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Wake Up To Politics - May 3, 2016

Tuesday, May 3, 2016
0 Days Until the Indiana Primary
189 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!!!
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2016 Central

  • Indiana Primary: Trump, Clinton Poised to Win; Cruz, Sanders Last Stands Just over three months after both presidential nominating contests began in Iowa, they seem to be coming to an end, with frontrunners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton expected to clinch wins yet again in the Indiana primary today, effectively guaranteeing paths to the nomination for themselves and ending the paths of their rivals. Finally, the nominations of Trump and Clinton will be without question, as the two assume the titles of “presumptive nominee”. Or not.
  • On the Republican side, Indiana is a must-win for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who runs far behind businessman Donald Trump in delegates and momentum. The state is truly “do or die” for Cruz, who has numerous advantages: the conservative electorate, an endorsement from the state’s governor, and his deal with Ohio Gov. John Kasich to clear the field in the Hoosier State and create a one-on-one showdown with Trump.
  • Despite all of this, polls show Cruz trailing Trump by a considerable margin – by 11 points, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average (43% to 32% to 15%) – which would result be a huge victory for Trump’s efforts to clinch the 1,237 delegates needed for the nomination.after Indiana, he could have Putting na end in ight
  • A Trump win would also be a deafening blow for the “Never Trump” movement, which was once a large force within the Republican Party but has already been deserted by many of its numbers. After Indiana’s results, the anti-Trump diehards may have no attainable goal behind its campaign.
  • If Cruz is to win Indiana, his path to victory runs through the “donut counties” in the suburbs around Indianapolis. He is likely to win the Northeast area around Fort Wayne, which is heavily evangelical; Trump is expected to perform well in big manufacturing counties such as Indianapolis. Cruz must also gain supporters of John Kasich’s, many of whom may stay home in light of the Cruz-Kasich deal ceding Indiana to the Texan.
  • Cruz has been very open in setting expectations for Indiana, describing the state’s primary as “the one thing that stands between us and plunging over the cliff.” As a result, Cruz has desperately campaigned non-stop in the state, even announcing a running mate and deploying her across Indiana as well. However, Cruz has shown no signs of plans to drop out after tonight, telling supporters on Monday he is “in for the distance,” and has not said whether he will support Trump in the general election.
  • Trump agrees with Cruz that the Hoosier State could close the book on the primary race. “Indiana is very important, because if I win that’s the end of it. It would be over,” Trump said on Monday.
  • Indiana’s 57 GOP delegates are awarded by a “winner take all” system on the statewide and congressional district levels: with the statewide winner gaining 30 delegates, and three delegates offered to the winner of each district. Cruz has no chance at gaining the delegates needed for the nomination, but his hopes of a contested convention could become even less likely with a Trump landslide, which would require the business mogul to win only 42% of the remaining delegates.
  • On the Democratic side, polls show a closer race – Clinton has a 7% lead in the RealClearPolitics polling average (50% to 43%) – but the stakes are the same: a Sanders loss leaves no path forward for the Vermont senator to overcome former Secretary of State Clinton’s pledged delegate lead.
  • Clinton has barely campaigned in Indiana, holding just three events in the state and opting not to run a single television ad. Sanders, meanwhile, like Ted Cruz, has gone all-out in the Hoosier State, hoping that he can reclaim momentum in the Democratic primary race.
  • Sanders’ campaign has already begun to power down, with mass layoffs announced last week and his standing in polls and fundraising slipping, and many of his white, working-class voters in Madison, Delaware, and Howard Counties may decamp to Clinton. How many do, and how many stick with Sanders until the bitter end, will be revealing as to how successful she will be bringing over those voters in November.
  • The Vermonter has maintained that he will remain in the race until the last primaries on June 7, telling reporters Sunday that he has “a tough road to climb, but not an impossible road to climb,” but as the road gets steeper and steeper, Sanders will have to make a choice. If Sanders’ momentum truly cannot be regained, he must decide whether or not to continue attacking Clinton, even as she appears to be the party’s likely nominee.
  • Indiana offers 92 delegates on the Democratic side, allocated proportionally. While Ted Cruz has already been mathematically eliminated from winning the Republican nomination (but hopes to deny Trump a majority, forcing a contested convention), Bernie Sanders can still technically clinch the nomination. However, Clinton is already 91% of the way to clinching the 2,383 delegates needed for the nomination, and Sanders would need 20-point victories in all remaining contests to surmount her lead.
  • Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon set the stakes for the rival campaign high on Monday, saying of Sanders: “He has spent millions of dollars in Indiana. We haven't been up at all here in Indiana. Indiana is also a state, in terms of tomorrow, where, demographically and the fact it is an open primary, it resembles very closely a lot of the states where he has had his biggest wins.”
  • Sanders, however, seemed optimistic Monday of his chances. “Tomorrow let us see Indiana have the largest voter turnout in its history,” he said. “Tomorrow let us see Indiana help lead this country into the political revolution.”
  • Despite claims to the contrary from Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz, Donald Trump was likely right in commenting on Monday that the general election has “already started.” Trump and Hillary Clinton have already begun training fire on each other, ignoring their primary rivals and looking ahead.
  • Trump took on Clinton’s national security record and her support among women on Monday (“Women are looking for security in our country and they know I’m going to do the best job. When they called [Clinton] on Benghazi, she was sleeping”) and piling on Bernie Sanders’ charge that Clinton was not “qualified” to be president (“I can’t take ay heat if it was said by Bernie.”)
  • Clinton has also targeted Trump in recent days, saying: “We cannot let Barack Obama’s legacy fell into Donald Trump hands,” at a NAACP dinner on Sunday. “We've got some candidates in this race who are trying to divide us,” she continued. “We’ve got some candidates in this race who are stoking hatred and inciting violence. We’ve got some candidates in the race who are trying to set Americans against one another. We’ve got some candidates in this race who act as though Americans have no memory.”
  • The message from the frontrunners are clear: the primaries are over, and the general election has begun. That message will likely be reinforced today, with both Trump and Clinton expected to notch victories in Indiana and end any hopes their rivals have of blocking them from the nominations.
  • TONIGHT: Polls begin closing at 6pm Eastern Time tonight (in 80 of Indiana’s counties); in the remaining 12 counties, voting ends at 7pm. I’ll be tweeting results as they come in @WakeUp2Politics on Twitter (follow me at twitter.com/wakeup2politics), and of course will have a results edition of Wake Up To Politics in your inbox tomorrow.

