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Trump Beats Clinton the Way He Beat Bush

The end of May has brought terrible news for Donald Trump, as conventional wisdom would have it. Over Memorial Day weekend, the Libertarian Party nominated two Republican ex-governors, Gary Johnson and William Weld, as its ticket for November, while Bill Kristol assured Twitter that there would be neoconservative-friendly “independent” on the ballot as well. Hillary Clinton led Trump by just 1 point in the RealClearPolitics aggregate [1] of national polling, but as polls catch up to these events, Trump is sunk. Isn’t he?

Not so fast. First, take a look at the electoral map Trump inherits from Mitt Romney [2]. The 2012 Republican nominee did not, of course, win enough states to become president, but where he did win, he won by comfortable margins: those are Trump’s margins now. Of the states Romney won, there were only two that he took by less than 10 percent: North Carolina and Georgia. Trump seems like at least as good a cultural fit for the Republican elements in those states as Romney was. And the states Romney won by “only” ten points—the next closest GOP margins—were Missouri and Indiana, which seem apt to be all the more enthusiastic about this year’s nominee.

Indiana and Missouri were two of the best states for Gary Johnson as the Libertarian nominee in 2012; they respectively gave him 1.91 percent and 1.57 percent of their votes. If Johnson/Weld does fully twice as well in 2016—which, for reasons to be mentioned shortly, is improbable—a 4 percent and 3.1 Libertarian vote in those states would still not stop Trump from winning them. Even a doubling of the Libertarian vote in Georgia, another place where Johnson ran ahead of his national percentage in 2012, would not tip the scales: the Libertarian Party vote would go from less than 1.2 percent of the vote to about 2.4 percent, in a state that Romney won in 2012 by nearly 8 points.

But couldn’t Johnson do much more than 100 percent better in 2016? After all, Trump and Clinton have the highest negative ratings of any major-party nominees [3] since CBS began polling on the question in 1984. This creates an opening, if ever there was one, for another option—if not a Libertarian, perhaps a candidate with Bill Kristol’s “Renegade Party.”

Unfortunately for Kristol and Johnson, that’s not how politics works in 21st-century America: the sky-high negatives for both nominees mean there is in fact less space than usual for a third-party (or fourth-party) challenger, for the simple reason that voting against someone they hate [4] is more important to more voters than voting for someone they like. The most important numbers for Trump aren’t ones that might attest to his popularity but those that demonstrate disapproval of Hillary Clinton. Votes against Clinton, in the abstract, could be votes for Johnson or the Kristol candidate, but in practice voters who are serious about stopping Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party will all but inevitably vote for the major-party alternative: Trump and the GOP.

Look again at the list of states where Gary Johnson performed best in 2012: voters in places like Alaska and Wyoming had the luxury of casting their ballots for an exotic species of Republican, called a “Libertarian,” because a Republican was sure to win the state anyway. Johnson’s 2012 ticket underperformed its national average in states like Ohio, Florida, and Virginia. No battleground state appears in the ranking of places where the Libertarians did best. (A few Democratic states, where again the outcome was predetermined and Republicans might as well vote for a Republican subspecies, do make the list: this explains why Illinois is more Libertarian than Virginia.)

My small-l libertarian friends bristle at being labeled “conservatives” or “Republicans,” but at the ballot box a difference is hard to discern: the Libertarian Party has never nominated a well-known ex-Democrat to its ticket but has frequently nominated Republicans such as Ron Paul, Bob Barr, Gary Johnson, and William Weld. Wayne Allyn Root, the LP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee, is an eager Trump supporter today. And not only the nominees but also the Libertarian Party’s voters, to judge by the numbers, seem mostly to be “alternative Republicans.”

What might seem like a greater threat to Trump is a Kristol candidate targeted specifically at Virginia, whose D.C. suburbs are perhaps the only place in the country where NeverTrump Republicans could make a critical difference in November. (Other states have plenty of anti-Trump Republicans, but those states are so Republican anyway that the defections don’t matter, just as defections to the Libertarian Party don’t.) Yet it’s not clear that there is a Virginia-marketable neoconservative Republican who wouldn’t risk taking as many votes from neoconservative-friendly Clinton as from Trump. In Virginia, splitting the vote for war, NAFTA, and more immigration between Clinton and a Kristol candidate might work to Trump’s advantage, in much the same way that the divided field in the Republican primaries did.


All this only means that Trump should do as well as Romney did in the electoral college; the alt Republicans and #NeverTrump effort have little chance of costing Trump anti-Clinton votes, which is what most Republican votes are. (One of the flaws in my analysis of the Trump phenomenon early on was that I continued to believe most Republican voters were attached to their party and wanted to nominate someone “electable”; in fact, a plurality of Republican voters hates the establishment in both parties and wants to take a stand against it, even if that means nominating seemingly “unelectable” candidates like Trump or many a Tea Partier.)

Romney fell far short of beating Obama, of course, and since 2012 the country’s demographics have only moved further in a Democratic direction, as more millennials come of voting age and the white proportion of the electorate declines. Surely this dooms Trump, even if Republican divisions do not.

