Monday, 29 February 2016

For Canadians: A Heads Up on Elections in the USA

Here are a few things to keep in mind while watching the news from south of the border on this year's federal elections. That's right, I was once a U.S. citizen, at university I had a major in political science/political economy, and while living in Washington D.C. I was close to the John F. Kennedy camp. Long ago.  

(1) Voter turnout in the USA is quite low by the norms of modern liberal democracies. In non-Presidential federal elections, it tends to be near 35%. In Presidential elections it is around 50%.

(2) In recent elections, the trend has been for a drop in voter support for the Democrats and an increase in support for the Republicans. In the 2014 off year (non- Presidential) federal election, the Republicans won 51% of the vote for members of the House of Representatives and the Democrats won 45%.

(3) The Republicans have a firm control on the House of Representatives, 247 to 188 seats. They also control the Senate, 54 seats to 46. They now appear to be the majority party.

(4) In the four state primary elections prior to Super Tuesday (March 1), there has been a significant increase in voter participation in the Republican primaries and a decline in participation in the Democratic primaries.There are nineteen states which have "open primaries" where a person can vote for a party without being a member. In 2015 26% of American voters registered Republican, 30% Democrat and 43% declared that they were Independent. Bernie Sanders is the most popular candidate among Independents, who won't vote in the major primaries, like California and New York.

(5) Hillary Clinton is expected to do well in the primaries in the Southern states, which the Democrats do not normally win in the general elections. A good example is South Carolina, where blacks are in the Democratic party as the Republican Party, which completely dominates the state, is seen as the White Man's Party.

(6) As of this date, it looks like Donald Trump will most likely be the Republican candidate for President. There is no moderate alternative. Ideologically, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are not that different. Trump's stand against undocumented immigrants from Latin America is popular as is his stand against Muslim immigrants. He has also taken a strong stand against the free trade agreements and the loss of good jobs to Asian countries, and this is also a very popular position.

(7) The powers that be in the United States are united in their opposition to Bernie Sanders, even though several polls show he would be the best bet to defeat Trump in the federal election. Polls indicate that many people do not like or trust Hillary Clinton. Check out the results posted on Huffington Post.

(8) There is a movement among the younger Bernie Sanders supporters to pledge that they will not vote for Clinton. For good reason, they are angry at the way the Democratic Party structure is backing Clinton.

(9) In a contest between Trump and Clinton, I would not be at all surprised to see Trump the winner.

1 comment:

  1. Thank for your insights. They are well appreciated. Can you comment on the US presidential election at this time?