Presidential interest in state unparalleled

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Folks, we are in the midst of a presidential race. It has been ongoing for well over a year. We will select a new president in November. Barack Obama will have served his eight year limit. Thus, the parade of candidates seeking to occupy the Oval Office has been long, especially on the Republican side.

You may have noticed that in the previous paragraph I used the word select rather than elect. That would be the proper term since we do not elect our president. The Electoral College selects him or her. It does not matter if one person receives more votes than the other nationwide. The candidate who carries the proper number of states and garners the most electoral votes from those states is declared the president.

Under our current Electoral College System, a Democrat is favored to win. The demographic changes of the country and concurrent tilt of the 12 swing states make it a narrow needle for a Republican to win. Only those 12 states matter in the general election. The remaining 38 states have such a predictable propensity for voting for one party’s candidate that they are taken for granted or ignored. Therefore, during the fall, the nominee of each party will only campaign and spend advertising dollars in the 12 battleground states. The hay is already in the barn in the Deep South. We are reliably Republican.

Under this paradigm a cursory look at the math tells you that there are more folks and thus electoral votes in California and New York. My prediction is Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee and will more than likely be selected president.

However, the Republican race to carry the conservative GOP banner into the fray has been and will continue to be fun to follow. Our Alabama primary is right around the corner on March 1, 2016, so we will be able to participate. We will actually have a say in who the Democratic and Republican nominees will be because we have an early primary date.

Alabama is part of what has been dubbed the SEC primary. It is the nickname given to the primaries of the southern states as a reference to Southeastern Conference college athletics. Joining Alabama on March 1, will be Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Hillary Clinton is favored to carry Alabama in the Democratic preference primary. However, the victor in the Alabama Republican Primary is anybody’s guess. Generally, in a crowded field the evangelical Christian-favored candidate carries Alabama. Eight years ago former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is an ordained Baptist minister, won Alabama. However, Huckabee seems to be fading in the chase nationwide and Ted Cruz appears to be capturing the evangelical vote.

In the past, the South has been inclined to have a Southern flavor when it comes to GOP primary voting, but this year we are trending almost parallel with the rest of the nation. Outspoken New York businessman Donald Trump has been the surprise wild card in the nationwide horse race. He continues to sit atop the polls in many states and maybe even in Alabama.

The political interest in Alabama is unparalleled. We are actually getting to see candidates.


Steve Flowers is a former state legislator and a political columnist. He may be reached at