Friday, June 10, 2016

The field is set, now what?

So, it will be Clinton v Trump for the title of next President.  What many had long speculated (at least since Indiana for the Republicans) the two candidates are set.  Gary Johnson has the Libertarian nomination and is polling 10-12%, which is high for any third party, but at this stage, is more a reflection of the deep dissatisfaction by many voters with both major party candidates.

And the coalescing has begun.  Republicans who vowed never to support Trump come on board, calculating that his win would be better for them than a Democratic president.  Anguished Dems, worried about the increasing likelihood that top secret documents on Hillary's server have been compromised (that has not been confirmed yet, but the evidence is pointing very strongly that way) are simply ignoring that issue. Just as many Republicans dismiss even Trump's obviously racist rant against the judge handling his civil Trump U trial,  you will see poll numbers of Dems asked if they would support Hillary even if indicted increase.

But you will also see, I predict, an increasing number of Americans declare themselves independent and unhappy with both candidates. What they will focus on is 1. the economy, 2. events that affect their lives, and 3. state-focused issues, meaning, issues that play different in different states.

The real question for the candidates is how do they attract (or keep the other candidate from attracting) these voters.

And who are these people? Are they young people, followers of Sanders who cant quite accept Hillary as their choice? Will they be strong-defense conservatives, doubtful that Trump is the pro-life guy he claims to be, and fearful he will not defend American interests abroad?

Yes, and there is more.  They will be steelworkers who have seen their industry decline, who are not appeased by promises of retraining at community college. They will be children of immigrants who migrated around the fence, but find themselves in this country as legal as any first born, who dispute the characterization Trump portrays, but also want a good job, and a future.

They will be middle class workers, stung by the third year of double-digit premium increases under The Affordable Care Act, where the average deductible is $3500 per person, and the co-pays run to $30, with premiums that bring the total cost before any non-essential treatment to an average for a single person of $6000.

In the end, you will see the issues move closer to the one that elected William Jefferson Clinton: its the economy stupid.
And on that issue will the campaign, in a few select states, where the hard core R and D are evenly divided, be won or lost.  Remember the fall of 2008? How people feel about the past, and the future, and who they trust to help them do better will be the key of of this campaign.

Unless, of course, there is a  Trump meltdown. Or a Hillary indictment. And neither of those, despite what you may have heard, or currently believe, are both realistic possibilities.

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