Clinton 2293
Sanders 1533
 Needed   2383
Trump 1160
Cruz 566
Rubio 166
Kasich 159
Needed 1237

Sanders Is Determined To Continue Fighting

While many elected Democrats are urging Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to drop out of the presidential race and support Hillary Clinton, he is having none of it. He is determined to continue the battle until the convention. In particular, he wants a debate in California before the Golden State's voters go to the polls on June 7. That primary is make or break for him. If Clinton wins big, she could come close to amassing 2,382 pledged delegates and be able to win without much support from the superdelegates. On the other hand, if Sanders pulls off an upset victory, he might have a (very slim) shot at the nomination. One problem for him, however, is that if he wins narrowly in California but she has a blow-out victory in New Jersey the same day, she might end up winning anyway.

Most polls of California have shown Clinton to be ahead, but rising voter registration of young voters will certainly help Sanders. On the other hand, rising registration of Latinos will help Clinton. With the primary almost three weeks away, a lot could still change. (V)

Trump's Influence Will Last for Years

Many Republicans are quietly hoping that Donald Trump will lose in November, his influence will instantly vanish, and everything will go back to normal. Guess what? It won't. The reason is that pro-Trump activists have been elected to key positions within the Republican Party, in particular, to seats on the Republican National Committee. The new members will be seated at the national convention in July and will serve until July 2020. This means they will have a large say in how the 2020 nomination process will work. One new RNC member who is particularly troublesome for the GOP establishment is David Bossie of Maryland, the CEO of Citizens United. Another Trump ally is firebrand Lori Klein Corbin of Arizona. Cruz allies also won some RNC seats, including Cruz supporter Cynthia Dunbar of Virginia.

While Trump and Cruz were rivals during the primaries, their supporters in the RNC may work well together in opposition to the congressional wing of the party. The RNC drives the party's message, does fundraising, and most important, elects the RNC chairman. Reince Priebus' term is up in January and the RNC will then elect a replacement. By tradition, if the President is a Republican, the RNC accepts whomever he wants to run the RNC, but if a Democrat is in the White House, it could—and probably will—be a free-for-all, with grass roots and establishment candidates competing for the high-profile job. (V)

Is Libertarian Ticket a Viable #NeverTrump Option?

On Wednesday, Mitt Romney gave up trying to recruit a third party candidate that Republicans like him could vote for. Not long thereafter, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson named his VP: former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. It's possible that the Johnson-Weld ticket, which brings together two former GOP governors who are definitely mainstream members of the party, is exactly what Romney, et al. were looking for. As an added bonus, they are even likely to be on the ballot in all 50 states, something that would not have been possible for a Romney recruit.

At the moment, the ticket is no real threat to Trump, and does not figure to be a factor in the election. Johnson and Weld both lack national name recognition, each having been out of office for a decade or so. The pair don't have much money, and aren't terribly charismatic or savvy about social media. Still, this year has shown us that nearly anything is possible, and Johnson-Weld is much more likely to impact the election than Romney/Mark Cuban/Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) would have been, particularly if the libertarian-leaning Kochs kick in $100 million or so. (Z)

Clinton Says Trump Is Not Qualified To Be President

In an interview on CNN yesterday, Hillary Clinton said that Donald Trump is not fit to be President. She called him a "loose cannon" and went after his "reckless, risky talk." She also said that his plan to bar all Muslims from entering the country helps terrorist groups recruit more members. Clearly she is in general election mode already, even though she hasn't nailed down the nomination yet.

Also noteworthy is what she said about her own 2008 PUMA (Party Unity My Ass) voters. Clinton noted that after she suspended her campaign in June 2008, about 40% of her supporters said they would never support Obama in the general election. In the end, most of them came around (more on this below). Primaries are often bitter and by the end, the losers often hate the winner. Nevertheless, she said, her positions are a lot closer to those of Bernie Sanders than to those of Donald Trump, and she hopes his supporters will eventually see that, despite the increasingly nasty contest between Clinton and Sanders. (V)

Democrats Will Make Peace Eventually

Things are not exactly kumbaya between the Sandernistas and the Democratic establishment right now. However, there is so much sense in both sides reaching an accommodation that a truce surely has to happen eventually. In fact, the behind-the-scenes negotiations are already well underway, with the DNC more than willing to give the Vermont Senator a fair number of concessions come convention time. Recent events, particularly the scuffling over Nevada, have complicated the talks, but this is likely a temporary problem.

Meanwhile, the New Yorker's John Cassidy has an excellent piece about how there's still plenty of potential for peaceful relations between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. He observes that the relationship between Hillary Clinton and her camp and Barack Obama and his camp was actually worse at this point in 2008 than the Sanders-Clinton relationship is right now. Clinton and Obama eventually made peace, of course, once she threw in the towel on her campaign. And Sanders certainly recognizes how much he and Clinton have in common, perhaps most importantly that they both hate Donald Trump. He has already begun signaling his willingness to extend an olive branch, declaring, "If I'm not the candidate, I will do everything I can to make sure that Donald Trump does not become President of the United States." So, don't believe any of the stories that suggest the blue team is irreparably divided. (Z)

The EgyptAir Crash Shows Trump and Clinton's Different Approaches To Foreign Policy

When news of the EgyptAir plane crash broke, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton reacted in very different ways. Trump immediately took to social media to blame terrorists and Islam, even though hardly any facts were out and authorities were saying they didn't know what happened and wouldn't until they could find some debris. In contrast, Clinton didn't shoot off her mouth and didn't draw any conclusions. She is cautious by nature and, as a result of being the United States' chief diplomat for 4 years, much more cautious than Trump.

It looks like another taboo has been broken. In the past, tragedies like this were not turned into political fodder literally within minutes of their happening and without any regard to facts or truth. Now, the crash may well have been caused by terrorists, but in the past no serious politician would claim that to be the case until the relevant authorities had investigated and either found some evidence of it or at least had eliminated all other possible causes. But Trump doesn't wait for the facts before coming to a conclusion. Expect the Democrats to point out that it would be nice if the person holding the nuclear football didn't believe in shooting first and asking questions later. (V)

Takeaways from Trump's List of Potential Supreme Court Nominees

Now that people have had 24 hours to examine Donald Trump's list of potential Supreme Court nominees, some points are becoming clearer. The Washington Post has ten takeaways on the list, as follows:

  • Trump knows he has a big problem with the right and has to show he's not going to appoint another David Souter
  • Some of the listees are not intellectual heavyweights like Scalia was; they are more like Harriet Miers
  • Trump doesn't care much about diversity: all are white and eight are men
  • Many of the listees are complete unknowns, even to conservative lawyers, and only one went to Harvard or Yale
  • Some of the conservative favorites, like Paul Clement and Brett Kavanaugh, are not on the list
  • Many conservatives don't believe Trump and are afraid he might pick someone not on the list
  • Conservatives who don't like Trump aren't suddenly swayed; they still don't like him
  • One of the listees, Don Willett, has mocked Trump, raising questions about Trump's vetting process
  • At least one of the potential nominees is strongly anti-abortion and might try to void Roe v. Wade
  • In the end, the list might help the Democrats rally the Sanders supporters more than it helps Trump

So to some extent, if Trump's plan was to make all the conservatives swoon and fall in line behind him, it didn't work because the list doesn't include their favorites, does include a bunch of lightweight unknowns, and they don't even believe he means it. (V)

GOP Building a Bridge To the Past

The Republican Party is, rightfully, worried about a future in which the number of minority and millennial voters—two heavily Democratic constituencies—has surged, while many of the older, white voters who make up the GOP's base are, well, dead. This week, however, we got reminders that the older white folks still have a lot of power in the Party. Oklahoma's legislature adopted a bill that, if signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin (R), will criminalize nearly all abortions in the state. Meanwhile, GOP Representatives managed to add a rider to the military appropriations bill that would allow government contractors to discriminate against LGBT employees. The bill is almost certain to be vetoed by President Obama.

In the short term, these maneuvers make life a bit harder for Donald Trump. Women voters are not likely to respond well to a party and a candidate that seem to be openly hostile to their reproductive rights. On top of that, Fallin was thought to be on Trump's short list for the VP slot; whether she signs the bill or doesn't, her status has been thrown into question. In the long term, it is clear that the majority of Americans (particularly younger Americans) favor keeping abortion legal and also LGBT equality. Eventually, the Party is going to have to accept that the price of keeping the evangelicals in the tent is just too high. Indeed, if Hillary Clinton wins, and then is able to get re-elected in 2020, her coattails could flip a large number of state legislatures. They could then gerrymander the Congressional districts in the Democrats' favor, which—when coupled with the Supreme Court—could set the blue team up for a decade or more of dominance. (Z)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
May19 Trump Releases List of Possible Supreme Court Nominees
May19 Trump Working on VP List
May19 Trump Releases Financial Disclosure Report
May19 About That Wall and Those Deportations...
May19 Third Party Bid, Already on Life Support, Has Plug Pulled
May19 Overtime Regulation Exposes Divide Between Republican Donors and Voters
May19 Big Banks Favor Clinton over Republicans
May19 Sanders Still Wants to Debate
May18 Trump and Sanders win Oregon; Clinton Takes Kentucky
May18 Donald Trump Is Not Bringing in New Voters
May18 Reminder: It's a Bad Time to Be a Pollster
May18 Bush Slams Trump for Taco Tweet
May18 Clinton's Dilemma
May18 Democrats Squabbling over Nevada
May18 Koch Brothers Are Rethinking Their Role in Politics
May17 Oregon and Kentucky Democrats Vote Today
May17 How Trump Will Attack Clinton
May17 Will Sanders Become Nader?
May17 The 2016 Electorate Will Be the Most Diverse Ever
May17 Federal Judge Hears Challenge to Wisconsin Voter ID Law
May17 Six People Who Won't Be Trump's Veep
May17 Rubio Not Happy with WaPo Article
May17 Cruz 2020 Is Now Underway
May16 State Republican Leaders Try to Crush Anti-Trump Activists
May16 The Battle to Stop Trump Is Still Raging
May16 Trump's Playboy Past May Come Back to Haunt Him
May16 Priebus: People Just Don't Care About Trump Controversies
May16 Possible Backdoor into Trump's Finances
May16 We Might Have Trump/Palin 2016
May16 Would Trump Be Good for Israel?
May16 Another Georgia Poll Shows a Tight Race
May16 Is Clinton Trapped Between a Sanders Rock and a Trump Hard Place?
May15 How Does Donald Trump Treat Women?
May15 Appalachia is the Key for Trump
May15 Trump-Putin Mural Goes Viral
May15 Adelson Throws His Weight Behind Trump
May15 Cruz May Rewrite GOP Rulebook at Convention
May15 Surprise! Clinton Already Has a Trump Tax Ad
May15 Nevada Democratic Convention Gets Contentious
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