Arab America Picks a President: April showers bring May flowers and April primaries bring...us a bit closer to finalizing the nomination process
BY: Fred Shwaery/Arab America Contributing Writer
Yesterday, voters in the north east closed out the April presidential primaries and pushed the leading candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, closer to their parties’ nominations. Former Central Falls, R.I. Mayor, Thomas Lazieh, “saw a Clinton victory coming for a long time,” but the large numbers of unhappy unaffiliated voters in R.I. took other directions in the Democratic and Republican primaries.
Lazieh, the first Arab American elected mayor in R.I., is the son of a Syrian father from Aleppo and Lebanese mother from Byblos. He watched as Clinton won the state eight years ago over then-Senator Obama and now her team was successful in locking up all four members of the Congressional delegation and all state Democratic party leaders while also gaining the support of all the state’s super delegates.
He proudly watched as Clinton spoke to an over-flowing crowd at his alma mater, Central Falls High School, concentrating on the large Hispanic voting bloc in the area and the state. Clinton has maintained a strong base of support in the state since her husband’s presidency and her previous run for the nomination; however, that did not stop Bernie Sanders from winning the state. His support from independent voters put him over the top.
May will be a quieter month than we’ve experienced in this most unusual primary season. There will be few primaries scattered across the country. Most will be one state at a time. Only on one occasion for the Democrats and one for the Republicans will there be two states voting at one time. Candidates will be able to campaign hard in each state. That likely will not change anything.
For the Democrats, Clinton has sizeable leads over Bernie Sanders in just about all states voting in May and in the final Super Tuesday states on June 7.
So, why will he remain in the race when the delegate counts strongly favor a Clinton victory? Super delegates. Super delegates are back in the news.
Baring a catastrophe in the Clinton campaign, she will likely have more delegates than Sanders. That should end it, but Sanders is hoping to woo some of her 500 super delegates to his side and win the nomination. As long as he remains close in the earned delegate count, he has a chance.
He’s going to urge super delegates to consider his plan to win in the general election in November. He’ll be pointing out that Clinton beat him in states that don’t make a difference in the general election. Remember that in the general election, it’s winner take all (except Maine and Nebraska.) She won more delegates than he did in states that any Democrat likely will win and she won more delegates in states that any Democrat likely will lose. For example, she won Arizona and Rhode Island. Any Democrat will lose Arizona and win Rhode Island in an election. His argument is to look at who will do better in swing states as that will be the focus of the general election.
It will be interesting to see if her hold on super delegates will remain. Sup erdelegates never have changed the outcome of earned delegates. Will they flip the election to Sanders if Clinton wins the popular vote? This is why, in the face of long odds, your vote matters, particularly in swing states.
On the Republican side, it looks like Donald Trump can squeak out a first ballot victory.
He needs only about 200 more delegates to win on the first round of voting at the Republican National Convention. He’ll do well in May and likely will wrap up the victory on June 7, the final day of primaries.
Ted Cruz and John Kasich are staring in the race to block Trump from a first vote nomination victory and forcing a second vote when most of the delegates are free to change their votes. This way, the Republican establishment can broker a deal to give the nomination to their favorite candidate. Cruz and Kasich will argue that the nomination should go to one of them as they campaigned across the country and earned the nomination.
Cruz and Kasich will make the same argument as Sanders–that they can win in swing states. If they can get the convention into a second ballot, the Anybody-But-Trump Republicans can select their candidate.
If Trump goes into the convention with a lead in delegates and popular vote and the party leadership does not select him as their nominee, who knows what will happen. Will he and his supporters boycott the convention? Will he continue his campaign as an independent? Republican party officials know that a Trump independent run will split the party and easily hand a general election victory to the Democratic candidate.
What will they do? Again, who knows. And, again, that’s why your vote is so important.
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