We are more than halfway through the Democratic and Republican primary process for their nominee for president. While the campaigning began almost a year ago with Ted Cruz announcing his candidacy on March 23, 2015, we have only a few months of the primary process left and seven months until the general election in November.
On the Democratic side, the candidate who becomes the nominee will need to win 2,382 of the 4,763 delegates and super delegates. So far, Hillary Clinton has 1,599 and Bernie Sanders has 844 delegates, with 2,020 uncommitted delegates remaining in the states yet to vote. Hillary needs only 39 percent of those delegates to secure the nomination. She must be feeling a LOT better than she did 8 years ago during the primary race against the Senator Barack Obama. This time, there is little doubt that Clinton will be the nominee.
On the Republican side, there are 2,472 delegates, with 1,237 needed to win the nomination. After Marco Rubio's campaign suspension, only three Republican candidates remain in the nomination race. At the time of this writing, according to Real Clear Politics, Donald Trump has 661 delegates, Ted Cruz 406 and John Kasich 142.
For the Republicans, 946 delegates remain in the states that have yet to hold primaries. For Trump to gather 1,237 delegates before the Republican convention, he needs to capture 61 percent of the remaining delegates.
Trump will more than likely do just that.
For those who are still wondering about Trump's appeal, a review of Gallup polling data regarding voter sentiment sheds light. More than half of voters are unhappy with the path the country is on. It should be no surprise that pre-picked candidates from the Washington establishment are having a hard time during this primary season. While Clinton has a clear path to the nomination, she has had to fight against recently declared Democrat Bernie Sanders, who is running his campaign as an outsider.
According to Gallup polls conducted during the first week of March, only 10 percent of Republican/Lean Republican voters are satisfied with the way things are going in the United States, with 43 percent of Democrats/Lean Democrats expressing satisfaction. This gap between Republicans and Democrats regarding satisfaction in the direction of the country might explain why establishment candidate Clinton has fared better than establishment candidates the Republican side.
With only 10 percent of Republicans satisfied, it is easy to understand the turnover among the Republicans' leadership.
Additionally, when Gallup asked voters in an open-ended question, "What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?" 17 percent cited the economy, 15 percent our dysfunctional government, and 11 percent talked about unemployment/jobs. These categories are areas in which an outsider businessman like Trump would be preferred over an experienced establishment politician.
While Trump is rapidly learning and growing as a candidate, (nicer tone during debate, press conferences that resemble presidential events held in front of American flags, spurning another debate to speak at AIPAC), the media and Establishment Republicans continue to tout the possibility that the convention will be contested as a way to prevent Trump from becoming the Republican nominee.
I am familiar with that argument. Four years ago, when my father, Newt Gingrich, was running for the Republican nomination, that was the argument I made after he lost the Alabama and Mississippi primaries. It's the argument that many candidates make when their campaigns fall behind, but they do not want to give up the dream.
But those who are working to thwart Trump through a contested convention might want to heed Chris Christie's argument against doing so.
"I think it would be very difficult, if someone comes in close and has a clear plurality of the delegates, to deny that person the nomination," he said last Tuesday. "I think it's a very dangerous thing for any party to engage in to disenfranchise people who are voting ... I think it would disenfranchise a lot of people and would also really, really, I think, disillusion, the people voting in this country. The people who determine elections are people who care enough to show up and vote. And whether you disagree or you agree with the result, we have an obligation in a democracy to adhere by what the people say."
It's more than halfway over -- but the race is still thrilling to watch -- democracy in action is powerful.