April 22, 2016

Horse 2102 - The New York New York Presidential Primaries (So Nice They Voted Twice? But Only If The Chads Fall Off)

For weeks now, everyone who has been watching the race for the US Presidency has been looking at the remaining balance of delegates on offer and trying to figure out if the chasers on the respective sides have any realistic hope left. After the polls closed in the New York primaries, there was the beginning of certainty beginning to emerge from the swirling mists of the unknown.
On the Republican side, the delegates were allotted three per congressional district and if a candidate won a majority, they not only picked up two on the basis of proportionality but they were given the third as well. Because of this, Donald Trump absolutely knocked the New York primary face out of the park - it was up over and gone.
Trump scored the lion's share of the available delegates which if nothing else, salvages his push to win the 1,237 needed to avoid going to a contested Republican National Convention. If nobody gets to the required 1,237 pledged delegates needed to pick up the automatic nomination, then who knows what sort of yell down war ride the RNC is likely to be. The last time that this happened was back in 1980 and the only member of the GOP staff who was around at the time is now in his 90s.
On the Democratic side of the race, it's pretty well much over for Bernie Sanders. Even though he's been winning a good chunk of states of late, Hilary Clinton has carried her home state of New York by a good margin.
If you really drill down into the results of the New York primary, Trump has won 89 of the 93 possible pledged delegates. The only county in the entire of the state of New York, which didn't vote for Donald Trump, was none other than New York County; that very same small slice of Manhattan Island that he happens to live on and it wasn't even Ted Cruz who picked up those 4 delegates but John Kasich who was theoretically eliminated weeks and weeks ago. Kasich now needs just 148.5% of the remaining delegates at the RNC.

Most of the Democratic primaries which remain are closed; which means that people will have already have had to have been registered voters in order to have a say. Unlike other states which have open primaries and caucuses, one simply does not walk into a Democrat primary.
One thing that I've noticed as someone who has been watching this whole thing like a neutral watches a football match, is that once you know what sort caucus or primary it is, you can make a prediction in the same way as you would for the end of a Premier League season. The teams which are already doing well, continue to do well. Bernie tends to do better when the primary is open and Hilary does better when it is closed. Also, unlike the Republican side of the race, the process for allotting delegates on the Democratic side is always on a proportional basis. There is no winner-takes-all or winner-takes-most on the Democratic side; so there is no opportunity to flip a whole state like there in the Republican race.
With the numbers increasingly looking ever more precarious for Bernie Sanders, I'm going to suggest that unless he starts pulling out wins where he takes out +80% of the vote, then unless California does something massively different to the rest of the country, Hilary will be the nominee in an uncontested Democrat National Convention.

The road to 1,237 delegates on the Republican side is I think closed for everyone except Donald Trump and so the only question is whether or not he actually falls over the line. Trump who has 845, only needs 392 of the remaining delegates; which is 53% of them. Ted Cruz who is the nearest candidate, has 559 and so this means that he needs 678 of the remaining 733 delegates, or 92% of them. It's almost reached the point where it will be mathematically impossible for Ted Cruz to win and mathematically possible for Donald Trump to not win outright.

The numbers are even more tilted on the Democrat side. Hilary Clinton has 1930 delegates and needs only 453 of the remaining 1646. That is only 28% of what's left to play for and because the Democratic Party uses a proportional system, Hilary could afford to lose entire states by 100% and still win the nomination purely from delegates from California.
Bernie Sanders is increasingly looking at the light at the end of the tunnel and realising that it is an oncoming train. He has 1189 delegates and needs 1194 of the 1646 which remain. This puts him at 70% of the vote required and the point at which he will need more than 100% of the vote, can't be very far away.

I'm going to call this now and suggest that the general election in November will be a fight between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. If this is the case then the next guessing game will be to pick who the President of the United States will be and on that front, I have no idea at all, even how you pick that.
Right across the Anglophone world and in places which have Westminster Parliaments (which is places like Australia, Great Britain, Canada and five of the six state parliaments in Australia), it is relatively easy to apply uniform swing calculations across the electorate as a whole and predict which seats are going to fall to whom. A US Presidential Election though, does not and cannot work that way. Even if you ignore the sheer idiocy and arcane madness of the Electoral College, there simply are no reliable metrics for predicting who the President will be. Uniform swing calculators don't work because candidates generally only run once or twice (unless they are perpetual third party candidates like Ralph Nader) and even then, the fact that voting in the United States is only optional, means that the electorate is far more fractious and fickle to be reliable.

I'm even going to say that it's easier for me to predict that Paul Ryan will be the nominee for the Republicans and win the election on the 3rd of November 2020, than to try and predict the winner of the 2016 race. That's like trying to find a needle in a haystack; in a hayfield; on the Hay Plain; when you're looking out of the window of a plane and have hayfever.

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