Monday, May 09, 2016

Politix Update: Why You Don't Need Rand McNally To Map A Clinton Landslide

If you treat Donald Trump as "normal," which the news media is doing, then he stands a fighting chance against Hillary Clinton.  But if you treat Trump for what he is -- an angry, bombastic and hate mongering pathological liar -- then it is all but inevitable that he will be crushed in November.   
This is the part of the movie when I should be bragging about this being my twelfth presidential campaign, that I know voter demographics and the national electoral map like the back of my hand, and have a PhD from the Electoral College.  All of that happens to be more or less accurate. But like a lot of pundits, I initially misjudged Trump's longer-term appeal to angry white males even if I saw something like it coming after the Tea Party victories in 2014.  Unlike a lot of pundits, I made a course correction on Trump in diagnosing the source of my night sweats way back in February in the run-up to the Super Tuesday primaries: Trump, I concluded, would be unstoppable because he is the embodiment of what the Republican Party has strived to become in recent years as it tacked far from the shore and into an atavistic nativism, an aversion to governing and a fierce determination to make it difficult for minorities and other reliably Democratic voters to exercise a fundamental right.    
Despite these seismic shifts, only one thing has changed of consequence in the quadrennial presidential election equation.  
Voters haven't changed, by and large, the electoral map hasn't changed at all, nor has the Electoral College.  What has changed is that although the two candidates have historically high negatives, Clinton is not particularly trusted by many voters whereas Trump is feared because of his authoritarianism by many voters outside of the relatively small group of white males whose resentments and frustrations he has so cleverly cultivated in parlaying his celebrity and neo-fascistic demagogy to defeat a formidable field of 11 other candidates.   
How small is this group of hardcore Trump supporters?  We're talking only several million out if roughly 130 million voters, and little noticed through the primary season is that while Trump has kept winning, his voter base has not grown.  
Many voters believe that America is on the wrong track and Trump may have leveraged a perfect storm, as one pundit put it, in wresting the nomination from others.  But he is so feared and so divisive that he will be driving hordes of voters -- including a goodly number of Republicans and many Independents -- into Clinton's embrace.  There will be no vaguely comparable migration in the other direction.
While it's a long way to Election Day and still 10 weeks to a Republican National Convention that is shaping up to be a prime-time version of Apocalypse Now with Donald Trump playing Colonel Kurtz, Hillary Clinton already has secured 246 of the 270 electoral votes needed to become president by my back-of-the-envelope calculations.  
These 246 votes are a bare minimum, and for those of you keeping score at home, here's how she would amass that impressive number right out of the gate: California (55 electoral votes), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), District of Columbia (3), Hawaii (4), New Hampshire (4), Illinois (20), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (11), Maine (4), Minnesota (10), Michigan (16), New York (29), New Jersey (14), Oregon (7), Pennsylvania (20), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), Wisconsin (10) and Washington (12.) 
That total does not include several swing states, Colorado (9), Florida (29) and Ohio (18) chief among them, where Clinton is polling well ahead of Trump in head-to-head match-ups, as well as several other states where she also is in the lead, including North Carolina (15), Texas (38) and Virginia (13).  All Clinton would have to do to win it all is take Florida or Texas or most any combination of any two other states of these six.   
It's hard to beat political analyst Larry Sabato when it comes to calling races.  Sabato nailed the 2012 presidential outcome, including predicting the exact number of electoral votes Barack Obama would win.  His prediction for the 2016 race a year ago was the Democrat getting 247 votes, one vote more than my estimate, with Republicans winning 206 and 85 being toss-ups, and that was before Trump descended deux ex machina from the escalator from his 5th Avenue penthouse to announce his candidacy almost a year ago.   
Sabato's prediction today: Clinton 347 votes and Trump 191.   
Beyond Donald Trump's angry white male core constituency being so small, the reason why a Hillary Clinton landslide is all but inevitable despite her own high negatives is the support of the so-called Obama Coalition of young, nonwhite and well-educated voters who re-elected the president four years ago.   
Additionally, Trump is likely to lose many of the voters who supported Mitt Romney in 2012, especially white women and white college-educated voters.  Trump's favorability ratings among white women are abysmal, clocking in at barely 25 percent in recent surveys.   
But at the end of the day, the biggest reason Trump is toast is that as dissatisfied as many voters are, the anger his core constituency displays simply isn't at anywhere near the same levels among the general electorate.


© 2015-2016 SHAUN D. MULLEN.

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