WASHINGTON, April 21, 2016 – For the first time in nearly 70 years, the presidential general election sweepstakes may come down to an all New York candidate battle.
1944 was the last time that New Yorkers democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) and New York Governor Thomas Dewey (R) faced off in the general election. Now 68 years later, democrat Hillary Clinton and republican Donald Trump may be give the nation another Empire State battle.
With both presidential frontrunners leaving their respective competitors shell shocked on the political mat, Trump and Clinton cruised to overwhelming victories on Tuesday. Trump decimated both Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich with a 60 percent primary blowout. Clinton turned aside Vermont Senator Bernie Sander recent election win surge by netting over 58 percent of the vote.
For the Cruz and anti-Trump forces, the Trump win was a potential knock out for their one-month collective effort to halt the New Yorker from reaching Cleveland, Ohio with 1,237 delegates needed on the first convention ballot. Cruz’s goal since winter was to derail Trump with his amazing state-by-state ground game.
In March, the 100-day campaign to strip the billionaire of delegates emerged to deny Trump the nomination with a deluge of negative advertisements in upcoming primary and caucus states. Cruz benefited from the unofficial/official “Anyone but Trump” political handshake. Cruz rolled out campaign endorsements from Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. That helped Cruz snatch up Utah, Wisconsin and Colorado, among other wins.
For Cruz and many anti-Trump political pundits, its appeared that the Texas senator’s campaign was on a possible glide path to possibly trumping Trump.
But for Cruz, it was the Empire State voters that struck back with their own version of “New York Values.” Cruz had uttered the phrase with much disdain earlier in 2016 and it had helped him in Iowa. Trump turned the phrase into a battle cry and netted nearly 90 of 95 convention delegates Kasich secured at least 3 and Cruz won zero.
Where does that leave the race?
Now, with Trump’s triumphant New York win, Cruz who was the billionaire’s closest and most numerically realistic competitor is mathematically eliminated from achieving the nomination on the first ballot. Governor Kasich, who has been polling nationally as the only GOP candidate most likely to beat Clinton, may see his nomination chances terminated by RNC Convention Rule 40 B that was voted in by the delegates in 2012.
“(b) Each candidate for nomination for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States shall demonstrate the support of a 40 of 42 majority of the delegates from each of eight (8) or more states, severally, prior to the presentation of the name of that candidate for nomination. Notwithstanding any other provisions of these rules or any rule of the House of Representatives, to demonstrate the support required of this paragraph a certificate evidencing the affirmative written support of the required number of permanently seated delegates from each of the eight (8) or more states shall have been submitted to the secretary of the convention not later than one (1) hour prior to the placing of the names of candidates for nomination pursuant to this rule and the established order of business.”
The harsh political reality may be staring Kasich in the face even if he is unwilling to face it. There is absolutely no reason for 2012 RNC Convention Rule 40 B to be abolished in order to allow Kasich an opportunity to be nominated. He does not have the delegates and he does not have the organizational political juice to convince Trump or Cruz delegates on the Rules Committee to change that rule. It would not be in their best interest, period.
If former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s recent comments are any guide for the Cleveland convention presidential nomination, then absent a convention Hail Mary rule change, Trump will be the nominee. According to Romney, “I think that Mr. Cruz and Mr. Kasich divide the vote, and that makes it easier for Mr. Trump to win the winner-take-all congressional districts and the winner-take-all states and get the delegates he needs to either hit the 1,237 or get close enough to sway the uncommitted delegates on the first ballot,” reported Business Insider.
Will history repeat itself?
If past is prologue, then the two New York presumptive presidential nominees may see a November battle of epic proportions not seen since before the end of World War II. Even though democrat wartime president Roosevelt went into the fall election with a lead, Governor Dewey, a tough New York campaign fighter appeared ready to defeat him. Dewey brought on Ohio Governor John W. Bricker as his vice presidential nominee to solidify the ticket.
Dewey’s campaign felt it had a winning slogan and issues that highlighted “Time for a change.” The New York governor demanded a strengthening of the military and railed against the nation’s enormous deficit. He also took the president to task on the centralization of federal government power within the executive branch.
With two New Yorkers in the race, it was unfortunately Dewey and not Roosevelt that suffered a nearly 3.6 million vote defeat. The president overwhelmed Dewey by capturing 432 electoral votes to Dewey’s 99.
Meanwhile, nearly seven decades later, the political stars appear to aligning in the 2016 New Yorkers’ favor while their popularity poll numbers may be in the tank. In a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, CNBC reported that both presidential candidates suffer from mountainous negative poll numbers. Close to seven-in-10 registered voters say they are unwilling to support Republican frontrunner Donald Trump while 58 percent would not vote for Democratic delegate leader Hillary Clinton.
In addition, the poll also showed that in a Clinton vs. Trump general election match up, she beats him 50 percent to 39 percent. Interestingly, Clinton is nearly dead even with Cruz 46 percent to 44 percent, which is a statistical dead heat.
Will Trump decide to elevate Ohio governor John Kasich and select him as his vice presidential nominee as Dewey did when he chose buckeye state governor John Bricker to complete the 1944 GOP ticket?
If history does repeat itself with an all New York presidential general election showdown, the GOP leaders may be holding their breath and praying that the 1944 outcome is not repeated.