US Presidential Primaries by Derek Wyatt
There is as ever increasing excitement at the US primaries which are now in full swing. This is partly because both camps the GOP (Grand Old Party aka as the Republicans) and the Democrats both have to choose their candidates for the Presidential elections in November 2017.
Donald Trump won South Carolina for the GOP and Hillary Clinton nudged Nevada for the Democrats. But neither can be certain of the bigger prize just yet.
Voters are always enthralled by the primaries even if turn out is frankly woeful. As they gain momentum state by state a greater realism begins to dawn about whether the front runners are really presidential material. This has not quite kicked in and this may be why Michael Bloomberg - the former Mayor of New York - may stand as an independent.
Independent runners are rare. Two stand out from previous elections. In 1972, 1992, 1996 and 2000 Ralph Nader, the campaigning environmentalist, stood as an independent and then as a green party candidate but had no visible success. But in 1992 Ross Perot managed 18.9% of the popular vote and 8% in 1996 which probably cost George Bush Snr a second term of office in 1992. Should Bloomberg stand he will likely score in the low teens which will have a critical effect on the Republican ticket. Perhaps, he is really looking for a nod to become the running mate and potentially Vice President if the Republican candidate wins.
Although there has been much hyperbole surrounding Donald Trump and his megaphone diplomacy he is not all bad – more a towering inferno. But it is truly hard to see the GOP nominating him. He is not Presidential material. If that is the case then who is going to come through on the rails? That is a much harder question to answer.
Of the other candidates none really have made much impact just yet. One though is bound to come out of the pack. It ought to have been Jeb Bush - a former Governor of Florida - but he struggled and pulled out after South Carolina. Of the others Carly Fiorina, who spent $100m on a failed bid to become Governor of California, dropped out after Ohio but could just be nominated as a running mate for Vice President should Hillary Clinton win the Democratic nomination.
This leaves Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson and John Kasich. Rubio is the outsider but has many of the qualities of Obama and may yet pull through despite being only 44. Carson and Kasich will surely fall soon leaving Ted Cruz as the possible only other option to Donald Trump. It is beginning to feel like Rubio v Cruz v Trump not something anyone would have predicted three months ago.
Hillary Clinton is the consummate politician who has been in the public firmament since 1991 when Bill her husband won. In a book about Hillary written by Gail Sheehy (1999) there is a line which has stayed with me forever. "What do Bill and Hillary have in common? They both love Bill". And like it or not Bill's shadow is an issue for Hillary. She was the consummate managerial secretary of state from 2008-2012 and now is bidding for the highest honour. In 1983 on a visit to America, I said to Sarah, a girlfriend at the time, would we see a Women President before a Black one. She said "Yes"; I said "No". Now I hope we will see a woman President.
But nothing is ever easy for the Clintons. The issue over those emails remains and you have to assume they will be leaked nearer the time. Of course, Bernie Saunders is gaining some credibility as her opponent but you cannot see him as a President and anyway Hillary is already a long way ahead in nominations. She still has work to do but my sense she will gain the nomination.
A Clinton v Trump final would see Clinton sail home.