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Could Crazy Donald Trump Actually Win The Presidency?

538-electoral-map-20160723

Like many, I spent months denying that Donald Trump, an obvious clown running on a platform of saying whatever fool thing came to mind, could win the Republican presidential nomination. Now that he’s officially been anointed in the most bizarre national convention in my memory, it would seem obvious that he’s going to get trounced in November. But maybe I’m misjudging the American public once again?

The overwhelming share of the Republican-leaning professionals I know in real life or connect with on Twitter and Facebook have long since rejected Trump, either outright endorsing Hillary Clinton or opting for Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson as a compromise. But they’re mostly foreign policy and national security professionals or 30-something activists who are uniquely immune to Trump’s fact-free hatemongering.

Nate Silver, who’s both very much a liberal Democrat but also one of the best numbers-based analysts of polling trends, warns against complacency.

A convention and acceptance speech that were almost universally panned as something between a “shit show” and “dumpster fire” by the folks I follow on Twitter has nonetheless yielded the traditional bounce in the polls.  The latest Reuters/Ipsos results:

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has pulled nearly even with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for the first time since May, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken over the course of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week.

The July 18-22 national online poll found that 41 percent of likely voters supported Clinton, while 38 percent supported Trump. Given the poll’s credibility interval of about 4 percentage points, Trump and Clinton should be considered to be about even in the race.

Just before Republicans opened the convention on Monday, Trump had trailed Clinton by nearly 10 percentage points in the poll.

The latest RealClearPolitics average has Clinton up only 2.7%–and that includes the old Reuters/Ipsos poll.  My guess is that it’ll be closer to a dead heat by the time the Democratic convention kicks off on Monday, with Clinton presumably regaining some if not all of the loss with her own bounce.

Now, of course, we don’t elect presidents by popular vote but rather via the odd mechanism of the Electoral College. While the two almost always come out the same, the dynamics of this contest may make it an exception. The bicoastal elites’ rejection of Trump will widen the traditional Democratic lead in major states like California and New York without yielding any advantage in the race to 270.

Silver’s analysis gives Clinton what appears to be a sizable lead, with a 58.7% chance of winning to Trump’s 41.3%.  But his model—which is before the convention bounce—only gives her 289.1 electoral votes to his 248.1 (no, they can’t be split; he’s doing probabilities, not predictions).  In the closest states, the margins are very thin indeed:

538-tipping-points-20160723

And, again, the weird dynamics of the Electoral College mean very narrow swings in a handful of states could radically urn the outcome. All votes aren’t created equal.

Two measures help capture how important a state and its voters will be in determining the next president: “Tipping-point chance” is the probability that a state will provide the decisive vote in the Electoral College. “Voter power index” is the relative likelihood that an individual voter in a state will determine the Electoral College winner.

538-tipping-point-probability-20160723

We’ve long become accustomed to Florida and Ohio having outsized influence and this year will be no different. Several Rust Belt states will also be in especial play this year.

Based on the current modeling, Silver assigned a 36.8% probability to Trump winning the popular vote, compared to only 14.1% to the Clinton landslide that seems to me the obvious outcome.

My intuition keeps telling me that Trump will implode. That the American public will reject putting this lunatic in control of our nuclear weapons. The polling however, shows that he’s still got a real chance.

 

 

 

 

 

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Jenos Idanian says:

    OK, folks, that’s your cue to start denouncing the “tyranny of the electoral college” and start calling for a national popular vote. Which is pretty much the go-to argument when your candidate might not win by the standards that have been around for centuries and everyone who knows anything about politics knows by heart.

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  2. Pch101 says:

    Given the nature of the electoral college map, we can have both a close popular vote and an electoral vote landslide. And I suspect that will be the case this time.

    November is a long ways away in electoral terms, but I will guess that the map will be a repeat of 2012, with the possible exception of Ohio being flipped to the Republicans. White males will trend Republican as they usually do, but women and minorities will keep Trump from winning.

    It will be interesting to see whether Republicans defect to Clinton at higher rates than normal. If that figure is a fair amount above 10%, then Trump will probably deserve the blame.

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  3. Jen says:

    Third parties are having a real impact on polling here in NH. Greens/Stein polling at around 5%, Johnson/Libertarians are at 10%. Clinton and Trump are practically even, and both remain under the 40% mark.

