HILLARY'S BALANCE SHEET
SAN DIEGO – With a strong finish in California, Hillary Clinton put many of the doubts about her candidacy to bed. But despite shutting down competitor Bernie Sanders, Clinton still has some major problems facing her in the general.
So let’s approach Clinton as a businessman approaches any venture: assets verses liabilities…
Gender - Hillary Clinton has some major pros to check off in her column but her main one is being a woman. Although her “glass ceiling” rhetoric is a bit worn out after 16 years of angling for a presidential run, for Baby Boomer women who still strongly identify as “feminists” this factor will be particularly potent.
Partisan identification - After a long primary against a candidate who identified as a socialist rather than a Democrat, Clinton’s party loyalty is starting to pay off in financial and collegial support from her fellow Democrats. Imagine the moment President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden join her on stage at a rally.
Finances - Speaking of financial support, Clinton has nothing to worry about there. While the Republican National Committee just set up joint fundraising efforts with its nominee in the last month or so, the Democratic Party has had Hillary Victory Fund since 2015. And although she hasn’t had the grassroots support of donations that Sanders saw throughout his primary she’s got a hefty war chest to work with.
Known quantities - In a contest with Donald Trump, Clinton is running as a sort of Warren Harding figure, offering a “return to normalcy.” Though she had to move to the left to subdue Sanders, she will not be able to resume her family’s ideological brand of pragmatic centrism.
Trump - Party unity was a considerable question for Hillary Clinton going into this cycle, and her lengthy struggle with Bernie Sanders was proof of that. But, she had a great resource when it comes to keeping Democrats together: terror at the thought of a Donald Trump presidency. After Trump locked up the Republican nomination and got the corresponding bump in the polls, Democrats were forced to take seriously the fact that a candidate may have spent month mocking and deriding, might actually win.
Corruption - Donald Trump’s attacks on Hillary Clinton’s self-dealings as secretary of state and throughout her husband’s post-presidency is exactly the right way to go. Beginning with the revelation last year of a private server and questionable dealings in her family’s foundation there are enough fragments to piece together a very shady picture of the Clintons. And it’s not as if the family is new to the scandal-making business…There is much fodder for any Clinton opponent to use, especially one like Trump who isn’t afraid to hit wherever it hurts. Trump, is already planning a major address on the Democratic nominee which he previewed Tuesday night saying, “Hillary Clinton turned the State Department into her private hedge fund.”
Those emails - Clinton certainly made history as the first female major party presidential nominee. But another first: the only nomine who clinched her victory while being the subject of an active FBI investigation. Only the folks from the FBI and the Department of Justice know for sure how likely or unlikely criminal charges will be leveled against Clinton for mishandling state secrets, but we already have an IT specialist who requested immunity during his testimony. The email investigation matters both for the fact that it could end her candidacy, but short of charges, it also leaves lingering uncertainty.
Lackluster likability - As the elongated primary contest showed, Clinton isn’t exactly the most relatable figure her party could’ve chose. Despite spending most of her adult life in public, Clinton has had continued problems with likability and only due to a weak Democratic field and arguable strong arming from the party leaders did she secure the nomination this time around.
Bubba? - Not sure if having her husband on the trail with her is a liability, asset or inconsequential, but one thing is certain, Trump is not afraid to hit Bill Clinton. Mainly, in his past indiscretions. And younger female voters who are less entranced by Hillary Clinton’s glass ceiling do not give her husband the same leeway older women do.
Trump, again - While Trump’s presence in the race is an asset for Clinton he is most certainly a liability as well, one that took down many a Republicans, including a candidate who had $100 million backing him. So Trump is a radical element to be taken seriously. Team Clinton is well aware and has been prepping for this general election battle for quite a while now, but as the general election contest heads into the summer heat, combating Trump’s attacks should be priority number one.
[Chris Stirewalt joins Dana Perino for a new podcast from San Diego to talk about the party fracturing and what Hillary Clinton’s clinching the nomination means for the general election contest in November. Listen or watch on Facebook Live here.]
