Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, arrive to cast their ballots at a polling station during the New York State presidential primaries on April 19 in Chappaqua, New York.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, arrive to cast their ballots at a polling station during the New York State presidential primaries on April 19 in Chappaqua, New York.

New York primary voters handed GOP front-runner Donald Trump a big victory yesterday, and a major boost to Democrat Hillary Clinton. Both candidates had suffered setbacks in recent state nominating contests, but the results from New York put them squarely back on track. The campaigns now turn to the five races in Eastern states next Tuesday. Trump supporters believe he will pick up the delegates needed for the nomination before the convention. Hillary Clinton said her race was in the ‘home stretch’, but as their rivals clearly maintain, it’s not over: Join us to discuss where the races go from here and the ongoing scramble for delegates.

Guests

  • Doyle McManus Washington columnist, The Los Angeles Times.
  • Amy Walter National editor, Cook Political Report
  • Janet Hook Political reporter, The Wall Street Journal

Transcript

  • 10:06:53

    MS. DIANE REHMThanks for joining us. I'm Diane Rehm. In typical presidential nomination contests, the end of April is the time for parties to rally around their presumptive nominees and begin thinking about running mates. But not this time. Yesterday, voters in New York handed key victories to the frontrunners, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, but it's not over.

  • 10:07:21

    MS. DIANE REHMJoining me to talk about what happens from here, Doyle McManus of The Los Angeles Times, Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Janet Hook of The Wall Street Journal. I know you'll want to join the conversation. Give us a call at 800-433-8850. Send your email to drshow@wamu.org. Follow us on Facebook or you can send us a tweet. And welcome to all of you.

  • 10:07:54

    MR. DOYLE MCMANUSGood morning, Diane.

  • 10:07:55

    MS. JANET HOOKHi, Diane.

  • 10:07:56

    MS. AMY WALTERHi, Diane.

  • 10:07:56

    REHMGood to see you all. Donald Trump's victory was decisive last night, Doyle McManus. So how much closer did he get to the number of delegates he needs to win?

  • 10:08:13

    MCMANUSWell, it was, in Donald Trump's language, a huge victory. There's just no way around using that cliche. He picked up not all of the delegates in New York. He did pick up -- let's see, I've got my numbers here somewhere. He picked up something like 88 delegates. He could end up picking up 92 delegates. John Kasich picked up only three. Ted Cruz got none. That changes the momentum of the race, I think.

  • 10:08:46

    MCMANUSDoes it put -- of course, it puts Donald Trump significantly closer to 1237, which is the number he needs to secure a first round victory at the Republican convention. But there are still so many twists and turns on the way that I think the real point here is that the question of the New York primary was had Donald Trump lost momentum coming out of Wisconsin. Was Ted Cruz going to do better than expected in New York?

  • 10:09:18

    MCMANUSAnd the answer turned out to be a big-time no. Trump had a good week and he's probably going to have another good week.

  • 10:09:26

    REHMSo Amy Walter, what does this mean for Ted Cruz?

  • 10:09:31

    WALTERWell, Ted Cruz now has to endure a very difficult next week because we go from New York to the rest of the northeastern states. We have, coming up, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Rhode Island. These are all states that should benefit Donald Trump. These are states that look a lot like New York and states, obviously, that come -- sit next to New York. So for Ted Cruz, he's going to have to continue to make the case that while he may be losing in these states, he can still win in some of the later states as we get into May and June, and can stop Donald Trump.

  • 10:10:11

    WALTERThis is really all this is about. He's very close to being knocked out in terms of an ability to win a majority of delegates before we get to the convention. It's still all about stopping Trump from hitting the majority.

  • 10:10:24

    REHMSo Janet Hook, really, I mean, how discouraging is this for Ted Cruz? He's got a slim chance here, doesn't he?

  • 10:10:37

    HOOKWell, Ted Cruz's situation right now is he basically can't win the majority of delegates before the convention, but he's been working on a strategy to build up support that he could win in a contested convention. So his whole game right now is not to get the 1237, the number of delegates, but to keep Donald Trump from getting there. That is still possible.

  • 10:11:01

    HOOKAnd how discouraging is New York? Well, I think he wasn't expecting to get much. I kind of wonder whether he expected to get zero delegates as he did. But, you know, he kept saying, look, New York is Donald Trump's home state. He's got to win it. I won my home state. Kasich won his home state. But it means for a different game going forward.

  • 10:11:23

    REHMSo what about Kasich? He actually came in second. So what does this mean for him, Janet?

  • 10:11:30

    HOOKWell, which gave him maybe three delegates, which is the only three delegates he's gotten outside of his home state of Ohio. He's still basically playing the role of spoiler, playing the role of the only way that he could win would be in a contested convention. And it's even a long shot there. He does have the good fortune of having the states that are voting next week are also kind of more Kasich friendly than Cruz friendly so he may well come in second again in a couple other states.

  • 10:11:58

    HOOKBut his delegate count is so far down that it's just not a realistic candidacy at this point.

  • 10:12:04

    REHMHowever, he keeps saying he is the only candidate who could beat Hillary Clinton, Amy.

