Why Trump Could Win
I think this article is spot on. There is a very real danger that Democrats are underestimating Trump because of the more ridiculous aspects of his campaign, and if they aren’t careful, he could steal enough of some of their core constituencies (ie “Reagan Democrats”) to win.
“I don’t think the Democrats are ready for this,” adds Ralph Nader, the consumer activist and former presidential candidate. “Once he gets these wildcats off his back, once he gets the Republican nomination, then Trump becomes the builder again. He’s already said he’s going to be the greatest jobs president in history. He hasn’t pushed that line too hard in the primaries because he doesn’t want to come off as something other than a conservative. But if he’s the nominee, watch out.”
“Watch out”? Really? Isn’t Trump supposed to be unelectable? Isn’t he too bigoted, too crude, to be taken seriously? That’s what Republicans told themselves for most of 2015. But since his big wins in the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries, the GOP establishment has begun to adjust to the prospect of a billionaire nominee with a flair for grabbing media attention, shaping the debate, and shredding opponents.
Yes—watch out. “This is an unprecedented election in so many ways that we don’t know what electability is,” cautions Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, which has backed Clinton. “What we do know is that Trump is better positioned to pivot, to Etch-A-Sketch his message, than the other Republicans. That constitutes a threat.”
Trump has already proved to be competitive with Clinton and her insurgent challenger, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, in the polls from battleground states like Florida, North Carolina, and Colorado. Measures of hypothetical match-ups should always be considered with skepticism when the parties are in the midst of nomination fights—and when potential independent candidacies are being explored. But poll numbers and interviews with Democrats in key states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin indicate that the 2016 Democratic nominee could face a fight for industrial states that provided vital support for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. And Trump has yet to make his play for those states.