Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had a big night yesterday. Both of them won big on Super Tuesday. Clinton will be the nominee unless some major scandal erupts. Which I doubt will happen.
As for Trump, all the pundits are saying he’s just about unstoppable. I am not yet convinced of that. What I will say, however, is that he has surpassed by orders of magnitude all expectations and is on a path to win the Republican nomination for President.
And yet, although it will be difficult to beat Trump now, it is not impossible. There are still 35 states that have not had primaries yet. But the polls do suggest that Trump is going to win most of them.
How can he be beaten? Let us consider the numbers. If you combine the percentages of votes received by his main opponents, Rubio and Cruz - they would have won in most of the primaries last night. This tells me that Trump’s Republican support probably peaks at about the 35% level. That doesn’t even take into account the votes of Kasich and Carson. If those 2 candidates bow out, my guess is that Kasich’s supporters will go to Rubio. Carson’s supporters will probably go to Trump.
If Trump has any chance of being beaten, here is what has to happen. First, Kasich and Carson have to drop out. And then Cruz had the right idea. But it needs to be reversed. Cruz has called upon Rubio to drop out so that his voters will accrue to him. He claims his win in 4 states and greater number of delegates gives him a far better shot at overtaking Trump in future primaries. But nationally he is behind Rubio in popularity. Rubio has a far better chance at doing what Cruz wants to do, if Cruz drops out and his supporters go to Rubio. And Rubio will also have a better chance to win in the general election.
Cruz is not very popular among his fellow Republican senators. Very few is any have endorsed him yet. It is Cruz that should drop out and his support should accrue to Rubio. He may not get all of them. But I think he will get the lion’s share – enough hopefully to defeat Trump in most of the rest of the primary states.
One thing seems certain (although you never can tell). If Rubio loses Florida, his home state. It’s over for him. The polls currently show Trump running 20 points ahead of him. Now things can change between now and then. Rubio claims that he has recently made some headway into Trump’s strength with the Republican voters which reduced his margin of victory last night. But I don't know if it’s enough to overtake Trump in Florida.
In my view, if Republicans are serious about stopping Trump, they need to find a way to rally around Rubio. Not Cruz. If that happens before the next primary, then Rubio has a shot. But if - in the more likely scernaio - that does not happen - Trump will very likely be the nominee of the Republican party. And the party itself will have changed to unrecognizable proportions. It will no longer be the party of Reagan. It will be the party of Trump.
What we are now witnessing has tremendous historical import. Trumps successful candidacy is as unlikely a story as one would ever find. You could not make this scenario up.
From practically the very moment he announced his candidacy, he seemed to be his own worst enemy. Making the kinds of statements that should have clearly ruled him out with the voters. Political pundits immediately ridiculed him and thought his candidacy was a joke that wouldn’t last 5 political minutes. No one could possibly support a guy like that. Media coverage of him was almost exclusively negative.
I too thought at the time that his candidacy was a joke and that he was un-electable. How in heaven’s name can a foul mouthed bigot get elected dog catcher, let alone President? Surely Repubican voters would agree and run in the opposite direction in any primary. I recall thinking that he would be so badly beaten in the very first primary and so embarrassed by it, that he would withdraw.
Was I ever wrong. And so was everyone else. I have tried to analyze his success in a number of ways. As I have mentioned the people voting for him don’t care what he is saying. They just want to shake things up. They have – and it ain’t over yet. But shaking things up is one thing. Doing it the ‘Trump’ way is something else. To my great surprise it appears that a lot of very fine people people don’t care how he’s doing it.
It also appears that Trump has managed to get support from two bigoted factions that are at opposite extremes of bigotry: Former Klansman David Duke and Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan. The only thing they have in common is their antisemitism. Don’t they know that Trump has a Jewish daughter and Jewish grandchildren? How does anyone appeal to both of these guys at the same time?
After thinking about this for awhile, I have come to the conclusion that Trump may be the most brilliant politician of all time. He has succeeded in uniting bigots of opposite ideologies to support him. He has increased voter turnout to unprecedented numbers. He thumbs his nose at everything and anybody that gets in his way. He is as politically incorrect as one can possibly be. And his supporters love him for it. The fact that every pundit and politician can’t stand him, seems to actually work in his favor.
That Trump has no policy positions doesn’t matter. They see him as the solution to the problem. They believe him when he says he will make America great again. They see him as someone that will get things done despite an unwilling congress. Whether that is even possible doesn’t seem to enter their minds. They see a successful billionaire and think he will have the same kind of success as President. That if anyone keeps his promises, he will. He will not owe anyone anything. He will walk into office free to do as he pleases.
They also realize is that Trump is not really a bigot. He in fact has no history of any bigotry in his past. All of his rhetoric to the contrary is to get attention. And attention he gets in spades. He is at the center of political gravity these days. It doesn’t matter that his publicity is so negative. His supporters don’t care. They think he will be a different man when he becomes President. They believe that once in office he will get the best people to advise him on how to carry out his agenda. So it doesn’t matter at all that he has no policy about anything right now. That will come later, once he is in office.
The world may be laughing at us now. But if he ends up as President, no one will be laughing. Least of all me.
I have been saying that Clinton will win in a landslide if Trump is her opponent. But I am no longer sure about that. I believe most of my readers are pretty intelligent people. Those that are voting in my poll are probably a representative sample of the whole. If the poll I am running on my blog has anything at all to say about it, Clinton is a goner. Trump is currently ahead 56% to Hillary’s 43%.