Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Republican nomination, ok, but Donald for President?
Why Hillary Clinton Should Fear Donald Trump

He might be easy to beat, but his unrestrained attacks could taint her presidency.

April 27, 2016

With Hillary Clinton’s strong performance on Tuesday night, the Democratic primaries are effectively over. Barring an unforeseen catastrophe, Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. And it’s increasingly likely that her opponent will be Donald Trump, who won a clean sweep of five states on Tuesday and only seems to be getting stronger. Both parties must now gear themselves for a Clinton-Trump match-up in the fall.

Clinton indicated as much in her victory speech last night. As in earlier speeches, she made a play of Trump’s name and his penchant for racism, declaring, “Love trumps hate.” This slogan is an early clue as to how Clinton will frame the election, presenting herself as an inclusive advocate of national unity and Trump as an avatar of prejudice and divisiveness. Yet such an election poses unique problems that go beyond normal politics, and Clinton’s team may not yet appreciate how difficult this fight will be.

If winning the presidential election were all that mattered, Trump would be Clinton’s dream opponent. The Democratic front-runner struggles with poor approval ratings—55.6 percent unfavorable, according to Huffington Post’s aggregation of the polls—which means she needs to compete against someone who is even less popular than her. Trump fits that bill handsomely, standing at 63.6 percent unfavorability. Furthermore, Trump’s racism and misogyny are likely to motivate the very voters that Clinton most needs to attract: people of color, single women, and young people. And not surprisingly, in head-to-head polls, Clinton enjoys a hefty lead over Trump, even as she trails behind theless-polarizing John Kasich and enjoys a significantly smaller lead (of roughly 5 percentage points) over Ted Cruz.

If winning the presidential election were all that mattered, Trump would be Clinton’s dream opponent.

Yet there are reasons why the real estate mogul should be a far greater cause for fear than Cruz or Kasich. Cruz might be a political extremist, further to the right than any serious presidential candidate since at least Barry Goldwater. But the Texas senator is still bound by the rules of normal politics, still beholden to donors and constituencies that serve as a check on what he can say or do. Cruz would be a predictable opponent in that he’d follow a hyper-conservative script and make largely ideological arguments. Trump, in contrast, is not predictable in that manner and has no loyalty to traditional Republican causes. He could, as he has in the primaries, present himself as an opponent of the Iraq War and interventionism, a supporter of Planned Parenthood in non-abortion funding, an enemy of free trade pacts, and a defender of Social Security and Medicare.

And Trump’s unpredictability goes far beyond policy. He is wealthy enough not to worry about donors, and his core supporters have shown every sign that they will stick with him no matter what. Rather than being repulsed by his excesses, they thrill at Trump’s subversion of the rules of political decorum. This makes Trump a potentially more destructive opponent on a personal level, because he could do considerable reputational damage to his Democratic opponent.

Two of President Obama’s campaign masterminds, David Axelrod and David Plouffe, took up the special problems Trump poses during a recent episode of the Axe Files podcast. Both came to the surprising conclusion that Cruz, not Trump, is the candidate you’d prefer to fight against.

Axelrod noted that Trump “can make incursions in places you don’t expect,” and “plays by no rules and will hit you with punches that no other politician would throw. I would think that would be a little bit unsettling.”

Plouffe agreed that Trump would be a “very unsettling” opponent. “With Trump,” he said, “I also think execution and prosecution on the campaign day to day would be gruesome. Anything Donald Trump says is legitimate news if he’s the Republican nominee. You know they had a little dustup last December where he threw a brushback pitch about old news regarding the former president. I think a lot of people were shocked by that. My guess is that’s just a taste of what we would see.”

The “old news” Plouffe was alluding to was Trump’s reference in December to Bill Clinton’s “terrible record of women abuse.” That comment is surely only an appetizer for the no-holds-barred personal attacks that Trump will unleash if he’s the nominee. Material will be ready at hand: Roger Stone, a Trump crony and notorious dirty trickster, is author of a book called The Clintons’ War on Women, which rehashes in lurid detail allegations of sexual abuse on Bill Clinton’s part and the supposed role Hillary Clinton played as accomplice. Stone, it’s worth remembering, was the likely source behind the National Enquirer report on Cruz’s alleged extramarital affairs. Running against Trump would put the Clintons back in the tabloids.

