Published: May 5, 2016
As we progress into the month of May, primaries and caucuses are beginning to wrap up and clear winners are emerging. With Ted Cruz now out of the Republican race, and John Kasich dropping out of contention for the Republican nomination, Donald Trump is unofficially the Republican nominee for 2016.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton has all but mathematically eliminated Senator Bernie Sanders. However, Sanders is refusing to back down. Many are calling for the Senator to step down, in order for the Democratic party to unite behind Clinton. But Tuesday night brought a victory in Indiana for the Democrat from Vermont, and he is set to win the next few primaries. Additionally, California is set up to be a battleground, especially considering its high number of delegates.
So why is he staying, if he still has virtually no chance of winning the nomination? For starters, his heavy support guarantees him a prominent role with the presidential race (a cabinet position, eventually, maybe) after the Democratic Convention is over. His policy ideas, significantly more liberal than Hillary Clinton’s (especially in comparison with her positions at the beginning of the race), can continue to help influence the positions Clinton needs to stand by the during the general election. Also, the fight for the controversial superdelegates continues- Sanders himself has said that there will be a “contested convention” for the superdelegates, and that if Clinton cannot win the nomination based off of the traditionally pledged delegates, that they should be up for grabs in a different way than they already are. It’s a scary path for a candidate to traverse down, calling out the “system” as he is.
Perhaps Sanders is also seeking to continue his energizing of young voters, the very act his campaign has been praised and called out for. The Cinderella story that has been the Sanders campaign has been one of the year’s premiere headlines. He knows that the longer he remains in this race, the stronger his influence grows on the Democratic party and the platform that they are going to be taking in the general election.
The problem persists, however, with some of Bernie’s base of support. Some polls have up to a third of Bernie Sanders supporters who say that they will not support Hillary Clinton if she is the Democratic nominee and Bernie is not; some have even made a point to say that they would be more willing to vote for Donald Trump than Clinton. On the Republican end, longtime conservative voters are doing some serious examination of conscience and asking if they can allow themselves to vote for Trump. This point alone says volumes about the current political atmosphere in the United States. Neither side has much stability at the moment. Both parties are seeing just who is the most electable candidate from their convention. The Democratic establishment loves Hillary. And the Republican establishment is slowly, begrudgingly accepting Trump. But electability in the primaries or caucuses and electability in the general election are two very different things. Just how many disaffected Bernie fans will vote for Trump out of spite? And how many registered Republicans will vote for Hillary over “the Donald” in order to save the country from the looming disasters that so many believe (rightfully so, in all likelihood) four to eight years of a Trump presidency will bring? And, maybe even more significant, what number of people who are usually active voters will, this November, just stay home rather than take part in electing whatever lesser of two evils comes out on top?
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