    I think that this will likely remain the case through the election. NH has a significant Libertarian presence, due to the Free State movement. Unless there’s a gap in turnout, it definitely could be a squeaker here.

    I am sufficiently unnerved at this point–I hate Trump and everything he stands for, but am not holding my breath that his supporters will come to their senses.

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  4. Tony W says:

    @Jenos Idanian: It certainly was not top of mind for me. Don’t think it generally makes much difference in the outcome – with Bush vs. Gore as the notable recent exception.

    So, aside from tradition, I am unaware of any arguments in favor of retaining the electoral college. Care to enlighten us all on its merits?

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  5. Tyrell says:

    Things are different this time. Over half of both party members are dissatisfied. Many people are talking write in, or third party. Anyone but the above. Some reports are giving third party Johnson close to 20 %. The usual predictors, polls, and studies may very well be inaccurate and invalid in this strange year.
    I do think that 3rd man Johnson should be included in the debates. If he is excluded, we will hear the fix is on.
    How about Kaine ? A nice, honest man with good experience -certainly capable of serving as president. But not an exciting speaker. This was the Clinton “safe” choice.

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  6. Jen says:

    @Tyrell: Johnson will be included if he meets the established criteria, which are:

    Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) regulations require a debate sponsor to make its candidate selection decisions on the basis of “pre-established, objective” criteria. After a thorough and wide-ranging review of alternative approaches to determining who is invited to participate in the general election debates it will sponsor, the CPD adopted on October 28, 2015 its 2016 Non-Partisan Candidate Selection Criteria. Under the 2016 Criteria, in addition to being Constitutionally eligible, candidates must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning a majority vote in the Electoral College, and have a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations’ most recently publicly-reported results at the time of the determination. The polls to be relied upon will be selected based on the quality of the methodology employed, the reputation of the polling organizations and the frequency of the polling conducted. CPD will identify the selected polling organizations well in advance of the time the criteria are applied.

    Kaine is a good, solid choice. Clinton is sending a message here: that she is predictable. That isn’t a bad thing in this election, given her irrational and wildly unpredictable opponent.

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  7. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    OK, folks, that’s your cue to start denouncing the “tyranny of the electoral college” and start calling for a national popular vote.

    Believe it or not, most people’s first instinct isn’t to jump full steam ahead into bad arguments.

    Context, Jenos, context. Of course, Nate Silver is reminding everyone it’s going to be close. Just a few weeks ago he was saying Clinton had an 80% chance of winning.

    While it’s not that surprising that Trump’s chances have gone up from 20% to 41% based on Silver’s model, I am somewhat surprised that several of the “close” states -FL, VA, OH, IA, all states Romney won- lean Dem.

    Which states can Trump flip?

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  8. Pch101 says:

    @Tony W:

    The president represents both the people and the states, not just the people. It’s not a coincidence that the number of electors equals the number of members of the Senate and the House (with 3 added for DC).

    Much of the Constitution was structured to address the concerns of low population states. Hence, there is a senate in which all states are equal and that can prevent the House from passing legislation unilaterally. Those concerns are just as valid today as they were in the 18th century.

    Along those lines, the electoral college was intended to ensure that a president would not be a favored local son who was popular for the sake of it or who would serve his home state’s interests at the expense of the country as a whole. Federalist 68:

    Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States.

    The electoral college was part of the checks-and-balances system. It’s not enough to be popular in one corner of the country; it is necessary to build more support than that before coming president.

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  9. James Joyner says:

    @Jenos Idanian: The weirdness of the Electoral College system worked out in my favor in 2000 but I’ve been against it pretty much ever since. It really makes no sense in the modern United States.

    @Pch101: I understand the original rationale. But, first, we’re no longer employing the system intended by the Framers. We have direct democracy followed by indirect democracy vice having the state legislatures picking electors. And, second, the states haven’t in going on a century now been what they once were. People are mobile now and have much more knowledge of national politics than they do state and local politics. Most people can name the president’s dog; few can name their state senator.

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  10. Pch101 says:

    @James Joyner:

    If your position is correct, then why not take it to its logical conclusion and dump the Senate and the presidency entirely? We can just have the House speaker take on the role of US prime minister.

    (For the sake of this discussion, let’s forget for the moment that I personally have zero desire to have Paul Ryan running the country.)

