How Trump can win the 2016 election is getting much harder to see. As reported by the Associated Press, the best efforts of WikiLeaks and the FBI and Fox News to stir up already refuted allegations, Hillary Clinton still holds a lead nationally and in most of the important battleground states.
More than this, on the Electoral College map this year, early voting in these battleground states and Donald Trump’s unprecedented and chronic case of “foot in mouth” disease have likely doomed his campaign to defeat.
To Understand How
Trump can win the popular vote in the presidential election and still not become president. The Electoral College system the founders instituted makes this possible. So even if Donald Trump in the hours remaining before Election Day managed to bump up a few points in the polls – perhaps FBI Director Comey will release Hillary Clinton’s grocery list – it won’t necessarily allow Trump to win the election.
As noted by the Associated Press, reason that winning the Electoral College vote – and the presidency – is possible even if a candidate doesn’t win the popular vote nationally is that electors are apportioned to each state based on the number of congressional representatives that state has.
The winner-take-all approach in the Electoral College means that a candidate could theoretically win very few popular votes in some states and a bare majority of popular votes in other larger states and still win the Electoral College vote. The Electoral College map favors Democrats – with the average Democratic presidential candidate starting out with a guarantee of at least 200 Electoral College votes.
Effect of Early Voting
One of the principal reasons for questioning how Trump can win has been the impact of early voting on the 2016 election. The recent controversy of the last week took place after tens of millions of Americans had already voted across the country. And surveys of those who have voted early in this election reveal a significant lead for Hillary Clinton.
A poll of early voters in Florida revealed that not only were virtually all Democrats voting for Hillary Clinton – 28 percent of Republicans were. While this percentage might – and almost certainly will – change with those voters voting on Election Day, it still gives Hillary Clinton a strong initial lead in Florida that will be difficult for Trump to overcome.
Donald Trump Demographics
For Donald Trump’s devout followers, the question isn’t “how can Trump win?” It’s “how can he lose?” Trump supporters live in a Fox News-managed echo chamber of their own making. This means that – since everyone they know is voting for Trump – it must mean he’s going to win. It never occurs to them that this reflects the limitations of their social circle rather than political reality.
But of course, Donald Trump, over the course of the 2016 presidential election process, has managed to offend almost everyone who isn’t a white heterosexual male Protestant. Because of the highly-offensive things he’s been heard saying about women – as reported by the Associated Press, Trump’s probably going to get a lower percentage of women’s votes than any Republican candidate in history.
Trump’s vilification of Hispanics in general – and Mexicans in particular – hasn’t exactly endeared him to this group either. Trump telling Hispanics that their friends and relatives are drug dealers and rapists and that he can and will ship them all back to Mexico guaranteed a sizable Hispanic turnout for Hillary Clinton. This is reflected in the early voting in Florida and elsewhere.
His treatment of African-Americans has been equally reprehensible – both during the campaign and before. With President Obama throwing his full weight behind Hillary Clinton, the rather pathetic and insulting attempts Trump made in Detroit to win the African-American vote didn’t go over too well.
It’s remarkable how Trump has also managed to insult the disabled, Muslims, veterans, and virtually every other group he could think of along the way. At times, it almost seemed like Donald Trump was trying to lose. So asking how Trump can win is hardly an idle question. The only chance that Trump can have is if Democratic voters either can not, or will not, go to the polls on Tuesday.
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]