Dem diagnosis: Early-stage Jebola

Are traditional Democratic states in play for the presumptive GOP nominee?


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Buzz Cut:
• Dem diagnosis: Early-stage Jebola
• Trump touts disclosure, but not taxes
• Huma to be deposed on email, triple dipping
• Power Play: This election brought to you by the word ‘support’
• Double whammy mammy

Democrats are starting to suffer from Jeb Bush’s ailment. Jebola is that queasy feeling in the pits of their stomachs that they may not be able to handle the man they once dismissed as a carnival barker with no chance.

For Bush, it was a confidence-sapping and ultimately debilitating condition, mostly because the diagnosis came too late. By the time Bush was ready to admit he had a Donald Trump problem, he was already a goner.

Others, most notably Ted Cruz, succumbed in equally gnarly fashion. And in each case, the reason was the same: a refusal to acknowledge reality.

So have Democrats caught the disease in early enough stages to treat their malady?

Journalists on the left are offering some dire diagnoses. Vanity Fair, for example, makes the case that Hillary Clinton’s primary-season left turns pose real problems in the general, especially on immigration. Clinton’s strategy to run as heir to Obama’s legacy on that and other issues has neither prevented a protracted primary fight nor given her adequate running room in the general.

In short, what was formerly conventional wisdom – Republican deficiencies with women, Hispanics and other groups were insurmountable – is looking more than a little reedy after Trump ate the GOP.

Now, we don’t know enough to be able to test that thinking. There will be new Fox News polls out tonight at 6 p.m. ET that will help us to see the state of the post-primary race. They will be followed by a slew of other surveys that will help us to see how things stand.

But for the moment, what’s happening to Democrats is probably a healthy dose of fear.

Tuesday’s results in Kentucky and Oregon would seem to reflect that reality. Clinton pulled off a squeaker victory in Kentucky a week after a 15-point blowout in neighboring West Virginia. The states have some major demographic differences, but even in the places in the Bluegrass State where the populations and issue slates are similar, Bernie Sanders underperformed.

It was the same in Oregon, where Sanders ought to have romped with his coalition of “Portlandia” extras and rural, downscale voters. Ultimately, he walked away with a win and no change in his dead-end delegate situation. One Democratic strategist not affiliated with either campaign described Sanders’ candidacy to Fox News First as “unwinding.”

And Democrats are also losing patience with the Bernie bros and their reign of terror. The spectacle in Nevada was enough to make any Democrat not enthralled by Sanders’ talk of “revolution” feel seasick.

We will know a great deal more about the state of the race a month hence – particularly on the key question of whether Trump can pass the commander-in-chief test with skeptical voters – but for now Democrats would be wise to run like he already has.

Native West Virginian Matthew Neill Null describes one of the state’s old newspaper editors, and how he captured the essence of the Mountain State in his publication. Paris Review: “The Hillbilly wasn’t just a paper—it was an art project, a platform for historic preservation, a conservative wailing wall, and, above all, an exploration of the West Virginian id. Once, in early spring, [the newspaper’s editor Jim Comstock] famously added ‘ramp oil’ to the ink at the printing press, a tribute to Richwood’s Feast of the Ramson, which celebrates the wild leeks that sprout in the mountains after a hard winter. They give off a terrible stench. Warehouses full of mailmen were made to gag. To his delight, Jim received a stern rebuke from the postmaster general. ‘Now we’re the only newspaper under orders from the federal government not to smell bad,’ Jim told the Associated Press.”

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Real Clear Politics Averages
General Election: 
Clinton vs. Trump: Clinton +5.2 points
Generic Congressional Vote: Democrats +2.3

WaPo: “As Donald Trump faces escalating criticism for not releasing his tax returns, the likely Republican presidential nominee instead filed his annual personal financial disclosure with federal authorities on Monday and then bragged about it in a news release on Tuesday evening…Unlike a tax return, which requires using exact numbers, the election disclosure form only requires that candidates disclose their income using wide ranges…Trump claims that his net worth has increased since his last disclosure was filed in July and that his annual income is more than $557 million, not including dividends, interest, capital gains, rents and royalties. The campaign has yet to respond to a request from The Washington Post for a copy of the disclosure, which he says is 104 pages long and the FEC has yet to make public.”

