This is my second attempt at writing a political article, something I swore from the beginning I’d never do. As a rule, I find politics to be boring. I’d even classify myself as apolitical. In most elections, no matter who wins – or which party prevails – the outcome is roughly the same. But this election year is very different. It has everything to do with Bernie Sanders and especially Donald Trump. But Sanders and Trump notwithstanding, the real story is that Super Tuesday is setting up President Clinton II – almost like a script from a long-winded movie.
For what it’s worth, that’s not the outcome I’m hoping for, it’s just they way the dominos seem to be lining up. And that’s despite all of the distracting dribble from the political elite that’s hyper-focused on Trump and Sanders.
Why I Like the Trump Factor
As he has for millions of Americans, Donald Trump has stimulated my interest in politics – but not for the reasons you might think. It’s not that I love Donald Trump, the man, the business mogul or the politician. Quite frankly, I think he’s arrogant to the core. Between he and Hillary, the prospect is real and this may be a contest between the two biggest egos in American history. As well, Trump has yet to lay out any concrete agenda to help us to decide specifically what it is we might be voting for or against.
But what I like about Trump actually has nothing to do with Trump, but rather what his candidacy has done for this country. For the first time since the 1980 presidential election, Americans seem to be coming alive with a grassroots kind of passion. Love him or hate him, Trump is causing deep emotions to stir in the political arena.
I must confess, I thought that kind of passion had left the American spirit forever. And while this may yet prove to be just a late flicker in a pattern of continued long-term decline, it’s still refreshing to see that the American spirit is not so crushed as to be completely dead.
Trump also recently made a couple of observations on a news interview that were downright refreshing. He noted that 1) the 5% unemployment rate is a fiction designed to benefit politicians and especially presidents (claiming that the real rate is closer to 25%), and 2) that Hillary Clinton is being protected in regard to the email scandal.
Since I agree with both statements – and he had the chutzpah/independence/conviction to say both in the same interview – I have to say it invokes a positive feeling in me. Who else has that kind of honesty and courage these days?
But as I wrote in my first political article, the Status Quo is supreme in US politics, and it is likely to remain so even after the 2016 election – even if Trump is elected.
And I still don’t think that will happen. Here’s why…
Trump Hasn’t Pulled Any Majorities
Despite the media hysteria over Trump (in either direction) as the clear front runner for the Republican nomination, Trump may not be as popular within the Republican Party as is commonly assumed. The full Super Tuesday vote counts aren’t in as of this writing, but it doesn’t look like Trump has won any primary victories with 50% or more of the vote.
Obviously, that has a lot to do with the fact that there are three popular candidates vying for the Republican nomination, in Trump, Cruz and Rubio. But at the same time it shows that support for Trump is hardly universal. Winning primaries with 37% of the vote is not nearly the same thing as winning with 70%, as Hillary is doing in the South.
My gut feeling is that this will be a factor in the general election, and maybe even for the final nomination.
But for the moment, let’s go with the mainstream narrative that it will be a Trump-vs.-Clinton race for the White House.
Democrats Will Unite Behind Clinton, Republicans Will Splinter Over Trump
We are already seeing the Democratic Party closing ranks behind Hillary Clinton. Sanders may not withdraw from the race prior to the Democratic Convention, but it’s become crystal clear that the nomination is Hillary’s. The Democratic Convention is likely to be a touchy-feely emotional outpouring in which Sanders instructs his followers to unite behind Hillary, as the two embrace on stage and call for yet another “time of healing in America” (Democrats get off on that kind of invocation).
What’s more, not many Sanders supporters are likely to cross party lines and vote for Trump. In the end, they’re mostly all Democrats, and the one thing Democrats fear more than anything else in the universe is a Republican-controlled White House.
Such unity is entirely unlikely at the Republican convention, and in fact in the time leading up to it. Trump is an outsider to the Republican Party. He is not a politician, he is not bought and paid for (yet), and he speaks his mind. He has openly condemned George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, something that is near and dear to the hearts of committed conservative Republicans. He’s not afraid to cry foul in the face of what he considers to be misdeeds by someone of either political stripe.
This makes mainstream Republicans very nervous. The neocon fortress that they’ve been building up since 2001 could be torn down by Trump. This is no longer the party of smaller government, lower taxes, greater personal liberty, and support for small business. The Republican Party in 2016 is a certified big government party that’s every bit as interested in intervening both internationally and in the lives of private citizens as the Democratic Party has historically been.
No one in the Republican mainstream wants that to go away. As Republican leaders continue to rail against Trump, the Republican faithful will increasingly decide not to vote. And if they do, President Clinton II will be the outcome.
The Mainstream Media Will Take Aim at Trump as soon as He’s Nominated
It’s not just the Democratic faithful who will unite behind Hillary Clinton ? it’s also the mainstream media. TV Pundits Praise Hillary Clinton On Air, Fail to Disclose Financial Ties to Her Campaign reports how mainstream media political programming hides its true democratic orientation.
