Monday, November 7, 2016

Get Out “The” Vote

In less than 24 hours polls will be open in all 50 states and in less than 48 hours, with a little luck, we may even know who the president-elect will be. Then we can all put this election behind us and all be friends again. Or can we?

Two days ago I answered the door after hearing knocking on it. Outside, dressed in a distinctive light blue shirt was a member of Team Clinton. He said he was looking for the Democrat of the house. He glanced at the clipboard in his hand and gave her name. I let him know that she was not home and he inquired as to when he could return to talk to her. I let him know that it was doubtful that he would be able to arrange to see her prior to Tuesday's election. At which point, with a look of disdain, he gave me a postcard for her and stated that if she didn't know where to vote, what day to vote, when she could vote, or if she needed a ride to vote she could use the postcard to contact Team Clinton and turned and left.

As he went down the steps I thought but what about me. I, the owner of the car outside with the Gary Johnson for president bumper sticker outside, what if I didn't know where to vote. What if I didn't have a ride to the polls? He didn't even once offer the information to me. I am sure that I was on his clipboard too. I just didn't have the right letter next to my name. This man, who cared so much that the Democrat of the house made it to the polls, honestly didn't care if I made it to the polls. In fact, from the look on his face when talking to me, he probably would be happy if I didn't go at all.

It would be nice to think that this man dressed in light blue at my door had been just one overly fanatical person, however, he was not.

This has been the theme of this election, the worst election that I have ever witnessed in my life. It is likely if you have publicly announced that you are voting for Hillary Clinton that at least one person has called you a “Libtard.” It is likely if you have publicly announced that you are voting for Donald Trump that at least one person has called you a “racist.” And it is likely that if you have publicly announced that you are voting for any third party or independent candidate that you personally are responsible for the Armageddon that is sure to follow this election.

While it is easy to attack these people for their hatred the biggest problem is this virulence comes all the way from the top in this election.

Donald Trump gleefully announcing “In the good ol' days, they'd have ripped him out of that seat so fast.' 'Knock the crap out of him, would you? Seriously, OK just knock the hell — I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise,” while talking about a protester at a rally.

Hillary Clinton, not to be outdone, stated at a gala, “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.”

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have shown extreme animosity toward each other in ways I don't believe have ever been shown before in an election in my time, especially by any “mainstream” candidate. They refused to shake each other's hands at the second debate or third presidential debates. They even turned the usually light-hearted and fun annual Al Smith charity dinner into a continuation of the animosity. This contempt for the opposing candidate and their supporters has gone down through the ranks and can be seen on any general day on the various social media sites available.

How do we now expect, in less than 48 hours from now, for this growing antipathy for anyone who belongs to a different political group than you to just dissipate into the air?

Especially when both “mainstream” candidates have given their supporters reason to challenge the election results. Donald Trump has stated, “They even want to try and rig the election at the polling booths, where so many cities are corrupt and voter fraud is all too common,” describing Democrats. Hillary Clinton has stated, “It’s pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election. In fact, it’s not just strange; it’s unprecedented and it is deeply troubling.”

Each one charging their legion of supporters to question the results of the election should he or she lose. No matter who wins this election, the animosity toward the opposing candidate will continue after the election that will make the George W. Bush and Al Gore election results from 2000 look like a friendly social dinner. And if you think the rancor to third party or independent candidate voters will cease I am afraid you will be gravely mistaken. Both sides will blame this group of voters for allowing the other candidate to steal the election.

Somehow, though, we the people, just put this animosity toward each other aside. Not with the help of the politicians, as they want us a divided nation, but because we are all in this together. The government is supposed to work for the people, all the people. Not just the people of one ideology. And right now it is the opposite. We the people are justifying that our government, all sides of it, remain at a stalemate which hurts us the people.

On Tuesday, go out and vote for the candidate you believe in. And then after, shake the hand of a supporter of another candidate, be it a Donald Trump supporter, a Hillary Clinton supporter, a Gary Johnson supporter, an Evan McMullin supporter, or a Jill Stein supporter. Start healing the nation because if we continue this divide, we will eventually reach a point where there can be no reconciliation. And if we ever reach that point, it is us as a nation who have lost for there are no winners in a divided nation. Only losers.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: The primaries come to a close

The Republican party held their last primaries last week on June 7th, however the Democratic party still had one to go. Not in a state or a territory, but in the District of Columbia. Leading up to Washington D.C.'s voting, President Barack Obama met with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and then Obama endorsed his former Secretary of State former New York Senator Hillary Clinton.

Clinton won the District of Columbia in a massive landslide receiving 78.7 percent of the total vote. Sanders received only 21.1 percent of the vote. Washington D.C. had a total of 20 delegates to award. As can be expected, Clinton walked away with the bulk of the delegates, 16 to be exact, and Sanders didn't receive much at all, four to be exact.

This brings Clinton up to 2,219 delegates that have been bound through voting and Sanders up to 1,832 delegates that have been bound through voting. As of the time of writing, Clinton also has 587 superdelegates bringing her total up to 2,806 delegates and Sanders has 48 superdelegates bringing his total up to 1,880. Superdelegates aren't bound until voted at the Democratic National Convention.

There are 79 superdelegates that have not been pledged to either candidate yet. Even if Sanders could secure all 79 of those superdelegates that still leaves him 424 superdelegates short of getting the nomination. Sanders' chances of getting enough superdelegates to support him to gain the nomination aren't likely, especially since Tuesday's final primary he has already lost one superdelegate.

Despite popular rumor, the Democratic National Convention is not, at the current time, going to be a brokered convention. A candidate needs 2,383 delegates, though bound delegates from voters and superdelegates combined, to get the nomination. Clinton is well over the required number. A brokered convention will only happen if neither candidate receives 2,383 or more delegates on the first round.

However, Sanders has still not suspended his campaign and rumors from his campaign indicate that he is going to call for a roll call vote at the convention.

The next stop for the Democratic party is the Democratic National Convention from July 25th through the 28th at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: Trump and Clinton win big on Super Tuesday

The last big super Tuesday of the 2016 presidential primaries occurred on Tuesday and for the Democrats, former New York Senator Hillary Clinton is battling it out with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders until the bitter end. Sanders was hoping for a big win today to close the large gap between him and Clinton and Clinton was hoping for major victories so she could get the required amount of delegates to claim the nomination.

The biggest state of the day was California, with its coveted 475 delegates up for grabs. Clinton won the state getting 55.8 percent of the vote and so far has collected 257 of the delegates. Sanders received 43.2 percent of the vote and so far has collected 188 of the delegates. Montana had 21 delegates up for grabs and Sanders won the state with 51.1 percent of the vote and collected 11 delegates. Clinton collected 44.6 percent of the vote and received ten delegates.

New Jersey had the second highest amount of delegates to award, 126 delegates to be exact, and Clinton won the state by a landslide collecting 63.3 percent of the vote and 73 delegates. Sanders received 36.7 percent of the vote and received 47 delegates. New Mexico, and its 34 delegates, had an almost tie with Clinton barely winning with 51.5 percent of the vote and collecting 17 delegates. Sanders received 48.5 percent of the vote and 14 delegates.

North Dakota was another win for Sanders in a landslide victory receiving 64.2 percent of the vote. Clinton received 25.6 percent of the vote. Sanders collected 13 of North Dakota's 18 delegates and Clinton received five delegates. The final contest of the day was in South Dakota, which was the closest contest of the day. Clinton received 51 percent of the vote and Sanders received 49 percent of the vote. South Dakota had 20 delegates to award and Clinton and Sanders split them evenly, each receiving ten delegates.

Overall, Tuesday was a loss for Sanders and a win for Clinton. Clinton didn't get enough delegates to claim the Democratic nomination, however she added an additional 72 delegates to the gap between herself and Sanders leaving Sanders now 380 delegates behind (not including superdelegates).

