Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Week Wraps Up With More Adventures Of Trumpy The Clown


Yesterday Trumpy the clown left the campaign trail to fly to his failing golf course in Scotland, driven soley by his business interests and unrelated for his crashing-and-burning presidential campaign. Wednesday the Washington Post reported that "[t]o many people in Scotland, his course here has been a failure. Over the past decade, Trump has battled with homeowners, elbowed his way through the planning process, shattered relationships with elected leaders and sued the Scottish government. On top of that, he has yet to fulfill the lofty promises he made. Trump has also reported to Scottish authorities that he lost millions of dollars on the project-- even as he claims on U.S. presidential disclosure forms that the course has been highly profitable.

At least Trump will have some time on the plane across the Atlantic to contemplate how he's going to fight--other than just bribing-- the growing Dump Trump movement breaking out among right-wing convention delegates. Ironically, the Republican Establishment is actually resigned to Trump's nomination and they're against the grassroots plots against him. Or at least that's the party line.

Or Trump could skip that and contemplate something else-- like the wipeout awaiting him. The latest predictions from Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia's Center For Politics. They forsee a crushing electoral college defeat for Trump-- 347-191. And they have no toss-up states! They show Hillary winning in all the traditional swing states: New Hampshire, Iowa, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Nevada and Virginia. If Sabato is correct and Hillary wants to play rough, the battleground states for 2016 will be Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Utah and Arizona, traditional GOP bastions.

Almost all the momentum-- Pennsylvania is the exception and Hillary is ahead there too-- is against Trump.

Currently, we show every Obama 2012 state at least leaning to Clinton, along with North Carolina, the one state won by Mitt Romney where we currently see a Democratic edge. Obama carried North Carolina in 2008 along with Indiana, a traditionally conservative state that has long been the most Republican state in the Midwest. If Clinton’s national lead does grow further, it’s far from impossible that she might be able to carry Indiana, as well as Missouri, which Obama did not carry in either of his elections. But as of now, we think that is unlikely, and Trump remains the favorite in both.

Two Republican-leaning states where Democratic chances might be better are Arizona and Georgia. Both states typically vote several points more Republican than the nation, but they are both becoming more diverse: Arizona has a growing Hispanic population that will in all likelihood be quite hostile to Trump, an anti-immigration hardliner, while Georgia has a significant and deeply Democratic bloc of African-American voters as well as a growing, educated, white-collar professional class that might be turned off by Trump. While Trump is still a favorite in both places, we see Clinton having the potential to grab one or both if she ends up winning a big national victory, so we’re moving Arizona and Georgia from Likely Republican to Leans Republican.

Our ratings are premised to a large degree on a belief that we are not going to see dramatic changes in the electoral performance of the states this year. In other words, we think the states that have been the most Democratic in recent elections will continue to be among the most Democratic, the most Republican states will continue to be the most Republican, and the states that have voted closest to the national average in recent elections-- the swing states-- will continue to reflect the national average.

...We’re moving [Utah] from Safe Republican to Likely Republican.

Several 2016 polls have shown the state to be competitive. While Utah is very Republican, it also stands apart from other states because of its heavy Mormon population (58% of the state, according to the American Values Atlas), a religious group whose members were notably cool to Trump during the primary season. (Trump only got 14% in the state’s caucus, held on March 22.) Ultimately, Utah seems most unlikely to vote Democratic for president, but Trump could wildly underperform there and bleed votes to Johnson’s Libertarian ticket or perhaps someone else-- the independent filing deadline is Aug. 15. The reasons for Trump’s troubles with Mormons are legion, according to BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins, including his apparent hostility to religious freedom (his proposal to at least temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States) and hardline anti-immigration message. Additionally, Coppins argues, “pitchfork populism doesn’t hold the same visceral appeal for a religious community with above-average education levels, relatively stable families, and comfortable middle-class incomes.” Perhaps more important, if Trump does indeed perform poorly with Mormons, it could also hurt him in more competitive states such as Utah’s neighbors (Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada). These are places with above-average Mormon populations where Trump’s potential underperformance with Hispanics may do him further harm.

If most of the Sanders vote is gradually re-absorbed into the Democratic column-- a reasonable expectation-- Clinton will get a boost of a couple percentage points nationally and in swing-state polling. Should the Democratic convention be a harmonious show-- not a certainty-- and Clinton’s choice for VP be well-received across the party and nation, Clinton’s poll gains should harden.

The same thing could happen for Trump, of course, but party unity within the Republican family is a non-starter. Two former presidents (both Bushes), the previous party nominee (Romney), and a host of other top GOP officials, donors, and commentators will never get on the Trump bandwagon. News media coverage is bound to stress who does not come to Cleveland, not just who does. It’s also doubtful that senior officials who have been publicly lukewarm about Trump are suddenly going to start singing his praises in or after Cleveland. They know that on any given day, some new or renewed Trump controversy could force them to stand down and backtrack.

The watchword for much of the party establishment is extreme wariness, although we’re skeptical of a possible coup attempt in Cleveland. As much as many Republicans dislike Trump and fear he will lead to catastrophic losses in the fall, he won the nomination fair and square, and previous attempts to derail the Trump train have failed. If Trump isn’t the nominee, who would it be? The anti-Trump forces have no candidate to rally around, and they almost certainly couldn’t agree on one. Bluntly put, the GOP is stuck with Trump. And a substitute nominee, should one be installed somehow, would be asked to lead a viciously divided party with no real chance of victory.

Nothing here or anywhere is carved into stone in a most unorthodox presidential year. We recognize that Clinton has loads of weaknesses, too. Personally, she isn’t much liked or trusted. She’s also heavily dependent upon President Obama’s job approval, and thus must fear a reversal of his majority standing. Obama’s ratings could take a nosedive on account of a surprise recession or more domestic terrorism. And as we all know, Clinton might face the email music, courtesy of the FBI at an inopportune time. Scandals and controversies are part of the Clinton tapestry over a quarter-century in national politics. Why would 2016 be any different?
Let's ignore this as much as possible and think about something just as important-- fighting for a more progressive Congress, one dedicated to the interests of ordinary working families, rather than to wealthy special interests and to its own members' career trajectories.
Goal Thermometer

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