The mainstream media has always leaned to the left. This is just a theory of mine, but I think that since mainstream media personalities are overwhelmingly journalists/journalism majors, they tend to see themselves more as writers than reporters. They self-identify as artists, feeling some equivalent status to creative artists, performing artists and celebrities. Hillary is not only the front-running Democrat, but she also embodies the very celebrity that mainstream media personality types like to identify with. And then there’s that emotional fascination with the 1960s that older Democrats crave and that Hillary delivers on.
She will be able to count on their support. Hillary’s inspiring speeches and interviews will be trumpeted across the media. Her weak performances and gaffes will be given short air time. Media scribes will write articles designed to explain away her mistakes and misdeeds.
And the email scandal? Forget about it! A Democratic White House is not going to indict the Democratic presidential nominee. And the media is not going to allow email scandal stories ? or any other negative Hillary stories ? to get much coverage on the front page.
And while they are protecting Hillary, the mainstream media will run a savage full frontal assault on Donald Trump. Since an attack on Trump is the equivalent of an endorsement of Hillary, mainstream media practitioners will do so with the conviction of a convert.
Trump?s personality will bring out the worst emotions. Since he is not politically correct, and doesn’t bow down to media types, it’s likely that he’ll have no trouble silencing his critics in face-to-face encounters. But the media types will lash out after the fact. The chorus of mainstream media stooges coming against Trump en mass can paint Trump ugly. That will resonate with the undecided voters, who will either pull the lever for Clinton, or sit home on election day.
And we should never put it past the media to dredge up some small negative issue about Trump, that will be presented as if he?s committed high treason.
We’ll have to see if Trump can survive such waves of attack. He may, but he’ll need the entire Republican party to stand behind him in the process.
That’s not guaranteed.
The “X Factor” – the Threatened Republican Brokered Convention
We’re hearing increased scuttlebutt of a brokered convention by the Republicans as Trump continues to advance through the primary circuit. While that may sound for all the world as though the Republican power structure is threatening to take control of the process, it will virtually guarantee delivery of the White House to another Clinton.
Trump as an Independent Candidate – Hillary Wins Big
Trump has vowed that if he does not secure the Republican Party nomination, he will run as an independent. But should this play out, Hillary will win the White House, and I suspect she will do it quite easily.
Trump is after all running as a Republican candidate. Should he switch to an independent ticket, either by choice or as a result of a brokered convention, it will split the Republican vote. That is, Trump will draw voters from the Republican ranks, and not from Democrats.
That is to say that Hillary will get all the votes she could be expected to get, but Trump and the anointed Republican candidate will split the Republican vote.
Result: Hillary wins with a mandate, possibly capturing both houses of Congress.
We have to suspect that the Republican party leadership is aware of this. If they push Trump off the ticket, it will confirm that they are more interested in preserving the status quo than they are of preventing a win by the other party. America will be worse for it.
Hillary’s Democratic Base is Larger and More Reliable than Trump’s
This is an anecdotal assessment on my part, but in my experience people who vote Republican tend to do so mainly because of ideology. For example, they may do so because they support lower taxes, smaller government, a stronger military posture, or tougher law enforcement. I refer to these as ideologies because none provide a direct benefit to the voter.
On the other side of the coin, Democratic voters seem to most often be vested in some sort of direct benefit. For example, a person might vote Democratic if she is employed by government, if he receives significant government benefits, or if they have a child who is in college and relying heavily on student loans. All direct benefits that make them politically reliable.
Statistically, that arrangement ? if it’s accurate ? favors Hillary versus Trump in a big way. Consider the following:
Government assistance. A 2014 Forbes article reported that 49.2% of Americans receive benefits from one or more government programs. A poll showed that recipients of government assistance are overwhelmingly likely to vote Democratic. Winner of the group: Hillary.
Government employees.The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of 2014, about 22 million people work in federal, state and local government jobs which represents about 15% of the total US workforce. Winner of the group: Hillary again (see second link below).
Union workers. The BLS also reports that 17.7 million people hold union jobs, though about 7.7 million are also government workers (35.2% of government workers are unionized). Statistically, government and union workers tend to favor Democrats almost across the board. Winner of the group: Hillary yet again.
The Black vote. A Washington Post article reported that on average 85% of African Americans voted for the Democrat in presidential elections going back to 1972. Hillary has scored big primary wins in Southern states that have large African American populations – and that was against fellow Democrat Bernie Sanders. Winner of the group: Hillary – she should do even better in the group when the opponent is a Republican.
So what does all of this mean? Mostly that Trump’s support comes mostly from angry white voters, who are very likely to be divided as to exactly which way to vote come November. Hillary?s base on the other hand, is very solid and very predictable. If there is any crack in the Trump/Republican wall, Hillary will take the White House, and maybe even by a landslide.
Once again, that’s not the result that I’m hoping for ? but the stars are definitely lining up in that direction, despite the media chatter and distraction.
The status quo – that’s what America really wants. Including many Republicans. Do you agree or disagree?