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Wake Up To Politics - May 5, 2016

Thursday, May 5, 2016
187 Days Until Election Day 2016
81 Days Until the Republican National Convention
74 Days Until the Democratic National ConventionI'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: State of the Race

  • Kasich Drops Out, Trump Becomes Presumptive Nominee Plus: Democratic primary update, the remains of “Never Trump,” and what’s next in the race for the White House Donald Trump’s final obstacle in his march to the Republican presidential nomination fell Wednesday as his last rival, Ohio governor John Kasich, announced plans to suspend his campaign.
  • Kasich, who had hoped to win the GOP nod at a contested convention, bowed out in a speech in Columbus, Ohio (his home state and location of his sole primary victory). “As I suspend my campaign today, I have renewed faith, deeper faith, that the Lord will show me the way forward and fulfill the purpose of my life,” Kasich said.
  • The Ohioan also acknowledged the failings of his optimistic campaign in a cynical, reality-show election year. “The spirit, the essence of America lies in the hearts and souls of us,” Kasich said. “You see, some missed this message. It wasn’t sexy. It wasn't a great sound bite.”
  • With Kasich’s suspension, Trump became the last candidate – and therefore, the presumptive nominee – of a primary race that saw three months of voting, twelve debates, and seventeen candidates.
  • Trump must now gear up for a general election campaign that could require changes from his unconventional primary bid, in which he broke the rules of modern politics: saying anything that came to mind (whether it be offensive or profane, racist or hypocritical), maintaining a very small staff and a smaller fundraising operation, supported by no super PACs, opting not to run a single poll, or pay attention to his policy changes.
  • Some of these issues – such as fundraising – will begin to change, although many of them – such as his “tell it like it is” speaking style – likely won’t. To assist him in the new phase of his campaign, Trump now has the full support of the Republican National Committee (RNC), the party apparatus. “We’re going to try over $1 billion, which is what’s going to be necessary,” Trump told NBC on Wednesday, of his upcoming joint fundraising with the RNC – a change from his self-funded primary campaign and his previous attacks on the RNC. However, the enthusiastic backing of all party leaders will not just come with his claiming the nomination.
  • While many GOP leaders released obligatory statements announcing plans to support Trump as the presumptive nominee, many were notably lukewarm, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s. Other top Republicans refuse to even go that far. Spokesmen for the last two Republican presidents, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, both told reporters Wednesday that they will not endorse their party’s nominee. The younger Bush’s aide said that the former President “does not plan to participate in or comment on the presidential campaign,” while a spokesman for the elder Bush said he is “retired from politics,” despite campaigning actively for his son Jeb’s presidential campaign just months ago.
  • While some anti-Trump Republicans burned their registration cards and left the party after he became presumptive, others maintain that they will continue to support Republicans down-ballot, in House and Senate races where Trump’s rhetoric could hurt GOP candidates.
  • A number of influential Republicans set conditions for their supporting Trump. “It’s kind of a wait-and-see moment with Mr. Trump,” evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats said. Former Florida Rep. Joe Scarborough, now a MSNBC host, said he is waiting on Trump to change his stances “on Latinos, women, on so many other things.” Maine Sen. Susan Collins said Trump’s stopping his “gratuitous personal insults” was contingent on her support; Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert wants Trump to apologize to Ted Cuz before considering an endorsement.
  • And another group of Republicans who called themselves the “Never Trump” movement during the primaries are sticking to that line. Nevada Sen. Dean Heller said Wednesday that “I vehemently oppose our nominee.” Republican Govs. Larry Hogan (MD), Charlie Baker (MA); Republican Reps. Bob Dold (IL), Justin Amash (MI), Carlos Curbelo (FL), Richard Hanna (NY), Adam Kinzinger (IL), Reid Ribble (WI), Scott Rigell (VA), Mark Sanford (SC); and Republican Sen. Ben Sasse (NE) have all said they will not support their party’s choice in November as well.
  • Finally, some inside the GOP are simply refusing to say whether they will support Trump. The Democratic Governors Association is starting a new targeting campaign against “The Silent Nine,” Republican governors refusing to comment on Trump.
  • Some of this indecision comes from the potential of a third-party bid by a popular Republican, a path pushed by Vander Plaats, conservative radio host Erik Erickson, Sasse and other influential conservatives. Names mentioned for such a bid include Sasse, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and former Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn.
  • “Why shouldn’t America draft an honest leader who will focus on 70% solutions for the next four years? You know...an adult?” Sasse explained in a nearly 1,500 word Facebook post Thursday morning calling for an “adult” candidate to challenge Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
  • However, many Republican elected officials fell in line behind their party’s new standard-bearer. “Our first and foremost goal is to elect a conservative, pro-business, strong on national defense, a man who will stand behind our freedoms and our rights, and that person is Donald Trump,” Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said. “It is not Hillary Clinton.”
  • While Trump locks up (for the most part) his party’s full backing, and begins to prepare for a general-election slog, the Democratic Party’s primary continues on. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders remains in the Democratic race, acting as a thorn in the side of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
  • Sanders can no longer win the nomination with pledged delegates alone, but has showed no signs of planning to exit the race, with a new strategy requiring large numbers of “superdelegates” to switch to his side and push him over. “The truth is, no one is going to the convention with the requisite number of pledged delegates to win,” Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver claimed on CNN. “The superdelegates are going to decide this race.”
  • Clinton is sticking to her strategy of waiting Sanders out instead of turning fully to the general and calling for his camapign’s end, as to not risk appearing presumptuous and offend his supporters, who she will need come November. However, the longer the primary race extends, the longer Trump is gearing up for the general election and Clinton isn’t. And Sanders is ready to go as long as possible, telling NPR on Wednesday that “we’re going to stay in until the last vote in counted, and that will be in the primary in Washington, D.C. [on June 14].”
  • While each party may be nearing (or already arrived at) nominees, indecision remains on both sides, as one of the wildest elections in modern times continues into a new phase.
  • VEEPSTAKES With two likely nominees, the quadrennial vice-presidential guessing game commences. According to CNN, the Trump’s short list starts out with New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. Trump is also keeping a number of his primary rivals (Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich) on the list as possibilities.
  • Top Hillary Clinton possibilities include Sens. Amy Klobuchar (MN), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Sherrod Brown (OH), Cory Booker (NJ), Tim Kaine (VA), and Mark Warner (VA); former Gov. Deval Patrick (MA); Labor Secretary Tom Perez; and HUD Secretary Julian Castro.
  • GAMING OUT A GENERAL New polling and predictions are also flooding in for a Trump vs. Clinton general election. The latest poll on such a race, released by CNN/ORC on Wednesday, shows Clinton beating Trump, 54% to 41%.
  • Cook Political Report prediction for Electoral College: 304 Democrat, 44 Toss Up, 190 Republican
  • CNN prediction for Electoral College: 237 Democrat, 110 Toss Up, 191 Republican
  • NYT prediction for Electoral College: 347 Democrat, 191 Republican
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