Will Indiana end the primary season for the GOP?

If Trump sweeps all the delegates, it could be over. Final polls close in the state at 7 PM EDT.

 Pledged DelegatesSuperdelegatesTotal
New Hampshire91561515
South Carolina391454414
American Samoa424183
Northern Marianas42592
North Carolina6047816848
Democrats Abroad4921610
New York13910839178108
Rhode Island1113920
West Virginia3131
Virgin Islands1111
Puerto Rico33
North Dakota1111
New Jersey9292
New Mexico55
South Dakota11
District of Columbia212212
New Hampshire11342
South Carolina5000
Puerto Rico23
Virgin Islands1125
District of Columbia910
North Carolina292796
Northern Marianas9
North Dakota110
American Samoa9
New York905
Rhode Island1135

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Supreme Court: First Amendment and Politics

The Supreme Court ended the argument portion of its term this week.  After taking its last two week recess, the remainder of this term will be about attempting to issue opinions in the argued cases.  The question remains how many of these cases will end up in 4-4 split or be rescheduled for reargument in 2017.   Both this week’s one opinion and the last argument of the term had a strong First Amendment component.


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Delegate Math: Week of May 2

As a month, May is mostly about delegate selection rather than delegate allocation.  Even on the Democratic side (where some caucus allocations will be finalized), there will be over twenty delegate selection events in various states but fewer than ten delegate allocation events.

On the Republican side, there is just one delegate allocation event — Indiana.  After a good showing this past Tuesday (Trump even apparently got 31 supporters elected as unpledged district delegates in Pennsylvania), Trump looks to have a shot at getting enough delegates to win on the first ballot.  He still needs to win fifty percent of the remaining delegates though (approximately 250).  Indiana is another winner-take-most state  — three delegates to the winner in each of the nine congressional districts and thirty to the state-wide winner.  Indiana is the last best chance for Cruz to prevent Trump from getting the nomination.   After trying to arrange a deal with Kasich and (shades of Ronald Reagan) announcing his VP candidate, Cruz has few angles left to play.  Trump is up by 6% which would likely give him 45+ delegates.  If Cruz can make a comeback (with the help of Kasich supporters), Trump is probably looking at 15 or fewer delegates.  With only around 450 delegates left after Indiana, a thirty delegate swing is a big deal.


Posted in Bernie Sanders, Cleveland, Delegate Count, Delegates, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Philadelphia, PHLDNC2016, Primary and Caucus Results | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Emergency Absentee Ballots: How it Doesn’t Work in Pennsylvania

Last week, when I posted information on voting in Pennsylvania on Facebook, someone responded to my line “and it’s too late for an absentee ballot” by saying that Emergency Absentee Ballots are certainly possible.

Turns out that’s not really correct. Difference between de facto and de jure – yeah there’s a process, but if you really need one, it’s going to be tough to get one, and even harder to use that ballot.

My brother was planning on voting on Tuesday, but had a medical emergency Friday night. According to the law, since his heart attack occurred after 5 pm on Friday, he qualified. After the jump, the process and how it doesn’t work.  (more…)

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Tuesday Night Primary Results

Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have their say tonight. All polls close at 8PM EDT. We’ll have the results here.

8:00: Trump wins MD, CT and PA. Clinton wins MD.

9:15. Trump sweeps. Clinton wins MD, PA and DE. Sanders takes RI. CT close. Clinton will pick up a lot of net delegates tonight.

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Pennsylvania Primary Day Thoughts

Vote by JessIt’s about 4:30 in the morning, and I am awake and excited (and already in need of coffee). Today I will be at the polls by 6:30 to prepare for our 7 a.m. opening. I will run the gauntlet of party regulars outside the doors, and I’ve already been told by the judge of elections that it will be my job to “help” them follow the law about staying the appropriate distance from the actual polling place – no one in the building, and don’t harass the voters. I wonder if there will be a line…I heard on the radio today that they’re expecting record primary turnout here in Pennsylvania, perhaps 40%, which would be double what we normally get. Not objectively great, but a large enough number that the effect of “the party” would be blunted. That may be interesting when the returns come in.

I love elections – I love participating, working for the county, working for a candidate and more than anything else, I love voting. I am bemused and kinda proud every time a neighbor walks by waving their voting receipt and telling someone nearby, as they point at me, “I only voted because I can’t go home if I don’t — I live near HER!”

The delegate slate is comprised of people I know: party regulars I’ve known for years, as well as two people brand new to the political process. I am hopeful for all of them, since we’re proportional.

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Primary End Game — Democrats

Yesterday, I took a look at the role of uncommitted delegates and the selection of delegates (particularly those pledged to withdrawn candidates) could influence the end game of the Republican nomination process — particularly in how many pledged delegates Donald Trump will need to win to have a shot at getting nominated.    Today,  I take a look at similar issues for the end game of the Democratic nomination.  Because the Democratic party uniformly gives candidates a significant role in delegate selection, the issue for the Democratic party is uncommitted delegates (barring an upset in the remaining primaries, entirely automatic delegates) and the later stages of some caucus states.  Again, the starting point will be the Green Papers count of hard versus soft delegates.


Posted in Bernie Sanders, Delegate Count, Delegates, Hillary Clinton, Philadelphia, PHLDNC2016, Primary and Caucus Results, Superdelegates | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Primary End Game — Republicans

As April begins to turn into May, delegate counts become key.  This site has typically used the count at www.thegreenpapers.com as a good count — mostly because the Green Papers shows its work — exactly how it calculates the delegate counts.  Actually, the Green Papers has four separate counts.  What those different counts mean for the next two months is the main focus of this post.  To explain the terminology that the Green Papers uses, the Green Papers distinguishes between hard counts and soft counts.  The hard count is the actual number of delegates actually won to date.  The soft count has three components — the soft pledged count, the soft unpledged  count, and the soft total.  These components have slightly different meanings for the two parties given the difference in the rules of the two parties.  This post looks in a general sense at what these counts mean — primarily looking at the delegates from the states that have already voted — for the Republicans.

