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Presidential frontrunners dealt setback

Submitted by Scott Foster on April 14, 2016 – 11:05 amNo Comment

The two leading candidates in the Democratic and Republican nomination contests were both victims of the surging campaigns of their main competitors in the Wisconsin primaries held April 5.

The “Badger State” handed former Secretary of State and New York Senator Hillary Clinton another loss at the hands of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders by a vote tally of 56.6 percent to 43.1 percent, according to CNN.

Sanders surprised many political observers at several media outlets by winning almost every county in the state and edging out Clinton in exit polls measuring the vote of women in the state.

The victory in Wisconsin was Sanders’ sixth straight win, but still left Clinton with a sizable and relatively comfortable “Won” delegate lead of 1,279 to 1,027, and a dominant “Superdelegate” lead of 469-31, according to Real Clear Politics.

Nevertheless, Sanders claims his current string of victories has given his campaign momentum as the nomination race turns to the pivotal state of New York, the state where Sanders was born and where Clinton served as a Senator.

Businessman and T.V. personality Donald Trump was also disappointed by the primary results in Wisconsin.

The state was initially seen by his campaign as an opportunity to leverage his populist image and protectionist trade policies in an environment that had been hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs.

But, due to some strange policy flip-flops and out-of-the-mainstream positions expressed by Trump in the last couple of weeks, Texas Senator Ted Cruz was able to defeat Trump along with Ohio governor John Kasich, as Cruz earned a solid 48.2 percent of the vote. Trump and Kasich garnered 35.1 percent and 14.1 percent of the ballots, respectively.

The win propels the Cruz campaign’s delegate count past the 500 mark, and makes a “brokered” Republican National Convention a more likely possibility.

Real Clear Politics calculates that Trump currently has 743 delegates in his column, with a total of 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination on the initial convention floor vote.

If Trump cannot reach this delegate count by the beginning of the convention (either by earning delegates from winning states or attempting to make deals with other candidates or establishment party members), then some of the delegates each candidate has earned become “free agents”– able to change their vote on subsequent ballots if they so choose.

This could spell trouble for Trump, as many delegates are chosen not only for their favoring of certain candidates, but also for their loyalty and service to the GOP.

These types of delegates tend to favor candidates who are preferred by the establishment and seen as loyal to the Republican cause. While Cruz is usually characterized as an anti-establishment candidate, Trump’s strange positions on abortion and border security (along with his backing out of a pledge not to run as an independent should he not be declared the GOP nominee), have not endeared him to party elites.

Cruz seems to be the only viable alternative to Trump since Kasich’s lone victory has been in his home state of Ohio, and the governor’s delegate count (currently at 143) is insufficient to mount a serious challenge at the GOP Convention.

Till the next issue, keep gathering information on potential candidates and plan to get involved in the political process by working on a campaign, volunteering, or just casting a well-informed vote. Help to make sure student voices are heard this November!

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