As of the time of writing, Clinton has collected 2,184 delegates and 571 superdelegates, giving her a total of 2,755 delegates. Sanders has collected 1,804 delegates and 48 superdelegates giving him a total of 1,852 delegates. Superdelegates aren't bound to a candidate until actually voted at the Democratic National Convention. Between unpledged superdelegates and the remaining upcoming primary, there are 158 delegates that haven't gone to a candidate yet.

Without superdelegates, Clinton is 199 delegates away from the necessary 2,383 delegates to win the Democratic presidential nomination. Sanders is 579 delegates away from the necessary delegate total to get the Democratic presidential nomination. Sanders has vowed to stay in the Democratic presidential primaries to the end and has hopes to win a brokered convention.

Next up for the Democrats is the final primary contest before their national convention. On June 14th Washington D.C. will cast their primary votes and disperse their 46 delegates.

For the Republican party, there were five nominating contests on Tuesday. Prior to Tuesday's primaries, billionaire Donald Trump had already passed the required 1,237 delegate count required for the Republican party presidential nomination. He is the only candidate still running in the Republican primaries. However, Tuesday may have actually been the most important day of primaries for Trump.

During the 2016 primaries, Republicans have been showing their disdain for the New York billionaire. Respected Republicans, such as George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and John McCain, have refused to endorse and vote for Trump. As the primary season goes on more and more Republicans have jumped on the “Not Trump” bandwagon, some of the most recent being Republican Nebraska State Senator Laura Ebke, who switched her party registration from Republican to Libertarian over Trump, and Republican Iowa State Senator David Johnson, who switched his party registration from Republican to no party because of Trump.

Tuesday was the first day of contests since Trump has secured the nomination and a high percentage of votes for him, especially since he is running unopposed, would help his troubled image. Trump didn't get the percentages he would have wanted to on Tuesday, but at least for him he didn't lose any of the states. Trump received the highest percentage of votes in New Jersey, a winner take all state, with 51 delegates up for grabs. Trump received 80.6 percent of the vote and walked away with all 51 delegates. California was Trump's next best state, with 172 delegates on the line and proportional delegate disbursement. California hasn't finished tallying up all the votes and so far Trump has 75.4 percent of the vote and collected 166 of the delegates. He is likely to collect them all.

In Montana, a winner take all state with 27 delegates, Trump received 73.7 percent of the vote and all 27 of the delegates. New Mexico, a proportional disbursement state with 24 delegates, Trump received 70.7 percent of the vote and all 24 of the delegates. And in the final contest of Tuesday in South Dakota, a winner take all state with 29 delegates, Trump only received 67.1 percent of the vote and collected all 29 delegates.

Tuesday was the the final day of the Republican presidential primaries and this was probably not the percentages Trump wanted to finish with. Next up for the Republicans is the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, from July 18th through the 21st at the Quicken Loans Arena. At the convention Trump is expected to be officially named the Republican presidential nominee.

The next edition of The Campaign Trail 2016 will be after the Democratic primary results in Washington D.C. on June 14th.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: Trump seals the deal

Washington State held their presidential primary on May 24th, for both the Republican and Democratic parties. The Republican party is the only one that the day counted for though. For the Democrats, the primary is just a beauty pageant, this is because the Washington State Democrats pick their Democratic delegate dispersion through caucuses that they held on March 26th. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won the Democratic caucuses. The Washington State Republicans pick their Republican delegate dispersion through a primary, that had 44 delegates up for grabs. Democrats can vote in the primary for Democratic candidates but all results are unbound since their delegates were bound by the previous caucuses.

Billionaire Donald Trump was unopposed in the Republican primary in Washington State since all of his rivals have suspended their campaigns. Trump collected 75.8 percent of the vote and has collected 40 of the 44 delegates so far. With the Washington State win, Trump was up to 1,229 delegates, just short of the 1,237 required total to clinch the Republican presidential nomination. Since the Washington State primary, through Republican superdelegates – yes the Republican party has superdelegates as well – Trump is now up to 1,239 delegates, over the requirement to win the nomination.

The final Republican presidential nomination contests are today in California (proportional), Montana (winner take all), New Jersey (winner take all), New Mexico (proportional), and South Dakota (winner take all). The Democrats have contests in the same states today as well as North Dakota. Despite winning the Republican presidential nomination already, Trump still needs to perform well in today's contests. Low percentage wins, or even worse loses to candidates that have suspended their campaigns, would give ammunition for his opponents the former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, the presidential and vice presidential team for the Libertarian party, and former New York Senator Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. The next edition of The Campaign Trail 2016 will come out after today's results are completed.

The Campaign Trail 2016: Clinton hits the mark

Saturday June 4th, the United States territory of the Virgin Islands of the United States held their Democratic presidential caucuses. While United States territories can't vote in the general election in November, they do partake in the presidential nominations for the Republicans and the Democrats. The Virgin Islands had 12 delegates to award, seven pledged delegates and five superdelegates, and Former New York Senator Hillary Clinton won the territory by a massive landslide. According to the unofficial results released by the Democratic Party of the Virgin Islands, Clinton has received 84.2 percent of the total vote and received all seven pledged delegates along with all five superdelegates. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders had a horrible showing getting only 12.2 percent of the vote. Sanders walks away empty handed from the Virgin Islands.

The United States territory of Puerto Rico then held their Democratic presidential nomination primary on June 5th. Puerto Rico had 60 delegates to award and seven superdelegates. Clinton won Puerto Rico by a landslide, although not by the same margin she did in the Virgin Islands, getting 61 percent of the total vote. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders only received 38.6 percent of the vote. The finalized vote from the primary isn't complete and so far Clinton has collected 36 of the delegates and Sanders has collected 20 delegates. Clinton swept all seven superdelegates that were available.

The two territories pushed Clinton over a major milestone in her battle against Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination. Clinton now has, when you combine pledged delegates and superdelegates, 2,383 delegates, the number required for the Democratic nomination. At this point, unless Sanders can convince superdelegates to switch their vote, he can no longer win the Democratic nomination. Superdelegates aren't officially binding until pledged at the Democratic National Convention in July, so they can change their pledge to him at this point. This means that Clinton's delegate count isn't a lock. Sanders is trying his hardest to get superdelegates to abandon Clinton and go to him. This is Sanders' only path left to victory. Before superdelegates are counted, Clinton has 1,812 delegates and Sanders has 1,521 delegates. There are only 813 delegates left to be awarded, not enough for Sanders to cross the line without taking some from Clinton. Clinton currently has 571 superdelegates pledged to her and Sanders currently has 48 superdelegates pledged to him.

If Clinton secures the nomination, she will be the first female presidential nominee for the Democratic Party. However, the continuing fight between Clinton and Sanders is hurting the Democratic party at this point. The Libertarian party has already had their national convention and nominated Former Governor Gary Johnson as their presidential nominee and Former Governor William Weld as their vice presidential nominee. While the Republican party doesn't have their national convention until July, billionaire Donald Trump has secured the necessary delegates for the nomination. This means both the Libertarian party and the Republican party are already targeting their rivals while Clinton and Sanders are still fighting within their own party. Given that, in poll after poll, both Clinton and Trump have the highest disapproval ratings of any candidate from their respective party, they both need to do a lot of image fixing before November to win over the trust of the voters. The Democratic party infighting between Clinton and Sanders is, at this point, just pushing their party behind the other two for the general election.

Today, California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota all have Republican and Democratic contests. Today is the last day of Republican presidential nomination contests. North Dakota holds a Democratic contest only today. The Democrats also still have Washington D.C. as their final contest on June 14th. The Campaign Trail 2016 will provide coverage of today's contests after the voting has been finalized.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: The Libertarian Party National Convention

The Libertarian Party is the first out of all the political parties to hold their National Convention to officially select their nominee for president for the general election on November 8, 2016. The Libertarian National Convention started on May 27th and will run until May 30th at the Rosen Centre Hotel and Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who was the 2012 Libertarian presidential nominee, is the 2016 Libertarian Party presidential nominee. Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld is the 2016 Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee.

