More and more, the speculation is it will be Clinton vs. Trump in November. Personally, I’m not so sure. Email-gate is a long way from over and, even if it is, the predictions are all premised on static levels of relative popularity for Clinton and Sanders, while the reality is anything but. For more on that, check this piece in Jacobin. And Trump is by no means a shoe-in, with every Republican except Chris Christie out to take him down.
But let’s say it is Clinton vs. Trump. Consider the fundamentals.
When you put aside your distaste for Trump, the fundamentals are not pretty. Yes, Trump has said some scurrilous things on a number of fronts. I personally would never vote for him. But I’m a tax lawyer, not a factory worker. There are millions of Americans, factory workers among them, hanging on by their fingernails, and millions more who have lost that tenuous hold on financial capacity. Some have lost the ability to earn a livelihood. Some feel on the verge of it. Virtually all have friends and family members whose jobs have been lost to “free trade.”
When they have a choice between a candidate who never saw a trade agreement she didn’t like, and a blowhard telling them he’ll stick it to the countries they’ve lost their jobs to, there’s a likelihood they’ll gamble on the blowhard. And who could question that decision? It’s eminently logical.
And how would Clinton overcome the loss of those voters who normally would vote Democratic? By winning the demographics that already vote Democratic, but with a smaller turnout than when they voted for a candidate they actually liked? By converting some of the tax-hating Republicans who dislike Trump’s persona, as if that’s more significant to them than a lower tax rate? By persuading those deep, open-minded thinkers on the religious right that they have it wrong on abortion and LGBT rights?
Does that leave Clinton without a path to victory? Absolutely not. She’ll have a very clear path to victory: winning ugly. She’ll trot out every embarrassing statement from Trump’s past and she’ll expose every business mistake he’s made, all in a blitzkrieg of devastating 30 second spots and a massive social media campaign.
There’s a ton of material there. She’ll very likely win.
With the assistance of the establishment of both parties and the mainstream media.
On one level, there’s nothing wrong with such an approach. Fear mongering is justified if the fears being mongered are fears we should have. And, yes, Americans should damn well fear a Trump presidency.
But that strategy, as justifiable as it may be, will leave us with an already angry mob of Trump supporters even more angry.
And all ready to support the improved, 2020 version of Donald Trump, whoever that turns out to be.