Donald Trump Has Real Chance at Beating Hillary Clinton
After Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won their latest respective Super Tuesdays, the U.S. primaries have reached the next big event in Indiana.
The polls show that they are the two favorites in the run-up to the White House. Among Republicans, according to most polls, Donald Trump leads Ted Cruz with 41.6% of the vote against 33.8%. Still, it’s even more interesting that Trump is already starting to gain over Hillary Clinton in some polls. According to a new survey, whose results were published on Monday, Trump is leading with 41%, while Clinton is at 39%. (Source: “Trump leads Clinton by 2 points in Rasmussen poll,” The Hill, May 2, 2016.)
As the suspense of the Republican race for the White House moves to Indiana, the big question is not even whether Trump can win the nomination—that’s a given, considering the weakness of lame duck candidate Ted Cruz—but whether Trump can build on his momentum to beat Clinton as well.
“If we win in Indiana, it’s over, O.K?,” said Donald Trump, adding, “then we can focus on crooked Hillary. Please! Let’s focus on Hillary.” (Source: “Ted Cruz stays positive despite grim numbers in Indiana,” The New York Times, May 1, 2016.)
If voters confirmed this trend in the polls, Mr. Trump would pocket all 57 delegates and would make a giant step toward the nomination. The victory would be mathematical, increasing his lead in delegates. Trump wants to avoid the uncertainty by achieving the 1,237-delegate threshold. That number would assure him the nomination, avoiding the unpredictability of a vote at the Cleveland convention in July.
In contrast, Clinton is already in “sleep” mode when it comes to her nomination. She has an overwhelming delegate lead over Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator is promising to fight until the end, meaning the Philadelphia convention in July. But, mathematically, Clinton has all but won by acclamation, as happened in 2008 with Barack Obama. Oddly enough, Bernie Sanders says he would have a better chance of beating Donald Trump than his well-funded rival. (Source: “The Case for Bernie Sanders Running as an Independent, If Clinton Is the Nominee,” The Huffington Post, April 29, 2016.)
The Rasmussen poll cited above suggests Bernie Sanders has a point. Hillary Clinton, for her part, should take this as a serious premonition. For the first time since the start of the race for the White House, Donald Trump leads a poll against the former secretary of state and favorite punching bag for the deaths of six Americans in Benghazi, Libya in 2012.
Bernie Sanders is also right because the Clinton supporters, including the billionaires and millionaires (perhaps not the ones getting by on five and six digits) of Silicon Valley (Facebook has taken an unabashedly anti-Trump position) and Hollywood appear to be in complete denial. They are living in such lofty spaces that they haven’t gotten the memo that most Americans, who do not identify as Democrats, consider Hillary Clinton somewhere between untrustworthy and criminally liable.
Many Democrats, especially the surprising numbers of Bernie Sanders supporters, will never vote for Clinton. Some even said that Sanders is their first choice but that Trump is their second. (Source: “Unless The Democrats Run Sanders, A Trump Nomination Means A Trump Presidency,” Current Affairs, February 23, 2016.)
The opposite would happen in a Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump contest. In that case, Clinton is the establishment. She is the giant and Trump is the giant-killer. Trump would destroy any attempt by the former secretary of state to discuss and debate policies, articulating arguments reasonably. All Trump has to do is whip out a few choice labels—“loser” is the top one that comes to mind. In more working class ambiances, Trump can simply utter “Goldman Sachs.” He might even cite his own donations to the Clintons ironically. (Source: “Trump on why he donated to Clinton: ‘I’m in business’,” Washington Examiner, March 3, 2016.)
Indeed, “from a purely pragmatic standpoint, running Clinton against Trump is a disastrous, suicidal proposition.” (Source: Ibid.) Trump could not ask an easier opponent to challenge than Clinton. Against someone as innocent in the big politics game as Bernie Sanders, Trump would appear as the bully. Any attack on Sanders would seem mean-spirited, while the Vermont senator would look like David taking on Goliath, attracting sympathy even from some moderately Conservative circles.
Trump can attack Clinton from every angle of the political spectrum, from left and right, presenting her as a lackey of Wall Street and a tax and spend liberal in the same breath. Against Bernie Sanders, Trump might actually have to develop some morals to go with his cojones.