Spend time on social media, and you’ll see a great deal of infighting within both major political parties over their 2016 presidential nominee.
For the GOP, businessman Donald Trump presents a challenge to blocs who favor charismatic Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) or outspoken Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas).
Within the Democrats’ camp, likely nominee Hillary Clinton has baggage the party will be hard pressed to carry once Republicans settle on a nominee. Mrs. Clinton has a paper trail as long as the distance from Sun to Earth, and her own brand is inseparable from that of her husband.
I think the GOP has the advantage.
Consider the Clintons’ influence on the current administration. President Barack Obama relied heavily on the Clinton machine for appointees and advisors. In one sense, the ‘Clintonites’ have dominated the country the whole time Obama has been in office.
The ongoing scandal regarding Mrs. Clinton’s handling of State Dept. data will not go away.
However Mrs. Clinton chooses to defend her decisions as secretary of state, her practices were sloppy at best. How placing information at risk impacted national security or foreign policy is a matter that will occupy media going forward. Republicans won’t let the issue go away just as Democrats wouldn’t if the situation was reversed.
Bear in mind anti-Hillary sectors are just getting started. Picking apart her performance as secretary of state will be a GOP researcher’s field day.
It’s ironic when a Dem strategist claims Republicans are going after Mrs. Clinton for political reasons, because that is exactly what Dems did when President George W. Bush was in office and the tactic helped propel Obama into the White House. Democrats and allied media used Bush as a bogeyman throughout his term and they continue to do so today.
Although media make much of challenger Bernie Sanders giving Mrs. Clinton a run for her money, I remain confident she will be the Dems’ nominee. If Sanders were to become a viable threat to her, his own extensive paper trail would be placed front and center. The Clintons are adept at messaging, and they have a long-established bloc within every state in the nation. It would take a miracle for Sanders to displace her. For one thing, Democrats are keenly aware Sanders’ policies would export US wealth. The very wealthy don’t have to stay here, and they can take their assets with them. That isn’t the case for most of us.
Meanwhile, Republicans are lining up behind candidates and doing what is customary in any primary—fighting tooth and nail for candidates they favor. The crowded field hasn’t helped the status quo, and I remain confident in another conclusion I’ve come to. The real numbers will start to gel when the field is winnowed. Right now it’s divided among so many it’s impossible to know where supporters will end up once those at the bottom are out of the game. However, we have to admit to ourselves the fact Trump has dominated polls for so long places him at a definite advantage.
A recent bit of news from abroad works in Trump’s favor, at least with those outside the political class. Bloomberg ran a story about the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The story opened with this:
“If Donald Trump as president of the United States is the ghost that’s stalking Davos, many among the global elite hope he’ll be banished by spring. Others see that as wishful thinking.”
That statement alone is music to many Trump supporters’ ears, I imagine. Media like to remind viewers Trump doesn’t have the support of a single GOP congressman. If that is supposed to be The Donald’s undoing, guess again. That works in his favor, not that of his opponents.
The real question for both parties rests on who can strategize best to line up wins in primary after primary. National polls certainly can’t be discounted, but as I’ve said before, the process is a state by state game.
If the election was held today, we’d be choosing Clinton or Trump. General election matchups between the two show Mrs. Clinton with a slight advantage over Trump, but for all practical purposes they’re tied. After all Clinton has only one very weak challenger while Trump faces a daunting field of candidates eager to boot him from the driver’s seat.
No one can predict the future, but at the moment, I’d wager this election is the GOP’s to lose. Life may be rosy for the political class, but down here on Main Street, things are tough. That always works against the party occupying the White House.
Featured image: A YouTube video documents the hatred directed at President George W. Bush during and after his time in office. The video illustrates how Democrats forget the ongoing character assassination Bush 43 dealt with in the political arena. (Snip from video)
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/January 21, 2016)
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