HOUSTON (KTRK) --James Baker served three U.S. presidents. He was both chief of staff and a cabinet member for both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. And in all his years in presidential politics, 2016 is new to him.
"I've never seen the anger that we see out there today on the part of the electorate," he told Eyewitness News. "They're not only angry, they're anxious. And not only anxious about ISIS, but they're angry that their government hasn't worked."
Baker said sees that anger on both sides from Republicans and Democrats. He reminded us that in 1976, when Ronald Reagan challenged a sitting U.S. President in Gerald Ford, he too was anti-establishment and seen as a shoot-from-the-hip cowboy. He says the establishment should let it play out as they did back then.
"We followed the inclination of the voters," he said. "That's what democracy is all about. I think that's what we do. We look at where the voters are. I'm not one who thinks it ought to be dictated from up above."
That said, when he looks at the Republican field, he's not comparing Reagan to any of the remaining candidates. But he finds a familiarity between today and 40 years ago.
"There are big differences between what is happening today and what happened back there in 1980, 1976 and 1980," he said. "But there are also similarities. You had a challenge from the grassroots to the order, to the established order. You're seeing a lot of that today."
As for the current delegate counts, on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton has a total of 1,130 delegates, compared to 499 for Bernie Sanders. A candidate needs 2,383 delegates to win the Democratic nomination. On the Republican side, Donald Trump continues to lead in the delegate count with 384. Sen. Ted Cruz has 300 and Marco Rubio is in third place with 151. A candidate needs 1,237 delegates to clinch the Republican nomination.