Friday, February 19, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: A Fork in the Road -- Nevada and South Carolina

The Republican and Democratic campaigns for president find themselves splitting for the first time in the 2016 presidential elections. The Democrats have a caucus in Nevada and Republicans have a primary in South Carolina tomorrow.

Tomorrow Senator Bernie Sanders and former Senator Hillary Clinton square off in Nevada where the stakes are high in their third round. In the first round Clinton received a technical victory in Iowa, although Sanders strong performance was a definite win for him almost beating Clinton. In New Hampshire Sanders knocked down Clinton with massive knock out. Sanders needs a win in Nevada but not as much as Clinton does.

Tomorrow the winnowing Republican field of candidates go head to head in South Carolina. Since New Hampshire's first in the nation primary Carly Fiorina, Gov. Chris Christie, and former Gov. Jim “Did anyone know I was really running” Gilmore have all dropped out.

Current front runner Donald Trump is polling high, which means he needs to come in with another landslide like in New Hampshire. Will he or will South Carolina be like Iowa. Will his attacks on the 43rd President George W. Bush during the last debate hurt him? Or his renewed comments indicating he might leave the Republican Party and run as an independent hurt him? Or will his fan base come out en masse? Former Gov. Jeb Bush has to finish within the top three or South Carolina is likely to be his last stop. Will his brother George W. Bush campaigning with him in South Carolina help?

Senator Marco Rubio did unexpectedly well in Iowa but stumbled hard in New Hampshire. He needs to be eyeing that top three spot. In second place, Senator Ted Cruz and fourth place Gov. John Kasich don't have to worry as much in this one. But if either one sinks they will have to correct quickly in Nevada.

Unless Ben Carson can pull a rabbit out of a hat in South Carolina he will quickly be joining his fallen comrades, which realistically he should have done already.

The state of Washington Republican caucuses will also occur tomorrow, which will be followed up by the primary on May 24th. This year, unlike previous years, only the primary will decide the delegates the state of Washington awards.

For the Libertarian party front runner former Gov. Gary Johnson, who ran the most successful presidential campaign in Libertarian history in 2012, may face a challenge in getting his own party's nomination. Libertarian candidate John McAfee, a cybersecurity expert and former owner of McAfee Anti Viral software, is making news with his offer to decrypt Syed Farook's phone for the government for free. The publicity from this may not be enough to knock Johnson from his front running spot though since the last poll I could find for Libertarian candidates from January 28th shows Johnson getting sixty eight percent of support and McAfee getting three percent of support from Libertarian party members.

Come back on the 21st for a look at what happened in South Carolina and Nevada.

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