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How worried should we be about Donald Trump becoming president?

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apocalypse now

This is not the same question as “what are the odds that he’s going to win?”

The reason is because it makes sense to be quite concerned about a potential catastrophe, even if the odds are low that it will happen.

My view is that a Trump presidency would be a genuine catastrophe, at a completely different level than anything the country has ever seen before in terms of presidential politics. Besides being almost unbelievably ignorant about pretty much every topic relevant to the office, Trump appears to be a mentally unstable person who shouldn’t be in command of a set of steak knives, let alone a set of nuclear launch codes.

So, in my view, a ten percent chance of Trump becoming president is in itself a sort of ongoing disaster, as in Apocalypse x .1 = Omigod This Can’t Be Happening. Which brings us to Thomas Edsall:

There is also strong evidence that most traditional public opinion surveys inadvertently hide a segment of Trump’s supporters. Many voters are reluctant to admit to a live interviewer that they back a candidate who has adopted such divisive positions.

In matchups between Trump and Hillary Clinton, Trump does much better in polls conducted online, in which respondents click their answers on a computer screen, rather than in person-to-person landline and cellphone surveys.

An aggregation by RealClearPolitics of 10 recent telephone polls gives Clinton a nine-point lead over Trump. In contrast, the combined results for the YouGov and Morning Consult polls, which rely on online surveys, place Clinton’s lead at four points.

Why is this important? Because an online survey, whatever other flaws it might have, resembles an anonymous voting booth far more than what you tell a pollster does.

In a May 2015 report, Pew Research analyzed the differences between results derived from telephone polling and those from online Internet polling. Pew determined that the biggest differences in answers elicited via these two survey modes were on questions on which social desirability bias — that is, “the desire of respondents to avoid embarrassment and project a favorable image to others” — played a role.

In a detailed analysis of phone versus online polling in Republican primaries, Kyle A. Dropp, the executive director of polling and data science at Morning Consult, writes:

Trump’s advantage in online polls compared with live telephone polling is eight or nine percentage points among likely voters.

This difference, Dropp notes, is driven largely by more educated voters — those who would be most concerned with “social desirability.”

These findings suggest that Trump will head into the general election with support from voters who are reluctant to admit their preferences to a live person in a phone survey, but who may well be inclined to cast a ballot for Trump on Election Day.

This is a kind of variation on the so-called Bradley effect, the continued existence of which is controversial. Will there be a Trump effect, and if so will it be strong enough to overcome the many excellent reasons to think that Trump will be an exceptionally weak candidate?

Other reasons to worry include:

The argument that Hillary Clinton is herself an exceptionally weak candidate.

This argument is usually based on some combination of the claims that she’s a bad campaigner, that she’s going to have to deal with serious legal complications because of the email thing or whatever other “scandal” the GOP cooks up, and that she’s a prototypically establishment figure at a time when the zeitgeist is going very much in an anti-establishment direction. I think the first two claims are seriously overstated, while the third is a genuine cause for concern.

The argument that Trump is a unique candidate, and that existing precedents for analyzing his strengths and weaknesses are of relatively little value.

Trump certainly is a unique candidate, but his uniqueness seems to be manifested in ways that are unambiguously bad for his election chances (there’s never been a major party candidate with anything like both his negatives, and his extra-political fame. In other words everybody knows him and most people hate him because they know him, which seems like an exceptionally unpromising combination). So the argument that you can’t really assess his chances seems like bare assertion at best.

The argument that something could happen that could change the present political landscape in a radical way: a big terrorist attack, an HRC health crisis, or who knows what else.

Again, this seems to add up to the claim that while things look bad for Trump now, they could look different five months from now, which is true by definition, and therefore trivial.

The argument that Trump will get massive media coverage, even beyond that given to a typical presidential nominee, because he’s great for ratings, and that this coverage will normalize him, because of the reflexive structure of political coverage in this country (“both sides do it, the truth lies somewhere in the middle,” etc.)

I think this is probably the single best reason to worry that Trump’s chances are better than conventional analysis would suggest.

In any case, there’s going to be a lot of gin in my freezer between now and November.

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  • Well, if everybody knows him and most people hate him because they know him, why are the polls so close? You seem to be assuming that everybody hates him and ignoring the evidence you yourself present that contradicts your assumption.

    • tsam

      I think we’ve been warned numerous times that polls this far out are less than reliable.

      • furikawari

        Might just be a sample size thing. I think the pollsters are just now turning to repeated national matchup polls (whereas before they were just a side show to the primary polls).

        Sam Wang wrote that the polls are actually better correlated to the final result now than they will be over the summer (because of the fading convention bumps, I’d guess).

      • DilbertSucks

        Here’s another cause for concern: there was a media flurry over those recent Quinnipiac polls from Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania showing Clinton losing in Ohio and only ahead +1 in the other two states. Yes, it’s one pollster. Yes, it’s still early. Yes, Trump could potentially win Ohio but lose the general election.

        But…

        The poll also revived the schism between campaign pollsters, most of whom who use registration-based sampling, or voter lists, to build their samples — and academic pollsters like Quinnipiac, which randomly dials phone numbers to reach potential respondents.

        The Florida result differed greatly from a recent survey from the Associated Industries of Florida, a business lobbying group that found Clinton leading Trump by 13 points last month — though the demographic breakdowns of the two polls were similar.

        AIF Vice President of Political Operations Ryan Tyson, who conducted the survey analysis, says the blowup over Quinnipiac’s numbers and its nonconformity with other recent polls (including AIF’s) misses the point. His explanation: Because Quinnipiac’s survey randomly contacted registered voters, it includes respondents who don’t usually vote.

        Tyson said that difference gets to the central question of the 2016 election.

        “What the Quinnipiac data shows is nothing surprising,” Tyson said. “It shows, from what I can read, what happens when you bring non-likely general election voters to the dance. It shows Trump’s claim of turning it into a race with non-likely voters.[Quinnipiac] isn’t ‘wrong’; we’re looking at two different things.”

        As usual, Nate Silver and the gang dismissed the likelihood Trump was bringing in new voters based on data from the primaries. However, there could very well be a large swathe of voters who plan on voting for Trump in the general election but didn’t vote in the primaries. A very large percentage of these could be voters who don’t usually vote at all, those “new voters” Trump is attracting. This is especially true of less wealthy voters, who vote in primaries less frequently (hence that other recent 538 article claiming Trump voters were more well off than assumed):

        http://election.princeton.edu/2016/05/07/among-republican-voters-trump-supporters-have-the-lowest-income/

        Something to keep in mind.

        And no, if you do the math, the Hispanic vote won’t save us. Stop thinking that.

        • Fozzz

          “I mostly agree with that, though I do think future predictions can be useful if they are transparent and put the assumptions on the table where we can see them.”

          Sam not a fan of Nate’s secret sauce (i.e., polls plus model)?

        • tsam

          I get all of that, and I’m certainly not falling into the trap of being overconfident or complacent. I’m just not ready to shit my favorite undies just yet.

        • brad

          Sam Wang // May 11, 2016 at 8:55 pm

          Edsall quotes a fairly shoddy analysis from Morning Consult. Do people really believe the claim that polls underestimated Trump’s support? Is this even worth writing about?

          If you’re going to cite Wang it’s worth including the only thing he seems to have said about all this worrying.
          No matter the sampling method it’s still just a tiny snapshot of millions of voters. The aggregate of the polls is the largest possible pool of combined data, and the best guide, however flawed, we have.

          • DilbertSucks

            Polls did not underestimate Trump’s support during the primaries before New York. That’s true. But I already mentioned the problem with extrapolating that assumption to the general election: many voters, especially lower income voters, who didn’t vote in the primaries, could very well turn up in the general election.

            It’s not implausible that the primary polls more or less accurately predicted Trump’s support (though there were some significant exceptions to this, such as Arizona), but that the general election polls are underestimating his support. This is a possibility when you have an unconventional candidate with an unconventional base.

            Another thing: Florida and Pennsylvania both had closed primaries, so many Trump supporters may not have been able to vote for him even if they wanted to do so.

            • random

              many voters, especially lower income voters, who didn’t vote in the primaries, could very well turn up in the general election.

              This is happening, just most of them are registering specifically to vote against the GOP nominee.

        • Matt McIrvin

          The Hispanic vote by itself, probably not. (Though for there to be zero chance it could save us, Hispanics would have to have zero percent turnout. The margin could always be in a range where they’d make the difference.)

          But. If prevailing trends in presidential elections continue, the fraction of non-Hispanic whites in this election is going to be about 73%. Trump is very likely to do worse among everyone else than any previous major-party presidential candidate since non-whites had real voting-rights protections.

          Say that he gets 10% of non-whites and Hispanics (I suspect that is actually high). I calculate that he then needs 65% of the non-Hispanic white vote. If he were to get 20% of non-whites and Hispanics (what one might imagine from a Republican Party that decided to reverse course on bigotry), the fraction of non-Hispanic whites he’d need would come down to 61%.

          These differences sound small, but in a presidential election, they’re very significant. 61% is just slightly better than Mitt Romney’s performance. 65% is a tall order. Ronald Reagan got 66% of the white vote in his 49-state blowout in 1984.

      • The problem is, that warning is out of date.

        The most famous such warning was a 538 column from December 23, 2015. Let me state for the record that head-to-head matchup polls from the December before election year are, indeed, worthless.

        But now it’s May, and it’s time to update our understanding of the utility of matchup polls.

        • tsam

          BUT THESE ARE MY FAVORITE UNDIES. 4 STRAIGHT DAYS AND STILL COMFY

    • twbb

      The problem is people naively assume that people won’t vote for candidates who they personally dislike.

      • LosGatosCA

        Even more pertinent:

        voting is #1 – a tribal exercise only rarely superseded (for tribe violating voters only) by #2 – survival (national security and/or economic calamity) needs.

        The emphasis on GOTV for the base is indicative of #1. 2016 is a #1 election.

        1980, 2004, 2008 were #2 elections

        Reagan (1980) and Obama (2008) both benefited from the latter/economic (not tribal driven) force. Of course, Bush II gained the national security vote in 2004.

      • petesh

        Support for a fence along the Mexican border has dropped 10 points since Trump started yelling about The Wall. My take is that most people never really thought about it much and when they did a total of about 10% of the public were not impressed by the messenger or the message. That’s landslide level, in Presidential politics. By trying to win on his issues, D’s can pick up independents; Trump enthuses a minority and disgusts a majority, and his signature issues are not popular. Or is he really that good as a salesman?

      • Pat

        We can probably assume that the right wing Wurlitzer will continue to dominate the press, however, talking non-stop about Trump with a lot of negative press about Clinton.

        The latter is what we need to counter.

    • brugroffil

      Don’t most of the recent polls still have large (>15%) undecideds?

    • BigHank53

      Phone polling accuracy is getting worse as more people drop landlines and use only cellphones. It isn’t legal to cold-call cellphones.

      • LosGatosCA

        Not true. I get cold called all the time.

        ETA: not by pollsters though.

        • erick

          You get cold called by people who don’t care about breaking the law:-)

          • Colin Day

            How does the caller know that the number is to a cell phone? The caller is just dialing every possible number.

        • Pseudonym

          Me too, but not legally. (I’m on the Do Not Call list as well.)

      • efgoldman

        Phone polling accuracy is getting worse as more people drop landlines and use only cellphones.

        But aren’t web polls partially to largely self-selecting? I’m certainly no statistician (umm… two plus two is… four? Which I wouldn’t know without the inchworm song…) but wouldn’t that skew results in unpredictable ways?

        • erick

          Yeah, online polls are generally worthless

          • JMP

            But they were so good at predicting the 2008 landslide election of President Ron Paul!

      • I have been called by at least 8 polls in the last year, and I only own a cell phone. If this is the law, it’s not enforced.

    • addicted44

      A lot of Republicans who dislike him, are nonetheless gonna vote for him.

      Then there are a lot of people who dislike him, but want to heighten contradictions, so will vote for him.