White House Watch

  • The President’s Schedule There are just two events on the President’s public schedule today:
  • At 3pm, President Obama and Vice President Biden will meet with Secretary of State John Kerry in the Oval Office.
  • At 4:30pm, the President will honor the 2016 National Teacher of the Year and finalists in an East Room event, with Education Secretary John King and others present. According to the White House, Obama will deliver remarks, “thanking them for their hard work and dedication each and every day in the classroom.” National Teacher Appreciation Day is today, in the midst of National Teacher Appreciation Week.
  • The National Teacher of the Year (NTOY) program was created in 1952, and is the oldest and most prestigious honor for excellence in teachers. The NTOY is chosen from the pool of State Teachers of the Year (which are chosen in all 50 states, five territories, and by the Department of Defense Education Activity) by a selection committee of representatives with fifteen educational organizations represented.
  • Four finalists of the 56 state teachers are chosen, who submit a biography, sit for an interview, and complete eight essays. The winner – who must “inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn,” “have the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues,” “play an active and useful role in the community as well as in the school,” and “be poised, articulate, and possess the energy to withstand a taxing schedule” – then takes a year off from teaching, to serve as a national education spokesman.
  • The 2016 National Teacher of the Year, who will be introduced to the nation by President Obama today, is Connecticut history teacher Jahana Hayes. NTOY is organized by the Council of Chief State School Officers and sponsored by ING Group, a Dutch banking corporation.
  • According to a Wake Up To Politics analysis of presidential papers, the National Teacher of the Year has been announced in a White House event in every year since 1989, in the George H.W. Bush Administration. However, since the program’s creation in the Harry Truman Administration, every President except for Dwight Eisenhower and Gerald Ford has unveiled the NTOY at least once.
  • Blast to the Past Harry Truman spoke at a ceremony awarding the first National Teacher of the Year Award, to Mrs. Geraldine Jones, on May 21, 1952.
  • His remarks, in full: “Mrs. Jones, I congratulate you on this award. Next to a child's mother, the greatest influence on his character and his growth into a good citizen is his teacher.”
  • “I remember with much pleasure the teachers I had when I was going through the grade schools and through high school. Some of them are still alive, and I still keep in touch with those that are alive. They had a tremendous influence on the route which I followed in informing myself on government, on the Republic of the United States, and what it means.”
  • “And I am more than happy for this opportunity of bringing the attention of the country to the fact that one of its main supports, and one of the reasons why it is the greatest Republic in the world has been due to the teachers who take young minds and train them to be citizens as they should be. Therefore, it is a great pleasure to me to have you here this morning.”

Question of the Day

  • Today’s Question The trivia question today comes from Wake Up To Politics reader Joe Bookman: Which presidential ticket had the largest age difference between the presidential and vice presidential nominees?
  • Send your answers to trivia@wakeuptopolitics.com; correct respondents will get their names in tomorrow’s newsletter. Also, if you have any political trivia questions that could be used in Wake Up To Politics, send them to trivia@wakeuptopolitics.com and it may be featured in a future edition!
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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