Jonas Gray. Before going undrafted, scoring four touchdowns on Monday Ni..."/> Jonas Gray. Before going undrafted, scoring four touchdowns on Monday Ni..."/> Jonas Gray. Before going undrafted, scoring four touchdowns on Monday Ni..."/>

50 States of Gray: So Here We Are…

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I’m Jonas Gray. Before going undrafted, scoring four touchdowns on Monday Night Football and bouncing around the NFL making the most of every chance I get, I was a kid from Pontiac, Michigan whose mother instilled in me a sense of hard work and service.

At Notre Dame, I enrolled in College of Arts and Letters, and majored in English and political science. One day (hopefully not anytime soon), I hope to put that poli sci degree to good use, be it as a political commentator or through public service. In the meantime, I’m going to spend the election cycle here at The Outside Game breaking down the presidential landscape in layman’s terms.

Let’s see where this wild primary season has left us.

The GOP

Thats all folks…

You can officially call the Republican nominating process over. Last man standing Donald Trump has secured the 1,237 Delegates (both committed and non-committed) needed to clinch the nomination, and with that comes with some perks.

No more “self-funding” for The Trump Campaign

Donald Trump earlier this primary season said he would “self-fund” his campaign while he sparred with the Republican National Committee, but now he’s playing the General Election game. As the presumptive nominee and the Party’s leading man, he can now joint fundraise with the RNC per their agreement. A week ago in Los Angeles during their first joint fundraiser, they collectively were able to raise $6 millions to add to the Republican war chest. Not all of that will go to the Trump Campaign given the federal campaign finance rules, but he will get a big chunk of that. So much money and so many attack ads – this General Election season can’t come fast enough.

Unity, well sort of…

As for the many calls to unify the Republican Party you can add two important names to the #OKNeverSayNeverTrump movement that you’d least expect. The first is South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who first endorsed Jeb Bush’s poor showing only to jump on the #NeverTrump movement. At first an ally for Ted Cruz, Graham is now behind close doors asking for the party to unify behind The Donald. As for the second? Remember the guy Trump called “Lil Marco?” Yes, you’ve guessed it, his former primary sparring partner Marco Rubio says he will be attending the convention and supporting the parties nominee. That said, he won’t take back anything he’s said in the past about Trump – oh like calling him a “con-artist.”

TOPSHOT – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses a press conference following his victory in the Florida state primary on March 15, 2016 in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The win in Florida for Trump sent rival Marco Rubio, the US senator from the Sunshine State, crashing out of the campaign. The 69-year-old billionaire also won in Illinois and North Carolina. / AFP / RHONA WISE (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)

While the party of Lincoln and Reagan are slowly warming up to Donald Trump, Mr. Trump isn’t so happy about Republicans taking their sweet time to endorse his presumptive nomination. At a campaign rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico after hearing Gov. Susana Martinez would be a no-show, Trump somehow connected the Martinez to Syrian refugees entering the country saying, “It’s your Governors fault,” and “She’s not doing the job” – to many cheers of course. Let me just state the obvious: Donald Trump will not win the Presidency if he does not broaden his appeal to Hispanics and women, and attacking Republican Gov. Martinez of New Mexico, the most popular Hispanic Female in the Grand Old Party, is the last thing you want to do. Oh, and just as Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan start to iron out their differences, the Speaker then came out to support the Martinez’s job performance.

Democrat Party

You can’t keep a good man down

Just when you think Bernie Sanders is starting to lose steam, he finds a way to stay relevant – not just in this race – but in national news. No, not just because of his tons of $27 small donors or his crowded campaign rallies, but because he’s simply proven he’s here to stay. But for how long? Until they say he can’t win? Wait, they already said that? Well, lets just say he’s here, and leave it at that.

OAKLAND, CA – MAY 30: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders greets fans at Game Seven of the Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 30, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Sanders made headlines a few times in the past few weeks, first by saying he will support someone taking the place of the DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, going so far as to say he will put fundraising behind her primary opponent. Sanders has a whole lot of reasons why he wants to axe the incumbent, and it’s well understood. Just before the debate between Senator Sanders and Trump started to gain some steam, his opponent, the Democrat’s “presumptive nominee,” put out a statement calling it “inappropriate that [Trump] would debate the second place finisher.”

Can we trust you?

An independent investigation led by the State Department’s Inspector General into former Sec. Clinton’s emails came out and simply said “you broke the rules.” Clinton didn’t get lawful permission to use her private email, and she could have knowingly harmed National Security. However, they were quick to say they doubted that it harmed national security. That remains to be seen, right?

Sticking to the issues

Hillary Clinton has made sure to stick to the issues and let her surrogates get down and dirty with Trump. Sectary Clinton is fighting a two-front war. She has to walk a thin line not to anger the Sanders supporters by personally attacking him (or attacking him at all for that matter). Meanwhile, she’s trying not to lose her very early poll lead on Trump. One of those things has already happened. Latest Polls have a Clinton v. Trump showdown as a statistical dead heat. That’s a stark contrast to about a month ago where Hillary was enjoying a very healthy lead in most polls.

In a possible General Election match up between Clinton v. Trump you have two people with such high name recognition, but also very high unfavorables. Once Hillary does effectively win the nomination, I think these polls will change again, especially in swing states.

Did you know?

For a 3rd party candidate to be invited to Presidential Debate stage, that candidate must poll over 15%. Currently, the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson, a former New Mexico Governor, stands at 10% in the polls.

US Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson walks in Lafayette Park across from the White House during an interview with AFP in Washington, DC, on May 9, 2016.

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is running for president as a Libertarian, just as he did 2012 when he managed to get 1.2 million votes. Regardless of his chances of a win, Johnson is reaching out to undecided Republican voters who are looking for a third-party option and are unconvinced that Donald Trump is the answer. / AFP / Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

On the Horizon

  • Look closely at how much time Hillary Clinton spends in California in the coming days before the June 7th Primary. The Clinton campaign thinks she will have enough delegates to secure the nomination before polls close in California, but doesn’t want to be embarrassed on a night that should be an all around win.
  • Look for more people to join the Trump movement, but theres still some part he has to play and extending an olive branch to rest of his party
  • Closing the book on the Bernie Sanders campaign, but not the political revolution: I doubt Hillary will tap Bernie as her VP pick, but he will still hold an important role in shaping the party platform at the convention – and even have a say who the next DNC chair will be.
  • Time for the ace in the hole…The Democratic party hasn’t been able to use President Obama and the First Lady as surrogates until the primary season is over. Look for that to shake things up a bit in an already highly-anticipating General Election.
  • VP picks on both sides…this could get interesting.

That’s all for now.  Let me know your thoughts.