Alexander's Column

2016 — The Trump Math That Matters Most

A Trump v Clinton Matchup

This election is not a four-year decision but a quarter-century one.

Mark Alexander · Apr. 6, 2016

“Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the spot of every wind. With such persons, gullability takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck.” —Thomas Jefferson (1822)

The 2016 general election will determine not just our next president; it will also determine which political party controls the Senate and House. While the House is securely in Republican hands, Senate control is most assuredly in play. That’s because Republicans will be defending 24 Senate seats while Democrats only need defend 10. Currently, Republicans hold a narrow 54-46 majority in the Senate.

Consequently, this election is not just a four-year decision but a generational one, because the next president will nominate the Supreme Court justice who will fill the swing-vote vacancy created by the death of Antonin Scalia, and perhaps three additional seats — those of Justices Ginsberg, Kennedy and Breyer. If Hillary Clinton holds off the challenge from Socialist Bernie Sanders and is then elected president on November 8, only a Republican Senate would stand between her and the progressive dream of a statist-controlled Supreme Court for the next quarter-century.

We can elect a new president in four years, but Supreme Court justices serve for life.

This is what Ronald Reagan meant when he said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”

Let me be clear: If Republicans lose both the presidential election and control of the Senate, the Socialist Democratic Party will control the despotic Judicial Branch for the foreseeable future, and the tyranny of the so-called living constitution will reign supreme.

Thus, those of us who support Liberty and First Principles should engage in a vigorous debate about the qualifications of presidential candidates, and the consequences of who will run against Hillary Clinton this November. We should consider with great deliberation the character of our presidential candidates.

For the record, that debate among those of us who advocate for Liberty by way of the ballot box, among other means, is not restrained by Ronald Reagan’s admonition about fratricidal attacks — his “Eleventh Commandment.”

In his 1990 autobiography, “An American Life,” President Reagan wrote of that brother-against-brother fratricide in his first campaign for the California governorship: “The personal attacks against me during the primary became so heavy that the state Republican chairman, Gaylord Parkinson, postulated what he called the Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican. It’s a rule I followed during that campaign and have ever since.”

Reagan fared well by following that rule, and after soundly defeating Jimmy Carter for the presidency in 1980, he won 49 of 50 states during his re-election campaign of 1984 — losing just Minnesota, the home state of his opponent Walter Mondale, by a mere 3,800 votes. (Oh, and he also lost the District of Columbia — an outcome that speaks for itself.)

Unfortunately, Republican presidential contenders since, most notably the 17 GOP candidates who began this primary, have taken the art of fratricidal attacks to new lows.

In every respect, this election cycle is like no other I have ever witnessed — or read about — and primarily for one reason: The “establishment politicians,” the professional political class, are disconnected from those of us who live outside the Washington Beltway.

It’s no wonder that Bernie Sanders is nipping at Hillary Clinton’s heels, having thumped her in seven of the last eight contests — including last night’s double-digit win in Wisconsin — and I totally understand the popular appeal of Donald Trump. According to the most recent (and reliable) Quinnipiac University political poll, 57% of Americans agree that “America has lost its identity.” The same percentage say that they are “falling further and further behind economically,” and 53% say they want “a leader who is willing to say or do anything to solve America’s problems.”

These findings are consistent with our analysis and what we hear from our fellow grassroots Patriots, most of whom have expressed their support for Ted Cruz or Donald Trump over the more centrist John Kasich.

But unlike each of these remaining three candidates who have broken their pledges to support the eventual GOP nominee, I will support that nominee because I know for certain the perilous threat that “President Hillary Clinton” poses to the future of Liberty.

Last night’s Wisconsin win for Ted Cruz notwithstanding, Mr. Trump still has a commanding delegate lead in the race to see who will likely face Hillary Clinton.

But there are serious questions about the election math — not of the GOP convention math as determined by the delegates, but of the general election math.

That is the only math that matters.

Until recently, Donald Trump has frequently referenced his “lead in the polls.” I tend not to reference most media polls because of what we define as the “Pollaganda Effect,” which is: Outcome-based opinion samples (polling instruments designed to generate a preferential outcome), which in large measure reflect prior-opinion indoctrination or cultivation by the same media conducting the poll. The incestuous results are then used to manipulate public opinion further by advancing the perception that a particular candidate or opinion on an issue enjoys majority support.

But that being said, there are some very distressing research polls assessing a matchup between Clinton and Trump in the general election. Notably, the results of these polls have been affirmed consistently for several months now. Allow me to reference a couple of the most recent findings below, and, of course, you determine what to make of these findings.

On Monday, there was a report from Whit Ayres, president of the conservative polling firm North Star Opinion Research and author of “2016 and Beyond: How Republicans Can Elect a President in the New America.”

According to Ayres’s research, “A Trump nomination has as much chance of success in the general election as Trump University, or Trump Mortgage, or Trump Shuttle, or Trump Vodka, or Trump Casinos. Trump is an electoral disaster waiting to happen.” He then notes the demographic trends that will have enormous impact in 2016: “A Republican nominee who hopes to win a majority of the popular vote in 2016 must gain either 30% of the nonwhite vote or 65% of the white vote, a level not seen since President Ronald Reagan’s 49-state landslide sweep in 1984.” There are more women than men voters, and “Trump’s favorable to unfavorable ratings among white women are 29% to 68%. … Millennials have now passed baby boomers to become the largest generation. Trump’s ratings among millennials are now 18% favorable to 80% unfavorable, with 70% strongly unfavorable.” (Trump’s unfavorable ratings with women are even higher in the latest Wall Street Journal/ABC News poll.)

