Now we know that its Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side and its all but certain Donald Trump will be the nominee on the Republican side. Lets do a preview of the Autumn campaign, starting from the nomination conventions and heading to November. We will have a historic election that votes in the first woman President for the USA (about time for that) but also a massive reversal in how the election outcome will change America. Trump is an exceptionally flawed candidate, running a disasterous campaign. Hillary gains with numerous advantages and will end up flipping not just the Senate back to Democratic control, but also flipping Congress. It allows Hillary to pursue her populist agenda to a rare degree. And whether its during President Barack Obama’s last months or in her first terms in office, Hillary will enjoy the rare trifecta, having the support of majorities in the Senate, the House and now, in the aftermath of Justice Antonin Scalia, she will also have a liberal majority in the Supreme Court. Every four years political pundits talk about the importance of that upcoming election and why its exceptionally important. This one is rare and incredibly far-reaching. A rare third Presidential term for the party of the sitting President. A rare flipping of the Senate. An even more rare flipping of Congress; and the most rare flipping of the balance of the Supreme Court, all happening within a few months of each other, while bringing in America’s first woman President to succeed its first black President. We are witnessing historic times. So this is my preview of the election that took us there. Now, this is one of my long blog artilces. This one runs 20,000 words. That is like 2 full chapters in one of my bestselling hardcover books. It will take you more than an hour to read, get youself a good cup of coffee before you even start. But you've been warned, my previous forecasts about this election have been frightfully accurate (see my GOP primary race preview forecast Jan 2016 for example and go see how close I was to where this wild race will be. I had all of the top 3 right and on Trump's lead, my forecast currently is off by 3%, almost perfectly on target). If you want to have a preview of the epic election, read this article with care. Now, lets do a deep dig into the 2016 general election.
THE FOUR PLAYERS
Hillary Clinton is the certain one in this equation. She has already won half of the delegates needed to win the nomination already (not just leading in delegates earned out of votes, but also she utterly dominates the Super Delegates). Hillary leads her only remaining challeger Bernie Sanders by about ten points in polling nationally and in most states also in their local polling. She is essentially inevitable (barring some health issue).
Donald Trump is ahead in almost all of his polling on the Republican side, where he also won most of the early contests but he still has three rivals to face, and Trump is nationally stuck at polling levels of 35% or so. So while he has a huge lead in the delegates so far, and is favored heavily in the next states, part of his lead is due to the fractured field which started off at 17 rival candidates with no clear front-runner. If Trump was facing any one but only one, of the current three rivals, Trump would lose by 40% to 60%. But as the remaining three keep splitting the vote, Trump can win by taking 35% where his next closest rival gets to about 20% or 25% and so on. Trump’s path to victory is not certain yet, but his strongest rival, Ted Cruz has now run out of his his ‘friendly’ states ie those with very conservative and very religious voters, and the remaining states should favor the other candidates more, meaning Cruz might not do as well into the coming contests. Meanwhile Marco Rubio and John Kasich are contesting for the same voters, the moderate end of the party (while neither being strictly a moderate, Rubio is very conservative).
Ted Cruz seem determined and adequately funded to run all the way to the end of the primary season race in June (as obviously is Trump). Rubio and Kasich seem willing to wait at least until their home states Florida and Ohio on March 15. So its likely the race will be one where the three will split the non-Trump support and the given winner of any one state only needs a bit over a third of the vote - that is what Trump’s 35% delivers - and then the calendar of the Republican race favors a Trump win in the end (the party doesn’t use Superdelegates). A third of the total delegates needed to clinch have already been awarded and in those states which award delegates ‘proportionately’ there are various rules that make it a tilted race that favors the front-runner (minimum thresholds, winner bonuses etc). Then from March 15, the Republican race becomes one where most states award delegates on a winner-take-all principle, where again, if its a two-person race, 35% will guarantee you lose, but if its a three-person race, then with a bit of luck of how your rivals split the rest, 35% can JUST win the race. Now, Trump’s national 35% does not mean every state goes 35% for him. Some will be closer to 25% others will be nearer to 45% (somewhat like how Iowa compared to Nevada). So Trump would be expected to lose some of the remaining states to his rivals but if its still a 3 person race in April, then yes a national average of 35% is just about the minimum level nationally, where one candidate can win (under ideal conditions, and for Trump, this is pretty near to an ideal race condition right now on the Republican side).
I made a primary season-eve prediction for the Republican nomination fight, based on the delegate math and latest polling in each state, to forecast that Trump would win the nomination but it would take him to June 7, the last day of voting, to clinch his nomination (note, atter 23 states have now voted, my forecast from January is so far off by only 3%). I still think this a likely scenario of how 2016 plays out on the Republican race. The second most likely scenario to me, is that Trump gets the plurality but not majority of delegates (ie Trump gets most delegates but doesn’t reach 50%) and Ted Cruz comes second. The next most likely scenario is that Ted Cruz gets to most delegates with a plurality but not majority and Trump comes second but also with a lot of delegates. And then as Trump is a far better negotiator and Cruz is so hated by the party, Trump builds his coalition with Rubio and/or Kasich to still be the nominee. Its very very unlikely now for either Rubio or Kasich to end up with most delegates while mathematically that is still possible. So most of the likely scenarios have Trump getting the most delegates or winning outright. Thus I’d say Trump is close to a ‘statistical certainty’ of being the Republican nominee. Enough of that likelihood (something around 85% certainty) to let us consider the hypothetical match-up now of Hillary vs Trump.
The first ‘presidential’ act of any nominee is their selection of Vice President. This is when the nominee is known, and that selection is made public before or at the nominating convention. It is the first act made by the potential next President, relating to his or her administration. As a selection of a person, it bears exceptional scrutiny just because of that action, as a sign of how sensible and with what kind of priorities will that potential next President act and govern. Sarah Palin as the pick by John McCain in 2008 was one of those picks which essentially doomed his chances of winning the race against Obama. And the VP can be used to ‘balance’ the ticket, such as picking young Dan Quayle to balance George HW (‘Daddy’) Bush in 1988; to attract some voting demographic like Geraldine Ferraro as the first woman VP pick by Walter Mondale in 1984; to a geographic choice to try to win a ‘battleground’ state like the pick of Paul Ryan by Mitt Romney to try to win Wisconsin. And at other times the party may be badly split, and the nominee will pick the rival who finished second to try to heal the party like Ronald Reagan who picked Daddy Bush for 1980. In a perfect world, you’d have a VP pick who gives balance to the ticket, who brings in more than one new demographic, and who brings in a battleground state, when a party is not deeply divided. In the worst case, you pick a rival to try to heal the party, which then further damages the ticket and still leaves a rift in the party.
Hillary faces no fractured Democratic party. Yes, Bernie Sanders gave her a nice run, a warm-up act heading into the general election but the campaign has been incredibly positive (at this level and considering recent history) and most Democrats who see the candidates would be reasonably happy with either being their nominee. So when Hillary wins, she won’t need to even consider Bernie for VP, she can go for her best gains. She will be picking former Mayor of San Antonio Texas, now in the Obama administration as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, young Julian Castro, the most popular Hispanic politician in the country. We know as a woman Hillary does not need to pick another woman just to appeal to female voters. In the aftermath of Obama’s historic Presidency, it will be impossible for any President to return to the historic participation rates of blacks, even if the nominee was a black Democrat. But for black voters, the Clintons have been always seen as close friends of the blacks and Hillary’s primary successes in Southern states have amply proved the overwhelmingly warm support she has among black voters.
That is partly thanks to her close hugging of Obama now in the election season, differing from how far Al Gore ran from Bill Clinton in 2000 or how far Daddy Bush ran from Reagan in 1988. Hillary has been very vocal about her running for the third term of the Obama administration. It is rewarded in a loyal black vote where she will get to 90% support by November, easily. She does not need to play up this side, and it can’t be brought to the euphoria levels of 2008 with this demographic.
The next biggest voting block, and one that by population demographics is larger than the blacks but not by voter eligibility and certainly not by voting pattern, and that is the Hispanics. There the Democrats held a modest natural lead but the Republicans fought well for it back in the elections of George W (Dimwit) Bush ie Bush 2 ie Bush the Lesser. But by the time Mitt Romney uttered those poisonous words ‘self-deportation’ that support fell and then in the last four years the Republican party has only hurt itself more with this demographic. The Romney election-loss ‘autopsy’ analysis authored by the Republican party, said that because of the voter demographic trends, for coming elections the Republican party has to get to about 40% of the Hispanic vote or else they can’t win the election. Romney only got 27% of that vote. The current Republican field only achieves about 20% of Hispanic support and their worst candidate of the whole field is Trump who scores at about 15% of Hispanic support currently. This is before Hillary nominates the most popular Latino candidate, who is capable of inspiring political speeches like the one he delivered to the Democratic convention as the keynote speaker. Julian Castro. To the Hispanic community, they see in Castro their ‘Obama’ young rising future superstar, good-looking admirable candidate with a winner’s broad smile, full of optimism and hope, who gives rousing speeches. If you can see Marco Rubio as the Republican party’s future, Julian Castro is that to the Hispanic community but with even more of the instinctive appeal and (currently) no real baggage.
Castro comes from Texas. Texas votes reliably Republican. So isn’t this a waste? No. Because of demographic shifts away from white voters to partly black but increasingly Hispanic, Texas voting population will shift so dramatically that by the next decade it will be regularly ‘purple’ so no longer red ie Republican but not really blue ie Democratic either. Texas in 2008 was 63% white, 20% Hispanic, 13% black and 4% other. Texas will become a battleground state by 2024 where genuinely either side can win. And because Texas is the second largest state of the nation, where California the largest and New York State the third largest by voters are already blue, in any year that the Republicans lose Texas, they will lose the whole election for President as well. The election map will live and evolve, but it means the Republicans would then need to turn more than one of the current battleground states into ‘safe red’ states - most likely would have to be two of Florida, Ohio and Virginia - each of these would be tough to achieve, especially as Florida is seeing similar demographic shifts as Texas. If the Democrats can become the de-facto party of Hispanics as they are now of blacks, then the Democrats will almost have a lock on the White House from 2024 onwards. The Republicans will have to spend close to half of their total election budget just DEFENDING the state of Texas from that time on.
Can Hillary and Castro win Texas in 2016 if the rival ticket has Ted Cruz a Texan on the top? No way (Cruz is also a Hispanic, but he’s a Cuban Hispanic and Texas Hispanics are of Mexican descent, they are somewhat ‘rivals’ within that community). Could Hillary and Castro win against a Republican ticket with Rubio on top? Probably not. But with Trump, for all his divisiveness and how much the Hispanic community hate Trump personally? If yes highly popular Castro spends much of his election 2016 season in his home state, then yes, they could conceivably win Texas already now in 2016, bringing rapidly forward the shift in political power where Texas goes from deeply red to purple, now. It helps that Julian Castro has an identical twin brother, Joaquin Castro, a Congressman from Texas, so you kind of get two Castros for the price of one. But even if Hillary ends up losing Texas, if she can force her rival team to spend money and time defending Texas, it only frees all that effort from fighting for other states, and pads Hillary’s victory in traditional battleground states like Ohio, Virginia, Florida; and allows her to pick up new states that Obama didn’t win, like North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona etc. And often in those states, if the Hispanic voters were motivated to register and show up to vote at the same voter intensity as white voters, then Hillary would be favored to win there too (against Trump). And a surge in Hispanic voter turnout in Texas would help flip House seats in Congress as well as local Texas elections.
That's why I say its not certain, but it is highly likely that Hillary picks Julian Castro. About the only reason she would not pick him, is if there is something truly damaging in his background which would damage the ticket. There is no ‘better’ candidate for her to pick, at least that I could imagine today.
