Or, we can just talk about the abysmal state of US politics. No? Okay, we’ll go with the first thing and talk about the delegates.
First, let’s get a delegate count so far, because it’s important to note where we are before the conventions happen in July (and, at least for the Democratic party, no delegate count is final until July anyway, because politics).
Donald Trump leads the Republican nomination with 845 delegates. Ted Cruz follows behind with 559 and John Kasich trails both with just a paltry 148 (but he’s not given up hope, since he’s currently vetting Vice-Presidential candidates).
Hillary Clinton currently leads the Democratic count with 1,443 delegates, with Bernie Sanders sitting surprisingly close behind her at 1,208. The number could change, however, as the investigation into New York’s disastrous voter purge continues.
So where does this leave us now that we know the numbers?
In order to win the Republican nomination, a candidate needs at least 1,237 delegates. With Trump predicted to take California, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Washington, it’s looking like an easy win. The only hope for Ted Cruz would be an upset by appealing to Evangelical voters in the remaining Mid-West and Southern states (he’s eyeing you, West Virginia and New Mexico). Let’s be real here for a second, though, because Trump is slated to win, to the dismay of the Republican leadership and to everyone in the world except the people who voted for him. There’s nothing more I can say to express the disappointment and disgust at having to say that Donald Trump somehow conned millions of people into believing he will work for your benefit. Even life-long Republicans won’t vote for Donald Trump if he gets the nomination. Those of you who longed for a Reagan throwback with Trump, well, good luck with that.
Let’s move onto the Democratic nominees, who need just 2,383 delegates to win the nomination. With 1,633 delegates remaining, the race between Clinton and Sanders is just as close as Clinton and Obama in 2008. Depending on who you are, that’s both a good thing and a bad thing. However, two major states with a considerable amount of delegates remain (California and Pennsylvania) and Clinton is predicted to win both of them by at least a 10% margin over Sanders. Unless, of course, that pesky FBI indictment happens before that…then it’s all up for grabs!
So, for 2016, unless major upsets happen, we’re looking at a Clinton vs Trump presidential race. And if that makes you feel defeated, let me provide you with a little bit of hope:
The US has been stuck in a two party system since what feels like the beginning of time (because we all know that time didn’t really begin until AMERICA). It may feel like everything is horrible in US politics, but maybe this is exactly the kind of chaos our republic has been longing for. The two party system doesn’t work and it hasn’t worked for quite a while. So, the Republican party branches off into two parties and the Democratic party branches off into two parties and, suddenly, because of the shit show of this election, the US now has a four party system! Democrats, Xtreme Democrats, Republicans, and the Tea Party (someone else think of some clever names, because I’ve exhausted my brain at this point). A girl can dream, amirite?
So, however you vote, get down to the polls and to your caucuses and to your primaries. This could very well be the election that determines the course of US politics for years to come and you don’t want to be the one who waited on the sidelines just because you didn’t like the initial results. Let’s create a history that we can be proud of, not one we look back on and grimace at, embarrassed that we allowed ourselves to be veered into disastrous complacency. Our legacy depends on it.
To read more graphs, polls, and general numbery, check out the Primary Forecasts from Five Thirty Eight.
In a not so shocking turn of events at the New Hampshire primaries, Billionaire Donald Trump has won the Republican primary at 35.1%, while Senator Bernie Sanders swept the Democratic primary at a staggering 60%, pretty much exactly as predicted by political pundits. Sanders’ win marks the first time that a Jewish person has won a presidential primary, making this a landmark win in his political career.
The more surprising outcome may have come from the first runner-up of the Republican party, with Ohio Governor John Kasich coming out with a 15.9%. This could be credited to the fact that Kasich decided to skip his campaigning in Iowa, where he eked out with a dismal 1.9%, and instead focus his campaigning efforts on New Hampshire where his more moderate policies would be susceptible to welcoming ears. Kasich’s top three finish, however, may be short-lived as he heads into the South Carolina primaries. Kasich comes out strong among independents and moderate Republicans, so we may see his numbers gain during West Coast primaries, as long as the likes of Chris Christie and Jeb Bush don’t push him out of the game with negative campaigning tactics in South Carolina (seriously, guys, just drop out already).
The biggest fall of the evening came from Senator Marco Rubio, who after his third place finish in Iowa, dropped down to fifth place after an abysmal performance at the last Republican debate on February 6th. Accused of being robotic, Rubio blustered the same sentiments about President Barack Obama over and over, even earning the ire of fellow contender Chris Christie.
The Democratic primaries saw no surprises, however disappointing the results came to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Though New Hampshire was thought to be a lock for the Clinton camp in earlier polls, young voters flooded the caucuses, where nearly 80% voted for Sanders. The demographic that Clinton’s campaign has thus far appealed to (ages 65+) voted largely in favor of the first female hopeful, though it seems it just wasn’t enough to squelch the Bern. Every other age demographic voted 53-80% in favor of Sanders, with 55% of those being women (if numbers are your thing, go check out the specifics here). Clinton now hopes to take South Carolina, where a win for Sanders would prove to be a tremendous upset in the Democratic party.
