Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Campaign Trail 2016: Trump Stumbles

The Republican party has had a busy week. On Thursday just east of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands held their caucuses, and – in one of the most interesting votes in this very unique presidential campaign – voted to leave them uncommitted. All six of the U.S. Virgin Islands delegates will remain unbound to any candidate until the Republican National Convention in July.

Guam, a United States territory east of the Philippines, held their Republican caucuses today as well, but all six of their delegates aren't bound and will remain uncommitted.

On Friday a rally for Donald Trump was cancelled after Trump's supporters and protesters, several of which were reportedly carrying signs supporting Senator Bernie Sanders, broke out in a fight.

Ben Carson, the second of Trump's former opponents to later endorse the billionaire said, “It's very sad that so many … are being taught that if you don't like what somebody has to say you have the right to interfere with their freedom of speech,” on Fox News' The Kelly File on Friday about the cancellation of Trump's rally.

However, it certainly seems like this is the environment that Trump himself has created at his rallies. Allegedly the billionaire has protesters, even those who are reportedly not interfering with the rallies, thrown out.

Friday's incident of violence at a Trump rally is only one of a trail of violent outbreaks over the campaign. Charges have been filed against a North Carolina rally attendee for allegedly attacking a protester. Countless videos have surfaced on social media platforms showing Trump supporters attacking protesters at rallies.

The violence doesn't seem to stop with the attendees. There have been incidents where secret service agents have been accused of unnecessary violence at Trump rallies against protesters. Allegedly Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields was forcefully taken down by Corey Lewandowski, campaign manager for Trump, at a press conference. Trump's campaign denies the claim but Washington Post reporter Ben Terris reportedly said he witnessed the attack.

This violent streak at Trump rallies should be of concern to not just Republicans but all people and Trump needs to come out and condemn violence and attacks at his rallies, including violence from his supporters.

Sadly this is not the case.

“My people are nice. Thousands and thousands of people, they caused no problem. They were taunted, they were harassed by these other people. These other people, by the way, some represent Bernie, our communist. … He should really get up and say to his people stop, stop,” Trump said at his rally in Dayton, Ohio Saturday.

This is in no way saying that some of Sanders' supporters and other protesters didn't start some of the violence but I don't believe that Trump's supporters didn't either. Every candidate should be condemning these actions and Carson needs to educate himself on the freedom of speech, since that would cover protesters as well.

Trump had his first major stumble in his 2016 campaign failing to win a single state today.

Senator Ted Cruz dominated the first major contest of the day taking the Wyoming caucuses by a major landslide taking 66 percent of the vote. In an incredibly distant second place was Senator Marco Rubio with 20 percent of the vote. In third place, with quite possibly his lowest vote count of the 2016 Republican presidential campaign trail was Trump with seven percent of the vote. Gov. John Kasich didn't resonate with caucus goers in Wyoming and came in last with zero percent of the vote and, according to the Associated Press, not a single caucus vote. Wyoming will be dispersing 26 delegates. Wyoming hasn't dispersed all their delegates, however, Cruz will be expecting the most of the dispersion with Rubio and Trump likely to collect some.

In the District of Columbia there were 19 delegates up for grabs, and Rubio came in first in a very close race with Kasich. Rubio gained 37.3 percent of the vote and Kasich 35.5 percent of the vote. Trump was third and a very distant third with 13.8 percent of the vote and Cruz came in last with 12.4 percent of the vote. As of yet the delegates aren't divvied up yet but it is safe to assume Rubio and Kasich will both get some. It is not yet known if Trump or Cruz will collect any delegates.

In the next Republican showdown is when things start getting tough for the candidates. On the 15th Illinois and North Carolina vote with proportional delegate awards and the states of Florida, Missouri, and Ohio along with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands all hold winner take all contests. These will be the first winner take all contests of the 2016 campaign.

Former Senator Hillary Clinton won the only caucus that the Democratic party held today. The good news for Senator Bernie Sanders is this one doesn't make the gap too much bigger. The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, which is located next to Guam and roughly 1,600 miles east of the Philippines, held their Democratic caucuses and Clinton won with 54 percent of the vote. Sanders collected 34 percent of the vote; it is currently unknown who the other 12 percent of the vote went to. While this sounds like a huge victory for Clinton, it really isn't. Clinton only received 102 votes – Sanders 65 – and Clinton only collected four delegates. Sanders received two delegates. Clinton also collected one pledged superdelegate, the commonwealth's other four delegates remain unpledged. Clinton and Sanders will face off again on the 15th in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio.

Former Gov. Gary Johnson, the current front runner for the Libertarian party, is getting noticed by both the broadsheets and the digital news services. On Thursday The Huffington Post, a digital news service, ran the article “Meet the Third Party” focusing on Johnson. On Tuesday, the local broadsheet The Richmond-Times Dispatch ran the opinion article “The GOP's third-party option.” Fox Business has already been paying attention to Johnson and Johnson spoke at CPAC on March 3rd and March 5th. During an election where both Democrats and Republicans are expressing disdain for their respective party's likely nominees, this early coverage of Johnson should help him in securing the Libertarian party nomination and help get his name out as a viable alternative to the two major parties.

Return after the results on the 15th for coverage of both the Democratic and Republican parties.

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