That is the consensus – and looking at the polls, there’s not much one could say otherwise. Keeping in mind my view that the electorate on 11/8/16 might be very different from what we expect, the bottom line is that all factors in the election indicate that Hillary will win. Probably a bit narrowly in the popular vote, but with a crushing margin in the Electoral College. Right now, there’s no indication of a collapse for down-ballot Republicans, but that could emerge if people decide not only that Trump is unacceptable, but that if we’re to return the Clinton dynasty to power, might as well go all-in and give it a Democrat Congress.
But, Trump could still win this. All he needs do is complete the un-Conservative circle he started to make in the primaries. Remember, Trump is not committed to Conservatism – he has nothing to lose by alienating Conservatives, especially as such a large number of prominent Conservatives are firmly #NeverTrump, and some are rapidly drifting towards #ImWithHer. To be sure, Trump has offered Conservatives some olive branches – he’s pledged some rather solidly Conservative judicial appointments, offered a series of tax cuts and some rather substantial regulatory reform in order to bring Conservatives on board. It hasn’t worked – and, I think, it won’t work. Because Trump is not a movement Conservative – in other words, because he hasn’t been selected, burnished and propelled along by the gate-keepers of Conservatism – Conservatives, as such, will not come over to him. So, what, then? Simple – go full on populist.
Hasn’t he already done that? Not really. He’s done the border security/fight the terrorists part of populism as well as rumbled about trade deals and such…but to go full populist he’d have to start offering some specific goodies to the people.
Earlier today on Twitter a friend posted a bit noting that Trump’s support among young Americans is lower than even Nixon’s was – and Nixon, remember, was busily fighting the Vietnam War which required a certain number of young people to be drafted and shipped off to get shot at. Rather difficult to gain the love of people in that situation. It immediately occurred to me that Trump could massively shake up that problem by simply proposing to annul student loan debt. Hillary – propelled by Bernie – has made some noises about offering some relief on student loans but if Trump were to go her one better and say that such debts will simply be cancelled, a very large number of people would immediately be grateful to him. Now, if he were a Conservative he’d couple this with a proposal to abolish the student loan program, but he’s not a Conservative…so, he just goes with annulment. And, remember, whatever Hillary says about student loans, her bit is still keeping the debt there and providing mechanisms where the indebted youngsters can become government serfs in return for debt relief…Trump would be offering to let them off; she can’t top that. And running as Mrs Responsible in the campaign, she can’t even try to top it.
Other things Trump can do:
Propose a hefty hike in SS benefits for current retirees – for a lot of years there has been no or minimal COLA hikes in SS benefits because, officially, there hasn’t been inflation. But, of course, there has been and a lot of elderly people are feeling the pinch. Offer a 10% hike in 2017, and a lot of oldsters will sit up and take notice…and it would completely kill any Democrat attempt to portray Trump as someone who is against Social Security.
Propose a big increase in the child tax credit – bump it to five thousand dollars per child. Parents who are raising children are heavily burdened financially; something like this would be an immense relief for them, and a huge incentive to vote Trump.
Propose a 20% reduction in the number of non-essential government employees. Remember them? They are the people who were furloughed when the budget shut down happened…and everyone asked, “if they are non-essential, why do we have them, at all?”. Make an issue of it. Say that it’ll help pay for the boost in SS benefits. It’s a bit of a class warfare thing – in this case, the Government Class against the Governed Class. Given the contempt most people hold government in, this is a winning issue…make Hillary defend non-essential government employees with their fat pensions.
Propose that refugee settlement and Section 8 housing be moved to the high-end neighborhoods. This is another bit of populist class warfare…and it ties into the fact that all those calling anti-refugee people racists are living in neighborhoods the refugees won’t be settled in…and they are the same people who call for more housing aid for the poor. Ok. Give it to them – where it hurts. Make them defend the current system of shoving poor people into poor neighborhoods…
You can probably come up with more along these lines. The whole idea is, as I said, to complete the Trump process – but with real teeth. As I’ve said from the beginning, Trump is no one’s answer…but Hillary is everyone’s corrupt nightmare. If we’re going to have this, then let’s have it in a way which at least gives a bit to the people and sticks it a bit to those who have been busily ruining the nation. The people are angry – such a program as this plays into it.
Now, do keep in mind that I remain Conservative – Distributist to the core. But I’m not going to get Conservatism or Distributism from Hillary or Trump. I’ve no dog in this hunt – this is just me pondering how Trump could still win this. One thing which has struck me among Conservative pundits is their inability to think these days – Trump has seemingly blinded them. They are so worked up at how un-Conservative Trump is that they have lost their ability to ponder what is happening and how out of this nettle, Trump vs Hillary, we might yet eventually pluck a flower which is Conservative government. We have to roll with it in 2016 – and hope for better days in the future.