Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Blogger Candidate Forum: Weekly Wrap Up April 6, 2016

Voters in Wisconsin
Hello Everyone:

It is Wednesday and time for the Blogger Candidate Forum and yours truly has much to say this week.  First of all, a round of applause to the winners, Senators Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz, for their victories in Wisconsin.  The Senators's victories set up the very real possibility that a nominee in the fall campaign will not be chosen on the first ballot.  Good, blogger has found the previous party conventions a bit dull because the nominee was more or less determined before the end of primary season.  Blogger doubts that the Democratic National Convention, to held in Philadelphia in July, will be as chaotic as the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.  Be that as it may, let us focus on yesterday's contest and see where we go from here.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) 
The big news coming out the Badger State is Sen. Cruz soundly defeating his bitter rival Donald J. Trump (R-New York): 48.2 percent to 35.1 percent of the vote.  Governor John Kasich (R-Ohio) came in a very distant third with 14.1 percent of the vote. (AP)  With this victory, Sen. Cruz adds 36 delegates to his total, bringing his total cunt to 505.  Mr. Trump picks up an additional six delegates to give him 742 delegates.  What made Mr. Trump come undone in Wisconsin?  Very simple, Mr. Trump.

First, Mr. Trump took aim at Sen. Cruz.  At every turn, he fired verbal shrapnel at the Gentleman from Texas and his wife, Heidi.  Blogger has no problem with the candidates behaving like a pair of schoolboys fighting over the ball but taking shots at the spouses is amateur hour stuff.  If that was not enough, Mr. Trump them preceded to aim his verbal cannon fodder at Wisconsin Governor and one-time nominee candidate Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin).  Granted that Gov. Walker is only popular with conservatives, the Governor threw his support to Sen. Cruz and stood next to him during Sen. Cruz's victory speech.  If that were not enough, Mr. Trump defended his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who was charged with battery for grabbing a female reporter from Breibart News.  Throw in Mr. Trump's call for women to be jailed, if abortion were ever made illegal (he later back pedaled the comment) and you get the equivalent of a person shooting off most his toes.  Mr. Trump is trying attempting to do damage control by having his current wife, Melania, come out to campaign events.  What will save Donald Trump?  Perhaps if Donald Trump stops being Donald Trump, then he might have a real chance.  Not likely.

Governor John Kasich (R-Ohio) 
For his part, Sen. Ted Cruz stayed with his argument that only he could dislodge Mr. Trump.  Possibly.  Despite their mutual loathing of Sen. Cruz and his burn-the-building-down tactics that brought Capitol Hill and the federal government to a grinding halt, mainstream Republicans continue to form around the Texas senator as part of the "Never Trump" movement.  If Sen. Cruz and Mr. Trump can find common ground on anything, it is the why Governor John Kasich remains in the race when he has no realistic chance of winning the nomination.  Blogger is curious about this as well.  The Ohio governor tenaciously clings to the dream of winning the Republican nomination.  In all fairness, Gov. Kasich is a more moderate candidate who, at any other time, would be a viable candidate for the nomination.  However, his moderate positions have not found a mass audience, which is actually a shame because yours truly believes him to be a decent sort of person and just the right moderating influence in these polemical times.  Blogger can only surmise that the reason Gov. Kasich continues to solder on is ego.  Ego is a necessary thing for a politician but it can also drive a person to stay in the race for no other reason than he/she can and the end result will not be pretty.

Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont)
Over in the Democratic race, it was Senator Bernie Sanders's big night. The Gentleman from Vermont bested Secretary Hillary Clinton 56.6 percent to 43.1 percent of the vote.  However, each walked away with a tidy number of delegates: Sen. Sanders received 48 delegates, bringing his total to 1,030.  Sec. Clinton earned 38 delegates to increase her lead to 1,280.  Senator Sanders is on a hot streak having won six out of the last seven primaries.  If he wants to dislodge Sec. Clinton from her frontrunner status he will need to keep up that momentum, especially now that the primaries move into Mid-Atlantic states: New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Delaware.  New York and Pennsylvania are the big prizes and it is imperative that Sen. Sanders not just do well, he needs to win.  The challenge facing the Sanders campaign is that these contests are closed primaries, meaning only registered Democrats can cast their ballots.  In Wisconsin, registered Democrats were evenly divided between the candidates, while the Senator outright won the independent vote 71-29. (; date accessed Apr. 6, 2016)

