by Dan from Nevada
With Hillary Clinton’s huge victory in South Carolina on Saturday, and with polls clearly putting her in the lead in most of the Super Tuesday states, it is becoming clear that Clinton will win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. Clinton has a much easier path ahead of her than she had in 2008. And she will cruise to the Democratic Convention, unless the Republicans finally succeed in their fantasy of bringing her down because of her e-mail account, or Benghazi, or the donors to the Clinton Foundation, or some other crazy trumped-up “scandal” they think they can accuse her of. Some of my right-leaning friends swear she’ll be in prison before election day, yet it’s Donald Trump who has to go to court to defend his fraudulent “Trump University.”
There are 11 Democratic primaries on Tuesday March 1: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia. Presently, Bernie Sanders is only expected to win his home state of Vermont, and may win one or two other states at best. Hillary may win up to 10 states, with 8 probably the worst case scenario. She will certainly win Texas, Georgia and Virginia, which are the three largest states up for grabs.
Hillary does have a problem with young voters. When I entered my caucus in Reno, Nevada on Saturday February 20, the Bernie side of the room was made up of people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. The Hillary side of the room looked like Bingo night in Shady Acres Senior Living Residencies in Boca Raton, Florida. But she’ll get over it in the general election. She’s not some vanilla Democrat (Martin O’Malley anyone?); she’s likely the first female president in U.S. history. That’s groundbreaking, and something people can get excited about.
What is really fascinating after Donald Trump’s victories in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, is that he is polling well everywhere and that those poll numbers are translating into votes. Trump polls well in the West, in the South, in the Northeast, and in the Midwest. When a candidate does well everywhere, they win the nomination. There has been such a focus on who is in second place, that people forget that the candidate in first place is the one who ends up running for president in the general election.
Not only is Trump winning most places, he isn’t losing anywhere. There are states where Cruz does poorly, and states where Rubio does poorly. But Trump will get between 25% and 40% in every state. Rubio and Cruz don’t have that ability at this point. And as long as those two stay in the race and cancel each other out, by the time Trump needs to win a majority of the primary voters in any one state, he’ll already be too far ahead.
There’s this concept that eventually Republican voters will rally around the “establishment” alternative; i.e. Marc Rubio. That’s why everybody’s endorsing Rubio. But Rubio’s running out of opportunities to win enough votes. Thus far he’s placed 3rd, 5th, 2nd, and 2nd. The highest vote share he’s received was 23.9%. Kasich is still holding on to the dream of being that “establishment” alternative, but all he’s offered thus far is hugs to his few remaining supporters. In Nevada, Kasich did horribly. As for Ben Carson, he hasn’t dropped out yet; he’s waiting for Super Tuesday. But I don’t think he’ll register much anymore. Unlike Kasich who could possibly get 20% somewhere, Ben Carson will not likely top 10% in any remaining states.
On Tuesday March 1, Republicans vote in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia.
Right now, Trump’s appeal with Republican voters gives him a chance to win almost all of those states. Texas is probably going to Ted Cruz, but Trump will at least compete down there. Rubio doesn’t have Florida to help him on Tuesday, and Kasich doesn’t have Ohio. Given the results this past Tuesday in Nevada, Trump’s momentum hasn’t slowed. It is pretty clear Trump will win at least 7 of 12 states on Super Tuesday. And if Cruz or Rubio win other states, they will likely cancel each other out. Unless Rubio pulls off a stunning comeback, this race is probably over. Carson, Kasich, Rubio, and Cruz will still take votes away from each other, leaving Trump the space he needs to win enough states on Super Tuesday to pull way ahead. And if Ted Cruz emerges as the second-place finisher on Tuesday, will the Republican Party dump Rubio and try to build a coalition around Ted Cruz? If there is any Republican more hated than Donald Trump by the Republican Party, it is probably Ted Cruz.
A Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump race is exactly what the Democrats want, and exactly what Republicans want to avoid. The reason for that isn’t because Hillary is guaranteed a win; you never know what’s going to happen. It is because the Republican Party cannot control Donald Trump. They cannot control his messaging. They cannot control his financing. They are afraid of what he will say to them if they try to stop him. If they start criticizing him, that will probably give him a boost. A lot of conservative voters dislike the Republican Party machine.
