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Arab America Picks a President: Spring Break (Part 2)

posted on: Apr 6, 2016

BY: Fred Shwaery/Contributing Writer

They’re still on spring break…
We got hooked on watching television coverage of the debates and primary/caucus results.  We stayed up late to hear the candidates’ victory speeches and the next day, we talked around the water cooler about who had momentum. 
The only event we have this week is the Wyoming Democratic closed caucus.  That’s it!
Maybe it’s time to change things up this week and take a break from our regular format and cover a some of the topics you asked about and a few to ask you about.
Who is going to the conventions?  Let us know if you’re a delegate or attending in some other capacity.  We’d love you to share your experiences with all of the readers. 
Presidential Preference
Have you voted in the informal Arab America presidential preference poll?  Bernie Sanders has half of the votes.   Why do you think Sanders leading by so much?  Do you notice that most of your Arab American friends support Sanders?
Independent Candidates
There has been some buzz that Donald Trump and Sanders might – repeat, might – launch independent presidential campaigns if they have large numbers of delegates going into the conventions and that they suspect party elders don’t treat them fairly.  That would be something we haven’t seen in decades.  It certainly will doom the party that has a split. 
If Trump moves his loyal supporters away from the Republican Party, that certainly will guarantee a win by the Democratic candidate.  Same goes for the Democrats if Sanders, who already is an independent in the Senate, leaves the convention feeling like the nomination process was unfair.
Delegate Counts Change so Often
It’s hard to find two news outlets with the same delegate counts.  That’s due to a lot of reasons.  Here’s a few. 
Superdelegates, are Democratic Party delegates who are senior elected officials and senior party officials.  They can announce and change their allegiance to Hillary Clinton or Sanders at any time.      
Republicans have “unbound” delegates in four states.  That’s right – voters in these states voted for delegates who don’t have to represent the will of those who voted for them.  These 103 delegates are more than 8% of the number of delegates needed to win, so if the Republicans form a “Block Trump” faction, these delegates are important grabs and can move the election to Trump or to “Anybody But Trump.”
Many states have very complicated rules for awarding delegates in each party.  Some are based on total vote count, vote count by congressional district and even down to vote count in precincts.  Some of these elections have had voting flaws and there have been protests filed.  Some of these delegates take days to award so total delegate counts change when these protests are resolved.   
What Will Happen at the Conventions
It’s so difficult to predict what will happen.  For the Republicans, the question is what will happen if Trump is close but not close enough to win the nomination.  Will he be able to convince the unbound delegates to vote for him on the first round of voting and cut off what could be an ugly convention and image for Republicans?
Will the party elders change the rules at the convention to block Trump from getting the nomination even if he has the votes on the first round?  They could change the rules by voting that a candidate must get a minimum percent of total votes to get any and setting the minimum above the level he has in his worst states thus blocking anybody from winning on the first vote. 
Will Trump walk out with his supporters and make an independent run?
On the Democratic side, let’s put aside the superdelegates for a moment because they can change their votes.  What will happen if Sanders catches Clinton on earned delegates?  What if he passes her?  What if he comes close?  Will superdelegates go with him?
Sanders will argue that only thing that counts is winning the general election and the Democrats need to nominate the candidate who can win.  He will try to convince the superdelegates that he can win the general election.  Many of Clinton’s delegates are from states that don’t matter as the Republican candidate will win them anyway.  He’ll argue that he is going to do better in battleground states and he needs to be the Democratic candidate. 
This election likely will go down to the wire for both parties’ nominations.  Stay tuned.
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