  • 10:12:11

    WALTERAnd on this point, he's not incorrect. If you look at the general election polling, Donald Trump losing by big numbers to Hillary Clinton. Ted Cruz slightly behind with negatives equal to Hillary Clinton and yet, the two people who could win, Ted -- I'm sorry, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, are also the two candidates that the general base doesn't like. Look, I went back and I looked at this point or a little bit around this point in 2012, about 40 percent of Republican voters who were voting in that year's primary said, you know what, beating Barack Obama is our number one priority.

  • 10:12:53

    WALTERAnd today, Republican voters believe electability as the most important -- it's like the fourth most important issue to them. They want to see a candidate who is going to shake up the system, who's going to tell it like it is. And there's only one candidate who fits that description and that's Donald Trump. Ted Cruz is trying to win on the values argument, which he does quite well, and he continues to run strong on that issue.

  • 10:13:18

    WALTERBut, again, that isn't as big of a concern or priority or Republican primary voters as shaking up the system. And this is the problem for John Kasich. To me, he's the guy -- he keeps saying, well, I'm the candidate that can win. I'm the guy who's going to give you what you need, right? It's like you're going into a restaurant, you ordered the steak and the waiter keeps coming back with chicken. And you keep saying, but we want the steak.

  • 10:13:40

    WALTERAnd he says, no, but you need to eat the chicken. Well, nobody wants the chicken.

  • 10:13:45

    REHMOh, Doyle.

  • 10:13:45

    MCMANUSAnd in that sense, you know, the list of candidates we're looking at now in this Republican primary, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich is not the list any of us would have predicted a year ago for the final round. But in a strange way, it mirrors quite accurately the fundamental divides in the Republican electorate. Donald Trump has a plurality. He's not a majority of the Republican primary electorates so he's in the 40 to 45 percent zone.

  • 10:14:12

    MCMANUSAs Amy accurately described, those are, you know, mad as hell, predominantly but not entirely blue collar...

  • 10:14:19

    REHMNot gonna take it anymore.

  • 10:14:20

    MCMANUS...not gonna take it anymore and not particularly socially conservative voters either. They're not at all troubled by the fact that Donald Trump has New York values. Certainly in the northeast, New York values is not a epithet. But then, you've got that also very large 35 to 40 percent -- I'm using seat-of-the-pants numbers here that should be disregarded -- for Ted Cruz. Those are churchgoers. Those are social conservatives.

  • 10:14:45

    MCMANUSAnd then, finally, you have the very small remaining remnant of -- call them establishment Republicans, call them moderate Republicans, call them old-style economic Republicans who are looking for somebody else. John Kasich happens to be the name that's left over. And to me, what's so fascinating underneath this is a very, very deep divide. These are not tactical questions over which candidate do we think is going to be better against Hillary Clinton.

  • 10:15:13

    MCMANUSThese are very fundamental differences of values and priorities and policies that this party is going to take a long time to fix.

  • 10:15:22

    REHMAnd Donald Trump's speech last night, what did you make of that, Janet? He seemed a little more restrained. Was that his attempt at being presidential? How did you read it?

  • 10:15:39

    HOOKThis was a whole new Donald Trump.

  • 10:15:40

    REHMYeah.

  • 10:15:40

    HOOKYou know, you'd hardly recognize him. I mean, he was very like almost dignified. There was not name-calling. The real tell was he didn't call Ted Cruz, Lyin' Ted. That's what he always calls him, Lyin' Ted Cruz. Instead, he called him Senator Cruz. And so I think he may see, okay, the end's in sight. And he's actually said outright on the campaign trail, he said, you know, my wife and daughter tell me I should be more presidential and I say, but I've got other candidates to knock out of the race.

  • 10:16:11

    HOOKSo if he thinks he's on his way to the nomination, he may not be quite so rambunctious. And...

  • 10:16:18

    REHMWhat do you think, Amy?

  • 10:16:19

    WALTERYou know, that may very well be the case. Two things. One, Donald Trump and discipline do not go together very well. Okay. They're not a match made in heaven and he's disciplined today and I don't trust that it will be the case tomorrow. But the more important issue is that he's already said and done all of these things. They don't go away. Remember, in 2012, there was all that controversy in the Romney campaign about the Etch-a-Sketch comment.

  • 10:16:42

    WALTEROh, we're just gonna start from scratch. No, you don't. You don't just get to say, well, I said all these things in the primary and it doesn't matter.

  • 10:16:47

    REHMIt doesn't matter, yeah.

  • 10:16:49

    WALTERThose are going to be the centerpiece of the attacks against Donald Trump from June through November, about Mexicans, about disabled reporter, about Muslims. Every comment he's ever made about anybody that's derogatory, all the bullying, all that stuff is going to be part of who he is. And even -- and to Doyle's point, even among Republicans, when he looked at the last ABC/Washington Post poll, you have Donald Trump and Ted Cruz both doing decently in terms of their overall approval ratings among members of their party, but there is a core, about 25 percent of Republicans, who view either Trump or Cruz very unfavorably.

  • 10:17:34

    WALTERSo that's a quarter of the Republican electorate who, right now, is saying, ugh.