Axelrod and Plouffe are exactly right: Trump is a very dangerous opponent, one who can derail the political process even if he loses.

To be sure, any Republican opponent is likely to try to make hay of the various scandals and pseudo-scandals that surround the Clintons. Cruz, whose campaign manager is widely known for vicious attacks, would certainly dredge them up. The difference with Trump is that he’s unusually ruthless about such attacks, and rarely hides behind surrogates. He doesn’t engage in Bush family–style underhandedness—there will be no whisper campaigns and Swift Boaters. Trump might use Roger Stone, but he’s likely to give some sanction under his own name, as he did when he tweeted an unflattering photo of Cruz’s wife.

When Trump has gone birther against Barack Obama or Ted Cruz, he’s done so personally. This means that his attacks enter the mainstream of political discourse more quickly and stay there permanently. Clinton will end up facing the same dilemma that hurt Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and the other Republican candidates: If she responds to Trump’s attacks, she’ll sink to his level, but if she ignores them she may look weak or evasive.

This is where Trump becomes Clinton’s most dangerous opponent: Even if he loses, his toxicity will linger on to poison Clinton’s administration. She might start her presidential term with a large chunk of the Republican Party believing, for instance, that she is complicit in sexual assault. Trump has already shown he’s an ugly winner, denigrating his opponents even when he’s besting them at the polls. This suggests that Trump will be an even uglier loser—especially for the ultimate political prize. He won’t accept the prospect of defeat graciously. Instead, he will be tempted to imitate Samson, to pull the pillars of democracy down so that he destroys his opponents as well as himself.

Even if Trump loses, his toxicity will linger on to poison Clinton’s administration.

In the wake of defeat, Trump is also likely to claim he was cheated, which is what he did after the Iowa Caucus. Even if Trump loses by a landslide, his campaign could generate millions of supporters who reject the legitimacy of a Clinton presidency. Re-integrating bitter Trumpkins into the polity will be a major challenge.

Last night, Clinton offered a message of inclusiveness and warmth, declaring that “love” binds the country together. This positive message might be a way of answering Trump without descending into the pigsty. But Clinton might also try to find ways to marginalize Trump so that he starts to be seen as a fringe figure. A little bit of mockery could add some needed energy to her message. Love, in other words, might need a little assistance if it is to truly trump hate.

Donald Trump is no ordinary political candidate. The Republicans have already learned how difficult he can be to defeat, or even to challenge. In the general election, because the demographics are much broader and more favorable, Clinton will have an easier time of vanquishing him. But then she’ll still have to face the other problem of running against Trump: his ability to contaminate everything he touches.
Some reassuring thoughts:

Donald Trump Isn’t Going to Be President

He’d have to win unprecedented shares of the very kinds of voters who hate him: blacks, Latinos, and women.

By Jamelle Bouie

Now that Donald Trump is just a few delegates away from the Republican nomination, conversation among commentators has turned to his electability and his “pivot” to the general election. The same pundits who ignored the polls to say Trump would lose the nomination now urge us to take his odds seriously. He’ll take on a more “presidential tone.” He’ll attack Hillary Clinton on all sides. He’ll be formidable. He might even win.


Jamelle Bouie is Slates chief political correspondent.

Or at least, that’s the argument.

But before we get there, we have to answer a simple question. How will Donald Trump improve on Mitt Romney’s campaign for president? What will he win that Romney lost?

Romney wasn’t a bad candidate. He ran a competent and largely professional campaign against an incumbent who presided over high unemployment and slow growth. No, Romney wasn’t favored, but he also had a better shot than most candidates who run against a sitting president. If you believe that Trump can win—absent an exogenous shock like a terrorist attack or recession—you need to show how he beats Romney. You need to move this from the realm of speculation and into the world as it exists.

The idea of Trump as a plausible winner is rooted in the same error that drove pundits to discount and dismiss him as late as the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries. Then, observers saw the polls—which accurately showed his appeal to a cross-section of Republican voters—but refused to believe them. It was unthinkable that a field of ostensibly talented candidates would fail to stop Trump before he gained traction.