For the Republican Party, because delegates are bound by either the initial presidential preference vote or the delegate’s pledge when they ran for delegate (in certain caucus states, Illinois, and West Virginia), the hard count and the soft pledged count is, for the most part, the same for all of the candidates and differs only for uncommitted.   Soft unpledged (for the most part) represents officially uncommitted delegates who have announced their non-binding support for a candidate.  Additionally, for Colorado and Wyoming, the Green Papers treats the automatic delegates as “available” but for American Samoa, Guam, North Dakota, and the Virgin Islands, the Green Papers treat these delegates as uncommitted.  The actual status appears to be the same for both sets of automatic delegates — because there was no preference vote, these delegates are not bound to support any of the candidates.

For the Republican Party, all that truly matters for now is the hard count.   Including the automatic delegates from Colorado and Wyoming and the 54 district-level delegates from Pennsylvania, there will be 124 unbound delegates available on June 8 (128 if the original delegation from the Virgin Islands is seated by the Convention).  Of those 124 delegates, 18 will be the party leaders (party chair and RNC members) from the three states and three territories that did not hold a preference vote.  The other 106 or 110 will be the individual elected as uncommitted delegates in Colorado (4), American Samoa (6), Guam (6), North Dakota (25), Virgin Islands (2 or 6), Wyoming (1),  Louisiana (5), Oklahoma (3),  and Pennsylvania (54).  In addition to the uncommitted delegates, there are the delegates won by the other candidates.  As discussed last month, as best as can be determined, sixty-nine of these delegates are effectively unbound and another 44 could be released by the candidate to whom they are bound.  Presumably Ben Carson will release his nine delegates, but the other 35 might be kept bound if the remaining candidates are firmly opposed to Trump.  (Given the binding rules, it is hard to see how any candidate other than Trump could win on the first ballot.  If it gets to the second ballot, everything is up in the air.)  The key for unbound delegates is that tentative pledges by these delegates (including guesses as to which way these delegates are believed to be leaning) are not binding or set in stone.  Depending upon how the rest of the campaign goes, they are free to change their mind.

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The Soda Tax

If you live in the Philadelphia media market, you’ve heard or seen the ads. Pretty ubiquitous. The ads talk about a “grocery tax”, which is not actually correct, in an effort to drum up support against the proposed Philadelphia soda tax of 3 cents per ounce. All sugar sweetened beverages would be assessed the tax if they are bought in the city of Philadelphia. A few numbers:

  • Liter bottle of soda – costs perhaps 99 cents on sale. The tax would add $ 1.01.
  • 6-pack of 12 ounce cans – tax of $2.16 (I have no idea what the raw product costs)

It’s a lot of money if you live on limited funds. The idea is health. From that slippery slope of ever increasing cigarette taxes, to alcohol taxes…the “sin” taxes. They are regressive taxes as they hurt the poor the most as a percentage of income. And yeah, sugar is bad for you. BUT…

Personally, I’m not a soda drinker, but when I throw parties, I buy several liter bottles of soda. From my perspective, if the cost doubled, it wouldn’t be that big a deal because the soda part of the full cost of the food and beverages is minimal. But there are a lot of people who like a soda. Perhaps they prefer it to an adult beverage, or want to use it as a mixer — that one drink to celebrate the end of the work week when they worked two jobs, have one day off and it all starts again. Likely, those people don’t have cars to drive out to the ‘burbs to spend less, and don’t have the time even if they had the car. If they’re making minimum wage (which is nowhere near $15/hour but I digress) that extra buck is a lot of money proportionally to their income.

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Posted in Bernie Sanders, Economy, Hillary Clinton | 2 Comments

Supreme Court — Immigration and Redistricting

This past week was the first week of the April argument session — the third since the death of Justice Scalia and the last of this term.  Next week will be the last three argument days of the term (with the last argument concerning the conviction of Former Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia — with the primary issue being which type of  “favors” by a government official will support a conviction under the statutes involved).  After Wednesday, the remainder of the term will be issuing opinions and accepting cases for next term.  This week was bookended by two cases of interest to the issues covered by this site.  On Monday, the Supreme Court heard arguments on President Obama’s decision to defer deportation of certain unauthorized immigrants.  On Wednesday, the Supreme Court issued its opinion on the Arizona redistricting plan.

The issues in the case challenging the President’s immigration policy falls into three categories:  1) do the States have “standing” (the right to bring the case); 2) was the policy guidance the type of the decision that had to go through the formal notice and comment procedures of the Administrative Procedure Act (the rules governing the issuance of formal regulations); and 3) are some elements of the policy so contrary to immigration law as to constitute a violation of those laws rather than the operation of executive discretion in the enforcement of the law).  As shown by the transcript of the argument, the majority of the argument focused on the issue of standing.

Standing is a key concept in the law tied to the constitutional requirement that courts only decide “cases and controversies.”  The basic principle is that a person can only file a law suit if they are in some way “injured” by the action that they are challenging.  Thus, while you might not like the microbrewery in your town selling out to a big conglomerate, you do not have standing to challenge that merger unless you own stock in one of the two or can somehow demonstrate how that sale effects a legally-recognized interest that you have.  Traditionally, states have a right to sue on things that adversely impact their governmental interests, but do not have the right to sue because the voters of their state disagree with a decision.  When multiple parties join together in a case, the case can continue as long as one of them has standing.  In recent years, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court have taken a narrow view of standing — one of the many doctrines that conservatives have used to keep cases out of court.

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