There are still several primaries left, including California, but Donald Trump is alone in the ring as a virtual Republican nominee, and Hillary Clinton remains the favorite to win the Democratic nomination.
It’s time to start talking about Clinton vs. Trump, a race that will last only a few months, but that will take decades to die down.
There’s no need for a crystal ball to imagine the topics, strategies and tone that a contest in the general election will have between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump: the signs are already everywhere and indicate that it will be a campaign more intensely disputed –and probably tougher and more negative- in recent years in the United States.
Here are some key elements that are already in play:
More Negative and Spineless
It cannot be otherwise with a candidate like Trump, whose strategy is to raze all, based on insults, attacks and a fighting rhetoric. Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, is no novice in politics and also can play cards from the negative campaign if needed, but Trump will be an easy target for her, so getting too dirty won’t be that necessary.
How do we know? Trump has been calling Hillary “crooked” from the start. This is an example of the things he says and has been saying for months, although he and the Clintons were friends before the campaign – ceasless contributions from Trump to their campaigns and even the Clintons attending his wedding with his current wife, Melania.
The Fear of a Trump Presidency
Hillary, meanwhile, has already begun focusing on Trump and on the fear and uncertainty that his potential presidency awakens in voters that she is interested to mobilize. Campaigns usually do research on what their opponents have said and done in the past to use it against them. But Hillary does not need to use more Trump public expressions.
Today, for example, this message from Hillary Clinton message came through social media channels: Could you imagine if Donald Trump were our Commander-in-Chief? Clinton already described him with the phrase “loose cannon.”
The Donald and “The Bern”
There is a theory that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump’s voters have something in common: they are dissatisfied with the political, economic and social system of the United States. Of course, ideologically, both are very different and it remains to see how much “crossover” can exist between a progressive and leftist campaign like Sanders’ and right-wing populist Trump.
What is clear is that Trump is looking for the disaffected left by Sanders, urging them to refuse to vote for Hillary. He has said on more than one occasion that the system is conspiring so the Vermont Senator does not become a candidate. Everything will depend also on Sanders and his attitude once the general election comes.
Hillary Will Defend Women and Minorities
“I will stand up and defend the people of this country, women and men, if it goes against women or against any group, I will be the voice of those people and I will say, wait a minute, we also contribute in this country,” Hillary said in a recent television interview. It was in response to a question about Trump’s statements regarding that she only had support for being a woman.
It is clear that Hillary will draw full advantage of her drag amongst women and minorities, something particularly easy in contrast to Trump, who never misses an opportunity to say things that do not leave him in good standing with those communities.
Parties, likewise, will struggle as they have other contests to fight in November, including Senate and Congress, and governors and state legislators.
Democrats Emphasize Trump’s Divisiveness
The Democratic Party has the goods more than just the presidency; they would only have to win four more seats in the US Senate to take back the control of the Senate. There are even those who think they can move forward in the House, where Republicans have a stronger advantage.
Several of the states where there are important congressional races have a profile of voters that, if mobilized, they can help Democrats: Nevada, Florida, Colorado, Arizona. In the southern United States, the African American vote will be key and the Latino vote in the west and key states. Democrats know it and it will squeeze the most of Trump’s statements towards women, minorities and other groups.
Republicans: “Anyone” but Hillary
Republicans, meanwhile, finally accepted Trump as its nominee (at least the central committee of the party, the RNC), whose president said this yesterday: “Trump is the virtual one name; we must unite and focus in defeating Hillary.”
Republicans will attack Hillary, hoping his negative image among some voters is worse than Trump, which is saying something. But nothing will be easy for Republicans, who have big differences among them on the path to follow from now on.
Mobilizing Opinion Leaders
Need to see how the unit of the parties works. For now, though Bernie Sanders is still in the race and appears to have every intention of remaining so that his message is not diluted, other prominent Democrats are expressing their intention to do everything possible to defeat Trump. And the language they are using is strong enough.
See what former governor and who until recently was Democratic presidential candidate, Martin O’Malley, who called Trump “racist and fascist through Twitter”:
Or the popular Senator Elizabeth Warren, a progressive Democratic Party figure that can be compared, in ideas, with Bernie Sanders and many believe could be a candidate for vice president. Warren has not supported neither Bernie nor Hillary, but she has spent days lambasting Donald Trump through Tweeter. Today she made it clear she will do “whatever it takes” to defeat him.
After a series of messages on Twitter and Facebook in which she called Trump anything but nice (“narcissistic” and “nonsense” policies), Warren said:
There are Republicans who are already warning they will vote for Hillary or abandon their registration in the party.
For example, Mark Salter, who was a close adviser for Arizona senator and former presidential candidate John McCain, said he will vote for Hillary because he hates Trump.
Republican senator Lindsay Graham, from South Carolina, proclaims publicly his hatred for Trump and predicted that his party will resoundingly lose when they nominate the tycoon.
We can expect more of the same during the campaign: rhetoric, attacks, and accusations of racism and sexism, many of which will have a solidly based and probably very little attention to the substance of the ideas of both campaigns.