Bernie Sanders, down in the polls and delegates, still wants to debate in California
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, trailing in delegates and running out of time in his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination, has a renewed request for front-runner Hillary Clinton: Let’s debate.
Sanders, who won West Virginia’s primary on Tuesday, has an uphill climb against Clinton but has vowed to remain in the race through California’s June 7 primary.
On Tuesday, Sanders noted that the two candidates had agreed earlier to additional debates that would span into June.
“I hope that we can soon settle on a date and place for that debate,” Sanders emailed supporters about a possible gathering in California where polls show him trailing Clinton.
But the agreement was never more than lukewarm, and no specifics on a California debate were ever set. In recent weeks, Clinton has called on Sanders to take a page from her 2008 playbook, when she dropped out of the primary after it became clear that then-Sen. Barack Obama would be the Democratic nominee.
“I knew then that whatever differences we might have had in the campaign, they were nothing compared to the differences between us and the Republicans,” Clinton said while campaigning in Los Angeles recently. “Now if that was true in ’08, that is true on steroids today.”
A request for comment from Clinton’s campaign about a debate ahead of the California primary was not immediately returned.
Bernie Sanders wins West Virginia Democratic primary, but still has little chance at nomination
Bernie Sanders won West Virginia’s Democratic primary Tuesday, but he still faces a nearly insurmountable deficit to Hillary Clinton in the race for the party’s presidential nomination.
Because Democrats award delegates proportionally based on popular vote, Sanders would have to score massive victories in the few remaining contests to erase Clinton’s delegate lead. Clinton, confident she has the nomination sewn up, hardly campaigned in the state as she focuses on the general election.
Donald Trump victorious in Nebraska
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, won Nebraska’s primary Tuesday.
Trump, who also won West Virginia’s primary Tuesday, cleared his field of challengers last week and is focused on a general election matchup with Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee.
West Virginia Republicans predict party unity in November
There wasn’t much mystery to whether Donald Trump would win the West Virginia primary Tuesday night.
But on the more pressing question facing Trump — whether the fractured GOP will rally behind the presumptive nominee in the fall — West Virginia voters predicted that the party would ultimately coalesce around Trump.
Nearly 6 in 10 West Virginia Republican voters described the party as “divided, [but] will unite,” according to exit polls. Three in 10 predicted the party would remain divided as the general election approaches.
West Virginia Republicans were equally optimistic about Trump’s chances in the general election against Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
More than 6 in 10 voters think it is very likely Trump will defeat Clinton in the fall; another quarter of the voters say it is somewhat likely he will win. Fewer than 1 in 10 think a Trump victory is not too likely or not likely at all.
Donald Trump rolls to win in West Virginia
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, won West Virginia’s primary Tuesday.
Trump cleared his field of challengers last week and is focused on a general election matchup with Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee.
Hillary Clinton jabs Donald Trump on foreign policy views
While ballots in West Virginia were cast Tuesday, Hillary Clinton traversed through neighboring Kentucky, focused not on her Democratic primary opponent but a likely general election matchup with Donald Trump.
Clinton, the front-runner for her party’s nomination, assailed Trump for his positions on nuclear weapons and NATO while addressing supporters in Louisville.
“The last thing we need are more countries with nuclear weapons. I’m trying to reduce the number of nuclear weapons,” Clinton said. “When [Trump] says he wants to withdraw from NATO, the most successful military alliance in history, I say, ‘What are we going to substitute for it?’”
In recent weeks, Trump has said he would be open to allowing South Korea or Japan, both U.S. allies, to obtain nuclear weapons. He’s repeatedly called NATO “obsolete” because the U.S. funds a disproportionate share of defense expenditures among the 28-nation alliance.
Despite her intense focus on Trump, Clinton still must stave off rival Bernie Sanders, who appeared poised to win West Virginia on Tuesday. While in Louisville, Clinton made only passing references to Sanders.
The Vermont senator, who trails Clinton by about 300 pledged delegates, has said he will remain in the race through California’s June 7 primary.
