Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks during a rally on April 5 in Laramie, Wyoming. Sanders spoke to a large crowd on the University of Wyoming campus after winning the primary in Wisconsin.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) speaks during a rally on April 5 in Laramie, Wyoming. Sanders spoke to a large crowd on the University of Wyoming campus after winning the primary in Wisconsin.

Yesterday in Wisconsin primary voters tossed party front runners aside and handed decisive wins to Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Bernie Sanders. The results assure a longer and complicated road ahead in both party nomination contests. On the Republican side, front runner Donald Trump’s prospects to lock down the GOP nomination before party’s convention in July have considerably dimmed. Democrat Hillary Clinton can also now count on a longer fight, and in both parties support of super delegates will be critical. Please join us to discuss the latest twists in the 2016 party nomination contests.


  • Dan Balz Chief correspondent, The Washington Post
  • Anna Greenberg Democratic pollster and senior vice president of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.
  • David Winston President, Winston Group; Republican strategist; CBS News consultant; adviser to the House and Senate Republican leadership for more than a decade


  • 10:06:53

    MS. DIANE REHMThanks for joining us. I'm Diane Rehm. Frontrunners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were cast aside in the Wisconsin presidential primary yesterday. Wisconsin voters chose, instead, Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Bernie Sanders, raising stakes, especially on the Republican side, of no candidate having a lock on the party nomination before delegates convene in July.

  • 10:07:23

    MS. DIANE REHMJoining me to talk about where the races go from here, Dan Balz of The Washington Post, Anna Greenberg of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, and David Winston of The Winston Group. I'm sure many of you have comments, thoughts about what's going on in the election process. Give us a call at 800-433-8850. Send an email to Follow us on Facebook or Twitter. And welcome to all of you.

  • 10:07:59

    MR. DAN BALZThank you very much. Good morning.

  • 10:07:59

    MS. ANNA GREENBERGThanks for having us.

  • 10:08:00

    MR. DAVID WINSTONNice to be here.

  • 10:08:01

    REHMGood to see you. Dan Balz, so both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had a chance to sort of make a big statement yesterday and both missed out. What happened and what happens now?

  • 10:08:20

    BALZWell, what happened was Bernie Sanders took advantage of a favorable electorate in Wisconsin and scored a very big and necessary victory for him. He needed to win Wisconsin. And the fact that he was able to win it as big as he was able to do is a feather in his cap. And so it continues to create problems for Hillary Clinton. The delegate numbers are still in her favor, but the sort of psychological impact of this winning streak certainly raises problems for her.

  • 10:08:50

    REHMHow big was his win?

  • 10:08:52

    BALZWell, it was in the neighborhood of 13 or 14 points so it is beyond what people had anticipated it was going to be. I think he was always the favorite in Wisconsin and she, you know, it was not by accident that she wasn't in Wisconsin that much over the final week. They knew it was going to be difficult. They wanted to downplay expectations. But still, you know, he over-performed and he's on a winning streak right now.

  • 10:09:17

    BALZAnd that's, you know, that's tough for her, even though she's still the favorite. Donald Trump has had now -- he's into his third bad week and it is a combination of things. It's the interviews that he's done with The Washington Post editorial board, with the New York Times and others in which he has been, to say the least, inadequate about policy, controversial about policy.

  • 10:09:46

    BALZHe has said things that are both provocative or wildly questionable. So that's one problem. He had the problem when he did the interview with Chris Matthews on dealing with the abortion issue. He rolled that back, but then he got himself into more trouble when he was on with John Dickerson on "Face The Nation" on CBS on Sunday. So and then, third, you have his campaign manager being charged with a misdemeanor assault -- battery charge for a dustup with a female reporter.

  • 10:10:18

    BALZAll of that came together in Wisconsin and -- but I think you have to give Ted Cruz credit. I don't think it's just that Donald Trump had a bad week. Ted Cruz has run a very smart campaign and it paid off in Wisconsin. But he had the support of both the kind of Republican establishment in Wisconsin in the face of Scott Walker, the governor, and also, in a sense, the kind of the infrastructure of the conservative movement in Wisconsin embodied by the radio talk show hosts, the local radio talk show hosts.

  • 10:10:50

    BALZSo the combination of that gave him what looks like to be about a 14 point victory, again, beyond what many of the polls had said. And so we now are off to New York and off to the races.

  • 10:11:01

    REHMAnd off to a longer race in both cases, a tougher race for both parties, David Winston.

  • 10:11:10

    WINSTONYeah, I don't think there's any question about that. I mean, again, looking at both sides, I mean, where I still think Hillary Clinton probably has a very strong position in terms of, obviously, the nomination, losing this many in a row can't make them happy. But going to what Dan was saying, look, on the Republican side, the worst thing you can have is a campaign -- and this is what's happening to Donald Trump -- is when you start having stories about how your campaign's in disarray and are you going to have reorganizations and you're bringing new people in.

  • 10:11:36

    WINSTONWhen you start having that storyline, there's chaos going on. And one of the things that I think is on -- and this is going to be the difficult part in terms of trying to understand what happened last night. What you saw is a lot of the Romney voters actually ended up voting for Cruz. And so the question is why? And there are two theories here and we're not sure which one's correct. Theory number one is that, well, they basically said, you know, we aren't necessarily happy about it, but Cruz seems to be the acceptable candidate so we're moving that direction.