Ayres continues, “Since 1984, no victorious Republican presidential candidate has received less than 91% support from Republicans. Trump’s favorable to unfavorable ratings among Republicans are 52% to 47%, with 34% strongly unfavorable. A candidate beginning a general election campaign with almost half of his party holding unfavorable views is a non-starter. Contrast that with Hillary Clinton’s favorable to unfavorable ratings among Democrats of 78% to 20%. A Trump nomination would put a Democrat in the White House, seriously threaten Republican majorities in Congress and leave the Republican Party in shambles.”

Currently, Trump’s GOP unfavorable ratings rival those of George W. Bush at his presidential low point.

The general election results, and the likelihood that Republicans will lose their Senate majority with Trump on the ticket, are affirmed by the New York Times poll summaries and Washington Post poll summaries.

These results are upheld by both conservative and liberal media research in the RCP rolling averages across the board, which show that Trump would be defeated by Clinton and Sanders – and most by double digits. Ted Cruz’s margins are about half those of Trump.

Next up is the most recent research from Public Policy Polling on the most popular Republican in the race — Donald Trump — unless Kasich drops out. According to this and similar polls, 42% of Republican voters would support Trump if the election were held now. About 33% would support Cruz and 22% Kasich. However, when asked if Kasich were to drop out, 51% of his supporters go to Cruz while only 23% support Trump. That would put Trump and Cruz in a statistical dead heat.

Notably, the latest Reuters rolling averages today put Cruz ahead of Trump nationally for the first time. These numbers have significant implications for the general election, particularly since Mr. Trump has yet to collect more than 49% of the votes in any primary.

A seismic shift in the Republican primary

If you don’t want to wade through all the previous opinion research data, then at least consider that of Larry Sabato, a seasoned election forecaster at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. Ominously, he concludes that in a Clinton v Trump contest, Democrats will go into Election Day with a whopping 347 electoral votes in their pocket or strongly leaning toward Clinton. They only need 270 to win..

Of course, seven months is a long time in politics, and these polls will change when we get to general election. But the question is, in which direction? The current trends are clear, and the hard reality is, whether the polling source is Left, Centrist or Right, Trump takes a beating in a head-to-head general election matchup with Clinton. Based on the total number of primary votes cast to date, about 5% of all eligible voters have checked ballots for Donald Trump. That means an even smaller percentage have cast primary votes for Ted Cruz and others — because until a few weeks ago, the field was still flooded with GOP candidates. But, the percentage of primary votes cast for a candidate is of less importance than the percentage of total eligible voters supporting a particular candidate.

All that having been said, as utterly perplexing as the current primary cycle is, it remains possible that once Trump and Clinton debate each other mano a mano (yes, the masculine applies to Hillary), Trump might pull enough blue-collar and rustbelt Demo support away from Clinton to defeat her. In 2012, because Mitt Romney failed to reach grassroots conservatives, 10 million white voters stayed home. In the Republican primary that year, there were 19 million votes were cast. But due to the large number of Republican candidates this year, and the Trump’s populist appeal, there will likely be more than 30 million votes cast in Republican primaries at the end of this cycle.

Moreover, if the momentum generated by Sanders does not transfer to Clinton, given the fact that she is already historically weak, unpopular and viewed as untrustworthy, Trump has a chance.

And in debates, where can Clinton attack Trump without undermining her own campaign? Not Wall Street connections, not personal integrity, not honesty, not wealth, not marriage infidelity, etc. Raising any of those issues with Trump will draw fire on her own record.

None of these observations should be construed to suggest that Trump can’t beat Clinton. Don’t underestimate Trump’s support. Fact is, I think Trump can defeat Clinton on her weakness as a candidate, even though she is coated with as much non-stick Teflon as Bill Clinton. But if Clinton is indicted, the most likely alternative ticket would be the rise of Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren at the Demo convention. That will pose much more formidable opposition, unless Bernie Sanders launches a third-party campaign – which is not likely.

If Trump is the nominee, I hope he can defeat Clinton — but I don’t base my reasoned, critical analysis on popular opinion or “hope,” and neither should any of us.

Again, this election is not just a 4-year problem. The outcome of the 2016 election will have enormous consequences for or Constitutional Republic for at least the next quarter century. If Hillary Clinton wins and Republicans lose control of the Senate gauntlet against her judicial nominees, batten down the hatches.

Ultimately, the math that matters is the poll taken on November 8th of this year. I care less about the name of the GOP candidate than I do that candidate’s ability to defeat Clinton at best, or leave the GOP Senate majority intact at worst.

If we must agree to disagree on the evidence regarding Trump’s electability, OK. But concluding that such disagreement means you won’t support one of our nation’s most influential touchstones for Liberty and grassroots conservatives, The Patriot Post, is a non-sequitur. Please do support our editors and staff and their families by giving to our 2016 Patriot’s Day campaign today!

Footnote: As I have noted previously, I do NOT fall into the “never Trump” crowd, any more than I have the “only Trump” crowd. I will vote early and often for Trump against any Democrat ticket, because better to have a president who will support (however inadvertently) Rule of Law some of the time, than a statist Democrat who stands diametrically opposed to our Constitution.

(Finally, a request for prayer: This morning, our nation lost another great Patriot. Sandy McMillan served with SEAL Team 2 and was a fellow Navy Leaguer. He was a family man, a long-time colleague and friend. Please pray for his wife and their family in his absence. Fair winds and following seas, my friend! We will miss you.)

Pro Deo et Constitutione — Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

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