Posted: March 28, 2022 Filed under: Afternoon Reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: attempted coup, Clarence Thomas, Donald Trump, felony obstruction, Ginni Thomas, January 6 Committee, January 6 insurrection, John Eastman, Judge David Carter, Roman Abramovich, Ted Cruz, Ukraine
Daknikat has a cell phone emergency, so I’m filling in and starting really late–just beginning to look at the news. There’s quite a bit happening.
The Washington Post’s Michael Kranish has a big story about Ted Cruz and January 6: Inside Ted Cruz’s last-ditch battle to keep Trump in power. It turns out that Cruz and John Eastman, the lawyer who wrote a memo explaining how Pence could supposedly refuse to certify the election, have known each other for 27 years. Not only that, Trump asked Cruz if he would argue the case to overturn the election if they could get the Supreme Court to hear it. From the article:
An examination by The Washington Post of Cruz’s actions between Election Day and Jan. 6, 2021, shows just how deeply he was involved, working directly with Trump to concoct a plan that came closer than widely realized to keeping him in power. As Cruz went to extraordinary lengths to court Trump’s base and lay the groundwork for his own potential 2024 presidential bid, he also alienated close allies and longtime friends who accused him of abandoning his principles.
Now, Cruz’s efforts are of interest to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, in particular whether Cruz was in contact with Trump lawyerJohn Eastman, a conservative attorney who has been his friend for decades and who wrote key legal memos aimed at denying Biden’s victory.
As Eastman outlined a scenario in which Vice President Mike Pence could denycertifying Biden’s election, Cruz crafted a complementary plan in the Senate. He proposedobjecting to the results in six swing states and delayingaccepting the electoral college results on Jan. 6 in favor of a 10-day “audit” — thus potentiallyenabling GOP state legislatures to overturn the result. Ten other senators backed hisproposal, which Cruz continued to advocate on the day rioters attacked the Capitol.
The committee’s interest in Cruz is notable as investigators zero in on how closely Trump’s allies coordinated with members of Congress in the attempt to block or delay certifying Biden’s victory. If Cruz’s plan worked, it could have created enough chaos for Trump to remain in power.
“It was a very dangerous proposal, and, you know, could very easily have put us into territory where we got to the inauguration and there was not a president,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), a Jan. 6 committee member, said earlier this year on the podcast “Honestly.” “And I think that Senator Cruz knew exactly what he was doing. I think that Senator Cruz is somebody who knows what the Constitution calls for, knows what his duties and obligations are, and was willing, frankly, to set that aside.”
Eastman and Cruz both worked for Michael Luttig, who was then on the U.S. Appeals Court. Here’s what Luttig has to say about Cruz’s actions:
Luttig told The Post that he believes that Cruz — who once said that Luttig was “like a father to me” — played a paramount role in the events leading to Jan. 6.
“Once Ted Cruz promised to object, January 6 was all but foreordained, because Cruz was the most influential figure in the Congress willing to force a vote on Trump’s claim that the election was stolen,” Luttig said in a statement to The Post. “He was also the most knowledgeable of the intricacies of both the Electoral Count Act and the Constitution, and the ways to exploit the two.”
The story also says that Eastman took the Fifth when the Committee asked him about communications with Cruz.
Also from The Washington Post: Jan. 6 committee to seek interview with Ginni Thomas.
The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection will seek an interview with Virginia Thomas, a conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, according a source familiar with the investigation.
Virginia Thomas, who goes by Ginni, has drawn scrutiny for her text messages to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in which she repeatedly pressed Meadows to work aggressively to overturn the election and keep President Donald Trump in power in a series of urgent exchanges in the critical weeks after the vote, according to copies of the messages obtained by The Washington Post and CBS News.
The messages — 29 in all — reveal an extraordinary pipeline between Thomas, a conservative activist, and Trump’s top aide during a period when Trump and his allies were vowing to go to the Supreme Court in an effort to negate the election results.
The committee’s plans to ask Thomas for an interview were first reported by CNN. A source familiar with the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal committee plans confirmed the report.
Amanda Carpenter at The Bulwark: Is Ginni Thomas’s Story Believable?
Virginia Thomas wants people to believe that her husband, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, had no idea about her activities challenging the results of the 2020 election.
“Clarence doesn’t discuss his work with me, and I don’t involve him in my work,” she told a friendly outlet earlier this month. Therefore, no one need worry about his ability to be an impartial judge on the highest court in the land. Everything is hunky-dory….