Except it doesn’t, not by itself. Jamelle Bouie suggests that [5] “If Trump could reverse the yearslong decline and bring white turnout back to its 2008 levels—74 percent—then he could win with another couple percentage points among whites [more than what McCain received] … This would give him teetering Democratic states such as New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, as well as the three largest swing states: Florida, Ohio, and Virginia.”

(Higher white turnout in 2016 compared to 2012 strikes Bouie as a more plausible winning scenario for Trump than one in which Trump gets a much higher proportion of a 2012-sized white vote: for the latter to work, he would need “an increase of nearly six points over the [GOP’s] white share in 2012, matching Ronald Reagan’s performance in 1984.”)

Even where 21st-century demographics are concerned, Trump may have more of a shot than his dismal polling among young people and racial minorities suggests. Clinton is weak with young voters as well, and the tensions between Clinton’s establishment liberal supporters and the young left have already led to severed alliances and think-tank purges [6]. Trump has an opening—if not to add young voters to his older and whiter base then nevertheless to deprive Clinton of their votes by hammering home her failures. And if Trump could win even in the Republican primaries with forceful opposition to the Iraq War and secretive trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—causes that resonate with Sanders-leaning young voters—he stands to do better still with those positions in the general election. Clinton personifies the old consensus that Obama’s millennial vote was trying to get rid of when it embraced “Hope and Change.”

Trump has shown he’s prepared to campaign much more aggressively on foreign policy than Bernie Sanders has ever dared. And for a preview of how Trump will perform against Clinton in a debate, just recall how he performed against the GOP’s closest counterpart to Clinton: Jeb Bush. Trump will press her hard on Iraq, much harder than Sanders has done. He’ll hit her on Libya, too. Trump also won’t be any kinder than Sanders has been about Clinton’s coziness with the big banks. The young left may be in for a surprise—one that’s unlikely to lead many to vote for Trump but that may drive deeper the generational wedge between them and Clinton.

The 2016 race pits a decades-old center-left establishment against a newly invigorated populist right. That populist right has already defeated the decades-old center-right establishment of the GOP. It has a fighting chance against Clinton, if Trump sticks to his issues and doesn’t attempt to become a more generic, Romney-like Republican on questions of war and industrial policy.

As for immigration and ethno-racial politics, there could be some surprises here, too. Trump’s critics in the media identify him with the racist and anti-Semitic trolls who support him on Twitter; but millions more Americans identify the Democratic Party with the Social Justice Warriors and other activists whose antics and occasionally violent acts have been widely broadcast on national television over the past two years. If Clinton repudiates this Social Justice left, she risks further alienating her young left base; if she fails to repudiate them, she stands to alienate more of Middle America.

Hillary Clinton represents everything that Trump voters, Republicans, Sanders voters, and Middle America have come to hate: the Iraq War, secretive trade deals and job losses, suffocating political correctness, and the risk of “unrest.” The liberal establishment in both parties—free-market liberal in the GOP’s case, left-liberal in the Democrats’—has known all along how much suffering and resentment its policies have generated. But party elites imagined that none of it mattered: what could voters do, pull the lever for Bush instead of Clinton? Clinton instead of Bush? The fix was in, and had been since the first George Bush took office.

Only now, to the insiders’ dismay, voters have an establishment and an anti-establishment choice. In 2008 they selected the relatively less establishment figure, Barack Obama, in the Democratic primaries and general election alike. In 2016, voters are asked to cast their ballots for the Democrat who didn’t represent hope or change eight years ago. Is Clinton any fresher today?

Trump won’t lose any of Romney’s states. Can Clinton really hold all of Obama’s? Probably not: Ohio still has some white working-class Democrats, and Trump’s prospects of winning them seem a lot better than Mitt Romney’s ever were. Trump surprised everyone with his successes in Pennsylvania’s GOP primary; if he can do five points better than Romney in the general election there, the results will be catastrophic for Clinton. Florida remains as much of a battleground as ever: there’s no indication that any trouble with Latino voters will cost him the Sunshine State. This election is as finely balanced and close as 2012 was, and that brings it down to a referendum on the status quo of the last 20 years: should the era of Bush and Clinton continue, or is it time for something new—even if what’s new is named Donald Trump?

Daniel McCarthy is the editor of The American Conservative. Follow @ToryAnarchist [7]//

50 Comments (Open | Close)

50 Comments To "Trump Beats Clinton the Way He Beat Bush"

#1 Comment By Randal On May 31, 2016 @ 6:45 am

Shhh! There’s still time for the Democrats to switch horses and go for the Sanders option if they realise the losing ticket they’re buying with Clinton. A Trump-Sanders contest would be a very different bucket of herring.

One of the flaws in my analysis of the Trump phenomenon early on was that I continued to believe most Republican voters were attached to their party and wanted to nominate someone “electable”

Well it’s not as though there weren’t enough straws in the wind. After the Romney nomination win, one of the most oft-repeated comments (in various forms) on conservative online forums was along the lines of’ “they keep putting up RINO candidates, and I and my family and friends will keep staying at home, and they’ll keep losing”.

