March 23, 2016

By ALEX ALEXIEV

Last Tuesday saw two more states (Arizona and Utah) casting votes in the presidential stakes and the results confirmed present trends but did not decide the winner of the republican race.

The Republican Party – The GOP had a primary scheduled in Arizona and caucuses in Utah. The primary in Arizona was easily won by Donald Trump over Ted Cruz by 47% to 23%, which gave him all the 58 electoral votes at stake. Cruz, however, showed that he had quite a bit of fight left in him by winning in Utah by keeping Trump to only 14%, his worst result to date. This may be significant because Utah is easily the most republican state in the union and Trump’s poor result shows that traditional republicans are yet to fall in line behind him. The interest in the republican race is now centered on the key question of whether or not Trump would be able to reach the magic number of 1237 convention delegates, which will guarantee him winning the nomination on the first ballot. Some believe that he is close to that goal, while others note that to get to that number Trump would have to win the remaining competitions by 53% or better. Something he has not succeeded in doing so far.

Additional speculation is focused on the possibility of a third party candidate in the event of a Trump win. This is the result of substantial fears that a Trump nomination would not only result in a democratic victory at the presidential level, but that it would also bring disastrous losses to the GOP down-ballot, i.e. in the races for congressmen, senators and governors. Exit polls have persistently shown that 30% to 40% of republican voters will not vote for Trump under any circumstances, although this is far from cast in concrete, according to other experts. Another reason for mounting concern for republicans are the latest one-on-one match-ups which show Trump losing to Clinton in November by whooping 10.5 point margin (38.8% to 49.3%)

The Democratic Party – Hillary Clinton won decisively last Tuesday’s elections and there is no doubt that she is far and away the favorite at present. Nonetheless, Bernie Sanders shows no signs of wanting to withdraw. Interestingly, despite his losing record of late, he continues to raise more money than Hillary.