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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Why Hoosiers Chose Trump and Sanders

Trump won. Regardless of your opinion on Donald J. Trump's candidacy, he will be the Republican nominee for president. Whatever else happens, this will be an interesting general election.

The Republican Party has a few difficulties that would be easily solved if something that seems impossible is done to heal the party. Put simply, Ted Cruz needs to be Donald Trump's running mate. I don't see this happening, but it would pacify the absolutists on both sides. Cruz supporters would vote to elect their guy as vice-president. Trump supporters will be out anyway. Drafting Cruz would make a Republican path to victory likely. Without such a reunification, I don't see it happening.

Donald Trump has attacked Ted Cruz (not to mention his wife) on such a personal level that being his running mate would be an act of abject humiliation, something akin to Hillary Clinton being Barack Obama's secretary of state. Yet, it remains possible, if implausible, that this might happen. Trump would have to make a personal apology and most likely also a public one in order to even begin to heal the wounds he inflicted. This isn't something Donald Trump would be comfortable doing.

Still, Trump could use Ted Cruz's experience and acumen in the White House. While many love his brash personal style, he doesn't know much of anything about how government works. He knows which wheels to grease, sure, but he has no idea what those people do to make that investment worthwhile. He needs an insider, someone who has been part of the system. While Ben Carson would also bring a lot to the table, he isn't experienced at getting things done within the gridlock that is Washington D.C. Granted, he's extremely intelligent and would certainly help to draft a replacement for the mess that is Obamacare. Obamacare reminds me of a verse in the New Testament, Revelation 3:16, "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue [spew] thee out of my mouth." It isn't a free-market system, nor is it a single-payer, government owned system. Instead, it is a makeshift hodgepodge containing the worst aspects of both systems.

As for the Democrat side, Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton by a five percent margin. These results tell us something, both about Indiana and the candidates themselves. Hoosiers (what we folks in Indiana call ourselves) don't like to follow conventional wisdom. We like the underdogs, the people who overcome odds and achieve success despite the doubts of others. Donald Trump was a wild card in this race. He wasn't taken seriously and has been mocked relentlessly by the press. Sanders is considered a wild-eyed socialist in desperate need of a reality check. (That is actually a pretty accurate summary of Bernie Sanders, frankly.) Hoosiers don't care. We want to see a real difference between the people for whom we are voting. We want to choose between people who will honestly tell us what they are thinking. Trump and Sanders both lack verbal filters. That makes them ideal candidates to most Hoosiers.

Right now, the Democrat delegate totals are 1,683 for Clinton and 1,362 for Sanders. There are 1,159 remaining. There are also 561 superdelegate votes (party insiders whose votes count as much as do the democratically-elected delegates from the states). Most of these are assumed to be voting for Clinton. However, there is a problem with this math. Just as the Republican Party would be scourged for nominating anyone besides Trump now that he has a huge lead against the rest of the field, the Democrat Party would also face criticism if Sanders won most of the state delegates and the nomination was turned over to Clinton by the superdelegates. The Democrat Party has a much less democratic system of nomination, and if Sanders were to eclipse Clinton in state-elected delegates, this would definitely become an issue. The superdelegates might well be pressured into backing Bernie Sanders the same way that Republican delegates will likely back Trump during the second ballot.

We could very well see a Trump versus Sanders general election. A hardcore capitalist versus a hardcore socialist. Analyst Larry Kudlow predicts that in a Trump/Sanders race, Donald Trump would take 49 out of 50 states. How is this possible? The presumption that Hispanic voters are all pro-illegal-immigration is demonstrably false. More than a third of Hispanic voters voted for Republicans in Congress in 2014. My Mexican-American stepfather tried out for the Border Patrol--over half of all Border Patrol agents are Hispanic. The presumption is that Hispanics are more loyal to their nations of ancestry than to the United States. This is entirely false.

No more stark choice could be offered to America than a race between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. The results would tell us exactly where this nation stands with regard to a market economy. Do we value liberty or security more? We'll find out. As Benjamin Franklin wrote, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." What do we deserve?

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