THE BIG IDEA:
The effort to draft a credible independent presidential candidate who anti-Donald Trump conservatives could vote for has failed.
Weekly Standard Editor William Kristol has been leading the effort, trying to recruit everyone from Mitt Romney to freshman Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.). He keeps striking out because no ambitious elected official wants to become a spoiler, remembered in the history books as the guy wwho tipped the election to Hillary Clinton. Most Democrats, after all, still detest Ralph Nader 16 years after he made George W. Bush president. This factor has only become truer as the Republican ruling class falls in line behind Trump as the presumptive nominee.
Then, over the Memorial Day weekend, Kristol teased an impending announcement, raising hopes on the right that someone good was getting on board:
Just a heads up over this holiday weekend: There will be an independent candidate--an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance.— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) May 29, 2016
It turns out Kirstol’s tweet was just a tease. Last night, we found out that National Review writer David French – a Tennessee lawyer who has never run for office before and does not even have a Wikipedia page – is who he has in mind.
This only adds insult to injury for movement conservatives, who have proved shockingly hapless at stopping a billionaire with dubious claims to conservatism from hijacking the Republican Party.
Though a neophyte, French has an impressive curriculum vitae. He graduated from Harvard Law, received the Bronze Star during the Iraq war and remains a major in the Army Reserve. His wife, Nancy, has been Sarah Palin’s ghostwriter. They have three children.
—Conservative elites leading the last throes of the Never Trump resistance responded with a mix of positivity and pragmatism to the news:
I know David French to be an honorable, intelligent and patriotic person. I look forward to following what he has to say.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) June 1, 2016
My view in brief: @DavidAFrench would introduce wholesome, curative garlic into this political year of the vampires.— Jay Nordlinger (@jaynordlinger) June 1, 2016
I will vote for David French if he's on the ballot. But we could probably hold our convention in a phone booth.— Matt Lewis (@mattklewis) May 31, 2016
I'm not sure @DavidAFrench run makes sense for him or conservatives. I'm 100% sure he's 1,000% more honorable than Clinton or Trump.— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) June 1, 2016
In what way is @DavidAFrench (combat officer, Bronze Star winner, Harvard Law grad, bestselling author) LESS qualified for POTUS than Trump?— Michael Medved (@MedvedSHOW) June 1, 2016
Overnight, French made his first public comments – with a single Tweet:
I'm incredibly humbled by and grateful for the many expressions of support -- thank you.— David French (@DavidAFrench) June 1, 2016
And Kristol's response:
Here in Israel, reading about possible @DavidAFrench candidacy, thought of Herzl: Im tirtzu, ein zo agada. If you will it, it is no dream.— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) June 1, 2016
Trump’s social media director mocked the idea:
Bill Kristol chooses David French, for Independent Presidential Run. Have you EVER heard of him? #Trump2016— Dan Scavino Jr. (@DanScavino) May 31, 2016
-- Here are six takeaways from the news:
1. French is of the right-wing pundit class, by the right-wing pundit class and for the right-wing pundit class. There are many other more traditional politicians Kristol no doubt tried to persuade before turning to this commentator. In the current issue of the Weekly Standard, he floated former senators Judd Gregg and Mel Martinez before naming French.
How David French 2016 became a "thing" on right: Kristol and others were struggling to find a big name, retreated to their own orbit.— Robert Costa (@costareports) May 31, 2016
Kristol, traveling in Israel, texted with The Post’s Roberta Costa last night – comparing French’s possible bid to Jim Buckley in 1970. That year, National Review founder William F. Buckley’s brother won an unexpected victory in the New York Senate race as a candidate for the Conservative Party. He lost his bid for a second term. “Decades later, James Buckley’s insurgency remains fondly remembered by activists on the right as one of the rare instances where a hard-line conservative candidate, operating outside of the Republican Party, won a federal contest,” Costa writes. “According to the people close to French, the legacies of James Buckley and William F. Buckley -- who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of New York in 1965 as a conservative candidate – have deeply shaped his thinking.”