  • MilitantlyAardvark

    If there is one Democratic politician in the US who is capable of screwing up against Donald Trump, that politician is Hillary Clinton, aided by her militantly ignorant supporters who insist that her numerous flaws as a politician are all the fault of Sanders and his supporters, whose votes shouldn’t count because they are all apparently a bunch of evil racists and only pure Clintonium can lead us to victory. The fact that she’s a timid, unappealing, inept, widely distrusted Beltway operator – and has been for decades – is apparently all traceable to the largely mythical Bernie Bros. Ironically, many of those now screaming loudest for the Hillssiah were those who denounced her as a neocon sellout back in 2008 when she managed to bungle her way to defeat against one B.H.Obama.

    • brad

      Or you have an unconscious tendency to lump people who disagree with you together, despite their differences.
      One or the other.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      You should have included, “P.S. I am not a crank!” at the end of your post for added credibility.

    • anapestic

      I don’t think “fact” means what your usage here implies you think it means.

    • sibusisodan

      Do you have time to edit and include something about the emails? It’s just that would give me a Full House if you did.

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        Sure, I made it all up. Clinton is wildly popular, has no negatives and has never been near the Beltway in her life. She also did not run an incompetent campaign and lose to Obama in 2008. She doesn’t have a long record of incompetence, she didn’t screw up health care reform and she never voted for the Iraq war.

        Happy now, slappy?

        • cpinva

          since she wasn’t in office back in 1994, exactly how did she “screw up health care reform”?

          • MilitantlyAardvark

            Ummm.. you do realize who was the appointed leader of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform?

            Need a hint? Three words, starting with H, R and C.

          • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

            Wikipedia is your friend:

            The Clinton health care plan, known officially as the Health Security Act and unofficially nicknamed “Hillarycare” (after First Lady Hillary Clinton) by its detractors,[1][2] was a 1993 healthcare reform package proposed by the administration of President Bill Clinton and closely associated with the chair of the task force devising the plan, First Lady of the United States Clinton.

            • tsam

              That does a good job of explaining how she “fucked it up”.

        • She also did not run an incompetent campaign and lose to Obama in 2008.

          Yeah, what kind of incompetent piece of shit loses to Barack Obama, famed electoral bumbler, so miserably that they win the popular vote?

    • sharculese

      Don’t be a fucking asshole.

    • Jay B

      The fact that she’s a timid, unappealing, inept, widely distrusted Beltway operator – and has been for decades

      Yeah, except you are dead wrong. As recently as three years ago, she was the most popular politician in America and she’s still among the most widely admired women in the world.

      And while we are at it, simultaneously decrying the “mythical BernieBros.” while embodying their reality is a neat trick.

      • MilitantlyAardvark

        Well, maybe you’d better run Clinton from three years ago as your candidate. Good luck with that one.

        For the record, I was not and am not a Bernie bro. I began this whole thing as fundamentally neutral between the candidates and I still think they both have obvious flaws.

        Not that it matters to me now, because this whole nonsense has convinced me that the Democrats aren’t a party that deserves my vote or my time. I am done with them, after decades of voting and donating and volunteering. When you can’t be bothered to offer me a convincing candidate or fight for anything except the privilege of being the less bad party, you haven’t earned anything except the back of my hand.

        • sharculese

          Well, as long as you’re remembering to make a national election all about you then I guess we’re good.

        • Jay B

          You are ADORABLE. You are the perfect definition of a BernieBro, that really, it’s all about you and your transparent need for validity.

          Once again, you started with a total bullshit lie — she’s been loathed for decades — only then to move the goalposts when your paper-thin thesis was proven wrong. Enjoy the comity and solidity of the Greens, of whom you clearly and obviously know nothing.

        • kped

          So…what you’re saying is you saw two front page posts about FdB and you had a single tear roll down your face and you said out loud, to no one in particular “why not me?”

          You gotta get a wordpress blog if you want to make the front pages. This level of hackery is more sad than risible, you have much work to do.

        • sibusisodan

          Not that it matters to me now, because this whole nonsense has convinced me that the Democrats aren’t a party that deserves my vote or my time. I am done with them, after decades of voting and donating and volunteering.

          That’s marvellous. I really wasn’t sure if you were a Poe at first, but that’s really top class.

          Kudos for Hillssiah, BTW. I forgot to mention it earlier.

        • Mike in DC

          Special Little Snowflake Syndrome(tm) claims another victim.

        • a_paul_in_mtl

          “When you can’t be bothered to offer me a convincing candidate or fight for anything except the privilege of being the less bad party, you haven’t earned anything except the back of my hand.’

          Actually, being “the less bad” of the two parties with a shot of winning the presidency is a pretty strong argument for preferring that one over the other, seeing as it is just another way of saying that it is the BETTER of the two parties.

          Also, it may have escaped your notice, but political parties are in the business of winning elections by getting millions of votes, not by customizing their appeal to your exact specifications. This means that “earning” your vote means convincing you that, on balance, they are the best of the available choices. It doesn’t mean checking off all your boxes, simply because it would be impossible to do that with every single voter in this country.

        • witlesschum

          So, John Kerry, Al Gore, Bill Clinton and the whole lineup were all okay but running Hillary Clinton for president is somehow uniquely terrible and it’s time to flounce?

          That’s a pretty weird story.

          • Or, no one even close to as leftist as Bernie Sanders has ever come even close to winning the Democratic primary in the past two generations; the party is clearly shifting left; the party establishment is embracing positions that would have been anathema as recently as 2015 – so now is the time to throw in the towel and bail?

            You’d stick it out through welfare reform, tough-on-crime laws, the DLC, and two consecutive Iraq War voting nominees…but now is the time to give up on the Democrats?

            Madness. The fish is almost in the boat!

            • Thanks for this. I completely agree.

              Just to say: I’ve been really pissed off by some of the rhetoric used between liberal-to-lefties in this primary, and although you have rankled me from time to time, I really appreciate you as a full-throated Sanders supporter whose heart is in the right place and has, you know, fucking priorities. I mostly identify that way myself, I just don’t have the heart to get down to rhetorical fisticuffs anymore. So: respect.

            • witlesschum

              Very good point. The Democratic Party is actually getting much better, even if you don’t like the presidential nominee. My state rep is much better than his equivalent from 10 years ago and I don’t think that’s unusual.

        • tsam

          . When you can’t be bothered to offer me a convincing candidate or fight for anything except the privilege of being the less bad party, you haven’t earned anything except the back of my hand.

          You know that individuals decide to run and then the people more or less vote for them in a primary system, right? The party doesn’t just give us a candidate. Unless your point is that all of the Democratic voters are a bunch of assholes. But you wouldn’t go and say such an uncivil thing would you?

        • efgoldman

          you haven’t earned anything except the back of my hand.

          Are you a sock puppet for deboer?

          • tsam

            Heh. Yeah, raise that hand my way, Aarvdark.

          • Pat

            It’s a clear sign to the other misogynists that he knows how to put a woman in her place.

        • los

          decades of voting and donating and volunteering
          maybe then, pullback… don’t bother doing more than relaxed research on multiple candidates, then voting lesser evil (or greater good).

          even voting green or whatever is better than voting trump/greater evil

          i’d rather that you at least vote…

          • Pat

            You don’t realize that he’s lying, do you, los?

    • a_paul_in_mtl

      “aided by her militantly ignorant supporters”- oh dear, have you been in a few online fights lately? If I were to judge candidates by their most obnoxious supporters, I would never vote for anyone.

      “Ironically, many of those now screaming loudest for the Hillssiah were those who denounced her as a neocon sellout back in 2008 when she managed to bungle her way to defeat against one B.H.Obama.” – I’m not sure what this claim is based on. If anything, the more disturbingly faith-based politics seems to emanate from Sanders supporters, of which I am one, but man, some of them can be annoyingly irrational.

    • An army of strawmen will rise up and install Trump on the throne.

      • tsam

        Just show them a book of matches and they’ll run like hell.

        • Colin Day

          Just show them a book and they’ll run like hell.

    • If there is one Democratic politician in the US who is capable of screwing up against Donald Trump, that politician is Hillary Clinton,

      As she will be the only one running against him, this is trivially true.

      The rest isn’t analysis. There’s very little, if any, evidence that Clinton is an uniquely bad candidate. If Trump wins, it’s far more plausible that it will be due to a set of factors that makes him much stronger than seems reasonable. In that case there are loads of possible Democratic candidates he could beat.

      • nixnutz

        The thing that gets me about this line of reasoning is that if Hillary is really the most despised and incompetent politician ever then Bernie must be a real worthless piece of shit to be losing to her so thank God he’s not the nominee I guess?

        • Dilan Esper

          The fact that HRC started with huge structural advantages matters to that analysis.

          • random

            LOL he said “structural advantages”….everyone drink!

            • I assume that we’re all already drinking when I read LGM.

              What this has to do with the universally-recognized existence of Hillary Clinton’s structural advantage is unclear.

              • I assume that we’re all already drinking when I read LGM.

                I’m a teetotaller.

                • Perhaps that explains your reality-based stance on structural advantages.

                  Sometimes drinking can lead people to a sort of “I love you, man! You’re the best person in the world!” fuzzy adoration mindset.

                • Heh. I use sleep deprivation for that!

                • Ha!

                  Now that I think about it, you do sort of play a designated driver role in some of these threads.

                  I love you, man!

                • I love you, man!

                  Ok, I’ve already taken your keys, but now you’re cut off!

                • This thread is perfect.

                  I am not a teetotaller. Bottoms up!

              • Pseudonym

                I certainly make sure to be drinking whenever you read LGM. ;-)

          • Colin Day

            What “structural advantages” give Clinton a lead in pledged delegates? That she was more well-known than Sanders?

            • The Temporary Name

              The conniving witch joined up with the Democratic Party and refused to stop being joined.

            • I’ve become a little wary of the term “structural advantage” these days in these threads, but I would say that her name recognition and, more generally, the fact that she was somewhat analogous to an incumbent. Clinton vs. Sanders feels more to me like an incumbent vs. challenger than an open campaign. Incumbency advantage is generally considered to be a structural feature and includes name recognition, relationships, party support, etc. This seemed esp. strong in the black community where she and Bill have huge ties, connections, supporters, etc. I don’t think that explains all of her lead, but it does for a reasonable chunk.

              (Note that “structural” doesn’t mean “unearned”. If you are an incumbent, then you won at least one election!)

              Interestingly, if the campaign were more like an open one, I don’t know that Bernie would have done as well. We still don’t know how much of his support has been the outsider wave. If HRC were an outsider, she might have pealed off more. Or maybe she would have lost more of her structurally supported support.

              Her campaign was reasonable both strategically and in the retail politics. Some gaffes were handled very effectively (cf the Nancy Reagan gaffe which was repaired very quickly and may even have strengthened her with the LGBT community.)

              It’s not a groundbreaking campaign nor is she a retail political talent on the order of Obama or Bill or, I suspect, Sanders, though she’s a lot closer to Sanders (he’s no Obama either).

        • Eh.

          Primaries aren’t the general election. Plus some things (like “being indicted”) haven’t fully materialised yet.

          So I don’t think it’s completely incoherent. You are correct that there is a tension.

        • The thing that gets me about this line of reasoning is that if Hillary is really the most despised and incompetent politician ever then Bernie must be a real worthless piece of shit to be losing to her so thank God he’s not the nominee I guess?

          This reasoning only holds if you think that campaigning skill is the sole determinant of election outcomes.

      • Dilan Esper

        In other words, no matter how badly she fucks this up, some of her supporters will refuse to blame her or hold her responsible.

        • In other words,

          expressing thoughts not expressed in my comment.

          no matter how badly she fucks this up, some of her supporters will refuse to blame her or hold her responsible.

          This is also trivially true, but has nothing to do with my comment.

          This would be a good place for you to go on about your belief that I’m obsessed with you.

          • Dilan Esper

            Bijan, my point is she’s a big favorite to win. If she loses, the prima facie reason has got to be that she fucked up. Your comment implied that wasn’t true and certainly read like you are readying your excuses.

            • Bijan, my point is she’s a big favorite to win.

              I agree.

              If she loses, the prima facie reason has got to be that she fucked up.

              Not at all. That’s silly.

              It’s certainly something that would be on the list, but, for example, if she ran a pretty flawless campaign but was beaten by the wave of anti-establishmentness going around, that wouldn’t be because she fucked up.

              Your comment implied that wasn’t true

              I don’t think it is true that it will be the prima face or the all considered reason that she loses. Indeed, I don’t think it would be a likely reason. It is, of course, a possible reason. If it turns out to be the actual reason or a plausible reason I’ll happily acknowledge it.

              and certainly read like you are readying your excuses.