  • 10:12:06

    WINSTONThe other one is -- what they're saying is we have to stop Donald Trump no matter what. Our best resolution is a contested convention so therefore, Cruz, in this particular situation, was the best person to vote for to get to that point. It's unclear which one of those two theories are correct, but clearly, the result was the Romney voters did end up supporting Cruz in this particular situation.

  • 10:12:27

    REHMAnd Anna Greenberg, what about Trump's comments regarding women and to what extent do they perhaps help Hillary Clinton's campaign?

  • 10:12:40

    GREENBERGWell, I think they're very helpful for Hillary Clinton's campaign and not so much because they just come from Trump, but really, since 2010, there has been a narrative around kind of the war of women coming out of the Republican party, ranging from abortion restrictions past across the tons of state legislatures to the source of things that people like Aken said about, you know, legitimate rape. And so there is this -- been this narrative, I think, for a number of years about the Republican party being sexist, in my view, misogynistic.

  • 10:13:09

    GREENBERGAnd Trump, I think, to an extreme degree, sort of brings those to the surface in a way that even -- in an even more extreme way. And what you've seen is there's always a Democratic advantage among women voters. Women are more Democratic. You've seen a gender gap since the 1980 campaign when women were less likely to support Reagan than men were. But I imagine that gender gap may get even bigger, particularly if Trump is the nominee. But don't underestimate how these comments he's made that are largely not disavowed by the Republican establishment hurt the Republican party with women voters.

  • 10:13:40

    REHMBut what about Bernie Sanders? He was very strong in Wisconsin as Dan Balz said. 13 points over Hillary. What happened to Hillary?

  • 10:13:54

    GREENBERGWell, I think, as Dan said, the Clinton campaign knew they probably weren't going to win Wisconsin and recall that Obama beat Hillary by 17 points in Wisconsin in 2008. So it's not been a hospitable state. Sanders spent a lot more money there. He's outspent her three to one. And she, I think, as Dan said, sort of looked at that state and said, I'm not gonna really contest this state because I know I'm not gonna win it and I'm gonna save my money for the subsequent races, which are much more favorable to her, both because of the diversity of the states, but also because there are closed primaries coming up.

  • 10:14:24

    GREENBERGSo I'm not discounting Sanders win. It allows him to raise money. It allows him to stay in the narrative. It keeps him in this race. It's frustrating and annoying to the Clinton campaign who, in all likelihood, are going to win the nomination, but I also think that this Wisconsin win in and of itself does not fundamentally challenge her delegate lead, doesn't challenge the win she's gonna get, you know, the rest of this month and I think his momentum will probably stop.

  • 10:14:46

    REHMWas this a turning point for Ted Cruz, Dan Balz?

  • 10:14:52

    BALZI think it was a turning point for Ted Cruz. He has, almost every week as we've gone through this, something has happened to diminish when he has done reasonably well or he has fallen short of the kind of the expectations he set, particularly at the opening of this race in South Carolina and on Super Tuesday where he didn't do as well as his original strategy called for him to do. Here, he did very well. And, you know, if you look at, as he said, 17 candidates started out this race.

  • 10:15:26

    BALZIt's down to three, but really, at this point, two and, you know, and some fraction of John Kasich who has yet to win anything other than his home state of Ohio.

  • 10:15:33

    REHMBut he insists he's going to stay in the race. For how long?

  • 10:15:38

    BALZWell, his argument is going to be a convention -- an argument to convention delegates. Whether he wins many more -- whether he wins any more states or many more delegates, he will try to stay in and make a case at the convention, if it is an open convention, that he is the only one of the three remaining candidates who has a chance of defeating Hillary Clinton in the November. That's the entire card he carries at this point. And what he has to do is simply hang on or that's the strategy. Hang on until Cleveland and hope that the delegates are thinking more about electability than anything else.

  • 10:16:18

    REHMDo you agree that that is his strategy?

  • 10:16:22

    WINSTONYeah, that is likely. But let me sort of rearrange one thing in terms of what Ann said. I'm not sure if this was Ted Cruz's moment or if it was a moment defining what was happening with Trump and I think that's part of the question that we don't know. And that also, then, implicates what is Kasich's motivation. But having said that, remember the convention, potentially, has a very different question to answer than primaries. Primaries are trying to figure out who within in the primary process is, in fact, the Republican that can garner the most support within that particular election.

  • 10:16:51

    WINSTONThe purpose of a convention is to elect a Republican president. And that is going to be where the tension is, those people coming in who can't necessarily answer that question effectively and I think that's one of the problems, I think, Trump is having. All of a sudden, there's a very clear sense that maybe he can't win. Once that begins to infect a campaign, that becomes very different dynamic. And Kasich's whole argument is not necessarily I can get to 1237 before the convention. It's, when I get there, I can make the case that I can win.

  • 10:17:20

    WINSTONAnd when you take a look at the national surveys, he's the only one of the three consistently beating the other candidates. I mean, he's close in terms of Sanders, but he's consistently beating Clinton. That's a pretty powerful argument to be able to make at a convention.

