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Friday, August 18, 2017

We’ve written a lot recently about Donald Trump’s poor prospects in the general election, should he become the Republican nominee: he motivates Muslims and Latinos to register to vote (against him), he’s repulsive to Mormons and others who value religious liberty, and the international community would consider his success a complete disaster — something we’ll surely hear more about as this cycle rolls on.

On top of all that, Trump’s electoral strategy — essentially, it’s just “bring out angry, disengaged conservatives to the polls” — forgets the fact that the vast majority of voters are some combination of young people, minorities, and women, most of whom find him entirely unelectable.

It’s not just us lefties ranting about how bad Donald is for our politics, though. After all, the #NeverTrump movement started with conservatives on Twitter who swore they would never support Trump as their party’s standard-bearer, and has since become a slogan for anti-Trump activists of all stripes.

Take conservative outlet The Weekly Standard, whose Trump coverage is particularly bleak. In an episode of their wonderful near-daily podcast on Monday, staff writer and number cruncher Jay Cost laid out his forecast for Trump’s general election chances, and they’re not pretty. I’ll let Cost explain, in one of the best electoral math rants I’ve heard in a while:

Let me state flatly and unequivocally that if Donald Trump is the nominee, Hillary Clinton’s floor in the electoral college is 400 votes. That’s the floor, number one. Number two, kiss the Senate goodbye. I mean, it’s not even going to be a close call. It will be a bloodbath. Number three, and this is a little more controversial at this point, but I would give the Republicans no better than 40 percent odds hold the House of Representatives.

This guy is an abject disaster for the Republican Party in November, there is no other way to put it. And the notion that he’s going to bring in some tranche of voters is just a complete fiction, for two reasons: number one, there aren’t enough of them, okay?

I live in Western Pennsylvania. I live right near places that, up until very recently, were voting Democratic. And yeah, can Trump bring some new voters in from Beaver County? Yeah, maybe he can. But I’m telling you what, I live in Butler County, which has been voting Republican since 1856, and he’s going to get killed in Butler County. He is going to get killed in the Cranberry Township suburbs in Butler County. Because people are going to look at him and they are going to think, “No Way.”  You watch, suburban women in Cranberry Township are going to bolt [from] him in droves. And the same thing’s going to happen… replicate that times 100 in the Philadelphia suburbs. It’s going to be an absolute slaughter.

And I think that he can hold the line, maybe, in the South. I see him winning Mississippi and Alabama, and maybe Louisiana. I think he loses Georgia, I think he loses North Carolina. But I think… that’s only one area where the Republican Party is strong. You go to the Great Plains, right… So the Great Plains starts with Texas and then goes up to the Canadian border, and then it goes west up though Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah. He is going to punk out all through that region. These people want nothing to do with this guy. Maybe they’ll vote for him over Hillary Clinton, because they find Hillary Clinton so objectionable, but he is not going to win those states by anything approaching a solid margin.

If you want a view of what Trump looks like on election day, I think the best map you can look at is probably the 1928 map between Al Smith and Herbert Hoover. And Herbert Hoover massacred Al Smith. It is going to be an absolute, total bloodbath for Republicans. It will give the Democrats not only control of the White House and the Senate, but very possibly the House of Representatives.

 

That 1928 electoral map is about as one-sided as Trump’s electoral predictions get. I can’t say I’d look forward to such a lopsided win, mainly because I don’t want to think about the type of politician who will be able to capitalize on disappointed Trump voters (just as Trump spoke to disaffected Tea Partiers). Still if it means dealing a serious blow to the darkest corners of Trump’s twisted rhetoric, I’m all for it:

1928 electoral map

Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

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