Time to Pay Attention to Gary Johnson

FiveThirtyEight: “Gary Johnson might be on the verge of becoming a household name. At the moment, he’s probably most often confused with that plumber who fixed your running toilet last month or your spouse’s weird friend from work who keeps calling the landline, but he’s neither — he’s the former governor of New Mexico, likely Libertarian candidate for president, and he’s polling at 10 percent in two recently released national polls against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.”

“Given that Trump and Clinton are sporting historically high negative ratings, Johnson’s polling makes a fair bit of sense; Gary Johnson is neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton. He might not win a state, but he could make some noise.”

Sanders Wants Votes Reviewed In Kentucky

Wall Street Journal: “Would it change anything if Bernie Sanders actually narrowly won Kentucky’s presidential primary instead of narrowly losing it to Hillary Clinton?”

“Hoping to find out, the Sanders campaign is requesting a recanvass from the state, where he trails Mrs. Clinton by less than half a percentage point. The recanvass involves asking elections officials to review electronic voting machines and absentee ballots in the state’s 120 counties. State law allows him to request this at state expense. Unlike a recount, which he’d have to pay for, individual ballots will not be examined.”

GOP Mulls Complete Overhaul of Primary Process

“Leaders of the Republican Party have begun internal deliberations over what would be fundamental changes to the way its presidential nominees are chosen, a recognition that the chaotic process that played out this year is seriously flawed and helped exacerbate tensions within the party,” the New York Times reports.

“In a significant shift, Republican officials said it now seemed unlikely that the four states to vote first would all retain their cherished place on the electoral calendar, with Nevada as the most probable casualty. Party leaders are even going so far as to consider diluting the traditional status of Iowa and New Hampshire as gatekeepers to the presidency, by pairing them in one proposal with other states holding nominating contests on the same day as a way to give more voters a meaningful role much sooner.”

Kasich Instructs Delegates to Remain Bound

“Gov. John Kasich, who suspended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination earlier this month, is instructing the 161 delegates he won to remain bound to him through the party’s June nomination convention,” the Washington Post reports.

“Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules. Kasich has not thrown his support to Donald Trump, who became the presumptive nominee in early May after he and Sen. Ted Cruz left the race.”

‘The Most Mortifying Movie Ever Made’

Vanity Fair: “An extraordinary and flabbergasting documentary film opened last week: Weiner, directed by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg. An intimate, unblinking look at Anthony Weiner’s disastrous 2013 campaign for New York City mayor — which was derailed by revelations that he had continued sexting multiple young women even after a previous sexting scandal had forced him to resign from Congress in 2011 — Weiner might well be the most mortifying movie ever made, even including Mortdecai.”

“My first thought after seeing the film was, like most people’s, What were Anthony Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin (longtime Hillary Clinton aide), thinking when they allowed some of the most painful, excruciating moments in their marriage to be filmed? My first and a half thought: What would a shrink make of all this?”

The Opposite of Woe

Just published: The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics by Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Denver Post: “Hickenlooper recounts the first time he smoked pot at age 16. And his attempt to grow marijuana outside his bedroom window in suburban Pennsylvania. His love-sick depression as a freshman at Wesleyan University and the lithium capsules he needed to survive final exams. And the time in college he ‘got a little high’ and took a nude self-portrait in a bathtub.”

Why Trump Could Win

Robert Reich: “Trump’s rise suggests a new kind of politics. You might call it anti-politics.”

“The old politics pitted right against left, with presidential aspirants moving toward the center once they cinched the nomination. Anti-politics pits Washington insiders, corporate executives, bankers, and media moguls against a growing number of people who think the game is rigged against them. There’s no center, only hostility and suspicion.”

“Americans who feel like they’re being screwed are attracted to an authoritarian bully – a strongman who will kick ass. The former reality TV star who repeatedly told contestants they were ‘fired!’ appears tough and confrontational enough to take on powerful vested interests. That most Americans don’t particularly like Trump is irrelevant.”

Why Is Clinton So Disliked?

David Brooks: “I understand why Donald Trump is so unpopular. He earned it the old-fashioned way, by being obnoxious, insulting and offensive. But why is Hillary Clinton so unpopular?”

“I would begin my explanation with this question: Can you tell me what Hillary Clinton does for fun? We know what Obama does for fun — golf, basketball, etc. We know, unfortunately, what Trump does for fun.”

“But when people talk about Clinton, they tend to talk of her exclusively in professional terms. For example, on Nov. 16, 2015, Peter D. Hart conducted a focus group on Clinton. Nearly every assessment had to do with on-the-job performance. She was ‘multitask-oriented’ or ‘organized’ or ‘deceptive.’… People who work closely with her adore her and say she is warm and caring. But it’s hard from the outside to think of any non-career or pre-career aspect to her life. Except for a few grandma references, she presents herself as a résumé and policy brief.”

Trump Embraces the Fringe

Michael Gerson: “As a leader, Trump has succeeded by appealing to stereotypes and ugly hatreds that most American leaders have struggled to repress and contain, His political universe consists of deceptive experts, of scheming, of criminal Mexicans, of lying politicians and bureaucrats and of disloyal Muslims. Asked to repudiate David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan, Trump hesitated, later claiming a ‘bad earpiece.’ Asked to repudiate the vicious anti-Semitism of some of his followers, Trump responded, ‘I don’t have a message to the fans.’”

“This is not flirting with the fringes; it is French-kissing them. Every Republican official endorsing Trump should know: This is the company he keeps. This is the company you now keep.”

Erick Erickson: “If the Republican Party wants to go in his direction, I guess I’m not a Republican anymore.”

Obama Approval Will Help Clinton

First Read: “There are plenty of storylines and new numbers from our latest national NBC/WSJ poll, but here’s maybe the most important number of all: 51% — as in President Obama’s approval rating, which is his highest mark in the poll since his second inauguration. Why is it important? Because it means that Obama will be an asset to Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail unlike he was in the 2014 midterms, when his approval rating was in the low 40s.”

“Of course, an incumbent president with a 50%-plus job-approval rating isn’t a guarantee for a party keeping the White House — see 2000. But it’s certainly better than what Republicans experienced in 2008, when George W. Bush’s rating was 27% in our April 2008 NBC/WSJ poll. Our current poll found only 39% saying they would consider voting for Obama if he could run for a third term, but it’s higher than the 34% who said this about Bill Clinton in Sept. 2000. And 78% of African Americans, 72% of Democrats, 62% of Latinos, and 50% of those ages 18-34 said they would consider voting for Obama again if they could.”