West Virginia Democrats highly anxious about the economy, according to exit polls
Voters in West Virginia’s Democratic primary on Tuesday tend to be more concerned about the economy and less enamored of President Obama than voters in other contests this year, according to preliminary exit polls.
Two-thirds of respondents said they were worried about the economic direction of the country and more than 6 in 10 considered the economy and jobs the most important issue in the election. The numbers show a higher degree of economic anxiety among Democrats than in other states that have been surveyed this year.
Part of that concern is rooted in the state’s struggling coal industry, which Hillary Clinton famously vowed to “put out of business” in March. (She conceded last week that she misspoke.) Three in 10 voters said they lived in a household with a coal worker.
Another metric that may prove nettlesome for Clinton: Only a quarter of primary voters want the next president to continue Obama’s policies. That’s a much lower number than what’s typically found among a Democratic primary electorate, and a sign that Clinton’s dogged embrace of Obama’s presidency may not play well among West Virginia voters.
There are other demographic signs that look good for Bernie Sanders: The electorate is very white (nine out of 10 voters) and more comprised of political independents (one out of three voters) than in typical Democratic contests.
If there’s a general election matchup between Clinton and Donald Trump in November, about a third of Democratic primary voters would back Trump. A nearly identical faction of Democrats would pick Trump in the event of a Sanders-Trump general election battle. The high number of Democrats defecting to Trump in either matchup indicates a more conserative primary electorate.
The exit polls were conducted for the Associated Press and television networks by Edison Research.
A white nationalist is among Donald Trump’s pledged delegates in California
A Los Angeles attorney who leads a political party that advocates white separatism is on Donald Trump‘s list of Republican convention delegates, records show.
William Johnson, the chairman of the American Freedom Party, is among a list of delegates pledged to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee that was published by the secretary of state’s office Monday night.
The news was first reported by Mother Jones.
Calls to Johnson’s Los Angeles office were not immediately returned, although he confirmed his acceptance by the Trump campaign to Mother Jones.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, Trump’s campaign director in California said Johnson’s inclusion on the published list of delegates was an error.
“Upon careful review of computer records, the inclusion of a potential delegate that had previously been rejected and removed from the campaign’s list in February 2016, was discovered,” Tim Clark, Trump’s California campaign director, said in the statement. “This was immediately corrected and a final list, which does not include this individual, was submitted for certification.”
Voters supporting Bernie Sanders in June are ready to back Clinton in November
Bernie Sanders received a rapturous welcome from supporters in Stockton and Sacramento this week, but many of them are prepared to back Hillary Clinton if the Vermont senator doesn’t pull off an upset victory in the Democratic primary.
“If he’s not available, I’ll vote for her,” said Jesse Medina, 60, after hearing a rousing speech from Sanders in Stockton on Tuesday morning.
The conversations reflect the results from a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released in March, when nearly eight out of 10 Sanders supporters said they would vote for Clinton if she were the nominee.
A willingness to back Clinton over Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, does not signify an eager embrace of the former secretary of State, someone who many young liberals remain skeptical or even hostile toward.
Drake Aguilar, 20, described Clinton as a “flip-flopper” and “dishonest” as he waited for Sanders to speak in Sacramento on Monday night.
Nonetheless, he said he was prepared to vote for her, and expected she would be the nominee.
“When it comes down to her and Trump, I’ll be voting for her,” he said.
The comments often reflect the level to which the potential of a Trump presidency could act as a unifying force among Democrats, no matter who wins the party’s nomination.
“You just don’t want someone like him in office,” said Nicole Kurian, 20.
Not everyone was willing to cast a ballot for Clinton in the fall.
“I’d either write in Bernie’s name or stay home,” said Tim Feaster, 22.
Ted Cruz returns to Senate ready to fight (but not ready to back Donald Trump)
Sen. Ted Cruz returned to the Senate on Tuesday, picking up right where he left off -- promising to fight the GOP establishment on behalf of the conservative movement.
The Texas senator said he had “no interest” in making a third-party run for the White House and cooled talk of restarting his presidential campaign.
Cruz also made no move toward backing presumed GOP nominee Donald Trump, saying “there will be plenty of time” for voters to make up their minds.
