Both major party conventions took place earlier on the calendar than in previous years which leaves more time for the battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to play out before November. In 2012, for example, the Republican convention was held the last week in August, while the Democrats pushed into September. As it stands now, we have over 100 days of campaigning until November 8th, 2016.
Politico provides a nice summation for our starting point:
“Love trumps hate,” came the cheers from the crowd, only days after Donald Trump’s Republican convention echoed with chants of “Lock her up!”
But as the 102-day general election starts, the reality is that both parties, saddled with two of the most unpopular presidential nominees ever, are bracing for one of the ugliest and most divisive races in modern history. And with Trump’s penchant for the unpredictable, a contest that has already stretched the boundaries of traditional American political discourse is unlikely to become more civil.
But the back-to-back conventions portrayed two parties that seemed at times as though they were speaking to and about entirely different countries. The Republicans featured families of people killed by illegal immigrants; the Democrats featured the children of the undocumented who live in fear in the shadows. The Republicans complained of a rising tide of crime; Democrats bragged about a rising tide of health care coverage. Democrats embraced “black lives matter”; Republicans celebrated “blue lives matter.”
Trump, whose latest book was called “Crippled America,” said in a statement Thursday that, “Democrats have been speaking about a world that doesn’t exist.”
“A world where America has full employment, where there’s no such thing as radical Islamic terrorism, where the border is totally secured, and where thousands of innocent Americans have not suffered from rising crime in cities like Baltimore and Chicago,” he said.
Democrats are thrilled to be occupying sunnier high ground.
“When I look at our American history, hope has always trumped fear,” Tom Perez, the secretary of labor who was considered by the Clinton campaign as a potential running mate, said in an interview. “His campaign is to prey on people’s fears and that doesn’t work.”
The strategy is not without risk.
We now start the general election season with both major candidates claiming that the other one shouldn’t be allowed to receive national security briefings, and both could arguably have valid points. Jill Stein, nominee of the Green Party, spent the week outside the Democratic convention imploring Bernie fans to join her bandwagon, much the same way that Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee, has been asking of Republicans. This could be a year where the third-party candidates both share a decent chunk of the vote.
One other bombshell waiting in the wings is the possibility that Mitt Romney could deliver Trump the ultimate snub by endorsing Gary Johnson for President.
Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson says he has discussed a possible endorsement with Mitt Romney.
“We have spoken with him,” Johnson said during a USA TODAY Newsmaker event in Philadelphia Thursday. The former New Mexico governor acknowledged, however, that it’s not easy to endorse someone from another party.
“I appreciate how someone who has been an elected Republican or Democrat or is elected in those positions, how difficult it is to cross over that line. So I respect that, and I respect those individuals on their own accord making those decisions,” Johnson said.
Earlier Thursday on CNN, Johnson said that Romney was considering the possibility of endorsing him and his running mate, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld.
An endorsement like that could certainly open up some donor support for Johnson, though he has hurdles as most conservatives and Republicans do not support the Libertarian approach to marijuana legalization. However, it’s another facet in this wild election year to keep an eye on.
On a side note, be sure to check out the 2016 Presidential Debate Schedule and mark them a on your calendar.