What if we held a national election, and everybody lost? The 2016 Presidential campaign raises that question big-time.
The most recent political poll taken by the Pew Foundation just a few days ago showed of the five remaining candidates, only one, the one with the least chance of winning a nomination, John Kasich had more people who believed he would be a great or good President than a poor or terrible one. 33 percent rated Kasich as good or great, just 20 percent thought he’s be poor or worse.
Bernie Sanders broke even…36 percent good or great 36 percent poor to terrible…and the rest? Hillary Clinton got favorable marks from 33 percent, bad ones from 46 percent; Ted Cruz, 29 percent thumbs up, 36 percent thumbs down, and Donald Trump –good or great 26 percent, poor of terrible 59 percent, and 44 percent said terrible.
The explanation of these disparaging judgments, Pew says, many more Americans have been paying close attention to this Presidential race than four or eight years ago.
What they’ve seen has indeed been appalling. Start with the rhetoric, by far the nastiest since broadcast media began making campaign bloviation universally available. Pew found 68 percent of the people they polled thought personal attacks should have no place in politics. A majority of each of the candidates’ supporters says this. The exception? Not hard to guess…Donald Trump’s cohort is split almost down the middle on whether the spew of ugly picture, shirt fingers, and schoolyard names is acceptable.
Will that judgment matter in November? Will this one? 54 percent said the Republican Party has become too radical. Only 37 percent put the radical label on the Democrats. As to who cares about the middle class, the Democrats got 61 percent support to 41 percent for the G.O.P.
Could another big hinge election be coming in which the Republicans lose not only for President but in the House and Senate?
No one has chronicled the self-mutilation of America’s two big political parties more sharply than our guest today, author Thomas Frank, whose new book, Listen, Liberal aims fire at the Democrats, as his What’s the Matter with Kansas and The Wrecking Crew blasted the Republicans.