The quintessential question of 2016 has yet to be posed to anyone in a poll.
The simple query: Are you for or against the establishment? underlies the entire presidential campaign this year.
Had the question been asked of Republican primary voters at the outset, Donald Trump’s spectacular performance would have been easily predicted.
Had anyone thought to ask Democrats that question the day before Bernie Sanders announced, it would have been obvious his 3% standing in the polls would escalate. Indeed, it would even have portended Bernie fighting Hillary Clinton to a virtual draw.
Nothing has changed but the date. The voters are still bent on wreaking havoc upon the political establishment. The political pundits are still trying to explain Trump and Sanders in terms of previous election cycles. The media is parading Trump and Sanders critics before their audiences on a daily, if not an hourly, basis.
The most irrelevant political operatives and talking heads are sought for their takes on how Clinton will defeat both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.
And the pollsters are still refusing to ask the question that will reveal who will take the White House in November.
It wasn’t supposed to happen this way for Republicans or for Democrats. Establishment political heir Jeb Bush was supposed to bury all comers with his vast war chest and stable of endorsers. Democratic queen-in-waiting Hillary Clinton was to be offered the crown at the Democratic convention, after sweeping the primaries across the country. Her millions from Wall Street and Super Pacs and virtually every Democratic office holder of note in the country were all in her corner.
It was to be Bush v Clinton. Again.
And the political establishment couldn’t lose that race, as they owned them both.
Then Trump and Bernie happened.
Trump has cinched the Republican nomination. Bernie threatens to take the fight against Hillary to the convention floor, and in doing so demonstrating the hackneyed political system that Clinton represents.
The establishment is desperate. They only control Hillary. Neither Trump nor Sanders is beholden to them.
The game plan is to circle the wagons around Hillary.
And we can see it being done daily. It started with Charles Koch, one of the leading advocates of dismantling safety nets, environmental laws, labor unions. Koch wants to mine, drill, log, hunt, on federal lands and in National Parks. He wants to abolish the EPA, the Department of Education, the Post Office. And his support of Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump signaled the establishment to line up behind her.
If the race is between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the race will be between an anti-establishment outsider and an establishment insider.
In this year’s political climate, the election is Trump’s to lose.
Trump must merely keep this question in the voter’s minds:
Are you for or against the establishment?
Hillary will not like the answer.
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