“The show will go on”: the successes of Trump and Sanders push back the end of the primary elections

download _OP_2_CP__1457749467340_951277_ver1.0U.S. Studies Online and the Centro Interuniversitario di Storia e Politica Euro-Americana  (CISPEA) postgraduate group (www.ceraunavoltalamerica.it) are pleased to present a recurring summary of the key developments in the lead up to the US Presidential Election 2016. 

Republicans and Democrats voted again last Tuesday, the GOP in four states (Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan and Mississippi) and the Dem in two (Michigan and Mississippi). If there is a common message we can draw from this election night, it is that we will have to wait a long time before the contenders of the November Presidential campaign will be clear.

For the Republicans, Trump made a step ahead toward the nomination. His wins in Michigan, Mississippi and Hawaii increased his advantage from Ted Cruz in the delegate count, but more importantly gave him momentum ahead of key elections next Tuesday in big and winner-take-all states such as Florida and Ohio. Bernie Sanders scored a stunning win in Michigan. Stunning not only because it was completely unforeseen by all media polls (Nate Silver’s Fivethirtyeight.com gave Clinton a 99% chance of taking Michigan), but also because it showed that Sanders can win in big states, with an ethnically diverse population. Notwithstanding, thanks to her vast success in Mississippi (82% to 16%), Clinton increased her lead over Sanders in terms of delegates (without including super-delegates, now it is at 762 against 549 according to Bloomberg).

Facing the fundamental primaries of Tuesday (both parties will vote not only in Florida and Ohio, but also in Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina), the candidates took part in TV debates organized by CNN for the Republicans and by Univision, the Washington Post and Facebook for the Democrats. Surprisingly, the Republican debate stood out for its serious and composed tones: no sexual allusions and personal attacks, many discussions on the policies put forward by each candidate. The Tuesday election is the last call for Marco Rubio and John Kasich: unless they manage to take their respective home states (Florida for Rubio and Ohio for Kasich), they will be out from the race soon. For the Democrats, John Cassidy titled his analysis on the New Yorker “the ordeal continues for Hillary Clinton”, and these words well encapsulate how the debate went for the former First Lady. Despite a good performance, contends Cassidy, she struggled to answer questions on her past relating to her repeated changes of position and her ties with Wall Street.

Other events of the past week include: Michael Bloomberg ruled out a campaign as independent to the next Presidential elections, attacking Cruz and Trump and arguing that his race as independent would favour Republicans; Ben Carson endorsed Donald Trump, declaring that “he is the voice of the people to be heard”; finally, Hillary Clinton concluded her bad week putting herself into troubles: in an interview with MSNBC, she praised ex-First Lady Nancy Reagan, who passed away last Sunday, for her role in spreading consciousness about AIDS during the period her husband Ronald was at the White House. This debatable opinion sparked protests amongst LGBT associations and forced the New York Senator to quickly retract her declarations.

During the weekend, the American media focused on the repeated episodes of violence during Donald Trump’s rallies around the country, with the cancelled event in Chicago on Friday as the main headline. Edward Luttwak on the Washington Post argues that the “Trump-phobia” that we have seen over the last weeks looks like the skepticism that preceded the election of Ronald Reagan, once in office one of the most popular Presidents in the history of the country. The violence of the weekend cast doubts on the real capacity of Trump to reunify the country behind him if he will be elected as President in November.

CORAL GABLES, FL - MARCH 10:  Republican presidential candidates, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Ohio Gov. John Kasich debate during the CNN, Salem Media Group, The Washington Times Republican Presidential Primary Debate on the campus of the University of Miami on March 10, 2016 in Coral Gables, Florida. The candidates continue to campaign before the March 15th Florida primary.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

CORAL GABLES, FL – MARCH 10: Republican presidential candidates, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Ohio Gov. John Kasich debate during the CNN, Salem Media Group, The Washington Times Republican Presidential Primary Debate on the campus of the University of Miami on March 10, 2016 in Coral Gables, Florida. The candidates continue to campaign before the March 15th Florida primary. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Many thanks to the Italian postgraduates of CISPEA for this update.

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