Getting the U.S. presidential race wrong

The one thing we can say for certain about the US elections is that no-one knows anything any more, except, perhaps, that Hillary is destined to fail one way or another

A fight to the death (by boredom)
Robin Mitchinson
On 25 February 2016 14:50

The single truth emerging from the latest endeavor to elect POTUS is that everybody got it wrong. Considerable pundit and funder support went to Jeb Bush who was considered the best bet to defeat Hillary Clinton.

Jeb cratered along with the hopes and millions of dollars in investment of his Super PAC (Political Action Committee) supporters, or rather gamblers.

Looking backward, Jeb mounted a campaign his father and brother were proud to endorse. Problem is, Jeb failed miserably to capture the prevailing climate of opinion. Americans are angry, frustrated and fed up with politicians in both houses and in the Oval Office. They are not yet revolution minded, but if nothing is done, there could be a spot of bother.

We now know that anyone associated with the political establishment has a poor chance at best of winning mass support. Hillary who was up until a few months ago a shoe in for the Democratic Party nomination and the Presidency, is struggling for the former and is highly unlikely to achieve the latter.

A 74 year old Jewish socialist named Bernie Sanders ripped into Hillary on almost every front leaving here clinging to the African-American vote at best.

Owing to the way the deck is stacked in favor of establishment politicians in the Democratic Party, Hillary is picking up electoral votes at many times the rate as Bernie even though she is behind in the popular vote of states that already held their primaries and caucuses.

The great surprise here is that a person like Bernie could have made such a huge dent in Hillary's popularity. The speculation is that almost any mainstream Republican could defeat her in a national election.

As for The Donald, he is the new political idol of the mindless masses. He is attracting support on both the left and the right and loudly avows that by  financing his own campaign through his enormous personal wealth, he is indebted to no one, to no PAC or group of lobbyists.

His outlandish and outspoken proclamations empower the people like no other candidate can. He is a bully who may well be handed the bully pulpit as a reward for crass, crude, knee-jerk and untutored statements. As such, he is as accurate a reflection of the man in the street as one could find.

The Pundits and professionals alike are now talking of Trump as a political force in himself that needs to be reconciled with sensitive and pressing foreign and domestic issues. It is clear that the Republican powers that be are now putting their full support behind Marco Rubio as the only remaining candidate who, albeit poorly, reflects establishment aspirations and who has the potential to both defeat Trump and win against Hillary.

This is a big gamble as Rubio still ranks only third behind Trump and Ted Cruz in the latest polls. It is unlikely that Cruz will endure as he is too far to the right.

More importantly, his supporters are more likely to convert to Trump than Rubio should Cruz drop out or fail. Tangentially, it is not easy for a second generation Cuban immigrant to capture the imagination of the American public and both Cruz and Rubio are just that

As you might rightly opine, there is many a slip between cup and lip and we all know the fat lady has yet to sing.

Moreover, the experts have been embarrassingly wrong so far and are now a bit gun shy about making strong predictions. Yet, the media goes on, and on ad nauseam spouting their nonsensical guesswork to the point of extreme boredom.

Robin Mitchinson is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator. A former barrister, living in the Isle of Man, he is an international public management specialist with almost two decades of experience in institutional development, decentralisation and democratisation processes. He has advised governments and major international institutions across the world

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