The next challenge for Johnson is to be included in the general election debates. The debates require that a candidate needs to have 15 percent support in five national polls to be included. Johnson is entering the general election in a good place. Prior to him receiving the nomination he was included in two national polls, the Monmouth University poll where he received 11 percent support and the FOX News poll where he received ten percent support.

Unlike the Republicans and Democrats who rely on a series of primaries and caucuses to award delegates to the candidates prior to the National Convention, the Libertarian party essentially has what the Republicans and Democrats would call a contested convention where the delegates vote at the convention for their candidate and a series of rounds determine the eventual winner. Only six states held Libertarian primaries or caucuses, all of which were non-binding.

The two big days of the convention are the 28th and 29th, as over those two days the presidential nominee and vice presidential nominee are selected. The field of candidates vying for the presidential nominee was almost as big as the Republican field was when the race first started with 17 candidates. Prior to the convention three candidates suspended their campaign bringing their field down to 14 at the beginning of the convention.

Saturday the 28th, the first round of presidential nominee voting was held and a candidate must have 30 votes from delegates to continue into the next round. Six of the candidates received enough votes to continue. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson came in first with 30.5 percent of the votes. Founder and owner of The Libertarian Republic Austin Petersen came in second with 14.3 percent of the votes. Owner and Managing Editor of Free Press Publications Darryl Perry came in third with 14.2 percent of the votes. Founder of McAfee, Inc. John McAfee came in fourth with 13.1 percent of the votes. Anesthesiologist Marc Allen Feldman came in fifth with 12 percent of the votes and technology industry employee Kevin McCormick came in sixth with 6.1 percent of the votes.

The top five finishers competed in a debate at the convention Saturday night that was also broadcast on C-SPAN. Sunday morning in the second round of voting no candidate received the required majority vote and Kevin McCormick was eliminated leaving five candidates left for the third round. In the third round, the second round of Sunday, Gary Johnson won the 2016 Libertarian party nomination for president.

The Libertarian vice presidential contest was the most hotly contested competition at the convention. Three of the nine vice presidential candidates are attached to presidential candidates, which doesn't mean that if their presidential candidate gets the nomination that they will too. Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld is running with Governor Gary Johnson. Blogger and self described hustler Judd Weiss is running with John McAfee. The Call to Freedom radio host William Coley is running with Darryl Perry. The candidates running for vice president with no attachment are Alicia Dearn, Daniel Hogan, Kerry Douglas McKennon, Jeff Mortenson, Larry Sharpe, Derrick Grayson, and Mark Stewart.

Saturday night, the vice presidential candidates that received at least ten percent support participated in a debate. William Weld received 25.5 percent support, executive business consultant Larry Sharpe received 25.3 percent support, trial lawyer Alicia Dearn received 18 percent support and William Coley received 10.3 percent support. To qualify for the vice presidential elections on Sunday, candidates must get a minimum of 30 delegates to vote for them prior to Sundays voting. On Sunday, William Weld, Larry Sharpe, Alicia Dearn, William Coley, Judd Weiss, and Derrick Grayson all qualified. The first round of voting on Sunday resulted with no winner. On the second round, Weld won with 50.5 percent of the vote.

The Republican party will be the next to hold their National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, from July 18th through the 21st. Billionaire Donald Trump has secured the required delegates for the nomination from the Republican party. The Democratic party will follow the Republicans holding their National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from July 25th through the 28th. As of the time of writing, former New York Senator Hillary Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee. The Green Party will be having their National Convention at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas, from August 4th through the 7th. As of the time of writing Jill Stein is the presumptive Green Party nominee.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

An open letter to the Libertarian Delegates at the National Convention

I am not the kind of Libertarian that you generally like. I am a Republican-Libertarian and my politics fall into both the Republican and Libertarian spheres so I am not a pure Libertarian. In past general elections I have voted for George W. Bush and John McCain. I have also in past general elections voted for Gary Johnson and Harry Browne. While I may not be the kind of Libertarian that you generally like, I am the kind of Libertarian you should consider while casting your votes tomorrow. You will need to appeal to other voters like me, who fall across platforms and are not pure Libertarians to win the general election.

This election year, voters are screaming for a real candidate. A candidate that they can feel good about voting for. A candidate that won't ruin America. Donald Trump, the now nominee for the Republican party, is the most hated Republican candidate. Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee for the Democratic party, is the most hated Democratic candidate.

This means that 2016 is the year for a Libertarian president. This also means that how you vote your delegates is extremely important and requires consideration. Former New Mexico Governor and the 2012 Libertarian presidential nominee is a strong candidate. In 2012, he collected the most votes for president, including mine, of any Libertarian presidential candidate. He is a strong candidate to carry the party to The White House. He is the only presidential candidate left that would bring gubernatorial experience to the race – this even includes the Republican and Democratic candidate and presumptive candidate – and has a platform that both discouraged Republicans and Democrats can get behind. Both Trump and Clinton alienate subsets of American citizens with their platforms while Johnson has a platform that can unite all Americans. Johnson has also received 11 percent and 10 percent support in two national polls, putting him close to being in the general debates, something that the Libertarian candidate will have to be a part of if they want to win this year. We have all seen Trump debate. We have all seen Clinton debate. We have all seen Johnson debate. Out of the three there is one clear winner, who doesn't look like a raving lunatic screaming on the stage. The clear winner is Johnson. Give him the chance to win over America.

John McAfee has some great ideas, but would be hard to get elected due to his background. Austin Petersen also has some great ideas but has the same issue that Barack Obama had when he took office, too little experience. This isn't meant as an insult to either McAfee or Petersen. In my mind, either one would be far better than Trump or Clinton. However, Johnson is the one that can bring in the most votes to the party.

For vice president, William Weld has let down the Libertarian party before. I know this. However, he is also the former Governor of Massachusetts. A ticket with two former Governors on it would make the Libertarian ticket the most qualified ticket out of the three parties. Weld may not be as pure a Libertarian as you would like, but he is the kind of Libertarian that will help bring in Republican and Democratic voters, which are necessary to win The White House. Only a ticket that can bring in voters from all three platforms will win The White House. Allow Johnson to have the vice presidential candidate that he needs to bring in the big win.

In short, when casting your votes tomorrow, consider all the candidates for president and vice president and vote for the candidates that can make 2016 the year of the first Libertarian president.

Thank you for your time,
Ken Johnson

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: The presumptive nominees start their general campaigns

Tuesday in Oregon presumptive Republican presidential nominee billionaire Donald Trump faced himself in the Republican primary and, although Oregon is still counting the ballots, is the presumed winner with 66.6 percent of the vote. The Beaver State had 28 delegates up for grabs, and awards their delegates proportionally, and while final disbursement isn't fully known yet Trump collected 17 delegates so far. Ohio Governor John Kasich, who previously suspended his presidential campaign, is continuing his streak of doing better not campaigning than when he was by collecting three delegates so far from Oregon. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who has also previously suspended his presidential campaign, has also collected three delegates so far.

The Sunday prior to Tuesday's primary, former Republican nominee hopeful Doctor Ben Carson, who is on Trump's vice presidential search committee, released Trump's vice presidential shortlist of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Cruz, Kasich, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Since his release of this list, Carson has now recanted the list.

Trump will next face himself in the Washington state Republican primary on May 24th.

The Democrats faced off in Oregon on Tuesday as well. The Beaver State is still tabulating the Democratic votes. As of now Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is presumed to have won the Beaver State taking 56 percent of the vote; former New York Senator Hillary Clinton collected 44 percent of the vote. Oregon is awarding 61 delegates and the final disbursement is still being tabulated, however, Sanders has collected 34 delegates so far and Clinton has collected 25 delegates.

The Bluegrass State also held a primary on Tuesday and Clinton and Sanders essentially tied in the state; Clinton technically won collecting 46.8 percent of the vote and Sanders came in second with 46.3 percent of the vote. Kentucky had 55 delegates up for grabs which Clinton and Sanders will be splitting down the middle collecting 27 delegates each.

After Tuesday's primaries Sanders still trails Clinton by 274 delegates, not counting superdelegates. Sanders has to take California, by a massive margin, or he has no chance of overtaking Clinton.

