Is Donald Trump Already Doomed?

Varad Mehta

Varad Mehta

Varad Mehta is a historian. His research focuses on early modern political thought and the philosophy of history. These days, though, he spends just as much time writing about popular culture and politics. Sometimes even together! He lives in the Philadelphia area, where he patiently awaits the day the Flyers once again parade down Broad Street with the Stanley Cup.

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191 Responses

  1. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Thank you, @varad-mehta, for an awesome walk through the data.

    I make no effort at all to disguise my dislike of Trump, although I also have significant distrust of Clinton and I am very much of the mindset that an intellectually and politically healthy Republican party is an essential part of making our system of government work as it ought to. Therefore, I view what you’ve revealed as bad news notwithstanding my dislike of this particular candidate.

    What non-superficial things might Trump do to avoid the result that the forecast points to? Changes in platform? Surrounding himself with respected, prominent advisors, floating names for his cabinet? It’s hard to say because he’s seemed to demolish the traditional rules of voter appeal so much already.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Goal #1: Unite his party behind him. If they run a spoiler or even simply disengage from his campaign and seek to contain his influence away from down ticket races he’ll be wrecked. If he can’t persuade the GOP base and elites he’ll be starting way too far behind.

      Goal #2: Survive the onslaught. Clinton and the Democratic Party can attack Trump with a lot more live ammunition than Trumps rivals for the GOP nod could. The other GOPers always had to attack with an eye towards coopting and luring Trumps supporters. It won’t work that way in the general. The attacks should be withering and Trump needs to prove he doesn’t have a glass jaw.

      Goal #3: Propose something popular but outside the GOP’s comfort zone. Trump has a lot of potential here, he is pretty emphatic about protecting or even funding a lot of safety net programs and that’s an area he’s really been in tune with his supporters about. Once he has the party united behind him and if he survives the waves of attacks he’ll need to change the subject with some dramatic NEW proposal (and buildings the fence ain’t gonna cut it).

      That’s off the top of my head. If he could resuscitate a baby or an elderly women live on the evening news that might help as well.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to North says:

        I think that your Goal 2 actually breaks for Trump. A withering attack from Hillary might very well come off as shrewish and elitist. And since she likely already has that demographic locked up, thereynot much to gain. At the same time, if she sticks to the high road, Trump will take advantage. Hillary’s best option might well be some variation of the rope-a-dope.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to j r says:

          which would be great if she actually had trolls running her campaign (they excel at crap like that… tricking people into doing stupid shit — see Woolworth’s Lolita bed).

          Is Ax still in the game?Report

        • Avatar North in reply to j r says:

          If it comes from her? Sure, but it won’t come from her- it’ll come from some unaffiliated PAC’s or something. She won’t have so much as a fingerprint on it.

          But yes, in her personal words on Trump she will need to be cautious. Caution, of course, is Hillary to a T.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to j r says:

              @j-r

              But isn’t that pretty much all political ads?

              Unless one reveals a previously unknown truth OR is able to strongly put forth a really damning non-truth, they all seem to fit that script.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Kazzy says:

                “Feel good” ads are all about “Hey, I kinda like that guy!”
                “Scare” ads (check out the ones with 9-11 imagery) are all about fear and “this guy won’t keep you safe.” It’s working on an emotional level — the “previously unknown facts” are almost irrelevant, except that they give the conscious mind purchase to pin feelings on.Report

            • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to j r says:

              It’s easy to forget who the target audience is for political ads in a general election. It’s not about satisfying Hillary fans or peeling off Trump fans into the Hillary camp. It’s for undecideds. The types of people who can watch Trump and Clinton all over the news for a year or more and still not really really be sure which one they prefer or how they’re different. The types of people who genuinely change their vote based on which candidate is more “commanding” or “presidential” during a fake debate instead of by the years of track records the candidates have usually formed.

              As best I can tell, these people are looking for some sort of mojo or lightning in a bottle hitting them at just the right time when they’re in a particular mood. Their feelers are feeling for some variable that the rest of us just can’t see. It’s possible that Trump just oozes whatever that pheremone is, like TAG Body Spray for Sick Cats. If not, I’m guessing that they’re probably just as likely to be swayed by ads full of ominous music and patriotic symbolism as they are in every other election.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                It’s for undecideds.

                Eh, not so much. Basically put in America you have self-identified Republicans, Democrats, and people who aren’t those first two.

                Which makes it seem like the third group is the big deciding factor. Except in real life, the vast bulk of “people who don’t call themselves Democrats or Republicans” are actually Democrats and Republicans. They vote just as reliably — when they vote. They just don’t like the label, even if they’re voting pretty much straight ticket.

                The actual percentage of people who are genuinely torn between parties is pretty low, as long as one party doesn’t have a vast chunk that hate’s it’s own candidate. (That would clearly swing over into the “I refuse the label but I’m just as reliably a party man when it comes time to vote”).

                Which makes elections, on the Presidential level, more about getting your base to turn out — but especially getting your secret base (those “I refuse the label but I totally would vote for you) out, because in addition to refusing the label they’re often pretty intermittent about voting.

                So the goal of the general election isn’t to sway the genuine “I’m undecided between these two candidates” folks as it is to sway the “I’m undecided about actually showing up to vote for you, but I’d never vote for that other guy” group. Because there’s really very few of the former (and they’re often happy to go along with the bandwagon effect) and lots and lots of the latter.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

                Actual undecideds are about 10-15% of voters. Which doesn’t sound like a lot, but they sit at the fifty yardline nationally and if one swing is worth two new voters. One third of swings is greater than the typical margin of recent presidential elections.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                My recollection is that it’s 10% of people who are not affiliated with parties who are true “undecideds”.

                That’s not 10 to 15% of the electorate — that’s like 3%, and close to the least likely 3% in terms of reliable voting.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

                10% of self-described independents would be around 3-4%, which is lower than any credible estimate I’ve seen, including from articles with titles like “The death of the independent voter.”

