Now that we’ve made it past the conventions and polls are bouncing up and down (mainly up for Clinton and down for Trump), I want to take a look at the groups that voters seem to be moving into. New surveys come out daily that show vast dissatisfaction with the state of the race.
According to recent CNN, CBS, and NBC polls, only 34% of Americans view Hillary Clinton as honest or trustworthy; but for Donald Trump, that number is only 35%. By a two-to-one margin, voters view Hillary Clinton as “qualified” for the presidency, but don’t see Donald Trump that way. Hillary Clinton is building a lead in swing states and nationwide that may be too much for Mr. Trump to overcome, especially when you take into account that the 2016 GOP Convention was the first time in the history of Gallup polling where viewers said they were LESS likely to vote for a candidate after tuning in. That’s harsh.
But where do people stand today and going forward? I would say in four groups, none of which gives Mr. Trump any real hope for the future…
This first group is the most obvious: the diehards. They’re not changing anything and they’re not going anywhere. These are the voters that Mr. Trump referred to when he said he could “shoot somebody” in the middle of New York City and not lose any votes. Make no mistake about it, voters like this exist on both sides of the aisle. If Hillary Clinton were indicted tomorrow, they’d vote for her and her federal prison-issued orange jumpsuit. If Donald Trump said he was a Christian-hating atheist that despised the US Military, these people would find a way to let him off the hook and still support him. Mr. Trump’s die-hard fans aren’t enough to carry him through though; his abysmal numbers with women, young voters, and Hispanics are enough to lose him the election in a landslide.
*Disclaimer: Do not EVER attempt a civil debate or discussion of ideas with the folks in this group. You will not win. To quote Mark Twain: “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”
These voters are dedicated, and they cannot shoulder the burden of sitting out an election. They will not stay home, and they view the race as a “binary choice”, and believe they must make one. They do not particularly care for either candidate, but they believe the other candidate is worse, so they’ve made their choice. In their eyes, the candidates are viewed as a COLLECTIVE, not separate individuals. They do not see Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. They see Donald Trump AND Hillary Clinton. They view each only as a foil to the other. Given another opponent, they might would even change their minds and switch their votes. Personally, I don’t understand these voters. They baffle me. Hillary Clinton doesn’t make Donald Trump any more qualified or acceptable, just as Donald Trump doesn’t make Hillary Clinton more qualified or acceptable. These voters have compromised the most. To be blunt about it: they’ve sold out their souls, and buried them under every shred of dignity they once had. They wouldn’t let their children or grandchildren act like either candidate, but they’re still going to vote for one of them. It’s nonsensical.
Ahh, the principled stalwarts. These voters will not give an inch. They are the converse of the voters in category two. They view each candidate individually, and are disgusted by each. There are powerhouses here: Mitt Romney, The Bush presidents, Ben Sasse, Bill Kristol, George Will, Erick Erickson, John Kasich, Ron Paul, etc. They view Hillary as a serial liar, with liberal policies, and see her as having disqualified herself from the presidency. They then look at Donald Trump and see a man with no grasp on basic foreign policy, without a single ounce of human decency, and wholly unqualified to hold the highest office in the land. Hillary’s emails are terrible. Donald’s statements about POW’s, minorities, women, and Gold Star military families are disgusting. These voters won’t compromise just for the sake of an election. The see Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton as equally dangerous, and won’t be party to either one leading this nation. These folks would have gladly voted for Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, or Chris Christie over Hillary. Those candidates would be leaving her in the dust on the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. (Now, they may cast a write-in or vote for Governor Johnson).
No. This is not what you think. This isn’t a group of voters jumping off a cliff instead of voting. This is a rhetorical/proverbial cliff. These are the voters (both known and anonymous, and mainly Republicans) across the country who are actually taking the plunge off the electoral cliff and voting for a candidate with whom their values do not align. This is the most interesting group to me, and one that seems to be growing. There are now numerous officials from the two Bush administrations, the Reagan administration, National Security groups, and economic chambers who are generally 99% conservative, but are pledging to go so far as to vote for Hillary Clinton. They view Donald Trump as so immeasurably dangerous to America that they will vote for a woman with whom they do not agree. Every week, someone else comes out and says that their party is asking too much of them, and they won’t go along with it. A longtime Republican strategist in Florida, a sitting Republican congressman from New York, and a former Republican candidate for governor in California (who was also the executive of eBay), and a man who served in the last THREE Republican administrations are just the latest examples. They see Hillary and Donald like the voters in category three do, but they believe that Secretary Clinton is at least a recognizable type of nefariousness, whereas Mr. Trump is a type of national horror that has no recognizable boundaries. So they’re doing something they never wanted to do, and they’re temporarily sacrificing party for the long-term good of the country. As was recently said about Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney, etc.: voters didn’t always agree with them, but they at least viewed them as capable of doing the job. Mr. Trump doesn’t fit that bill.
Play the odds here:
- There are more Democrats than Republicans
- Hillary has locked up her base, and is appealing to independent swing voters on issues like foreign policy
- #NeverTrump Republicans continue to be unimpressed with Donald Trump’s lack of policy ideas or grasp on any issue
- Donald Trump continues to make incendiary statements that alienate important voting groups
- Donald Trump has actually moved to the LEFT of Ms. Clinton on some foreign policy and economic issues (see NATO and infrastructure spending comments)
- Some Republicans are publicly jumping ship and saying they will vote for Hillary
So who do you think is going to be president-elect, come November? And who’s really to blame? Everyone paying attention saw this coming from a mile away. We’re rounding third, headed home, and Hillary Clinton is waiting at the plate.