May 2, 2016
Donald Trump is getting very, very, very close to securing the GOP nomination. Assuming he holds on to his current poll lead in Indiana, it’s a done deal. He may not have 1237 delegates until June 7. Perhaps he’ll even need those 30+ officially uncommitted Pennsylvania delegates who are set to support him.
Either way, this is damn close to done. Many trends and recent developments are helping Trump. Most of those are great for winning the nomination, but bad to neutral for winning in November. Backlash over Ted Cruz and John Kasich teaming up isn’t going to mean anything once he gets his 1237.
Voters who will choose between a Trump they can’t stand/worry constantly about, a Hillary they don’t like/don’t trust and staying home are not real concerned about a rigged nominating process. However, they may get pushed over the top if they see enough people waving Mexican flags while they burn American ones.
Let’s just say Martin Luther King wouldn’t have appreciated the tactics anti-Trump protestors used on his recent trip to California. On Thursday in Costa Mesa, they destroyed a cop car. Others climbed traffic signals to wave Mexican flags. A driver of a vintage Miata did an endless series of donuts in front of a crowd before escaping.
On balance, footage of this one helped Trump with anyone who would ever consider voting for him. Recent polling shows a solid half of the country views The Donald very unfavorably. Another chunk only somewhat. I’m going to suggest that voters who view him very unfavorably aren’t likely to vote for him in November. They might pick Hillary, they might stay home, but all but a few will avoid Trump.
That means he needs to get almost everyone who merely views him somewhat unfavorably to pick him. Given that many of those voters feel equally or worse about Hillary, it’s not an impossible task. Most of his tactics will result in a trade off though. Take his bit about Clinton getting 5% of the primary vote if she was a guy.
It’s not a completely groundless point. As an ex-First Lady, Hillary was a celebrity candidate from the minute she announced her bid for that Senate seat from New York. Most senators are not presidential front runners the minute they win their second term. For every senator who legitimately competes for a nomination, dozens inaccurately see a president staring back at them in the mirror.
Her appointment as SecState was directly linked to her ability to collect primary votes and desire of President Obama to have her inside the tent pissing out instead of the reverse. While Hillary unquestionably has an impressive resume, so does Kasich, and that’s not enough to get anyone to care about him.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that Hillary is female. Of course a caucasian Marco Rubio is never a thing. Neither is a Senator Barry Obamerson who grew up somewhere in the Midwest. A Trump claiming he’s worth $10 million instead of $10 billion isn’t a factor either. All successful politicians play one card or another.
Trump can probably make some progress tearing down the idea that there’s anything to her beyond a list of jobs she got because she’s a Clinton and kept a stiff upper lip when Lewinsky happened. Hillary Rodham, smart, very hard working and capable attorney from Illinois, Arkansas and D.C., does not win a Senate race in New York.
That’s where Trump is headed. He will argue Hillary sold out to win sympathy, while helping Bill cover up his transgressions and throwing his sexual partners, willing and perhaps not, under the bus before backing over them several times. It will hurt her already bad favorability ratings. When Trump went there for a few minutes in January, her numbers quickly moved down.
But that isn’t enough to get people to vote for The Donald, especially those who think he’s working for an induction in the Misogyny Hall of Fame. It will create a pox on all your houses attitude among voters. Persuadable voters need an emotional reason to actually pick Trump instead of saying screw you both.
Enter our protestors, sure to show up often from here out. It’s not hard to see how Trump can fire up emotions on all sides. After all, it’s his MO. Some of it is strategic. Some of it is Trump being Trump. No two people agree on the distribution percentage.
He’s going to need almost every less educated white male over 30 to vote for him if he wants to win places like Ohio and Pennsylvania. Without those states, he’s going to lose, probably badly. Many of these guys have already voted for Trump in the primaries. But some picked Bernie.
We’ve already heard Trump shout out to Sanders voters. He’s accused the Democratic establishment of rigging their system to exclude him. He’s (self-servingly) suggested a third party run for the Bern. This isn’t going to get the multicultural millennials who make up a large part of his voting base to suddenly go Trump.
But Bernie also got plenty of votes from less educated 52-year-old white guys who are nonaffiliated or registered Independents. These guys don’t like Trump very much or they would have picked him already. But they also don’t like Hillary. These are the voters Trump needs to convert to make his math work.
They already passed on Hillary once. Having unruly protestors block Trump’s entrance to a hotel because they want to prevent him from speaking won’t go over well. Burning American flags, not the best. More than anything, Trump has received endless benefit from having the right enemies.
When Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham regretfully endorsed Cruz, that helped Trump with any GOP voter who was willing to consider him. Reince Priebus trying to explain delegate math. Good for Trump. Protestors who don’t look patriotic and are trying to restrict his ability to speak. Best of all.
Trump isn’t going to convince the voters who already view him somewhat unfavorably that he’s out for them and completely trustworthy. But, having the right enemies will move this block of voters in his direction. It doesn’t guarantee a Trump victory. He needs a few other things to fall into place.
Only four weeks ago, few thought Trump would get his delegates by the end of voting. Now the math is in his favor. We should not assume he can’t win a general election. As in the primary, his biggest asset is the flawed opposition. Following closely behind are his enemies. If California protests were a view of the fall campaign, he has a real chance.