RNC: Trump will be on ballot – By Jonathan Easley and Jonathan Swan – 08/03/16 07:00 PM EDT

The Republican National Committee is categorically denying reports that party officials are looking into how to replace Donald Trump in case he drops out of the presidential race before Election Day.

No one at national party headquarters has been instructed to look into that doomsday scenario, RNC strategist Sean Spicer said, and speculation that the RNC might pressure Trump to drop out of the race is unfounded.

Spicer insisted that there is no chance that anyone else will be the ballot in November.

“Donald Trump is the nominee of the Republican Party full-stop,” Spicer told The Hill. “That’s the reality. The rest is just a media-pundit concoction.”

The Trump campaign is also dismissing reports of turmoil in the campaign and the Republican Party as a media creation.

Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort noted in a Fox News interview that Team Trump raised $80 million in July, its best haul yet, and said that the campaign is furiously expanding in key battleground states.

He shot down a report that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and other Trump allies were planning an “intervention” for the candidate to get him back on track.

“The only need we have for an intervention is maybe with some media types who keep saying things that aren’t true,” Manafort said.

Still, party leaders are working furiously to get Trump back on message after a disastrous stretch in which he has veered wildly off course and renewed fears among Republicans that he will lead them to electoral disaster in the fall.

One party source told The Hill that Priebus is “furious” with Trump for spending the last few days publicly feuding with the Muslim parents of a slain U.S. soldier and for declining to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

Priebus is close friends with Ryan, a fellow Wisconsin native, and their supporters believe both men have stuck their necks out for Trump only to have him turn around and humiliate them.

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The state of the Republican presidential race, explained – Updated by Andrew Prokop on April 29, 2016, 8:00 a.m. ET

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty

Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty

Is Donald Trump really going to be the Republican presidential nominee?

After his victories this week, this once-unthinkable outcome looks more likely than ever, and Republican elites are increasingly resigning themselves to it. But he hasn’t clinched it yet.

Trump has built up such a lead in the delegate count at this point that he’s all but assured to finish with more delegates than any of his rivals. By our count, he has around 990 delegates, which places him very far ahead of Ted Cruz and John Kasich:

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What now? – The Economist Mar 19th 2016

The Republican Party has run out of good options

THE primaries that took place on March 15th were meant to bring clarity to the race for the White House. Although they did not disappoint, neither did they reassure (see article). For the Republican Party, this is the moment when a driver realises that a crash is coming and it is too late to brake. Their opponents have, barring disaster, picked Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee and she is now free to concentrate on the general election. Donald Trump, meanwhile, is likely to scrap and bluster his way to the nomination before the convention, or to go into it with a commanding lead.

For the party of Lincoln this is a disaster. Mr Trump is disliked so intensely by so many Americans that the damage to the party wrought by his nomination could go far beyond failing to win the White House, to hurting Republicans’ chances in House and Senate races. That is why the Republican establishment (or what is left of it) is frenziedly searching for ways, from a brokered convention to supporting a third-party conservative, to stop the man who has mesmerised their party. Unfortunately, there are no good options.

All steamed up

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74-year-old Bernie Sanders’s remarkable dominance among young voters, in 1 chart- By Aaron Blake March 17

Sanders supporters attend a rally at the Brothers Convention Center in Waterloo, Iowa. (Lucian Perkins for The Washington Post)

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are well on their way to becoming their parties’ 2016 nominees for president.

Among young voters, though, Bernie Sanders has more votes than both of them — combined.

The below chart comes from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), which does yeoman’s work in tracking the youth vote in American politics. For the purposes of this chart, “youth votes” are defined as those cast by people under 30 years old.

`Thus far, Sanders has won the votes of more than 1.5 million of them. Clinton is second and Trump trails just behind, but the two front-runners combine for just 1.2 million votes — 300,000 less than Sanders alone.


Allies See Challenges for Hillary Clinton in a General Election Campaign – By PETER NICHOLAS Updated March 16, 2016 8:01 p.m. ET

Supporters say Democratic front-runner showed resilience in primaries, but identify warning signs for November

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton arrives at an election-night event in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Tuesday.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton arrives at an election-night event in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Tuesday. — PHOTO: CAROLYN KASTER/ASSOCIATED PRESS

After capturing at least four important states this week, Hillary Clinton has all but locked down the Democratic nomination and, barring a disastrous stumble, will face the Republican nominee in the general election in November.

So what have Democrats learned about their putative nominee after 29 contests thus far? As the battle with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders progressed, the former secretary of state grew stronger as a candidate, but she displayed vulnerabilities that a Republican ticket could potentially exploit.

Her debate performances strengthened, she developed a clearer message, and she revived parts of Barack Obama’s voting coalition by fully embracing the president’s record and legacy. She said recently she isn’t a natural-born politician in the mold of her husband, former President Bill Clinton—an admission that might help her seem more genuine to voters.