              Well, that’s because you can’t read.

              Indeed, the bias to watch out for is over blaming HRC. People tend to overrate candidate and campaign quality in the first place and even more tend to overvalue specific things that have little value (e.g., debates). Given that she seems very strong now and he seems very weak (now) makes confirmation bias a strong factor.

              However, that doesn’t mean that either her or a fuck up by her wouldn’t be decisive. But it’s silly to think that these are the only possible reasons or that Trump is only not-beatable by her. In the absence of a clear crash and burn, the prima facie conclusion is that Trump was a stronger candidate that we understood.

              Consider the Republican primaries. Yes, it was a weak field, but not all the candidates were equally weak. I don’t see that Cruz, for example, made any critical mistake (other than being Cruz). Or Rubio for that matter. They may have all made a mistake of dividing the field, but Trump also demonstrated surprisingly and increasing strength with the Republican voters.

              You let your animosity drive your commenting too often.

              • brewmn

                I would like to add that all of the “missteps” she get criticized by the anti-Clinton left for, like the Nancy Reagan and Henry Kissinger comments, mean nothing to the middle sliver of voters who currently decide national elections.

                And, if the argument is that that a couple of arguably offensive comments hurt your feelings badly enough that you have no choice but to subject the country (and the world) to Donald Trump as president, then hell no I don’t blame Hillary. I blame the prima donnas who refused to vote for her out of butthurt.

              • Pseudonym

                Rubio didn’t have a ground game and gave some memorably bad debate performances. Cruz [allegedly] murdered several people in northern California in the late 60s and early 70s. These were avoidable mistakes.

                • He was born constructed in Canada too.

                  Rubio had some bad debates, but that’s not what kept him from being the frontrunner in any contest. Ground game…maaaybe.

                • searunner

                  I think Bijan is right. A poor debate performance in NH isn’t what doomed Rubio, and it’s possible his decision to not invest in GOTV efforts doomed his campaign. We’ll never know though.

                  However, given that Trump didn’t invest in GOTV either it’s not clear that is what doomed Rubio. It could be that Rubio’s decision to run in the establishment lane was his biggest mistake. Maybe the establishment lane was a complete dead-end this cycle, and any candidate that decided to run their campaign from this lane was DOA.

      • los

        something like another 9/11.

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      I didn’t denounce her in 2008. I would’ve happily voted for either. TBH I can’t remember my precise reasoning. But it was definitely because I thought Obama was a bit better, not because I thought Hillary was awful. The Iraq War vote was a factor, but it certainly wouldn’t have prevented me from publicly supporting and voting for her in November.

      And while Obama has been a very good president and I don’t regret my choice at all, I’m not certain that Hillary would’ve been worse. (I am, however, reasonably certain that a third term of Obama would be better than a first term of Hillary.) Also, I was young then and I have come around to some of her positions on strategy since then. Her arguments about pragmatism didn’t win me over then, but I find them more persuasive now (Obama has said some things along those lines in the past year as well).

      I think she’s a better candidate now than she was in 2008. She seems better on almost every issue and has more experience. The emails + speaking fees are new “scandals” but on substantive issues and campaign strategy, she seems much, much better.

      • I didn’t support Obama in 2008. He’s exceeded my expectations. Most of the ways in which he’s been better than I thought were not apparent in 2008, where he ran very close to Clinton ideologically, and where his advisors were either not much better than Clinton’s or completely unknown.

        Somewhat like W, actually, Obama shrugged off his safe establishment crew after a few years and promoted more of his “own” people.

        • Pat

          Honestly, Forky, why would you talk about “denouncing” a Democrat in a primary election? I was all for Hillary in 2008 until she conceded, voted for Barack in November that year and 4 years later.

          I’m glad to see Hillary back in contention. She’s a strong candidate, a good Democrat, and a solid negotiator. I think she can figure out a way to bring the Republicans back to the negotiating table. (Hint: it involves raising taxes on the rich, early, hard, and with malice aforethought. It’s the only hostage the Republicans give a damn about.)

          So I cannot see anywhere that any Democrat has to denounce anybody on their side. And I point it out because the language most people use to criticize Clinton is far more harsh than what they use to criticize any other Democrat. It’s not necessary.

  • Mike in DC

    As the saying goes, if you’re not worried, you’re not paying attention. The baseline threat of a Republican being elected president is complete Republican control of government, and continued conservative control of SCOTUS. That in and of itself is pretty bad. On top of that, you have Trump’s stated policy agenda, which is horrible, and his obvious temperamental unsuitability, which is deeply disturbing. It’s quite possible Trump would achieve the heretofore unimaginable “Worse than Dubya” status.

    • Philip

      A presidency that would combine all the worst parts of Nixon with all the worst parts of Bush II

      • Malaclypse

        And the competence of Harding.

        • LosGatosCA

          Without the good grace to die in office.

          • Pseudonym

            Or Warren G’s pro-regulation stance.

            • El Guapo

              + 1 Nate Dogg

    • guthrie

      Oddly enough, a British, old, white male person was complaining online a few days ago that Hilary and Trump weren’t any different, both support rampant capitalism, ongoing foreign wars and a couple of other things. Of course somehow he forgot the war against women, the likely repeal of the ACA if trump wins, and a number of other issues that aren’t relevant to an old white male living in the UK, so don’t actually exist.

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        It’s funny how a Dutch man I know online similarly feels that he could never vote for Hillary and she’s barely better than Trump.

        Interestingly enough, he’s unemployed and lives off the generous social safety net there, uses their universal healthcare and the biggest issues he talks about are Palestine and treatment of minorities/Muslims/immigrants in the Netherlands. Bewildering that he can’t see that allowing Trump to win would be like allowing Geert Wilders to be PM, but worse.

        Proportional representation means he doesn’t need to worry about being a spoiler by voting for the leftiest party, so I’ll charitably blame it on that. But it’s also possible he wouldn’t be willing to compromise even to stop Wilders.

    • rewenzo

      Who could have guessed that the next Republican president to be worse than GWB would be literally the next Republican president?

  • Todd

    The worry of a Trump presidency is indeed chart-busting. But the whole ‘double-secret off-the-grid un-pollable Trump army’ worry seems low on the list of concerns. If there was ever an election for a secret 5th Column of nativist bigoted talk radio-inspired voting bloc it was 2008. And they were so effective that they couldn’t even hold on to Indiana. The kind of person who is hiding a secret Trump vote has been voting regularly for the Bushes and Romneys and Palins all along.

    • cpinva

      pretty much. the same people, just more loudly obnoxious.

      • Pat

        And maybe some of them are overseas, a la Forky’s Dutch friend.

    • AMK

      Yup. Though I would say the real talk radio election would have been 2012, when the Kenyan Muslim Usurper had already proven his mendacity through health care reform, support for gay marriage, saying some bad things about some guns and some rich bankers, etc.

      And of course, in 2012 Romney had the entire GOP machine–every level of the party, donors, outside networks, FOX, etc–working in lockstep with his campaign. This time around it’s open war in the ranks, and I have a hard time believing that the money elites who hate Trump now are really going to see an existential threat from a rich old white lady with a hedge-fund son-in-law who’s made more money from Goldman than most of its employees.

      • Karen24

        The Wall Street Journal endorsed Clinton. To my Facebook friends this proves she’s the biggest sellout in history, but at least to me it proves that a significant percentage of the Overclass don’t want to see the Republican nominee in office.

        • GFW

          The Wall Street Journal endorsed Clinton.

          Link?!

          • Karen24

            Here. It’s more a ‘vote for the bad thing rather than the catastrophe’ than a ringing endorsement.

            • LFC

              That is not an endorsement of Hilary by the Wall Street Journal. It’s a signed opinion column by one person published in the Wall Street Journal (even if Bret Stephens is on the WSJ ed. staff, it’s still a signed column by one person). To say that “newspaper X endorses candidate Y” means that the newspaper’s editorial board runs a (typically) unsigned editorial expressing the collective (presumably) view of the paper’s editorial board. One op-ed is not an endorsement. Of course I suppose it’s within the realm of possibility that the WSJ endorses Clinton, but that’s definitely not what that link appears to be (not a subscriber and it’s paywalled so I only read the opening).

              • los

                https://archive.is/1emjh
                “Trump could win… This will lead to its own left-wing counter-reactions, putting America on the road to Weimar.”
                that doesn’t make sense to me.

      • efgoldman

        in 2012 Romney had the entire GOP machine–every level of the party, donors, outside networks, FOX, etc–working in lockstep with his campaign.

        Unfortunately, by September so will Trump and the opossum on his head. maybe not as enthusiastically as they might have for Tailgunner Teddy Cruz or Brave Brave Sir Wonder Boy Marco, but they’ll be there.

        • JMV Pyro

          True, but if Trump’s data strategy is any indication, Republican campaign operatives will be praying for the efficiency of the ORCA app.

        • AMK

          Enthusiasm at the top really matters for a party that relies so heavily on a handful of guys caring enough to fund elaborate GOTV operations and legal chicanery schemes as a way of countering the demographic deficit. I’m sure most of the Romney coalition will say they back Trump by September, but there’s a difference between saying it and cutting that seven or eight or nine figure check with “Donald Trump for President” on the line.

          I’m sure more than a few of these guys can’t wait until the day after Trump loses, when they will use their resources to jockey for position and influence in rebuilding the party with HRC in the White House as a perfect punching bag. I’m pretty sure more than a few of their lackeys in office are thinking the same thing.

    • kped

      Yes. This 1000 times.

      And of course, this ignores the massive numbers of new Latino voters registering in states specifically due to their hatred of Trump.

      I really don’t fear Trump being voted President. I more fear that the next guy and the guy after him will be treated as normal and maybe have a shot (probably with less Latino bashing though…you won’t be able to win an election doing that).

      • LosGatosCA

        Trump is the actual embodiment of the phrase

        ‘I’d rather the racists were open and vocal with their hatred rather than pretending to be politically correct while being underground bigots and smiling while they do the racist dirty work.’

        Goldwater, Nixon, Buchanan, Reagan, Atwater – every bit as bad as Trump, but much better (to varying degrees) at hiding it. Of course Buchanan let his Nazi sympathizing slip later.

        Effectively, Trump is business as usual but rhetoric unusual. Future candidates will go back to the dog whistles because its more effective.

      • Juicy_Joel

        (probably with less Latino bashing though…you won’t be able to win an election doing that).

        First they stole our jobs and now they’re stealin our elections!

    • elm

      If there really were these hordes of Trumpists who won’t admit it to pollster, then wouldn’t he have been outperforming his polls in the primaries? If I remember right, he was actually consistently underperforming his polls until late in the season.

      Or is it just independents and Democrats that are going to hide their Trumpism from pollsters?

      • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

        Correct:

        And while Trump outperformed his polling averages in recent contests, that hasn’t always been the case, and he actually slightly underperformed them in a number of races before New York.

        The fact that Trump was initially underperforming in many states is part of what led to the belief that he had a low ceiling and would eventually fade, following the flavor-of-the-month pattern of 2012.

        • Matt McIrvin

          Trump’s later overperformance may have simply been because his level of primary support at that stage in the race was increasing rapidly, and the latest pre-election poll numbers were slightly stale.

      • JMV Pyro

        Or is it just independents and Democrats that are going to hide their Trumpism from pollsters?

        Unlikely. The type of independents and Democrats who will be voting for Trump have been voting Republican for years.

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        Yeah, and his overperformance in the later contests was likely due to

        1. Cruz/Kasich voters being discouraged and not showing up
        2. Some voters who are ok with Trump, but didn’t have him as their first choice were not ok with Cruz’s plan to deny Trump the nomination through delegate machinations. Trump playing up the “Lyin’ Ted is stealing the nomination” line was probably very helpful to him.

        Even given that, Trump still underperformed with late deciders. There were just fewer of them.

        Also I think people will be comfortable not supporting Hillary in polls, there’s enough excuses there. Even if Trump gets more “undecided” voters than expected, I doubt Hillary will lose vote share due to any sort of Bradley effect.

