Friday, April 22, 2016

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Weekend Update 15

President Obama, through an editorial in a major British
newspaper, has urged voters in Great Britain to vote to
remain in the European Union (EU) on June 23. He has followed
that with a joint press conference with British Prime
Minister Cameron to reinforce his support for our ally to
keep its ties to the EU. It is not clear if the U.S. president’s
endorsement will help or hurt the pro-EU effort led by Mr.
Cameron. In his editorial, Mr. Obama cited the recent
agreement with Iran (signed by both the U.S. and Great
Britain) and the global warming treaty, also recently supported
by both leaders, as great successes and reasons for a pro-EU
vote. Mayor Boris Johnson, a member of Mr. Cameron’s own
Conservative (Tory) Party and widely believed to be the next
UK leader, is heading up the effort to persuade British voters to
vote to withdraw from the EU. He was critical of Mr. Obama’s
interference in the key national vote. As in the U.S., many
British voters oppose the Iran and global warming treaties,
and many Tory voters dislike Mr. Obama and his on-again-
off-again relationship with long-time ally Great Britain.
The June 23 referendum (popularly known as “Brexit”) is
expected to be very close.

Although a holdover rule from the 2012 Republican convention
technically prevents Ohio Governor John Kasich from even being
nominated at the GOP July convention in Cleveland, it in no way
prevents Mr. Kasich from receiving the votes on all ballots,
including the approximately 250 committed delegates he will have
likely won prior to the convention. It also does not prevent him from
being nominated in Cleveland. The candidate who receives 1237
votes on any ballot will be the nominee. It is not even clear that the
convention rules committee will keep the rule, which requires a
candidate to have won eight state primaries and caucuses. Both
Donald Trump and Ted Cruz do qualify under that rule, and each
has many more committed delegates than does Mr. Kasich, but a
stalemated convention could turn to the host governor of the
must-win state after the third ballot.

Immediately after Donald Trump’s big win in his home state of
New York, the mainstream media once again proclaimed him the
“presumptive” GOP presidential nominee. And once again, after
more careful consideration and a few days, many political
commentators realized the contest between Mr Trump, Ted Cruz
and John Kasich was not at all over.  With key contests in
Pennsylvania, Indiana, Nebraska, Maryland, Connecticut and
California ahead, Mr. Trump has to win more than 60% of those
delegates to secure a first ballot victory. The lion’s share of the
Pennsylvania delegates will go to the convention uncommitted
through the state party’s rules, and the choice of the large number
of delegates from California (to be chosen on the last day for
primaries) is unknown at this time. Should Mr. Trump fail to win a
majority on the first ballot in Cleveland, many of his delegates are
no longer bound to his candidacy, and an unprecedented open
convention would result, perhaps leading to several ballots.

The mathematics favoring Hillary Clinton’s win as the Democratic
presidential nominee was critically advanced in the New York
primary, and now it is almost certain she will be nominated in
Philadelphia on the first ballot. Once the nominee, however, she
faces a critical choice of moving toward the political center where
the vital votes for winning the November election are located, or
moving even further to the left to keep the millions of Bernie
Sanders voters from staying home or voting for the Green Party
probable candidate Jill Green. Normally, most of the voters of
the losing candidates for the party nomination unify after the
conventions and vote for the nominees. In 2016, however, this might
not be the case in both parties where the differences between the
contestants is unusually great. Mr. Sanders, a self-proclaimed
socialist, received almost as many votes in the primary/caucus
season as had Mrs Clinton, and had successfully pulled her
campaign to the left. Many mainstream liberal Democrats consider
Mr. Sanders’ politics extreme, and with Mrs Clinton’s negatives so
high, might consider staying home if she does not move back to the
political center.

The 2016 baseball season has opened, but it has done so, perhaps,
without some of the enthusiasm it has enjoyed over the past
century as the national pastime. Part of this might be due to the
increasing popularity of other indigenous U.S. sports, including
football and basketball, as well as the dramatic rise of sports
from other parts of the world, including golf, tennis, hockey, soccer
and lacrosse. The increase of women active in many amateur and
professional sports other than baseball might also be a contributing
factor. Recent controversies over drug use, high salaries, strikes,
player misbehavior and high game ticket prices have probably
diminished general interest in the game. Another probable cause
is the retirement and aging of many of baseball’s superstars, and
the noticeable lack of comparable replacements. As a lifelong
avid baseball fan, I report this decline of the sport with acute

Copyright (c) 2016 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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