Nobody likes Mondays. A few Democrats in particular were probably #Mondaying extra hard today: Convention organizers. Bill Clinton, maybe (if he caught the new Trump web ad.) Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. VA secretary Robert McDonald — who isn't really a Democrat, but serves in a Democratic administration — also had a Monday he'd rather forget.
Here's how the week began:
BERNIE SANDERS GOT A BIGGER VOICE IN PHILADELPHIA...
....and a few convention battle lines took shape. The Democratic Party's primary season endgame came into sharper focus, with more DNC concessions to Bernie Sanders, who "was given unprecedented say over the Democratic Party platform Monday in a move party leaders hope will soothe a bitter split with backers of the longshot challenger to Hillary Clinton" — and "immediately used his new power to name a well-known advocate for Palestinian rights to help draft Democratic policy," reported Anne Gearan.
"The two Democratic candidates have agreed with Democratic Party officials to a new apportionment of the 15-member committee that writes the platform, according to Democratic officials familiar with the compromise worked out this month.
"Clinton has picked six members of the 15-member committee that writes the platform, and Sanders has named five, the Democrats said Monday ahead of an expected announcement by the Democratic National Committee.
"...Sanders’s choices include James Zogby, a pro-Palestinian activist who is president of the Arab-American Institute in Washington and a frequent commentator on Arab-Israeli issues....Cornel West, a liberal author and racial justice activist who has been a Sanders surrogate" — and one of President Obama's most high-profile African-American critics. "Sanders also named Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, among his most prominent elected backers, author and environmental activist Bill McKibben and Native American activist Deborah Parker.
"The Clinton campaign’s choices are Wendy Sherman, a former top State Department official and Clinton surrogate; Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and longtime Clinton confidante; Rep. Luis Guttierez of Illinois; Carol Browner, a former former director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy; Ohio State Rep. Alicia Reece and Paul Booth of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union."
We aren't saying the Cornel West selection means Sanders has written the black vote — and any other strong Obama supporters — off entirely for the remainder of the primary season. We are merely noting that if a candidate is trying to send a signal that those voters are a priority, they do not generally embrace (again, some more) a man who has used this particular word in reference to President Obama.
And also, that a noisy fight over Middle East policy probably wasn't on Democratic leadership's convention wish list.
DONALD TRUMP...WENT THERE:
The Monday morning web spot had everything: a cigar-chomping Bill Clinton. Grainy black-and-white images. Audio from an old Dateline NBC, and of Hillary Clinton laughing.
"Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump revived decades-old sexual assault accusations against Bill Clinton in an online video released Monday, escalating his attempts to characterize the former president and his wife, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, as cruel and hostile to women.
"Trump has regularly made references to Bill Clinton’s infidelities on the campaign trail, accusing the Clintons of hypocrisy on women’s issues by insisting that Hillary Clinton has been an "enabler" of her husband's infidelities and subsequent attempts to discredit the women in question. Trump referenced those allegations last week during an interview with Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity.
"But the video Trump published on Instagram and blasted out to his 8 million Twitter followers marked a particularly vicious turn in a campaign that already is expected to become extremely nasty. The video is captioned, 'Is Hillary really protecting women?'"
Underplayed angle today: the most winning Jewish presidential candidate in history won a DNC role for the first Muslim congressman.— daveweigel (@daveweigel) May 23, 2016
AND THE VA SECRETARY...SAID THINGS:
"Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald, under pressure to be more transparent about how VA measures wait times for veteran care, on Monday said the government should be more like Disneyland," reported Lisa Rein.
"Disney doesn’t track how long visitors wait in line for attractions at its theme parks to decide if they liked their experience, he said. So the VA should not be held to the same standard for medical appointments for veterans.
"'When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important?' McDonald told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor.
"'What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience?"
This statement managed to draw fire from both Republicans and Disneyland, which apparently takes its wait times "very seriously."
(You will be hearing more about this. Much more.)
TRENDLET ALERT: TERRIFYING ANIMAL CONSTUMES
One day you're running for president, the next... pic.twitter.com/YrO6HzZ9gK— Jason Sparks (@sparksjls) May 23, 2016
Looks like Donnie Darko went on to a career in environmental activism pic.twitter.com/3w5bWqUIiD— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) May 23, 2016
(The Lamborghini Aventador isn't the first car to be decorated to honor the mogul this year. But it's definitely the classiest.
—Bernie Sanders is leading the liberal fight against the Puerto Rico economic rescue bill. He's also trying to aid the fight against Debbie Wasserman-Schultz in the Florida congresswoman's own district. But is that a winnable one?
—Newt Gingrich ripped Mitt Romney’s anti-Trump effort as "pathetic."
—Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), often mentioned as a possible Trump VP pick, said the two had a good meeting at Trump Tower today.
—Bernie Sanders told Californians he would personally vote yes on the ballot initiative to legalize marijuana.
—Elizabeth Warren is headlining an event tomorrow announcing a major liberal push "to win concrete legislative gains on the federal, state and local levels." And it looks like Democrats may be poised for state legislature gains (no, not just because of Trump.)
—Swing state voting news: The Supreme Court has left in place a lower court's redistricting decision, rejecting a GOP challenge. And a new suit was launched: Republicans are suing to block Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's order to restore voting rights to 200,000 Virginia felons.
—Speaking of McAuliffe: CNN reported that he was under FBI and Justice Department investigation over contributions to his gubernatorial campaign. (This may put a damper on that unofficial role with the Clinton campaign.)
—Here's what the polls can't tell us right now: who has a better shot at winning in November. Whether a third party candidate has a real shot. Here's what they actually are telling us: Rank-and-file Republicans are rallying to Trump. And working-class whites see the presumptive Republican nominee as the champion Mitt Romney never was. (By the way: here's what the polls tell us about how Mitt Romney would do in November as a third-party candidate.)
If you missed the full Washington Post/ABC poll results, you can find them here. The short version: Voters don't like their choices. (Literally: voters chose them. And voters don't like them.)
—And The Fix's first electoral college map of the year had Donald Trump at 164, Hillary Clinton at 201. (You can find more on the map, and the toss-up states, here. And you can use the Post's simulator tool to make your own electoral map here.)
YOUR DAILY TRAIL PIT STOP: The first workday of the week is always a rough one. Maybe rougher for some of you than others (see above). But everyone could use a pick-me-up.
Here is Don Willett, one of Donald Trump's picks for his Supreme Court shortlist, with a Monday moment of zen.
Happy Monday, everyone—— Justice Don Willett (@JusticeWillett) May 23, 2016
YOU CAN DO THIS! pic.twitter.com/u4kfto9lG1