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  11. Hal_10000 says:

    Of course he can win. Did you see the insane person elected in the Philippines? Did you see the Brexit vote. One of the few comforts of being conservative-libertarian is that you’re never really disappointed by the masses. They can and frequently do make bad decisions. I too find it hard to believe that Trump with his insane ramblings and lack of ground game, could win. His recent comments on the Baltics was one of the most dangerous things I’ve ever heard a politician say (and something the Right would be going absolutely ape about if Clinton said it).

    But Clinton is proving both unpopular and a poor campaigner. The path to victory for Clinton, as P.J. O’Rourke said, is to play up the broccoli angle. Trump is junk food. Clinton is broccoli — sensible, boring and unlikely to give us a national heart attack.

    It’s not early any more, but we’re still not quite there. We’ll have a clearer view of the race in a few weeks. If it’s still close then, it will be time to panic.

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  12. humanoid.panda says:

    Sorry to pee on the horce race party, but for a major candidate to be 4 points behind and in the 30s immediately after his convention is a calamity of unprecedented proportions. (though given Reuters’ democratic spin this cycle, it could mean the race is more or less tied- still a calamity immediately after the convention.)

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  13. humanoid.panda says:

    @Jen:

    Third parties are having a real impact on polling here in NH. Greens/Stein polling at around 5%, Johnson/Libertarians are at 10%. Clinton and Trump are practically even, and both remain under the 40% mark.

    I would be very, very surprised if libertarians and Greens get more than 5% of national vote together. NH might be a bit different because it has very high levels of political involvement and ideological libertarians, but nealry all people who say they will vote 3rd party will either sit it out or vote for the major parties.

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  14. Grumpy Realist says:

    I guess we’ll see what percentage of the US population is willing to be conned by a huckster. Because that is what Trump is. He hasn’t released his income tax returns, he hasn’t provided any specifics on how any of his “plans” will be implemented; he’s surrounded himself with a rabble of con men and conspiracy theorists–and a sizable percentage of the US population thinks this is just dandy. It’s as if they WANT to be fleeced.

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  15. Jen says:

    @humanoid.panda: Oh, absolutely. I agree–and NH is definitely different. I was more addressing the concept of a close EC vote, and the fact that NH is considered a swing state. Part of the very interesting dynamic here are the congressional races. We have two seats, and both of them are competitive and have a tendency to swing back and forth between R and D. One seat (2nd CD) is slightly more liberal, but bottom line is that incumbents aren’t really “safe” here. The competitive races, the state’s history of political involvement, and the first primary all combine for a pretty active electorate. Add to that the influx of Libertarians from the Free State movement, and it makes for a less predictable outcome, which again, would possibly make for an interesting electoral college outcome–in NH.

    We also have an interesting mix of voters. Independent-minded conservatives who love Trump (there are a lot of huge, stationary signs in people’s yards, and I’ve seen his name painted on the side of farm trailers, etc.) are in the more rural areas. But, we also have a lot of residents in the southern part of the state who work in MA and moved here for the less expensive real estate–these folks are decidedly more liberal. Plus the Hanover/Dartmouth area on the west side of the state. And, there’s still a fairly entrenched group that remains bitter over Sanders (the Wikileaks release yesterday did not help–my Facebook feed is full of SEE – I TOLD YOU SO-type rants; many of them are also upset about the choice of Kaine). I think that some of them will stick with Stein through the bitter end.

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  16. James Joyner says:

    @Pch101: I’m not sure I don’t prefer a parliamentary system. It wouldn’t produce, for example, a Paul Ryan as Prime Minister. I like having some checks and balances in the system, but it’s possible that a written Constitution and powerful judiciary would be enough. I don’t mind features like the filibuster in theory, in that I think big changes shouldn’t be done with a small minority; but, of late, simple legislation has taken on “big changes” status and nothing gets done. That’s unhealthy.

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  17. CSK says:

    @Grumpy Realist:

    I don’t think it’s wanting to be fleeced so much as it is wanting desperately for Daddy Trump to wave his magic wand and make all the problems go away. That desperate need, of course, is what sets them up to be conned, and Trump knows that.

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  18. Pch101 says:

    @James Joyner:

    I’m not sure I don’t prefer a parliamentary system. It wouldn’t produce, for example, a Paul Ryan as Prime Minister.

