Presidential Politics

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Hillary Clinton makes history by become the first woman to clinch the presidential nomination of a major political party in the U.S. Local pollster Mike O’Neil will talk about that and more as he updates us on the race for the White House.

Ted Simons: Coming up next on "Arizona Horizon" -- Hillary Clinton makes history in becoming the presumptive democratic candidate for president.

Ted Simons: Also tonight we'll discuss efforts to recruit more foster parents in Arizona and we'll hear about the upcoming season at ASU Gammage. That's next on Arizona Horizon.

Video: "Arizona Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the members of your PBS station. Thank you.

Ted Simons: Welcome. I'm Ted Simons. Hillary Clinton last night became the first woman to be the presumptive presidential nominee of a major political party. Here to talk about the historical significance of Clinton's nomination is local pollster Mike O'Neil. Good to see you again.

Mike O'Neil: Hello.

Ted Simons: This was a big deal historically.

Mike O'Neil: It sure seemed like it last night. I must say until last night it seemed like a smaller deal than it was in 2008 when it was new. I think what happened is she smashed through the glass ceiling then and we got used to the idea of a woman running seriously for president. So throughout this entire campaign, I think it was a nonissue, but you could tell that she felt it last night.

Ted Simons: Throughout the campaign it seemed as though she embraced the gender issue. Back in the day maybe you didn't go that far, didn't push it. She said, bring it on.

Mike O'Neil: She said it was fair game to talk about, which meant I think she felt that the barrier had been overcome she was running as an individual can date who happened to be a woman.

Ted Simons: Apparently it didn't play much factor in the primary campaign.

Mike O'Neil: I don't expect it to play a direct influence in the general either.

Ted Simons: If the general is Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump -- Gender aspects could play a role. [laughter] Trump is not necessarily strong with women.

Mike O'Neil: Yeah. But I think he has managed that on his own. I don't think he had to run against a woman for that to be the case.

Ted Simons: Does she further embrace the gender aspect?

Mike O'Neil: I think so. She can't retreat from it. It's there, but I don't think it's a serious issue in that I think back to eight years ago when she felt like she had to show extra strength. I didn't see a sense of that. I think we also see that in the vice presidential candidates that are talking about -- they talked about Elizabeth Warren as a serious vice presidential possibility and that would not have been on the table eight years ago.

Ted Simons: The impact of Bernie Sanders still technically out there, will continue to compete. What do you see?

Mike O'Neil: I see what's likely to happen like what happened with Hillary eight years ago. She did not concede until five days after the last primary, that being equivalent of a week from Saturday. I would be surprised if he took it all the way to the convention.

Ted Simons: Would you be surprised if Sanders supporters didn't come out in strength for the Clinton presidency?

Mike O'Neil: I would. Especially since I think that is preceded by a rousing endorsement from Bernie Sanders.

Ted Simons: Will we see him do that?

Mike O'Neil: I'm convinced we will. If he were not to do that then I think -- he will come out strongly much the way that she did. We fought the good fight. We still have a movement. He's been insistent about that. But now what this movement has to do is support Hillary Clinton. That's what I expect him to say.

Ted Simons: What do you expect Republicans to do about Donald Trump? Senator flake suggested do something at the convention, say thanks but no thanks.

Mike O'Neil: Wow. That would be the nuclear option. I think the likelihood of that depends on how Donald behaves between now and then. In the history, it hasn't been good. There's been the new surprise of the day. I think the comment about the judge with the Mexican background and his family history, I think a lot of people jumped on that and said, wait a minute. That's way beyond the pale.

Ted Simons: Senator Graham said that was pretty much the off-ramp. This is the opportunity, jump the shark. You name the metaphor. But then again, everything he says just rolls right on by.

Mike O'Neil: It rolls off in terms of a lot of his supporters, but I think there's a lot of elected officials who were embarrassed by that. I think in our own state I would look carefully at the way John Mccain handles this.

Ted Simons: So far on this program and other times he's asked he says he will support the Republican nominee, period.

Mike O'Neil: I wonder if there might be some mitigation on that point after he gets through the primary.

Ted Simons: Interesting.

Mike O'Neil: I support but I'm not going to even publicly announce it. There's a lot of opportunities for finesse. the most faint way is to say I always support the Republican nominee. Damn with faint praise. Don't even mention it by name.

Ted Simons: Lindsay Graham said there will come a time when love of country will trump hatred of Hillary. He's speaking to Republicans. Interesting comment.

Mike O'Neil: He's not alone. Kirk, the Senator from Illinois, Romney's speech was just vituperative. The silence of the entire bush clan. The question, with these comments about the judge is this the beginning of a groundswell of people who are going to walk and I think the potential is real if people start to think the Senate is in jeopardy, couple of months ago there was a very strong under current that we may have to among Republicans we may have to bifurcate and allow trump to be on his own so that we can keep the Senate.

Ted Simons: Vice presidential candidates. What are you hearing?

Mike O'Neil: Hillary's problem is two of the most acceptable to Bernie candidates from the Bernie wing of the party, which is Elizabeth Warren and shared brown of Ohio, both are in states with Republican governors who would appoint at least a temporary caretaker, Republican Senator, for four months. Remember, half of the Obama agenda that was put through legislatively happened in the first four months of his eight years. That time is very important.

Ted Simons: Quickly, 15 seconds left. Trump, vice president who?

Mike O'Neil: First question, who would take it? Kasich would be the logical choice. I don't think he would take it.

Ted Simons: I don't think so either. Good to have you here.

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