That’s what happened. If Trump had entered the race as an Icarus-type—a candidate who shoots to the top but withers under the heat—then by the fall, he was something different. He was a genuine presence in a crowded field with real support among Republican voters. No one bothered to stop him. Afraid of alienating Trump’s supporters, GOP leaders disarmed themselves; fearful of Trump’s attacks, Republican donors refused to fund a confrontation; complacent about his threat, Republican candidates focused on clearing their respective “lanes” rather than stopping the leader in the field. By the time Republican voters went to the ballot box, Trump had cultivated a following.

If Trump is a viable general election candidate—if he has a shot at the White House—how does he do it? How does he improve on Mitt Romney?

None of that is operative in the general election. Unlike Republicans, Democrats plan to hit Trump with a fusillade of attacks from all directionsAnd they plan to exploit weaknesses that Republicans didn’t touch until it was too late to stop Trump. They’ll hit Trump for his open and vicious misogyny; they’ll publicize his history of racism and discrimination; they’ll attack him where he’s strong with stories of ordinary people he’s scammed and defrauded; they’ll emphasize the fact that he doesn’t know anything about the world or governing.

Fed on years of anti-establishment rage and white identity politics, Republican base voters cheered when Trump toppled traditional politicians and rallied to his side when he called for a wall with Mexico and a ban on Muslims. Like Sharron Angle, Todd Akin, and Christine O’Donnell, Trump is tailor-made for a distrustful and angry plurality of the Republican Party. But the same polls that showed Trump at the top of the GOP primary also put him far behind in a general election. Like his predecessors on the fringe, Trump is anathema to ordinary voters.

Which brings us back to our question. If Trump is a viable general election candidate—if he has a shot at the White House—how does he do it? How does he improve on Mitt Romney?

Let’s look at the popular vote. Trump needs to win about 3 million more votes to turn the tide. He needs to do that in an environment where theincumbent president is popular, the economy is growing, and most people are satisfied with their direction in life. By itself, that’s difficult.

Let’s look at an electoral map. To succeed where Romney failed, Trump needs to flip at least 69 electoral votes. If he wins the four largest swing states—Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia—plus New Hampshire, he wins. If he breaks into the Midwest, he wins. If he captures the entire South, plus New Hampshire or Iowa, he wins.

But how does this happen in practice? Florida, for example, is critical. Republicans can’t win without it. To flip the state, Trump has to outperform Romney with Latino voters—there just aren’t enough non-Hispanic whites to make up the difference. How does Trump fare among Latinos?

Eighty-seven percent of all Latino voters have a negative view of Trump, according to a new Latino Decisions national survey. In Florida, it’s 84 percent. In other Latino heavy swing states like Colorado and Nevada, it’s 91 percent and 87 percent, respectively. If Trump loses 87 percent of Latino voters nationwide (and nothing else changes from 2012), the Democrats add North Carolina to their 2012 haul as well as 8 million more popular votes.

OK, well, what about black Americans? There aren’t any detailed polls of blacks vis-à-vis Trump, but most national surveys show disapproval in the 80 to 90 percent range. If black turnout stays at its present trajectory, Trump will need to crack 15 percent with blacks to peel critical swing states from Democrats. (A Trump who could accomplish that is also a Trump who is clearly winning.) No Republican has secured more than 15 percent of the black vote in 60 years.

Trump is deeply unpopular with women, too. Seventy percent hold a negative view, according to a recent Gallup survey. If Trump loses 70 percent of women, then he’s lost, period.

What about white voters? The white share of the electorate has shrunk2 points to 69 percent, while the Hispanic, black, and Asian shares have grown. In fact, of the 10.7 million increase in eligible voters, the large majority comes from nonwhite groups. If nothing else about the 2012 results change, the Democratic candidate will win with more votes across the board. Given that fact, as Greg Sargent details for theWashington Post, Trump would have to outperform Romney by substantial margins among whites to win Rust Belt states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Donald Trump begins the general election with a huge deficit in head-to-head polls, deep unpopularity, and major demographic headwinds. Unless he wins unprecedented shares of black and Latino voters, or, barring any improvement with nonwhite voters, unless he wins unprecedented shares of white voters, he loses. And he has to do this while running as the most unpopular nominee in 30 years of polling. He has to do it while running against a Democratic Party operating at full strength, with popular surrogates (including a former president) crisscrossing the country against his campaign. He has to do it with a divided Republican Party. He has to do it while somehow tempering his deep-seated misogyny and racism. All this, again, in agrowing economy with a well-liked president—solid conditions for a Democratic candidate.

