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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Elections 2016: The Day After Super Tuesday

Jeanne Zaino, Professor in the Political Science and International Studies Department, Iona College
New York, NY
March 2, 2016

Date: 03/02/2016 Location: New York, NY Description: Jeanne Zaino, Professor in the Political Science & International Studies Department at Iona College, NY briefs at the Foreign Press Center on Elections 2016: The Day After Super Tuesday. - State Dept Image

2:00 P.M. EST


MODERATOR: Afternoon, and welcome to the Foreign Press Center. Today, we’re privileged to have Jeanne Zaino of Iona College to present her analysis of yesterday’s Super Tuesday results. Thank you.

MS ZAINO: All right. Thanks for having me. It’s good to be here. What I thought I’d do is just give you a few takeaways from what happened last night. I had the privilege of working the exit polls, so if I look a little tired, I have been surrounded by data for hours. But there were some interesting findings there, so I’ll give you some finds – some takeaways first from the Democratic side, which is probably the less exciting side, and then some from the Republicans and then whatever questions you have.

I think, obviously, on the Democratic side the big takeaway is that Hillary Clinton, with her seven-state sweep, particularly in the deep South but also the fact that she was able to capture Massachusetts as well, is really poised now to be the Democratic nominee barring some kind of catastrophic collapse in her campaign or something unexpected. She obviously won the big seven. She won Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, and then the aforementioned Massachusetts.

And as I mentioned, she – looking at the data, you saw she did incredibly well with what was always her firewall, the African American vote. So when we were looking at the data coming in, you were looking at African American support amongst 80 percent to 20 percent for Sanders across many of those Southern states.

She also did well with women, which has been a big question that has followed her, and she did well with Hispanics and Latinos. If you remember, after Nevada, where she won by 5 percentage points, she lost Latinos and Hispanics to Bernie Sanders, even though she won the caucus. She won Hispanics and Latinos in Texas last night. That was the only state with a big Hispanic, Latino turnout on the Democratic side and she won those. I think it was about 70 percent to 30 percent – or 67 percent to 33 percent was the take.

So you put that all together, she had a huge, huge night. And what we’re hearing is that she’s thinking about wrapping this up, that she could wrap this up as early as March 15th. That is – as you know, Michigan is March 8th, and then March 15th we have a series of big states, including Florida, where she was last night, Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina, Missouri. She thinks she can win most of those. There’s a few that they expect to lose in between, like Nebraska and Maine, but they still think they are well situated to probably knock Bernie Sanders out by the 15th or the 16th. Unlike the Republicans, of course, the Democrats have proportional allocation of their delegates, so it does depend on how well she does.

Bernie Sanders, I would say at this point, you’re hard-pressed to find a path forward for him numerically. Very much on the other side, like a Marco Rubio, he is very much fighting the math at this point. He did win four key states. He has raised and continues to raise more money than Hillary Clinton, which is fascinating – $40 million last month, which is quite impressive. But he has stalled because he hasn’t been able to make it – make a name for himself or pick up delegates and support outside of the Northeast. He hasn’t been able to pick up delegates or support in nonwhite states or states with a large nonwhite population. And that’s something that continues to be difficult for him.

The Democrats do have a debate on Sunday. It is in Flint, Michigan. That debate will be key for Bernie Sanders because it is another chance for him to try to appeal to the African American vote, try to appeal to minorities for support. It’s something he’s been trying to do since he won big in New Hampshire. If you remember, after he won, he came right here to New York and met with that Reverend Al Sharpton, and he tried – and he has been working on trying to buttress his support there, but he has not made inroads at this point.

So I think many people are starting to look at Bernie Sanders as something of a spoiler at this point, somebody who really doesn’t have a path to victory, does have the money to continue, says he’s going to continue, and what you can imagine is his focus will be on having a voice at the convention and being able to put some of these issues that he cares so deeply about potentially on the platform, or at least get discussion for them and airing for them there.

