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It has been a huge week for politics in the US and, more specifically, the presidential nomination race for both parties. Within the last 24 hours both Ohio Governor John Kasich, who has been struggling since the start, and more shockingly Senator Ted Cruz have dropped out of the Republican nominee race.
What this means is that Donald Trump is now the sole contender and de facto nominee for the Republican Party heading into the 2016 election. Trump’s campaign has been decisive and controversial to say the least, with many first seeing it as a joke before becoming concerned by the idea. What is hard to ignore, however, is just how popular his message has been with the Republican grassroots as well as those disenfranchised with what has been referred to as the ‘Establishment’ by both sides of the aisle throughout the long campaign trail. He has ultimately split the ‘Grand Old Party’ with many high ranking members seeing his nomination as a death sentence for the party. It could also have a effect on other races, such as the Congressional elections, which could give Democrats the chance to retake the Senate and possibly, but highly unlikely, the House.
The difficulty for the Republicans has been that Trump has had the popular vote over every other candidate (once upon a time there was a lot of them for the Republicans), and before Cruz and Kasich pulled out he had 1,047 out of the 1,237 delegates needed for nomination. To put that into context, Cruz was on 565 while Kasich trailed far behind on 153, which is less than previous quitter Marco Rubio had. Following the news that Cruz had dropped out, the internet was overwhelmed with messages of disbelief and even Republican supporters posting pictures on Twitter burning their party voter cards voicing their outrage that their party will have Trump as its presidential candidate.
What Trump supporters probably do not want to admit is how much hard work is ahead of their candidate to actually win the presidential election. The Democrats have more states that traditionally vote them than the Republicans have, coupled with the fact that Donald Trump has set new records for his unfavourability, specifically with the female and Hispanic demographics. However, the positives for the ‘Trumpites’ out to ‘Make America Great Again’ is that he has so far received more votes than Mitt Romney (the 2012 candidate) had received at this stage 4 years ago. All in all, for anyone who is not a Trump supporter, it is a bleak prospect.
On the other side of the aisle, the Democrats are quickly moving towards naming Hillary Clinton as their nominee for the election in November. She currently has 2,202 (including the 520 super delegates currently pledged) out of the required 2,383 delegates needed for nomination. Her competitor, Bernie Sanders, currently sits on 1,400 making the upcoming Californian primary an all-important 475 delegate battleground for both candidates. As it stands, most polls suggest that both of the Democrats would beat Trump in November with Clinton currently polling around 7% higher while Sanders is polling higher at 13% more than Trump. The debate within the Democratic supporters however, is what should Sanders do next if he does not win the nomination.
Some have suggested that Clinton would be wise to select him as Vice-President to create a Clinton/Sanders ticket, however most Sanders supporters have voiced their
opinion that if he does fall short he should run as an independent candidate or even to go as far as create his own party. This could be a potentially wise move considering that Sanders is only polling 3% behind Clinton nationally and could have a good chance at breaking the Two Party nature of US Presidential elections.
This could spell disaster for the Democrats and Clinton as it could massively split her vote, allowing either a heavily contested election or a path for Trump to enter the White House. What could prevent such drastic actions being taken by Bernie is that the system is heavily bias towards the two established parties to the point that many third party candidates are forgotten and do not get any airtime whatsoever. It would be difficult for a crowd-funded Sanders independent campaign to gain the same kind of traction that the huge Clinton and Trump campaigns would have.
All that can really be said is that this Presidential race has plenty of twists and turns before we find out who will be replacing Obama in November. Keep an eye on Wessex Scene for more updates regarding this campaign…