As both the GOP and Democrats trudge forward, fractures are emerging on the left as Bernie Sanders threatens to stay in the race until the end. What was once a happy-go-lucky party of communists and moderate liberals singing Kumbaya is now a mirror of the Republicans under Donald Trump. The rogue candidate threatening to demolish the status quo is a reality in both worlds. The difference is that only one of the rogues will win their party's nomination. Come November, it is becoming more and more possible that disenfranchised Democrats who oppose TPP and the pay-to-play politics in the Democratic establishment could shift their support to Donald Trump.
Opinion polls spell trouble for Hillary Clinton, before she has even locked in her party's nomination. According to Mercury Analytics, 20% of registered Democrats are willing to defect and throw their support behind Donald Trump in November.
“Ron Howard, the company's CEO and a Democrat, said he expected Donald Trump's first campaign ad to have little impact – or in fact negative impact – on Democrats and independents. But the ad actually resonated with Democrats more than he expected.” – The Hill, January 9, 2016
This happened after Trump said he would build a wall, ban Muslims and repeal Obamacare. The company's CEO, who is a Democrat, was blindsided by the fact that Democrats were positively effected by Trump's very first campaign ad. This could be an indication of how out of touch and clueless Democrats and their establishment are about the mood of ordinary Americans.
Trump and Sanders have tapped into that mood, while candidates like Hillary, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and even Ted Cruz have overlooked it. Ted Cruz's basic principled conservatism wasn't enough to tap into the anger caused by damaging, one-sided free trade agreements, open borders and bitterness toward the GOP establishment. Since Cruz shifted from blasting the establishment to trying to court them, his numbers have slipped even further. On the other hand, Trump has remained consistently anti-establishment.
On the left, Bernie Sanders has refused to say whether he would support Hillary. He told CNN that he can't “snap his fingers” and make his own supporters vote for her. Trump spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, told CNN that she receives emails and texts from Bernie supporters saying they would support Trump if Hillary wins the nomination.
Trump's views on free trade, Wall Street and PACs are similar enough to entice Bernie supporters. Both have stood firmly in favor of campaign finance reform and against the role of big dollars in politics. Libertarians and independents are moving onto the Trump Train. Unless Hillary changes her tone and game, she could lose important key battlegrounds in November. One of those battlegrounds is my home state of Illinois.
In the Illinois primary, Democrats had a clear advantage. 1.4 million Republicans voted in the GOP primary in Illinois, compared to 1.9 million Democrats. To win in November, the Republican candidate will need at least 500,000 more votes to win the state's 20 electoral votes. The only candidate proven by polls to be able to steal Democratic support is Donald Trump.
Illinois is usually never a swing state. It has always been a deep blue state, but Trump will turn it into a battleground if he wins the nomination.
Illinois Republicans will likely support Trump in the general election. His ability to compel new voters and draw them into the democratic process could even increase Republican turnout in the state. This means it is highly likely that Trump will bring back all 1.4 million GOP voters in November and win the usual GOP general election turnout numbers. If he can steal even a quarter of Bernie's 900,000 votes from the Democratic primary, he could beat Hillary. That would put his vote total in the state to 1.65 million, before adding the usual Republican general election voters.
Just like Trump, Sanders has increased Democratic enthusiasm and compelled new voters. If Sanders loses the nomination, unlike Trump, his supporters will either abstain in November, join Hillary, or join Trump. If only a quarter of Bernie supporters show up to support Hillary, her turnout will barely scratch 1.4 million votes based on her Democratic primary turnout. If half of Bernie's supporters show for Hillary, she will win 1.7 million votes, making Illinois one of the closest races in November, even if she wins.
These primary numbers obviously won't represent total voter turnout for Illinois in November. In 2008, Obama took the state with 3.4 million to John McCain's two. In 2012, Obama barely passed 3 million and Romney only earned 100,000 more than McCain. With Democratic enthusiasm expected to tank under a Hillary nomination, her numbers will likely come in between 2.6 and 3 million, based on historic trends. The average for a white Democratic candidate in Illinois has been 2.6 million since 1992.
Using Mitt Romney's 2012 numbers and adding a quarter of Bernie's 2016 Democratic primary votes gives us a solid 2.6 million Republican votes in November. That does not count the number of new voters Donald Trump will attract in Illinois. With all of Mitt Romney's electoral college votes from 2012, plus Illinois, Florida and Ohio, Trump could easily beat Hillary Clinton.
The Non-Aggression Vote
Trump has stated he would wipe ISIS off the map, but more importantly he has said that Americans can no longer be the policemen of the world. This foreign policy stance is the same as Ron Paul's libertarian stance. It is also Bernie Sanders' position.
Like Bernie, Donald Trump opposed the Iraq war. Hillary Clinton supported it. More importantly, a growing majority of Americans think the Iraq war was a mistake, meaning that even Republicans who once supported it have changed their minds. These voters are likely to support Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. Trump's tough stances on ISIS and Saudi Arabia are enough to keep the old-school Republicans who have a strong, neo-conservative view on foreign policy. His non-aggression policy is enough to tap into Democrats and independents with moderate views.
The Black Vote
Donald Trump has criticized Barack Obama's black unemployment figures repeatedly, but with little traction. His criticisms always get lost in the noise of a crowded field and the ongoing GOP nomination battle, but come November, it will be a major focus of his campaign against Hillary Clinton.
A neighbor of mine who is a black Bernie supporter told me he would consider supporting Donald Trump because of his immigration policies and his opposition to losing American jobs to China and Mexico. Donald Trump's message is not an exclusively white message. His campaign is resonating with blacks across Illinois and America.
In November, Trump won't be fighting for white jobs, black jobs or Latino jobs like Hillary will be. Donald Trump will be fighting for American jobs. He will likely have an ad running on prime time television talking about the massive loss of black jobs under Barack Obama, but his message will be one about unifying Americans rather than dividing them by class and color. Donald Trump will win the black vote by turning the old Democratic race war on its head and unifying all Americans under one common goal. Hillary will stick to race baiting and she will lose, because black Americans are tired of being used by Democrats to advance their racial agenda. This is something Donald Trump should start vocally exposing before November.