The next two weeks will set the tone for the rest of the Presidential campaign. In fourteen days we will know just how everything is going, from the themes we can expect to carry through to November to the polls telling us how the horse race has started.
How will it shake out? If you’re a Republican, you’re probably hoping it won’t be a disaster. Democrats have their own fears for a disruptive show, but appear to be better prepared for a traditional convention bounce.
Here’s what to look for over the next two weeks.
Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton today. Nearly every story on this event contains the word “finally”, but that is not entirely justified. This is a process, not an event. Today’s message was dragged out until Sanders could get every concession to his movement that he could, and for good reason. That is primarily what Sanders was in this for all along – real, progressive change.
Now, it’s up to Sanders and Clinton to sell it. The process is not over.
Much has already been made of the dust-up at the Nevada state Democratic convention. Was Bernie robbed by corruption? Was an unruly mob turned back? Opinions run hot through both social media and legacy media as the fight for the nomination heats up into a rather physical confrontation. But one point has rarely been made in all the noise:
What was actually at stake were two national delegates of the 4,765 total, or 0.04%.
For all the fuss you’d naturally assume that there was more to it than this, but there wasn’t. And the noise becomes much more than a juicy news story or a call to arms for a disgruntled group who believe they were robbed. It comes down to a question of strategy or how actual change is made, whether by a democratic process, a revolution, or some combination of the two.
By that standard what happened was completely shameful for a number of reasons.
For the primary season, it’s all over but the shouting, to use a cliche. But this one works because this is a good time to evaluate what happened – and most of that analysis will be based on policies and platforms. There will be shouting, because that’s pretty much how people discuss politics.
One key feature this year has been the insurgent outsider candidate. Call him Sanders or Trump, one thing was the same – outsiders rallying people to a movement, a cause, a rebellion. A tactical key to this has been the rally itself – a large venue filled with cheering supporters whipping each other up into a frenzy for the cause. Every campaign has them, but Sanders’ effort came to be defined by them.
Is the mega-rally a new feature of what will define a campaign, particularly an insurgent one? Is it a good idea? How does it work? Why did this become a feature? These are all questions worth considering as we look at how the Bern became a blaze.
Is is really over?
New York produced two big winners, Clinton and Trump. They may be the overall winners as a result. While they both appear unstoppable there is still more to come as the primary season winds down. And the betting money is still on a contested Republican convention so the best may be yet to come.