The good news is the election is almost over. After fifteen months of election drama, we are in the final weeks. The end has left Republicans wondering, “Where do we go from here?” Nowhere, likely.
The suspense is already over. The dire Republicans polls I discussed last week have only worsened. Clinton now has a better shot in Texas than Trump does in Pennsylvania. It a big deal which means, as a practical matter, that Hillary Clinton has many paths to 270 electoral votes. She can underperform polls and still win with votes to spare.
Brexit comparison hope is popular but misplaced. For one, polling Brexit is like polling New England and New York, that is the seven states at the northeastern tip of the US. They are roughly comparable by population, economic and geographic diversity, and size to the United Kingdom, and still compose only a small fraction of the polling and analysis the US has to take into account.
More to the point, however, in the mere months since Brexit many have forgotten what the polls looked like on the eve of the vote. About half the polls had Remain up and the other half had Leave up, mostly lingering on the edge of the margin of error.
This is not what the American polls look like at all. Clinton leads consistently outside the margins of error and the trend lines show a collapse in Trump’s support. He does not match 2012 candidate Mitt Romney’s numbers among whites. In some polls he is even losing among men now, and according to The Daily Mail, British bookies have already started paying out on President Clinton bets.
Not much left but to watch and learn as the Clinton Machine continues its masterful control of a compliant media. And, of course, the shouting remains, some of which may come tonight. (This column was written just before the third debate and published the morning after.)
While most of the Right was still hopeful at this point in 2012, and Nate Silver’s analysis was annoying us — we focused on the closer national numbers, Silver was wisely watching the individual states — this year, right commentary is overrun with explainers of what Republicans can, should, or must do after the electoral slaughter. Will we come together as Republicans? Will we break apart? Will we play nicely or continue hurling insults?
Advice abounds, but I don’t expect it will save the Republican Party. The extreme sides, the #NeverTrump elitists and the early and enthusiastic Trump supporters almost flaunt a determination to learn all the wrong lessons from this cycle. The elite seem to think that the party only has a Trump and Trump supporter problem. They think to shun the vile misogynists and racists and get back to the Republican party of the spring of 2015, that party of successful and honorable opposition. (That’s sarcasm. the Republicans caucus is more like a boneless chicken ranch that can only manage squawking in opposition.)
The Trump supporters simply blame everyone but their terrible candidate. Lately it’s women, even though a little data from FiveThirtyEight.com suggests that party loyalty trumps for Republican women. It’s technically true. Remaining Republican women are loyal to the candidate. The Republican women who refused to support Trump had made that decision by the Republican National Convention and many have formally left the party since Trump’s nomination. So Trump did run off a bunch of former GOP women, but their defection is not collapsing his numbers now as it has been in the data since August. It’s the undecided and the reluctant others finally deciding that they cannot stomach Trump.
The current party leaders are caught in the crossfire. It did not matter what they thought of the candidate. Party loyalty and money dictated that they at least nominally support Trump. After the slaughter, Trump supporters will blame them for Trump’s failure and #NeverTrumpers will blame them for not stopping Trump when they had many and assorted chances. Few will miss them when they are ousted.
I don’t see any truce on the horizon. Elites will continue to ignore the concerns of the populists. The populists look to get angrier, and with some just cause.
My prediction: Clinton claims a mandate. Real or not, she will claim it. Then she will move on an amnesty immigration plan as a Kennedy-esque “let’s work together” offering to Congressional Republicans, who will eagerly seize the opportunity to get rid of the terrible issue they consider the foundation of Trump’s rise. The “healing” will begin with comprehensive immigration reform.
Or in plainer terms, by championing such a poor candidate, Trump supporters have damned their call for tighter immigration policies.
So the populists will get angrier. Which, coupled with Trump’s trouncing, will make it easier for both sides to completely ignore them next time. The Republican National Committee will rewrite the primary rules to favor a GOP patrician. The Kennedy compromises will continue.
Come 2019, the patricians will have retrenched, the Trump populists will protest loudly and in vain, and perhaps those of us on the right actually interested in an American restoration will have gathered together, somewhere else, to actually do the work we know we must do.
(Image: Ryan Bavetta)