  • 10:17:33

    REHMDavid Winston, he's president of the Winston Group. He's a republican strategist, CBS News consultant. Anna Greenberg is a Democratic pollster, senior vice president of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, Dan Balz is chief correspondent at The Washington Post. Short break. We'll be right back.

  • 10:20:02

    REHMAnd welcome back. We are talking about the results of yesterday's primary in Wisconsin, where you had both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump lose to Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders. And the results of those losses mean lots of things going forward, but you saw Wisconsin, as you said, Anna, never really a state for Hillary Clinton. Where is she going to put her energy next?

  • 10:20:49

    GREENBERGThere are a bunch of big primaries coming up the rest of this month. New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland are the biggest. Those are all good states for her for a couple reasons. First, they are more diverse states. Hillary Clinton did win overwhelmingly among African-Americans in Wisconsin, even though she lost the -- she lost the white vote, which is interesting because there are other Northern primaries where she didn't do as well with African-Americans, but she should do quite well in Maryland in particular but also in Pennsylvania and again in New York.

  • 10:21:14

    GREENBERGSo these are more hospitable states for her, but they also -- two of the three are closed primaries, which means only Democrats can vote in them. Where Sanders racks up the huge margins is among independents. In Wisconsin he won them overwhelmingly but split Democrats. So I think -- and these states net a huge number of delegates. So I think you will see her delegate lead even bigger by the end of April.

  • 10:21:39

    REHMDan Balz, give me a different narrative, one that supports Bernie Sanders.

  • 10:21:45

    BALZWell, he's on a winning streak. He clearly has more energy behind his candidacy than she does. The kinds of crowds he draws, they're -- you know, they're not...

  • 10:21:55


  • 10:21:55

    BALZThey're not necessarily indicative of outcomes of events.

  • 10:21:58


  • 10:21:58

    BALZOf contests, but they show a passion that he has been able to generate behind his candidacy. It suggests a couple of things. It suggests, one, that there is -- there are lingering reservations about Hillary Clinton that in one way or another people may see her as competent, fully experienced, and yet she doesn't give them the kind of the jolt that Bernie Sanders does. It also says something about the Democratic Party. I think it was, David, you may have this number with you, 67 percent of the Democratic voters last night in Wisconsin call themselves liberal. This is a party that has moved to the left. This is a party that as the Republican Party has become more conservative, there are more and more people who consider themselves Democrats who now say I am a liberal.

  • 10:22:42

    BALZThis is a label that, as you know, Diane, people ran away from years ago. People are now embracing it, and that has also helped Bernie Sanders because he is unabashedly part of that part of the party.

  • 10:22:54

    REHMHas Bernie Sanders been able to present a clearer picture of what he would work toward than has Hillary?

  • 10:23:07

    BALZI think what he has been able to do is he has offered a very clear diagnosis of what he thinks the problem that this country is facing is all about. And he has offered, at least in general terms, a series of prescriptions that flow from that diagnosis.

  • 10:23:24

    REHMFor example, he's talked about breaking up the big banks. Has he offered suggestion or solution as to how?

  • 10:23:34

    BALZNo, and this was exposed very vividly in the interview that he did with the New York Daily News editorial board earlier this week, in which they pressed him repeatedly about how you break up the big banks, and he does not have an answer for that. And I think we're going to hear a lot more about the inadequacy of the plans he is offering as we go into the New York primary.

  • 10:24:00

    REHMHas Hillary offered more substantive ideas?

  • 10:24:04

    GREENBERGShe is a much more substantive candidate, and if you go to her website and look at her policy papers, she is -- there isn't any question where she excels is expert -- policy expertise, experience. That is where she excels over Sanders. Where he excels is offering a narrative that speaks to people, that speaks to their...

  • 10:24:22

    REHMSo why hasn't she been able to do that?

  • 10:24:27

    GREENBERGThat's the million dollar question.

  • 10:24:28

    WINSTONActually, I actually do have a theory on it, and I was actually listening yesterday morning when you -- when NPR had on somebody from Wisconsin who was a Hillary supporter, who basically was saying, well, you know, the real challenge here is, well, Bernie wants to do it all, and we understand that it's got to be slower than that. When you have an electorate that's really impatient, that's not really what they want to hear. By the way, that's the same problem that we're having -- that the Republican Party is dealing with Trump. Trump is saying I'm going to change everything, I'm going to rock the boat.

  • 10:24:53

    REHMEverything, right.

  • 10:24:56

    WINSTONRight? And Bernie Sanders is doing the same sort of rock the boat, and I thought the narrative yesterday that this person was defining is, like, we're going to be slow and steady and be realistic because Bernie wants to do it all at once. I think it's the wrong argument to this electorate at this point.

  • 10:25:08

    GREENBERGI think it's the wrong argument, but I think that people feel that there's a crisis in the world that requires steady leadership and strength and a sort of sober way of looking at events and a pragmatism. And certainly in this country, a lot of domestic and social conflict around race and immigration and other issues. And that is her strength. And she can't become a different person. She is establishment. She has been in politics for her entire adult life, whether as the wife of the president or in her own -- on her own as senator and secretary of state.