Her story, as well as her election theories, don’t survive even the most basic common-sense tests.
Justice Thomas cannot plausibly plead ignorance of his wife’s Jan. 6th-related activities. Her texts were the subject of a blockbuster Washington Post-CBS story, carried by numerous other outlets such as CNN and the New York Times. Multiple outlets asked the Thomases for comment multiple times. A CNN reporter staked out the couple in their parking garage. Maybe the Thomases talked about it, maybe they didn’t—it’s impossible for outsiders to know what happens inside a marriage—but the notion that Clarence Thomas is unaware of what Ginni was up to? Not plausible.
Second, beyond the text messages revealed last week, many of Ginni’s political activities relating to Jan. 6th were already a matter of public record. Her promotion of election conspiracies was well known; she posted them on her Facebook page. On the morning of Jan. 6th, just hours before the attack on the Capitol, she lavished praise on the Trump rallygoers who wanted to overturn the election. In the weeks after the riot, Ginni apologized to a listserv of her husband’s former clerks because her election-related activities and her “lifetime passions” caused a rift in the close-knit group of Thomas alumni.* Although this was a minor controversy, her husband could reasonably be expected to know about it, since it directly involved his wife and former clerks—and the Washington Post reported on it.
To believe that Justice Thomas is unaware of Mrs. Thomas’s Jan. 6th-related activities, one would also have to believe that Ginni’s co-signed public letter to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy demanding that he remove Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger from the GOP conference for serving as members of the Jan. 6th Committee never crossed Justice Thomas’s radar.
More at the link.
Here’s another breaking story from Katelyn Polantz at CNN: Judge: ‘More likely than not’ that Trump ‘corruptly attempted’ to block Congress from counting votes on January 6.
A federal judge said Monday that former President Donald Trump and right-wing attorney John Eastman may have been planning a crime as they sought to disrupt the January 6 congressional certification of the presidential election.
“Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021,” Judge David Carter wrote Monday.
Attorney John Eastman gestures as he speaks next to Rudy Giuliani on January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
Carter, a federal judge in California, ordered Eastman to turn over 101 emails from around January 6, 2021, that he has tried to keep secret from the House select committee investigating the US Capitol attack.
Carter’s reasoning is a startling acknowledgment by a federal court that Trump’s interest in overturning the election could be considered criminal.
“The illegality of the plan was obvious,” Carter wrote. “Our nation was founded on the peaceful transition of power, epitomized by George Washington laying down his sword to make way for democratic elections. Ignoring this history, President Trump vigorously campaigned for the Vice President to single-handedly determine the results of the 2020 election … Every American — and certainly the President of the United States — knows that in a democracy, leaders are elected, not installed.”
Judge Carter had even more to say:
In his order, Carter made an unusually bold statement wishing for accountability so that history does not repeat itself.
“If the country does not commit to investigating and pursuing accountability for those responsible, the Court fears January 6 will repeat itself,” the judge wrote.
“More than a year after the attack on our Capitol, the public is still searching for accountability. This case cannot provide it. The Court is tasked only with deciding a dispute over a handful of emails. This is not a criminal prosecution; this is not even a civil liability suit,” he wrote.
“At most, this case is a warning about the dangers of ‘legal theories’ gone wrong, the powerful abusing public platforms, and desperation to win at all costs,” Carter added. “If Dr. Eastman and President Trump’s plan had worked, it would have permanently ended the peaceful transition of power, undermining American democracy and the Constitution.”
I hope Merrick Garland is paying attention.
Another big story from The Wall Street Journal: Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian Peace Negotiators Suffer Suspected Poisoning.
Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian peace negotiators suffered symptoms of suspected poisoning after a meeting in Kyiv earlier this month, people familiar with the matter said.
Following the meeting in the Ukrainian capital, Mr. Abramovich, who has shuttled between Moscow, Lviv and other negotiating venues, as well as at least two senior members of the Ukrainian team developed symptoms that included red eyes, constant and painful tearing, and peeling skin on their faces and hands, the people said.
They blamed the suspected attack on hard-liners in Moscow who they said wanted to sabotage talks to end the war. A person close to Mr. Abramovich said it wasn’t clear who had targeted the group.
Mr. Abramovich and the Ukrainian negotiators, who include Crimean Tatar lawmaker Rustem Umerov, have since improved and their lives aren’t in danger, the people said. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, who has met with Mr. Abramovich, wasn’t affected, they said. Mr. Zelensky’s spokesman said he had no information about any suspected poisoning.
