Similar conundrums facing Democrats and Republicans as two most disliked candidates square off.
The polls finally got it right for last Tuesday’s big primaries. The reasons most pollsters, and other Republican hopefuls as well, underestimated the Trump phenomenon include his exceptionally high unfavorability numbers. It still remains to be seen whether he can control his antics, or even wants to, given all the free media time they produce–estimated at over a BILLION dollars worth–and, if not, whether he can inspire the non-regular voters that he has attracted to stay the long course of the election cycle–with almost eight months under the spotlight to go. The fact that Hillary, the presumptive Democratic nominee, also has high unfavorable ratings assures an exceptionally polarized race. Hold on to your hats.
Hillary has all but sewed up the nomination. One of her challenges for the rest of the trip will be to try to ensure support down the road from Bernie’s army. Not an easy task at all. Polls indicate that anywhere from 7 to 15 percent of Bernie’s supporters would go over to Donald Trump in the general election following a Clinton nomination. Presumably these are “angry with the establishment” types of voters whose support for Bernie had less to do with the message he’s been promoting than it did with their desire to stick it to the so-called establishment candidate. After all, Donald Trump’s actions and policies are hardly anti-corporate or designed to reduce wealth inequality. Hillary will also have to inspire the remaining Bernie-voters to come on over to her side–no doubt with help from Bernie himself once the primary season is over. She also will have to offset those Democrats who plan to migrate to Trump with Republicans who simply cannot vote for Trump. This will be no mean task and it may be that her election will depend on a sizable number of them voting for Hillary as the lesser of evils or, at the least, staying home come November. Clearly the longer the Republican contest goes on in earnest, the longer mainstream Republicans still attack Trump with the hopes of an open convention, the greater likelihood of Republican attrition. Savvy Republican money-men are well aware of this, and the fact that Trump’s main contender, Ted Cruz, is also an anathema to the establishment plays into the equation. If they achieve an open convention, and succeed in nominating a Katich or a Paul Ryan, will the Cruz conservatives stay on board? Mainstream Republicans are concerned that either a Trump or Cruz candidacy can wreak permanent damage to the party. If Trump goes on to win the nomination, the choice to many Republicans may be interpreted as Clinton or party destruction. Hillary, and perhaps Bernie himself, face a conundrum in this respect, as well, since the further left that Bernie pushes Hillary, the less likely Republican attrition will take place. Sooner or later ideologues from both parties will have to come to grips with the question of whether it’s more palatable to win an impure race than lose a pure one. If Trump goes on to cinch the nomination