If there’s anything predictable about this election, it’s that it’s completely unpredictable.
On both sides of the aisle, candidates who would in any other year be completely implausible candidates seem to be doing a good job of knocking the establishment off its feet. Over the GOP side, Trump went from an irritating joke to a terrifying reality. And on the Democratic side, Bernie just pulled off an incredible and seemingly-impossible win.
The voting from Tuesday March 1 is likely to be remembered for decades for just how unlikely the outcome was.
Republicans are still having trouble accepting that Trump is doing as well as he is. But after he picked up even more delegates, pushing him even closer to the nomination, they seem to be waking up a bit more. A Super PAC affiliated with Mitt Romney has released a new memo outlining some complicated delegate-math that could yank the nomination away from him.
The short version: even if Trump wins most of the upcoming states, they could tweak the rules of the convention to force a from-behind candidate into the nomination. It would be a sneaky, underhanded trick; and it would be ethically questionable. But if anyone’s capable of that, it’s the Republican party.
But the real March 1st shocker was the Democratic vote. Everyone was convinced that Hillary would win Michigan — the statistical journalism site FiveThirtyEight gave her a greater-than-99-percent chance of victory, and the polling showed that she had a wide lead over Bernie.
So what happened? A couple of things, but mostly voters making up their minds at the last minute. There was no polling in the final days before the vote, and that was precisely the time that voters chose who to vote for.
And then there was the debate. Hillary and Bernie were mostly civil to each other onstage, and on many points they simply agreed. But Bernie pushed hard on trade deals, essentially telling voters that he would fight to keep jobs and businesses in the United States instead of letting them move overseas.
Hillary’s a bit weak on that point, since she’s been involved in various trade deals that were favorable to corporations that wanted to save money by replacing American workers with people overseas. Among those who’ve availed themselves of those laws: Donald Trump, who bragged that he’s shifted jobs overseas because it was legal to do so, and threatened that he would continue to do so unless elected president.
And so Michigan voters, many of whom have been devastated for decades by shady corporations that decimated cities like Flint and Detroit, flocked to Bernie. Young people voted in greater numbers than expected. And African American voters opted to support Bernie more than they had in the past. In previous elections, black voters sided with Hillary — but those were primarily southern states, and attitudes may be shifting as the vote moves north.
The week proved a huge test of both the Democratic and Republican outsiders. A ton of delegates were up for grabs on Tuesday. Though Bernie is still behind Hillary, despite his victory, and Trump is still short a few delegates of the nomination, all that could change with the future primaries.