Monday, March 14, 2016

Heading into tomorrow, Hillary is more vulnerable than Trump

More primaries tomorrow, and more dumbfoundedness among the commentariat that the Republican frontrunner is... really?  That guy?!  Yes.  Really.  Him.  And his lead is more secure than Hillary's.

Does anyone remember John Rawls?  Veil of ignorance?  No, it isn't what you think.  The basic idea is that you evaluate the fairness of a system by examining it in ignorance of who is in what position.  Imagine how this works in campaigns.  Basically, it's the golden rule.  Don't levy an attack that you would consider unfair if positions were reversed.

Let's pose an analytic version of the veil of ignorance.  How secure would we assess a candidate's lead to be, once we strip them of their names.  Here are the polls on the Republican side for tomorrow's contests.  Ohio is a tie right now.  Give the tie to the guy with the home state advantage-- Kasich.  Trump's leads in Florida, North Carolina and Illinois are commanding.  Missouri?  Not enough information.  Still, big advantage Trump.  Add to that his existing lead, his persistent national polling lead, and you have a candidate who looks pretty damned hard to stop.

Now, let's consider Hillary. Here are the Democratic polls for tomorrow's contests.  Hillary has commanding leads in Florida and North Carolina, but the race is much closer in Illinois and Ohio.  And, the Dems use proportional representation.  Yes, that means Hillary can sit on a lead, but it also means Sanders isn't shut out by a narrow Hillary victory.

What has to happen for either Trump or Clinton to lose?  The polls have to be wrong in a big way.  On the Republican side, they haven't been.  For the Democrats, remember Michigan!  It has happened already!

What makes Hillary look unassailable?  Her lead in the superdelegates.  Basically, Democratic Members of Congress and other muckety-mucks can vote however they want at the convention, and they have promised to back Hillary.  If the race really does turn to Sanders, so will they, out of fear of recreating 1968.  They won't steal the nomination for Hillary.

Is Sanders likely to win?  No.  But, Hillary is more likely to lose than Trump.

Tomorrow is a big day.  If the Republican establishment can't stop Trump tomorrow, the scenarios start looking more and more like bad movie plots.  And Hillary is more vulnerable.

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