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Wake Up To Politics - April 5, 2016

Tuesday, April 5, 2016
217 Days Until Election Day 2016 I'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.    Editor's Note - Important: Please Read

  • Good morning! Today, Wake Up To Politics is presented in a very different format. The normal columns are gone, replaced with excerpts from different news stories. I have pulled quotes from the stories, and also linked them for you to read more if you chose. This is just an experiment, to try and include more interesting news and analysis than I alone can write in a morning. It isn't a permanent format, but I do want your feedback on what you think of it. Please let me know whether or not you like this format, the normal one, or a mix of them by emailing me to gabe@wakeuptopolitics.com.
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  • Thanks! - GabeWake Up To Politics - April 5,
  • Wisconsin Primary: Challengers Favored, Frontrunners in Trouble Similar storylines are playing out on both sides of today’s Wisconsin primary, with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton both trailing in polls of their respective contests.
  • Polls Polling average, Wisconsin Republican primary: Cruz – 39.2%, Trump – 34.5%, Kasich – 20% (Cruz +4.7%). (RealClearPolitics)
  • Polling average, Wisconsin Democratic primary: Sanders – 47.9%, Clinton – 45.3% (Sanders +2.6%). (RealClearPolitics)
  • What It Means “A loss for Trump in particular could reset a Republican contest that has been dominated by his outsider candidacy and outsize media presence. Amid scrutiny following several high-profile stumbles, state polls show Trump in a tight race with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, prompting speculation about whether Wisconsin could mark the beginning of the high-flying candidate’s downfall.”
  • “…Winning Wisconsin would give Sanders a fresh dose of momentum — and perhaps new credibility for his claim that he can catch Clinton in the delegate count and win the Democratic nomination.”
  • “Both Trump and Clinton maintain they can still win in Wisconsin.” (Washington Post)
  • If They’re Right… “A loss would dent Trump. But it would crush Cruz, who has retail politicked his way across the Badger State as if it were Iowa in recent weeks.”
  • “…Win or lose, Sanders' path to the Democratic nomination is a tight one. The party awards its delegates on a proportional basis, so there are no must-win states where he can place big bets the way Republicans have. He’ll have to win on the coasts -- and that includes New York and its surrounding territory.” (CNN)
  • Strategy “Mr. Cruz…is field testing a new playbook: exploiting Mr. Trump’s growing unpopularity with women – a gambit that crested last week with the introduction of a Women for Cruz coalition, headlined by Mr. Cruz’s wife and mother.” (New York Times)
  • “As Cruz seeks a watershed victory over Donald Trump in Wisconsin on Tuesday to reset the Republican race…the Texas senator is running the same Iowa playbook that dealt Trump his worst loss of the cycle…Just as in Iowa, Cruz arrived in Wisconsin before Trump, has worked it harder and stayed longer…Cruz has opened a ‘Camp Cruz’ to provide free housing for volunteers who make the trek to the voter-rich Milwaukee region, as he did in Des Moines; he has again slammed Trump for refusing to debate him; and he has tried to fend off a third candidate (then Marco Rubio, now John Kasich) from serving as a spoiler...Cruz has the backing of one of the state’s leading right-wing talk radio hosts (Charlie Sykes in Wisconsin, Steve Deace in Iowa), one of the state’s leading social conservative groups (Wisconsin Family Action PAC now, The Family Leader in Iowa) and another extensive and deeply organized grass-roots network fueled by county chairs blanketing the state and a long list of supportive faith leaders. He spent Saturday night here in Ashwaubenon, screening a Christian film — just as he did in West Des Moines last fall.” (Politico)
  • “Wisconsin has all the hallmarks of a Bernie Sanders-friendly state: large numbers of college-age voters, a progressive electorate and one of the whiter populations in the country. But when the state goes to the polls Tuesday, it will feature another element that’s proved just as vital to the Vermont senator’s success – an open primary format where voters don’t need to be Democrats to participate.” (Politico)
  • Road Ahead Politico’s Gabriel Debendetti on Twitter: “Sanders' challenge: Of the 18 states left, 2 hold caucuses, 2 have open primaries. 14 are closed or semi-closed…he has yet to win a closed [primary].”
  • Delegate AllocationRepublicans will award…18 delegates to their statewide winner, and three more to the winners in each of the state's eight congressional districts. Check out who picks up pockets of delegates and where: Cruz is aiming to clean up in Milwaukee, where the Republican base is concentrated and where Trump has been hammered by conservative talk radio; John Kasich has been focusing on Madison; Trump is expected to do well in the north. On the Democratic side, with 86 delegates proportionally at stake on Tuesday, look for Sanders to show strength in Madison, a liberal college town. Clinton needs to do well with the diverse, urban voters of Milwaukee. That could leave the Democratic race to be decided elsewhere, so watch how the candidates do along the Minnesota border and in the Green Bay area.” (AP)
  • Trump Spin NBC’s Alexandra Jaffe on Twitter: “Trump adv. Bennett on MSNBC: ‘If we win any delegates tomorrow, this race is over, b/c Cruz can't afford to lose any more.’”