But Trump is trying to win the election by gaining so much free press coverage that he doesn’t have to advertise. He doesn’t need to get name recognition, as he’s one of the most famous people in the country. That’s why Trump doesn’t play by the rules. That may help him now, but will hurt him later on.
Hillary Clinton isn’t controlled by the Democratic Party, because she is the Democratic Party. “Clinton” and “Democrat” are like “Apple” and “Pie”.
And if Trump stays on the hard right, that will cause more problems. Republicans don’t succeed when they have far-right candidates. The last truly right-wing candidate Republicans ran successfully was George W. Bush, but only in his second term. He ran as a moderate during the 2000 election. And by the way, he lost that election in the popular vote.
In 2008, John McCain really was the best candidate the Republicans had…until he added Sarah Palin to the ticket. But in the primaries, he was a candidate people could accept after all the other crazies were eliminated. He was sane, rational, and press friendly. He thoughtfully answered questions people asked of him. He wasn’t as good as the 2000 John McCain, but better than the others in the race. In 2012, Mitt Romney was clear and away the best candidate. He wasn’t crazy. He was a governor from a liberal state. He was a plain vanilla Republican. He didn’t have sprinkles, but he wasn’t full-on nuts. If you Googled his name, you got his website, not an obscure and disgusting sexual definition (I definitely don’t want to see “Santorum” in my lifetime).
But in 2016, despite all the Republican gains in Congress in previous years…caused by an unrivaled misinformation campaign…who did the Republicans have running for President in 2016?
Jeb Bush? Nobody wanted another Bush Presidency. The last two Bush presidencies ended in financial instability and I cannot believe the press thought that Republicans forgot about how horrible George W. Bush was. I was told by CNN that “George W. Bush is still popular in South Carolina”. I guess not!
Ben Carson? Are you freaking kidding me? He seems mentally unstable, on drugs, or both. Picture this: an African-American candidate pleading us to believe his claim that he attacked his own mother with a hammer; a claim his own mother disputes. People are questioning how he was ever a brain surgeon.
John Kasich I thought might have a chance until people actually started voting, and he wasn’t getting any votes. That’s kind of a deal breaker.
That leaves Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Ted Cruz, who is so pro-Texas, anti-New York and anti-Left Coast values that his wife only grudgingly works for Goldman Sachs. And she’s a vegetarian from San Luis Obispo, California. Oh, and they both went to Harvard.
Marco Rubio seems to be the only threat to Hillary Clinton, and yet he might actually be a worse candidate than Trump or Cruz. Sure, on the surface he fits the checklist. Young, Latino, good looking, comes from a modest background, beautiful family, moved through the ranks in his political career; Speaker of the House in Florida, U.S. Senator, gave the response to the State of Union Address where we learned of his love of country and of bottled water. But Rubio is clearly green. He doesn’t have the intellect to challenge Hillary Clinton. She’ll rip his record to shreds and tear him apart on a debate stage. He’d be a fine choice for a Vice Presidential nominee, but Presidential nominee? Sorry, but the voters clearly don’t like him, or else he’d be doing way better.
Donald Trump could still lose the nomination, should the media uncover a scandal big enough to derail him. But thus far his supporters don’t care. And his supporters are still a large voting block. The Republican Party could try to block him somehow, but that would ultimately doom the other candidate if he wasn’t legitimately chosen by the party voters. So if that leaves us with Donald Trump, who the heck is he going to choose as his running mate? This is clearly a wildcard decision for a wildcard candidate.
Hillary Clinton has Democratic Party ideas. Donald Trump has no ideas. Hillary Clinton believes that good policy making involves crunching the numbers, exploring the facts, and determining the best outcomes based on empirical data. Donald Trump believes in himself. And believing in himself resulted in four of his companies filing for bankruptcy. Hillary Clinton’s success comes from years of experience. Donald Trump’s success is an illusion. He’s a con artist, a hustler, and sadly, he’ll get at least 60 million votes in November. That’s a lot, just not enough to beat Hillary Clinton.