05/17/2016 02:38 EDT | Updated 05/18/2017 05:12 EDT

There's Simply No Way Donald Trump Can Win The Election


Donald Trump will not, cannot, win the general election for U.S president.

It's time for the media to stop pretending otherwise in order to live off of Trump click bait.

There are three principal reasons why Trump cannot win. But let's start with the second most important, which is the one where most people start -- that Trump was written off in the primaries before, so he shouldn't be written off in the general election.

This is worse than an apples to oranges comparison; it's just plain lazy thinking.

That Trump was able to rally 11 to 12 million voters in a small-scale, homogenous contest was a small surprise. But this says nothing about his ability to rally the 65 or so million needed to win a general election.

Or put it this way: just because your team beats all odds to win the neighbourhood beer hockey league doesn't mean that it stands a chance of surprising the experts a second time to take the Stanley Cup.

So far Trump has managed to win over only a subset of Republican primary voters, who are in turn a subset of registered Republicans (not all registered GOP voters bother with the primaries), which in turn are a subset of likely GOP general electorate voters consisting of GOP-leaning independents and Democrats, which in turn are a subset of the general election.

You just cannot -- or to be more accurate, can no longer -- win the general election with just white voters.

This is why we speak of candidates running two campaigns; one for the party base during the primaries and then a second, often different, campaign for the general election.

Just because you can win one doesn't say much, if anything, about your ability to win the second. And nowhere does this look to be more the case than with Trump.

The second, and more important, reason that Trump cannot win -- to paraphrase former Clinton presidential adviser, James Carville -- "It's the math, stupid."

You just cannot -- or to be more accurate, can no longer -- win the general election with just white voters.

In the 1980 general election Ronald Regan won a landslide with an eight-point margin of victory over Jimmy Carter by taking 56 per cent of the white vote. Flash forward to 2012 and Mitt Romney beats Regan's mark taking 59 per cent of white vote and loses the general election in a five-point "landslide" to Obama. Romney does three points better than Regan amongst white voters and suffers a 13-point reversal.

So, do the math on a "win with whites" strategy for the current election and you realize how absurd it is to think that Trump stands any chance at all.

Especially as every month roughly 60,000 U.S.-born Latinos turn 18 and become eligible to vote. This group, which may not have registered to vote, suddenly has a clear and compelling reason to do so. We've also seen a sudden surge in nationalization amongst Latinos in advance of this election for reasons that are again fairly self-evident.

For Trump to have any hope of winning the general election, he is going to have to either do better than did Romney with African-American and non-Cuban Hispanics/Latinos, or he's going to have to pull in not just more, but a heck of a lot more white voters. Or some combination of these two.

None of these scenarios look even remotely possible.

For Trump to win "significantly" more of the white vote would mean getting into the mid-60 per cent range, or two out of three white voters -- two out of three! As absurd as that sounds, Trump's chance of simply not doing as poorly as did Romney amongst African Americans and non-Cuban Hispanics looks even more absurd. Again, this is not doing better than did Romney, but just doing as poorly as did Romney.

Putting the bar even that low still places it too high for Trump.

The third nail in the coffin for Trump is the power of incumbency.

In the 2000 presidential election, Democrat Al Gore basically turned his back on Bill Clinton, the scandal-dogged incumbent, and it cost him, probably the presidency. This will not be the case for the democrats in 2016; instead this is happening to the republicans.

The GOP is now fractured and is not headed for reconciliation and closing ranks behind Trump. The two living former Republican presidents, Bush '41 and '43, have both flatly refused to endorse let alone campaign for Trump. These are Republicans who got other Republicans to vote for them for president. Their silence will be as harmful as their support would have been helpful; especially in assuring nervous moderate Republicans.

On the other hand, 51-per-cent-approval-rating Obama will be out in full force, thumping pulpits and singing Hillary's praises. In this he'll be joined by former President Bill Clinton. Nowhere will this duo be more powerful than with African-American voters. Having the country's first two African-American presidents (many African-Americans, including yours truly, only half-jokingly refer to Bill Clinton as the country's first black president).

While many of the younger and more progressive elements of the Democratic and African-American electorates may not be enthused by Hillary, the combination of Obama and Bill will get out the rank and file, church ladies with hats who show up every election and yell at their nieces, nephews and son-in-laws to do the same.

The GOP, on the other hand, missing the moderate portion of its base, will be left to yell for white people to come out and vote. Yes, there are other, deeper issues, but this is the U.S. and those issues won't surface beyond the wall of race. And let's face it, how does Trump make a pitch to that portion of the general electorate, beyond Ben Carson, who knows who David Duke is or to people he's basically accused, or who's first cousins he's accused of all being rapists?

Even Cuban Americans may be reticent given his treatment of Marco Rubio. So, unless Trump suddenly gets an "Asian" strategy it's going to be a, default and de facto, call for white people to come out and vote. Dammed if you do, dammed if you don't, but it's a damnation of his own making.

So, bottom line, the Democrats lose some white working class voters and some of the youth movement. The GOP on the other hand loses its moderates and does even worse among Hispanics. The African American vote holds steady, and the non-Cuban Hispanic vote as a percentage of total votes finally rises, especially if Hillary picks HUD Secretary and rising democratic star Julian Castro for VP.

Now -- this -- should be a real "landslide."

But in victory lies the path to future defeat for the Democrats. The rise in Hispanic voters will cause tensions within the party with African-Americans; tensions that could rip the party apart similar to what is happening to the GOP now.

What all this means for Canada is a subject for another day.

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