\Western experts who looked into the incident said it was hard to determine whether the symptoms were caused by a chemical or biological agent or by some sort of electromagnetic-radiation attack, the people familiar with the matter said.
Read more at the WSJ. There was no paywall when I opened the link.
I’m going to end there so I can get this posted. What do you think about all this? What other stories are you following?
Posted: January 5, 2021 Filed under: Afternoon Reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: David Perdue, Donald Trump, Georgia Senate runoffs, John Ossoff, Josh Hawley, Kelly Loeffler, Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell, Raphael Warnock, Ted Cruz, Trump Georgia rally, Trump phone call to Raffensperger, Trump supporters' Jan. 6 protest
Is it really only Tuesday? I’m already exhausted and the week has barely begun. Today is the day that voters in Georgia will decide which party controls the U.S. Senate. Trump held a rally in Georgia last night, supposedly to support Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue, the GOP candidates, but he spend most of his time arguing that he actually won the November election and should remain in office for four more years. Tomorrow Trump’s army of seditionists will be trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election–in Congress and in the streets of DC. Trump has been encouraging them to come and cause trouble in the streets and yesterday, he announced plans to address the angry rabble during their “protests.” Here’s the latest:
Georgia Runoff Elections
NBC News: Georgia voters head to the polls in pivotal Senate runoff elections.
Georgia voters are heading to the polls Tuesday to cast ballots in pivotal runoff elections that will determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.
Polls opened at 7 a.m. ET in the state and they close at 7 p.m. ET. Voters who are in line by 7 p.m. can still cast a ballot, according to the Georgia secretary of state’s office. More than 3 million Georgia residents have already cast ballots in the two races during the early voting period that started Dec. 14.
In the races, Democrat Jon Ossoff is running against Republican David Perdue, whose Senate term expired on Sunday with the start of the new Congress, and Democrat Raphael Warnock is trying to unseat GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler. The runoffs come after none of the candidates captured 50 percent of the vote in November’s election.
The outcome Tuesday will decide whether Republicans will retain control of the Senate or Democrats retake the majority, which would give President-elect Joe Biden a better chance at passing his agenda through Congress. If both Democrats win, the chamber would be split 50-50, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris acting as the tie-breaker for Democrats on party-line votes. But the party would still face obstacles given the need for 60 votes to advance major legislation.
From Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball:
Tomorrow’s Trump Fan “Protests”
Politico: MAGA marchers plot final D.C. stand on Jan. 6.
Timed to the day when Congress will formally certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win, the MAGA crowd is trying to pressure Vice President Mike Pence and Republican lawmakers to refuse to seat Biden over fabricated voter-fraud claims. It’s a doomed plan, given the makeup of Congress, the absent evidence behind the rigged election allegations and the fact that every important state has already certified Biden’s win. Yet that hasn’t stopped a swell of Trump supporters from making plans — and the president from teasing his own appearance.
According to disinformation and extremist researchers, the Jan. 6 gathering will look similar to November’s Million MAGA March — a mashup of garden-variety Trump supporters and more extreme members of the far right, with no apparent central organizing apparatus. Stop the Steal, a group affiliated with pro-Trump super PACs and allies of Trump adviser Roger Stone, has filed for permits and plans to protest outside the Capitol, but other groups have also claimed to be the true official planners.
Click the link for more details.
ABC News: As he seeks to prevent certification of election, Trump plans to attend DC rally.
As a joint session of Congress convenes Wednesday to formally certify the Electoral College votes, President Donald Trump plans to speak at a “Save America” rally near the White House according to sources familiar with his plans.
Thousands are expected to attend the rally on the Ellipse, a 52-acre park just south of the White House, as pro-Trump supporters descend on the nation’s capital for a series of marches to protest the results of the 2020 election.
The gathering will mark the first rally-style event Trump will attend in Washington since he was defeated by President-elect Joe Biden in November. Trump has previously done drive-bys in his motorcade and flyovers aboard Marine One to support those gathered to protest in Washington, D.C.
Over the weekend the president tweeted, “I will be there. Historic day!” replying to a tweet from one of the rally organizers.
Yesterday, the Proud Boys leader was arrested and also sued. Read the details at The Washington Post: Proud Boys leader arrested in the burning of church’s Black Lives Matter banner, D.C. police say.
