Before one dismisses this idea, hear me through. There are two important factors here and they are the actual campaign of Hillary Clinton and the outside Leftist groups loaded for bear against Trump. With respect to the Clinton campaign, she has found that Bernie Sanders is a nagging opponent who has vowed not to go away. In some ways, the Democrats may now end up with a more contested and contentious convention in Philadelphia than the one many are/were expecting in Cleveland. The longer Sanders remains in the race and fights through New Jersey and California on June 7th- states conducive to him- the less Clinton can devote her energies against Trump.
Make no mistake, Clinton will be the Democratic nominee, but she stands to come out of Philadelphia weaker than she would have liked. It should be remembered that even though Trump’s unfavorables are higher than her’s, Clinton’s are still high also. And Bernie Sanders is to the left of Clinton. Thus, the longer the more Leftist candidate remains in the race among the Democrats, the more Leftist the eventual candidate will be. This could actually play into the hands of Donald Trump where he can exploit these liberal policy stances as very much out of the mainstream.
Further, one has to look at Obama’s coalition and although Clinton does fine with blacks, there are questions as to whether she can perform that well with Hispanics. With younger voters, they are clearly turned off by Clinton and have drifted to Sanders. Whether she can win them over and then get them out in November are two very huge questions for the Clinton campaign. Trump is winning over voters who believe they have no stake in a campaign; they are being “heard” by Trump. Can Clinton and her team convince some of them that she too “hears” them? Bernie Sanders is good at it, but Clinton is the consummate career politician.
Further, Clinton believes that she will likely lose the vote of white, working class males. Instead, she hopes to make up for that by winning suburban white females. As Ed Rendell asserted, for every white male she loses, she expects to pick up two white suburban females. But again, can she? Other than young voters, the most interesting thing about Sanders is his appeal to young white females. One can surmise that he is a better spokesman to address their economic anxieties rather than Clinton. And if anything, even Democratic operatives are surprised at how Trump exploits economic angst and anxiety- even among some women.
There are suggestions that Hillary intends to use Obama and he has made some tepid statements against Trump so far. But, even this could backfire as Trump can use Obama’s attacks as a badge of honor. To many, Obama’s words mean nothing and if they become too incendiary against Trump, it could potentially send some fence sitters into the arms of Trump.
Further, Trump’s biggest weakness in the GOP primary could be his biggest advantage in a general election. His mixed record and even attacks against the orthodoxy of his “own” party on certain issues could win over disaffected Democrats tired of or who do not like Hillary Clinton. As the “Bern” suggests, there are many of them out there. They may not jump on the Trump train, but neither will they jump on the Clinton train and that could be bad news for Hillary.
And Trump is well-aware that he may lose some states that he needs to win, but he may surprise with his populist rhetoric in states the GOP hasn’t won in decades- the upper Midwest Rust Belt, Pennsylvania and possibly even New York.
Unlike the Republican Party and primary field, the Clinton campaign- which will be a Leftist lovefest- claims they are prepared for anything Trump throws at her. But, are they really? Trump has changed the rules of the game- a game a vast swath of the electorate disdains. They claim to be treating Trump with more respect than his GOP primary opponents did. We shall see.
Trump enters the fray and controls the conversation as several media investigations have proven. When Rubio had a great debate performance and bloodied Trump, he rolls out the Christie endorsement to make himself dominate the news cycle, if only for 48 hours. With each small battle won, he picks up more supporters. Clearly, his style versus that of Hillary are polar opposites. Where he is brash and goes for the visceral, Clinton is prone to static and robotic 12-point policy statements where everyone loses interest after point 4.
And as we have found out, when Trump is attacked, he counters even harder. Nothing is off the table with respect to Clinton. He has already fired the warning shot regarding the woman’s card. Instead, indications are that if Trump moderates in the general election, Clinton’s team intends to remind voters of the primary Trump and portraying that as the real Trump. Unfortunately, that eats up valuable time and money getting those messages out and time may be the most precious commodity in a race dominated by someone who knows how to deftly control the news cycle.
And there is ample fodder in Hillary’s past to keep the attacks coming through November. Some believe he cannot sustain these attacks through November, but they’ve been wrong about Trump all along. As former Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy said: “He’s formidable, he understands voter anxieties, and he will be ruthless against Hillary Clinton.” He ends the statement with begrudging respect for Trump. Hillary’s strategy, by most accounts, will be when Trump goes low, she will go high. Instead, the attacks will come from Clinton surrogates while she attempts to appear above the fray. And that is where the outside groups enter the discussion.
Clinton’s opposition research team is already poring over data with which to attack Trump. And there is clearly a lot of it. If that research can keep Trump off-balance, much like Rubio did in one debate, then it befuddles Trump. The hope is that they can goad him into escalating the rhetoric. But, if anything Trump has proved resilient. Despite the attacks on his use of foreign workers at his resort in Florida, his defense dominated the news cycle, then went away. It will be difficult for Clinton to use these lines when her immigration policy basically endorses his actions.
Their goal is to portray Trump as a heartless businessman who does not share the values let alone the concerns of the working class. But, how can Clinton convince the electorate that she does share their values and concerns as she jets around the country and has mansions and is herself a millionaire whose claim to fame is being in politics for 25 years? Trump will attack this hypocrisy hard. And unlike Mitt Romney who seemed ashamed of his wealth, Trump flashes it around with bravado. They also intend to portray him as sexist, but again Trump has a ready attack and has intimated at it already. His statement that “she wouldn’t get 5% if she were a man” was by design. He is short-circuiting the sexist argument before it is expressed.
We have already seen some of the vitriol directed at Trump on an organized basis disguised as “spontaneous demonstrations.” These are anything but spontaneous and are well-orchestrated by Leftist groups. On Leftist websites, Trump supporters are lumped in with all Republicans in a “kick the party while it’s down” frenzy. These attacks only play into the tiny hands of Trump. He will use these quotes as examples of what is at stake in the election.
The simple fact is that the Left is incapable of showing respect for and empathy towards opposing views. They would rather shout down the opposition through ad hominen attacks rather than persuade them. While portraying Trump as a loudmouth, misogynist pig, they are stooping to his level and solidifying his support. In a strange way, Trump becomes the victim and gains support from people who have no reason to support him.
The Left has promised to protest in the streets of Cleveland against Donald Trump. Personally, if I were Trump I would deliberately stage rallies in Democratic strongholds and dare protesters to show up. As recent May Day rallies in Seattle and elsewhere showed, Leftist protest and rallies tend to have violence. Portraying that Leftist violence of what the country is up against plays into his hands again. It would be like Chicago 1968 all over again and creation of a scenario that would energize the Right to show up, hold their nose and vote for Trump. The Left’s actions would drive people to Trump. As the recent “protests” in California showed, the images played into Trump’s rhetoric. Imagine if those were American flags waving instead of Mexican flags!
As it stands now, Trump is expected to go down to electoral defeat in November on a magnitude last seen in 1972 with the ill-fated candidacy of George McGovern on the Democratic side. By the Left essentially doing nothing, they can do more good than harm. The dislike of many on the Right of Donald Trump is real and palpable and have some not voting at all or even voting for Clinton. If they overplay their hand in any respect, it has the potential to make some of these people reconsider and put them in the Trump column. If that happens, this race in November may be a lot closer than most people think right now. In short, let the conservative movement take care of one it’s alleged “own.”