Desperate times call for desperate measures: Why the Cruz-Carly ticket makes sense

Needing a victory in Indiana’s May 3 primary to have any hope of stopping Donald Trump from winning a majority of delegates before the Republican National Convention, Ted Cruz announced yesterday, "If I am nominated, I will run on a ticket with @carlyfiorina as my Vice President."

Many politics-watchers laughed at the idea of Cruz picking his running mate a day after distant third-place finishes in five primaries put him 400 delegates behind Trump. But Cruz has nothing to lose from the alliance, and neither does Fiorina.

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"Acela primary" discussion thread

Five states along the east coast held primaries today. Donald Trump had a clean sweep on the Republican side of the so-called Acela primary, named for the Amtrak express train that connects Boston to Washington, DC. As of 8 pm central time, Trump had won more than 50 percent of the votes counted in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Dark days lie ahead for the #NeverTrump crowd. Even if Ted Cruz manages to win the Indiana primary next week and John Kasich wins Oregon and New Mexico, stopping Trump from reaching 1,237 delegates before the Republican National Convention will be a tall order. Dave Wasserman published a good analysis of Trump’s success at FiveThirtyEight.com. I’ve posted excerpts after the jump.

Networks called Maryland for Hillary Clinton immediately after polls closed. At this writing, she has also been projected to win Pennsylvania and Delaware, while Bernie Sanders is set to win Rhode Island, and Connecticut is still too close to call. Clinton’s remarks to her supporters in Philadelphia tonight sounded very much like a general-election stump speech.

Dave Weigel noted Clinton has won eleven states she lost to Barack Obama in 2008: Iowa, Maryland, Illinois, Missouri, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. Even more striking, Weigel pointed out, "After tonight, Donald Trump will have won 12 of the 13 original colonies. He’s also favored to win in the 13th, New Jersey."

Any comments about the presidential race are welcome in this thread. Today the admin for U.S. Senate candidate Tom Fiegen’s social media blocked me on Twitter after I challenged one of Fiegen’s many tweets suggesting the Democratic superdelegates should switch from Clinton to Sanders. So touchy! Fiegen proceeded to block several people who had re-tweeted me or commented negatively about the blocking.

UPDATE: Added below the full text of Clinton’s speech tonight and a statement released by Sanders. Although he did not concede the nomination, he appears to be shifting to a fight about the Democratic Party platform, rather than trying to beat Clinton.

SECOND UPDATE: Clinton ended up winning Connecticut by about 5 points. Trump’s margins of victory were enormous in all five states: 29 points ahead of Kasich in Connecticut, 35 points in Pennsylvania, 31 points in Maryland, 39 points in Rhode Island, and 40 points in Delaware.

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New York primary discussion thread

New York voters delivered the expected results today: a huge victory for Donald Trump and a solid showing for Hillary Clinton. Trump is winning by a large enough margin in all regions of New York to take the overwhelming share of delegates. He’s set to sweep every county in the state except for his home turf of Manhattan, where John Kasich led the early returns. Ted Cruz had to settle for third behind Kasich statewide. Over the past month he has whittled Trump’s delegate lead down, but tonight’s results are a blow to his hopes for keeping Trump below the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination.

Bernie Sanders carried quite a few upstate counties but Clinton crushed him in the five boroughs of New York City. She will add to her pledged delegate lead as well as her popular vote lead—which is symbolically important, even though delegates will determine the nominee. According to Tom Snee, Clinton rose to 90 cents on the Iowa politics prediction market after today’s primary; Sanders fell to 7 cents.

Several factors were working against Sanders today, besides the fact that Clinton represented this state in the U.S. Senate. As a group, New York Democrats are less white than Democrats in the states Sanders has been winning. Also, New York has a "closed" primary, meaning that independents were not able to change their registration. In several states, including Michigan, independent voters provided Sanders’ margin of victory. I prefer open primaries, though there is a case for allowing voters with a stake in a political party decide that party’s nominee.

What’s indefensible: New York has neither early voting nor same-day voter registration. Same-day registration alone is estimated to increase turnout by about 10 percent. Early voting would also boost participation in a state that has had some of the lowest turnout rates in the country in recent elections. New York Controller Scott Stringer offered other recommendations for making voting more accessible.

Excerpts from the Trump and Clinton victory speeches are after the jump. Any comments about the presidential race are welcome in this thread.

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Grassley digs in on Supreme Court vacancy, denounces "pressure" campaign

Senator Chuck Grassley faced more critics than usual at his home-state public events during a two-week Congressional recess, and major Iowa newspapers continue to weigh in against the Senate Judiciary Committee chair’s determination not to give Judge Merrick Garland any confirmation hearings.

But in a 20-minute speech on the Senate floor yesterday, Grassley defended the Republicans’ determination to let the "American people weigh in on this important matter," adding that "I am no stranger to political pressure and to strong-arm tactics." The same day, Grassley told Senate Judiciary Committee colleagues he came away from his meetings in Iowa "feeling positive about the position we had taken," saying "the recess reinforced my thinking" about the Supreme Court vacancy.

