Trump Vs Clinton

We are seeing an even race between Trump and Clinton.  At this time in 2008, McCain and Obama were within .7 percent of each other according to the Real Clear Politics; similar to where we are today in which Trump is .2 up on Clinton.  Every election has its own pace and what happens in 2008 may not be repeated over the next few months. This is an election in which the unexpected has happened and I suspect that more is left to come.

A few observations on the recent collapse of Hillary Clinton's numbers are in order as I suspect that there are two reasons for the implosion. The first is that voters are giving Hillary Clinton a second look and they don’t like what they see. The second is like in 2008, McCain had clinched the nomination whereas Obama and Clinton were still competing. Hillary is still locked in a race with Bernie Sanders but unlike 2008, Sanders represents a different challenge for Hillary than what Hillary provided for Obama.  In 2008, when Hillary said goodbye to the race, her supporters were ready to fall in line but in 2016, it is not certain if Sanders’ supporters will fall in line.  If there is a difference between 2008 and 2016, that difference is that Sanders’ supporters are part of a frustrated generation who view that they have been ripped off by the establishment and if there is a candidate who is a pure establishment; it is Hillary Clinton.

Both candidates have flaws and they have problems going into the General election.  For Trump, the good news is that he has closed the gap on Clinton both in the Real Clear Politics average and in the Electoral College. The other good news is that the GOP is coalescing around Trump, so part of his gains is due to Republicans preparing to vote for their guy; even if they are holding their nose. 

Some polls have Trump actually gaining among the Democratic base as there are polls showing Trump making inroads among black voters compared to past Republicans.  Two polls this past month have Trump garnering 13-15% support among black voters which means he is running ahead of where Republicans normally are. 10% of Black voters are undecided and another 4% thinking of voting for a third candidate.  If 10% blacks are undecided, they are not thinking of voting Republicans but simply staying home.  A reduction in black turnout in states such as Ohio hurts Hillary in key battleground states.

It does not help Hillary Clinton that she is averaging fewer than 60% among Hispanic voters.  This is less due to Donald Trump gaining inroads as 15% of Hispanics are either thinking of voting for a third party candidate or undecided. 

In looking at the Real Clear Politics, there are states Obama carried listed as toss ups including Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Florida, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico and Virginia.  In the case of Florida, Virginia, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and Ohio, these states were carried by Bush in 2004 so there exists the possibility that Trump could carry a few of them.  There is no GOP path to victory without Ohio or Florida going GOP but if Trump carries Ohio, Florida, Virginia Iowa and New Hampshire while keeping those states that Romney won; Trump will win the election.

As Trump, he has own problems beginning with Trump ratings among White voters.  The highest poll numbers among White voters is 57% and he is averaging 51% among polls done this past month with 13% undecided or thinking Third Party.  States like Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina are considered toss ups and any loss of those states will cripple Trump’s chances of winning. 

Trump’s biggest threat could be a third party. While some within the conservative movement and Republican Party just as Mitt Romney have failed so far in finding a candidate, there is one threat that already exists: The Libertarian Party.  Gary Johnson is an experienced governor of a blue state and a successful businessman in his own rights and he could provide the alternative for some anti-Trump voters on the right.  If the Koch brothers chose to fund Johnson with any significant funding, Johnson could hurt Trump’s chances of winning but he also could throw the election into the House of Representatives; thus denying Clinton an outright Electoral College victory.  In various polls, third party candidates have amassed as much 20% and Johnson received 10% in the most recent Fox poll

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are unlikable candidates with the highest unfavorability ever for major Party nominees.  They are flawed candidates with many voters who view themselves holding their nose in supporting their Party nominee. 

In 2008, a close election was turned into a rout when Lehman Brothers collapsed and if a similar event whether a major stock sell off due to some bad economic news or a 9/11 on our soil could affect the election and turn this election into a rout.  A third Party candidate could turn this into another 1992 in which Ross Perot allowed Bill Clinton to win the election.  More drama is left before we know who will be the President-elect. 

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