**Want FOX News First in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
• Once in a lifetime or same as it ever was?
• Power Play: Portman’s survival plan
• Rubio makes nice with Trump
• Libertarian lean
• Intaminatis fulget honoribus
ONCE IN A LIFETIME OR SAME AS IT EVER WAS?
How different will the electoral map be this year?
There’s no question that the post-Reagan order of red and blue states is not nearly as durable as the prognosticator class has supposed.
Minnesota, for example, has gone Democratic in every election since 1972, but some of those Blue Team victories have been by 2 points or less. Or Texas, the bulwark of the modern GOP, has been red since 1980, but twice by less than 5 points.
What remains to be seen is how much and how soon demographic trends could tip states one way or the other and – of more immediate interest – whether voter psychology could make for sudden and surprising shifts beyond the normal contours of demography.
The recent history has been that both parties start out with similarly long lists of target states and then shrink down to about the same seven or eight.
Trump’s list includes some obvious ones – Ohio, Florida and Virginia – some that have been at times tantalizingly close but remained Democratic for a generation – Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Maine – two that have been far, far out of reach for a long time – California and New York – plus at least one that hasn’t gone for a Democrat for 36 years – Georgia.
That adds up to 11, and we could guess at the other four. But they would (or at least should) likely include some quartet drawn from among Iowa, North Carolina, Arizona, Nevada, New Hampshire and Colorado.
This amounts basically to a list of places where Trump intends to hold rallies since, as David Drucker explains, the nominee intends to outsource the work of organizing and getting out voters to the RNC.
And, for now at least, it makes no difference to the media coverage on which Trump thrives whether a rally is in a competitive state or not, just as long as the cameras roll. In fact, campaigning in hostile territory has some advantages. What better way to keep his supporters ginned up and earn sympathy from restive Republicans than a split screen between Trump and violent protesters burning American flags and waving Mexican ones?
But, still: Are his 15 target states the right 15?
The truth is that Trump so far does not look all that different from his Republican nominee predecessors. He’s stronger with white males and weaker women and minorities, but so far, he’s starting out with a statistical tie in the popular vote and a deficit in the Electoral College.
There’s no evidence of a Trump effect in California or New York but neither is there a significant anti-Trump effect in traditionally Republican places like Indiana or Georgia. And the swings states are, well, swinging.
As for the new Republican voters said to have turned out for Trump, the initial evidence suggests that while more Republican general election voters showed up for the hot and heavy primary action, the tent was not actually much expanded.
It may be that partisan identity is so well ingrained in the American electorate – and that Americans have so thoroughly sorted themselves by ideology – that the individuals at the top of the tickets don’t matter as much as they once did.
Certainly the final decision, which in any close race will belong to the persuadable voters of the remaining swing states, will be substantially defined by their feelings about the characters and fitness of the two nominees. But for the more than two thirds of the electorate that is primarily partisan in its electoral choices, the candidates matter much less.
Think of it this way: If you root for the New England Patriots, you are far less inclined to believe the evidence of cheating against your squad. And even if you come to be convinced, you will then dismiss the issue entirely.
That’s how it goes in politics, too. If you’re pulling for the Democrat Donkeys, you learn not to care about Hillary Clinton’s email debacle. If you’re wearing your colors for the Republican Elephant Herd, you learn to overlook Trump’s business practices.
And that’s why, for now at least, the electoral map looks like it always does. So for now we can leave it to the Talking Heads. Will 2016 be the same as it ever was or is this really once in a lifetime?
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
Greek Reporter: “Greek archaeologists at Ancient Stagira, Central Macedonia, say they have found Aristotle’s tomb. Addressing the Aristotle 2400 Years World Congress, they point to the 2,400-year-old tomb as the most important finding from the 20-year excavation. The discovery of the tomb of Aristotle was announced by archaeologist Kostas Sismanidis, according to whom the findings from the 1996 excavation lead to the conclusion that the tomb belongs to Aristotle…The top of the dome is at 10 meters and there is a square floor surrounding a Byzantine tower. A semi-circle wall stands at two-meters in height. A pathway leads to the tomb’s entrance for those that wished to pay their respects. Other findings included ceramics from the royal pottery workshops and fifty coins dated to the time of Alexander the Great. The tomb structure was destroyed by the Byzantines, who built a square tower on top of it.”
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
POWER PLAY: PORTMAN’S SURVIVAL PLAN
One of the Republicans in a tough Senate race this cycle, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman joins Chris Stirewalt to discuss his race against Democratic challenger Ted Strickland, and the ever-present sleeper issue of 2016: Donald Trump as the nominee. Portman describes how he sees the race in Ohio and his optimism about the Republican senate majority. WATCH HERE.
Power Play: Dem disarray? - All eyes have been on Republican infighting, but the Democrats seem to be giving them a run for their money lately. Are the Democrats really in disarray after this messier-than-expected primary season? Or is it just the natural disorder? HuffPo’s Paige Lavender and Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper give their takes to Chris Stirewalt. WATCH HERE.
