Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Egerton Chang: Andrew, Hillary, and Donald

Published:Sunday | March 27, 2016 | 3:00 AM
Egerton Chang
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally on March 19 in Fountain Hills, Arizona.
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'Portia on top - Simpson Miller ahead of Holness in favourability poll' (Gleaner, 12/2), 'Political scientist affirms credibility of polls' (Gleaner, 18/2) and 'Vaz downplaying results of political favourability polls' (Gleaner, 13/2) were some of the headlines in the newspapers in the days before the Jamaican elections of February 25, 2016.

Others included 'JLP and PNP confident less than 48 hours before polls open' (Gleaner, 23/2), 'PNP gains momentum' (Gleaner, 13/2), 'PNP by a whisker' (Gleaner, 23/2), 'Election will be close, says T&T political analyst' (Observer, 21/2) and 'T&T pollster finds momentum leaning to JLP' (Observer, 23/2).

If one were following the news very closely, one could not be blamed for feeling that the PNP would have won the election of February 25. For virtually all the polls were indicating a PNP victory by whatever margin.

Only one pollster gave the JLP any chance and that poll had a margin of error of +or- 4%, which pointed to a statistical dead heat with either party winning within that margin. That poll was conducted by Trinidad-based political scientist Derek Ramsamooj that stated that the February 25 general election would come down to 14 marginal seats, which he showed was leaning towards the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

Even the JLP, I am sure, thought that the odds were stacked against them. Witness the seemingly underprepared approach Andrew and his team demonstrated in acclaiming victory that night.

 

NO CHANCE

I recall, on the early afternoon of election day, I was sending home to vote an employee who I knew normally voted for the JLP and who looked a little forlorn and dejected.

I said, "Unoo have no chance enuh." He asked rather plaintively, "No chance?" "Well, a little chance," I countered. "But not more than 20 per cent."

He left, and had the last laugh. Which he displayed in his broad grin the next morning and most of that day.

I had posited:

The PNP is better able to get away with making the people swallow the bitter medicine, and don't even mek up dem face. The JLP should just hol' its corner and 'satta' for a little longer if it knows what is good for it. Let the PNP continue to do the hard slog.

And asked the question:

Do you think the JLP should continue to 'satta' and hol' its corner?

In my article titled 'PNP's 41% dollar devaluation', published the Sunday before election day, I pointed out the drip-drip 'sufferation' that was visited upon us by the International Monetary Fund/PNP.

But with this belt-tightening approaching 45%, this is kinda getting difficult. Wi belly can't band any tighter or for much longer.

Well, the people have spoken that we should take the JLP out of its corner and give them full rein over the government.

Rest assured, however, that the hard slog is still there as the row still needs to be hoed. Good times isn't exactly around the corner. Let's not fool ourselves. We still have to live under the IMF strictures, more or less.

But anything the JLP can do to lessen the burden even a tiny bit would be welcomed relief.

Mega Tuesday came and went this last Tuesday (15th).

While neither Donald Trump, the real-estate mogul/reality TV star, who has never held elective office, nor Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, has clinched a majority of delegates to be assured of their party nominations, both have built considerable leads over their contenders.

And whereas the road to nomination for Hillary is much clearer, the Donald, however, would need to win about 55 per cent of the remaining available delegates in state-by-state party contests to claim the GOP's nomination before the convention.

While this is not impossible, given that Trump has been doing significantly better, percentage-wise, in the later states, it is implausible as he still need to up his performance considerably in the states to come.

One thing is for certain, though. That is Trump will carry the most delegates into the GOP convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

 

BROKERED CONVENTION

If no one comes to the GOP convention with the required minimum, or cannot gain them in time for the first ballot, the convention becomes brokered.

Brokered conventions were instituted, in those circumstances, to produce a nominee acceptable to the party nationally and who they think can win the

general election.

Historically, six of the GOP's 10 brokered conventions have produced a nominee who went on to become president, with five of them winning the popular vote. Contrast that to, in the 10 elections since 1960 in which the GOP was not nominating an incumbent, the Republican nominee has won four times.

So, while the party might seem in disarray after a brokered convention, history has shown that those nominees have performed no worse (and, in fact, better) than those

uncontested nominees.

 

BOOKIES' ODDS

When all is said and done, it is often where people put their money that gives us a real sense of where the election is going.

As of Wednesday, March 16, one bookmaker, Paddypower, was offering odds of:

Hillary Clinton - 4/9

Donald Trump - 5/2

John Kasich - 20/1

Bernie Sanders - 22/1

Ted Cruz - 25/1

Which means that Hillary Clinton is the odds-on favourite to be president, as at that date. If you bet $100 on her, and she was victorious, you would get back $44.44 ($100 x 4/9) in addition to your $100 staked.

Similarly, if you bet $100 on Donald Trump and he won, you would win $250 ($100 x 5/2) in addition to your $100 staked. And so on and so on.

You can see the wide variance between what a bookie (Paddypower) would pay you for a Clinton win versus a Trump victory and get a sense of that bookmaker's book of who the bettors currently says is likely or not to win.

And the odds are even much longer/larger for Kasich and Cruz, at this time.

- Egerton Chang is a businessman. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and e_rider69@hotmail.com.