I am probably one of the few people who think that it is a good thing for Hillary Clinton if Bernie Sanders stays in the race. I do not think it’s a good thing if she knocks him out completely and he withdraws or suspends his campaign. I think that’s always dangerous if you are the anointed candidate. She runs the risk of having none of you speak about her or talk about her for the next several months until the convention while everything exciting is going on on the Republican side. Reporters may just not focus on her.

But she also, I think, more importantly, runs the risk of having the focus be on issues she doesn’t want them to be on – issues like the email scandal, issues like Benghazi, issues like the money in the Clinton Foundation, her ties to Wall Street, and all of those things. As you can see, she does much better when she’s got an opponent, and she’s actually been really strong in the last few weeks when Bernie Sanders made a race of it out in Iowa, certainly, and then really got the best of her in New Hampshire. She’s always a much stronger candidate. And I remember watching her run for the New York Senate. It was the same thing, same thing in 2007. So I do think it’s best for her if he continues in the race and gives her somebody to play off of. Again, we don’t know if that’s likely to happen.

And I should just say briefly the reason why, unlike on the Republican side, there’s really not a mathematical path forward for a Bernie Sanders at this point is, again, because they have – the Democrats have a proportional allocation. So even if he wins a big state, he doesn’t get all the delegates, and you’re – we assume that she would come in at least in some of these big states, do well enough to get a portion. So that’s the first reason there’s no path forward.

The second one is because of the superdelegates. The Democrats have over 700 superdelegates. As you know, the vast, vast majority have already gone to Clinton, and it’s very unlikely mathematically, for those two reasons, that he could catch up in any substantial way. And that’s different, obviously, on the Republican side because the Republicans do have, starting the 15th, this winner-take-all process.

So those are a few points from the Democratic side. The only other thing I would mention there is, looking at the exit polls, I think one concern for Hillary Clinton that’s starting to get more attention but hasn’t been focused on a lot is what we’re calling the enthusiasm gap. As you know, a lot of the energy and enthusiasm has been with Bernie Sanders. And looking at the numbers come in last night, it is astounding the percentage of young people who go overwhelmingly for Bernie Sanders, whereas she wins people that are ages 30, 40, and above by overwhelming numbers. But the energy is in that youth vote. And one question for her is if she doesn’t get some of that enthusiasm and loses the youth vote, if she doesn’t get the left progressive end of the party where a lot of the vigor and the energy in the party is today, is she going to run the risk of having depressed turnout in November?

One thing we do know – and Donald Trump has been saying this, so we hear it a lot – is that turnout is up in the Republican primaries over what it was in the last contested set of Republican primaries. Turnout is actually down on the Democratic side, and that’s a concern. Now, there is no clear connection between depressed turnout in a primary and what happens in a general election, so it’s not as if depressed turnout in one means that there’s going to be depressed turnout in the other. But I think it is a concern for the Democratic side, and again, all the more reason that she has to try to, number one, appeal to these Sanders voters, and number two, to try to make sure that she is still in the press, that she’s still in people’s minds as she goes through these next few months.

Donald Trump has long been saying that she shouldn’t wish to run against him, and of course, there’s a lot of debate on who she should want to run against, and we think that they would prefer Cruz, but second would be Trump, and third would be Rubio. But one reason we know that the Democrats would like to run against Trump is turnout, because they think that he is a turnout machine as it pertains to Latinos, Hispanics and African Americans and women – that if he is the nominee, those important constituencies on the Democratic side will go out simply to vote against him if not to support their own candidate. So that’s something that we’re hearing a lot about.

On the Republican side, it was a very strong night again for Donald Trump. Like Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side, he won seven big states. He also, as you noted in his remarks afterwards, turned his focus to the general election. He was attacking Hillary Clinton, had some semi lukewarm nice things to say about Ted Cruz, not so nice things to say about Marco Rubio. But you got a sense there as he talked about unifying the party that he is starting to focus or starting to look at the fact that he could be the nominee and that in order to be the nominee, he’s got to address what is an enormous fracture in the Republican Party.

