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A disillusioned ex-staffer explains how Wisconsin Republicans were giddy at how their voter ID law would knock down minority and youth voting in their state. This is what this is about. “It just really incensed me that they started talking about this particular bill, and one of the senators got up and said, ‘We really need to think about the ramifications on certain neighborhoods in Milwaukee and on our college campuses and what this could do for us." Read it here.

John Judis Joins TPM as Editor-At-Large

I'm pleased to announce that my friend John Judis is joining TPM as an Editor-at-Large.

John, who's currently at work on his next book, will become a presence in the Editor's Blog and involved in our coverage of the 2016 election and other topics in a variety of ways. Mainly, I'm just terribly pleased to add John to our masthead because there are few political journalists or writers in the last several decades who've more ably and insightfully fused historical erudition with journalistic reporting to illuminate and explain the great issues of politics, economics and public life in the United States.

Answering Ross Douthat

Ross Douthat has an interesting piece in the Times looking at the slow motion train wreck heading into Cleveland. Particularly, he disagrees with a post I wrote a week ago ("Hell to Pay") in which I said that whatever the technicalities and bylaws of the nomination process, these paled in the face of the legitimacy iceberg Republicans would face if they essentially tossed out the primary and caucus voting process in favor of an establishment figure like a Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney. Now, I'd quibble a bit with Ross's suggestion that I'm 'surprised' by this turn of events. That's not what I said. But the core point of disagreement is a valid one and one that's worth exploring.

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Clinton Needs Sanders

From John Judis ...

One clear lesson from yesterday's results in Wisconsin. It's time for Hillary Clinton and her boosters in the commentariat to stop calling on Bernie Sanders to withdraw. Agreed that he has a very small chance of winning the nomination, but he has some, and he and his supporters are entitled by the American system to get their message heard until the clock really strikes 12. (See Clinton vs. Obama in 2008.) More important, Clinton herself needs to keep campaigning against Sanders. The Wisconsin primary removed the main rationale for Sanders to drop out -- that Clinton needs to focus on Donald Trump. After Wisconsin, we don't know anymore who the Republican nominee is. It's a moving target. If anything, the Democrats might consider secretly boosting Trump, because he would be a lot easier to beat in the fall than a candidate like Paul Ryan or even Ted Cruz (who, believe me, will shift to the center if he gets the nomination).

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Predictions from political betting sites are very much 'take them with a grain of salt' things of course. But I'll note that as of this moment, BetFair.com is showing Donald Trump with a 40% chance of winning the GOP nomination and Ted Cruz with a 32% chance. (This site converts the current odds to percentages.) Again, there's no magic to these sites. They're best seen as accurate projections of what we might call informed conventional wisdom.

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You and What Army?

There was clearly a sea change in elite perception over the week I was away on vacation. Before I left, Donald Trump was still considered the overwhelming favorite for the Republican nomination. Now it's considered at best a 50-50 proposition. And there's an evolving consensus that if he can't clinch the nomination on the first vote, he's finished. This change is not based on nothing. Beyond the chatter of Trump's supposed 'worst week ever', it does seem likely that he'll lose the Wisconsin primary tonight. (Notably, there is as yet only the slightest if any negative impact on his national poll support.) A Wisconsin defeat will have a symbolic impact. More importantly, it will make it another notch more difficult for him to get to the 1237 delegates required to secure the nomination on the first convention ballot.

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