  • 10:17:39

    REHMAmy Walter, Janet Hook, Doyle McManus, they're all here to take your questions, comments. We'll take a short break here. 800-433-8850, give us a call.

  • 10:20:01

    REHMAnd of course we're talking about, what else, the New York primaries. We've talked thus far about the Republicans and Donald Trump's big win. What about Hillary Clinton and her win? What do you think, Janet?

  • 10:20:21

    HOOKThat was another really big, essential win and a big turning point, probably an even more -- a bigger turning point for the Democrats than it was in the Republican race.

  • 10:20:31

    REHMWhy?

  • 10:20:32

    HOOKWell, because for the Republicans, mathematically it's still possible, even though very difficult, for Ted Cruz to block Donald Trump from getting to the nomination. It just, it's really, really hard now to see mathematically just how Bernie Sanders could possibly stop Hillary Clinton. And there's definitely a sense that in the course of the New York primary, there was a bad turn in the tone of their race, and a lot of Democrats are worried that the really harsh, negative personal tone that crept into their debate and the campaigning against each other, that it's not just Bernie staying in the race to make a point. They're worried that he's doing damage.

  • 10:21:17

    REHMDo you agree with that, Amy?

  • 10:21:18

    WALTERWell, our good friend Dan Balz had a great piece in the Washington Post this morning about that very issue, and you look at Hillary Clinton's image among voters, and there's definitely been -- it's taken a toll on her both among Democrats, as well as the broader electorate. Especially her image among white voters is very, very weak. It's at a lower place. Her favorability rating among white voters is lower than it is -- than Obama's ever been.

  • 10:21:47

    WALTERAnd again, this is a candidate who needs to put together the Obama coalition, but the take on her has always been, well, even if she doesn't do as well with young voters, African-Americans, she can still win because she can win over those white voters that might now have gone for Obama. Well, now that argument is difficult -- more difficult for her to make.

  • 10:22:10

    WALTERLook, I think the challenge now for Hillary Clinton going forward is both to try to embrace the Bernie Sanders crew and have him embrace her. Every year we get to this point, or every four years we get to this point, in a campaign where we say has the primary done too much damage, or has it been good for the person. Has it made them stronger, better, faster? And we said after 2008, boy, that primary was actually good for democrats.

  • 10:22:38

    WALTERBut it was good for Democrats because Hillary Clinton at the end came out and embraced Barack Obama. She needs Bernie Sanders when this is all over to come in and embrace her and stump for her.

  • 10:22:51

    MCMANUSAnd that takes us to the question of what does Bernie Sanders do now. Bernie Sanders and his managers know that the mathematical possibility of his winning a majority, even of the pledged delegates, remember the debate had been the pledged delegates and then the super-delegates. Even among the pledged delegates, his chance has shrunk to nearly zero. His manager Jeff Weaver last night was saying, well, we will turn the super-delegates, which of course is a reversal of position. Suddenly the super-delegates are going to save the Democratic Party.

  • 10:23:20

    MCMANUSThe question here is -- to me the central mystery of Bernie Sanders' campaign is it's always been about two things. One was maybe winning the presidential election, or the nomination, but that was always the long shot. And then the other not-at-all-hidden agenda was to build a movement in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders has always said that he in the end will support the Democratic nominee, presumably now Hillary Clinton. He will support any Democrat against any of the foreseeable Republicans, but he has to now balance the question of how he continues to build his movement, he wants to stay in through June 7, he wants to have as many delegates as he can, to build his movement.

  • 10:24:05

    MCMANUSCan he -- can he make a pivot to support Hillary Clinton while continuing to criticize her as an exemplar of a corrupt finance system?

  • 10:24:14

    REHMOkay, but he has accomplished, it seems to me, a great deal by moving Hillary on issues farther than she even imagined she was prepared to go. So hasn't he accomplished already a great deal, Janet?

  • 10:24:36

    HOOKOh certainly, certainly, and he accomplished all of that at a -- in the first part of the campaign where he wasn't also attacking her quite so personally and viciously.

  • 10:24:46

    REHMRight.

  • 10:24:48

    HOOKAnd I think that's -- that's the question, is having accomplished that much, and it is quite a lot, is it now time to kind of lay down the sword? And, you know, the interesting thing when Amy was talking about Hillary's approval rating, the disapproval went so high in the latest Wall Street Journal poll, it's not just higher than Barack Obama's disapproval rating, she was -- 56 percent of voters viewed her negatively. That is, like, the highest of any major party nominee since we've been measuring these things except for Donald Trump.

  • 10:25:22

    REHMAnd his unfavorables?

  • 10:25:23

    HOOKAnd his unfavorability is 65 percent.

  • 10:25:26

    REHMI see.

  • 10:25:27

    HOOKOkay, now, and this is in all voters, not just within their party. Their approval ratings is higher in their party. But the fact is that we're looking at a possible general election campaign between two of the most unpopular nominees in modern history.

  • 10:25:40

    REHMBut, you know, there's something else. I mean, you had polls saying it was going to be close for Hillary and Bernie in New York. It wasn't close at all.