2. French himself recognizes the quixotic nature of his potential candidacy. Only a week ago, he wrote a column for National Review that twice called Romney “the only man” who could make a realistic third-party bid. The 2012 nominee, he explained, is “the only man who combines the integrity, financial resources, name recognition, and broad public support to make a realistic independent run at the presidency."
Just this past Sunday, French went on MSNBC. “The Never Trump movement is flagging,” he told Joy Reid, “but it would receive a massive steroid injection if Mitt Romney joined the race.” (TVNewser posted the footage.)
3. French might not go through with it. Bloomberg Politics, which broke the story last night, reported that French is “open to launching a bid” but “has not made a final decision.” Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, citing two sources, added that French has not lined up a vice-presidential running mate or significant financial support.
Another unnamed source told Fox News’s John Roberts that French is “talking with lots of people (donors, strategists, etc.), but in the mode of planning for it not just considering it.”
4. The logistical challenges are palpable. He probably will not be able to get on enough ballots to be viable. “In California, for example, a candidate must collect more than 178,000 signatures by Aug. 12 in order to appear on the ballot in November,” CBS notes. “And in Texas, the deadline for independent candidates has already passed: it was May 9.”
Libertarians are already on the ballot in 33 states, and will probably get close to 50. Any new candidate is starting from scratch.— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) May 31, 2016
5. French has a long paper trail that puts him outside of the mainstream.
In March, he penned a controversial riff about working-class whites (defending an even more controversial essay): “I grew up in Kentucky, live in a rural county in Tennessee, and have seen the challenges of the white working-class first-hand. Simply put, Americans are killing themselves and destroying their families at an alarming rate. No one is making them do it. The economy isn’t putting a bottle in their hand. Immigrants aren’t making them cheat on their wives or snort OxyContin. Obama isn’t walking them into the lawyer’s office to force them to file a bogus disability claim. … Yet millions of Americans aren’t doing their best. Indeed, they’re barely trying.”
David French agreed with his colleague that said "downscale communities deserve to die" https://t.co/iRDYispqdj so ya good luck.— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) May 31, 2016
The Daily Beast rounds up several recent comments that would prove problematic: “French cheers the acquittal of an officer involved in Freddie Gray’s death; repeatedly parades the widely debunked ‘Ferguson effect’ myth about a ‘war on cops’; exhibits a particular obsession with painting transgender individuals as ‘mentally unstable,’ ‘troubled,’ and ‘absurd’ people … and seems to believe that gays simply seek to ‘redefine sin as freedom.’ Perhaps his most shining moment, however, came following the death of beloved rocker Prince. As a nation grieved, Kristol’s champion-in-waiting offered up a verbose essay full of faux-intellectual pomposity—invoking Marx and ‘post-virtue culture’—to whine about Americans daring to consider the beloved rocker a ‘hero.’”
Life News celebrated the report that French might run, citing his steadfast opposition to reproductive rights. The site’s story quotes from columns the would-be candidate has written for them: “An abortion is the intentional killing of an unborn child inside (or partially inside) the womb,” he’s written. He also said “there’s no other issue in American politics of equal moral weight as abortion, and … one party wants to preserve the ‘right’ to pay another person to kill an innocent child for any reason or no reason at all.”
