Latest Primaries Leave Trump and Clinton as Likely Nominees
by Alexander Chen on Friday, May 13th, 2016
On May 4th, 2016, after the dropouts of Ted Cruz and John Kasich, Donald Trump became the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party. Similarly, Hillary Clinton secured her lead for the Democratic nomination after winning the New York primary on April 29th. In a race that started out with 23 candidates, only three are left to fight for the White House: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders.
After a long and tumultuous fight with “the Donald,” Ted Cruz and John Kasich both announced their campaign suspensions after Trump won the Indiana Primary. After winning six states in a row, according to Associated Press (AP), Donald Trump ended up winning Indiana with 53.3% of the vote. On April 19, 2016, following the New York primary, in which Donald Trump won 60.4% of the vote, Ted Cruz’s ability to win the majority of the Republican delegates was rendered “mathematically impossible.” Immediately afterwards, Ted Cruz’s campaign had one goal: to push for a contested convention in the summer.
This summer at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, Republican delegates will meet to vote for the Republican nominee that will run in the General Election. According to the results of the primaries and caucuses, delegates must vote in the first ballot at the convention. If there is no majority winner, another ballot will be cast. At this time, back-room deals begin to emerge, and delegates are swayed to vote in favor of one candidate. Ballots continue to be casted until a candidate wins a majority. Following the New York primary, John Kasich and Ted Cruz both hoped for a contested convention to prevent a Trump nomination.
In an effort to fight Trump, Kasich and Cruz agreed to work together to fight Trump. Kasich would focus on Oregon and New Mexico, while Cruz would focus on Indiana. On April 24, 2016, the Kasich campaign and the Cruz campaign both made statements regarding their partnership. According to NBC News, Cruz’s campaign manager Jeff Roe stated that, “to ensure that we nominate a Republican who can unify the Republican Party and win in November, [the Cruz] campaign will focus its time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear the path for Gov. Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico.” Minutes later, Kasich’s chief strategist, John Weaver, wrote, “Our goal is to have an open convention in Cleveland, where we are confident a candidate capable of uniting the party and winning in November will emerge as the nominee.” If Cruz won Indiana, the Cruz-Kasich partnership would prove its legitimacy.
However, on May 3, 2016, the Indiana voters showed Cruz that his attempt to fight Trump was futile. Indiana, being a winner-takes-all state, gives the candidate with the most votes all of the delegates. According to AP, Trump won all 57 delegates with 53.3% of the vote. Cruz got 36.7% of the vote, and Kasich only got 7.5% of the vote. Seeing that his final move of partnership failed, Ted Cruz gave up his 564 delegates and announced the suspension of his campaign, stating, “We left it all on the field in Indiana. We gave it everything we’ve got but the voters chose another path.”
The following day, John Kasich, with only 153 delegates, announced his suspension with a more religious take, exclaiming, “I have always said that the Lord has a purpose for me as he has for everyone and as I suspend my campaign today, I have renewed faith, deeper faith, that the Lord will show me the way forward, and fulfill the purpose of my life.” With the suspensions of the Cruz and Kasich campaign, Donald Trump has a clear path towards the Republican nomination in Cleveland.
Hillary Clinton has had much luck in the past month. On April 19, Clinton won the New York primary with 58% of the vote giving her 139 of the 247 delegates. While she did not win with a large margin, Clinton used this win to increase the delegate gap between herself and Sanders. According to Jonah Garnick (III), the New York primary “solidified her lead…[and] secured her being on the ticket in November.” Clinton’s win was a “final blow” to Sanders’ momentum.
Following the New York win on April 26, 2016, Clinton proceeded to win four of the five contests, further increasing the delegate gap. Following these losses, the Sanders Campaign announced that it would downsize its team of 550 members by 40%, according to CNN. On May 3, 2016, Sanders surprised many by winning the Indiana Primary with 52.7% of the vote, according to AP. While this win may have stopped Clinton’s momentum, the Indiana primary “doesn’t really change what is inevitable, but it does demonstrate that Bernie Sanders’ message is resonating across the country”, according to Jonah Garnick (III).
Despite the Indiana win — assuming Sanders does not gain any superdelegates — Sanders needs 101% of the future pledged delegates in order to gain the 2,383 majorities for nomination. While Sanders’ chances of winning the nomination are getting smaller by the week, Sanders continues to show that his support has not fully disappeared. Only time will tell what will happen in Philadelphia this summer at the Democratic National Convention.
In the 2016 election cycle, expectations have been broken and the impossible has been made possible. When Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president on June 16, 2015, many viewed him as a joke, seeing his announcement as a mere publicity stunt. Almost a year later, Donald Trump has changed America with his radical, controversial beliefs and his unbelievable momentum.
Following his announcement in April of 2015, Sanders was more than 40 points below Clinton in numerous polls. Barely winning 10% across the polls, according to RealClear Politics, Sanders seemed like a candidate who would slowly disappear from the race. Proving the exact opposite, Sanders, in a CNN poll taken on May 1, was behind Clinton by only 8%. While Sanders may only have 65% of the delegates that Clinton has, Sanders has proved to America that anything is possible and that change needs to happen now. No one knows what will happen from now till the conventions this summer, but one thing is clear: this election year has been one for the books.
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