  • 10:25:54

    MCMANUSNo, it wasn't close, and that may actually -- you know, we always love to debate do campaigns matter. Does the skill of a campaign, do the tactics of a campaign matter?

  • 10:26:02

    REHMDo polls matter?

  • 10:26:04

    MCMANUSWell, we know that polls matter or that polls count, but do -- does what the candidates actually do in the last two weeks matter? This may actually turn out to be a textbook case of that because in the last two weeks, Hillary Clinton campaigned as a New Yorker. She was running for Senate again. She was reminding New Yorkers of everything she had ever done for them, and Bernie Sanders went to the Vatican to meet the pope, which I think will actually be remembered as a bad idea.

  • 10:26:29

    WALTERThough the polls did, Diane, have Hillary Clinton with a double-digit lead. It was a question, is it 10, is it 12, is it 15, maybe it will be eight. So to come out, you know, winning with a big, what was it -- at the end of the day she won with 58 percent, right. So, you know, look. I think it actually showed that she is in the hunt. The bigger issue in my mind is I just don't know that we've been at a point in a campaign where we're looking at the person who mathematically is pretty much locked up to be the nominee, who is not getting stronger as we get closer to the election, that Bernie Sanders has gone from down by, like, 1,000 points, or I mean, he was like 50 points behind when we started this thing.

  • 10:27:11

    WALTERNow in the most recent NBC poll, national Democrats, he's basically tied with Hillary Clinton. And her numbers, as we discussed, not getting stronger. In fact she's getting weaker. And so she comes in to June post-primary process looking -- instead of looking stronger and more able than ever to unite the party and to go against the Republican nominee, she looks a whole lot weaker.

  • 10:27:37

    REHMAll right, here's an email from Dave. He says, one of your guests indicated the delegates John Kasich received yesterday were the only delegates he received outside of his home state of Ohio. I'm confused. According to CNN, he has 148 delegates, far more than the addition of Ohio's delegates and the ones from New York. So how many delegates does Kasich have? Do we know?

  • 10:28:17

    HOOKI may have misspoke because he has won delegates outside of Ohio. Ohio is the only state that he came in first. So that was my mistake.

  • 10:28:27

    REHMAll right, okay, and let's open the phones. There is a caller here, and I want to see what this is all about. It's Ruth in Traverse City, Michigan. You're on the air.

  • 10:28:45

    RUTHGood morning, Diane.

  • 10:28:46

    REHMHi.

  • 10:28:47

    RUTHOn NPR's "Morning Edition" today, they interviewed a man by the name of Carl Paladino, who was explaining Trump's popularity, and he said voters don't care who the exterminator is, they just want to get the raccoon out. I felt it was the most racist thing I'd heard for a long time. And I feel that the Trump campaign is dragging our country back at least 50 years. I'm so sad about it.

  • 10:29:20

    REHMI heard exactly that same interview, and he did speak in the most disparaging terms possible about President Barack Obama. So I understand your sadness and your revulsion at that comment. Thanks for calling. Let's go to James in San Antonio, Texas, you're on the air.

  • 10:29:52

    JAMESGood morning.

  • 10:29:53

    REHMHi.

  • 10:29:54

    JAMESHow are you doing? And tell your panel I said good morning, also.

  • 10:29:58

    REHMAll right, they can hear you. Go right ahead, sir.

  • 10:30:00

    JAMESOkay. Diane, I'm 69 years old, first time I ever voted, and I voted for Donald Trump this year. Now my problem is, this electoral votes and all this -- can I say crap on the air? I guess....

  • 10:30:14

    REHMI wish you wouldn't, but go ahead, you've already said it.

  • 10:30:19

    JAMESYeah, we need a change here. Hillary Clinton scares me. I'm from Texas, and Cruz scares me. Now we need a change in this government, and this in the first time I ever voted in my life because I've watched -- I'm a two-time veteran of Vietnam. I served two tours there. I spent 10 years in the military. And I think we need a big change. Now if Mr. Trump, he doesn't do good, impeach him. But I feel like now I'm hearing all this electoral stuff, my vote doesn't count, and then people -- for years, this country's been saying get out and vote, get out and vote. Well, what good is my vote if...

  • 10:31:01

    REHMWell, I'm glad you voted, and you voted in the way that meant the most to you. You'd like to see a big change. He's not alone, Amy.

  • 10:31:12

    WALTERNo, he's not. I think this is actually a -- he summed up perfectly, I think, a couple of challenges for the Republican Party. One is the Ted Cruz challenge, which is to say, well, even if I don't get the majority of delegates, if Trump doesn't get them either, we can go fight this out on the floor of the convention with these pledged delegates, and I, Ted Cruz, have been doing a better job of organizing and getting my slates filled with people that will support me.

  • 10:31:42

    WALTERBut as the caller pointed out, that sure feels underhanded. It's the rules, it's legal, but it just doesn't feel right. And for somebody who says I've never voted before, I'm finally inspired to come out to vote, and now you're telling me that I did all of this, and it doesn't matter, and that is how a lot of voters have been feeling. What he is saying is what I hear constantly from voters, a sense that even if they have voted year after year, they say we voted for change, nothing happened. We voted for this to happen, it hasn't happened.

