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

State Dept. Report Criticizes Clinton on Email Server

The State Dept. has now completed its investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server and concluded that she did not ask permission to use it and if she had, it would have been denied. The report, which has been delivered to Congress, noted that dozens of State Dept. employees have used personal email accounts over the years, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell. The report also noted that the State Dept. also never told either Powell or Clinton to stop their practices. In essence, using a private email server is against the the rules but nobody ever actually cared about it until it became a hot political issue.

The report also criticized Clinton for not surrendering all the emails on the server as she was leaving office. She went over her emails and turned over those she said related to official business but deleted those that were personal. The report does not accuse Clinton of breaking any laws, merely violating State Dept. policy. The relevant laws say that it is a felony to intentionally release confidential material to unauthorized persons. None of the emails she sent or received were classified at the time they were sent or received although quite a number were classified, including top secret, months or years later, a practice so common that in 2010, Congress passed a law attempting to rein in the amount of classification. (V)

Trump Won't Get To Write the Republican Platform

The RNC Platform Committee's executive director, Ben Key, has said that Donald Trump will not get to write the platform, although he will have some influence. The RNC definitely does not want Trump to put some of his controversial proposals—like deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants, building a wall on the southern border, and banning Muslims from entering the country—in the platform and will go to great lengths to prevent him from doing so. It is not clear how hard Trump will push to get these planks in there. On the one hand, if he doesn't push hard and they aren't included, his supporters may be disappointed and his enemies will say he is weak and easily pushed around by party bureaucrats. If he does push hard and gets them in, many mainstream Republicans will be appalled and corporations that normally help pay for the convention may decline to do so this year. Of course, some mealy-mouth compromise is always possible, such as saying that it is a priority for Republicans to defend the U.S. borders, without going into any details about how that might be achieved. (V)

Trump Lashes Out at Susana Martinez

While speaking at a rally in Albuquerque, NM, Tuesday, Donald Trump attacked Gov. Susana Martinez (R-NM), the chairwoman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), for not doing her job. Martinez has been critical of Trump and somehow was too busy to attend his rally. His complaints about her were that (1) she allowed too many Syrian refugees to settle in her state (even though governors have no say in where refugees are settled) and (2) she has let the number of food stamp recipients increase dramatically over the past 16 years (even though she has only been in office since 2011). That Trump does not have a complete grasp of (or interest in) the facts is hardly news. What is news is that he doesn't seem likely to choose her as his running mate.

Many Republican strategists are probably tearing their hair out now. On paper, at least, Martinez is a very good choice for the Veep slot. An attractive woman (and a Latina at that), who is a fiery conservative speaker from a Western swing state, would help with many groups. Just dismissing her out of hand rather than putting her on the short list is not something any other politician would do. But Trump is not just any other politician.

She does have a small bit of baggage, though. At a Christmas Party at a Santa Fe hotel last year, empty bottles were being thrown from a fourth floor balcony and the police were called. They found a drunken governor attending a raucous party there. Still, getting drunk once at a Christmas party is probably not a disqualification.

The Washington Post made a list of seven reasons why attacking Martinez was a stupid idea:

  1. The attack underscores the hollowness of Trump's promise to unify the party
  2. Attacking the most prominent Latina in the Republican Party will make attracting Latino votes only harder
  3. Trump is going to get clobbered with women and going after the first female governor of New Mexico won't help
  4. The incident shows that Trump is thin skinned and lacks self discipline, which Clinton will exploit to the hilt
  5. Party unity is going to be harder to achieve than the conventional wisdom suggests
  6. Trump's willingness to attack Republicans shows other Republicans they better embrace him or else
  7. Trump continues to galvanize the Democrats who will say he hates women and hates Latinos

Not in the list but also important is that Martinez is chair of the RGA and as such is in charge of doling out money to Republican governors and would-be governors facing tough elections. That makes her a power center on her own. If she wants to, she can decide to give money to governors and would-be governors who don't especially like Trump. She can also decide, for example, to fund voter registration drives in, say, West Virginia, which has a competitive gubernatorial election, even though from Trump's point of view, this is a waste of money since it is not a swing state. Alienating other power centers within your own party is generally not considered a smart move.

Again this shows that Trump is running a seat-of-the-pants operation and won't listen to expert advice. No sane Republican consultant would tell him to attack the party's most prominent Latina and governor of a key swing state. But Trump won't listen to anyone. This habit could come back to bite him badly later. (V)

Internal Struggles Roil Trump's Campaign

Within Donald Trump's campaign, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and chairman Paul Manafort are at each other's throats. Lewandowski's enemies within the campaign have planted stories with a New York tabloid showing Lewandowski in a bad light. Lewandowski's supporters have urged Trump to examine Manafort's personal life.