                It’s about 1/3 of self-declared “Independents” and between 10-15% overall. Some of it depends on how you count it up and measure it, of course. Most of the cases where you see headlines like “It’s only 5%!” you look closer and that’s actually not a flat reading of the statistics, in my view.

                But when you talk about self-identification and you add up “Republican”, “Lean Republican”, “Democrat”, and “Lean Democrat” you usually get somewhere between 85-90%.

                When you look at voting patterns and exclude non-voters and “Surge & Decliners” (basically including only “Standpatters” – reliable partisans – and “Floating voters”) you get around 10% in most recent elections*.

                If you look at congressional districts that went one way for president and another way for congress, indicating an open-mindedness, results actually suggest a higher number as in most recent elections* more than 10% of congressional districts went a different way than the presidential (despite gerrymandering and uncontested races and all of that business).

                * – A lot of this depends on how you evaluate 2012 (and 2014). Both of those elections represent extraordinarily tight partisanship, meanwhile 2008 (and 2010) was/were unusually scattered. There is an overall pattern to consider, but there is generally some ebb and flow. If you believe The World Changed between 2008 and 2012, that leads us to one conclusion. I’m not sure how much we can project from a sample set of two.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                I’ve personally thought it was best to basically treat non-Presidential years as separate from Presidential years, at least for the last 20 to 40 years. The turnout models are just too different.

                I would however consider the 2012 election more predictive than the 2008 election. 2008 had a few rather unusual factors, whereas 2012 seemed about as bog standard as you could get.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

                It’s actually the 2014 results that have lead to the sweeping declarations of the death of the nonpartisan. 2012 had tight partisanship, but not as tight. in 2012 was above 10%.

                Go back to 2000 and 2004, and Floaters/(Floaters+Standpatters) is still above 10%, split districts above 10%, and so on. 2012 is a sample set of one. (And between us, 2016 is itself shaping up to be statistically unusual for other reasons.)Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                I dunno. I’m thinking it’s 2012 with a more xenophobic Romney on the GOP side.

                Then again, I’m on the record saying that the “Trump and Sanders show it’s an anti-establishment year!” is lazy thinking and completely wrong. Trump’s a size of long-standing fissures in the GOP finally breaking open, and Sanders is….a figure in every Democratic primary without an incumbent for the last 50 years.

                He just was the ONLY other candidate, which isn’t something Dean, for instance, had going for him. (Seriously, I can’t believe O’Malley was such a non-entity).Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

                I think that O’Malley was such a non-entity is instructive. I don’t think it’s as simplistic a narrative as anti-establishment, but it’s not business-as-usual, either. Mostly on one side, but not entirely so.

                In any event, the “busting wide open” you refer to is a big part of why I think this year actually is kind of different. If Trump manages to keep the party together to the extent that the totals look much anything like ’12, I’ll be pretty impressed.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                I agree. Strangely, I think Trump might be better for party unity than Cruz. I mean Trump is a bombastic blowhard, but Cruz seems to have personally insulted every major Republican figure. And their mothers. And possibly their dogs.

                They don’t like Trump, but with Cruz it’s not just abject dislike — it seems deeply personal.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to j r says:

          @j-r

          How much of the response to Hillary do you think would be the result of…

          1.) Hillary herself (e.g., Hillary has existed in pretty elite circles for a while)
          2.) Her as a female (e.g., Women going on the attack are perceived differently than men doing the same)
          3.) Existing tribal stuff. (e.g., Well, you know…)

          Obviously, there is a lot of overlap between those. I guess what I’m asking is if you think other Democratic candidates could more successfully levy those attacks on Trump.Report

          • Avatar j r in reply to Kazzy says:

            #1 matters because Trump is playing the anti-establishmemt candidate and Hillary is playing the establishment.

            #2 will only matter to the extent that Hillary and her supporters make it about gender. And the more that they try the more that it will backfire. Think about 2008. Obama did everything he could to downplay race and it worked. By the time of the election, all of the Jeremiah Wright and assorted race stuff was well in the past and pretty much everyone, even people who didn’t vote for him, were caught up in the historical moment-iness of it all. The real Obama Derangement Syndrome didn’t start until sometime after the passing of the ACA.

            #3 may be a factor, but it all depends on whether Trump can pull off a pivot. White progressives almost always overestimate the extent to which non-whites are committed to the Democratic Party cause. Right now, the Hillary machine, with its assorted DNC and media components, are doing everything they can to signal an end to the Sanders campaign and the Democratic Primary. Why? Because Bernie did damage relating back to #1.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to j r says:

          Hillary herself has been going high road mostly. Trump has been saying how this country is going down the pooper and is in terrible shape. Hills has been saying we are pretty darn great. Trump is opening himself up to be Reaganed with sunny positivism by Hillary which will resonate with a lot of people. As was noted, there will be withering attacks on trumpy all about his very seamy past but they will come from Bill or outside groups or other people on the D’s.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I’m a Democrat, but I think a healthy Republican party is valuable, too. I’ve seen some Democratic candidates that I thought were awful, and wanted a decent alternative.

      I think that crushing defeat may be the only thing that can change the path that they are on.Report

    • Avatar Michelle in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Perhaps if he didn’t insult groups he’s going to need to win the election like women. It’s not as if his misogyny hasn’t been on display for the entire season, but his recent remarks about the “woman card” are guaranteed to tick off any woman, and there are plenty of them, who has encountered men who think she’s only succeeded because of gender-based affirmative action. When Trump’s spokeswoman then suggested that women who vote for Hillary were using some part of their anatomy other that their brain that cost him even more votes.Report

  2. Avatar North says:

    While I agree with this in general the certainty of the wording runs an icy finger down my spine in that I can recall being similarly certain that Trump wouldn’t get the nod and now it feels like he has even odds of getting it.
    That said, this is mainly numeric based while the Trump bear market was based more on non-numeric assumptions about the GOP primary electorate so I can cuddle that close like a warm blanket and resume salivating for the general.Report

  3. Avatar j r says:

    I don’t know. I’m not convinced that the past will determine the future in this case. Trends continue until they don’t. If there was ever a set up for tail risks/black swan scenarios in an election, this is it. More specifically:

    – I’m pretty sure that Trump doesn’t want to lose, but I’m not sure how much he wants to win. If Trump does want to win, he can absolutely pull off a pivot. I’m not quite convinced of Scott Adams ‘Trump as master pursuader shtick’ but he’s onto something.

