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Sunday, December 17, 2017

It’s true. Donald Trump probably should be winning this election.

That’s not just the assessment of Trump himself — who has reached the stage of mourning where all he does is complain about how powerless he is to the mean old press and warn his supporters that their votes probably won’t even count. That’s the verdict of the “Time for a Change” model developed by political scientist Alan I. Abramowitz, which has correctly predicted every presidential election since 1988.

But Abramowitz doesn’t see a Trump victory coming any more than Trump does.

“Based on the results of other recent presidential elections, however, as well as Trump’s extraordinary unpopularity, it appears very likely that the Republican vote share will fall several points below what would be expected if the GOP had nominated a mainstream candidate and that candidate had run a reasonably competent campaign,” he wrote last week. “Therefore, despite the prediction of the Time for Change model, Clinton should probably be considered a strong favorite to win the 2016 presidential election as suggested by the results of recent national and state polls.”

Americans want a change. Maybe it’s the eight years of a Democrat. Maybe it’s the 36 years of conservative economics spewing money up while trickling nothing down.

Whatever the cause, it’s increasingly clear the change they’re seeking won’t be coming from Donald Trump.

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In a recent YouGov poll, 50 percent of voters found that Trump’s version of change feels more like regression, which makes sense since that’s the promise of his campaign — to return American to a time when minorities, the LGBTQ community, women and people with pre-existing conditions had fewer rights.

If Trump ends up winning, it will be because Hillary Clinton presents a too rosy view of the possibilities America faces. But Trump’s defeat will come from his assertion that he “alone” can deliver a change that America doesn’t want.

It isn’t just Trump’s policies that are extraordinarily unpopular. It’s the man, personally.

While about 30 percent of the population loves him and would believe him if he started quoting passages from The Hobbit and insisting they were from the Gospel of Luke, much of America senses that he’s trying to sucker them with a constant stream of lies and propaganda more suited for convincing cult members to drink Kool-Aid than sustaining a democracy.

Here are the five biggest lies Trump keeps trying to sell a nation that  doesn’t seem to be in the market for his nonsense.

  1. His supporters are the only “real Americans.”
    In several recent polls, Trump has no — zero — support from African Americans. Trump’s support among Latinos is lingering around 20 percent, much worse than Romney’s 27 percent, which was worse than John McCain’s support in the low thirties, which was worse than George W. Bush, the last Republican nominee to get near 40 percent. To win, Republicans either need to increase to Romney level of support among minority voters or attract more white votes than any candidate since 1988. Instead, Trump is doing worse with white voters, suffering unprecedented losses with college-educated Republicans and Republican women. Still, somehow, Trump has convinced America’s loudest, angriest, and most ungrateful minority that they’re silent and a majority. “Most Americans are white, most are Christian, most don’t have college degrees, and most live in the South or Midwest Census Bureau regions,” FiveThirtyEight‘s Nate Silver wrote. “And yet, only about 1 in 5 voters meets all of these descriptions.” America’s working class is increasingly diverse. While Trump has endeavored to do something Republicans have failed to do for generations — empathize with the pain of American workers who’ve been displaced by globalization — he’s speaking to a stereotype of blue-collar hard hats who won Richard Nixon the 1968 election, while ignoring the millions of service and retail workers who increasingly represent the real working class of America. That working class is sick of blaming minorities for their suffering and is ready to take on the real problem — a system that’s tilted entirely to the rich.
  2. He was against the Iraq War.
    Trump’s one foreign policy credential is a lie. Unlike Barack Obama, Trump was for the war when it was hardest to be against it. And he was for the withdrawal that he now blames for the creation of ISIS. In a sane world what Trump feels about Iraq would be irrelevant, but since he’s using this to bolster his credentials to seek a job where he has promised to use torture, intentionally kill civilians, and shut down basic freedoms of the press and religion that we take for granted, he needs to be confronted on this lie every time he trots it out.
  3. He would help workers.
    In his big economic speech in Detroit last week Trump completed his evolution to full Romneyism/ Bushism/ Rubioism while maintaining his trademark racism. It’s the same old tax breaks that mostly or only help the rich, matched with… nothing to help workers. “If such policies were effective, we would remember George W. Bush’s presidency as one of great prosperity, instead of a period of stagnant wages for blue- and white-collar workers,” said Larry Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute. Trump would uninsure 20 million Americans from working families while pushing policies that would drive wages lower and lower, eliminating one of the biggest raises workers have gotten in decades.
  4. The press is killing his campaign. 
    When he’s focused enough to care, Trump is now running against the press. As if the press were to blame for a disastrous campaign that has Republicans abandoning him like he was the Iraq War in 2007. Trump’s act used to feature him bragging about polls and acting awed over his success. Now that the stench of failure follows him like a dazed Mike Pence, he’s stuck ranting against the institution that made his rise possible — free media. The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent points out that while Trump’s “dominate all media” strategy worked in the GOP primary, he was completely unprepared for how “the coverage and scrutiny are inevitably getting a lot harsher, at precisely the moment when Trump is devolving into his worst bouts of depravity and unhinged behavior yet.”
  5. Society is rigged against a fortunate son who’s relied on government help his entire career.
    Trump’s rich daddy gave him every advantage known to man, which helped Trump avoid the draft and launch his business. The courts protected him from creditors — over and over again. City government and tax breaks fueled his first development projects. Powerful lobbyists keep him from paying taxes. Conservative media gave him a platform. Cable news desperate for relevance let him exploit their airwaves to perform informercials of hate. And a Republican Party eager to win an election that could decide the Supreme Court for generations begged him not to leave it. Yes, the system is rigged — for Donald Trump and his kids. And his escalating wrath comes from knowing that as rigged as his success has been, he’s facing the greatest failure of his life, perhaps the most resounding defeat suffered by any candidate in a generation. And he’s losing fair and square. Sad!
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