The Democratic PAC Priorities USA Action has already started launching advertisements attacking the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Trump.

Clinton and Sanders will next face off in the Virgin Islands caucuses on June 4th and the Puerto Rico primaries on June 5th before the do or die day for Sanders on June 7th when California, along with Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, and South Dakota, will all hold Democratic primaries and caucuses.

First up with their national convention, the Libertarian Party will select their presidential nominee and vice presidential nominee in Orlando, Florida, from May 27th through May 30th.

The next The Campaign Trail 2016 edition for the Republican party will be after the results from Washington state on May 24th, the next edition for the Democratic party will be on June 5th after the Puerto Rico results covering the 4th and 5th, and the Libertarian party special edition will come out the weekend of the 21st prior to their convention.

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: Trump vs. Trump and Clinton vs. Sanders

After the tumultuous events in Indiana, Ohio Governor John Kasich, the only remaining opponent to billionaire Donald Trump in the Republican presidential primaries, suspended his campaign leaving Trump alone in the Republican race. Tuesday night in the Nebraska Republican primaries Trump expectedly won the state but with only 61.4 percent of the vote. The Cornhusker State is a winner take all state so Trump walked away with all 36 delegates. On the same night in West Virginia Trump won the primary with 77 percent of the vote. The Mountain State is a proportional state with 34 total delegates to award. The full breakdown isn't available yet but so far Trump has collected 30 of the delegates and Kasich has collected one, meaning that Kasich is probably doing better not being a candidate than when he was a candidate. Tuesday night leaves Trump 103 delegates away from claiming the Republican presidential nomination.

Trump will go on to challenge himself in the Oregon primaries on May 17th.

Despite gaining endorsements from some notable Republicans, such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the list of Republicans stating that they won't vote for Trump, under any circumstances, is growing to include such notable Republicans such as President George H.W. Bush, President George W. Bush, Arizona Senator John McCain, former New York Governor George Pataki, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan has started meeting with Trump to figure out ways to unite the fracturing Republican party, however it is clear that there are Republicans that will not be united behind Trump in 2016. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, a Republican turned Libertarian who is the likely Libertarian presidential nominee, needs to get his name out more along with his platform to bring the Republicans that will not vote for Trump over to the Libertarian party for 2016 before Former New York Senator Hillary Clinton woos them into being a Democrat for 2016.

The Democrats also had a primary in West Virginia where 29 delegates were at state. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won the Mountain State with 51.4 percent of the vote. Clinton only received 35.8 percent of the vote. Sanders collected 18 delegates and Clinton collected 11 delegates. This brings Sanders' delegate total up to 1433, and he has 40 superdelegates pledged, and Clinton's total up to 1716, and she has 524 superdelegates pledged. Sanders needs to collect roughly 90 percent of all remaining delegates to win the Democratic nomination (roughly 86 percent if you count superdelegates) and Clinton needs to collect roughly 63 percent of all remaining delegates to win the Democratic nomination (roughly 14 percent if you count superdelegates).

Sanders and Clinton will face off next in Oregon and Kentucky on May 17th.

Return after the results on May 17th for the next installment of The Campaign Trail 2016.

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: Democratic Infighting

A group of concerned United States citizens, fighting for transparency in elections, fairness, and opposed to superdelegates, have started #DropOutHillary, a new movement against former Senator Hillary Clinton in an attempt to get her to drop out of the Democratic presidential primaries so that the elections are fair and the second place candidate can take the number one spot. Regardless of the fact that when superdelegates aren't considered the Senator from Vermont is still in a distant second place, #DropOutHillary is attempting to convince Clinton that she has lost the race and get their candidate into first place, regardless of what the voters have said.

Surprisingly, the former Secretary of State has not yet announced that she has suspended her campaign.

Meanwhile, across the deep blue Pacific Ocean, far from the United States mainland but not that far from Indonesia, a small island noted for their tropical beaches and sunken warships held their Democratic presidential caucuses Saturday. The tropical island, dominated by the Chamorros, heavily went in favor of Clinton giving her 60 percent of the vote. Senator Bernie Sanders only received 40 percent of the vote. Guam had seven delegates that were bound through the caucuses and they awarded Clinton four of the delegates and Sanders the other three. While overall this contest was essentially a draw, Sanders was hurt the most as Clinton continues to edge closer and closer to the required delegate count to win the Democratic nomination as he continues to trail by a large amount.

Back on the mainland, reliable reports indicate that Clinton continues her campaign to be the Democratic presidential nominee.

In the northwest where the American rain forests are located, finalized reports have come in from the Evergreen State's Democratic caucuses that were held on March 26. Sanders won Washington State with 72.7 percent of the vote but was only awarded 25 delegates out of the 101 total delegates that Washington had on that date. Clinton had only been awarded 9 delegates. Sixty seven of Washington's 101 delegates are awarded based on performance in the congressional districts. Washington has finally completed all the calculations and has given Sanders an additional 49 delegates so Sanders ended up receiving a total of 74 delegates from Washington state and they awarded Clinton an additional 18 delegates so she ended up with a total of 27 delegates.

The press corps still report that Clinton is continuing her campaign.

Return for continuing coverage of The Campaign Trail 2016 after the Democratic results in West Virginia on May 10th are released and after the Republican results in Nebraska and West Virginia on May 10th are released.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: And Then There Were Four (A.K.A. Four Little Politicians)

Since Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland held their primaries on April 26th there has been a bustle of political activity.

In under a week, the alliance between Senator Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich has already dissolved. The details on what broke up their happy marriage aren't fully known, but smart money says the irreconcilable differences came up when Kasich found out that when he was eliminated from mathematically getting the Republican nomination he was supposed to announce his vice president and at that time, Cruz failed to notify him of that fact. Since Kasich has still not announced his vice presidential pick yet, it is becoming clear that no one other than Carly Fiorina was willing to sign on to a campaign that can't become a Republican nominee.

The Hoosier State was a winner take all state for the Republicans and last night billionaire Donald Trump ran the table. Trump collected 53.3 percent of the vote, with Cruz taking second with 36.7 percent of the vote, and Kasich coming in last with 7.5 percent of the vote. Indiana is giving out 57 delegates which moves Trump up to 1,047 of the required 1,237 delegates for the Republican presidential nomination. The Republicans only have nine more primaries before the 2016 Republican presidential nominee campaign is over. The next Republican primary is in Nebraska on the 10th. After the primaries on April 26th, Trump was the only Republican candidate that could still win enough delegates to win the nomination outside of a brokered convention.

“I'm sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed,” said Cruz in Indianapolis, Indiana, as he ended his campaign to become the Republican nominee for president last night. “Together we left it all on the field in Indiana, the voters chose another path. And so, with a heavy heart, but with boundless optimism, for the long-term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign. But hear me now, I am not suspending our fight for liberty.”

And with those words, there were two Republican candidates left in the race; Trump who can see the finish line, and Kasich, who fell off the track ages ago and hasn't yet recognized it.

Last night, Reince Priebus, chair of the Republican National Committee, tweeted, “.@realDonaldTrump will be presumptive @GOP nominee, we all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton #NeverClinton”

With Priebus' tweet last night it is obvious that the Republican party is going to accept Trump as their nominee and do not expect to have a brokered convention. As to why Kasich has still not dropped out is a mystery that only he knows.

So far there has been no news on whether Kasich is currently courting Fiorina to be his vice presidential nominee.

For the Libertarian party, last night's events can only be seen as good. After the news spread that Cruz had suspended his campaign and Trump had become the presumptive Republican nominee, Google searches for the Libertarian party surged.