    – It will be real easy for Clinton supporters to overplaybtheor hand in such a manner that the campaign spends most of its time preaching to the choir and alienating everyone else. I expect that the “X identity for Hillary” campaigning will be very aggressive and more than a little alienating for people outside of the progressive bubble.

    – Hillary Clinton has a likeability/trustworthiness problem, as evidenced by the amount of time her supporters spend insisiting that she is both likable and trustworthy. Lots of people dislike Trump as well, but how often do people show up to vote against the candidate they don’t like. Out of the population of people who aren’t already committed in their minds to one candidate, I can see the number of people who either flip for Trump or stay home being significantly greater than the number who flip for Hillary.

    If you offered me a straight money bet, I would take Clinton. But give me odds and I’d take a shot on Trump. I’m talking about betting here. I ain’t voting for either.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to j r says:

      My next post, I’ll be writing from a “special place in hell”
      … even liberals get alienated by the cultural hegemons.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to j r says:

      jr,
      Any bet on Trump is a waste, at this point. The GOP Establishment will sink his ship, even if it costs them the party. They can’t afford not to. (and if they don’t, well, it’ll be because they failed, not because he succeeded).

      Besides, the Powers that Be want Hillary Clinton president. That, in of itself, is reason enough to vote against her. But also damn good reason to bet on her.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to j r says:

      Yes, I’m scratching my head a bit as well… the trends are true until they aren’t seems to jingle bells in this cycle.

      More specifically, what would an analysis of the contested state of the primary show? In most cycles the candidates are more or less determined by April, so I could see polling starting to coalesce around national outcomes. 2008 for the Dems had some doubt late into the primary season, so there’s that… does it compare favorably, un-favorably or unrelatedly for Trump? Are there other election cycles I’m overlooking where the fight was bitter to the end? 1976? The small subset of polls 2004, 2008, 2012 barely plot a line much more than a trend.

      I mean, I think that’s one of the key unknowns right now… with the Neo-Cons really walk? Will all the NeverTrump people quietly vote against Hilary? Will there be a True-Scotsman-Rump-Republican 3rd party candidate? Will new voters vote for someone that finally is fighting for their interests? I have no idea, but the warnings that past earnings do not promise future returns seem like they might want heeding this cycle.

      Finally, I’ll be the one to say this thing no one wants to say… when you watch Trump in his victory speeches he’s likable. He’s funny, self-deprecating(!), often generous to his competitors, he’s in command of details and facts about the races and election results (I mention this because a) it’s weird in one way – he’s hyper aware of how he’s doing in the popularity contest, but b) despite that, it comes off as someone who’s running the show and, c) not a puppet to handlers), and lastly, while his political blather (in these instances) is just as stupid and banal as Hillary’s, Trump’s blather suits him. Trump is a riot of steaks, booze, half-truths and things you want to hear… Hillary is dixie cups and horse pills you need to swallow for your own good (or so you think, maybe, possibly, well it probably couldn’t hurt). When it finally comes time to pull the lever, don’t under-estimate which candidate is more likable.

      I mean, I keep expecting Trump to fail ridiculously… to blow-up in some spectacularly public fashion, and maybe Hillary’s team will have the focus and expertise to coax that out of him…or maybe he’ll keep turning vice into virtue – at this point reality TV is more real than we thought.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Marchmaine says:

        Trump is likable to some and seems like a obnoxious a-hole to others. There is no one perception of him.Report

        • Avatar j r in reply to greginak says:

          Thinking about this a bit more, it’s likely that reverse likeability will matter more than likeability. That is to say, the candidate who most voters think would like them. And this is a toss up.

          Trump strikes me as the kind of guy who likes you a great deal, so long as you’re mirroring back to him the version of himself that he wants to see. His reverse likeability is high, but volitile. Hillary has enough reverse likeability in certain situations, but there’s always the question of how sincere she is. If she can break out of the pandering image, there is a lot of upside there.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to greginak says:

          To be sure, but no one’s suggesting Trump gets 100% of the votes… just that once the dust settles and people focus a minimal amount of attention on this thing called the vote the overwhelming negative that I’m expecting and straining to see in Trump’s TV appearances (the types of appearances that will garner the largest and most cursory views) just doesn’t seem to be there.

          Basically, I’m just saying that the predictive powers of these past polls are pretty much just confirmation bias, and not really serious analysis.Report

      • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Marchmaine says:

        You and I have very different ideas of likable, I guess. Trump screams “East Coast Asshole” at a volume that very few people can manage.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to j r says:

      If there was ever a set up for tail risks/black swan scenarios in an election, this is it.

      There have been a *LOT* of black swans showing up in the last few years.

      It feels like we’re one news cycle away from everyone suddenly knowing that Trump has it in the bag. One particularly bad headline involving an attack somewhere or an event like a really, really bad wall street day.Report

    • Avatar Mo in reply to j r says:

      I think this post has two major issues. The first is that 3 data points is nothing. The second is that at this point in the process the primary is typically wrapped up either in reality or for all intents and purposes, so their own party has consolidated. The GOP nomination is still very hotly and bitterly contested now, so #NeverTrump has a bigger impact on these polls. Sometime after the convention, when the hangovers wear off and NR realizes they may elect Hillary, #NeverTrump will undergo an population decline that we haven’t seen since the K/T extinction event.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Mo says:

        I think team nevertrump can stay true enough to their word. Donald isn’t driving towards the iceberg – Donald *is* the iceberg. If Trump gets the nom, Nat’l Review, RedState, and the rest of the nevertrump crew are not going to be talking about Donald v Hillary – they are going to be frantically looking for enough lifeboats to save as many down ticket races as possible. (Spoiler – there aren’t enough lifeboats)Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

          Imagine, if you will, a universe in which Hillary Clinton gets elected… how do those in charge of National Review, RedState, benefit? At all? Measurably?

