Donald Trump took to the Tele*prompter Tuesday night completing his historic presidential primary run with an appeal to voters in the Democratic Party who may be less than thrilled with Hillary Clinton as your nominee.
Appealing to backers of Sen. Bernie Sanders (S-VT) who were “left out in the cold by a rigged system of super delegates,” Trump said, “we welcome you with open arms.”
The presumptive GOP nominee then went on to detail the common ground he shares with the Vermont socialist, a shared suspicion of US trade policy:
“The terrible trade deals, that Bernie was so vehemently against – and he’s right on that – will be taken care of far better than anyone ever thought possible. And that’s what I do. We’re going to have fantastic trade deals.”
In fact, if you’re a voter disaffected by the current political system and think Bill and Hillary Clinton personify everything that is wrong with American crony politics, Trump’s speech was pretty damn good:
“After years of disappointment, there’s one thing we all have learned. We can’t fix the rigged system by relying on — and I mean this so, so strongly — the very people who rigged it. And they rigged it. And do not ever think anything differently. We can’t solve our problems by counting on the politicians who created our problems.
The Clintons have turned the politics of personal enrichment into an art form for themselves. They’ve made hundreds of millions of dollars selling access, selling favors, selling government contracts, and I mean hundreds of millions of dollars.
Secretary Clinton even did all of the work on a totally illegal private server. Something that how she’s getting away with nobody understands. Designed to keep her corrupt dealings out of the public record, putting the security of the entire country at risk, and a president in a corrupt system is totally protecting her. Not right.”
It may be a bit of a pipe dream to think that voters committed to socialist programs would shift their support to the personification of capitalism in America today, but the numbers suggest Trump may be able to make some in-roads with Sanders supporters.
In a May WaPo/ABC poll of likely Sanders voters, Trump fared significantly well when those voters were asked who they’d vote for in the general election: (all graphics from Washington Post)
The question, rephrased, is whether Sen. Bernie Sanders’s enthusiastic base of support will line up behind Hillary Clinton when the Democratic contest is settled once and for all. It’s a base that heavily sees itself as independent (rather than as members of the Democratic Party) and a group which, in our most recent poll, is not unwilling to consider voting for Donald Trump. Twenty percent of Sanders supporters indicated that they plan to vote for the businessman in November.
And when those numbers are broken down by gender and race, Trump does remarkably well with the Sanders types:
These numbers are actually pretty devastating for Clinton. And if her ham-handed and iron-fisted approach to the Vermont Senator continues as it has for this entire primary season, they could get worse. Despite all of the concerns over a divided Republican Party, there’s actually been a pretty orderly alignment behind Trump. Meanwhile, last night Sanders remained defiant in defeat:
“I am pretty good in arithmetic and I know that the fight in front of us is a very, very steep fight but we will continue to fight for every vote, every delegate that we can win.”
And with the DNC’s bullying tactics over the past several months, Sanders and his supporters have very raw and open wounds that will require some miracle salve over the next few weeks.
Last night, in her victory speech, Clinton made just a passing reference to Sanders and did nothing to reach out to his supporters in a specific, issue-oriented way Trump did. Instead, she made an appeal to them to back her because it was what they needed to do:
Senator Sanders, his campaign, and the vigorous debate that we’ve had about how to raise incomes, reduce inequality, increase upward mobility, have been very good for the democratic party and for America. This has been a hard fought, deeply felt campaign. But whether you supported me or senator Sanders or one of the Republicans, we all need to keep working toward a better, stronger America.
Politico thinks the “ideological differences are too great” for “Bernie Bros” to jump on the Trump train. But the campaign clearly thinks there’s a chance to continue splitting a Democratic Party that just nominated its most unpopular candidate in history.