I’m sure I’m not the only person wondering if Sen. Sanders’s strength in Michigan, to the extent it was built on anti-free trade sentiment, could signal a significant advantage for Donald Trump in the general election should he end up facing off against Hillary Clinton.
Put somewhat differently, do we yet have a handle on the potential for cross-over Sanders/Trump voters who view both candidates as critical of a status quo that hasn’t been kind to working class Americans? While Sanders is clearly the real deal and Trump a charlatan, many voters obviously believe Trump speaks for them when he goes on about how our leaders are screwing us over either out of incompetence or malfeasance. Though utter nonsense, Trump’s claim that he will make everyone winners, not just the wealthy and powerful, is an attractive appeal.
It gets convoluted pretty quickly, but Sanders strength in the rust-belt frightens me not because there is a small chance his campaign could catch fire and seriously challenge HRC (which would be fine with me), but because Sanders strength may signal a populist volatility that could go in unhelpful directions if HRC is the nominee.
As it looks increasingly like Trump will be the GOP nominee, I still believe HRC is the best person to take him on and beat him. I base this on a studied concern that Sanders’s “socialism” will be too easy a target in the general election. Maybe, however, I’m simply showing my age as someone who has identified as a social democrat for decades and knows such a declaration has never been the best way to start a friendly political discussion around the Thankgiving holiday table. If times have changed that much that America is ready to elect its first socialist, then knock me over with a feather.
Yes, I’m conflicted. I don’t much care for free trade deals, income inequality, and big money in politics, and have enjoyed Sen. Sanders saying things that need to be said, and Clinton coming along for the ride on a number of issues that had not previously interested her. But my vote goes to the Democrat I think can beat the Republican, and I still think that’s Hillary, though, as I said, I am worried that there is a populist energy out there that could get behind Trump if Sanders is unsuccessful.
Do I really think there is that kind of cross-over potential out there? Probably not, but it’s got me thinking,
And, by the way, no one has seriously attacked Sanders yet, so whatever his match-up numbers are against Trump mean nothing at this point, while everyone knows Hillary, her positives and negatives, which makes current match-up polling more credible.
A truly progressive America would be a grand thing, but my sites are set on beating back the conservative hordes currently at the gate. My hopes and dreams will simply have to take a back seat for the moment.
For the most pragmatic of reasons I’m going to remain cynical and support Clinton because the America Trump, Cruz, and Rubio are offering would be an awful place in which to live.
One thing I will say is that something’s happenin’ here, and, you know, what it is ain’t even remotely clear.