It’s hard to avoid news of the US presidential election, even with just less than 7 months to go until the Democrats and Republicans square off for control of the White House. So, rather than admonish the electoral system or preach the dangers of voting for a certain Republican candidate, let’s look forward to the National Conventions and beyond, and discuss 5 ways the US Presidential election could play out come November:

  1. Hillary Clinton (Democrat) v. Donald Trump (Republican): This race is by far the most likely- Hillary  needs 627 from 1914 remaining delegates to win, while Trump needs 494 from 867 to secure a definitive majority. While most polling services give this match-up to Hillary (with a the latest Marist poll from April 7th giving her 9 point victory over Mr Trump), this election would be interesting due to the stark differences in the voter demographics they attract- Hillary is winning the female vote and the vote of the ethnic minorities whereas Trump is winning the votes of those who didn’t get a college degree and those who are tired of the current political system. However, neither candidate polls well among younger voters or independents, meaning that this may be a race to capture the hearts of the established America, rather than the generation to come. However the candidates choose to campaign, Trump polls woefully as a general election candidate amongst Republicans and so, unless she managed to screw up beyond belief, this would be a pretty safe victory for Hillary Clinton.
  2. Hillary Clinton (Democrat) v. Ted Cruz (Republican) v. Donald Trump (Independent): After a decisive win in Wisconsin on April 5th, Ted Cruz made a brokered Republican convention all the more likely. Heading into New York and beyond, Donald Trump needs to secure 57% of the remaining delegates in order to win the nomination outright. Sidebar: Here’s the 4-1-1 on a broker convention- especially at the Republican National Convention, there can be several rounds of voting. In the first round of voting, delegates must cast a vote for the candidate they are pledged to. However, if no candidate gains the 54% of delegates needed for an outright majority, all delegates become unpledged and are free to side with any candidate in subsequent rounds of voting. This leads to a lot of backdoor deals- say, get your delegates to vote for me and I’ll throw your state a bone after November or say, get your delegates to vote for me and there’s a cabinet position in it for you.Due to Trump’s overall unpopularity, a brokered convention is the perfect way for the GOP to field their preferred candidate,possible Zodiac Killer Ted Cruz. The big GOP fear is that they won’t be able to control Trump if he gains control of the nation’s executive branch, whereas Cruz is a Republican darling who can somewhat unite the party. There’s only one problem with this- Trump is a man who has never been told no, which explains so much about his behaviour. If he doesn’t get the nomination, one of two things will happen- he runs as an independent and takes enough votes away from Cruz to hand Hillary the victory OR he kicks up enough of a fuss about running as an independent that the GOP gives in and gives him a position of political power. The general consensus is that the GOP is facing a Catch-22- nominate Trump and lose the election due to his unpopularity or don’t nominate Trump and lose the election as he takes the voter base with him.
  3. Hillary Clinton (Democrat) v. X (Republican): Here’s a thing about a brokered convention- pretty much anyone could get elected. That’s right, if the first round of voting does not yield a nominee, delegates are free to vote for anyone. This was curbed by the Republicans in 2012 with something called Rule 40b but that rule has not been enacted for the 2016 convention. There has been much speculation about this decision by the Republican National Committee, with some pundits speculating that there may be a dark horse, such as Mitt Romney, waiting in the wings to sweep in and unite the party. However, it is more likely that if things went to brokered convention for the Republicans, the powers that be would push for unification behind Cruz and not a candidate they hadn’t field-tested during the primaries. Furthermore, the nomination of an individual not previously running would probably push Trump to run as an independent, citing the constitution or whatever it is he does when he doesn’t get his way. In addition, with Cruz and Kasich both saying that they wouldn’t endorse Trump if he was nominated, an unforeseen convention nominee would have to truly be something special to unify the GOP.
  4. Bernie Sanders (Democrat) v. Donald Trump (Republican): Unlikely due to Hillary’s strong lead in the Democrat race (yeah, thanks superdelegates) but there are still enough delegates out there for Bernie to win. Bernie is the far more popular candidate in the battle of the political outsiders. Most polls put Bernie as the clear winner, citing a bigger margin of victory than the Clinton/Trump race. However, Bernie’s viral popularity may spell disaster for Hillary, with numerous Sanders supporters potentially staying at home on November 8th, rather than backing the Democrats. However, overall, Bernie is slated to win against all current GOP candidates, whereas Hillary is down to beat Trump, tie with Cruz and actually lose to Kasich.

How do you think the race for President will end up? How do you think a brokered Republican convention would go? Let me know!