Donald Trump has to become a radically different person to win.

Donald Trump isn’t going to win.
Can we trust these polls, apparently not, so nothing should be taken for granted:

Quote:One of the big takeaways from Wells' analysis is just how far from being accurate polls have become. That has worrying consequences for those of us who like political stability. When elections are predictable, it helps society — investors, job seekers, employers and retirees — plan for the future. The EU Referendum caused the pound and the FTSE 100 to both immediately collapse because no one was expecting Leave to win.  Wells suggests all this is happening because more voters are appearing at the ballot box who are not detected by opinion polls. And it is vital reading for anyone mystified as to why Donald Trump keeps winning in the US when all the experts say he should be losing, and anyone who puzzles over where Jeremy Corbyn gets his votes from. We're going to summarise Wells' analysis here but it's well worth reading the whole thing for the nitty-gritty stuff. Basically, Wells says, the pollsters got six things wrong
Pollsters know why they were wrong about Brexit - Business Insider
Is there a way back from last week's troubles for Trump or was this a decisive turning point?

Quote:Trump has demolished his campaign, his brand and his party. He has squandered his vice-presidential pick and his convention, and several battleground states along with them. He picked several fights he could not win, and showed no sign of learning from his own failure. It would be tempting to say this was just another week in the bizarre life of the Republican presidential nominee. But it wasn’t. This week was a decisive turning point in the 2016 election, and there have been remarkably few of them in an campaign that is supposedly volatile. In fact, the volatility and unpredictability of this election doesn’t come from polls or votes, but from the character of a single man: Donald J Trump. The real surprise of 2016 is how constant this contest has been.
For Donald Trump, this was more than a terrible week. It was a turning point | Richard Wolffe | Opinion | The Guardian
All 45 surviving economic advisers to the White House (going back half a century) were asked which economic program they supported. Guess what..

Quote:Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has broken with many of the GOP’s traditional positions on economic policy, garners no support from any of the White House economists who have advised U.S. presidents for the past half-century.

The Wall Street Journal this month reached out to all 45 surviving former members of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under the past eight presidents, going back to Richard Nixon, to get their views on this year’s presidential election. Among 17 Republican appointees who responded to Journal inquiries, none said they supported Mr. Trump.

Six said they did not support Mr. Trump and 11 declined to say either way. An additional six did not respond to repeated messages. Among the 21 Democrats who responded to the Journal, 14 said they supported Mrs. Clinton, none said they opposed her and seven declined to say either way. One Democratic appointee didn’t respond to messages.
Economists Who’ve Advised Presidents Are No Fans of Donald Trump - Real Time Economics - WSJ
Quote:There is talk among Republicans, and some trepidation among Democrats, that Donald Trump could benefit from a silent vote. Although these voters aren't captured by polls, the privacy of a voting booth or a mail-in ballot will allow them to vent their anger and resentments.

The theory holds that in some circles it's not respectable to publicly support the inflammatory New York billionaire, but it's easier in private. Perils of Polling This is a variation of the so-called Bradley effect: In several instances over recent decades, white candidates have outperformed polls when running against a black opponent.

There are, however, reasons to question whether Trump will outperform the polls. This wasn't the case in the primaries. The Republican nominee underperformed the final polls in about as many states as those where he outperformed.

Even if this hidden strength adds a few points for Trump, the Democrats have a powerful offset. The Clinton campaign can rely on better data and analytics, as well as a better get-out-the-vote operation than President Barack Obama had in 2012. That may be worth at least two points.
Silent Vote Won’t Carry Trump to White House - Bloomberg View

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  The absent President Admin 2 1,157 05-31-2020, 03:43 PM
Last Post: Admin
  How scary is Donald Trump? Admin 62 35,038 05-25-2020, 03:15 PM
Last Post: Admin
  The Fox TV President Admin 9 1,619 04-18-2019, 03:12 AM
Last Post: Admin
  The Republican obfuscation of the Mueller investigation Admin 24 5,375 04-02-2019, 04:29 PM
Last Post: Admin

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)