Clinton 2220
Sanders 1449
 Needed   2383
Trump 1047
Cruz 565
Rubio 171
Kasich 153
Needed 1237

News from the Votemaster

Kasich Throws in the Towel

While he was on the runway in Columbus, OH, on a plane bound for D.C. where he was scheduled to do a fundraiser, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) suddenly got cold feet. "Why am I doing this?" he asked himself. He didn't have a good answer, so he told the pilot to turn around and forget the whole thing. When announcing his decision, Kasich said: "I have always said that the Lord has a purpose for me as he has for everyone." Apparently being President was not in the Lord's plan, although it would have saved Kasich a lot of effort if the Lord had told him earlier.

Kasich was an unusual candidate in that he didn't support the Republican orthodoxy up and down the line. As governor, he decided to expand Medicaid to help more poor people get medical care, saying "Now, when you die and get to the meeting with St. Peter, he's probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small. But he is going to ask you what you did for the poor." Kasich also had the disadvantage of being an insider in a year that the Republican base wanted an outsider, and with 18 years in the House and two terms as governor of Ohio, not a lot of people are more of an insider than Kasich. In a different year, he might have made it, but not this one. (V)

Elizabeth Warren Takes a Hatchet to Trump

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) isn't really a Democrat, but Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) really is. Make no mistake about it. She really lit into Donald Trump after his Indiana victory. Among other things, she wrote:

Trump has built his campaign on racism, sexism, and xenophobia. There's more enthusiasm for him among leaders of the KKK than leaders of the political party he now controls.

He incites supporters to violence, praises Putin, and, according to a columnist who recently interviewed him, is "cool with being called an authoritarian" and doesn't mind associations with history's worst dictators.

Up until now she has been the only Democratic woman in the Senate not to endorse Hillary Clinton for fear of causing a big rift in the Democratic Party, but going after Trump with a blowtorch helps the Party while maintaining her neutrality in the primary.

After Clinton is officially nominated in Philadelphia, Warren could easily become Hillary Clinton's biggest help with Sanders' voters. If they read scorching posts from their heroine about Trump every day, that could sway many of them to vote for Clinton in the end. Defying the corporate, Wall-Street friendly Clinton is one thing, but defying the Goddess-of-All-Things-Good Warren is quite a different matter. Sanders' supporters could justify publicly supporting Clinton to their friends with remarks like: "Don't you have faith in Elizabeth Warren?" (V)

Clinton Campaign Fires First Salvo

While there will be plenty of mud hurled Donald Trump's way, Hillary Clinton wants to throw as little of it as is possible, since that looks unpresidential. One way for her to have her mud pie and eat it too is to allow surrogates to do the dirty work, whether Elizabeth Warren, or Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), or Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), or her husband. But today, the Clinton campaign released its first anti-Trump ad, and it has an even better choice of surrogate than any of these people: prominent Republicans.

The ad is really quite effective, and is also rather brutal. It is a mashup of incredibly nasty things that other prominent Republicans have said about The Donald, including Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Clinton could go on a five-minute rant about her presumptive opponent, and she probably wouldn't squeeze in as many nasty things as the commercial does. Indeed, between this, and the spot made by a Republican group in which women repeat Trump's quotes about women, Hillary Clinton may be able to go negative for the next six months without needing a single Democrat to open his or her mouth. (Z)

Neither President Bush Will Endorse Trump

Neither former President George H.W. Bush nor his son George W. Bush will endorse Donald Trump. This is the first time in the past six elections that Bush 41 has failed to endorse the Republican nominee.

Other Republicans tried to finesse the Trump problem in unique ways. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) said she would "support" Trump but not "endorse" him. She didn't explain the difference. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said she would back Trump—but only if he halted his "gratuitous personal insults." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he would support Trump. However, he long ago began instructing endangered senators on how to separate themselves from Trump. It is clear that achieving party unity will not be easy. (V)

Anti-Trump Republicans Face A Huge Dilemma

Republicans who think a Donald Trump presidency would be a calamity for the country and the Republican Party are really on the spot now. Do they take action that might help Hillary Clinton or what? One faction wants to ignore Trump, just assume he will lose, and focus entirely on saving the Senate, House, and state offices. Others are thinking about what might happen if Trump wins, and are so afraid he could damage the Republican brand for a generation that helping Hillary Clinton would actually be the least bad course of action. Still others want to continue the fight and hope they can keep Trump from getting 1,237 votes on the first ballot in the hope of a white knight riding to the rescue on a later ballot. Stuart Stevens, who ran Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign, said: "If this is one of those moments in history where for various reasons the party has to play out nominating someone who is completely unelectable, so be it." Very few members of the Republican establishment are happy about Trump as presumptive nominee. (V)

Republican Donors Taking a Second Look at Trump

Up until now, most big Republican donors have wanted to have nothing to do with Donald Trump. Now that he is the presumptive nominee, some of then are rethinking their position. He will need their help. So far, he has run a shoestring campaign, but with Hillary Clinton expected to raise and spend a billion dollars, he won't be able to go it alone.

