The frenzy of last minute polling in the US Presidential race is suggesting that Trump is even or pulling ahead in several key states. Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Ohio are all in play.
“In play” is not, of course, “in the bag” and the fabled Democratic Party ground operation and saturation advertising may very well deny Trump some or all of these states and many more. Hilly is awful but the Democratic Party may have the organizational capacity – and enough cheating capacity – to, in Obama’s words today in Detroit “carry her”. So it is a reasonable bet that Clinton should be able to win tomorrow.
Unless…Well the polls could very well be wrong. The polling models may well under represent Trump support and over represent Hilly’s. There is no doubt at all that Trump sees more people at his rallies. But does that mean anything?
Hillary’s message throughout the campaign has been that Trump is unfit, racist and not the sort of person America would be safe with. She has cited her own experience and what she seems to think is her better temperment. She has a mountain of detailed policy as one would expect from a front of the class sort of girl.
Trump’s message has been a bit broader – yes, Hilly is a crook; but the whole damned system is rigged. He offers some simple solutions to fairly complex problems. Build the Wall, drop taxes, super vet immigrants from know terrorist areas. But none of that is actually what Trump is selling.
“Make America Great Again” is not so much a policy as a point of view. If you think America has been diminished – economically, geo-politically, culturally – in the last eight years then Trump is offering a direction change. Hillary is not.
Trump’s pitch has two parts: you have to buy into the idea that America is not doing well and you have to believe that Trump somehow represents a useful change of direction. For Trump to close the deal he has to find enough people who believe both parts and those people have to show up and vote.
America is in roughish shape after eight years of Obama. Geo-politically Obama, and his two Secretaries of State, Clinton and Kerry, are leaving America with significantly diminish stature and authority in many parts of the world. Economically, the echos of the 2008 crash are still with us. However, rough shape is not a total disaster. This is not America in 1932:
By inauguration day—March 4, 1933—most banks had shut down, industrial production had fallen to just 56 percent of its 1929 level, at least 13 million wage earners were unemployed, and farmers were in desperate straits. britannica
So are things bad enough for the first part of the #MAGA message to resonate. As with most things, it depends on where you are and who you are. If you are black and living in a city you are certainly no better off than you were eight years ago. If you are white and live in a flyover state you have not had a great eight years (said Bill Clinton at a 2015 closed fundraiser – thank you WikiLeaks). Small businesses have more regulation to deal with and large busineses are finding it more efficient to keep their international profits offshore. A lot of jobs have disappeared and they are not coming back.
Is that enough? I think it may just be. If this is a “change” election there have to be enough people who are miserable enough to actually get out and vote for change. People who remember when they and their kids had jobs and America won the wars it fought.
For Trump to close the deal he has to begin with that miserable base and then add to it. There are plenty of people who, while they are gainfully employed and still have healthcare, are worried about the deficit, the inability of America to gain good international outcomes, the seemingly endless “nod and wink” corruption in Washington. Socially these are people who would be embarassed to say they were voting for Trump. They may not even say it out loud to themselves. But they are out there – or at least Trump has to hope they are. These are the people who can tip battleground states Trump’s way.
Tomorrow we find out. The left media are predicting a Clinton victory and some of the loonier publications are suggesting a landslide for Hilly. I don’t think there is any landslide potential for the Clinton camp. They might, if everything breaks just right, be able to claim a lopsided Electoral College victory but they don’t seem to have the raw numbers for a landslide.
Neither does Trump. Except. Well I am watching Ted Nuget warming up the crowd in Grand Rapids. Fresh out of deer camp and in camo. It’s about midnight. The room is packed. Ted is rocking it. 4500 people in the room. 51,000 online on YouTube. Lord knows how many on Facebook. Those are actual numbers. Earlier tonight Jon Bon Jovie and Bruce Srpinsteen opened for Hilly. They had 15,ooo in the room and about 10K online. Trump hit a combined You-Tube and Facebook of over 200K.
That’s the landslide. If those actual people show up Trump wins bigly.
I think they will.