Why Trump Might Win

There seems to be a broad consensus among punditry of all stripes that a Trump candidacy might spell disaster for Republicans next November.  Maybe, but maybe not.  Trump might beat Hillary, and he might beat her decisively.

If this sounds counterintuitive, then think about this: everything this election season is counterintuitive.  Trump in a general election battle with Hillary would have several potentially devastating advantages.

He represents outsiders in a way that few politicians in modern politics do.  Trump has run hard and openly against the establishment of the Republican Party, and the leadership has snipped and snapped at him as much as he has snipped and snapped at them.  Trump is running, more or less brazenly, outside the Republican Party.

Bernie Sanders has done something like that in the Democrat primary.  Neither man really belongs to the party whose nomination he is seeking.  Both are running, in many ways, against the mainstream of that party.  Trump in the general election can remind voters again and again how much the Republican establishment did not want him as the nominee, and voters will like that.

Hillary, on the other hand, is the Democrat establishment.  She has been a Washington insider for a quarter of a century.  Indeed, she bases her campaign on being an insider and having that dubious benefit of "experience."  When she attempts to tag Trump during the campaign, he can tell voters that she is the choice of both the Democrat and Republican establishment – the Washington bosses – and he is the alternative to both parties.

Trump is also showing himself a master of media.  He grasps shock value.  He knows how to command attention.  He does not retract or apologize, but rather attacks the media itself.  Americans like this, too.  The media is seen as an integral part of the establishment, and the media behaves that way as well. 

Nothing looks more pathetic or inept than the mainstream media trying to defend itself from attacks of unfairness.  If Trump can put the media on the defensive, then he may force them not to attack him as fiercely as they might, and if Trump can uncover the slightest smidgen of collusion by the mainstream media to throttle his campaign, he may force a near collapse of their negative coverage of him.

What about his "gaffes"?  Well, if there are more terror attacks in America, these may look less like gaffes and more like the sort of righteous indignation that we expect from leaders.  Hillary plays everything so cautiously, so legalistically and so scripted that she appears mind-numbingly boring. 

Trump also can do what Perot did (which helped Perot much more than pundits credit): run a self-funded campaign, which spends as much money as he can possibly use to any good effect while he also reminds Americans that he is spending his money, not the money of Washington insiders.  He can say again and again and again that he wants nothing more from this election than to do what he promised and "Make America Great Again."

What about attacks on him for being a billionaire?  That playbook will not work twice.  Romney was very rich and hammered unfairly for that in running against Obama.  Democrat senator Harry Reid flatly lied about Romney and his tax returns, and that too got a lot of attention.  But there is another reason this line will not work in 2016.  Hillary is very rich, too, but she hides her wealth and how she got it ferociously.  The Clinton Foundation also stinks to high heaven.

Why, then, are Republicans worried about a Trump candidacy?  They fear that Hispanics, blacks, women, Moslems, and other groups will turn out in higher than normal numbers to defeat Trump.  Maybe, but maybe not. 

Blacks have fared wretchedly, and goons like the Mayor of Chicago show how little Democrats care about them.  Obama, elected twice, is off the ballot, and a rich white woman is the nominee. 

Trump will likely have the first Hispanic on a major party ticket, even if that person is not Rubio or Cruz.  By boldly picking up the line of Cruz that "it's offensive" to assume that Hispanics favor illegal immigration, Trump may be able to turn the argument. 

What about female voters?  Trump may do what none so far has dared with the Clintons:  saturate the media with the real-life stories of all the helpless women they have together abused and wait for Hillary to stammer a response.

President Trump?  Stranger things have happened.  Indeed, pretty strange things are happening right now.

There seems to be a broad consensus among punditry of all stripes that a Trump candidacy might spell disaster for Republicans next November.  Maybe, but maybe not.  Trump might beat Hillary, and he might beat her decisively.

If this sounds counterintuitive, then think about this: everything this election season is counterintuitive.  Trump in a general election battle with Hillary would have several potentially devastating advantages.

He represents outsiders in a way that few politicians in modern politics do.  Trump has run hard and openly against the establishment of the Republican Party, and the leadership has snipped and snapped at him as much as he has snipped and snapped at them.  Trump is running, more or less brazenly, outside the Republican Party.

Bernie Sanders has done something like that in the Democrat primary.  Neither man really belongs to the party whose nomination he is seeking.  Both are running, in many ways, against the mainstream of that party.  Trump in the general election can remind voters again and again how much the Republican establishment did not want him as the nominee, and voters will like that.

Hillary, on the other hand, is the Democrat establishment.  She has been a Washington insider for a quarter of a century.  Indeed, she bases her campaign on being an insider and having that dubious benefit of "experience."  When she attempts to tag Trump during the campaign, he can tell voters that she is the choice of both the Democrat and Republican establishment – the Washington bosses – and he is the alternative to both parties.

Trump is also showing himself a master of media.  He grasps shock value.  He knows how to command attention.  He does not retract or apologize, but rather attacks the media itself.  Americans like this, too.  The media is seen as an integral part of the establishment, and the media behaves that way as well. 

Nothing looks more pathetic or inept than the mainstream media trying to defend itself from attacks of unfairness.  If Trump can put the media on the defensive, then he may force them not to attack him as fiercely as they might, and if Trump can uncover the slightest smidgen of collusion by the mainstream media to throttle his campaign, he may force a near collapse of their negative coverage of him.

What about his "gaffes"?  Well, if there are more terror attacks in America, these may look less like gaffes and more like the sort of righteous indignation that we expect from leaders.  Hillary plays everything so cautiously, so legalistically and so scripted that she appears mind-numbingly boring. 

Trump also can do what Perot did (which helped Perot much more than pundits credit): run a self-funded campaign, which spends as much money as he can possibly use to any good effect while he also reminds Americans that he is spending his money, not the money of Washington insiders.  He can say again and again and again that he wants nothing more from this election than to do what he promised and "Make America Great Again."

What about attacks on him for being a billionaire?  That playbook will not work twice.  Romney was very rich and hammered unfairly for that in running against Obama.  Democrat senator Harry Reid flatly lied about Romney and his tax returns, and that too got a lot of attention.  But there is another reason this line will not work in 2016.  Hillary is very rich, too, but she hides her wealth and how she got it ferociously.  The Clinton Foundation also stinks to high heaven.

Why, then, are Republicans worried about a Trump candidacy?  They fear that Hispanics, blacks, women, Moslems, and other groups will turn out in higher than normal numbers to defeat Trump.  Maybe, but maybe not. 

Blacks have fared wretchedly, and goons like the Mayor of Chicago show how little Democrats care about them.  Obama, elected twice, is off the ballot, and a rich white woman is the nominee. 

Trump will likely have the first Hispanic on a major party ticket, even if that person is not Rubio or Cruz.  By boldly picking up the line of Cruz that "it's offensive" to assume that Hispanics favor illegal immigration, Trump may be able to turn the argument. 

What about female voters?  Trump may do what none so far has dared with the Clintons:  saturate the media with the real-life stories of all the helpless women they have together abused and wait for Hillary to stammer a response.

President Trump?  Stranger things have happened.  Indeed, pretty strange things are happening right now.