        • Right; I’d expect a “shy Trumpist” effect to show up as a large undecided/neither group. And even that is going to be counterbalanced by the fact that undecided presidential voters tend to break heavily toward the incumbent or “safer” candidate.

          That is: assuming no other effects, I would expect Clinton to get a solid majority of undecideds just due to her being more of an establishment known quantity. Trump might even that out or even tip the scale, but I wouldn’t expect undecideds to make up any meaningful deficit for him.

          • Matt McIrvin

            And even that is going to be counterbalanced by the fact that undecided presidential voters tend to break heavily toward the incumbent or “safer” candidate.

            From watching the state-poll aggregators over the past few cycles, I think that is actually not true: undecided presidential voters tend to break pretty symmetrically, unless the race is very lopsided. Sam Wang claimed in 2004 that they tended to break toward the challenger, but he was wrong, as he learned the hard way.

            However, that’s people who are still undecided at the very end of the campaign, on election eve. People who are undecided now, I won’t venture a guess.

  • sleepyirv

    Knock doors, work phone banks, do your part.

    It’s easier than moving to Canada in November.

    • CD

      … and open the wallet a little, if you can.

  • marduk

    I think you miss the most powerful argument that “Hillary Clinton is herself an exceptionally weak candidate”, which is she has absolutely terrible net favorables, the worst of any historical democratic nominee and the worst of any nominee in the history of either party other than Trump himself. Obviously by that measure Trump is a weak candidate as well.

    • MilitantlyAardvark

      Ah, but in Clinton Fanatic land those unfavorables don’t count because… REASONS! Mention them and the rabble of Clinton trolls will start howling about Benghazi and Bernie Bros and showing the world just why they and their candidate are so repellent. The temptation to just sit this one out and let the Clintonistas screw this up on their own is considerable.

      • cpinva

        have some pancakes, and for god’s sake, get back on your meds.

        • MilitantlyAardvark

          What a convincing argument you make for your candidate.

      • The Temporary Name

        The temptation to just sit this one out and let the Clintonistas screw this up on their own is considerable.

        Because…

        • Mike in DC

          …because the people most hurt by a Trump administration don’t look like the people tempted to “just sit this one out”. So, fuck ’em.

        • MilitantlyAardvark

          Because I am sick of the Clintonistas offering no defense of their candidate except to rubbish Sanders and anyone who is unimpressed by Clinton’s decidedly ambiguous record. At least by voting for the Greens I would be voting with people who have an honest cause and can express it without tearing down their party in the process.

          • Jay B

            No, studiously IGNORING what her supporters say they like about Clinton isn’t the same thing as people offering no defense. And since you’ve clearly never met a Green or their disastrous embrace of Nader in 2000, I’d love to hear your excuse for siding with a party with an honest cause that doesn’t tear their party apart.

            Here’s why I, a supporter of Sanders, will support Hillary, unreservedly, in November:

            She’s supports appointing Supreme Court justices who will move the court to the left and won’t support Citizens’ United.

            She supports expanding pre-k solutions for families.

            She’s solid on renewables.

            She was a good Senator for New Yorkers when I lived in New York.

            She supports choice, Planned Parenthood and LGBT issues.

            She’s solid on voting rights (since you need to include the things you didn’t like about her husband’s presidency into your case against her, you should probably give a shit about his passing the motor voter bill).

            She’s excellent on civil rights.

            She’s smart.

            She’s wonky enough to try and incrementally improve Obamacare.

            She’s a median liberal Democrat to the left of center in her own party, which is my party, which makes this shockingly easy.

            • petesh

              Nice list. I would also add that she seems to keep her temper (or hide it, as with the subcommittee hearing) under pressure, and has demonstrated in this campaign a willingness not to waste resources — which is why Sanders has outspent her in several of the late primaries.

              Generally, it seems to me that her goals are very much in line with those Sanders espouses, but she advocates for some smaller but more achievable first steps.

              Also, her learning curve in office should be shorter than most. She knows (a) where Uzbekistan is and how to pronounce Tanzania, (b) where a lot of metaphorical bodies are buried (I said, metaphorical), and (c) the ghostbusters phone number. Who you gonna call?

              • humanoid.panda

                But other than that, what have the Romans ever done for us?

                • petesh

                  Splitter!

              • Jay B

                She was REALLY good up against that Benghazi clown show.

                Anyway, even if she was awful on literally everything else (which she’s not — I left out her traditional stances on Social Security, etc.), the fact that she sees that voting rights is an incredibly important issue would make her better than Trump.

                Here’s something she wrote about them. TRIVIAL, I KNOW, BECAUSE I’M ALREADY REGISTERED.

                http://washingtoninformer.com/news/2016/may/11/hillary-clinton-restoring-faith-democracy/#.VzOjst592W8.twitter

              • lunaticllama

                She also has exhibited an ability to learn from past mistakes. An often overlooked good quality in a politician in my book.

            • Alex.S

              She is also promising to declassify the government’s UFO files.

              As a single-issue voter who takes their cues from the History Channel, this is an overwhelming reason to vote for Hillary Clinton.

              • CD

                … I do hope that was just a low-cost pander to the loon vote.

                • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

                  I think someone on her staff must be wildly misinformed about the ratings that Ancient Aliens show actually gets.

                • Alex.S
                • witlesschum

                  I think someone on her staff must be wildly misinformed about the ratings that Ancient Aliens show actually gets.

                  Guess she didn’t fire whoever was in charge of learning about delegate allocation in 2008, but did move them into a position where they couldn’t do any real damage.

                • Apparently she is legitimately interested in UFOs, which I kind of love. Kucinich got torn to pieces for the same thing back in the day.

                • Matt McIrvin

                  It’s a pander to John Podesta, who has had a bee in his bonnet about this for decades.

                • Matt McIrvin

                  Kucinich seems to have been genuinely concerned about orbital mind-control lasers, if I recall correctly.

            • tsam

              I DON’T SEE A FUCKING PONY ANYWHERE ON THAT LIST. NOW DUST OFF YOU DINO

              • Karen24

                I don’t have a fucking pony, but I have a few that like French kissing. Will that work?

                • tsam

                  I like French kissing much. Bring the horsies.

                • Horses have a powerful tongue that gives them a +5 to French kissing in my tabletop RPG, Perverts & Peccadilloes.

          • Because I think she has a better chance to win and I’d rather win than be ideologically pure. The stakes are too high.

            I know what it means and you know what it means but to the average “low information voter” out there I think “Socialist”, democratic or otherwise is a tough sell.

            I think the GOP message machine would hang that Socialist label around Bernie’s neck like a freakin’ anchor.

            • tsam

              Because I think she has a better chance to win and I’d rather win than be ideologically pure.

              This is why we don’t have a national health plan and there isn’t a shiny new pony in my driveway.

              THANKS A LOT, MAJOR.

              • N__B

                there isn’t a shiny new pony in my driveway.

                Turn off your computer and go polish your pony! (This advice is to be taken at the level of abstraction where we accept that tsam has a pony, but not the level of abstraction where “polishing your pony” is a euphemism for an unnatural sexual act.)

                • tsam

                  Oh. Too late. The other pony been polished.

          • Because I am sick of the Clintonistas offering no defense of their candidate except to rubbish Sanders and anyone who is unimpressed by Clinton’s decidedly ambiguous record. At least by voting for the Greens I would be voting with people who have an honest cause and can express it without tearing down their party in the process.

            Well, putting aside all of the positive arguments for her and the strong negative arguments against Trump or any Republican is bad enough, but you are basing your vote on the most trivial of affinities? I.e., “You like how they argue for their candidate”? You can’t analyse a candidate yourself?

            I know you meant this as some sort of sick burn, but did you really mean it against yourself?

          • efgoldman

            At least by voting for the Greens I would be voting with people who have an honest cause and can express it without tearing down their party in the process.

            Perhaps you didn’t notice that SANDERS IS NOT A DEMOCRAT.

            • Marek

              Why do you keep saying this?

              • efgoldman

                Why do you keep saying this?

                Because it’s true. Has he run for any other office as a Democrat? Has he ever registered as a Democrat? He spent the first part of the campaign slagging the party. As far as I know, he has still not raised or distributed any money for down-ballot Democrats, nor has he offered/pledged to work for their election.

                • Sanders blathers on about how he lost in 1988 over the gun issue. What he always leaves out is he was running against a Democrat, and they split the vote and the Republican won with less than 40% of the vote.

                  What he also leaves out: in 1990, the Dems calculated that he wasn’t going away, and he could run to the right of the Republican who had supported some common sense gun measures, so they shunned the Democratic nominee–a woman of color who was a college administrator and a strong progressive–and gave the signal that the anti-Republican vote should go to Sanders. Then, the NRA went after the incumbent Republican, and Bernie won in part on guns.

                  Note, btw, that costing the Dem in 1988 came after he had previously held under 50% both Governor Kunin, and also Pat Leahy.

      • Merkwürdigliebe

        The temptation to just sit this one out

        At one point, I almost thought you were arguing in good faith. Glad to have that cleared up.

      • a_paul_in_mtl

        “The temptation to just sit this one out and let the Clintonistas screw this up on their own is considerable.”

        I would hope that when you vote it is for the good of the country, not an act of spite. And, as I mentioned earlier, Bernie has his share of fanatical supporters who appear to not be listening when he says it’s not about him, and who may well turn on him as a sellout if he ends up endorsing Hillary Clinton.

        • When he ends up supporting Clinton.

        • ColBatGuano

          No, no, voting is all about their feelings.

    • wengler

      Which will lead to a lot of people not even voting. One of the major points that should have been made is that having two widely hated candidates is much more likely to drive down voting rate which is never a good thing for Democrats.

      • One of the major points that should have been made is that having two widely hated candidates is much more likely to drive down voting rate which is never a good thing for Democrats.

        Well, it’s not a good thing, period. But there’s not a lot of reason to think that this particular lowering will asymmetrically favour republicans. There are a bunch of people, e.g., Latinos, that may exhibit record turn out to vote against Trump.

  • Mike in DC

    I am baffled by the lack of media coverage of the Latino response to Trump. Latinos are registering in record high numbers. Their disapproval of Trump approaches 90% in some polls. Spanish language media have covered der Drumpf far differently than the occasionally fawning/rationalizing MSM coverage. If he loses by a bigger than expected margin, it will be in large part due to Latino voter mobilization.

    • The Lorax

      Here in majority-minority CA, every time Trump opens his mouth he adds 5 years to the GOP’s time in the wilderness here. I saw Trump pinatas early last summer.

      I don’t have a ton of evidence for this (ok, none), but I suspect HRC’s negative numbers might improve by Nov. I suspect Trump’s are pretty set.

      • mojrim

        Why would you expect these ongoing trends to reverse themselves?

    • JMV Pyro

      Ah, but only aggrieved whites matter in Punditland*

      *Only slightly exaggerating.

      • kped

        It’s not even a slight exaggeration though! You’re disclaimer was totally unnecessary.

      • ColBatGuano

        Which is a big reason they jumped all over those Quinnipiac polls earlier this week. Lots of white voters.

    • Alex.S

      That’s because there are only two voting demographics — old white men and young white men. It’s not worth the media’s time to examine other groups.

    • xq

      Latinos are registering in record high numbers.

      Because they are eligible in record numbers? Or is there solid evidence that they are registering more than expected just based on that? I’ve seen a bunch of news stories on this, but most are based on anecdotal evidence.

      • Alex.S

        In California, the number of Hispanics registering to vote doubled in the first three months of this year compared with the same period in 2012, according to state data. In Texas, naturalization ceremonies in Houston have swelled to about 2,200 per month, compared with 1,200 before, according to an analysis by the Houston Chronicle. More than 80 percent of those naturalized then register to vote, compared with 60 percent previously.

        According to the most recent national statistics, more than 185,000 citizenship applications were submitted in the final three months of 2015, up 14 percent from the year before and up 8 percent compared with the same period ahead of the 2012 elections.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-candidacy-sparking-a-surge-in-citizenship-voter-applications/2016/05/11/33808f34-177a-11e6-924d-838753295f9a_story.html

        It’s still mostly anecdotal, since it’s difficult to compare Presidential election years to other years and there are very few Presidential election years. Legal immigrants tend to become citizens during Presidential years because they can’t vote in those elections otherwise, so it’s not good to compare to to 2015 or 2014. And 2012 is a bad year to compare to since there was a registration fee increase that year which could have also caused a spike.