Then there's this:
6. The mainstream media will not take French’s candidacy seriously, which will make it difficult for him to get traction:
Me, when I realized the super-secret indie candidate was David French pic.twitter.com/8sN0aKDVqF— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) June 1, 2016
DO NOT EVEN THINK OF TRYING TO STEAL HALPERIN/HEILEMANN SCOOP ABOUT BILL KRISTOL'S CRAZY DAVID FRENCH DRAFT MOVEMENT pic.twitter.com/k0aCCt97uJ— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) May 31, 2016
I'm in London and EVERYONE over here is buzzing about David French. jk lol— Peter Hamby (@PeterHamby) June 1, 2016
David French is unqualified to be president, has bad ideas, writes silly things, and stands no chance of winning. Why is it rude to laugh?— Josh Barro (@jbarro) June 1, 2016
Google David French and find a picture of pro baseball player David Price and his french bulldog pic.twitter.com/qW0nZC5jtk— Joe Perticone (@JoePerticone) May 31, 2016
Bill Kristol’s ability to command all our attention despite notoriously terrible record of predictions/ideas is a truly notable achievement.— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) May 31, 2016
|Welcome to the Daily 202, PowerPost's morning newsletter. |
With contributions from Breanne Deppisch (@breanne_dep) and Elise Viebeck (@eliseviebeck) Sign up to receive the newsletter.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
-- At midnight, the CDC released figures on death rates that show the first increase in 10 years, as drug overdoses, gun deaths, suicide and heavy drinking take a toll on Americans. Lethal drug overdoses rose from 14.0 per 100,000 people in early 2014 to 15.2 by mid-2015. (Joel Achenbach)
GET SMART FAST:
- The federal government is suing to stop the family of the San Bernardino terrorists from collecting $300,000 in life insurance payments, arguing that terrorists should not be permitted to provide for beneficiaries through their crimes. (LA Times)
- General Mills issued a recall of 10 million pounds of flour, saying it is working with health officials to investigate an E. coli outbreak that has sickened people in 20 states. (Reuters)
- Consumer spending surged in April by the largest amount in more than six years, according to a Commerce Department report. Economists say the spike is a good sign that the economy is performing notably better this quarter after nearly stalling out at the start of the year. (AP)
- Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said he would sign a transgender public accommodations bill, putting an end to months of ambiguity on the controversial issue. The measure, expected to be approved by state lawmakers, protects transgender people from discrimination in public areas and allows them to use bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity. (The Boston Globe)
- The 4th Circuit, which sided with a transgender teen in his lawsuit against a Virginia school board, denied the board’s request to rehear the case before a full panel of judges. The teen was banned from the boy's bathroom. A three-judge panel said this violated his rights under Title IX. Now his suit can move forward. (Moriah Balingit)
- The Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the Obama administration in a property rights dispute, making it easier for landowners to challenge the federal government’s ability to regulate what they do on their own property under the Clean Water Act. (Robert Barnes)
- The justices also turned down a Louisiana murderer’s request that the justices take his case to decide whether the death penalty is unconstitutional. (Robert Barnes)
- Hewlett-Packard has decided not to participate in this year’s Republican convention, joining Microsoft and Coca-Cola on a growing list of major corporations that are curtailing participation in Cleveland. (New York Times)
- The Dalai Lama said "too many" refugees are seeking asylum in Germany, saying migrants should only be admitted to Europe on a temporary basis. “There are so many that in practice it becomes difficult,” he said. (Max Bearak)
- Four years after being sent to prison for murder, Drew Peterson was found guilty of trying to have the prosecutor killed, orchestrating a murder-for-hire plot from within the walls of his cell. Peterson’s plan was foiled when a fellow inmate agreed to wear a wire and secretly recorded hours of conversations with Peterson, cataloging the man’s plans. (Katie Mettler)
- For the first time, one of the teams competing in the Olympic Games will be made up of refugees who hail from different countries they no longer call home. (AP)
- Ohio authorities are probing the fall of a 4-year-old boy into a Cincinnati zoo enclosure, which caused rescuers to shoot and kill an endangered gorilla. Police said they will investigate the actions of the child’s family and the circumstances surrounding the fall. (Peter Holley)
- A 32-year-old Texas man paid his speeding ticket in pennies, calling the move an act of “passive resistance” to protest the unjustness of his fine. (Fredrick Kunkle)
- A New York ice cream truck driver attacked a pretzel vendor with a bat in a dispute over coveted Midtown territory. The attack is the latest in a violent string of turf-war conflicts between food vendors. (New York Times)
- Thailand authorities found 40 dead tiger cubs in the freezer of a Buddhist monastery, sparking a further investigation into the temple’s involvement in the illegal wildlife trade. (New York Times)
- The president-elect of the Philippines said many of the reporters slain in his country had “done something” to deserve being murdered. (Elahe Izadi)
Trump was personally involved in devising marketing strategies for Trump University, even vetting and “signing off” on all its ads, according to newly-disclosed testimony from an ongoing lawsuit against the business. From Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman: “Mr. Trump understandably is protective of his brand and very protective of his image and how he’s portrayed,” said Trump University president Michael Sexton. “And he had very good and substantive input as well.”
