Donald Trump and the GOP Part One: Can Trump Win in 2016?

This is a three part report on Trump, his impact, and finally, Trump, conservatism and his voters. The first part deals with whehter Trump can win short of economic collapse or Clinton's indictment, and even an indictment may not be enough.

Can Donald Trump win the 2016 election? There are many pundits agreeing that Trump can win and the reasons are as follows:

  1. Hillary Clinton is a weak candidate with plenty of flaws.
  2. Trump has an ability to reach blue collar workers who may have registered as Democrats or independents but are willing to vote Republican.
  3. Trump can make inroads among blacks.

All of these are valid arguments and before the South Carolina primary, I was among those who saw Trump’s way to victory, but my own thesis made it clear that Trump was the weakest candidate. What has happened since the South Carolina primary that has changed the dynamics for Trump? Among those items include:

  1. He traveled into 9/11 truther territory and opposed the Bush foreign policy from the left of Bernie Sanders.
  2. He had two rough debates with Cruz and Rubio combining forces while nailing Trump with many of his vulnerabilities including Trump University, his business record, his hiring of illegals, and the use of visas to bring in guest workers.
  3. He has changed key immigrations planks and the exposure of a New York Times off the record interview shows that he may not be as serious about immigration reforms as he tells his supporters.
  4. The Trump University scam was exposed. Trump will be involved in a civil case and the evidence is strong enough to have a hearing about Trump defending himself against an army of dissatisfied students. This is one issue that can be diffused. Clinton's own legal problems and the media will be far more interested in the Trump University scam than Clinton influenced peddling and her email scandals. (Don’t forget that  most of the media are nothing more than Democratic operatives with a byline.)
  5. His non-disavowal of David Duke and the KKK on a weekend interview program was proceeded by a weak disavowal the day before. Regardless of any future disavowal, this weekend program will be the feature of many future ads on black media. Thus ends the Trump opportunity among black voters.
  6. He retweeted white supremacist tweets and allowed white supremacist radio broadcasters press passes at his rallies and even allowed his sons to be interviewed by at least one of them. Refer to point 5.
  7. Trump did not show up at CPAC, sending a message to conservatives that he can live without them.
  8. The growth of the Never Trump movement in which many conservatives have decided that Trump is not a conservative represents  an equally greater threat to his chances

Many pundits still view Trump as a possible winner against Clinton, but I no longer believe that Trump can win the general election unless an economic collapse occurs or another 9/11 happens on our soil. Trump's campaign worked perfectly against a multiple field of oppositions and his game plan is similar to German blitzkrieg strategy in World War II where the Germans' lightening war gained impressive victories, but once the Germans were forced into a war of attrition against the combined forces of the Allies, they eventually wilted. Trump's blitzkrieg is over and now he is the battle of attrition not just with the reminder of the Republicans but also the Democratic machine and Hillary Clinton. From this point, organization and money become important along with strategy and discipline, the latter in which Trump is missing in spades.

There are certain realities about the numbers coming in. The first reality is that winning the nomination and primaries are not the same as being able to win the General. Just ask President Kerry, President McCain, and President Romney. While Trump is riding an anti-establishment wave with the Republicans, Democrats are happier with their establishment and Hillary Clinton, corruption and all, is the establishment candidate in this campaign. Trump has serious issues that are showing up. Here are the numbers that can’t be ignored:

  1. Trump is running behind where Romney finished among Hispanics which eliminates Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico from the Trump columns, states that Bush won and both McCain and Romney lost. Hispanics will play a key role in Florida along with blacks, and the good news for Trump is that Floridian Hispanics vote some ten to fifteen points higher than the national average due to the Cuban impact so he has a chance to salvage Florida. However, Arizona may end up in play due to Trump’s bad numbers among Hispanics.
  2. Trump has seen some polls showing good numbers among black voters including our data, but how long does this last due to Trump's own behavior over the past month. If Trump's support among blacks crater, then he is doomed.
  3. If Trump receives 15% of black voters while receiving Romney's numbers among Asians and Hispanics, Trump still needs a high percentage of white voters. According to Latino decisions evaluations, he will need 62% of white voters, according to Sean Trende's Real Clear Politics data, he will need 63% and Nate Silver's 538 data, he will need 60% of college educated whites and 64% of non-college educated whites. That is based on Trump doing better with black voters than Republicans have done since the Nixon landslide in 1972. A drop on black support from these numbers mean even higher white vote total.
  4. Trump has to exceed Republican numbers among white voters not obtained since 1984 and the Reagan landslide victory. George Bush received 55% of white voters in 2000 and 58% of white voters in 2004, but Bush exceeded both black and Hispanics vote percentage than McCain and Romney did in 2008 and 2012. The highest vote total for a Republican Presidential candidate in a Presidential election in this century was 59% in 2012 by Romney, and the highest for congressional elections has been 60%. The last time a GOP candidate exceeded 60% in a general election was in 1984 during Ronald Reagan's landslide victory over Walter Mondale.

As we can see, Trump needs numbers among white voters that haven’t been seen in over three decades and haven’t been reached in this century, and his need for at least 62% of white voters only works if he exceeds Republican numbers among black voters not seen since Nixon. It should be pointed out that winning popular votes don’t always translate to Electoral College votes and the presidency as Al Gore can attest to but win the popular vote, a candidate will win the Electoral College and the Presidency 95% of the time. Cruz, Kasich and Rubio all poll better against Clinton than Trump and that is not debatable. Cruz, who is the weaker candidate when compared to Kasich and Rubio, is a better national candidate than Trump. Short of an economic collapse or Hillary getting indicted (both a possibility), Trump can’t win the General Election, and he is the candidate most likely to ensure the biggest loss in the House and ensure a loss of the Senate. As it is, Trump is being tied to Republican senators by Democrats and the number of vulnerable Republican senators grow on a daily basis. Trump may win the nomination and his candidacy will ensure a Clinton victory and if victory matters in 2016, then Trump can’t be nominee.


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