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Arab America Picks a President: March Madness

posted on: Mar 23, 2016

Arab America Picks a President: March Madness

BY: Fred Shwaery/Arab America Contributing Writer

It’s March Madness time! Across the country, thousands of fans have packed arenas to support their favorite competitors. Week by week, would-be winners have fallen aside and only a few are remaining. They will continue to travel across the country in contest after contest until we reach the finals. Then, the two left standing will face off for the biggest winner-take-all prize of all.

Basketball? No, it’s the presidential election.

Last night’s primaries gave Sanders and Trump two more states, while Clinton and Cruz both got one more.

We’re at half-time. About half of the delegates have been elected and we’re ready to go into the final sprint to the finish line. At half-time, teams take a break, assess where they are, and plan the way to finish the race. Leaders devise strategies to hang on to their leads and those chasing the leaders develop plans to catch up before time runs out.Arab America Picks a President: March Madness

The Republicans have a break until Friday, April 1. Democrats take a break from March 27 to April 5. What can we expect during the slow period over the next couple of weeks? Here’s a few items to note.

Donald Trump passed on a debate and that caused it to be cancelled. Since he’s leading by a strong margin, he’s smart to skip as many joint events with his competitors as he can. Why share the stage when he is the main attraction? Why risk making a serious mistake when he has such a commanding lead? He has little to gain by debating.

Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Hillary Clinton spoke at the AIPAC meeting in Washington. Interesting that Bernie Sanders did not speak.

In the days since Marco Rubio left the race, Trump has had strong gains in the polls. Though the polls have been remarkably inaccurate, Trump’s polling numbers have him flirting with the 50% mark. Many people expected that a lot of Rubio supporters would shift to Ted Cruz but not many have. It looks as though most have gone to Trump.

Can Trump win before the Republican convention? The answer is eluding everybody. He’ll need to win about 60% of the remaining delegates. With support at about the 50% mark, it looks like he cannot garner the 60% of remaining delegates though most of the remaining delegates are in winner-take-all states. If this polling is accurate, he can win almost – but not all – of the delegates he needs in winner-take-all states. Add to that the delegates he wins in the proportional states and he wins the race before the convention.

If the Republican race goes to the convention with no candidate winning the majority of delegates, anything can happen. It’s too early to guess what the outcome will be.

On the Democratic side, Clinton still holds almost 60% of the earned delegates over Sanders. Her big support is with superdelegates where she holds about 95% of them. These numbers in this race have been fairly consistent week after week. There’s still lots of earned delegates out there and Sanders can catch Clinton. If he does, you can expect some of the superdelegates to change their support to him. Superdelegates never have changed the candidate who had the most earned delegates. If Sanders beats Clinton in earned delegates, it will be very interesting to see what superdelegates will do. As with the Republican race, this one is too early to call.

The talk shows are full of experts and they are struggling to make sense of and accurately predict these races. This will be a historic election for both parties. We haven’t seen issues like we have this year. An outsider with no government experience leading one party and super delegates having a possible impact on the other party.

Let’s take a break from politics and watch basketball. These young competitors are giving it their all and are showing us good sportsmanship regardless of the score. We’ll have a lot more madness when these half-time breaks end.


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