This is the time where primaries matter

With primaries in South Carolina and caucuses in Nevada we are inching toward Super Tuesday. A duel between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is heating up and Donald Trump still leads in many polls. So how do you see the race? Does Sanders have a path to Democratic nomination? How strong is Trumps among the GOP? Read few comments.

David McCuan, Professor of Political Science, Sonoma State University

This is the turn of the 2016 U.S. elections. This is the time where primaries matter.

Between 20 February and 05 March, there are 37 U.S. states and/or territories voting with at least one party’s primary or caucus. We also will see C-PAC, the “Conservative Political Action Committee” conference take place in Maryland during early March.

This is Go Time.

Many of us, myself included, have pointed time and time again to The Donald saying too much or the wrong thing or flinging the wrong insults over and over again.

Yet the Laws of Political Gravity do no apply to The Donald.

At least not yet.

The Donald is primed to win in South Carolina this Saturday and the question will become, as the contests move to a national race where Trump can compete from coast to coast, what will stop him?

The down ballot results will matter in November, but for now, it is all about who is behind Trump and Cruz in the Palmetto State (SC).

Rubio looks to be in third, with Jeb! as a distant fourth.

If this falls out, Jeb!, in fourth place in SC, his candidacy is over even though he can roll on to a few more contests – like NV next Tuesday on 23 February.

Essentially we are seeing a 3.5 person race of Trump, Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich as the pint-sized wannabe.

That’s what we expect out of the GOP side.

On the Democrats’ side, it’s equally exciting.

Secretary Clinton HAS TO win Nevada for her campaign not to implode.

Let’s get this right here though – she can suffer a defeat and soldier on but a NV caucus loss would more than sting. It would wound her candidacy.

The announcement on Friday of Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), a respected African-American Member of Congress & a Giant in South Carolina politics, is especially helpful for Clinton at this point. She should win SC and Clyburn’s endorsement helps, but…

If Bernie wins NV or holds Clinton to a few points win for her, there is a whole week between the NV result and SC for any Sanders’ momentum to grow. Conversely, if Clinton does fine in Nevada, and wins in South Carolina, she’s weathered a difficult storm headed into Super Tuesday / the SEC Primary of 01 March.

The primaries also have a more diverse electorate than most of the caucus states, based on non-white populations from 2006 to 2016. This advantages Clinton IF she can hold off Sanders from gathering any momentum.

What we have, if Sanders continues to roll, and this is a BIG IF because Clinton continues to do well in many national polls, is a race of Unelectable (Sanders) versus Unlikeable (Clinton) versus a GOP lineup of The Angry Destroyer (Trump), the Holy Crusader (Cruz), Pretty Boy Marco Roboto (Rubio), and the Guy Pretending to be Nice (Kasich).

What a race. What an election. What a country.

And what a nightmare for November.

Matthew Eshbaugh-SohaAssistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of North Texas

I do not think we will know until after Super Tuesday.  With those states, and delegates, the races will begin to shape up much more clearly.  At this point, I think a Trump nomination is very possible, but it depends on if someone like Marco Rubio can step up and take the “preferred by Republican establishment” mantle.  Of course, the way things are going, it’s not looking like Super Tuesday will clear up anything at all!

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