Sanders Supporters' Next Moves Could Be Crucial For U.S. Presidential Race

What supporters of U.S. political outsider Bernie Sanders will do could be crucial for deciding who wins the White House race in 2016, experts said.

Though Sanders still refused to quit the nomination race after his rival Hillary Clinton has sealed the victory, the public's attention has already shifted to what his supporters will do next or whom they are going to vote for in the 2016 presidential race.

Clinton is eager to woo Sanders supporters, most of them are millennials who are fed up with politicians in Washington. They are also burdened by high student loans and are struggling to make ends meet seven years after the 2008 economic nose dive.

Some experts believe the Sanders crowd may well determine the outcome of the 2016 race to the White house.

"Although Bernie's name will not be on the ballot in November, his supporters could very well decide this election," Republican Strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua.

A large number of Sanders supporters are willing to back Clinton after Sanders finally quits the campaign, a recent poll found. But up to 20 percent of Sanders supporters said they are going to support Trump.

"The fact is that some (Sanders supporters) agree with Trump when it comes to trade and corporate donations in politics," O'Connell said.

That's why Trump in recent weeks seems to be echoing Sanders, lambasting the political system as rigged, as Sanders often does, experts noted.

"He's trying to get as many of Bernie's supporters as possible," O'Connell said.

Read more from Matthew Rustling at Xinhua

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Trump’s Dilemma: Moving To The Center Could Alienate His Base

There’s an obvious effort underway within the Republican Party to civilize Donald Trump, or at least to drag him into compliance with the most basic norms of first-world political discourse. It may or may not be successful in the end, but either way, it bodes ill for the Republican Party in the coming election because of the way Trump has engineered his primary success.

Barring a seismic shift in the GOP nominating process, the man who will carry the party’s banner into November won by appealing to the grievances of a segment of the party that is generally older, whiter, and less educated than the rest of the Republican electorate.

Republican strategist Ford O'Connell agreed that the event was not Trump's best moment. "Trump's supporters like him not because they agree with all of his positions but because of what he represents, which is a giant middle finger to the establishment wing of the GOP and to DC politics as usual. For Trump to succeed in this election he doesn't need to be as scripted and subdued as he was in Tuesday night's speech. In fact, Trump can be as outspoken and colorful as he wants so long as he stays 'on message.'"

And while that message includes attacking presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and telling GOP voters how he plans to improive their lives, O'Connell added, "He does not need to go down rabbit holes after federal judges or airing personal grievances that are not related to [those] two items."

Read more from Rob Garver at The Fiscal Times

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GOP On Edge Over Donald Trump’s ‘Un-American’ Remarks About Judge

Donald Trump ended the primary season Tuesday much as he began it: engulfed in controversy over his brash personality and controversial remarks about Mexicans.

As the final GOP voters cast presidential primary ballots in California and four other states, Mr. Trump was trying to put out fires he ignited after he said a federal judge was biased because of his Mexican heritage.

The billionaire businessman said his comments were being “misconstrued,” but panic was setting in among fellow Republicans who were bracing for a general election tied to an unpredictable candidate.

“If you said two years ago that Donald Trump was going to be the presumptive nominee and running away with the race, you probably would have been committed to a mental institution,” said Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist who worked on Sen. John McCain’s 2008 campaign. “And yet here we are, and part of what has given rise to Trump is an absolute disdain for Washington, D.C., politics and the establishment of the Republican Party.”

Read more form Seth McLaughlin at The Washington Times

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Trump’s Endorsement Of Renee Ellmers Stokes Conservatives’ Fears

Donald Trump’s endorsement of Rep. Renee Ellmers in North Carolina sent shock waves through the likely GOPpresidential nominee’s supporters over the weekend, stoking new fears about his political reliability after the first person he backed has a record diametrically opposed to him on immigration.

Mrs. Ellmers has been one of the House GOP’s staunchest supporters of legalizing illegal immigrants, and voted against Republicans’ efforts last year to stop President Obama’s deportation amnesty.

Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist, said Mr. Trump’s move may look odd on its face, but strategically it makes sense: Many of the anti-Ellmers groups, such as the conservative Club for Growth, were already opposed to Mr. Trump, so his endorsement doesn’t cost him anything there.

And besides, Mr. Trump gets to show loyalty to a embattled congresswoman, at a time when he’s looking to connect with female voters, Mr. O’Connell said.

“Donald Trump is looking at this from a national perspective and right now he needs to get as many friends on board as possible, even ones he may disagree with,” the strategist said.

Read more from Stephen Dinan at The Washington Times

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Donald Trump Might Have A Twitter Problem

Before he began holding mass rallies, Twitter was Donald Trump's secret weapon for connecting with ordinary Americans in 140-character increments. He acquired millions of followers as a celebrity businessman and reality TV star before he was even active in politics.

Can Hillary Clinton turn that weapon against him? The Democratic front-runner is going to try. In what was billed as a major foreign policy address, Clinton lashed out at her Republican counterpart's social media habits, making them a key part of her critique of his temperament.

Does Trump have a Twitter problem? Like the rest of his riffing and risk-taking, his prolific use of social media websites to express unfiltered and occasionally ill-advised opinions worries Republicans who fear he will commit online blunders at the height of a campaign in which the GOP has little margin for error.

Clinton plans to use Trump's Twitter rants as Exhibit A in her case that he is too unhinged to be president of the United States. "She doesn't know what's going to work," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told the Washington Examiner, so she is "throwing the kitchen sink" at Trump.

