Trump does reset on delegates

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Buzz Cut:
• Trump does reset on delegates
• Christie could tip nomination to Trump
• Clinton, Sanders brawl in Brooklyn
• Big Obama donors slow to warm to Hillary
• There’s a new dog in town

Donald Trump’s ability to reset the media narrative at his will has been tested the past few weeks. While he once was able to jump from one brash statement to the next, the New York businessman has had a difficult time lately changing his campaign’s characterization as one that doesn’t really understand the party’s delegate selection process and can’t navigate its way to an outright win.

But his op-ed in the WSJ looks like the first sign that he might just be able to turn things around yet again. Trump’s basic point in the piece is that, yes, he understands the rules he just doesn’t agree with them, arguing that the process disenfranchises voters.

In doing so, he sets the establishment’s process as a system severing “the interests of political parties at the expense of the people,” and he’s the man to change all that.  And in a Reaganesque move, he asks voters: “How has the ‘system’ been working out for you and your family?”

Using this as what is likely to be his campaign’s mantra over the remaining primary contests leaves Trump with two possible avenues depending on the delegate count after the last contests on June 7: If Trump wins the majority of the 1,237 delegates needed he will say he did it in spite of the establishment rules. If he loses the majority, and further loses on a second or third ballot at the convention, he will say the system is rigged. The latter could set him up for a possible third party run, which he has threatened if he felt he was treated unfairly by the Republican National Committee.

What’s most surprising about the piece, however, is that it’s not a rail against the establishment or the rules, but rather makes the case on behalf of voters arguing that they deserve a better system for selecting a presidential nominee. It’s a change for Trump who has spent weeks lamenting the system and was called out by Sen. Ted Cruz for “whining.”

The RNC has already jumped on this story releasing a memo that explains how and when campaigns were given the information on each state’s delegate process, but their response seems to merely further Trump’s additional point that the party isn’t even defending the rules, they’re just saying this is what they are.

Trump makes no argument for what he would replace the system with, but does say that he will work with the party to come up with a new system to “restore the faith and the franchise” of voters. This will play well with his supporters many of whom have said they support Trump because of his ability get things done.

What’s also playing heavily in Trump’s favor is that many voters, and even some political insiders, are not familiar with each state’s local delegate selection process, meaning he has more freedom in building a narrative over the next few months. At this point in recent history, the party frontrunner has been pretty clearly decided already and so the local selection of delegates has played little or no importance in the national media.

Ahead of next week’s big primary in New York, which looks like a Trump blowout, his timing on this latest campaign messaging reset could be his best move yet. Riding a likely wave of victories in the East as the frontrunner who will play by the rules he vows to change for the betterment of voters is a powerful combination.

Christie could tip nomination to Trump - WashEx’s David Drucker explains how the New Jersey governor enjoys a surprising amount of control over the state’s 51 delegates: “Gov. Chris Christie could help hand the Republican presidential nomination to Donald Trump because he has unusually tight control over the 51 delegates New Jersey will send to the convention in July. Christie is one of Trump’s biggest boosters and has moved aggressively with county-level party bosses to stack the delegation with loyalists who owe him favors…The governor enjoys an unusual command over a delegation that isn’t necessarily as pro-Trump as might be assumed from the billionaire’s dominance of the slate. If Christie makes a move, he could cash in his delegates’ IOUs and lead them into a rival camp.”

Fox News Sunday: Trump campaign leader - Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, faces Mr. Sunday in wake of the news that he will not face charges for allegedly assaulting a female reporter. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.

Trump’s favorite Bible verse - BuzzFeed: “Donald Trump said in a radio interview on Thursday that his favorite teaching in the Bible is the Old Testament punishment of an ‘eye for eye.’ ‘Is there a favorite Bible verse or Bible story that has informed your thinking or your character through life, sir?’ asked host Bob Lonsberry on WHAM 1180 AM. Trump responded, ‘Well, I think many. I mean, when we get into the Bible, I think many, so many. And some people, look, an eye for an eye, you can almost say that. That’s not a particularly nice thing. But you know, if you look at what’s happening to our country…’”

Cruz lays out his own primary map - WaPo: “Cruz’s decision to lavish attention on parochial power brokers 3,000 miles away from the next big contest underscored his novel approach to the final three months of the Republican presidential race: He is effectively creating his own primary calendar, map and ­electorate in hopes of cobbling together enough support to ­prevent front-runner Donald Trump from clinching the nomination outright. It is a strategy born of necessity for the senator from Texas…With polls showing Cruz running well behind Trump in New York and five other northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states voting in the next two weeks, the pressure for him to make gains elsewhere is intensifying.”

Cruz gets icy treatment N.Y. GOP gala - The Hill: “Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz got the cold shoulder from a room of 800 Republicans at the New York City GOP gala Thursday night, receiving little interaction from the audience as he went through his usual stump speech…Media at the scene reported guests walking around and talking during Cruz’s address.”