2 thoughts on “Ben talks politics: 4 ways the US election could turn out

  1. Firstly…”the eclectic paradise” ? I like that name, it has a commemorative ring about it that screams freedom of speech and tolerance…excellent! As a Brit I find that most of these names are generic but it smacks of invention and I applaud that.
    Secondly…How the American Race will take shape in 2016 is becoming an “anybodies’ guess” situation (if those guessing are interested in American politics and have the chutzpah to chime in!) and as such I think speculation is a game few of us enjoy. I do enjoy it, as obviously so do you…hence my post and more.
    Thirdly: I’m not familiar with Marist Polling…is it comprehensive or reductionist? Does it play the PushPoll game or is it an independent (please excuse the ignorance on my part).
    When you refer to “those who didn’t get a degree” being in it for Trump and “those tired of the political system” being up for his rhetoric does that not cover a majority of the country? If so, is there some scary undercurrent that the political elitists are trying to ignore? Fear of the reality whilst hoping that the more politically “savvy” voters suddenly wake up and jump into the fray?
    Your thoughts on the GOP offering Trump something akin to party Elder (without the party or affiliation of length and therefore elder status) is a frightening but remarkably down to earth thought. He could sway the tree from the roots or the outer branches…once again…frightening.
    If he ran as an independent would he only split the Republican vote or would that surge of the “tired of the system, lacking that college degree” group pull at both parties’ bases with a resultant scrabble for the outer fringes on the part of the Democrats and the Republicans?
    Mitt Romney as an outsider brought in is an interesting thought. Do you think he is positioning himself? Do you think the GOP are lining up some insurgents for that very eventuality. Mitt Romney did make that all important swing at Trump being unhinged and others have been seeding the compost over the weeks (or at least that is how it looks in amongst the British press) so this seems the more likely of your scenarios.
    Again, from over the Pond we don’t get a good sense of Sanders…how large do you think his movement is becoming as a groundswell?
    I tried something of a presentation of your points in a more visceral way. I wrote a sort of Fairy-tale about the whole thing to illustrate to those groups, the disaffected and the undereducated, hoping to make a humorous stab at overtly blowing the whole thing up. My serious message was that, beneath all that rhetoric and political verbiage, is a very real danger of threats, violence and democracy reduced to rubble.

    I think this is a way to go…give it a read and let me know if I hit the mark on that whole “bludgeon as a precision tool” thing.

    Either way, I enjoyed your post and will copy and paste the link into my own blog (something I have left alone for a few years, ashamedly, but something I am getting back into now that I am recovering from an accident that put me out of action for a long time) if that’s ok?




    1. Hi Derek, thanks for getting in touch! Firstly, yeah, feel free to link this post on your own blog (with all the proper sources and such).

      Okay, let’s dive right in:
      1. A Marist poll (from the Marist Institute of Public Opinion at Marist College in New York State) is a highly respected pollster. They are known for being incredibly comprehensive and gathering a large, diverse sample. It appears to be as a independent as a poll can be, often working with a variety of other publications and organisations.
      2. 40% of Americans have at least an associate’s degree, whereas a further 22% attended college but didn’t graduate. Meanwhile, a Gallup poll from 2014 estimate that 65% of Americans were unhappy with the political system. While those are substanial numbers swinging towards Trump, I don’t think there is so much of an undercurrent that the elite is ignoring, it’s just the problem that US politics makes change hard. People don’t go to college because who wants $23,000 of debt a year for four years? People are unhappy with the system because Congress spends more time in recess than it does in session. Trump has the nation convinced that he can change everything but what he would actually do is take a sledgehammer to an already broken system.
      3. It would at least neuter Trump- sure he can kick and scream and rant but all his fight and integrity would be gone as he would have joined the establishment that he fought against (despite already being part of the establishment).
      4. If Trump ran as independent, I think he would only be sucking votes from the GOP. The independents are backing Bernie as it stands and Trump has nothing that floating Democrats want. However, due to his standing in the Republican race, I think it’s the GOP that would have the most to fear from an independent Trump.
      5. Mitt Romney has certainly become more vocal in recent weeks and many pundits are pegging him to come out of the woodwork if the first round of voting doesn’t yield a winner, especially with the RNC holding off on enacting Rule 40B. In regards as to whether the GOP is lining up insurgents, I think they are definitely whispering to a few people, even if it’s just “run in the second round of voting, see you who you are draining delegates from, offer yourself as VP candidate for the other person.”
      6. Unfortunately not. As much as I love Bernie Sanders, he is winning the homogenous states- those with a white, middle-class voter majority and it particularly helps if they are also somewhat rural. The southern states that have been his downfall are usually either boast some ethnic diversity or boast a more working class background. It’s all very odd in the South. The problem is that the modern generation appear to think that hashtags and retweets equal votes. As a 19 year old, my generation is the most likely to vote Sanders but the least likely to vote. So while he is doing better than anyone could have predicted, there isn’t so much of a groundswell.

      As I said at the start of this, thank you very much for getting in touch, your points have given me another layer of insight!


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