Saturday Morning Post: The Weekly View from Washington
With Hillary Clinton all but a mathematical lock for the Democratic nomination, concern within the party this week shifted to how Bernie Sanders will wind down his bid. The contest between them has grown embittered of late, and the worry in Clintonworld is that Sanders will reject a peacemaking that encourages his supporters to close ranks behind her. Indeed, Sanders can keep the rhetorical heat on — as he did this week after his decisive loss in New York, launching new characterological attacks on Clinton as he campaigned in Pennsylvania — and he can do so all the way to the July convention. There, he can continue to make life difficult for the nominee-in-waiting by demanding major shakeups of the primary process and the party platform.
But the bigger question for the democratic socialist from Vermont is what kind of role he’d like to carve for himself into the fall and beyond. Launching from relative obscurity last year, he built a movement that raised a staggering $182 million through the end of March. He closed the month with about $17.5 million left, a stash he can use to seed a new political organization pushing the revolution he says the country needs. That money, his ability to tap those who yielded it for more, and to further develop those foot soldiers into a more permanent grassroots force could provide Sanders a potent national platform. Meanwhile, the longest-serving independent in Congressional history (prior to this campaign) now considers himself a Democrat for life, his campaign manager said this week. Those needn’t be mutually exclusive. That is, Sanders can work within the party once he returns to the Senate while honing an external organization that pressures Democrats to keep moving left on his priorities.
To pull it off, Sanders will need to demonstrate a skill he hasn’t shown in abundance over three decades on Capitol Hill: An ability to collaborate, and compromise, with his colleagues. For evidence he’s inclined to learn, watch how he handles the remainder of the primary.
• Republicans eye veep picks
One sign the Republican primary is nearing a conclusion, even if that conclusion still holds the possibility of being a historic mess: The remaining candidates are actively considering their options for filling out their respective tickets. Advisers to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich say they are actively vetting possible vice presidential candidates, while Donald Trump maintains he is thinking about his options but will hold off on vetting until he secures the nomination. If the fight for the nomination spills into the Cleveland convention, the candidates could end up selecting their running mates based on their ability to deliver delegates.
• Hillary will consider a female No. 2
Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, will consider picking another woman to round out her ticket if she secures the Democratic nomination. John Podesta, her campaign manager, confirmed “there is no question” that Clinton will vet female options though he declined to name anybody in particular. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren would presumably rank at or near the top of that list, considering her sway with liberals Clinton could need to court after retiring Bernie Sanders. An all-female ticket would make history, but there’s precedent for it in a sense: then- Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton doubled down on his own profile as a young moderate Southerner by tapping Tennessee Sen. Al Gore as his running mate in the 1992 campaign. Fortune
• Trump will tone it down, his new campaign chief says
Paul Manafort, the old Republican hand Donald Trump hired to professionalize his teetering campaign, is assuring party leaders that the front-runner plans to moderate his tone and work on improving his image in the general election. Manafort delivered his comments behind closed doors to members of the Republican National Committee. They’re the latest evidence of his rapidly growing influence in the Trump operation. A veteran lobbyist with deep ties to the Republican establishment that Trump has spent his bid antagonizing, Manafort is hustling to assure that crowd that his candidate will address his most glaring vulnerabilities if he secures the nod. New York Times
Around the Water Cooler
• What Trump’s business history says about his leadership
If you missed it this week, today’s a good day to catch up on our latest cover story, dedicated to examining what Donald Trump’s private-sector experience reveals about how he’d lead the country. It’s a decidedly mixed bag. Among other revelations from the deep dive: Trump’s net worth is only about a third of what he claims; he once sued an architecture critic for $500 million; and he’s piled up debt recklessly, helping Trump Hotels lose money over the fifteen years he ran it. Since Trump has made his business acumen among the central rationales for his candidacy, his record will earn more scrutiny if he secures the Republican nomination. This is an important piece of that story. Fortune
• Trump campaign can’t account for $6 million in veteran charity money
Remember back in January, when Donald Trump staged a fundraiser for veterans instead of participating in a Fox News debate, because he was feuding with the network? At the time, the candidate talked up the event’s $6 million haul, money that campaign said would be spread to two dozen vets groups. Now, it’s not clear how much has actually been distributed and what’s become of the remainder. Trump’s adviser for veterans issues says he doesn’t know what happened to the money and doesn’t sound anxious to find out. Daily Beast
• Did the American Dream just die?
That’s what our Dan Primack argues in response to survey results from Legg Mason showing 55 percent of affluent investors, defined as those with more than $200,000 in investment assets, believe the American Dream is no longer within reach. This is a population, Primack reasons, that by any reasonable standard should feel grateful for the comfort and security that protects them: “How can most Americans aspire to the American Dream when those who have achieved it refuse to acknowledge their own success?” For a stark view of the alternative, consider that a recent survey by the Fed found 47 percent of respondents would have trouble scrounging up $400 to pay for an emergency. Fortune