Wednesday, June 1, 2016

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: A Compendium Of Recent Developments

The California Democratic presidential primary, until recently
thought to be nothing more than the coronation of Hillary Clinton’s
campaign for the nomination, has become a serious contest,
including some polls indicating it is a virtual tie. Alerted to the
public relations consequences of a defeat in the final major
primary of the 2016 cycle, Mrs. Clinton and her campaign are
pulling out all stops to head off a disaster, including increased
campaigning and the last-minute endorsement of popular
California Governor Jerry Brown. But Bernie Sanders has
stepped up his campaign as well, with large rallies and dramatic
appearances at at least one major sports event. With the
Clinton campaign in a full-press mode, and with her
considerable resources, it is still expected that she will win
this West Coast state, and at the same time go over the 50%
threshold in committed delegates, but the late Sanders surge
is following a recent pattern of upsets by the Vermont senator,
and some mainstream pundits are openly doubting a victory
here for the former first lady.

There are divergent poll reports of British voter sentiment for
its historic “Brexit” referendum on June 23 when the United
Kingdom will decide if it wants to remain in the European Union
or not. Telephone polls indicate a close vote with the “remain”
vote slightly ahead of the “leave” vote, while internet polls indicate
a larger margin for the “remain” vote. In the most recent
parliamentary election, UK pollsters significantly missed the
Conservative Party’s big victory. Polling in Europe and the U.S.
has recently often failed to accurately predict elections.

The U.S. mainstream media is the target of putative Republican
nominee Donald Trump’s latest attacks. The media reaction, of
course, is that this is a tactical mistake, especially since the same
media has been so instrumental in Mr. Trump’s remarkably
sudden rise in American politics. Others point out, however, that
virtually all public polling indicates that voters hold the media in
almost as much low esteem as they do politicians.


It is now the season for predicting the major party nominees’
choices for vice president, with the bulk of the speculation so far
on whom Donald Trump might pick for his running mate. Several
names have been prominently mentioned, and most of the
speculation has been in the context of traditional demographic
models of “political balance” to the ticket. The historical fact
is, however, that voters rarely cast their vote for a ticket’s
running mate, and that is even more likely true in 2016 when
Mr. Trump will so dominate the GOP side of the contest. Age,
ethnic or religious origin, geographic or other traditional
considerations might mean much less to Mr. Trump than who
might be valuable to him if and after he is elected. He has
already indicated he would favor someone with considerable
congressional and foreign policy experience.

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

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