Can Donald Trump Become Our Next President?

Back in October/November all the political gurus, the experts, predicted that Donald Trump would not be the Republican nominee. Nate Silver, the statistical wunderkind and the writer of the fivethirtyeight blog, rather smarmily, mused that Trump has a “less than 20%” chance of becoming the Republican nominee.

“Right now, [Trump] has 25 to 30 percent of the vote in polls among the roughly 25 percent of Americans who identify as Republican. (That’s something like 6 to 8 percent of the electorate overall, or about the same share of people who think the Apollo moon landings were faked

I hate to gloat, as I talked to the folks in the street I increasingly felt that Trump support was deep, especially among those not involved in politics. Joe Six-Pack was angry – angry at everything and everyone, after all, weren’t all politicians corrupt? Remember, more than half of eligible voters do not participate regularly in elections, the traditional non-voters, to me, appeared to be leaning to the Trump column.

See my November blog: https://mets2006.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/can-trump-end-up-as-the-republican-presidential-candidate/

Over the next three months leading up to the Republican convention Trump will have a clear path to unify the Republican Party. There are Republicans, the evangelicals, the loyal party insiders, Republican women who may deride the Trump candidacy and choose not to participate in November. The anti-Trump Republicans will not move to the Democratic column.  Clearly the Republican insiders have a conundrum: how do they campaign for Republicans in the Congress and State legislatures without jumping on the Trump bandwagon? And, will it matter?  Would a Trump presidential campaign have coattails, or, alienate traditional Republican voters?

On the Democratic side Bernie plans to campaign across the nation leading up to the Democratic convention; ironically as Bernie wins primaries Hillary edges closer to wrapping up the requisite number of delegates. It is possible that Bernie could win all of the remaining primaries and Hillary end up with the number necessary to guarantee nomination. In close primaries Hillary and Bernie split the delegates. The Bernie machine will continue to highlight his differences with Hillary, continue to attack Hillary’s positions and behaviors.

Hillary plus Bernie voters equal a Democratic victory in November and possibly gaining a majority in the Senate and reducing the Republican majority in the House, and, re-taking State capitals and legislatures. If any significant number of Bernie voters remain on the sidelines a Trump path to the White House would be easier.

If anti-Trump Republicans and anti-Hillary Independents and Democrats choose not to participate it would be impossible to predict the outcome.

Campaigns are usually about issues and policies; the Trump campaign has been policy-free.

Trump is the ultimate Teflon candidate.

No matter the outrageousness of his comments his popularity increases.  Trump, musing that Ted Cruz’s father cavorted with the Kennedy assassins had no negative impact, in fact, may have gained him votes. His “build a wall,” his “invade Syria,” and on and on only encourages and motivates his voters.

Virtually every “talking head,” every professional who has spent a lifetime running campaigns has been proven wrong,

As Trump rolls to victory, Cruz and Kasich have dropped out; however, the latest polling gives Clinton her largest lead over Trump since July.

The new CNN/ORC Poll, completed ahead of Trump’s victory last night, found Clinton leads 54% to 41%, a 13-point edge over the New York businessman, her largest lead since last July.

With conventions not scheduled until the end of July, and Trump and Sanders hammering Clinton her polling numbers can erode. On the other side as Clinton slowly turns from Bernie to Trump her campaign will continue to build support among women, Afro-American and Hispanic voters. For me, a key to the election are the younger Bernie voters: will they, enthusiastically or reluctantly, move to the Clinton column?  The more Bernie continues to campaign vigorously and toss barbs at Clinton the harder it will be to move his supporters to the Hillary camp. I am sure in the Democratic establishment/Hillary camp the discussion is over how to appeal to the millennials and the left-wing of the party.

The specter of the 1972 McGovern debacle haunts the Democratic Party.

Just as Trump’s rise to the Republican nomination is so incredible so is Bernie’s challenge to Clinton. Remember Sanders is a seventy-two year old independent from Vermont – not even a registered Democrat. Two years ago he was an anomaly, a quirky outsider; no important legislation bears his name, an avowed Democratic Socialist, an agnostic or atheist in a nation that views socialist with godless communism; who mobilized younger voters and the left wing of the Democratic Party.

Bernie can be remembered as the candidate that refused to acknowledge his loss, gave Clinton a lukewarm endorsement and will be blamed for a Trump victory in November, or, the key to a Clinton victory by bringing his voters to the Clinton column.  Or, neither.

The real campaign begins in August – three months of head to head – can Trump, or should Trump rebuild himself? Can he morph to a kinder, gentler, saner candidate? Or, should he?  Should Trump continue to be Trump, outrageous outbursts, seemingly insane accusations, the “loose,” unpredictable candidate so loved by his supporters?  The Republican Party is panic struck.  Trump could be trashed at the polls taking down other Republicans, or, do they jump on board and hope he has coattails.

In a policy-free election cycle education has totally disappeared. In all the presidential debates was there a single question dealing with education? In the CNN polls  referenced above the largest Clinton-Trump difference was in handling education. Of ten areas voters place education as third most important, behind the economy, terrorism and tied with health care. For voters who describe themselves as Democrats education tops the list. Among registered voters by 64% to 31% voters think Clinton would do a better job of handling education.

As the song goes, sort of, it’s a long way from May to November

Hovering at the edges of the Trump appeal are issues of race, ethnicity and gender.

Listen to Tom Lehrer:

National Brotherhood Week – precious and timely!!!

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3 responses to “Can Donald Trump Become Our Next President?

  1. I support Hillary and voted for her in the primary. I will work for her Election Day victory in November. However, let’s remember our revered and great UFT leaders were members of Social Democrats USA. Most of us shared their dedication and politics on behalf of organized labor Solidarity Forever and let’s elect hillary

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  2. Marc Korashan

    I am hoping that Hillary will not take Trump’s challenge lightly. I agree that her path to victory is to bring the Bernie supporters into her camp (and to try to capture their enthusiasm). Both Trump and Bernie appeal to the voters who feel they’ve been lied to and that the government doesn’t work. On the Republican side are voters who allowed themselves to be distracted from their economic interests by appeals to “social values.” They seemed to think it was better to police bathrooms than to regulate Wall Street,but that didn’t make them better off economically. Tax cuts don’t (and never will) trickle down. On the Democratic side are younger voters who want to start over to make government work. They respond immediately to simplistic global fixes like Sanders’ plan to make college free and wipe out their debts, but not to Hillary’s more nuanced plans. Trump, too, offers simplistic statements with no real policy behind them but those statements capture the anger of the blue collar voters who watched their jobs drift over seas.

    This election will turn on how well Hillary can get the voters to understand and believe that she has plans to address their concerns. She needs to state problems and how she’ll solve them, and then ask voters to think about whether there is any substance in Trump’s sweeping statements. “I’ll bring jobs” is not a policy or a plan. The media will have to do their part by continuing to ask him “How?” Bill Clinton was famous for saying, “I feel your pain.” Hillary has to make Americans believe that she feels their pain, their anger, and their outrage over how Government has failed them and offer plans that address those feelings.

    This is a lot to ask of someone who admits she is not a natural campaigner, but this is the path to victory for her and for the country.

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  3. j’agree. it’s all up to bernie. simply, hillary + bernie = victory. but hillary – bernie = a possible democratic defeat. hope hillary has the political skills to make bernie an enthusiastic supporter. bob gruber

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