Posting this for our non-USian friends who might want some "color commentary" on what's going on over here. Let me know if it isn't helpful.
The US elections are getting even more fiery.
Hillary Clinton's folks are getting some flak for spending $1 million to purchase the services of internet people whose sole purpose is to go online and astroturf. For the record, that's referring to creating "artificial grassroots" by planting people to post online as genuine supporters. The initiative is called "Correct the Record" - and it drew howls of derision from supporters of Donald Trump as well as Bernie Sanders. The Clinton folks rightly pointed out the double standard here, given that Sanders has paid out ten times that amount to similar initiatives, a fact which his supporters went very very quiet about when this was revealed.
The other bombshell on the Democrat side is that Sanders finally agreed in a public venue to support Hillary Clinton if she's the nominee, and to encourage his supporters to back her. This has led to some outrage in the Sanders camp, as many were expecting to write-in Bernie as a candidate, and some feel that his tacit support of Hillary is a betrayal of their support for him.
It's turning into a really weird set of coalitions: on one side we have the "Never Trump" people who will support ANYONE on the other side of the ticket to keep "The Donald" out of the White House. There's the usual chorus from left wingers saying they will up and leave the country in protest if Trump is elected: the same folks who were absolutely, completely and FOR REAL THIS TIME going to move to Canada if Bush was elected. And re-elected. Al Sharpton and Miley Cyrus have joined the usual chorus this time around, leading to the usual racist jokes about finally, we have a way to get rid of Al Sharpton. On the other side we have folks who absolutely will not, never, not in a million years support Hillary Clinton, and they aren't just dyed-in-the-wool rednecks who watch Fox news. Many of them are dedicated left wingers who hate Hillary's involvement in wars and coups over the course of decades, and her halving the wages of Haitian textile workers to support the garment lobby in the US. For them, Sanders represented to the Millennial generation what McGovern was to the Baby Boomers, and they're exceedingly bitter. Most will probably vote Hillary, but there's a vocal minority as I've said before who rightly say that Trump in many ways is the lesser of two evils.
To add fuel to that fire, one of the Koch Brothers came out publicly to say that Hillary would be a better choice for them than Trump.
Meanwhile on the Republican side, Ted Cruz and Kasich have formed an interesting anti-Trump alliance. Cruz will not contest Kasich in certain upcoming primaries, and Kasich will bow out of races that Cruz will more definitely win. Because both have been mathetmatically eliminated from winning that race by delegates - they're trying a Hail Mary pass to simply deny Trump his own majority which will force a brokered convention meaning that all bets are off and the RNC can nominate who it wants. They're not going to be able to win it, so they're just trying to ensure that nobody does, so that the RNC can anoint who it wishes after back-room dealing. And boy has there been blowback. Sean Hannity, the conservative talk show prince to Rush Limbaugh's King, has said openly that if they wrest the nomination from Trump with these kinds of shenanigans, he is done with the Republican party for good. This is huge, considering just how much water Limbaugh and Hannity have carried for that party for decades.
One of the main themes of this election has been a real hatred of "politics as usual" and Trump and Sanders have had levels of support that they would never have enjoyed previously based on that zeitgeist. This move has greatly angered supporters of both men in states where they've suddenly been disenfranchised - and many are planning on casting Trump votes in protest. Meaning that their Hail Mary pass, like many of them on the football field - might land squarely into the hands of the opposition.
This is a very weird polarizing election. It's starting to get motivated more by a hatred of everything else rather than the support of any particular person - and unfortunately it's given the public too much of a glance into the inner workings of how party politics really works.¬†
What's come out of this, in essence - is a fracturing in both parties. The Democrats' uneasy alliance of John Major style center-leftists and the genuine progressive left is looking to be toast. Likewise, the unholy alliance of redneck, gun-toting Bible thumping fundamentalist evangelists and Brooks Brothers Tories looks to be finished as well. Both parties made Faustian bargains that held for a while, but now they're showing stress cracks, and personal ambition is tearing both of those alliances apart.
None of the usual prognostication rules apply. Who are the unions going to support? Usually they support the Democrat candidate - but with Hillary shilling for the TPP and the further outsourcing of jobs (it was Bill's NAFTA that killed a lot of good blue collar jobs to benefit the 1%) and Donald Trump building a wall to restrict cheap undercutting undocumented labor from Mexico, who are they going to really support in the upcoming contest? Are the greenies and the ultraprogressives going to stand with Her, or are they going to throw their support with Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate?
To give you an idea of just how weird 2016 is - in Stone Mountain, Georgia just outside Atlanta, Georgia there was a white power rally at the mountain park this past weekend. Eight people were arrested. None of them were the white power supporters, who simply stood with their Confederate flags and did their tired Nazi salute routine. The folks who were arrested were counter-protestors, whom the police stopped because they were wearing masks. It is illegal in the state of Georgia to attend a rally or protest or gathering wearing a mask (ironically, this law was enacted to prevent the Klan from appearing in hoods). One attacked police, and while they were effecting that arrest, one counter-protestor maced the police and another threw a smoke grenade. The ensuing melee resulted in the closing of the park and multiple arrests. Let me reiterate that again. In 2016, the Ku Klux Klan were the reasonable, pacifist voice. (By that I don't mean I consider racism to be reasonable, I'm saying they didn't come masked and armed and didn't physically assault the police or anyone else.)
Is this the election that finally smashes the two party system? Are we going to see four or more parties in four years?
What does a win for either party either way DO for the contest two years later to control Congress? This is going to be a rollercoaster ride either way.