Monday, March 14, 2016

Candidates: Establishment VS Change

It has probably been said by someone already, but I felt it worth repeating how interesting and unusual the race for president has become from the standpoint of the candidates being labeled as establishment versus change.

In the Democratic party, the race quickly became a Clinton vs Sanders affair.  What is odd is that Hillary Clinton, a woman, is the establishment candidate.  She is favored by the party chiefs as is clear by her overwhelming lead in "super" delegates, a fact which doubles her lead over Sanders. 

Without getting into a discussion of the origin and purpose of the super delegate in the Democratic party (there is no such thing in the GOP), suffice it to say that it is a concept not foreign to the founders belief that direct election of the president by the people may not be desirable.  At the time, it was thought by some that a regional candidate might overwhelmingly win a minority of the states, and should those states make up a majority percentage of the population, then such a candidate could win the presidency even though a majority of the people in the remainder of the states were to vote against him or her, thus spawning the creation of the electoral college.  Similarly, the super delegate was fashioned with the idea that party officials, elected Democratic candidates and other long term party supporters should have a say in the nominee, in addition to their actual vote.  Sounds a bit undemocratic, on the face of it.  In real terms, it conveys the idea of a safety net, just in case the democratic electorate seems bent on picking a candidate that may be popular but not viable as the presidential nominee. 

In the meantime, Bernie Sanders, an old white male who is a career politician, is the candidate for change.  One might argue that someone who has held elected office in some capacity for over 30 years might not qualify as a change candidate, yet Sanders has done a great job of stating and defending his voting record while maintaining limited ties to the financial industry, probably something more easily done when you are a Senator from Vermont as opposed to being the wife of an ex-president and ex-Senator from New York where some of your constituents are those very same behemoths of the banking and financial world.

As for the GOP, their establishment candidate appears to be Ted Cruz, a man without a United States birth certificate (take that all you birthers from 2008), while the "change" candidate is a billionaire who has spent his life using his identification with the status quo of power and riches, his white maleness, while at the same time, using his money and influence to bend the rules of our democracy to fit his needs.  Of course he supported some Democratic candidates in the past as claimed by his Republican detractors, his support was all about greenbacks, not party affiliations. 

The real question is, when all the wrangling is over, which party will be able to rally its members to vote for the candidate that has been chosen. 

If Sanders is the nominee, will the Democratic establishment be loyal enough to the message that we need a Democratic President to counter the GOP dominated House, and to successfully nominate and appoint a liberal leaning Supreme Court justice so that the gains of the recent past (marriage equality, health care insurance expansion) are maintained, while attacks on abortion and voting rights are repelled?

If Clinton is the nominee, and with the same big picture goals, can the Democratic party ignite the base to vote for a more centrist, but perhaps more electable candidate, while adjusting the party platform to include some of Sanders more popular ideas?

If Trump is the nominee, will the GOP establishment turn its attacks on Clinton and away from Trump's more obnoxious talking points effectively enough to turn the voters, the young, the female, and the minority, who they need to win the White House.  Additionally, can they sell Trump to their base with just the thought that he will be better than Clinton or Sanders, considering Trump's limited past support of making abortion illegal and turning back the clock on marriage equality?

If Cruz is the nominee, the base may be happier, but Trump's popularity with the voters (he has won most of the primaries where actual voting has taken place, as opposed to caucuses), means that barring a complete turnaround, he will go into the convention with more delegates than Cruz.  A brokered convention, perhaps the only way for Cruz to win, may not sit well with the GOP voters, and certainly, as I mentioned in a previous post, will not sit will with the bully Trump.

Oddly, is seems that the GOP would benefit from the super delegate system that the Dems have, in this case, perhaps demonstrating the need for such a system, as undemocratic as it seems. 

Whatever the outcome, we are certainly in for an interesting 4 months before the conventions in July.

Buckle up!!


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