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5/3/16

US Presidential Elections: it can't get any worse than this for America

Two Party System Is No Longer Working
As The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza noted yesterday, the numbers in Florida alone portend doom for the GOP. A recent poll was conducted by the Associated Industries of Florida, a prominent business group in the state, and they found that Hillary Clinton would defeat Trump by a 49% to 36% margin if the election were held today. Clinton tops Cruz by nearly 10 points in that same poll.

The memo released by the group sums it up: “In this critical swing state, it is clear to us that Republicans continue to suffer substantial brand damage amongst all segments of the ascending electorate (younger voters, Hispanics, and No Major Party voters) and this presidential campaign has clearly exacerbated these attitudes.”

If these numbers are even remotely accurate, the Republicans can’t win in November. Cillizza explains: “If Clinton wins Florida and carries the 19 states (plus D.C.) have voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in each of the last six elections, she will be the 45th president. It’s that simple…And here’s the underlying math. If Clinton wins the 19 states that every Democratic nominee has won from 1992 to 2012, she has 242 electoral votes. Add Florida’s 29 and you get 271. Game over.”

Hillary Clinton is deeply unpopular, but there’s no good reason to suppose that Trump can win in traditionally blue states, not with such dismal support among women (with whom he has a 66% unfavorable rating) and minority voters. Sure, it’s possible, but not at all likely.

Even if Republicans nominated a “safer” candidate like Paul Ryan or John Kasich, they’re still facing an unforgiving terrain. The so-called safe states for Republicans, as Cillizza points out, only amount to 102 electoral votes, meaning the nominee needs another 168 to reach 270. That leaves the Republicans in an extraordinarily difficult spot. The Democrats, conversely, begin with a substantial electoral college advantage.

There’s still time to turn it around, of course, but now that many conservatives are moving from the bargaining to the depression phase of the Kübler-Ross cycle, we can begin to grapple with the prospective reality of a Trump-versus-Hillary general election.
If you’re an ideological conservative, a proponent of limited government, or someone who believes that the president has too much power already, you shouldn’t think of this matchup as a contest between horrifying candidates. Rather, you should ask yourself, “Which scenario would be more damaging?” I’m pretty sure you’ll find that Donald Trump is the form of the Destructor.

Hillary, as you may have noticed, does not have the charisma of Barack Obama. Not only will she be divisive and ethically compromised, but Hillary will also galvanize the Right. Her presidency — even more now that she’s dropped the pretense of centrism — would reinforce the traditional ideological distinctions we’ve debated for years. Republicans would almost certainly unite against her agenda, which will be little more than codifying Obama’s legacy — a collection of policies that half the country still hates.

She won’t be able to pass anything substantive. The most likely outcome is another four to eight years of trench warfare in D.C., with a number of winnable, state-level issues for conservatives. Probably, if historical disposition of the electorate holds, a Republican Congress. (Who knows what happens to Congress if Trump is elected.) Hardly ideal. But unless you believe that an active Washington is the best Washington, gridlock is not the end of the world.

The myth that Democrats get everything will persist. But despite plenty of well-earned criticism, the GOP has been a more effective minority party than constituents give them credit for. People are frustrated, but the idealists have (had?) been gaining ground since the Tea Party emerged. Their presence has put a stop to an array of progressive reform efforts that the pre-2010 GOP would surely have gone along with.

With a Trump presidency this dynamic disintegrates.

Unfortunately for the Americans voter whoever wins the Presidential election even the  principle of  the lessor of two evils does not apply in this case.

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