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.

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