        But what data there is is showing an increase in citizenship and voter registration.

    • kg

      FWIW NPR had a story about long time legal immigrants applying for citizenship so they can vote against him. Plus there was another similar NPR piece earlier in the week.

    • Matt McIrvin

      A lot of them are concentrated in California and Texas, where such shifts (probably) don’t matter in the presidential race, though they matter in other races. It’s conceivable that the Latino response could flip Texas, but I think that’s still a Democratic pipe dream.

      On the other hand, Florida and Arizona, they matter. Cuban-Americans used to be reflexively Republican, but I think the Latino response here could shift Florida from knife-edge to lean-Democratic. And Arizona is now clearly in play, when it wasn’t four or eight years ago.

      • Matt McIrvin

        …Also, it probably makes New Mexico a safe blue state, though it was trending in that direction anyway. Latinos also might be the deciding vote in Colorado, which was close in the very early polling but is really underpolled right now.

  • twbb

    What gives me the most reason to worry is that Trump and Clinton are essentially neck-and-neck in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania in polls. That is insane. It should be worrying a lot of people. And the typical response of handwaving about demographics is not particularly reassuring or productive.

    • brugroffil

      In one set of polls with, IIRC, a remarkably white demographic pool (whiter than 2012) and high undecideds.

      • kped

        Yes, these polls had the white vote growing 3% from where it was 4 years ago…how? Latino’s are voting less this year…why?

        Bad polls are bad polls.

        • JMV Pyro

          Instant I saw it I knew what had happened. Quinnipac pulled the same stunt in 2012 and you can ask President Romney how that went.

          • kped

            These polls are great for Dems, allows them to engage in their chicken little desires. Hell, Sanders and his campaign are using them to say “see, super delegates must overturn the election and make me king!”

      • Matt McIrvin

        I’m a little wary of nitpicking demographics in individual polls just because I know I’m likely to do it selectively: if some poll looks good to me, I’m less likely to go through it with a fine-toothed comb and see if the demographics are overly biased toward non-whites, women and young people.

        It’s probably better to not fret too much about individual polls. I’m more concerned by movement in aggregates.

        It’s interesting that Trump doesn’t do a lot better in Trump vs. Clinton polls than in Trump vs. Sanders polls; it’s just that Clinton does worse, while “undecided/other” does better. She seems to be rapidly losing vote share basically to “none of the above”. I wonder if some of that is Sanders supporters listening to a lot of the left characterization of Clinton as weak, evil or corrupt, and being increasingly unable to commit to voting for Clinton on the phone even against Trump. And how much of that will persist after the convention.

    • brad

      You’re overreacting to individual polls instead of looking at the aggregates. Ohio is in play, as it always is, but it’s also got a lean so far. PA is fine, Florida actually looks good considering its history.
      And only PA is truly essential for a Clinton win, of the three.

      • twbb

        It shouldn’t be even that close; if you’re not worried about a lean 6 months before the election, after 6 months of constant press attention to every repulsive thing Trump has said, then I don’t know what I can say to convince you.

        • brad

          Have you just not looked at how the electoral college stands? There’s a world of difference between complacent and cautiously optimistic based on all available data. Arizona has leaped from solid red to in play, based on all available polls, and going by your standard of one poll being enough Georgia, South Carolina, and even Mississippi are in play.
          Ohio is only 18 EV on a big, wide open board. She could fuck it up, no doubt, but the decks are stacked in our favor right now.

          • humanoid.panda

            And even today, more than one week after Trump finished the primary, and is, supposedly, enjoying a bump, a poll shows him being down 2 to HRC in Missouri.

            • brad

              Hell, a poll showed her leading in Utah last month.

              • Thirtyish

                I’ve seen it discussed that, as a whole, Mormons really, really don’t like Trump. I find that kind of surprising, if I’m being honest–Trump is a huckster, the rube’s idea of a “self-made man”…the kind of thing that I would have thought would see reasonably well in the Jello Belt. On the other hand, Trump’s complete and utter lack of human decency might drive Mormons away, since–as a group, and for all their faults–they really do like to project an image of “niceness.”

                • Mormons are politically complicated. In a lot of ways, I think their strong affinity for the Republican party is a matter of inertia; demographically, they should be swingier than they are — for one thing, they tend to be well-educated. And just like some heavily Democratic states have spectacularly shitty Democrats, Utah has Republicans who can be surprisingly decent.

                • Matt McIrvin

                  Those polls had Ted Cruz or John Kasich winning by enormous margins. I think that while Mormons superficially seem similar to conservative Southern Baptists and other evangelicals, they’re significantly more serious about walking the walk when it comes to squeaky-clean personal lives. Trump is apparently a teetotaler, but he’s also a gross and vulgar sexual libertine, which probably repels them.

          • twbb

            Of course they are stacked in our favor, but they’re not stacked enough to not be worried. I certainly will not be in the cautiously optimistic phase until after the conventions; Trump is a known quantity and he is still pulling close to half the electorate.

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              in the end, Trump is probably *going* to pull close to half the electorate, same as most any other Republican who would have gotten the nomination. *We* think he’s terrible, so do a lot of them, but in the end they’ll vote for him because he’s closer to what they want than Clinton or Sanders is

              • n the end, Trump is probably *going* to pull close to half the electorate, same as most any other Republican who would have gotten the nomination.

                I think this is a reasonable belief, though there is also reason to think that Trump really might do much worse than normal.

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  yes. I’m trying to maintain a cautiously optimistic rather than fear-driven or overconfident mindset on the election. which may mean leaving the blogs alone til afterwards though

                • I hear you!

                  Add in the sort of silliness about people expressing non-paniced views (see Dilan’s response to me above) and blog avoidance is very rational.

    • NonyNony

      What gives me the most reason to worry is that Trump and Clinton are essentially neck-and-neck in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania in polls. That is insane.

      Why is that insane? Romney and Obama were neck and neck in Ohio and Florida on the day of the actual election in 2012.

      You need to understand – Trump will get the same votes that Romney got minus a portion of the Hispanic/Latino vote who voted for Romney but not for Trump. Take that to the bank – the Republicans do not care who they vote for so long as there is an R next to their name. It should not surprise you that two close fought states in 2012 will be close fought this cycle as well.

      (And I think the numbers for PA are ridculously high for Trump, but we’ll see how it shakes out with some more polls.)

  • brad

    I suspect that if the polls don’t move much between now and the conventions then they won’t move much in the end at all. National margins are ultimately meaningless numbers in any case. Barring a dramatic shift in the state level polling she’s got a lock on about 250ish EV now, and is in solid shape for well over 300. The question now is how stable the state level polls will be, and my suspicion is they’re going to be pretty static.

    And I don’t really see a running to Daddy effect for Trump, in the case of terrorist attack or the like. He’s too batshit, and won’t be a calm leader if something like that happens, in the moment.

    • cpinva

      I look forward to their first debate. that should pretty much do him in.

      • brad

        Yep. The idea that Trump can sell himself to anyone but his self-selecting marks (and misogynists n racists) is one which, while terrifying if possible, I’ll have to see to believe. Like televangelists there’s simply a ceiling for how many will fall for it.

        • twbb

          For Bush II that ceiling was enough to get him the presidency (at least in 2004).

          • humanoid.panda

            W is not God’s gift to humanity, but until 2006 or so, his favorability ratings were well about 50%. He also went out of his way no not to be perceived as open bigot.

            • brad

              Yep. Bush was Ronald McDonald compared to Trump.
              A “compassionate conservative” Trump ain’t.

              • petesh

                Personally, I’d never have wanted to have a beer with W, but I can imagine that someone would. I cannot imagine anyone voluntarily socializing with Trump; all the nastiness of W with none of the charm.

            • kped

              For all his faults as a human, GWB is a charismatic politician who can, with the right coaching, articulate a position, or a series of positions, such that he seems semi-competent.

              Donald Trump is walking Id. He had little to no impulse control, is easy to anger, and has no policy experience or expertise at all. And he has an ego the size of one of his fancy buildings, and will do things his way.

              Even with great coaching, he will be mincemeat in a debate with Clinton. Even her most ardent haters said she did well in each debate with Sanders. Or in front of the Benghazi panel for 13 hours. Trump stands no chance in a debate against Mrs Clinton.

              I see Hillary openly laughing at Donald like Biden did to Ryan, and Donald won’t let that slide without turning into…well, Donald.

              My prediction – they only have one debate because after the first, Donald will throw a tantrum and cancel the rest.

              • Karen24

                One of my crazier Facebook friends really wants Trump to name Trey Gowdy, the Bengazi!! Senator, as his running mate. Speaking as the voice of all liberals everywhere, nothing terrifies me more than a Trump/ Gowdy ticket.

                • rea

                  Congressthing, not senator, surely

                • Hogan

                  A project for the commentariat: find a pair of running mates with worse hair than Trump and Gowdy.

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  Eraserhead/Bickle ’16

                • Hogan

                  Well played, but I was thinking of actual historical running mates.

                • Anonymous Troll

                  Trump will lock up the Latino vote by picking Joe Arpaio for VP. Arpaio has a history of locking up Latinos.

            • efgoldman

              He also went out of his way no not to be perceived as open bigot.

              And he gave the impression of being competent – governor of a major state, etc.

              • I remember 2000 clearly, despite not being old enough to vote yet. The W campaign successfully sold him as a down-home, folksy, “compassionate conservative”, a “uniter, not a divider”, if you recall. Even after his election, Democrats tended to perceive him as just a vaguely shitty Republican, like his dad; it wasn’t until after 9/11 and particularly the beginning of the Iraq war that people started to perceive him as a particularly extreme figure.

            • GFW

              until 2006 or so, his favorability ratings were well about 50%

              Not really http://content.gallup.com/origin/gallupinc/GallupSpaces/Production/Cms/POLL/cvfspjk4hesmzts2bc0brg.gif
              He dipped below 50 in 2004, barely scraped over 50 for reelection, and then never saw 50 again after the first few months of 2005.

            • djw

              No. He spent most of 2004 around 50%, spiking a bit around and after the election. 2005 was a journey from ~50 to ~40.

          • NonyNony

            For Bush II that ceiling was enough to get him the presidency (at least in 2004).

            W got 35% of the Hispanic/Latino vote in 2000. Romney got 27%. Do you think Trump is going to outperform either of them in that demographic?

            W only won because of his appeal to Hispanic/Latino voters – without that demographic he couldn’t have even gotten it close enough to steal.

      • Brenda Johnson

        I think there is a less-than-trivial possibility that Trump will decide he doesn’t need to participate in any debates with HRC.

    • Bruce B.

      There is a demographic that wants someone to lash out wildly on their behalf in response to a crisis, who cares precisely nothing about relevancy and may actually like it more when unrelated targets suffer in response to our suffering anything.

      I think quite strongly that the Iraq war used up a lot of the energy funneled in that direction, but it’s surely not gone.

  • cpinva

    for what it’s worth, the president, all by his lonesome, can’t start a nuclear war, thankfully.

    • notahack

      Good thing for sure that Trump’s Secretary of Defense is going to be a totally sane appointee!

      • Sec. of Def. Chuck Norris is unlikely to agree to go nuke without a reasonably good reason.

    • CD

      Your optimism is touching.

  • so-in-so

    As far as extra-political fame, I’d think Ike and maybe Kennedy would be somewhat precedents, although they were generally LIKED more than Trump AND I’m not sure how we include their campaigns in the calculus.

    • humanoid.panda

      Given that Ike’s fame was product of him running most complex enterprise in human history and thus becoming the most popular man in the country, and Kennedy was a Senator, I am not sure either is a good parallel. Schwarzenegger might be the only good analogy.

      • EliHawk

        And even then, Schwarzenegger had an aggressively centrist, environmentalist, moderate platform to the point that he could only get elected in a recall where he wasn’t subject to a California Republican Primary electorate, wheras Trump’s had a year of doctrinaire right wingery on display.

        • bender

          Right. He governed as a moderate too.

      • GFW

        Given that Ike’s fame was product of him running most complex enterprise in human history and thus becoming the most popular man in the country

        Very much agreed. He may have been an outsider to the party system but he was obviously qualified to be commander in chief! I’d also add that while there are ranks one may achieve on military skill alone, “Supreme Allied Commander, Europe” is not one of them. He had political experience as well.

