Monday, March 7, 2016

I'm surprised at the turnout for the caucuses

Maine's Caucus Weekend is over with no huge, but one small surprise.  That was the win by Ted Cruz over Donald Trump Saturday in the Republican statewide caucuses.  The Democrats held their meetings Sunday and Bernie Sanders made a strong case for his repetitive claim that if he can get the voters out, he will win.  Almost 50-thousand turned out and Sanders gave Hillary something to think about...he won handily.

The pundits are proclaiming great gains for the parties, but I'm not sure I could agree them.  After all, fewer than 20,000 people voted in the Republican caucuses but more than 46 thousand cast a ballot in the Democrat one.  I'm not too clear on censuses, but I have a strong feeling there are a lot more registered Mainers than 70-thousand.  I'm one of the "more than."

I think Republican Phil Harriman, analyzing with John Richardson for the Democrats on the WCSH6 Political Brew segment on the Sunday morning news gave an excellent reason why Trump lost Maine.  Harriman pointed out that Trump's speech when he visited Portland last Thursday was all about Trump.  I (this), I (than), "," etc., and on and on.  There was precious little, if anything, about what he might do for Maine if elected and, perhaps even less, on what he might do for "Us."  That type of speech turns Mainers off and I think it may have shown than Saturday.

That's not to take anything away from Ted Cruz.  Maine is much more conservative than one might think and Cruz is trying to place himself as the new leader of the Conservatives.  He seems to be making grounds.

So far, however, I for one have not yet made a final choice.  In fact, I think I'm silently hoping someone else will jump into the race.  I'm not a Democrat, so this will be no surprise:  There's no way in living heaven that I'd vote for Hillary.

About the only sure things, I think, might be the need for Marco Rubio and John Kasich to drop out of the race.  They sure are spending a bunch of money trying to convince themselves they still have a chance.

Speaking of Kasich, I got an email from his campaign today asking for a donation.  I get six to ten letters each day concerning the election, both from state and national campaigns.  They all start out with "Dear Tracey."  I have absolutely zero clue as to who this "Tracey" person is, but whoever sold or gave away my email address sure has a lousy mail merging program.  Even I could send out a mass mailing email with that "Tracey" substituted by the receiver's real first name.  Meanwhile, I think starting today, I'll look at the sender or the sender's candidate or cause in that message and cross the name or cause off my list of any consideration at all.  I do wonder who this "Tracey" is, though.

I'm not sure if I simply feel sorry for Bernie Sanders or secretly hope he can convince the Democrats that the Maine outcome does prove that he can win and do the near-impossible task of beating Hillary to the Democratic nomination.  If I had to vote "D" I almost could color in the Sanders circle.

There are still several caucuses or primaries to go before it's final, but it appears the only real race is between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.  Once again, I hope I'm wrong.

There may be one good outcome from my perspective of the huge turnout for the caucuses this past weekend.  A Democrat leader, State Senator Justin Alfond of Portland, is introducing a bill to change our system from the caucus to the primary one where voters can simply go to the polls and vote.  I've said before I prefer the primary type.  I can guarantee I probably wouldn't have stood in that line outside Deering High School for four or more hours, Dem or Rep.  And wasn't there a similar long line Saturday upstate during the Rep caucus there?  If the method doesn't change, at least I'd hope the parties would provide more polling places.

We join the Americans in both political parties in mourning the passing of First Lady Nancy Reagan over the weekend.  She was 94 but the driving force behind one of the United States' premier Presidents.  Truly, there hasn't been a better or more respected First Lady either before or since Mrs. Reagan was officially the First Lady, who continues to be called "The First Lady."  Mrs. Reagan, may you rest in peace.


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