Trump’s VP pick is more dependent on the way the race ends. If Trump manages to win an outright majority of delegates then he can ignore the rivals, and just pick the best VP to help him win the election. Remember, Trump isn’t in any way beholden to the Republican party or its future. Trump couldn’t care less whether the party is fractured or not and will not are about healing any rifts. Trump only cares about Trump, and he won’t need any ‘help’ in governing either, he will pick that VP choice who best helps him win. He is only about the winning. If Trump gets 50% plus one delegate by June 7, then he will ignore Cruz, Rubio and Kasich, and pick a genuine outsider. Not a current politician or someone who ran against him (so it won’t be Chris Christie for example who just endorsed him) but one who is impressive as a choice. It could be ‘Morning Joe’ Joe Scarborough. A moderate Republican former Congressman now TV news anchor on MSNBC. Clever positioning talking to independents but keeping with a Republican. But he’s a white old rich guy and only a light-weight in terms of policy credentials. What about a former General. Imagine General Colin Powell, a black General and registered Republican but again, a moderate who endorsed Obama ahead of war veteran John McCain in 2008. Or imagine Condi Rice the former Secretary of State under Idiot Bush. A black woman VP. I think Trump’s pick would be in that type of ‘class’ of person, to appeal to some demographic to which Trump does not, and to add some policy competence where Trump has none. A Trump-Powell ticket for example would have considerable instant credibility on foreign policy and military matters against a Hillary-Castro ticket. And moderate Colin Powell could siphon off some votes of moderate blacks from Hillary (potentially).
However, while the single scenario which I think is most likely, is the one that Trump clinches the nomination with enough delegates to have a majority by June 7, the number of the next likely scenarios will make the range of outcomes so, that its more possible that Trump gets the nomination without a majority of the delegates won by himself alone. That he has to make some deal with one of his rivals to take the nomination. So whether its that Trump finishes first but without majority, or that he finishes second, Trump would then make the deal to get to be the nominee. And in that situation, Trump knows that Cruz would hurt his ticket (a lot) but Rubio would help his ticket (a little bit). Hence its obvious Trump would pick Rubio as his VP. Of the four personalities we will be talking about this Autumn, this one, Rubio, is the least certain. Hillary and Julian Castro is certain. Trump is nearly certain too. But Rubio as the other VP, is at best likely. But again, of all possible pairings, Rubio is most likely on the Republican side in the ‘Veepstakes’ (even in an unlikely Cruz win, Rubio is then very likely to be his VP choice just because of a fractured party and Trump will not be willing to be anybody’s VP).
That gives us the tickets to consider. Hillary Clinton for President on the Democratic side, with Julian Castro for VP. And on the Republican side Donald Trump for President and Marco Rubio for VP. In both cases very strong-willed autocratic candidates for President, who like to rule by dictatorship, so in both cases the young Hispanic newcomers will be only mindless ‘eye candy’ for the electorate, of no real policy consequence on either side, and in a funny twist, obviously both trying to deliver the same demographic to their ticket - the Hispanic vote - and both will have a major influence within their home states, Texas for Castro and Florida for Rubio. But as we consider this analysis, its really only the top of the ticket we need to consider when we look at such matters as policy and campaign and financing and endorsements etc. Before we do that, lets take a snapshot of the head-to-head race. Can we have a kind of short-hand preview of this race.
THE MATH AS OF TODAY
So while most polling is done within the two races, who leads in the race to become the Republican nominee, either nationally or within some state, and same for Democrats; we can’t really measure the actual candidates because the reality has not been formally set. So some pollsters do preliminary ‘head-to-head’ tests, how would say Bernie Sanders do against Marco Rubio, or how would Ted Cruz do against Hillary Clinton and so forth. And ever since Trump surged to the top of the Republican race, he has been in such match-up tests against Hillary now for about half a year. Those, like most series of polls, have their ups and downs. But almost all of them, and thus the Real Clear Polling average of polls, has held a consistent lead for.. Hillary. Hillary does not lead against all Republican rivals, Rubio and Kasich have been beating Hillary in these head-to-head tests but Trump regularly loses in them. That is a bad omen for Trump. I want to dig deeper and then we have one good tool of considerable amount of data - the Reuters Daily Tracker Poll. It has also been testing Trump vs Hillary head-to-head and yes, it too obviously has consistently had Trump losing to Hillary. She is up currently by 10 points.
For contest, Obama beat Romney in 2012 by 5 points, and Obama’s previous victory over McCain in 2008 was called a landslide victory - he won by 7 points. So that is what is considered a drubbing in modern US elections. A landslide starts at 7%. And Hillary is ahead of Trump in Reuter’s daily tracking poll consistently and her current lead is .. 10 points. The story is indeed starting badly for Trump when real math is brought into the picture, shattering that pretty fantasy of a Trump ‘movement’ with his big enthusiastic rallies with his fanatical loyalists.
But the reason I like to go with Reuters daily tracker poll, is that their online tool gives us a lot of ways to dig into their data. It gets quite interesting and gives us more insights. So first, the top-line number. What is this 10 point split. Its not 55%-45% that you might think. The poll finds the result only at 35%-45%. It is (was on 4 March, 2016) 45.4% for Hillary and 34.7% for Trump. Thats only 80.1% of the voters showing a preference and quite a large part, 19.9% of voters saying they can’t say. This is quite interesting.
We can also dig into various voting blocks. We can see how the support is among party loyalists, Democrats pick Hillary but 9% go with Trump; Republicans pick Trump but 9% go with Hillary. Interesting that this would be a ‘wash’ at this stage. There is definitely cross-over appeal by Trump to steal some Democrats to come vote for him but he will also bleed - roughly the same amount - of Republicans who will go vote for her instead of Trump. Among Independents the vote is tied. Its with the party loyalists where the big gap exists today. In a head-to-head match-up 81% of Democrats would vote for Hillary but only 67% of Republicans would vote for Trump. Only 10% of Democrats would be uncertain where to go, with 24% of Republicans and 38% of Independents still undecided.
Lets analyze these numbers a little bit more, now with the context of Trump’s actual Republican voter support and the anti-Trump vote. We have seen that Trump’s national support is very solidly 35%. It grew from about 2% or 3% in June steadily to that 35% level by November of last year, then stalled and held steady, as a monthly average across all major polls through December, through January; then through the votes of the four states in February (34%), the 11 states that voted on Super Tuesday 1 March (35%) and now again on Super Saturday 5 March (33%). Trump has called for a ban of Muslims, the expelling of 11 million illegal immigrants, he boycotted a debate, feuded with the Pope about what is being a Christian, bungled the question about the Ku Klux Klan endorsing him, quoted Mussolini, said he wanted to return to the torture of waterboarding ‘and worse’, and talked about his penis size. And his support is a rock-steady 35%. Never down but also very importantly, when averaged nationally, never up either. For the few votes (or polls) that went into the 40s, he had equal votes (or polls) that went then into the 20s. He is near perfectly solid 35%. Like Trump joked, he could shoot somebody and his supporters would not abandon him.
So in some individual state Trump’s support might be 44% or 29% but nationally averaged its 35%. give or take a point or two. It was 35% in November, in December, in January, in February and just now, Saturday 5 March (33.3% to be precise on that day and four elections). Note that the OTHER candidates have seen their support grow or shrink in this time, by quite a lot. And the field of candidates has shrunk from 17 to 4. That has given more support to John Kasich and (judging by now Saturday’s four state votes, also) Ted Cruz but Trump has not gained any support whatsoever. He is solidly at 35%, it won’t fall, but it won’t climb either. The rest of the Republican voters really do not like him. Many positively hate him. An unprecedented number of party leaders and conservative thought-leaders have come out saying they can’t vote for Trump under any circumstances - and some actually say they will vote - or they urge other Republicans to vote - for Hillary instead of Trump if that is what the November election comes down to. This is unprecedented at this stage of the race. Trump is the most polarizing politician in modern history, you really love him, or you really hate him. Even in his own party, he can’t get support to go above 35% (when averaged nationally obviously, some individual state could go above). And Trump’s support is the only one which is not budging, not up nor not down.
So let me do a few scenarios. The Reuters poll says the split between Hillary and Trump is 10 points. So it was 45.4% vs 34.7% to be exact (10.7 point split). But that is allowing for the 20 point (precisely 19.9%) undecided voters. In the election there will be no undecideds anymore. So lets take a test case 1. Lets allocate the missing 20% by the same proportion to both candidates as their current measured support. That gives an effective race of 56.8% for Hillary vs 43.4% for Trump.
That is the measurement today. Taking the best possible measurement of how the race would be ie head-to-head poll, and allocating the undecided in a strictly proportional manner assuming every undecided voter would fall into place exactly like the others split. This is essentially Trump’s ‘best case’ scenario. And Reuters tracking poll says while they measure a split of 10.7 points, when the undecideds are allocated, the reality it measures is 13.4 point advantage for Hillary Clinton.
But that was, as I said, the best case measurement for the Trump camp. Let me give a more ‘realistic’ view out of the same data. Have you noticed in every election so far, Trump’s last results, the ‘late deciders’ break against him. He does consistently worse among those who waited to the end, still pondering the choice. Hillary on the other hand in many - but not all - states against Bernie, has picked up support in the last days. Hillary finishes strong, Trump finishes weakly. Its almost certain they will not split 50/50. Its almost certain Hillary will pick up more than Trump. But the above gave Hillary only the same margin for the last 20% undecideds, as the previous who had already now in March 2016, a preference for the election which is held in November. A far more likely scenario is that Hillary takes say 2 out of every 3 remaining undecided voters. Remember how much Trump cannot reach past his ceiling. It is much more difficult for Trump to convince someone who really hates him, to then vote for him, than for Hillary who is untrustworthy and manipulative and conniving and whatnot, but not nearly as HATED as Trump. So lets just test a 67/33 split of the last 20%. If that is how the undecideds go, then today’s Reuters measurement would be consistent with a November election result of 58.4% for Hillary and 41.6% for Trump. That's yes a 16.8 point catastrophic election fiasco.
And this is all before most voters had even heard of Trump University. And the voters had barely started to hear of anything negative about Trump (while they had heard from the anti-Hillary machine for 30 years). So is it fair to say the undecided 20% would split 13 for Hillary and 7 for Trump - I promise you, Trump won’t win one third of the undecideds. He will get less than that. But lets leave this math at this level now. The Real Clear Polling average of polls has consistently held Hillary beating Trump in head-to-heads, and almost every individual poll has found her beating him. If we use the latest Reuters data, we see a 10 point split. When that is adjusted so that undecideds are attributed mathematically proportionately, then Trump loses by 13.4 points (twice the size of the loss John McCain had to Barack Obama in 2008. But if we only alter that to a 2 to 1 gain in those last 20% voters to Hillary, that she wins 2 out of every 3 undecideds and Trump manages to still keep one of the 3, then Hillary crushes Trump by 16.8 points. This is a loss of such epic scale it is in the class of Walter Mondale’s loss to Ronald Reagan in 1984. And I am telling you, Hillary’s victory will actually be larger than a margin of that 17 points. But enough of the math here, I know it makes the head hurt for some readers. Lets go to the race itself. Let me take you to a tour of the...
So the Democratic convention will be a love-fest. The minor contest between Bernie and Hillary will have been decided by April. Hillary’s positions were close enough to Bernie on most, and she is importantly closer to the party base on the issue of gun control so in that way she is ‘more to the left’ or more liberal than he is. Right after any ‘declared neutral’ major figures have their states voted, they will publicly endorse Hillary (like Senate minority leader Harry Reid of Nevada) and the moment she has clinched the nomination, President Obama will also endorse her. She will have all the other major party influencers who were talked of as her potential rivals such as Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren also endorse her by then. That all will help the party to be as unified as is possible out of something that was not an uncontested run by a sitting President. It is the big Democratic tent singing cumbayah songs at their convention.
That is the polar opposite of the Republican convention. The race so far has been the nastiest in living memory at least, possibly the nastiest in either party’s history. And its only started. The gloves only now came off. So much of the early vitriol was BEFORE the real fighting erupted. Never in US politics has the leader of the race been called by many in its own party as being like Hitler, of being a fascist! (its normal for Democrats to label any Republican rival as a fascist, thats as normal as Republicans routinely calling the Democrats communists etc). And never at this point - when only early states have voted - have so many public leaders and thinkers of the party said in public - they will not vote for the front-runner - and to vote for the DEMOCRATIC candidate instead.