  • 10:32:10

    WALTERYes, it's a risk in putting Donald Trump in office. He's never done this before. He says things that are outrageous. But you know what? Maybe that's what we need to do. Maybe that's the only way things are going to change.

  • 10:32:22

    REHMDoyle.

  • 10:32:22

    MCMANUSAnd that's also why between now and that convention in July, and certainly between now and the California primary on June 7, every single delegates is going to matter. It's going to be crucial how many delegates Donald Trump arrives in Cleveland with.

  • 10:32:38

    REHMOf course.

  • 10:32:39

    MCMANUSIf he's short of 1,237, and most people are betting he will be short of 1,237, it's going to be critical whether he's 50 delegates short or 100 delegates short.

  • 10:32:49

    REHMWhy?

  • 10:32:50

    MCMANUSBecause he is already making a moral claim. What Amy was referring to really is say, okay, the rules say if I'm at 1,236, I don't have a majority, that's true, but I have a moral claim to this nomination. I am the clear winner of a plurality, I have won millions more voters. He is explicitly making that claim. Now there are a bunch of different ways to make up the gap there, I'm not talking about that, but Republican leaders in the Republican establishment are already talking about the dilemma they will face if, hypothetically, Donald Trump is 40 or 50 or 60 delegates short. At that point, they actually think, some of them, that they will have to bow to the voters and let them have their Trump.

  • 10:33:40

    REHMAnd you're listening to the Diane Rehm Show. Janet?

  • 10:33:46

    HOOKYes, and this -- this is the worst possible political climate for party leaders to be saying to voters, hey, the rules are the rules. This is the game. Donald Trump's big mistake is he doesn't get the rules. And they say, well, maybe the rules are wrong. I mean, it's -- they're really going to be in a very awkward position if he comes in with almost enough delegates. It's just hard to see how they take it away from him at that point.

  • 10:34:11

    REHMAll right, let's go to East Lansing, Michigan, Dave, you're on the air.

  • 10:34:18

    DAVEHi Diane, love the show.

  • 10:34:18

    REHMThanks.

  • 10:34:19

    DAVEI'm part of the 25 percent of the Republican Party that's absolutely horrified. I believe that we're going to see a big disaffection from the party if Donald Trump is the nominee. And another thing that is interesting to observe is the potential for a disaffection from the Democratic Party with the social democratic movement in our country, especially among the millennials. I'm wondering if our guests could comment on that.

  • 10:34:49

    WALTERThat's an -- it's an excellent question, and we've only now started really digging into this question, and I think it's going to become much more important as we move into the fall. And right now it does look as if Democrats are more willing to rally around Hillary Clinton than Republicans are to rally around Trump. Now I think, again, as we move through the process it's going to be very important that two things happen, Bernie Sanders endorses Hillary Clinton, tells the community to rally around her.

  • 10:35:21

    WALTERAnd what happens with those establishment Republicans and the disaffected Evangelicals? Remember the challenge for Donald Trump isn't just that the party establishment doesn't like him. It's that real, conservative Republicans, Evangelical Republicans, traditional, conservative Republicans say he's destroying our brand, he's going to define the Republican Party. And so it's not just bringing over one type of Republican voter, it's bringing in, you know, two ends of the spectrum.

  • 10:35:53

    REHMOkay, so what happens if you've got disaffected Democrats, you've got disaffected Republicans? What happens if you get a whole lot of folks who simply stay home, Janet?

  • 10:36:09

    HOOKWell, on that front the best thing that Hillary Clinton has going for her is Donald Trump and vice versa. I think the one thing that will motivate voters, even if they're not crazy about their party's nominee, is the really intense dislike they have of the other party's nominee. In fact our poll had this amazing statistic that when asked why they would vote for Trump or Clinton, Trump voters, 56 percent of Trump voters, said they'd be voting for him more because they didn't want Hillary Clinton to be president, and the exact same percentage of Clinton voters said that. Fifty-six percent of Clinton voters said they would vote for her because they didn't want Donald Trump.

  • 10:36:48

    WALTERRemember how there's always that discussion we get into at this point in a campaign about who do you want to have a beer with, who's the candidate that wins the drink-a-beer-with contest. Now I think it's a question of who would you like to throw a beer in their face, right.

  • 10:37:05

    REHMOh, Amy.

  • 10:37:05

    WALTERIt's not who you want to drink one with, it's who you want to throw -- but that's what voters are left with. Janet's exactly right. We have not ever seen two candidates this unpopular face off against each other.

  • 10:37:16

    REHMAll right, and on that beer-throwing note, we'll take a short break. When we come back, more of your calls, your email. I hope you'll stay with us.

  • 10:40:01

    REHMWelcome back. As we talk about the outcome of yesterday's New York primary, here's an email from Mike in Oakridge, Tennessee, who says Bernie Sanders held rallies attended by tens of thousands. Yet lost the New York primary pretty spectacularly. My 20 something son is a supporter of his and is very upset that so many of his cohort fervently support them. And on Facebook, but failed even to register to vote.

