Primary season is upon us and this year's race to see who will qualify for the race for the presidency has been quite a surprising one. Most initial analysis of this race saw it passing by mundanely, with Hillary Clinton easily clinching the nomination, her challengers a mere blip on the supposed plans of the democratic establishment. Four years ago, no one expected Bernie Sanders to pose a serious threat to Clinton. Upon his entrance into the race, most expected Donald Trump to be a passing joke, something for late night hosts to make fun of as his candidacy crashed and burned. No one, least of all the moderate conservative Republican establishment, expected Trump, with his demagogic presentation and extremist ideology, to be a serious contender for the nomination. This race has been nearly unpredictable from the start, but SCO's team of experts, featuring seniors Max Foley-Keene and Neida Mbuia-Joao and juniors Eleanor Cook and Charlie Lott are here to break down the races and predict the unpredictable.
This week's primary prediction will focus on our own Old Line State's primary.
Max: Clinton and Trump
Neida: Clinton and Trump
Eleanor: Clinton and Trump
Charlie: Trump and Clinton
There hasn't been a poll in which Hillary has lead by less than ten points. As surprising as it might be given the tons of Blair Bernie Buds we interact with every day, Hillary is going to run away with the state. Similarly, Trump has led in all Maryland polls. It's expected that Trump will sweep all of the primaries on Tuesday. Maryland will not prevent him from doing that.
I tried. I really did. But I honestly can't make a case for Bernie winning this primary. Maryland is blue, but it's really not that blue. The Democrats here tend to be more moderate than radical revolutionary, and as a result, I see Hillary taking this one. Trump will probably also take the Republican primary because Trump.
Beyond the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Bernie vibe, Maryland really is much more rural than many of us realize and much more of a southern state than Montgomery County makes it out to be. Because Clinton is less liberal than Bernie, and also because this area is one of the few where "Inside the Beltway" is not an insult, she should be fine. On the Republican side, Trump has a lot of support from Maryland Republicans. If Kasich and Cruz combined their votes, as they are trying to do by having their supporters vote for whichever seems more likely to win in a state, then this race would be a close one. As it stands, however, Trump should win pretty handily.
Clinton is leading in the most recent polls by roughly 25 points, which means that things would need to take an enormous turn in Sanders' direction for him to even stand a chance. Trump will also run away with Maryland, but for very different reasons. Maryland is one of the most gerrymandered states in the country, and all of the educated Republican voters who would usually go to Kasich are squished into the suburbs surrounding Washington, DC. If Trump continues the way he's been doing, he will win all of the more rural areas of the state, giving him a large sum of important delegates.
Maryland Senate Democratic Primary
Max: Van Hollen
Neida: Van Hollen
Eleanor: Van Hollen
Charlie: Van Hollen
Rep. Donna Edwards' campaign has been in freefall over the past couple weeks. A pro-Edwards super PAC ad (echoing an argument made by the campaign) drew direct rebuke from the White House, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. She has been falling precipitously in polls and, on Monday, Chris Van Hollen received the endorsement of former governor Martin O'Malley. Congressman Van Hollen has far more cash on hand than Edwards, and early voting has been strong in areas, like Montgomery and Howard counties, that should favor Van Hollen. Montgomery County's native son will be Maryland's next senator.
This race is close and contentious and because of that it's going to be hard to figure out who's taking Mikulski's seat until all the votes are in. But disaster ad and super PAC endorsements aside, Edwards and Van Hollen have very similar policy stances. The thing that has been setting them apart in this race has mostly been identity politics. Race and gender have definitely played a large part in this particular. It would be nice to see the first black female senator in 17 years take office in Maryland, but, as Max said, that misfired ad seriously hurt Edwards' campaign. Where she was up four points she's now down 10, and though this race is going to be close until the end, I can't see Edwards, with her kinda sketch history responding to constituents' needs, recovering the pointage she needs to win.