That DOES happen in elections but that happens close to election day, if one party has a particularly bad nominee (Mitt Romney) or one who makes particularly bad campaign errors (McCain picking Sarah Palin) then yes, some of that party suddenly shock the whole electorate by endorsing the rival party’s nominee (in both of these cases obviously Obama). But Hillary Clinton is the most hated politician for the Republicans that they’ve ever met, wife of highly reviled Bill Clinton, Secretary of State to the even-more-hated Barack Obama, and now, publicly hugging Obama to run as his third term. So this is the most poisonous rival for Republicans to even consider. Yet dozens and dozens of public figure conservatives and members of the Republican party have already said, they will not vote for Trump; and many have added - they would vote for Hillary or that they endorse voting for Hillary instead of Trump. Not only that Trump would destroy the Republican party, he is so bad as a candidate, he would damage the USA as a nation, if he was elected President.
We are in MARCH. And dozens up on dozens of Republicans and conservatives have started their songs against Trump (and for Hillary). It will not mean most Republicans will vote for Hillary. It does mean that some will. And it means much more importantly, that most ‘swing voters’ who are ‘independents’ and genuinely undecided, will find lots of cause to go with Hillary against Trump. And it means, as these are public condemnations (and endorsements) more will be willing to come out and join, and the effect will be far more corrosive to Trump’s support than such a political statement done in say October. And that so many have already come by February, it means a lot of bad will going into the convention, even if Trump has locked the majority of delegates for the convention.
If the breach in the party is a two-way split (Hillary vs Obama in 2008) then when the winning side works hard to appeal to the losing side (and it gives its consent and endorses the winner) then some of that rift can be repaired. But what if the split is three ways? Then its not possible to fully cure both rifts. At least one side would still be upset even if the other side had its candidate picked as VP and maybe is reasonably healed. And what if some level of ‘unfairness’ is perceived to have happened. Lets say the race ends up with Trump getting 40% of the delegates, Cruz gets 35% and Rubio 25%. And Trump picks Rubio as his VP (together they have 65% of the pledged delegates). Now the Cruz supporters will scream its unfair, because their guy had more support than Rubio, why isn’t Cruz the VP. And we could have a fiercely angry and divisive convention - covered on 24 hour news with the Twitter echo chamber. Then take the worse scenario: Trump gets 52% of the delegates, ignores Cruz and Rubio, and picks say Joe Scarborough as his VP pick. The ultra-conservative religious wing (supporting Cruz) and the conservative side of Rubio’s ‘moderate’ supporters would all scream that Morning Joe is a RINO (Republican In Name Only) and their candidate should have been picked. And the convention floor could be a total circus of bickering and bitching. The chorus of voices saying - don’t vote for Trump - or saying - boycott the election altogether, don’t vote at all! would be huge.
Trump stands for, or has taken positions that are diametrically against where the Republican party stands either by policy or by philosophy or by recent history recollection. Trump is for (or has recently been for) Planned Parenthood, he is pro-choice (ie not totally against abortion); for higher taxes for the rich, for a single-payer public healthcare solution (ie true ‘socialized medicine’ meaning the WORST option that Romneycare ie Obamacare was designed to avoid; original Hillarycare was this type of Trumpcare, a socialized single-payer comprehensive healthcare solution that means everybody gets healthcare paid out of taxpayer dollars); against the Iraq war; there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq; Bush and Cheney lied about Iraq and Saddam Hussein; against free trade globally (ie for trade wars, a position usually only liberal Democrats would advocate and not even all of those); and on and on. The rivals are now pounding Trump on these positions. If he still holds onto them (he is prone to flipflopping even more than Romney, the previous master of this political dirty trick) then the party will be at least, confused and at worst, at war with itself, by the convention. Speakers will be likely giving deeply conflicted speeches from the podium if the event is chaotic (how likely is that?) or else, they will be complaining bitterly on camera back-stage about how much dictator Trump is stifling them from speaking their minds, so their suppressed views will likely get as much coverage if not more, if Trump’s campaign tries to suppress those during the convention TV coverage.
The Rebublican convention of 2016 will be a fight, that much is obvious. How bad will it get? Nobody knows. But do you think Jeb Bush and Rick Perry and Lindsay Graham and Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina etc will be ‘happy’ to see Trump on stage after the nastiest primary campaign they’ve ever seen has ended? One that ‘unfairly’ destroyed their chances? If its one rival with hurt feelings (Santorum in 2012, Huckabee in 2008, Hillary in 2008) then yeah, the winner can do a lot to remedy that. But if its 16 candidates who lost, most of whom were ‘crushed’ ruthlessly by personal attacks by Trump - many will hold a grudge and will do all they can to undermine and demolish his chances. This will be even more pronounced because of so many thought leaders now already on the anti-Trump bandwagon. They will also be looking towards 2018, what will the Republican party stand for in the post-Trump era. How can they get past the anti-Mexican, anti-women, anti-disabled, anti-Muslim, anti-Catholic (and anti-whatever) rhetoric of the Trump rampage? So they will be VOCAL about trying to cure those ills, and to establish their role as party ‘saviors’ they will be starting early. By the conventions (or at the conventions). All this means less support, and less enthusiastic support of the Trump campaign, and plenty of cause for moderate and independent voters to abandon the divisive campaign of hate by Trump, and go with the Hillary option instead.
The convention could be physically violent. See how much Trump’s campaign rallies already tinker around physical violence and how much Trump seems to be promoting violence rather than suppressing it (I wish someone punched him, go ahead and hit them, if you do, I will pay your court fees, take away their coats..). And now for the worst possible option. Its possible Trump is denied by party gimmicks and a coalition between Cruz and Rubio. So say Trump ends up with 45% of the delegates but Cruz and Rubio have 55% and decide to join on a ticket. Now most candidates go and sulk. Trump? Is likely to take his ball with him. He is likely to then launch an independent run and utterly crush what remained in chances for ANY races by Republicans. The Democratic convention will be as close as possible to a love-fest where Bernie has a big speaking role and he will endorse Hillary and his supporters are happy. The Republican convention will be at least a fight and nasty with rifts that are not fully healed. Its possible the nomination is not settled, and the voting goes for several cycles - could go on for more than a day - of only growing tension and anger and discord. Its possible that the nomination remains deadlocked and the party has to seek a compromise candidate instead (which would almost certainly trigger a Trump independent run). But even if Trump has 51% of the delegates its certain there will be exceptional disharmony and discord at the Republican nomination. The more its a fight, the more it gets TV coverage. The party elders will be feeling its the hostile takeover of their party by a con artist and pretender, to destroy what they had built, so they are highly motivated to get their points of view to the public.
The TV and social media will enjoy the chaos, as the climax of the wrecking ball that Trump has been to the injured and disfunctional Republican party inflected by the Tea Party disease. So they will give EXTENDED television coverage to the carnage. Where normally a political party’s nominating convention is a free infomercial of positive upbeat campaign messaging to celebrate their candidates and their message (And the most complete set of attacks on the breadth of the disagreement with their rivals), that will be true of the Democratic convention supporting Hillary and Julian. It will be a total disaster for Trump and Rubio who will be spending most of the time talking to journalists not about their great campaign and ideas, but trying to downplay the crisis and trying to pretend the party is more unified than it really is.
There has never been a party as divided in the modern 24 hour TV news era (and modern social media era, even shorter than that) as the Republican party is in 2016. The convention will be the culmination of the hostility that we’ve now seen in the campaign from daily bickering about who lies the most, to unprecedented levels of divisive rhetoric. I think the single most telling detail is that when Trump was compared to Hitler, the single most reviled person in history, and any other politician would instinctively recoil from such a nasty accusation, Trump relished it and said he didn’t mind at all. So he
‘admires’ Hitler? It says a lot that all white supremacists and Nazi organizations and the Ku Klux Klan have endorsed Trump and say usually in words in the style - that for once we have one of our own running for the Presidency. Its one thing for the Democrats to call a Republican a Nazi. Its quite something else when a fellow Republican does so. Its far more convincing if an American Nazi organization says so; and its truly frightening if the candidate himself doesn’t feel like he should say its not true. Does the Republican party want to be remade into the American Nazi Party? Is that what this is about?
The early reactions to Trump’s wild positions and outrageous statements were disbelief and shock. Most of the major leaders ignored him or dismissed him thinking he will collapse shortly as that was so outside the mainstream. Well, it isn’t now. At some point Fox News has to decide, is it for the New Fox Nazi News future or is it time to denounce Trump comprehensively. Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter and Drudge and Breitbart and the others, all have to come to terms with this. They can ride the fence for a while, but Trump is on the path to remake the Republican party the white supremacists minority rule old men’s party hating every other group. The backlash against Trump is growing. It may not be able to stop his candidacy but the writing will be on the wall by the summer that Hillary will win by 20 points or more - meaning all sensible ‘honest’ Republicans who are not Nazis, will reject Trump and try to save what remains of the Grand Old Party. It will drive the wedge in the party rift only deeper and deeper.
TWO CANDIDATES SURPRISINGLY ALIKE
Elections are often contrasts. And there also will be significant contrasts in the Trump-Hillary matchup, but some of what many conservatives thought of as Hillary’s weaknesses now show up in Trump as well, diminishing the ability to hit her on where she is most vulnerable. And meanwhile, Trump truly trumps Hillary on those faults. So she’s old. True. Not as old as Reagan was but yes, she is. A young (and even younger-looking-than-he-really-is) Rubio would be a nice contrast, youth vs old. But Trump is older than Hillary. Now few would vote just against a candidate being too old, but its one aspect cancelled out.
Untrustworthy. Yes, a label that sticks quite damagingly to Hillary Clinton, has been with husband Bill and was a label stuck on her from before she even ran for her Senate seat. A good case to prosecute against her in the general election to woo those in the middle who are unsure about who to vote for. Except for Trump. If Hillary is prone to stretch the truth - Politifact had her not being truthful 28% of the time. Pretty nasty, its more than one out of every four statements. For contrast Bill Clinton scores 24% and Obama 26%. But its what all politicians do, Joe Biden came in at 32%. Now this could be a good tactic to hit her on, that she’s so deceitful that more than one in every four claims she makes is judged untruthful by Politifact. Unless the rival is Donald J Trump. Even Dick Cheney only lies 59% of the time but our Trumpster? He lies 76% of the time !!! With Hillary there is a one in four chance that what she said was not true; with Trump its only a one in four chance that what he said WAS TRUE. He is the most deceitful candidate ever to run for office and be the front-runner. When you are judged to lie more than Dick Cheney, at that point its one of those instances where people living in glass houses should not throw stones..
Machiavellian ruthless bossy authoritarian? Either of Trump or Hillary could be called those things. On all of them, Trump matches or exceeds the levels of Hillary. The voters will be presented a choice but at some levels it will be making a choice selecting the ‘lesser of two evils’. Both have plenty of bad characteristics - as a human being - but Trump is far worse on essentially all of those, when thinking of a ‘nice’ Christian human being. If you don’t like it that Hillary Clinton seems to be above the law and bends rules to her favor - then the four bankruptcies that Trump ran his companies through to screw his business partners and make out like a bandit - will only make him far worse.
So lets be clear, neither of these two are highly POPULAR and liked, beloved candidates. They may be admired. More often respected. And they may be capable (in their respective fields) and they have a following. But its not a groundswell of love and adoration of the kind that say candidate Barack Obama had in 2008 or what Bernie Sanders now engenders or what say Bill Clinton in 1992 or Ronald Reagan in 1980 had. On either side if a supporter talks about Hillary or of Trump, the supporter will be drawn to the strength, that person is strong enough to win, strong enough to force change, strong enough to rule. They are not singing praises of these being angels with hearts that are pure and kind.
I am thinking of the movie title Dumb and Dumber. These are both smart politicians (and yes, we must think of Trump as a smart POLITICIAN even as he likes to claim he’s an outsider and never was in politics). So its kind of Bad and Badder. Both have favorability ratings that are negative. More people don’t like the candidate than like them. On the national average of all voters, Hillary’s favorability is a few points below water. Trump’s ratings are record-settingly bad. Normally if one candidate has negative ratings, that is a severe handicap to go into the general election (think of Mitt Romney vs Obama in 2012). But while Hillary has negative ratings, Trump’s are far worse. So voters are literally asked to pick the lesser of two evils (ie Hillary).