          Imagine, if you will a universe in which Donald Trump gets elected.

          Same questions.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

            If Clinton is elected the RW media will start full throated calls for investigations and impeachment for everything that happens including the tuna salad in the staff lunch room having just a bit to much mayo. They will make bank on a Clinton prez.

            If Trump were elected they would love his many conventional R positions and angle and push as hard as possible to water down his apostasy. That is more work but nobody said carrying water was easy.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kolohe says:

          If Trump gets the nom, Nat’l Review, RedState, and the rest of the nevertrump crew are

          going to support him 100% against Hillary, and viciously attack anyone who claims they weren’t always at war with Eastasia.Report

          • I disagree. I’ll make a bet about it, even.

            Redstate will be #nevertrump to the end.
            National Review… I waver. But even odds for them. They aren’t automatically going to fall in line.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

              So much of this depends on how we define “support.”

              When all is said and done, I expect both sides will claim to have been proven correct.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

                I’m willing to bet that Redstate will argue that it is important to show up to vote on downticket races but argue that every voter should leave the presidential column blank or, I suppose, vote 3rd Party. Maybe write in “Zombie Reagan” or something.

                The *CLOSEST* that *ANYBODY* will be able to say that they “supported” Trump will be one guy who says “vote your conscience”. (“THAT’S A DOGWHISTLE FOR VOTE TRUMP!”)

                National Review will probably make arguments about the importance for voting down ballot but will have one guy (maybe two) who will admit that, at the end of the day, he’d rather vote for Trump than Hillary.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

                I think National Review will run some Pro-Trump pieces and some anti-Trump pieces. They can’t endorse. Same with The Federalist. Personally, I’m going to be looking more at individuals than outlets.

                Dunno enough about RedState.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

                Here’s a tweet I just saw that covers it for Redstate:

                @exjon Would you rather spend four years throwing rotten tomatoes at the Clintons or defending the Trumps?— Christopher Mahoney (@christophermah3) April 28, 2016

                (Er, the guy isn’t affiliated with Redstate. I more mean that his attitude encapsulates what I suspect the Redstate attitude as being.)Report

              • Why would RedState stop throwing rotten tomatoes at the Clintons just because Trump is president?

                (Also: would defending Trump be that much worse than defending W?)Report

              • Grah, my comment got dumped.

                Anyway, shorter version: Redstate saw W as “one of us”. They do not, in any way, shape, or form, see Trump as one of them.

                (As a matter of fact, the only thing that I remember them criticizing Bush about following 9/11 was Harriet Miers. Everything else was easily swept onto someone else (from Cheney to The Media) or a shrug and “Kerry would have been even worse.”)Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

                Though RedState only became anti trump after Donald attacked Megyn Kelly, correct?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

                The Redstate people with whom I am familiar (twitter) went from “ignore him and he’ll go away” to being “follow the 11th Commandment” to “now that he’s pushed out Scott Walker/Rick Perry/Other Guy With Actual Experience, the gloves are off!”

                The Megyn Kelly thing, as far as I can tell, is an example of “AND ANOTHER THING!” rather than a precipitating event.Report

              • GOP members of Congress, including Orrin Hatch, are already starting to move.

                Money quote:

                “I don’t understand. I mean, it’s not ‘Never Trump.’ It’s ‘Never Hillary.’ Never, never, never, Hillary. Come on. Wake up and smell the coffee,” said Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania

                Remember when GHWB forgot that he’d called Reaganomics voodoo a whole month ago and signed on as his VP? Good times, good times.Report

              • Wait, were we not talking about Redstate and National Review but Establishment GOP politicians?

                Yes. I agree with you entirely.

                I’m sorry that I misunderstood what we were talking about.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yeah, the politicians will mostly fall into line. Often in the most tepid and pro forma manner that they can, but it’ll still qualify as support.

                The opinion people outside TV and radio are a bit tougher.Report

              • It’s not a proof that the right wing noise machine will also move, but it’s a valuable leading indicator.Report

              • Redstate saw W as “one of us”. They do not, in any way, shape, or form, see Trump as one of them.

                They think he’s Jewish?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                If Jewish Lightning counts as jewish…
                (I’m sorry, this is a truly awful business joke.)Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Kim says:

                Recognizing that this is a joke and was obviously intended as such…

                And admitting that the first time I heard this joke, it was a Jewish friend who told it to me…

                It’s still something that attributes a propensity for certain unsavory acts to certain groups, so it uncomfortably puts stress on the commenting policy.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Burt Likko says:

                Burt,
                Honestly I think Mike’s comment puts more stress on the commenting policy, by implying that being Jewish is something that is differentiating in a bad way.

                I’m implying that Trump’s business decisions are bad enough that the only way he makes money is by burning them to the ground. (with the Jewishness of said comment being just a way to slide it into being contextually relevant).

                The initial humor in Jewish Lightning was because it was actually happening (circa 1970’s NYC), and there were a lot of jewish landlords.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Kim says:

                I’m taking no action here. Just pointing stuff out.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kim says:

                Honestly I think Mike’s comment puts more stress on the commenting policy, by implying that being Jewish is something that is differentiating in a bad way

                More that some people think that. Which is pretty undeniable.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                As per the commenting policy, referencing facts that are unpalatable may be taken as throwing insults around — regardless of intent.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Because the clintons will be dead dead dead. this is hillary’s last shot at relevance.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kim says:

                Alger Hiss is dead. It doesn’t stop Hugh Hewitt from bringing him up every damned time he interviews someone to the left of Ted Cruz.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

              The other thing is that it’s going to depend on how Trump does. Fewer people are going to eat their words if he stays down in the polls by 10+ points than if it becomes close.