Previously-sealed documents, released by a judge after a request by The Post's lawyers, include a number of internal “playbooks” highlighting the company’s questionable marketing practices:
- Instructors were urged to “aggressively steer” prospective Trump University customers towards the most expensive courses: The playbooks advised staff members to collect “personalized information” about participants to help close sales. One example: “Are they a single parent of three children that may need money for food?”
- The playbooks instructed staff to have students fill out forms detailing their personal assets, ostensibly to provide targeted recommendations for investment. The playbooks, however, said the real purpose was to determine which students were good targets for the most expensive programs.
- Trump University speakers were expected to earn their keep: A portion of speaker compensation was based on signing up seminar participants to buy more Trump University products, according to a contract. And while in training, speakers were expected to hit a certain sales rate in order to be retained by the program.
- Sexton testified in a separate deposition that Trump did not personally select instructors for the marquee sessions, though marketing materials said he would "hand pick" them. And Trump, in a sworn deposition, was unable to recall the names of key faculty members.
If you read just one paragraph from Tom and Roz's story: "A former Trump University staffer, Ronald Schnackenberg, wrote in a formal statement unsealed Tuesday that he quit the program in 2007 after working there for less than a year, deciding that it was engaging in 'misleading, fraudulent and dishonest' practices. His statement said he was reprimanded by Trump University for not working harder to sell a $35,000 program to a couple who could not afford it and would have had to use disability pay and a loan taken out against equity in their apartment to pay for it. He said another salesperson talked the couple into paying for the seminar after he refused."
-- COMING ATTRACTION: Hillary is preparing a major foreign policy speech in San Diego tomorrow: “Clinton’s campaign hopes that there are many more national-security-minded Republicans and independents who would vote for her, even grudgingly, rather than see Trump win the White House,” Anne Gearan reports. “Those voters are an important part of the audience for her case that she is fit to be commander in chief and that Trump is not. ‘Clinton will rebuke the fear, bigotry and misplaced defeatism that Trump has been selling to the American people,’ an aide previewed.”
Clinton is making inroads with significant GOP foreign policy elites: Retired Army Col. Peter Mansoor, a former top aide to then-Gen. David Petraeus, is a strong Republican but thinks Trump is too dangerous to be president. “It will be the first Democratic presidential candidate I’ve voted for in my adult life,” said Mansoor, a professor of military history at Ohio State University. Philip Zelikow, a University of Virginia history professor who was a State Department official in the George W. Bush administration, told Gearan: “I would support a random name in the phone book” over Trump.
THE GOP NOMINEE IS STILL NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME:
-- Trump announced that he's given away the last of the $5.6 million he raised four months ago at a benefit for veterans in Iowa. "You have to go through a process,” he said in defense of the delay in donating the funds. “When you send checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars to people and to companies and to groups that you've never heard of, charitable organizations, you have to vet it.”
-- But, but, but: One of the charities Trump selected to receive a donation has an “F” rating from CharityWatch and spent just $2.4 million of its total $8 million budget to directly help veterans in 2014, Jose DelReal and David Fahrenthold report. The Foundation for American Veterans spent the rest of the money in 2014 on fundraising and management expenses, with $3.5 million paid out to professional fundraising companies. Another $2 million went toward salaries and general expenses, including billing and collection services.
-- If Trump's staff actually did vet the charities, as he repeatedly insisted, this raises very serious questions about their ability to vet potential running mates and White House appointees.
