Thoughts on How the 2016 Presidential Elections Will Play Out

I generally stay out of political discussions, and the following is not an endorsement of any candidate. One of the best exercises for writers is that of "What If," and over the last couple of days, I was doing this with this year's candidates.  Nostradamus, I'm not, but I'd like to record some predictions.

If I'm wrong, I'm wrong, but if I'm right, it'd be nice to have a record of my predictions before the fact. So, here goes. - I am writing this on February 16, 2016

1. Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination.

The Clinton supporters probably said, "Duh," but the Sanders supporters probably said, "No way!"  I think the most recent polls show the two candidates in a dead heat.  When everything is all over and done with, Sanders might end up with more pledged delegates at the convention.

The following has been mentioned, but won't get much airtime until the convention because it wont't come into play unless the candidates are within about 10% of each other at that time.  That is the role of superdelegates.  Super-delegates in the Democratic party will make up about 15% of  the delegates at the convention.  These delegates are party leaders and officials, and are not bound to vote for the candidate who "won" the primary or caucus in the state from which he/she is from.

In a tight race, if one candidate has the support of a vast majority of these superdelegates, then that candidate, even losing the "popular" vote during the primary season, could win the Democratic party nomination.  And, at this time, it seems Hillary Clinton will be getting a vast majority of these votes.

So, the primary and caucus voting will be tight, Sanders might even have more pledged delegates when the convention starts, but Hillary Clinton will win the nomination.

2. The Republican Nominee Will be the result of a Brokered Convention, and Ted Cruz will be the King-Maker

Donald Trump may possibly win the plurality of primary and caucuses, and show up with the most delegates, but he needs 50%, and he will be far from it.  I think he'll probably end up with about 30 - 35% of the pledged delegates.  And I don't think any of the current candidates will be dropping out.

The Republican version of Super-delegates, the unpledged delegates make up less than 10% of the total, and I don't think they will be voting for Trump as long as Rubio and Bush are in the race.

So, let's say the following will be at the time of convention.
A.  Trump 35%
B. Cruz 25%
C. Rubio 25%
D. Bush 10%
E. Others 5%

I think Carson will drop down to the "also rans," as the primary season progresses.

So, no one gets the nomination on the first ballot, and the dealing begins.  I doubt Trump will get any of the Bush/Rubio supporters, so his defectors have to come from Cruz.  But I don't think Cruz will drop out. Bush/Rubio would probably negotiate and one or the other would combine their delegates. That gives them 35%, plus about 10% of the non-pledged delegates. I think the Carson votes will go to Trump, and the Kasich votes go to Rubio/Bush.

This leaves Trump and Rubio/Bush with about 40% of the votes each, and Cruz with 25%, but lets say 20%, since the superdelegates will dilute his share.

So, by second ballot, it will be

A. Trump 40%
B. Rubio/Bush 40%
C. Cruz 20%

Cruz will be king maker and the candidate he supports will win the nomination.  It will be the one who is feuding with him the least.

I don't know who it will be, but if I had to stick my my neck out, it would be Jeb Bush.  I think currently Rubio might be the establishment favorite, but 1. Ted Cruz might say he would support Bush, but not Rubio for the candidacy; 2. the really big donors might favor Bush - and with these two reasons, Rubio might agree to defer to Bush for the nomination. If this happens, then Rubio will almost be assured to choose whether he wants to be the VP candidate, which he may or may not want.

3. It Doesn't Really Matter if Trump Runs as an Independent.

After not getting the nomination, Trump may run as an independent.  At first, it may seem that this will hurt the Republican candidate, but I think it's more complicated than that. Regardless of what Trump decides, a good number of Republicans who voted for Trump in the primaries will end up voting for the Republican candidate, so I don't think it hurts the Republicans in this respect.

As for the Republicans who vote for Trump as an Independent, I think he will be able to pull enough Democrats over to his side to even things out.  However, I think what would happen is that in the more liberal states, the Republicans will vote for the nominee, and Democrats will not cross over to Trump.  In the more conservative states, Trump pulls from the Republican candidate, but also gets cross over from the Democrats. I think it evens out.

If Trump doesn't run as an independent, a lot of his supporters would sit out the election.

4.  If Trump Makes  A Big Impact, Jeb Bush will be the Next President, but I highly doubt this will happen.

If Trump wins enough states to prevent either party from enough electoral votes, then the election goes to the House, in which case, the Republicans will win since they have the majority.

4. Of Course, there is a way for Trump to get enough electoral votes to send the election to the House.

After the 2000 elections, several states, including California (a large state), made a change to who their electoral votes will go to. Instead of the candidate who wins the state, the electoral votes will go to the candidate who wins the popular vote nationally. At least in California, I believe this went into effect in 2008, and California voters voted for the same candidate who won the popular national vote. However,what would happen if Donald Trump gets the most popular votes nationally by finishing in second in many states?  He could get a significant number of electoral votes by not even winning a state.

5.  If Bush and Clinton Get the Nominations, it will be a Proxy Vote between Bill Clinton and George W. Bush

Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton will run as individuals, but invariably it will turn into a popularity contest between the Bill Clinton and George W, Bush administrations.  I think people have fonder memories of the Bill Clinton years and thus, Hillary Clinton will win.

So, that's my prediction for this election year.  There are so many variables tat have not played out, yet, including Hillary Clinton's email issue, and Ted Cruz' citizenship issues, and other issues that may or may not pop up.  But given the situation today, I think it will play out in a way that Hillary Clinton will be our next president.

When I first starting writing this piece, I was sure I'd conclude that Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee, that Marco Rubio would be the Republican nominee, and Donald Trump wouldn't make a difference whether he ran as an independent or not. I'm pretty confident that Hillary will win the Democratic nominee, and the Republicans will have a brokered convention, but other than that, I think this is how it will play out, but I'm not too sure.

As they say in sports, "That's why you play the game.  You never know how it will turn out."

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