Thursday, May 19, 2016

Are Democrats on a March to Folly?

Last night on the TV I saw results of a poll in which Hillary Clinton is trailing Donald Trump. Some pundits were poo-poo-ing polls at this early stage of the election, but I will bet said pundits were dissing Trump a few months back. And look what has happened since. Trump is making nice with the Republican establishment and they are lapping it up. All is forgiven in the name of authoritarian unity. Insults to women and minorities? Aw, heck. He was just making it up as he went along. We know he'll be a true conservative. And sho 'nuff, Trump named a slew of conservatives as his field for nominations to the Supreme Court. Said establishment is wriggling on the floor as if they are puppies hit by a tickle typhoon.

What is just as worrisome as the Republicans unifying behind Trump is the continuing rift between Sanders and the Clinton and Sanders' willingness to inflict short term harm on the Clinton campaign and risk longer term negative outcomes. For example:

Democratic leaders said they wanted to do everything possible to avoid having Clinton-Sanders tensions send the Philadelphia convention into the sort of chaos they had expected to mar the Republican convention. So far, though, Mr. Sanders has not indicated that he would ask his delegates to support Mrs. Clinton, as she did in 2008 for Barack Obama.

“I’m hopeful that the two candidates will come together, and soon, which could blunt the possibility of real trouble at our convention,” said Edward G. Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania and a Clinton supporter who is chairman of the Philadelphia host committee for the convention. “But you look at what happened in Nevada, and you worry.”

If that rift continues after the Democratic convention, I expect to see even worse news in the polls - for either Democratic contender.

Here's a link to that poll and more at Real Clear Politics (RCP). To be sure, the average of the polls considered by RCP have Clinton ahead by 3.3%, and, according to The Hill's report, Clinton still enjoys commanding leads among women and minorities.

John Atcheson writing at commondreams.org also worries about a Clinton-Trump matchup. The data he cites are indeed worrisome. Here are a couple of comparisons.

Polls: Sanders does better than Hillary against Trump in every poll and has for months now. In the latest summary of polls, Hillary beats Trump by just 5.7%, barely out of the margin of error, and in a few polls she actually loses to him.
Sanders beats Trump by twice Clinton’s slender margin. 13%. ‘Nuff said.

Favorability: Most potential voters view Hillary unfavorably. Her net favorable/unfavorable rating has been sinking and in the latest Real Clear Politics’ data now stands at a negative 15.5%. Only 39% view her favorably, while 54.5% hold an unfavorable view of her.
More potential voters hold a positive view of Sanders than any other candidate. His net favorability rating has been hovering at around a positive 10.5%, with more than half of all potential voters expressing a positive view of him.

GOTV: [Clinton's] chances are further hampered by the fact that a Trump/Clinton race almost guarantees a low voter turnout – something that has proven deadly to Democrats running at all levels.

Read Atcheson's piece for more problems with Clinton the Candidate.

... the Establishment arm of the Party marches on, pushing a weak, status quo candidate at a time when they know large parts of the country are demanding fundamental change and risking a Trump victory in the process.

If we end up with a President Trump, this will go down as one of the greater Marches of Folly in our time.

And that is precisely why Democrats need to turn out and vote for their nominee, no matter who it is. That's what the Republicans will do and we must beat them at that game.

Atcheson concludes: "To not run the candidate most likely to defeat Donald Trump in the general election is a form of political malpractice."

Scriber's invitation: I welcome counter arguments from Clinton supporters, but please make them grounded in fact. Expect to see them published here.

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