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Wake Up To Politics - April 21, 2016

Thursday, April 21, 2016
5 Days Until the CT/DE/MD/PA/RI Primaries
202 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

  • In New Phase of the GOP Race, “Paths” and Delegate Counts Reign Supreme Which candidate has a “path” to the nomination? That’s the new question in a Republican race increasingly dominated by delegate accounts, as Donald Trump’s New York primary win Tuesday signaled a new phase in the GOP contest, with the Republican National Convention nearing.
  • According to the Associated Press, after the New York primary, Donald Trump has 845 GOP delegates, Ted Cruz has 559 delegates, and John Kasich has 148. With 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination, Trump is 392 short, Cruz is 678 short, and Kasich is 1,089 short. The only problem? Just 674 delegates are left to be allocated, meaning it is mathematically impossible for Cruz or Kasich to clinch the nomination with pledged delegates on the first ballot of the convention.
  • This new mathematical development has brought on an onslaught of accusations from the trio of campaigns, as each candidate accused the others of remaining in the race only as “spoilers”.
  • Since Cruz lost his ability to win on the first ballot, Donald Trump has not lost an opportunity to repeat it, first mentioning it in his Tuesday victory speech: “We don’t have much of a race anymore,” he said. “Senator Cruz is just about mathematically eliminated.”
  • And then tweeting about it on Wednesday: “Ted Cruz is mathematically out of winning the race. Now all he can do is be a spoiler, never a nice thing to do. I will beat Hillary!”
  • And then again at a Maryland rally later that day: “There is no path for Lyin’ Ted Cruz to get the nomination,” he said.
  • Cruz his fired back, maintaining that he does, in fact, have a winning path, telling reporters in Florida on Wednesday that he would not drop out due to the new mathematical reality. “The only condition in which I would leave the race is if there were no clear path to victory,” Cruz told reporters. “At this point we are headed on a path to victory.”
  • He continued, saying it was Trump who had no path forward, due to the primaries in Indiana and California approaching. “After next week, this race goes out West again,” Cruz pointed out. “Donald has had a real problem winning west of the Mississippi River.”
  • Cruz declared that none of the candidates would be able to clinch the nomination. “What is clear today is that we are headed to a contested convention,” Cruz said. “Nobody is able to reach 1,237. I’m not going to reach 1,237 and Donald Trump is not going to reach 1,237.” Apparently there are multiple paths, pre-convention and post-convention, and Cruz said he was “on a path” to winning a contested convention, while Trump is “on a path to losing the nomination.”
  • But of all those with no path, John Kasich especially has no path, according to Cruz, who said Wednesday that “John Kasich has no path whatsoever to the nomination. What John Kasich is doing is he is helping Donald Trump.” Cruz went on to call Kasich an “honorable and decent man whose only role in this election is as a spoiler,” and theorizing that Kasich could therefore only still be in the race for one reason: “It may be that John is auditioning for Trump’s Vice President,” he said. “But a Trump-Kasich ticket loses to Hillary Clinton.”
  • Kasich responded in a CNN interview on Wednesday, saying there is “zero chance” he will become Trump’s running mate, and telling host Erin Burnett, “there’s more chance of you being vice president than me.” After weeks of Cruz calling for Kasich to drop out because he had “no path,” Kasich returned the favor on Wednesday, tweeting: “Now that Cruz is now mathematically eliminated, the only diff between him and Kasich is Kasich can defeat Clinton.” This captured Kasich’s argument to delegates if a contested convention does occur: that because none of the candidates were able to win the nomination (ignoring the fact that he was farthest from winning), they should choose the nominee who can win in November, which he claims Trump and Cruz cannot.
  • Trump also capitalized on Cruz’s hypocrisy, tweeting on Thursday: “Trump tweet Thursday Senator Ted Cruz has been MATHEMATICALLY ELIMINATED from race. He said Kasich should get out for same reason. I think both should get out!”
  • But all of the talk of “paths” could be moot, if Trump is able to 1,237 delegates by July, which he (alone) can still do. According to a number of reports, Trump may not even have to reach the magic number exactly: if he is about 75 delegates away, he will likely be able to win over enough unbound delegates (about 90 delegates not pledged to any candidate remain uncommitted) to simply clinch the nomination. At that point, those unbound delegates will hold the fate of the party in their hands: either opting to follow the plurality of voters and choose Trump, or refuse and throw the convention into chaos.
  • Depending on his success in Indiana and California, in addition to meeting expectations on Tuesday, Trump could even reach 1,237 without unbound delegates.
  • And Team Trump seems to believe he will surpass 1,237: an internal memo obtained by The Washington Post called Trump the “prohibitive favorite” for the nomination, and claimed he would have the support of over 1,400 delegates on the first ballot.
  • But it all hinges on the 15 remaining contest: and the next five, at least, seem like perfect Trump territory. Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island all vote on Tuesday, in what is being called the “Acela primary”. A key test will be in Pennsylvania, which only binds 17 of its delegates to a candidate. The remaining 54? Will be unbound, and highly sought-after by Trump and Cruz.
  • John Kasich’s campaign believes they have opportunities to pick up delegates on Tuesday, due to the moderate leanings of the states voting. A memo by chief strategist John Weaver, which was released to the press, claimed that Kasich could win seven of Maryland’s eight congressional district and four of Connecticut’s five districts. Team Cruz, meanwhile, is targeting Maryland and Pennsylvania; both of Trump’s rivals are ignoring Rhode Island and Delaware, where he is expected to win handily.
  • GOP contenders will likely continue to make these same arguments for months: over who’s more “electable,” or who has a “winning path,” or who’s “eliminated” and who’s not. More than in any primary contest in modern time, it’s all about the delegates, and with so much unclear, this race could go a number of different ways now – but it wouldn’t seem that way from listening to a candidate.
  • Daily Data: FEC Day The monthly deadline for presidential campaigns, political action committees (PACs), and party committees to filing finance reports to the Federal Election Committee (FEC) was Wednesday. The important numbers for each campaign (plus a sampling of prominent super PACs) are below, ranked by how much they raised in March:
  1. Bernie Sanders raised $46.0 million / spent $45.7 million / cash on hand $17.5 million
  2. Hillary Clinton raised $26.8 million / spent $28.7 million / cash on hand $29.0 million
  3. Donald Trump raised $14.6 million / spent $13.8 million / $2.1 million
  4. Ted Cruz raised $12.5 million / spent $11.8 million / cash on hand $8.8 million
  5. Priorities USA – pro-Clinton super PAC raised $11.9 million / spent 11.7 million / cash on hand $44.7 million
  6. Our Principles – anti-Trump super PAC raised $8.4 million / spent $11.2 million / cash on hand $423,922
  7. John Kasich raised $4.5 million / spent $4.6 million / cash on hand $1.2 million
  8. Trusted Leadership – pro-Cruz super PAC raised $4.5 million / spent $3.6 million / cash on hand $1.1 million
  9. New Day for America – pro-Kasich super PAC raised $2.7 million / spent $4.1 million / cash on hand $1.2 million
  • Extra, Extra “$1 billion spent in 2016 presidential race — and other numbers to know: Big money, and plenty of oddities, mark latest round of campaign disclosures” (The Center for Public Integrity)