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
Commuting is tiresome for anyone, but some know how to make the minutes or hours spent in transit a bit more pleasant in one of America’s busiest train stations. NYT: “So Penn Station is a place where workaday commuters and long-distance passengers seek the shortest sally to the boarding gate, some running, some preoccupied with how to drag too much luggage across the floor and then down the escalators, some simply happy their train is leaving close to on time…The music designers, as Mood Media calls them, vary the playlist. ‘We spread it out so you’re not hearing all symphonic pieces and then a piano piece and then some chamber pieces,’ Janica Chang [a programmer in the Austin-based company] said. But they favor fairly fast tempos. ‘Most are around allegro, kind of bright, lively,’ she said. Nothing faster, nothing slower. ‘You don’t want largo and lethargic,’ she added, ‘and you don’t get prestissimo because that will make people feel more rushed than they already feel.’”
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Real Clear Politics Averages
General Election: Clinton vs. Trump: Clinton +2 points
Generic congressional vote: Democrats +2.2
TRUMP-ENDORSED GOP INCUMBENT LOSES SEAT
On Tuesday, Rep. Renee Ellmers lost her house seat to Rep. George Holding in North Carolina’s second district, despite an endorsement from Trump earlier in the week, the first he’s made as the nominee. Trump’s robocalls on her behalf came as conservative groups Americans for Prosperity and Club for Growth spent more than $1 million to defeat Ellmers for not being fiscally conservative and standing up against President Obama’s agenda. The primary between the two House members was a result of redistricting which merged much of Holding’s district into Ellmers.
OBAMA MAKES NICE BETWEEN HILLARY, BERNIE
WashEx: “President Obama congratulated Hillary Clinton on clinching the Democratic nomination for president and will meet with Bernie Sanders at the White House to discuss his future work, the White House announced late Tuesday. Obama ‘congratulated both candidates for running inspiring campaigns that have energized Democrats, brought a new generation of Americans into the political process, and shined a spotlight on important policy ideas aimed at making sure our economy and our politics work for everybody, not just those with wealth and power.’ Obama told Clinton that her ‘historic campaign inspired millions and is an extension of her lifelong fight for middle-class families and children,’ the White House said.”
Oh, Bern - Fox News: “Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will lay off ‘over half’ of his campaign staff over the next week, a senior campaign official confirmed to Fox News Wednesday. Confirmation of the layoffs, which were first reported by The New YorkTimes, came after Sanders vowed to continue his bid for the Democratic nomination despite Hillary Clinton securing a majority of pledged delegates and superdelegates ahead of next month’s convention.”
GOP DONORS SAY TRUMP’S JUDGE REMARKS HURT FUNDRAISING
The Hill: “Republican donors and even leadership of Donald Trump’s joint fundraising team say that his comments about a federal judge’s Mexican heritage are harming their efforts to raise money for the campaign. More than half a dozen top donors and fundraisers have told The Hill they are exasperated by the racially tinged comments from their party’s presumptive presidential nominee, including two members of the leadership of the Trump Victory Committee, a joint arrangement between Trump, the Republican National Committee and 11 state parties.”
Trump claims comments ‘misconstrued’ - NYT: “Speaker Paul D. Ryan, the nation’s highest-ranking Republican, on Tuesday called Donald J. Trump’s remarks about a Latino judge ‘racist,’ an extraordinary indictment that generated a fresh wave of criticism and panic from other Republicans. By the end of the day, Mr. Trump was forced into a rare moment of damage control and said that his words had been ‘misconstrued.’”
Boehner’s former district held a special election to replace him Tuesday - WaPo
Ouch… - USA Today
Vulnerable Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., unendorses Trump - WSJ
Did Trump’s apology speech come too late? - WaPo
“Lindsey Graham has changed his mind so many times about who he’s endorsing and not endorsing so many different times that it’s hard for me to keep track…I think Sen. Graham has lost any credibility that he may have had at any time to give an opinion on this.” -- Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., on Tuesday in response to Sen. Graham’s urging the GOP to withdraw endorsements from Trump.
IT’S ALMOST HALFTIME!
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BBC: “A single monkey caused a nationwide blackout in Kenya after falling on to a crucial piece of equipment. The monkey fell on a transformer at the Gitaru hydroelectric power station on Tuesday, electricity provider KenGen said in a statement. The transformer then tripped, resulting in the loss of 180 megawatts of power and triggering a blackout across Kenya. Power was restored almost four hours later and the monkey survived its adventure, KenGen said. It has now been taken in by the Kenya Wildlife Service.”
AND NOW A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Democrats are worried and should be worried simply because you can’t use the usual playbook against Donald Trump. Democrats know how to run against conservatives. They don’t know how to run against a populist who was unexpected, unpredictable and can do anything.” -- Charles Krauthammer on “Special Report with Bret Baier."
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.