Campaign fundraising by party in the third quarter
 The win in Wisconsin allows the Sanders campaign to continue to raise big dollars amounts and get his supporters going in states where organizational work is vital.  Before setting his sights on the East Coast, the Blue Team is going to Wyoming for a caucus on Saturday.  Senator Sanders hopes to make it lucky seven out of eight states that hold caucuses.  Can the Senator keep up the momentum?  Maybe but Sen. Sanders has a delegate math problem.  Secretary Clinton is gaining a lot of endorsements from non-pledged (as in pledged to support a specific candidate) super delegates and Sen. Sanders really needs every delegate he can get from average voters.

Secretary Hillary Clinton (D-New York)
Senator Sanders's momentum puts Democratic party officials in a bind.  He has become a thorn in the party's side-bringing out enthusiastic voters to his rallies.  If, as expected, Sen. Sanders wins the Wyoming caucus, it will make extraordinarily difficult for the party elite to call for his to get out of the race.  The DNC officials really want Sec. Clinton to be the standard bearer in the fall.  However, winning big in New York could be an insurmountable task.

New York is both Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton's home territory.  The Senator was born and raised in Brooklyn and the Secretary served as a federal Senator for eight years.  The Mid-Atlantic states have a far more diverse population, unlike Wisconsin-overwhelmingly Caucasian and, independents are allowed to vote in party primaries.  States like Wisconsin have proven to be Sanders-country.  To wit, Sen. Sanders pounded Sec. Clinton among voters 18-29 and 30 to 44 by a margin of 82 to 18 percent.  Among Caucasian voters, the margin was a tad closer: 59 to 41 percent.  This number was reversed among non-Caucasian voters.  (Ibid)

The Mid-Atlantic States
With the primaries moving to New York, Sec. Hillary Clinton is not exactly welcoming Sen. Bernie Sanders back home.  The readers of the New York Daily News were treated to a front-page story this morning, "Bernie's Sandy Hook Shame," which denounced the Senator for putting gun lobby interests over the the right of the families of victims to sue gun manufacturers.  If that was not enough, the Senator was blistered over his interview with the newspaper's editorial board.  In the interview, he wobbled on foreign and domestic policy question-showing hesitancy over facts and admitting that he could not give a proper answer without the relevant data in front of him.

Perhaps the most telling moment of the interview was when the Senator was asked how he intended to break up the big banks.  This is the centerpiece of his Wall Street reform platform and the Gentleman from Vermont admitted that he was not exactly sure how he planned to go about breaking up the big banks.  Needless to say, Sec. Clinton was quick to pounce on the Senator, telling CNN's Chris Cuomo,

If you're concerned about income inequality and hold the banks accountable, yo have to know how it works and what you have to do to make it work.

This gives blogger pause to consider whether or not Senator Bernie Sanders is worthy of blogger's vote.  Based on this interview, yours truly has to wonder whether or not Sen. Sanders has done his homework on any of the campaign issues, not just Wall Street reform.  It is easy to rally your supporters with banners like "the other person is brought to you by Citibank" but harder to say what you will do.  This requires serious on the specifics of the issues before formulating a coherent policy.

Meanwhile, the Donald Trump campaign has some time to regroup.  The disastrous events of last week, coupled with the thumping in Wisconsin, have taken the energy out of the campaign.  What remains to be seen is if Mr. Trump will moderate his message or keep going the way he is going.  What also remains to be seen is if Governor John Kasich continues his quixotic campaign for the nomination.  Will Senator Ted Cruz steal the nomination away from Donald Trump?  Will Secretary Hillary Clinton regain the momentum and effectively put the nomination out of Senator Bernie Sanders's reach?  Hang on to your hats and buckle your seat belts this ride is about to get wilder.

Before yours truly signs off, Blogger just wants to remind all the American readers to register to vote.  If you are a native born or naturalized citizen, eighteen year-old or over, please go to your state's Secretary of State website- for California voters, and find out how you can register to vote.  Once you register to vote, go vote.

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