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Wake Up To Politics - April 18, 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016
1 Day Until the New York Primary
204 Days Until Election Day 2016I'm Gabe Fleisher for Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!
To send me questions, comments, tips, new subscribers, and more: email me at wakeuptopolitics@gmail.com. To learn more about WUTP and subscribe, visit the site: wakeuptopolitics.com, or like me on Twitter and Facebook. More ways to engage with WUTP at the bottom.    2016 Central

  • Trump’s Latest Battle: GOP Rules Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has picked fights with nearly everyone on the political stage. Next up: he’s contesting the very rules that dictate if he can get the Republican nomination, and butting heads with the very people who hold his fate in their hands.
  • Over the weekend, complaints over the GOP delegate process increased from the Trump campaign, as a backroom fight with the Republican National Committee (RNC) became very public, and the RNC struck back.
  • Trump laid out his demands Thursday in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, titled “Let Me Ask America a Question”. Trump used the process in Colorado, in which delegates were chosen via convention (with no voter input or primary election), as a backdrop for his broadside against “the system” (led by “the club”) as he called it.
  • “How has the ‘system’ been working out for you and your family?” Trump asks the reader, pledging that he is “not interested in defending a system that for decades has served the interest of political parties at the expense of the people.”
  • “We must leave no doubt that voters, not donors, choose the nominee,”
      Trump wrote. “My campaign will, of course, battle for every last delegate,” he continued. “We will work within the system that exists now, while fighting to have it reformed in the future. But we will do it the right way. My campaign will seek maximum transparency, maximum representation and maximum voter participation.”
  • Trump expanded on his feelings over the weekend, calling the delegate process “rigged,” “crooked,” and “100 percent corrupt” – and saying the RNC is in for a “rough July” if his lead in pledged delegates does not earn him the Republican nomination.
  • RNC chairman Reince Priebus responded Sunday to Trump’s “rigged” comments, telling CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” that it was “rhetoric” and “hyperbole”. Trump’s rivals also responded to complaints: also on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich called Trump’s accusations unprofessional.
  • “You’ve got to have a certain number of delegates to be nominated,” Kasich said. “It’s like saying I made an 83 on my math test so I should get an A just because I think it’s rigged that you have to make a 90 to get an A. I mean, come on: act like you’re a professional, be a pro.”
  • Trump’s plan behind his complaints is clear: a backup plan in case he does not clinch the 1,237 delegates necessary for the Republican nomination, and a rallying tool to get supporters out to vote in the meantime. But, it is also a risky endeavor, which could annoy delegates who may have voted for him at the Republican convention in July, and hold the fate of his campaign in their hands.
  • Risk or not, Trump’s public accusations has already changed the Republican process, in a way: the RNC Rules Committee was set to meet Thursday to vote on potential changes to convention rules, a discussion chairman Priebus has prohibited. Without a nominee, and considering the “politically-charged environment,” Priebus said it would not make sense for the Rules Committee to recommend changes to the convention/delegate process at this time.
  • Meanwhile, as Trump bemoans the delegate selection process, he continues to fail at playing it: delegates were allocated in Georgia, Wyoming, South Carolina, Kansas, and Florida on Saturday, and Ted Cruz loyalists were installed in almost all of the 90+ slots up for grabs. Even in states where Trump won in landslide primary victories (Florida, Georgia), Cruz was able to ensure his supporters were chosen as delegates (so they will abandon Trump on the second ballot, despite being pledged to him on the first). And in Wyoming, where a convention was held and no primary (similar to Colorado), Cruz swept all 14 delegates available.\
  • As Donald Trump continues to see losses in delegate selection, he will continue to complain about the process, and could use Colorado and other states he has issue with as leverage, at the convention in Cleveland, or as an excuse to oppose the Republican nominee in November.
  • Meanwhile… Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has complaints about his own party’s primary system, saying last week: “I think that having so many Southern states go first kind of distorts reality.” The Monkey Cage blog takes a historical look into Sanders’ claim here.
  • Today on the Trail Ahead of Tuesday’s primary, almost all of the presidential candidates are campaigning in New York: Donald Trump is holding a rally in Buffalo, Hillary Clinton is holding a “Women for Hillary” event in New York City (with New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, and Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards), John Kasich holds Town Halls in Syracuse and Schenectady, and Bernie Sanders holds a rally/concert in Long Island City (with special guests Danny Glover, Fisher Stevens, and TV on Radio).
  • Meanwhile, Ted Cruz will hold a rally in Towson, Maryland, ahead of the state’s primary next week.

