The Sunday Herald spent two days in Ansonia talking to Trump voters and asking what they expect from his administration. Few believed he will build his wall. Few cared whether he was elected with Russia’s help, or worried that he will start a war with China. He assumes office with the lowest ever approval rating for a new president, but if he can make good on his promise to bring back jobs, all else will be forgiven. It is a big if.
Who will vote for Donald Trump now? Many millions of Americans, clearly, but far too few for him to win the presidency. The question is no longer whether Hillary Clinton will be elected, but how many Republican congressional candidates Trump will drag under with him. The Grand Old Party is holed beneath the waterline and its nominee is scuttling the lifeboats.
“The word I hear most from people is ‘I’m scared’ – that Trump could be president. People are scared. And negative energy is energy nonetheless. Even if they’re not voting for the candidate they most love, they’re voting against the candidate they most fear.”
Hazleton’s native sons are becoming a minority in their home town. They have worse economic prospects than their parents and live in a city that recently asked its police officers to work part-time because it doesn’t have the money to pay them. An epidemic of heroin and painkiller addiction has led to rising crime rates and declining life expectancy. It is not hard to see why Trump’s promise to restore American greatness is so popular here.
Clinton’s acceptance speech borrowed policies, language and themes from Sanders. She promised to invest in jobs, expand Social Security, oppose free trade deals, make university tuition free, support a $15 minimum wage and tax “Wall Street, corporations, and the super-rich.” As she spoke, scattered outbreaks of heckling were drowned out by chants of “Hill-A-Ry, Hill-A-Ry.”
Published in the Sunday Herald on July 24, 2016. The day before the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was asked if he was worried about violent protests disrupting the event. “Frankly, that impact will probably help the campaign because it’s going to show a lawlessness and lack of respect for political […]
It is likely to be one of the dirtiest presidential elections ever, not merely in the muck-raking, insult-trading sense, nor even the volume of anonymously-funded attack ads. Anything that gets the right people to the polls and shuts the wrong people out is fair game.
As Bernie Sanders digs in, it is worth remembering how ugly the last Democratic nomination contest got. In 2008, Hillary Clinton linked Barack Obama to Hamas, Louis Farrakhan and the Weather Underground. She observed that his support among “hard-working Americans, white Americans” was collapsing. By the time it was over, only 57% of registered Democrats viewed Obama favourably.
Few people expected the New York primary to matter. Emphatic Sanders victories in the last seven states to vote have dramatically raised the stakes. With so much riding on Tuesday’s vote, the tone of the exchanges has become significantly more negative.
Trump warned of bloodshed if he is denied the nomination. “I think you’d have riots,” he said. “I’m representing many, many millions of people… If you disenfranchise those people?… I think bad things will happen.”