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America through the looking glass.

May 18, 2016

Two more primary contests are in the books. On the GOP side, the results only matter from a mathematical standpoint. Their presumptive nominee gained another handful of delegates and  the party got a look at how many people still care enough to make their voices heard in the face of inevitability.

With just 77 of the remaining 303 delegates needed to clinch, Mr. Trump will go into Cleveland with over 1237 delegates, and that’s both a symbolic and actual victory.

Democrats, on the other hand, still face the reality that a lot of people want the party to swing all the way left. At this point, the system notwithstanding, Bernie Sanders is already a winner in that public opinion category.

However else it is remembered, the 2016 election can lay claim to being one of the most accurate public barometer readings in our recent history.

Given that from June 8 on, the fate of the country is well and truly back in the hands of the politicians, the primary season is the best yardstick available to judge the will of the people.

There are still 10 contests to be decided for one or the other or both parties, but if the trends to date hold, an extremely high percentage of voters are no supporters of politics as usual.

One comment that keeps surfacing regarding Bernie Sanders’ popularity is that people are surprised at how many people are voting for a totalitarian system.

It’s unclear whether the Sanders’ voters are voting for that reason, or just to express dissatisfaction with a system they see as rigged just as much as do their GOP counterparts.

Just looking at the Oregon and Kentucky contests, over a half-million people voted for an unabashed  socialist candidate. In total and including the two latest states almost 10 million voters have found something in Bernie’s message worth voting for. In fact, he has captured 43% of the Democratic primary vote to date.

Granted, that’s not a lot given that there are some 160 million registered voters in the U.S. Since there is no way Bernie wins all the marbles, about the only real takeaway is the gauge it provides for the future of the country.

When the Bill and Hillary Clinton ticket goes to the Philadelphia coronation, er, convention you can absolutely bet that they will take note of the Sanders voters. If Mrs. Clinton wins, that voter sentiment will undoubtedly guide her first term. The far left obviously doesn’t think President Obama delivered the goods.

Because of the number of primary candidates, the picture isn’t as clear on the GOP side. It’s true that at 11.14 million, Donald Trump already has the most primary GOP voters ever recorded for a single candidate, but that number would be considerably greater if even half of the 14.69 million people who voted for the other three finishers were in his column.

His obvious take-away is that politics as usual isn’t a big vote-getter within the GOP but then he got that message about one week into his campaign. It was and still is the GOP establishment that is suffering from advanced hearing loss.

No matter how crass the party finds him to be, there is no reason to date for Trump to doubt either his message or his mandate. The rest is just window dressing.

With his vote totals in the last three contests since his win in Indiana averaging far above the 50% mark, including his 66% mark in Oregon where both Cruz and Kasich were still on the ballot, it might behoove his party to catch up.

In some ways that 66% mark is even more impressive, since, like the Bernie supporters, people came out to vote for him already knowing the primary outcome.

Third-party threats notwithstanding, the most influential party voting in this primary election process seems to be the P.O, as in pissed off, party.

 

From → op-ed

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