#2 Comment By Sally Snyder On May 31, 2016 @ 7:27 am

Here is an article that looks at Hillary Clinton’s choices for who will write the Democratic party platform:


A select few long-time Democrat Party insiders will do most of the thinking for American voters.

#3 Comment By connecticut farmer On May 31, 2016 @ 8:29 am

Excellent article. And let it not be forgotten that Americans can be a caring, sympathetic people–but they will not accept the rioting. Through no fault of his own, Hubert Humphrey and the Democrat Party learned this lesson the hard way in 1968–and so may the Democrats in 2016.

#4 Comment By St Louisan On May 31, 2016 @ 9:48 am

This doesn’t provide an argument that “Trump won’t lose any Romney states.” Surely there is a substantial chance that Trump will lose enough votes among women, minorities, marginal parts of the Republican coalition, Republican-leaning independents, etc to lose a couple? Missouri, for example, still has a Democratic senator and a Democratic governor. It’s not so red that even a marginal GOP candidate is guaranteed a win.

#5 Comment By TB On May 31, 2016 @ 10:17 am

Trump has alienated:
– women
– blacks
– Hispanics
– other non-whites
– those worried about climate change
– those who are stunned by the pustulent vulgarities of his rhetoric
– the young

Trump is a slow rolling disaster for his party and the insiders know it. That’s why so many of them running for reelection are staying away from Cleveland this July.

#6 Comment By KD On May 31, 2016 @ 11:13 am

I can’t say how it would play out nationally, but I suspect with Millennials, if Trump signals support for legalizing marijuana, he’ll have plenty of support from the Berners and the Trustafarian Libertarians, and Hillary will look like the old fashioned school marm. The downside would be scaring off conservatives and older voters, so I don’t know if it is a good play or not.

Obviously, I doubt Senator Sessions would be on board, but you have to do what you can to win the true “hearts and minds” of the youth generation.

#7 Comment By coroner’s report On May 31, 2016 @ 11:16 am

” There’s still time for the Democrats to switch horses and go for the Sanders option if they realise the losing ticket they’re buying with Clinton. “

Trump blew a major opportunity by refusing to debate Sanders. By strategically losing to Sanders in the debate Trump could have destroyed Clinton, who (pace the national polls) is the bigger threat.

The author rightly raises the question of a wife following her husband into the White House. Bush the Lesser following Bush the Elder was bad enough. The Clinton business turns makes our election seem more like a late-phase Byzantine imperial succession than a democratic election. Our Revolution was supposed to end all that, and yet here come the dynasts, yet another indication that letting in millions of immigrants from corrupt, incompetent, authoritarian, non- or anti-Western societies is having the entirely predictable result of bringing us closer to corrupt, incompetent, authoritarian, non- or anti-Western government.

#8 Comment By Montana Marvin On May 31, 2016 @ 12:06 pm

It mildly pains me to see Kristol given so much attention, which gives an inflated sense of importance which he obviously craves. In a saner society he would be seen as the fringe extremist that he actually is, and not a national mover-and-shaker. But let him waste his Neo-con donors’ money to buy at best 200,000 votes. It’s amusing actually.

#9 Comment By bt On May 31, 2016 @ 1:41 pm

I’m still searching for how the man with Young Wife #3 captures women and religious voters in the same number as Romney or W.

Yes, he could win. Any Republican could win when you analyze the Electoral College and the red / blue states and point out that a few votes here and there could tip a few states and voila.

But Trump has really got a steep hill to climb no matter how you look at it.

Looking at the long picture though, it’s maybe healthier for the GOP for Trump to lose. If he wins, it’s hard to understand in what manner the party goes forward – so many of his words and actions are not congruent with what the party says it supports. I still think Cleveland could be interesting and that there will be more than a few GOP stalwarts who will be all smiles in public, but will seek to undermine Trump behind the scenes.

#10 Comment By The Other Eric On May 31, 2016 @ 2:15 pm

Trump blew a major opportunity by refusing to debate Sanders. By strategically losing to Sanders in the debate Trump could have destroyed Clinton, who (pace the national polls) is the bigger threat.

I love this strategy. But realistically, it would require far more discipline than Trump has shown.

#11 Comment By Paul On May 31, 2016 @ 2:33 pm

The election math is a bit simpler than all the wonks are telling us. Take a look at nearly every state Trump has won. It was won by between 5% and 15% higher than the polls showed. This was particularly true in the North East USA where the margins were 11% or more. That runs the table. In fact if you look at the only realistic measure that has held true for many decades which is the gross primary R/D split you find 33M/22M. Donald Trump is going to run the tables at nearly 60% margins.

Also I suspect all the “negatives” and such are not true. I have been hearing from many Blacks and Latinos who are for Trump. He may take a majority of these groups. I suspect we have been seeing a clever propaganda machine and it is failing.

