I was driving, so I couldn’t just whip out a camera and take a picture, no matter how much I wanted to. But driving through New Hampshire, or maybe it was Vermont, I saw Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare.
Clinton should win the American presidential election by a landslide. That’s not only conventional political wisdom, it’s common sense. Not that commons sense always works in politics or voter intentions. Every time Clinton pulls ahead in the polls, Donald Trump closes the gap right afterward. (Of course popular vote isn’t the deciding factor; Electoral College votes will decide the presidency and the pollsters and pundits have her solidly ahead there.)
Vermont is the home state of Bernie Sanders, who almost managed to defeat Clinton and win the Democratic Party presidential nomination. Sanders is as close as a mainstream American politician can get to being a socialist. In Canada he would be mainstream, but in the US his ideas seemed to be from some sort of left-wing fringe. It should be safe to assume that Sanders supporters would follow his example and unite behind Clinton. She may be mainstream, but at least she’s not a Republican. Which is why the car in front of me, with the Sanders bumper sticker, was so revealing (and so scary for Clinton supporters).
Beside the Sanders bumper sticker was a new addition, a bumper sticker with the names of Republican presidential and vice-presidential candidates Donald Trump and Mike Pence.
Sanders and Trump would appear to be polar opposites. It is difficult to imagine how someone supporting Sanders would switch to Trump. But obviously it is happening.
Both men have successfully tapped into the sense of alienation that many Americans have been feeling. Both men have cast themselves as political outsiders. If Sanders supporters were tired of the establishment candidates, if they feel ignored and unheard, it makes a lot of sense that they would bolt from the Democrats to the Republicans. Donald Trump may be the devil incarnate, but his words are resonating with a lot of people who are tired with the status quo in Washington.
Hillary Clinton should be very thankful Donald Trump didn’t think to ask Bernie Sanders to be his running mate.