Democratic strategist Dave “Mudcat” Saunders believes Donald Trump will beat Hillary Clinton like a “baby seal,” and that working class whites who haven’t already left the Democratic Party for cultural reasons will due so now for economic ones.
“I know a ton of Democrats — male, female, black and white — here [in southern Virginia] who are going to vote for Trump. It’s all because of economic reasons. It’s because of his populist message,” Mudcat told The Daily Caller Wednesday.
Saunders has experience working with Jim Webb, helping getting him elected to the U.S Senate in 2006 and advised his failed bid for the presidency in 2016. Saunders was also an advisor to John Edwards in his 2008 presidential bid. The Democrat strategist is renowned for connecting politicians to “Bubbas” — white, working class Southerners.
“Working class whites in the South have already departed the Democratic Party for cultural reasons. Well the working class whites in the North are now deserting the Democrats because of economic reasons,” Mudcat told TheDC. He added, “this is the new age of economic populism, man. This is about survival for a lot of people.”
Hillary Clinton, throughout the Democratic primary, has relied heavily on the black vote, she has struggled to gain support from white men. In the SEC primary, she didn’t win over 60 percent of the white vote in any of the six states. She did however gain over 80 percent of the black vote in all of them. There has been one demographic this cycle that Clinton has lost consistently to Sanders — white men.
“I know less than half a dozen white male Democrats in my part of the world who are going to vote for Hillary,” Saunders told TheDC.
He added, “Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have very similar messages; they’re just dressed in different clothes. I think you’re going to see a lot of Sanders people jump to Trump.”
When Sanders entered the primary he made a pledge to not go negative. This has hurt him as even the slightest attacks on Hillary have created a strong reaction from the Clinton campaign. When he called her unqualified to be president, Hillary’s spokesman, Brian Fallon, said it was “a new low.”
“Hillary hasn’t been shot at yet. I hear on TV people taking about Bernie Sanders being negative, he ain’t attack her, he just tapped on her,” Mudcat said. He added, “Trump’s going to take a wire-brush to her.”
Both Trump and Clinton have unfavorable ratings in polls, both at near 60 percent. Mudcat said, “I think [Trump] can drive her negs to 80.”
He thinks Trump will win the general election and said, “he’s going to knock her around like a baby seal.”
Paul Begala, adviser to pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA Action, refuted this sentiment, telling TheDC, “She has taken more incoming fire than a redneck rifle range — and she’s still standing. No one better to stand up to the bully Trump — who has gotten nothing but air-kisses from his weakling GOP opponents.”
“Hillary is going to be President. I hope Mudcat picks out a nice dress to wear to the inaugural ball,” Begala added.
Mudcat says that Trump will bring up quid pro quo with the Clinton foundation and foreign nations, something that has not been brought up so far this election by Sanders. One theme that Trump will share with the Vermont senator is knocking Hillary on NAFTA and her support for China’s “favored nation status” in trade.
“I think she’s going to have to say NAFTA was a mistake, favored nation status for China was a mistake,” Mudcat told TheDC. The Democratic strategist added, “unless she just says these are all screw-ups, which I question that she will do, there’s no way she’s going to get working class people.”
Trump won every county Tuesday in Pennsylvania and performed strongly throughout the Rust Belt, Mudcat sees this happening the general. “I don’t know how in the hell she’s going to win Ohio and Pennsylvania.” He added that Virginia, his home state, is definitely a “swing state now.”
It was reported Tuesday that union leaders are worried about Trump’s appeal to workers. Richard Trumka, president of AFL-CIO, said, “Trump isn’t interested in solving the problems he yells and swears about. He delivers punch lines, but there’s nothing funny about them.”
Mudcat, however, sees Trump gaining the support of rank-and-file members. “It’s compelling for working class people who have always followed their union to hear a guy who’s pro-gun and pro-economic fairness.”
“They’re going to have take a long look at him,” the Democratic strategist added.