[Talk about income - WashEx: “Hillary Clinton released a financial disclosure form on Tuesday evening revealing that she and her husband earned over $11 million last year from paid speeches and book royalties.]

Regrets? Trump’s ‘absolutely’ had a few - Fox News: “Donald Trump, in an extensive interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, responded to critics of his barbed campaign style by saying he never would have been successful in the primary race if he had acted ‘presidential’ and held back on hitting his political rivals – while declaring that if he doesn’t win the election this fall, he’ll consider his campaign a ‘complete waste.’…The candidate addressed a range of topics in his sit-down with Kelly, from his tone to the lead-off presidential debates to his past clashes with the Fox News host. Trump conceded that, in looking back, he ‘absolutely’ has regrets, without going into detail. But he said if he hadn’t conducted himself in this way, he wouldn’t have come out on top.”

Trump, RNC merge accounts - WSJ: “Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee finalized a joint fundraising agreement late Tuesday that would allow individual donors to write checks of as much as $449,400—far higher than the $2,700 cap on what the presumptive GOP nominee’s presidential campaign can accept. Under the agreement, Mr. Trump’s campaign and the RNC will raise money for two joint fundraising committees. The first, called Trump Victory, will raise money for the RNC, the campaign and 11 state party committees. The second, called Trump Make America Great Again Committee, will direct funds only to the RNC and the Trump campaign.”

Bloomberg: “Former Hillary Clinton deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin and at least five others will be questioned by a conservative watchdog group’s lawyers seeking information about Abedin’s overlapping employment at the U.S. State Department, the Clinton Foundation and an outside consulting firm. The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch claims Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server hindered its efforts to get records about what it called the ‘controversial’ employment status of Abedin. The first of the six to testify in a sworn deposition will be former State Department employee Lewis A. Lukens, according to a schedule filed Tuesday in federal court in Washington. Lukens will be questioned Wednesday. Judicial Watch was less definitive about other former staffers saying they were served with subpoenas. Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department, Cheryl Mills, might testify on May 27. Abedin, now the vice chair of Clinton’s presidential campaign, may be deposed on June 28.”

Each election cycle has a new word or phrase that seems to define the election. Think “binders of women” or “it’s the economy, stupid.” Of the many colorful phrases from 2016 though, the key word for this historic election is “support.” Why? Chris Stirewalt explains in just 60 seconds. WATCH HERE.

Team Trump targets blue states first - AP

Trump faces deposition in June over restaurant lawsuit - Politico

In a bag or in a box, Christie’s numbers are no treat - NJ.com

Nate Silver lays out how he got it wrong on Trump - FiveThirtyEight

The circle be unbroken: The indispensable Clintonologist, Sally Bedell Smith, sees her 2007 piece on power dynamics in the Clinton marriage made current again - WSJ

“When I’m wounded, I go after people hard. And I try to un-wound myself.” – Donald Trump on Tuesday’s “Megyn Kelly Presents” special.

[Fort Worth] Star-Telegram: “The twins, a boy and a girl, were born at the University of Virginia Hospital at the beginning of May. It was the second and third babies of Melissa and David McLain, and they decided to name the girl Taylor. And the boy? Espn. ‘I jokingly asked my wife what she thought about the name Espn,’ David McLain told WITN. ‘She said she really liked it. When I told her I was just kidding, and that I was just saying ESPN as a single word, she said she still really liked it.’ And that’s not the only colorful part of the twins’ names. Because the twins were almost born on May 4 — also known as Star Wars Day…the couple decided to have some Star Wars-themed middle names. ‘So their middle names are Luke and Leia, because boy and girl twins you have to do that,’ said Melissa McLain.”

“[The NYT story on Trump’s past with women] was nuanced, interesting, but there was nothing scandalous about it. If this is the best that the Times and the press can do, trying to create scandal around Donald Trump, it’s time to plan for the inauguration.” -- Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier” Watch here.

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Sally Persons contributed to this report. Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.