THE MONEY RACE
So then lets get to the money race. This was expected to be the first race where both sides spent more than one Billion dollars to get their candidate elected. The Hillary Clinton 2008 fund-raising machine was the result of the aftermath of Bill Clinton’s Presidency and Hillary’s work to build upon that, and was considered the most powerful fund-raising machine the Democrats had ever assembled, using their base of support such as labor unions etc, combined with the strong fund-raising from Wall Street as Hillary had been New York’s junior Senator and built those networks. The assumption was that the Hillary 2008 campaign could be strong enough to outraise and outspend the Republican rival campaign of John McCain. Up to that election, it was the rule of thumb that Democrats had more volunteer supporters but Republicans had more money. And the Clinton family had worked tirelessly to reverse that for her run into 2008. Except that along came Obama who used the internet and grass-roots contributions to set the record for fund-raising, obliterating both Hillary’s ability and that of McCain. Obama used that same system in 2012 against Romney and again prevailed. But Hillary didn’t throw away the hard work she’d had building her connections and donor networks. Now, going into 2016, Hillary is ‘hugging’ Obama for many reasons, one of those is his network and competence (and staff) of fund-raising. The Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign fund-raising will be a merger of the Clinton machine of 2008 and the Obama re-election campaign of 2012. Under any normal year it would be by far the richest campaign the US political system had ever seen.
To prepare for this, and partly powered by the Citizens United ruling by the US Supreme Court, various Republican donors were mentally preparing that this year needed a total investment roughly being one Billion dollars. That is what the Koch brothers (richest donors of the race on either side) said at their donor network meeting, when they hit their total target at about 900 million dollars. That they pledged their network to run up the contributions to 900 million for their guy this cycle. That would be from rich donors often paying many millions each, so it would be only a couple of dozen donors in total, but the very rich people, often in the oil and energy fields, who want another classic oil-friendly Republican President. This money would be in addition to what the candidate himself/herself would be raising (say 500 million) and several hundred million more by the Republican party and other donor networks. So they were telling rich investors last summer to budget for a truly epic cost of this election, that would run on the Republican side well North of 1.5 Billion dollars (plus many hundreds of millions more to also re-elect their Senators, Governors, Congresspeople etc).
Then Trump jumped in and said he’ll self-finance. Trump even loudly, many times, said he wants no SuperPAC money, he will not be bound by contributions by the rich, and told his supporters not to give to the SuperPACs that started to form, and insisted that those SuperPACs return the money because they were not endorsed by him. Now. Mitt Romney was the richest man ever to run on either side (in nominal terms. So if we count inflation, then some of the early land-owners were actually richer still). He would go bankrupt if he had to finance his campaign himself. He was worth several hundred million. And yes, that money is not enough to be competitive today. Romney did self-finance his 2008 run, but by 2012 he did not put his own money in, that campaign had fund-raising as its source of income.
Trump says he is worth 10 Billion dollars. Others measure his worth to be less but still several Billion dollars, say about half that. The difference is mainly in how the Trump name is valued (if Trump endorses something of puts his name on a building, then that property becomes more valuable - or at least this was the pattern in the past, before Trump started this process of damaging his name through this destructive political campaign). So the Trump name is something that may be worth, say 5 Billion dollars, but it is something Trump cannot ‘sell’ today and turn into cash. He can’t borrow against it to run his campaign. Its an ‘intangible’ asset which has a volatile value and arguably, its value has been plummeting in past months as many international properties have distanced themselves from the Trump name.
So lets say the tangible assets he owns are worth 5 Billion dollars (in very round terms). Trump could self-finance a crushing overwhelming campaign to bury Hillary Clinton in TV ads theoretically at a 3 to 1 or at least 2 to 1 advantage. That would mean, that Trump would have to liquidate everything he owns. I am quite certain he won’t go that far, but he is a gambler: he might. Even then Hillary probably budgeted for something around a 1.5 Billion dollar campaign, she probably could push it to 2 Billion if things were starting to look bad and she needed extra umph.
Now notice first, that part of the campaign is the series of events, travel by jet to various towns to do events, talk to the local media, have some photo-op in say Flint Michigan about the lead-poisoning of the water, etc. That only costs say one or two hundred million dollars for the 3 months or so, the travel of the entourage, the hotels, rental cars, etc. There is only one candidate (and one VP). You can’t really ‘scale’ that up to double or triple the spending. Hillary actually will have to spend more, because of her exceptional surrogate team (Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Barack Obama (possibly separately occasionally also Michelle Obama), twin-brother of Julian Castro, Joaquin). But this is still a limited opportunity to spend. Then there is the Big Data operation, and the rest is almost only marketing expenses. Advertising, buying TV ad time, sending robocalls to homes, buying radio and TV time and occasional billboard ads, etc. Plus various mailers and so forth.
Here first, Hillary’s team uses social media as an evolution of the Obama 2008 and 2012 campaigns (with plenty of the same staff hired now for Hillary). Its far cheaper to establish and maintain contacts using social media than traditional media. The Democratic voter base is younger and more connected, so the Republican rival has to use more of the traditional media, for example more use of snailmail than email; more use of TV ads than YouTube, more use of fixed landline phone robocalls than mobile phones and SMS text messages. And so forth. Now, Trump is good at Twitter, yes. Arguably better than Hillary although she’s no slouch at it. Its not like the 2008 campaign was between Obama and McCain where McCain was utterly clueless about digital means. But Trump is good, however, his VOTERS are not the most connected. Hillary’s voters are far more connected. Still. both have to also appeal to older, less educated, less affluent, less connected voters and use traditional media too.
But the point is, if we’re looking at marketing budgets, Hillary can make more efficient use of more powerful - and far less expensive - media methods to reach her total voter base than Trump can. This is not something like a 2 to 1 advantage but its something probably around 1.5 to 1 advantage for Hillary. It partly balances out a possible over-spend by Trump.
The other issue is pre-purchasing. Team Hillary will be driven by the most advanced Big Data operation ever conceived. It builds on the record-setting Obama 2012 campaign, using again many of the same people. Ted Cruz (and Jeb Bush and Scott Walker) has been building a Big Data operation on the Republican side. Ted has seen the power of it and believes in it. Trump doesn’t do that. His database management team and processes are mainly the voter database that the Republican party has built, and barely anything beyond that. It also is bare-bones minimal in media buying competence and staff. So while Trump is able to spend a lot of money, he doesn’t have (at least not yet) a machine capable of precise targeting to yield that extra 3% of votes that Big Data seems to be delivering per election.
One of the ways Team Obama used its Big Data insights in 2012 was to target TV ads to cable TV networks in very precise ad buys. Ted Cruz is doing that now, Trump is not. Trump doesn’t have that capability. It takes a lot of work to get to that level (Cruz working at it for eight months, Hillary’s team going back to Obama has done this for four years). That means TV ads can be targeted both at lower costs (cable TV ads usually cheaper than national TV) plus with targeted ads per channel (many specialized TV ads vs one generic one) and by pre-purchasing the ad time long in advance, they can make huge savings. This power will essentially neutralize the TV ad total visibility advantage that a bigger TV ad budget could otherwise have.
Its possible Trump liquidates (or leverages) essentially everything he owns, and then does a ‘carpet bombing’ TV ad blitz for 3 months to try to win the election. And against most rivals including all of his Republican rivals now in the Primary race, it would be overwhelming. But against Hillary, the effect will not be enough to tilt the game. When the ad runs are counted by the media ad measurement specialists, the end result will be that in very rough terms, Hillary and Trump had about the same level of TV ad visibility. Trump might be 10% or 20% more, that is not anywhere enough to change the equation. But if Trump is not willing to go all out, and gives a big chunk of his tangible assets but not all, to the campaign, its still possible that Hillary outspends Trump in TV ads, and again, probably not decisively but could be as much at 50% more. Here the key element is, that this race will not be decided by an overwhelming barrage of TV ads by one side exceeding the other. It will be close to a ‘wash’ where both will hold rough balance and neither will run out of money towards the end, having to abandon some states, etc.
By the way, just as an observation. A typical fraud by Trump is that he is self-financed. It is a nice message to give his supporters. But so far, the amount of money Trump has donated to his own campaign ia 250,000 dollars (one quarter of one million). He has LENT his campaign another 17 million dollars. That means, that Trump can at any time, when his campaign has a nice amount of extra funds, pay his borrowed money back to Trump. And so if future contributors pay say 10 million dollars, Trump could take that loan back. At any time. Possibly, relatively easily for a front-runner (17 million dollars is peanuts in a national Presidential campaign) he could take all that back. Then its someone else (possibly the national Republican party joining to support Trump) who paid Trump’s loan back - and actually funded the run so far.. Pretty nifty eh? But Trump HAS taken 7.5 million dollars in donations from his supporters. So he says he is self-financing when he paid 0.25 million and donations from supporters threw in 7.5 million. Of actual cash donated to his run, Trump has only contributed 3% !!!!! Other volunteers have actually paid 97% of what he claims is ‘self-funded’ !!!!! This is typical Trump, the msot outrageously blatantly false exaggerations. Yes he has LOANED his campaign money, but he hasn’t self-financed it - and look at how quick Trump has been to bankrupt his past ventures, he has a rock-solid plan to get his 17 million dollar loan paid back, trust me. Its exactly as false as his boasts about how much he was paid for the last run of Apprentice. Or how he’s only paid 800,000 dollars out of the 6 million he promised he’d be getting to veterans out of his debate-skipping stunt event. In terms of which campaign will actually be better funded, the signs are forming - but not certain - that it will still be Hillary who has more cash this year than richest-man-ever-to-run Trump’s ‘self-funded’ campaign haha. Trump is such a total fraud!
So then what about free media? Trump is on all the talk shows all the time. He sucks the air out of the room, he dominates the discussion. True all true. He does it with his bombastic style and with outrageous statements. He knows how to create TV news and to be featured prominently in it. The 538 blog calculated that this cycle Trump’s TV appearances had been 30x more than the next most seen rival on the Republican side !!! That is an incredibly powerful - and valuable - asset. He has almost a monopoly of media time.
But you know what 538 blog also found? That when compared Trump time vs Hillary time so far, Trump only outperforms Hillary by 2 to 1. So Hillary is the second most seen politician this cycle (and Bernie comes in third, just behind Hillary). There is a sense of balance in the media. But for the general election this will change, to be even more tightly ‘measured’ balance. The news networks will not let one side have a monologue. For anything Trump says, they will go ask for Hillary’s opinion. The coverage in the autumn will be nearly even. I would guess Trump still ends up having 10% or 20% more but that again, is not enough in any way to tilt the balance.
Then we suddenly get a different dynamic. For everything dumb and damaging thing that Trump says instinctively, Hillary is asked to comment, and she’ll respond - sensibly like the adult vs the child. But whenever Hillary says something - sensible - and Trump is asked to respond, often we see how ill-prepared and clueless Trump is about most things relating to actual governance. The past many months the journalists in the media have been bewildered by Trump, how to handle his interviews, how he just talks over you and doesn’t answer questions and responds often with clear lies. The media are getting better at it, and learning how to deal with Trump. But currently, they do not go to every rival of Trump to ask for comments (and often when they tried, the rivals said, they don’t want to comment on Trump).
That will change as the media learn the game Trump is playing. Hillary meanwhile will have two full-time staffers monitoring all Trump words and Tweets 24 hours a day, and inform Hillary immediately when he says something, with exact quote - and instant Oppo research on what Trump had said before, or what is the background on that issue, and where Hillary has her openings. So if 15 minutes later CNN calls Hillary for a quote, she will be prepared. Trump has no discipline on his messaging and he is constantly saying vile things which do work to help his core supporters love him even more, but if these are regularly exposed to the mainstream electorate, they will be repelled ever more fiercely.
Remember, most of the things Trump has said his season so far, have not been adequately communicated to the general electorate and the undecided Independent swing voters in the middle who will decide the election. Most of Trump’s wild things have mainly stayed inside the Republican party’s activist side, among those involved in the primary race etc. And even there, Trump gets about 60% of registered Republicans disliking what he says. Now take this more generally to the public. If all that he is saying is clearly discussed. If the only rival, Hillary, gets to comment regularly on it, if she says always sensible normal things Americans believe and Trump keeps saying nutty things, he will only push ever more voters away from him.
