Even though Trump is a train wreck with a 70% unfavorability rating, Secretary Clinton may still have a difficult path to victory. Her unfavorable rating is at 55% which is not exactly a prescription for victory. The truth is that a big chunk of the electorate dislikes both candidates. And while there are other options – the libertarian slate, and the green party, for example, neither are expected to make much of an impact on the election and are currently polling in single digits.
Clinton supporters want Bernie to drop out and endorse her candidacy, but Bernie has vowed to continue “the revolution” and seems to be in no hurry to concede. His campaign has not gone so far as to call Clinton superdelegates to convince them to switch sides, but they have not yet said definitively that they won’t. Bernie clearly wants to use his leverage to extract as many concessions from Clinton and the DNC as possible, including the removal of Wasserman Schultz as party chair, and commitments to progressive positions on the platform such as the $15/hr minimum wage and a single-payer universal health care system. The problem is that Bernie doesn’t have as much leverage as he may think. In fact, there is no reason for the DNC and Clinton to appease him any longer. He has lost, fair and square; there’s no chance that he will become President unless Clinton names him as her VP and something happens to her, which is a highly unlikely scenario. And, in terms of the electoral map, Clinton doesn’t need ALL of Bernie’s supporters to flock to her anymore. It’s really on them as to whether they would prefer Trump or Clinton.
Clinton, not Sanders, has all the leverage now. She has the entire DNC leadership behind her. She has the endorsements of key progressives such as Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown, both of whom are on her VP short list. The President, whose approval rating is at 55%, and the Vice-President will be on the campaign trail for her. She has a heavy-hitting cast of surrogates already on the trail, and frankly, doesn’t need Bernie. It would be nice, of course, to have him campaigning for her, but he won’t make the difference. She has a clear path to victory without his support. Even in the worst case scenario where HRC would lose the blue states that Bernie won during the primary season: Michigan, Wisconsin, Washington (the strange state with both a primary and caucus where she won the primary, but lost the caucus) Maine, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Hawaii, and Vermont, and lose all of the traditional red states, even the ones she won in a landslide in the primaries, she would still win the General election, granted by only 1 electoral vote. Tap on the link to see that hypothetical map.
Obviously, for Hillary to win, she needs to win the swing states she won in the primaries – Pennsylvania, Florida, Virginia, and Ohio. She could actually win without taking Pennsylvania and Florida, but it would require her to turn a few red states. Given the importance of Virginia and Ohio, I think it prudent for her to select either Tim Caine of Virgina or Sherrod Brown of Ohio as her running mate. I once thought HRC would need Elizabeth Warren on the ticket to appease Bernie Sanders, but she can win without his endorsement before the convention and without him persuading his supporters to vote for her, something I can’t see him doing even with an endorsement. The millennial Bernistas may or may not vote for her, but it won’t matter in the end. She’s got this. Unfortunately, for those who feel the Bern, the revolution may be with a small r and abbreviated to revo. The real revolution will have to wait.