So that’s obviously going to be a huge challenge if he’s the nominee. We also saw Trump’s coalition come together last night in a way we haven’t before, and it is an impressive coalition because he not only won the South like Hillary Clinton did – South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia – he also got the Northeast – he got New Hampshire, he got Massachusetts. And so what we’re seeing there is a revitalization of what we used to call the Reagan coalition: up in the Northeast, these white, older, working-class moderates, kind of the Ronald Reagan Democrats, Ronald Reagan moderates or independents; and then down in the South for somebody from New York, he has appealed magically almost to white evangelicals in the Bible Belt. And so you put those together and that’s a coalition that the Republican Party hasn’t had for some time. So we have seen that coalition come together and it’s an impressive coalition. And as I mentioned, turnout is up because these are people who either were not turning out or were not active at all for significant periods of time who have come back into the fold with Donald Trump.

We also saw last night that Donald Trump is incredibly resilient. He had a very, very rough two – one to two weeks. You look back at his last debate performance, which by most estimations was not a good performance on his part. He was attacked. He had difficulty responding in many senses. He continued to be attacked by Rubio. He of course had the issues this weekend regarding David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan. There’s been a lot of opposition research out there about Trump University, about issues he’s faced regarding hiring illegal immigrants for labor – as labor. And I think like so much of what we’ve seen with Donald Trump, any other candidate would have a difficult time coming back from that, and Donald Trump seems to be able to survive it. And so he does have kind of this Teflon notion about him, and he’s incredibly resilient. So I think that was impressive.

Rubio – just to look at Marco Rubio for a second. Some people are saying his campaign is on life support. He is facing really difficult numbers at this point. He did get a win in Minnesota, a caucus state, which was good because he would have been 0 for 15 at this point. But that said, he has really one last shot at this thing, and that’s March 15th in his home state of Florida. If he can’t win Florida, as Ted Cruz told us last night after he won his home state, if you can’t win your home state you’ve got to get out. And that was true of Cruz and it was – it’s going to be true of Rubio and also of Kasich in Ohio, which is also March 15th.

That makes Thursday night’s debate – there’s a debate tomorrow night for the Republicans – really important for Marco Rubio. It’s starting to be like a last gasp of air. And he also has challenges. He has challenges of trying to convince his donors that they should continue supporting him, that he has a path here. And what we’ve seen the Rubio team try to lay out is this path of trying to put together a coalition of suburban, ex-urban, educated Republicans, more moderates, who we saw him try to appeal to and did a fairly good job in Virginia. Although he didn’t get enough support to win, he managed to close the gap that was there. We saw him do the same thing around the Atlanta area in Georgia. So he’s going to have to try to convince people that he can put together this coalition in some of these big states going forward – not just Florida, but we’re also looking at places like Michigan and elsewhere.

It is an uphill battle for Marco Rubio, and again, it makes the debate huge and you see Ted Cruz already calling on him to exit the race. Ted Cruz, on the other hand, had a very good night with three wins. I mean, Ted Cruz – the Cruz campaign was thinking Texas plus one would be a great win for them, and they got Texas plus two. And there is a huge irony to the fact that now Ted Cruz is the establishment’s probably last best hope to beat Donald Trump. And I don’t think that irony is lost on anybody, because if there’s anybody the establishment likes less than Donald Trump, it’s Ted Cruz, and now they’re in this – caught between this rock and this hard place here. And we saw last night Lindsey Graham – I think it was on CBS – making the case – making that case, that we are now in the position of essentially having to rally around Ted Cruz, somebody who Lindsey Graham and many others have not found to be a – somebody that they would like to put up for the Republican Party.

One question going into the debate tomorrow night, because it is really in Cruz’s interest to get everybody else out of this race and make it head to head with Donald Trump, is whether he and Donald Trump are going to gang up on Marco Rubio and try to push him out that way. So it could be a very tough night for Marco Rubio if that happens, and again, we saw Donald Trump’s remarks. He was lukewarm-kind to Cruz and not at all to Rubio.

