Finally, some improved clarity now that the results of the latest “Super Tuesday” primary contests are in. Let’s examine what they tell us and what remains uncertain.
Hillary (HRC) vs. Bernie (BS)
HRC collected a passel of delegates with her four wins yesterday. She is far ahead of her rival in the popular vote; less so in delegates amassed. None the less, her lead now is formidable and BS faces a very steep, uphill climb to the nomination. All this is now very clear.
What remains more uncertain is what Sanders will do next? Will he continue to soldier on, running a campaign to promote his candidacy? Or, does he start to pivot away from that endeavor and begin the process of supporting HRC?
BS has indicated that he will back HRC if she is the nominee. But, he has qualified that pledge by stating that he wants to see his opponent adopt more of his policies. Additionally, he has yet to promise that he will bend every effort to bring his supporters on board for HRC in the general election. (1)
Sanders’ hedging is problematic and for two reasons: First, HRC’s chances of winning the national election would be diminished if Sanders’ followers do anything other than vote for her. Second, if, to gain their vote, she moves herself too close to BS’ positions, she will get herself branded by the GOP as “Sanders-lite” or “Bernie in a pants suit”. That would not be a good thing.
The key now is to watch BS’ behavior, especially as he continues to campaign and vis a vis HRC. It may be a month or two in coming, but watch for the “pivot” cited above.
Primadonald vs. the Stop Trump Plan
As good as yesterday’s results were for HRC, they were even better for Primadonald who won all five of the primaries contested. The Stop Trump plan, represented by Ted Cruz and John Kasich, must now rely on beating the billionaire in the next key primary; that of Indiana. If Primadonald makes another big delegate haul in the Hoosier state, then for all intents and purposes, it’s game over!!
To prevent that from happening, Kasich and Cruz have formed a coalition where one helps the other. Specifically, Kasich has stopped campaigning and running ads in Indiana, thus leaving the field open to Cruz. Reciprocally, Cruz will do the same thing in New Mexico and Oregon on Kasich’s behalf. The rationale here is for Kasich voters to shift to Cruz in Indiana making the Texas senator more competitive against Primadonald, and for Cruz voters to ally with Kasich in New Mexico and Oregon to make the Ohio governor more competitive against the same opponent. The ultimate goals are to win just enough delegates in those three states to keep Primadonald from getting to the minimum number needed to become the GOP’s presumptive nominee going into the convention, this leading to an open conclave where anything could happen. (2)
All the foregoing said, while we seem headed towards a Primadonald vs. HRC match-up next November, there are plenty on interesting developments that are going to unfold and settle matters once and for all.
- By way of contrast, when HRC lost the nomination to Obama in 2008, she pledged her support for his candidacy and did so without qualification. She campaigned for him with vigor and did everything she could to bring her supporters along. Now, her chances of winning the presidency would be significantly improved if BS took exactly the same tack, which to date, he hasn’t.
- In a number of polls of potential Republican voters, a very clear majority of them indicated that the candidate who wins the popular vote count should be the party’s nominee. These same poll respondents would likely rebel if, in an open convention, someone other than the top vote-getter was chosen as the GOP’s nominee.