Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Michigan Post-Mortem

The results from yesterday's primary election in Michigan are an indication that we are headed to another Bush v. Gore-type standoff in the fall. Trump won, and he won by double digits -- 36.5% to Cruz's 24.9% and Kasich's 24.3%. But added together, his opponents won nearly 300,000 more votes in the Wolverine State than the celebrity billionaire. This points to something that Patrick Healy and Jonathan Martin noted in their post-election frontpager this morning, "Bernie Sanders Wins Michigan Primary; Donald Trump Takes 3 States." Trump's negatives are on the rise:
Even before the votes were counted Tuesday, there were new signs that resistance to Mr. Trump’s candidacy within his own party was growing. The number of Republicans viewing him unfavorably spiked to 46 percent in a Washington Post-ABC poll released Tuesday, the highest figure recorded in that survey since Mr. Trump entered the race last year.
This percentage will likely grow as next Tuesday's GOP Battle of Armageddon takes shape. The Republican strategy is to block Trump from running the table next Tuesday. If Trump manages to win in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio, his chances of avoiding a brokered convention and cinching the nomination are great. To prevent this, the Republican Party is concentrating its anti-Trump attack in Florida and Illinois. The problem for the GOP is twofold: 1) Rubio has collapsed as a viable alternative; and 2) Ted Cruz remains the most dominant "next man up."

With the Rubio charade thankfully retired by voters in Mississippi and Michigan, I'm sure that Republican power brokers would love everyone to get behind Ohio governor John Kasich. But Ted Cruz blocks the way with his Super PAC millions.

So the dynamic -- Cruz a solid number two stifling the emergence of an acceptable mainstream alternative -- that has led to the rise of Trump remains in place. Barring a surprise showing from Kasich, Trump sweeps next week. Let the coronation begin.

On the Democratic side, Bernie won a solid come-from-behind victory in Michigan. He did it by outworking Hillary on the ground and, like Trump, by hammering home the message of how trade agreements backed by ruling elites like the Clintons gutted the industrial backbone of the country. According to Yamiche Alcindor and Patrick Healy in "Trade and Jobs Key to Victory For Bernie Sanders":
Mr. Sanders pulled off a startling upset in Michigan on Tuesday by traveling to communities far from Detroit and by hammering Mrs. Clinton on an issue that resonated in this still-struggling state: her past support for trade deals that workers here believe robbed them of manufacturing jobs. Almost three-fifths of voters said that trade with other countries was more likely to take away jobs, according to exit polls by Edison Research, and those voters favored Mr. Sanders by a margin of more than 10 points.
This is good news for Sanders going into next week's contests in Ohio, Missouri and Illinois. (Bernie seems to be largely conceding Florida and North Carolina.) Hillary managed to win more delegates last night because she trounced Sanders in Mississippi. And even if Sanders manages to win all three industrial states next week, but Clinton continues to rack up lopsided wins in heavily African American Democratic districts, Hillary will likely come away with more delegates.

But that shouldn't be the thing that concerns us. After next week the remaining segments of Hillary's Dixie firewall are all finished and the calendar is much more favorable to Bernie. The march to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia will be weary and woeful for Hillary. She will arrive in the City of Brotherly Love exactly what she is -- a bloated political cadaver kept in a state of animation by untold millions in corporate cash.

The American people are in for a real treat this July. We will bear witness as the duopoly attempts to subvert the results of the primary election season.

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