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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Outsiders Are Not Party Guys

Many posts have noted similarities between Sanders and Trump.

At The Washington Post, David Weigel writes:
Little about the 2016 primaries has been predictable, but one exception is Sanders’s antiseptic approach to the party whose nomination he is still trying to win. The longest-serving independent member of Congress has declined to officially become a Democrat while insisting the party must change.

He has also built an army of supporters who feel much as he does — that the primary process has been rigged against him and that Democrats care too much about the 1 percent. And even as front-runner Hillary Clinton expects to clinch the nomination on June 7, the squeamishness of these voters threatens her ability to unify the left. It may be her top challenge as she turns toward her ­general-election battle against Donald Trump.

Asked Monday why he wasn’t telling voters to become active Democrats, Sanders pronounced the question “esoteric.”
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At the grass-roots level in California, Sanders supporters operate with the knowledge that “Become a Democrat” is a flawed pitch. In a pre-deadline registration video, the loofah-haired comedian Reggie Watts told voters they could register as Democrats or “no party” on “whatever glowing rectangle you’re obsessed with.” Patti Davis, 66, ran a weekend phone bank to nudge non-Democrats to switch parties and found many willing to back Sanders if it didn’t mean a long-term commitment. (Those registered as “no party” can still vote in the primary with a special ballot.)
Also at The Post, Dan Balz writes:
What has been apparent during Trump’s march through the primaries is how little he thinks or acts with the partisan — or party-building — instincts of typical politicians. The constituency he has attracted is certainly more conservative than liberal and far more Republican than Democratic. But the core issues that have brought him to this position — immigration, national identity, trade and jobs — which he projects with the posture of a strongman (or to his critics, a bully) speak to a candidate who looks at the electorate far differently than the typical Republican or Democrat.
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He suffers from structural problems with the electorate, including a huge gender gap — strong numbers among men and lousy numbers among women — and apparent weakness among Hispanics. But when confronted with evidence that he’s potentially tanking among women and Hispanics, he’s dismissive. He predicts he will do better with those groups of voters than polling suggests, but he’s doing nothing to suggest he has a strategy for doing so. Quite the opposite.

If more evidence were needed that he is either oblivious or willfully disdainful of that approach to winning elections, Trump provided it this week when he attacked New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, the leader of the Republican Governors Association and one of the most important Hispanic women in the GOP. Trump claimed she hasn’t done enough to help her state’s economy. Her true sin is not treating Trump with the respect he expects.