#12 Comment By steveb On May 31, 2016 @ 2:55 pm

Trump is the abusive ex-boyfriend that every woman has had. That is a bit over half of the voters and more than enough to counter the bitter angry old white guys.

#13 Comment By John On May 31, 2016 @ 3:22 pm

Florida remains as much of a battleground as ever: there’s no indication that any trouble with Latino voters will cost him the Sunshine State.

In 2012, Obama won 60% of Latino/Hispanic voters, comprising 17% of all Florida voters that year. This was 3% better than his showing among that demographic four years earlier. This makes sense, since more Latinos have been registered as Democrats than Republicans since 2008, with the gap continuing to widen. Latinos account for 88% in the growth of registered Florida Democrats over the last ten years, according to [9].

If you want to say that the margin of victory in Florida is likely to be less than 5%, I could go with that; there is ample historical evidence of northern and southern Florida all but canceling each other out, with a decision coming from the swing voters in the middle. But Trump has outraged the entire Latino/Hispanic demographic (“drug dealers and rapists,” the deportation force, the wall that Mexico will pay to build, etc.), even the usually Republican Cuban-American demographic, to the point where he will need even more whites to vote for him than Romney got. This, while whites are estimated to count for 2% less of the electorate than they were just four years ago.

The RCP average shows Trump down 2 points in Florida, which is about what McCain lost it by. There is every indication that Trump’s statements have not helped him, if not cost him the state outright. And if Clinton wins every state won by Democratic presidential candidates since 2000 plus Florida, she will be the President next year.

#14 Comment By Sentient On May 31, 2016 @ 3:32 pm

Excellent article. Trump has already alienated all the people he’s going to alienate, most of whom had no trouble finding a reason to hate moderates McCain & Romney. This is so much like 1980 – when “crazy” B movie actor Ronald “Raygun” stood no chance until the fall when people concluded he was at least minimally sane and worth taking a chance on. This isn’t even going to be close. Trump in a landslide.

#15 Comment By JAYB On May 31, 2016 @ 4:09 pm

Trump has not alienated women. Not any more than Hillary has.

Trump holds a 69% to 22% advantage over clinton with white men. That’s a +47% advantage. With white women Trump barely edges out clinton 47% to 43%. +4%

So much for alienating women.

#16 Comment By Calvin On May 31, 2016 @ 4:26 pm

Trump may take a majority of blacks and Latinos? Now I’ve officially heard it all…

#17 Comment By AG On May 31, 2016 @ 4:42 pm

The fact that I live in an age in which more than one in a hundred of my fellow Americans is willing to accept the premise, “Vote for Trump because Hillary is untrustworthy” without bursting into laughter at the absurdity of the concept is dismaying beyond my ability to describe.

#18 Comment By Mike Siroky On May 31, 2016 @ 4:46 pm

Excellent analysis but you forgot to mention three things:
1> No one can predict the economy but if things look bad in the fall or the stock market takes a dive – Trump wins.
2> A terrorist attack at home or abroad is likely between now and the election – Trump wins.
3> Rising crime in America’s major cities are just beginning to get media attention – Trump wins

#19 Comment By Rex Ridick On May 31, 2016 @ 5:03 pm

Excellent analysis because it is truthful and doesn’t get into partisan ideologies. The truth is, any white anglo saxon male over 45 who does not detest Hillary and won’t be galvanized to vote against her is an outlier.

#20 Comment By Charles Cosimano On May 31, 2016 @ 5:05 pm

With at least 80% of the white male vote and 30% of the white female vote Trump buries everyone else. And a good 40% of Latin male vote, which is likely, it’s a walkover.

#21 Comment By Ken Zaretzke On May 31, 2016 @ 5:07 pm

Very encouraging analysis. I wonder what the author thinks of the Kristol nuclear option with Mitt Romney. I don’t think it has been considered that Romney might be reluctant to run because of the email travails of Hillary Corrupton, who might yet be forced to step aside. Romney doesn’t want to help elect Elizabeth Warren (anti-Wall Street) or Bernie Sanders (socialist). If Biden is the nominee, don’t be surprised if Romney steps in the race, hurting Trump and helping Biden. Wall Street has no problem at all with Biden. Hillary, Biden, and Romney are largely indistinguishable in the eyes of Wall Street.

#22 Comment By kalendjay On May 31, 2016 @ 5:27 pm

So Trump is down by as much as McCain was in Florida? I’d say that’s quite remarkable considering that one took pains to be the ultimate pansyncretic anti-racist, and the other supposedly was born in the diapers of David Duke.

Maybe the electorate is seriously listening to what Trump actually says. He never said there should be local roundups of illegals on every street (something like the late lamented Ted Cruz’s musings on community policing, which earned Obama’s crack: “I just came back from a country which has community policing [Cuba]”.

Trump actually spoke in fairly accurate terms about our porous border and its human traffic, about which Obama and fellow Democrats have nothing memorable to say. Their work is instead delegated to NPR and their so-called ‘political consultants’.

