Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner and Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner have won some crucial primary victories in Florida, Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina and Missouri. Marco Rubio, a much-touted candidate by the Republican Party leaders and the media, who was defeated in his own state of Florida, where he won only in his own county. He has now suspended his campaign. It is no surprise that he lost, as he was nothing but an empty suit.
On the Democratic side, Hillary had a clean sweep in the southern states. With the addition of the big states like Ohio, Illinois and Florida, she now has almost a commanding lead. Donald Trump cannot claim such an advantage.
Hillary’s rival, Bernie Sanders, is trailing behind and is not expected to reach the minimum number of the delegates required to secure the nomination, which is now easy for Hillary. But he has posed a challenge to the Democratic front-runner. On the side of the Grand Old Party (GOP), it is a strange spectacle. Though the front-runner, Trump, has emerged victorious in many states, the Republican leadership is not happy, as Trump is a threat to the establishment which might not have envisaged that Trump, who had never actively participated in active politics, would get so much support from the voters.
The New Yorker has defied the imagination and now is the leader among the three contenders. All this is indicative of the pervading disillusionment of the supporters of the Republican Party.
The leaders and those near to them were initially confident about the candidacy of Jeb Bush, former Ohio Governor. But internally he had several enemies and the Republican voters had enough of Bush.
After the demise of Jeb’s campaign, the Republican leadership stood behind Rubio. He had nothing to offer to the voters. He was talking about the 21st century but his views were that of the 19th century. Trump savaged him, retaliating Rubio crossed all norms of decency and used foul language.
Republicans are not happy with Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas. He has no friends in the Party and in the Senate. He calls them the “Washington Cartel”. Both Cruz and Rubio are the products of the Tea Party, which is the cause of the present dissentions and decline of the Republican Party.
Sanders is able to pose a challenge to Hillary Clinton, because, though 74 years old, he represents the angry age group between 18 and 35, of present-day America. Of course, they are mainly White. These young people feel that they have been neglected and have not benefited by the creation of new wealth.
They are also angry that the CEOs of the big companies are awarded millions even when they fail the companies. Sanders says that he has a message and would not withdraw from the race. But he does not seem to want to analyses his message in light of the reality. He criticizes the Wall Street and wants the state ownership of those institutions. But state ownership is also not above board. Clement Attlee, when he was the Prime Minister of UK, once observed that people like Harold Laski had written books on the grammar of politics but were ignorant of the practice of politics. Sanders’ speeches remind us of Attlee’s observations.
The young African-Americans and Latinos are not visibly so inclined as are the Whites and that is why Sanders’ crowd generally is white. He has failed to get the support of the blacks, who overwhelmingly support Hillary. She even gained about 80 per cent in some black constituencies. That is because she and her husband kept a constant personal contact with blacks and the Latinos. Bill Clinton, while president, had implemented some measures which were beneficial to the blacks.
After Obama had won the presidential race handsomely, the Republican Party stalwarts decided to take steps to reform the party, to make it more inclusive and diverse. But the report to that effect was put aside. Instead, the most reactionary new element, the Tea Party, got hold of the GOP, which is why the last seven years have witnessed the disruptive record of the Republican Party. Now, the Party leadership is praying and plotting to stop the front-runner, Trump, from getting the required number of delegates and the nomination. They want to bring in their chosen candidate. That may split the party. The Republican Party is in a fix. It does not want either Trump or Cruz and the third candidate, Kasich, has won nowhere, except in Ohio, his own state. The Republican party in the House and the Senate, unmindful of the changes in the world, is still obsessed with the cold war politics and so all the while talks about dominating the world. The American people, themselves, by and large are tired of the war. President Obama’s slow withdrawal of the troops from several theatres of war is welcomed by them. The American leadership has to rise to the occasion and adjust to the changing world which wants cooperation and exchange of ideas and not lectures and least of all orders. The refugee problem has been handled by Europe itself and it has not asked for help and guidance from America.
The Democratic Party also has its problems. The recent campaign for the primaries has revealed several drawbacks of the party and its leadership. The rise of Sanders, who has no party base, shows the party leadership is docile. Sanders is not a winnable nominee but no other candidate has come forward. Hillary Clinton would win the nomination, but ordinary voters all the while would be worried of her credibility gap. She had changed her positions every now and then. Moreover, the fund-raising craze of the Clinton family foundation has no limit, which is also a problem. At the moment people are not happy with any of the candidates. Most people are fed up with the politicians.