              They will lambast Hillary regardless. Almost none will endorse her. Most will, in my accounting, stand on the sidelines until or unless it gets close. If saying bad things about Hillary (more than Trump) counts, then yeah it’ll probably be a positive. I think the results will be ambiguous to my eye. Unless it’s close. Then it’s gut check time.Report

            • I’m in for, say, $20. What are the terms?Report

          • I agree. They may make noise about it now, but by September they’ll be backing Trump, whether heartily (“he’ll be a great president!”) or resignedly (“he’ll be better than Hillary”).Report

    • Avatar TrexPushups in reply to j r says:

      They do show up to vote against candidates they hate with a passion.

      Latiino vote registration is spiking and they are telling us because they want to vote against Trump.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to TrexPushups says:

        They do show up to vote against candidates they hate with a passion.

        Like I said, people overestimate the negative feelings that minorities have for Trump. The only people who hate politicians “with a passion” are people who are passionate about politics and those people are already on a team. I’m not convinced that Trump will do any worse with black and Hispanic voters than any other Republican would. He will probably do better. Turnout is the key and that will likely swing on how well Hillary does in getting people out to vote for her.

        Latiino vote registration is spiking and they are telling us because they want to vote against Trump.

        Identify who the “they” is in that sentence and that will tell you something about that message.Report

        • Avatar aaron david in reply to j r says:

          And not to mention how many of the new Latino/a voters are in areas (California being a good example) that are going via electoral college for Hilary anyhow. In other words, it doesn’t really matter how many new Hilary voters there are, it is already past the point of being contested.Report

          • Avatar j r in reply to aaron david says:

            Good point. I do think that places like New Mexico and Arizona may be in play, because of Latino voters. I just don’t buy that Latinos universally hate Trump with a passion and will turn out in droves to vote against him.Report

            • Avatar Autolukos in reply to j r says:

              New Mexico has gone D in 5 of the last 6; it’s only in play if Trump puts together a massive turnaround.

              Arizona is in the threatened tier of ordinarily safe Republican states; Romney took it by 9 in 2012, McCain by 8.5 in 2008. At the point it goes D, the rubble is bouncing.Report

          • Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico. That’s what matters in electoral terms.

            People will turn out to vote against someone they sufficiently dislike, and the Republican are running the equivalent of Joe Arpaio as their presidential candidate. I don’t see that going over well at all.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe in reply to j r says:

          j r: I’m not convinced that Trump will do any worse with black and Hispanic voters than any other Republican would.

          The likely scenario to me is:

          1) African-American turnout is slightly lower, with slightly (no more than 4 percentage points) shift towards the GOP, due to Obama’s record high numbers on both stats.

          2) Hispanic turnout is about the same with the same split

          3) Non-hispanic white turnout is drastically lower (due to blah at both Trump and Clinton), and the split percentage will go from 59-39 (in Romney-Obama) to 50-48 (Trump-Clinton). Mainly due to the gender gap.

          (everyone else together is a small enough slice of the electorate, and splits evenly enough – even at 70-30 – that analyzing their election over election changes doesn’t matter for all but the closest elections, a la 2000. Which this won’t be)

          So, while Trump ‘gains some black votes’ and ‘holds steady’ with Hispanics, the percentage of the electorate that is Hispanic goes up. The drop off of white voter participation makes the overall turnout picture resemble a midterm, but with the complete opposite demographic profile that midterms have.

          That alone would be disaster, but with the fewer percent of white people voting for the top of the GOP ticket, it’s apocalyptic for anybody on Team Red with a name on the ballot that day.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

            I agree with this… except I think Trump wins. Nobody will understand how in the heck this can happen downticket but still have Trump win.

            Is it Diebold? Is it Republicans cheating to close polls early?
            How could this happen?!?

            Nobody I know voted for him!Report

            • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

              It’s true that the smart set seriously underestimated the system vunerablity that Donald exploited, overestimated the enterprises capacity to deploy a patch for that exploit, and underestimated Donald’s ability to carry off that exploit – but Donald still hasn’t completed his exfil yet.

              The general election is a completely different enterprise with none of the same vunerablities that the Republican nomination process had and has.Report

            • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

              Yeah… but as part of the factor of “nobody I know voted for him” is the curious, but now substantiated fact that lots of new nobodies are showing up to vote. @jaybird has commented on this previously as well.

              I went to RealClear polititcs the other day to look at the vote totals of the GOP primaries since 2000. What was interesting was that 9M – 10M votes is about what you needed to secure the nomination. To date, Trump is already at 10M and with California and 9 other states still to vote is poised to blow past W’s old record of 10.8M votes. Voter turnout – without the last 10 primaries, including CA – is already 20% higher than the previous high. Fortunately the Washington Post wrote exactly the same article – with charts.

              Losing votes, gaining votes, keeping reluctant votes… I dunno. I recognize the US is far more polarized right now, but it’s not like we’re at 95% voter efficiency… there’s a huge gap of non-voters that we simply write-off in our assumptions. Which is why all I’m saying is that assuming that this is a regular year where Fric and Frac fight over the carcass of the body politic to our usual expectations – is probably a poor assumption. On the other hand, my fellow tribesman, Ross Douthat, agrees with the general consensus that there’s no way Trump can win… so clearly my tea leaves are defective.

              Ultimately mine is the wimpiest of positions, hey, I can’t tell you how, but if Trump wins I’ll totally claim I didn’t rule it out.

              More boldly, I said a few months ago to @North that if Hilary is facing Trump she’d better adapt to a totally new fight, because while she is geared up to fight GOP Inc., Trump ain’t GOP Inc., and the only way she loses is if the fights the wrong war. But in the end, that’s still a pretty wimpy prediction.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                More boldly, I said a few months ago to North that if Hilary is facing Trump she’d better adapt to a totally new fight, because while she is geared up to fight GOP Inc., Trump ain’t GOP Inc., and the only way she loses is if the fights the wrong war. But in the end, that’s still a pretty wimpy prediction.

                I agree with this. Trump isn’t fighting a left vs. right. He’s fighting populist vs. elitist/technocrat.

