The U.S. presidential campaign and March Madness remind me of two things: it’s seemingly taking forever and a bracket buster for a lot of folks.
Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich remain in the GOP primary race vs. Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. No impending debates for the Republicans and according to the DNC, a ninth (9th) debate is scheduled in April
but no word re: date or venue.. Update: Get ready to rumble as Hillary and Bernie debate in Brooklyn, New York on April 14, 2016.
What is confirmed is the lucrative star power for Hillary Clinton’s campaign as George and Amal Clooney attend a series of fundraising events on April 15th and 16th. For two seats at the head table with Clinton and the Clooneys, a couple must contribute or raise $353,400 followed by another dinner, this time at Clooney’s mansion in Los Angeles where a ticket costs $33,400 per person to dine at the same table as the hosts.
Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders billed the events as “obscene” and quick to point out he was not against George Clooney but rather a “corrupt campaign finance system… undue influence on the political process.” The fundraisers take place less than two months before the crucial Democratic primary on June 7 in California, where 475 delegates are at stake.
A quick primer: in order to win the respective party’s nomination, hopefuls need to solidify the support of the delegates based on primaries and caucuses governed by rules that varies from state to state.
Democrats need 2383 delegates
Republicans need 1237 delegates
For the latest tally, take a look at an interactive delegate tracker by Politico and as you can tell, it’s a long slog to the finishing line.
Typically, the national party conventions (DNC/RNC) are de facto and don’t offer a lot of surprises. Political historians will note skirmishes here and there but over all, it’s been pretty low-key.
That was then, this is now.
Cleveland, Ohio is ramping up for the Republican National Convention in July followed by the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both cities have been awarded $50 million USD in federal grants for security measures which includes 2,000 sets of riot gear and bringing in law enforcement from around the country.
A few dates of note:
April 03: North Dakota Republican convention
April 05: Wisconsin primary
April 09: Wyoming Democratic caucus
April 19: New York primary
April 26: Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island primaries
Side note: while candidates vie for the top office, the current occupant, U.S. President Barack Obama, is wheels up for another round of good-will visits in late April. According to Reuters, he’s attending a summit with leaders from the Gulf Cooperation Council nations, which include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
In Britain, Obama will meet with Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister David Cameron before moving on to Germany, where he will meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
On the global agenda: terrorism, brexit, and technology.
And the countdown continues…