In some cases, the donors' hatred of Hillary Clinton is so great that they may hold their noses and ante up for Trump in the end. Billionaire Minneapolis media mogul Stanley Hubbard said: "She's a tool of the union bosses and left-wing fruitcakes, believers of global warming, and that's more scary." California donor Rockwell Schnabel has scheduled a meeting next week with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. The subject of money might come up at the meeting. It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall that day; will Priebus tell Schnabel to raise money for Trump or will he tell Schnabel to forget Trump and just raise money for Republican candidates for the Senate and House? The Koch brothers have a budget of $900 million for this election but have not given any sign that they will support Trump. In contrast, Karl Rove hates Hillary Clinton so much that while he won't say he is going to help Trump, he is willing to say he will do everything he can to defeat Clinton, which is kind of the same thing, just phrased differently. (V)

Nikki Haley Doesn't Want to Be the Veep

Not all Republicans are terrified of Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee. For example, Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) said that she will support Trump but doesn't want to be on the ticket. With other nominees she would be one of the most popular Veep candidates, but she probably senses the election will not go well for the Republicans and doesn't want to be tarred by it. She is young enough to have a bright future in 2020 and beyond. Yesterday, Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) also took himself out of the running for being Trump's running mate. (V)

Electoral Map Looks Tough for Trump

The New York Times has put together a state-by-state electoral map based on current national and state polling, something we will do every day later in the year. The map looks like this:

Electoral map

If nothing changes between now and Nov. 8, which is rather unlikely, Hillary Clinton will win every state that Barack Obama won in 2012 as well as North Carolina, which he won in 2008. She would beat Donald Trump in the electoral college 347 to 191. Currently Trump is 10 points behind Clinton nationally. If he can reduce that gap to 5 points, he would win Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida, but still lose the election 285 to 253. If he can tie her nationally, he would win the electoral vote 305 to 233, flipping even Pennsylvania. (V)

No Electronic Voting at the Republican Convention

Although the Republican contest has largely been fought out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, the voting at the convention will be done the old-fashioned way, with a roll call. Party leaders are afraid of hacking. Imagine what would happen if Adolf Hitler, Fidel Castro, Jesus Christ, or former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke "won" on the first ballot. The Republicans would look stupid and incompetent. Also, the old-fashioned roll call adds a tiny bit of drama to a convention whose only other drama might be the naming of the Veep candidate, although the release of the Republican platform could have its own wonky drama, as analysts compared it plank by plank to the 2012 platform.

Another problem with e-voting on the convention floor is the same problem with e-voting in actual elections: transparency. Suppose some delegate made a motion to replace the elephant with the wooly mammoth as the party symbol and the electronic tally said that it passed. Would people believe it or would they think there was a hack or a computer glitch?

Using smartphones to vote would be a complete disaster in terms of security, so the company charged with looking into e-voting, Pixl Productions, has developed a small, hand-held device resembling a car key fob with colored buttons for YES, NO, and ABSTAIN that could be used on motions. These custom devices would be easier to secure than smartphones.

Finally, a simple technical issue could end all discussion of e-voting in any form: Would there be enough bandwidth to do the job? With probably 5,000 people in the convention hall, all with smartphones on all the time, plus the television networks and reporters streaming live video constantly, it might be impossible to ensure that outages didn't occur at crucial moments. Since the main priority of the convention is to nominate a candidate and showcase his ideas, demonstrating that the Republican Party is high tech is way down the list of priorities. (V)

Cruz Set to Be a Thorn in the GOP's Side for Years

The GOP headache du jour is Donald Trump, of course. But looming in the shadows is his now-former opponent, Ted Cruz. As CNN's Manu Raju observes, the Texas Senator is likely to be a pain in the Party's collective rear end for years and years.

To start with, Cruz's campaign has expanded his base of support and given him a higher profile. So, he has more leverage to do whatever he chooses to do. His "calling card," of course, is making trouble for the establishment, and if he was willing and able to shut down the federal government as a semi-obscure freshman senator, what can and will he do as one of the three or four most prominent people in Congress? Further, if Cruz had gotten the nomination and lost, it would have effectively ended his career and his claims on the White House. Now, if Trump loses, Cruz will claim that the Party should have nominated him, and will make another strong push in 2020, possibly costing the GOP another election. Just another reason that it's not the best time to be a Republican. (Z)

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---The Votemaster
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