-- The real estate mogul spent the rest of his press conference bitterly attacking the media for pressing him to explain what he had done with the funds. “Instead of being like, ‘Thank you very much, Mr. Trump’ or ‘Trump did a good job,’ everyone’s saying, ‘Who got it, who got it, who got it?’ ” Trump grumbled. “And you make me look very bad. I have never received such bad publicity for doing such a good job.”
Reality check: His campaign falsely claimed the money had all been donated. But the billionaire only followed through on his promise after The Post's Fahrenthold doggedly pursued the issue and demanded proof.
“The threats and personal insults show little regard for democratic accountability, the legitimate role of a free press in a free society and the importance of an independent judiciary,” The Post’s Editorial Board writes today. “Mr. Trump’s over-the-top response shows he does not have the restraint, the openness or the values every modern president has shared.”
-- Mitch McConnell joined the growing chorus of voices urging Trump to release his tax returns: “For the last 30 or 40 years, every candidate for president has released their tax returns, and I think Donald Trump should as well," the Senate Majority Leader said yesterday. (Business Insider)
-- Rick Wiley spoke out in his first interview since being fired as Trump’s political director. From Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs: “Trump hired [Wiley] without ever having a conversation with him. He fired him the same way. The two men never had a single phone call, or traded emails, because Trump doesn't use e-mail … That lack of contact meant Trump never felt a deep bond with Wiley, and so amid complaints of a campaign adrift, Wiley was let go.” Wiley's comments show the degree to which Trump is not actually trying to build or run a professionalized, modern campaign.
-- New York City building inspectors are investigating Trump's practice of closing down the public atrium in Trump Tower for campaign events: The mogul agreed to create a two-story public atrium in 1983, allowing him to skirt zoning laws, but requiring he leave the 6,000-square-foot structure open to the public between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. every day. City officials said they had no record of Trump ever seeking -- or being granted permission -- to shut out the public for a campaign event. (Reuters)
-- Sheldon Adelson’s advisers are in talks to set up a new pro-Trump super PAC. From Politico’s Alex Isenstadt: “Adelson’s team has been in talks with a small group of big-name political consultants, including former Republican Governors Association executive directors Nick Ayers and Phil Cox, former Rand Paul campaign manager Chip Englander, and former Mitch McConnell chief of staff Josh Holmes. The deliberations come amid mounting concern in GOP circles that no central pro-Trump outside entity has yet been established … The Adelson team is hoping to build a stable of blue-chip political strategists, and has reached out to a group that has deep experience in the worlds of gubernatorial and congressional politics.”
Meanwhile, overnight, Adelson’s casino company settled its long-running lawsuit with the former head of its Chinese division: Former CEO Steven Jacobs “launched a wrongful termination case in 2010, alleging that he was fired in order to cover up illegal activities committed by the company as it developed its lucrative business interests in Macau, a booming Chinese gambling enclave near Hong Kong.” (AP)
-- Trump has found an unlikely voice of support – North Korean state media. From Adam Taylor: “State outlet DPRK Today published an editorial Tuesday that called the business mogul a ‘wise politician’ and said he could be good for North Korea. ‘There are many positive aspects to Trump’s ‘inflammatory policies,'’ ‘the author of the article wrote, according to a translation from NK News. ‘Trump said he will not get involved in the war between the South and the North, isn’t this fortunate from North Korea’s perspective?’ The author dismissed Clinton as "dull,” and saying she hopes to use the "Iranian model to resolve nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsula."
-- How Paul Ryan thinks about Trump: Peter Wehner — a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a former policy aide to President George W. Bush and a personal and ideological compatriot of Ryan’s for two decades — spoke with Mike DeBonis about the Speaker's continuing, uncomfortable game of footsie with his party's standard bearer:
- “Paul Ryan in many ways is the antithesis of Donald Trump; he’s everything that Donald Trump is not. That doesn’t mean that Ryan in the end won’t support Trump, and I think I understand the reasons that he might, but if he does, I don’t think it’s going to be easy.”
