From the Hill
April 29, 2016
With a nearly clean sweep by Hillary Clinton and a full win by Donald Trump in the Acela Primaries, the Cruz and Sanders campaigns are scrambling to respond. Tuesday was called the Acela Primaries due to the high speed Amtrak route that goes through primary states Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Rhode Island. When the day ended, the only state out of those that Bernie Sanders won was Rhode Island while Ted Cruz lost all.
In response to the loses and widening delegate gap, the Sanders campaign laid off hundreds of staff members on Wednesday and began to focus their efforts on California. However, it seems as though the campaign may be changing, with senior campaign strategist Tad Devine stating in an interview with the New York Times that “If we are sitting here and there’s no sort of mathematical way to do it, we will be upfront about it.” This is a big change from the attitude that the campaign has taken that they would undoubtedly get the nomination. Personally, I think that the Sanders campaign will continue the race until the last moment in order to push Clinton further to the left. However, this could be very damaging due to the fact that the dangerous “Bernie or Bust” attitude may continue with progressive voters who are currently supporting Sanders.
On the Republican side, Ted Cruz made an unprecedented move on Wednesday by choosing former opponent Carly Fiorina as his running mate. Normally, the running mate for a candidate is chosen after they have received the nomination. This is especially unusual because Cruz continues to trail Trump by so much, leading this to seem like a desperate move in order to pull in voters in states such as California. Although there is no mathematical way for his campaign to receive the nomination outright, he plans on creating a contested convention by denying Trump the number of votes to receive the nomination. It is also an attempt to try to win over women voters, even though Cruz has a pretty awful record relating to women’s rights. Earlier this week, Cruz and John Kasich attempted to join up in order to create a coalition against Trump to slow him down, but it seems as though the coalition fell apart almost as soon as it was made public. Either way, it will be interesting to see what happens on the GOP side as the convention approaches.
As I write this, I am preparing to head back to Illinois next week after I have spent the past semester in Washington D.C. While working, studying, and living in the District, I have had the chance to observe major political events in our nation up close, such as the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the presidential race. I have also had the honor of working in an amazing congressional office at the Capitol, where I have learned more than I ever thought about the legislative process while being able to gain hands-on experience in the field with great people who helped me along the way. I will bring home many unforgettable experiences from working at the Capitol, such as having the highest ranking officer in the United States Army, General Mark Milley, try to sell me on applying for Officer Candidate School for the Army rather than the United States Coast Guard after graduation. However, one of my favorite memories from this semester has to be seeing former Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley (and someone I am a major fan of) perform with his Celtic rock band on St. Patrick’s Day and being able to meet him afterwards. Although I do love Monmouth College, Washington D.C. has claimed part of my heart as well and I hope to return here one day to work and live. If you are a political science major and ever have the chance, be sure to apply for the Washington Semester Program at American University. Thank you for reading my column this year and I look forward to writing for you next year. Have a great summer.