Troy Marshall

February 18, 2016

4 Min Read
For political junkies, the fun is just beginning

I’m a bona fide political junkie. Next to cows, horses, my kids and college football, the thing I like to talk the most about is politics. That’s because everyone has an opinion and it is usually pretty stimulating conversation. And for political junkies, 2016 is shaping up to be a whopper of an election.

This year has been historic just from the standpoint that voters on both sides of the aisle are making it clear that they don’t like what they have been receiving. The “establishment” has been sent a very loud message by the electorate that they better get their act together. 

And maybe the political establishment is getting the message. They are no longer laughing when someone mentions that Sanders or Trump actually have a chance to be their party’s nominees. 

Sanders seems to be gaining momentum, to everyone’s chagrin in the Democratic party. On the other hand, Trump’s latest gaffe in South Carolina may be catching up to him, with the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showing Ted Cruz taking the lead nationally, and Rubio narrowing the gap between the two. 

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Ted Cruz’ rise, though, is not a seismic shift, considering that he is probably more anti-establishment than Trump in most respects. He represents true conservative values, but he actually insisted on upholding them when he got to Washington, D.C., earning him the most vitriol from the establishment as any modern-day candidate to ever run for a party’s nomination. 

The experts are probably right that we would never elect a Trump or Sanders as president or that Cruz would struggle in a mainstream election, but this isn’t a normal election. According to polls, Hillary Clinton is deemed untrustworthy by a vast majority of the electorate, and voters are clear they want to move beyond Bush and Clinton. 

That said, however, it is hard to imagine Clinton won’t get the nomination. After all, the Democratic establishment made sure that no serious candidates emerged, plus their super delegate system was supposed to have rigged the game so that even if she loses the majority of races, she will still win the nomination. The system was set up to ensure Hillary’s nomination, but if she can’t dispatch of Bernie convincingly, the party may still look for outside help. 

On the Republican side, the mantra has been that 70% of Republicans have decided not to vote for Trump, but that the field needed to be narrowed to two or three candidates so voters can make that choice. While I’m not sure that logic is 100% accurate, it appears to be largely irrelevant with Carson being the only candidate of the other five who appears likely to drop out any time soon. 

Perhaps the death of Supreme Court Justice Scalia will force voters to become more pragmatic and not as concerned about sending a message. It might not be conducive to progress to have a socialist or an ego-maniacal populist billionaire (yes, I’m aware those words seldom appear together) as our new president, but it sure would make for an interesting next several months. 

Right now the polls suggest that South Carolina and Nevada primaries will do little to clear up the confusion. In fact, they may just add to it. The part of the whole show that’s the most fun is watching the pundits try to explain the current state of affairs. The only time you see a Democratic or Republican pundit smile is when they are talking about the results on the other side of the aisle.

The opinions of Troy Marshall are not necessarily those of and the Penton Agriculture Group.


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