Forget Mondale, 1984 (won one state + DC, 13 electoral votes to Reagan’s 525, got 40.6% of the vote to Reagan’s 58.8). Forget Goldwater, 1964 (won 6 states to Johnson’s 44+DC, got 38% of the vote to LBJ’s 61%). Right now Trumpus the Tank Engine is determined to set a new standard for losing a presidential election. Down there with the 1940 NFL Championship Game, won by the Chicago Bears over the Washington Redskins, 73-0. Trump wants to make history, and currently seems determined to do so, but not in the way he anticipated after scientifically targeting a surely-shrinking group of blindly loyal followers. As of midweek, he’d triggered talk of a new show on A&E… Celebrity Politician Intervention.
Smart CEO’s underpromise and overdeliver. Before the Republican convention, this:
“It should be a monumentally magnificent convention and it should be brilliantly staged,” is what Trump told the Washington Post earlier this year. “The convention in Cleveland will be amazing,” is an exact quote of a tweet by Trump himself.
When the chalk dust finally settled, it was a radical case of overpromise and underdeliver. Apparently Scott Baio, the UFC guy, the wife plagiarizing Michelle Obama, and the 75 minute Rebel Yell Acceptance Speech didn’t move the needle the right way:
Two Gallup surveys of 1,000 adults after each convention found that just 36 percent said they were more likely to vote for Trump after watching the GOP proceedings, while 51 percent said they were less likely, a 15 percentage point disadvantage. That was the first time since Gallup began asking the question in 1984 that a candidate has left a convention with a net negative. Previous conventions left candidates with a net positive ranging from a couple percentage points to a 45 point advantage. More below, courtesy Time Magazine:
Determined to run the table by offending every possible slice of the American electorate and then declaring that each one of those niches (women are a niche?) “love me,” here is the New York Times’ updated Twitter Insult list, as of July 29, that is a bit outdated since it doesn’t include Khizr Khan and Gold Star parents, babies, and the NFL scheduling computer.
Less than 100 days before election day, and melting down in front of us is what is left of the Republican Party Hardly of Lincoln. When he said in 1858 that a “house divided against itself cannot stand,” Lincoln was referring to the divisions over slavery, not a political party itself. But it sure applies right now, and it’s a party establishment against its own voters, many of whom have decided that frustrated anarchy carried out by an ignorant, unprepared, authoritarian one-man-band of bully is better than anything. It’s like telling your 5-year-old to go to his room. Time out. Next thing you know you hear things crashing and breaking he’s so mad at you. It never ends well. The lack of courage…. the outright fear in the souls of the members of the Republican party unwilling to put the welfare of the country… the world possibly…. above their own elected selves is a sad, mass case of Profiles in Cowardice. So far, a few corporate executives and retiring members of Congress have stepped off the runaway train. But very few.
Finally, a quick math lesson. In 2012, Barack Obama harvested 66 million votes. Mitt Romney got 61 million. In the 2016 Republican primaries, Donald Trump piled up 14 million votes, which was 45% of the Republican primary vote. In other words, 55% didn’t like him much. So, he needs every person who’s already voted for him, plus literally every person who didn’t (17 million). That gets him to 31 million, if he were perfect in the preliminary Republican category. He’s got to more than double that to win, assumedly by appealing to lots and lots of folks who don’t dislike him as much as they hate Hillary Clinton. Good luck with that. She may be best advised to take a 3 month cruise around the world and let Trump roll.
Another math lesson. Trump seems to start out fast and then fade over time. His glory days as a developer of real estate are certainly behind him, but you’d never know that from the outward sheen of conspicuous consumption… the airplane and the helicopter with his name on them, the younger wife (latest model…. literally), and a braggadocious, bigger-than-life persona that makes one greatly appreciate the understated elegance of Hugh Hefner. His boasting about the popularity of his Apprentice shows on NBC was always based on knowing no one would ever look up the raw numbers. Let’s do it here, and you’ll quickly see the fade over time, and don’t add up to presidential consensus popularity:
Number of viewers the first six seasons of The Apprentice, 2003-2007:
Rebranded as The Celebrity Apprentice, 2008-2015… a slight bump then the final fade out into political
It’s not fair to assume Trump’s tv ratings over time are now being reflected in his poll numbers as a presidential candidate. It’s not fair. But one can certainly hope.