    Westminster (or most specifically, the Conservative Party) may have just produced a constitutional crisis with the Brexit vote, which is thus far akin to the shutdown threat that we had but on steroids.

    Or you can have a parliamentary system ala Weimar that created so much fragmentation that there was no way to keep a highly motivated destructive party (of course, I’m referring to the Nazis) out of power.

    Federalism is that deal that was made in order to turn the US into a real, functioning country, so I’m inclined to keep it if only because the alternatives are worse. The American federal system suffers from a lot of problems and it may not export well, but it is probably the US’ best option.

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  19. Grumpy Realist says:

    @CSK: I wonder whether there isn’t a little “yeah, I know Trump is going to bring the whole thing down, but I don’t care. Just as long as he sticks it to THEM.”

    Which is really stupid, because if anyone’s going to make out like bandits from a disaster, it’s going to be the 1%. They’ll sell at the top, short the stock market as it crashes and buy back at the bottom, laughing all the way.

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  20. stonetools says:

    @Jen:

    I think the third party percentages will fade away , in light of the threat of a President Trump. Liberals also remember the 2000 disaster, which means that a Stein leaning progressive is going to think hard about “sending a message ” by voting for Stein, think some more , and vote Hillary.
    My prediction of the popular vote will be Clinton 51%, Trump 43%, Johnson 5%, Stein 1%. Clinton wins with the Obama coalition and reproduces the Obama 2012 map, picking up North Carolina and (maybe) Arizona.
    Now if some sort of economic disaster or major terrorist strike happens, all bets are off and we may see Herr President Drumpf . But if things trend as they are I see a Clinton win and the Democratic Senate majority. (Trump drags down the Republicans down-ticket).

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  21. CSK says:

    @Grumpy Realist:

    Oh, absolutely the desire to stick it to “the elites” is a giant motivating factor for the Trumpkins. And yes, a fair number of them have said that they don’t care if the country is destroyed as long as the people they refer to with heavy sarcasm as their “betters” are the first to go.

    Trump supporters aren’t about ideology; they’re about revenge.

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  22. MarkedMan says:

    There are two things that really worry me. First, just based on my personal experience, whenever a flamboyant but dangerously unqualified candidate runs for any statewide or national office, the polls consistently underestimate their final tally. Second, and this may be related to the first, I don’t think people like us (politically involved) realize how little competence and qualifications enter into the voting choices of a very significant portion of the electorate. When these people pull the lever for Marion Barry or Donald trump, my guess is that it has more to do with sticking their finger in the eye of people they hold in contempt, I.e. the press and current office holders.

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  23. stonetools says:

    @James Joyner:

    +1 for a parliamentary system, for the US, if we could turn back time

    @Pch101:

    A lot of successful parliamentary democracies out there (Canada, Australia, Germany). Apart from the USA, few thriving presidential democracies. See also this Vox article.

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  24. Pch101 says:

    @stonetools:

    The Aussies had a major constitutional crisis in 1975, and the latest series of turnovers of PMs has been far from tranquil.

    Canadian confederation allows the Quebec separatism issue to keep rearing its ugly head periodically (although it does have the upside of making housing in Montreal cheap by Canadian standards, since property ownership in an independent Quebec would probably be far from awesome.)

    The rise of the far right in Europe is due in part to the ability of fringe parties to win seats, which is something that they can’t do here. (On the other hand, we have a major party that is being turned into a coalition of craziness, which isn’t anything to brag about.)

    In post-war Germany, the center-right formed a coalition in order to keep another far-right party from being able to make headway, which was a wise move on their part. (Germans may like social programs, but they otherwise aren’t exactly a bunch of raving liberals; they need a right-leaning outlet.)

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  25. Anjin-san says:

    @ James – this is the logical conclusion of 21st century republican politics. You can’t say that all of have not been warning you for many years.

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  26. MBunge says:

    It was easy to see that Trump could win and you didn’t need any fancy math to do so.

    Take the 2012 results. Imagine Hispanic turnout going up. Now imagine black turnout down a bit (voting for the first black President has got to be different than voting for an old white lady), progressive turnout down a bit more and youth turnout down a little more than that. Now imagine Trump doing better with working class whites than Romney.

    Bang. Trump wins.

