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Arab America Picks a President: What a Week!

posted on: Mar 16, 2016

Arab America Picks a President: What a Week!

BY: Fred Shwaery/Arab America Contributing Writer

What a week this has been! It started with Arab Americans uniting behind Bernie Sanders and awarding him a win in Michigan. Next, we had a civil and informative Republican candidates’ debate from Miami on Thursday. On Friday, Marco Rubio asked his supporters to vote for John Kasich in the Ohio primary. We had Friday Night Fights in Chicago, the Secret Service rescuing Donald Trump at a Saturday rally, and a cancelled Trump rally at the University of Miami on Monday night.

Let’s take a look at the impact these events will have going forward.

Michigan and Polling

The Michigan turnaround was historic but, was it real? The week before the Michigan primary, Hillary Clinton led Sanders by more than 20 points. How did he pull out a 1% win? Certainly, the Arab American community voted for Sanders in big numbers. Still, that does not explain the win. The only logical conclusion is faulty polling.

We talked with Arab Americans in Michigan and we discovered that the community heard what Sanders had to say, liked it, and united behind with him in big numbers. Sanders won big – as high as two-to-one margins – in Arab American communities such as Dearborn and much of the Detroit area.

Political polling has been getting difficult during the past decade. The Rasmussen Reports presidential poll released a statement that “The central issue is that phone polling worked for decades because that was how people communicated. In the 21st century, that is no longer true.”

Those with home telephones tend to be older voters. These older voters are more reliable voters. Polling among them is accurate as they vote but that does not tell you anything about those without home telephones. Most young voters do not have home telephones and are hard to survey. Younger voters were “feeling the Bern” and pollsters could not get accurate numbers on them.

Clinton did quite well last night and maintaining a sizable lead in delegates. Her 1,074 to 762 earned delegate lead is strong. Add to that her 467 to 26 superdelegate lead and it’s looking good for her. Keep in mind that we’re at about the half-way mark in the delegate selection process so anything can happen. Stay tuned – the second half should be exciting to watch as these two candidates sprint to the finish!

Stopping Trump

Most of the available delegates are in winner-take-all states. If Trump continues his winning ways, he’ll wrap up the nomination before the convention.

How do the other candidates stop him from winning before the convention?

Republican candidates found that attacking Donald Trump is not productive. He attacks back and gains even more support. If a candidate cannot win in one of these states, it’s better to send his supporters to a candidate who can beat Trump. Marco Rubio asked for votes in Florida and asked his supporters to vote for John Kasich in Ohio. Rubio lost in Florida and suspended his campaign. Kasich took Ohio thanks in part to independents and Democrats who would rather have their native son as president than Trump.

Following this approach is about all the candidates can do to stop Trump. If they can go to the convention with no winner, the candidates can make deals, combine delegate votes, and come away with something worthy of all the work they put into this race. Vice President or cabinet secretary are outstanding consolation prizes. This makes Rubio’s 168 delegates valuable as the remaining candidates vie for them after the first round of voting.

Arab America Picks a President: What a Week!

Trump Events

In the nine months since entering the contest for the Republican presidential nomination, Trump has been a source of entertainment and unprecedented activity. The newcomer to politics has done well in all state contests despite making insulting remarks about people and taking other sophomoric actions. He gambles on what to do next and he wins. We’ve not seen a candidate like him before.

This weekend, we saw things we never thought we’d see. His tough talk regarding what should be done to protesters is whipping his fans into a frenzy. The in-your-face confrontations, tearing down protest signs, and assaults have been escalating. Now, we’ve had events postponed due to security and an on-stage intervention by the Secret Service the following day.

Trump needs to take control of his events. While he cannot control every attendee, he has to set the tone for everybody both in the venue and watching at home. If not, university presidents will be reluctant to let him use their facilities. Who would risk damage to their properties by angry mobs? Local officials won’t be so eager to host prime time events in their towns for fear of civil disturbances.

Most importantly, we’re watching history unfold in front of our eyes. Voters are watching someone who wants to be president handle a domestic crisis. How he handles it will tell a lot about how he’ll handle larger conflicts.

Uniquely, he has a live audition and voters are watching. Time to take the high road, Mr. Trump.