  • 10:25:40

    GREENBERGAnd so this is her strength, and I don't think she can shift to be a Bernie Sanders anyway, and I do think it will serve her well, especially if she's running against Trump, who people believe, even people who like him, aren't sure how he'll do the things that he says he's going to do.

  • 10:25:51

    REHMLike building the wall between here and Mexico. Yesterday he made that comment, and the president of Mexico had something to say about that.

  • 10:26:05

    BALZWell, you know, Donald Trump -- Donald Trump put out a two-page memo that the Washington Post wrote about yesterday, that -- how he would pay -- how he would get Mexico to pay for this wall.

  • 10:26:15


  • 10:26:15

    BALZWhich is that he would cut off all of the funds that immigrants are sending back to their families in Mexico. As the president of the United States said, that's a fairly unrealistic approach to how you do it. And Mexican officials have been totally disdainful of everything Trump has had to say on this issue.

  • 10:26:35

    BALZI want to go back to one thing, though, on the question of Secretary Clinton. She is, I think at heart, an incrementalist. She believes in getting up every day and kind of attacking a problem, and if you -- you know, if you make two inches of progress, that's better than no progress at all. That may be an effective way of trying to govern at a time when things are so polarized, and the ability to get big things done is so difficult. It is not an inspiring campaign message, and I think that's where she continues to run into trouble.

  • 10:27:03

    REHMSo what Bernie Sanders is able to do and has captured the imagination of many, many voters is to give you one, two, three, four and to repeat one, two, three, four at every single campaign appearance. Hillary Clinton seems to be too wonkish for her listeners. Is that a fair statement?

  • 10:27:36

    GREENBERGI don't know if she's too wonkish, because again there is a certain appeal, maybe not during the raucous primary process but ultimately an appeal, as Dan talked about, in the way that she approaches problem-solving. But I do think that there's been a lack of message discipline. There's been a different message in...

  • 10:27:51

    REHMWhy? Why has that happened?

  • 10:27:53

    GREENBERGWell, I don't work on her campaign. So it's very hard for me to answer that question, but...

  • 10:27:58

    REHMBut surely you've got some questions of your own as to why that's happened.

  • 10:28:05

    GREENBERGI mean look, I think it was also true in 2008, when she was running against Obama, who had an inspiring kind of single message that spoke to people's, in this case hopes, now people are speaking to fears. I think that it is a challenge for her because she's multi-faceted, because she has lots of different advisors, because she has lots of different experiences, because she is establishment, to come up with or to authentically express what she sees the problems of this country, how she sees the problems and what her solutions are in this kind of one, two, three way. But again, I'm not part of the campaign. I'm not part of those inner discussions. It's -- it is one of the things that I think Democrats are somewhat frustrated with, with Hillary Clinton, is that she hasn't been able to have message discipline.

  • 10:28:49

    BALZI would say a couple of things. First, as she has said in several debates, she is not a natural at campaigning. This comes harder to her than it does to her husband or to President Obama. And you can see that every day. I mean, she's -- she is dogged, and she is determined, and when her back is against the wall, she can be a very effective candidate, as we saw sometimes in 2008 and as we've seen sometimes in this campaign.

  • 10:29:13

    BALZI think the other is that, as Anna suggested, if you're dealing in Clinton world, you are dealing with a big, complicated, multi-layered, many circles of people who feel they have a voice. And there are times at which you have this sense that her message is not really an authentic message but something that has been developed by committee, that there are words and phrases and sentences and paragraphs that come out of both polling and focus grouping, and we're at a point where, as Donald Trump has shown, there is a different way to communicate and in a sense a different desire on the part of voters to be communicated with.

  • 10:29:54

    REHMAnd how has Bernie Sanders been able to manage that, keeping on message that way?

  • 10:30:03

    WINSTONWell, and I think you can see it from last night's exit polls. Thirty percent of the Democratic electorate said income inequality was their number one issue, and Bernie Sanders won them 66 to 34, right. Now he has focused on that pretty relentlessly. Even in terms of the economy, which was the number one issue for Democrats last night, at 37 percent, Sanders won those 54-46. But he has been able to just repeat this over and over again.

  • 10:30:31


  • 10:30:31

    WINSTONAnd by the way, and not to make the connection between Sanders and Trump, that's actually been Trump's strength, as well. I mean, he's repeated he same thing over and over again. There's been a message discipline in terms of what those two entities have done that has, quite frankly, gone beyond what I would call sort of traditional political operative campaigns.

  • 10:30:48

    REHMInteresting. Here's an email from Rob. It's fairly long. I'll try to sort of narrow it down. He says, both Republicans and Democrats plan to attempt to give their nominations to candidates other than the people's choices. Republicans will try to use rule changes at an open convention to steal the nomination from either Trump or Cruz, and the Democrats will use super-delegates to give their nomination to Clinton even if Bernie gets the majority of the, quote, people's delegates. So much for the government of the people, says Rob. How do you respond, Dan?