        • Hogan

          He coordinated action among the US, British, and Soviet militaries (and DeGaulle) for three years. That may be the most political experience any modern president has had.

        • EliHawk

          He had both parties begging him to run for President in 1948. Who else can make that claim?

  • Trump likely does better in online polls (and probably robo vs live caller polls) because the further you move from an actual human interaction, the more likely the respondents are atypically motivated to express their opinions. Trump voters are the type that fulminate about something about 80% of their day. Give them an opportunity to fill out an online poll, they’re more likely than someone who has more of a normal life.

    Also, aggregating two online pollsters, one that didn’t even exist a few years ago? I hope that’s how Republicans are making strategic decisions.

    • humanoid.panda

      Right. And really, the one thing the Edsall column conspiciously lacke was a comparison of primary performance: did online pollsters do any better in predicting his vote share then regular ones so far?

      • More than that: did they perform in ways that would be sound for a general election, when you’re not just sampling a bunch of old white people? Last two general elections almost all the pollsters were off on their final numbers for Obama, underestimating his final total, but getting McCain & Romney pretty close. Now, most of the pollsters are putting out samples that have POC as no greater share of the electorate, even though the only time since the late seventies that the white share went up was 1992, and some, like Quinnipiac, even having the white share go up. Then, factor in that Hillary is usually polling several points better than Obama did with white voters–and that’s been true matched up against any Republican, for over a year–and it’s hard for me to take too seriously worries about Trump’s odds of winning. Of course it would be a catastrophe if he did win, so there is absolutely no reason to take anything for granted. And, in fact, Democrats are not, from everything I’ve seen. But long-term trends are against the Republicans unless they change–the demographic argument has two sides, demographic change, AND how Republicans react to it, and they’ve reacted in ways to exacerbate their problems, something the demographic skeptics all ignore–there’s no reason to think they will perform better. Hillary may not be as gifted a candidate as Obama, but she’s also not black, and right there she probably gains a few point right off the bat. Then make it Trump, who’s a loon, and who will not run a real campaign, and the odds of him winning are much lower than the odds of it being a bloodbath.

        [shameless self-promotion ahead] That is, however, only if Bernie Sanders doesn’t hang around any longer, thus hurting our chances of a big win.

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          read that yesterday. congrats on making tnr

        • random

          When I saw your name on the byline I grinned. Grats man. Good piece too.

        • Interesting write up (I recall you making similar arguments here, and it’s nice to see them fully fleshed out).

  • Steve

    Pollsters might be able to deal with social desirability bias with list randomization, at least at the state level. Randomly give 50% of people a list of say 4 candidates running for different offices in the state; give the other 50% that list plus Donald Trump.

    Question: “I am going to read you a list of candidates who are running for office November. When I am finished please tell me the number of candidates you intend to vote for. Please only tell me the number not the names.”

    Compare averages between the two groups. The difference gives you Trump’s support.

    • Steve

      Actually now that I think of it…you really want the other things on the list to have little to no variance…so they’d have to be more like completely innocuous things that almost everyone plans or doesn’t plan to do. And then a final “I plan to vote for Donald Trump.”

      Might be tough to pull off…not sure.

    • Matt McIrvin

      The spread between different polling methods, and different individual polling firms, seems to be generally smaller at the state level than in national polls. Aggregating them for an EC estimate historically seems to work really well even when national polls call the race wrong.

      I suspect this is because the demographic balance within a state is easier to characterize and weight for. Nobody should care whether voters are more likely to turn out to vote for President in Alabama or Massachusetts, because it doesn’t matter. But that question affects the accuracy of national popular-vote polls. Since PV/EV splits are rare and small when they do happen, aggregated state polling may be a better proxy for the national popular vote than national popular vote polls.

  • Sly

    This argument is usually based on some combination of the claims that she’s a bad campaigner, that she’s going to have to deal with serious legal complications because of the email thing or whatever other “scandal” the GOP cooks up, and that she’s a prototypically establishment figure at a time when the zeitgeist is going very much in an anti-establishment direction. I think the first two claims are seriously overstated, while the third is a genuine cause for concern.

    .

    The third is, in fact, the silliest of the three. Extrapolating two internal party disputes – which in this case are very different from each other in a variety of ways – into some kind of national political gestalt is just lazy thinking. There is no “anti-establishment direction,” because such a statement implies that what is alienating Republican voters from the party leadership is comparable to – in degree and kind – a sizable minority of Democrats preferring Sanders to Clinton.

    • humanoid.panda

      The best case against the anti-establishment zeitgeist argument is Obama’s approval. Both Trump and Sanders campaigns are reactions to Obama’s administration (needless to say, I am not for a millisecond arguing they are similar in any other way)- liberal dissapointment with Sanders, racist rage with Trump. And yet, since campaign started, Obama’s approval ratings rose from -4 to +4.

      • kped

        And the candidate clinging to Obama is winning by 300 delegates and 3 million votes.

        Sanders voters are not Trump voters. The ones who say so on Twitter are just children who have no actual beliefs.

        • Karen24

          Apparently some significant percent of Sanders voters in West Virginia plan to vote for Trump in the fall, of those, more than half wanted a president more conservative than Obama.

          • witlesschum

            People say they voted for Bernie Sanders because they wanted a president more conservative than Barack Obama? Huh.

            • twbb

              If you are a white blue collar voter whose main problem with Obama is his stance on guns and immigration then yes, Sanders may legitimately seem more conservative than Obama.

              • Sanders was more aggressive on gun control over the course of his career than Obama has been. Obama went his entire first term without taking a single step on gun control, beyond allowing concealed-carry in national parks. Sanders is running on a platform of increased gun control.

                He’s also running on a platform of reducing deportations from their level under Obama. He opposed one bill Obama supported because it didn’t give enough rights to a class of immigrants.

                So no, not really.

                • twbb

                  “beyond allowing concealed-carry in national parks”

                  How did Bernie vote on that bill? How about the Brady bill?

                  “He opposed one bill Obama supported because it didn’t give enough rights to a class of immigrants”

                  He also voted against the 2007 immigration reform bill and co-sponsored the Grassley-Sanders amendment to the stimulus bill that prohibited companies taking those funds from hiring H-1B workers.

                  And before this turns into a long and drawn-out battle, I think those were all the right votes; I am closer to his pre-2016 views on both those issues than most progressives. I’m just saying that hypothetical West Virginia blue collar voter might rationally trust him more on those issues than Obama.

                • It wasn’t a bill. It was an executive order, something Obama did all by himself. You’ve never heard of this?

                  The headline reads, Obama: I Have Expanded Rights of Gun Owners. And he did. There has never been an example of Bernie Sanders expanding the rights of gun owners, or voting in a manner that expanded the rights of gun owners.

                  There are gun nuts alive in West Virginia today who enjoyed bringing their guns into national parks because of that, who have had personal experience with it.

                  He also voted against the 2007 immigration reform bill and co-sponsored the Grassley-Sanders amendment to the stimulus bill that prohibited companies taking those funds from hiring H-1B workers.

                  That’s not an “also” – that’s exactly the bill I was talking about, that created a slavery system for guest workers. As a result, now the immigration bills don’t contain such odious provisions – that is, they have become less conservative.

                  I know what you’re saying; I don’t agree. It would be quite irrational for a West Virginia voter to draw the conclusion that Sanders is more conservative than Obama, even on the issues you chose. To think that, they’d have to be operating with bad information.

                • thylacine

                  It was a bill, not an EO, that allowed guns in National Parks.

                  https://www.thetrace.org/2015/08/national-forests-parks-firearms-gun/

                • lunaticllama

                  Sanders did vote to protect the arms industry from liability. Not the same as expanding gun rights, but in many ways, worse.

            • nixnutz

              I think Larison liked him, or thought he was the only one not disastrous on foreign policy, and I wish he represented an coalition among conservatives.

            • Matt McIrvin

              They were probably just trying to damage Hillary Clinton. Sanders was just a placeholder.

              • Pat

                Bingo! It’s an open primary, so Republicans are free to cross the line.

          • kped

            I think they meant whiter than Obama.

            West Virginia, the place where Obama won 60-40 in the Democratic primary.

            The 2012 Democratic Primary.

            Against Keith Judd.

            Some guy who is in jail for 17 years.

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/why-felon-keith-judd-did-so-well-against-obama-in-west-virginia/2012/05/09/gIQA7GwtCU_blog.html

          • efgoldman

            some significant percent of Sanders voters in West Virginia plan to vote for Trump in the fall

            HRC wouldn’t have won WV in any case. It has, for predictable but unfortunate reasons, swug from reliably Democratic to reliably Republiklown.

            • Karen24

              Oh, W Va is hopeless for years. I was simply struck by the insanity of thinking Sanders was more conservative than Obama.

  • Alex.S

    From what I’ve seen, the fear of a Trump Presidency is enough to motivate the Democratic base, no matter the candidate or the polling. The only holdouts are Bernie backers who mostly seem to be making increasingly strange arguments on how Sanders will win (a contested convention. But umm, don’t mention super delegates) and therefore Hillary Clinton is screwing up (since the only way to get a Sanders nomination is for Hillary’s pledged delegate lead to be overturned by a scared Democratic Party). And I suspect approximately 90% of them will turn into Democratic candidate supporters after Sanders drops out.

    • wjts

      The only holdouts are Bernie backers who mostly seem to be making increasingly strange arguments on how Sanders will win…

      I still have a faint hope that Clinton will be eaten by a komodo dragon in a zoo photo-op gone horribly wrong.

      • Anonymous Troll

        The ghost of Vince Foster will show up at a banquet and accuse her of murder.

        • wjts

          Or appear to his indecisive son with a story about Clinton pouring poison in his ear while he napped in the orchard.

        • Hogan

          So you’re saying the Republicans should nominate someone who was from his mother’s womb untimely ripp’d?

        • El Guapo

          Now I’m picturing Bernie dressed in twigs and camo.

  • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

    What should scare us most is that we’re living in a country where tens of millions of people will vote for Trump. And even if he loses we’ll still have to deal with these voters for many years.

    And the number of these people voting for Trump won’t be significantly impacted by who the Democrats choose for their candidate.

    I have to question the long-term viability of a nation that can have a near-majority of its voters with these values.

    • And even if he loses we’ll still have to deal with these voters for many years.

      You don’t think any large number of them will commit suicide, then?

    • I’ve already lived in a country where tens of millions of people voted for George W. Bush. Old news.

      • so-in-so

        Those voters have always been there, they just haven’t had a candidate.

        Well, except Buchannon, George Wallace, et al.

    • mojrim

      We’ve pulled it off for a couple hundred years already. We don’t have to like it, but we must recognize that this is and always has been much of america.

  • Alex.S

    Side note — one of my worries about the Trump campaign is that political reporters who do process stories (This is what a candidate says they are going to do) have no idea how to handle Trump’s complete lack of policy or goals. Most of the simple political punditry is built around saying a candidate will or will not do something, and Trump taking all positions simultaneously is unique.

    • McKingford

      My eyeballs started bleeding the other day when Wolf Blitzer (I know, I know) was talking with his 2 guests about Trump’s “pivot”, saying how Trump could make inroads because he supports a higher minimum wage…although he wants to leave it to the states.

      So in short, Wolf, he’s against raising it.

  • encephalopath

    Relatedly, how worried should we be that a man with no filter will be getting intelligence briefings as the Republican nominee?

    • efgoldman

      how worried should we be that a man with no filter will be getting intelligence briefings

      I’ve seen it suggested that all the really hush hush stuff they tell him will be from publicly available but very obscure journals of which he’s never heard and which he’s never read.

      • I’ve seen it suggested that all the really hush hush stuff they tell him will be from publicly available but very obscure journals of which he’s never heard and which he’s never read.

        Time? People?

      • bender

        I don’t think Trump has a long attention span, so whatever briefings he receives will be really, really brief. I’m not too worried about that.

        As soon as Trump starts receiving intelligence briefings, he will start dropping statements into his speeches and claiming he was told them in intelligence briefings. Those claims will be false, but of course no one will be able to refute them.

    • That’s interesting. I wonder what will happen if he leaks classified information. That would be… very interesting!

