Political update Feb. 24

Political update Feb. 24

Lucas Hickey, Co-editor

For better or for worse the 2016 election continues to defy the standard political process.

So far, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina have all taken to the polls and only the South Carolina Democratic Primary is left this month. Both parties seem to be in upheaval, with establishment candidates taking a back seat to the louder and more radical. No matter what side you are on, this election is shaping up to be the election of a lifetime.

GOP: Following his low results in South Carolina, Jeb Bush announced the suspension of his presidential campaign. Once the golden boy of the Republican establishment, Bush looked like a strong contestant for the nomination, at least until Trump came onto the scene. The loud-mouthed billionaire focussed in on Bush, attacking him on everything from his family to his lobbyists. Bush said from the beginning that he wanted to run a clean race. The strong but dignified approach that  Bush seemed to be using would probably have worked in other years, but looked weak in the face of the Trump onslaught. Bush raised more than any other candidate by a significant margin, in the end this made him the best establishment candidate in an anti-establishment race.

Trump, meanwhile, has taken his anti-establishment support and run away with it. Prior to his sweeping win in Nevada, many saw his ascendence as fluke. Now these assumptions seem more hopeful than accurate. In Nevada Trump posted a 20 point lead over the next closest candidate, Marco Rubio. This puts Trump’s delegate count at 68, 57 higher than the next closest, Ted Cruz. There is still a whole lot of election left, but given the turmoil in the GOP, any candidate who wants to face down the billionaire has a long uphill battle.

DEMS: With the last Primary of the Month hanging over their heads, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton continue to battle for the heart of the Democratic party. Sanders has stuck to small losses while winning by 20 points in New Hampshire. If the only measurement of their success were delegates won through primaries, the two would be dead even at 51-51. However, Clinton currently has the support of some 500 “superdelegates” who vote at the DNC. These superdelegates cannot be won by primaries or caucuses, they must be courted and pledge support directly to a candidate. If Sanders is to win the nomination he must find a way to scoop some of those superdelegates from under Clinton’s nose. The upcoming primary in South Carolina will be huge for both candidates. A win would give Sanders the momentum that his campaign has relied on thus far, and a win for Clinton would solidify her position as the shoe-in candidate that many saw her as since before the race began.