                Remember when we were gaming the Jeb vs Hillary fight in our heads? Good times.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Populist vs Elitest might be a general framing of the roles which helps Trumpy. However Donnie might talk a good loud populist game that doesn’t’ mean lots of people will buy it and he is also a vastly imperfect messenger for populism. Maybe there are no really good messengers for populism but the R’s haven’t really attacked Trumpy. If you think he has made plenty of crass offensive statements to women and minorities so far then wait until you hear his long history of that. Wait until his various business shenanigans get a lot of airplay.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                but the R’s haven’t really attacked Trumpy

                Okay.

                If you think he has made plenty of crass offensive statements to women and minorities so far then wait until you hear his long history of that. Wait until his various business shenanigans get a lot of airplay.

                Perhaps you’re right.

                We’ve nothing to worry about.

                Everything is going to be fine.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Hmmm i’ve heard that response somewhere. Yeah i think Clinton will crush His Trumpness. Will i be right, who knows? But i think C gets 55%+ with T getting all time or close to historic lows with minorities.Report

              • I will say this, back when I was afraid Trump has a real (though outside) chance in November, Hillary was asked how she would go after him and her campaign responded with something about our standing in the international community. It was a horrifying response.

                Right now I think she can afford a horrifying response, and a horrible campaign, and being one of the least popular nominees in modern political history.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

                Your words warm the kochles of Hillary’s heart.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Will Truman says:

                Heh, its a little bit like Cameron bringing in International outside pressure and thinly veiled threats from the US to try to paint a pro-EU picture in the Brexit debate. Absolutely true from his and his kind’s perspective, but fuel for the fire otherwise.

                All kidding aside, it is inconceivable to me that Hillary could lose to Trump because all the things Trump could score on (other than The Wall ™) are (or used to be) Democratic issues. The fact that pack of Movement Conservatives couldn’t pivot to coopt some of Trump’s thunder doesn’t surprise me. But Hillary? She only loses if she runs as 1990’s Clinton + Identity Politics. That said, I think there’s a non-zero chance she runs exactly that way.Report

            • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird says:

              My offer on this is still open, @jaybirdReport

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kolohe says:

            I suspect he will get a slight uptick in support for blacks compared to Romney, but that we’re going to discover just how low GOP support among Hispanics and Asians can go. On the other hand, I think you underestimate his white vote performance by a bit. Just a bit, though. I’d peg him at about 52-53%.Report

            • Both Kolohe’s prediction and mine produce almost the same electoral college outcome:

              Only difference is Montana, which mine puts with HRC and his with DJT, but it’s razor-thin either way. Popular vote gives Trump 41.1% of the two-person vote on mine, vs 40.9% on his.Report

        • Avatar Barry in reply to j r says:

          “I’m not convinced that Trump will do any worse with black and Hispanic voters than any other Republican would. He will probably do better. ”

          I keep seeing people saying this, but why?Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to j r says:

      j r: If you offered me a straight money bet, I would take Clinton. But give me odds and I’d take a shot on Trump. I’m talking about betting here.

      That can be arranged.Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I don’t know why anyone takes him seriously.

    He’ll be gone by Halloween.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

      There is a fundamental difference between what was said then and what is being said now/here, @jaybird .

      Back then, Trump was leading and no one thought it would last. It did.
      Now, Trump is trailing (Hillary) and the argument is being put forth that he will remain trailing. Time will tell, obviously. But because he didn’t falter from ahead earlier does not mean he will win from behind now.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        Well, this examination of historical trends is a lot more rigorous than the whole gut argument that everybody (including me!) had six months ago.

        So I shouldn’t dismiss it the way that my gut feelings should have been dismissed six months ago.

        That said, I’m wondering if something significantly different from what’s been true in the past isn’t being overlooked.

        I think that Trump is making populist arguments against a centrist democrat and the democrats are responding as if they’re arguing against a right winger… and I suspect that that isn’t going to work.

        But maybe everyone is right this time. Trump is doomed. It’ll be a big loss. Totally destroy the Republican party. They’ll be in the wilderness.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

          Well, yea. Is it possible that Trump is different enough to buck trends and do the unexpected? Certainly.

          But just because that was the case in one scenario does not mean that will be the case in others. Unfortunately, we just don’t have enough data on any of this to make particularly useful predictions.Report

        • Avatar Michelle in reply to Jaybird says:

          Even if Trump loses big and takes the GOP Senate with him, the House will remain in GOP hands because gerrymandering (for example, here in NC, we went from a 7-6 delegation favoring Dems to a 10-3 delegation favoring Reps). Plus, the GOP has a lot of strength at the state level. So, they’ll survive Trump. And, if he wins, they’ll adapt to him.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Michelle says:

            Even if Trump loses big and takes the GOP Senate with him, the House will remain in GOP hands because gerrymandering

            This silly meme never dies. Over the entire period from 1930 to the present, you’ve had a plurality (not a majority) of the popular vote without gaining a House majority on three occasions – 1952, 1996, and 2012. Your plurality was close to nil the first two times, and only 1% the last time. Of the state legislatures who drew those districts in 1950, 1990, and 2010, a total of 20, 4, and 22, respectively were fully under the control of their Republican caucuses (facing a Republican governor); 15, 7, and 11 were fully under the control of Democratic caucuses (facing a Democratic governor).

            First-past-the-post commonly enhances the plurality party’s performance; no gerrymandering required. That aside, the Democrats lose seats because the distribution of their support is inefficient, as a crucial component of it is to be found in inner-city districts wherein they roll up 90% majorities. While we’re at it, the premium to the majority party was larger in 1984 that it is today (not that that bothers partisan Democrats).Report

            • Avatar Michelle in reply to Art Deco says:

              Yes, it’s so much of a myth that even NRCC Chair Greg Walden buys into it:

              “There’s a floor that we have that is better than we’ve ever had. It’s well over 200,” Walden told The Hill. “They are locked and there are people above that are fine. Does the DCCC have a straight-face list of how they get to 218?”

              From TPM.comReport

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Michelle says:

                Your response is non sequitur.

                If it helps you feel better, go with it. Just quit being a pest.Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Art Deco says:

                ” That aside, the Democrats lose seats because the distribution of their support is inefficient, as a crucial component of it is to be found in inner-city districts wherein they roll up 90% majorities.”