Then we add media bias. There is some media bias certainly, where often journalists have a liberal bias (but that is at least partly balanced by media owners tending to have a conservative bias). But Trump has been setting himself up for troubled times in the Autumn. Today, Trump can get on TV at will, and be seen 30x more than his Republican rivals. So Trump feels he is invincible, and whenever some journalist asks him a nasty question or follows up to strongly or points out some contradictions, Trump will put that journalist on boycott. As Trump is good for ratings (and selling newspapers and magazines) the media do not want to be blocked by him. So they play along. Many are giving him softball questions and not doing their full job on him, for fear of alienating Trump. Now, when the Autumn campaign starts, even those networks and newsmedia have to invite Hillary for equal time. Regardless of whether its tough questions or easy questions, where Trump gets easily on TV camera, he automatically opens the door to Hillary at the same time.
But what will Hillary do? She will ALSO go talk to all the media who are under a Trumpian boycott. She will have FAR wider REACH of audiences. And all those media will say - we also invited Trump but he is not coming, the invitation stands. And that is all they need to do, they have fulfilled their obligations for even treatment of candidates if they have genuinely invited both sides. Hillary will go and get more visibility, Trump will be afraid to show up at a media which has a grudge against him and has spent weeks or months honing its ‘follow up’ questions relating to whatever was that last spat that had Trump putting them into the boycott. Its a VERY bad and shortsighted media plan, which Trump can do, because he is Trump, and he thinks he’s smarter than anybody else, so he has overruled his media advisors. It will come back to haunt him because the media audience is so fractured, that the more DIFFERENT media you can get exposed to in the US system, the more you will reach voters who haven’t yet heard your message. So its like Obama, who inspite of how much Fox is against him, keeps going back to Fox. Trump will end up speaking ever more to the small dedicated group of his loyal followers, and that echo chamber, and ignoring the rest of the electorate who will become ever more disgusted by Trump and reject him wholeheartedly.
SOME AREAS OF POLICY AGREEMENT
Usually a Republican vs Democratic contest among Presidential candidates has rather ‘predictable’ differences. The Republican wants a bigger military, the Democrat wants spending on social programs; the Republican is against abortion or gay righs, the Democrat is for them; the Democrats want gun control but Republicans are against, etc. Now we have Trump, who is in reality in many ways a VERY moderate, at times even left-leaning Republican (because he’s been a Democrat and Independent before) and also, we have Hillary who is quite the hawk in foreign policy matters.
Obamacare is one clear area where most Republicans would take Hillary on for defending Obama’s healthcare system and wanting to expand it. But with Trump the problem is, that he actually supports an even more socialized national healthcare plan, which is essentially the same as Hillarycare, a national healthcare solution with ‘single payer’. Now, very recently Trump has adopted the ‘repeal all of it’ idea, and when presssed at the CNN debate, his replacement solution was ‘pure free enterprise’ let all health insurance companies compete across state lines, and that will solve it. I do believe this is not Trump’s actual plan, he will propose a nationalized healthcare plan similar to what Bernie Sanders has been promoting now, and what Hillary promoted in 2008. So if you want contrast, Trump’s solution to Obamacare is not ‘to get rid of it’ but rather ‘to go even further into a fully socialized medicine’ solution. Note, that Trump will be able to claim he kept his word, he WOULD be dismantling Obamacare, but to bring essentially a solution like they have in Sweden or Canada or Scotland (as he likes to say, which is the same as in all of the UK actually, or say France or Finland).
Free trade. Republicans tend to be for free trade and Democrats fear lost unionized jobs and are generally against it. Trump is more extreme liberal-socialist on free trade than left-wing Democrats. Trump wants to start trade wars. Hillary is moderate for a Democrat, willing to pursue open trade deals similar to Obama but with caution, not as happily as most Republicans (and not as eagerly as husband Bill). But again, Trump will be ‘outflanking’ Hillary on the LEFT on free trade.
On abortion, both Hillary and Trump are pro-choice. On higher taxes for the wealthy, while Trump’s tax plan is a joke, he has previously said he is willing to raise taxes on the most affluent. Once Trump is in the general election mode, past the primary race, this is likely going to be a ‘pivot’ in his position, where he again is well aligned with the Democratic party position, not the Republican party position.
For all his silly pandering to the religious extreme (haha Two Corinthians), Trump is not a religiously sincere politician and essentially all evangelical conservatives know this, but he is willing to join in fights against the threats they see, such as the overhyped threats of Islamist Jihad. When Trump ran his birtherism attacks on Obama, he won over many of those religious voters who fear and hate Muslims (and/or religious voters who still are racists against blacks, surprisingly many of those still in the South among especially rural whites). But for religious wars, Trump will not be fighting an anti-gay war or standing with the nutty marriage licence woman like say a Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum. For where a religious evangelical or born-again voter was hoping to see a ‘warrior’ on their cause, in Ted Cruz they still have him, and to a good degree also in Marco Rubio. Trump is indeed a liberal of ‘New York values’ who believes in gay rights and won’t fight that good fight. Its yet another area where the real Donald Trump is actually a moderate who should appeal to the middle, just like how Hillary Clinton is a moderate, to appeal to the middle.
On the Iraq war (the second one, the one by Bush-Cheney) Trump claims he was against it from the beginning. It would be an interesting contrast again with Hillary, because Hillary voted for the war while she was a Senator (and has later said she now sees that vote as a mistake). Once again Trump could be taking the Bernie Sanders left side of Hillary, except that now voice recordings have appeared of early radio interviews where Trump says he is for the war. So his view at the time was the same as Hillary’s. And both have since evolved to be against it, but yes, Trump did that conversion before Hillary did. Still, once again on very many major issues, the choice between Hillary and Trump is more like the choice between Hillary and Obama or Hillary and Bernie, than it was between McCain and Obama or Romney and Obama. Trump is VERY moderate on many of his views and policies and past statements. In line with Rudy Giuliani who said he could not run for President because the current Republican party could not nominate someone as moderate as he was (Giuliani that is, not Trump).
The wall is viciously expensive, Mexico will never pay for it, and Trump probably will be ridiculed on that issue related to how pointless his threats were to try to get Megyn Kelly to be removed from moderating Fox debates. Fox ran the debates anyway, with her. Trump stayed away and got burned. He had ot return to attend the third Fox debate where Megyn was waiting with her traps. His threats to Mexico are equally dumb and will end up just as useless. Of course the USA cannot demand Mexico build a wall and pay for it. And they won’t. It will cost well beyond 10 Billion dollars. And as the USA is currently running on a budget deficit (thanks to Bush-Cheney, Obama has cut the deficit down by more than half) the whole wall would have to be paid by loans - from China. A totally unacceptable idea once it is clearly spelled out to the public. Then it will not hurt to remind the American voters that the Pope said its not Christian to build walls, and that Trump then said that the Pope was being ‘disgraceful’. Haha. Ok Trump’s supporters again will love that. Yeah! Give the Pope the middle finger. Say it Trump! But most NORMAL voters, moderate voters, they do see this Pope as one of the most loving, most caring, most graceful Popes in history, and one that is exceptionally good at building bridges and openings, between Muslims and Catholics, between Jews and Catholics, between the Eastern Orthodox religion (like in Russia, Greece, Turkey) and Catholics - a religious rift that has literally lasted for centuries. But this Pope works at healing and better relations. And Trump calls him disgraceful? Not in an ‘off the cuff’ remark, it was in Trump’s written prepared statement. Disgraceful Pope. When every Christian knows what the Pope said was true, that is what Christians know. Jesus taught us not to take revenge, but to turn the other cheek. To do onto others as we wish done upon us. To help those most in need of help. Trump is of course THE most anti-Christian person ever to run for office, he only thinks of himself, Trump Trump Trump. He is exactly the kind of greedy rich man who will have a harder time to get into heaven than for a camel to pass an eye of a needle.
Trump said recently that he thinks there should be no increase in the minimum wage and he has previously said he thinks the minimum wage is too high, it should be reduced. This is an easy case where Hillary stand on the side of the majority of Americans. Hillary is for paid maternity leave, I don’t see Trump agreeing with that. Trump has been talking tough about guns, so courting the gun lobby and its endorsements. Trump wanted the Keystone pipeline. He is not for more environmental regulations. He is loudly against the Iran deal. He is for allowing Putin to run the Syrian war and wants the USA out of it. On all these issues where Trump does take a differing position from Hillary, it tends to be the minority view as a policy. So for voters who consider those issues as something they want to vote on, Hillary stands with the US majority view, it will help her, and harm Trump. But this election will not be mainly won on the details of plans and policies.
Last election was a rare economy election. Trump would be naturally on strong ground in such an election being the successful businessman. This election will rather be a foreign policy election, as most elections tend to be at least partly. We already see signs of topics from ISIS to North Korea to Syria to Russia to China. Trump tries to claim that he is competent in international relations because of his international real estate dealings. Rubio hit him hard that negotiating a casino deal is not the same as negotiating peace in the Middle East. Hillary on the other hand is the most experienced candidate on either side of the aisle on foreign policy. Where Trump likes to boast that he is so militaristic and he’ll make the US military strong again, Hillary counters that actually the US military is the strongest in the world, it does not need to be ‘made great again’ it indeed is the greatest fighting force the planet has ever seen. Trump gets into very shaky ground the moment the questions go into details like his total fumble on the nuclear triad question about American national defence and nuclear deterrence. Hillary excels on these types of details. For those who really care about foreign relations and national security, the contrast could not be more severe. They will flock to Hillary. The open letter from past National Security experts that was incredibly critical of Trump seems to have riled him at least momentarily, that Trump responded by saying ok, he will not order his generals to do war crimes. But typical of Trump, that momentary lapse into reason ended within 24 hours when Trump was back promising he’ll push for waterboarding and more torture.
National security is where most ‘Hillary Republicans’ will be found. Tilting heavily to female, younger, Hispanic, black and other minority voters, but for those registered Republicans who care about national security and foreign policy - that is where the majority of any Hillary Republicans will be found.
So how about Trump Democrats? He has cross-over appeal with white, blue-collar older workers especially men. Lowly educated voters but can often be union workers. These ‘should be’ leaning to vote Democratic but can swing to Republicans too. Reagan Democrats included these voters who felt that the Democratic party was becoming too urbanized and cared too much for all the minorities but not for ‘normal’ white workers. There is plenty of fear for job security and easily targeted anger, that can be focused on the foreigners and ‘others’ who are taking their jobs etc. So far while Trump’s early support in the Republican race was with the extreme racists fringe, at the edge (and even beyond) the Tea Party, he has since tapped into that frustration and anger that so many less-educated older white (and male) workers feel. So he has expanded his reach and gone from the very extreme right-wing edge of the Republican party to the extreme left wing of the party. This gives Trump a broad range of support but in all areas, he only appeals to a slice. What some said, he only appeals to the morons. And there are morons in any voter group.
On the core Republican voter base there is a majority who do not want Trump. A large minority say they cannot vote for Trump. Some of them will accept him or ‘hold their noses but pull the lever for Trump’. Others will stay home and not vote (and not contribute and not volunteer). Yet others, certainly the smallest slice but still a significant share of Republicans will vote against Trump in November, voting for Hillary.
To balance against that, Trump brings in voters who were disgruntled and would not vote for ‘normal’ Republicans. Very angry very fringe perhaps even paranoid voters from the Tea Party fringe and beyond to Nazis and white supremacists etc. Then there will be cross-over voters, often lowly educated in low-paying jobs, who will be predominantly white, skewing strongly to men, and older. This will include registered Democrats. And that is where we then hit Trump’s ceiling. Nationally he can’t get to 50% support. More than half of the total nation hates him. He is angering and pushing away ever more voters the longer the nomination fight continues, and as Trump makes ever more hateful statements, now for example promising to bring back waterboarding ‘and worse’. He wants the US to commit war crimes, to carpet bomb enemies, to kill the families of the enemies, and so forth. Some who want a viceral purely emotion-driven revenge, will support this. Most are far more intelligent than that, and will say no. And there are eight months of time to argue and debate all this, where those who might be unsure, will have plenty of time to hear from essentially every sensible current and past leader, including most in the military, who say that is foolish and very counterproductive. Trump will push away the middle and strongly energize the left. He has a national election vote ceiling somewhere near 40%. That is not yet fully in view, because his Republican rivals didn’t get serious about attacking Trump until this past weeks. And thats only about half of Trump’s faults, the other half of the attacks will come from the Democrats.