    Now, there’s a lot of imagining needed there but none of it is impossible or even all that improbable. And if the Dems had nominated someone other than Hillary, Trump’s chances would likely be zero but the same is true for Hillary if the GOP had nominated someone other than Trump.

    Mike

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  27. CSK says:

    @MBunge:

    I’ll buy that Trump will do better than Romney with working class white males, though when you hear them say “Trump’s one of us” you have to marvel at their capacity for self-delusion. But what about more affluent, educated, professionally employed whites, particularly women? Trump may be losing more than he gains.

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  28. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos Idanian: It would seem to me that your team should be the one’s clamoring for election by popular vote considering the make up of Congress, party in leadership by state, and such. This particular year, I can understand why you’re not so anxious for it, though.

    “Accroche-toi a ton reve.” (Apologies to the members of the thread for the spelling, I don’t have the codes to put the accents in the right places.)

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  29. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Tyrell: Well, if we don’t hear about “the fix” from somewhere else, I expect to from you, considering that you’ve already intimated it.

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  30. Tlaloc says:

    I strongly suspect this is the high water mark for Trump. The email story has fallen apart and will continue to fade and he’s in the middle of his post convention bounce, such as it is. Now, granted, that such a malignant narcissist ever had a 40% shot at the whitehouse is a serious problem but I’m really not worried that he’ll go the distance.

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  31. JKB says:

    Michael Moore was on the special convention edition of Bill Maher last week and predicted Trump could win by taking Michigan, Ohio and PA due to his resonance with the old industrial worker base in those states.

    Not to mention, Hillary has a huge national security deficit, in that she has a proven record of being such a security risk that outside the election or political appointment, she’d never be given access to classified material again, same goes for her inner circle.

    The “lock her up” chant actually worked in Hillary’s favor. What you Dems should fear is some Republicans making a measured argument that only the American voters can protect America’s national security secrets by not electing Hillary, i.e., the administrative/security consequences Comey alluded to in his bill of indictment.

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  32. Tlaloc says:

    @James Joyner:

    . I don’t mind features like the filibuster in theory, in that I think big changes shouldn’t be done with a small minority; but, of late, simple legislation has taken on “big changes” status and nothing gets done. That’s unhealthy.

    The only change needed for the filibuster is to require them to be the talking kind. If the minority is willing to pay the physical and political cost then it must really be important to them and it’s worth having that safety brake. The current system of just agreeing that a filibuster occurs is the issue because it makes it far too easy to block everything paying neither a physical nor political price for doing so.

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  33. PJ says:

    @MBunge:

    And if the Dems had nominated someone other than Hillary, Trump’s chances would likely be zero but the same is true for Hillary if the GOP had nominated someone other than Trump.

    Perhaps someone better than Sanders should have challenged her in the primaries? I mean, Sanders wasn’t even able to win against such a, in your view, flawed candidate as Clinton…

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  34. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @James Pearce:

    Believe it or not, most people’s first instinct isn’t to jump full steam ahead into bad arguments.

    This is part of my reason for not actually considering Jenos an actual person, but rather a character someone has chosen to portray on the interwebs. I expect that if we were all together sometime at a summer barbecue or something that no one would ever be able to figure out which person was Jenos because he probably doesn’t say the idiotic crap that he says online in real life. I don’t really understand why he has chosen this particular persona but “whatever get you through the night.”

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  35. James Joyner says:

    @Pch101: Germany has federalism and a parliamentary system, although with a somewhat complicated mechanism surrounding seat allocation.

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  36. MBunge says:

    @PJ: Perhaps someone better than Sanders should have challenged her in the primaries

    Someone better than Sanders absolutely should have run against Hillary. Previously, the most egregious example I can think of for a party going completely in the tank for a non-incumbent candidate for President was George W. Bush and there were still a bunch of Republicans, some of significance and some not, who at least gave it the old college try.

    Mike

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  37. MBunge says:

    @CSK: Trump may be losing more than he gains.

    It could turn out that way but, holy cow, it shouldn’t be this close.

    Mike

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  38. Andre Kenji says:

    @Pch101:

    The rise of the far right in Europe is due in part to the ability of fringe parties to win seats, which is something that they can’t do here.

    Only in countries that have proportional representation, like Italy and Netherlands. That´s not the case in Britain and France, where there are lots of people voting for them in the General Election.