“For me, what is important is that the movement continues, this movement from the people,” Cruz said. “This battle is about a lot more than one election cycle or one candidacy. It is about principles.”
Cruz talked about the “volcanic anger” from voters that should be a wake-up call for Washington.
“I will continue fighting for those priorities -- jobs and freedom and security -- from the United States Senate,” he said.
And no, he did not attend the weekly Senate GOP lunch.
Rural West Virginia is anything but Clinton country
Retired coal miner Gene Stewart didn’t care for his choice in West Virginia’s Democratic presidential primary Tuesday, but his dislike of Hillary Clinton swayed him to vote for Bernie Sanders.
“I have trouble believing her,” Stewart said, a sentiment shared by a fair number of his neighbors in this mountain timber town of just over 500 people.
Deborah Hughes, 63, skipped the presidential primary and voted for Democrats lower on the ballot. She questioned Clinton’s integrity too.
“She’s dishonest,” Hughes said of the former first lady whose comment in March that her energy plans would drive coal out of business sparked weeks of controversy in this mining state. Sanders is favored to defeat her in Tuesday’s primary here.
As for the Vermont senator, Hughes said, “He’s a socialist, I’m sorry.”
Heather Pritt, 35, cast her ballot for Sanders shortly after Stewart and Hughes at a community center upstairs from a fire station. Why? “Because he’s not Hillary.”
Pritt, who said she is leaning toward presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump in the general election, thinks Clinton lied about the email she kept on a private server when she was secretary of State.
“I believe she deleted what she didn’t want seen,” Pritt said. “There’s a reason they’re not there anymore.”
Retired bank branch manager Joe Sprouse, 65, is another Democrat who skipped the presidential primary contest altogether and plans to vote for Trump in the fall. Sanders makes promises he can’t keep about free college education, he said, and Clinton’s “a bald-faced liar.”
He said he knows she apologized for what she said about coal and promised to help mining communities weather the industry’s demise, but he doesn’t buy it.
“She’s against coal,” he said, “and that’s what’s kept West Virginia going.”
Paul Ryan made a ‘mistake’ not backing Donald Trump, says one Republican senator. Others aren’t so sure
House Speaker Paul Ryan made a “mistake” by holding back on supporting Donald Trump as the presumed presidential GOP nominee, Trump’s top Senate supporter said Tuesday. But other Republicans on Capitol Hill were not so sure.
Tension over Trump’s ascent in the Republican Party filled the halls of the Capitol as typically chatty lawmakers returning to work darted about without comment.
“I’m not doing any interviews on the presidential race. None. Zero,” said the otherwise affable Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho, who had been a Marco Rubio supporter.
Asked what he hoped to hear from Trump’s visit to Capitol Hill later this week, the often serious Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said: “Policy positions.”
“Everything. Where he is on things.”
At times, the specter of meeting with Trump sounded more like a standoff with a partisan adversary than an encounter with the person who likely will be at the top of the ticket this fall.
“This is not a situation where the Congress just takes orders from the president,” said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the majority whip.
“It’s just natural we’re going to engage with him, find out where there’s commonality and where we can work together,” Cornyn said. “There may well — sounds like will — be some areas of difference, and that’s fine.”
Ryan’s decision to withhold his support for Trump, for now, allowed many other prominent Republicans to do the same. Ryan should have come aboard, said Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the first from the chamber to back Trump.
“He made a mistake, and I’m not sure what was in his mind and I think that can be repaired,” said Sessions, who warned against seeking big changes in Trump’s approach to politics.
“Trump is not going to change his fundamental campaign themes,” he said. “He believes in what he says, and the people have ratified it.”
Other Republicans appeared further along than Ryan in processing Trump’s ascent and ready to engage with him on the art of governing.
“Let’s see if we can work together and unite the party,” said Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), whose pending retirement leaves him potentially more flexible than his peers.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said most GOP senators accept that Trump won the nomination “the old fashioned way. He got more votes.”
“We respect the voices of the Republican primary voters across the country,” said McConnell of Kentucky. “We’re looking forward to having a cordial meeting to discuss the way forward.”
