Can Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton?

Well, the pundits say no, or have said no up until recently.

They all thought he would get spanked by the GOP machine but it turns out it was Trump dishing out the spankings.

Now the pundits are having to recast their thinking. They are starting to realise that all head-to-head polling to date hasn’t accounted for Donald Trump attacking Hillary Clinton directly. He will start doing that soon…he’s already got a nickname for her ‘Crooked Hillary’.

How would Donald Trump fare in a general election against Hillary Clinton? The conventional wisdom is that he wouldn’t stand a chance. The GOP is divided. His campaign, despite a recent spate of landslide primary wins, appears to have its own civil war going on. His favorability numbers are at historic lows for a nominee.

The case against Trump’s electability is strong. But it is also perhaps overstated. The Manhattan billionaire does have a narrow path to the White House. In fact, he may be the GOP’s most electable option at this point, at least among the candidates who are actually still running for the job.

John Kasich argues he’s the only guy who can beat Clinton, an idea mostly predicated on his performance in head-to-head election polls. But head-to-head polls this far out, historically speaking, are not all that predictive, and Kasich has struggled to turn his on-paper attractiveness into actual votes at the ballot box.

Ted Cruz, meanwhile, would likely be the most right-wing nominee since Barry Goldwater. His act appears to have worn thin among even the Republican grassroots, his natural constituency. Cruz might somehow still manage to pull the nomination away from Trump, but there’s approximately zero reason to believe he can win over the swing voters who typically decide presidential contests.

So back to Trump, who still has a few things going for him. His general election strategy, such as it is, seems to be predicated on two strategies: pivot left as far as possible and launch a scorched earth campaign against Clinton.

He slags off his competitors, he slags off the media and he sticks it to anyone. He now has over 1000 delegates; he is nearly there.

Let’s look at these one at a time. On the face of it, insulting your way to the presidency seems like a stupid, unworkable idea. Then again, Clinton has shown herself vulnerable to attacks on her character, not to mention her husband’s.

The reaction to Rosario Dawson’s in-passing reference to Monica Lewinsky over the weekend shows how sensitive the Clinton camp is to such things. Lewinsky is a sympathetic figure wrapped up in a sympathetic cause; Dawson only said that she agrees with her anti-bullying efforts. And yet still there were calls for Dawson to get off the trail for Bernie Sanders, that she had somehow crossed a line just by mouthing the word “Monica.”

What happens when Trump, after Hillary inevitably accuses him of sexism, says that Bill is a rapist, a serial assaulter of women, and that she is his enabler? What happens when he incorporates this into his stump speech? The upside, if you can call it that, to Trump’s refusal to act “presidential” is that he is the only candidate who will go that far. Trump, and Trump alone, is the only candidate who would not only resurrect all the Clinton sex scandals, but make them a centerpiece of his campaign.

It could backfire, sure. But the fact is we have no idea how Trump dredging up all this will play, particularly among the younger voters Hillary will be somewhat dependent on. We don’t know how Americans who’ve grown up marinating in discussions of rape culture, who watched the Cosby and Catholic and Dr. Luke scandals unfold, would respond to the renewed visibility of someone like Juanita Broaddrick.

And that’s just the sex stuff. The Clintons are no strangers to scandals financial and otherwise, and while bringing up all that baggage, in some cases discredited, would seem too-low for a normal candidate, Trump will almost certainly embrace all of it.

It will be a spectacular donnybrook…I can hardly wait.

 

– CBSNews

 


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  • Roland

    More popcorn, I cant wait either

  • Seriously?

    Sure Trump has a chance against Clinton, but he also has a big problem he is yet to face. He brands himself as the aggressor, but Clinton’s camp (maybe not so much her personally) will come at him with a degree of fury and resources that will make his Republican detractors seem like back slapping supporters.

    He on the other hand? Clinton has already had her skeletons picked over for several decades. Trump will bring a new level of vitriol, but he needs new material as well. He also lacks the backing financially and will struggle to get support from the traditional Republican backers. Will he start to pour serious amounts of his own money in?

    I think a lot may turn on whether Clinton is charged over the email server issue. That may be the new material Trump needs to form a bridgehead.

    Whatever the outcome is, it is certainly going to be fun to watch.

