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Weak! Weak! Weak! Trump Pulls Even With Clinton

Weak! Weak! Weak! I’d keep listing ‘Weak!’, but I fear I would tumble off my chair dead from hunger or exhaustion before sufficiently listing how weak Secretary Hillary Clinton actually is as the democratic nominee.

It’s not just my opinion. Polling across multiple agencies are forming a clear consensus. If the Democratic Party wants to defeat Donald Trump in the general, its best chance lies in supporting Bernie Sanders. Recent polls by Reuters and Rasmussen find Clinton and Trump to be in a dead heat. In the crucial battleground states of Florida and Pennsylvania, a new Quinnipiac Poll finds Trump and Clinton to be in a statistical tie. Worst still, Trump is besting Secretary Clinton by 4 in Ohio! And every poly sci schoolboy knows, a Republican has never taken the White House without winning Ohio. The man has openly discussed throwing women in prison for abortion and has called nearly all immigrating Hispanics rapist and drug runners – it’s telling that Clinton’s appeal to the American public is so weak she only draws even with a person Public Policy Polling found was LESS popular than head lice. 

Four key metrics in the data explains Clinton’s problem: favorability, trustworthiness, empathy, and independents.

  1. Favorability.  In all three states, Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania, Clinton’s negatives are at least 20 points higher than her positives, spiking to a remarkably bad 28 in Ohio. These statewide numbers are consistent with national polls that show Clinton is literally, the most disliked candidate the Democratic establishment has ever tried to hoist to the nomination.  Gallup finds Clinton’s favorability among Democrats dropping like a stone nearly 30 points from just November to a new low of 36 percent in April.  
  2. Trustworthiness. Trump has decades experience convincing people to lose money in his failed business pursuits. That “talent” has served him well in this electoral cycle. Trump lies as effortlessly as most people breath and yet, people still believe he is more honest than Hillary Clinton by nearly 10 points in each of the three battleground states.  The poll is consistent with a January Washington Post/ABC News polls showing only 36% of respondents finding her trustworthy.
  3. Empathy. When asked if Trump or Clinton cared about the needs and problems of ordinary people, Clinton only scored marginally better than the authoritarian flamboyant billionaire.
  4. Independents: Of all the troubling trends, an inability to appeal to independents could spell outright disaster for the Clinton campaign. She only manages to split the independents in Florida, and she’s losing it by 3 points in Ohio, a statistical tie. Hillary is also losing a significant number of Sanders supporters, of which I include myself in that number. Rasmussen noted that 24% of people would stay home on election day in a Trump v Clinton match up. Low turnout nearly always favors the Republican candidate. She has an even larger fire in West Virginia where half of the citizens that voted for Sanders say they’ll vote Trump in the general election if Sanders fails in his bid for the nomination. Like I said, outright disaster.

Senator Sanders has trounced Trump in every poll going back months, including being ahead of each of the swing states. He is also ahead in all of the listed categories; the most impressive advantage is by far with independents. In some states, he takes Independents by 60 points!  It needs to be noted, no candidate has ever taken the White House without winning two of the following three aforementioned states : PA, FL, or OH.  It makes the slew of recent polling that much more worrying. We’re 6 months out, but the current polling is taken under the backdrop of Trump at his most hideous to win the primaries. That particular knuckle-drager however will not be person she faces in the general. Trump has already walked back his most notorious comments on abortion, banning Muslims – he has even “evolved” on supporting a raise in the minimum wage. She will encounter the odd problem of a Democrat having a Republican attack her from the left on trade policy and militaristic adventurism.

The wider issue for Clinton, and for that matter the Democratic Party, is more fundamental than any particular number in the data. It speaks more to the overall trend of negative public sentiment towards what it means to be a 2016 Democrat. Simply put, the jig is up. The public knows. It takes cash to get elected, Democrats slid to the right to make themselves more appealing to rich donors for that cash, losing their souls in transit and leaving a large part of their base in the rear as independents.  The shrewd assumption of the party being they can take billions, but use progressive rhetoric to conceal right wing policies. Even if the people are aware enough to nail them on it, what are you going to do, vote Republican?

In this election cycle with distrust and outright contempt of Washington at a fever pitch – yes! A lot of people are! Or they’ll vote third party. Or they’ll just stay home, which is almost as ruinous. A large share of Senator Sanders supporters are independents; the youth who are known to be flaky (no offense) and a body of people that weren’t originally part of the political process before Sanders entered the running.

The lightning in a bottle Bernie Sanders has captured is nothing short of a repudiation of what commonly goes for “Democrat”. Obama did get re-elected in 2012 but Republicans not only took the House and the Senate, they also took 70% of the state legislative seats in the country. The entire point of the Democratic party is to represent the poor and middle class, roughly 98% of the population. If establishment Democrats are losing nearly 3/4ths of the elections, they’re doing something wrong. Assuming Clinton limps to the general, she will have demographic advantages, but in this electoral climate, the data is clear. This could be the worst electoral debacle in U.S. history.