A white knight who could swoop in to shift the GOP narrative at this point remains unlikely, despite Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s suggestion he may restart his campaign.
“I’m no Trump fan, but he’s won this thing fair and square,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
Joe Biden ‘confident’ Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee and the next president
“I feel confident that Hillary will be the nominee. And I feel confident that she’ll be the next president.”
That was the assessment of Vice President Joe Biden when asked about the presidential race in an interview with ABC News, according to a brief clip the network published Tuesday.
Interviewer Robin Roberts began a question by alluding to the next president when Biden interrupted to jokingly complete the thought, wondering “who she is.”
Biden appeared to go a step further than President Obama, who was asked last week about the Democratic primary race between Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
“Everybody knows what that math is,” Obama said, referring to Clinton’s lead over Sanders by hundreds of total delegates.
Obama, though, said it was important to “let the process play itself out.”
“We’ll know soon enough. It’s not going to be that much longer,” he said.
Biden’s frank assessment is notable given his own lengthy consideration last year about whether to run, which revealed the extent to which some in the party were concerned about Clinton’s viability as a candidate.
Analysis: Remarks by Sanders — and Trump — indicate more turbulence ahead for Clinton’s campaign
Bernie Sanders has flip-flopped strategically in the weeks since Hillary Clinton put a near-lock on the Democratic presidential nomination. At times he has vowed to battle Clinton through the party’s July convention. At other times he has shifted his stated goal to building a movement, a tacit admission that his own fight is over.
Both of those possibilities could be read into remarks the Vermont senator made Monday night in Sacramento and Tuesday morning in Stockton as he opened his campaign for California. But the one he seemed to relish the most was the possibility of beating Clinton in the June 7 primary in a state so central to her family’s political fortunes.
In rallies with the usual Sanders touches — thousands of adoring fans, a hoarse candidate feeding and feeding off of their passion — the senator pulled few rhetorical punches. He skewered Clinton’s positions on climate change, the minimum wage, the environment, the Iraq war, and the future of giant American banks. He mocked her connections to Wall Street — adding his usual suggestion that she is part and parcel of a “corrupt” system.
“Secretary Clinton has also given speeches on Wall Street for $225,000 a speech,” he said in Sacramento, standing before giant American and California flags as thousands booed the mention of her name.
But for a single line — a mid-sentence acknowledgment that he has to climb a “steep hill” to win the Democratic nomination — Sanders ignored the very real impediments that make it almost impossible for him to overtake the front-runner.
Clinton has nearly 300 more pledged delegates than Sanders, in addition to a net advantage of almost 500 unpledged superdelegates. Because of the proportional way Democrats award delegates, it would take mammoth wins by Sanders in all remaining states, with margins yet unseen this election season, to draw close to Clinton.
The former secretary of State could lose every state until the end of the primary season and still have more delegates than Sanders. She only needs to win a little over a third of the remaining vote to prevail.
But no front-runner wants to limp into the nominating convention, and a string of Clinton losses would further unnerve Democrats already worried about the unpredictability of a fight with Donald Trump.
Top Clinton critic Darrell Issa urges GOP to ‘get real’ and go with Donald Trump
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) has made a name by sparring with Hillary Clinton over her actions as secretary of State during the fatal attack on U.S. personnel in Benghazi.
It’s had mixed results.
Issa lost his oversight committee perch after hitting term limits for the post in 2014, and Clinton largely withstood hours of congressional grilling over the 2012 attack.
But the probe nevertheless weakened her politicially, thanks to subsequent revelations about her use of a private email server.
Now Issa, who supported Sen. Marco Rubio’s doomed presidential bid, is again trying to rally fellow Republicans against a common enemy: Clinton.
“Hillary doesn’t just represent Clintonian evasion, double-speak and corner-cutting, but a stop-at-nothing will to power,” he wrote in an opinion piece published Tuesday in The Hill, which is widely read in Congress.
In the piece, Issa is attempting to push back against party elites and movement conservatives -- including members of the Bush family, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and “Beltway doyennes” -- who are holding back support for Donald Trump.