  • Set Your Watches Polls across the state close at 9 p.m. EDT. The state historically has been fairly quick to release its vote count. Milwaukee is generally the exception to that rule, meaning that close races frequently come down to the size and direction of the vote count there.” (AP)
  • Convention Countdown GOP preps for the Republican National Convention in July:
  • Branding “Some Republicans are trying to rebrand a 'contested' convention as an 'open' convention. When Ohio Gov. John Kasich talks about what might happen in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention this summer, he often refers to an ‘open convention.’…Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus repeatedly used the same phrase…A LexisNexis search shows the use of ‘open convention’ shot up in March as the prospect became more likely - from just 8 mentions in January to 241 in March…Of course, an ‘open’ convention sounds far more democratic and transparent than a ‘contested’ convention (nasty and divisive) or a ‘brokered’ convention (party elites making back-room deals.)” (cincinatti.com)
  • “Republicans, already girding for their most tumultuous convention in decades, now have another fight brewing: a divisive battle over gay marriage on the party’s official national platform.” (Politico)
  • Mark Your Calendars: Democratic Debate, April 14 “CNN announced today that the network will host a primetime presidential primary debate with the two Democratic candidates on Thursday, April 14, live from the Duggal Greenhouse at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  Wolf Blitzer will moderate the debate, and the network will partner with Time Warner Cable News NY1. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders have both confirmed their attendance at the debate. The candidates will take questions from Blitzer, along with CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash and NY1 “Inside City Hall” Host and CNN Political Commentator Errol Louis. The debate will take place five days before the highly anticipated New York State primary contest on Tuesday, April 19.” (CNN)
  • Sanders Spin CNN’s Jeff Zeleny on Twitter: “Sanders camp gives in on debate date, but fires parting shot at Clinton's ‘jam-packed, high-dollar, coast-to-coast schedule of fundraisers.’”
  • Clinton Spin NBC’s Monica Alba on Twitter: “Clinton official: ‘We are grateful to have both NY1 and the Daily News sponsoring this debate, ensuring a New York focus to the discussion.’”
  • Veepstakes “[Katie] Couric pressed [HUD Secretary Julian] Castro on whether he’d be interested in serving as Hillary Clinton’s vice president. ‘My hope is that whoever does get asked will take that decision very seriously. I don’t believe that’s going to be me,’ he responded.” (Yahoo)
  • Obama on the Trail When will President Obama hit the campaign trail?
  • Waiting for Sanders “Bernie Sanders is keeping Barack Obama locked in limbo. Despite his steadily rising popularity, the president’s expected role in 2016 as the Democratic Party unifier is on hold for another three-and-a-half months, if Sanders keeps his campaign going through the July convention.” (Politico)
  • What He’s Doing Now “The White House goes nuclear on Donald Trump: An evolution” Read the timeline (CNN)
  • 2020 Central Looking ahead…
  • Rubio Re-Do? “In private conversations with supporters and donors over the last several weeks, the 44-year-old Rubio repeatedly gets this advice: Run again, potentially in 2020, according to several people familiar with the conversations. And Rubio, sources said, is certainly open to it. Some of his allies are even urging Rubio to withhold supporting Ted Cruz because such endorsements have made little difference this campaign season and the two could face off again in a future contest.” (CNN)
  • Walker Waiting “Scott Walker scrapped his presidential campaign more than six months ago, with more than $1 million in debt to his name but not a single delegate. But since his campaign died, Walker has quietly taken steps that keep his future presidential options very much alive.” (Politico)
  • “Bernie’s and Hillary’s favorite punching bag: Scott Walker” Read (Politico)
  • Trumponomics Economist Trump?
  • His Predictions “In the years before his current run for president, the billionaire businessman and reality TV star has frequently cast himself as an expert on the economy, while providing analysis that often turned out to be wildly incorrect.” (BuzzFeed)
  • His Plan “There is math, there is fantasy math, and then there’s Donald Trump’s economic math” Read (Washington Post)
  • Supreme Court Rules on “One Person, One Vote” “The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state and local governments can continue their longstanding method of drawing equal-sized election districts, rejecting calls for what might have been a transformational change reducing Hispanic voting clout. Unanimously upholding Texas voting lines Monday, the justices rejected conservative groups’ arguments that map-drawers should stop using total population and start using eligible voters as the measure for the Constitution’s "one person, one vote" principle. That approach might have reduced representation for areas with large numbers of children and non-citizens and shifted some seats to more heavily Republican areas.” (Bloomberg)
  • SCOTUS minus Scalia “Supreme Court struggles with just eight justices” Read (USA Today)
  • Garland Nomination Update “The Democratic activists pushing for the confirmation of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee measure their efforts by the numbers: more than 400 newspaper editorials, several dozen live protests and 1.5 million petition signatures urging Republican senators to take up Merrick Garland’s ­nomination. But this, too, can be measured: As of Monday, 52 senators oppose a hearing for Garland, let alone an up-or-down vote, before voters choose Obama’s successor in November. The all-out Democratic advocacy blitz during the two-week recess ending Monday has produced no discernible impact in the arena that really matters: the Senate Republican caucus.” (Washington Post)
  • GOP Senators Sign Immigration Amicus Brief “Forty-three Republican senators signed on to a new Supreme Court filing accusing President Obama of grossly overstepping his executive power when he created programs to prevent the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants. Just as interesting are some of the 11 senators who did not sign on to the politically charged legal document. Four of the 11 whose signatures were not on the court brief, which declared the president guilty of an extra-constitutional assertion of a unilateral executive power; are considered among the most vulnerable Senate Republicans of this election cycle…Two of the others…are also on the ballot this year. Two others…are from states with large Hispanic populations.” (New York Times)
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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