Preliminary parties


david koroma

On the Republican side of American politics, Donald Trump is leading the pack. He’s ahead of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz — or the “choke artist,” and the “liar,” as Trump affectionately refers to them.

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders’s “political revolution” has hit a brick wall. The older black community in the south recently backed Hillary Clinton in South Carolina by an astonishing 86-14 margin to hand her a 74-26 victory.

Americans have two extremely entertaining battles going on. A former Republican nominee, Senator Lindsay Graham, recently said his party has gone, “batshit crazy,” which is an understandable assumption if you’ve watched their recent debates.

The Democrats have an interesting contrast emerging, where Clinton is now relying on the same black voters who handed her a defeat in 2008.

One race is a hilarious — though somewhat scary — downward spiral of a party that can no longer acknowledge climate change or immigration reform in any rational way. The other has become an argument of lofty idealism versus cynical pragmatism.

It’s obvious which side is more entertaining. At this point, Trump has the Republican nomination all but sewn up. His momentum shows no signs of slowing, and his opposition is weak and divided. Most importantly, faced with the choice of Trump or Cruz, the Republican establishment is choosing Trump — made evident by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s recent endorsement.

What is less clear is if Sanders’s enthusiastic support is starting to wane, or whether it was ever widely received outside of Northern suburbs and college campuses. The Clinton campaign saw this weakness early and allied strongly with President Obama as a way to shore up the support of the typical Democratic base in southern states.

The Sanders campaign relies on ambitious, high-information voters — people who believe America has to remove corporate money from their elections. Unlike Obama, his support does not come from an emotional place, but a rather logical one.

Meanwhile, Clinton benefits from everything that comes with being who she is. Her roots in every segment of The Democratic Party go back to her time as First Lady, then senator, then Secretary of State — and she has all the influence those positions would entail.

She’s also, however, viewed as an establishment figure, while Bernie — though an elected official for decades — is viewed as anti-establishment.

And at a time when a reality TV host will become a presidential candidate by riding a wave of anti-establishment sentiment in America, there is a very real concern that Clinton’s status quo approach would have a much harder time fighting Trump’s momentum.

David Koroma has experience working in government and political communications. He is interested in the role citizens play in creating positive change on Canadian stage. Follow David on Twitter @D_A_Koroma.