• Ohio Judge Stymies Republican Plans
• Libertarian Party Could Hurt Trump
• Unions Are Split on Which Candidate They Prefer
• Why Is Hillary Clinton So Disliked?
• Wasserman Schultz May Soon Be Out as DNC Chair
• Starr Apologizes
• Trump Scoring Some Big Donors
• There May Be Another Debate After All
The only hope Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has of catching Hillary Clinton in pledged delegates is to whip her in California. But a new SurveyUSA poll shows the opposite is likely to happen, as follows:
If these end up being the actual election results, Clinton is likely to get about 270 delegates to Sanders' 185, thus increasing her lead by 85 delegates. Sanders could hope to win some of the other remaining contests, and probably will, but the calendar doesn't look good for him. Here is what is left:
|June 4||U.S. Virgin Islands||7||Clinton|
|June 5||Puerto Rico||60||Clinton|
|June 7||New Jersey||126||Clinton|
|June 7||North Dakota||18||Sanders|
|June 7||New Mexico||34||Clinton|
|June 7||South Dakota||20||Sanders|
The population of the Virgin Islands is largely black and Puerto Rico is almost entirely Latino, so Clinton will score big victories there. New Jersey is likely to be like New York and Pennsylvania, where Clinton had huge wins. New Mexico is largely Latino and D.C. is nearly all black, so Clinton will notch big wins there, too. Sanders will win the three small red states, North and South Dakota, and Montana, but they have few delegates. If each candidate wins by a 60% to 40% margin in each contest, Clinton ends up gaining a net of 130 delegates in June. Added to her current lead of about 271 pledged delegates, she will end the season with about 400 more pledged delegates than Sanders.
Compared to 2008, when Barack Obama ended up with 102 more pledged delegates than Hillary Clinton, the election looks like a landslide. It is hard to imagine many Clinton superdelegates switching to Sanders with these results in the pledged delegates. And if Clinton wins six of the nine June contests (CA, DC, NJ, NM, PR, and VI), Sanders doesn't have much of a "momentum" argument, either.
At that point, Sanders has to decide if he wants to have some influence on the platform and the choice of her running mate and on her appointments, or if he wants to be a spoiler. After crushing defeats in California, New Jersey, and D.C., odds are that he will make reasonable demands and she will grant them and there will be peace in the tent. (V)
In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down much of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Republican-controlled legislatures across the country began working very quickly (by government standards) to make it harder to vote, knowing that voter ID laws and reduced availability of polling places both work against Democrats and in favor of the GOP. A judge has now overturned Ohio's new law, declaring that it places a "burden on African Americans' right to vote."
We have now seen similar lawsuits filed in other Republican-controlled states, including Texas and Alabama. Ohio, however, is a swing state. And so, depending on how things play out, this decision could have big consequences on Election Day. (Z)
Many Republicans strongly dislike Donald Trump but could never bring themselves to vote for Hillary Clinton. What are they going to do? The Libertarian Party could offer them a real option this year. The ticket will be chosen in Orlando over the Memorial Day weekend, but most likely the presidential nominee will be Gary Johnson, a former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico. His running mate will probably William Weld, a former Republican governor of Massachusetts who won reelection in 1994 by the largest margin in state history. Thus, instead of offering a couple of fringe candidates, as most third parties do, the LP is likely to be offering two mainstream former Republican governors with a total of 14 years' experience running state governments. For mainstream Republicans who cannot stand Trump, this looks like a clear way to send the Republican Party a message.
A Fox News poll taken last week puts the LP candidates at 10%, nearly all of which comes out of Trump's hide. If they actually get 10% of the vote on Election Day, it is virtually inconceivable that Trump could win. The good news for Trump is that third parties always poll better than they actually do on Election Day, and the further out the poll is taken, the better (and less realistic) the result is. Nevertheless, the unique combination of a Republican candidate who is anathema to a sizable chunk of the GOP electorate and an alternative consisting of two mainstream conservative former Republican governors could make a difference. Even if Johnson/Weld got 5% of the actual vote, Trump would be devastated.
No doubt brains are working overtime at Clinton HQ about how to take advantage of this opportunity. All it takes is one deep-pocketed Democratic donor to set up a super PAC and start running ads like this:Joe: I'm a life-long Republican and I think Trump is a con man but I could never vote for Clinton.
Tom: Yeah, me too. Ever hear of Gary Johnson?
Tom: He used to be governor of New Mexico, a real solid conservative Republican. He's running as a Libertarian.
Joe: Tell me more!
Tom: His running mate was twice elected governor, too, and is also pretty conservative.
Joe: Are they actually on the ballot or do I have to write them in?
Tom: They are on the ballot in every state.
Joe: You solved my problem. Thank you so much!
The super PAC could be named "Republicans for Johnson" or something like that. It might actually work and there is little Trump could do to stop it if Clinton can find funding. If the LP can get even 5% of the vote in the swing states, Trump has a real problem. (V)
Most unions support the Democrats, but this year they are split over which Democrat to support. Unions that represent manufacturing workers are very unhappy about factory jobs being outsourced as a result of trade agreements. They tend to support Bernie Sanders, who strongly opposes trade agreements. However, some of them are leaning toward Donald Trump, who also opposes trade agreements. In contrast, workers in service industries, where it is much harder to outsource jobs, are sticking with the establishment Democrat, Hillary Clinton, although they are still unhappy over NAFTA, which was signed by Bill Clinton.
