The Republican Party is not alone when it comes to a fractured electorate, despite what you might think when watching the cable news shows. The race for the Democratic nomination has been quieter, less exciting, and more in line with traditional politics, but make no mistake about it: there is a big rift forming on the left.
According to a new poll from McClatchy-Marist, that rift may not be repairable by November. Among Bernie Sanders supporters, a full 31% of them will not vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election. These hardline supporters are mostly whites and independents, say the pollsters. Sanders voters under the age of 44 are also much more likely to say that they will not switch to Clinton if she wins the nomination.
It doesn’t go both ways, interestingly. Among Clinton supporters, only 14% say they would never vote for Sanders.
These are troubling numbers for the Democrats, and the party is blessed to have such chaos on the Republican side. If we had a presumptive nominee, the media would have plenty of time to focus on Clinton’s inability to capture the public’s imagination. Some pundits have compared her position now to Obama’s in 2008, but there’s one big difference. She may have an almost-certain path to the nomination, but she has none of the Obama enthusiasm. At best, her supporters are resigned. It’s her turn, eh? Fine…
At worst, they are growing more disenchanted with the frontrunner with every passing day. The McClatchy-Marist poll also found that Sanders is leading Clinton by two points nationally. That won’t make a difference in the race for the nomination, but it shows you how weak Clinton is as a potential flag-bearer. Even among women, the one demographic she should have been assured, she is struggling to gain purchase. Too much baggage. Too much suspicion. Too much scandal.
By all accounts, this election can be won. Hillary Clinton is not invincible. Not even close.
But if Republicans can’t get their act together in the next few months, she will win anyway. We are standing in front of one of the biggest political opportunities in recent memory…and we’re on the verge of blowing it. The excitement they’re lacking – we have. But if we declare that we will “never” support certain candidates, we are just as foolish as those idealistic Bernie fans.