"Each new tweet is starting a new messaging avenue," O'Connell said. "It's ingenious, but it's not a science."

Read more from W. Jim Antle III at The Washington Examiner 

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Five things Hillary Clinton Could Learn From Donald Trump

Hillary Clinton took a leaf out of Donald Trump’s book on Thursday, assailing the presumptive GOP nominee in unusually sharp and personal terms in a speech in San Diego.

It was an attack that thrilled Democrats, in part because it gave them some respite from doubts that had been growing about Clinton’s campaigning style.

The former secretary of State is temperamentally the opposite of Trump, and experts counsel that she should not try to ape the Manhattan businessman too closely, no matter how heated their expected general election battle becomes.  

But others argue that there are some elements of Trump’s approach that the Democratic front-runner could adapt for her own purposes.

Here are five lessons Clinton could stand to learn from Trump.

Seize the initiative 

Several experts who spoke to The Hill for this story noted that Clinton’s speech skewering Trump last week dominated the news — and that it was rare for the Democratic front-runner to do this with a story of her own making.

Compare that to Trump, whose entire campaign has revolved around his capacity to drive the news cycle. Democrats and Republicans alike suggested Clinton would help herself if she shifted from being reactive to the news to setting the agenda herself.

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell even drew attention to the contrasting ways in which Trump and Clinton used social media, particularly Twitter.

“He’s trying to generate headlines, and she is saying, ‘Oh, great speech with so-and-so.’ She can’t let him get too far ahead on that point.”

More broadly, O’Connell added, “basically she is chasing the news but he is generating the news. If you’re generating the news, you can drive the coverage. He can wag the media dog. She can’t.”

Read more from Niall Stanage at The Hill

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Bernie Sanders Shouldn't Surrender To The Democratic Party Machine

Bernie Sanders is correct both that the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination was rigged against him and that the chief culprit is Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

It goes far beyond the super delegate party regulars who support her almost unanimously and now make up most of her delegate lead. It goes beyond the near-riot at the Nevada state Democratic convention or even the closed nominating contests that favored Clinton even when the voters didn't. 

Party chairs are supposed to remain neutral in presidential races, but Wasserman Schultz, who served as co-chair of Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2008, has not been neutral at all. 

She sharply limited the number of debates and scheduled them for times when few were likely to watch, such as Saturday nights, to limit Clinton's exposure to attacks and deny her opponents name recognition. She entered into a joint fundraising agreement with the Clinton campaign in August 2015, then shut off Sanders' access to the party voter database last December, with the first primaries and caucuses just a few weeks out.

Read more from Ford O'Connell at U.S. News & World Report

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Experts: Audit Justifies FBI’s Push For Hillary Clinton Indictment

The scathing audit of Hillary Clinton’s use of a basement email server while secretary of state gives cover to the FBI chief as he weighs whether to push for an indictment against the Democratic presidential front-runner.

The 82-page report leaked yesterday — which found Clinton’s hard drive at her New York home broke federal standards and left sensitive material vulnerable to hackers — makes FBI Director James Comey’s recommendation to Attorney General Loretta Lynch that much easier, said GOP consultant Brad Marston.

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said the report helps the FBI’s decision by establishing whether Clinton’s server was attacked by hackers and whether the former secretary of state did keep all her emails on the server.

“If you’re a neutral arbiter like James Comey, you have to say, ‘Hats off. There’s actual proof,’ ” O’Connell said. “It gives him cover if he wants to pursue charges through the Department of Justice.”

The audit by the inspector general of the State Department said the private server was hacked in January 2011 and had to be shut off.

Read more from Brian Dowling at the Boston Herald

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What Those Polls Showing Trump Beating Clinton Really Mean

Republicans concerned that nominating Donald Trump could doom the party's chances of retaking the White House in November may be resting easier this week after several new polls showed Trump beating or nearly tied with Hillary Clinton in a head-to-head matchup.

A Fox News poll released last week was the first major poll in months to show Trump leading Clinton, 45 percent to 42 percent. A New York Times/CBS News poll had Clinton ahead by 6 points, down from a 10-point lead in their previous survey.

Two polls released over the weekend provide mixed results. A Washington Post/ABC News poll had Trump leading 46 percent to 44 percent among registered voters, but Clinton up by 6 among all adults. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll gave Clinton a 3-point lead, a big drop from an 11-point margin the previous month.

"I think this is a great sign for Donald Trump," GOP strategist Ford O'Connell said.

"Right now, for the next 10 weeks, Donald Trump's best asset is Bernie Sanders," O'Connell said. "And what he needs to do during that time is find a way to have more and more Republicans consolidate behind him." 

Read more from Stephen Loiaconi at Sinclair Broadcast Group 

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Hillary Clinton Hurt By Bernie Sanders’ Drive

Bernie Sanders’ persistence in the Democratic primary could give Donald Trump breathing room to build GOP support and take a crucial early lead on Hillary Clinton in the White House race, polls and experts suggest.

“Bernie Sanders is the biggest asset Donald Trump has right now,” said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell, noting that Trump’s recent release of a list of conservative potential Supreme Court nominees and outreach to conservatives has paid dividends in helping the businessman allay fears among the Republican rank and file.

Clinton, on the other hand, has slipped in the polling as Sanders continues to hammer away at her on the campaign trail, where he has vowed to stay until July’s Democratic convention despite being mathematically precluded from winning the nomination.

Sanders’ ongoing campaign not only delays Democratic unity, it also prevents top party surrogates like President Obama from stumping on Clinton’s behalf.

Read more form Kimberly Atkins at The Boston Herald

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