After Seattle, Fresno in California has become the second US city to ban caste discrimination following the city council's unanimous 7-0 vote in favour of adding caste as a 'protected category' in its anti-discrimination policy.
Eight months before votes are cast in the race for the Republican nomination for US President, the consensus among the American commentariat is that Mr Donald Trump is a shoo-in. Leading analyst Elaine Kamarck, however, argues that it may not be all smooth sailing for the former President.
Interestingly, Kamarck was, till a few months ago, a key figure in creating the now conventional wisdom which says that a large field of challengers will help Mr Trump because the Republican winner-take-all or winner-take-most delegate selection rules are tailormade for a candidate who holds a solid base among primary voters. But she has now entered a caveat ~ for the billionaire politician to emerge victorious in the Republican primaries, he has to win early, and the field of candidates has to be large and stay large till the final stages of the nomination process.
The race for the US presidential nomination takes place in three stages; currently, stage one or the “invisible primary” is on and this will last till the first ballots are cast. Candidates raise money, build campaign staffs, and hone their messaging to the party rank-and-file. The candidate with strong name recognition is the “winner” of this stage and more often than not goes on to secure the nomination.
Mr Trump is winning the invisible primary. But he has also been indicted and may face more indictments before the Republican convention in the summer of 2024 – he is a polarising figure who is loved and hated in equal measure even within the Republican Party, not to mention the wider American electorate.
Stage two of the process, or the early Republican primaries, will take place in the first three months of 2024 and ~ Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. Of the approximately 1,234 delegates needed by a candidate to clinch the nomination, these states account for merely 11 per cent of the total. This is when, it is argued, Mr Trump will be most at risk.
He is certainly the frontrunner, but a rival can take the nomination away from him if he performs below expectations on the campaign trail. Though these early voting states don’t send too many delegates to the winner’s pool, early victories do provide crucial, often unstoppable momentum.
Stage three of the nomination process commences after the early primaries and this 12-week race for delegates in which candidates have to be able to compete in 46 states with different types of electoral systems is the most gruelling. But momentum often trumps money in this stage as past precedent has shown. Candidates criss-cross the country in a manic rush hopping from TV studios to radio stations. If someone other than Mr Trump catches the Republican faithful’s imagination in stage two, and enters stage three in a one-onone race with the former president, all bets are off. With the proviso that the candidates who falter in the early states get out of the race.