So what has New Hampshire taught us? That this election is going to be a crapshoot. The primaries are turning into an outsider’s game, where a previously no-name Senator from Vermont is suddenly taking out the Democratic party’s long-time frontrunner, and a loud-mouth celebrity has somehow frenzied frustrated Americans into believing he might make America great again.
So, Americans and fellow Earth-dwellers, the election year rages on with the South Carolina primaries right around the corner. And as we continue to watch these politicians clamor to claim the Iron Throne, let us remember this poignant scene from The Newsroom and let it inspire you when you head out to your caucuses in the coming months and your polling stations come November.
It’s almost midnight Eastern Standard Time, which means that the Iowa Caucus is almost coming to a close. But don’t fret, my little babies. This was just the gun at the beginning of the footrace that is the American political system and we’ve got a long marathon ahead of us.
Polling numbers are showing that Senator Ted Cruz has won the Iowa primary with 27.7% of the vote, with Billionaire pseudo-celebrity Donald Trump following closely behind at 24.4% (WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE EVEN). Senator Marco Rubio, in third place at 23.1%, just needs to work a little harder in the following weeks coming up on the New Hampshire primaries to push Trump completely out of the game. Trump conceded Iowa to Cruz saying, “We will go on to get the Republican nomination and we will go on to easily beat Hillary or Bernie. We finished second, and I have to say I am just honored.”
Cruz’s win in Iowa is a testament to his “get-out-the-vote” campaign, where he courted the votes of highly recognized Evangelical figures in the state of Iowa, pushing for their support on the campaign trail. It looks like Trump’s method of relying on his high-profile and often ridiculous statements may just do him more harm than good in the end.
Yet, with these three candidates embattled, it seems only one of the Republican hopefuls had the stones to formally back out: Governor Mike Huckabee, we bid you farewell. The rest of you clinger-ons. . . come on, it’s just embarrassing at this point. Leave with some dignity.
The Democratic battle, on the other hand, has been a real “nail-biter” as my Grandma would probably say. Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have been duking it out in a real knock ’em sock’em race. As of now, polling shows Hillary Clinton leading Bernie Sanders by less than 1% (49.8%>49.6%). Senator Martin O’Malley, in a not very shocking turn of events, has conceded his bid for the presidency and will wait anxiously by the phone for Bernie or Hillary to call and put him on their ticket as Veep.
Reports say that this is the highest voter turnout for both parties that the Iowa Caucus has ever seen, especially among young voters. The Associated Press reports that on the Democratic side, “Six in 10 Democratic caucus-goers wanted a candidate who would continue Obama’s policies. Young voters overwhelmingly backed Sanders, with more than 8 in 10 caucus-goers under the age or [sic] 30 backing the Vermont senator. Clinton won the majority of voters over age 45.” The two candidates will go on to New Hampshire, where Sanders is strongly favored, then on to the South Carolina primaries, where Clinton is expected a victory.
If your favorite candidate didn’t win the Iowa Caucus today, there’s no need to fret. The show’s just getting started and you’ve got a front row seat. Sit back and enjoy the ride, because one of those people up there is going to be the next President of the United States and you’ve no one to blame but yourselves. The lot of you.
Image via Twitter
Now that the holidays are thoroughly over, let’s get down to some important business.
The Iowa caucus is just around the corner and if you’ve been keeping up with all things political, you’ve probably noticed a barrage of ad campaigns spewing from each candidate’s corner attempting to garner your favor. But why are the caucuses important and just what the heck is a caucus?
Essentially, the caucus is there to determine which candidate from each party will be chosen to represent that party in the presidential election. Each political party holds their caucuses a bit differently. And I’m going to explain to you how each of them works, because this is probably something that they skipped over in your grade 10 social studies class.
The Republican party’s caucus has had quite the overhaul for 2016. Previous methods, it seems, weren’t working accurately for the party (ie, Rand Paul vs Mitt Romney in 2012). For 2016, the GOP is doing it like this: at your designated district site for your state, the registered Republicans vote in a blind poll for the candidate of their choice. They then nominate a delegate to represent their district who will vote in the primaries for the candidates in direct proportion to the results from the caucus. So, say that 50% at the caucus voted for Donald Trump, 28% voted for Ted Cruz, and 20% voted for Marco Rubio, with 2% undecided. The delegate would then submit those numbers to the DNC to cast their votes and report them to the media. If that doesn’t make any sense to you, don’t worry, because you’re not alone. Just wait until we get to the Democratic party’s process.
The Democratic process is a slightly more convoluted version of choosing their candidate (though, they only have three to choose from instead of 12 or 15 or however many Republicans are still left in that crazy race). Each state is divided into precincts where Democrats will divide delegates based on their choice for the presidential nomination. Then, for 30 minutes, representatives for each candidate will attempt to sway the vote towards their candidate, attempting to convince opposition that their candidate should win the nomination. Then, supporters are given the opportunity to change sides or stay, and a head count is performed. Based on that head count, the most viable candidates are chosen. Another 30 minutes is given to participants to then decide which of the viable candidate choices they would like to represent in the 2016 elections. Voting is closed after this whole hullabaloo and the final percentage count is given to the media.
