Explaining the 2016 Election
So many chatterheads are so confused about the 2016 presidential campaign. A common refrain is that we haven’t seen anything like this before, the old rules don’t apply, pretty much anything can happen. Most pundits, like us, are a little gun-shy since we have all been wrong about Donald Trump’s staying power. But let us keep trying to shed some light.
Donald Trump is a good old-fashioned nationalist demagogue. This always appeals to a segment of our population, but historically, voters have been reluctant to actually elect a demagogue as President. So the first question is: are things different this time? Will American voters actually elect Mr. Trump to either the nomination or the presidency? We think not. A second question: Can or will the Donald change and adapt sufficiently to broaden his appeal if it turns out that his current approach limits his fan-base to 20 – 30%? Again, unlikely.
Conservatives and libertarians with working brain cells are fairly well convinced that 2016 is likely the last shot at righting a ship of state that they feel is moving seriously in the wrong direction. Some feel that only a smash-mouth Trump-like approach has any chance of reversing the expansion of our national government, our loss of liberty, and the decline of America’s position in the world. Many of the middle- and working-class Democrats worried about stagnant wages, loss of jobs, and income inequalities feel the same way, hence both groups are drawn to the Donald’s attack-dog style.
But the voters are not fooled by what they see. The Quinnipiac word association poll showing that “arrogant” and “clown” most often come to mind when prompted by the word “Trump.” Voters have always been smarter than they are given credit for, and the Trump supporters know exactly what they will get with a Trump candidacy.
Likewise, voters are not fooled by the Clinton candidacy. The 2 most common responses to “Clinton” are “liar” and “dishonest.” In the outside chance that the election is Trump vs. Clinton, voters historically would choose crook over demagogue all day long. Not so sure this time.
Mr. Trump will not pursue a third party candidacy and will make that official very soon. As soon as he does that, the donor money will be engaged in attack ads against him. We should expect a typical Trump counter-attack. The GOP primary will get ugly. The only candidate able to pull it back together and present a positive future-oriented face to the voters is Marco Rubio. Trump won’t change his approach to broaden his appeal, but whether he nonetheless secures the nomination depends on the ability of the party to rally around Senator Rubio. Mitt Romney is not the answer contrary to internet blog rumors. Rubio is.
The country will be better off if Vice President Biden enters the race, and frankly, his party will benefit as well. The odds of Mrs. Clinton running for President while under federal indictment are quite high. The party will nominate Mr. Biden. The election for President will be Rubio defeats Biden. If the Republicans nominate anyone else, they risk losing an election that should be easily winnable against either Clinton or Biden. Or Sanders if it came to that.
So the confused pundits can relax. It’s really quite simple after all. Republicans should find the best alternative to Trump and nominate that person. Democrats should cut bait with Mrs. Clinton and put the Obama legacy on the table in the person of Mr. Biden. And the trodden-down, forgotten, disgusted-with-politicians silent majority can decide. They always do.