There is many questions – I can’t tell you how many people have asked me why Ben Carson is still in this race. I don’t think there’s a good answer. And Ted – John Kasich is still in the race, probably will stay in through Michigan, which he thinks he can do well in and his home state of Ohio. That said, he spent a lot of time in Vermont. He couldn’t win that. He came fourth place in Virginia, where he spent a lot of time. Second place in Massachusetts, where he was almost even with Rubio. So just like in the case of Marco Rubio, March 15th, Ohio is kind of a do-or-die for a John Kasich. And there are – if you look at the math that came out of last night, you can make the case that Kasich did rob Marco Rubio of a upset win in a place like Virginia, where if the support had arguably gone to Rubio – which if you assume if Kasich left the race those people might go, for the most part, with Rubio – Rubio could have potentially had an upset in a place like Virginia. So there is a spoiler aspect to him staying in.

The other thing I would add – I think the question everybody is asking is how do you stop a Donald Trump if that’s the goal of the establishment. And it’s – at this point the calendar works against it. It is a really, really hard thing to do. I think that – as much as people may want to do it, I think one path that people have talked about is everybody else has got to win their home state. So Ted Cruz did that last night. If Kasich wins Ohio, if Rubio wins Florida, those are big states, and now because it’s going to be winner take all, you could essentially mathematically – and I would say theoretically, because it’s not at all clear – but make sure that Trump doesn’t have the delegates he needs going into the convention so that you could go in and force a battle in Cleveland in July. So that would be one path forward. And again, that depends on a lot of things falling into place.

The other path forward is something people have been talking about for a long time, which is two of these three other candidates – putting Carson aside; John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz – two of the three of them get out of the race and throw their support behind the other one, and that brings and consolidates the party in a way that they can challenge a Donald Trump. I do not see that as a plausible – something plausible at this point. If you are a supporter of Ted Cruz, for instance, and he gets out of the race, are you going to throw your support behind John Kasich or Marco Rubio? That’s not at all clear, and vice versa. Not to mention the fact, who is in the position to cajole any of these people to get out of the race at this point? So – but the reason that the path is so hard is because the math and the way that this calendar is. I mean, the Republicans set it up this year so that they could have a candidate and nominee and consolidate behind this nominee early. And what we’ve seen is another irony. It’s really worked against them because now they have a consolidation behind – a pending consolidation behind somebody who is not obviously at all beloved by their establishment part of the party.

So those are a few things that I’ve been thinking about. I’d say one overall thing is just looking at the data last night, you see that the Republicans and the Democrats incredibly angry and frustrated – on both sides voters are – but taking that in completely different directions. So you have the Democrats going to an establishment, quote-unquote, figure in Hillary Clinton. Even people who like Bernie Sanders saying that because they think she can win, because they think she has experience they will go with her. And on the other side, this absolute turning away from anybody in the establishment, including all the governors who have run, except for now Kasich, and certainly the senators are not doing well.

The other thing I would mention is that there’s – for all the talk about money in politics, this campaign season, at least the primary and caucus season, has really raised a lot of questions. We see Jeb Bush out of the race already, and he had so much money; and Bernie Sanders, who again has raised much more money and spent more than Hillary Clinton in the last couple of months, it’s not translating into votes. So for all the talk I think we do even in academia about the impact of Citizens United and unregulated spending and the impact of money in this campaign, it’s hard to make the case that you can buy the election at least so far as we’ve seen it this year, because the people spending don’t seem to be resonating at the polls in the way we might suspect. Now, again, that could be very different in a general election context than a primary caucus, but it has been interesting to watch some of that play itself out this time. So, yeah.

MODERATOR: Okay, we’ll take some questions. Please state your name and media affiliation before you ask your question.

QUESTION: Afternoon. Thank you for coming. Hajime Matsuura of Japan’s Sankei. Two questions, please, structural questions. Democrats, they have proportional allocation and superdelegate. So strategically, what kind of different strategy would you deploy if you have different way of, like, voting system – Republicans and Democrats? And second question: For Trump, in order for him to attract voters from the middle, and also I don’t know which wing but from the Democrats this summer, what does it take? What kind of agenda does he have to sell?

