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Arab America Picks a President: Not so Fast!

posted on: May 18, 2016

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BY: Fred Shwaery/Arab America Contributing Writer

Last month, we signed off for a few weeks as not much was going to happen until the conventions.  Well, like just about everything else in this election, the expected didn’t happen and the unexpected did.    

Here we are, two months before the conventions and the Republicans have a presumptive nominee and the Democrats still are fighting it out.  Nobody saw that coming!

With the original 17 Republican candidates working for delegates, it was very unlikely that one candidate could earn a majority of the delegates.  Even a few weeks ago, as Ted Cruz and John Kasich were in the race and earning delegates, it was hard to see how Donald Trump could have a majority of delegates on the first round of voting.  

Cruz and Kasich dropped out and now Trump will go to the convention with a majority of delegates.  Yes, there is the “Anybody But Trump” element that will try to keep Trump from being the Republican’s nominee but it looks like it’s his title.  That is unless the Anybody But Trumpers get the rules committee to change the rules for earning delegates.  This has been the year of “Who Knows?” so don’t be surprised at whatever happens.  

On the Democratic side, nobody thought that this nomination could come down to the superdelegates but, it will.

It looks like neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders will get the nomination without the superdelegates’ votes.  Sure, it’s hard to get a majority with 17 Republicans running but the Democrats had few to start and only two for the past few months.  

There are 781 remaining earned delegates to be selected in June.  If Sanders wins all of them, he won’t have enough delegates to win a majority.  

Clinton needs 615 more delegates to win.  That means that she has to win 79% of the June delegates.  That just is not going to happen.  She has more than 500 superdelegates and they will put her over the top.  She won’t get 79% of the remaining earned delegates so her only way to win the nomination is with superdelegates.  

Though Sanders cannot win a majority of the earned delegates, there is a path for Sanders to win more earned delegates than Clinton.  It’s a narrow path but it is possible.  If he wins more than 68% of the remaining earned delegates, he will go to the convention with more earned delegates than Clinton.  This will be the Democrats worst nightmare. Two contestants fighting it out for months and nobody can win without superdelegates.  What a PR mess!  Americans are sick of old style politics and the party backroom machine will have to decide the winner. 

AA-Pick-President-Whats-Up-5-18Being realistic as to the remaining earned delegates, the Sanders folks will work the superdelegates hard over the next few weeks.  They will explain that, in poll after poll, Sanders beats Trump in the states that matter.  He’ll argue that he can win in November and she cannot.  The superdelegates then have to decide if it is better to break from Clinton and win with Sanders or stay with Clinton and come up with a plan to win with her.  

The Clinton delegates are quite loyal.  Some will go to Sanders but not many unless he actually wins the 68% of remaining delegates.  We’ll have see how that shakes out closer to the convention.  

The Clinton team will point out that Trump supporters didn’t  need to vote for him in the May and June primaries and many voters voted for Sanders to make Clinton look weak.  Some of the Sanders wins were packed with Trumpers who crossed party lines for the primary and will return to Trump in the general election.  

That might be true but it does not explain the support for Sanders over Trump in independent national polling.  

One final nugget…many state conventions will be conducted before the convention in July.  If the delegate process remains close, there can be a few delegates who get moved from one side to the other.  All kinds of irregularities have been happening.  Just look at the Nevada convention days ago.  
When it’s this close of an election, every delegate counts.  Go to your state convention if you can.  You’ll see firsthand how the process works – or doesn’t.

With only two candidates, it’s easy to have a clear winner.  Not this time.

 

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Questions? Comments? Please send an email message to me at fshwaery@arabamerica.com