Several stories and opinions in one post.
California Republican Convention protesters
For a spontaneous protest to number a couple of hundred people would be a pretty good showing. This wasn’t one of those protests.
Hundreds of demonstrators descended on the California Republican Convention Friday to protest Donald Trump ahead of his speech.
Since there are so many people protesting at Donald Trump rallies, I doubt that this would make headlines at all if it weren’t for the fact that it happened at the California Republican Convention instead of a political rally.
In the short term, I actually expect it will help Donald Trump. He was met with a scene partially described as:
Protesters – some of whom wore bandanas over their faces and carried Mexican flags – …
And replied in the style that seems to energize his supporters without costing him primary support, by saying:
“That was not the easiest entrance I’ve ever made,” Trump said once he began speaking at the convention, adding, “it felt like I was crossing the border.”
Cruz’ desperation is showing
Ted Cruz, speaking to (Fox News) Sean Hannity at a town hall event said:
“It gives me great comfort that this primary is going to be decided by the Midwestern common sense of the Hoosier State,” Cruz said during a one-hour Fox News-hosted town hall in downtown Indianapolis.
The only way that the Republican primary will be decided at by Indiana will be if Ted Cruz (and maybe John Kasich) both drop out of the race.
Ted Cruz seems to believe that, if he can win Indiana:
… “I believe nobody is going to get to 1,237.”
If that were to happen, he seems to think that he will win a contested Republican convention. And he might.
But even if Donald Trump is shut out of Indiana, he still has a good chance of reaching 1237 delegates necessary to win the Republican nomination on the first ballot. Granted, it will be a more difficult path if he loses Indiana, but it will still be quite possible, maybe even probable.
The latest polls that we have also show that Donald Trump is leading by a plurality in Indiana. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether the latest political calculations by Ted Cruz (partnering with the Kasich campaign to keep Kasich out of the state and naming Carly Fiorina as his vice presidential pick) will have a significant enough effect on the voters’ choice.
Donald Trump doesn’t need the Republican party
Or at least that is what Donald Trump is saying.
Conventional wisdom is that no modern presidential candidate can get elected without the support of their party. Political campaigns at that level are extremely expensive. It is expected to cost each candidate between 500 million and 1 billion dollars between the end of their convention and the November general election.
It’s just not practical for even the richest people in the world to spend that kind of money from their own pockets. And regardless of how he would like to be perceived, Donald Trump is far from the richest person in the world.
But other than money, there are plenty of other things that the political parties do: they organize volunteers, take care of ballot legalities in all states and territories, and generally provide a focal point for voters to coalesce.
Granted, the political party is less important in the primary process, but even as Donald Trump would have to admit, they do have a remarkable effect even before you actually have to face the political competition of the other party. A general Republican party distaste for Donald Trump might (though doubtful) still cost him the nomination. Given that, it doesn’t seem wise to continue to agitate the very party that will need to help you if you win the primary.
The New York Times reports that at the California Republican Convention:
… [Donald Trump] wrestled with whether he wanted to begin healing the fractured party he was seeking to lead. Mr. Trump, the Republican front-runner in the presidential race, mocked his conservative critics and his current and former rivals as dumb, “disgusting” and losers. He claimed at least twice that he could win even if the party did not come together. And with some conservatives still uneasy about his beliefs, he breezily dismissed questions about his principles.
“Folks, I’m a conservative, but at this point, who cares? We got to straighten out the country,” he said at a subdued luncheon of party activists who seemed more curious about seeing a celebrity than enthusiastic about their potential presidential nominee.
If Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination and fails to get the Republican party to coalesce behind him, I suspect that this will be the most lopsided Republican presidential loss in recent history.
Hillary Clinton prepares for the general election
The writing has been on the wall for some time now. Unless something unprecedented happens, Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. Even Bernie Sanders seems to tacitly admit to the eventual outcome.
While it still might not be outright stated, Hillary Clinton’s action show that her campaign is changing focus.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign is redeploying its army of primary election staff to traditional general election battleground states in preparation for a campaign against Republican Donald Trump, according to a senior campaign official.
It is a move that will save her campaign money instead of continuing to battle Bernie Sanders for the nomination. But Bernie Sanders isn’t out of the running. While it seems extremely unlikely that he will ever threaten the front-runner status of Hillary Clinton again, he will continue to campaign so that he can bring as many delegates to the Democratic National Convention as possible and maximize his influence on the Democratic platform.
… Sanders is still campaigning in states next up on the primary calendar, including Indiana and Oregon, as he seeks to maximize his leverage heading into July’s Philadelphia convention. Sanders still maintains his goal is to become the Democratic nominee, yet he’s also discussed what happens if he loses, saying he wants to assemble “the strongest progressive agenda any political party has ever seen.”
The Democratic nomination may almost have a foregone conclusion, but the race to have a lasting effect on the direction and platform of the Democratic party will continue up until the convention in July.