MS ZAINO: Yeah. In terms of the strategy for the delegates, I think we’ve seen the Clinton campaign, for instance, with the superdelegates do a really masterful job. She had a third to half of those wrapped up before the election almost started. And while they could certainly change, they’re unlikely to do that – change their mind. So it does make a difference that the Democrats have these – this large contingent of superdelegates out there. And so the reason, again, that the Republicans went with the winner-take-all as you get to March 15th was to try to wrap this thing up quickly. Democrats don’t do that – they could change in the future – they haven’t done that. But it does change the strategy because now all of a sudden it’s not just a matter of what Marco Rubio was doing in the last few days about trying to play in certain areas to get – meet the threshold and get support. You now have to, for Republicans, win – you have to win straight out to get anything, and that’s harder to do and it does favor the person with more name recognition, better polling, more money, more press coverage, and those kinds of things because they can’t play in a smaller area, they have to play broad.

In terms of Donald Trump, what he has to do – are you saying to pivot to the center in the – or --

QUESTION: Yeah, right, for the main election. Yeah, what does it take for him to – because I think he has – like his margin is a little bit lower winning against Hillary, against his competitors on the Republican side.

MS ZAINO: Yeah. He’s got an uphill battle on his hands. And this is something that if you go back and read the Republicans’ post-mortem after 2012, what they said was they can’t win a national election in this country with the changing demographics unless they appeal more broadly. And Donald Trump, from the minute he enters this race, has done everything except that. He has alienated almost every major constituent group, and key ones. So numerically, if you just look at the straight math, you’re hard pressed to imagine how he could win a national election given that. He could certainly try to pivot to the center, and in some odd ways he might have an easier time of that than somebody like a Ted Cruz because Donald Trump is not an orthodox Republican. He’s somebody who’s been pro-choice and now pro-life. He’s somebody who’s been on the side of many issues that aren’t Republican orthodoxy. And so he may have an easier time pivoting to the center. That said, I don’t know how you overcome the changing demographics in this country and win, and that’s always been the problem for the Republican establishment with his candidacy. And it’s not, remember, just about the top of the ticket and about winning the presidency; this is also about all those down-ballot races that they risk losing.

Republicans have done incredibly well at the state and local level. They’ve done incredibly well in the House and they have the Senate now. So they have every major institution in the United States – elected institution, or most of them, three-quarters of the state legislatures – and if you have somebody at the top of the ticket and you depress turnout amongst Republicans or you increase turnout amongst your opponents, you really run the risk of, in this case for instance, losing the Senate. I mean, that’s why I think – that’s why we know we saw yesterday Mitch McConnell and John Boehner come out about this Ku Klux Klan-David Duke issue so strongly, because they know that Mitch McConnell will be out of a job if – the fear is if Donald Trump is on the to of that ticket and Republicans lose the Senate. And the math this year obviously does not favor the Republicans in the way it favored them in 2014.

So he has a huge challenge on this hand – Donald Trump does – if he gets the nomination if he’s hoping to win this thing. Issues-wise, I think he could pivot to the center. But I think the bigger challenge for him is the demographics in these groups. And again, I would say the key among them, and you can look back at that 2012 report, it’s Hispanics, Latinos, African Americans, women, and young people. You’ve got to be able to appeal to them in order to win nationally in this country. And if you alienate them, you’re going to run that risk of not being able to win.

Is that --


MS ZAINO: Okay. Yeah.

QUESTION: Hi, professor.


QUESTION: Sherwin Bryce-Pease, South African Broadcasting. You talk about Hillary Clinton being poised to win the nomination. Do Democrats, then, especially Bernie Sanders’ supporters, do they coalesce around Hillary Clinton’s candidacy? And in terms of the low turnout we’re seeing on the Democratic side, why does that change as you mentioned in – or does it necessarily relate to the general election? Does it change? Does it increase? And what role does a Donald Trump candidature play in reinvigorating not only the Republican side but the Democrats as well?

MS ZAINO: Yeah. So the thinking is, as you mentioned, that if a – there is a Donald Trump nomination, that would be a bonanza in terms of turnout amongst Hispanics, African Americans, and women, and they would be voting for the Democrat theoretically and against a Donald Trump. So that’s the best-case scenario for the Democrats in terms of a Donald Trump candidacy, because, of course, he also is going to present them with many challenges and we saw that in the end of the last year when he was going after Bill Clinton and other things. So it’s got the good and the bad, but the good would be increasing the turnout.

