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Could Trump or Sanders Win in Rhode Island?

Friday, August 14, 2015


Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic contender Bernie Sanders are currently in first place in their respective party primary polls -- but will that translate to a win for either of them? 

A recent CNN poll had Trump leading all Republican candidates in Iowa at 22%, with Ben Carson in second at 14%; Sanders outpaced Clinton in New Hampshire in the most recent Boston Herald poll, with 44% compared to Clinton's 37% support among likely Democratic primary voters.

"I admire what [Sanders] is doing, he's attracting crowds for reason, and attracting the attention and support he's getting - he's like our 'un-Trump," said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.  "When he goes out I think he's helping us making our arguments very well, whereas I think Trump's doing a lot of damage to the Republican brand."

Whitehouse didn't think that would correlate into ultimate victory, however. 

"I think it would be difficult for Sanders to win," continued Whitehouse. "There's a lot of institutional support for Hillary, not just a flash in the polls 15 months before an election which is not a strong signal to me."

Trump supporter Lacey McGreevy, who garnered nearly 42% of votes running unsuccessfully as a Republican against Kathleen Fogarty in Rhode Island House District 35 last year, said she believed he could gain traction in the state. 

"I am in full support of Donald Trump becoming our next President because he is what we need. He is a very successful business man who truly loves our country. He’s not afraid to speak his mind, he can’t be bought by bureaucrats, and he has great ideas that make sense," said McGreevy.  "Every day I hear of more people from Rhode Island supporting Trump and his ideas. I’m sure once more people start to hear what his goals for our country are and how he plans on achieving them, he will have even more support from the people of our state."

"He's the anti establishment anti PC candidate who represents the majority of people in the middle who feel that they have no voice," said Trump supporter Bobby Kells, a U.S. Marine and retired Providence Police officer. "We used to be a strong country but we're not anymore. We have become a nation of liberal Neville Chamberlain excuse giving capitulationists who will turn a blind eye with so much evil going on in the world."

."Trump Backers

Trump supporter McGreevy

While the Trump camp has yet to have an official campaign structure on the ground in Rhode Island, he's been getting traction -- and opposition -- from a number of Republicans.  

"[There's] no one on ground here for the Donald at this moment," said GOP Party Chair Brandon Bell, noting that "Ernie Boch Jr. Is throwing him a fundraiser in Canton."

Martha Stamp, a charter member of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, said that she is looking forward to hearing Trump speak at their upcoming convention.

"I'm 78.  I realize the country's heading in the wrong direction," said Stamp. "I watched the people in Arizona when there were 15,000 that went to that Trump speech, and people called them crazy -- I've been called crazy, too."

Stamp said she was concerned about Trump's position on property rights, however. 

"He takes people's property," said Stamp, who said she was ardent supporter of property rights. "I will get him to answer the question as to where he stands on property rights at the upcoming national assembly." 

Not all Republicans are enamored with Trump in Rhode Island, however.

"I don’t think Trump will win in Rhode Island because I think, that while he is tapping into the anger that many Rhode Island Republican and independent minded voters are feeling, he is doing it in a way that is arrogant and highly offensive," said Jeff Deckman, former RI GOP Executive Director.  "No one really likes bullies or punks. And I believe Rhode Island voters as a whole think our President should be one who is mature and measured enough to engage their opponents without calling them school yard names."

"I think that Trump's caught on because in some ways he's appealing to some of the worst instincts and aspects of politics," said Congressman Jim Langevin, who is a declared Hillary Clinton supporter.  "It's not my brand of politics, I'll leave it to the Republicans to work it out. I don't know who their nominee will be."

Sanders Support

Lauren Niedel, State Coordinator of the "We Want Bernie Campaign in RI" through Progressive Democrats of America and the Deputy State Coordinator of RI PDA, said that she believed the Sanders excitement is growing in Rhode Island -- and that she hoped elected Democratic officials would come out and support Sanders. 

"I would love to see progressives in the General Assembly come out and support Bernie as opposed to being in lockstep with the state agenda of Democrats," said Niedel.  "We find them to be very conservative and mainstream and will follow suit with the party line...I think that's the way it's going to be in the state."

"The mainstream [Democrats] here are not blue...we see that all the time, the rule is it's a very highly established regime that's not reflective of the people," continued Niedel.  "I for one am hoping as Bernie's campaign progresses, and people get involved in politics, and there will be a trickle down effect and more progressives will be inspired to run for office,  it needs to be from the bottom up."


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