Not a word has been said about how the actual media campaign between Trump-Clinton would actually look. A “we must all learn to love each other” daisy commercial? Hillary has yet to produce a string of Jennifer Flowers despite ample opportunity.

Mark my words, Trump will take a cue from Bush ’41 and appear before throngs of cheering policemen in Boston or NYC before October. He can do a “That isn’t tea in Boston Harbor” by way of Flint MI, which was one of the earliest cities to form Trump committees. He can make visits and financial donations to sickly children who have been encumbered by treatment restrictions on Obamacare (you can look at some back archives on that on), and visit Taiwan. Then it will all be over for Clinton.

#23 Comment By Longo On May 31, 2016 @ 5:40 pm

Trump has alienated the Mexicans, who make up 65% of Hispanics and not all Hispanics. Can we say Mexicans? Shees!

#24 Comment By Tom Johnson On May 31, 2016 @ 5:43 pm

My personal guess is:
#trump 55%
#bidden 45%,
but Newt postulates
#trump 65%
#dems? 35%
That my actually be
a fairly good guess.

#25 Comment By Brian On May 31, 2016 @ 5:49 pm

What is missing is the large group of people who think that voting for Trump is affirmatively bad and they cannot vote for him, regardless of whether Hillary wins. Beating Hillary is not nearly as important as never voting for horrible people like Trump. This may not sink Trump’s boat but it will not help. Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil

#26 Comment By Jeff On May 31, 2016 @ 6:12 pm

So basically the point is that if we operate under the assumption that Trump will lose 0 of the votes that Romney got, he could win in theory. This is great and all except for the fact that all of Romney’s votes aren’t, in fact, “baked in” as claimed, and there’s almost no reason whatsoever to assume he’s going to gain in voters Romney couldn’t claim. You’re talking about a presumptive nominee is currently losing by anywhere from 1 to 9 percent (RCP is the most favorable polling average but other polling averages are closer to a 4 point spread) to someone with massive unfavorables who is still fighting a primary battle. I realize there’s little to be made in writing an article that says “let’s save our donation money for 2018” but starting the un-skewing campaign early seems like the wrong plan. The right call is trying to save down-ticket races.

#27 Comment By John On May 31, 2016 @ 6:24 pm

So Trump is down by as much as McCain was in Florida? I’d say that’s quite remarkable considering that one took pains to be the ultimate pansyncretic anti-racist, and the other supposedly was born in the diapers of David Duke.

We can spend a lot of time talking about whether Donald Trump has truly earned what Hispanics feel about him, but [10]: his net favorable among all Hispanics is -65. Among Hispanic Republicans, it’s half of that (a mere -29), but a majority of Hispanic Republicans disliking the nominee in a way they disliked none of the other candidates this year cannot be good.

This is especially the case when the net favorable for the likely opponent, Hillary Clinton, is -11 among Hispanic Republicans. That’s right; Hillary Clinton does 18 points better with Hispanic Republicans than the Republican nominee, and has a net favorable of +33 among Hispanics more generally. Meanwhile, the RCP polling history hasn’t shown Trump on top in a Florida poll since the first week of March. Again, this is a state that Republicans almost have to win if Trump is to become President, because it means certain victory for Clinton if she gets it.

#28 Comment By Myron Hudson On May 31, 2016 @ 7:01 pm

KD I don’t see the millenials voting for Trump even if he promised free marijuana. For starters, that demographic is not the heaviest consumer; the boomers are. And it’s the young Berners who are rioting against Trump and promising to be the next red guard.

The hard core Berners regardless of age will write in Bernie, having been convinced that the candidate who draws the largest crowds (as opposed to getting the most votes) is being robbed.

#29 Comment By JD On May 31, 2016 @ 7:09 pm

“One of the flaws in my analysis of the Trump phenomenon early on was that I continued to believe most Republican voters were attached to their party and wanted to nominate someone “electable””

Isn’t that a the democrats fatal flaw?

#30 Comment By Eric Young On May 31, 2016 @ 9:39 pm

Young people -The democrats will say anything to get your vote. These same democrats say that there is nothing we can do to make the economy grow. Secular stagnation they say. The problem is that this path ENSURES that we all will be poorer than we would have been. Countries with high taxes, high debt have slower growth. ASK yourself to you want the richest country in the history of mankind to be more like France. Even if all your debts and school is covered to you think there are going to be any jobs for you ? And no -Your not all going to be able to work for the government

#31 Comment By Andrew On May 31, 2016 @ 10:00 pm

Kristol would gladly defeat Trump and hand the election to Hillary if it was in his power to do so.

