Raises Conservative Ire
May10 Get Ready For a Lot of Endorsements Like These
May09 Suppose Sanders Got What He Is Asking for
May09 Trump Is Now Starting to Win Delegates
May09 Trump Now Wants to Tax the Rich
May09 Palin Is Going to Try to Cantor Ryan
May09 Trump May Try to Stop Ryan from Serving as Convention Chair
May09 Hillary Clinton Is Actually a Progressive Democrat
May09 The Fight Is on for Married Women
May09 Obama Is Chomping at the Bit