Fellow Patriot: The voluntary financial generosity of supporters like you keeps our hard-hitting analysis coming. Please support the 2023 Year-End Campaign today. Thank you for your support! —Nate Jackson, Managing Editor

May 4, 2016

Don’t Underestimate Trump’s Support

His chances in November look terrible, but it ain’t over yet.

Ever since Donald Trump announced his candidacy, many observers have made the mistake of underestimating both him and his support. While we have consistently made the case that Trump is a con artist and clown who is utterly unworthy and unfit for the office of the presidency, we saw (and share!) voter angst and completely understand Trump’s populist appeal. We always have understood it, and said so early on.

Such is the state of discontent among voters that Trump is now all but the presumptive Republican nominee after trouncing Ted Cruz in Indiana Tuesday. Cruz and John Kasich quit the race, leaving Trump with no opposition and about 200 more delegates to win. That says a lot about the failed establishment and the state of our country after eight years of Barack Obama.

So, in one of the great ironies of our generation, a billionaire casino mogul and narcissistic philanderer will now head the party of social conservatism. And yet the lesson is clear: Don’t underestimate Trump’s support in the general election.

Some in the commentariat are understandably angry that voters rejected principled conservatism in favor of a crass blowhard they believe will simply blow up Washington. For the record, writes National Review’s Kevin Williamson, “Americans and Republicans, remember: You asked for this. Given the choice between a dozen solid conservatives and one Clinton-supporting con artist and game-show host, you chose the con artist. You chose him freely. Nobody made you do it.”

Williamson isn’t wrong and he’s far from alone among conservative thinkers and writers, but bitterness isn’t helpful, even if Trump supporters can be extraordinarily nasty in chastising us nonbelievers. Bitterness won’t convert a single Trump supporter, nor, arguably, at this point should it. With the primary battle now effectively behind us, the focus turns to the general election and Hillary Clinton. (Or Joe Biden — more on that from Mark Alexander later today.) Like it or not, either a Democrat or a Republican will be our next president.

The more charitable way to view this election cycle is that Trump established unshakeable support from those who looked at the crowded field of more standard Republicans and essentially said:

> Why would we want more of the same? We lost with moderate squishes like Dole, McCain and Romney, and Bush was a disaster, so why not try something completely different? Instead of rebuilding the rest of the world — or apologizing to it — why not make America great again?

Trump benefited from three primary factors that we’ve outlined before: The Obama effect, the large fratricidal field of contenders (who spent most of their resources attacking not Trump but each other), and unceasing Leftmedia attention. Mainly, Trump’s supporters (like the rest of us) are just tired of watching yahoos in Washington trash our country.

Having warned against underestimating Trump’s chances in the general election, he faces a daunting task. He trails badly in the polls, and is even more widely disliked than Clinton (no small feat). As of today, the RealClearPolitics average shows Clinton up by 6.5%. And the same Leftmedia that propelled him to the nomination will now eviscerate him in service to the Democrat National Committee, possibly driving his poll numbers even lower.

And if you think that’s bad, Trump will now face a multi-million dollar barrage of ads ads like this:

If he is caught flat-footed as Mitt Romney was in 2012, the polls are going to look even worse.

More important than national polls, however, there’s this little thing the Founders created called the Electoral College. To reach the White House, a candidate must win at least 270 electoral votes. Unfortunately for Republicans, the current map gives a distinct advantage to Democrats.

Assuming Clinton wins Florida given her large lead in the polls there, The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza breaks down the math: “If Clinton wins the 19 states (and D.C.) that every Democratic nominee has won from 1992 to 2012, she has 242 electoral votes. Add Florida’s 29 and you get 271. Game over.”

For Republicans, the math isn’t so good. Using the same time frame as his standard, Cillizza says, “There are 13 states that have gone for the GOP presidential nominee in each of the last six elections. But they only total 102 electorate votes. That means the eventual nominee has to find, at least, 168 more electoral votes to get to 270. Which is a hell of a lot harder than finding 28 electoral votes.”

November is a political lifetime away, and a lot will happen between now and then. Will Clinton be indicted for mishandling classified information? Will Trump lose the lawsuit against Trump University? Will two badly fractured parties unite behind their respective nominees?

Republican primary voters have made their choice. We think it was a poor one, but we also don’t underestimate Trump’s ability to overcome all the negatives and, against all odds, win in November.

(Updated after Kasich dropped out.)

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring the Sacrifice and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach, and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

Please join us in prayer for our nation — that righteous leaders would rise and prevail and we would be united as Americans. Pray also for the protection of our Military Patriots, Veterans, First Responders, and their families. Please lift up your Patriot team and our mission to support and defend our Republic's Founding Principle of Liberty, that the fires of freedom would be ignited in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2023 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.