Cruz stands by calling McConnell a liar - RCP: “Sen. Ted Cruz said Thursday that he has no regrets about his fight last summer with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in an MSNBC Town Hall…‘I cannot believe [McConnell] would tell a flat-out lie,’ Cruz said on the floor of the Senate July 24. ‘Every word I said there is true and accurate. No one disputed a word I said,’ [Cruz] told the audience Thursday. ‘The reaction in the Senate is how dare you say that out loud? They’re not upset that somebody lied to them!’”

[GOP delegate count: Trump 755; Cruz 545; Kasich 143 (1,237 needed to win)]

WaPo: “The House will miss a Friday deadline for adopting its annual budget resolution due to an intra-party fight, delivering a blow to Speaker Paul D. Ryan who pledged to show this year that Republicans could smoothly handle the basic job of funding the government. House conservatives have balked at supporting a budget that includes the spending deal struck last year by Republican and Democratic congressional leaders that would provide an additional $30 billion in funding this year, depriving GOP leaders of the votes needed to adopt the fiscal blueprint. There is no practical impact from failing to meet the April 15 deadline laid out in the law governing the budget process, but it is an embarrassment for Ryan who came to prominence in Congress as chairman of the Budget Committee.”

Over time, words can stray far from their original meaning, and even change completely. The New Yorker looks at the lost meaning for virility and how our modern understanding is much different than its Roman roots: “The Romans made virility more complex and demanding. The main challenge for Greek men who aspired to andreia had been insufficient brawniness…But the defining quality of virilitas was self-control. Virilitas was an ethic of moderation, in which strong or ‘vigorous’ powers were kept deliberately reined in, in the manner of a standing army. If a man became too aggressive, too emotional, or too brawny—too manly—his virilitas could be lost…Today’s unnamed virility, though, has a different, gentler tone and intensity. The sweet spot for contemporary manliness often seems to be a less troubled kind of virilitas…”

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Real Clear Politics Averages
National GOP nomination:
Trump 39 percent; Cruz 32.3 percent; Kasich 20.5 percent
National Dem nomination: Clinton 46.8 percent; Sanders 45.8 percent
General Election: Clinton vs. Trump: Clinton +10.4 points
Generic Congressional Vote: Republicans +0.5

From the opening bell it was clear that not only were the gloves off, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were packing brass knuckles. Fox News: “[Clinton and Sanders] shelved the niceties and went right after each other’s perceived weak spots at a must-win Democratic primary debate Thursday night where the front-runner challenged her rival’s grasp of complex policy issues – and the insurgent senator hammered her as a Wall Street pal just now talking the talk of working Americans.

On the Waterfront - The Atlantic takes a deep dive into a debate that tossed any notions of kumbayah and went into direct attacks. “At one point, Wolf Blitzer, like a disapproving national father, felt compelled to cut in. ‘You’re both screaming at each other,’ he implored. ‘The viewers won't be able to hear either of you.’ Clinton pursued a strategy of hugging President Obama close—closer even, perhaps, than she had done in previous debates, which was no mean feat. Sanders, meanwhile, worked to paint Clinton as a mealy-mouthed candidate of a broken status quo.”

Ahem - HuffPo: “Sanders (I-Vt.) argued during Thursday’s Democratic debate that the Palestinian people should be treated with dignity and that the United States shouldn’t always kowtow to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Hours earlier, Sanders’ campaign suspended its new Jewish outreach director for advocating the exact same positions.”

#mediabuzz - Host Howard Kurtz breaks down the Democratic debate coverage in wake of a spirited battle between Clinton and Sanders New York. Watch Sunday at 11 a.m. ET, with a second airing at 5 p.m.

Big Obama donors slow to warm to Hillary - Bloomberg: “At least 33 of the 145 political donors who gave $25,000 or more in 2012 to Priorities USA, the super-PAC that backed Obama’s re-election and now supports Clinton’s bid, have yet to contribute to either Clinton's campaign or affiliated outside committees, according to a Bloomberg analysis of the most recently available Federal Election Commission records… Some longtime Democratic donors have been quiet so far, including trial lawyer and Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla, and former San Francisco Giants CEO Bill Neukom.

[Dem delegate count: Clinton 1758; Sanders 1069 (2,383 needed to win)]

Fox News: “Move over, German shepherds. A new police dog is coming to town. Russian police are hoping to turn Welsh corgis – the preferred breed of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth – into bomb-sniffing hounds that can squeeze into tight spaces during search operations, state news agency RIA Novosti reports. ‘It is not certain that they will be able to join the ranks of service dogs, but even if they don’t the experiment will be interesting for everyone. We will try out the breed in search operations,’ said Elena Haikova, head of Moscow’s canine unit. Haikova believes the low height of the corgis will make them effective in sniffing out contraband or bombs in tight spaces.”

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.