I think Sanders’s voters, that’s a real concern for her. She’s got to appeal – and we’ve seen her trying to do this – we’ve seen – at one point, she sounded like she was plagiarizing Bernie Sanders out on the stump. She repeats almost verbatim his lines. And she has got to somehow – if he does step back or suspend his campaign in the near future, or even the long term, she’s got to somehow appeal to progressives. She could be helped by that, in that quest. Somebody like Elizabeth Warren in the Senate – an endorsement by Elizabeth Warren would go a long way towards helping Hillary Clinton attract some of that support.

But I think that that is a real concern for her, that they don’t move in her direction, that they see her as too moderate, they see her as too establishment, they see her as everything that they are frustrated by with Barack Obama, quite frankly. They don’t think he did enough in terms of the post-economic recession of 2008 to – with the big banks. They don’t think he did enough with health care. I mean, you can go down a litany of issues that they’re frustrated by. And she’s been in this awkward position of embracing Barack Obama and getting his coalition, which she needs, and now she’s got to do two really hard things: try to get Sanders supporters to come with her, and then also not go too far to the left, because she’s still got to run in a general election.

So it’s not an easy task and I do think it’s a concern. And if you – I’m sure you talk to young people. I talk to young people all the time when I’m teaching. There is just not a lot of enthusiasm for a Clinton candidacy. And if you look at those exit polls from last night or any of these elections, they are going to Sanders in droves. It’s like 70 to 30, 80 to 20, 90 to 10 – almost completely flipped when you look at people over 40 and 50 and 60. And that’s got to be a huge concern for her.

So I do think it’s a challenge for her, and I think they’re hoping that Donald Trump will invigorate that – at least a good part of the Democratic base. I also think that Donald Trump has been full of surprises this election season, so – I didn’t even think he was going to run, so – let alone get this far. So I stopped saying he’s going to do what we think he’s going to do. I mean, he seems to defy conventional wisdom at every turn. So I think the Clinton campaign has got to be really cautious about what they wish for with Donald Trump.

MODERATOR: Any other questions?

QUESTION: Hi, I’m Eduard Freisler from Czech daily newspaper Lidove Noviny. Would you just explain why Donald Trump did so well in Massachusetts?

MS ZAINO: Yeah, I know. That is a fascinating win for him, if you will. I think it’s because he is appealing to disenfranchised, largely white – in many cases males, but not solely, because he’s also doing well with females, we should say – who seem to be at once frustrated with the Republican Party itself, frustrated with the Obama presidency certainly, and what has happened to the country in the last eight-plus years, as you see it. In my mind, this doesn’t – I mean, we always focus on Donald Trump and we tend to focus on individuals in these things because they’re such colorful characters out there, but in my mind, this has a lot more to do with larger issues.

You look back to 2007, 2006, when the Tea Party started under George W. Bush because so many Republicans were frustrated that they had elected somebody who had done almost exactly opposite of what he’d promised to do when you look at the size and scope of the government, when you look at the deficit, when you look getting us ensconced in these seemingly endless wars. And the Republican Party did not do enough to recognize the real frustration out there. And that has continued to mount.

On the heels of that, Barack Obama came into office, and it’s not just the economic recession, although that’s huge; it’s not just the fact that we’ve had a recovery that’s been uneven; but it’s also, if you look at what has happened in social issues – for instance, last term, the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage – that is something that – you can talk to scholars who will say that is something that Washington, D.C. and the Acela Corridor and the West Coast was prepared for, but not many center parts of the country. So – and that’s just one example. Same thing with Obamacare.

So we’ve had – gone through enormous changes. And you see people who feel left behind, who feel frustrated, and who feel like the government is not in touch with their needs and in touch with their desires. And in fact, as we know, in many cases Congress has just slowed to a halt – a screeching halt – and shut down the government. So I think all of these things coupled together have created kind of a perfect storm for a candidate like Donald Trump to appeal – as you mentioned, just back to Massachusetts – to constituencies as diverse as whites in Massachusetts and evangelicals in the South. And I think it’s that.