Graph from Google Trends 5/3/16

Whether the searches were done by Cruz followers looking for another choice or Republicans looking for another choice is unknown. What is obvious from the data is that voters do want another choice and are looking at the Libertarian party for that choice. The Libertarian National Convention occurs in Orlando, Florida, later this month from the 27th through the 30th. This event can't come soon enough for the Libertarian Party. Trump has already started attacking Clinton, who he presumes will be the Democrat Presidential Nominee, and Clinton has already started attacking Trump. The Libertarians need to start working on aggressively going after disenfranchised Republicans as well as going after disenfranchised Democrats, of which there will be many when Senator Bernie Sanders inevitably suspends his campaign. If the Libertarians want a chance at winning this election they must bring in voters from both of the other national parties as well as getting their name in the public light.

On the Democrat side, Sanders won The Hoosier State last night with 52.7 percent of the vote. Clinton came in second with 47.3 percent of the vote. Despite Sanders winning Indiana, the night was a loss for the Senator from Vermont. Indiana is awarding a total of 83 delegates and so far Sanders has collected 43 of the delegates and Clinton has collected 37. This only narrows the wide gap between Clinton and Sanders by six delegates leaving a gap of 321 delegates between the two candidates (This is before superdelegates are considered.). Without superdelegates considered Sanders needs to collect 87.9 percent of all unawarded delegates, with superdelegates he needs to collect 84.5 percent of all unawarded delegates. Clinton on the other hand needs to collect 60.3 percent of all unawarded delegates without superdelegates and 15.6 percent with superdelegates. Based off of his past performance in the 2016 campaign, Sanders has no possible chance of getting the necessary delegates. With superdelegates Clinton will easily grab the Democratic presidential nomination. The Democrats only have 13 primaries and caucuses left with the next one on the 7th in the territory of Guam.

For the next Campaign Trail 2016 Republican update, return after Nebraska's primary on the 10th. For the next Campaign Trail 2016 Democratic update, return after Guam's primary on the 7th. As always, news on the Libertarian party will be as it occurs and a Special Edition Libertarian pre-National Convention update will come out the weekend of the 21st.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: Meet your probable Republican and Democratic nominees

Tuesday five states held primaries and essentially all but two candidates have now lost any chance of securing their parties nominations.

Former Senator Hillary Clinton won in a close competition in Connecticut receiving 51.8 percent of the vote with Senator Bernie Sanders collecting 46.4 percent of the vote for his second place finish. So far Clinton has collected 27 of the 55 delegates that Connecticut is giving out. Sanders has collected 25. In Delaware Clinton won with a greater victory margin gaining 58.8 percent of the vote and she won 12 of the 21 delegates that Delaware gave out. Sanders collected 39.2 percent of the vote and nine delegates.

Clinton won again in Pennsylvania receiving 55.6 percent of the vote. Pennsylvania is giving out 189 delegates and so far Clinton has collected 95 for her victory. Sanders received 43.6 percent of the vote and has collected 67 delegates from Pennsylvania. Maryland brought a blow out win for Clinton with her taking 63 percent of the vote. Sanders only managed to get 33.2 percent of the vote. Maryland is giving out 95 delegates and so far has awarded Clinton with 59 and Sanders with 32 of them.

Rhode Island brought Sanders his only win for the night with 55 percent of the vote. Rhode Island was giving out 24 delegates and Sanders received 13 for his efforts. Clinton received 43.3 percent of the vote and received 11 delegates.

Last night effectively ended Sanders' campaign. Not counting pledged unbound superdelegates Sanders needs to collect 85 percent of all unawarded delegates to achieve the necessary 2383 delegates to secure the Democratic nomination. With his current pledged superdelegates he needs to secure 82 percent of the unawarded delegates.

Clinton needs to collect 58.9 percent of all unawarded delegates, not counting superdelegates, to achieve the total required. However, with the pledged unbound superdelegates Clinton currently has, she only needs to collect 18.2 percent of all unawarded delegates to gain the Democratic nomination. She should be able to collect that and more meaning that the Democratic convention shouldn't ever become a brokered convention.

In a surprise move Sunday Jeff Roe, Cruz for President campaign manager, issued a release stating, “Having Donald Trump at the top of the ticket in November would be a sure disaster for Republicans. Not only would Trump get blown out by Clinton or Sanders, but having him as our nominee would set the party back a generation. To ensure that we nominate a Republican who can unify the Republican Party and win in November, our campaign will focus its time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear the path for Gov. Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico, and we would hope that allies of both campaigns would follow our lead. In other states holding their elections for the remainder of the primary season, our campaign will continue to compete vigorously to win.”

Governor John Kasich's campaign issued a similar statement.

Monday billionaire Donald Trump's campaign responded with, “It is sad that two grown politicians have to collude against one person who has only been a politician for ten months in order to try and stop that person from getting the Republican nomination.”

Not that any of this mattered after Tuesday night's primaries.

Trump took wins in all five states Tuesday night. In Connecticut Trump had a resounding victory gaining 57.9 percent of the vote. Connecticut is a proportional state for awarding delegates but because of Trump's blow out victory he walked away with all 28 delegates up for grabs. Kasich received second place with 28.4 percent of the vote and Senator Ted Cruz came in third with 11.7 percent of the vote.

In Delaware Trump repeated with another resounding victory with 60.8 percent of the vote. Delaware was a winner take all state, so Trump walked away with all 16 delegates. Kasich came in second with 20.4 percent of the vote and Cruz came in third with 15.9 percent of the vote.

Maryland, another winner take all state, was another blow out victory for Trump with him gaining 54.4 percent of the vote. Trump obviously walked away with all 38 delegates that Maryland was giving out. Kasich came in second with 23 percent of the vote and Cruz came in third with 18.9 percent of the vote.

Pennsylvania was a repeat of all prior states and Trump walked away with all 17 of the winner take all delegates that Pennsylvania is giving out and 56.7 percent of the vote with his victory. Cruz received his only second place finish of the night in Pennsylvania with 21.6 percent of the vote and Kasich came in third with 19.4 percent of the vote.

Rhode Island was no different than the first three states. Trump had a blow out victory with 63.8 percent of the vote. Rhode Island had 19 delegates to award and is a proportional state. So far Trump has collected ten of the delegates for his victory. Kasich came in second with 24.4 percent of the vote. Kasich didn't go home empty handed for the night receiving five delegates so far from Rhode Island. Cruz came in third with 10.4 percent of the vote. He also didn't go home empty handed collecting three delegates so far from Rhode Island.

Last night was a major milestone for Trump. He is now the only Republican candidate that can win the Republican nomination outside of a brokered convention. To achieve the 1237 delegates required for nomination, Trump needs to secure 45.9 percent of the unawarded delegates. Cruz now needs to secure 109.6 percent of the unawarded delegates to gain the nomination. Kasich, who wins the 'why are you still even trying' award, needs to secure 176 percent of the remaining delegates to get the nomination.

Upon hearing the news that he could no longer reach the required delegates to become the Republican nominee, Cruz promptly made an important announcement at 4 pm EST on Wednesday. The announcement he made probably caused a lot of jaws to drop.

“After a great deal of consideration and prayer, I have come to the conclusion that if I am nominated to be president of the United States that I will run on a ticket with my vice presidential nominee Carly Fiorina,” Cruz said at a rally in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Candidates usually announce their vice presidential pick after they are sure to win their party's nomination, not after receiving the news that they no longer can obtain enough delegates to win the nomination. But then again, nothing about this campaign season has been normal so far.

It is safe to assume that Trump and Clinton are vetting potential vice presidential picks and that announcements will come from both in the not too distant future.

The Libertarian party, who's convention is looming closer and closer, are hopefully looking carefully at the vice presidential candidates. The Libertarian party selects their vice presidential candidate by vote at the National Convention. Given that the Libertarians have a chance to win the 2016 presidential election, a vice president who has charisma and can debate whomever Trump and Clinton pick is a must since the Libertarians will have to pull every voter possible to win the presidency.

Return for the next installment of The Campaign Trail 2016 after the results from the Indiana primary on May 3rd.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: After New York only two still have a chance

In the days after the Wisconsin primary and Wyoming held their caucuses, a lot has been going on for all three parties with the New York primary and what has been going on outside of the actual primaries.

