Thursday, April 28, 2016

Between now and the Republican convention...

Barring the political equivalent of a meteor strike, Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee, as I have been indicating for a while.  If a meteor were going to strike, it would be this year, but any intellectually rigorous discourse about the presidential contest should treat Donald Trump as the presumptive nominee.  Yes, those were his words exactly.  He's right.

But, as long as the convention is still in the future, Trump denialists can still pretend like there is a reasonable path to defeating him.  What can we expect?

1)  Ridiculous stunts

We saw this just yesterday, with Ted Cruz choosing a "running mate."  It was intended to convey confidence and strength.  Instead, it reeked of desperation.  We can probably expect more publicity stunts that will fall equally flat.  Desperation is too easy to spot.

2)  Over-reactions to some Trump stumble

Remember Wisconsin?  Trump lost Wisconsin to Cruz, and the denialists decided that this was truly the end of Trump's campaign.  Yeah, that didn't work out.  Right now, Trump opponents (and pundits with a financial incentive to pretend that the race is still a thing) are setting up Indiana as the new Wisconsin.  Trump must win Indiana!  Indiana is the key to the whole nomination!  And Trump's lead there is narrow!  You see, if Cruz overtakes Trump in Indiana, that starts the domino effect leading to the end of the Trump campaign.

Even if Trump loses Indiana, it will have the same effect as his loss in Wisconsin.  Haven't we learned our lesson?

The problem here is the ever-moving goal post of the Trump denialists.  The Trump denialists cannot possibly accept that they were wrong about Trump's campaign.  Since Trump keeps winning, though, they have to keep finding new goals, and declaring that failure to meet the new goal will doom Trump's campaign.

Indiana is irrelevant.

3)  Predictions of Trump's doom in the lull between contests

Between now and June 7, we have a smattering of small state contests, but nothing big.  When there aren't any contests, Trump isn't winning contests.  When he isn't winning, he must be losing!  No, that doesn't logically follow, but Trump denialism isn't about logic.  It is about denying reality.  The only thing that ever cows a Trump denialist is a Trump victory, and in the interim periods between elections, the absence of Trump victories allows the denialists to concoct increasingly absurd scenarios in which Trump loses.

We saw that between March 15 and the New York primary.  Trump denialists started talking about how a contested convention would give the nomination to Ted Cruz-- the second-most-hated person in the Republican Party.  Or, actually, the most hated by former Speaker John Boehner (go read about his talk at Stanford).  These scenarios were ridiculous, but they proliferated because there weren't any Trump victories to tamp down talk of the contested convention.

We are about to enter another slow period.  Between now and June 7, there are no large states.  Without large state victories, Trump denialists will start talking themselves into believing some new contested convention scenario.  Trump's odds in the betting markets will go down.  Then, as Trump's poll numbers fail to drop, the betting odds will go back up in the lead-up to California's primary.

Maybe the next series of posts should be all of the possible political meteor strikes that might actually hurt Trump.  Here's one:  Trump loses bladder control during a rally.

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