The current brand of presidential politics has created a historic campaign season that has surprised political experts and the Washington establishment, Dr. John Green told an audience today at the 2016 Power Players Luncheon at the Ritz-Carlton in Cleveland.
“In my career, I’ve never seen a presidential nominating campaign like this one,” Green said at the event, presented by Smart Business magazine. Green is director of The Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at The University of Akron.
Donald Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders have ridden a surprising wave of anger against so-called establishment candidates, Green said. “I didn’t see it coming either.”
Ohio’s March 15 primary was critical to both Gov. John Kasich and Hillary Clinton but for different reasons, he pointed out. Ohio’s governor had to carry his own state to continue in the GOP race, and Clinton had to regain the momentum she lost when Sanders beat her in Michigan on March 8.
“Kasich and Clinton came into Ohio with must wins,” Green said. “A week ago, Clinton was surprised in Michigan. The Clinton campaign had already begun looking forward to the campaign in the fall. That’s a mistake.”
“For both parties, if you carry Ohio, that bodes very well for the fall election,” he added.
Now, both the Republicans and Democrats can expect a protracted battle for their party’s respective nomination before the summer conventions.
The Republican establishment faces a critical decision, as it has to determine if it will support Trump, particularly if he comes to the GOP convention in Cleveland just short of the 1,237 delegates required for the nomination.
”The GOP leadership has yet to sort itself out,” Green said. The decision could lead to a contested convention that could damage the Republican Party.
“Donald Trump has the potential to scramble the usual electoral coalitions that we have in the United States,” Green added.
Among Green’s other observations on Trump:
- He is effective at using social media: “Donald Trump is a better Tweeter than any other candidate.”
- He has an ability to overcome seeming adversity and bad publicity: “He just seems to shrug everything off.”
- His campaign represents a decline in the nation’s civil discourse: “It may well be that America has reached a point of greater tolerance for disrespectful discourse. More and more, people are rewarded for breaking those kinds of rules.”
- “This is an unusual candidate, who whether rightly or wrongly, and I think wrongly – is being held to a very different set of standards.”