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Arab America Picks a President: Winning the Nomination

posted on: Mar 9, 2016

BY: Fred Shwaery/Arab America Contributing Writer

Here we are, just a few states into the primaries and caucuses and most of the candidates have suspended their campaigns. The Democrats are down to two candidates and the Republicans are down to four. These remaining candidates are fighting through the heart of primary season. On Tuesday, March 15, we’ll have another Super Tuesday. That’s also when we’ll pass the mid-point of the delegate hunt.

Strange, isn’t it? All this talk about getting out of the race and we’re not at half-time yet.

The candidates from both parties are busy gathering delegates. There are similarities and differences in the delegate-gathering process in the two parties. Some states require the candidates earn a minimum percentage of the total votes to get any delegates. If the candidate doesn’t get the minimum (often 15 or 20%), he or she gets zero delegates.

State rules call for either a proportional award of delegates or a winner-take-all award. In states with proportional awards, if, for example, you get 30% of the votes, you get 30% of the delegates. In winner-take-all states, the winner gets all of the delegates and all competitors get zero.

In some states, one party has a winner-take-all award of delegates and the other party has a proportional award of delegates. In South Carolina, Donald Trump received all 50 Republican delegates for finishing first while on Bernie Sanders, who came in second, received 14 Democratic delegates representing his share of the votes.

Gathering delegates for the Republicans is pretty straight-forward. While you might read that Republicans have no super delegates, they do but they are not important. Each state has three Republican super delegates: One for the state party leader and two for the state’s Republican National Committee members. They must follow the lead of their state’s voters so it really doesn’t matter at all.

The Democrats reserve 15% of the delegates for party leaders and they can vote for anybody. You’ll see them mentioned as super delegates, unpledged delegates, or unearned delegates.

The super delegates are making a big difference in this race. Hillary Clinton has about 60% of the earned delegates to Sanders’ 40% but she has a whopping 95% of the super delegates.

The last primary will be six weeks before the convention. If Sanders wins the earned delegates and Clinton wins the nomination due to super delegates, watch out! Expect a very fractured convention with lots of fireworks. Not following the will of the people: how un-American!

The media will be watching, Democratic party officials will want to give an appearance of a unified party, and Sanders’ folks…well, let’s just say that Democratic party leadership will “feel the Bern!”

The Republican convention has the potential to see something we haven’t seen in decades – a brokered convention. Let’s say that Donald Trump has about 40% of the delegates, Ted Cruz has about 20%, Marco Rubio about 20% and John Kasich about 10%.

When the Republicans head to the convention and nobody has more than 50% of the votes, what do they do? They start brokering deals.  The “Anybody but Trump” movement isn’t working. If anything, it is strengthening Trump’s supporters as they don’t want party leaders to tell them how to vote.

Trump with John Kasich for VP?  Cruz for President, Rubio for VP, and Kasich for a cabinet post?

Trump has uttered such nasty things about Rubio and Cruz that he cannot run with them.  If he and Kasich become the ticket and if they win their home states and bordering states, they are more than half-way to winning the election. Add to that the reliably Republican states such as Texas and Arizona and you could have a winner.

Keep in mind that the vice presidential candidate can be anybody, not just the candidates for president. That makes candidates from vote-rich states such as California very attractive.

Remember, you have to win only the 11 largest states to become president.  You can lose 39 states and be the winner.

Only in America!


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