      • Karen24

        I would find it irresistible, were I Obama, to plant some useless but still classified information, especially of the off-color kind Trump love in the briefings. Something like how Kim Jong Un’s bowel habits indicate that he’s got an incurable illness, just to tempt Trump into incluing it in a speech.

        No that I think about it, that would be a good plot for a comic spy novel.

  • Gregor Sansa

    I just got this and everything is so much cooler now:

    Von clownstick certainly is a unique airbender, but his uniqueness seems to be manifested in ways that are unambiguously bad for his eating contest chances (there’s never been a major party airbender with anything like both his negatives, and his extra-political fame.

    • I’ve been enjoying the Millennial -> Snake Person extension.

  • feebog

    There is no “anti-establishment direction,”

    Exactly. If there was Sanders would be well ahead in both raw votes and pledged delegates. Pundits are mistaking Trump’s appeal as an anti-establishment movement when in reality it is just a bunch of racists and not-to-bright white males getting their freak flags on. The fact that the media has covered Trump 24/7 like he was the second coming of Jesus Christ might have something to do with it as well.

    • guthrie

      I thought it was something of an anti-establishment movement, insofar as the racists and lunatics are annoyed that the establishment gop isn’t delivering on the promises of free money for them, return of Jim Crow and various other such things.

  • Mike in DC

    To elaborate on one particular policy point:
    President Trump would deport(or attempt to deport) 11 million people, around 3% of the US population, in an 18 month period. He has pledged to ignore the immigration courts in the process. Anyone who claims to be liberal or leftist, who glosses over or ignores this salient point deserves the rhetorical equivalent of a punch in the mouth. It is a horrifying prospect, and the only way to prevent it is to vote for the Democratic nominee for President in November. Period. Full stop.

    • efgoldman

      President Trump would deport(or attempt to deport) 11 million people, around 3% of the US population, in an 18 month period.

      Except that the Reubliklowns who control congress and who bleat about this all the time have never once introduced an appropriations bill to cover the cost.

      • Mike in DC

        The only silver lining is that, while Trump the nominee will cost the GOP the Latino vote for a generation, a Trump presidency would cost them the Latino vote essentially forever.

        • Pseudonym

          Well, yeah: do you think during/after a Trump presidency Latinos will even be allowed to vote?

      • Hogan

        Trail of Tears 2: This Time, It’s Mexican

  • RPorrofatto

    Trump will get massive media coverage, even beyond that given to a typical presidential nominee, because he’s great for ratings, and that this coverage will normalize him…

    This is the most worrisome of all, for the reasons stated. The one thing the Trump campaign seems to know best is the importance of constant PR that will make Trump look “presidential.” And they’ll get it, through a complicit media that will splash their candidate on TV screens everywhere, as often as possible.

    For example: The day before yesterday, one of the lead stories on the NBC Nightly News was that the Trump campaign announced that they had narrowed down their VP picks to 5 candidates. That’s it. None were named; the sole “news item” was that there was a list of 5. They stretched this into a minute of puff for him without actually saying anything — choosing a VP is, after all, very presidential. Today’s “story” will be all about his meeting with Paul Ryan. There will be nothing to report, but it will all seem very important, and very presidential.

    We are in deep, deep shit.

    • brad

      I think what the nightly network national news does and doesn’t cover has lost any real relevance.
      It’s pretty much physically impossible for Trump to be on any more screens than he has been the last few months, short of him bulk ordering more to hand out sell at rallies.

  • tsam

    Seems to me that the massive media coverage will end up being a rope. One that’s already tied in a noose and hanging from the ceiling. If there’s one thing Teh Dullard does well, it’s shooting himself in his tiny foot.

  • mojrim

    You’re right on the “she’s the antithesis of the current election cycle” but I’d be more worried about swing state polling. She’s even with him in FL and PA, and down by four in OH. Given her ongoing slide in the polls and her increasing negatives, HRC vs. Dumpf looks seriously dangerous.

    • ColBatGuano

      Please try and ignore outlier polls. You’ll feel better.

      • random

        Especially outlier polls that actually show your side winning anyway.

    • random

      The way I read the Q-poll was ‘Assuming that the composition of the electorate in November is a lot worse for Democrats than there’s any good reason to think it would be, she is still going to win the Presidency.’

      • lunaticllama

        This.

  • JMV Pyro

    Tried posting this several times, but wordpress doesn’t like me inking things, apparently.

    Anyway, I saw yesterday that Donald Trump is apparently not even bothering to bring together a campaign data operation. He thinks it’s worthless and is focusing entirely on his celebrity status and rallies. Clinton meanwhile has hundreds of operatives working in multiple swing states, is copying Obama’s strategy for turnout, and is focusing on pumping up key demographic groups.

    Does this mean he can’t win? No. Does this mean we should get complicit? No. But for gods sake, all this fretting over slogans and media and PO’d white people is completely missing the actual work that’s already being done on both sides and how Hilary’s team is completely running circles around Trump. Maybe a black swan event gets him in on a squeaker. That’s the only way I see him winning.

    And I wouldn’t put to much stock in one poll, especially one that is undersampling/predicting a drop in minority turnout.

    I know this won’t stop some people from going into hysterics multiple times Leo Bloom-style between now and November, but I am going to keep beating on the organizing drum until people listen.

    • Dilan Esper

      Campaigns are a lot of work, but they only affect the margins. Hillary could do none of that and still receive 97 percent of her vote total.

      A lot of what campaigns do is done because there’s tons of money available to do it. Like in many enterprises work expands to the size of the budget.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        if it takes that extra three percent to beat Trump it’s worth every penny

      • JMV Pyro

        Do you have a source for this?

        Even if the election is decided at the margins, which is what the freakout crowd is suggesting in flogging the Q-pac poll, then those three points are that much more important.

        I honestly don’t know what else to tell you. There’s no evidence that Team Clinton is planning to coast during this election, they’re essentially emulating the same strategy that won Obama his two elections, and they’re running against a guy who isn’t even going to try to counter them. Even Romney tried to counter them with a data team.

        I do not for the life of me understand how this works in Trumps favor barring a black swan event.

        • Do you have a source for this?

          As annoying as it is to confirm something Dilan wrote, this is the strong poly sci consensus.

          Hmm. Sources. Here’s an indirect:
          https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/do-campaigns-really-change-voters-minds/2012/07/06/gJQAEljyRW_story.html

          Despite all the noise from the campaign trail — from the onslaught of TV ads to the daily rallies to the frenzied news coverage — factors beyond either candidate’s control largely determine the result, according to this school of thought. So much is already baked into a presidential contest that even the best managed and most effective campaign (or the most incompetent one) can’t move the needle too far.

          This idea has been around since at least the 1940s and has been so thoroughly studied that it has its own wonky name, the Minimal Effects Model. Simply stated, the model says that presidential campaigns have a highly limited effect on how people vote. Because of partisan loyalties and other structural factors, millions of voters have made up their minds long before the most intense electioneering begins, leaving only a disengaged few for the candidates to persuade.

          Team Clinton is right not to coast because in many explanations the campaign efforts are factored in and expected to roughly balance. That is, in modern elections thus far, both sides spend comparable amounts, run ads, have surrogates, have GOTV operations, etc.

          If one of these were missing entirely, then campaign quality might matter more.

          • JMV Pyro

            Huh, thanks for that.

            The last part about campaign effort balancing being factored into the model peaks my interest. We know at this point that Trump is doubling down on the rallies and his celebrity status and Clinton is emulating Obama’s effort to GOTV. Is this going to be enough of a difference to shake the model or are things unlikely to change all that much?

            • Huh, thanks for that.

              My pleasure.

              We know at this point that Trump is doubling down on the rallies and his celebrity status and Clinton is emulating Obama’s effort to GOTV. Is this going to be enough of a difference to shake the model or are things unlikely to change all that much?

              It’s very very hard to say at this juncture. Trump did surprisingly well with less organisation than I anticipated, but was so much stronger in the end he pulled it off. (Recall a few weeks ago when he was scrambling for delegates and it looked like Cruz might be able to force weird stuff at the convention.)

              My money would be on Clinton’s approach, esp. as Trump will almost certainly be “helping” with key groups (blacks, women, [email protected]). If he beats that with little organisation, it will be very unusual unless the fundamentals shift (e.g., big event, economy crash, etc.)

              • JMV Pyro

                I’ve been thinking about how Trump managed to pull it off with how bad his organization was. Best as I can guess, it was a combination of:

                1.) He was easily the most famous person running in the primary.

                2.) He knew how to work the media to make things always about him, giving people in an already crowded field less exposure.

                3.) He either knew beforehand or stumbled onto the fact that after two-terms of Obama and a steady diet of paranoia and rage, the Republican base was hungry for blood.

                4.) He may have had a lot of rivals, but they weren’t as strong as advertised and were crippled by blandness (Walker, Jeb!), arrogance(Rubio), or sheer unlikability (Cruz).

                Whatever it was, the GE is going to be very different and I don’t think he can succeed with the same strategy.

                • Trumps campaign pretty clearly overthrew the “Party Decides” thesis, afaict, perhaps because they decided not too. (Which was still weird.)

                  But yes, the factors that worked in the primaries seem unlikely to work in the general.

                  But who knows? I mean, Trump is a strange phenomena. I think it’s fine to predict conventionally, but I’m prepared to be wrong :)

            • Pseudonym

              “get complicit”

              “peaks my interest”

              AAAAAAAAAH! (=

              • Complacency makes you complicit! IT WORKS!

                And his interest was raised to new heights! Heights which cannot be further raises thus peak interest IT WORKS IN TWO WAYS!!!!!

                • Pseudonym

                  Okay, smartypants, now try to explain away “a strange phenomena”.

                • Trump is singular but contains multitudes.

              • JMV Pyro

                The frightening thing is that after all that, I still test well on verbal stuff. I’m confused too.

        • efgoldman

          There’s no evidence that Team Clinton is planning to coast during this election

          And I expect, given the likely EV outcome, she, her VP candidate and BHO are also going to work like hell to bring in the senate, and just maybe (though I’m not optimistic) the house.

    • GFW

      Does this mean we should get complicit? No.

      Certainly not! And neither should we get complacent! :-)

      • Just_Dropping_By

        Came for the pedantic correction; left satisfied.

    • efgoldman

      I know this won’t stop some people from going into hysterics multiple times

      We’re Democrats. We vacillate between Chicken Little and Eeyore. I don’t know who, how or why someone chose the donkey for our mascot.

      • JMV Pyro

        Well, Eeyore is a donkey.

      • Vance Maverick

        Wikipedia claims it’s from “Jackass” for “Jackson.” I embrace the image of low-class stubbornness, if not everything about the association with Ol’ Trail of Tears.

  • nixnutz

    I thought I was the only one who kept my gin in the freezer.

  • What usually happens at this point in the rise of a fascist leader is that social and economic conservatives end up kissing the ring after getting assurances that their central concerns will be served. The maximum leader doesn’t usually honor all of his pledges, of course, because governing with a coherent policy would limit his power. Anyhow, a Trump administration would face the determined opposition not only of the Democrats but a great many groups in civil society. In the absence of anything like a stable coalition, he’d have to resort to alarms and emergencies in order to maintain control and that’s especially true of a man personally addicted to theatrics. Not a happy prospect.

    I’m especially entertained/appalled by the sometime suggestion of certain Sanders supporters that Trump wouldn’t be so bad. I guess they figure, heck, it didn’t work out in the long run but the Molotov-Ribbentrop pack kept the peace for almost two years…

    • “A small man in search of a balcony”

      Jimmy Breslin

    • los

      WMDs in Iraq, again!

  • Oh, look, another round of “Paul Campos is crazy if he thinks Donald Trump stands a chance.”

    I thought he was out of his mind last time, when he wrote about the Republican primary. I told him so.

    The proper response to being wrong when someone else proved correct is to give them the benefit of the doubt the next time.

    • JMV Pyro

      I think the difference is Paul looked past a lot of the narrative stuff about Trump and realized that all signs, polls included, pointed to a plurality Republican voters wanting him to be their nominee. Now those same signs (polls, favorable, demographics, how the campaigns are being run) point to Trump getting beat comparably to 08 and 12, but people are assuming now that because they were wrong before, he could have a chance

      And don’t get me wrong, he could pull it off and we shouldn’t coast, but I really don’t see any indication that now is the time to panic.

