Hillary makes a big bet on California

Jennifer Griffin reports from Washington, D.C.


Buzz Cut:
• Hillary makes a big bet on California
• Trump bashes press in defense of vets’ charity flap
• Podesta explains email regrets
• Sausage so good, you’ll riot

A week from today, Hillary Clinton will clinch the Democratic presidential nomination.

She will probably have it done even before the polls close that night in California, the largest prize of the night and of the entire calendar. And even if she did lose in the Golden State, Clinton would still be the nominee thanks to a proportional split of California’s 548 delegates.

So why is Clinton ripping up her schedule and heading west? Why would she even want to increase the attention on the contest there instead of honing in on New Jersey, where she is favored to win and which could easily deliver her the 72 delegates she needs to go over the top?

The answers have nothing to do with math. There are nearly 900 delegates from the states voting next week, and she just needs about 8 percent of them.

What’s at stake for Clinton is momentum at a moment she needs it badly.

To the shock and consternation of Democrats, the general election is starting out as very much a horse race. Clinton & Co. did not realize the degree to which Donald Trump would poll as a normal Republican, nor the degree to which Clinton’s own negatives would weigh her down.

We know they said over and over again that Clinton was taking nothing for granted, yadda, yadda, yadda… But c’mon, he’s a reality TV host who is at war with his own party. No sweat, right?

Clinton is surely sweating now.

While Trump’s claim to make a play for California in the general election doesn’t look credible today, his chances would at least appear better if she lost her own primary there while Trump cruises to an uncontested victory. It would at least give Trump lots to talk about.

But leaving aside any crazy talk of California in the fall, there’s the basic issue of early race momentum. And right now, Trump has it all.

Deadlocked head-to-head polls show Trump benefitting from a win bonus as the members of the Republican rank and file do what they can to get in line behind a candidate most of them initially opposed. Democrats, meanwhile, are still laboring under the illusion of choice, believing that there is still some way that it might be something other than the Clinton restoration now 16 years in the making.

A big win in the biggest state would help to smash this illusion and force Democrats into the binary box where Republican now dwell: It’s either him or her.

Another upside to a California win is that it would deprive hanger-on Bernie Sanders of a strong argument to keep his campaign going after the voting is through. Sanders could technically remain in the race after a California loss, as he has promised, but would be going through the motions.

For a campaign that has been mostly marked by crippling caution, Clinton’s California play has the marks of a decision made by a candidate who’s ready and worried enough to start taking some chances.

On this day 100 years ago, British and German fleets met in the North Sea off Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula in what would be history’s largest naval battle, in terms of the total tonnage of ships involved. The battle engaged 100,000 men aboard 250 ships. The British fleet, under Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, lost more ships and suffered double the casualties –6,784 – as the Germans. But as Britain’s current First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, recounts in The Telegraph, the strategic victory went to Britannia: “In the longer term, Jutland also forced Germany to abandon attempts to challenge the Navy and instead switch to a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare against merchant shipping. This would be its undoing, for Germany’s targeting of transatlantic supply routes brought the United States into the war, leading ultimately to the collapse of the German Empire.”

Got a TIP from the RIGHT or the LEFT? 
Email FoxNewsFirst@FOXNEWS.COM

Real Clear Politics Averages
General Election: Clinton vs. Trump:
Clinton +1 point
Generic congressional vote: 
Democrats +2.2

The Hill: “Donald Trump on Tuesday said he finally gave ‘close to six million dollars’ to veterans’ groups, four months after making the pledge in late January. The presumptive GOP presidential nominee also said the press ‘should be ashamed of themselves’ for asking questions about the money he donated. ‘I have never received such bad publicity for doing such a good job,’ Trump said, before releasing a list of the veterans groups who received the money. ‘As of this moment, it's $5.6 million,’ Trump added in a press conference at Trump Tower in Manhattan on Tuesday. ‘All of the money has been spent.’”

Fox News: “Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman scrambled over the holiday weekend to reassure jumpy supporters, in the wake of an inspector general report that took the Democratic presidential front-runner to task over her personal email use while secretary of state. In a memo sent Saturday, and obtained by Fox News, campaign chairman John Podesta acknowledged Clinton has called her use of a personal email server while secretary of state ‘a mistake.’… ‘What she thought would be a convenient way to communicate with family, friends and colleagues – by using one email account for both her work related and personal emails – has turned out to be anything but convenient. If she could go back, she’d do it differently,’ Podesta’s memo read.”

The psychology of political misinformation - Politico

Kristol tweet trolls Trump - Fox News

Hillary, Trump tied, but not liked, in NH swing state poll - Boston Herald

The complicated Clinton candidacy-– NY Mag

Can Hillary recast herself as an agent of change? - WaPo

How to pick a running mate - FiveThirtyEight

That’s one way to increase your name ID - Politico

“We do have some differences, but he brags about being transactional and being a dealmaker and all the rest – that’s part of what makes things work in Congress.” – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on “Fox & Friends” talking about his endorsement of Donald Trump.

Radio Free Europe: “A vegan cafe in the historic center of Tbilisi [the capital of the nation of Georgia] was forced to cancel an English-language video screening over the weekend when a group described by witnesses as far-right extremists threw meat into patrons’ vegan dinners and started a brawl. The staff at Tbilisi’s Kiwi Cafe called police on the evening of May 29 after more than a dozen men carrying meat attacked restaurant customers and staff. The clash spilled onto the street outside and neighbors joined in the brawl -- some reportedly fighting against the restaurant’s staff and customers, as well as the meat eaters. Minor injuries were reported. The attackers fled before police arrived and no arrests were made. Police briefly detained some cafe staff members for interrogation.”

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. 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.