And after getting a scare from Mr. Sanders, her supporters said she showed resilience that will prove helpful once the general-election race begins.

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Marco Rubio Suspends His Campaign – WSJ

The collapse of Marco Rubio’s presidential bid represents not just the rejection of a candidate, but also that of the political blueprint embraced by many leading Republicans to reposition the party for future success in an increasingly diverse nation.

Source: Marco Rubio Suspends His Campaign – WSJ

Bernie’s big chance to rattle the race

Bernie Sanders waves during a campaign stop on March 13 at Ohio State University in Columbus. | AP

Bernie Sanders waves during a campaign stop on March 13 at Ohio State University in Columbus. | AP

Hillary Clinton looks unbeatable in Florida but a strong Sanders performance in the industrial Midwest could give his campaign new life.

ST. LOUIS — In the final days before Tuesday’s primaries, Bernie Sanders was closing fast in the polls in three of the five states voting, raising the prospect of yet another indecisive Democratic election night, this one marked by Hillary Clinton bolstering her delegate lead but Sanders performing well enough to slingshot into what his campaign argues will be its most important stretch yet.

The Vermont senator’s best case scenario Tuesday has him pulling out three victories – he’s within single digits of Clinton in the latest polls in Illinois, Missouri and Ohio – an outcome that would rattle the race and raise new questions about the durability of the Clinton campaign.

Even if Tuesday doesn’t significantly alter the delegate math that makes Clinton the prohibitive front-runner, a strong Sanders performance in the industrial Midwest will make possible the long campaign that the senator and his aides switched to after their big and unexpected loss in the Nevada caucuses.

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It’s not over til it’s over: inside the Sanders campaign’s do-or-die moment – Paul Hilder Saturday 12 March 2016 08.00 EST

 Senator Bernie Sanders speaks to supporters on the night of the Michigan primary. Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Senator Bernie Sanders speaks to supporters on the night of the Michigan primary. Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters

By the beginning of March, America’s elites had already written Bernie Sanders off. “What makes Bernie Sanders think he can win Michigan?” After Hillary Clintonswept the southern states on Super Tuesday, they rushed to crown her as the inevitable Democratic nominee.

But on Tuesday, the establishment had their world turned upside down: Sanders won Michigan in what may go down as the greatest upset in a US presidential primaries.

Pollster Nate Silver gave Hillary a greater than 99% chance of winning. In the final 48 hours, Bernie and his multitude of supporters achieved the impossible: they closed a 21-point gap in the polls. The Bernie campaign is working toward a political revolution, and they’re playing to win.

Over the last few weeks, I worked my way inside the belly of the Bernie campaign. I saw the virtual chatrooms where thousands of super-volunteers are coordinating, and mapped their digital infrastructure, fast growing into something more powerful even than the Obama campaign.

I travelled through five battleground states and spoke with hundreds of his supporters, as well as analysts and insiders. What I found was the story of a political start-up growing exponentially in a cauldron of American discontent.

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Kasich’s survival strategy – By KYLE CHENEY 03/08/16 05:03 AM EST

The Ohio governor has few opportunities on a daunting primary map, but he sees an under-the-radar route to victory.

John Kasich shakes hands with attendants in the crowd after speaking at a campaign rally at the Wells Barns at the Franklin Park Conservatory on March 6, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. | Getty

John Kasich shakes hands with attendants in the crowd after speaking at a campaign rally at the Wells Barns at the Franklin Park Conservatory on March 6, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. | Getty

It’s go time for John Kasich.

Blanked in the first 20 Republican presidential nominating contests, the Ohio governor is desperate for a breakout performance Tuesday night in Michigan and a win next week in his home state. That’s because even if he pulls it off — no guarantee when polls show him down by double digits to Donald Trump in Michigan and statistically tied with the mogul at home — his advisers rarely mention what’s likely to come next: another six weeks of winless hell.

That’s because Kasich won’t have another chance at a marquee day until April 26, when five northeastern states — including Pennsylvania, where he grew up — hold Republican primaries. In the meantime, Arizona, Utah and New York will hold contests that could leave him further behind his rivals. Wisconsin, another Midwestern opportunity, votes in the interim as well, but Kasich hasn’t touted the state as an opportunity and recent polls there still show him dramatically behind.

The rough map for Kasich underscores the challenge he faces in his quest to become the Republican nominee. Kasich isn’t playing to win anymore. He’s attempting to survive long enough to outlast Marco Rubio as the Republican establishment’s choice to face Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in a contested national convention in July. Every time he racks up losses, his case to emerge as the consensus choice at a convention diminishes. And after hyping his chances in Ohio, a string of losses would be deflating.

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