      • AMK

        The national polls of GOPers were right for pretty much the entire primary: Trump first, Cruz second, Rubio/establishment a more distant third, fourth, fifth etc.. If a Governor or Senator or General was leading a field of 15+ people by double digits for months, well he’s the nominee, no surprises. The shock was that it was a Reality TV Star, and everybody spent those months trying to frantically explain why the numbers were wrong.

        • It that last bit, about “months,” that’s the problem. As we saw in 2012, heck as we saw with Joe Lieberman, early polling for primaries is unreliable. Dismissing the polls early on seems entirely reasonable.

          But there were people still saying that in April.

      • It’s definitely not time to panic. The claim in this post doesn’t go any further than “could win.”

    • Warren Terra

      The proper response to being wrong when someone else proved correct is to give them the benefit of the doubt the next time.

      Or to remain true to your faith and burn them as a witch!

      • los

        and don’t forget to bring the marshmallows, this time.

  • plarry

    Having Trump be president would be bad, but look, we survived Reagan. Reagan was also unbelievably ignorant, spouted an enormous amount of nonsense, and was suffering from dementia for anyone with eyes to see. A Trump presidency will be survivable.

    • twbb

      Reagan surrounded himself with unscrupulous but pragmatic and fairly competent people. Trump surrounds himself with people who aren’t just cruel but are also very incompetent.

      • N__B

        I’ve met some people Trump has hired in his real-estate business. They’re morons.

      • Warren Terra

        Reagan surrounded himself with unscrupulous but pragmatic and fairly competent people.

        And James Watt. And Bill Bennett. And Ed Meese. And Al Haig. And Jeanne Kirkpatrick.

        … wait, who were you talking about?

    • random

      Reagan was nowhere remotely as bad as Trump.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        also I doubt the early 80s republicans in congress were as bad as what we have now

      • plarry

        It would be interesting to see a list of the projected ills of a Trump presidency against the ponderous chain of actual wrongs and misdeeds of Reagan that would justify the statement “nowhere remotely as bad”.

        • random

          You could just list the one (deporting around 3% of the population in 2 years, bypassing any judicial review) and that’s already worse than Reagan.

    • McKingford

      As bad as Trump is, I still think he’s preferable to almost anyone else the GOP was running. He’s got some dumb ideas (the Wall), but they aren’t ruinous. Otherwise, Trump is obviously uninformed, but his instincts are generally moderate – see his reluctance to cut Social Security. And this is important not only because of what might arise during his presidency, but because he won’t be ideologically predisposed to staffing his administration with true believers who will move heaven and earth to effect change through every last administrative and policy decision – like a Cruz certainly would. Trump doesn’t even have a connection with those Liberty U type of people. And so the long-term damage of his presidency would be considerably less than a movement ideologue like Cruz.

      • random

        He’s substantially worse than almost anyone else the GOP was running, all of his ideas are cartoonishly ruinous, his instincts aren’t moderate at all, he is more than willing to start kicking people off the Social Security rolls.

        He is ideologically predisposed to staffing his administrations with white supremacists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, conspiracy nuts, idiots, boot-lickers, and dog-rapers.

        Simply by winning the election he will do more to permanently diminish the reputation of the country than an army of Liberty U students.

      • DilbertSucks

        As bad as Trump is, I still think he’s preferable to almost anyone else the GOP was running. He’s got some dumb ideas (the Wall), but they aren’t ruinous. Otherwise, Trump is obviously uninformed, but his instincts are generally moderate – see his reluctance to cut Social Security. And this is important not only because of what might arise during his presidency, but because he won’t be ideologically predisposed to staffing his administration with true believers who will move heaven and earth to effect change

        This could only be written by someone who hasn’t been paying much attention during this election season. The amount of uninformed rubbish rivals that of a Maureen Dowd or H.A. Goodman column.

  • she’s a prototypically establishment figure at a time when the zeitgeist is going very much in an anti-establishment direction

    This is, in my opinion, a huge concern. Her team is going to have to come up with a cogent, convincing response when Trump says “everyone in Washington is corrupt, especially the Clintons, and I know because I used to give them money and when I did, I fucking owned them.” And he’s going to say it a lot.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      it isnt as if Trump’s whole career is devoid of anything that can be used against him

  • OlderThanDirt

    I’m commenting after 311 comments and I’d like to note that sexism has not been discussed. Sexism is a fact. It is as pervasive if not more pervasive than racism. When we were all discussing Obama, did we not try to parse the effect of racism?

    The ONLY reason I fear Trump winning is sexism. I know too many people who have never examined their own sexist beliefs the way they may have examined the racist things they were taught. Liberal, left-leaning, socialist, communist, anti-racist people who had all kinds of biases against women but were unwilling to acknowledge them.

    I want everyone to take a minute and look at Bernie Sanders and tell me that you are sure he’d still be getting all this support if he were running against John Kerry. “No! It’s his platform!” There is ALWAYS a reason not to support a woman.

    I believe that 90% of “The argument that Hillary Clinton is herself an exceptionally weak candidate.” is sexism. Her voice, her pantsuits, her angry face…all adds up to a ‘weak candidate’ in some people’s minds.

    This is a screed, but I’m frightened. I’m truly frightened that I will be failed by Democratic white men who will find a reason to withhold their support.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      thanks for saying something

      I think/hope in the end most democratic men will come around (sooner the better as at this point the chest-beating is getting rather tedious) and the people who will fail you are the Republican women who vote for Trump because of (whatever)

      • OlderThanDirt

        I expect to be failed by Republican women. What I’m specifically worried about is that sexism is only discussed (outside feminist press) to be dismissed. Nothing is EVER because of sexism. Did you read that study where they asked the question “Who makes more money, your spouse or you?” and then later asked about support for Hillary? The question alone depressed men’s support by 24 points.

        https://hbr.org/2016/04/even-the-thought-of-earning-less-than-their-wives-changes-how-men-behave

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          no, I hadn’t seen that, and it gives me a *lot* better idea of why you’re worried

        • Rob in CT

          First, yikes.

          I must be an odd duck. My wife out-earns me (by ~40%, depending on bonuses). I don’t mind. The fuck would I mind? MOAR money! Plus, she really is a more productive worker. She should out-earn me. Probably by a lot more than she does.

          I do wonder whether I’d be as cool with it if I made less than I do… if the difference were more dramatic. I still make good money all by my onesies. She just makes even more. If I made, like, minimum wage and she made what she made it would be a much more dramatic mismatch.

          So that’s possibly why I’m not threatened. Or it could be that traditional masculinity never worked for me anyway, being the small nerdy picked on kid. So I long ago ran out of fucks to give about how “manly” I am perceived to be. It’s toxic garbage, all the way down.

          ETA: Another thought that occurs to me is that in the political sphere, Democrats who are men have basically been accused of being girly men for as long as I can remember. Maybe, just maybe, even if some of us harbor some sexist views, being sick & tired of that crap might be helpful (only, of course, if such anger is directed properly).

          random aside: I love the bit about how if you ask men about their wife out-earning them they are more likely to buy an SUV. Sometimes, man, I wonder about us…

          • OlderThanDirt

            I know guys like you but I know more unconscious sexists. Some I even love a lot.

            Here’s another question, why aren’t there more WOW! articles about how Hillary would be the first woman president? Why is that not the coolest thing? I know why I don’t talk about it, I don’t want the grief.
            But all the liberal men who are supporting her could talk about how excited they are to be making history once again.

            If she were running for a second term in 2020, that would be exactly 100 years after the ratification of the 19th amendment.

            • Rob in CT

              why aren’t there more WOW! articles about how Hillary would be the first woman president?

              I don’t know. Probably a mixture of sexism and “yawn, we did the history thing with Obama” (not that I’m endorsing that view!). Also possibly b/c it’s early yet. Could be we’re in for a spate of those articles this summer/fall.

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              well, like you, I haven’t wanted the online grief. In real life, though, I have no problem saying that I prefer Clinton (this is the thing about the caucus system, you are out in the open) basically because I think she has a better temperament for the job- and, we don’t get a woman President without, you know, *voting* for one

              at county convention, we Clinton delegates were given buttons that say “IA/MAKING HISTORY”… and I just found mine again the other day and thought, “you know, this really is special, what we did”

    • Rob in CT

      I understand your fear. Lemme put my optimist hat on (this is, oddly for me, something I’m doing a lot lately).

      This is where tribalism helps us as much (or more) than it hurts. I think it’s likely that sticking with the tribe will trump (oh, I kill me) sexism for the vast majority of Dems & Dem-leaners who are sexist.

      I voted Sanders this time, but will cheerfully vote for HRC in the fall. Could my preference for the old democratic socialist from VT be derived, in part, from sexism? It’s possible. I don’t think so, but it’s possible*

      But I’ll cheerfully vote for HRC in the fall, even if I’m not her biggest fan (I actually do like a bunch of stuff about her, but have serious reservations on FP in particular).

      So, here we have a white male Democrat who might not like HRC as much as he would were she male. Yet I’ll be voting for her in November. Indeed, I cannot even think of how she could lose my vote.

      Sexism will hurt her some. It will also likely galvanize support amongst women, though. Obama had a similar thing happen: his race hurt him with whites, particularly in certain areas. But his candidacy also drew higher AA turnout & support level. The net may have been negative, but it’s not as simple as subtracting the lost white votes. So it will be with Clinton.

      I guess one possible difference is that we’d expect sexism to not have much regional variation.

      * – I did some soul-searching back in ’08 about whether my preference for Obama was due to sexism. I felt really, really strongly about the Iraq war and concluded that no, really, that was the reason I voted for him over her. I could be wrong, but one of the things that I think I have going for me is that I do not watch/listen to politicians. Ever. I’ll read a speech. This means looks, voice, etc., are pretty much removed from play. For me this dates to the 90s, when I found that even though I hated listening to Bill Clinton (he sounds so fucking smarmy to me), if I read his speeches I liked them.

    • AMK

      90% of the argument that Hillary Clinton is herself an exceptionally weak candidate is sexism. Her voice, her pantsuits, her angry face…all adds up to weak candidate in some people’s minds.

      The women (Dems and GOPers) I’ve met who don’t like Hillary dislike her for the same reason the men do: the idea that everything she does is artifice, with no real principles or convictions or integrity beyond that which serves her immediate interests, and after 20 years of seeing her on TV they’ve made up their minds and they’re sick of her. Some of the men frame it in more sexist terms–she’s a “lying bitch” instead of just a “liar” or “untrustworthy”–but it’s the same impulse.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        well, first of all that shows the disadvantage of having been on the national stage for twenty-four years, doesn’t it. It also shows how susceptible even some democrats are to the propaganda of the vast right-wing conspiracy

        people on the left who are uncomfortable with Clinton’s ‘artificial’ appearance should really read the Sady Doyle “Likable” essay. They probably won’t like her any better, but at least they’d have some understanding of where that part of her they don’t like comes from. And *maybe* they’d ask themselves if they had a part in creating that artificial vision of Hillary Clinton

        • Rob in CT

          I’ve seen lefties regurgitating RW bullshit “scandal” stuff about HRC. Sexism could be making them more susceptible to it. So could youth (not actually being around for Vince Foster, et al. might make you somewhat more credulous). And of course the passions of a primary campaign, when contradictions are heightened and all that.

          I, for one, have come to like “inauthentic” Hillary. From what I can tell, she earnestly wants to do good things in government and sticks at it despite “not being a natural.” She learned early that just being herself was a no-go and knows she can’t win that game (but she plays, as best she can, because she must). I have a great deal of sympathy for that.

      • OlderThanDirt

        Yes, but where does that idea come from? WHY does she have no integrity in their minds? She has no more changes in her opinions than any other politician over 20 years. What’s so special about the changes she’s made? That’s the sexism part, she has to be flawless, perfect, superhuman and then maybe she’ll be considered.

        And as to artifice, she’s been constantly criticized for decades about everything so she might be a little less relaxed than the next person. Doesn’t mean she’s not sincere in her beliefs. Over and over people meet her and are surprised how much they like her.

        Women can be as unconsciously sexist as men in their judgements. As I said, there’s always a reason that a particular woman is wrong.

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