With Trump falling in the polls, his unfavorable numbers an all-time high and Clinton enjoying a huge money advantage, it would appear that the Donald’s campaign is in deep trouble. There are already people sticking a fork in him and Democrats dreaming of an electoral landslide and a capture of both houses of Congress.
This is way way way premature.
Look, I’m not saying this couldn’t end in an electoral massacre. I’ve put up several posts worrying about that possibility myself. But the idea that Trump is inevitably doomed and the only variables are just how badly the Republicans will be shellacked is ridiculous. There are four and a half months left of this campaign. Four and a half awful, interminable, grinding …
Ugh …. give me a second here.
Anyway, there are numerous reasons why Trump could make this close or even win:
- The GOP is unlikely to allow the bad money situation to continue. There are simply too many people out there who want to contribute to the GOP for the money gap to persist.
- The funding gap matters; it is not the end of the world. Money is important in politics: it’s how you buy ads, it’s how you get out the vote, it’s how you expand the ground game to get votes from people who aren’t political junkies. But money is not destiny. During Scott Walker’s re-election campaign, he was outspent massively. He still won.
- We have an electoral system and the GOP has certain advantages. There are states that comprise a red wall that the Democrats are unlikely to take no matter how poorly the GOP candidate does. And, in the end, electoral college votes are what matter. If Clinton wins New York by three million votes and Trump wins Texas by one, Trump is still ahead. (That having been said, some alarming state polls are emerging, including a close race in Utah). Trump doesn’t need 50% of the votes. He just needs 50% of the electoral college.
- Hillary Clinton is no Barack Obama. You have probably heard that Trump is the most unpopular Presidential candidate ever. The second most unpopular, however, is Hillary Clinton. Right now, she’s riding a wave from having clinched the nomination (just as Trump did). Eventually, people will remember that she’s Hillary Clinton. And the race will tighten.
- The e-mail scandal is still hanging over Clinton. I don’t think she will be indicted even if she did commit a crime. This Administration has amply demonstrated that laws are for plebs, not elites. But there’s a reason Bernie Sanders isn’t packing it in. It turns out that he cares very much about Clinton’s damned e-mails after all.
- The economy has shown signs of weakening. If we enter a recession later this year, that will hurt Clinton badly.
- The news cycle … well, cycles. Trump has been hitting a wave of bad press recently — Judge Curiel, Orlando, Trump University, etc. Clinton, meanwhile, has been keeping her nose clean. This could reverse very quickly. Clinton is very good at screwing up and throwing away advantages. And she’s got 25 years of baggage. Watch the news regarding the Clinton Foundation. That could become a very big thing this summer.
I still think Clinton is going to win. But I don’t think it’s inevitable and I don’t think it’s going to be an historic blowout. There are simply too many balancing factors baked into our electoral system and this particular election to make that likely. It’s not impossible and I, for one, will be stocking up alcohol for election night. But it’s unlikely.
Of course, the gripping hand is that this election should be a slam dunk for the GOP. Their candidate should be leading by ten points right now. Paul Ryan should be smiling in his sleep, dreaming of what he could do with a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. But the GOP mainstream rallied behind an extremely poor Bush III and the voters went with the angry cheeto. So here we are.