- “My guess is what Ryan is hoping for is that he can tether Trump to a conservative dock precisely because Trump is philosophically adrift at sea and he doesn’t have any knowledge of philosophy or policies or ideas. Ryan might be able, by virtue of his institutional role … be able to make Trump more conservative than he would otherwise be and mitigate some of his worst tendencies and qualities. I think that the idea that you contain Donald Trump is a wish, not a reality, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable for someone like Paul Ryan to try."
- "If he can carve out some non-Trump territory and show that there’s a different way to think about politics … I think that that is all to the good.”
-- The surest way to be irrelevant: “Neither of us have any intention of attacking Trump or Hillary,” Gary Johnson told Chuck Todd on MSNBC last night, appearing with his running mate Bill Weld.
MORE ON THE DEMOCRATIC RACE:
-- Hillary won support from California Gov. Jerry Brown, a former Bill Clinton primary rival. He declared the Democratic race is “basically over." Sanders, naturally, insisted it is “too soon” to close ranks. (Anne Gearan, Abby Phillip and David Weigel)
BERNIE IS OUT OF HIS DEPTH:
-- Sanders told Rolling Stone that he has not yet figured out how he could work with a Republican-led Congress if elected: “You're saying to me, and it's a fair question: ‘Bernie, if you sit down with Paul Ryan and say, 'Paul, I want a tax on Wall Street speculation to make public colleges and universities tuition-free,' the likelihood is that Paul won't say, 'Hey, Bernie, why didn't I think of that?’ The strategy – which is unprecedented, and this is where we're talking about thinking outside the box – is to have a president who actually, vigorously goes around the country and rallies the American people … Now, is it easy to do? No. How do you do it? It's a good question. And the truth is, right now I'm a bit busy running for president to have figured that out, other than to tell you that it requires a mass-based political effort bringing millions of people together … Unions could play an important role. Environmental groups, women's groups – groups that are already actively involved. We're going to bring people together to effectively organize and put pressure on Congress to do the right thing.” (Read the full interview here.)
Important reality check: Does Bernie really think that traveling around the country to whip up support for something that majorities in Congress oppose is a novel, "outside the box" idea? The above interview is naive, especially coming from a senator. The concept of the bully pulpit is more than a century old. President Obama traveled the country trying to gin up support for everything from new gun laws to Merrick Garland. And Republicans did not care. They did not move an inch, even when public opinion was against them. Can Sanders possibly believe what he's saying?
-- Clinton maintains a slight lead over Trump nationally, edging him out 45 percent to 41 percent in a new Quinnipiac University poll. (Sanders, meanwhile, leads Trump 48-39 in a head-to-head, but he trails Clinton among Democrats 53-39.)
- Voters remained sharply divided by gender: Male voters favored Trump 51-35, while women leaned toward Clinton 54-30.
- 56 percent of all voters say Clinton is better prepared to be president than Trump. Voters also praised Clinton as more intelligent (51 - 37 percent), having higher moral standards (47 - 36 percent), and said they would “turn to her during a personal crisis” (47 to 41 percent.)
- Trump, meanwhile, is seen as more honest and trustworthy (44-39), with 49 percent saying he is a “stronger leader” than she is and 47 percent saying they would rather invite him to a backyard barbecue. (39 said Clinton.)
-- A Monmouth University poll will give Trump a new (flawed) talking point: that he puts New Jersey in play. Clinton leads the mogul by 4 points (38-34) in the state, winning 72 percent of Democrats to Trump’s 73 percent among Republicans. “Blue Jersey doesn’t appear quite so blue at this stage of the campaign, but we should keep in mind that neither major party candidate has fully locked in the support of their partisan bases,” said polling director Patrick Murray. The Democratic base will come home after the state's primaries next week, just like the GOP base has fallen in line behind Trump.
