(Rich Galen, Mullings) – Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are “underwater” as it pertains to their favorable/unfavorable ratings.
The percentage of people who have a negative image of Clinton is in the mid-50s. Those who have similarly chilly feelings toward Trump are in the mid-to-high 60s, although in a Washington Post/ABC News poll released last week Trump’s unfavorable hit an unheard of level of 70 percent.
Clinton has been a major figure in American politics since the election of 1992 – probably two years before that when Gov. Bill Clinton broke onto the national scene. Let’s look at that. Someone eligible to vote (having achieved the age of 18) would have had to been born in 1974 or earlier.
Someone born in 1974 is, today, somewhere in the range of 42. They have known Hillary Clinton all of their lives and have been old enough have known of, followed, and made a guilty-not-guilty decision through each of them.
The problem that poses for Clinton is, a high percentage of the voting public has long since made up their minds about here and is not likely to change now.
Unless Donald Trump continues to make it difficult for those Clinton negative voters to say aloud (even rolling their eyes) “I’m voting for Trump” without fear of being thrown out of some of the finest bars and saloons in America.
Adding to Clintons problems – and her negatives – is the fact that Bernie Sanders, like a wasp on the deck outside your kitchen, simply won’t go away.
As long as he keeps campaigning whether against Clinton, against Trump, or both, it makes it difficult for his supports to make the shift from Bernie to Hillary.
After the Democrat National Convention, when Clinton is anointed, many will come home to the party’s nominee and we will likely see a sudden shift downward in her negatives.
Until then, she is swimming toward the light, trying to get her head – and her favorables – above water.
Trump is another matter. He is, as he says almost on a daily basis, his own man; his own candidate; his own strategist; his own EVERYTHING!
I have now been wrong about Donald Trump for more than a year.
In. A. Row.
He has done things that I have never before seen in my lifetime in politics and, as you may have heard, I was born way before 1974.
The #NeverTrump people who have morphed into the #AnybodyButTrump people, are to Trump as Sanders is to Clinton. They keep alive the notion that it is perfectly acceptable to be anti-Trump (or anti-Clinton).
Their problem is that it is very difficult to beat somebody with nobody. If this were an election in which the ballot said: “Shall Donald Trump of New York, Florida, and later this week, Scotland, be the President of the United States?” then having no one the #AnybodyBut side of the equation might work.
It hasn’t worked, so now the Anybody but Trump crowd is thumping the drums about changing the rules of the Republican National Convention and getting the delegates to vote for … anybody but Trump.
Two things: First, with the convention less than one month away, no one has poked his or her head up and said “I’m not Trump. I’m an anybody. Vote for me.” So that blank looms larger with every passing day.
Secondly, like it or not, Trump is correct when he says he got more primary votes than any Republican candidate in history: 13.4 million. And, as Trump has also said, he had to do that splitting the votes with more than a dozen actual candidates.
If the Republican establishment (of which I am a card-carrying member) tries to overrule the wishes of more than 13 million voters by rigging the system in Cleveland, that may be what spells the end of the GOP, not nominating Trump.
Still, it adds to the problem Trump is having with his negatives which continue to hover well into the political stratosphere.
Mr. Galen is a veteran political strategist and communications consultant. He blogs at www.Mullings.com.