MAKING SENSE of Donald Trump‘s candidacy is not coming easily for the Grand Old Party, emphasis on old. As for Bernie Sanders, I’m still not all that convinced the DNC elite and their allies have one clue what his campaign juggernaut has wrought for their future.
“What we’re witnessing, really, is a political realignment, John. I mean, I think we’re moving from a traditional understanding of left – right politics that we’ve had for a long time to something that looks very different. The thing to understand here is that Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, they’re not the disease and they’re not the symptom of the disease. They’re a beta test of a cure from the perspective of the people, and for those of us who have, you know, looked in, in sort of the established order of the political fray over the course of the past several years, it looks like chaos but to the people, I think it looks like democracy. And I think that that’s something that really is moving us to a new reality, where the parties are going to have to retrofit themselves and adapt to this new realignment.” – Ben Domenech on “Face the Nation”
To which Peggy Noonan responded, “I think that was very smart.”
Domenech, the publisher of The Federalist, has expounded on what he said Sunday.
On the Democratic side, David Plouffe spoke with Glenn Thrush for his podcast series, which began with an interview with President Obama that went viral.
While he professes to be alarmed by the developer-turned-reality-star in his capacity as an “American citizen,” he gets a little giddy (not a natural Plouffian state of being) at the process of reverse-engineering The Donald’s Teflon candidacy. “If you end up with a Trump-Clinton matchup, that will be one for the ages” – and one he’s pretty sure, though not entirely convinced, she’d win in a walk.
“I think that’s a likely possibility: that Hillary Clinton could beat Donald Trump by an unheard of margin, nationally, of six to ten points,” he says. “But if that’s not the case and he’s competitive, where he’ll be competitive is in the Upper Midwest, in the Ohios, the Wisconsins, maybe Pennsylvanias of the world – maybe Iowa and Minnesota even, potentially.”
Plouffe is quick to say, “From an electoral college standpoint, I don’t see a Trump path,” but he’s equally quick to say the greatest threat posed by Trump is his unpredictability – Plouffe is a guy who likes to make a plan and stick with it, and Trump makes that a near impossibility. “Trump is a wild card, and you just don’t know,” he adds.
Plouffe doesn’t dare comment on the parts of Hillary Clinton‘s campaign that have to do with the candidate’s own performance and managerial malpractice. But I had to laugh hearing Plouffe say, “I think what you do need to figure out whether it’s one voice.”
“One voice” for team Clinton? That is the funniest thing I’ve heard in the 20 years I’ve been writing about them.
Side note: Plouffe tells Thrush he is proud of what the Obama campaign did in South Carolina in 2008. Mull that for a minute.
On both sides of the aisle, the 2016 election feels like something has been shaken free, the facade of establishment failures exposed on both sides.
The good news for Democrats is that with all the insider-itis of the party, at least their politicians are progressive fighters. But if anyone in Hillaryland thinks what Sanders is talking about will recede after Secretary Clinton wins the nomination they’re very wrong.
Bernie Sanders, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement, have challenged Hillary Clinton’s moderate and traditionalist political framework, forcing the narrative away from Bill Clinton’s presidency and into the economic unknown for Hillary as she prepared to laud Clinton economics of the ’90s.
The Republican side has been driven for over 25 years by right-wing talk radio. The establishment has benefited from their formidable GOTV power, but they always took these people for granted. Unfortunately, what Rush, Sean, et al. didn’t understand is that they’re mad as hell listeners don’t share the hard ideological bent of the hosts who channel their fury.
It allowed Donald Trump to drop in from the powerful pop culture landscape, catching the elites by surprise. None of them prepared for a candidate who learned through “The Apprentice” the likes and dislikes of the American public, as well as how to manipulate the media to his own purposes.
Super Tuesday is going to be something but no matter what happens going forward the old-time, 20th-century notion of the Democratic and Republican establishments, as well as their influence on presidential elections, is over.