Hey, At Least It’s Not a Popularity Contest

Ideas and Issues

indexNew Orleans   With Donald Trump’s overwhelming victory in the Republican primary in Indiana, he has now driven Texas Senator Ted Cruz out of the race, and he officially threw in the towel as the numbers swamped his last chance at a path to win. Only Ohio’s Governor John Kasich continues in the race a long way back as Trump paddles more smoothly towards the convention and the delegates he needs for the nomination. Senator Bernie Sanders bested former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary in Indiana but she spent no money on the race now that the contests have become a kinder and gentler sea cruise to the nomination for her, even as Sanders continues to try and pile up his numbers even if he just waving at her as she moves out of port.

From now on, the US election is a plain and simple cage match between Trump and Clinton. We can all be sure of one thing in this election, unlike almost any other over the last several generations: this contest is definitely NOT a popularity contest. This isn’t some high school student council race for sure. Which is not to say that this election is about the issues either, at least not yet. It is mainly clear that it’s not a popularity contest, because no one seems to much like either of the two remaining candidates.

Polling indicates that we have never had two candidates seen so unfavorably, both in the 60% range, virtually ever. Polling results indicate that people don’t trust Hillary, and they are afraid of Trump. The silver lining for Democrats is that people see Trump even more unfavorably than Hillary. People are looking at the smiling faces of the two major candidates, and they are seeing fright masks.

Another set of polls found Democrats who were polled resist Trump at the 97% rate. Republicans that were polled resisted Clinton at the 92% rate. Among independents, the Wall Street Journal poll found that Clinton had dropped 15% among this group in the last four months with only 20% of independents viewing her favorably now and 65% seeing her unfavorably as well. Of course there is still some comfort because Trump comes off even worse. Sanders may have galvanized youth for example, but when it comes to Clinton versus Trump, young voters are overwhelming with Clinton.

In the six months until the election, things could get better of course, but it’s hard not to believe that they are going to get worse. So many people may be voting in November while holding their noses that election judges may have to pump air into the voting booths to keep people from fainting.

Starting from such polarized places, how will either one of them be able to effectively govern?