As the U.S. Presidential campaign enters the summer season, both major political parties are turning their attention to the national conventions.
Republicans go first, staging their convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 18-21. Heading into Tuesday night’s Indiana primary, billionaire businessman Donald J. Trump held a 996 to 565-delegate lead over U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.
Trump, following a five state sweep in last week’s northeastern primaries, has taken to referring to himself as the “presumptive nominee.” A Republican candidate is required to collect 1,237 delegates to earn to the party’s nod.
Cruz, in a last ditch effort to catch Trump, stoked fears of sexual predators lurking in bathrooms. Trump said transgender people should be permitted to “use the bathroom they feel comfortable.” Cruz disagrees.
"This is not a matter of right or left, or Democrat or Republican. This is common sense. It doesn't make sense for grown adult men, strangers, to be alone in a restroom with a little girl," Cruz told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union."
Pushing back against Cruz’s attempts to demonize transgender people, Caitlyn Jenner proudly marched into Trump Tower to use the ladies room.
Jenner, a Republican, quipped: "By the way, Ted, nobody got molested."
Meanwhile, Trump jetted off to California for a rally that turned ugly as police arrested 17 protestors in Costa Mesa. On Monday, the alleged ringleader, 19-year-old Luis Fernando Alarcon was charged with felony vandalism and a misdemeanor for inciting a riot. Latino activist groups in California are promising similar uprisings when Trump returns to the Golden State.
“We’re going to keep showing up and standing against the actions and the hate Donald Trump is creating. We are going to continue to just show up in numbers and stand together,” Luis Serrano, an organizer with the California Immigration Youth Justice Alliance, told the Los Angeles Times.
California, one of the last states to cast ballots, holds elections June 7.
For Democrats, the narrative is much calmer, although U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont refuses to throw in the towel. Sanders trails former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the delegate math 1,645 to 1,318. A Democratic candidate is required to collect 2,382 delegates to earn to the party’s nod.
Sanders, on Monday, said the party’s convention July 25-28 in Philadelphia “will be contested.”
Clinton, however, appears to have weathered the socialist’s challenge. After winning four of five northeastern states last week, Clinton told reporters it’s not how you get knocked down that matters, but “how you get back up and keep fighting.”