(Rich Galen, Mullings) – We now see what the Hillary Mafiosi will be doing between now and November. They will be feeding “Why haven’t you reported on this (whatever ‘this’ is) recently?” to the press corps.
This week the marching orders were “Why haven’t you reported on why Donald Trump hasn’t released his tax returns, recently?”
Do you really think that every editor in every newsroom in Washington awoke on Tuesday thinking maybe it was time to revisit the tax return issue?
Maybe. But, not bloody likely.
That’s not what I want to discuss with you today.
You might have noticed that Bernie Sanders won the Democrat West Virginia Primary Tuesday night by about a 51-36 margin. That’s fifteen percentage points over Her Majesty, Secretary Hillary Clinton.
Trump scraped out a victory on the R side with 77% of the vote in West Virginia but that’s off topic.
Of the most recent 10 (not counting Guam) primaries and caucuses on the D side, Bernie Sanders has won five of them: Wyoming, Wisconsin, West Viginia, Rhode Island, and Indiana.
If more states started with a “W”, Sanders would have the nomination locked down.
As the cable chat shows are fast (and correct) to point out, because of the way delegates are distributed on the Democrat side, once you’ve fallen behind it’s almost impossible to catch up.
Add to that the matter of the Super Delegates who get to choose who to support, and Bernie has virtually no chance of catching Clinton.
One of the long-held concepts in Presidential primary politics is this: Everyone has a favorite when the flag is dropped. In 2016, there were 17 candidates to choose from.
As those candidates run out of steam (and money) they leave the race and his or her backers move on to someone still in the game.
When Jeb Bush dropped out, and a significant amount of his inside-the-beltway support shifted to John Kasich. Bush didn’t have all that much support to start with, so it didn’t cause either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz to make a major course correction.
To keep on with the history, typically at some point there is a last candidate standing and there are two or three months for every supporter of every other candidate to come to grips that their guy (or gal) didn’t make it and they begin to rationalize why they are going to support the nominee.
I know that Trump touches political nerves we didn’t know we had, but in spite of the press corps trying to salvage some semblance of disorder at the GOP convention in July, that is the process Republicans all over the nation are going through right now.
Shifting our focus to the Hillary Clinton/Bernie Sanders race, that is not happening. There is no rapprochement between the two camps.
Barring an indictment, Clinton is still likely to be the Democrats’ nominee, but Sanders is not (with apologies to Dylan Thomas) going “gentle into that good night,” but continues to “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
That “raging” means that Sanders’ supporters will not be looking for reasons to fall in love with Hillary between now and the Democrat’s convention in Philadelphia. But they will be exhorted by Sanders to diminish her.
When she is nominated in July it will likely be after some grinding arguments in the Platform Committee and maybe on the floor.
The Olympics run from August 5 though August 21 which often takes the spotlight off the candidates meaning it will be difficult for Clinton to make headway in convincing Sanders supporters to get up after the swimming competition and knock on some doors.
The primary voting season goes through June 7 with California, New Jersey and four other states followed by the District of Columbia on June 14.
Clinton is not closing this out by winning state after state.
In fact, that sound you hear is the backup alarm as Clinton is backing into this nomination.
Mr. Galen is a veteran political strategist and communications consultant. He blogs at www.Mullings.com.