It is that time of year again: Primary Season! As the precursor to the United States General Election in November this year, both major political parties (Democratic and Republican) have 50 different contests for 50 different states (as well as allowances for American’s voting abroad from other territories). Now what does this all mean? Well in order to become the nominee of their particular party you must first amass a majority of delegates, each state being allotted a total number and these are then divided up after a vote takes place. Some states have winner take all delegates while others are proportional to the amount of support a candidate receives.
Why do I bring this up? Well over the weekend both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party held primary votes, in South Carolina and Nevada respectively. While there are interesting points to note in both cases, a focus on the results of the South Carolina primary may offer more insight. Now for those of you who aren’t actively following the political scene in the United States during this year’s election cycle I am sure you have still heard, through one form or another, that Donald Trump is running for the Republican nomination.
Now enter a comment which will likely strike confusion and disagreement among many readers, but there is sound logic to it. I have long said, especially to colleagues, that Donald Trump running for the Republican nomination is a good thing. Now you might well be concerned that I’ve lost it, but there is a reason. Donald Trump’s presidential run has steadily garnered the support of about a third of those voting in the primaries, and that says something very specific about where his support comes from. I am in complete agreement that what he argues for is racist, xenophobic, divisive and ultimately just plain wrong, however not everyone feels this way and that is a major problem.
His candidacy has allowed us to identify very clearly where his pockets of support are, which means with some deeper analysis we (as pundits) will be able to determine where the most uninformed and frankly uneducated members of society are. It is with this specific information that targeted programs in schools and community centers can be created in order to address this issue. The kinds of intolerance that are being propagated now through the Republican party are not those of the majority, no more than they are here, but the a minority of the population does believe them and until they are afforded an opportunity to be educated otherwise this will never change.
I’m not entirely convinced that Donald Trump actually means anything that he says or anything he claims to believe. As avid political aficionado it appears as though he hit a nerve, a vein at some point in one of his rants and this has launched his support forward. Why not maintain the antics and the nonsense if there are those that support it? So much of what Trump talks about is just rhetoric and has no hope of coming true, but he has seized a mantle of unrest and distrust of a political world and as such looks to cash in on that support.
Regardless if Trump believes in what he is selling it seems a third of republican primary voters do, which ultimately means that unless his remaining opponents (Kasich, Carson, Rubio and Cruz) can all settle on one person to face off against him he will continue to collect states and delegates until it becomes mathematically impossible for an alternative to win the nomination. My hope is that someone somewhere will use this data to support urgently needed educational programs where they are required most, rather than broad educational programs that often get ignored by all.