Well, here we are – the GOP moment of truth, as it were.
For those still hoping for a non-Trump outcome, Tom Coburn has reportedly said he’d stand as an alternative to Trump. It’s a bit weak sauce – the word is he’ll accept the nomination if offered by the delegates, but won’t actively pursue it. Still, it is, finally, something. We’ll see if the Dump Trump forces can make anything of it.
That aside, the most likely outcome is a Trump love-fest leading up to Trump’s acceptance speech. Which might be interesting to watch – I tend not to watch political speeches because they are mostly just boilerplate (this has been especially true with our current President), but I might tune in for Trump’s effort (I plan on avoiding Hillary’s acceptance speech like the plague…can’t imagine putting up with even five minutes of listening to her).
Trump and the GOP go into this very much a divided house and about 5 points behind Hillary. I doubt that Trump can get the #NeverTrump people on board – those who were willing to grit their teeth and back Trump already have; those who are still #NeverTrump at this point are probably not reachable. On the other hand, I’ve thought for months that the only way Trump could possibly win is to bring into the GOP coalition several million (perhaps 5?) people who normally don’t vote at all, let alone vote GOP. He’ll also need at least some normally Democrat voters (and I think he’ll get them – there’s a large number of registered Democrats in the more rural parts of the country whose loyalty to the Democrats is purely nominal).
I don’t know if Trump can do this. For all the complaints about Priebus and the GOP, the RNC has built an allegedly great get out the vote effort – but whether Trump has the discipline to make good use of it is doubtful…but if he’ll at least give the pros their lead and let them do it, then it could work well for him. It likely still won’t be as good as the Democrats effort, but anything better than 2012 is a massive improvement. On the other hand, Trump had pretty much zero GOTV in the primaries and still secured more votes than any GOPer ever has (and, of course, had more GOPers vote against him than ever before, as well).
I don’t think the money-gap is all that important – Hillary does have (and will maintain) a massive lead in money because she’s bought and those who purchased her will do all they can to make certain their investment gains the White House…but Hillary’s team also seems bloated (as all Progressive efforts wind up) and it might not be efficient and flexible enough to take full advantage. At all events, what happened to Jeb demonstrates conclusively that money does not win elections in and of itself – better to have it than not have it, but better to have a message people like than have lots of money.
The battle between Trump and Hillary is fundamentally between two very much disliked people. I don’t trust the polling much – not that it isn’t useful to pick out trends (it is always useful for that – especially if you follow the RCP polling averages), but I think the electorate is all bollixed up this year. Think about it – if Trump does pull in some millions of people who normally don’t vote, they won’t show up in polls of likely voters. Like this: “Hello, this is Mr Pollster and I’m polling for the election. Tell me, did you vote in the last election?” “Why, no, I didn’t” says the guy with MAGA painted in ten foot high letters on his garage door. “Thank you for your time”, says the pollster. Click. It also works the other way – quite a lot of people who did vote in the previous elections will stay home; both GOPers disgusted with Trump and Dems disgusted with Hillary (not quite sure how that will break but I suspect – and it is just a guess – that more GOPers will stay home than Dems). There are still more Democrats than GOPers in the overall electorate so Hillary (like all Democrats running a national campaign) as a built-in advantage…and I think that is where her current polling advantage comes from. But if a bunch of new people do come in and a bunch of regulars stay out, then her advantage is likely illusory.
Do keep in mind the “ifs” I’ve put in there. And if it is a normal election with the normal electorate, then Hillary wins – and wins pretty handily.
I’ve no dog in this hunt – I don’t know how I’ll vote on November 8th in the Presidential election. I may leave it blank – I’m just not sure. I won’t condemn anyone for their vote in 2016. It is entirely a matter of conscience at this point – vote how you think you should. We’ll all see how it comes out.
UPDATE: Well, the first day is sure interesting. Personally, I think Trump erred in not letting the #DumpTrump people have their roll call…it would have taken a while, but it might have helped soothe anyone who is still capable of being soothed. Some aren’t, of course – but it might have looked better if Trump had allowed the vote to go forward. But, that just isn’t Trump’s style – which is another worrisome aspect of his candidacy. Of course, it also isn’t Hillary’s style, nor has it been Obama’s. The two major parties are firmly in the grip of people who are quite ruthless and always willing to kick someone when they’re down.