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Your politics briefing: Bernie’s California dreamin’ worries Hillary

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo attend a ceremony after the Memorial Day Parade in Chappaqua on Monday, May 30, 2016. Credit: Getty Images / Eric Thayer

Clinton wants bicoastal win

Hillary Clinton has a strong chance of clinching a majority of pledged delegates for the Democratic nomination with her expected haul from New Jersey’s primary next Tuesday.

So about the last thing she would want in the first hours after declaring herself a presumptive nominee is to lose California to Bernie Sanders after the polls there close later that night.

Which may explain why the Clinton campaign on Monday canceled an event planned for Wednesday in the Garden State’s Mercer County to get an earlier jump on a five-day swing in the Golden State.

Sanders has been there almost continuously for the past two weeks. He says he has an “excellent chance to win here — and perhaps win big.”

A poll last week suggested Sanders’ do-or-die push had brought him to within 2 points of Clinton in California. A poll in New Jersey the previous week showed Clinton ahead by 14 points.

A Sanders win in California will strengthen his case to keep arguing to superdelegates who have declared for Clinton that they should switch sides because he would be a stronger candidate against Donald Trump.

Even if he loses in California, Sanders said Monday, he won't drop out. "Superdelegates don't vote until they're on the floor of the Democratic convention," he said. "That's when they vote."

New Mexico, Montana and South Dakota also have Democratic primaries on June 7.

Memorial Day

Sanders’ and Trump’s Memorial Day messages for their Twitter followers squeezed in campaign message points:

From Trump: “Have a great Memorial Day and remember that we will soon MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

Sanders tweeted, “It’s easy to give speeches about how tough we are, but let us not forget the cost of war on the men and women who serve in our military.” The Vermont senator has mocked Trump as a fake “tough guy” for backing away from a California debate and has criticized Clinton as too hawkish.

Clinton said on Twitter: “Our fallen heroes deserve our profound gratitude for giving their lives to protect our freedom, today and every day.”

She also attended a Memorial Day parade near her home in Chappaqua, with husband Bill and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Sanders marched in a San Francisco parade.

Clinton lead larger than it looks?

NBC News’ political unit took a second look at its most recent poll, which showed Clinton ahead of Trump by only 3 points, and concluded she would be ahead by about 8 points with Bernie Sanders out of the race.

The analysts’ theory is that some Sanders voters who now say they won’t support anyone else would come around to Clinton’s side. “A good deal of the current hard feelings have come from the protracted fight for the Democratic nod,” the report said.

Energizer Bernie

Yahoo News took a deep dive into how the 74-year-old Sanders stands up to the grueling physical demands of his campaign.

He doesn’t follow a rigorous diet and likes diners and Denny’s. He has no exercise routine other than brisk walks and, when he’s home in Vermont, bicycle rides. Genetics don’t explain it — his parents died young.

Sanders’ wife, Jane, said it’s always been his routine to cram as much into a day as possible.

Here and there, age emerges a relevant subject in the race. While Sanders' appeal to younger voters draws attention, the Washington Post notes his fan base among a graying peace-and-love generation.

Independent in wings?

Bill Kristol, the anti-Trump conservative commentator, caught the attention of politics watchers — Trump included— by suggesting that an independent candidate is about to emerge.

“There will be an independent candidate — an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance,” Kristol tweeted. Trump was on Twitter two hours later: “If dummy Bill Kristol actually does get a spoiler to run as an Independent, say good bye to the Supreme Court!”

What else is happening:

  • Animal-rights activists interrupted a Sanders rally in Northern California, trying to rush the podium before security stopped them.
  • A white-supremacist lawyer removed as a Trump delegate to the Republican convention says "they don't need the baggage"....
  • Via Twitter, Trump went on a new rant against a federal judge in California hearing a civil case against Trump University as “very unfair. An Obama pick. Totally biased — hates Trump”...
  • Referred to as "Mexican" by the GOP candidate as he whipped up rally-goers, Judge Gonzalo Curiel actually was born in Indiana, notes the Wall Street Journal.
  • Trump promises a full accounting Tuesday of the $6 million he said he raised at a rally for veterans in January when he boycotted a Fox News debate...
  • Sanders continues his California campaign Tuesday with rallies in Santa Cruz and Monterey...
  • A battle is looming between pro-Clinton and pro-Sanders members of the Democrats’ platform-writing committee over policy toward Israel and the Palestinians, ABC News says...
  • Trump surrogate Ben Carson said on “Fox & Friends” Monday that the country needs to change direction because “America right now is like a cruise ship that is about to go off of Niagara Falls with tremendous carnage and death”...
  • Another potential conflict of interest for Trump crops up in the form of  a boondoggled hotel project in Azerbaijan....
  • Despite protests and an online petition with 40,000 names, The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce says there is no chance Trump’s star will be removed from its Walk of Fame...

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