May 14, 2016
I’m back after a two month hiatus. I was busy with work and other errands. We’re in May 2016, and Donald Trump, the bombastic Manhattan billionaire, who is neither a conservative, nor a liberal-won the Republican presidential nomination over hard core conservative Ted Cruz with a win in the Indiana primary, on May 3, despite the Republican and conservative establishment’s #NeverTrump beliefs and a new call from Republican Beltway insiders for a conservative third party challenge to the feisty billionaire. There is strong belief that Trump would damage the Republican brand that certain Republican senators such as Ohio’s Rob Portman, Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, and Illinois’ Mark Kirk, who are under pressure from Democratic challengers. Democrats believe that they can take back control of the U.S. Senate after a glum 2014 midterm election.
Trump, 69, will face Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, most likely. Clinton, 68, would like to like to be the first female president in American history, but she faces an enthusiasm gap among hard core progressives, the base of the Democratic Party, who have been galvanized by Bernie Sanders, a 74 year old socialist who wants to propose free college, free single payer healthcare etc. He is popular with millennials, younger voters born in the late 1970’s to the late 1990’s. Clinton will need to win over the youth vote if she wants to win against Trump, who will most likely win with some younger white men and white men in general. Clinton has not clinched the Democratic presidential nomination, despite Sanders winning states such as Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Indiana, but she is likely to do so on June 7, when delegate rich states such as California and New Jersey have their say.
Trump vs. Clinton will be one of the most watched and anticipated elections of modern times, but it could also lead to a very low turnout, since both candidates are deeply polarizing. Some Americans may:
- Stay home on November 8. They may feel that voting for Clinton or Trump will make no difference and that politics in America would be even more polarizing and dysfunctional than it was in the Bush and Obama eras.
- Vote for third party candidates such as Green Party candidate Jill Stein, a leftist from Massachusetts, or Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor.
The electoral map will be vastly different than it was in 2012 between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
Donald Trump and his aides privately believe that he could flip blue states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and even New York, states with a high white working class white male population to the GOP column. Hillary Clinton and some Democrats believe that it is possible to flip red states such as Arizona, Georgia, Utah, Missouri, and even Indiana to the Democratic column, while keeping Vermont, Oregon, and other blue states.
However, Clinton needs to galvanize and energize the Obama coalition of blacks, Latinos, and younger voters who delivered Barack Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012, and kept Democrats’ control of the Senate in 2008 and 2012. Those coalition of voters did not show up in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, due to voter apathy and a belief that politics was dysfunctional and that there was no need to vote since nothing would change.
These two candidates have baggage, and the general election debates will prove absolutely critical to see who America’s 45th president will be.