I think it’s also the way that we have stripped the parties of their ability to nominate their own candidates or control the nomination process. This is relatively new. I mean, it’s since the early – mid-1970s we’ve had this process. And we always talk about it as a democratic thing. Yes, except, number one, turnout is incredibly low, so I don’t know how democratic it is; and number two, the result has been you’ve stripped the party of their ability to do what’s in their best interest. And you couple that then also with new technology and things like that. Donald Trump probably wouldn’t have been possible eight years ago, 10 years ago. He’s been able to speak right over the heads of, quite frankly, all of you guys, speak right over the heads of the party, and speak directly to people through things like Twitter and Instagram and all of these new technologies.

So you put all those things together and he’s done a good job of making the most of that and piecing together this coalition, but I do think it has to do with factors broader than just Donald Trump himself, as fascinating a character as he is. I think it has to do with these real profound changes in how we nominate and elect candidates to parties and for our nomination process, to things like new technology and then, as I mentioned, a real frustration with what’s going on with this country both domestically and in the foreign sphere that has left people feeling like they will – like anybody except somebody who’s been in Washington and comes from the establishment, and he’s kind of the perfect person for that.

So I think part of what happened in Massachusetts is he’s been able to get that Reagan moderate independent coalition and piece that together. And that is, by the way, I think, a real concern for Hillary Clinton. I think he can play very well in the Rust Belt. I think he can do very well with some of these groups that have long been either silent or Democratic, at least post-Reagan. And if he brings them back to the Republican fold, that’s a big get for the Republican Party. They don’t see it that way right now, but that’s a big get for them. And they could certainly benefit from that. And she’s going to have to do – appeal. And the irony of that, of course, is that was the group she was appealing to most fervently and successfully in 2007. She now has to make sure she’s able to do that again.

QUESTION: No one else wants the mike. (Laughter.) Does the media – has the media played a sort of a complicit role in the rise of Trump? To what extent – I mean, if you – there’s a lot of debate about that currently in the press. And in addition to that, if we think back to the GOP loyalty pledge that everyone had to sign, there was this sort of acceptance by the establishment that Trump was in it, but not in it to win it. And he’s kind of flipped that completely on its head. So is the media complicit in his rise? And is the GOP establishment complicit for not taking him on soon enough?

MS ZAINO: I think the GOP establishment is complicit, and I wouldn’t say on purpose, but complicit because I think that they are completely out of touch with their own base. And again, going back to what I just mentioned, I think that’s where they’re complicit. You have the rise of a movement that made it impossible for you to do something that you knew you had to do in immigration reform. And they have a stronghold in the House even though they have fairly small numbers. That’s got to give you a wakeup call to say we’ve got a problem here. We just had a speaker of the House pushed out. We’re not getting key things we need done done, and yet the Republican Party hasn’t found a way to address all of those concerns, and I would say the concerns are real on the part of these folks. So I think they are complicit for that reason. I would not – as somebody who didn’t think Trump would either run or resonate, I would not blame them for thinking he would go by the wayside because he has defied almost every rule. But I think that’s where they’re complicit.

In terms of the media, I know this is such a big issue and I think it’s fascinating. I have a hard time blaming the media, and especially in a system like ours in which the media is driven by ratings. So you have a guy who gets ratings. I mean, to me, this all comes back to these larger structural issues. How can you blame the media for focusing on Donald Trump as opposed to John Kasich, when Donald Trump gets ratings and you have a media that is driven by ratings? So I would always say I think you either have to change the structure of our media, or you have to accept that the media are not responsible, and quite frankly, this gets back to the parties.

We do not have responsible parties in this country, but they are an institution that are far better equipped to address this kind of thing than the media will ever be, and yet they have fallen short for a variety of reasons. And that goes back, back way to the early 20th century and moving up. But I have a hard time myself blaming the media, because I think anytime you ask people to act against their best interest, that’s silliness. What you should do is have an institution like the political party whose interest is in getting lots of support and putting their policies into place. They are in the best interest to move this thing forward, and yet we have parties that are totally unequipped, I think on both sides, to do that. It’s funny when people say the parties are too strong and they’re too powerful. Our parties are anything but strong and powerful. They’re incredibly weak and they are so weakened at this point that they can’t even control their own nomination process. That’s a problem.

