THE FIGHT THAT HAD TO HAPPEN
THE FIGHT THAT HAD TO HAPPEN
If you are just starting to pay attention to the presidential election, you’ve picked a really good time to start!
HERE’S THE BOTTOM LINE
1. Hillary Clinton continues her march towards the White House. She is still the favorite to win it all. As I wrote last time, her greatest obstacles are a tanking economy or a possible indictment by the Justice Dept. What we know now is that she will also almost certainly have to face Donald Trump in the general election. Trump is definitely a wild card.
2. Speaking of which, Trump is looking like the prohibitive favorite to be the Republican nominee. But he hasn’t sealed the deal. It’s possible we won’t know who the Republican nominee is until the convention in July. Simply put, this is an ugly, ugly fight. It could lead to a Trump presidency, the destruction of the Republican party (or both!) or anything in between. But it’s not a fight that happened overnight. In fact, it was a long time coming.
HOW THE GENERAL ELECTION WILL PLAY OUT
Caveat: These are my best guesses, but no one knows the future.
Assuming it’s Trump vs Clinton, how will that play out in the general election? Well, like any general election, you have to look at the SWING STATES. Once again, it will be the good people of OHIO, VIRGINIA, FLORIDA, and a handful of other battleground states who will pick our president for us.
Here’s my argument for why Clinton is favored — beyond the obvious fact that Donald Trump is a racist, sexist, hateful, offensive sound bite spewing machine.
If you look at a state like Virginia, it was one of Trump’s WEAKEST states. He won 35% of the Republican primary vote in Virginia, with Rubio a whisker behind at 32%. Meanwhile Virginia was one of Clinton’s STRONGEST states. She got 64% of the Democratic primary vote in Virginia. It doesn’t matter how many votes Trump gets in Alabama. Hillary Clinton is not winning Alabama. But it does matter how well he does in states like Virginia, as well as Ohio and Florida, which both have their primaries on March 15th.
Trump support was also the weakest in the swingiest parts of the swing state of Virginia. I’m talking about the northern Virginia suburbs, AKA NOVA — places like Alexandria and Vienna, and Fairfax and Loudoun Counties. That region went heavily towards Rubio. It could be that many Republican voters in Northern Virginia are so turned off by Trump that they refuse to vote for him in November. If that’s the case then Virginia could go to Clinton. And as goes Virginia, so goes the country.
So if you happen to LIVE in the Northern Virginia area, objectively speaking, your vote will be one of the most important cast in the entire race. The same goes for people in places like Columbus, Ohio, Orlando, Florida, and the research triangle of North Carolina. If Republicans in these regions who really really DON’T like Trump, decide to hold their nose and vote for Trump ANYWAY, then it will be a very very close race and anything can happen. But if they decide NOT to vote for Trump, then the advantage has to go to Clinton. While much of the party will probably coalesce around Trump if he’s the eventual nominee, there is a sizeable #NeverTrump contingent. If I had to guess, I’d say the #NeverTrump coalition stays strong through the fall and effectively vetoes Trump from winning the White House.
Of course this is all assuming that Trump is the nominee.
WHY TRUMP IS BOTH DANGEROUS AND INEVITABLE
There’s a lot to fear about the prospect of President Trump. If Trump is elected, he has the capability of being the first TYRANT (in the most literal sense of the word) elected in my lifetime. Yes people may say that Obama is a tyrant or George W. Bush was a tyrant, but not in the truly ancient Roman sense. This is a man who has refused to condemn the internment of Japanese Americans in WWII. He stands by his ban on Muslims. And unlike his slow yet eventual renouncement of David Duke and the KKK, to date he has NOT renounced these positions. I don’t know how Trump feels about these topics in his heart of hearts and I don’t care. To me, any one of these statements by Trump automatically disqualifies him from becoming President of the United States.
At the same time, there’s something about Trump’s candidacy that feels almost inevitable. Because the rise of Trump was a long time coming.
Donald Trump is not CREATING the fault lines within the Republican party, he is REVEALING them. The Republican party is deeply divided. The leaders of the party care first and foremost about low taxes, low regulation, free trade, and corporate interests. The populist wing doesn’t care about these things. Not really. They care about job security and about protecting their cultural, ethnic, and racial heritage, their family, and their faith. When Donald Trump talks about “making America great again,” he’s not talking about reducing trade barriers, lowering the corporate income tax, or entitlement reform. He’s talking about bringing back an America where WHITE American families held ENORMOUS cultural influence, soft power, and general security, regardless of their income bracket or education level. Mitch McConnell and the Koch brothers aren’t interested in making America great again. Not in the way Donald Trump and his supporters see the world.
The two sides of the Republican party have been growing more and more alienated from each other for years. The populist wing is tired of being “duped” by the establishment wing. As I said in one of my podcast episodes, they are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore. Trump represents the change they are looking for — or at least that’s what he’s selling. And say what you want about Trump, he is a great salesman (or “con man” to use Rubio’s preferred term).
This is why I think this fight had to happen eventually. And it happens to be happening now. The Republican party needs to decide what it stands for, and where its priorities lie. And if it can’t reconcile this domestic dispute, things will get worse before they get better.