Hillary Clinton eked out a victory in the Kentucky Democratic primary yesterday, winning by a scant 1,900 votes out of more than 454,000 cast and, in so doing, avoiding the embarrassment of going 0 for May against Bernie Sanders.
Kentucky you may recall is a state in which Mrs. Clinton beat then Senator Barack Obama like a drum in 2008, winning by more than 35 points.
On the other end of the country, Bernie Sanders easily defeated Hillary Clinton in Oregon yesterday – winning by a nearly 10 point margin.
And so we see, in just 15 days since Donald Trump’s key victory in Indiana, the entire narrative on the 2016 presidential contest change.
For weeks leading up to Trump’s win in Indiana, the entire pundit class was talking of a contested or “brokered” GOP nominating convention in Cleveland. On April 8, Politico published its Politico Caucus, a survey of operatives, activists and strategists in 10 key battleground states. Ninety percent of them predicted a contested convention for the GOP in July.
Today, the words presumptive nominee precede Donald Trump’s name in nearly every mention.
Since the Indiana primary on May 3, the Republican leadership and Donald Trump have been at work on a reconciliation process – with many in the party who once vehemently opposed Trump now saying they will support him.
It’s the Democrats who now must fear chaos at their convention in Philadelphia. As Bernie Sanders continues to rack up popular vote victories, his delegate count barely moves. In West Virginia, where Sanders trounced Clinton, Sanders was awarded only one more delegate than Mrs. Clinton received.
Sanders supporters are feeling – not without some justification – that the game is rigged against them. (To be fair, the party’s rules were well known in advance of this primary season and are essentially unchanged from previous election years.)
Nevertheless, resentment and frustration boiled over at the Nevada state Democratic convention this past Saturday. The convention erupted into chaos with Sanders supporters throwing chairs and making threats against Nevada Democratic Party chairwoman Roberta Lange. Security personnel had to be called in to quell the violence.
Democratic Party leaders – including Senate minority leader Harry Reid of Nevada – called upon Sanders to get his supporters under control. Barbara Boxer of California, among others, has called on Sanders to get out of the race.
Sanders response has essentially been, “stick it.”
What Democrats now fear is the very chaos at their convention that just weeks ago they were cheerfully predicting for the Republicans.
All of this adds up to one more thing to keep Hillary Clinton and her supporters awake at night. With the FBI’s probe into her conduct as Secretary of State still looming, it’s not like they were getting a lot of restful sleep to begin with.
Perhaps after the primaries are over on June 7, the Democrats will come together around Hillary as Republicans now seem to be doing around Donald Trump.
But perhaps not. Which will make the Democratic Convention in July must-see TV.