Now It’s On to November (campaign shorts)
Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.
Last night’s primaries left little doubt that it will be Hillary versus Trump in November. Except for counting the votes in the remaining primaries, there is little left for Cruz, Kasich, or Sanders. On the GOP side it seems clear that Trump now has a path to the nomination; despite all of the last minute Cruz-Kasich maneuvering. Trump’s problem, yet to be recognized and/or acknowledged, is that he has achieved his success among Republicans—mostly alienated Republicans. In some of the contests he has which permitted cross-over voting it has included some Democrats and independents–also largely alienated. Trump’s success is not at all a test of the national climate, although some of the national polls—while very early—do suggest that in a head-to-head contest with Hillary she does not have a clear path to the nomination.
It also seem clear with today’s reduction in staff that Bernie is slowly letting the air out of his campaign balloons. He will continue to collect delegates, but will focus on pursuing a more logical direction now of trying to influence his party platform, make his convention speech, and then—Hillary desperately hopes—rallying his supporters to get behind Clinton in the general election.
Clinton needs two other major forces to fall into place as she now begins to organize her post-convention campaign against Trump. She not only needs Bernie’s young voters to become galvanized behind her effort to defeat Trump, but she also needs to get a sense from the White House how far Obama will go to help to bring out the African-American vote she needs, especially in the swing states of Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, and maybe even Georgia. Finally she needs to insure that her GOTV game plan includes having all the necessary Latino forces in place to insure their wide-spread support in the above states plus Colorado, Nevada, and Iowa. This may well include a move to bring on board one of the Castro brothers from San Antonio—Congressman Joaquin Castro or his twin brother San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro—as her vice-presidential running mate.
Trump’s speech on foreign policy today was not a last minute decision as a follow-up to his sizeable win yesterday. It had been in the works for a while, but the timing worked out well for him. There were no major surprises in his speech except for shift in style and his use of a teleprompter and a staff written speech which he had first tested in his speech before Aipac in March. What was strange and off-putting in this speech was his continued use of the notion of America First for which he had been criticized for using previously. It is rather fool-hardy of him to continue to use this most well-known term from the Thirties and early Forties most clearly associated with American isolationism. Surely Trump could have employed an alternative, equally catchy slogan in lieu of this ringing phrase which is most jarring to internationalists, Jews, and many Republican moderates; the place within the GOP from which he most clearly hails.