Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Who Will Have the More Fun Convention: Trump or Clinton?

As of today, Hillary Clinton may face a tougher challenge unifying the Democratic Party behind her than Donald Trump. Trump’s decisive win over Ted Cruz in Indiana has brought the Republican nomination race to an end. But, although Hillary Clinton’s delegate campaign is over, she still struggles with Bernie Sanders in voting contests, losing Indiana by five points in an upset. Unfortunately for Clinton, she can’t start her fence mending yet and additional loses between now and the June 7 California primary will add to the difficulty.

Trump’s Challenge

But Trump’s outsider position and aggressive campaign leaves major elements of his party still strongly opposed to him as the nominee, and for some, even as the president, regardless of the “R” after his name. Trump can fill the convention with passionate constituents, but the leadership may be scarce.

Party Establishment
Donald Trump
Although the most pragmatic elements of the party establishment will get behind the nominee, much of it will be grudging and low key. Many who are up for re-election or responsible for the party’s success (Speaker Ryan) will wait for additional indicators that Trump is not the Barry Goldwater of 2016.

Conservative talk show hosts and public intellects are struggling to find a rationale for supporting Trump. Many have made apocalyptic predictions of Trump’s impact on the party in November. In just winning the nomination, they see him damaging the conservative cause and their influence in the Republican Party.

Foreign Policy Establishment
The Republican Party’s foreign policy establishment may be the most riled about the Trump candidacy. Trump regularly attacks many of the policies of the party and its presidents in his broad-ranged criticism. Free trade, alliance policy, Russia, immigration and Middle East engagement are topics Trump’s position is barely near the outer edges of establishment’s foreign policy principles.

Clinton Challenge

Clinton is attempting to pivot to the general election, but Sanders is a major stumbling block. He continues to do damage to her electability, even against Trump, who has record-breaking negatives. Clinton has the establishment, but she must use the convention to address problems with key constituencies.

Youth Vote
The Millennial vote that Sanders has a lock on will not be easily won over. Large numbers tell pollsters they may not vote for president. A few claim they will vote for Trump as the change agent, even if he is not in alignment with many of their views.
Hillary Clinton

The party’ dominant liberal wing does not trust Clinton to make the changes they prefer. Many believe that she is a corrupt agent of the status quo. They will vote against Trump, but it will be reluctantly, and a few percentage points of drop off can shift a swing state.

The Democratic Party has long had a problem with White men. It is now becoming a 30-point plus difference.  

As of today, it is not clear who has an easier convention.

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