Meanwhile, earlier this week Iowa’s senior senator took the extraordinary step of attacking Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. One legal commentator called that speech "close to breathtaking in its intemperate incoherence."

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Wisconsin primary links and discussion thread

Polls just closed in Wisconsin, but thousands of people are still waiting in long lines to vote. Why does this country tolerate the failure to open enough polling places in so many states? High turnout for both the Democratic and Republican primaries should have been anticipated, especially since Wisconsin has an "open" primary, where independents can change party registration on election day.

Voters had to show photo ID to cast ballots today. A federal lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s new law is pending.

I’ll update this post periodically with results from tonight. Here are a few links to get the conversation started.

Bernie Sanders is expected to win today’s primary, but he is unlikely to net significantly more delegates than Hillary Clinton will. Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel explains why.

Clinton and Sanders will debate next in New York ahead of that state’s primary. The New York Daily News transcript of Sanders’ recent interview with the editorial board has been a frequent topic of conversation on social media. Conventional wisdom (embodied as it is so often by Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post) holds that it "was pretty close to a disaster." I doubt many voters will turn away from Sanders because of it.

Eric Ostermeier of Smart Politics challenged the idea that this year’s Democratic presidential contest is less competitive than Hillary Clinton’s race against Barack Obama in 2008 (emphasis in original):

Clinton has won 18 state primaries and caucuses with 14 states going for Sanders; back in 2008, Obama had won 21 of these state primaries and caucuses with just 11 in Clinton’s column. […]

Five states have already had victory margins inside of two percentage points: Missouri (0.2 points), Iowa (0.2), Massachusetts (1.4), Michigan (1.5), and Illinois (1.8). Unfortunately for Sanders he lost four of these with the only late-night close race call in his favor coming in Michigan.

By contrast, just one of the 32 states to vote thus far in 2016 had a victory margin under two points in 2008 – Missouri (1.4 points).

Overall, contests in 15 states have been more closely decided than they were in 2008 with 17 states having a larger margin of victory.

Sanders has cut into Clinton’s pledged delegate lead since March 15 but still faces long odds of catching Clinton in the delegate race. Patrick Healy and Yamiche Alcindor wrote an interesting piece for the New York Times on some strategic errors by Sanders early on, which may end up costing him the nomination.

Donald Trump had arguably the worst week of his campaign last week. The fact that he could not win a general election is starting to sink in with Republican voters. He’s let go some of his campaign staff (though not the one accused of assaulting a reporter). Ted Cruz has been rising in Wisconsin’s polls, as Trump’s prospects for winning an overall majority of pledged delegates before the Republican National Convention appear to be falling. However, Trump still has a commanding lead in his home state of New York, the next to vote, and other big northeastern states don’t look like promising territory for Cruz.

UPDATE: NBC called Wisconsin for Sanders and Cruz before 8:30 pm. All further updates are after the jump.

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Weekend open thread: Easter and Western caucus and primary edition

What’s on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

Happy Easter to all who are celebrating. Usually this Christian holiday falls during the Jewish festival of Passover, which is still weeks away. Kimberly Donnelly explains,

Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. Passover, on the other hand, begins on the first full moon of Nisan, the first month of the Jewish lunar-based calendar.

The Jewish lunar calendar occasionally adds a leap month rather than the leap day we add to our solar calendar every fourth year. Passover is late in 2016 because a second month of Adar was added before the month of Nisan (often written Nissan).

In past years I’ve posted Easter and Passover related links here and here. A false claim about a Cedar Rapids Gazette front page headline on Easter Sunday figured prominently in University of Iowa Professor Stephen Bloom’s 2011 hatchet job on our state, which provoked strong reactions from many Iowans.

Bernie Sanders swept yesterday’s caucuses in Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii by wide margins. He also won the Utah and Idaho caucuses on March 22, while Hillary Clinton won the Arizona primary. The big story out of Arizona was disgraceful voter suppression, as officials reduced the number of polling places in the state’s largest county from 200 in 2012 to only 60 this year. That’s just 60 polling places for a county with a population much larger than Iowa’s. As Ari Berman explained, the long lines to vote in Arizona were a direct consequence of the U.S. Supreme Court majority "gutting" the Voting Rights Act in 2013.

Republicans didn’t hold any nominating contests this weekend. The GOP caucuses in Alaska and Hawaii happened earlier this month, and Washington Republicans will vote in a May primary. On March 22, Ted Cruz won caucuses in Utah and Idaho by huge margins. John Kasich came in second in Utah, knocking Donald Trump to third place in a state for the first time this year. However, Trump crushed the competition in the Arizona primary, grabbing all of that state’s delegates.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that John Deeth’s speculation on what went wrong in Arizona is worth a read. A few excerpts are after the jump.

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