With only 100 days left until the general election, we survey the landscape leading up to November 8th.
So, where to begin. You may have noticed our DNC coverage may have been less than our RNC coverage. That’s because we had a massive hard drive failure during the week of the DNC. Yeah, go figure. Because of that, much of our stuff got lost!
While some of the pieces we had written for the DNC will be lost to time – because they just aren’t that relevant anymore – others we’ve started to re-write and will put out throughout the week. So as we recover from back-to-back conventions and reformat this new hard drive to back up most of the site’s content, we figured it would be a good time to get the lay of the 2016 political landscape before we go head first into the death march that is the general election. With 100 days before election day, here are four questions regarding the presidential contest to think about.
How Big is the Democrats’ Bernie-Or-Bust Problem?
Before the Democratic National Convention, conventional wisdom would have said Bernie Sanders supporters would eventually back the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, because they would do anything to block a Donald Trump presidency. If you were at the DNC however, you learned that might not be the case.
After a week of talking to many Bernie-or-Bust voters, it’s clear that while many of them would argue their distaste for a Clinton presidency stems from her hawkish stance on foreign policy or her original participation with the Trans-Pacific Participation, but reality for many of them it’s what Hillary Clinton represents.
From on our conversations, Hillary Clinton represents what they hate from political establishments the most; the corruption and collusion of the Democratic Party. Whether that is a fair assumption or not is up for debate, but the bigger question revolves around if these former Sanders supporters will come and vote for Clinton come November?
The Democrats at the DNC tried to reach out to these voters last week with essentially Day 1 being headlined by the most progressive voices in the party, but it’s unclear how much headway they actually made with former Sanders voters. To be fair, many of the Bernie-or-Bust supporters had weakened their stance on Clinton as the DNC went on, but whether that will convert into tangible votes is still uncertain.
Can Donald Trump Win the Presidency Being Donald Trump?
In the beginning of this election cycle Donald Trump looked to be bullet-proof. With every outlandish comment whether it’s asking Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails or that he admires Kim Jong-Un in how he secured power in North Korea, there was a perception that no matter what Trump said or did, nothing ever affected his poll numbers. But over the weekend that may have changed.
His completely unjustified and almost pathetic feud with the parents of Khizr Khan – American Muslim Army soldier who died serving the US – has left him with few allies defending the above comments and following tweets. Even GOP politicians like Arizona Sen. John McCain have come out to condemn Trump’s comments regarding the Khan’s, yet the question whether statements like this will affect him in the polls isn’t clear.
As we have stated before, the only person that could top Donald Trump in the GOP primaries looked to be Donald Trump. He somehow easily survived comments that would have sunk other presidential hopefuls in the primaries. In the general election however, things are different. If he wants independents to come into the fold, comments like he made about the Khans last weekend won’t fly in the general election.
He’s Going to Try and Weasel Out of the Debates, Isn’t He?
As usual, Hillary & the Dems are trying to rig the debates so 2 are up against major NFL games. Same as last time w/ Bernie. Unacceptable!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 30, 2016
Hillary Clinton is a policy wonk that has made her life about public service. Donald Trump doesn’t know what Brexit is and he didn’t know Russia is currently in Ukraine…
So yeah, Trump would probably not do too well in a one-on-one debate with Clinton, which is probably why he’s laying the groundwork for not having to do three debates. For Trump you could see him only agreeing to one debate, just to prove to his supporters that he could debate with Clinton if “he wanted to”, but chooses not to because [INSERT BULLSHIT REASON HERE].
Based on Trump’s thin skin and Clinton’s aggressive debate style, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to see fewer presidential debates than in the past election cycles.
Can Policy Minutia Win You a Presidential Election?
There’s an old saying that says prose is for governing, while poetry is for campaigning. The problem with Hillary Clinton; she’s all political prose. For proof, you don’t need to look any further than last week’s Democratic National Convention.
While Hillary Clinton’s speech was strong and policy driven, it also isn’t the type of speech that swayed hearts and minds. She’s not that type of candidate. Her strengths clearly lie in policy driven discussions. And therein lies the problem.
Hillary Clinton would make an excellent bureaucrat in understanding how policy is shaped, but during a campaign, policy minutia doesn’t sell well with voters.
During the DNC Democrats tried to make a case policy details matter, but when you’re up against someone like a Donald Trump – who in many ways is all poetry, no prose – in an electoral contest, poetry sell better. For Clinton, she has 100 days to get people to care about public policy in such a way that when she talks about the specifics, people will understand. But that is MUCH harder job than it sounds.
(Photo Credit: Pixabay.com, Google Images, Donald Trump Instagram)