All in all, what we have to look forward to in the coming days and weeks is the Iowa Caucus. Because it is the first major caucus for the election year, Iowa has always held a special place when it comes to determining the next presidential nominations. Though it’s not necessary to win Iowa in order to win the nomination, it does give a fairly good idea about who will be facing off in the general election.
February 1st, the first day of the caucus, is just around the corner and CNN polls seem to show Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders as the current front-runners for each respective party. For those of you in Iowa, godspeed. Don’t let us down. No really, don’t let us down or we’ll all have to jump ship and move to Ted Cruz’s homeland.
For better explanations of both processes and to find where to vote for your candidate, go to Fair Vote or have a go at this article from The Washington Post. And if that’s still a bit difficult to understand, here’s a resource for the Democratic party (albeit, it’s from a specific candidate, but you can just ignore that because it’s actually incredibly helpful) that will show you exactly where to go for your specific district. The Republican party didn’t seem to have anything similar, so if someone finds one, please let us know in the comments below.
Ah, Lincoln, Lessig, Webb, Walker, and Perry. We barely knew ye.
Now we’re left with just three Democratic candidates and the standard 15 Republican candidates (seriously, someone drop out already because you’re making my life as a writer so much more difficult…I’m looking at you, anyone with last names that start with G-Z and is polling at less than 5%). And with the rest of the debates coming up fairly quickly, we’ve only just begun to understand what sort of policies these folks will be looking to bring to the table.
Who out of these 18 people do we have to look forward to storming the White House? No one, if you’re a nihilist. But if you’re an optimist like me, let me tell you a little bit about your options!
The GOP Debates last night bared a strong resemblance to something that one might call a “shitshow”. From the unruly moderators at CNBC to the sheer number of nomation hopefuls on stage, the air had a strong presence of “politics be damned, let’s see who can talk the loudest”.
The debate was broken into two separate screenings, with the first run featuring the Republican candidates who don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of making the nomination according to polling data (Lindsay Graham, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, Rick Santorum) and the second featuring the rest of the squad (Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump). Moderators John Harwood, Becky Quick, Carl Quintilla, Jim Cramer, and Rick Santelli seemed to make it their goal to, well, not be moderators and instead be active participants in the third Republican debates.
So, who “won” the debate? Most media outlets are reporting that Marco Rubio, the youngest candidate and current Junior Senator of Florida, came out on top after going head to head with his one-time mentor Jeb Bush. Bush was in need of a push for his poll numbers, but saw Rubio’s spike instead. Chances are, we won’t see another 4 years of a Bush in the White House. Other polls show that Ted Cruz and Chris Christie also came out ahead in poll numbers after they launched into a few choice words for the CNBC moderators during the event. Carly Fiorina, who normally shows her best self at the debates, seemed to fall by the wayside this round. Ben Carson and Donald Trump, unfortunately, still hold higher poll numbers somehow than all the rest of the candidates.
But what about the facts that each of these candidates cited when they attempted to make their points? Do those facts check out? If facts get your political motor revving, then you may want to read up on some of gaffes from last night. Turns out, debating is hard if you can’t bend the truth just a teeny bit.
Perhaps the most entertaining part of the GOP debates last night came in the form of Patton Oswalt’s live-tweeting the event, which thankfully made it onto the Twitter scroll that CNBC had running across the bottom of their screens.
It’s unfortunate that the GOP debates seem to be more for entertainment than they are for actual educating of the public on voting choices. The sheer number of candidates may cause a problem later on down the road for the Republican party. If the RNC is smart, they’ll start weeding out the undesirables right away and give the public four viable choices for the nomination. Until then, it’ll remain the circus that it is because if you can’t educate the people, you may as well entertain them.
In a not at all surprising turn of events today, Democratic primary candidate Jim Webb dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination, instead saying that he maybe, probably, okay definitely, plans to run as an Independent depending on the amount of support he receives in the coming weeks. Which, if you know anything about US politics, means that he’s pretty much just given up on becoming president at all. Or Jim Webb lives in a world filled with candy, unicorns, and the freedom that comes from elections with more than two broken political factions (seriously, America, even Canada has more than two parties…get with the program).
The former senator has never particularly agreed whole-heartedly with the Democratic party as it stands today and wishes they would return to a more traditional message, which is old person speak for, “GET OFF MY LAWN, YOU GROSS HIPPIES.”
With Webb dropping out of the race, that leaves just five-ish candidates left before primaries start in February 2016 in Iowa (and if you’ve ever watched The West Wing, you know how important Iowa is). I say five-ish because two of those candidates are only polling at 1% nationally, so it’s about time for them to pull a Webb and let the real debates start happening. I’m talking to you, Chafee and Lessig.
And what about the Republican party hopefuls? Well, there are still 15 of them and they all still think they can win the nomination, so let’s not go around telling them that only one will get to wear the crown.