Friday, April 22, 2016

2016: back home again in Indiana.

Sen. Robert Kennedy Campaigning in Indiana (1968)
In 1968, Robert Kennedy demonstrated his threat to capture the presidency by winning the Indiana primary over Minnesota Sen. Gene McCarthy and Indiana Governor Roger Branigin, who as a stand-in for Vice President Hubert Humphrey campaigned strongly through every county and finished second. The wealthy Kennedy won because he picked up working class white and black votes, a crucial victory that nailed down his base of support.

In 2016, the Indiana primary again looks crucial -- this time for stopping Donald Trump’s reach for white working class votes that will secure his Republican nomination. The Wall Street Journal, concerned about Trump’s strength following his sweeping triumph in New York, but perhaps with hope outpacing reason, editorialized that
Cruz and Kasich . . . need to go into Cleveland with a credible claim on GOP voter support. As for Trump, his . . . insults and bullying have built a loyal base of support but also a firm opposition. Even with his New York triumph, he has won only 38% of the GOP vote. His negative favorability rating—65% in the latest WSJ/NBC poll—is unprecedented for a potential presidential nominee.
The WSJ bluntly adds that Cruz needs to win Indiana:
Cruz would do best now to leave next week’s eastern contests to Kasich and focus on Indiana May 3, Nebraska May 10, and California June 7. With its winner-take-all rules, Indiana is now make-or-break for the Texan—and maybe for Trump too. Indiana Governor Mike Pence, a stalwart conservative running for re-election this year, will have an excruciating decision to make on whether to endorse a candidate or stay neutral. He’ll make some Republicans unhappy either way.
As a measure of just how unhappy the Wall Street Journal truly is about the Republican turn toward Trump, just listen to the paper’s columnist Peggy Noonan:
I literally put my hands to my face and sobbed, silently, for I suppose a minute. Because my country is in trouble. . . Because too much is being lost. Because the great choice in a nation of 320 million may come down to Crazy Man versus Criminal.
“Crazy Man versus Criminal.” Yuck.

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