Friday, March 18, 2016

US Election, mid-March

At this point, the best guestimate is that Trump will win about 50% of the delegates to the Republican Convention. Maybe 49%, maybe 51%. Not much difference in the percentage, but, under Republican rules, if he has 51%, they have to make him the nominee, while with a large plurality of 49%, they don't.

Douthat of the New York Times says the Republican leadership MUST change the rules to make it impossible for Trump to win the nomination. Douthat thinks that Secretary Clinton would be rejected if she were running against ANYONE. Except for Trump.

This is, of course, not at all clear. African-Americans love the Clintons. Or at least Bill, and figure Hillary gets them 'two presidents for the price of one.' Of course, a majority of African-Americans preferred Obama to the Clintons (but Secretary Clinton is getting a slightly larger majority of the African-American vote than Obama did).

The great majority of women over 40 think they HAVE to vote for Secretary Clinton. And the great majority of women under 40 won't vote for any Republican (but they'll stay home if Secretary Clinton is the Democratic nominee).

The vast majority of non-Cuban Hispanics won't vote for any Cuban. All Cubans, if they can somehow make it to the US from Cuba, get green cards right off the boat, and a passport in a very few years (even if they haven't learned any English). For Hispanics who are NOT Cuban, it's hard to get a tourist visa to the US, almost impossible to get a green card, and insanely difficult to get a passport (although their children born in the US get passports, and, after the children turn 18, they can try to get their parents a tourist visa, but usually fail). The vast majority of non-Cuban Hispanics vote Democratic.

The demographics mean there's been a change since '04 when Bush, jr won. Today, the Republicans have a lock on most state governments, and the patriotic Gerrymander gives Republicans a near lock on the House, but in the '16 election, odds strongly favour Secretary Clinton and a Democratic Senate (the US Senate is one institution that can still change parties from one election to the next, since they have a unique electorate, one that is less predictable than the presidential or House electorate).

Monday, March 7, 2016

Trump for president?

British newspapers assume the US system works like the British system, where, in each district, the candidate with a plurality wins, and the party that wins the majority of MPs becomes the governing party. But the US system is much more complicated. And so it is not at all clear whether Trump is or is not on track to win the nomination.

In some states, all delegates go to whomever has the plurality. In others, one needs a majority to win all the delegates, with delegates awarded to all those who get a significant percentage of votes.

Trump's support has a floor of at least 30%, and what looks like a ceiling of about 40%. But, with just 35% of the votes in the first four contests, Trump won 64% of all the delegates assigned.

After Super Tuesday, Trump had just 46% of the assigned delegates, and now he has just 44%.

But, on 15 March, two big states will assign all their delegates to whichever candidate has the plurality, so Trump could win both, and, with the votes he's sure to pick up  in the rest of the states, he'll have enough delegates to almost guarantee a majority at the convention and the nomination.

Of course, he could lose both, in which case he'll have a very hard time getting that majority. Without a majority of the delegates, he can't win the nomination.

But the most likely result on the 15th is that Trump will win one and lose one, and his nomination will still be very much up in the air, which is, of course, what all the news media are hoping for, since a continuing contest will sell more page views.

Meanwhile, all the US newspapers are terrified that Trump will actually win. Their columnists say that Trump will definitely start a war that the US cannot win, so no one should be dumb enough to vote for Trump.

This in spite of the fact that Trump is one of the least hawkish candidates (Rand Paul was the most anti-war candidate, with Trump and Senator Sanders tied for second-least hawkish). But US newspapers stopped writing the truth after their unpatriotic truth-telling lost the Vietnam War. By writing that the war was unwinnable and stupid (just because it was), the US news media convinced voters to elect Congresscritters who voted to withdraw. Had the US news media continued to write patriotically that victory was very close, and only a little more effort would prevent a Communist take-over of the US, voters would have elected Congresscritters who insisted the president continue to prosecute the Vietnam War, and US troops would still be in Saigon to this day.

Fortunately, the US media all report that Bush, jr did a great job turning Iraq from a terrible tyranny into a peaceful and prosperous Democracy, and Obama did a similarly great job for Libya. And the US news media are all waiting for President Clinton to bring that same peace and prosperity and freedom and Democracy to Syria, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and China!