However, the dynamic is more complicated than it at first appears. While white union men are attracted to Sanders and Trump, nonwhite men as well as women prefer Clinton. This makes it difficult for the union leadership to decide what to do. The primaries are nearly over now, but soon they will have to decide who they are for in the general election, and it could be a split decision. (V)
Hillary Clinton's popularity is deeply underwater and has been so the entire campaign. Large majorities disapprove of her now, although when she was Secretary of State her approval was 66%. What happened? Her actual policies are, for the most part, quite popular, and even her enemies concede that she has spent almost her entire life in public service. David Brooks has an unusual but plausible theory about what happened. It is often said that people vote for the candidate they would like to have a glass of beer with. According to this meme, George W. Bush "beat" Al Gore in 2000 because people thought that a glass of beer with Bush would lead to talk about baseball and a glass of (alcohol-free) beer with Gore would lead to a sermon about the plight of the whales. Clinton has a Gore problem in spades. She probably wouldn't even have time for a beer because she is too busy working. She is seen as a competent person (who plays games with the truth sometimes), but still someone who works all the time. All work and no play makes Hillary an unlikable person and people are hesitant to support someone they don't like. People who know her say she is actually friendly and caring but her public persona makes Margaret Thatcher look like a goofball. Clinton could make a few ads with her granddaughter, but that might not make a dent in an image that has already been cast in stone. (V)
DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) has had a contentious relationship with democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, most recently doing battle with him over the behavior of Sanders' supporters during the Nevada caucuses. Now there is serious discussion on Capitol Hill that she will have to go as DNC Chair before the convention, as her "above the fray" neutrality has been compromised.
If Wasserman Schultz is tired of the job and the headaches it brings, she might well step aside of her own volition. If not, then President Obama (who chose Wasserman Schultz in 2011) and Hillary Clinton will have a lot of input into her ultimate fate. They both like her, but it could be that cashiering her will be a useful olive branch for extending to the Sanders followers. (Z)
Yes, that Starr. Kenneth W. Starr, the special prosecutor whose relentless pursuit of Bill Clinton in the 1990s made Inspector Javert look like a lazybones. He now regrets that, for Clinton's legacy is tied to what Starr refers to as "the unpleasantness," much of which was caused by the way he conducted his investigations, starting with Whitewater. When he couldn't find any wrongdoing there, he began looking around for something else to investigate and latched onto Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky and held on like a pitbull. Now Starr is sorry and says: "His empathy for human beings is absolutely clear." Starr is now president and chancellor of Baylor University, a private Baptist school in Waco, TX.
Starr's comments are important because Donald Trump wants to re-try the Clinton-Lewinsky case and has already concluded it was Hillary's fault. He hasn't yet explicitly said that if she were better in bed, this wouldn't have happened, but he still has six months left. Blaming the cuckolded wife for the husband's failings was probably never a winning strategy with women, but now that Starr has basically said the whole investigation probably shouldn't have happened (or at least should have been done much more quietly and in secret), it kind of pulls the rug out from under Trump. Or Trump out from under the rug. (V)
When it comes to Trump 2016, the Kochs are out, and so too are a long list of key GOP donors. However, a few hardy (and rich) souls are apparently willing to ride whatever horse happens to be wearing red silks. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson already committed $100 million to getting The Donald elected, and now New York Jets owner Woody Johnson and Wisconsin roofing tycoon Diane Hendricks have signalled that they will be contributing as well. Trump also appears to have the support of fundraisers Mel Sembler, Ray Washburne, Ronald Weiser and Kelly and Joe Craft, all of whom have helped the Bush family raise money in the past.
While this is all good news for the presumptive GOP nominee, there is still a daunting mountain to be climbed. Megadonors can only give big bucks to super PACs; they can give no more than $2,700 directly to the Trump campaign. And the problems with super PACs are that (a) they are not legally allowed to coordinate with the campaign, and (b) they pay much more for commercials (two to four times as much) than the actual campaigns do. So while having a couple hundred million in billionaire donations is nice, it's still a relative drop in the bucket compared to the $1 billion that Hillary Clinton is likely to have in her campaign bank account. (Z)
Hillary Clinton is out; Bernie Sanders and Fox are still in. It takes two to tango, however, so whom can the Vermont Senator square off against if Clinton is not available? How about Donald Trump? Apparently, this scenario almost came to pass in March, and now it's back on the table again.
For all parties involved, this would seem to be a win. Trump could get some much-needed practice sparring with a non-Republican partner. Sanders would get the attention and prestige that comes from debating the opposition's nominee, and Fox would make lots of money selling commercials on what is already being called "The Debate of the Century." If it happens, it would not be America's proudest moment, but it would certainly be entertaining. (Z)Email a link to a friend or share:
---The Votemaster and Zenger
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