This election in 2016 will be decided by demographics. Demographics often play a role, sometimes an oversized role. In 2012 the statement of ‘self-deportation’ by Mitt Romney was pure poison for the battleground state of Colorado. President Obama had his polling team measure what Romney was doing and found that Colorado voters were ready to be picked, so Obama did his ‘dreamers’ executive order. Colorado voters made up their minds in the summer and one of the battleground states was decided - BEFORE the CONVENTIONS. It was decided by the Hispanic minority voters who decided based on those two issues, Trump’s Self-Deportation and Obama’s Dreamers executive order. Suddenly Romney’s chances to win in November were far tougher because one of nine battleground states was actually decided (we could measure that in the Exit Polls after the vote in November but Obama of course knew this from the Big Data details he was getting in). Even so, while Hispanics decided one of the nine states, in most states it was a fair fight essentially all the way to election day.
The Romney loss analysis ‘autopsy’ conducted by the Republicans said, that as the demographic shifts bring in every voting year more Hispanics (they are larger families, they are more young, they thus get ever larger by voter proportion each year compared to whites or blacks), the Republicans cannot win, if they do not get at least 40% of Hispanic support in next Presidential elections (Romney only won 27% in 2012). But in the last three years since Romney’s loss, the Republican party has been going out of its way to anger and push away Hispanic voters. By contrast the Democrats have worked to woo the Hispanic voter support. The opinion of the two parties has tilted dangerously against Republicans in the intervening years. But when we look at the actual candidates, Hillary, or as she’s know by Latino’s ‘La Hillary’ is their closest friend - she scores better among Hispanics than either of the two Hispanic candidates Rubio or Cruz. And Trump is pure poison, even among Republicans, he scores literally the worst among Hispanic support. Trump sits at about 15% of total voters willing to vote for him (remember the Nevada primary vote that Trump bragged about was among REPUBLICANS not among the whole electorate where Hillary utterly rules, also in Nevada).
The Republican party said in 2012 that next time (2016) they need 40% support among Hispanics - or they cannot win. Trump gets them down to 15%. Just now WaPo gives the fresh favorability ratings. Hillary on top, 37% positive. Rubio is 3% positive. Cruz is 5% negative. And Trump? 65% NEGATIVE. But the Hispanics, while a huge minority voting block, and one that is incredibly lopsided against Trump, is not the big ‘tsunami wave’ powering Hillary’s victory. That is women. It will be a historic election like 2008 was, when blacks had their first opportunity ever to vote for a black President. Now women will have, finally, the first opportunity to vote for a woman President. And they will show up. Women are already a larger part of the US population than men. Women also vote more reliably than men. In normal years (all past 4 elections past 16 years for President) women have been 53% of the electorate and men only 47%.
Democrats also have a natural voting gender gap in their favor, even when their side nominates two men and the Republicans nominated a man and a woman (2008 Obama-Biden vs McCain-Palin). Note the gender gap was 9% in 2012 but 13% in 2008. Yes, in 2008 when the Republicans nominated Sarah Palin as VP with McCain against two men on the Democratic side, and when Hillary Clinton had galvanized female enthusiasm, the gender gap was 13 points against Republicans by female voters! Worse than in 2012 when only men were on both tickets. That is how horrible Sarah Palin was as poison to McCain. She managed to make women hate Republicans even more than normal. But lets accept Sarah Palin was a one-off, and that the 9% gender gap is the ‘normal’. Obviously to get to a typically even election result would then mean - naturally - that men voted more for Republicans. Is Donald Trump bragging about his penis size and talking about women being cranky when on their period, going to help him with men or women or both. It will definitely hurt him with women. How about Hillary being on the ticket as the first female Presidential candiate? And playing the adult. She’ll only vastly expand that gender gap.
The natural gender gap yields a gain of several points to Democrats. That is now accelerated by four major elements. First, the Republicans have run their ‘war on women’ with silly laws and acts - like the witch-hunts about Planned Parenthood. Second, Hillary is on the ticket meaning more women show up, and the gender gap becomes stronger because some women who are undecided will go for the first woman. Third Trump has a history of sexist language and drives up women voters, to come vote against her. And lastly, the Supreme Court. Many women’s issues would be jeopardized if a conservative judge is brought to the bench by a Republican President. So we will see a totally unprecedentedly large female turnout - which gives a larger gender gap in voters; plus with Hillary being particularly appealing to women and Trump particularly off-putting, the voter balance will result in an abnormally large gender gap against Trump and for Hillary.
DEMOGRAHIC MODEL IS DEVASTATING
Now lets do a bit of modelling. The most reliable voting block by demographic is the black vote. Lets ignore 2008 as the exceptional Obama-surge election of black voter euphoria, and only take the average of the 3 other recent Presidential elections of this century, we get the black participation percentage at 13% of the electorate. Their average support is 92% to the Democrats, 8% to the Republicans.
The Republicans have not helped themselves at all in the past four years in trying to get more voter support among blacks. Trump has not endeared himself with that voter block. He has had Black Lives Matter protesters be beaten up at his rallies, but the repeated (deliberate, Trump knew perfectly well what he was doing, he needed to win Southern racists in Ted Cruz’s strong states) waffling about the Ku Klux Klan was perfect signal to any black voters. They also understand well that the racism Trump has against Muslims and Mexicans is next going to come aimed at them. Trump will not do better than the recent average of black voter support by other Republicans none of whom were openly racist.
Meanwhile Hillary has hugged Obama dearly and praised him at all points. She was standing up for black issues and causes when Bernie seemed tone-deaf to Black Lives Matter etc, and obviously the total drubbing of Bernie by Hillary in the various Southern states now shows how solid is her support among the black community. Its a safe bet Hillary will get the same percentage of support among blacks as Al Gore or John Kerry, while probably not quite as total as Obama. Note at these levels its utterly irrelvant whether there is also a gender gap, when the total support is this lopsided.
Black Vote 2016: 13% of electorate: Hillary 92%, Trump 8%.
Then lets take the Hispanic vote. The Hispanic vote keeps growing and was up to 10% of the total voter base in 2012 and is projected to be 13% in 2016. The average vote from Hispanics went to Democrats as an average over the past 4 elections by 66% to 34%. But that number is misleading because it includes W Bush who genuinely tried to build good relationships with the Hispanic community. If we take the 2 elections of W as an average and compared to the 2 elections of Obama, we see the Hispanic support went from 61% to 39% in favor of DEMs (yes 22 point deficit) to 70% to 30% (nearly doubling to 40 point disaster). As we know, Mitt Romney only won 27% of Hispanic support in 2012. The Republican party autopsy said, they cannot WIN a Presidential election if they cannot raise that support to 40% by 2016 (and it will need to get even higher than that in later years, as the proportion of Hispanic voters keeps growing).
Its not just that the Republicans as a party have continued to feud with and anger and alienate the Hispanic voter community. A recent Univision survey has Trump with the lowest approval rating of any politician on either side of the aisle with only 15% support. Then Hillary, or ‘La Hillary’ the most popular Presidential candidate on either side - including all who have since quit - including two HISPANICS (Rubio and Cruz). When you put the most popular Presidential candidate EVER in the eyes of Hispanics, on the ticket on one side - who will be with the party they strongly identify with as their friend (Democrats) and adding her VP the most popular Hispanic politician currently at any level (Castro); and put them against literally the most hated or feared candidate on the other side, on the party that is hated or feared (Republicans) who has gone out of his way to further alienate and anger Hispanics from Mexicans are Rapists to beating up the Univision reporter to skipping promised meetings with Hispanics to demanding a Republican debate not include a Hispanic news station to palling around with Sheriff Arpaio the racist - yeah.. its safe to say, if the polls today say Trump can win 15% of the Hispanic vote, that is his ceiling and with Hillary and Castro on the ticket, it will worse than that. But lets keep it at 15%, its the measurement. So we get item 2 for our model
Hispanic Vote 2016: 13% of electorate: Hillary 85%, Trump 15%.
Now there are other racial demographics too, Asians, Native Americans etc, but their total numbers are so small, it really doesn’t matter. I’m going to just ignore them for now, we’ll toss them in with the white voters because they’d be less than 10% of those. Consider them a ‘rounding-off-error’. Lets do the real damage. Women voters.
White women under normal voting distrubition are 38% of the total electorate (vs 34% of white men). The normal Democratic voter advantage as a gender gap is 9 points. But nearly one third of that is black and Hispanic (and other minority) women so we only can attribute 6 points here for Hillary’s starting point. All other things being equal, just generic white male Democrat will get 6 points more of the White Women vote ie the 38 points would get split 22% for Democrats and 16% for Republicans.
That is before the last four years of the continued war on women by the Republican party. That is before Donald Trump with the largest gender gap deficit among Republican candidates (And before he started to brag about his penis size). That is obviously before we factor in Hillary Clinton’s historic candidacy. The starting point is 22% to 16% among white women for Hillary. How bad will it get. Gosh, we don’t have a reasonable recent measurement of this detail but lets say, it will safely be at least 2 to 1, at least. So lets say its 25% to 13%. Remember, women prefer Democrats while men prefer Republicans. This is the percentage among white women. Now what about their voter number SURGE?
We have a signal from Obama’s 2008 black turnout surge. His voter turnout was up from 11% in 2004 to 13% in 2008. That is a growth percentage of 18% (growth percent, not voting percent). If we apply an 18% growth percentage to the normal 38% white female vote, we get a 2016 white women surge voter turnout as a percent of all voters as 45%. This would be the same pattern as Obama achieved with black voter surge in his landslide victory of 2008 but shifted from black vote to female vote (and only applied to white women, the numbers won’t matter on the other voter groups which are so lopsidedly for Hillary anyway). And lets re-do the distribution of those votes again just using the assumption two women for Hillary, for every one white woman voting for Trump. Now we get the White Women vote part for our model
White Women Vote 2016: 45% of electorate: Hillary 30%, Trump 15%.
Now, if you’re quick at math in your mind you see how devastating the above has already become. But lets finish the model. Now lets say Trump really manages to convince almost every white man, racist or not, blue collar or not, rural or urban, religious nor not, and wins men at a phenomenal 3 to 1 ratio. Hillary will repel women to Trump by 3 to 1. Out of every 4 white men, 3 escape to the safety of Trump’s white man’s world, only 1 in 4 white men is willing to vote for Hillary. Very unlikely to be this lopsided, but lets say it is. So lets add the last part to our model.
White Men Vote 2016: 29% of electorate: Hillary 7%, Trump 22%.
Now the world has become the ultimate Trumpian vision. Look at the shots of Trump’s rallies, not the pictures of people set to be behind him when he speaks. Look at those shots of the stadium when there is a protester. Try to count non-whites and separately women. It is pretty much exactly this model. Trump attracts white men. And then a small part of white women. And almost no minorities. That is Trumpworld today. So this is how the model turns out:
MODEL OF 2016 ELECTION BY DEMOGRAPHICS
White Men Vote 2016: 29% of electorate: split Hillary 7%, Trump 22%.
White Women Vote 2016: 45% of electorate: split Hillary 30%, Trump 15%.
Hispanic Vote 2016: 13% of electorate: split Hillary 85%, Trump 15%.
Black Vote 2016: 13% of electorate: split Hillary 92%, Trump 8%.