Internecine fighting within a campaign is never good news. Members of the Trump team are supposed to be fighting Hillary Clinton, not each other. One person close to the campaign told Politico: "It's a total cage fight in there now." To make it worse, other staffers are taking sides. Dirty trickster Roger Stone called Lewandowski "Loserdowski" on his Twitter feed and branded him a "snake." Trump surely knows that internal backstabbing can't be helpful, especially when it happens in broad daylight, but unless he gets rid of either Lewandowski or Manafort, it is likely to continue. (V)

When Should You Start Paying Attention to the National Polls?

In our view, never. Presidents aren't elected by national popular vote, but by the Electoral College, so national polls are only marginally relevant and certainly not this far out. The New York Times has an article today about how far off the national polls have historically been this far before the election. They have been off by 9 points on the average. The state polls are probably not any better. The conclusion is that polls this far out may or may not give an accurate picture of what would happen if the election were held today, but are not good at all at predicting what will happen in November. Even without this article, we already understood this, which is why we aren't reporting on the state polls yet. We will begin with our map and daily electoral-vote scorecard sometime after the national conventions, when public opinion has stablilized somewhat. (V)

Wasserman Schultz Has a Fight on Her Hands

A great many Democratic insiders feel that DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) is a very bad choice to preside over the convention this year, since her close relationship with Hillary Clinton and her contentious relationship with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will make it hard for her to heal rifts within the party. She does not want to step down, however, and has made clear that she intends to fight to keep her position.

So, which way are the tea leaves pointing? Well, it depends exactly which part of the government you ask. President Obama, who handpicked Wasserman Schultz, has thus far remained silent on the matter. So too have many prominent senators, including Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Harry Reid (D-NV), and Patty Murray (D-WA), all of whom avoided the question when asked by reporters. On the other hand, Wasserman Schultz's colleagues in the house are enthusiastic about her service and bullish on her chances of keeping her job. This includes House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Xavier Becerra (D-CA), head of the House Democratic Caucus. Since 1 president + 1 senate > 1 house of representatives, the likeliest outcome seems to be that Wasserman Schultz is shown the door before the Democrats descend on Philadelphia.

To a considerable extent, Bernie Sanders is using Wasserman Schultz as a scapegoat. Her big sin in his eyes is not scheduling enough debates, although in the end she allowed nine debates. It seems unlikely that he would have done much better had there been 12 or even 15 debates. His problem is that nonwhite voters like Hillary Clinton much more than they like him and more debates wouldn't have changed that. As to the other rules Sanders doesn't like (e.g., superdelegates, open vs. closed primaries), Wasserman Schultz had nothing to do with them. Those rules have been in place for years. Still, President Obama may ask her to step down in the name of party unity, even if he feels she is being wronged. (Z & V)

GOP Wants Rubio to Run for Senate Again

After taking a look at their less-than-inspiring list of candidates—Lt. Gov. Carlos López-Cantera, Rep. David Jolly, and Rep. Ron DeSantis—the NSRC and the Florida State Republican Party are not sanguine about their chances against likely Democratic nominee Rep. Patrick Murphy. Knowing that they need to hold every seat possible, they are casting about for an alternative GOP candidate prior to the June 24 filing deadline. Their preferred option is outgoing Sen. Marco Rubio.

It's an interesting thought, but it really makes no sense. Rubio dislikes being a senator, and pretty clearly has some cushy post-Senate gig(s) lined up. Further, he's hardly a lock to win reelection, given that he couldn't even win the Florida presidential primary. The story is primarily of interest, then, because it suggests that when all the spin is stripped away, the GOP leadership is not feeling very good about the Party's chances to hold the Senate. (Z)

Ryan Continues to Say He Is Not Ready to Endorse Trump

Even as more and more Republicans are hesitantly embracing their party's likely nominee, Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) again said yesterday that he is not ready to endorse Trump. He added: "We're a big tent party with lots of different wings" and noted that he and Trump come from different wings. While Ryan would love to have a Republican president, he would love even more to continue to be Speaker and if he thinks Trump could cost Republicans control of the House, he is not going to cozy up to him, no matter what. For the time being though, the nation's highest elected Republican official and the party's presidential nominee are engaged in an intricate dance that may go on for a while. (V)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
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