Veteran pollster and political analyst Pat Caddell, of the “Political Insiders” show airing Sunday nights on Fox News, joined SiriusXM host Stephen K. Bannon on Wednesday’s Breitbart News Daily to talk about the impact of the Indiana primary on the presidential race.
Caddell put the bottom line right up front, saying the primary results tell us “the race is over on the Republican side,” while “the Democratic race is going to go on.”
He wasn’t just talking about Bernie Sanders limping along for a few more weeks, either, as he predicted “there’s gonna be more fireworks in the Democratic Party.”
“This is the most stunning takeover of a political party since William Jennings Bryan took over the Democratic party in 1896,” Caddell said of Donald Trump’s victory in the Republican race.
“A driving populist force in the country, over the issue of gold and silver, at a time when the country was very prosperous – it was actually changing to quite an industrial country,” he recalled of Bryan’s ascendancy. “This has never been seen in modern times.”
Bannon and Caddell quoted from Bryan’s famed speech at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago: “You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.”
With that speech, and his primary victory, Bryan changed his Party forever. “It was the end of an era. The Democratic Party changed,” said Caddell. “Donald Trump has done this takeover — you can call it a ‘hostile takeover,’ I’ve said it sort of tongue-in-cheek, but it is. And it’s not he that’s taken it over, the voters have.”
Caddell said voters in the Republican primary have “overturned what they do not like, for a new paradigm.” He credited Trump with doing an “amazing” job over the past few weeks of increasing his support “across all lines in the Republican Party.”
“He’s got lots of what I would call ‘personality problems’ right now with the general electorate,” Caddell conceded, but he argued Trump’s campaign was in tune with a wave of popular sentiment that would confound general-election analysis, much as it disrupted efforts to handicap the GOP primary.
“You tell me — who’d have thought the Republican race would end before the Democrat race?” he asked.
“Last night, I continued to listen to these analysts, who for a year and half have been wrong about everything, because they have no idea of the revolts and the revolution going on in this country from Left to Right over corruption, over trade — which has taken a major shift, has become a major change in both parties,” Caddell said, noting that Democrat insurgent Bernie Sanders has taken positions on trade and political corruption similar to Trump’s.
He said Trump “got off personalities and got on message” after the Wisconsin primary, which Caddell said was seen as a potentially fatal defeat by the analysts he disdains.
“When he started pounding ‘it’s a rigged system,’ he just blew through, not only New York, but the five primaries last week, and then Indiana this week,” he said.
Caddell said it was difficult to render such a harsh judgment on political commentators, but he was frankly “appalled at these people,” who have been “wrong about everything” for a year and a half, “and then they get on TV, and they’re all on there last night, and it’s all over…” Here mimicked the despairing tone of voice adopted by those who said Trump had destroyed the Republican Party.
“People who have never been in campaigns don’t understand. We are having a paradigm change of enormous proportions, but there has been a real cost for this across the board,” said Caddell, pointing to the large number of voters who say they refuse to vote for either Trump or Hillary Clinton, due to their high negative ratings in polls. “This whole year is historically different. It is history in the making. You know, we’re in the middle of a maelstrom.”
“The fact of the matter is that we have changed the Republican Party. The Democratic Party — look, we have Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party coronated candidate, in a rigged political system, with the greatest political machine in history, and the entire Democratic leadership in the country on board for her, no matter what crimes she commits. And you have a 74-year-old socialist who has taken her to the wall? Really?” Caddell exclaimed.
He agreed with Bannon that Bernie Sanders’ persistence in the Democrat race was even more surprising, given that he has barely touched the corruption issue, one of the most powerful weapons that could be deployed against Clinton.
In fact, Caddell thought the revelations in Peter Schweizer’s book Clinton Cash were even more of a problem for Hillary Clinton’s campaign than her email scandal, which he saw as a problem her political mechanics had already largely solved. He speculated that “it’s gotta be those connections between the actions of the State Department and the money given to the Clinton Foundation” that were holding up Clinton’s campaign in D.C.