#32 Comment By jack On May 31, 2016 @ 10:21 pm

I read these articles the way we used to read, in the 1970s, of holdout Japanese soldiers in the jungles of Mindanao still fighting the war that ended 30 years prior

#33 Comment By Analyst On May 31, 2016 @ 10:35 pm

In the end, Trump may be his own worst enemy. We are beginning to see the degree to which is narcissism cannot sustain even the slightest questioning, and that is going to move him increasingly toward self-destruction. The media, which he hates, has been giving him a free ride because his outlandishness up to this point has driven viewer to cable. But the media outlets that have given him free time up to now have not done it with any interest in his positions. I will throw out a prediction now that they will glory just as much in viewership that derives from watching Trump meltdowns as they have for Trump self-promotions. The object of the free media part of Trump’s rise has been attracting viewers, not supporting Trump, and if viewers come with meltdowns that is just as good as narcissistic self promotions. After all, the reason people watched The Apprentice was to see people get fired. Trump should know that he runs the risk of being on the other side of his signature media event–but what was fair for those losers is now “so unfair” to Trump. We will see how that works for him.

#34 Comment By Cash On May 31, 2016 @ 11:27 pm

This fall is going to be Stalingrad all over again. Two candidates who live for the fight. Each side hates the other party’s nominee without feeling much better about its own choice. Neither side will waste effort trying to reach undecideds — are they any?

Trump’s facing his first really tough opponent. He’s got to do everything right and nothing wrong. Hillary just has to make fewer mistakes. She can win with a losing game. (In tennis, good players win with winning games – they put the ball where the opponent can’t reach it. Bad players win by waiting for the opponent to hit the ball into the net.) Advantage Hillary.

Rather than offering America a choice, this is going to be a turnout election. Get your troops to the polls and hope the other side doesn’t. Trump needs to raise a $1b over the next few months and he still hasn’t picked a super PAC. Hillary will have Obama’s combat-hardened field organization preparing for its third straight win.

In the 5-10 battleground states, the Democrats are already planning how to drive every church lady to the polls and keep her standing in line for as long as it takes. (By October 15, the Democrats will have rented every van in Florida and Ohio and Pennsylvania, with food and portable toilets standing by to be moved to where they’re needed. Lawyers and law students ready at the polling places, and nowadays as much early/absentee voting as possible. Whether the Republicans match up, we’ll see. They didn’t in 2008 and 2012. Will they do it for Trump?

Which brings up another wild card – McConnell and Ryan want Trump to lose. Hillary in the White House and a Republican Congress means they either they frustrate her agenda or figure out how to do business together. A Trump presidency has got to have them terrified. I can imagine Hillary deciding it’s unlikely the Democrats will make up much ground in Congress. So she reaches an understanding with McConnell and Ryan. They won’t put too much effort into battleground states and she won’t help down-ticket challengers taking on vulnerable Republicans. A win-win for each party’s establishment. (Ok, I’m probably wrong but it’s not implausible.)

Finally, remember in the months before 9/11 White House aides telling reporters how they admired that Bill Clinton was never more dangerous than when his enemies had backed him into a corner? Dubya was at his best beating up on patsies and chumps.

Look at the NYT’s reporting re: Trump’s business past. OK, so he fights off lawsuits from chumps who invested in his scammy real estate school. Tenants with a nickle-and-dime beef about his business practices. When Trump faces a committed opponent – the Chinese real estate investors he partnered up with and then litigated against, he comes away with something that’s far from a triumph.

Hillary is fighting for her life and she’ll do anything. If there’s going to be an October Surprise, it might well be Hillary going Hiroshima on Donald. (I’m sure she’s digging into his past in ways the NYT can’t.)

I’m a Democrat and I’m panicking about Hillary. But I take comfort knowing she will not go down the way Gore and Kerry went down. She’ll make Stalingrad look like the Harvard-Yale game.

#35 Comment By jan vones On May 31, 2016 @ 11:32 pm

This is not a “conservative” bs “liberal” or “GOP” vs “Dem” election.

Its a “pro-American” vs “pro-One-World-Bureaucracy” government.

And Trump will win with a 40-state plus landslide.

Trump/Whomever 2016!

#36 Comment By William Dalton On May 31, 2016 @ 11:33 pm

I think it remains to be seen whether Gary Johnson and Bill Weld can make themselves contenders in this year’s race for the White House. While, typically, many voters who might consider a “protest” candidate who more closely reflects their views, decide, once they see a tight race between the Democrat and Republican in which one or the other will win, cast their ballot for the less objectionable of the two major party candidates, this year presents a different situation. For close to 50% of voters being polled, BOTH Clinton and Trump are unacceptable. Normally, these voters would vote for the major party candidate running against either one of them. This year they are placed in a quandary. They might struggle mightily to decide which of two unacceptable choices is less unacceptable. But, if the third choice is won running head to head with the Democrat and the Republican, as Ross Perot was in the summer of 1992, that third choice is no longer seen as a potentially wasted “protest” vote, but a real possibility to send to the White House.

It is important to note, as well, that the Johnson-Weld ticket, unlike prior Libertarian Party tickets, is not one that appeals only, or even primarily, to disaffected Republicans and voters who usually vote Republican. Weld was chosen for this ticket with the John Anderson campaign of 1980 in mind. Originally tapped by Republicans of the “Eastern Establishment” to sabotage the campaign of Ronald Reagan, with the purpose of keeping him out of the White House and out of control of the Republican Party, Anderson found most of his support coming from among normally Democratic voters in the Northeast. The result was that Reagan won the minority of votes he might have been expected to achieve in Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut – all of New England except Rhode Island, as well as the Empire State – New York. But the surprise was that Anderson bit heavily enough into the Democrats’ presumed majority to give every one of those states to Reagan as victor by plurality.

