Continuing the string of unwelcomed news outside of the cozy confines of Democrat Land, in some of the worst news of the campaign season, a New York Newsday poll is showing Donald Trump making inroads into normally reliably blue Long Island, and beating Clinton by 3 points while Bernie Sanders, in turn, thumps Trump head-to-head by 5 points. If New York State goes Republican for the first time since 1984, then Donald Trump becomes President of the United States.
“...in a potential head-to-head matchup, Long Islanders give Trump a 3 percentage point edge over Clinton”
The news is tactically and strategically important. Even a tie for Trump in Long Island could mean a win for him statewide, since Long Island typically offsets the more conservative upstate vote. New York even being in play should be a preposterous proposition in the ordinary calculus of general elections, but Trump has appealed to many while saying virtually nothing once again. New York in play means resources drawn from swing states. This gets real bad real fast. All this before Trump has even begun tacking to the center and playing good-cop conciliator post-primaries, showing, shucks, I’m nothing to be afraid of after all.
The knuckledraggers at Free Republic are drooling all over themselves at the new numbers.
The irony is poll after poll keeps showing that the candidate best positioned to win in the general, if not among the Democratic choir, is Bernie Sanders.
Nationally, a new NBC News poll shows Clinton beating Trump by ten points, but Sanders beating Trump by a full 16 points. This is consistent with the pattern shown by polls reported in Real Clear Politics, of Sanders doing better against Trump than Clinton does.
The true bottom line here may boil down to a perception problem among Democratic Party faithful. Outside the circles where Trump is perceived as anathema, many Americans on the Dark Side would gladly cast a vote for Trump over Hillary. This is a harsh, ugly fact not being faced by many for whom Trump sparks a visceral reaction. But fact it remains. Clinton’s negatives remain the highest of any candidate ever, while Sanders earns ‘most trusted’ even among people who disagree with his policies.
What accounts for the apparent discrepancy between the primaries and the general election? One factor is the record 45% of voters now identifying as “independent,” as well as, for lack of a better term, those who can still be described as Reagan, “lunch bucket” Democrats. Sanders’ appeal to union rank and file, if not to union leadership, is obvious as you could never keep Bernie away from a picket line no matter how many big shots were waiting to meet with him.
It is this conservative element which is threatening to stray in flirtation with The Donald, which Bernie may be able to keep chastely at home within the party fold.
The shock of waking up and seeing that Ronald Reagan has been elected president has still not worn off on many of us, who would go on to make double Cold War defense budgets the new normal, and be responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans, Guatemalan Indians, and Nicaraguans, all while being cast as the new icon of virtue for the republic. If the same dynamic is in play, this time the evidence of disaster will have been before us all along. No one can pretend we didn’t know what was going to happen, or how it could have been stopped.
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