There's never been so much division...for Republicans or Democrats
My friend Barry Casselman and I had a long chat the other night about the state of our parties. We are clearly moving into uncharted waters, or a place where the Republicans and Democrats we grew up with are no more. I was really intrigued by something that Barry wrote:
The 2016 cycle is not over. But so far there are four major political parties in the electoral field; namely, a mainstream liberal Democratic Party, a radical populist Democratic Party; a mainstream conservative Republican Party, and a populist nationalist Republican Party. Divisions within the two major parties always exist, but I suggest that the divisions in 2016 are greater, perhaps even irreconcilably so, than any time in memory.
There seems to be an intuition in the general electorate that none of the remaining presidential candidates in both parties rises yet to the level these perilous times require.
My guess is that no one is going to be happy after the conventions. In the past, parties embraced and came together, such as Ford-Reagan in 1976 and Obama-Clinton in 2008. I am not saying that it was pure love, but at least it was not hatred!
The GOP will not unite behind Mr. Trump. He has a ton of problems, and the media in the tank for Hillary will be happy to tell us about them. Mr. Trump continues to say that he has not gotten started on Hillary. Well, she, and more importantly, her friends in the media, have not started on him, either.
At the same time, Mr. Trump will walk out if he feels betrayed.
There is also the likely possibility that the party will nominate a person, such as Governor Kasich or Governor Walker, who did not get to Cleveland with the first or second highest number of delegates.
To be fair, the GOP has nominated candidates in the past who did not have the most delegates, such as President Harding in 1920 and President Lincoln in 1860. At the same time, try explaining that to the Trump or Cruz supporters who keep firing chemical gas at each other in social media.
The Democrats have big problems, too.
It is likely that Sanders voters could bolt the Democratic Party and move to Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party's nominee. Her platform is almost word for word what Senator Sanders has been saying in the campaign. It would not surprise me if Dr. Stein can get 5-10% of the votes in places like Vermont and Wisconsin. She won't win but will keep a Democrat under 50% in blue states!
On the conservative side, there is the Gary Johnson option, or the Libertarian Party nominee. He appeals to a lot of conservatives with a libertarian streak on issues like closing down the IRS and federal government spending.
We will know more in August. Regardless of how things turn out, 2016 will be remembered as the year that the parties changed.