Caddell said the Ruling Class has become so arrogant and corrupt that it doesn’t see the anger it has created among voters.
“I’ve watched these people in the Establishment who don’t even care, as long as they can preserve their position and power, the 89 percent of the American people who believe that these people are only interested in preserving their position and power, at the expense of the United States and every American in it — and these people cannot understand the revolution going on,” he marveled.
“You look at Hillary Clinton — this is a country that wants real change, for them, for themselves. They want real control. Hillary Clinton is anything but a change agent. This is more of the same crap you’ve had in the country, continued,” Caddell warned.
Trump, on the other hand, is definitely a “change agent” in Caddell’s view, with his campaign challenged to convince voters he’s “the right change agent.”
The appetite for change, Bannon suggested, could be measured by adding up the votes for Sanders, Trump, and Senator Ted Cruz, to obtain a picture of “the American people in a full rejection of the permanent political class of both parties.”
“Yes, exactly,” said Caddell. “Hey, guys, don’t you get it? Look who’s gone. Look who has lost. Jeb Bush — if the Republican Party had super-delegates, my God, he would still be in the race, They’d be saying, ‘He’s still ahead, he’s still ahead.’ All the money, all the support, all the endorsements — gone.”
“Then you go right through the rest of them,” he continued. “Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, and now Kasich. There never was an ‘Establishment Lane’ — or there was an Establishment Lane, but there was no road. You get on that Establishment Lane, and you look back — you were automatically eliminated. Marco Rubio looked on paper like a great candidate, except here’s the man who said, ‘I’m going to carry water for the Washington establishment. My foreign policy policy is a three-legged stool, and one of the legs is TPP, the trade bill.’”
Caddell said the fatal flaw of these Establishment candidates was that “not one of them will admit that the people are right.”
“They just keep saying, vote for me, I have a resume. Well, they’re all wiped out. And only Hillary Clinton stands,” he said, explaining that only the “lock hold” on its nomination process maintained by the Democratic leadership is protecting her from the Sanders challenge.
Caddell castigated liberal commentators who were trying to drive Sanders out of the race, so Clinton’s coronation could proceed, arguing that “if that were any kind of fair system — if Iowa had not been stolen, which is what happened, Bernie Sanders won Iowa — if it was any kind of fair system, she would be dead. She would be gone.”
Caddell laughed at Bannon’s christening of the Trump-Clinton general election race as “Alien vs. Predator.”
“That’s one way to put it,” he chuckled. “It’s a heavyweight fight for sure, but as I said, we may not yet be done. There are more twists in this road to come.”
Caddell cited polls showing two-thirds of the American people see the country in “decline” to explain their appetite for change.
“I keep falling further and further behind economically. My kids don’t have a future. The American Dream is in danger,” he said of the people’s perspective. “The very people who have put [the country] in that [state], stand up there and pretend that nothing has happened, and [say], ‘If you people [would] just go back into your huts and behave.’”
“If you saw the cover of the New York magazine yesterday, Andrew Sullivan, one of the great commentators of our time,” Caddell said with deep sarcasm. “What’s the title? ‘Blame the People.’ The country is falling apart into tyranny, and the problem is — the case against the people. Oh, my God.”
He declared himself “really tired of the assumption” that Trump’s candidacy would cause huge Republican losses down-ballot in House and Senate races.
“Somebody please show me evidence of that,” he challenged. “Please show me evidence of that. There is no evidence. In 1972, George McGovern lost 49 states, got 39 percent of the vote, and the Democrats actually gained seats against Richard Nixon. There’s not a single polling number that I have seen that says the Democrats are shifting to be way ahead of the Republicans congressionally.”
Caddell took a parting shot at GOP doomsayers, criticizing them for being out-of-touch with the common people whose support propelled Trump’s candidacy, and happily declaring “it’s an exciting moment to be alive.”
“You want to know my reaction to Indiana last night? Welcome to the new world — for good or ill,” he said.
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Listen to the full audio of Caddell’s interview below: