The latest polls have Donald Trump beating Hillary Clinton by 15 points.
No, not a Fox News poll.
This is from Nate Silver, the FiveThirtyEight numbers wizard who correctly called both the 2008 and 2012 elections. He says if the race were held today, Trump would win the swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire, thereby assuring an easy victory.
Some will say this is just an inevitable boost in the numbers coming as it does right after the Republican National Convention. But need I remind you that the convention was chaos? The speaking roster was dominated by Trump’s family and a never-ending cavalcade of D-list celebrities. It reads more like the cast of the next Celebrity Apprentice than the best and brightest of one of our nation’s two major political parties.
And don’t forget Trump’s own acceptance speech. They’re coming to get you and only I can save you! Trump 2016!
THAT’S what you’re saying gave the Republican nominee a boost!? It should have hurt not helped him!
But let’s put that aside for a moment. Clinton has never polled well against Trump.
Occasionally she has topped him in polls in the past, but rarely more than the margin of error! Usually Trump comes out on top.
No. Hillary Clinton is a terrible challenger in this match-up.
There is one common factor during this election season that goes beyond political affiliation. People want change.
It’s one of the reasons Barack Obama won. He was seen as the change candidate. Heck! It was his campaign slogan! Hope and Change!
Unfortunately, he didn’t really deliver. Instead of a revolution, he gave us fiddling around the margins. Whatever the reasons for that – Republican obstructionism, his own centrism – it only frustrated the electorate further.
The economy stinks. There are endless wars. Yet the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. People are so starving for change today they are even willing to vote for fascism to get it. Because that’s what Trump offers. It’s change alright. Not good change. Not positive change. But at least things will be different under President Trump. The status quo will alter. America will be “great again” just as Germany became great again in the 1930s by doing a lot of the same xenophobic, racist, sexist and homophobic things Trump champions.
You can see a similar thirst for revolution with the Democrats. We, too, have a change candidate but it’s not Hillary Clinton. It’s Bernie Sanders.
He offered voters a return to the New Deal of FDR. He offered the kind of Democratic Socialism that saved our country from the Great Depression, gave us the strength to win WWII and became the greatest super power the world has ever known.
How does this poll against Trump? It’s devastating. Bernie beats Trump in almost every poll. He always has.
Why does Bernie do so well while Hillary doesn’t? Clinton is not seen as a change agent. She is the status quo. She is politics as usual. She is at best like Obama – fiddling at the margins. At worst she’s a neoliberal hawk that will make things worse – though probably not as bad as Trump.
So what can we do? Democratic Primary voters chose her over Bernie.
Or did they?
The recent leak of private emails from the DNC paints a picture of favoritism. The party unequivocally worked with the media against Sanders. (And, no, it doesn’t matter so much who leaked these emails and why, if they’re authentic.)
Add to that the widespread allegations of voter suppression in the primary match-up between Clinton and Sanders. In districts that leaned Bernie, voters had to face long lines. Voters registrations were mysteriously changed or they were purged from the rolls so they couldn’t vote for him. Bernie rallies were held in over-packed stadiums while Hillary’s were in much smaller venues – yet the results in these areas somehow favored Clinton. Exit polls consistently showed Bernie winning but the actual votes somehow went to Hillary. Meanwhile the media falsely painted the picture of Clinton inevitability even calling the election for her before all the votes were in.
It is hard to prove that all this subterfuge was enough to sway the election against Bernie. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. However, it is naive to think it didn’t help Hillary to some extent. Maybe quite a lot.
So what we have is a presumptive nominee who can claim no legitimacy. Sure Bernie has done the classy thing and endorsed her. But it’s easy to see why his supporters have a hard time accepting that Clinton will do even a fraction of the things Bernie would as president.
So we’re left with a very weak Democratic nominee against Trump.
And this is not voters fault. This is not because Bernie supporters are just stubborn or should just get over it.
In our capitalist system, presidential candidates are products. We are the consumers. And the Democrats have floated an inferior product. It’s not enough that Trump is worse. Because there are other choices.
No one wants to take third party candidates seriously. We ignore the Green Party and the Libertarians because we say these interlopers can’t win. And there are plenty of good reasons why that may be so. However, the existence of these other options in light of a weak challenger on both the Democratic and Republican side all but guarantee each will get significant support.
It doesn’t matter if Jill Stein and Gary Johnson have little chance of winning. They will serve as spoilers for the major parties. Who will take the most?
Well, hard-core conservatives can find much to like in Hillary Clinton. Many of them are lining up to join her ranks. However, Bernie supporters find little to recommend them on Trump’s side. He is the antipathy of everything Bernie stands for. However, Jill Stein is very inviting. If anything, she’s more progressive than he is.
As such, look for the third party option to hurt Democrats more than Republicans. In fact, had Sanders been the nominee, the Democrats could have looked forward to many independents joining the ranks. They overwhelmingly favor Sanders but not Clinton. And there are more independents than either Republicans or Democrats.
So here we are.
There is next to no chance at this point that the Democrats won’t nominate Clinton. She will almost definitely be the standard barer against Trump.
And it leaves him with a huge advantage.
If he wins, it won’t be the fault of disaffected Bernie voters. It will be because of the cynical hubris of Democratic Party leaders.
The seeds of the Trump Reich have been sown right here.