By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) When Donald J. Trump jumped into the 2016 presidential race as a Republican candidate, the collective roar of laughter in ‘official Washington’ and within the GOP establishment could be heard on the opposite coast.
But then, something very strange and unpredictable happened on the way to Election Night: Trump not only captured the Republican Party nomination, he won the general election.
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Yes, yes, Hillary won “the popular vote,” but it was all due to California’s vote tally and besides, we don’t elect presidents by popular vote.
In the three years since, Trump has solidified his grip on a party that never wanted him to represent it in the first place, and while scores of GOP members of Congress have ‘come around’ to the president, there is still a significant #NeverTrump faction within the Republican Establishment that hasn’t accepted him and never will.
Speaking of which, the same thing appears to be happening this year to the Democratic Party, if we’re to believe the polling data showing socialist/Communist Sen. Bernie Sanders rising to the top of the Left-wing heap.
In fact, had Hillary’s operatives within the DNC not rigged the outcome for her last time around, Sanders may have won the Democratic nomination outright; he was certainly headed in that direction. Had Sanders captured the Democratic nomination the same year Trump captured the GOP nomination, it would have represented a seminal moment in American politics: Two outsiders abscond with a nomination no one in either establishment foresaw, or wanted.
That could happen this year.
President Trump, of course, will remain the GOP nominee, and Sanders has another legitimate shot at taking the DNC nom, which leads us to a question: Is the century-old ‘two-party system’ in America reaching its conclusion, or are We the People merely taking back control of the two parties from the master planners and schemers who ‘run things’ from D.C.?
The Wall Street Journal notes:
The winner of the most Democratic presidential votes so far often rejects the label of Democrat. The Republican president, who is seeking re-election, belonged to the GOP for only about half of the 20 years before he won the White House.
Self-described democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders and President Trump rose in politics by developing strong personal brands, while keeping only tenuous ties to—and frequently criticizing the leaders of—the parties they later sought to lead.
Their ascents are the latest sign that the nation’s political parties have lost influence in choosing their own presidential nominees, a development that some party officials see as inevitable in the modern media environment and an era of billionaires funding their own campaigns, as Mr. Trump initially did and Democrat Michael Bloomberg is doing today. But it is one that they say has made politics more volatile and partisan.
“We’re organized around individual candidates and individual concerns. No one wants to be bothered with the party,” Tom Rath, a former Republican National Committee member and veteran of New Hampshire presidential primaries, told the paper.
“The parties are powerless right now and have been for a while,” added Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist. “With both parties, it’s personality- and candidate-driven, not party-driven.”
And yet, the national parties remain the major fundraising vehicle for whatever candidate emerges from bruising primaries — which means, national party leaders are always going to want to have some control, some voice, in saying who should be supported, as in, who should be ‘financed.’
It’s as clear today that the Democratic establishment does not want Sanders to win as it was when the GOP establishment shunned Trump four years ago. Party elders and powerbrokers have attacked him relentlessly. One of them his 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton, now rumored to be on the short list for Michael Bloomberg’s VP choice. Granted, Bloomberg was elected mayor of New York as a Republican, but he’s long since abandoned the party and certainly qualifies today as an ‘establishment’ figure; Clinton, of course, is the quintessential Democratic insider.
What seems to be equally clear is that Americans are fed up with being spoon fed milquetoast candidates who neither inspire nor deliver. Sanders hasn’t been president but he obviously inspires a growing faction of Democratic voters, hence his rise.
Trump inspired as well and since his election he has delivered on one campaign promise after another, solidifying his support among an electorate that admittedly took a big chance on him.
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Ergo, The Republican Party is, no question, his right now. And Republican voters are the ones who delivered it to him, against the wishes of the party masters who thought they, not the folks they claim to support, were ‘in charge’ of such decisions.
Will Democrat voters give their party to Bernie this year?
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