“As Trump makes his unifying trip Wednesday to Capitol Hill, Republicans need to get real and admit hard truths,” he wrote, calling Clinton the “personification” of corruption not seen since Watergate.
It’s not a ringing endorsement of Trump -- Issa suggests he’s not quite sure what Trump will do -- as much as a call to arms against Clinton.
“Whatever direction a President Trump would take, it’s a different and better one than the course we are certain Hillary Clinton will travel every day,” he wrote.
It’s not just drug pricing — Bernie Sanders backs another California ballot measure during Stockton speech
Why the more liberal Bernie Sanders beats Hillary Clinton among more conservative Democrats
Hillary Clinton will almost certainly lose Tuesday’s primary in West Virginia, adding to a string of defeats in conservative, heavily white states, including Oklahoma and Indiana.
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ ability to beat Clinton in conservative places may seem counterintuitive. He is, after all, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist. But the results fit into a consistent pattern: The Democratic Party doesn’t have a lot of conservative voters in its primaries any more, but those who remain have tended to favor Sanders.
It’s a fair bet that most of those voters are not Feeling the Bern. The evidence suggests they are not so much voting for Sanders as voting against Clinton, much as voters in some of the same places sided with Clinton eight years ago because they did not want to vote for then-Sen. Barack Obama.
The best evidence on Sanders’ conservative vote comes from a new compilation of exit poll data done by Langer Research Associates for ABC News.
Voters were asked whether they would like to see the next president pursue policies that are more liberal than President Obama’s, more conservative or about the same.
Not surprisingly, Sanders has beaten Clinton by better than 2-1 among those who would like to see a turn to the left. Clinton, by contrast, has prevailed by an even larger margin among the biggest group — those who want to continue along the route Obama has followed.
The surprise comes among the 12% of voters who said they want to see more conservative policies than Obama’s. By a narrow margin, they have voted for Sanders. They make up about one in seven of his voters overall.
The exit polls are consistent with a pattern of Sanders victories in conservative states, such as Oklahoma, and in conservative parts of more liberal states. In New York, for example, Sanders won heavily white, conservative areas including parts of Staten Island, Howard Beach in Queens and Bay Ridge in Brooklyn.
Evidence that these are primarily “vote against” ballots rather than “vote fors” comes from a pattern that Nate Cohn noted in the New York Times: Sanders has won conservatives mostly in states that have closed primaries, in which only registered Democrats are eligible to vote.
A significant number of conservative voters have kept their Democratic registrations even though they almost always vote for a Republican presidential candidate. In some cases, they vote for Democrats on the local level. Others may stick with their existing registration just because they have no strong motivation to change it.
In states with open primaries, conservatives usually have voted in Republican primaries if they have taken part at all. Sanders hasn’t gotten very many conservative votes in such states. But in states with closed primaries — New York and Oklahoma, for example — those who do want to take part in a primary can only vote in the Democratic one, and they’ve often voted for Sanders.
West Virginia has a “semi-closed” primary — Democrats and independents can take part. The state also has a heavily contested Democratic primary for governor, giving voters an added incentive to participate.
Will Ted Cruz jump back into GOP presidential race?
Ted Cruz returns?
The Texas senator told Glenn Beck that he may jump back into the GOP presidential race as discomfort over Donald Trump’s presumed nomination roils the party.
Watch to see how voting goes Tuesday’s primary in Nebraska, where the Republican governor backs Trump but an increasingly vocal newcomer, Sen. Ben Sasse, is openly seeking an alternative.
“The reason we suspended our campaign was that with the Indiana loss, I felt there was no path to victory,” Cruz said, according to a report in The Hill.
“If that changes, we will certainly respond accordingly.”
Cruz suspended his presidential campaign last week after Trump’s win in the Hoosier State, following a Trump sweep of East Coast states that was brutal to Cruz’s hopes.
The conservative senator has a hefty collectikn of more than 500 delegates, which could still give him some leverage heading to the Republican convention in Cleveland in July.
How to avoid raising your blood pressure when reading polls
Today’s latest poll headline: “Clinton and Trump in dead heat in swing states.” Excited? Concerned?