Donald Trump, who has more support in New York, New England and the other states of the Northeast than that enjoyed by any Republican since Ronald Reagan. Meanwhile, the Johnson – Weld ticket, self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives and social liberals, are a match made in political heaven for both independent voters of the region and Democrats repulsed by the corruption of the Clintons. If it looks like Johnson – Weld can carry those states, or at least is running ahead of the Democrats, they won’t lose that lead as election day approaches and dawns. Johnson – Weld will also run strongly in the Mountain States westward – among true libertarians who are a strong force among Republicans in those states, and among Mormons throughout the region who will vote neither for Trump nor Clinton under any circumstances.

Depending on what is going on in the rest of the country – how badly Trump’s and Clinton’s campaigns, and their PAC backers, destroy one another in the public mind – it is possible that Johnson – Weld can contend to win as many states as is required to carry the Electoral College. But with Northeast and Mountain State electors alone, the Libertarian ticket may win a number large enough to deny anyone a majority in the Electoral College, conferring upon the Congress the task of electing the new President and Vice President. And which man would Congressional Republicans feel more secure leading the Country and setting the political agenda for the next four years – the unpredictable, mercurial never before in office Donald Trump or Gary Johnson, a proven leader of government who was once one of their own?

#37 Comment By biggoofer On June 1, 2016 @ 1:13 am

Part of the reason Trump beat Bush into mince-meat was because a third Bush would have established a bonafide Bush dynasty.

Right America was not ready for a Bush dynasty.

Part of the reason Bernie is still in the race is because Hillary would establish a Clinton dynasty.

Left America is not ready for a Clinton dynasty either.

#38 Comment By wintermute On June 1, 2016 @ 8:04 am

With at least 80% of the white male vote and 30% of the white female vote Trump buries everyone else. And a good 40% of Latin male vote, which is likely, it’s a walkover.

I call BS.

70% of the White Male Vote. Tops
30% of the White Female Vote. (could go slightly higher 35%)
10% of the African American Vote. Tops
20% of the Hispanic/Latino Vote. Tops
30% of the Asian & other Non-White Vote. Tops

Is that enough to win? I doubt it.

If I am right it’s going to be a 47%(Trump)-53%(Clinton) election if you are it’ll be the reverse…

#39 Comment By John On June 1, 2016 @ 8:49 am

@William Dalton/11:33 p.m.:

The most successful third party candidacy in our history was Theodore Roosevelt’s in 1912. As a former President, he won 88 votes in the EC, and 27% of the overall vote. In 1992, Ross Perot won 18% of the overall vote and 0 in the EC. In 2000, Nader won less than 3% of the overall vote and the hatred of every good Democrat until he dies.

It’s not absolutely impossible for a third party candidate to win, but historically, it is hard for them to do more than spoil the election for the opponent to which they are ideologically closer. At least Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders ($100 on him gets you $1800 if he wins the general election, right now at Bodog) won some primary contests as major party candidates. I’m not even sure that the Libertarians will get on all 50 states’ ballots, let alone compete effectively with Clinton or Trump.

#40 Comment By collin On June 1, 2016 @ 11:55 am

Several points:

1) If we start at the 2012, Trump has to convert 4 – 5 states to win the election. Yes there were a lot of close states for Obama, but that should be a credit to his staff at winning 9 of the 10 swing states last cycle. One or two state Trump conversions won’t win the cycle.

2) Why don’t know if the Latino vote is costing him in Florida yet but it is huge potential against him in Florida. Again Obama won so Trump has win more votes and the Latino voting could increase this year. And think if the Latino vote increases it could protect NV and CO for HRC as well as opening AZ (especially with Johnson in the mix.) And none of these state have a manufacturing base and Florida (ports) benefit from increased trade.

3) Then there is the white working class vote in NH, PA, OH, MI, WI and IA. PA and OH main fall in manufacturing happened in the 1970s and 1980s and both states have done better in the Great Recession. Additionally, there are a lot of auto parts factories in OH that send parts to Mexico so they might not like the trump trade deals.

#41 Comment By channelclemente On June 1, 2016 @ 5:47 pm

Goodness, I hope you’re delusional. Trump is a cultural cancer.

#42 Comment By Clint On June 1, 2016 @ 7:44 pm

Hillary Clinton’s continued exposed role in attempting to handle her old white guy’s “Bimbo Eruptions” will eventually turn off many Hillary supporters

Bubba Clinton’s accusers include:

Paula Jones: A former Arkansas state employee, Jones sued Bill Clinton in 1994 for sexual harassment. Jones claims that in 1991 then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton propositioned and exposed himself to her in a Little Rock hotel. Clinton eventually settled with Jones out of court for $850,000, but never admitted to any wrongdoing.

