If I feel sick to my stomach at the thought that Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee of the Grand Old Party, I can’t fathom how I will feel on the morning of November 9 if he is the President-elect of the United States. This just can’t be. How can so many millions of people be drawn to this angry, amoral, nativist, misogynist, pathologically narcissistic, racist, shallow – indeed, outrageously ignorant when it comes to matters of policy – crude, contemptuous and contemptible man. And that’s just for starters.
Surely Hillary Clinton should be able to beat him in November. Yet, if there’s any lesson from the bizarre primary season, it’s not to underestimate the appeal of Donald Trump to a wide swath of American voters.
Trump has been incredibly astute at reading the screw-you anger of the electorate and diabolically skillful at manipulating the media. Add to that the cringe-worthy infatuation of the public with celebrities, and you have the possibility of disaster in November.
Both presumptive nominees are disliked by a majority of the people. Hillary Clinton is viewed only slightly (five percent) less unfavorably than Trump. She has her work cut out for her. As the presumptive Democratic nominee, she is now running against Trump, rather than against Bernie Sanders. My advice to Hillary? Keep doing that, but shut your mouth about how Bernie should follow Cruz and Kasich, accept the inevitable and suspend his campaign. Understand that Sanders rightly knows that the millions who have supported his crusade want to feel the Bern right through the last primary in California, to know their voices will be represented at the nominating convention in Philadelphia, including the party platform. They want to be sure that his ideas, which have already shaped the primary dialogue and made a better candidate of Hillary, will not simply float out into the ether.
She can’t continue to alienate Sanders supporters because she needs them in November. Many Sanders supporters angry about the “rigged system” are animated by a similar anti-establishment appeal that draws supporters to Trump. The Donald will surely be courting Sanders voters, especially in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. That’s his best path to the Presidency. His opposition to trade deals that ship jobs overseas, his animosity toward immigrants who take jobs, could play well there. For other Sanders supporters who can’t abide Trump’s personal qualities but can’t stand Hillary either, Clinton needs them not to stay home – or, worse, to become Trump Democrats or Independents – on November 8. Clinton needs them, and so do we.
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