This week’s third and final presidential debate has resulted in one headline story that has rocked both sides of the aisle. That was the moment when Republican nominee Donald Trump was asked if he would accept the results of the election, and his answer was, “We’ll see.”
It is a statement that breaks with the historical American tradition of a concession speech and a peaceful transition to power, and it was a statement that has left the Republicans in a state of “apprehension and anguish,” reports the Washington Post.
One GOP strategist who has worked with the George W. Bush campaigns and presidency, reportedly described the Republican state of mind since that debate moment as “panicked.” The Washington Post reports that senators and house members are scrambling to keep their own seats in the election after Donald Trump’s controversial debate answer.
The Washington Post is also reporting that “many GOP leaders” feel that it is too late for Donald Trump to save his campaign now. The Washington Post describes the state of the GOP party as one of “historic turmoil” and also says that many Republicans are secretly predicting a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton.
Many polling pundits are predicting the same, with renowned polling strategist Nate Silver of Project 538 saying that Trump’s comments at the last debate led to Hillary Clinton “all but ending” the campaign.”
Steve Schmidt, a renowned GOP strategist who has worked on both Senator McCain’s and George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns, also said the same thing.
The Washington Post reports that he said, “The campaign is over. The question is, how close will Clinton get to 400 electoral votes? She’ll be north of 350, and she’s trending towards 400 – and the trend line is taking place in very red states like Georgia, Texas, and Arizona.”
He also predicts that if the trends continue, the Democrats will take both the House and the Senate. He says the House will lose about 25 seats on the Republican side, and the Democrats will take the Senate.
Schmidt’s electoral college projections are very similar to Nate Silver. In a separate projection for Project 538, Nate Silver projects that as the numbers stand now, the Democrats have a 72 percent chance of taking back the Senate and over 80 percent chance of Hillary Clinton winning the presidency. Real Clear Politics has projected that 47 seats in the Senate will go to Democrats and 46 to Republicans, with seven toss-up races for the Senate.
The “rigged” statements have left many reeling across America, including First Lady Michelle Obama, who told an Arizona crowd this week that Donald Trump’s comments were “threatening the very idea of America itself” reports the Washington Post.
She also reportedly said, “You do not keep American democracy in suspense.”
Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway has taken a different approach, reports the Washington Post.
She said, “I’m going to keep reminding everybody about the 2000 election when Al Gore said he would accept the results of the election and then did not.”
She said the same thing to CNN’s Chris Cuomo. He quoted her directly when he read her statement that unless the election results are certified, Donald Trump will not accept the election results.
Chris Cuomo said this disavows American democracy. He also explained what really happened between the Al Gore and George Bush election.
Cuomo said, “It sounds not just like whining, but it sounds like disavowing the democratic process.”
Watch that full interview here.
“All he’s saying is, ‘Look, I’m not going to forgo my right to a recount in a close election.’ We accept the results as long as we’re not talking about a few votes where it actually matters. I know him. I know where his head’s at. I promise you, that’s all this is.”
Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have both been silent on recent events. The Washington Post says this underscores the party’s current state of unease with the state of the election.
Where the polls stand now trend in Hillary’s favor, as GOP strategist said. The New York Times has Hillary Clinton 6.1 points ahead of Donald Trump nationally, with 46.1 percent of the vote to Donald Trump’s 40 percent. Real Clear Politics has an electoral map projection that gives Hillary Clinton 262 electoral college votes to Donald Trump’s 170.
Real Clear Politics also has 106 electoral college votes up for grabs in the toss-up column. That includes the states of Ohio, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada, Minnesota, Indiana, and Iowa. If Project 538’s electoral college projections are correct, Hillary Clinton has a higher chance of securing all of those over Donald Trump.
Project 538 gives Hillary Clinton a 74.1 percent chance of winning Florida’s 29 electoral votes, a 61.8 percent chance of winning Ohio’s 18 electoral votes, a 55.9 percent chance of winning Arizona’s 11 electoral votes, and a 70.0 percent chance of winning North Carolina’s 15 electoral college votes.
Project 538 also gives Hillary Clinton an 86.9 percent chance of winning Minnesota’s 10 electoral college votes, 56.6 percent chance of winning Iowa’s six electoral votes, and a 73.1 percent chance of winning Nevada’s six electoral college votes. Indiana is in the toss-up for Real Clear Politics, but Project 538 has it currently leaning to Donald Trump where he has 84.7 percent chance of winning Indiana’s 11 electoral votes.
[Feature Image by Gerald Herbert/AP Images]