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  39. Monala says:

    @MBunge: There are three groups here in the U.S. with a very keen sense that when someone is talking about racial or religious oppression, they could be next. One is African-Americans – Trump is currently polling at 0% among AAs in many states. The second is Jews, and the third is Mormons. Several typically red states are leaning Dem more than in the past because they have a large Mormon population. These are all groups that might be strongly motivated to vote against Trump.

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  40. Thomas Weaver says:

    Oh, I must be a troll because I see a Trump landslide and all the comments above are dreams from the elitists and establishment types. Enjoy your hyperbole while you can or at least until November…

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  41. stonetools says:

    @MBunge:

    Man, look, it didn’t happen. Get over it.
    The perfect Democratic presidential candidate doesn’t exist and I suspect if someone else ran, the campaign would reveal their flaws and some people would be wishing that Hillary had run.
    You as a committed anti Clintonite cannot see it that way, but I guarantee you that it would happen had Clinton not run.
    For good or ill, it’s Clinton vs Trump. Accept it & move on.

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  42. MikeSJ says:

    @Grumpy Realist:

    It’s as if they WANT to be fleeced.

    I’ve heard that a key element of a successful con is the desire of “The Mark” to be conned.

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  43. An Interested Party says:

    …voting for the first black President has got to be different than voting for an old white lady…

    You just can’t help yourself, can you? Actually, voting for the first female President is as historic as voting for the first black President…

    What you Dems should fear is some Republicans making a measured argument…

    That’s nothing to fear because Republicans seem to be incapable of making any measured argument against her…instead they froth at the mouth and get completely ridiculous with anything involving the Clintons…

    Oh, I must be a troll…

    Not a troll, just wrong…

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  44. MBunge says:

    @An Interested Party: Actually, voting for the first female President is as historic as voting for the first black President

    To white liberals? Sure. To your average black voter, even black female voters? No one can be so PC as to believe that.

    Mike

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  45. Gustopher says:

    Yes, he could win.

    Perhaps it was a mistake for mainstream conservatives to continue supporting the Republican Party through the Tea Party revolution? Perhaps tut-tutting the extremism in the House of Republicans was a mistake? Perhaps shrugging and saying “What can you do?” when Mitch McConnell’s senate stopped working for the good of America, and started working for the good of the Republican Party was a mistake?

    I don’t know. But perhaps votes for Republicans afraid of the Tea Party and Republicans who embraced the Tea Party wasn’t a vote for the lesser evil after all? Perhaps having a network devoted to fear mongering is a bad thing?

    All I do know is that if Trump gets elected, it won’t have been the fault of the Democrats. It’s clearly on the Republicans, particularly the mainstream conservatives who thought that it was a good idea to cozy up to the radicals.

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  46. CSK says:

    @Thomas Weaver:

    Why do you predict a Trump landslide? I’m asking in all seriousness. What concrete, specific factors point to a Trump landslide?

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  47. An Interested Party says:

    To your average black voter, even black female voters?

    Oh I see…only racial equality is important…gender equality, not so much…you underestimate black women…

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  48. MBunge says:

    @stonetools: Man, look, it didn’t happen. Get over it.

    Oh, I so look forward to the day when the Clintons are well and truly gone so folks like you can actually think again. If your contention is that Tim Kaine or Amy Klobuchar or any other Democrat would be running just as poorly against Donald Trump, you need to be medicated.

    When this campaign began, there were a lot of historical/political science precedents that said Republicans were going to have a good shot and possibly the advantage in the Presidential election. And if a Republican wins, not only will they continue to enact policies harmful to the nation and the world, not only would they lock in a right wing majority on the Supreme Court for another 30 years, but they would see it as validation of every insane and destructive thing they’ve done for the last 40 years. And the person you guys picked to stop that is Hillary Clinton, without really even understanding why you did it.

    Because GOP voters rebelled and picked Trump, you might get away with it. But if you don’t? Well, sometimes the only thing we can do is learn from self-inflicted castrophes so they don’t happen again.

    Mike

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  49. al-Ameda says:

    To the question: Could Crazy Donald Trump Actually Win The Presidency?

    Answer: Definitely yes. At least half of the American people are fact-averse and non-pragmatic and those are the folks who could make a Real Estate Developer, Salesman, Con Man the next president of the United States.