  • 10:40:47

    WALTERThat's an excellent point. Two things. One, New York is a very difficult place to vote if you are not registered with the party. We learned that lesson, actually, Donald Trump learned that lesson that his own daughter couldn't vote for him because she didn't change her registration in the fall from independent to Republican. So I'm sure there were a lot of people who showed up at those rallies who didn't know that.

  • 10:41:07

    REHMVery frustrated.

  • 10:41:07

    WALTERVery frustrated. They're independent. Maybe they don't live in the state. You can't just show up and register like you can in many other states. But I was also struck -- there was an article in the Washington Post a couple of days ago that goes exactly to the Facebook point. That someone who is working, not officially with the Sanders campaign, but is trying to convince super delegates that they should support Bernie Sanders. He's spending all his time trying to influence them.

  • 10:41:34

    WALTERTurns out he didn't vote in his own state's primary, in Illinois. Which, by the way, Hillary Clinton barely, barely won. So, I do think there is something to this turnout -- has been, if we look at the total percent of turnout, even on the Republican side, where we keep hearing about these record numbers, it's only about 17 to 20 percent of eligible voters are turning out to vote. It's lower than that on the Democratic side.

  • 10:42:00

    REHMAnd here's a comment from Bill in Connecticut. He says, the conversation has ignored independent voters who in many states are not allowed to vote in primaries. In Connecticut, there are more voters registered as independents than either Democrats or Republicans. Perhaps due to the polarization -- a poll of independents might well show a high proportion favoring John Kasich's moderate positions. Doyle.

  • 10:42:40

    MCMANUSIt might well, but it would also, I think, one can predict, or we can -- based on the history of past primaries, a poll based on independents who lean Republican, who would choose to vote in the Republican primary would actually be won by Donald Trump. Donald Trump has done spectacularly well in the states where they have an open primary where independents can vote. But this actually goes to a, you know, a basic question. Open primary, closed primary, Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side last night was making the point that you're disenfranchising millions of independents if you don't let them vote in the primaries.

  • 10:43:16

    MCMANUSAnd as an abstract argument, that makes some sense, but the history of these primaries is that this is supposed to be the members of the party exercising their choice over their party's nominee. And if you don't care enough about the party to become a member, maybe you shouldn't be able to vote in the primary.

  • 10:43:34

    REHMHow much before an election can you change your status?

  • 10:43:41

    MCMANUSVery state by state. In New York, it takes what?

  • 10:43:44

    WALTERSix months.

  • 10:43:44

    MCMANUSThree or four months at the -- whoa, six months. And months, there are some states -- New Hampshire is one where either independents can vote or you can arrive that day.

  • 10:43:54

    REHMExactly.

  • 10:43:55

    MCMANUSAnd say, today, I have decided to be a Democrat.

  • 10:43:55

    REHMRight. Okay, let's go to Don in St. Petersburg, Florida. You're on the air.

  • 10:44:03

    DONHi, I was wondering, from an insider's view of covering this, is there any chance at all that Hillary tries to unite the party before this goes any further? And grab that base of Sanders that seems so active and energetic by offering him the V.P. role in her campaign?

  • 10:44:27

    REHMJanet Hook, how much chance of that is there?

  • 10:44:30

    HOOKI suppose there's always a chance. I would say he might not be the best choice for her, just because he is in his late 70s and she's...

  • 10:44:40

    REHMMid-70s.

  • 10:44:40

    HOOK...mid-70s. Excuse me.

  • 10:44:42

    REHMMid-70s.

  • 10:44:43

    HOOK76, right? Anyway, and you know, it is important to appeal to younger voters and that would make for a pretty old ticket. And I do think that what Amy's been saying is really true. The best thing that Bernie Sanders could do to unite the party would be to endorse her and embrace her the way Hillary did.

  • 10:45:03

    REHMHow soon?

  • 10:45:04

    HOOKOh, pretty soon. Pretty soon.

  • 10:45:06

    REHMReally?

  • 10:45:07

    HOOKWell, it was after the -- I mean, you know, she didn't -- it was after her concession speech in June, and then they had their little get together. And wasn't it like a week later, they got together in New Hampshire?

  • 10:45:16

    WALTERRight. Right.

  • 10:45:17

    HOOKAnd did that unity thing?

  • 10:45:17

    WALTERRight, now, and it is clear that Bernie Sanders is not about to concede.

  • 10:45:20

    HOOKNo.

  • 10:45:20

    REHMRight.

  • 10:45:20

    WALTERSo, he's got some more weeks of campaigning ahead of him.

  • 10:45:25

    REHMCould he catch up?

  • 10:45:29

    MCMANUSYou know, I -- you'd have to run the numbers. I think there -- I don't think he has been mathematically eliminated.

  • 10:45:34

    WALTERNo, he's not.

  • 10:45:34

    MCMANUSBut he has been practically eliminated.

  • 10:45:36

    WALTERYeah.

  • 10:45:36

    MCMANUSCould he catch up? Yes, if lightning struck.

