I’m sure I’ll  have plenty more stuff to say about Trump essentially clinching, but for the moment, I wanted to share Nate Cohn’s analysis for the general election:

Yes, it’s still a long way until Election Day. And Mr. Trump has already upended the conventional wisdom many times. But this is when early horse-race polls start to give a rough sense of the November election, and Mr. Trump trails Mrs. Clinton by around 10 percentage points in early general election surveys, both nationally and in key battleground states.

He even trails in some polls of several states where Mitt Romney won in 2012, like North Carolina, Arizona, Missouri and Utah.

Could Mr. Trump overtake Mrs. Clinton? Sure. Mrs. Clinton is very unpopular herself. Her polling lead is a snapshot in time, before the barrage of attack ads that are sure to come her way. There have been 10-point shifts over the general election season before, even if it’s uncommon. But there isn’t much of a precedent for huge swings in races with candidates as well known as Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton. A majority of Americans may not like her, but they say they’re scared of him. To have a chance, he’ll need to change that.

Mr. Trump’s biggest problem is that he would be the most unpopular major party nominee in the modern era, with nearly two-thirds saying they have an unfavorable opinion of him. More than half view him “very unfavorably” or say they’re “scared” of his candidacy — figures with no precedent among modern presidential nominees.

Mr. Trump’s ratings are worst with the voters who made up the so-called Obama coalition of young, nonwhite and well-educated voters who propelled President Obama’s re-election four years ago…

Mr. Trump is faring worse than Mr. Romney among white voters in all of the presidential battleground states. Polls even show Mr. Trump losing white voters in states where Mr. Romney won them, like Colorado,Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. It’s enough to put him at a big disadvantage in early surveys of diverse battleground states like Florida and Virginia — as well as North Carolina and Arizona, two states Mr. Romney won in 2012…

Part of the problem for Mr. Trump is that the anger that has driven his success in the Republican primaries isn’t seen at the same levels in the general electorate.

A majority of Americans now narrowly approve of Mr. Obama’s performance — a big improvement from his standing in surveys ahead of the midterm elections, when his ratings were decidedly negative. An ABC/Washington Post poll found that just 24 percent of Americans were angry at the federal government.

There also isn’t much evidence that Americans are particularly dissatisfied with the state of the economy. The unemployment rate is at 5 percent, and gas prices are low.Consumer and economic confidence indicators are well within historical norms.

By all of these measures, national political and economic conditions are more favorable to the president’s party than they were at this time in 2012, when Mr. Obama won re-election. [emphasis mine]

Yes!  Much of this wisdom was succinctly distilled in a Brendan Nyhan tweet:

Political Scientists like to point out that it is mostly the fundamentals that matter and the specific candidates not all that much.  But not all that much is still some.  And the evidence is clear that insofar as candidates matter, Democrats have a real advantage.  But Hillary’s biggest advantage is Obama’s approval and the generally good state of the economy.  Historically, running in the same party as the two-term incumbent is definitely a disadvantage, but I strongly suspect less of a disadvantage than being Donald Trump.

Predictwise has a 70% chance for Hillary right now.  Is she a guaranteed win?  Nope.  But I think 70% is actually a little low, I’d put it more like 80%.  Donald Trump has surprised us before; I don’t think he’ll surprise us again.

Breaking News!

Bernie is still not going to be the Democratic nominee.  Do I really need the red font, “Bernie Sanders has rebounded to win Indiana, providing a lift for him over Hillary Clinton during a difficult period” from the NYT to pretend that this means anything in the big picture.  I guess the reporters covering the Democrats can’t leave all the fun to those on the Republican beat.

Sure, it would be nice for Hillary if she could just put Bernie away, but it’s been clear for a long time that he’s not going to win, but his supporters (of which Indiana fits demographically) are going to stick with him.  538’s Harry Enten is on top of it:

The Democratic race remains fundamentally unchanged after tonight’s win by Sanders. Yes, his victory was somewhat surprising, given that all of the polls had Clinton winning and by an average of 7 percentage points. And yes, Sanders has promised to fight on in the primary until perhaps the convention. The problem for the Sanders campaign remains delegate math and demographics.

Right now, Sanders looks like he’ll earn about five to 10 more delegates than Clinton in Indiana. That means Clinton will have an elected delegate lead by the end of the evening of around 280 to 285 delegates. In order to catch Clinton in the elected delegate count, Sanders would need to win over 65 percent of the remaining elected delegates. That’s actually higher than it was before Indiana voted.

Perhaps as importantly, there’s not anything in the Indiana result that should make one think that Sanders has dramatically changed the result. According to a demographic model published last week by Nate, Sanders was expected to win the state of Indiana by 7 percentage points. That’s about the size of his lead right now. Indeed, you can look at the exit pollsand see that Clinton is holding onto the demographic groups she usually wins. For instance, she is beating Sanders among black voters by 52 percentage points. That’s actually slightly better than she did among black voters in New York

As I said at the top, Sanders will continue to fight on, and he will win votes. He looks like the favorite in the West Virginia primary, for example, which is coming up next. He’ll also do well in the remaining states in the middle of the country. Still, it looks like Clinton and Trump are going to be the nominees of their party.

