So what if Donald Trump sniffed, stormed and stalked his way through the second Presidential debate? So what if he was recorded in 2005 bragging about being a lech, chronically smoochy and grabby? So what if he continues to insist the election is rigged and will accept the results only if he wins?
I still bet he’s going to be resting his stubby fingers on the Good Book on January 20, 2017 and grunting the oath of office. Go ahead, call me a flake. I pray you’re right. If Hillary Clinton wins, the first round of drinks will be on me.
Why am I betting that the Donald will bring his rostrum calisthenics to Washington, D.C.? Seven realities make his victory more likely than the odds-makers allow.
1.) The polls don’t matter. Professor Allan Lichtman of American University doesn’t consult polls, and he has correctly predicted the winner of each presidential election since 1984. His scientific model places its greatest weight on satisfaction with the party currently in the Oval Office. And he predicts that Donald Trump will soon be squatting in the White House.
Reality: Hillary Clinton supporters like me shouldn’t be fooled by statistics and conventional wisdom.
2.) Facts are no longer foundational to our social discourse. Truth can be dismissed with a sneer, laughed aside, and interrupted into silence, provided sufficient volume and tenacity are employed. Conversely, lies intoned like mantras eventually become facts. The malicious assumption that truth yields like Play Doh has always been Trump’s modus operandi. Despite Clinton’s occasional shuck and jive, she still operates within the truth-matters paradigm of communication. Her distaste for self-disclosure, as with her recent case of pneumonia, testifies to her awareness of real versus imagined. Trump would hack up blood and deny feeling a tickle—or call losing $916,000,000 in one tax year “smart.”
Reality: The rhetorical rules in play punish Clinton and pamper Trump.
3.) Voters dislike Hillary Clinton—except for those who hate her. Granted, she often appears clenched, but she has been under constant attack since her days as First Lady of Arkansas. Those planning to “hold their noses” and vote for Hillary seldom explicate the scurvy treatment she has endured. Atlantic correspondent Hanna Rosen details how the Republican Party has spent millions mucking all things Clinton and throwing haymakers, but her article is lengthy. Who has the time?
Reality: The Republican’s merciless campaign against the Clintons has worked marvelously. Hillary-fatigue is epidemic even among Democrats, many of whom won’t try to understand her as a human being. Meanwhile, Trump has convinced millions that hatred toward anyone, particularly his opponents, is righteous and honking women willy-nilly is boyishly wholesome.
4.) 2016’s leading spoiler, Gary Johnson, has been endorsed by the Chicago Tribune, the Detroit News, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. A goodly number of millennials favors Johnson. I’m flummoxed. Has anybody actually read the Libertarian Party platform? Isn’t being conversant about foreign countries considered entry-level for a presidential candidate? Or, the real question, is Hillary Clinton so abhorrent that an embarrassingly stumped Johnson should blaze up our nation’s capital?
Reality: Those ginned up by Trump, disdainful of Clinton, high on Johnson and green on Jill Stein could create a perfect storm to sweep Donald to the White House and blow Hillary home to Chappaqua.
5.) The third-party threat to Clinton’s candidacy is compounded by citizens planning to couch sit on November 8th. For shame! With few exceptions, abstention is weak-kneed. Still, Jeb Bush flirted with milquetoast recently by asking, “Well, if everybody didn’t vote, that would be a pretty powerful political statement, wouldn’t it?” Early on I rooted for Bernie Sanders and dreamed that at long last I could vote according to my heart, so I sympathize with the urge to protest.
Reality: A ballot cast for anybody other than Clinton, including nobody, will benefit Trump. The trouble is, a movement is afoot to flip off the ever-constipated two-party establishment, consequences be damned.
6.) Republican leadership has placed expediency above country. Those who should have the bravery to forsake personal power and preserve what’s left of our democracy have come down with moral anemia. Indeed, before Obama’s 2009 inauguration, Republicans vowed to obstruct every legislative initiative and nominee the fairly elected President put forward. The mockery once known as the Party of Lincoln has refused to engage in the challenging give-and-take of governance and now pretends that supporting Donald ≠ a Faustian bargain.
Reality: Republicans such as Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have sold their party’s soul by legitimizing a crooked, ruthless, predatory businessman who never outgrew tantrums. They have normalized political scorched earth and endangered our country. Their failure of conscience is breathtaking.
7.) Clinton supporters don’t need additional reasons to reject Trump. His manner alone works on millions like ipecac syrup. And people with Trump yard signs are in bomb-shelter mode, locked away in their own furious paradigm. Unfortunately, the media are wasting time on Donald-bashing, as if his spell might yield to logic or his detractors might waver.
Reality: Sane Americans must appeal to undecided, protest and reluctant voters. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, who once backed Bernie Sanders, insists, “If you do not support Hillary Clinton, you are increasing the odds of a true, clear and present danger to the United States, a menace to the United States.” Sanders agrees. We should listen to them.
Sure, the odds favoring Hillary Clinton (92%) make me sound nutty. So be it. Hatred, ignorance and bigotry are stealthy in ways polls can’t detect. They hide under rocks. Any assurance of a Trump loss is flaccid at best.
Please, America, prove me wrong.