White resentment and anger have dominated the political conversation leading up to the presidential primaries. Will they dominate the primary voting, and the general election? (More)

I’m Shouting, Part III: Will Anger Win? (Non-Cynical Saturday)

This week Morning Feature looks at the shouting that defines much of the 2016 presidential campaign. Thursday we looked at Donald Trump’s appeal to “Jacksonian” whites who feel left behind by a changing America. Yesterday we examined Bernie Sanders’ appeal to white liberals who feel left out by a changing Democratic Party. Today we consider whether white resentment will win in 2016.

For Democrats: Pragmatism over Purity

Physicist Niels Bohr probably borrowed the line “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future” from an earlier Danish writer. But it’s true, and you should take all of today’s predictions with a large grain of salt.

That said, I think Democratic voters will eventually value Hillary Clinton’s pragmatism over Bernie Sanders’ purity. Current polling averages show Clinton with a slight lead in Iowa, while Sanders is edging ahead in New Hampshire. And he should win New Hampshire. It’s home ground for Sanders, both geographically and demographically.

But then come states like South Carolina, where Clinton holds a 40-point lead, and Florida, where she leads by 35 points. And while there is no national presidential primary, her national lead is still 16 points.

Those numbers may tighten somewhat after Sanders’ New Hampshire win. But I doubt they’ll close that much, especially with Clinton likely to sweep the so-called SEC Primary with Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia voting on March 1st and Louisiana voting a few days later.

The secretaries of state in those states coordinated that in an attempt to boost their clout in the GOP primary. That may or may not work for their party, but that and the bandwagon effect will likely give Clinton an insurmountable lead in the Democratic primary race.

For Republicans: Umm….

As we saw last night in Campus Chatter, the GOP are in a full-fledged civil war this year. Had I written back in September, I would have predicted GOP pragmatists coalescing around Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio against the puritans’ choice of Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.

But Bush is stuck in the mid-single digits – perhaps the most expensive dud in political history – and Rubio only barely tops 10%, depending on the poll. So …

… bizarrely …

GOP pragmatists are coalescing around Trump as puritans rally around Cruz.

Right now they’re neck-and-neck in Iowa, but Iowa is a caucus state and no one really knows how many Trump supporters will turn out on February 1st. And even if Cruz wins Iowa, Trump holds a commanding lead in New Hampshire, backed by a 14.5-point lead in South Carolina and an almost 20-point lead in Florida.

If this were Trump over Rubio, perhaps the GOP establishment would try to circle the wagons and go all-in to stop Trump. But they seem to hate Cruz even more than Trump … plus I doubt there’s anyone in the today’s GOP who knows how to arrange wagons in a circle. (Hint to GOP: Step one is to pull your heads out of the horses’ hindquarters, so you can find the wagons. Also, the horses are constipated. You’re welcome.)

Regardless, Trump and Cruz are merely peddling different flavors of white resentment and anger: plain moonshine vs. crabapple moonshine. So yes, it looks like anger will dominate the GOP primary campaign, right through to the end.

And I don’t think that will sell in November, especially if grassroots Democrats put the primaries behind us and rally around our nominee.

So those are my predictions. Now where did I leave the salt….


Photo Credit: Jayson Bradley


Happy Saturday!