  • 10:45:38

    WALTERHe would need to win all the pledge delegates, okay? 59 percent of all the delegates going forward, which again, if we see what happened in New York, and we have Connecticut, Pennsylvania, where she's up, right now, in the polls, 20 points in Pennsylvania and Maryland. She's up 20 points. So that seems unlikely he gets 59 percent of those states. If you add how well she's doing with super delegates, and assume that he will also continue to lag there, then he needs to win 71 percent of all the pledged and super delegates going forward.

  • 10:46:10

    REHMAll right, so how soon might he -- should he concede?

  • 10:46:20

    MCMANUSWell, remember again that Bernie Sanders is doing two things here. He's running for President.

  • 10:46:23

    REHMRight.

  • 10:46:23

    MCMANUSAnd he's building a movement.

  • 10:46:24

    REHMOkay.

  • 10:46:24

    MCMANUSHe wants to mobilize voters. He wants to collect names.

  • 10:46:28

    REHMBut if the movement is not growing...

  • 10:46:32

    MCMANUSBut, but in fact, in many cases in the polling in California where people are only now waking up to the fact that we're in an election year, because Californians don't pay attention until late in the year. Bernie Sanders' strength may be growing. He actually has another reason to want to build the support, to collect the names, to collect the money. I would be astonished -- he has often said he -- and more strongly more recently, he will stay in through the California primary on June 7. And in fact, this week he even said and he plans to go to the convention floor. I will be amazed if he does anything before mid-June.

  • 10:47:09

    HOOKAlthough, and his campaign seems to be sending mixed signals, too. He has said that -- his campaign manager said last night he's going all the way through. And yet, the other day, in an interview with the AP, Tad Devine, who is his longtime advisor said, well, we're going to reassess after next week's primaries in the northeast. So, that, to me, suggests that there are some internal tension as well about the direction the campaign's taking. But, you know what, he doesn't need to drop out now. He can keep going through June. The question is, to me, isn't does he stay in? It's what does he do when it's all over?

  • 10:47:44

    REHMAll right, let's go now to Nathan in Bradenville, Florida. You're on the air.

  • 10:47:51

    NATHANHi Diane. Thanks for taking my call.

  • 10:47:53

    REHMSure.

  • 10:47:54

    NATHANIt's actually Bradenton, Florida, but that's okay.

  • 10:47:57

    REHMI'm sorry. Forgive me.

  • 10:47:58

    NATHANThat's all right. The -- I probably stammered when I read it. My thing that I want to bring up here is about electability and unfavorability. Trump's unfavorability ratings, as has been mentioned already, are some of the highest in history. The highest in history, I think, your guest said.

  • 10:48:14

    HOOKYep.

  • 10:48:14

    NATHANAnd I think that he has basically destroyed the Republican Party. He's strapped dynamite to it. And they're going to lose the White House as a result. Whether he wins the convention and simply loses in November or whether he does a spiteful third party run, and splits the ticket, either way, I think the Republicans have lost the White House this time. So, that makes the Democratic Party the Presidential election. I believe the Democrats have the ability to pick a President this year.

  • 10:48:43

    NATHANAnd so, it's kind of bothers me hearing unelectability arguments, or Sanders should drop out arguments from Clinton supporters. I understand they want their candidate to win, but I feel like this is pretty much the Presidential election. Because the Republicans are going to lose. And one more quick thing to your caller earlier, your guests earlier, I feel like Sanders offers a great deal of youth support to a Clinton ticket and if he does lose the nomination, I am hoping to offer him a V.P. slot and I'm hoping he would accept it.

  • 10:49:18

    REHMJanet Hook.

  • 10:49:20

    HOOKWell, the caller had a lot to say there.

  • 10:49:22

    REHMHe sure did.

  • 10:49:22

    HOOKYou know, there's actually -- there are a lot of Republicans who worry exactly about what Nathan's observing, which is that Donald Trump may win the nomination and destroy the Party. There is this -- I mean, some Republicans you talk to, it's kind of like, well, we'll lose with Trump, we'll lose with Cruz, how do we want to lose? And there is a concern that Trump has -- kind of steers the party in the wrong direction from the point of view of people who just want it to remain a kind of conventionally conservative party.

  • 10:49:58

    HOOKNow, in terms of thinking about electability, I think in many ways, that's the hardest thing for any voter to wrap their mind around. Because at this point, to say Donald Trump is going to lose, you know, I would say that's kind of how it looks right now. But really, this whole election cycle has been so unpredictable, I'm a thoroughly humbled political reporter and I just cannot say for sure. So, if I were a Democrat trying to figure out who's more electable, I don't know where I'd go with that one.

  • 10:50:25

    REHMAll right, here's an email from John who wants me to correct the record. He said, he just heard the same interview with Mr. Paladino that was referred to earlier. He just listened to it again. He said, with reference to the elites, not Mr. Obama. Quote, you just want to get the raccoons, plural, out of the basement. So, I'm correcting that record. Except who is he referring to when he talks about raccoons?

  • 10:51:11

    MCMANUSI think two good rules of politics are don't use analogies to Hitler or Nazi Germany. Don't use analogies to exterminators and vermin. No matter who you're talking about.

  • 10:51:23

    REHMI think that's a good rule. Now, let's go to Brian in Greensboro, North Carolina. You're on the air.