In other news, though we’ve seen it coming, it still is kind of shocking to realize that Donald Trump really and truly is going to be the Republican nominee for President.  More on that tomorrow.

Maybe the Republican Party sort of did decide for Trump

Conor Friedersdorf makes the case that the GOP kinda decided for Trump:

In The Party Decides, an influential book about how presidential nominees are selected, political scientists John Zaller, Hans Noel, David Karol, and Marty Cohen argue that despite reforms designed to wrest control of the process from insiders at smoke-filled nominating conventions, political parties still exert tremendous influence on who makes it to general elections. They do so partly through “invisible primaries,” the authors posited…

The authors argue that political parties convince voters to ratify their choices in primary elections by sending cues or signals. Crucially, when they say that “political parties” sway voters with these signals, they don’t just mean prominent elected officials and insiders at the RNC and DNC. As they see it, “the party encompasses interest groups, issue-advocacy groups, ideological activists chatting over beers, pundits aligned with “the party,” even bloggers who belong to its coalition…

Conventional wisdom currently holds that The Party Decides is inconsistent with Election 2016 insofar as Trump voters have ignored or rejected clear signals and cues from “the party” that the vulgar billionaire is a uniquely unacceptable nominee. To be sure, many prominent GOP insiders have sent those signals, and rightly so.

Yet Trump’s rise is more consistent with The Party Decides than many perceive.

“The party,” defined as broadly as it is in the book, includes a lot of voices that either support Trump or regard him as acceptable. And many members of “the party” who abhor Trump sent mixed signals and cues to voters. The contents of those signals help to explain why so many primary voters see Trump as the best choice.

Here’s a hypothesis: The elements of “the party” that sent pro-Trump cues or “Trump is at least acceptable” signals to primary voters—Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Ben Carson, Chris Christie,, The Drudge Report, The New York Post, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Jeff Sessions, Rick Scott, Jan Brewer, Joe Arpaio—are simply more powerful, relative to National Review, Mitt Romney, John McCain, and other “Trump is unacceptable” forces, than previously thought. [emphasis mine]

And their ascendent power is no accident.

The rise of these “populist right” actors and their most Trumpish beliefs were abetted by signals and cues sent this cycle and in years past by much of the rest of “the party,” including many of the people who are fighting hardest to stop Trump right now…

But it isn’t surprising that Cruz’s attacks rang hollow to many Republican primary voters who can’t help but remember the many months when Cruz lavished extravagant praise on Trump, stating outright that his candidacy was a boon, not a bane to the GOP…

Cruz is, of course, just one dishonest man. Other members of “the party,” including other candidates on the debate stage beside him, were attacking Trump.

For months, however, they weren’t doing so any more than they were attacking one another…

“A central claim of this book,” the authors of The Party Decides wrote, “is that parties resist candidates who are unacceptable to important members of the coalition, even when those candidates are popular with voters.” But 2016 offered no opportunity to test that thesis because “the party” signaled that everyone was unacceptable.

An “unacceptable” candidate had to emerge as the winner.

Party Decides co-author Hans Noel was not so convinced when sharing this on FB, but I think it makes a pretty decent case.  Anyway you look at it, though, I do think it shows the dysfunction of the modern GOP.

Trump’s GOP success in two charts

Drum takes charts shared by Vox’s Matt Yglesias and Dara Lind:

Okay, that may not be all you need to go, but it goes a long way.  Drum has a nice post discussing just what we should do about it.  Telling Republicans to stop being racist is not a particularly successful strategy.  And, no, there’s not a good/easy answer.  As far as explanation/understanding, I would argue these two charts really tell us a lot.

Photo of the day

Recent In Focus photos of the week gallery:

Villarrica Volcano and Trancura river are seen at night in Chile, on April 17, 2016.

Cristobal Saavedra / Reuters

Republicans like winners?

Maybe I should save this post till after Indiana results come in, in case those don’t go as expected, but this recent Gallup result speaks to a larger issue which I think is pretty interesting– the veritable collapse in support for Ted Cruz.  Of course, maybe enough people are paying attention to him now that the absolute loathsomeness of his character cannot be denied, but whatever it is, it is really quite interesting that in this moment as he stands as the most viable #neverTrump, his favorability ratings among Republicans are taking a dive.  Gallup:

Trend: Ted Cruz's Image Among Republicans/Leaners

And, as for Trump, there’s this:

Trend: Donald Trump's Image Among Republicans/Leaners

So, maybe as it is ever more clear that Trump will be the nominee, Republican voters are liking the winner and not liking the loser (though how anybody could ever like Cruz is beyond me).  Anyway, pretty interesting dynamic here.  What I think will be most interesting going forward is how this latter chart changes once Trump is the actual nominee.  How close is he to his ceiling of support among Republican voters?  Of course, in the general election, a lot of those “unfavorable” Republicans will decide Hillary Clinton is way more unfavorable.  Although, unlikely that will be enough to prevent Trump facing an epic loss.

Photo of the day

Pretty amazing In Focus gallery of WWII photos:

War-torn Cologne Cathedral stands out of the devastated area on the west bank of the Rhine, in Cologne, Germany, April 24, 1945. The railroad station and the Hohenzollern Bridge, at right, are completely destroyed after three years of Allied air raids.

AP Photo



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