With two more than qualified candidates who both share very progressive values, this election has come down to a competition on who can highlight their personal qualities best. Van Hollen is now using the White House's rebuke of Edwards' ad (see Max's prediction) and their call to pull it down, to paint Edwards as dishonest. His lead has increased over the past few weeks. Van Hollen now has the momentum to win the primary, and he is leading by double digits in latest polling. But Maryland Democrats have been unreliable before with their voter turnout, as Hogan's 2014 win proved, so it really will depend on who shows up to the polls.
Van Hollen's campaign was looking rough for a little while thanks to a surprising showing of Donna Edwards voters in the early polls, but things have now returned to normal Van Hollen is way up in the polls, thanks in no small part to endorsements from several high ranking Maryland politicians, and Edwards has lost significant ground in the polls thanks to direct opposition from the White House, among other places.
Eighth Congressional District Democratic Primary
This is the race I'm least sure about. There have only been three polls in the race, and all of them have been internal campaign polls. All of them show state Senator and Takoma Park native Jamie Raskin leading. However, those polls are fairly old. Since then, businessman David Trone and former news anchor Kathleen Matthews have flooded the airwaves with TV ads. This race has become the most expensive congressional campaign in America. Here's why I think Raskin will ultimately prevail: he has an extremely dedicated group of supporters in his senate district. He's been organizing tirelessly in southern Montgomery County and has managed to stay present on the airwaves. Despite his wealth, Trone has run a very poor campaign. Nearly all news stories about him have focused on the amount of money he's spending and his huge personal donations to Republicans. Kathleen Matthews could pose a real threat to Raskin--especially because of the Washington Post's endorsement of her campaign. I just think that, in the end, the ferocity of Raskin's support will prevail over Matthews.
Even polls that Matthews and Trone believe reflect well on them show Raskin leading. His lead is slim and could be overcome, but at this point, name recognition is playing hugely in his favor. People in this area know Raskin for being a legislator, and not the guy (Trone) who bombards their homes with political mail with endorsements from his wife like it was a Hogwarts letter. Matthews realistically seems to be more of a threat to Raskin. She has real potential to cause an upset, but she does not have the same experience that Raskin is touting as qualifications.
If there was anyone who posed a serious threat to Raskin, it has to be Kathleen Matthews, who, based on identity politics and name recognition alone is a great contender for the seat. Raskin definitely has the most extensive legislative record of any of the candidates in this race, but if we know anything about American politics of late (*cough* Trump *cough*) we know that qualifications are not always the greatest indicator of who people will vote for and why. But it seems like this race, especially in this district, which is full of people who work for the federal government and have some understanding of how the system should work, is going to be a lot more focused on experience than seemingly endless campaign funds and a few notable endorsements.
Voters in the area around Blair have shown considerable support for the Raskin campaign, but that support is not shared across the county. Many voters have been switching sides thanks to the Washington Post's surprising endorsement of Kathleen Matthews. Her success can also be attributed in part to the recent push for outsider candidates. Raskin's successful years in local politics may actually work to his disadvantage in this race.
Eleanor Cook. Hi! I'm super excited to be an Editor-in-Chief of SCO this year. When I'm not managing this site I enjoy playing soccer, basketball, and running track, and am an avid reader and Harry Potter fan. Have fun reading about the latest Blair events! More »
Charles Lott. My name is Charlie, and I'm the features editor for Silver Chips Online. I enjoy reading, using Oxford commas, and playing frisbee for Blair. More »
Maximillian Foley-Keene. Hello! My name is Max and I'm an Editor in Chief for SCO this year. I like writing about what I think, especially current events, American foreign and economic policy. I also like music (jazz and 2000s post-punk are my favorites), art (Wassily Kandinsky is ... More »
Neida Mbuia Joao. Welcome to SCO! I'm Neida (pronounced Neigh-duh) and I'm the online opinion editor for the site. My favorite pass-times include snacking, reading super dense novels and watching lots of television. Clearly I'm on track to become a vegetable. If so I'd like to be a ... More »