DC is preparing for possible violence from the Trump cultists.
NBC News: D.C. mayor calls on National Guard as pro-Trump protests set for capital.
The Washington Post: D.C. houses of worship beef up security as Trump defenders descend on the nation’s capital.
On Trump and the GOP Congressional Sedition Caucus
John Cassidy at The New Yorker: Trump’s Authoritarian Moment Is Here.
If there were any doubt remaining that Donald Trump still represents a dire threat to American democracy, the events of this weekend dispelled it. As a new Congress gathers to confirm that the voters chose Joe Biden to be the next President, a proceeding that should be a mere formality, Trump is desperately trying to overturn the result and stay in office. Even more disturbing, large numbers of elected Republicans are joining in this unprecedented effort to reject the popular will. If the Republic gets through the next two weeks without a catastrophe, we must surely take steps to protect ourselves against the next would-be authoritarian, which could well be Trump himself in 2024.
On Sunday, the Washington Post reported the contents of a lengthy phone call that took place on Saturday between Trump and Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state. Raffensperger is one of the honorable Republicans at the state and local level who have stood up against the President’s efforts to bully them into calling the election for the loser: him. The conversation was a long one—it lasted almost an hour—but the transcript shows that this wasn’t the Trump of the campaign trail or the White House press room, endlessly going off on tangents. Throughout the conversation, he remained focussed on his counterfactual narrative—that he carried Georgia easily—and a specific set of demands for Raffensperger.
“So look, all I want to do is this,” the President said at one point. “I just want to find eleven thousand seven hundred and eighty votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.” At numerous points, Trump repeated incendiary allegations about voter fraud in Georgia that some of his supporters have been putting forward. Among other things, he claimed that five thousand dead people voted, three hundred thousand fake ballots were submitted, and that Fulton County, an area the former Vice-President won big, shredded three thousand pounds of ballots and covertly removed voting machines. Raffensperger and his general counsel, who was also on the call, calmly pointed out that his office had investigated all of these claims and found them to be false. (Georgia’s state supreme court and a federal judge appointed by George W. Bush rejected the Trump campaign’s claims as well.) Trump wasn’t to be put off. “So what are we going to do here, folks? I only need eleven thousand votes,” he repeated. “Fellas, I need eleven thousand votes. Give me a break.”
Since the election, some commentators have downplayed Trump’s refusal to accept the result, saying that he was merely exercising the inviolate American right to sue. But this wasn’t Rudy Giuliani standing outside Four Seasons Total Landscaping, in a Philadelphia strip mall. It was the President of the United States speaking from the Oval Office and leaning on a local election official, with the backing of his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who was also on the call, and a number of other Trump lawyers, including Cleta Mitchell, a partner at the corporate law firm Foley & Lardner. “The entire call is astonishing,” Michael Bromwich, a former inspector general at the Justice Department, commented on Twitter, after the Post report was published. “The bullying, the threats, the insults, the credulous embrace of discredited conspiracy theories. Like a crime boss, Trump occasionally says that all he wants is the truth. But he doesn’t—he wants the win.”
George F. Will at The Washington Post: Hawley, Cruz and their Senate cohort are the Constitution’s most dangerous domestic enemies.
On a conference call last Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told his caucus that, in his 36 Senate years, he has twice cast votes to take the nation to war and once to remove a president, but that the vote he will cast this Wednesday to certify Joe Biden’s electoral college victory will be the most important of his career. McConnell (R-Ky.) understands the recklessness of congressional Republicans who are fueling the doubts of a large majority of Republicans about the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
The day before McConnell’s somber statement, Missouri’s freshman Republican senator, Josh Hawley, announced that on Wednesday, 14 days before Biden will be inaugurated, he will challenge the validity of Biden’s election. Hawley’s conscience regarding electoral proprieties compels him to stroke this erogenous zone of the GOP’s 2024 presidential nominating electorate.
Hawley’s stance quickly elicited panicky emulation from Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, another 2024 aspirant. Cruz led 10 other senators and senators-elect in a statement that presents their pandering to what terrifies them (their Trumpkin voters) as a judicious determination to assess the “unprecedented allegations” of voting improprieties, “allegations” exceeding “any in our lifetimes.”
So, allegations in sufficient quantity, although of uniformly risible quality, validate senatorial grandstanding that is designed to deepen today’s widespread delusions and resentments. While Hawley et al. were presenting their last-ditch devotion to President Trump as devotion to electoral integrity, Trump was heard on tape browbeating noncompliant Georgia election officials to “find” thousands of votes for him. Awkward.
