Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Sort of OK Tuesday

Like many non-Americans, I've been watching the current US primaries with a certain horror; I can't bear to watch, yet neither can I look away.  The Republican party has been steadfastly advancing in the fields of xenophobia, bigotry and bullying, but it still seems barely credible that they might nominate an actual fascist.  Although, when you look at the other candidates, and especially current runner-up Ted Cruz, they're not exactly any more appealing.

The "good" news, such as it is, is that Trump remains below the 50% margin in terms of delegates.  But today's elections could change that, with winner-takes-all states in Florida and Ohio offering the potential to settle the election as a contest ... or keep things going all the way to the convention.  There have been reports of cooperation between the non-Trump candidates, with Rubio telling his supporters to vote for Kasich in Ohio and getting support in Florida.  We'll have to wait and see what happens.

I know many on the left are excited about the prospect of Trump being nominated, seeing him as easy pickings in the general election.  I'm not one of them.  Aside from the affects a Trump candidacy would have on the nature of the political discourse, anything could happen during the campaign to swing things.  After all, Trump was never supposed to be a serious contender for the Republican ticket.  Sooner or later the Republicans will win the White House again, and for the sake of the world not to mention my American friends, I'd prefer them to do it with someone who isn't a pantomime villain.

On the Democratic side, today is also interesting.  Clinton has a fairly commanding lead, even without superdelegates.  After Nevada, I marked today as the day the contest would end.  But then Sanders won in Michigan, and things looked a lot more interesting.  I also discovered the surprising result that despite Clinton's heavy lead, she is actually behind in each of the North-East, Mid-West and West.  In terms of pledged delegates, she only leads in the South, and the reason her lead is so large is in part due to the fact that southern states have been over-represented in the primary so far.

Of course, strong wins in Illinois, Ohio and/or Missouri could change that today.  My initial prediction still seems the most likely outcome.  But one or two more upsets for the Sanders campaign would be enough to keep things going, at least as far as New York at the end of April.  As would surprise no one who knows me, I prefer Sanders, so I see this as a good possibility.  Clinton, aside from her recent "gaffe" over Nancy Reagan, strikes me as someone who'd be much like Obama: some good, but a continuation of the NSA spying on everyone, drones bombing brown-skinned people and hospitals terrorists, and economic policies designed to favour the wealthy over the poor.  In short, very much a lesser-of-two-evils kind of thing.

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