Posted by: George | July 25, 2016

The Election of Uncertainty

Michael Moore has been getting some press for saying, just last week, on Real Time, that Trump is going to win the election. I am not so sure—about anything. This is the election of uncertainty.

While the outcome is uncertain, I do think there are some important focal points that we can watch as the uncertainty plays out.

Demographics. Over a year before the 2012 election, David Axelrod figured out that Obama could win reelection simply by pulling on a demographic advantage, largely by focusing on the increased number of Hispanic voters. In 2016, the demographics seem to favor Clinton. In fact, pundits (I always use the word with a degree of irony) have said there is no way Trump can win without drawing a significant portion of Hispanic and Black voters, and he is unlikely to do that. However, Trump has more support from working class white voters, even some unions, which has the potential for disrupting the electoral map, maybe even throwing traditionally democratic strongholds into play. Will Trump win Florida. Almost certainly not. Could he win Michigan. Possibly.

Scandals and Screw-Ups. We will certainly be dealing with non-stop scandals and screw ups. Clinton will have more scandals. Trump will have more screw-ups.

Clinton’s scandals never go away. We are still dealing with Benghazi and that email server in her basement. Now we have Debbie Wasserman Schultz emails suggesting she tried to rig the whole primary process to favor Clinton. The Clinton foundation, which has done tremendous good around the world, is a deep fund of potential scandal. I am not saying that there are scandals there to uncover. I don’t know. But there are a lot of dots, and it won’t be that hard to connect some dots and make it look like there are scandals.

On the other hand, Trump’s screw-ups seem to have little or no effect on his numbers. The RNC was a disaster, and, by some polls, he got a 6-point bump.

Money. Clinton will probably have a huge money advantage in official campaign funds. Some political scientists are excited about this election because they think they will have an experiment to track whether or not a huge money advantage can, in effect, buy an election. But I think it will be more fuzzy, certainly nothing like a controlled experimental design. Republican donors will probably throw millions into super pacs. Social media is more important that it was just four years ago, and it is basically free.

Bernie Supporters. We simply don’t know where Bernie supports are going to go. The assumption, if this were an ordinary election, is that they will eventually gravitate toward Clinton. Some will, but some will go in other directions. Some will vote the Green Party, some will vote Libertarian, and some might vote for Trump, as inexplicable as that might seem.

Social Media. During the 2008 campaign, Obama’s team dominated social media. Trump has used Twitter more effectively than any other candidate, past or present. At the same time, he does not have an adequate social media staff.

Voter Turnout. We have never had unfavorable numbers this high for the candidates for the two major parties. Most voters are going to vote against Trump or against Clinton. A lot of voters are going to say home, and many of these voters might be the so-called independents who swing an election one way or the other. This is, perhaps, the greatest uncertainty of the upcoming election. Clinton will have a larger staff to help get out the vote, but we might find that this kind of organization is not as important as it once was, even four years ago.

The One Issue. In the end, we might find that there is one issue in this campaign, and that is the character of the Supreme Court for the next twenty or thirty years.

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