White House Watch

  • Treasury Department: Hamilton Staying on $10 Bill, Tubman Replacing Jackson on the $20 Just months after responding to calls for a woman to be added to U.S. currency be announcing Alexander Hamilton’s exit from the $10 bill, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew backpedaled Wednesday, his hand forced by superfans of Broadway’s hit musical “Hamilton”. Hamilton’s portrait will remain on the $10 bill, while Andrew Jackson will be taken off of the $20 bill to make way for Harriet Tubman.
  • “Today, I’m excited to announce that for the first time in more than a century, the front of our currency will feature the portrait of a woman, Harriet Tubman, on the $20 note,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said, announcing the changes to reporters. “Her incredible story of courage and commitment to equality embody the ideals of democracy that our nation celebrates, and we’ll continue to value her legacy by honoring her on our currency.”
  • How did Jackson get booted, while Hamilton got saved? Lew’s initial announcement last summer came just as Broadway musical “Hamilton” was growing in popularity. Now a full-blown hit, Lew’s hand was forced by superfans of the musical. Jackson, meanwhile, has become steadily less popular as time has gone on, due to his treatment of Native Americans. Just not enough “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” superfans, apparently.
  • Jackson will remain on the $20 bill, however, alongside the White House on the bill’s backside.
  • But adding Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman to the $20 bill obverse is not the only one being made by Lew to diversify the portraits on American currency. On the back of the $10 bill (alongside the Treasury Building), a vignette of five women will be added: suffragettes/abolitionists Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, and Sojourner Truth. And on the back of the $5 bill (alongside the Lincoln Memorial), three more portraits will be added: groundbreaking singer Marian Anderson, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Many praised the decision on Wednesday, including both Democratic presidential candidates. “A woman, a leader, and a freedom fighter. I can't think of a better choice for the $20 bill than Harriet Tubman,” Hillary Clinton tweeted on Wednesday. Bernie Sanders echoed her in a tweet of his own: “I cannot think of an American hero more deserving of this honor than Harriet Tubman.” Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of “Hamilton,” also weighed in, tweeting that he was “thrilled” that Hamilton would remain and that “somewhere, Eliza Hamilton is grinning.”
  • But not everyone supported the decision: former presidential candidate Ben Carson told Fox Business that Jackson should stay on the $20 bill. I love Harriet Tubman. I love what she did. But we can find another way to honor her,” he said. “Maybe a $2 bill.”
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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