Debunking the ‘Trump can’t win the general’ Myth
As the presidential primary season commences, many career politicians, “experts,” and news outlets have already made one thing abundantly clear. “While Donald Trump might win the nomination, he has no path to win the general election” they say, or something to that effect. Some suggest that even Trump and his supporters secretly know this. These are bold statements for anybody to make so early in a primary cycle, let alone people who have decades of political experience. The average person could easily read those quotes attached to prominent names and assume they must be true. But as we have seen time and again during the Trump era, when so many predict his demise, the opposite often occurs.
There are a few key elements to examine when contemplating potential election outcomes. Despite all the intricate dialogue that floods the airwaves during U.S. elections, it’s not rocket science. Measuring swing states, overall voter enthusiasm, and primary challenges is the blueprint to follow.
Every election, America focuses on a handful of states that are expected to swing the results in one’s favor. For example, the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections saw Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin play a pivotal role in the outcomes. Trump’s better-than-experts-expected performance in those states in 2016 enabled him to secure the presidency. Trump’s 2020 margins were on an even better trajectory in most of those states throughout election night in 2020 until unprecedented events denied him a second consecutive term. Those were the only five states that changed from 2016.
A deeper dive into voter turnout in those states reveals the big picture. Trump received more votes in Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania than any presidential candidate ever, Republican or Democrat, aside from Biden’s inflated numbers in those three states that were all influenced by questionable events. Had just those three states (despite there being many more with irregularities) addressed those issues, Trump would be well into his second term.
Regarding Michigan and Wisconsin, those states had not even been in play for Republicans since the late 80s. In fact, just days before the 2016 election, news outlets already accounted for those two states to be locked up for Hillary Clinton. Yet Trump not only won them in 2016, but he also received more votes than any Republican in history in 2020.
Analyzing how Trump significantly outperformed past Republican candidates in states that traditionally vote “blue” also reveals a massive level of enthusiasm for him across the entire nation. He eclipsed six million votes in California in 2020, a feat never achieved by any Republican presidential candidate in history. In fact, Democrat governor Gavin Newsom received just 400 thousand more votes in his recent re-election than Trump did in 2020. While that is not quite a coin flip, a Democrat governor in California typically outpaces the Republican presidential nominee by millions. Additionally, he received more votes in New York in 2020 than Governor Kathy Hochul did in her election this past fall. In Oregon, another Democrat stronghold, Trump received the fifth most votes in state history, trailing only Obama (twice), Clinton, and Biden but outpacing other prominent Democrats such as Al Gore and John Kerry. This trend also occurred in smaller states such as Hawaii and even Biden’s home state of Delaware, where Trump also received the most votes of any Republican ever.
And just for good measure, despite enthusiasm for Ron DeSantis from Rupert Murdoch-owned “conservative” outlets following his reelection this past November, Trump received 5.6 million votes in Florida, another record for any presidential candidate, which was over 1.1 million more votes than DeSantis received in his recent election. Perhaps most telling is that Trump leads DeSantis in the state where he is most popular, Florida, by comfortable margins. This is in addition to Trump already securing endorsements from a majority of Florida’s Republican members of Congress.
Lastly, primary challenges are arguably the most reliable predictors. Historically, whenever an incumbent faces a considerable primary challenge, they go on to lose the general election. For example, President Gerald Ford staved off a tough challenge from California governor Ronald Reagan in 1976 for the nomination, only to lose to Jimmy Carter in the general that November. Just four years later in 1980, Carter was the incumbent who survived a primary challenge by a margin similar to Ford’s, but lost to Ronald Reagan in the general. George H.W. Bush underperformed to an extent in the 1992 primary, which allowed Reform Party candidate Ross Perot to take a large chunk of votes when he ran in the general, where Bush lost to Bill Clinton. These are additional reasons as to why the outcome of the 2020 election remains so anomalous. Trump won all but one delegate in his primary while Biden received 51% of the vote, meaning almost half of Democrat voters preferred somebody else, but I digress.
Looking ahead, Biden has already suffered an unprecedented lack of support from within his own party for a sitting president. While official votes have not yet been cast, recent polling revealed a majority of Democrat voters would prefer somebody other than Biden to represent them in the general election. In fact, another poll shows Biden in a virtual tie with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. In comparison, most polling shows President Trump with not only a substantial but expanding lead amongst other Republican contenders. The Biden primary parameters signal a promising outlook for whoever becomes the Republican nominee, and that undoubtedly includes Trump, despite the false narratives about his chances.
While the media focuses on “flaws” they find in Trump that make him “unelectable,” voters weigh both options as opposed to focusing on the flaws of whoever the media targets, which they still inconceivably don’t understand. And evidence suggests many preferred the path America was on under Trump as opposed to Biden, or whoever is pulling his strings.
With all this in mind, when you hear people like Paul Ryan say “Anybody not named Trump can beat Biden,” or others say Democrats want to face Trump again because “they know they can beat him,” understand if they truly believed those things, they wouldn’t continuously try to convince America this was the case. Trump received more votes than any president in history and since then things have trended in the wrong direction across the board. So, it stands to reason that he is stronger now than ever before, and that there would be even more momentum behind him the next time around.
So, can Trump win the general? Simply put: The candidate who generates the most enthusiasm within his party’s base is obviously the candidate with the best chance to win the presidency. Despite the newest establishment-parroted talking point, I’d actually make the case that a perfect storm is brewing in Trump’s favor, perhaps even greater than 2016 and 2020 when he received 62 million and 74 million votes, respectively. Of course, this sidelines the obvious threat of massive voter fraud once again occurring. But when gauging the true pulse of American voters, voter fraud aside, there is no question Trump is stronger than any challenger he will face.
With all the voting records Trump has already set, his outperformance of previous Republican candidates and Democrat governors in “blue” states, combined with the historic unpopularity of Joe Biden, it would not be an exaggeration to expect a Nixon/Reaganesque map for President Trump in a fair election, demonstrating to the whole world that America is truly the United States.
Matt Kane is a writer who graduated from Stony Brook University with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science. Follow on Truth Social: @MattKane
Image: Gage Skidmore