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Could grumpy electorate breed Libertarian wild card?

'Inside Politics' Forecast: A Libertarian wild card
'Inside Politics' Forecast: A Libertarian wild card

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'Inside Politics' Forecast: A Libertarian wild card 04:04

Story highlights

  • GOP leaders are pushing Marco Rubio to run again for his Senate seat
  • It's a big week for Hillary Clinton, based on what happened in 2008

Washington (CNN)Big moments for Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton. Sympathy for Bernie Sanders' supporters from an unlikely source. And a grumpy electorate that might be receptive to a Libertarian or some other third-party ticket.

These are just some of the future headlines in this week's "Inside Politics" forecast.

    1. The 'moment' may be near -- how will Clinton handle it?

    Another comparison between 2016 and 2008 is likely to happen over the next 10 days.
    Hillary Clinton's big week
    Hillary Clinton's big week

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      Hillary Clinton's big week

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    Hillary Clinton's big week 00:43
    It was the first week of June in 2008 when it became clear that then-Senator Obama had enough delegates to win on the first ballot at the Democratic convention. He gave a big speech calling for unity and a focus on the fall.
    Hillary Clinton could find herself in that same spot over the next 10 days — if she passes the delegate magic number on June 7.
    Margaret Talev of Bloomberg News went back and studied the optimistic, aspiration tone of the 2008 Obama "pivot" as she reported on how Clinton might handle such a moment this cycle.
    On June 3, 2008, Obama said, "You chose to listen, not to your doubts or your feelings, but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations."
    "Obviously, she's not going to be saying that," said Talev. "But she has a few days extra to plan how she'll handle that moment."

    2. PUMA memories create sympathy for Sanders supporters

    At this point in the 2008 campaign, those following the Democratic presidential race closely were learning a new term: PUMA, which stood for People United Means Action or Party Unity My Ass, depending on who you ask.
    Colorful, yes, and driven by anger and frustration among Hillary Clinton supporters who vowed to never support Obama.
    Jackie Kucinich of the Daily Beast decided it was a good moment to circle back with some PUMA activists and get their perspective on the 2016 race. Many Bernie Sanders supporters, after all, are saying very similar things about Clinton this time around.
    What did she find?
    "The system is benefiting their candidate this time," said Kucinich. "But still they point to the fact that there are these people clinging to Bernie and saying, 'He's the only one for us,' as evidence the system is still rigged and needs to be reformed."

    3. Rubio's Senate colleagues seek him out

    One by one, fellow Senate Republicans approached Marco Rubio this past week to make the same case: Don't you want to spend some quality time with us next year?
    The Florida senator flamed out as a GOP presidential candidate. And throughout that campaign, Rubio said he was content to leave the Senate, become a private citizen and look for new work if he failed to win the nomination.
    His Senate seat is on the ballot this year, and there is a crowded field for the Republican nomination in Florida.
    But CNN's Manu Raju reports that top Senate Republicans are worried their candidates aren't rising to the challenge and hope Rubio will reconsider:
    "We've talked to the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Roger Wicker, who said that there is a possibility that Rubio could run, but Rubio himself is hesitant because his friend is in the race -- Carlos Lopez-Cantera, the state's lieutenant governor," said Raju.
    "He says that if he's in the race, he doesn't want to run against his friend, but expect that pressure on Lopez-Cantera to intensify."

    4. Most Americans aren't thrilled with the tone -- and the choices -- of the 2016 campaign

    We hear a lot of talk about a frustrated or grumpy electorate. And you certainly hear rampant, and bipartisan, dismay at the gridlock in Washington.
    American pride? Not in this election.
    American pride? Not in this election.

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    American pride? Not in this election. 00:41
    The Associated Press commissioned a national survey to get a better sense of this mood as the primaries near their end and we shift toward the summer nominating conventions.
    And the numbers? They are eye-popping, AP's Julie Pace tells us.
    "Just 13 percent of Americans are proud of what has transpired in this presidential election," said Pace, who spoke to some election experts about what that means for the fall campaign.
    "One person I talked to said that when you do have the country in a very negative mood, candidates have two choices: You can either buy into that, feed into that, or you can try to change the public's mind," said Pace. " And then this elections expert said to me, 'What do you think these candidates are going to do?'"

    5. Could Libertarians be a 2016 wild card?

    Might the frustrated electorate offer an opportunity for a third-party splash?
    The Libertarian Party certainly hopes so.
    A Libertarian wild card
    A Libertarian wild card

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    A Libertarian wild card 00:44
    We know from polling data and conversations with voters that there is considerable dismay about the prospective choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump this fall.
    And two national surveys this past week found a growing percentage of Americans who say they are open to considering other options, like the Libertarian Party.
    After a weekend convention that included a debate among its candidates, the Libertarians nominated their ticket Sunday. The Libertarian ticket pairs former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson for president and ex-Massachusetts Gov. William Weld as his running mate.
    Could a Johnson-Weld or some other Libertarian ticket have an impact on the presidential race?
    Strategists in both the Clinton and Trump campaigns are skeptical, betting that a competitive race will in the end draw voters, even those not thrilled with their choices, to join the fight between the two major parties.
    But they also concede that given the electorate's restive mood, and the high negative ratings of both Trump and Clinton, that the possibility of a strong performance by the Libertarian ticket is one of many wild cards that can't be ruled out.