Saturday, May 7, 2016

No Trump Cards For Mittens

Yes, it's a Slate Pitch, but it's Jamelle Bouie and it's right: Donald Trump is going to lose in November, and the proof of that is Mitt Romney.

Romney wasn’t a bad candidate. He ran a competent and largely professional campaign against an incumbent who presided over high unemployment and slow growth. No, Romney wasn’t favored, but he also had a better shot than most candidates who run against a sitting president. If you believe that Trump can win—absent an exogenous shock like a terrorist attack or recession—you need to show how he beats Romney. You need to move this from the realm of speculation and into the world as it exists.

The idea of Trump as a plausible winner is rooted in the same error that drove pundits to discount and dismiss him as late as the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries. Then, observers saw the polls—which accurately showed his appeal to a cross-section of Republican voters—but refused to believe them. It was unthinkable that a field of ostensibly talented candidates would fail to stop Trump before he gained traction.

That’s what happened. If Trump had entered the race as an Icarus-type—a candidate who shoots to the top but withers under the heat—then by the fall, he was something different. He was a genuine presence in a crowded field with real support among Republican voters. No one bothered to stop him. Afraid of alienating Trump’s supporters, GOP leaders disarmed themselves; fearful of Trump’s attacks, Republican donors refused to fund a confrontation; complacent about his threat, Republican candidates focused on clearing their respective “lanes” rather than stopping the leader in the field. By the time Republican voters went to the ballot box, Trump had cultivated a following.

None of that is operative in the general election. Unlike Republicans, Democrats plan to hit Trump with a fusillade of attacks from all directions. And they plan to exploit weaknesses that Republicans didn’t touch until it was too late to stop Trump. They’ll hit Trump for his open and vicious misogyny; they’ll publicize his history of racism and discrimination; they’ll attack him where he’s strong with stories of ordinary people he’s scammed and defrauded; they’ll emphasize the fact that he doesn’t know anything about the world or governing.

So just like the math of how Hillary and Trump are going to be the nominees, the numbers also show Hillary Clinton is going to win, unless you think that Trump is going to win the black, Latino, and woman vote.

It's not going to happen.

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