Read the rest at the WaPo.
The New York Times: Pence’s Choice: Side With the Constitution or His Boss.
Speaking to supporters of President Trump on Monday at the Rock Springs Church in Milner, Ga., Vice President Mike Pence implored the crowd to vote in the two runoff elections Tuesday that will determine whether Republicans maintain control of the Senate.
“I am here for one reason and one reason only, and that is that Georgia and America need David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler back in the Republican majority,” Mr. Pence said.
But the crowd had a message for him, too.
“We need you do the right thing Jan. 6!” one supporter cried out. “Stop the steal!” shouted others. The crowd applauded.
If Mr. Pence has tried to skirt Mr. Trump’s efforts to cling to power, his reception in Georgia on Monday served as the latest reminder of the delicate role he will play on Wednesday, when Congress conducts what is typically a ceremonial duty of opening and counting certificates of electoral votes.
As president of the Senate, Mr. Pence is expected to preside over the pro forma certification of the Electoral College vote count in front of a joint session of Congress. It is a constitutionally prescribed, televised moment in which Mr. Pence will name the winner of the 2020 presidential election, Joseph R. Biden Jr.
What Pence said in Georgia:
“I know we all have got our doubts about the last election,” Mr. Pence said Monday in Georgia, attempting to assuage Trump supporters. “I want to assure you that I share the concerns of millions of Americans about voting irregularities. I promise you, come this Wednesday, we will have our day in Congress.”
It was not clear, perhaps by design, what he meant. Mr. Pence does not have unilateral power to affect the outcome of Wednesday’s proceedings. But he has carefully tried to look like he is loyally following the president’s lead even as he goes through a process that is expected to end with him reading out a declaration that Mr. Biden is the winner.
We’ll find out tomorrow.
So that’s what’s happening over the next two days. It should be interesting. Take care of yourselves and take breaks from the news as needed!
Posted: March 28, 2016 Filed under: 2016 elections, Afternoon Reads | Tags: Bernie Sanders, Delegate math, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Primaries, Ted Cruz, zombie delegates
We’re beginning to make that transition from primary season to the lull before the General Election. I thought I’d celebrate the shift with some reads that signal the shift or should signal the shift. I’ve really been struck by the number of people that really don’t understand how parties choose their candidates and seem to be following the overall results on a state by state basis even when that state basically doesn’t add much to the delegate count. The other thing that’s rather astounding is the number of people that seem to think that a party sponsored election for delegates is akin to a normal election. This is when I really feel the irony of the situation.
We have two outsider populist candidates running for election within a party system. Neither of them has been either active or genuine members of that party. Their followers are apoplectic by the scent of cigars in the backrooms and conventions of the state and national parties. I’m being somewhat cynical in that I think both of these candidates had to realize at some point that the parties were not going to be all that accommodating to them running amok. Their voters, however, appear to be completely stumped and angered because it’s pretty much the kind of behavior that has driven them straight to the arms of populist charlatans.
So by now, you’ve figured out that it’s Bernie and Trump and their voters with the lack of knowledge and understanding of primary and party dynamics. Let me get started by saying that I’ve always supported a national set of primaries with openness to any party that can get to some kind of threshold TBD. I have felt that they should be regulated by the Feds to ensure that no one is disenfranchised and that they should be in keeping with the spirit of the Voting Rights Act. So this viewpoint is not in the interest of the duopoly that is our two party system, It’s also not in keeping with the philosophy of the party that loves “local control” and “states’ rights”.
Irony is not lost on me when I read that Trump is talking about suing the State of Louisiana over the tricks that the Cruz campaign pulled at the party convention. His voters tend to hate big gubermint, yet it’s federal control of primary elections that would eliminate these back channel deals. The problem in Louisiana is basically the delegates won by Marco Rubio. Rubio suspended his campaign. He has delegates that were basically elected but they now have a dead candidate. They’ve essentially become free agents as zombie delegates.
Following a report that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) may win more delegates in Louisiana’s primary than Donald Trump, even though Trump won the state, the Republican presidential frontrunner threatened to file a lawsuit on Sunday.
Trump complained about the “rotten political system” during a Sunday interview on ABC’s “This Week.”
“The Republican tabulation system is a broken system. It’s not fair,” he said.