TOTAL vote 2016: 100% of electorate: split Hillary 60%, Trump 40%
Now do you see? Demographics is destiny. The Republicans poisoned the black vote in 1964 and Trump going to the KKK vote now to win in Southern states guarantees Hillary wins more than 90% of the black vote. Mitt Romney wrecked Republican efforts to get Hispanic support with his self-deportation, Trump has now turned those relationships radioactive. It may be that the Hispanic anti-Republican vote for the next 5 decades will be as bad as the black vote has been in the previous 5 decades. Its certain Trump cannot do better than the 15% where he recently polled among Hispanics nationally (I expect him to be nearer 10% than 15%). And women? Ignore black women, ignore Hispanic women. Just white women will have a larger than normal gender gap for Hillary. And separate from the gender gap, there will be a woman voter surge. And again, Trump is the most disgusting politician from the majority of female voters’ point of view - only made worse by his shusshing of Megyn Kelly and talking about her period, and now making crude jokes about his penis size and so forth. I only assumed a 2 for 1 loss of white female voters to Hillary, and the same surge proportion as blacks had for Obama in 2008. With these assumptions - TODAY - before 8 months of relentless attacks by Republicans and Democrats at Trump on anything from his four bankruptcies to Trump University to quoting Mussolini and admiring Putin. Remember Trump is the most deceiftul politician ever to run for office, a mind-boggling 76% of his statements are lies, according to Politifact. Trump by late October 2016 will make Sarah Palin seem like a graceful insightful statesman (and mama grizzly, you betcha!).
The math is brutal and the strategists on both sides can see this coming a mile away. The major Republican donors around Koch’s network just quit the Presidential race and Sheldon Adelson didn’t bother to even use his freshly-bought newspaper to try to pick a fave candidate, when Trump had become inevitable - seeing this math, they knew it was a foregone conclusion, Trump cannot win the general election. He cannot. This is why Mitch McConnell has already now said, its ok for Republican Senators to run TV ads against Trump. REPUBLICANS. They know he goes down in flames against Hillary. Its not about his silly Wall or deporting Illegals or the anti-Muslim rhetoric or feuding with the Pope. Its demographics. When you can’t get to 40% of the Hispanics, the Republicans cannot win. This year, with Hillary on the top of the ticket if their candidate is not a competent woman (the hope was, Carly Fiorina would turn out sane or another woman would join the race)
A 5 point victory would be enough to flip the Senate for Democrats. A 12 point election drubbing would flip the House, which before Trump was considered safe by Republicans due to the gerrymandering of Congressional district voting. But Hillary is not going to win by 5 points or 12 points. She is NOW - in MARCH - already certain to win by 20 points. That is not Walter Mondale level disaster. Its bordering on George McGovern’s catastrophic failure against Richard Nixon in 1972 (22 point loss). But these are numbers which will be seen EARLY in the race. It is BEFORE we consider the disasterous debates by Trump losing to Hillary on live TV. This is before we see the support from Trump fading away, when various Senators, Members of House, Governors etc running away from Trump, either to hide, or worse, to go and endorse Hillary instead. Many local Republicans will refuse to be seen with Trump to avoid local electorate backlash. That is when the rot really comes in. The loss which starts at 20 points, becomes epic historic gargantuan calamity.
SENATE, HOUSE, SCOTUS
So with a 20 point drubbing the Republican party will face a catastrophic shellacking. To use Trump’s word, the party will be ‘schlonged’. When you go down by 20 points, its everything. The Senate will flip with Chuck Shumer getting that gavel. The House will flip and Nancy Pelosi will return to chair the Congress. Hillary will start her term with both houses of Congress in Democratic control, which means she can get most of her populist agenda easily passed. The remaining few Senators will be shell-shocked and severely intimidated by Iron Lady Hillary that they won’t dare to try filibustering most of her ideas either, at least not early in the term.
Now, currently there is an open seat in the Supreme Court. President Obama will want to try to fill that seat but Senate leader Republican Mitch McConnell has said he will not let Obama’s nominee come up for a vote. So its quite likely that there is no 9th judge confirmed during the last remaining months of Obama’s term. And that means that Hillary will get to make that nomination as one of her first acts. But she’ll have a VERY easy time passing her nominee, being the freshly-elected President with historic landslide mandate. And her pick will be far more liberal than the one Obama would now be nominating. This will greatly enhance the governing power of the Democrats, because Supreme Court justices are lifetime appointments and she’ll likely nominate someone not just very liberal but very young too, someone in his or her 40s to sit maybe four decades on the bench. And while Hillary has the Democratic majority in the Senate, we could see one or two of the older liberal judges retire, to allow more young liberal Justices to be named to the bench to continue that legacy.
Now what happens in a 20 point election loss? It means Hillary safely wins everything Obama won. It means almost every ‘pink’ state goes blue. It means some truly red states go blue. But lets say, its safe to say, these states will be won by Hillary that Obama did not win: North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, Texas, Montana, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas. Some states are so very ‘red’ that they may still barely survive this onslaught and vote for Trump, so states like Kansas, Utah, Oklahoma, Alabama etc. Where states like Tennessee, South Carolina, Alaska, Mississippi etc will go, that depends a bit on chance and where each candidate places their focus. But in his 18 point loss, Mondale only won his home state of Minnesota (a safely blue state usually).
Its even possible that the Democrats pick up a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate (60 Senators out of 100). If Hillary doesn’t get to this in 2016, they will continue the big turnout wave into 2018 because of populist changes to election rules and rulings from the Supreme Court. And what might President Hillary Clinton do if she had a filibuster-proof 60 Senator majority, and an opening came up in the Supreme Court? She would nominate a certain past President, by the name of Barack Obama, to the Supreme Court. This could happen as early as Spring of 2017, if Hillary gets the filibuster-proof Senate now in this year’s election - and if the Senate refused to approve Obama’s pick haha. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate irony for McConnell who has been leading the charge to block Obama at every stage.
Two other relevant voting-balance related issues would be coming up during Hillary’s first term. Puerto Rico and District of Colombia. Both have wanted to have Statehood. Both would yield VERY non-white electorates that would be EXTREMELY Democratic by their voting. DC is almost all black and always votes Democratic. But they’d now gain two Senators. And Puerto Rico is almost all Hispanic and very strongly Democratic (while not as much as DC). Its two Senators would likely both be also Democrats. Then if the Senate was say 57-43 for the Democrats, if we add 4 new Senators, all Democrats, it would go to 61-43 and suddenly the Democrats would gain their filibuster-proof majority. Similarly the Members of Congress from DC and PR would add to the Democratic party majority there, although Puerto Rico might send also one or two Republican among their Democrats to Congress.
The US political system will be dramatically altered in November. The tyranny of no will end, when Republican obstructionists are kicked out. Hillary will come in with a historic mandate and flip the Senate and the House. She’ll either enter as President with a Supreme Court with a liberal balance or more likely, she’ll get to nominate that judge which brings a flip of the Supreme Court from conservative-leaning to liberal-leaning balance.
Her populist agenda running for President includes already many activities that will help make the US election system healthier, from automatic voter registration to the end to Citizens United, to protections of minority voting rights to an end to gerrymandering to even the creation of two new states, DC and Puerto Rico. The electoral power balance will shift to be dramatically in the control of Democrats, by Chuck Shumer as the new Senate leader, Nancy Pelosi chairing the House. Its even possible Hillary gets to a filibuster-proof Senate now, if not, she’ll get to that in the mid-term elections of 2018.
Meanwhile the big damage to the Republicans is with moderates, not with the Tea Party (while that too will be severely damaged). The Tea Party will not go away until gerrymandering is ended. The new Supreme Court will help doing away with gerrymandering, some laws may be enacted making blatantly unfair redistricting illegal or subject to independent redistricting commissions, etc. And the loss of unlimited campaign cash for House races via Citizens United will cause many Tea Partiers to stumble. But the big loss to the Tea Party will not come until 2020 when Ted Cruz runs as the purely conservative, to lose to similar total drubbing in the re-election of Hillary Clinton. This year 2016 will not be seen as an end of the Tea Party, the conservatives will have too convenient a scapegoat in Trump. But in 2020 they will finally get their pure conservative in Cruz and that is when the Tea Party meets its end. That means Hillary’s second term will be even easier to govern than her first, in term of obstruction by the Senate, Congress and Supreme Court.
BUT TRUMP WILL CHANGE THE MAP
Ok. I get it. Trump is claiming that he is driving up Republican participation. It is true, clearly measured, that in PRIMARY participation, voter turnout is up for Republicans and not up for Democrats (but some is a shift, where voters in open primaries have gone from voting on the Democratic side to vote on the Republican side, and more against Trump than for Trump). The problem is that there is no clear correlation with higher PRIMARY turnout then resulting in higher general election turnout for that same party.
But it is certainly possible that Trump is driving up Republican turnout. He is certainly appealing to some voters who felt disenfrachised (the neo Nazis who previously had to vote for some certain-to-lose white supremacist party nominee for President). And we saw from Reuters data that Trump would be able to steal 9% of Democratic voters (today, before all of his nasty background is fully exposed in the press) while he bleeds an identical 9% of Republican voters to Hillary.
Karl Rove did the math after Mitt Romney’s election in 2012 and found that Romney had driven up so much more Republican conservative voters above what McCain did in 2008, that there is not a meaningful number ‘remaining’ on the fringe that is even plausible to matter. The contest is in the middle.
But yes, Trump appeals to ‘Reagan Democrats’ ie blue-collar white (male) workers. Those were very vulnerable in 1980 with the horrific economic malaise of the end of the Jimmy Carter years. Since Reagan the Republicans have not tried to reconnect with this, basically Democratic-leaning but not very strongly ideologially committed group. They tend to be somewhat ignored by both and taken for granted by Democrats often. Except.. not Hillary Clinton. Obama was not the favorite of labor in 2008. Obama was not the friend of the blue collar working class, he was more the darling of white collar college-educated Democrats. In the 2008 race it was Hillary who was strongly the favorite of labor.
Of most Democratic candidates, Hillary has very strong credentials with labor, and in particular white labor and blue-collar workers. Then the test will be far more of content and message and credibility and endorsements. Union leaders will make the positions very clear and suddenly Trump is seen as not the friend of the working man - whose hotel right now is fighting in court trying to overturn a legitimate legal unionization vote, and then all the nasty scams like Trump University and Trump Mortgage come in to really taint his credibility. Now, there will be erosion to Trump certainly but many of those workers will have their talks over beers and suddenly the one guy pushing the greedy capitalist slave-owner Trump who ships in workers from abroad to drive down wages - is loudly rejected by the others who start to sing of praises of the Clintons as the friends of labor consistently loyally for several decades. No, Trump is not going to win this demographic but Hillary will need to defend it and she’ll probably see some erosion in it. Not enough to flip a Michigan or Pennsylvania, those states are so blue to begin with, that Trump cannot flip them. Michigan is 82% white, not white enough. Pennsylvania is 81% white. The funniest argument from Trump is New York State. Yeah, if Trump were to win NY state, he’d have a good chance to win the election (all states in the general eleciton are winner-take-all, New York is second largest behind only California). New York votes safely Democratic by more than 20 points. Hillary was New York’s popular Senator - not for the part with the City but specifically representing the rural side of the state, so where the more Republican voters exist. And the state? Is 18% black and 8% Hispanic. No way is Trump going to win this state.
I get it that Trump has to have a story to say how he wins the electoral college map (the states to win the general election). He like so many other candidates at this stage, promises fairy tales of Pennsylvania and Michigan. Isn’t happening. And his home state, if his rival was a very Southern religious bigoted rival like say a Mike Huckabee, maybe Trump could win in New York but no way is Trump going to outpoll Hillary in HER home state when NATIONALLY Trump is down ten points to Hillary, and NY is particularly well suited for Hillary’s message and against Trump’s.
PARALLEL - SARAH PALIN SQUARED
Donald Trump is one of the worst candidates to run for Republican nomination to have won any state in the modern era, possibly the worst to get that far. I mean, worst as a Republican nominee. He is so much not what the party is for, or what the party has insisted for decades it stands for. In addition to that, he is an incredibly flawed human being who should have been exposed for the fraud he is literally half a year ago. How can the openly most deceitful candidate ever to run, to then manage to con 35% of Republican voters to think ‘he tells it like it is’? He lies 76% of the time. He often contradicts himself in the same speech. He often reverses positions on the same day. He makes Mitt Romney seem unwavering like a block of granite. Trump makes Richard Nixon seem honest like a Catholic nun.
