It’s a year of complete unpredictability this election cycle. At their own peril, many Republicans wrote off Donald Trump - he’s now the presumptive nominee. Many correctly predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the Democratic Party’s nomination (she's 85 delegates away), though the level of divisions between the Clinton and Sanders camps wasn’t projected to get this intense or fractured. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, like Trump, has amassed a loyal army that doesn’t seem eager to wave the white flag, and a significant chunk aren’t committed to backing Clinton in the general when Sanders is eventually beaten for the nomination come July.
The Sunday morning talk shows put a spotlight on the Democratic civil war that reached a new level of intensity during the chaotic Nevada Democratic Convention in Las Vegas last week. Yes, the vast majority of Sanders supporters will vote for Hillary in November, but 17 percent plan to vote for Donald Trump, according to NBC News’ Chuck Todd. ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos noted that 15 percent of Obama voters plan on voting for Donald Trump.
The Atlantic’s Molly Ball also said on CBS’ Face The Nation that she’s surprised the level of division has become this deep on the Democratic side. Moreover, she added that it’s not just a question about Clinton bringing the party together, but whether she can win over Independents and young voters — core factions in the Sanders army — who have voted for the Vermont senator in those open primary contests — many of whom have been “immune” to Clinton’s hopelessly inauthentic stump speeches. Again, we’re circling back to Hillary Clinton, the campaigner, in which she’s not Bill, and certainly not Barack Obama.
Democrats say the longer Sanders stays in the race, the more his attacks on Clinton will resonate. She’s already facing criticism for being a corrupt, a liar, not transparent, or an amalgam of the three; Sanders is hitting her for refusing to disclose her Wall Street transcripts, while Trump is calling her “crooked Hillary,” an attack that does have cross party appeal.
The Democrats’ conflict is now percolating to down ballot races, with Sanders supporting Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s (D-FL) primary opponent, Tim Canova, who has raised $250,000 since he received the endorsement from the self-described Democratic socialist.
In the meantime, the Republican Party seems to be unifying around Trump at an accelerated rate. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was staunchly anti-Trump in the primaries, but he’s now trying (covertly) to get the rest of the conservative wing to back the billionaire real estate magnate. The key, though moderate, Philly suburbs have taken a liking to Trump in Pennsylvania. The National Rifle Association endorsed Trump at their Annual Meeting last weekend as well. Republicans already have their guy, and the wounds from the primary seem to be healing—while the blood sports continue on the left.