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“The Sunday Political Brunch”—May 15, 2016

Sunday, May 15, 2016


The Presidential campaign blew through West Virginia this week, and will be in our region again when Kentucky votes on Tuesday. One thing I have learned over the years is that momentum is a tremendous political asset and a tough thing to stop. Let’s “brunch” on that this week:

“The Poll Dance” – This will shock you. In an age when we are polled to death about such things as the Presidential campaign, there are virtually no polls on the State of Kentucky. I’m serious! Public Policy Polling did a survey in June of 2015 which had these results: Hillary Clinton, 56 percent; Bernie Sanders, 12 percent; Jim Webb, 7 percent; Lincoln Chafee, 5 percent; and Martin O‘Malley at 3 percent. Obviously things have changed dramatically in the past 11 months. So why is no one polling Kentucky? Odd!

“Divided Loyalties” – CBS News did exit polling in West Virginia this week, and the results were nothing less than shocking. An unbelievable number of Bernie Sanders supporters here – a whopping 44 percent – said they will vote for Donald Trump in November if Hillary Clinton in the Democratic nominee. That’s the highest of what I call the “Backlash Factor,” recorded so far in any state in the nation. Also, 35 percent of Democrats polled said they don’t believe Clinton can beat Trump in November. Wow!

“Common Sense” – While the above statistics shocked me, I don’t believe them. I call it the “Sour Grapes” factor, in which people are angry now, but their emotions may ease by November. I suspect many Sanders supporters will ultimately support Hillary Clinton. But, the big concern is not 44 percent voting for Trump, but rather that huge numbers of Sanders supporters will simply stay home and not vote at all. Voter discontent is a much more powerful phenomenon than people crossing party lines. This has to deeply worry the Clinton camp.

“Voice of the People” – I do a lot of streetside interviews for my stories because they add color and context to politics. I’ve heard a lot of discontent from party loyalists on both sides this year. This comment is fairly typical: "I'm a Democrat, but I'm not going to vote Democratic this year. I am going to vote for Trump," said voter Robert McVicker from West Virginia. There’s just a sea of discontent out there.

“Overconfidence vs. Smug” – Last week I wrote about Democrats being overconfident about this election and Republicans being smug. Those are tactical dangers on both sides, given the voter volatility this year. One of the political analysts I respect most is Political Science Professor Robert Rupp, of West Virginia Wesleyan University. This week he told me: "In this election, all of the rules have been suspended. This is a very unusual situation; and what we’re going to find, particularly, is that both major candidates have very high negatives, so we don’t know where this thing is going to turn out in six months."

“An Age of Discontent” -- Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders have almost nothing in common politically except that they have stirred up a public that is tired of politics as usual. "The fact that the Obama administration has let this [national] debt go to almost 20 trillion dollars has everybody upset," said voter Dick Holmes. Another voter who did not want to give her name said pessimistically, "Politics can't change the bad times we are living in right now."

“All Politics is Local” – That was the frequent saying of the late House Speaker Tip O’Neill, and there may be a lot of truth to it. The “outsiders” won here in West Virginia Tuesday night. Donald Trump won the GOP primary with 77 percent of the vote, with a lot of coal-miner support (photo above); and Bernie Sanders bested Hillary Clinton 51 to 36 percent. But locally, in all of the races for State House of Delegates and State Senate, only one incumbent was defeated.

“Speaking of Local” – Being on the wrong side of a local or regional issue can be poison. Back in March, Hillary Clinton said, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business;” but then she offered a plan to retrain workers displaced in the energy transformation. The public simply wasn’t buying it. Clinton, who beat Barack Obama here eight years ago by 42 percentage points, was crushed in the 2016 primary by many of her former supporters. "I've not been in the coal mines, but my dad was years ago. And I think they need help," said voter Nancy McVicker of Nitro, WV.

“Eyes on Oregon” – Kentucky isn’t the only place voting this week. Oregon holds a primary Tuesday. The latest polls have Clinton up 48 percent to 33 percent for Sanders, with a large number of voters still undecided. But if Clinton wins both Oregon and Kentucky, she steals the momentum back from Sanders, who has won 19 of the last 25 contests (even though Clinton took a lion’s share of the delegates and super delegates).

“Why All of This Matters” – Three weeks after these latest primaries, Clinton and Sanders will face off on June 7 in California and New Jersey, as well as several other states. If she wins both California and New Jersey, she seals the nomination. If he wins at least one of these states, he stirs major doubts about her viability in November. Stay tuned!

What are your thoughts? Bernie or Hillary, and why? Just click the comment button at: http://www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.


Related Slideshow: Presidential Candidate’s Social Media - 2016

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Trump Facebook

5.73 Million

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Trump Twitter

6.19 Million 

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Trump Klout

88 Score 

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Cruz Facebook

1.9 Million 

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Cruz Twitter


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Cruz Klout

89 Score

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Rubio Facebook

1.28 Million 

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Rubio Twitter

1.17 Million 

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Rubio Klout

81 Score 

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Kasich Facebook


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Kasich Twitter


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Kasich Klout

87 Score 

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Bush Facebook


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Bush Twitter


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Bush Klout

80 Score

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Carson Facebook

5.07 Million

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Carson Twitter

1.13 Million

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Carson Klout

80 Score 

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Clinton Facebook

2.46 Million 

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Clinton Twitter

5.4 Million 

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Clinton Klout

94 Score 

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Sanders Facebook

3.10 Million 

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Sanders Twitter

1.44 Million

Prev Next

Sanders Klout

84 Score 


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