by Brian Clarey
1. Trump v. Clinton
Smart money says the top of the ticket in 2016 will belong to Hillary and the Donald, who have been stacking delegates while Bernie Sanders has been drawing crowds. In a Hillary/Drumpf contest, Trump’s voters would likely be more energized while Hillary could lose Bernie voters if they decide to stay home. Conversely, a lot of people who would ordinarily be lukewarm on Hillary could come into the general election energized to try to defeat Trump.
2. Trump v. Sanders
If Bernie runs the table on the rest of the Democratic primary season, we could see a real matchup between passionate constituencies and, as far as outcomes go, a total toss-up. The two have more in common than the way they say yooge: Both represent solid factions of their parties, each of which has the potential to splinter off into another political party. National polls have Sanders beating Trump, but Hillary enjoyed greater support in the key swing states so this one’s a gamble as well.
3. Cruz v. Clinton
Okay, let’s say Cruz somehow manages to swipe the nomination fair and square from Trump by winning the remaining primaries, securing the necessary delegates and the blessings of the Republican National Committee. Then he’ll have to face off against a well-managed Hillary team, who might start to look pretty good even to Bernie’s supporters against the theocrat from Texas. Remember, there are still some Americans who believe Cruz is either the Zodiac Killer or the frontman for Christian metal band Stryper.
4. Cruz v. Sanders
Try saying it out loud a couple times: “President Bernard Sanders.”
5. Contested Republican convention
It would be difficult for the Republican establishment to take the nomination away from Trump, who despite his vulgarity is winning delegates all over the map. But the modern GOP has been known to change rules it doesn’t like pretty much at whim. And taking the nomination away from Trump risks havoc at the convention in Cleveland in July. What could possibly go wrong? Meanwhile, after what’s sure to be a debacle, any GOP candidate won’t win without Trump’s people. A brokered GOP convention would be a clear green light for either Bernie or Hillary, as would a third-party run from Trump or a more mainstream Republican candidate.
6. Contested Democratic convention
Back in February, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid told CNN that his party might be headed for a contested convention in July. If that’s the case this year in Philadelphia, all bets are off. A contested convention brokered convention — a drawn out, state-by-state electoral process that hasn’t really happened in either party since 1952 — might be just what this country needs. But let’s get real: Hillary would never let it get to that.