                Isn’t that the very definition of gerrymandering? Create one ridiculously noncompetitive district for the Dems and a bunch of R+5s?Report

              • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Francis says:

                Concentration of support is one of the tools of gerrymandering, but gerrymandering isn’t the only way that it comes about.Report

              • Avatar Francis in reply to Autolukos says:

                Fair point. People do self-segregate.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Art Deco says:

                Your previous comment was great, Art. This one wasn’t. But we all have ungreat comments, and in and of itself this one isn’t bad. But I’m back to the question from a couple of days ago: Granting that nobody (including myself) is perfect, are you going to at least attempt to abide by the commenting culture we’ve asked for, such as by trying to engage people civilly and/or constructively even when you disagree, or can we expect every other comment to be unnecessarily disrespectful? If you express a willingness to try, we’re not going to litigate every ungreat comment. But if you are too contemptuous of us and/or our policy to do even that, we’re not going to invest the time and energy to try to parse the comments to determine whether or not it qualifies as a violation.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to Jaybird says:

      Just tell people that you meant Halloween 2021.Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I am as partisan a Democrat as they come but there is something in the air if Trump has come this far. That thing might just be the destruction of post-Goldwater Republucanism. The GOP elite and conservative pundits are still deep into Trump denialism and blamming Trump on liberals.

    Here is the thing. The overwhelming majority of people don’t spend much time thinking about politics and consistent ideology. They don’t care if ideas X and Y are ideologically clashing. The conservative consistents at NRO and Commentary are shocked, shocked to discover that a good chunk of their base likes certain sections of the welfare state.

    Trump still has way too many negatives for a general but I also suspect partisanship to take over eventually and never trump will become defeat those Ds.Report

  6. Avatar greginak says:

    There is also this kind of toxicity which will drag down Trumpy and the R’s

    This is quote from a Repub official in Florida

    “A top Republican official in Florida is quoted in the Post this morning confidently predicting that “I think when Donald Trump debates Hillary Clinton she’s going to go down like Monica Lewinsky.”

    There is a subset of the population which will laugh heartily and slap themselves on the back for their lack of PC. The subset of the pop who will be revolted by that kind of statement will be larger. And those people are going to remember this image of the R’s for a long time.Report

  7. Avatar Morat20 says:

    There’s also just pure demographics to think about:

    In what groups will Trump outperform Romney? In what groups will Trump under-perform Romney?

    The same questions can be asked about HRC versus Obama in 2012 as well.

    And all that together — which demographic groups have changed size significantly? Right now, it looks pretty unequivocal that Trump is going to lose share among Hispanics and probably women. He might gain among white men, but only white men over a certain age (already a core GOP demographic) and he doesn’t really have a lot of room to grow there. Romney hit a seriously high water mark there and it wasn’t nearly enough. I can’t see a Clinton/Trump race really changing black voting patterns. And in 2012, the young mostly retreated to their normal voting patterns.

    So right now, it looks like Trump needs to find 5 points worth of growth among…white males only PLUS making up for any losses among women and Hispanics. That’s a…difficult row to hoe.Report

    • Avatar Francis in reply to Morat20 says:

      This sounds about right to me, with the added complication of the electoral college. What states can Trump win that Romney lost? What new voters in those states will vote for him vs. Hillary?

      I seem to recall reading that very few people ever change voting patterns in the federal presidential election. What actually matters is turnout. Hillary, I think, is at risk of diminished turnout compared to the energy that Barack brought. On the other hand, fear of Trump may reinvigorate marginal voters to come out.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Morat20 says:

      I agree, it’s pretty hard to see how Hillary does not lose; but that’s her only job: Don’t Lose.

      So far the best thing you can say about her is that she is a fairly middling record of not losing.Report

    • Avatar Michelle in reply to Morat20 says:

      I’d say he’ll definitely lose ground among women because it’s clear that he’s a sexist pig who makes disgusting remarks about his own daughters. The “ewwww” factor is high with him.

      My mother, who is a Fox News Republican, is apoplectic about the thought of Trump getting nominated. As much as she hates Clinton, and her hatred of Hillary is palpable, she hates Trump more. He offends her sensibilities. I suspect she won’t vote for eitherReport

    • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Morat20 says:

      I see Trump gaining ground, relative to other Republican presidential candidates, among lower-income white voters.Report

      • Only men, for the most part, which is a big part of the problem.Report

        • I’m not so sure about that. Yes, all his attitudes towards women are repulsive, but he’s still got a non-zero level of support among women, and the populism vs. elitism angle may play stronger than the sexism angle with some. And Hillary and her backers have a way of angling for women’s votes that threatens to alienate them instead (“special place in hell”).

          But white men are definitely his base.Report

  8. Avatar notme says:

    Yes, it is all doom gloom. I’ll just give up now.Report

  9. As a statistical analysis, this post doesn’t need to show causation, only show plausible correlation. Clearly it does that. So sure stuff can happen that causes a change from the likely path, either reversing who’s ahead, or reinforcing existing positions. An “October surprise” or an economic or security disaster sufficiently large at any time to reshuffle the deck forcing the political card counters to start over.

    But I found this post a particularly clear statement of info we can know now use to make educated guesses or plug prejudices into.Report

  10. By and large this seems to be the election that history went on vacation for, but by and large I’m relatively certain that this is the case. So much so, in fact, that I’m backing off my “The party should change the rules to rob Trump of the nomination if they can” position of before. That was in fear that Trump might win the election. The daunting (for Trump) trajectory of the poll numbers and the timing put it about as clearly as it can be put. It’ll take an indictment, at this point.

    The difference between pooh-poohing in the primaries and pooh-poohing Trump now is in one case you were ignoring polling because history. Here, though, you have to ignore both. Historical reversals of fortune almost always include a candidate being relatively unknown, and the reversal occurs around when people are making up their minds about the lesser-known (or both). In this case, people have made up their minds. That means that Trump doesn’t just have to guide opinions about him (the challenge every candidate faces) but change people’s opinions on him.

