Sunday, March 27, 2016

How Did This Happen?

Elizabeth Drew

The first half of March 2016 may well go down as the turning point in this election and one of the most consequential periods in the history of nomination politics. It could presage the death of the traditional Republican Party and the birth of a third party. For the Democrats, it may show that the party’s split runs deeper than many have recognized. The events of these weeks may also finally establish that Donald Trump—who won three of four states on Tuesday, March 8—is no passing phenomenon, though Republican elders are still plotting to stop him.

Bernie Sanders’s upset of Hillary Clinton in Michigan Tuesday was another in the ever-growing series of unexpected twists in this election year. Contrary to the wisdom that Sanders couldn’t win an industrial state because Clinton had a lock on African Americans, Clinton won less than two-thirds of Michigan’s black vote—a major difference from her performance in southern states. (On Tuesday, she roundly defeated Sanders in Mississippi.) It turned out that the trade issue had particular salience in Michigan. Throughout his campaign, Sanders had been charging that deals such as NAFTA, negotiated by Bill Clinton’s administration, and the TPP, which Hillary Clinton had been slow to oppose, cost too many workers their jobs. But he gave it new emphasis in Michigan.

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