April 12, 2016

Voters don’t elect presidential nominees. They never have. Party politics aren’t democratic—the will of the party trumps the people—and maybe even Trump. In the modern political era, primaries and caucuses have been played outsized roles in determining nominees, but on a procedural level it’s always been an inside game governed by party delegate selection rules. Communicating that to voters is a challenge both parties are struggling with this spring as the Republican race moves closer to a contested convention and Democrats once again struggle with the influence of super-delegates on their process. Flirting with using arcane party rules to overturn the plurality of its primary voters, the GOP is struggling to find how best to communicate to its voters that, at the end of the day, they don’t really decide. Charges that “the fix is in” have been thrown around both parties, at times rightly so, making unifying both parties after their conventions more difficult.

Donald Trump has been screaming bloody murder about the GOP delegate selection process, calling it unfair and rigged. But the fault is largely his campaign’s for failing to understand the very basics of the nominating system—in some cases losing simply because his campaign didn’t show up. In New York, his children missed deadlines to register to vote for their father. Now Trump’s vocal army of supporters is taking matters into its own hands, making their frustration known with pledged delegates who are anti-Trump, in what is a preview of what the Cleveland aftermath might look like.

John Kasich is delivering a speech Tuesday about the two paths facing the nation: the one he offers, and “into a ditch.” Ted Cruz is spending some time outside the Empire State amid the blow up over his “New York values” criticism. Hillary Clinton is slamming Bernie Sanders once again on his voting record on gun control. And candidate plans don’t bode well for the national debt.

Here are your must-reads:

Must Reads

Trump’s Own Beltway Establishment Guy: The Curious Journey of Don McGahn
Trump’s election lawyer is the ultimate insider [Washington Post]

Campaign 2016: Not Servicing National Debt
Promises by Trump, Cruz, Sanders all raise prospects of more red ink, outside experts say [Wall Street Journal]

Billionaires Fund Anti-Trump Delegate Push
Super PAC mounts state-by-state effort to elect convention delegates who oppose Trump [Politico]

Donald Trump and New York Tabloids Resume Their Elaborate Dance
A symbiotic relationship meets the presidential campaign [New York Times]

Sound Off

“The people out there are going crazy. They’re going absolutely crazy because they weren’t given a vote.” — Donald Trump on Colorado Republicans who selected their convention delegates through a convention, rather than a caucus or primary

“I don’t think that people are going to want a closed convention, I think they’re going to want to give the delegates freedom to make good choices.” — John Kasich in a CNN town hall calling for GOP rules changes to make it easier for him to be nominated

Bits and Bites

Scandal Cast Will Help Fundraise for Hillary Clinton in D.C. [TIME]

Racially Charged Joke by Hillary Clinton and Bill de Blasio Leaves Some Cringing [New York Times]

Donald Trump Says It’s ‘Ridiculous’ for CIA Chief to Reject Waterboarding [TIME]

Hillary Clinton Takes Aim at Sanders on Gun Policies [TIME]

Joe Biden: I’d Like to See a Woman Elected President [TIME]

Donald Trump’s Kids Can’t Vote for Him in New York [TIME]

President Obama Admits the ‘Worst Mistake’ of His Presidency [TIME]

Trump Says Rubio, Kasich, Others Are Possible Cabinet Material [USA Today]

John Kasich to Lay Out ‘Two Paths’: His and Driving ‘Into a Ditch’ [New York Times]

Indiana Delegates Say They’re Getting Hate Mail From Trump Supporters [Indy Star]

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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