‘There are things that Trump does that they agree with, unquestionably…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) As the Democratic primary comes into focus, President Donald Trump’s campaign has set its sights on disaffected supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“They are not traditional, dyed-in-the wool Democrats, and therefore if the Trump people can make them mad at the Democratic Party, then they’re not liable to come out and vote, or they’re liable to come out and vote for the other guy,” Fran Coombs, managing editor at Rasmussen Reports told Just the News.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the longtime front-runner whose campaign had all but been written off after the first few primaries, surged ahead in the most recent rounds as traditional Democratic voters sought to play it safe.
While buoyed by South Carolina and other Southern states, Biden’s lead, which now stands around 150 delegates, was capped off by surprise routes in places like Michigan, where Sanders had hoped to establish momentum.
The election drama is still far from over, with Sanders promising a vigorous debate against the oft-befuddled Biden on Sunday and coronavirus panic introducing a new x-factor.
However, Trump now sees the opportunity to woo anti-establishment liberals who find the machine politics of the Democratic National Committee and the party’s elitist order a greater affront to democracy than the status quo.
“Bernie complained all along that he was getting the shaft from the establishment, much like the establishment tried to do to Trump,” Coombs said.
As reported by Just the News, one analysis conducted by University of Massachusetts-Amherst professor Brian Schaffner had determined that 12 percent of Sanders primary voters in 2016 wound up being crossover Trump voters.
Nationally, among those we can validate as voting in a prez primary and the general election, 12% of Bernie Sanders voters voted for Trump
— Brian Schaffner (@b_schaffner) August 22, 2017
Commenters to Schaffner’s Twitter thread pointed out the obvious: that many of those were likely protest votes against then-candidate Hillary Clinton, who colluded with the DNC to freeze out the Sanders campaign.
Even so, Coombs said that their lingering resentment still festered with the latest disappointment.
“Whether Bernie would have gotten the  nomination, who knows?” said Coombs. “But there’s a pretty compelling case that the Clinton campaign pulled strings to make sure that Hillary won. I think it’s smart for Trump and the Republicans to bring that up and pound on it.”
Another possibility in 2016 was that undeclared Republican backers had supported Sanders in the primary to sow chaos in the Democratic primary.
Doing so in the 2020 primary might have backfired. Although Biden typically has been cast by media allies as the greater threat to Trump, his waning cognitive functions, along with a raft of skeletons and scandals, pose considerable liability.
As Just the News observed, that likely will result in intense scrutiny being placed on Biden’s running-mate selection, something he has floated from early on in his campaign, signaling the wish for a woman, a minority or both.
“Among Democrats, demographics are not destiny—they are informative, not determinative,” wrote Emmanuel, who appeared to advocate that Biden tack right to court his own crossover voters.
Just the News noted recent speculation from pundits like Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano that one option might be former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who challenged Trump in the 2016 GOP primary before becoming a fierce critic.
The dynamics of pitting the iconoclastic incumbent against two figures from the political establishment would, at the very least, make for a compelling general election race.
Although Trump has been framed as the figurehead of the GOP, the rabid opposition from NeverTrump critics like Kasich underscores the way he has broken rank with the party’s traditional platform and, effectively, helped to reinvent Republicanism.
“If you go back and look at [George W.] Bush taking us into the Iraq War, the right and the left, the Pat Buchanan conservatives, the ‘paleo-conservatives,’ were dead set against the invasion,” Coombs said. “‘We’re a lousy empire, we shouldn’t go in,’ and they were in complete agreement with the ‘Mother Jones’ crowd on the left.”
Interestingly, Trump—who considered a 2000 run against Bush as the Reform Party candidate before Buchanan ultimately secured the nomination—was among those criticizing the last Republican office-holder.
In that regard, Biden (despite radically shifting many of his positions to the Left) may be more aligned with Bush and Trump more aligned with Bush’s detractors, marking a complete 180-degree political shift.
Coombs questioned, however, whether progressive radicals would be quick to cast off their allegiances, and their disdain for the current president.
“There are things that Trump does that they agree with, unquestionably,” she said. “Whether they can overcome ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’ and vote for the guy, that’s another story.”