Court Report

  • Supreme Court to Hear Controversial Case on Immigration The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Monday in United States v. Texas, a lawsuit over President Barack Obama’s executive actions blocking deportations, a case answering questions over immigration and executive power that have become controversial in the 2016 presidential election.
  • Obama’s program, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), was announced in November 2014, as a response to the Senate’s failure to pass the DREAM Act, which would have accomplished a similar goal by legislative means. DAPA grants “deferred action” to illegal immigrants with children who are American citizens, exempting them from deportation.
  • A month after Obama implemented DAPA with executive action, Texas and 25 other Republican-led states sued the federal government, claiming that the President has overstepped his constitutional powers. A federal appeals court sided with Texas and the other states, temporarily blocking the program from continuing. Since that decision, the Obama Administration has been unable to begin enrolling illegal immigrants in DAPA, and ensure they are not deported.
  • The appeals court ruling will be very important, as the current Supreme Court has only eight justices, creating the possibility of a 4-4 tie: which would affirm the lower court decision, and offer no federal precedent. However, all eyes are on Chief Justice John Roberts, who may once again side with the court’s liberal wing to deliver a victory to the Obama Administration.
  • The Court’s decision is expected to be announced in June, in the heat of the presidential campaign, where Obama’s actions have become an issue: Republicans Ted Cruz and Donald Trump have pledged to strike down DAPA and deport many of the 11 million illegal immigrants in America, while Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have announced support for Obama’s program and plans to expand it.
  • A full ninety minutes of oral arguments have been scheduled for Monday, with U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verilli, Jr. arguing for thirty-five on behalf of the federal government; Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund president Thomas A. Saenz arguing for ten minutes on behalf of the illegal immigrants; Texas Solicitor General Scott A. Keller arguing on behalf of the 26 states for thirty minutes; and attorney Erin E. Murphy arguing for fifteen minutes on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Role Reversal An interesting Politico piece on the arguments from both sides in the DACA case, and the role reversal in this case from usual liberal/conservative battle lines, is here.

Capitol Hill News

  • Today in the Senate The upper chamber will hold a procedural vote to invoke cloture on legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The bill requires 60 “yeas” to advance.
  • Authorization of the FAA is currently set to expire on July 15; this legislation would allow the agency’s programs to continue through Fiscal year 2017.
  • A final vote on the legislation is likely to be held on Wednesday.

White House Watch

  • The President’s Schedule There are no events on the President’s public schedule Monday, as he prepares to depart on a foreign tour to Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and Germany on Tuesday.

Question of the Day

  • Thursday’s Answer Last week, on the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, the trivia question was: what did John Wilkes Booth yell as he shot Lincoln?
  • The answer: “Sic semper tyrannis,” a Latin phrase meaning “thus always to tyrants,” which is believed to have been first said by Brutus as he stabbed Caesar, and is also the state motto of Virginia.
  • GREAT JOB… Steve Gitinik, Maddy Smith, Brad Chotiner, Joan Zucker, Randy Fleisher, Rick Isserman, Dave Leipholtz, and Marlee Millman, who all answered correctly.
  • And…honorary credit to James Woolley, who offered an alternate translation to Booth’s famous words: “GET REKT!”
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For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation, the Political Junkie podcast, and St. Louis Public Radio; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki, and read about Gabe in Politico, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light