Sept. 10– BUTLER COUNTY — Political columnist Clarence Page, a Middletown native, doesn’t want to change his mind now. He predicted Clinton vs. Bush four years ago.
Page believes when voters select the 45th president of the United States on Nov. 8, 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, 67, whose husband served as president, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 62, trying to become the third Bush to serve as president, will be their parties’ nominations.
“I have learned to not predict because I’m always wrong,” said Page, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1989 while a member of the Chicago Tribune. “I go with the conventional wisdom. The fact that we really don’t know who’s going to win means they really are democratic.”
According to the latest polls and odds, Page’s picks are either front-runners or also-rans. Clinton is listed at the even-money favorite to win the 2016 U.S. presidential election, according to sports books in the United Kingdom, where gambling on political races is legal, unlike in the United States. The second choice is Bush, listed at 7-2. GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump is down to 12-1, just weeks after he was 100-1.
But a new poll suggests GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump leads his Republican rivals and is narrowly outpacing top Democratic names in head-to-head matchups.
The SurveyUSA poll, which was released last week, had Trump ahead of Clinton by a 45 to 40 percent margin. There was no mention of Bush in the poll.
The GOP nominee must “get some backbone,” Page said, and that may point toward Trump, the brash politician and billionaire.
“There is a certain number of people out there just waiting for someone to give voice to their frustration and anger,” Page said when asked about Trump.
He said about 20 percent to 30 percent of Republicans have said they may vote for Trump, but he needs more than that to win the White House. Page added that at one time 65 percent of Republicans said they never would vote for Trump, a percentage that is about 50 percent now.
Page thinks Clinton will receive the Democratic nomination, despite her troubles. She has come under fire amid the continued revelations about her use of a private email account while serving as secretary of state. He said Clinton is in “all kinds of trouble, but the same thing was true four years ago.”
He believes the candidates may want to follow the strategy used by President Barack Obama eight years ago when he carried Iowa.
President Obama won the state because he placed 25 field officers, Page said.
“Iowans will not vote for you unless they have personally met you,” Page said. “That’s the funny thing about Iowa. Obama made sure they had met him.”
Obama’s victory in Iowa set the stage for him to be the 44th U.S. president.
“When he won Iowa, I turned to my wife and said, ‘He won what?’ When black folks saw that a black candidate not Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton had won Iowa straight up, that was the beginning of Obama’s big surge.”
If Trump follows Obama’s suit, and places numerous field officers in Iowa, that will “show he’s really serious about winning the state,” Page said.
In Ohio, known as the most reliable general election bellwether, Page said, voters will be “pivotal, decisive as always,” he said. No GOPnominee has won the White House without carrying the state, and Ohio was the deciding factor when President George W. Bushdefeated Democrat John Kerry 11 years ago.
He called Ohio “such a mixed, swing state.”
That, he said, “forces both parties to respect the state as they should.”
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