"These American millennials don’t just dislike Washington politics they see it as corrupt and broken. Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton symbolises everything that represents, from her $225,000 speaking engagements to the email scandal and FBI investigation threatening to derail her campaign."
WHEN Donald Trump emerged victorious from the Super Tuesday ballot in March, what started as a joke candidacy left the GoP in disarray.
Leaders openly called for revolt but it had little effect. Trump’s campaign swept aside party preferred candidates like Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and ultimately Ted Cruz, as the reality TV star secured the delegates necessary to guarantee his name would be first on the Republican ticket.
Conservatives watched in horror and traditional Democrats were left feeling the 2016 presidency was theirs to lose.
The brash, aggressive, xenophobic and just plain offensive Trump might appeal to a section of right wing voters, but the rest of the country would surely throw their weight behind Clinton, once she secured the nomination from rival Bernie Sanders.
But that’s not what’s happening.
As The Donald sets his sights on Hillary she is still trying to fight off Sanders. While Clinton has all but sewn up the nomination, the self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders is not out of the race yet and is extremely popular with young voters.
More worryingly for the Democrats, recent polls show little to separate Clinton and Trump in a contest between the two.
The question is why? How many angry white men are there in America?
Backing for Trump is coming from some of the unlikeliest places. Dismissing his supporters, as poorly educated rednecks, is to misunderstand electoral sentiment in one of the most fascinating electoral campaigns to ever take place.
Instead his voting demographic is made up of groups as diverse as American Muslims for Trump. Despite the billionaire businessman’s threat to bar Muslims from the US, this small, but dedicated, group of Islamic voters want him to be their President. And they’re not afraid to show it, with a series of highly publicised appearances across US networks.
He is deeply unpopular with Hispanic voters after a cringe worthy pledge to build a wall along the Mexico/US border. Despite this, 23 per cent of the Latino communityare still willing to put his name on the ballot later this year.
But most surprising is the shift from the Democrat’s own back yard. Only 65 per cent of Bernie Sanders supporters say they’d vote for Clinton if she wins the nomination. But 20 per cent per cent go one step further, pledging support for Trump in a heads up battle.
So why won’t a large portion of the Sanders crowd, simply fall in line behind the party, if he loses the nomination?
The most obvious reason is a good portion aren’t actually Democrats.
Gallup polling from April shows more than 40 per cent of American voters identify as independents, with no affiliation to either mainstream group.
In Australia we vote for the party not the person. This American election has reminded international audiences it’s very much the other way round in the US.
That sentiment is clearly demonstrated by the growing #Bernieorbust movement. More than 100,000 Americans have pledged to write Sanders’ name on the ballot paper in November, regardless of who wins the nomination.
A potential donkey vote would be an understandable act of rebellion from an electorate sick of Washington and career politicians. But why would young, progressive voters, whose concerns include equality and the environment, choose an unpredictable, pro-life, climate sceptic for their next President?
Dig a little deeper and the differences between Trump and Sanders aren’t as great as first thought.
Trump may have captured the media’s attention with inflammatory remarks on everything from a woman’s period to the size of his penis, but these attention grabbing blunders mask much of Trump’s appeal to moderates.
Like Sanders, his central focus is the economy. Both men are fiercely anti free trade agreements, in particular the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They have both pledged to stop companies simply shutting down in the US and taking jobs off shore.
These policies resonate with young voters who are entering an unstable job market more in debt than ever before.
Both Sanders and Trump want higher earners to pay more income tax.
And they are both anti-establishment, which is bad news for Clinton as she attempts to woo Sanders core support.
These American millennials don’t just dislike Washington politics they see it as corrupt and broken. Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton symbolises everything that represents, from her $225,000 speaking engagements to the email scandal and FBI investigation threatening to derail her campaign.
He husband’s not helping either — last month Bill Clinton launched a bizarre attack on the very voters his wife needs to win over, blaming young Americans for the state of the US economy.