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Five points to watch in the US Presidential race

"Keep an eye out for the A-list moments - there will be a few from the celebrities, politicians and business people in the audience."

It’s come down to Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton.

We know that much about the US Presidential race, but what are the key factors to watch for in the coming weeks?

Professor Simon Jackman is the CEO of the United States Studies Centre in Sydney. Between 1996 and 2016, he was a Professor of Political Science and Statistics at Stanford University – continuing an education that began at Sacred Heart School, Sandgate and St Patrick’s College, Shorncliffe.

Here are Prof Jackman’s five moments to watch for following Mr Trump’s nomination as the Republican Party’s contender for the US Presidential election:

Can Donald Trump unify the Republican Party behind him?

“This is the single most important thing that he had to do at this week’s Republican convention. The conventions are supposed to be these huge occasions when the party comes together behind the nominee. You have to remember that the US has a weaker party system than the parliamentary systems of Australia and the UK. He has to get Republicans to embrace him as a leader but he’s never before held elected office. We’re almost at the end of the convention and I don’t know that he’s been able to unify the party in the way that he would have liked.”

Trump’s acceptance speech

“This is a critical moment, particularly after the controversy when Mr Trump’s wife plagiarised parts of her speech. Trump will be speaking tomorrow and this is where he has to close the deal with the Party. He suffered a blow today when (his former rival for nomination) Ted Cruz did not explicitly endorse his candidacy so tomorrow will be crucial.”

Does Trump get a bounce in the opinion polls?

“Every convention is supposed to bring with it a bounce in the polls for the nominee. These conventions are huge productions where the parties are supposed to unite and show their nominees in the best light. But it hasn’t been easy going for Trump for several reasons. I’m betting we don’t see a bounce in the polls.”

A different tone at the Democratic National convention?

“We move to Philadelphia next week when Hillary Clinton will receive the Democrats’ nomination. And this is where you will see a huge difference to the tone of the Republican convention. They will be unified behind Hillary and, where the tone of the Republican convention was rather negative, you will see a positive message from Hillary about the future. Keep an eye out for the A-list moments – there will be a few from the celebrities, politicians and business people in the audience.”

Enter Bill Clinton

“We’re really yet to see the impact that he will have on his wife’s campaign. We saw him at times during the Democratic primaries when he was needed when Hillary’s team was in a tight spot. Even though he’s had his personal transgressions, there remains a very positive view of Clinton’s time as president in the 1990s. This was pre-9/11, the economy was performing well and he was seen as setting the United States up for the new century. There is a fondness for him, particularly among the Democrats. He’s in for a serious rockstar moment at some stage in that hall in Philadelphia next week.”


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