    • Observer

      There is also a movie on Clinton Cash coming out in a couple of months. It looks like donating to the Clinton Foundation has a number of benefits.

    • localnews

      The Clinton camp would be pretty nervous heading in, knowing that if she is indicted, she loses. That is not really having all your ducks in a row, and pretty risky for the Democrats. Trump gets to sell it that if she isnt charged, the system is corrupt and she is protected by Obama, I would have thought.

      • Seriously?

        Perhaps, but it may not be that cut and dry. You could be right at one end of the spectrum, but if she is charged with some kind of minor administrative misdemeanor it may have very little impact at all. But it would, at the very least, make a great stick for Trump to wield.

        If she isn’t charged it is harder for Trump. I get the impression that voters over there don’t care where she stored her emails – without charges it seems like the sort of issue Labour here like to push, National like to ignore, and we like to mock.

    • Andy

      I think another factor worth considering is that Bill Clinton is really not that well. He looks very frail and sick these days

      If Bill doesn’t appear on the campaign trail with his wife then the Hillary campaign may wither

  • rangitoto

    Starting to wonder who would win a round of golf between Trump and Key.

  • waldopepper

    these pundits saying he doesnt stand a chance. are they the same ones who said his campaign wouldnt last 5 minutes ?

  • Aucky

    Remove blacks, Hispanics, Muslims and women from the electoral registers and Trump would have a fighting chance against Clinton.

    • Observer

      Nah, Trump is already tied with her in the latest Rasmussen Poll.

      • Aucky

        For some reason the Rasmussen Poll results usually favour the right. I have no political axe to grind for eitherither side but good old fashioned dem

        • phronesis

          Never forget that in a democracy it is only those who actually vote that count. To a large extent Blacks, Hispanics and Muslims remove themselves from the equation by their low turnout. They may not vote for Trump but there is every chance they won’t vote for Hillary either.

          • Aucky

            Yes you are quite correct (incorrect for women though) but given Trump’s stated policies there won’t be a low turnout this time around. Never polarise the electorate if you don’t want a backlash.

          • phronesis

            It is woman who are most likely to choose not to vote for Hillary once Trump attacks her as detailed in the original blog post.

            If I were to wake up tomorrow as a random american citizen how I would vote would depend on what i saw in the mirror. If I was a rich white guy I would vote for Hillary. If I was Black or a legal Hispanic I would vote for Trump.

          • Aucky

            That’s not quite what the polling of those sectors indicates.

  • Ross15

    Of course he can ( and probably will) –when he is officially the GOP candidate I think we will see a different sort strategy employed by Trump. He’ll still do a full frontal attack when needed but we’ll also sell the “sales man ” out there with more refined policy.

  • BR

    Trump is all talk.

    He changes his position more often that most people change their underpants, saying what he thinks his supporters want to hear on any given day.

    He refuses to debate Ted Cruz one on one despite several challenges by Cruz for him to do so.

    He is a buddy of John Boehner, who led the Republican establishment that has inspired so much anger among the conservative Republican voting base.

    The only thing in his favour (if you can believe him) seems to be that he wants to slam the door on all the freeloaders coming across the Mexican border and elsewhere.

    I suspect that some of his current popularity comes from his perceived political incorrectness. It is important that a US presidential candidate maintains a measure of dignity associated with the office of President of the United States. One can be politically incorrect with out forgetting the advantages of good manners. Name calling and personal attacks are the sort of behaviour normally attributed to the left. Of course that sort of behaviour is what would normally be expected from a once financial supporter of the likes of Hilary Clinton and Harry Reed.
    Bill.

    • Justme

      Dignity? Interesting call when one considers the actions of Clinton and Kennedy. With Trump, what you see IS what you get. And that is probably what the people want at the moment.

      • BR

        That’s what you get now, but that can easily change.

        Bill.

      • BR

        Clinton and Kennedy are leftists. Trump is running on the Republican ticket and he’s behaving like an out of control Democrat.

        Bill.

  • shykiwibloke

    All of the commentators have been wrong at every step of Trumps campaign. Why should be start listening to them now? Trump does not play by their assumed rules – and I recall a saying along those lines – “You can’t beat an enemy playing by their rules”

  • Gladwin

    Interesting interview by Jack Tame with Chris Liddell the other day. Chris thought Hilary would prevail but said ‘never say never’. He also thought Cruz would only last another fortnight.

