New Orleans Welcome to the season of political pundit gymnastics as conservative observers try to see how in the world to plot a potential path to victory in the Electoral College for Donald Trump. Spoiler alert: it starts and ends with white people. Lots of them!
One of the Wall Street Journal columnists tried to see if there was a way based on their most recent poll. They compared how Mitt Romney had done against President Obama in 2012 among white voters to how Hillary Clinton shaped up among the same divisions of the electorate against Trump. Interestingly, if Trump’s best shot is as the “great white hope,” he’s actually one-point down from Romney’s performance, and, just a reminder, Romney lost pretty badly.
It stacked up as Romney over Obama with all whites at +17 and Trump over Clinton with all whites at +16. Romney did better than Trump in this kind of hypothetical contest in every area except among “white men with no college” where Trump doubled up, scoring +48 over Clinton where Romney had been +24 over Obama in that group, usually classified as the white working class. Clinton was only up over the Obama 2012 performance with white women with college where Clinton was up 7% and Romney had beaten Obama by +2.
Their view was that unless Trump got his act together among white college women he was a gone pecan, cher, because he could not carry the suburbs in places like Pennsylvania and Colorado without them. Wow! If that’s his Achilles heel, he’s been tripping all over it for months and months. He can fire his campaign manager now and do so over and over again, and that’s not going to help him here. Clinton has already eroded the margins among white women with no college and white men with college compared to the Romney-Trump race. That actually seems like an area where she may still be able to pick up support, unless there is a sea change in the way Trump messages his attack dog, motor mouth campaign style.
They also believe that for Trump to win, third parties have to suck significant votes way from Clinton by taking advantage of the alienation and dissatisfaction remaining from Sanders core supporters. When conservatives have to pin their hopes on the Green Party, we’re just about Disneyland now. Who is Jill Stein? But, a real, alternative party that would be a different thing or a Sanders breakaway new party effort, which he clearly is unwilling to lead, now that would be a different thing. Call me, maybe.
Finally, even the Wall Street Journal labels Trump’s boasting that he could win New York and California as a “fantasy,” just about views New Jersey the same way. They plot one path with him winning Florida and Ohio, but still needing to take a Pennsylvania or a Minnesota or Colorado. The other way they think is even harder.
Florida becomes a lynchpin in beating Trump. He’s just about dead with Latinos. He has already wrong footed the Orlando tragedy badly. It’s not hard to see why some polls are now giving Clinton a double-digit advantage with Trump’s unfavorable at 70%. Somehow Cleveland beat Golden State, so anything is possible, but Trump is stumbling badly out of the gate at this point. You have to say, sorry, to the conservatives. Trump is no LeBron.