Lately, some pundits have been writing opinion pieces with titles like “Why Trump will win the presidency.” Hogwash.
While the majority of polls have always shown Hillary ahead of the Donald and the numbers have been trending in her direction for weeks, what is true is that the margin is not as large as one would expect. Indeed, a handful of polls have even shown Trump leading Clinton.
That’s amazing given that Trump has, in every possible way, shown himself or has been exposed by journalists to be a whacko, a bigot, and a fraudster, among his many other virtues.
Quite a few people who look at the prospect of a Trump presidency with horror are getting more than a bit scared. Not me.
So far I have had no reason to regret making risky predictions. As long ago as the South Carolina primary, which seems light years ago, I said Bernie Sanders would not be the Democratic nominee. Don’t get me wrong, I voted for Sanders in the Florida Democratic primary and like his politics much more than Hillary’s. But advocacy is different from analysis.
The fact that Hillary won the overwhelming majority of African American voters in South Carolina, and was sure to win more Latino votes than Bernie everywhere, led me to the inevitable conclusion that Clinton would get the nomination. Blacks and Latinos are to the Democratic party what bigots and billionaires are to the Republican Party—the hardest core of the party’s constituency. That’s why in California, a state with a huge minority population, Hillary crushed Sanders, ending all realistic hope of a Sanders comeback.
I will go out on a limb again now and predict that Hillary Clinton will win big. Here’s why.
Racism is at the heart of Trump’s campaign. Even Paul Ryan, the Republican Speaker of the House, has had to call out Trump on that score. It is one reason Hillary Clinton will get the voters Democrats are supposed to win, and by a bigger than usual margin.
When a staunch Cuban American Republican as Carlos Gutierrez, a former CEO of the Kellogg Corporation and Secretary of Commerce under George W. Bush, tells NPR he will not vote for Trump because “I couldn’t look myself in the mirror,” you now that Trump’s claim that he will get the Latino vote is as false as a three-dollar bill.
Meanwhile, Trump isn’t getting the support from of all the groups Republicans rely on in every election. Bigots are elated by someone like Trump willing to call a black “my African American” and Mexicans rapists and drug dealers, unlike Establishment Republicans, who have dared only to use symbols and coded language to send essentially the same message.
But many of the billionaires who usually give lavishly to the GOP are not happy and are not giving their money this time. If you have billions, you don’t want a loose cannon in the White House. Some of these wealthy Republicans are also no doubt turned off by Trump’s bigotry and lack of class. Others may see him as the sure loser in the election. So why throw good money after bad politics?
And Trump has another problem pointed out in an online column by Harry Enten with the 538 polling gurus: It bears the title: “Trump Isn’t Winning Enough White Voters.”
Sure, Trump is winning the white vote by a comfortable margin. But, according to Enten’s piece: “Trump is winning white voters by an average of 17 percentage points, matching exactly Romney’s margin from four years ago. That’s not good enough, especially considering that the 2016 electorate will probably be more diverse than 2012’s. Trump probably needs to do even better than a 22-point lead among white voters, or he will have to pull in more minority voters than Romney did in order to win.”
In contrast, Clinton’s campaign, with Barack Obama eager to see Donald Trump defeated, can count on a bigger black vote than if Obama had decided to sit this one out. Then there is Bernie Sanders. Sanders has done and can still do a world of good by turning the Democratic Party around from its long drift to the right. And, he can still do a lot of good by helping to shape the party platform and leading his young and not-so-young but idealistic supporters in a campaign not to elect Hillary Clinton, but to pulverize Donald Trump. Sanders can do it, and he will, with zest.
Finally, much of Trump’s support, beyond a limited number of racists and wing-nuts, comes from the misperception that Trump, as a very successful businessman, can get the economy racing again.
That mirage will gradually evaporate as the media, the Trump University trial, and the Clinton campaign, expose Trump for the scoundrel and con man that he is, all smoke and mirrors with not much there.
As the dust raised by Trump’s bluster clears, more and more people will see past the brand to the businessman and discover what Adam Davidson reported in The New York Times magazine on Sunday:
“Trump’s main claim to fame is as a Manhattan real-estate developer…He sits so far down the pecking order of Manhattan real estate that Adam Pincus, head of research at the industry publication The Real Deal, never recalls including him in their major rankings of developers, owners or property managers…”
Even Trump’s billionaire status might be mostly smoke and mirrors. Davidson quotes Mark Cuban, a certified billionaire, as asking “why a man with as much money as Trump claims to have, presiding over as many successful ventures as Trump claims to own, would stoop to start up a boiler-room operation like Trump University, squeezing out revenues from would-be students a few thousand dollars at a time.”
Davidson concludes with this: “When you try to weigh Trump’s record as a businessman, you quickly find that there’s nothing of substance.”