It seems appropriate to call these two contenders for the world's most powerful office by their first names. Even this far away from their campaigns, where the news is usually about something else, we've been listening for more than a year to a great deal of commentary, along with video clips of them speaking in numerous settings.

Neither seem up to the best who have reached the office they seek. Indeed, there is enough in both of their records to suggest that they may compete for the lowest ranks of presidential esteem. So first names appear appropriate, until one or the other earns something more dignified.
Who was the worst of the Presidents? The list of nominees is a long one, with advocates for each likely to show their partisan loyalties along with whatever historical knowledge they possess. Presidential politics has always been spicy and it isn't becoming less so, as shown by two items below.
Donald has made headlines here with a statement that Israel should continue building in West Bank settlements.
That, together with occasional expressions of pride in his Jewish son-in-law should get him a some Jewish votes.
Hillary also has a Jewish son-in-law, but she hasn't come out in favor of the settlements.
No doubt Jews will be divided on this as on everything else. It's almost certain that they'll tip to the Democrats, as they, their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents have been doing since there was a noticeable Jewish vote in the 1930s. At this point, we should avoid guessing if it'll be closer to the 90 percent reached by Johnson reached Roosevelt, or the 45 percent scored by Jimmy Carter.
Two of the Jews who correspond with me occasionally expressed polar opposites. I doubt that they know one another. They write to me from distant coasts.
"From the looks of it here, Trump will wipe the floor with Hillary. Any attempt she will make to rebut his outrageous comments will just blow past him, primarily because of her astronomically high (or low) lack of credibility. It makes me happy to see her eat crow or worse, but I am far from pleased that Trump will actually be the next president. Chalk it all up to the levels of stupidity in the humanities and social sciences of the past fifty years, which have dumbed down the populace to the point where a socialist(actually, Communist) like Sanders can get such huge levels of support, a once humane political party like the Dems can support an outright thief who used her position at State to fatten the coffers of her foundation, and an egomaniac like Trump with no redeeming social values whatsoever.
Compared to all of them, Sara Netanyahu's idiocy pales."
I notice that this friend includes a swipe at social scientists, i.e., me. I'll respond in kind that his calling Sanders a Communist for advocating social democratic reforms that would bring the US into line with the truly civilized countries sounds to me like the epitome of American thinking in the style of Neanderthals. 

My second friend appears too optimistic by far.

"Trump is a boor, a racist, anti-feminine and absolutely the personification of all values NOT Jewish no matter how fractured we are.
He will lose this election miserably and put an end to the Republican Party in the US for the foreseeable future. 
I am so glad Trump will be the Republican nominee! I'm waiting for the opportune moment to bet my prediction in Las Vegas to collect a small reward for the money I have lost over the years to Sheldon Adelson. 
Ask your friends who can't bring themselves to vote Hillary if they would like to make a small side wager."

A recent poll shows Donald with a two percentage point lead over Hillary. 

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That differs from the general findings of surveys, and it's too early for anyone careful to make a prediction, but it is time to take the mad real estate developer seriously.

Against him is a year's worth of his own rhetoric likely to upset Blacks, Hispanics, and women. There are a lot of those in the US electorate, raising one of the questions about Donald's wisdom and fitness for the job.

On the other hand, there are also a lot of poor white males, and they are the core of his support.

Moreover, they are showing signs of enthusiasm, which suggests that many of them will actually vote, in contrast to their usual stay at home and being pissed at all the candidates.

Blacks and Hispanics also have generally low levels of turnout. Blacks but not Hispanics came out in record numbers to vote for Barack Obama, the only elections in which their turnout exceeded (slightly) that of Whites. 

We can wonder if they'll repeat that for Hillary.

Hispanics may be especially upset at what Donald says about immigrants from south of the border, but their turnout is characteristically even less than Blacks. In a setting where illegal immigration is a political hot potato, it would be uncharacteristically heroic of Hillary to campaign prominently in favor of easing the illegals' route to citizenship.

Women turnout to vote, and Donald has made some remarks likely to upset many of them. However, women's turnout is affected by their level of education, which suggests that the wives, daughters, and girl friends of poor white males might not be a major threat to Donald.

Old people vote more than the average, and since Hillary and Donald qualify as the oldest pair ever to be contenders for the office, that population may be a toss-up, and potentially crucial if it goes one way or another..

No predictions here, or anything else but a warning against certainty. Except, perhaps, that many--perhaps most--will be disappointed on the 9th, or maybe the 10th or 11th of November, no matter who is on top.

Comments welcome

Ira Sharkansky (Emeritus)
Department of Political Science
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
[email protected] 
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of The Jerusalem Post. Blog authors are NOT employees, freelance or salaried, of The Jerusalem Post.

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