The talking heads in the media seem to be hyping Trump’s chances against the assumed Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton this month. But is this really to be unexpected? When General Election season pops up, cable news networks that would otherwise struggle to fill their 24 hour slots will finally have something easy for their viewers to chew on…. barring a terrible calamity of some kind. It’s also important the general election race is a controversial and close one otherwise there wouldn’t be much interest. This is why the portayal of a weak candidate against a strong one just wouldn’t be as appealing to viewers as an election that would show two strong opponents.
This all brings me to these 2016 general elections. The buzz around is that Trump is matching Hillary in a number of national polls. Oh shocking, looks like this one is going to be a close one right? I better stay tuned to CNN and Fox news so I don’t miss what could be another historic election… right? Well no not really. The media needs to create a false sense of drama and excitement every single election. They did it with 2012 and look how that turned out? The truth of the matter is, the Don ain’t as fancy as the hype puts him out to be. It’s become apparent that the GOP has handed what should be a fairly easy election for them this time around. Let’s look at the 4 hard facts.
1. Trump is the weakest GOP front runner in modern era.
Yes, we’ve all heard about the fact Trump got more votes than Mitt Romney in 2012. The 2012 elections were pretty much set in Obama’s favor from the start. The key word here is context. The fact of the matter is that as of today, Saturday May 22 2016, Trump has only managed to gather 41% of the total GOP vote (1). That means that even as the assumed nominee, Trump still has not been able to win the majority of votes in his own party. As a percentage of vote, Trump has scored less that all previous GOP nominees since the 1976 GOP primary elections (2). To give you a comparison here, George W Bush got 62% of the vote in the 2000 GOP primaries… or more than 12 million. This was 16 years ago. In what should be a fairly straight forward GOP Primary these elections, Trump has managed to make history for the GOP and not in a good way.
2. As if the Electoral College map wasn’t depressing enough for the GOP, Arizona and Georgia appear to be in the toss ups thanks to Trump.
In what should be an election year more so in favour of the GOP, two more States that would typically be red, Arizona and Georgia, now appear in play. It’s still early days as Hillary has not officially won the Democratic nomination however in recent polls show that Hillary is only 2-5% points behind Trump in these States (3). To put it in context, both States have not gone Democratic in 20 years and both are typically assumed to be reliably red states. They should not be in play at all and the fact both these States have large hispanic and white suburban women voters seems to indicate why this may be the case this time around.
In the last 6 elections Democrats have carried over States that together add up 242 electoral points. These reliably blue States include New York, California, Pennsylvania and a collection of others. In contrast, there have only been 13 States that have gone reliably red over the last 6 elections and these add up to a total of 102 electoral points. The Democratic nominee only needs to gain 28 electoral points to reach the magical 270 number in order to win the election. Florida for example with its 29 electoral points will do the job without the need for any other toss up states for the Democratic nominee (4).
Outside of Florida, Democrats have Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia to use whichever combination to get them the needed electoral points. For Trump he will need all these States to get the nomination, including Florida. Given Trumps dismal approval rating with minorities and women, we’re not likely to see him come close to a win in November.
3. Thanks to Trump, GOP party unity behind him is at a historic low for any nominee.
As of May despite Trump being the presumptive nominee, he still has yet to gain the endorsement of House Speaker Paul Ryan (5). Now there is no doubt that at some point Ryan will endorse Trump, this is a given. However the delay for this endorsement seems to indicate there is still a strong division among the GOP surrounding Trumps candidacy.
Two previous GOP presidents still alive, George H Bush and George W Bush have refused to endorse or even give support to the presumptive GOP nominee. Not to mention, Mitt Romney, the previous GOP front runner from 2012, had gone so far for his opposition to Trump as nominee but suggesting an independent conservative run (6). And yes there has been no other GOP nominee in modern times to have such opposition within their own party. To point to another obvious indication of GOP disunited around Trump, we’re approaching June and he has still yet to clinch enough delegates to gain the nomination. There’s no doubt that with Trump sitting at 1,168 delegates as of May 22 (1) Trump will reach the magical 1,237 number. However the delay in which it has taken him to lock down this number shows rather clearly the divisions within his very own party.
John McCain in 2008 locked in enough delegates to get the nomination by March 2008 following Super Tuesday. Romney locked down the sufficient delegates by April 25 2012. Romney’s biggest rival Rick Santorum suspended by April 10th 2012. In the 2000 GOP Primaries, George W Bush’s biggest rival John McCain dropped out of the race by March 10th. By then Bush was the presumptive GOP nominee. Trump seems to be lagging behind in garnering enough support, and considering he’s already got impossible odds facing him in the electoral colleage (thanks to his rhetoric so far), insufficient unity in his party makes it far more apparent he doesn’t stand much of a chance.
4. Trump has worse poll numbers with Women and Minorities than any other GOP nominee before him.
Yes, I’m saying no other GOP nominee has performed so poorly with other groups outside of white men than Donald Trump has. Literally. And example of this is among women where a recent poll showed as of May 5 that Hillary was more favourable compared to Trump by 40 points. Yes, 40 points (7). 70% of women in a recent poll found Trump unfavourable according to Politico (7). Women made up 53% of the vote in the 2012 General Elections. According to a Gallup poll released in March, Trump held a 77% unfavourability rating amongst Hispanics (8). I need not even bother with the African American vote which Trump has probably pretty much tossed to the side.
All of the above indicates rather clearly that Trump will not win the general elections. Many of his supporters (closeted and open) may argue that it’s still early days and that Trump just needs to work on bringing up support. The problem with that argument is that Trump has to go a long ways to even bring his support up, so much so that he would have to sacrifice (or flip over) much of his rhetoric. This may have worked in the talk radio infested GOP voter base but the general elections are a different ball game. In the end many of his supporters will be unconvinced of this reality (as with many other things) until the election time comes and goes.
After the elections are done and Trump retires back to his luxury lifestyle (having made millions off his presidential run), his supporters will be left in dust having to once again face the reality of the election outcome. The question then will be whether they’ll continue to double down on their ideological extremism after 8 years of absolute dismal results, or whether they’ll look towards changing for the better. Somehow I doubt the latter.