So I don’t blame the media and I think it’s foolhardy to blame people for doing what – and just like I have a hard time blaming Donald Trump. And I don’t necessarily support things he says, but if you give somebody – tell somebody this is the way to win and they do it, and then you say, well, you shouldn’t do it that way, then you have to look back at the structure and not focus so much on what they’re doing to do what they need to do to get ahead.

So I have a hard time with the media blame game. And I would also say we have, I think in the press, more fact-checkers and whatever you want to call them now than we’ve ever had before. There’s more data-driven journalism out there. There’s no shortage of information and criticism of any of these people, and yet that hasn’t resonated. So I don’t think you can necessarily blame the media for that. And there is a huge fact-checking industry out there, as you know, and they will tell you constantly what’s true and not true and pants on fire and all these other things. And if that’s not resonating with the people, that’s a problem, and I don’t think the media is well equipped to solve that.

QUESTION: But again, like, new technology such as Twitter came in focus 2008 election. And I’m wondering – and it allows a candidate to capture the long tails, like a marketing tool. How are those new technologies playing out this time and different from the 2012 and 2008, and how it’s affecting their strategies? We have known that Democrat sides are a little bit more – like, they’re shrewd and elaborating their knowhow, so how about on the Republican side as well?

MS ZAINO: Yeah. I think going back to the 2012 postmortem, one of the things Republicans talked about was they had to do a better job of utilizing new technology to appeal to their voters and supporters. And I think they’ve come a long way with that. Just as an example, and this is not to do with Twitter necessarily, but if you look at what somebody like a Ted Cruz was able to do in Iowa, using big-data analytics to appeal to people, it is absolutely fascinating. I mean, they hired this company from England, they would be sending people door to door, and when they go to walk to knock on the door, they know everything about you – what car you drive, what kind of coffee you like – and that gave them a messaging. And I think that was a good part of why Ted Cruz won in Iowa – obviously a caucus state – why he won there.

So they – there have been some really powerful movements forward in that regard. I think certainly Donald Trump has been a master at using things like Twitter. He has spent very, very little money on this campaign comparatively, and he’s joked about that and done incredibly well using, quote/unquote, “free media,” if any media is free. He’s done very well.

So I think – we used to talk about some of the past elections as this was the election of the website and people were just setting up websites and you’d go for – look for information. And I think this is really an election where we’ve seen the kind of busting out of things like Twitter, Instagram, and then, certainly, apps. Some of the campaigns have very good apps. And of course, all of that is important not just for fundraising, which it’s important for, but also for making people feel invested in the campaign itself.

And so I think we’re going to see more of the same as we go forward, and I do think it has a huge role, because it’s also allowed these candidates to speak without having to speak through traditional press. And one of the things that happens there is they can say almost anything and nobody challenges them. I shouldn’t say “nobody,” but they’re challenged and they’re not challenged directly that they’re forced to answer it.

So I do think the ability to speak to people directly has had a huge impact. And it’s also, if you think about it – one of the roles of the parties had always been to help them for raise money – now they don’t need the party so much for that; to help them communicate with voters – now they don’t need the party so much for that.

So you start to give these individuals this ability, and new technology is certainly part of that, and you don’t really need the traditional roles of the parties. And so I think part of the thing the parties have to do is figure out where they fit into this process, which has almost run away from at least the Republican Party at this point, and I would say probably the Democratic Party in the very near future could face the same challenges, particularly if the party does start to split the way it looks like it’s going to in a more progressive and certainly a moderate. And we’ve seen that in New York City and elsewhere. When you have a party that begins to splinter like that – and this would be down the road – you have a challenge on your hands and you’re going to have people vying for the voice of the party, and that creates this kind of free-for-all where you can have 14, 17 viable candidates come in and create the kind of season that we’ve seen this year, for lack of a better word.

MODERATOR: Any last questions? All right, well thank you for attending and thank you, Jeanne.

MS ZAINO: Thank you.

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