Cam, why are you backing Trump?

Last night I received this email from “a reader”:

Cameron you seem to be backing Trump. I reckon this; Hillary Clinton goes to bed every night praying Trump is the Republican nominee. Farrar posted on this didn’t he and I think he is right.

But the big guns know this too and what I think will happen, that is just beginning to happen now, is that Cruz and Rubio will keep Trump out but beat themselves to a standstill doing it, and Kasich will be the nominee as the only one with a chance to beat Hillary.

Yet again, someone has mistaken my calling of events as I see them as endorsement or support for one candidate or another. This happened last election in the US where people thought I was supporting Barack Obama because I kept on saying that Mitt Romney couldn’t beat him. I even had a very public bet with Leighton Smith over this. Readers commented, just like this correspondent, that I should be pushing Mitt Romney.

I am not into wishful thinking…you saw that with the gay marriage debate, calling the US election for Barack Obama and, more recently, on the  flag debate.

No amount of wishful thinking on my part or that of commenters on this site, or indeed wishful thinking from John Key, can make the truth of the matter go away…the referendum will vote to retain the existing flag.

I call things as I see them, based on a combination of my gut feeling, my assessment of the general public sentiment, polling and canvassing my connected, and not-so-connected, networks of friends across the political and business spectrum.   

I am doing this with the Republican primaries as well. My Republican contacts all tell me that Ted Cruz is hated by the establishment. He has pissed off too many people over too many years. Unfortunately, Marco Rubio has not helped himself and clever dealmaking by Trump with Chris Christie has seen Rubio’s chances teeter. Rubio is the GOP’s best chance to beat Clinton…anyone can beat Bernie Sanders. But the dynamics are such that the split race is helping, not hurting, Donald Trump.

I personally think Trump is a fool, and I most certainly do not endorse him. But what I do admire is his raw political talent and his ability to deliver whatever message he wants despite the Media Party and the other candidates. So far Trump is in the lead with delegates. There are 2472 delegates, and you need to win 1237 delegates to win the nomination. Donald Trump has 378, Cruz has 295 and Rubio has 123. Kasich, the man my emailer says will come through the middle, has just 34 delegates. There are 1634 delegates yet to be allocated. If my emailer’s wish is true then John Kasich needs to win 1203 of the 1634 delegates or 73% of the remaining delegates with Trump, Cruz and Rubio picking up no more than 432 delegates. Well, that is not going to happen.

Florida is a winner-take-all state with 99 delegates. It is also Rubio’s home state…but Cruz is trying to beat him there. If Rubio loses in Florida then he is in real trouble. He is already, as the numbers are starting to stack against him…Cruz isn’t quite so precarious.

Indeed even FiveThirtyEight thinks Rubio’s problems are terminal…and, interestingly, caused by Kasich:

[I]n the real world of primaries, Kasich’s support would never transfer cleanly to Rubio. Nearly a month ago, before Jeb Bush and Ben Carson suspended their campaigns, an NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll found that Rubio was indeed the top second choice of Kasich supporters, but he was the second choice for only 24 percent of them. Another 21 percent went to Bush, 16 percent to Trump, 10 percent to Cruz and 6 percent to Carson. Now that Bush and Carson are out of the race, people who preferred one of them in the absence of Kasich would have to support a different candidate. If you redistributed those voters according to the second-choice preferences of those whose first choice was Bush or Carson, Rubio might top out at about a third of Kasich’s original supporters.

But even adding just a third of Kasich supporters would have made a huge difference for Rubio on Tuesday night: He might have won Virginia, hit the viability threshold in Vermont and beaten out Cruz for second place in far more Southern congressional districts, earning him dozens more delegates and changing the complexion of the race. Instead, Rubio is left to wonder “what if.”

Kasich’s support doesn’t break all for Rubio, and neither does any of the candidates’ support break evenly. The math is hard and complicated and life is very tough for Rubio…and almost impossible for Kasich.

So, as you can see, I work on facts, not wishful thinking.

What I do wish for, though, is a real nasty donnybrook between the Republicans and the Democrats…that will be spectacular.

The real lesson in all of this is that I don’t do wishful thinking; I look at the evidence. I have no skin in the US game, and barely any skin in the NZ game. I’m not a member of any political party and that will remain the case as long as I am a political commentator and pundit. To be a member would taint my thinking on politics.

Facts and reason, not wishful thinking…keep that in mind.

 – tipline, FiveThirtyEight.com


Do you want:

  • Ad-free access?
  • Access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • Access to daily sudoku?
  • Access to Incite Politics magazine articles?
  • Access to podcasts?
  • Access to political polls?

Our subscribers’ financial support is the reason why we have been able to offer our latest service; Audio blogs. 

Click Here  to support us and watch the number of services grow.

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

22%