Never underestimate the resentment of the disenfranchised.
I am speaking of the right-wing. Specifically, I am speaking of the traditionally dominant power group, conservative, older white people. They and their party, the GOP, are in terminal decline. The election of Obama marked the beginning of the end for their power. This is not news.
What is important to focus on is the reaction of this group. In the beginning of the Obama presidency this group decided on a scorched earth policy consisting of obstruction, lies and hate. They are ripping the sky from the ground in an attempt to check their loss of power.
Against this backdrop we approach the 2016 presidential elections. Who will win? Who knows! It is, however, important to note that the demographic shifts contributing to the decline of old, white conservative power are continuing unabated. If the GOP clinches the presidency in 2016 it will have won the battle but still be on track to lose the war.
The potential for a Trump presidency is greater than most people would believe. Trump knows how to play the game of hype and public perception, and his success in these areas has fooled him into thinking he could actually run the country. He's so good he's convinced himself!
Sorry everyone but Hillary is too waffle-y and slimy to trounce Trump. Trump will crucify her on the public stage, and mercilessly. She's an easy target for his type of invective. This doesn't mean Clinton couldn't win against Trump, but it will be harder than many people think, and not a sure thing.
Hillary would beat Cruz handily, though. A Hillary-Cruz matchup would be the kind of presidential election match-up we've gotten used to in the last few decades--bought and paid for politicians battling it out, kabuki theater style.
Either Sanders-Cruz or Sanders-Trump would be very interesting. Personally, I'd love to see a Sanders-Trump contest. It would pit the rhetoric of the right against the rhetoric of the left in a very stark way. Trump wouldn't be able to grab onto Sanders like he would Clinton; Trump would probably keep repeating "wacko commie" and "wacko socialist" lines while Sanders would show up how very hollow Trump really is. Trump will pander to the base too hard while Sanders will make more sense to most Americans.
Cruz has the substance to tie up Sanders with policy debates and then present himself to the American people as a champion of free markets and limited government while making Sanders look confused. I think Sanders would still win in this scenario because America knows Cruz is a Bible-thumper.
Ultimately I believe a Democrat will win the presidency in 2016. If you take the statistics for which states have voted Democrat in the last half-dozen presidential elections and which have voted Republican, the Democrats start out with a whole lot more electoral votes, making the Republican path to victory a hard slog. I don't know if Trump OR Cruz has what it takes, here.
Which brings me to my point: another Democratic presidency will take the old, conservative white right-wing from bad to worse. They will justify their hate and obstruction on the president being a commie (Sanders) or a traitor (Hillary). The only thing holding them back will be a time of economic prosperity stretching until after the 2020 elections. Nobody cares to revolt when things are "good."
An economic downturn in very late 2020 or 2021 will provide the fodder for the old, conservative white right-wing to move significant sections of the American public against the federal government. This will develop into significant social unrest bordering on if not turning into civil war. Our rivals (Russia and China) will take advantage of this discord to disrupt US military assets outside the country, severely compromising our ability to project force. There will be no elections in 2024. Sanders or Clinton, as the case may be, will invoke an FDR-esque third term in the face of what is quickly becoming WWIII, ensuring that our country maintains a fatal state of disunity. By the time WWIII begins in 2027, the US as we know it will be no more.
The intensity of disunity leading into these events suggests a little more than continued resentment, leading me to believe (unfortunately) that the winner in 2016 will be Hillary Clinton. Hillary has a unique ability to galvanize right-wing opposition. She is also the type to hold on to power even if it means the dissolution of the union.
A Hillary Clinton win in 2016 suggests that a Cruz nomination is likely. Dems who don't like Hillary will vote for Trump but never for Cruz. However Trump is only a little less likely.
OK this is officially the saddest post I've ever written!! :`(