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May 17, 2016

Democrats and Republicans struggle with generational divide, unity

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Essential question

How do political parties handle major disagreements within the party?


As voters head to the polls in Oregon and Kentucky today, the Democratic and Republican parties continue to struggle with difficult realities.

A generational divide within the Democratic party could present a challenge for Hillary Clinton if she secures the nomination as expected.

Meanwhile, Republicans faced with the reality of Donald Trump as their presumptive nominee must find a way to unify their party’s support.

Trump faced more criticism this week after a New York Times article revealed some of his controversial interactions with women over the years. Trump was quick to declare the story a “hit piece” on Twitter and one of the women featured prominently in the story said she was taken out of context.

Although the piece does nothing to help his standing with female voters, Trump has weathered bad press before.

“Voters are willing to forgive a certain amount about Donald Trump, especially the Donald Trump of the 80s and 90s, who was an entertainer, who wasn’t running for president,” said Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report.

As the delegate gap between Clinton and Sanders grows wider, making her the likely Democratic nominee, the party must find a way to bring each candidates’ supporters together in the fall.

“So where she may have trouble getting those young voters who have been turning out for Bernie Sanders, it is very hard to believe that those voters are going to go to Donald Trump,” Walter said.


Key terms

general election — a regular election of candidates for office, as opposed to a primary election; the general election for president of the U.S. is Tuesday, November 8, 2016

endorsement —an act of giving one’s public approval or support to someone

Warm up questions (before watching the video)
  1. Why have many young voters come out to support Sen. Bernie Sanders?
  2. What qualities make Donald Trump attractive to so many voters?
  3. Do sitting presidents tend to endorse candidates in the general election?
Critical thinking questions (after watching the video)
  1. Amy Walter said many young people may come out to vote in the general election to show their opposition to Donald Trump. Do you agree? Why or why not?
  2. Does Trump deserve the criticism he receives when it comes to how he talks about women? Explain your answer.
  3. What do you see as the main differences between Sen. Sanders and Hillary Clinton?
  4. What do you see as the main differences between the Democrats and Donald Trump?
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