“I won Louisiana and now I hear he’s trying to steal delegates,” Trump added, referring to Cruz. “What’s going on in the Republican Party is a disgrace. I have so many more votes and so many more delegates.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, Republican in Louisiana expect the five unbound delegates that had been awarded to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to back Cruz now that the Florida senator is out of the race. Cruz’s supporters have also secured key positions on convention committees, which could help the Texas senator at a contested convention, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Jason Doré, the executive director of the Louisiana Republican primary, told the Times-Picayune that the party is “really confident in the rules” and is prepared for a lawsuit from Trump.
Doré said that any disagreement over Rubio’s delegates is “is between Mr. Trump and those guys,” and added that the delegates have not yet made any final decision.
Zombie delegates may also wind up being very important should Trump not achieve the proper amount prior to the Republican National Convention. If Trump can’t win on the first ballot, then Zombie delegates can go anywhere.
“Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd took on the issue Sunday of why Donald Trump needs to score a first-ballot win at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer.
Delegates who may support Trump on the first ballot, but could abandon him after that.
Here’s the transript from the show:
Donald Trump is in a race to 1,237. It’s a number now we’re all getting used to and familiar with. And he can’t afford to miss hitting that magic number. And here’s why. Because there’s already an effort underway to stop him on a second ballot at the convention in Cleveland. Right now, Trump has 752 delegates and a 282 delegate lead over Ted Cruz.
In order to hit the magic 1,237 majority number and earn that glide path the nomination, Trump has to win 54 percent of the remaining delegates. And he has some favorable contests coming up, like his home state of New York, which has 95 delegates up for grabs, and a winner-take-all state of New Jersey, where maybe his buddy Chris Christie can help him win those 51 delegates.
But, the race is already on to create sort of delegate double agents. If Trump fails to win that majority on the first ballot these are people who will promise to dump Trump on the second ballot. And then there’s an effort underway to mobilize zombie delegates. These are delegates who are pledged to candidates who have dropped out of the race.
They could switch their vote over to someone else in the race, maybe even on the first ballot. Maybe it’s Cruz, maybe it’s Trump. So to discuss all of this, I’m joined by our resident zombie expert, Ben Ginsberg, Republican delegate guru, who served, of course, as lead counsel to the Bush/Cheney campaign of 2000 and he was Mitt Romney’s lawyer in 2012. So the zombie apocalypse will hit Cleveland.
So we have free-agent delegates, we have zombie delegates. I want to talk about the free-agent delegates first, because we have Donald Trump this morning already angry about this. Louisiana, he wins the primary big, he should get a lion’s share of the delegates. The Cruz campaign claims they actually are going to have more delegates out of Louisiana, a state they lost, than Trump. How did they do it? Explain.
The way they managed to do it is that 44 of the 56 states and territories give the candidates no role in choosing who the delegates will pick.
Who the individuals are.
Who the individuals are. And so a well-organized campaign will go into all these state conventions and state executive committee meetings and manage to get supporters of theirs. They’ll be bound on the first ballot to the winner of their state primary, but not for any of the procedural rules issues, and not for the second ballot.
All right. So they’re the double agents. Now, let’s talk about zombie delegates. These are the people, and I want to put up a graphic here. There are a group of unbound delegates. We know there were always going to be over about a hundred, we’ve done the math here, over about a hundred of them, 169 of them come from states that have chosen not to hold a contest, Colorado chief among them. And then there’s another 175 of the zombie delegates. These are people, mostly Marco Rubio delegates out of Virginia and Minnesota, but there a handful of Carson, maybe one or two Jeb Bush’s. What is their role in all of this?
So basically, this is a problem with free delegates, zombie delegates and double agents. I learned about all of this from Ginsberg and Todd on Sunday.
Bernie’s issues are different. He’s way behind but his campaign has decided to try to hype up his supporters, continue fundraising, and whine about the delegate math set up by the Democratic Party. We’ve been seeing the Deadenders for Bernie for some time now. It’s been basically over since the Steel Magnolias of the South Sung. But, we’ve been seeing all kinds of attempts by the campaign to spin a different tune. Sanders–who was once berating superdelegates–has been actively courting them. However, that’s backfiring according to Reuters. It seems that we have more instances of BernieBro Bullying.
Interviews with 10 of the 505 super delegates supporting Clinton Reuters has reached show that nine of them have been approached by people purporting to back Sanders, and nearly all were displeased by the tone of the outreach.
