Remember when pundits literally laughed at the idea Trump could win?
Let’s not do that again
Over a year ago, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) appeared on ABC’s This Week and suggested Donald Trump could win the Republican nomination.
The ensuing reaction from host George Stephanopoulos and the other panelists has become exhibit A of political pundits being wrong about the 2016 election.
“We’d better be ready for the fact that he might be leading the Republican ticket,” Ellison said, before Stephanopoulos scoffed: “I know you don’t believe that.”
Donald Trump’s candidacy wasn’t a joke then, and it certainly isn’t a joke now. I hate to be the bearer of bad news to Hillary supporters, but even with the success of the Democratic Convention, this election isn’t over.
To get a better glimpse of this, recent polling has been favorable to Trump, largely due to a post-convention bounce. A CNN/ORC poll had Trump leading by three points nationally. However, state polls are the better indicator of where the campaign is headed.
In Ohio, a Public Policy Polling survey had Trump up 42-39, the RealClearPolitics average in Ohio has Clinton up by 0.8 percent. Polling in Pennsylvania is kinder to Clinton: a recent poll shows her with a nine point lead, while the RCP average has her up by four. It is these two states that could swing the election to Trump. Both Ohio and Pennsylvania went for President Obama in 2008 and 2012, yet have a large bloc of white, working-class voters – a group that Clinton is struggling with.
Another reason Trump has a chance is his opponent’s high unfavorable ratings. Despite offending nearly everyone in America for the past year, Trump’s unfavorable ratings could be much worse: 37 percent favorable and 58 percent unfavorable, according to Gallup.
The silver lining for the Trump campaign is that Hillary Clinton’s favorable/unfavorable ratings are the exact same as his.
One of the biggest goals of the Democratic Convention was to present Hillary Clinton as something other than a politician – a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, and activist. The Shonda Rhimes-produced video that was shown before her speech humanized someone whose true personalty is still unclear even after decades in the spotlight. But if there’s one issue with the video, it’s that it already appealed to those voting for Clinton. If you’re someone who has questions about her role in Benghazi or her emails, you won’t be swayed by a heartwarming video, even if it’s from the creator of Scandal.
Which brings us to the most underrated part of the conventions. In 2012, the final convention date was September 6th. In 2008, September 4th. This year: July 28th. In other words, we have 101 days (as of this writing) until the election. Three more months of campaigning, of soundbites, of memes, of you’ve got to be kidding me.
This plays to Trump’s advantage because any positive gains from the Democratic Convention will be wiped away within a few weeks. The issue of Russia and the fallout of the DNC hack have yet to materialize. And any lingering effects from the Republican convention – the plagiarism, the “Lock her up!” chants, the apocalyptic acceptance speech – will soon be forgotten.
You know why? He has the poll numbers and the TV coverage to prove it.
So yes, Donald Trump can still win the election. But will he? That’s up to you.