By MICHAEL BARBARO MARCH 15, 2016, New York Times
The victories were lopsided. The celebrations were effusive. The delegates were
piling up by the hundreds.
But Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton’s resounding triumphs on
Tuesday masked a profound, historic and unusual reality: Most Americans still
don’t like him. Or her.
Both major parties must now confront the depth of skepticism, resistance
and distaste for their front-runners, a sentiment that would profoundly shape
a potential general election showdown between Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton.
Even as they watched the two candidates amass large margins on
Tuesday, historians and strategists struggled to recall a time when more than
half the country has held such stubbornly low opinions of the leading figures
in the Democratic and Republican Parties.
“There is no analogous election in the modern era where the two top
candidates for the nomination are as divisive and weak,” said Steve Schmidt, a
top campaign adviser to George W. Bush in 2004 and John McCain in 2008.
“There is no precedent for it.”
Mrs. Clinton’s commanding wins in the swing states of Ohio, North
Carolina and Florida seemed to hobble the once robust challenge of Senator
Bernie Sanders. And Mr. Trump’s dominance in Florida, North Carolina and
Illinois knocked out Senator Marco Rubio and propelled Mr. Trump even
closer to the Republican nomination.
This would be the moment, under normal circumstances, when the de
facto nominees, emerging victorious from the intramural skirmishes of their
parties’ nominating contests, would invite an eager national electorate to take
their measure. And in their victory speeches, both tried their best, issuing
broad appeals for Americans to unite behind them. ...