Power Play: Can Trump keep up the media churn and burn? - Can Trump tone it down? Should he even try? Lavender and Halper explore. WATCH HERE.
RUBIO MAKES NICE WITH TRUMP
Steps towards what could appear to be reconciliation between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Marco Rubio began Thursday with the Florida senator saying that he’d be “honored” to speak on Trump’s behalf at the Republican National Convention. Trump responded on Twitter encouraging Rubio to rethink his plans to leave the Senate and run for reelection in the Sunshine State.
While Rubio doesn’t appear to be changing his mind, reiterating again last week that he intends to be a “private citizen” in January, if he were to have a change of heart can he make it happen?
Technically, yes, Rubio has enough time to file before the state’s June 24 deadline, but he’d be entering into a very messy primary battle with five candidates already in the hunt for the seat. And it would make for a difficult summer with a multi-person race on both sides heading into the state’s primary election on August 30.
A recent Quinnipiac University poll shows that the seat is still up for grabs with no clear winner on the Republican or Democratic side. The poll also shows that one in five Floridians don’t feel they know enough about any one candidate to have an opinion. No surprise in a Senate race with such a large field.
But the Trump advantage could help Rubio cut through the fray and winnow the field should he choose to accept it. The Republican nominee’s recent praise of the Florida senator opens up the possibility of a deal: If Rubio endorses Trump – or speaks at the convention on his behalf – Trump would help him out in a reelection run.
The political downside for Rubio, however, could be catastrophic. If Trump is a general election loser, not only would Rubio likely go down with him but have done so after embracing a person he previously called a “con man.”
Fox News: “In a confounding election season where voters hold deep reservations about the likely Republican and Democratic nominees, the third-party Libertarian ticket has a rare chance this year to be more than a footnote in the presidential race. And that chance – to absorb disaffected voters who have little interest in picking ‘Trump’ or ‘Clinton’ this November – is raising the stakes for the national convention starting Friday where activists with the oft-sidelined movement will choose their nominee. ‘There is a huge opportunity in this election cycle,’ Libertarian Party Chairman Nicholas Sarwark told FoxNews.com.”
Fox News Sunday - Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and in honor of Memorial Day, Tom Day, talks about his mission to make sure every military funeral had a bugler to honor the fallen with his group Bugles Across America. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.
#mediabuzz - Host Howard Kurtz breaks down the week’s media news and welcomes Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson. Watch Sunday at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Trump to appear at Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally in Washington - The Hill
State Department official thought Hillary used her personal email for friends, family - Fox News
Is National Review becoming Trump curious? - Politico
Speaker Paul Ryan leads his pro-Trump primary challenger by 73 points in new poll - Vox Populi
“But they’re rattled by it – and for good reason – because a lot of the proposals that he’s made display either ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude or an interest in getting tweets and headlines instead of actually thinking through what it is that is required to keep America safe and secure and prosperous, and what’s required to keep the world on an even keel.” – President Obama in answer to a reporter’s question about how his fellow world leaders gathered at an economic summit in Japan had responded to Donald Trump’s pronouncements on foreign affairs.
INTAMINATIS FULGET HONORIBUS
All Americans should take a moment this Memorial Day Weekend to etch on their hearts the memories of those who died to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, and thereby the American way of life. You could hardly do better for your memorial meditation than Darrell S. Cole, a small-town Missouri kid who started out as a Marine bugler in 1941 and ended up becoming a machine gunner who fought his way across the Pacific before his final, heroic sacrifice at the Battle of Iwo Jima.
From Cole’s Congressional Medal of Honor citation : “Assailed by a tremendous volume of small-arms, mortar and artillery fire as he advanced with 1 squad of his section in the initial assault wave, Sgt. Cole boldly led his men up the sloping beach toward Airfield No. 1 despite the blanketing curtain of flying shrapnel and, personally destroying with hand grenades 2 hostile emplacements which menaced the progress of his unit, continued to move forward until a merciless barrage of fire emanating from 3 Japanese pillboxes halted the advance. … Cole, armed solely with a pistol and 1 grenade, coolly advanced alone to the hostile pillboxes. Hurling his 1 grenade at the enemy in sudden, swift attack, he quickly withdrew, returned to his own lines for additional grenades and again advanced, attacked, and withdrew. With enemy guns still active, he ran the gauntlet of slashing fire a third time to complete the total destruction of the Japanese strong point and the annihilation of the defending garrison in this final assault.”
Cole was immediately killed by a Japanese grenade upon his return to American lines. He is the namesake of the USS Cole, which was attacked by suicide bombers in Yemen in 2000.
[Ed. Note: In observance of Memorial Day, Fox News First will not be published Monday. Our humble and sincere thanks are with every American family that still bears the pain of battle.]
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.