Friday, April 8, 2016

This Campaign This Damn Pain III: The Revenge

This past Tuesday, Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders won their respective party primaries in Wisconsin, the sacred American wellspring of all cheese products. What does this mean for the two parties going forward?

Oh God, we still have to go forward? Couldn't we have stopped in Wisconsin? Do we really have to keep doing this? 

Settle down. Yes, the race for President is still far from over and we have miles to go before we drink ourselves into a stupor under the kitchen table. 


For the Republicans, Ted Cruz's win in Wisconsin means the likelihood of a contested convention has increased. Donald Trump is still in the lead with delegates won but the path to getting the 1,237 he needs to secure the GOP nomination for President is a lot more narrow. So far, Trump has been polling at about 30% which was more than enough to counter a crowded lackluster field of opponents. But the field has winnowed down to Ted Cruz and John Kasich with the Cruz campaign strongly positioned to fill the vacuum. 

Here's a scientific question: can a void fill a vacuum? 

Trump's still holding at 30% but Cruz's numbers are growing and passing Trump's.  Trump needs to start gaining support, not just holding on to what he has, to effectively challenge Cruz and with Trump's even more tone deaf than usual comments on subjects like nuclear weapons and abortion, that doesn't look very likely. 

With less than 1,237 delegates, the odds are Trump would not win the party's nomination on the first ballot. The way the rules work, subsequent ballots frees up more of the delegates to vote for whoever they want to, not necessarily for the candidate that won their respective states. The Never Trump people will have a field day with that. They'll dance around the convention floor and sing, "Ding! Dong! The Trump is dead! The Trump is dead! The Trump is dead! Ding! Dong! The terrible Trump is dead!" 

Then they'll look at the alternative and utter a collective, "Oh shit!" 

Yep, that leaves Ted Cruz.   

But Ted Cruz, Trump's closest challenger in the primaries so far, is in an even less tenable position to get to the magic 1,237 number, particularly in primaries in the northeast where Cruz's patented line of evangelical bullshit will not go over very well.  And among those northeastern primaries? New York. How does New York feel about the sniveling Senator from Texas. Perhaps I'll let the New York Daily News do the talking on that point. 


Yeah, there are a lot of New Yorkers who are not going to forgive Cruz's snide remarks about the failings of "New York values" as evidenced by the "zero's welcome" he received in the Bronx. 

But beyond New York, Cruz faces an uphill battle to gain support from a Republican electorate, even one so desperate to avoid Donald Trump getting the Republican nomination. That's because as Ted Cruz gains notoriety, he's also gaining increased scrutiny for positions and remarks that clearly reveal him to not be too far off from Donald Trump's rhetoric. 

That leaves John Kasich who is the governor of Ohio and according to some rudimentary research I've done on Google appears to be also running for President.  Well, isn't he the cutest little thing. 

Kasich has won only 1 state so far (Ohio, quel suprise!) but thinks he has a chance to rack up some delegates as the campaign moves into the northeast where he stands as a more palatable choice to Trump or Cruz. And by more "palatable", I mean Kasich is covered in slightly less shit than Trump or Cruz. 

But Kasich's road to 1,237 isn't just narrow or difficult, it is completely impossible. Still, if Kasich can score a couple of wins in the northeast or at least have a strong enough showing to secure some apportioned delegates, this cuts further into Trump's count which reduces the odds of Trump getting to 1,237 and increases the odds of a brokered convention.  

And boy that is going to be a mess. Also entertaining as hell but mostly, a mess. 

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, things have taken a turn for the nasty. While the conventional wisdom is that Hillary Clinton's path to secure her party's nomination is very clear and virtually insurmountable, Bernie Sanders refuses to go away. Seriously, Hillary's standing by the door holding Bernie's hat and coat while Bernie is still sitting on the sofa asking for another glass of Canada Dry

After his major upset win in the Michigan primary a few weeks back and his big win in Wisconsin on Tuesday, Sanders looks more like a candidate building up steam instead of losing it. And in the process, Sanders and his team have gotten a bit hostile. Sanders recently said Clinton was "not qualified to be President", a rather harsh charge to make this late in the primary season. Hillary Clinton for her part is equally testy with Sanders, saying she was sick and tired of all his lies about her, revealing a level of irritation and impatience that does not look good on her. 

So Clinton and Sanders are all revved up and heading for New York and the Democratic primary there. Clinton calls New York home and won two elections for US Senator there in 2000 and 2006. Sanders was born in Brooklyn and from his accent and tone, he clearly still carries Brooklyn around with him in his heart and his subway tokens in his back pocket. (Apparently Bernie doesn't know how Metro Cards work.) 

Hillary Clinton is looking for a clean and decisive victory in New York. She wants to turn her attention towards Trump, Cruz and the Republicans and she can't afford more distractions from Bernie Sanders. But Sanders thinks the momentum is in his favor. A strong finish in New York, if not an outright victory, puts more gas in the Sanders campaign tank. What happens when the race gets to California? For now, Clinton has the polling edge there but if Sanders comes off a win or at least a strong finish in New York, his left leaning progressive appeal could produce strong results out west. Maybe not enough to get all the delegates but enough for Sanders to make a case for himself at a (Really? These guys too?) brokered convention. 

Could it be both the Democrats AND the Republicans are facing brokered conventions this summer?

Now that's a scary thought. Do we deserve so much entertainment in one summer?  

That's enough for today. I'll be back tomorrow with another new post. Until then, remember to be good to one another.

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