Dems taking Trump seriously? Today's primaries may tell

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Buzz Cut:
• Dems taking Trump seriously? Today’s primaries may tell
• Pivot: Hillary laments partisanship
• Super PAC starts shelling

• Kochs spend big on the Senate
• Kentucky fried chicken, indeed

Are Democrats ready to get real about the general election?

Tonight’s results from primary contests in Kentucky and Oregon may tell us a lot. If hanger-on Bernie Sanders does about as well in Kentucky as he did in neighboring West Virginia last week – a 15-point romp -- and wins in Oregon by even half of his 46-point March margin in Washington State, it could be said that Hillary Clinton’s springtime swoon is intensifying.

May never looked like a very good stretch for the presumptive Democratic nominee. Contests in Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky and Oregon – states with Democratic primary electorates whiter than ice fishing – represented a sort of murderer’s row for Sanders.

But Clinton still has underperformed even those low expectations. Most painfully, West Virginia Democrats made it clear that many of them wouldn’t even support her in the general election.

Even as she slogged through the unbearable whiteness of being, national polls have been going the other direction. A month ago, Clinton’s lead in the Real Clear Politics average of polls was a razor-thin 1.2 points. Today it is approaching 6 points.

We would submit that the reason for Clinton’s improved national numbers has little to with her or Sanders, but instead, Donald Trump’s subjugation of the Republican Party.

Always bear in mind that nominating contests do not take place in vacuums. Like every election, primaries are affected by events in the real world. But unlike general elections, primaries are also shaped by their counterparts on the other side of the partisan divide.

Trump was a delight to Democrats for much of the Republican process, which most in both parties presumed would still be going on today. The broad assumption was that Trump would not be the nominee himself but would help to damage the party and leave its eventual nominee flopping about like a bluegill on a mud bank. Yay for Democrats!

Instead, the Republican contest ended and Trump stands as presumptive nominee far before anyone – probably himself included – had expected just a month ago. (Kudos to all who managed to land contracts as delegate trackers and experts. Enjoy Barbados).

While the Democratic race is no more in doubt now than before, Clinton’s is the surprisingly unfinished work of primary season. That limits her ability to pivot to the general election and keeps her tethered to the Bernie Bros.

But, today could spell relief for Clinton.

Kentucky and Oregon are both closed primaries, and Clinton has won all eight such contests so far. Plus, the Beaver State’s mail-in primary comes with some restrictive registration rules.

If Clinton wins both or even one contest tonight it could be a reflection of the growing realization among Democrats that they have overestimated their advantages in this cycle and underestimated the dangers posed by Trump.

Maybe call it “white flight.”

History: “Based on outcry from parents who bought into what may have started as an idle rumor, the FBI launched a formal investigation in 1964 into the supposedly pornographic lyrics of the song ‘Louie, Louie.’ That investigation finally neared its conclusion on this day in 1965, when the FBI Laboratory declared the lyrics of ‘Louie Louie’ to be officially unintelligible. … As written by Richard Berry in 1955, the lyrics revolve around a sailor from the Caribbean lamenting to a bartender named Louie about missing his far-away love. As recorded in crummy conditions and in a single take by the Kingsmen in 1963, lyrics like ‘A fine little girl, she wait for me…’ came out sounding like ‘A phlg mlmrl hlurl, duh vvvr me’ … ‘Unintelligible at any speed’ was the conclusion the FBI Laboratory relayed to the investigators in charge on this day in 1965…”

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Real Clear Politics Averages
General Election: 
Clinton vs. Trump: Clinton +5.7 points
Generic Congressional Vote: Democrats +2.3

Free Beacon: “Hillary Clinton told a Kentucky campaign audience Monday that she was tired of people either falling into the ‘Republican team’ or the ‘Democratic team.’ ‘Let’s be on the American team like the 101st Airborne is at Ft. Campbell,’ she said. She started off by telling the audience that if someone has a better idea on how to help the economy or health care, she was more than willing to listen to it, regardless of the source.”

Pro-Clinton PAC Priorities USA launches its first attack ad at Trump today using only his past statements on women, parroting a primary attack ad from the anti-Trump Our Principles PAC.

Speaking of college debt - Boston Globe: “Burlington College, a small Vermont private school once led by the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, said Monday it will close later this month, citing ‘the crushing weight’ of debt incurred during her presidency.”

Pro-GOP group seeks audit of Clinton foundation - WSJ: “The conservative super PAC American Crossroads said Monday it filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service requesting an audit of the Clinton Foundation, following articles last week about how the foundation aided a for-profit company part-owned by people with ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton.”

[WaPo’s Chris Cillizza delves into voter psychology and the question of caring.]

The Hill: “The Koch brothers’ donor network is making its most aggressive intervention yet into the 2016 cycle, booking $30 million worth of advertising to save the Republican Senate. It’s the beginning of what’s expected to be a significantly larger buy, as the network of 700-some donors led by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch sets about the task of keeping the Senate in Republican hands and supporting candidates who have purist free market beliefs. The Kochs view Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as both supporting big government and crony capitalism, and so the network has refused to spend a penny at the presidential level.”

Quite so… - Freedom Partners Action Fund, a Koch-backed group, is spending big in Ohio with a $2.2 million ad buy against Democratic candidate Ted Strickland. The ad focuses on struggling jobs in the state. This marks the group’s second ad buy in Ohio so far this cycle.

Trump brings back pollster - Politico

David Drucker talks to conservative groups about the possibility of losing influence with Trump atop the ticket - WashEx

When people say that Donald Trump is programming CNN’s political coverage, they’re not kidding - CNN

Labor, greens at war within the Democratic Party - NYT

Adjacent Pa. counties show the Trump divide in the GOP - WSJ

Accent All Stars: Trump set to meet with Kissinger - Reuters

“As for future in politics, well it’s nearly impossible for someone not in office to ever become a successful candidate for President. Right?” – Sen. Marco Rubio in a Monday night tweet storm reacting to a WaPo article questioning his political future.

Megyn Kelly
and Donald Trump sit down for their first one-on-one interview since August’s Fox News GOP debate in Cleveland. Tune in tonight at 8 p.m. ET on FOX broadcast stations. See here for additional guests on the debut episode of “Megyn Kelly Presents.”

KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN, INDEED “A band of rogue rambling roosters drunk on whiskey has been captured in Westport [New Zealand]. Irate neighbours reported the noisy roosters who had been dumped in Westport Domain to Buller District Council’s animal control officers. … The council staff then searched the internet for ways to catch the nuisance birds. ‘We asked Mr Google about how to catch roosters and he came up with the idea to give them a bit of whiskey. Our animal control officer sacrificed some of his own finest Kentucky whiskey and we have laced some barley with it and we are getting results,’ [Mayor Garry Howard] said. The roosters were getting very drunk and rolling onto their sides, allowing the officers to pick them up. ‘Some of them are going to a heavenly home but others have been re-homed in a more rural area. We have one remaining rebel rooster getting a liking for Kentucky whiskey but I am confident we will catch him,’ the mayor said.”

“I think the idea of putting [Bill Clinton] in charge, [Hillary Clinton] has this tricky deal.  She wants to run on the glowing memory of the ‘90s.  On the other hand, the minute she brings it up, all the other stuff from the ‘90s comes flowing in…” – 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