Tuesday, February 23, 2016

trump-sanders -- a ticket in the wings

I have fallen through the looking-glass.

It may simply be that my life in Mexico isolates me from the political world in The States. Or, everything political I have learned is simply without value these days.

One of the first things I do when I get up each morning is to take a look at the day's polls on RealClearPolitics. In years past, I could have predicted what most of the polls would show.

Not this year. The duel phenomena of angry candidates (Trump and Sanders) have completely changed all of my predictions.

I thought Trump was politically dead with his inartful (or so I thought) illegal Mexican immigrants comment. His assertion that Mexico would have to pay for the wall was proof that the guy had no idea what he was doing.

I was wrong. And I guess I should have known better. Anger over illegal immigrants tops the polls in the minds of many voters. And it tops the polls with people who are agen' it. Trump knew exactly what he was doing.

As he has about all of the other mean-spirited comments he has tossed around like Sanders would toss around tax money. The old rules just do not apply to either one of them.

When potential Trump voters are asked whether they agree with Trump's positions, the usual answers are that voters like the fact that he is a celebrity, a successful businessman, that he cares about the same things they care about -- or, my favorite: they are as mad as hell and they are not going to take it any more.

I have spent several months writing reports that start with "when Trump stumbles." I would then go on to assess who would get the nomination.

The problem is I do not know were else he could stumble. He seems to be in the same category as former governor Edwin Edwards who claimed: "The only way I can lose this election is if I am caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy." But I guess we have already been down that road.

So, what is it that caused me to break Mexpatriate's rule to rarely comment on politics? This morning's polls from North Carolina.

Now, North Carolina is not the state it once was. It has made its way into the twenty-first century as a forward-looking state. But forward-looking with a somewhat conservative bent. And I doubt anyone would claim that Bernie Sanders has anything that leans to the right.

In a hypothetical match-up for the November election, SurveyUSA shows a tie between Sanders and Trump (at 44% each). But, I used the term "conservative" a moment ago. There is nothing politically conservative about Trump.

Ted Cruz is a conservative. No one will dispute that. The same poll shows him losing to Sanders by 4% (46-42). This is not some granola-eating state. It is North Carolina.

And, yes, I know, these match-ups are a bit like any fantasy poll ("If you could choose, would you marry Sofia Vergara or Brad Pitt?"). No one has any skin in the game yet.

But there is something going on. For North Carolina to show that much support for the self-proclaimed prophet of American social democracy is -- well, jarring. No matter whether or not you support Sanders for president.

And here is a little scenario that will keep some of you up at night. Trump wins the Republican nomination; Sanders loses to Clinton. Trump then chooses Bernie to be his vice-presidential candidate. For Trump, it will be the angry man's ticket. For Sanders, it will be the angry every-conceivable-gender ticket.

Remember. You heard it here first.

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