Isabel Framer of Ohio, a superdelegate for Clinton, for example, got a voice mail last week urging her to vote for Sanders “in accordance with the will of the people.”
On the voice mail, heard by Reuters, the anonymous male caller says: “I think it’s crap that you get to vote whichever way you want… I’ll be watching your vote.”
“I’m not easily frightened,” Framer told Reuters. “I’m not going to change a vote over threats.”
Akilah Ensley, a North Carolina superdelegate, said she started hearing more often from Sanders supporters after her name appeared on a Wikipedia list noting her support for Clinton. “Some of them were nice, and some were rather abrasive,” she said, adding “attacking my decisions is probably not the best way” to change her mind.
Luis Heredia, an Arizona superdelegate for Clinton, said he has received over 30 phone calls, emails and instant messages from Sanders supporters. “The majority of them are more angry, and the tone is more demanding,” Heredia said.
Lacy Johnson, an Indiana superdelegate backing Clinton, meanwhile, said he had received a mix of messages, including one that he said threatened: “we will make you pay.”
Andres Ramirez, a political consultant in Las Vegas, Nevada, and a superdelegate supporting Clinton, said in the past campaigns would typically try to soft-sell their candidates rather than use pressure tactics.
“The way this has gone down, in my experience, has never happened before,” said.
Sanders continues to attack the party which probably isn’t the best approach when wooing party insiders.
“Bernie’s campaign is focused on reaching out to all voters and earning delegates at primaries and caucuses,” he said in a statement, stressing that the Sanders campaign was not coordinating with supporters to contact superdelegates.
However, the unofficial push could complicate the U.S. Senator from Vermont’s efforts to woo the critical bloc in the coming months.
The effort has at times taken an angry tone, some of the messages reviewed by Reuters showed, reflecting the anti-establishment tinge of the 2016 presidential race where many voters are unhappy with Washington insiders.
Some 85 percent of the 4,763 delegate votes to the Democratic National Convention that will decide who will face a Republican rival in the November election are determined by the results of states’ nominating contests. But the remaining 15 percent are held by superdelegates, who get to vote however they like – meaning they could hold the key to a tight contest.
Superdelegates are made up of party leaders and elected Senators, members of Congress, and governors. The Democratic party adopted the system in the early 1980s as a way of giving party leaders more control over the nominating process, though they have yet to play a decisive role in a nomination.
“The idea there is that you’ve got people who have a long view … who have, arguably, the best interests of the party at heart,” said Terri Fine, a professor of political science at the University of Central Florida.
Bernie’s folks continue to see all states and all primary efforts as equal. The Michigan win may have been meaningful, but this weekend’s Western Caucuses were not. I’ve had to continually remind my Bernie friends that the Washington Caucus gave the state win to Howard Dean AFTER he’d lost the election. But, hope and not math, springs eternal with these folks who still keep pouring money down the Bernie Drain. It is going to give us about a week of insufferable Bernie worship.
Hillary’s popular vote lead was almost identical before and after Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii voted.
According to the website RealClearPolitics, 15.3 million Democratic primary voters had cast their ballots prior to Saturday. Of those voters, 8.9 million had voted for Hillary, and 6.4 million had voted for Bernie. This amounts to a margin of 58% vs. 42% — a blowout margin by most electoral standards.
Saturday’s voters preferred Bernie by a large margin, but these were small states. As of Sunday, official reports only showed about 60 thousand total votes in the three states, while the higher estimates of party officials still indicated fewer than 300 thousand total votes. This means that the overall popular vote remains basically unchanged: Hillary has roughly 9 million votes, while Bernie still has roughly 6 and a half million. Translated into percentages, the total effect of Bernie’s “landslide” victories was that Hillary is still winning 58% to 42%. Only if you add a decimal point does Bernie’s Western sweep even change the percentages.
The Donald has a huge woman voter problem that he may be sharing with Sanders now. Sanders may be catching up to Trump quickly because he gave his wife a rude, public brush off with a condescending wave and a few brusque words. Twitter was agog yesterday feeling the Bern bullying his wife. No woman whose been a wife could miss it.
There’s an awkward video of Bernie Sanders and Bernie’s interaction with his wife Jane Sanders that’s making the rounds, and it’s not a good look for Bernie. Senator Sanders was speaking in Madison, Wisconsin, when the “snub” against Jane happened. The Democratic presidential candidate spoke at a campaign stop on Saturday, March 26, with Bernie being exuberant over his recent victory — however, during that celebration, Sanders made a move against Jane that isn’t going down well over the Interwebs.