The Democrats, showing that they are no more congenial than the Republicans, had their Spring Slam in the borough of Brooklyn leading up to the primary in New York. The latest Democratic debate took place on Thursday night and both candidates took every opportunity they could to look as unpresidential as they could while slinging as many insults as possible at each other during the time allotted.

And it isn't just the candidates that are getting dirty in their tactics. So far this campaign season, Billionaire GOP front-runner Donald Trump has had the worst behaved supporters, now having several supporters having been arrested for alleged assault at rallies. But now Senator Bernie Sanders' supporters are stepping up to the plate trying to show that they can outdo the New York billionaire's supporters. One of Sanders' supporters created a superdelegate hit list website, which lists all of the superdelegate voters and how their superdelegates are currently pledged. Sanders' supporters have been allegedly harassing those who have currently pledged their superdelegates to Clinton. Sanders' supporters have allegedly gotten their hands on private cell phone numbers and have been allegedly harassing supporters using profane language and name calling.

What is sad about this, beyond the fact that this kind of behavior just isn't acceptable, is that it shows how little the supporters who are doing this actually know about the superdelegate system and how poorly informed they are about the electoral process. Historically superdelegates vote for whomever the front-runner is, who right now is former Senator Hillary Clinton. If Sanders actually manages to surpass Clinton in delegates it is likely that most of the superdelegates will switch their pledges to him. So, in actuality, right now what these alleged supporters are actually demanding is that the superdelegates back the current loser and go against the voice of the people.

The massive turnout on voting days, for both parties, this year is great as more people should be involved in the political process. It is excellent to see new voters getting excited about candidates. However, people who are getting involved in the political process should learn how the process actually works. And candidates, when they see misinformed voters, should do what they can to properly inform voters of the process as well as reeling in their supporters when they get out of line. Something that isn't being seen this campaign, by either the Republican or Democratic sides.

An NBC poll, taken between April 4th through April 10th shows that as of right now more registered Democratic voters preferred Clinton (49 percent) to Sanders (43 percent). These results show Clinton down two percent from the last poll and Sanders up one percent. If Sanders expects to win the Democratic nomination, he will have to have much higher percentages than this vote for him in all of the upcoming primary elections.

In New York tension was high prior to the primary as both Democratic candidates claimed the state as their home state. Sanders claims New York as his home state since he was born in the borough of Brooklyn and Clinton since she moved to Chappaqua in 1999 and served as a U.S. Senator from New York from 2001 to 2009. Ultimately, Clinton beat Sanders getting 57.9 percent of the vote. Sanders only was able to get 42.1 percent of the vote.

New York was a big prize for the Democrats with 247 delegates being awarded. While the final delegate awards aren't completely finalized yet, so far Clinton has collected 139 of the total delegates and Sanders has collected 106. This loss is utterly devastating for Sanders' campaign and essentially ends his chances of getting the Democratic nomination. Clinton has only gained 33 more delegates than Sanders so far, which isn't a huge collection and doesn't seem like a campaign ending amount. However, this leaves only 1646 delegates remaining.

To get the necessary 2383 delegates for the Democratic nomination, without superdelegates Sanders will need to collect 75 percent of all the remaining unpledged delegates. A feat he is unlikely to do based on polling. Clinton isn't in too much of a greater position. She needs to collect 58 percent of the unpledged delegates to get the nomination without superdelegates, which while still achievable is a daunting task.

Clinton is all but assured now to go into the Democratic National Convention in July with the most of the delegates awarded by the voters. Superdelegates tend to back the leader, and with the superdelegates she will gain the nomination. At this point Sanders should suspend his campaign, prior to Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island voting on the 26th. All Sanders and Clinton bickering back and forth at this point is doing is damaging both Sanders and Clinton giving the Republicans and the Libertarians an advantage. He should suspend his campaign and allow Clinton, who has the greatest chance at becoming the nominee at this point, the chance to start going after her opponents.

Leading up to New York, and as the Republican National Convention looms closer and closer, The Boston Globe jumped on the anyone but Trump for the GOP nominee bandwagon publishing a front page parody on April 10th, displaying the date April 9, 2017 and highlighting mass deportations, trade wars, stocks plummeting, laws being changed to end the freedom of speech, US soldiers refusing unconstitutional orders, among other events.

Whether this is too little, too late, to stop the New York billionaire from gaining the Republican nomination is unknown. However, all voters, regardless of party or candidate they are supporting should look at the parody and remind themselves of how fragile our Constitution and Bill of Rights really are and how much we stand to lose if they are slowly taken down. All voters should also read The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, a series of essays about the, at the time, unratified Constitution.

In the same NBC News poll, the majority of registered Republicans preferred Trump as the nominee (46 percent) to Senator Ted Cruz (30 percent) and Governor John Kasich (16 percent); both Trump and Cruz have shown more support in this poll than the last one (Trump one percent and Cruz two percent) and Kasich has less support (down two percent).

Trump took his home state of New York yesterday by a huge margin with 60.5 percent of the vote. Kasich received one of his rare second place finishes with 25.1 percent of the vote and Cruz came in last with 14.5 percent of the vote. New York didn't offer the Republicans the hefty prize that the Democrats had, but did have 95 delegates up for grabs. New York awards their Republican delegates proprotionally. Not all the delegates have been awarded yet. So far Trump has collected the bulk with 89 delegates. Kasich has added three delegates to his total and Cruz hasn't received any.

At this point, both Cruz and Kasich should suspend their campaigns prior to the next primaries on the 26th. Kasich needs to receive 149 percent of the remaining 734 unpledged delegates to reach the required delegate total of 1237, which is an impossibility. Cruz still has a theoretical chance of getting the nomination, but like Sanders, has no real chance at pulling it off. Cruz needs to win 92 percent of the unpledged delegates to reach the required total. Trump still has a possibility of gaining the required total since he only needs to collect 53 percent of the remaining unpledged delegates.

On the 26th, Delaware and Maryland are both winner take all states and Connecticut and Rhode Island are proportional. Pennsylvania uses an odd calculation method that I am convinced most residents of Pennsylvania wouldn't be able to explain properly to anyone. After the 26th, the Republicans only have nine more contests, four of which are winner take all states, four that are proportional, and one that is bound by voter preference. Trump is the only remaining candidate that has a realistic chance of getting the nomination without a brokered convention and the infighting among the Republican nominees is just harming their eventual nominee at this point giving the Democrats and the Libertarians a better chance of winning the general election.

As the Libertarian national convention in Orlando Florida looms closer and closer, the NBC News poll shows more potentially positive news for their party. According to the poll, if the general election in November were held today with Trump and Clinton as the candidates, 16 percent of voters would be willing to vote for a third party (The poll has Clinton winning with 38 percent of the vote, Trump with 36 percent of the vote, and eight percent of those polled not voting). With Cruz running against Clinton the results were even more in favor of a third party with 19 percent willing to vote for a third party (The poll has Clinton winning with 37 percent of the vote, Cruz with 32 percent of the vote, and ten percent of those polled not voting).

How can 16 to 19 percent of the vote be good news is a fair question. If Trump, Clinton, or Cruz were polling nationally at those percentages they would be written off as not electable (and rightfully so) and the Libertarian party can't be held at a different percentage standard to be electable since to win they would have to gain the majority vote.

Trump, Clinton, and Cruz have been dominating the news now for over six months. They are all household names. The Libertarian party, which is on all 50 state ballots in the November general election, is just starting to get their name noticed in the news now. They will have to increase the household knowledge of their party and their presidential nominee to win the general election. However, with interest in a party that isn't Republican or Democrat in the general election growing it is going to be harder and harder for the Commission on Presidential Debates to justify excluding the Libertarian candidate from the national debates this year.

The Libertarians are best off if Sanders, Cruz, and Kasich stay in the primaries and the Republicans and Democrats keep up their infighting, increasing the number of voters who are dissatisfied with both of those two parties.

Return for the next installment of The Campaign Trail 2016 after the results of April 26th when Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island all vote.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: What does Wyoming's results actually mean?