  • 10:31:43

    BALZWell, let's take the Democratic side first. As Anna said, Secretary Clinton has more delegates, more pledged delegates at this point, and more raw votes at this point. And almost certainly that -- she will have more raw votes by the end of this than he does, and she has a bigger lead among pledged delegates than Barack Obama had when he ran against her in 2008. And so she is winning this on the basis of party rules. I mean, that's one thing that -- you know, parties make the rules, and candidates have to live by those rules and have to compete under those rules.

  • 10:32:20

    BALZShe is winning on the basis of the rules of the Democratic Party. Once you get a small lead of pledged delegates in a Democratic race, it's very hard to squander that lead because of the proportional allocation of delegates, primary by primary, state by state. So on the Democratic side, yes he has -- Bernie Sanders has a lot of enthusiastic people behind him, but numbers matter in this race, and she is winning on the basis of numbers, if not on the basis of enthusiasm.

  • 10:32:52

    BALZOn the Republican side, it's a very interesting question. Will the Republican Party deny the nomination to the person who comes to the convention with the most delegates and the person who comes to the convention with the second-most delegates? The rules allow it.

  • 10:33:11

    REHMDifferent rules.

  • 10:33:11

    BALZYou have to get a majority of the delegates. You can't -- it's not a plurality of the delegates. But Donald Trump has more votes than anybody and more delegates. And we will see what the party is prepared to do to itself in Cleveland.

  • 10:33:23

    REHMAnd you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." David Winston?

  • 10:33:30

    WINSTONI had a hunch you might come to me after that. A couple things into that. First off, there's one basic rule in terms of the Republican side, and that is if you have 1,237 votes when you walk onto the floor, you're going to win the nomination, right. So the first challenge to all the candidates is can they meet that threshold, right. So if Donald Trump is not at that point, in theory then he's going to be able to use his best asset, and that is his ability to cut a deal, right.

  • 10:33:54

    WINSTONSo Republicans are going to see right off the bat whether he's got that skill set. There's also another thing, too, is...

  • 10:34:01

    REHMWhat kind of a deal are you talking about?

  • 10:34:01

    WINSTONOh, I have no idea. I'll leave that up to them to sort of think through. But again, they brought on actually a pretty seasoned veteran in terms of handling that, and that's going to be Paul Manafort, who is good at understanding how to manage conventions and how to work with delegates. He's done that before. But here's the other element in terms of the Republican convention. There are previous rules by -- that sort of guide things. But the fact is there are no rules at this point. That's the first act that the convention does.

  • 10:34:29

    WINSTONAnd by the way, that's incredibly important. You go back to the last two conventions, contested conventions, 1976 and 1952, there were very, very important rules decisions made prior to anything going on beyond that. And so -- and you saw actually similar situations where you had, back in '52 it was Eisenhower versus Taft, and then you had Reagan versus Ford, those fights basically set up who was going to win the nomination in each one of those cases.

  • 10:34:57

    WINSTONIt's been a while since we've had three people, and so that's sort of a fuzzier history moment, but rules fights are pretty common within the Republican Party in terms of electing. And again, you know, we clearly had a success with Eisenhower in '52, and Ford was perhaps not quite the same level.

  • 10:35:16

    REHMIndeed. All right, and here's an email from Ashton. The New York primary is two weeks away. Both Sanders and Clinton have ties to New York. What kind of effect will Senator Sanders' win in Wisconsin have in New York? Anna?

  • 10:35:43

    GREENBERGWell, I think it will effect Clinton's margin. The latest poll has her at 53 and Sanders at 42, which is not bad considering that she represented the state in the Senate and that she -- it's her home now. So he's -- you know, again, he's not doing terribly in the current polls in New York, but I think, as I mentioned earlier, there are two problems for Sanders. One is that it's not an open primary, so there's no independents voting in it, and she does much better with regular Democratic voters, and two, the diversity of the state.

  • 10:36:11

    GREENBERGSo I think she'll win and win pretty easily. It may not be a blowout like some of the Southern states were for her, and as Dan mentioned, we have proportional allocation of all delegates in all primaries on the Democratic side, so he will get some delegates out of it. So I think her home advantage will serve her well, the diversity, the closed primary. And I think all those three things together will give her a pretty solid win, but it doesn't look like a blowout of the proportion of other states we've seen.

  • 10:36:36


  • 10:36:36

    BALZI agree with that. I think that the question is, as we go into the heat of this New York primary, and there's almost nothing like a New York competitive primary because of the nature of the New York media, although the tabloid media is not quite as vibrant as it was the last time there was a competitive primary, but I think part of the question is what is the frame of this election as we start it. Is it that Bernie Sanders is on a role, and she's very much on the defensive? Or is it that Bernie Sanders doesn't really have a plan for the things he's been telling you that he wants to do, and Hillary Clinton does? And there's going to be a very big battle over the next few days to frame that campaign.

  • 10:37:17

    REHMDan Balz of The Washington Post, and we'll take a short break here. When we come back, we have callers in Dallas, Pittsburgh, Concord, New Hampshire, and some emails. We'll get back. Stay with us.

  • 10:40:01

    REHMAnd welcome back. We'll go right to the phones and to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Patrick, you're on the air.

  • 10:40:12

    PATRICKWell, thank you for taking my call.