    A lot of the people suggesting that Trump has a chance are actually themselves pointing to history, and that’s a part of what Varad is responding to. Matthew Dowd, among others, points to Reagan who had some pretty low approvals. That was while there were a lot of opinions on Reagan outstanding. There was a lot of room for him to go up. It’s not especially useful to look at Cruz’s numbers or Kasich’s (or Sanders’s) because I don’t believe opinions have solidified to nearly the extent that they have for HRC and Trump. Trump’s favorables/unfavorables will probably improve some (as will HRC’s), on account of party solidarity, but there is nothing in the poll numbers, in addition to nothing in history, on which Trumpers are really able to hang their optimism.

    About the only thing Trump has in his corner is that is facing a candidate who is also unpopular by historical-polling standards. Who would, in fact, be among the least popular nominees in polling history. Unfortunately for Trump, his are not just a little bit worse.

    The main question I have at this point is whether it is a blowout of historic proportions, or a more standard loss. I suspect that current polling aside Trump will outperform his current polling numbers, but if the over/under is Obama/McCain, I’m pretty sure I’ll take the under.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Will Truman says:

      Yeah thing is sooner or later history is gonna get back from their trip.

      So basically you’re of the mind that the GOP doesn’t need to break the glass now to stop Trump because Trump will just lose in the general and the only people hurt will be the GOP? Man if that doesn’t get them reaching for the red button I dunno what will.

      Then again what would be worse for the GOP? Trump gets the nod, loses historically and then the GOP base looks up from their ashes and sees the old elite waiting for them? Or.. the GOP breaks the glass and kills Trump at the convention by some chicanery and then runs someone else?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to North says:

        Depends on how you define “Break the glass.” But if Trump gets to 1237, I am no longer certain they should pull out all the stops for the good of the country by changing all of the rules.

        If he doesn’t get to 1237, though, all bets remain off. A plurality remains distinct from a majority.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Will Truman says:

          Oh yes, if he doesn’t get to 1237 then it basically is Cruz unless Trump somehow bullies some unbound delegates to throw in with him or bribes one of the alsorans into giving him their support (though their delegates aren’t obligated to switch over).Report

    • (My above opinions being weird when juxtaposed to my continued fear of Trumpism, as distinct from Trump ’16.)Report

    • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Will Truman says:

      What if:
      – 2nd quarter economic growth dips into the negative, jobless rate as well as GDP
      – Daesh goes all-in with what little capital they have remaining for one last coordinated strike in mid-October
      – There’s so much inertia toward running against a conventional R like Cruz that D advertising misses the mark
      – Trump doesn’t even attempt to run a general election campaign, focusing on targeting disgruntled voters in flippable states and letting Clinton build up big wins in solidly blue states

      Seems to me that might, possibly not even in the worst case, push us back within the error bars.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to El Muneco says:

        Economic growth – that is the perception of the state of the economy – is set right now in everyone’s head for the Nov election. The ‘bad economy’ under Bush Sr was a year before the election, and the good economy under Clinton was already starting to unravel because the tech bubble burst in March 2000.

        Even for Bush Jr, while the wheels came off in the last few months of his administration, Obama didn’t win on the economic downturn, he won because he ran a good campaign – but also because Bush was deeply unpopular and had been for two years. (Though McCain lost in part because his response to the crisis wasn’t received well at all)Report

        • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Kolohe says:

          That’s a good point – while a change (in either direction!) in the economy might get a lot of publicity, it’s most likely to get traction among people who have already made up their minds in that direction.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Kolohe says:

          I agree on the Economic front… you can only run on the economic narrative that is dominant about a year before the election.

          But, the dominant narrative is slow recovery from historic recessions with most of the benefits accruing to the rich and rapidly growing inequality.

          Traditionally this is sort of a screwball for Republicans; their “goose the economy” schtick plays into the hands of the rich get richer. However, this year I think its a knuckler for Democrats… they might be able to hit it out of the park – and against any other Republican probably could – but this is an issue that Trump seems to be messaging better than Hillary. As it stands now, she’s carrying the team Davos baggage and try as she will to ditch it, the luggage tags all bear her name.Report

        • Avatar Fortytwo in reply to Kolohe says:

          This voter, who was traditionally Republican, voted 3rd party because they put up a blithering idiot as VP. That was the last time I considered voting Republican and won’t consider it again for a long while.Report

  11. If history was repeating itself, Trump wouldn’t be the Republican nominee.

    Yes, he’s tremendously unpopular. But so is Hillary Clinton: http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/hillary-clinton-favorable-rating

    Her approval ratings are currently -14 to his -28. Not as bad, but starkly different from Obama’s +20 during the start of May 2008.

    And there was a poll today that showed Trump winning the general election (granted, Rasmussen’s polling has a Republican lean), so Clinton doesn’t lead every poll.

    The good news is that 1) Trump is astounding unpopular among Hispanic people; 2) as a result, Clinton has an advantage in the southwest; and 3) to win, all she needs to do is with the Southwest swing states and hold onto traditional Democratic states plus Iowa OR Virginia OR Ohio OR Florida.

    On the whole, this has been a highly abnormal year for US presidential politics. I’m not going to be making any firm predictions until October. For now, I’m just worried.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to KatherineMW says:

      If history was repeating itself, Trump wouldn’t be the Republican nominee.

      We are one event away from a President Trump.

      One news cycle dominated by (event) and Trump has it in the bag.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Jaybird says:

        Chances are, we were already hoping that [event] didn’t happen anyway. [Event] would probably have to involve terrorism and/or war, or some massive and sudden economic calamity.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

        Hillary has the 3am thing going for her. The only way a terrorist attack helps Trump is if she and the Democrats respond by saying that we need to take this opportunity to reflect on our society anti-Muslim bigotry. (Which I am concerned she will do, but not too concerned.)

        An economic meltdown could do it, but I suspect Trump’s response to that will not engender support from those already not supporting him. It would, again, require that HRC not blow it with a poor response. It would take a doozy.

        So yeah, I would say maybe 1-in-20 that Trump pulls this off.Report

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