Over at POLITICO, Kyle Cheney and Ben Schreckinger look at Trump’s scramble for delegates:
If Donald Trump loses in Wisconsin next week, he will need to win roughly 60 percent of the remaining delegates to win the Republican presidential nomination outright — a daunting but not impossible challenge.
But if he fails to achieve it, and is thus unable to win the nomination outright, Trump is poised to suffer an exodus of delegates at a contested convention. [...]
In one illustration of Trump’s lack of support, out of the 168 Republican National Committee members — each of whom doubles as a convention delegate — only one publicly supports Trump, and she knows of only a handful of others who support him privately.
Zeynep Tufekci writes at The New York Times about Trump’s twitter supporters:
As an academic, I study social media and social movements, from the uprising in Egypt to Black Lives Matter. As I watched this election season unfold, I wanted to gain a better understanding of the power of the Trump social media echo chamber. What I’ve been reading has surprised even my jaded eyes. It’s a world of wild falsehoods and some truth that you see only rarely in mainstream news outlets, or hear spoken among party elites.[...]
The demagogy that Mr. Trump deploys didn’t come out of nowhere, but was encouraged by the Republican leadership. In 2012, Mitt Romney effusively accepted Mr. Trump’s endorsement even though the tycoon had repeatedly questioned President Obama’s citizenship. In this election, the Republican Party may have hoped to engineer a controlled fire that would burn only political opponents — the current president, say, or Democrats as a whole, but not their preferred candidates. That’s a technique that may have worked in the era of mass media. Instead, it now rages, uncontrolled, on social media.
Ryan Cooper at The Week examines the battle for the House and urges Democrats to reject conservative positions:
[C]entrist Blue Dog Democrats in swing districts, instead of demanding more spending to fix the recession and create jobs before the election,demanded austerity instead. As a result, virtually all of them lost their seats in the 2010 GOP wave.
Now, things are much improved today, but there is still obviously at least some economic slack remaining. Therefore, one obvious top priority of any Democratic president with a workable congressional majority would be a big new spending program, perhaps on infrastructure, or perhaps on paid leave or some other social benefit, to create prosperity and thus protect the majority. Running against austerity paid dividends for the Liberal Party in Canada.
But because the Democratic Party has failed to understand its own self-interest, or consistently field candidates for winnable races, even if Trump hands them a congressional majority they might not be able to keep it.
While some analysts predict that Democrats could even take over the House with a “Trump effect” election — a highly improbable though not completely impossible task — David Daley at Salon points out that even with an anti-Trump wave election, congressional districts are still rigged against massive Democratic gains:
There is a significant segment of the D.C. journalism elite that believes it is unsophisticated to talk about gerrymandering and redistricting as the reason why the GOP has such a hammer-lock on the House. They believe that both sides do it, that it’s the way politics has been played for centuries, or they subscribe to the “Big Sort” theory — our districts are more homogenous because similar-minded people choose to live around each other, especially Democrats in urban areas.
And for years, both sides did do it. However, what’s missing from The New York Times piece and from too much of the discussion around who controls Congress is a real understanding of how sophisticated the GOP redistricting operation was in 2010 and 2011 — and how it has made our politics more extreme both in the House and in many state legislatures. It was different, perhaps historically so, thanks to driven GOP strategists determined to take full advantage of redistricting, new mapping and demographic technologies that made it easier than ever to craft unbeatable GOP majorities, and the wave of post-Citizens United dark money which helped fund it. They called it REDMAP, for Redistricting Majority Project, and did it ever live up to its name.
On a final note, The Des Moines Register editorial board calls out the GOP for its hypocrisy on guns at their convention:
Why isn't the Republican establishment publicly challenging this decision? When have they ever so easily left their Second Amendment rights at any door, let alone one to their own convention? If there is a place where toting guns should be welcome, it’s the Republican convention. The party supports the "fundamental right to self-defense wherever a law-abiding citizen has a legal right to be," according to its 2012 platform. There is no exception in the document for political functions. [...]
They insist that communities, malls, restaurants and everywhere else is “safer” when people are armed. Why not a gathering of their own supporters?
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