  • 10:40:14


  • 10:40:14

    PATRICKFirst of all, I want to say, please hold on John Kasich, you're the only human being in the race, as the other two candidates are just disastrous. And I want to thank the voters in Wisconsin for their waking up and telling everybody else what a disaster, Trump specifically is.

  • 10:40:35

    REHMAnd that's your point. Go ahead, David Winston.

  • 10:40:38

    WINSTONNo, and we're talking in terms of what does New York mean to the Democrats? What New York means to the Republicans? Actually, a very interesting threshold here. And that is, and that's why, I think, Wisconsin plays potentially a very important role. If Trump, and being his home state, if he gets above 50 percent, then he basically carries the state and he has to do that within each city. However, if he's below 50 percent, right, then it becomes proportional.

  • 10:41:02

    WINSTONAnd one of the things about Kasich, even if Kasich is taking, and I think he's likely to do better, but for the sake of argument, let's say he's getting four or five percent, that four or five percent could be just enough to bump Trump underneath that 50 percent mark and make it proportional. And then, obviously, even set the stage, potentially even larger for a contested convention. I don't think he'll be at five percent, but that's -- I'm just doing that as a hypothetical argument.

  • 10:41:24

    REHMBut you know, then why are all these dedicated Republicans urging Kasich to get out? Cruz supporters, definitely, urging him out.

  • 10:41:35

    WINSTONBecause, ultimately, it's -- because they all think they'll get those votes. I mean, if you look at what happened in Wisconsin where clearly Cruz got a lot of the Romney vote that I think some people thought was going to go to Kasich. The question is, like I said before, is that, was that an event or is that a trend that's likely to continue? I think most people think that a lot of those Romney people were potentially voting just to deny Trump so that they could have a contested convention.

  • 10:42:01

    WINSTONThen they go back to Kasich, so therefore the Cruz people would like to figure out a way to hold on to them. I would argue that that's probably -- that argument was made out of self-interest.

  • 10:42:09

    BALZThe Cruz campaign has argued for weeks, if not months, that Donald Trump has a ceiling, that he can't get over 50 percent consistently. He may, perhaps, do it in New York. We'll see, but that he can't do it consistently but that he is benefitting from a split vote in the anti-Trump environment. And that if they can isolate him one on one, they can beat him wherever they have a matchup. And there's some polling to support them on that. When we've done some polling on just if it's a Cruz verses Trump, Cruz prevails on that. So, that is their belief.

  • 10:42:46

    BALZAnd once again, you know, in Wisconsin, he got about 35 percent. That's kind of been his average through most of the year. He's done better than that in some states, obviously, but that's why the Cruz people want him out. But David's point is important, which is if Kasich is still in this race in some of these states that are favorable to Donald Trump, and they hold him down, particularly in New York, I mean, I think it's crucial in New York. And you end up with proportional allocation of delegates, then you've got a different race.

  • 10:43:19

    REHMBig deal. All right, let's go to James in Concord, New Hampshire. You're on the air.

  • 10:43:27

    JAMESAll right, thank you for taking my call.

  • 10:43:29


  • 10:43:30

    JAMESMy -- I guess my first point has to do with the issue of breaking up the banks. And I guess I'll just make this one. I have a question for the panel, which is couldn't both Hillary and Bernie use executive action to break up the banks and then force the other branches of government to act if they didn't want that to stand? That's my first question, and my second question is, do you think that one of the reasons Hillary isn't doing quite as well as she could is because a lot of, especially younger Democrats, maybe feel like she's trying to marginalize the progressives in the Democratic Party?

  • 10:44:16

    REHMDan Balz.

  • 10:44:18

    BALZI don't the answer to the first question, quite honestly.

  • 10:44:22

    REHMWhether he could...

  • 10:44:23

    BALZWhether through executive action you can break them up.

  • 10:44:25


  • 10:44:26

    BALZI'm dubious about that.

  • 10:44:27


  • 10:44:28

    BALZAnd I think it would be a very, very difficult and complicated matter for anybody to try to do that on the basis of executive action. You know, so, take that as it is. You know, the question of Secretary Clinton and younger voters is an important. And certainly, Bernie Sanders, I mean, if you go to any Bernie Sanders rally, I mean, there are a lot of young people. It's not that it's just young people, but there are a lot of young people and they applaud, you know, heartily, line by line by line in his standard speech.

  • 10:44:59

    BALZWhich he gives everywhere he goes, including an election night. He's disciplined on the message and his followers are disciplined on the applause lines. So, she has a problem at this point. I think the issue becomes different in a general election, that a general election is a different animal than the primaries. And the younger voters who are skeptical of Hillary Clinton today, though leaning or solidly Democratic in their allegiance, will face a different kind of question in the fall. And that is who do you prefer?

  • 10:45:28

    BALZHillary Clinton, if she's the nominee, or the Republican nominee? And that's a different order of question, and you would have to assume that even if it's not with great enthusiasm, that they would be more likely to stay with her.

  • 10:45:39


  • 10:45:40

    GREENBERGI think that this conversation about young voters and Sanders misses the larger context. Hillary Clinton did not win younger voters in 2008 either. And I do think younger voters are less partisan, in the sense of being attached to a party. They're very ideological, but in terms of being attached to the Democratic Party, they are less focused on establishment. They tend to be more focused on change, and ironically, given how well Obama did with younger voters, they're the ones who've done the least well in the economic recovery, especially if you're of color.

