Friends of Padre Steve’s World,
I am a little bit late posting today as I wanted to see how the Super Tuesday primaries turned out and I was not surprised.
Last night I watched results from the Super Tuesday primary states with great interest. Mind you I did not turn on my television to do so. The maddening number of politicians, pundits, and propagandists masquerading as spokespeople, consultants, and experts on every cable news outlet wears me out. Instead I simply pulled up a website that simply let me watch the election returns come up in real time.
I didn’t listen to a single “victory speech” by Cruz, Clinton, Sanders, Trump, or Rubio because such speeches are basically propaganda and spin, though I did read some of the excerpts from each candidate’s speech, carefully parsing them for truth in light of the actual data from the primaries, not just the total votes or delegates won, but where each candidate did well, or fell on their ass.
So here is my bottom line and what I think will probably happen next.
One the Democratic side Clinton won seven states and Sanders four states. But the states that Hillary one were big delegate rich states which are more reflective of the Democratic Party as a whole than the four states that Sanders won she now has 1034 of the 2383 that she needs for the nomination while Sanders lags over 600 delegates behind with just 408. The polling data from big delegate laden state primaries coming up show that she will further extend her lead over Bernie and it appears that Hillary will continue her march to become the Democratic nominee. The good thing for the Democrats is that Sanders challenge has forced Hillary to recognize progressives and move her campaign more to embrace policies enunciated by Sanders, this will in effect serve to unify the Democrats in the lead up to November.
The Republican race is more complicated than that of the Democrats. The campaign of Donald Trump has blown away the influence of what had been known as Republican Establishment. His opposition is fragmented and that fragmentation will not end anytime soon. Trump currently has 316 of the 1230 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Cruz has 226 and Rubio 106. But the apparent closeness of those numbers is deceptive. Trump benefits from the completion between Cruz and Rubio and neither is likely to drop out of the race, Cruz because he honestly believes that God has chosen him for the job and Rubio because despite his poor showing in most primaries is the face that the GOP wants to project, and as a result he will retain the support of realists and moderates in the party.
The split between Cruz and Rubio will ensure that Trump continues to rack up primary victories in big states. Complicating the situation for Rubio is fact that John Kasich has gained some traction and in Vermont and Virginia played spoiler, probably keeping Rubio from winning those states. Rubio won in Minnesota but has lost thirteen of fourteen times.
On Super Tuesday Cruz won in three states Texas, Oklahoma, and Alaska. But even in Texas he needed to do better than he did and he was blasted by Trump in the Deep South, which he has to win to get the nomination. To put Cruz’s Texas win in perspective, it is the lowest percentage that any Republican Presidential candidate has received since 1912. He is under performing even when wins, his polling numbers in many states are abysmal and no amount of spin will change that fact.
Cruz has a different problem, if Trump is seen to be a bully, Cruz is seen to be a completely dishonest and slimy bully that most people in his party cannot stand to be around. One of those people is Ben Carson, who Cruz went out of the way to cheat in Iowa by having his staff call potential Carson voters to switch their vote to him as Carson had dropped out of the race. It probably gave Cruz his narrow victory over Trump in the Iowa caucus and in the process made Carson his mortal enemy. Carson has no chance at winning and he knows it, but he is not formally dropping out. My guess is he will do this simply to draw voters away from Cruz since they cater to the same base of conservative Evangelical Christian voters. Since he is skipping the next debate this may have less impact than if he participated in it.
My prediction is that Clinton and Trump will clinch their party nominations by the beginning of April unless something really strange happens.
Now a minor editorial note. I am a Democrat and would have to call myself a pragmatic progressive and possibly a Democratic Socialist based on what I believe. That being said I spent thirty-two years of my life as a Republican beginning in 1976 when I worked for the Gerald Ford campaign as a high school student, but I was a “big tent Republican.” I became disillusioned with the party based on my experiences in Iraq, when I realized that the rational for going in was lies, and I was repelled by the stridently militant demands of right-wing Christians who seemed to be attempting to turn the party into their religious party. As a result I left the GOP in 2008.
While some democrats rejoice in what is happening to the GOP today, but I do not. As a historian I honestly believe that the GOP will implode. Senate Mitch McConnell is trying to limit losses by distancing himself from Trump hoping that if he and others do so they might retain control of the House and Senate. The coming GOP implosion may benefit the Democrats in November, but such implosions of major political parties are generally not good for the country. One only has to look at the implosion of the Whigs in 1854 and the Democrats between 1858 and 1860 to see how badly such events can turn out for the country.
I will be writing something about that in a day or two.
Have a great day,