  • What planet are people living on? Trump doesnt stand a chance. This is insane to think he has a chance of beating Hillary. It’s like the NZ media always saying “The Greens will get 15%, maybe even 20%” every Election. Hillary is going to win in a landslide.

    • PersonOfColor:WHITE

      Yeah…that’s true. Except they were amused by the Donald being in the race to start with and wondered how long it would be until his gaffes bundled him out.

      Well here we are. He’s the front runner by a long way. I think he would be at least as bad a president as Hilary, but you get what you vote for.

      If I can put aside my shagrin over the topic, the donnybrook WILL be at least entertaining.

      • biscuit barrel

        Do you know how many voters have voted so far for Trump.
        13 million out of the 30 mill who voted in GOP primary

        Tell me how when you only get 43% of the GOp vote you will nationally

        Trump is the Leicester City of US politics, in a normal year would be maybe 3rd or 2nd if lucky, but other sides have ALL bombed so you are left as biggest fish in a shallow pool

        • Boondecker

          The answer to your question is an easy one to work out. The first caucuses and primaries were shared between 17 candidates. No one of those was ever going to dominate in massive percentages at that stage. As Trump’s opponents have fallen away one by one, his share of the vote has increased steadily to now being around the 55% mark.

          He has already got more votes than Romney did over the entire last nomination race four years ago, and there’s still some big states, like California, to come. He’s in a great position right now frankly speaking.

      • M C Chinaman

        My first thought was that he would make a pretty ordinary or below average President- about on par with Carter, Bush Jr or Obama. Now I’m not so sure. I think he could be a Reaganesque master of delegation.

    • Warden Clyffe

      Shut up, stupid… You’re a zealot, and as such you have a closed mind.

      • Seriously?

        Now now Donald, you have a nomination to nail down, an election campaign to plan, your hair to style, a large wall to organise… focus your effort there orange one, focus.

        • Warden Clyffe

          “a large wall to organised”

          To be organized, or simply ‘to organize’. You pick, stupid…it’s your comment.

    • Gladwin

      Well at least you are conceding he will be Hilary’s opponent.
      Trump could well prevail as the American voting public are pretty unsettled.

    • Boondecker

      I think you vastly overstate Clinton’s chances. She is a self-admitted liar who struggles to tell the truth. An FBI indictment is pending. Trump will rip her, Bill and her campaign to shreds. I have my popcorn ready.

      It will be interesting just how Americans will vote and suspect it will come down to working out the least palatable option of a horrible choice and going for the opposite.

    • Deborah Lancaster

      You’re pretty much just regurgitating what the media has been saying and the media has been wrong throughout this whole election.

      First Trump will never run
      Then he will never win a single state
      Then he’ll never make it past super tuesday
      Lets not forget the numerous “beginning of the end” speeches…

      Have I missed anything? Nothing in this election has went as planned. Trump is not a politician and because of this his rivals are floundering in the dark. Its impossible to say what will happen next but it sure is interesting.

  • cows4me

    The witch should be in jail not on the campaign trail.

    • Andy

      The Trump machine will milk this to the max over the next few months

  • M C Chinaman

    When Trump turns his sights on Hillary it will be interesting to say the least. If there is no indictment he will question why. If that looks like rearing thin he will move onto the Clinton Foundation, then Whitewater, then Benghazi. Truth won’t matter so much as perception- questions rather than accusations. When she is flustered, he will lead the policy debate, sounding more reasonable and realistic.
    I do however believe that if Bloomberg runs he will have a good chance of winning as both major parties will have a largely unpopular and divisive candidate. He may be waiting to see what happens a la Ross Perot in 92.

  • What to me is delicious is that Trump is using similar tactics that the left has used for years. He insults and demonises his opponents. I definitely get the feeling the liberals don’t know how to deal with this.

  • Old Dig

    You only need to look at who Trumps enemies are to realise why he is so popular: social justice warriors, socialists, the MSM, establishment career politicians on the Left and the Right, basically all the troughers hate him. It is really a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

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