  • 10:46:05

    GREENBERGSo I think that, for whatever reason, she has less appeal to younger voters, but it's not a new thing that Bernie Sanders has somehow created because she's pushed, you know, she's pushing away progressives, it's her overall, who she is as a person is less appealing to this group and it was in '08. And it was -- it has been in '16. I'd also argue, by the way, that, you know, there are lots of different aspects of progressivism, and feminism is part of that too. And she has a huge cadre of baby boom women who are the biggest chunk of primary electorates.

  • 10:46:33

    GREENBERGWho feel very strongly about her accomplishments, her travails and overcoming them and succeeding. And are very strong supporters of Hillary Clinton on feminist grounds. So, people have focused on this, sort of, his support among progressive, focusing on an economic narrative around inequality. But there are a chunk of very liberal progressive voters who support Hillary Clinton in these primaries.

  • 10:46:54

    REHMHere's an email from David in Charlotte, North Carolina. He says, when Russia launched Sputnik, it created a crisis in the US. President Kennedy declared we'd put a man on the moon in 10 years. The people were behind that effort, as impossible as it seemed. The President is a leader who inspires people. Bernie is tapping into the energy of the people who realize we have an economic crisis in this country that must be addressed. And they know that Hillary is deeply entrenched in that problem. Dan Balz.

  • 10:47:41

    BALZWell, Bernie Sanders has over performed in this race. There is no question about it. I mean, if you look at what people...

  • 10:47:49

    REHMBeyond anyone's expectations.

  • 10:47:50

    BALZ...beyond what anybody anticipated. Nobody thought that a 74-year-old Senator who declares himself a Democratic socialist could give Hillary Clinton, who has the best brand or the second best brand in the Democratic Party. It's either Clinton or Obama. The kind of run that he has been able to do. And it's because he has articulated a message very effectively and tapped into it. But, we are dealing with enthusiasm for him within the Democratic family, not at large in the country.

  • 10:48:23

    BALZThe emailer is right that Presidents have the ability to lead and to inspire. At the same time, we are a much, much, much different country today than we were when President Kennedy said we're going to go to the moon. This is a very polarized country, a very difficult country to govern, and if it's Bernie Sanders in the fall as the Democratic nominee, which is highly unlikely, he will have a great deal of trouble creating enthusiasm beyond the Democratic coalition or the Democratic base.

  • 10:48:56

    BALZHe may attract some independents if he were the nominee, but the enthusiasm he is generating is within the progressive wing of the party, which is hungry for his kind of candidacy.

  • 10:49:07

    REHMAll right. To Patrick in Herkimer, New York. You're on the air.

  • 10:49:13

    PATRICKI thank you, Diane.

  • 10:49:14


  • 10:49:15

    PATRICKJust when you think you've heard it all, we keep hearing from your guests here and you can tell who they're for. These are part of the establishment reporters out there. These are people who are connected to people who are on the GGT. You know what the GGT is, Diane?

  • 10:49:38


  • 10:49:38

    PATRICKIt's the government gravy train. These are people who are opposed to Bernie Sanders. They are people who are opposed to Trump, because they're talking issues and you people are talking horse race. The issues are, as Trump brought out, NATO restructuring, we've got to take a new look at that, Trump's trying to bring that up. There's nothing that's been said by you people about that whatsoever. Bernie's talking about the corrupt political campaign system. Hillary won't release her talks with Wall Street, which her husband had a great deal to do with.

  • 10:50:22

    PATRICKAlong with Geithner, and the rest that what's his name, Obama, who I voted for twice, much to my dismay...

  • 10:50:33

    REHMAll right, I'm going to stop you right there. And I think we have the gist of what you're saying.

  • 10:50:40

    WINSTONAnd there are going to be two pieces to this response. But let me start off with the underlying element, and this is what's going on in the campaign. What he's, what Patrick is reflecting is something that I think should not be missed. And that is massive dissatisfaction with the current political discourse at a scale that people are willing to do things and overlook things that I think the traditional political consulting community has not seen. Right?

  • 10:51:06

    WINSTONAnd truth be told, we've seen this over the years, and this just didn't emerge. You know, again, I go back to one of the more bizarre decisions, in terms of this campaign, let's see, Jeb Bush is trailing Donald Trump and he decides to dump 30 million dollars in negative advertising on Rubio. That is exactly the sort of thing that this individual is complaining now. I disagree, in terms of I think Trump has laid out some things that I wish there was some more substance to. I'm sure Anna would probably be unsatisfied with some of the things, the way Sanders has laid out some things in terms.

  • 10:51:40

    WINSTONBut the bottom line is those two campaigns, for whatever it's worth, have in fact been able to lay out ideas and some policies, whether you agree or disagree with them, at a better scale than the traditional campaigns. And that's something that I will tell you that all the sort of political operatives need to work through. And that is how do you create the political discourse that, in fact, the public wants?

  • 10:52:01


  • 10:52:01

    WINSTONAnd needs to be able to make the decision who should be President.

