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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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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