Over the past several weeks, there might have been some reason to hope that the ongoing presidential campaign drama would abate so that we could see a candidate from each party emerge as the unquestioned front-runner. It hasn’t happened; at least not with the clarity we were looking for. With that said, here’s a run-down of where matters stand.

Republicans:  Primadonald has won far more primaries, collected far more votes and delegates than either of his two competitors, yet is still far from a shoo-in as the GOP nominee. Indeed, the odds of there being a brokered convention are somewhat better than those favoring the real estate mogul getting the nod on the first ballot.

Working against Primadonald is the GOP establishment that is convinced that he will get trounced in the general election and therefore must be deprived of the nomination. That has occasioned the rise of an “Anybody but Trump” movement. But, who might that “anybody” be?

There has been some movement towards Ted Cruz in spite of the fact that he is widely hated by his Senate colleagues (1). Certainly, the Texas lawmaker has the second best record when it comes to primaries won along with votes and delegates amassed. Then there’s John Kasich who is a distant third even though in one poll after another, he comes out ahead of HRC in one-on-one match-ups. You have to wonder, “Where’s the love?”

Given this unsettled state of affairs, conservative pundits have taken to putting forward, House Speaker Paul Ryan, as a compromise candidate who could unite the various factions within the Republican Party. Hearing this, Ryan has stepped forward and asserted (at least for now) that he doesn’t believe it would be right if a person who chose not to run for president, still gets to be the nominee. As he put it “If you want to be president, then you should run for president”.

How all this plays out remains to be seen. But, this much is certain:  The Republican Party will be faced with two very bad choices; i.e. nominate Primadonald and accept his likely loss in the general election, or nominate someone else and face a backlash from Trump’s supporters who might write their man’s name in on their ballots or simply choose not to vote.

Democrat:  HRC’s ascendance to the nomination is no longer assured. In fact, if she loses the NY primary to Bernie Sanders (BS), her candidacy is in real jeopardy. BS has won six of the last seven contests and clearly has momentum on his side. If that surge continues, HRC will have to depend on the so-called “super-delegates” to get her to the minimum number needed to win the nomination. While she has commitments from that select group, its members are by means firmly locked up and could jump ship and rush to support Sanders.

You can get a “feel” for how the Democrats’ nomination process has heated up by the change in tone in the exchanges between the two candidates. Attack lines have become more personal and have less and less to do with policy differences. The key now is to watch the results from the NY primary. If HRC prevails, then we have some real clarity. But, if BS wins, then the prize is up for grabs.

In a campaign season that is totally unlike any other, might we see a general election contest between two anti-establishment candidates in the forms of Primadonald and BS. That’s a hard one to wrap your mind around.

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  1. Cruz has received an endorsement only from Utah Senator Mike Lee who, for the past two years, has been riding Cruz’ Tea Party “coattails”. In sharp contrast, there were these bon mots from SC Senator Lindsey Graham:  “IF (Ted Cruz) were shot dead on the Senate floor, there would be no one who would convict the shooter”. OUCH!!!!!

 

 

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