ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE

Libertarians Nominate Johnson, Weld

Trump faces an uphill battle to win over battleground regions.

Ally Mutnick
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Ally Mutnick
May 31, 2016, 9:53 a.m.

“The Liber­tari­an Na­tion­al Con­ven­tion on Sunday chose a pair of former Re­pub­lic­an gov­ernors as their pres­id­en­tial and vice pres­id­en­tial nom­in­ees, put­ting for­ward the most-ex­per­i­enced elec­tion tick­et in the party’s four-dec­ade his­tory … the party is now look­ing to make in­roads in­to the class of donors that usu­ally bank­rolls Re­pub­lic­an can­did­ates,” and cap­it­al­ize off voter dis­con­tent with Clin­ton and Trump. The tick­et will likely be the only third-party op­tion on the bal­lot in all 50 states. (Wall Street Journ­al )

However, former New Mex­ico Gov. Gary John­son (L) was cri­ti­cized “for his vice pres­id­en­tial pick,” former Mas­sachu­setts Gov. Bill Weld (R). Weld “has had a dif­fi­cult time pitch­ing him­self to the Liber­tari­an con­ven­tion. Many have been skep­tic­al over Weld’s liber­tari­an cre­den­tials, es­pe­cially his re­cord on gun con­trol and sup­port for Re­pub­lic­an politi­cians. Pri­or to team­ing up with John­son, Weld had en­dorsed” John Kasich. (CNN)

“John­son and Weld now head a deeply di­vided party, and many of the Liber­tari­an faith­ful gathered in Or­lando were res­ist­ant to be­ing dragged any­where near the main­stream.” (Politico)

UP­HILL BATTLE AHEAD. “Re­pub­lic­ans enter the gen­er­al elec­tion at a hefty dis­ad­vant­age: Since the 1992 cam­paign, 18 states have voted con­sist­ently for Demo­crats in pres­id­en­tial elec­tions, giv­ing their party a firm found­a­tion of 242 elect­or­al votes to build upon. And in the four re­gions likely to de­cide the pres­id­ency — Flor­ida, the up­per South­east, the Rust Belt and the in­teri­or West — real es­tate mogul Don­ald Trump (R) “faces daunt­ing obstacles, ac­cord­ing to in­ter­views last week with elec­ted of­fi­cials, polit­ic­al strategists and voters.” (New York Times )  

But for Demo­crats, anxi­ety re­mains. “[E]arly op­tim­ism that this would be an easy race is evap­or­at­ing. In the cor­ridors of Con­gress, on air­plane shuttles between New York and Wash­ing­ton, at donor gath­er­ings and on con­fer­ence calls, anxi­ety is spread­ing through the Demo­crat­ic Party that” former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) “is strug­gling to find her foot­ing.” (New York Times)

LOOK­ING UP. There’s some evid­ence to sug­gest Clin­ton’s lead over Trump will grow once Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) leaves the race. A new poll by NBC News/Wall Street Journ­al shows Clin­ton lead­ing Trump 46-43 per­cent, but that lead be­comes 51-43 per­cent once Sanders drops out. (NBC News)

“[A]ny tri­al heat between Trump and Clin­ton today is like com­par­ing apples and or­anges. Trump’s nom­in­a­tion fight is over while Clin­ton’s con­test is still at a messy stage. … By con­trast, many of Bernie Sanders’s sup­port­ers still seem be in the deni­al and an­ger stages. Feel­ings are still raw, and the heal­ing pro­cess has not yet be­gun.” (Na­tion­al Journ­al)

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