REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION
To most of us outside of America, the whole election procedure to select the President of the United States is shrouded in some mystique & mystery, isn’t it? The one thing we do know thought (this side of the water anyway) is that it is a massively expensive, if not an enormous money wasting process. Consequently, we tend to never bother to get our heads around it, and just wait until a winner emerges in true American style with all the mesmerising razzmatazz and tickertape associated with their over-the-top celebrations, eh?
This year is all a bit different despite that, but why? Well, it is because the Republican Party are making a big stir this time, aren’t they? It is all down to one individual, who has taken the country by storm (and that is not a term used here lightly!). He is one Donald Trump. Oh no, he is not actually a politician – well not until now, for sure? In fact, he has made it plain that he despises ALL politicians (and that surely is the biggest part of his appeal to the disgruntled American voters, don’t you think?).
Trump is a loudmouth – but that goes down well in the US, doesn’t it? He is a blaggard to boot – but the Yanks have never been able to see through them, have they? His current platform is based on being a winner – but the seemingly naive Americans never look below the surface to see real facts and identify the falsehoods, do they? He is a boaster extraordinaire – but the ‘all-American’ culture seems to support that, doesn’t it? He is a chancer of long pedigree – but our distant cousins don’t seem able to recognise reckless unqualified idiots, can they?
The British here often don’t know the difference between the two main USA parties of Republican and Democrat, as they haven’t yet got by the Cowboys and Indians era. For simplicity let it be known that in English-speak the Republicans are more like our Conservatives while the Democrats are more similar to our Labour.
Now, Mr Trump is attempting, indeed succeeding no less, to highjack the Republican Party, and moreover railroad it into a completely different policy scenario than it has been used to. There has always been an element of racism within the American culture and Trump is milking that for all it is worth, so is driving deep wedges between communities, but that isn’t the sole secret to his outstanding success so far, is it? No, there are other factors going on as well. Not least of these is that the Republicans have not only in recent times been failing miserably at securing any Presidential credibility (as George W. Bush is deemed an abject failure), but neither indeed getting national implementation of their ideals for nearly a decade – even ineffective President Obama has upstaged them at times on major issues, hasn’t he? Apart from all else though, the current set of Republican candidates are actually all a bunch of non-performers – well Trump simply gets away with calling them ‘losers’, doesn’t he?
Many-many long standing Republicans know that current ‘top-of-the-pile’ Trump will be a disaster for their Party, whether or not he achieves his goal of the Presidency. They are mortified that so many political experts and academics are predicting that his nomination is already a foregone conclusion, because of his mass appeal to the bigoted multitude. Therefore the big question is – are the US’s professional pundits actually Right?
Well, the answer (thank goodness?) is ‘possibly NOT’. You see the primary elections for the Republican candidate nominees is quite a complex feast, which therefore makes predictions on results very suspect to say the least, eh? There are a host of interlinked rules, a kaleidoscope of ways delegates are allocated, and a morass of voter profiles to deal with – all that makes it a gamblers nightmare in calculating outcomes & odds, you see?
All the States holding Republican primary and caucus type elections have various allocated numbers of ‘delegates’ to assign to a candidate to be lodged at their National Convention next July. Some such State elections are ‘first-past-the-post (“winner takes all”) while other are ‘proportional representation’ style (the allocation of delegates is split according to votes achieved).
To win the final Republican nomination, someone needs 1,237 such endorsements (out of the total of 2,472), and the objective of all is to reach that magic figure BEFORE they get to the actual Convention – if they don’t then they face a nightmare scenario of trying to cobble-together further sufficient support there. If Trump is in that position when the time comes, he is quite likely to fall at the final hurdle – after all he is not really one of them, is he? Certainly, that point is not lost on Trump now is it? No, he is already chillingly threatening that if he is denied the nomination by the Republicans there, that there will be ‘riots in the streets’ – that is an illuminating measure of his disgusting mobsterish attitude & threatening behaviour isn’t it?
In some States only Republicans are allowed to vote for their candidates in a primary, while in others all voters get to have a say – and it is there that Trump is proving most successful (with the ‘uncommitted’ jumping on the rolling bandwagon?). For Trump to come through he has to continue his success in those types of States where he might expect to win more than half the delegates – but just having lost Ohio which was such a key one, isn’t a good omen for him, is it? He also does better in less-white States for some reason, but not as well in the interior West – so all these complex variables in projections are unfathomable, eh?
As it stands, Trump might still be expected to do very well in up to a dozen and a half States, but perhaps just relative failure in half a dozen others, including critically the likes of Pennsylvania (26 Apr – 71 delegates) and a banker for him California (7 June – 172 delegates), could thwart his ambitions, perhaps? Indeed in going to a contested Convention, he might well be in the majority, while still being up to a hundred short of the magic number for nomination – will he really then pick-up the missing numbers from unpledged delegates, do you think?
Mind you the Republicans might still head-off any kind of final shootout at the Convention OK corral, by appointing a single candidate who can widen their appeal, so see-off Trump in the remaining primaries – the question is though are any of them big enough, care enough about their party, strong enough to sacrifice their personal image, prepared enough to ditch their own ambition, so stand aside and stack their cards? That would give a clear run either to Ted Cruz or John Kasich in a head-to-head with Trump, wouldn’t it?
[Whoever gets the Republican nomination will be battered & bruised, but nevertheless will then have to face the Democrat’s choice – an even bigger battle, eh?]