It is almost the beginning of the end.
The true beginning of the end starts in September, around Labour Day, when the US presidential election moves into high gear with the field narrowed down to just two serious candidates. It just feels like this campaign has been going on forever; it’s been almost a year since the first person declared his candidacy.
Until today though it hasn’t been serious, at least for the voters. The candidates have been campaigning in earnest, but until today no public preferences counted. To me that explains Donald Trump’s initial popularity – expressing liking for his bombast didn’t come with any consequences. When you start to envision the idea of “President Trump” as a real possibility, that could affect how you vote.
When I was a teenager you rarely heard anything about the Iowa caucuses, it was the New Hampshire primary that was important. Today it seems they receive an equal amount of publicity and carry an equal amount of weight. A candidate who doesn’t carry at least one of the two stands little chance of being their party’s nominee.
We use neither a primary nor caucus system in Canada. (Note to the Minister of Democratic Reform; since you are determined to ruin our system, why not consider changing to a presidential system?) Our system is older, and I think works better. But that may just be prejudice on my part.
If it were Canada I could see the caucus system leading to fistfights. In the US I am surprised there isn’t more shooting involved. They say it is not wise to discuss religion or politics in polite company. Gathering people in a room to discuss who they think should be president sounds like a sure recipe for conflict, not constructive discussion. Or maybe I don’t understand the process (or am underestimating the American people),
I have been telling friends for months that Donald Trump is running to lose, that I don’t believe he really wants to be president and his campaign is a giant reality show – a comedy no less. His polling numbers, when you look at the raw data as opposed to the media headlines, have struck me as being overinflated. I think it very possible that after tonight and the New Hampshire primary, on February 9, the Trump campaign will be all but over.
That I realize is going out on a limb and I could fall spectacularly on that prediction. I haven’t followed the campaign as closely as I could, since I don’t get a vote. I usually pay no attention to presidential campaigns until the summer conventions when the Democrats and Republicans actually make their choices as to who will be their standard bearer.
However, if my prediction is wrong and Donald Trump is successful, not just tonight but the months to come, my opinion of the collective judgement of the American people will nosedive. I know sheep are collectively pretty stupid, but can they be that stupid? They are about to start counting the votes. I guess we will know soon.