-- Democrats are also being unrealistic: The Clinton campaign is talking about putting Texas on the map in the general election. From Texas Monthly’s Erica Grieder: “In light of empirical evidence from polling and recent elections, it’s obvious Clinton’s path to victory in Texas wouldn’t be easy. … And though there’s no way to predict how widespread the Republican disaffection will be come November—at this stage, at least—it’s clear that it exists in the state specifically. At the very best, from her perspective, she wins. Failing that, she could help the beleaguered Texas Democrats build their party infrastructure and pick up a few more seats in the Texas Legislature.”
-- Trend: White Americans are splintering along education and gender lines at rates not seen in at least three decades, says Post pollster Scott Clement:
- Education level is particularly predicative of how white voters respond to Trump’s proposals to combat illegal immigration and terrorism, while Trump’s confrontational rhetoric and lack of respect for his adversaries drives the gender gap.
- The shift is most striking when you combine education and gender: Trump leads Clinton 76 to 14 among white men without college degrees, while Clinton leads 57 to 34 among white college-graduate women.
- Clinton and Trump have inspired different reactions among whites of various education levels: “White voters without college degrees are exceptionally negative toward Clinton — 73 percent rate her ‘unfavorably’ — 16 points higher than viewed President Obama negatively at this point in 2012. Nearly 6 in 10 non-college whites have a positive view of Trump, 9 points higher than Romney’s standing four years ago.”
The chasm underscores the challenge for Trump: He must increase his overall share of the white vote if he is unable to outperform Romney's support among African American and Hispanic voters. “The more divided the white vote is — whether on gender or education lines — the more problematic it is for his chances,” Clement explains.
-- Sanders supporters are worrying that media coverage next Tuesday will skew election results by declaring Clinton the presumptive party nominee. From David Weigel: "Here's what's really bad," said Sanders ally RoseAnn DeMoro after a campaign event in California. "At 5 o'clock, evidently, there's this plan for the media, if Clinton wins New Jersey, to say: 'This is over. She's got it locked up.' That's a lie.” “DeMoro was referring to not-so-secret plans for media outlets, which have been keeping their own delegate counts, to mark the moment when Clinton wins the 2,383 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. At her current pace, Clinton would hit the 2,383 target on June 7 at 8 p.m. Eastern time, when polls close in New Jersey and the state's 142 delegates are parceled out.” "It'll depress turnout on both sides,” Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said on MSNBC. “It'll be an inaccurate description of the race, because all we have from superdelegates is essentially a poll."
-- Clinton refuses to say whether she backs the death penalty in the case of Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who massacred African American parishioners in a church. Her campaign has note responded to inquiries from reporters, including the Huffington Post. “The death penalty isn’t generally a top concern for voters, but knowing candidates’ stances on it does provide a sense of how they weigh politics and morality,” Sam Stein writes. “Learning whether Roof qualifies as an ‘egregious case’ in Clinton’s mind would help voters figure out where she stands, but so far, her campaign refuses to provide any clues.” Sanders said last week that he would not pursue the death penalty, as Obama’s Justice Department has decided to do.
-- The Benghazi Committee has become partisan and politicized, cont. From Elise Viebeck: Democrats on the House Select Committee on Benghazi said that they have been totally cut “out of the process,” and they are concerned that Republicans plan to release a damning report just before Clinton’s coronation in Philadelphia next month. The five Democrats on the panel sent an open letter yesterday asking if they can receive a copy of the panel's final report before it is released so they can offer some kind of response. “Since the Select Committee has never held an official business meeting, and since we have not held a public hearing in six months, we have very little information about how you plan to proceed,” the Democrats wrote.
-- The FBI wants to exempt its burgeoning national database of fingerprints and facial photos from a federal law that gives Americans the right to sue for government violations of the Privacy Act, such as refusing to tell a person if he or she is in the system. “The proposed exemptions have stirred objections from an array of privacy and civil rights advocates, who say such carve-outs remove a critical check on the use of the huge database in criminal investigations,” per Ellen Nakashima. “In particular, they are concerned about the bureau’s deployment of still-developing facial recognition technology to identify potential suspects. Such technology, they say, may have lower accuracy rates for black people, young people and women. And they worry that it could be misused to track protesters at political rallies.”