  • 10:51:35

    BRIANHello, Diane.

  • 10:51:37

    REHMHi.

  • 10:51:37

    BRIANLove the show.

  • 10:51:38

    REHMThank you.

  • 10:51:38

    BRIANI just wanted to say, as an independent 27-year-old, even if Bernie Sanders would back up Hillary Clinton, it would be hard for me to support her, just given what I know. I'm on social media pretty regularly, and just seeing all the points where she contradicts herself makes it really hard to believe anywhere she stands on any issue, especially the TPP.

  • 10:51:59

    REHMTPP.

  • 10:51:59

    MCMANUSThat is, in fact, the TPP, of course, is a big trade deal with Asia, the Trans-Pacific Partnership that President Obama has negotiated, but still hasn't gotten through Congress and may not. Hillary Clinton was initially for it, and now she's against it. But the caller puts his finger on what I think is Hillary Clinton's greatest challenge. If she wins this nomination, what she needs to do to win the Presidency is to reassemble the Obama coalition, which included progressive Democrats, minorities, and young people. A record turnout of young people in 2008 helped Barack Obama win.

  • 10:52:41

    MCMANUSHillary Clinton will do fine among, you know, middle-aged and older -- she's doing splendidly among older Democrats. She is doing splendidly among African-American and Latino voters, but boy, does she have a problem with the demographic under 35.

  • 10:52:57

    REHMAnd you're listening to The Diane Rehm Show. And let's go to Tacoma Park, Maryland. A suburb of Washington. You're on the air, Herb.

  • 10:53:14

    HERBHi, I just wanted to thank you for the very thoughtful conversation, the best I've heard in a long time on this. And most importantly, the 2016 campaign is that the -- how -- it's exposed how grossly undemocratic, unfair and unrepresentative America's politics and electoral processes really are. Due to such complete domination by the two parties, their exclusive rules and voting restrictions and the -- they're owned, basically, by the wealthiest donors, the so-called one percent, Wall Street corporations and so on. And the media's failure to adequately cover and report on those things.

  • 10:53:56

    HERBAnd the problems and what to do about it. And so 2016 is helping to move that forward, and I will give Bernie Sanders most credit for doing that.

  • 10:54:05

    REHMInteresting.

  • 10:54:05

    HERBAnd last thing, we have no chance of fixing these systemic problems until we amend the Constitution to reverse Citizens United and fully empower governments to regulate and break big money's stranglehold.

  • 10:54:17

    REHMWhat do you think, Janet?

  • 10:54:19

    HOOKWell, I got to say, this Presidential campaign really has been a big Civics lesson for all of us. I mean, I've covered politics for a long time and I'm learning stuff about how the parties work that I didn't know. And part of it is, most of the nomination fights that I've covered have been, you know, so tilted one way or the other. They just haven't been this close and competitive. And the fact that every single state, every single, you know, the party on both sides of every single state has different rules and some of them are more restrictive and some give the Party more control and some less. I mean, it really is a crazy patchwork.

  • 10:54:56

    REHMAnd here's our last question from David in St. Louis. Given the volubility of this election, does the panel think the rules could be changed after this election, seeing as though so many people feel disenfranchised?

  • 10:55:17

    MCMANUSTo tie the two questions together, I think one of the impressive surprises of this campaign is look, for years, those of us in Washington said, campaign finance reform is an important issue to be sure. But voters just don't care about it. It's too wonky, it's too arcane. That's not true this year. Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, remember, on the Republican side, have made the dominance of big money interests, you can laugh at it in the case of Donald Trump, but it's there. It's part of his appeal.

  • 10:55:45

    MCMANUSThe dominance of big money interest, the establishment, the campaign finance system. Both of them use the same kind of rhetoric. I think we are -- have discovered an issue that has better legs in the electorate than we thought.

  • 10:55:57

    REHMDo you believe that campaign finance and Citizens United will get back to the Supreme Court, given...

  • 10:56:09

    HOOKGiven everything we know?

  • 10:56:10

    REHM...that you've got a divided court right now.

  • 10:56:12

    HOOKRight. And I think it's really more than Citizens United. The bigger question is about the role that any outside group, whether we're talking about big donors, whether we're talking about the parties, whether we're talking about the elites in Washington and the media. The feeling by so many voters out there that they're getting, that they're getting messed with, right?

  • 10:56:37

    REHMRight.

  • 10:56:37

    HOOKAnd that the system is rigged.

  • 10:56:38

    REHMNot fair. Right.

  • 10:56:38

    HOOKAnd it's not fair at any level. This campaign is about, to me, what's the most surprising thing about this campaign is that it took this long for it to actually happen, that we have been at a period of time over the last 20 years, undergoing so much change at a social, cultural, economic, technological, demographic level, it's amazing that it's only now starting to come to a head.

  • 10:57:03

    REHMWell, we shall see. We've got lots of time between now and November. Thank you, all of you, Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report, Janet Hook of the Wall Street Journal, Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times. And thanks to our listeners who always, always contribute so much to this program. Thanks for listening, all. I'm Diane Rehm.5

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