Juanita Broaddrick: Broaddrick, a former nursing home administrator, alleges that Bill Clinton, who was running for Arkansas governor at the time, raped her in an Arkansas hotel room in the spring of 1978.

Kathleen Willey: Willey was a White House volunteer aide who, in March of 1998, alleged on the TV news program 60 Minutes that Bill Clinton had sexually assaulted her during his first term as President.

Eileen Wellstone: Wellstone, an English woman, alleges that Clinton sexually assaulted her after she met him at a pub near Oxford University where Clinton was a student in 1969.

Carolyn Moffet: Moffet was a legal secretary in Little Rock in 1979, said she met Governor Clinton at a political fundraiser and was invited to his hotel room. Moffet alleges that she fled the hotel room after Clinton demanded she perform sex acts on him.

Elizabeth Ward Gracen: A Miss Arkansas who would go on to win the Miss America contest in 1982, Gracen alleges that she was forced by Clinton to have sex with him shortly after she won the Miss Arkansas competition.

Becky Brown: Becky Brown was Chelsea Clinton’s nanny. L.D. Brown, an Arkansas State Trooper and Becky’s husband, claims that Clinton attempted to seduce her in while the two were in governor’s mansion.

Helen Dowdy: Dowdy, the wife of one of Hillary’s cousins, alleges that in 1986 Bill Clinton groped her on the dance floor of a wedding.

Cristy Zercher: Zercher was a flight attendant aboard Clinton’s campaign jet from 1991-1992. Zercher told the Star magazine that Clinton groped her for over 40 minutes.

#43 Comment By Lao Tzu On June 1, 2016 @ 10:37 pm

It appears Clinton’s supporters believe that the strategy which failed Bush will win for them.

Such people deserve defeat.

#44 Comment By Victor Tiffany On June 2, 2016 @ 6:38 pm

What if the 3rd party had Bernie Sanders at the top? Then the people would have a candidate to vote FOR rather than one to vote against.


#45 Comment By John V. Walsh On June 3, 2016 @ 10:47 am

Interesting article in some ways, but it suffers from focusing on what the MSM focuses on – the unfavorability ratings.
That of course obscures the fact that now Trump has pulled even or slightly ahead in the polls!! And he is unknown and has not yet launched a general campaign! He is beginning to do to Killary what Bernie did in each primary state?

And if one insists on using the MSM trope, consider this: Killary’s negatives have been shaped over decades. They are baked in. She cannot change them. Trump on the other hand is a newcomer to the political scene and he can cut those negatives by drawing on his likeable celebrity persona.

The one problem is that he is getting little help from sources that he should be able to draw on among the intellectuals. That is traditional conservatives and libertarians with a few prominent exceptions, for example, Buchanan and Raimondo. Why is this? Two reasons. First a pro-Trump disposition correlates with class more than anything else, and both “progressive” and Right commentators belong to the same class pretty much – went to same schools, read NYT, listen to NPR, etc. Second, Trump and his supporters have successfully and unfairly been labeled as “racist” and “fascist,” the latter term lacking almost any meaning these days, except as an indicator that the user hates the person to whom it is applied. But our intellectuals are scared out of their wits by such accusations and run the other way in a panic.
C’mon my right wing friends. Stand tall. Defend the Donald.
P.s. Who is the arch racist anyway, Hillary or The Donald?
See: [12]

#46 Comment By Fran Macadam On June 4, 2016 @ 3:39 am

I saw that some obese guy took all his clothes off on the podium at a Libertarian Party shindig.

Not a serious party, even if I were a serious libertarian. I don’t find Ayn Rand entirely credible, but that’s really nuts.

But Trump’s not a neoconservative, nor a Democratic SJW.

He’s a realist more than the rest, which serious libertarians ought to be.

Too bad the vehicle for expressing dissatisfaction with our failed establishment and the SJW alternative had to be Donald Trump. But if that’s the only port in this storm of decline and LGBTQ/bathroomism absurdity, so be it.

#47 Comment By Fran Macadam On June 4, 2016 @ 3:46 am

“In 2000, Nader won less than 3% of the overall vote and the hatred of every good Democrat until he dies.”

A great American hero, even if he hated my Corvair. Here’s hoping he feels the love.

Recall that Nader is part of a principled coalition against war and unfair trade that also includes Buchanan.

#48 Comment By Prof. Woland On June 18, 2016 @ 2:47 pm

It’s going to be interesting to come back and look at this post on Nov. 2nd.

I’m betting it will be about as accurate as earlier predictions.

#49 Comment By m. Eiford On January 10, 2017 @ 12:28 am

One other factor was very important,though, possibly not quantifiable:

Trump spoke to Americans with respect.

Clinton spoke to Americans arrogantly.

A lot of us noticed.

#50 Comment By Judy Brown On March 22, 2017 @ 12:51 pm

Trump may have beaten Jeb in the primary, but papa and mama haven’t forgotten. Who do you think paid for that “pissing on the bed” dossier? The Bush family doesn’t let anyone go unpaid.