The problem is not Trump himself. The problem is the voters who fell for his con. Trump is a serial fraud artist. He is a pathological liar. But a significant part of the Republican electorate had been ‘prepared’ to discover Trump as their savior. They were in fact, brainwashed. They were prepared for a cult, to await for the cult leader to then appear. I don’t know if Trump had actually detected this specific ‘moron segment’ before he launched his campaign last summer - he obviously had detected the opening in the racist edge (which is different). I do sense from Trump he’s amazed ‘how easy it was’ to get where he is, that he is surprised (and he’s been lucky too). Trump yes, did pursue the wacky conspiracy nutter basement of lowly-intelligent Republican voters - with the Obama birth certificate nonsense. But he probably never actually planned for this exact voter constituency, I think it emerged mainly because the voters discovered their savior.
So a few words on the majority of Trump’s voters. Not the haters, the racist Nazis. I mean the lowly educated blue collar older men (and often but not always their wives, but rarely their children). I can imagine a retired (or near retirement) white worker who harks back to the good old days, back in the 1950s, maybe 1960s. When America made everything. When there were manufacturing jobs in cars, airplanes, televisions, radios, washing machines, refridgerators. The world was buying ‘Made in the USA’. Timex was the world’s watch. If you knew how to rivet or weld or spray paint, you could have a very well-paid union job with health benefits, paid holidays, earn enough money to buy a car, a house, put your kids to college. There were no blacks or Hispanics on the block, the Vietnamese did not operate the 7-Eleven. Your daugher married another Christian white boy and they often stayed nearby so your grandkids were also near. Its an illusion you saw with the previous generation and thought you would also have.
Then came Jimmy Carter’s economic collapse, oil crisis, Reagan’s deregulations, Nafta, the housing bubble, the Bush-Cheney economic disaster and banking crisis and suddenly jobs are gone, factories are shut, pensions have disappeared, your home lost value or you may have lost the home altogether, your savings are gone, and now everything is going worse. And then nobody hires you because you’re too old, you don’t know computers, they want cheaper labor - they hire the black kid or Hispanic kid or Asian kid - and then jobs are shipped overseas. Meanwhile your kids hate you, they moved into the city or into another state, married someone of the wrong color or religion (or both) and they get angry at you if you say ‘nigger’ or ‘spick’ and you have to be so darn ‘politically correct’...
After World War 2, the USA was the only major industrialized country not to have been bombed (ok, and Canada too). All of its manufacturing was fully intact and had been ramped up to build the weapons of war for not just the US military but more than half of British military, a quarter of Russian miliatry and msot of what the armies-in-exile residing in Britain needed of France, Poland, Netherlands, Norway etc. After the war, the tank factories reverted back to making cars, the bomber plane factories of Boeing were shifted to make passenger airliners, etc etc etc. The rest of the world didn’t have functioning manufacuring economies (yet). They needed to be rebuilt after they had been bombed to near oblivion. So the USA enjoyed a monopoly. That like most monopolies (Microsoft, Facebook) created its distortions. American workers became overpaid and then by the 1970s the US industry was completely outclassed when the other industrial giants had returned to power especially Germany and Japan. They had automated their factories and were more efficient and could build better quality TV sets, cars, wristwatches, radios etc and rapidly took much of the world market fro the Americans. Meanwhile those multinational US companies that could react globally, did so, so for example Ford and GM manufactured most of their brand cars sold in Germany, in Germany; manufactured most of their brand cars sold in Australia, in Australia; etc.
From the 1970s to the 2000s decade the US industry adjusted. There is no sustainable market for the level of household home electrical appliances in the world today, as the USA sold in the 1950s and 1960s. At that time it was often the first fridge, the first washing machine, the first vacuum cleaner, the first freezer, the first dishwasher and the first microwave oven that the households ever bought. But then its a replacement market in the early adopter countries and the growth is abroad. Now, apart from India and Africa, the household gadgets market is mostly saturated. Those jobs cannot ‘come back’ because the market ITSELF is far smaller than the size it once was. And the USA had that market when it was almost a US monopoly.
The next jobs were IT jobs, powered by the computer and internet both originating from the USA but they did not need blue collar workers, now they needed white collar college-educated workers. And ever more, the world shifted (and continues to shift) to an information age industry of software and services, not manufacturing gadgets. Meanwhile of those things still made, most are now made in countries of very low cost labor. Trump cannot bring those jobs back from China to the USA. Not unless he somehow gets Americans to accept something like a one dollar per hour minimum wage, haha. If tariffs force Chinese factories to stop exporting to the USA then those Chinese factories will find plenty of markets in Europe, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, India, Indonesia etc. The USA is not that relevant anymore. And where will it shift? Never back to the USA, those jobs would then shift from China to Malaysia or Thailand or Vietnam or Philippines, whatever would then work to cirumvent Trump’s idiotic tariffs.
I get it that my hypothetical recently retired or soon-to-retire white blue-collar lowly educated male voter is incredibly frustrated. His promised American success was stolen from him, by a series of both Republican and Democratic governments. He blames the world, he sees the world change totally and sees people of the wrong color and wrong religion encroaching on what remains of his life. He likely has big arguments about this with the kids, possibly also the wife. And then when in his frustration he uses the wrong word for some minority, everybody blames him for being the bigoted racist. So when Trump comes along, and says, hey, Mexicans are rapists, I’m gonna block the Muslims, the Pope is a fraud, that sounds almost exactly like what ‘the truly honest person’ could say, if not forced to paint things into silly ‘politically correct’ terminology. It is like Archie Bunker, who doesn’t get it why anyone would think he’s a racist. But then when finally another Archie Bunker shows up, finally he can speak his mind without everybody getting all upset about the LANGUAGE. (BTW it hit me when CNN did another of those audience interviews before a Trump event where the people waiting in line truly sound like a profound collection of morons - I suddenly heard essentially a carbon-copy of how one of my older male relatives used to speak. He was almost perfectly the same as that 'stereotype' that I now described, with two very minor variations which would not have applied. Now any other Trump audience interviews, I of course can hear my past relative and it kind of makes me smile.)
I think this language issue, daring to say something offensive - that I think was the key that called in his flock. Trump, following up on his early rallies and TV apperances with his deliberately racists pitches, found an audience loving the language - and they instantly felt, this guy ‘tells it like it is’. He is not afraid to call a spade a spade (spade meaning shovel, also is derogatory term for a black person).
So for decades Fox News and Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh’s radio show and the various other right wing Ann Coulters and Laura Ingrahams and others cultivated a conveniently brainwashed gullible segment to believe that Obama is a Muslim socialist tyrant imposter. To fuel all sorts of ridiculous falsehoods from the Obama secret invasion of Texas to how the US is somehow crumbling as a military force etc. These people were a cult without a leader. And then they heard Trump.
Now they are a fanatical cultists. They are like gosh, the Moonies of Reverend Moon. They’re like Scientologists only far more fanatical. They’re like live audiences at televangelist TV shows of their bizarre bastardization of religion. And like any cult, they will not ever be converted with reason or facts. They now take anything fed by their savior, Trump, as the absolute truth, even if it demostratively is opposite of what that same Trump said live to this same audience yesterday. They are now euphoric, they are in a trance, they think they have found their godlike leader. Its a cult. And their KIDS will be alarmed on some visit or phone call, to discover that dad (and possibly also mom) has fallen for that blatant swindler Trump. And there will be many arguments that will not solve anything. And some, loving kids or neighbors or relatives - will arrange the only thing that can save such a lost soul - an intervention. These people have been brainwashed.
If someone can listen to Trump, and think this is the most honest politician who tells it like it is, that is either an incredibly simple gullible person about the IQ level of Forrest Gump, or else they’ve been brainwashed. Thank you Fox News. Trump is your creation. Like many are saying, Trump is the Frankenstein’s Monster now starting to destroy its creator. Yeah. Enjoy the spectacle if you don’t happen to have family members who got caught into that cult. But none of those who are in this ‘moron’ segment of Trump voters can be persuaded by logic or facts alone. And the original Trumpists, the racists neo-Nazis, they of course only hope that Trump stays true to Hitler’s way, so they are not persuadable because they’re .. Nazis.
The good thing about this fraud that Trump is running is, that he will auto-implode in November and his election loss will be that epic, there is no life on for anyone to try to pretend Trump could have a second chance in politics. So the pain for them will only last a half a year more, thats the good part. The bad thing is that he came as ‘the answer’ to perennial liars. The distrust and cynicism will be probably irreprable to the core ‘Trump Moron voter’ segment - most of these are older white less-educated men (and often also their wives) who will get it, sooner or later that they were played for the ultimate political scam. I would think this will not earn them any love with the Republican party and might poison their appreciation of Fox News and other right wing news talk shows as well.
Which brings me to my analogy. We know now, everybody, even hard core Tea Party thought-leaders, admit now in 2016, that Sarah Palin was a fool and utterly not competent to be Vice President in 2008. (and what does that say about ‘Truth Express John McCain that he can’t admit this?). Most of us saw this by September 2008. For most Americans Sarah Palin was clearly uncompetent by October 2008. She was so poisonous in the election, as I mentioned earlier in this blog, more people voted againstt McCain because of Palin than voted for him. But for years, some Tea Party edge Republicans tried to push the narrative that she is actually smart, she is a good speaker and somehow a leader of the party. Still in very early 2015 she was invited to yet one more conservative event, where then-prospective Presidential candidates came to speak. And after yet another epic blunder of a public speaking spectacle, the last of her supporters admitted it, she is a basket case.
It took 6 and half YEARS for the most delusional Tea Party conservatives to finally admit, Sarah Palin is a loonie. Any normal person from EITHER party saw the truth within two months of her public introduction in 2008. Now. Palin never got to run for President. She would have been the most disasterous candidate ever, if she ran without the strict control of John McCain’s PR team. But she would have been the most ridiculous candidate ever. Except now Donald Trump has passed her. His is the Sarah Palin nightmare but squared. He is the kind of mutated monster child politically of what the Sarah Palin VP run originally enabled. Trump is Sarah Palin, squared.
In 2008 Sarah Palin was an instant punchline to any joke. You could not watch a nightly Letterman or Daily Show or any other talk show without some Sarah Palin joke thrown in. She totally lost all credibility during two months into the election. Trump is WORSE than Sarah Palin and has FAR MORE subject matter that is FAR MORE damaging and the echo chamber will run FAR LONGER not only on 24 hour news like in 2008 but now also Twitter, YouTube, Instagram etc. Trump will have no political credibility by the Autumn. Those voters who really do like some aspect of Trump and actually do intend to vote for him, will soon learn to keep their political views secret - because Trump will by then be such a blatant open joke. Remember Sarah Palin in October 2008, you instantly cringed when she was even mentioned. That is Trump’s fate now, only worse. And it has already started (but far FAR worse).
PAY ATTENTION TO THIS MESS
When this year’s election massacre will be studied in the future, most will be mystified, in how could the Republicans be this dumb. Wasn’t this obvious to the simplest, most basic elementary student of politics. The blueprint was commissioned, paid for and distributed in 2012, when Romney lost. What is it that the Republican party has to do, and what is it that it absolutely cannot do. Now, in the interim years with the Tea Party, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Congress and Senate, the Republicans have done the exact opposite. And then to truly underline they know what they are doing, that this is deliberate destruction of chances to win in an election, they nominated the most hateful, most deceitful, most divisive candidate who then made all the things only worse. The 2016 election could have been close with a moderate modern candidate of competence and integrity. Instead they nominated Donald Trump. The man whose name will be synonymous with catastrophic election loss and possibly even the end of the Republican party as we know it. But lets not get ahead of ourselves. I am an eternal optimist. I think the party will get over this and cure itself of the Tea Party disease of ‘no’ and will return as an adult to politics, willing to compromise and be inclusive. Only they are the Elephant party, they are the conservatives. It may take a few years (or decades) for them to evolve back to a modern party able to win again. But people will ask you years later, how did you see Trump when he was running for office. Did you see he was obviously a disaster. Then you can say honestly, yeah, you were well aware of how much he was going to lose (you don’t need to say, the Communities Dominate blog helped you see the extent of how much).