  • 10:52:04

    REHMI would agree.

  • 10:52:05

    BALZI think David's absolutely right. I mean, what this campaign has revealed is that the depth of the dissatisfaction of a lot of people around the country, Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, that, you know, that in one way or another, they think the system is rigged, that they think that they are getting mostly pabulum or, you know, nonsense from traditional politicians. And therefore, the way Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have campaigned has been refreshing and it has tapped a vein and it is why they have done as well as they have done.

  • 10:52:35

    BALZAnd so, whatever the fall campaign looks like, in terms of the two nominees, whoever they are have to be attuned to the state of the country and figure out a way, first of all, to pull enough votes to be able to win the Presidency in that environment and to do it in a way that people believe they will actually try to do something and are able to do something about it.

  • 10:52:57

    REHMAnd you are listening to The Diane Rehm Show. And here's an email from Joanna in Lakona, New York. She says, I've been reading the issue segments of Bernie and Hillary's websites. Contrary to what your panelist stated, Bernie offered many more specifics about Wall Street regulation, climate change remediation, et cetera, than Hillary did. Please don't dismiss him as non-substantive. How do you see it, Anna?

  • 10:53:36

    GREENBERGI don't think anybody on this panel is dismissing Sanders as non-substantive. I think what we're suggesting is that one of Hillary Clinton's strengths is her substance, is her policy expertise, is her command of a vast array, whether it's domestic issues or foreign policy issues of, you know, the problem, the potential solutions, but I don't think anyone's suggesting Sanders is lacking substance. The Daily News transcript, if you read it, is more complicated than the coverage has been. The coverage has suggested that he didn't have any answers to anything.

  • 10:54:01

    GREENBERGThat wasn't really true if you actually read the whole transcript. So, I just would push back on the assumption that we're all dismissing Bernie Sanders. But, we cannot deny Hillary Clinton's strength. You just watch her at the Benghazi hearing, after 12 hours of questioning, and you don't come away with any doubt that she's incredibly smart and has a command of the issues and, you know, ideas about how to solve some of this country's problems.

  • 10:54:21

    REHMBut at the same time, don't you also come away with the notion that Bernie Sanders is very smart, he's had years and years in the Senate, he knows how to capture the imagination of his listeners. He puts forth ideas that people are cheering about.

  • 10:54:40

    GREENBERGAnd no one is denying that he's smart. But when you say, everyone's gonna have free college and say that we're going to get rid of Obamacare and raise middle class taxes to recreate some kind of healthcare system, it raises questions in peoples' minds about the seriousness or the ability to implement any of these quote, unquote solutions. So, no one is suggesting Bernie Sanders is not smart, but he has some self-inflicted wounds here. That I think, you know, have led to I think a sense that he's not as substantive as Hillary Clinton.

  • 10:55:05

    BALZThere's not a candidate who runs for President who doesn't have strengths and weaknesses. And we see that in Hillary Clinton's campaign and you see that in Bernie Sanders' campaign. The question is, you know, the voters are gonna weigh these things and they continue to weigh them state by state. And they're gonna ultimately make the decision on who they think is the stronger person or who can get the country to where they want it to be.

  • 10:55:27

    REHMAre Republicans going to be any happier with Cruz than they may be with Trump?

  • 10:55:37

    WINSTONI don't -- I'm not sure that that's kind of where the -- and again, this goes back to I'm not quite sure where the direction is, given Wisconsin. I think Cruz verses Trump, I think the answer to that would be -- obviously, Cruz won pretty decisively in Wisconsin, so at least at that moment in time, that was clearly the answer, but having said that, again, my sense is that the biggest problem, in terms of looking at Trump at this point, and the challenge to what Republicans are looking at is here is a person who is potentially going to get the nomination, whose got unfavorables of 65 percent.

  • 10:56:12

    WINSTONI would suggest a challenge to the Trump campaign, if they want to go into the July convention with a different view of their candidate, in terms of the broad Republican Party, is what can they do to lower that number? And if they can lower that number, they may find themselves in much better shape. If not, and they don't have 1237, they're just going to find it being very difficult. One of the things that has been surprising to me about this campaign is the fact that both parties are managing to nominate the least popular person for the general election.

  • 10:56:41

    WINSTONAnd that goes back to that caller's dissatisfaction with the political discourse. How did this happen? Because I'll tell you, that's going to be a very unhappy electorate by the time we get to November.

  • 10:56:48

    REHMDo you expect a contested convention?

  • 10:56:54

    WINSTONI want to -- if Trump is not over 50 percent in New York, then I think it's very likely.

  • 10:56:59

    REHMAnd you, Dan Balz?

  • 10:57:00

    BALZI would agree with that. I think, as a result of Wisconsin, it is more likely today than it was two days ago. Let us get through New York and then we'll have a really clear idea.

  • 10:57:10

    REHMDan Balz, Anna Greenberg, David Winston, what a story this is for everyone. Thank you all for being here.

  • 10:57:21

    WINSTONGlad to be here.

  • 10:57:21

    GREENBERGThank you.

  • 10:57:21

    BALZThank you.

  • 10:57:21

    REHMAnd thanks all for listening. I'm Diane Rehm.

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