Additionally, Bernie is spending a ton of money on those huge rallies.
Bernie Sanders’ revolution may be growing directly from the grass roots, but he’s paying top dollar for the places where it’s coming together.
In February, the Sanders campaign, flush with cash from its small-donor network, spent $1.6 million on site rentals, ticketing and “sound/stage/lighting,” pursuing ever-larger venues for his followers to gather in, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
And the spending this month may well exceed February. On Friday, for instance, the Sanders campaign is staging a pep rally for the Washington state caucuses at Safeco Field in Seattle, the Mariners’ baseball stadium that holds up to 54,000 people.
It’s a sign that the Sanders campaign plans to keep spending big as it works to compete with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton across the board.
Meanwhile, the Beltway Press has moved on. This is from The Hill today: Who will be the 2016 running mates? Bernie may be holding huge vanity rallies but his name is missing from this piece.
Now that GOP front-runner Donald Trump has released the names of some of his foreign policy advisers, it’s only a matter of time before pundits, reporters and voters start demanding to know whom he intends to pick as his vice presidential running mate.
When politely asked now, Trump responds, “I need to win the nomination first. After that, I’ll think about it.”
To the untrained eye, this seems like a reasonable answer; however, no insider I know believes The Donald hasn’t already begun to create a short list of possible candidates.
Ditto Hillary Clinton. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has been around the block too many times not to have several running mates in mind, even if it still is March.
Here are some more examples of folks telling Bernie to listen to that singing lady. From the LATIMES: As California primary nears, state Democrats are uniting behind Clinton and against a common enemy: Trump
Most of Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ supporters in California say they expect that come November, Hillary Clinton will be elected president — and, by and large, they’re OK with that.
While both Democratic camps prepare for a final battle in the state’s June 7 primary, the latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times statewide poll found that just over half of Sanders’ supporters said they expected Clinton to be the next president. About a third of Sanders’ backers said they expected the Vermont senator to emerge the winner, and 12% said they thought Donald Trump would prevail.
Close to 8 in 10 Sanders supporters said in the survey that they would vote for Clinton in a race against Trump, although many said they would do so reluctantly.
Those findings show the reality underlying the still-heated rhetoric of the Democratic primaries: By contrast with the civil war that divides Republicans,Democrats in the country’s largest state have begun to coalesce behind their front-runner.
Meanwhile, Bernie is dying for more debates. The Clinton Campaign is beginning to pushback. They have little to gain if Bernie continues to attack her while each debate brings no new information to the table.
Hillary Clinton’s chief campaign strategist laid into Bernie Sanders’ camp on Monday for its insistence upon a debate before the April 19 primary in New York, remarking that the Vermont senator has reneged on his promise to avoid running a negative campaign and therefore does not get to dictate the terms of any future debates.
Appearing on CNN, Joel Benenson was asked about comments from the Sanders campaign over the weekend calling for another debate before the New York primary, though he said he did not see that as the most notable story out of the weekend. Instead, he referred to a Washington Post story in which Sanders’ campaign discussed possible efforts to sharpen rhetoric against the former secretary of state. “They’re talking about running harsher negatives now,” Benenson said, responding that he was not distracting from the issue but explaining the campaign’s stance.
“Because I think the real question is what kind of campaign is Sen. Sanders going to run going forward,” Benenson remarked. “He pumped $4 million in the weekend before March 15, and he lost all five states on March 15. They spent about $4 million running negative ads.”
“This is a man who said he’d never run a negative ad ever. He’s now running them, they’re now planning to run more,” he continued. “Let’s see the tone of the campaign he wants to run before we get to any other questions.”
CNN’s Kate Bolduan then inquired why the campaign would not agree to debate in New York despite agreeing in January to more debates. Benenson responded, “Because we agreed to debates up to a certain point. We’re now out campaigning in these states.”
“What’s the risk?” Bolduan asked.
“There’s no risk. She’s done very well in the debates. The debates have been very good, but Sen. Sanders doesn’t get to decide when we debate, particularly when he’s running a very negative campaign against us. Let’s see if he goes back to the kind of tone he said he was going to set early on. If he does that, then we’ll talk about debates,” Benenson said.
It seems that everyone but the Bernie Bros is getting tired of Bernie the Bully. Listen to the chorus of singing fat ladies instead of the songs of angry men for a change!!
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