Take a deep breath.
The survey, from Quinnipiac University’s polling institute, showed Clinton ahead of Trump by just a percentage point in Florida and Pennsylvania, 43% to 42%, and behind Trump by four points, 39% to 43%, in Ohio.
Those numbers conflict with some other recent polls, such as an NBC/Marist survey in Ohio showing Clinton ahead by 6 points or a survey conducted for the Associated Industries of Florida, a Republican-oriented business group, that showed Clinton leading that state 49% to 36%.
So who’s right?
First, ignore the inevitable finger-pointing from partisans on either side about the perceived deficiencies of one poll or another. With a few notable exceptions, most polling firms do a professional job, and their numbers should be taken seriously. Quinnipiac’s track record isn’t perfect but is reasonably good.
But second, and more important: All polls, not matter how well done, are subject to the random fluctuations of chance. So it’s never a good idea to get too excited about a single poll showing your favored candidate ahead or too upset about one showing him or her behind.
Lots of polls will be taken over the next six months. Watch the averages, not the individual surveys.
Currently, the average of many recent surveys indicates that Clinton leads Trump in each of the three states, with her lead largest in Pennsylvania and the race tightest in Ohio. That’s consistent with the history in those states -- Ohio is somewhat more Republican than the average state, Pennsylvania a bit more Democratic, Florida in between.
Jon Stewart calls Donald Trump a ‘man-baby’
With those hands and that attitude, Donald Trump is a “man-baby,” according to Jon Stewart.
“He is a man-baby. He has the physical countenance of a man and a baby’s temperament and hands,” Stewart told former White House advisor David Axelrod on his podcast, “The Axe Files.”
During the hour-long podcast, the former host of “The Daily Show” joked about the GOP candidate’s eligibility as a partial “baby,” but also turned serious, blaming Democrats for failing to bolster the public sector while in control of the White House.
“The door is open to an ... like Donald Trump because the Democrats haven’t done enough to show people that government that can be effective for people, can be efficient for people,” he said.
London mayor rejects Trump’s offer to exempt him from proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S.
The first Muslim mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, rejected Donald Trump’s offer to exempt him from a proposed plan to ban Muslims from entering the U.S..
“This isn’t just about me. It’s about my friends, my family and everyone who comes from a background similar to mine anywhere in the world,” he told Buzzfeed.
Khan added that Trump’s “ignorant view of Islam” threatens safety both in the U.S. and Britain.
“Donald Trump and those around him think that Western liberal values are incompatible with mainstream Islam. London has proved him wrong,” Khan said.
He sided with Hillary Clinton’s candidacy instead.
“I hope she trounces him,” he said, according to BBC News.
Clash between Trump and Clinton over coal foreshadows a tough fight for her in battleground states
Voters in Appalachian coal country will not soon forget that Democrat Hillary Clinton told an Ohio audience in March that she would “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”
“It was a devastating thing for her to say,” said Betty Dolan, whose diner in this mountain hamlet offers daily testament to the ravages that mining’s demise has visited upon families whose livelihood depends on coal.
Mine closures, bankruptcies and layoffs are staples of lunchtime conversation for those who have not fled town in search of work. Like many fellow Democrats in the region, Dolan, 73, favors Republican Donald Trump for president, however rude he might seem to the proprietor of a no-frills restaurant known for its graham cracker pie.
“I’m going to go for the person who wants coal,” she said.
‘Baby Beluga’ singer Raffi is back with a Bernie Sanders song
“Baby Beluga” and Raffi Cavoukian -- known simply as Raffi to his millions of fans -- soundtracked childhoods in the ‘80s and early ‘90s.
The 67-year-old children’s singer isn’t touring as much as he used to, but still sings about the “little white whale on the go,” now for an entirely different generation.
He’s also making new music, but not just for kids. One of the latest additions to his repertoire is a song inspired by presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.
Cavoukian lives on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia, Canada, and calls himself a champion of democracy. He’s been a lifelong follower of American politics, and when Sanders came on the scene last year, he took notice.