All the talk in the media has been about the upcoming primary in New York. Is former Senator Hillary Clinton leading? Is Senator Bernie Sanders gaining ground? Billionaire Donald Trump is leading the polls but are Senator Ted Cruz or Governor John Kasich polling high enough they will capture any delegates from New York?

Roughly a month ago the Republican party held their Wyoming caucuses, one of the ones that Cruz managed to take, but what has slipped by in the news with very little fanfare are the Democratic Wyoming caucuses that occurred yesterday. Why has the Democratic Wyoming caucuses slipped through with so little talk? Nestled in between Wisconsin's 91 delegates and New York's 291 delegates, Wyoming's 18 delegate award seems rather paltry and insignificant.

Sanders won the Equality State with 55.7 percent of the vote. A win for Sanders that only exists in name only. Despite Clinton only taking 44.3 percent of the vote, both Sanders and Clinton split the delegates 50/50 so neither candidate gained any ground at all delegate wise in the state.

So was there any real benefit for either candidate from the Wyoming caucuses?

For Sanders, this is his seventh victory in a row, which will help the candidate build momentum for his campaign, something that Sanders desperately needs right now at this late stage in the 2016 presidential nomination campaign. Considering that at this point, before superdelegates currently pledged are factored in, Sanders needs to collected roughly 69 percent of all remaining unpledged delegates to just reach the total delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination (If you do factor in pledged superdelegates Sanders only needs to win roughly 68 percent of all remaining unpledged delegates to reach the target goal.).

For Clinton, she didn't lose any ground in her lead over Sanders due to the Wyoming caucuses. Since the delegate count is the all important decider of who will be the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, maintaining that lead over Sanders is vitally important for Clinton if she is going to have any hope of winning the primary without the Democratic National Convention in July becoming a brokered convention. Even Clinton's hopes of making the necessary delegate tally are dwindling as the primary surges on. Prior to counting pledged superdelegates, Clinton needs to secure roughly 57 percent of all remaining unpledged delegates (If you count pledged superdelegates her task doesn't seem as dauntless with her needing to only secure roughly 32 percent of all remaining unpledged delegates.).

As the numbers show, both candidates still have a fight ahead of them to secure their party's nomination. The two only have 20 more contests to decide the winner before the primary season is over, with 37 contests already behind them. All eyes stay glued on New York to see if Clinton keeps her lead in the polls or if Sanders can overtake her before the primary on the 19th.

Return for the next installment of The Campaign Trail 2016 on April 19th after the results of the New York Republican and Democratic primaries.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: A Big Week for Underdogs

The Libertarian party has a first ever event and the results from Wisconsin's Republican and Democratic primaries.

Friday night on Fox Business the Libertarian Party held their first of two nationally televised debates. Friday night's debate, moderated by John Stossel, is the first ever nationally televised Libertarian debate. All 15 of the Libertarian presidential candidates were not present at the debate. Libertarian front runner former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson along with antivirus software developer John McAfee and The Libertarian Republic's founder and owner Austin Petersen, the three top polling Libertarian candidates, took part in the debate.

The debate was very different from the Republican and Democratic debates that the nation has been witnessing. There wasn't any discussions over candidates penis sizes nor were there explosions about being interrupted by other candidates. Stossel also did a great job moderating pushing for an actual answer in the few cases where a candidate skirted around the question, something that also hasn't been seen at the other two party's debates.

The Libertarian party will have their second debate this Friday, April 8th, on Fox Business at 9 p.m. Stossel will again moderate the debate. All voters should be watching the Libertarian debates, regardless of whether you are planning on voting for one of the Republican or Democratic candidates or whether you are disenfranchised with the options available from the Republican or Democratic parties, so when you vote in the general election you are informed on all the candidates on the ballot. The eventual Libertarian party 2016 presidential candidate is not the third party candidate in the 2016 general election, the Libertarian party candidate is one of the three candidates that are options on the 2016 general presidential election nationwide.

Johnson currently has a lot to be smiling about. In a poll conducted by Monmouth University, that was conducted from March 17th through March 20th and released on March 24th, when Johnson went up against Former Senator Hillary Clinton and billionaire Donald Trump, Johnson received 11 percent of the vote. While 11 percent of the vote doesn't sound like much, Trump only received 34 percent of the vote and Clinton only received 42 percent of the vote in the poll. The Commission on Presidential Debates, the non-profit organization who handles the general election debates, requires that to be a viable candidate and participate in the national debates, the candidate must receive 15 percent in five nationally conducted polls.

The same poll showed that 51 percent of voters had an unfavorable view of Clinton and 60 percent had an unfavorable view of Trump. Of the people polled, 76% didn't know enough about Johnson to form an opinion. With such high unfavorable views of both Clinton and Trump, Johnson's polling numbers stand a good chance of increasing as more voters get exposure to him.

The Libertarian Party will be the first of the parties to hold their national convention to officially nominate their 2016 presidential candidate. The Libertarian National Convention will take place in Orlando, Florida, from May 27th through May 30th. Next up will be the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, from July 18th through July 21st. Last will be the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from July 25th through July 28th.

The polling in Wisconsin leading up to last night's primary has been close and for the Republican party, the results weren't good for Trump. Senator Ted Cruz won the Badger State with 48.2 percent of the vote. Trump came in second with 35.1 percent of the vote and Governor John Kasich came in last with 14.1 percent of the vote. Wisconsin is a winner take most state and was offering up 42 delegates last night. Cruz collected 36 delegates last night and Trump collected six delegates. Kasich received no delegates.

Was last night's vote a change in voter opinion towards Trump or was it due to the massive advertising against the billionaire? According to data from SMG Delta, two PACs, Club for Growth and Our Principals PAC, spent $2 million in advertising in Wisconsin against Trump. Cruz's campaign spent $1.4 million in advertising. Trump spent a paltry $512,000 in comparison. Kasich's $968,000 in advertising seems to have been completely wasted.

Last night's results raise the chances that the Republican presidential nominee will be decided at a brokered convention. It is still feasible that Trump can win the nomination by collecting enough delegates, he needs to collect roughly 56 percent of the remaining delegates to make the 1,237 delegate goal. It is far more unlikely that Cruz can collect the necessary total since he would have to collect roughly 82 percent of the remaining delegates to reach the necessary goal. Kasich has no possibility of collecting enough delegates – no matter what happens – since he needs to collect 124 percent of the remaining delegates.

For the Democrats, the results were similar; the polling leading up to last night has been very close. The underdog candidate Senator Bernie Sanders took the state with 56.5 percent of the vote. Clinton received 43.2 percent of the vote. Wisconsin has 86 pledged delegates up for grabs. All the Democratic primaries are proportional, it is how well each candidate does that determines how many of the delegates that they receive. The closer the candidates, the more even the amount of delegates. The final delegate tally isn't complete yet but so far Sanders has collected 47 delegates from the Badger State and Clinton has collected 36. There are also ten superdelegates in Wisconsin, which are not bound until the Democratic National Convention.

Like with the Republican party, Democratic candidate spending in Wisconsin may have had a direct result in the final votes. According to SMG Delta Sanders spent the most, out of all the candidates, in the state on advertising, a total of $2.4 million. Clinton spent the second least amount, out of all the candidates, of money $931,000.

Sanders chances of getting the nomination through the voters are slipping away fast. Without using superdelegates he needs to collect roughly 70 percent of all the remaining delegates to reach the required 2383 delegates. Clinton's odds of getting the nomination through the voters without using superdelegates are slipping too. She needs to collect roughly 57 percent of all the remaining delegates to reach the required total. At this point, for both candidates, all votes matter.

This is turning out to be an exciting primary for both parties and is likely to remain just as exciting for all three parties in the general election.

Return for the next installment of The Campaign Trail 2016 on April 9th after the results of the Wyoming Democratic Caucuses. The following installment of The Campaign Trail 2016 will occur on April 19th after the results of the New York Republican and Democratic primaries.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: Sanders Steps Up

Last night Senator Bernie Sanders and former Senator Hillary Clinton went head-to-head in caucuses in three western states.

