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.