Undaunted by actual events having time and again put the lie to their predictions, the pundit class is now saying that Donald Trump cannot beat Hillary Clinton. The polls tell the story, they say. Hillary is up on Trump by double digits.
Then, Quinnipiac comes out with polls in the battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida. All three have the race essentially tied.
The truth is Donald Trump could not only win the general election, he could do so decisively.
It is a fact that the Electoral College map favors Democrats. Of the five states with 20 or more electors, only Texas is reliably Republican. California and New York are solidly Democrat. Pennsylvania has gone Democrat in every election since 1988 albeit many times by narrow margins. Of the five, only Florida is truly a swing state.
Without taking some blue states back, Trump cannot win and the received wisdom is that the blue states that have recently gone blue will stay blue.
However, the received wisdom could prove wrong. The electorate has decided it is fed up with the leading lights of both parties. The conventional wisdom became conventional before the country woke up to a decade of economic growth below three percent annually. The pundits are almost certainly under-appreciating the effect of the middle class fully comprehending that it hasn’t had a raise in 18 years.
Thus we have seen 74 year old socialist Bernie Sanders – with next to nothing on his résumé save for having been elected senator from a small quirky state – continue to rack up victories against Hillary Clinton. He won by 15 points yesterday in West Virginia. Hillary will win the Democratic nomination to be sure. But it wasn’t supposed to be this hard or take this long.
And we have seen 16 Republican candidates for president – arguably the best GOP presidential voir dire in 50 years – fall one by one. The list of the fallen includes three very successful governors.
So I would take expert predictions of a Trump defeat with a large chaser of salt. The experts have gotten it wrong at every turn since June of last year.
Trump’s stances on trade and immigration have resonated in the so-called “rust belt” states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Trump crushed rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz in Florida, a state he considers a second home.
If Trump takes Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, he becomes president. If he takes Florida, Michigan and Ohio he becomes president. If he takes Florida, Wisconsin and Iowa, the election goes to the House of Representatives and he becomes president.
For her part, Hillary Clinton will hurl every invective and every smear at Donald Trump. Such an attack would likely work on a candidate like Mitt Romney. On a candidate like Donald Trump, the strategy could very well have the effect of making him stronger.
Bottom line. Don’t believe a single prediction from anyone. This election is different. A fact that the punditocracy remains loathe to recognize.