    I personally do not think the Trump will win, but I believe that the probability referenced above – 59% to 41% – to be right, and is down from 70/30 a few weeks ago. This should be enough to shake any Democrat, any Sanders’ supporter out of a complacent stupor.

    Selecting Tim Kaine was a sold step forward for Democrats, hopefully the Philadelphia convention will propel the Clinton/Kaine ticket forward and begin the takedown of the Trump ticket.

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  50. stonetools says:

    @MBunge:

    Oh, I so look forward to the day when the Clintons are well and truly gone so folks like you can actually think again. If your contention is that Tim Kaine or Amy Klobuchar or any other Democrat would be running just as poorly against Donald Trump, you need to be medicated.

    You better medicate Kaine and Klobuchar too, since they apparently didn’t think they were ready to run for President either, and neither did most political analysts. But whatever. I’m going to take the contrarian view that the long Presidential primary process really did produce the nominees that each party wanted to offer for this election. The Democratic voters wanted Clinton and the Republican voters (Gawd help us) wanted Trump. Now you disagree with the choice of the Democratic voters because you hate the Clintons. That’s your right. But it’s time to stop dwelling on what might have been and focus on what is.
    Man, I would really like to find out what the Clintons did to p1ss you off so much.In any case, I can think well enough to understand that flawed does not mean 100 per cent, pure evil, which seems to be your view of the Clintons.

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  51. gVOR08 says:

    @James Joyner:

    Most people can name the president’s dog; few can name their state senator.

    Well yeah, but only because one of mine is Rob Portman. A man so lacking in charisma, character, colorfulness, or even a tan, as to be nearly invisible.

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  52. Stan says:

    @James Joyner: A presidential system only works when the parties cooperate. At present they can’t, primarily because the Republicans moved so far to the right after the Gingrich revolution of 1994. That’s the argument made by Ornstein and Mann. And by David Frum. When people talk about Reagan and O’Neill working things out over bourbon in the White House, they should remember that Reagan was willing to give in when necessary to achieve his larger goals, and so was O’Neill. Their kind of relationship is out of the question now. If the Republican leadership in Congress made any attempt at compromise, they’d be fired in no time, just like Boehner.

    You’re not willing to admit it, but your party has about as much flexibility as Louis 16th. In this situation, the system is in gridlock.

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  53. KINGRANCHES says:

    @<MBUNGE: "not only would they lock in a right wing majority on the Supreme Court for another 30 years, but they would see it as validation of every insane and destructive thing they’ve done for the last 40 years." Any level-headed American that didn't feel a little chill in reading that obvious truth needs to keep reading it until they do, not just because its dead on, but because if we give these right-wing lunatics BOTH 30 years of interpreting the constitution (and our lives) any way they see fit, AND the belief that right (and the majority of America) stands behind their craziness, then we have the makings, of a NAZI party, rather than just a Tea Party. I cant help but wonder if Obama doesn't spend his mornings looking in the mirror and cussing himself for ever promising Hilary that hed back her if she backed him. -And asking himself if its really possible that he unwittingly sold his country down the river when he agreed to support such an incredibly LAME personality, at the precise time when America desparately needs someone with some charisma. -the idea that we might end up with an American version of the Nazi or Taliban over the simple lack of charisma -just chills me. But I'm afraid that I agree 100% with those who have already said that they feel that revenge and the desire to slap their betters in the face, is the real motive driving millions to support Trump. I fear Its 1937 in America, and the stage is set perfectly for a disaster or unimaginable proportions. and for the EXACt same reasons it happened in Germany. Take a real hard look at those trump supporters, and ask yourselves is that an electorate, -or just mob of haters – looking for blood?

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  54. Pch101 says:

    @stonetools:

    +1 for a parliamentary system, for the US, if we could turn back time

    The smaller states would have never agreed to that.

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  55. Kylopod says:

    @JKB:

    Michael Moore was on the special convention edition of Bill Maher last week and predicted Trump could win by taking Michigan, Ohio and PA due to his resonance with the old industrial worker base in those states.

    I’ve been hearing versions of this argument for several months. If it had any merit, we’d already be seeing evidence of it from the polls, and the simple fact is that we haven’t. For example, according to RCP’s averages Clinton is up 5.2 points in Michigan, whereas she has only a 2.0 lead nationally. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible Trump could win the state, but it does suggest that if he did it would be part of an overall landslide, not some outlier he could depend on to secure victory in a close race.

