The Donald has risen to become virtually tied with Hillary in national polls and he has yet to play any Trump cards against her
Hillary Clinton can lose to Trump. This is not only possible, but increasingly more likely. The establishment has been telling us that Hillary is the more electable candidate to defeat Trump since the start, but recent polls give us a different picture. This election is far from a done deal, but she has real weaknesses that Trump can handily exploit.
It is true that Hillary is ahead of Trump in national polls, her average lead being about 6%. However, 6% is not a commanding margin. Worse still, a Reuters/Ipsos survey from just two days ago put Mrs Clinton’s edge at 41 per cent to Mr Trump’s 40 per cent, a statistical tie. Trump was 13 points behind in the same regular poll a week earlier. The numbers get just as troubling when we look at recent polls in key swing states.
Recent polls in key swing states give us insight into the rocky nature of this upcoming election. In Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania, Hillary and Trump are in virtual ties. This is not a good sign. No presidential candidate has won an election in the past forty years without winning two out of those three states.
Hillary leads Trump 43% to 42% in Florida, a practical tie in political polling. This result is mirrored in Pennsylvania, with Hillary beating Trump slightly 43% to 42%. Ohio is where the numbers are truly troublesome. Trump is beating Hillary 43% to 39%, a wider lead than Clinton has against Trump in Florida and Pennsylvania. That is a very bad sign.
Mainstream media pollsters and pundits are not taking these polls seriously, and are effectively balking at their relevance. It’s odd, when polls favor Hillary, the mainstream media is more than happy to set the results in stone and flaunt how it speaks to Hillary’s inevitability.
Yet when polls come out that question the so-called inevitable, talking heads are quick to dismiss them. This is even true of professional pollsters like Nate Silver, who essentially gave the opinion that we shouldn’t freak out over these recent polls as a lot can change until November. Silver is wrong; we should be freaking out.
While of course it is true that a lot can happen between now and November, we shouldn’t simply write off these poll results. It is also ironic that men like Silver, whose job it is to analyze polls (to take polls seriously), are now telling us that the polls may not matter. Unfortunately, his stance is very naive, especially since the establishment is banking on Hillary, possibly the most weak and wounded candidate the Democrats can put forward.
While Hillary supporters throw temper tantrums at the mere notion of pointing out facts, the facts are the facts sad to say. It is true that Trump has a high unfavorable rating, but Hillary Clinton also has high unfavorables. We will have an election with two of the most despised figures in political history facing each other, effectively. Hillary’s weaknesses cannot be ignored, as we are already seeing the results of these weaknesses play out.
Hillary has high unfavorables, as well as a washy record that can be scrutinized by anyone on the political spectrum. While Trump has high unfavorable ratings, this mainly comes from his rhetoric, which Trump is a master at changing. Trump is actually in a position to attack Hillary from the left, because he has no moral compass and will say anything that he realizes will be taken as popular to the voters. He has no shame, which can prove to be an advantage this time around.
Hillary’s high negatives come partially from her record. Unlike Trump, Hillary actually has a record to attack and Trump has already shown interest in using her record to attract disaffected voters on the left. Hillary voted in favor of the resolution that brought us to war in Iraq, voted for the PATRIOT Act, voted in favor of a pro-corporate bankruptcy bill that she once opposed, has supported virtually every trade deal, as well as flip flopping on issues such as marriage equality.
Hillary has also been fairly hawkish on foreign policy, being the main proponent of the intervention in Libya and a strong proponent of intervening in Syria, supported a coup against a democratically elected president in Honduras, as well as signaling support for the right-wing Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu.
These are strong weaknesses, especially since Trump can use these issues to suppress voter enthusiasm for Hillary among her base. Don’t think for a second that Trump can’t use these issues against her, because he certainly can. Remember, Trump has positioned himself as somewhat of a non-interventionist which does have appeal to voters on the left.
Trump has criticized the Iraq war and said we should be less involved in Syria. Trump has also positioned himself against foreign trade deals which have shipped many American jobs overseas. These are appealing positions to progressive voters, especially since the supposed “progressive” candidate has been quite hawkish and washy on these fronts.
It is true that much of the negative opinion against Hillary has come from years of smear campaigns by Republicans (Benghazi being a notable example). The fact remains, however that whether earned or not, Hillary does have a high unfavorable rating. It doesn’t matter if this distrust is deserved or not. Hillary has a high level of mistrust going into the general election, and it is inconceivable that this will reverse come November.
Hillary has likability issues, and many voters see her as inauthentic. While Trump may spout off like a raving lunatic, voters do seem to see him as more genuine in his posturing. Whether he is genuine or not isn’t relevant, perception is always king. In Florida especially, Hillary has a favorability rating of -20. Trump has a high unfavorable too, but this doesn’t give Hillary any advantage. It’s like giving voters a choice of being shot or stabbed.
Another problem Hillary has is that much of the progressive base that supports Bernie still does not trust her, and Hillary has not been swaying them effectively. We can debate the merits of Bernie of Bust, but it is an undeniable fact that Hillary needs the progressive base in order to win in November. Hillary has been rather callous so far in attracting Bernie voters to her campaign, and if this keeps up she will have a difficult time in drumming up voter turnout. Voter turnout is the key to a Democrat winning the election, and if turnout is low then this will give an advantage to Trump and the Republicans.
While it is still early, we are being given troubling signs of the days ahead. Why the Democrats are willing to take a gamble at such a weak nominee is beyond me. While Hillary’s national average against Trump has been around 6%, Bernie Sanders’ average is more than double that number at 13%, and Bernie also does considerably better against Trump in virtually every factor in key swing states. It’s almost obvious who the better candidate against Trump would be, but establishment wisdom would have us ignore recent polls and support a candidate who actually has a good chance of losing to Trump.
We should not scoff at these recent polls, as they are building in to the larger danger that progressives have been warning about. Hillary is not inevitable. She is weak and wounded, and Trump has many avenues to exploit this to his advantage. While Trump will certainly have a run for his money (literally), he does have an easier path to victory with Hillary as his opponent. Ignore the polls at your own peril. One thing is for sure; if Hillary loses to Trump come November, don’t you dare blame Bernie or his supporters. If Hillary loses, the blame will belong to the establishment alone. Don’t say progressives didn’t warn you.