The Last Frontier, the northernmost state in our republic, held its caucuses with 16 delegates up for grabs and Sanders won by a landslide with 81.6 percent of the vote. Sanders collected 13 of the delegates Alaska awarded and Clinton only received three for her 18.4 percent of the vote. The Aloha State, the southernmost state in our republic, and its 25 delegates, also held caucuses. Sanders won again in another landslide victory taking 69.8 percent of the vote. Hawaii gave Sanders 17 delegates for his win. Clinton received eight delegates for her 30 percent of the vote.

The Evergreen State, the only continental state to have a caucus yesterday, had the big prize of the night of 101 delegates. Sanders won the Washington caucuses with a third landslide victory receiving 72.7 percent of the vote. Clinton received 27.1 percent of the vote. Washington is still dividing up the delegates and Sanders should collect the bulk of them.

Last night's win was crucial to the Sanders campaign. Not only does it prove that Sanders can do better in the western side of the republic than he did in the south, a three state win by landslide will give his campaign the momentum that only major victories can give a campaign. As important as both of those are, the most important thing that last night's victory also gave Sanders is a large influx of delegates. Sanders has desperately needed a large influx of delegates and while last night's victory will not catch him up with Clinton, it definitely helps him along the way.

Sanders still has a tough fight ahead of him; he still has to catch up and pass Clinton to get to the magic number of 2,383. However, he has also shown Clinton that the western states are going to be a more bitter fight than the south was.

Next up for both the Democrats and the Republicans is the state of Wisconsin on April 5th. Return after the results are finalized for the next installment of The Campaign Trail 2016.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: A stalemate for both parties.

Despite Senator Bernie Sanders winning two of the three Democratic primaries both parties essentially had a wash overall yesterday.

The Democrats basically had a stalemate yesterday despite what you may be hearing from various supporters claiming major victories. In Utah Sanders won by a landslide taking 79.3 percent of the vote and former Senator Hillary Clinton only getting 20.3 percent of the vote. Utah had 33 delegates up for grabs and although the complete dispersion is not yet known, so far Sanders has collected 26 delegates and Clinton has collected six. Next up was the second landslide victory of the night for Sanders in Idaho. Sanders managed to get 78 percent of the vote and so far has collected 17 of the 23 delegates that Idaho was giving out. Clinton received 21.2 percent of the vote and has collected five delegates so far.

Clinton won the third, and final contest of the night in Arizona collecting 57.6 percent of the vote. Arizona had 75 delegates to award and Clinton has collected 44 of the delegates so far. Sanders received 39.9 percent of the vote and has collected 30 delegates so far.

As far as the whole night went, Sanders collected 73 delegates so far from yesterday and Clinton collected 55 delegates. What this means is Sanders shortened the gap, for the first time since Nevada, between him and Clinton by 18 delegates. Without counting superdelegates this still leaves him 303 delegates behind Clinton and meaning that as far as assuring claim to the Democratic nomination, neither candidate won last night.

Democrats Abroad finished tallying their votes on the 21st and Sanders was the winner by a landslide with 68.8 percent of the votes. Clinton received 30.9 percent of the votes. This year 34,570 Democrats voted as part of Democrats Abroad and Sanders collected nine delegates and Clinton collected four delegates. There are four additional unpledged delegates that will be determined by superdelegate pledges. Democrats Abroad are Democrats who live in foreign countries and have met the criteria for voting as a Democrat Abroad. The Democratic party recognizes them as the equivalent of one state as far as nomination purposes go. Democrats Abroad can cast their vote via mail, fax, and email from January 11th through March 8th. For those who wanted to vote in person, the Democratic party opened 121 official voting centers in more than 40 countries from March 1st through March 8th.

Next up for the Democrats is their final contest in March. On the 26th Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington state will be having their Democratic contests.

The Republicans only had two contests on the 22nd. The first up was Arizona, a winner take all state with 58 delegates up for grabs. Trump won the state, and all 58 of the delegates, with 47.1 percent of the vote. Senator Ted Cruz came in second with 24.9 percent of the vote and Governor John Kasich came in fourth with ten percent of the vote. Trump's victory margin in Arizona may not be in reality as big as it appears to be. Many Republicans had already voted prior to Senator Marco Rubio dropping out and Rubio actually, despite having suspended his campaign, came in third in Arizona. Rubio's roughly 70,000 votes (and Ben Carson's roughly 14,000) would not have pushed Cruz over Trump so regardless Trump won the state and since Arizona is a winner take all state would have still collected all of the delegates.

In the other Republican contest of the night, Cruz had a landslide victory. Cruz received 69.2 percent of the vote in Utah, a proportional state with 40 delegates. Because Cruz received over 50 percent of the vote Utah awarded him with all 40 delegates. Kasich came in second with 16.9 percent of the vote and Trump came in last with 14 percent of the vote.

As far as how the night went overall for the top two Republican candidates, it was essentially a wash. Kasich received no delegates but Trump only collected 18 more delegates than Cruz. He widened his lead a little, but certainly not by much.

Yesterday was the last contest in March for the Republicans. Next up will be the winner take all state of Wisconsin on April 5th.

For the next coverage of the Democrats return after the final tally of the votes has been completed for voting on March 26th and for the next coverage of the Republicans return after Wisconsin's votes have been tallied from the 5th of April.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: Special Edition: Who still can win?

We are now essentially half way through the presidential primary nomination process and supporters of various candidates still in the 2016 presidential campaigns keep stating that their candidate can still win their respective party's nomination without a brokered convention. But how many of these are actually realistic and how many are just pie in the sky dreams?

This is in no way meant to discourage anyone from voting for their candidate of choice, one should always, no matter what the odds, vote for the the candidate they believe can best fulfill the office of president, anything less is irresponsible voting.

The Republicans require 1,237 delegates to win the nomination and there are still 1061 delegates up for grabs. Otherwise the convention becomes brokered.

Ohio Governor John Kasich is the last of the governors left in the Republican race. He currently has 143 delegates and absolutely no chance to win the primary. Even if he wins every single delegate remaining, he misses the 1,237 mark.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz is the last of the senators left in the Republican race. He currently has 411 delegates. He still stands a chance of winning the Republican primary, but not a very good chance. He is 262 delegates behind the front runner. Enough delegates remain that he can win the primary but the odds are against him. Based on his past performance he won't catch up to the front runner let alone make it to 1,237. There hasn't been a contest since Rubio dropped out but his numbers weren't high enough to push Cruz to the top spot in many of the contests. However, he can't be ruled out yet.

New York Billionaire Donald Trump is the current front runner with 673 delegates right now. He still stands a chance of winning the Republican primary. However at this point it is still questionable whether Trump can get to the required delegate number. He has a better chance of actually winning the nomination via the voters than anyone else left in the Republican primaries but the loss of a few key states could put victory just out of his grasp. He definitely can't be ruled out of winning but it is also not a sure thing either.

The Democrats require 2,383 delegates to win the nomination and there are still 2,308 delegates available.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has 825 delegates from the voters and 26 superdelegates. It is important to remember that superdelegates are not bound to a candidate and although 26 are currently pledged to support Sanders, they can be changed at any time before being committed at the Democratic National Convention in July. It is still possible for Sanders to win the Democratic primary but not likely. Based on his past performance he won't gain enough delegates to make the total even with more superdelegates pledged to him. Democrats award their delegates proportionally, so Sanders needs to do more than just win a state, but he needs to win each one by a large margin to get the delegates. While he can't be ruled out of winning, the odds are very much against him at this point.

Former New York Senator and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has 1,139 delegates from the voters and 467 superdelegates. It is important to remember that superdelegates are not bound to a candidate and although 467 are currently pledged to support Clinton, they can be changed at any time before being committed at the Democratic National Convention in July. Clinton is the safe bet for winning the Democratic primary. Not counting superdelegates Clinton is 52 delegates short of the half way mark and the Democrats are half way through the primaries. Based on her past performance she can still get to the final mark although she may need some of those superdelegates to throw her over.