-- The college-aged daughter of Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) became a Lyft driver and has been using her father’s car – with congressional plates – to score extra cash. In response to inquiries from The Post, the congressman said he has asked his daughter, who graduated from Howard University this month, to remove the special congressional plates from her Honda. But he will continue to let her use his car “while she pursues full-time employment.” (Helena Andrews-Dyer)
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
Many political veterans were astonished by Trump's zany press conference yesterday, which oozed with grudges and grievances:
In decades of following politics I have never watched a spectacle like the Trump press conference.— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) May 31, 2016
Trump's name-calling of journalists trying to do their job was equal parts childish, disturbing, and disgraceful.— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) May 31, 2016
Some perspective from Hillary's traveling press corps:
Trump holds 2 pressers in 2 business days.— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) May 31, 2016
Sanders takes no Qs at event billed as presser.
Clinton hasn't held a formal presser in 6 months.
HRC tells @jaketapper that she has done "nearly" 300 intvs in 2016.— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) May 31, 2016
Last gaggle w/ reporters: May 9.
Last formal press conference: Dec. 4.
Kristol responded to Trump's hate-tweets:
I gather Donald Trump said I'm a loser. I've won some and I've lost some, but one thing I've always tried not to be is a roaring jackass.— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) May 31, 2016
The Libertarian Party nominee for president had this burn for Trump:
California's Senate primary is next week. The state's Attorney General, likely to be on the fall ballot with Rep. Loretta Sanchez, voted early:
Kevin McCarthy celebrated the success of the Warriors with this photo:
Tom Carper tested out this ride:
Alan Grayson made a bold sartorial choice for his recent wedding:
On the campaign trail: Here's the rundown:
- Clinton: Newark, N.J.; Boston, Mass.
- Sanders: Spreckels, Palo Alto, Davis, Calif.
- Trump: Sacramento, Calif.
At the White House: President Obama talks about the economy in Elkhart, Ind., and participates in a town hall hosted by PBS. Later, he travels to Colorado Springs, Colo. Vice President Biden is in South Carolina for the week with no public events scheduled.
On Capitol Hill: The Senate and House are in recess.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"Yeah, it is going to be like this," Trump said at his press conference. "You think I'm gonna change? I'm not gonna change."
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
-- Another sunny and mild day to kick off the first month of summer! The Capital Weather Gang forecasts: “June starts off with relatively routine early-summer fare. Some patchy early-morning fog gives way to a partly sunny and moderately humid day. Afternoon highs head for the mid-80s, with only a slight chance of a late afternoon shower or thundershower.”
-- Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli joined the conservative FreedomWorks Foundation as its general counsel, a job that involves helping state attorneys general around the country combat overreaching federal regulations. (Laura Vozella)
-- Police are stepping up surveillance in Arlington after men have reportedly tried to watch, accost or lure children on the streets several times in recent weeks. (Martin Weil)
-- Local foodies, rejoice! D.C. is getting its very own Michelin Guide, making it the fourth American city to be recognized by one of the world’s “highest arbiters” of culinary taste. Inspectors have been dispatched across the city in anticipation of the guide, slated for release in early October. (Maura Judkis)
-- The D.C. city council unanimously approved a $13.4 billion spending plan, putting the city on a collision course with House Republicans, who last week warned District leaders against this very plan. (Aaron C. Davis)
VIDEOS OF THE DAY:
Sanders as a puppet -- you've got to watch it:
Two road signs in Texas were hacked over the weekend. One message took aim at Trump; the other showed support for Sanders:
Seth Meyers covered Trump in his favorite jokes of the week:
The Daily Show hosted Justin Trudeau:
Obama honored the Villanova Wildcats at the White House:
Check out the Smithsonian's recently-hatched endangered kiwi chick: