(not everyone will get this title but for those of you who do, you’re welcome)
Tuesday, June 7th. Yup, Primary Election Day in a handful of states. Does it matter? The election is irrelevant because we’re well on the way to be a close General Election match up between Hillary and Trump? Well, not so fast. Tomorrow’s election actually may have a significant impact on the next couple months leading up to the Democratic and Republican conventions and into November.
Three things to watch.
- Hillary Wraps up “pledged delegates” with a win in NJ but loses California. In this scenario the narrative turns from Hillary Clinton being the “presumptive nominee” to being questioned between now and the Philadelphia convention as to her ability to unite the Party. If Bernie pulls out a win in California, and he just might, he’ll have a case to make that he’s winning the hearts and minds of the rank and file Democrats. After all, he’s almost matched Hillary in “awarded delegates” won through primary and caucuses compared to her clinching the nomination by winning an overwhelming majority of “Super-delegates”. You may remember that Jane, his wife said as much on my radio show last week. If Bernie wins or comes close and splits delegates, he’ll have more than 1,500 delegates ready for battle in Philadelphia.
2. Hillary wins big in Jersey AND wins California. If she runs the table on Tuesday then the momentum clearly shifts away from the anti-establishment insurgency of Bernie Sanders and she can make the case for him dropping out. If he can’t win the big prize on the Left Coast it solidifies her position that the rank and file and the party establishment are with her. If this happens, Hillary will immediately become the presumptive nominee and turn all of her attention toward Donald Trump. Although I don’t think he’ll drop out, with big losses on Tuesday he quickly becomes and “Also-Ran”.
3. Trump Pulls in “Unaffiliated” Voters in New Jersey. One of the most intriguing parts of my job in the media is that every morning I’m talking directly with voters and getting a true sense of how the political winds are shifting. Many of my listeners are blue collar, union guys driving trucks across the Garden State. Many are not happy with Republicans and many more don;t like the Governor. That said, many of those same people have Donald Trump as their first choice for President. In New Jersey a voter can wait until Primary Day to declare and affiliation with a Political Party. The mark of how successful a Republican candidate is in a “Blue State” like New Jersey is how many of those unaffiliated voters are pulled into the partisan column. If Trump is successful in a now uncontested election pulling in thousands of new voters through this process then it’s a sure sign that he’s got “Electability” in November and may even put New Jersey in play for the GOP ticket. The Democratic ticket has won six of the past ten contests with a clean sweep since 1992. The last Republican to win New Jersey was Vice President George Bush in 1988 after the GOP had captured New Jersey in three successive contests.
My prediction on Tuesday?
Hillary grabs the “presumptive nominee” title after the polls close in New Jersey. California is a toss up that Hillary wins by a slim margin… but because of the convoluted rules of delegates in the Golden State, Bernie may well walk away with nearly half. This means although scenario #2 above will play out but not to the extent that Hillary wants and Bernie will likely head into the convention ready for a fight. It’s all he’s got.
As far as Trump, I’m predicting that he will turn out more than previous primary contests where the nominee was presumed prior to the polls opening in Jersey. The number of new partisan registrants will likely be stronger than expected as he is appealing to people on all sides of the political spectrum. I don’t think this momentum will resonate on the down ballot and Trump affiliated candidates for local office will have to win on their own.