Whoever coined the expression “When Hell freezes over” might as well have had Donald Trump’s chances of winning the Republican Party nomination for President of the United States in mind.
Just about all the smart money wound up looking stupid. When Trump did his quadrennial tease act, saying he was toying with the idea of running, none of the pundits saw how the show would end. We said Trump wouldn’t even get into the race. We said he was just talking because of his insatiable need to be the center of attraction. We said he was a reality show guy who puts his name on everything and that Republicans would never ever in a million years pick a carnival barker like him as their party’s nominee.
But Indiana is now history and hell has frozen over. And so we have not one but two candidates with huge unfavorable numbers whom the voters don’t trust, who are indeed their party’s nominees.
And so there are millions upon millions of American who are hoping that they both lose. Unfortunately, that probably won’t happen. And based on current polls, Hillary Clinton will be the next president. But current polls only count if the election were held today. Still, Trump has a lot to overcome if he has even a long shot chance to win.
His passionate supporters may view him as their messiah, but they’re not like most Americans. In just about every demographic, Trump’s negatives are sky high. His gender gap with women is huge. Same with blacks, Latinos, young people, and just about everybody else except older white males and married women. Still, he has several paths to victory.
First, he can hammer Hillary and make her even more unpopular than he himself is.
Second, he would have to offset the Republicans who, on principle, won’t vote for him with Democrats and independents who will.
Anyone paying attention already knows that. What isn’t as widely known is that even if Trump manages to pull in those who don’t normally vote Republican, he’s got another obstacle – a very big one – standing in his way. It’s called the Electoral College.
Here’s what Chris Callizza has to say about the Electoral College math in a piece in the Washington Post:
“If Clinton wins the 19 states (and D.C.) that every Democratic nominee has won from 1992 to 2012, she has 242 electoral votes. Add Florida’s 29 and you get 271. Game over.
“The Republican map … is decidedly less friendly. There are 13 states that have gone for the GOP presidential nominee in each of the last six elections. But they only total 102 electorate votes. That means the eventual nominee has to find, at least, 168 more electoral votes to get to 270. Which is a hell of a lot harder than finding 28 electoral votes.”
If Trump loses, a lot of the blame will understandably be placed on Trump himself, for being so divisive. But the GOP has a bigger problem than the Donald. Ronald Reagan might have a tough time winning in today’s America, which is a lot less white than it was in Reagan’s day. And if Republicans don’t figure out a way to deal with the changing demographics of the country, they may be on the losing end of presidential elections way beyond 2016.