September 30, 2016

Clinton and Trump likely to win presidential nomination

Dear Editor,
Guyanese and other Caribbean people in America have been showing a keen interest in the primary election contests to choose a presidential nominee for each of the two major parties (Republican and Democrat). Some have volunteered to work on the campaigns. They are heard having heated discussions on the contests whenever they get together at various events or on the subways, on buses, in the streets, etc. Most Guyanese and Caribbean nationals support the Democratic Party and are registered as members; most are cheering for Hillary Clinton who has been in a tight battle for the Democratic nomination with Senator Bernie Sanders, a socialist, from Vermont. Some support Donald Trump, a New Yorker, although they are not registered Republicans; they plan to vote for him if he emerges as the  nominee over two Cuban Americans, a African American, and one other candidate who is Governor of Ohio. Only party members can vote in these primary contests; some parties have open primaries allowing non-members to vote or to register as a member and vote the same day.
Tuesday, March 1 is known as Super Tuesday (voting in primary elections in several states) in the presidential contests to select a nominee for each of the two major parties. Party members vote to award delegates (apportioned according to percentage of votes garnered) to candidates seeking the nomination; the delegates will get together in July (Republican) and August (Democrat) to choose a nominee. A majority of delegates (about 1237 out of almost 2500 in the Republican convention and 2450 of almost 4900 in the Democratic Convention) is required to win the nomination. The delegates pledge to support the candidate who helped to get them chosen for the convention although in theory they are not bound to a candidate. They hardly ever defect from their candidate.
Based on opinion polls up to Monday evening, Hillary Clinton was expected to win all the states and as such, garner a huge collection of delegates making it virtually impossible for Sanders to catch up with her. Trump is leading in polls in all of the states except for Texas, where Senator Ted Cruz holds a lead over him in his home state. When the Super Tuesday contests are over, Trump will have a huge lead in the delegates count and wrap up the nomination by April – contests are held almost every Tuesday from now. So far, delegates are apportioned based on percentage of votes won; Trump has not won a majority of votes in any state while Clinton has won a majority in almost all of the contests. After March 15, the contests in the Republican field will switch to a winner-takes-all system. Democrats use Proportional Representation (PR) in all contests. Trump is likely to win all of the other contests and as such, secure the nomination. Clinton is also likely to secure the nomination by April. Most Guyanese and Caribbean nationals I spoke with feel she will be the Democratic nominee and Trump will be the Republican nominee. They also feel Hillary will prevail in the November General Election over Trump although Trump claims two polls show him beating Clinton.

Yours truly,
Vishnu Bisram

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