THE MORNING PLUM:
Will Bernie Sanders burn it all down on the way out? While it is still always possible that things could get very contentious and destructive among Democrats, all the way to the convention and beyond, new data points out this morning suggest that he might not.
Twenty-eight percent of Mr. Sanders’s primary voters say they will not support her if she is the nominee, a figure that reflects the continuing anger many Sanders supporters feel toward both Mrs. Clinton and a process they believe is unfair.
That sounds worrisome. But it turns out that things may have been worse in 2008, as the primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama wound down.
Looking ahead to November, 35 percent of Clinton’s voters now say they would vote for McCain in the fall if Obama is the Democratic nominee.
According to this one metric, at least, the percentage of Clinton’s supporters in 2008 who seemed prepared to bolt was marginally larger than the percentage of Sanders supporters who now say the same.
In 2008, of course, Clinton went on to concede and deliver a major speech in which she urged her supporters to get behind Barack Obama, and the rest is history.
Now, arguably, there are some differences between 2008 and today. In some ways Obama and Clinton were closer ideologically than Clinton and Sanders are now. As Jonathan Chait details, Sanders has also made an argument against a fundamentally corrupt system that makes it rhetorically and philosophically difficult for him to treat a Clinton nomination as anything but illegitimate. Making this more worrisome still, the Sanders campaign still refuses to say whether, in the end, he will do everything necessary to get his supporters to agree that the outcome was, in fact, legitimate.
But it’s also possible, for the reasons I’ve tried to detail, that Sanders could still decide that the incentives actually point towards him doing everything possible to get his supporters across this gulf, for the explicit purpose of maintaining his movement’s influence and staying power, rather than allowing it to dissipate. And indeed, as Sahil Kapur reports, this is the signal that Sanders is privately sending to other Democrats, despite his outward defiance.
Meanwhile, if you listen closely, Clinton and her campaign are actually trying to signal to Democrats that they should dial down the hostilities with Sanders and his supporters, and are indicating that the Clinton camp, too, recognizes that it has a role to play in encouraging unity, which is important. And as the Post reports, the Democratic National Committee is close to announcing a series of process concessions to Sanders for the convention.
Things could still get very turbulent. Maybe the rift will prove lasting. But things could also look very different to Sanders once the voting ends, he is well behind in the pledged delegates and popular vote, he makes one last pitch to super-delegates that fails, and there is nothing left to do but actually produce some concessions for his efforts. You could also see a shift in opinion among Democrats at that point that might make Sanders less inclined to walk away.
* HILLARY LEADS TRUMP NATIONALLY: The new NYT/CBS poll finds Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump among registered voters nationally by 47-41. Look at these favorable numbers:
Only 21 percent of female voters view him favorably, while 60 percent view him unfavorably. A mere 14 percent of voters 18 to 29 view him positively, while 65 percent of such young voters have a negative opinion about him. And just 12 percent of nonwhite voters view Mr. Trump favorably, while 68 percent view him unfavorably. Mrs. Clinton fares little better. Just 23 percent of white voters view her favorably, while 63 percent of whites have an unfavorable view. Men dislike her almost as much as women dislike Mr. Trump.
The polling averages show Clinton up by only two points. The question is whether these numbers will shift in her favor once Clinton has locked down the nomination and Sanders has taken serious steps to help unite the party behind her.
* REPUBLICANS WANT THEIR LEADERS TO SUPPORT TRUMP: The new NYT/CBS poll also finds that a whopping 80 percent of Republican voters want GOP leaders to support Trump, even if they disagree with him on important issues. Only 17 percent of them don’t want them to support Trump.
Of course, this still leaves open the possibility that a nontrivial number of Republicans will not support Trump or sit the election out.
* REPUBLICANS THINK TRUMP IS REALLY AWESOME: Some more findings from the new NYT/CBS poll: 67 percent of Republicans think Trump shares their values; 62 percent of them think Trump is honest and trustworthy; 85 percent of them think he has strong leadership qualities; and 54 percent of them think he has the right kind of temperament and personality to be president.
Maybe Trump is succeeding because Republican voters agree with what he is saying, and want precisely the type of “leadership” he’s offering? Just a thought.
* TRUMP TO STAND UP FOR GUN RIGHTS: The Donald is set to speak today at the NRA’s national convention, where he’ll surely boast about how awesome a protector of gun rights he’ll be as president. NBC News comments:
Trump’s done an about-face on the issue. He’s since…opposed an expansion of background checks and called for concealed carry permits to be valid across all 50 states. He’s also vowed to eliminate gun-free zones in schools and on military bases on his first day in office, and never fails to emphasize the importance of the Second Amendment during a stump speech.
This is another way in which Trump simply is running as a Republican, no matter what he actually believes, if anything.
* TRUMP PUTS GEORGIA AND ARIZONA IN PLAY: Republicans in Arizona and Georgia tell Politico that Trump as the GOP nominee could put both states in play for Democrats:
The most pressing issue in Arizona is Trump’s relationship with Hispanic voters….Democrats…are working aggressively to register the booming Latino community….While Georgia also has a growing Latino population, it is African American voter turnout that will play the decisive role in Clinton’s performance….With the new field program and a minority base energized to vote against Trump…Democrats are feeling increasingly optimistic.
The Clinton campaign agrees with this analysis. Keep an eye on those shifting demographics.
* LABOR TELEGRAPHS ANTI-TRUMP MESSAGING: The AFL-CIO has launched a new digital ad that contrasts Trump’s claim that “my father gave me a small loan of $1 million,” with his suggestion that wages are “too high.” An AFL-CIO spokesman adds that more ads are coming, including ones that feature “workers in their own voices, including Trump employees, exposing him for the fraud that he is.”
Labor may be key to Dem efforts to prevent Trump from winning over too many unionized blue collar workers, who (we keep hearing) are supposedly ripe for Trump’s picking.
* NO, BOTH PARTIES ARE NOT IN THE GRIP OF PLUTOCRACY: Paul Krugman takes stock of Donald Trump’s vow to repeal Dodd-Frank, and Obama’s new overtime rule that could boost the wages of millions, and comments:
Nothing Mr. Obama has done will put more than a modest dent in American inequality. But his actions aren’t trivial, either….No, America isn’t an oligarchy in which both parties reliably serve the interests of the economic elite. Money talks on both sides of the aisle, but the influence of big donors hasn’t prevented the current president from doing a substantial amount to narrow income gaps — and he would have done much more if he’d faced less opposition in Congress.
Maybe it’s time to pin down Trump’s position on that new overtime rule, in order to shed more light on the reality of his supposed “populism.”