It’s a safe bet that whoever emerges as the GOP presidential nominee will have trouble energizing a faction of the party’s loyalists in the general election. Donald Trump would be unacceptable to much of the party’s rank-and-file, Ted Cruz would disappoint Trump fans and establishment Republicans alike, and an outside “white knight” candidate would risk alienating the majority of GOP voters who cast ballots for one of the two front-runners.
But Hillary Clinton is facing a serious problem with her own party’s base in the ongoing primary against Bernie Sanders. She’s being soundly rejected by millennials, a core element of Barack Obama’s coalition, while generating only middling enthusiasm from Hispanics and African-Americans. Without Obama in the race, Clinton expected black voters to once again be a pillar of her support. And the more polite tone of the Democratic campaign has turned nastier in recent weeks, with Sanders calling Clinton “unqualified” to be president and Clinton’s husband rebuking African-American protesters on the campaign trail for being oblivious to the crime-fighting successes of his administration.