Clinton 2293
Sanders 1533
 Needed   2383
Trump 1161
Cruz 567
Rubio 166
Kasich 160
Needed 1237

Sanders' Success Has Little To Do with His Policies

Political scientists have known for years that few voters look at all the policy positions each candidate takes, compare them to his or her own positions, and then choose the closest one. In reality, voters have inherited partisan loyalties, social identities, and symbolic attachments that override everything. In some areas of the South, for example, the majority of voters are registered Democrats even though they always vote for Republicans.

Now political scientists at Princeton and Vanderbilt University have studied the exit polls of the Democratic primaries to see if Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) voters are attracted to him due to his policies or due to some other reason. They found that Sanders did 9 points better among liberals than among moderates, but 11 points worse among women than among men, 18 points worse among nonwhites than among whites, and 28 points worse among Democrats than among independents. They see no way the relatively small differences in policy positions could account for this. Could the difference between a proposed $12/hr minimum wage (Clinton's position) vs. a $15/hr minimum wage (Sanders' position) be toxic among nonwhites, especially when they have the most to gain?

The authors conclude that ideological positions really aren't a driving force in the Democratic primaries. Sanders has very strong support among young voters, yet they are less likely than older voters to support increased government funding of health care, less likely to favor a higher minimum wage, and less likely to support expanding government services. In other words, the younger voters are the ones who like Clinton's positions better even though they massively support Sanders. Maybe they like him because he is a cool dude with a great hairdo, but it is not because they actually prefer his policy prescriptions. Thus, news stories all over the media about how the Democratic Party is moving to the left have to be taken with a grain of salt. (V)

Pro-Sanders Lawyers Sue California over Ballot Procedures

Californians can register to vote or change their party affiliation until Monday, but lawyers who support Bernie Sanders have sued the state, asking the judge to force it to continue to allow people to register or change their registration up until the June 7 primary. In the Golden State, voters who are not affiliated with any political party can vote in the Democratic Party primary, but voters who are registered with another party cannot. The trouble is that California has an actual political party called the American Independent Party and it is on the ballot. Many California voters who want to be registered as independents accidentally checked the "American Independent Party" box when registering and thus are ineligible to vote in the Democratic primary unless they change their registration by Monday. The lawyers want to give them more time.

The state is not against same day registration in principle—it is planning to allow that starting in 2018—but state officials say they cannot do that this year because they need a statewide voter database to make sure a new voter isn't already registered in a different county. That database is not ready yet. They also said that voters who receive an American Independent Party absentee ballot can bring the blank ballot to their polling place, surrender it, and get a Democratic Party ballot. The big question here is how many of the voters who got it wrong the first time, and fail to request an absentee ballot, can fix it on time. (V)

Final Democratic Candidates' Debate is Dead

Fox News was willing to host the Democratic debate that had been tentatively scheduled for somewhere in California sometime around the end of May, and Bernie Sanders was willing to show up. But Hillary Clinton has put the kibosh on that, making clear that she is not available. Sanders responded angrily, saying that he was disappointed, but not surprised.

The Vermont Senator is right that he should not have been surprised, as there was absolutely no upside for Clinton in allowing Sanders (and possibly Fox News) to tee off on her for two hours. She's already got a 98% chance of winning California; those odds aren't going to get any better. All the debate would have done was risk that she might aggravate Sanders supporters and/or that she might put her foot in her mouth, while also taking valuable time and energy that she prefers to direct towards Donald Trump. She was wise to unequivocally state her plans right now, so she can take her lumps from Sanders for a day or two, and then watch the story fade into the background. (Z)

Corker Meets Trump but Denies He Is Being Vetted for the Veep Slot

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) met with Donald Trump in New York yesterday and said: "I have no reason whatsoever to think that I am being considered for Vice President." This is an outright lie. There have been stories for weeks about Corker as a potential Veep and Trump, who has indicated he wants an experienced politician on his ticket, has better things to do than spend time talking to Corker about Elvis.

Corker has been in the Senate for nine years and before that was mayor of Chattanooga. Prior to entering politics he was a successful entrepreneur in the construction and real estate industries. He is a conservative, but is mild mannered and, unlike Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), rarely raises his voice and gets along fine with his Senate colleagues. For Corker to imply that Trump would have no interest in a wealthy former construction and real estate entrepreneur, mayor, and two-term senator with a pleasant style is disingenuous. Of course Trump is vetting Veep candidates and Corker would make a fine one. Corker is obviously aware that if he is chosen and Trump loses, in 2020, he will be a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination. He is not up for reelection this year, so he has relatively little to lose by accepting the invitation if it is offered. (V)

Ryan Says Trump Has a Chance

Normally, political leaders are 100% sure their horse is going to win the race. Not so for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), who was interviewed by Politico yesterday. Ryan was asked if he would bet his own money on Trump in November, but said he was not a betting man. Later in the interview he said of Trump: "He's got a chance." These remarks don't give the impression that Ryan thinks a Trump presidency is a done deal.

The betting markets support Ryan's rather lukewarm view of Trump's chances. Predictit puts it at 43%. PaddyPower puts the chance at 33%. William Hill also goes with 33%. So maybe Ryan is simply being realistic rather than being coy. (V)

Univision Draws 100,000 Latinos to Voter Registration Events

The largest Spanish-language television network in the U.S., Univision, is engaged in a major drive to get Latinos who are eligible to become citizens to do so, and to get Latino citizens to register to vote. The goal is to register 3 million new voters, mostly people who have recently turned 18. So far it has already gotten 100,000 people to show up at workshops, forums, and other community events across the U.S., but the bulk of the effort is yet to come.

The person spearheading the drive is the news anchor Jorge Ramos, who is to the Spanish-speaking community what Walter Cronkite once was to the English-speaking community. Ramos is especially motivated because he was at a press conference earlier this year when Donald Trump talked about his plans to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. Ramos tried to ask a question about the details of how that was going to happen, but instead of getting an answer, he was thrown out of the press conference. That was probably the moment that Ramos got the idea that the only thing Trump understands is raw power, hence the goal to register large numbers of new Latino voters and have them tell Trump what they think of his plan on Nov. 8. (V)

Asian-Americans Don't Like Trump

Another day, another demographic group that does not care for The Donald. This time it's Asian Americans, among whom only 19% have a favorable view of the billionaire, compared to 61% unfavorable. For Hillary Clinton, by contrast, the numbers are essentially flipped: 62% favorable, 26% unfavorable. The report, from the organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice, also suggests that members of the community are registering in record numbers in order to be able to vote against Trump. Among the swing states that have sizable Asian populations are Florida, Virginia, Georgia, and North Carolina. (Z)

Kim Jong-un Doesn't Like Trump, Either

He's not Asian American, but Kim Jong-un shares his American counterparts' animosity toward Donald Trump. The presumptive GOP nominee was asked about the possibility of meeting with the North Korean dictator, and said he was open to the idea. There seemed a certain logic to it, given their similar personalities, and penchants for playing fast and loose with nuclear weapons. However, Kim has declared that he's not interested, describing the proposal as "useless," "nonsense," and "a kind of propaganda" for the presidential election. Too bad, a photo of Trump and Kim would have made for some great t-shirts, not unlike the famous shot of Nixon and Elvis. (Z)

McAuliffe May Be in Hot Water

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) was hit with some apparently unexpected bad news on Monday: The U.S. Justice Department has been investigating him for the last year, looking into the possibility that some contributions to his gubernatorial campaign may have been illegal. They are particularly focusing on a $120,000 donation from Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang.

This story could seep into the presidential contest in two ways. First, McAuliffe is closely identified with the Clinton family, having served as co-chair of Bill's 1996 presidential re-election campaign and as chair of Hillary Clinton's 2008 bid. He was also on the board of the Clinton Foundation for 15 years. Already, Republicans are trying to make an issue of "the friends Hillary keeps," especially since Wang Wenliang also donated $2 million to the foundation. If McAuliffe actually gets indicted or convicted, that will play right into Donald Trump's "Crooked Hillary" shtick.

The second way in which this could affect 2016 is that there was a plausible chain of events with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) accepting the #2 slot on the Democratic ticket and, if a replacement senator became necessary in the event of a victory, McAuliffe's appointing himself to the seat. This would have the two-for-one benefit of giving Hillary a VP she likes, and a senator that would do her bidding. Now, that whole scenario might be moot. (Z)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
May23 Bernie Sanders Supports Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Primary Opponent
May23 Early National Polls of the General Election Are Likely Misleading
May23 Trump and Cruz Win More Delegates
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