    Clinton’s leads in PA and OH are narrower, but that’s not surprising given that those are two of the leading battleground states, and according to a recent article at 538.com, PA in particular has been moving in a Republican direction in recent years due to trends that have nothing to do with Trump.

    I definitely agree that Trump can win, but the idea that he’s going to produce some bizarre electoral map due to special appeal to the white working class is nothing more than an assumption that so far isn’t borne out by evidence.

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  56. Chris says:

    It looks like your route to a government promoting a severely protectionist economic policy and an unpleasantly nativist immigration policy, if it ever happens, will follow the same path in the US as it did here in the UK with Brexit.

    Media commentators, mainstream politicians, virtually everyone I’m friends with, me, we all assumed Brexit wouldn’t win. Noone we knew would vote for it, it seemed so obviously stupid to pull out of a free trade area of 500 million people and become grumpy isolationists. But of course, if you live in a big, international world city like London (where most of our media and political class live), or in a big university town, you’ll find plenty of people who think like you.

    In the post-industrial towns where traditional jobs like mining and manufacturing disappeared 30 years ago, never to be replaced, and where people take on either low-paid, insecure service jobs or else nothing at all… the thinking was very different. Turns out there are more disaffected people than those living comfortably. The split was 52/48.

    So, look around. If you live in NYC, DC, California, or one of the East Coast Ivy League college towns, you probably speak to a lot of people who abhor Trump. But if he wins, it will be those former mining communities in PA and WV, and those dying rust belt towns in MI and IN that don’t care about preserving NAFTA or honouring NATO commitments or being internationalist, who dislike the idea of ‘political correctness’ and want a strong leader with a bag of magic beans to make everything better, who won it for him. Places where no one is reading WaPo or Nate Silver or Kos (or even OTB..), but getting their news from the TV, from Fox, and from people who think the same way they do on Facebook.

    I hope Trump loses. But politics is depressing and unpredictable right now.

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  57. Kylopod says:

    @Chris:

    But if he wins, it will be those former mining communities in PA and WV, and those dying rust belt towns in MI and IN

    How could he win because of basically red states like WV and IN? That’s like saying “Clinton will win because of college-educated voters in New Jersey and Massachusetts.” You do understand how this electoral college thing works, right?

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  58. James Joyner says:

    @Anjin-san and @Stan: At some point, a difference in degree becomes a difference in kind. Trump is very much that. He’s light years from where Gingrich was in 1994 and far, far more extreme by almost every measure than Bush, McCain, and Romney. Worse, he’s not ideologically or intellectually coherent at all; he’s just a giant id pandering to the worst fears of the masses. Ted Cruz is the natural evolution of the Republican Party; Trump is just a nut. (And I say that as someone who almost certainly couldn’t vote for Cruz.)

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  59. Stan says:

    @James Joyner: I take it back. And I’ll raise you one by admitting that one wing of my party has gone bonkers in insisting that low wages are caused by a corrupt system which could be cured if only we elected the right people. That’s part of it, maybe, but the real problem is deeper, and won’t be cured simply by putting Bernie and Elizabeth in charge.

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  60. Monala says:

    @Chris: some Rust belt residents may care about NATO commitments. Many of them are of Eastern European descent and still have family in former Soviet satellite countries that are now part of NATO.

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  61. Franklin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    OK, folks, that’s your cue to start denouncing the “tyranny of the electoral college” and start calling for a national popular vote.

    Clearly you’re being sarcastic. Just wondering if it’s okay by you to *continue* complaining about the electoral college if we’ve always done so?

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  62. Gustopher says:

    @James Joyner: Except the Republican Party embraced the nuts.

    Are you forgetting about Michelle Bachmann, Christie O’Donnell, Sharon Angle, and Sarah Palin? Herman Cain, Allen West and Ben Carson? And I’m sure there were some crazy white men too.

    There’s an unhinged wing of the Republican Party that merely dabbles in reality — that’s the part of the party that Trump is the logical extension of. The people who shout “keep the government out of my Medicare!”.

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  63. Eric Florack says:

    It probably should be noted that less than half of the American people actually vote…. apparently feeling that they have nobody to vote for.

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