Donald Trump is a truly divisive figure. You only have to look at the threads here to see that. In the UK, you’d say he was like Marmite – you either love him or hate him. I’d add quantifiers to that: you with really love him or really hate him.
He does have a path to victory but as is reflected in his percentage chance of being re-0elected as per FiveThirtyEight and The Economist etc, it’s about a 9% chance.
The problem is, he only just got elected in 2016. He lost the public vote by around just under 3 million votes, or 2.1%. He won the three Rust Belt states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, usually pretty safe Democrat states. But he won them by under 1%. The combined vote number from these three states that pushed him over the line was 77,000, if I recall correctly.
In order to win, things will be tough; Trump’s pathway to victory is slim and absolutely requires certain things:
- He needs to retain at least every vote he got in 2016.
- He needs the three Rust Belt States to remain Republican, in their flipped status.
- If he loses Florida or Texas, he loses.
- If he loses any other battleground state (say, North Carolina that he won in 2016 by 3.66% but is losing by 3% to Biden right now), then he needs to make further gains into states that are already Leaning Democrat.
And I’m sure there are other constraints. Although the right-wing media are doing their best to spin and sling mud at Biden with the “Hilary’s emails” template, things are looking desperate because Biden is not making the gaffes that the Trump campaign team were hoping.
Trump is energising his base and giving them the rallies they want but the problem is this is exactly what he is doing. He is energising his base, and no more. Hee needs to appeal to more than his base to make inroads into the electorate who voted for Clinton.
But hs is simply not doing this.
As a result, he is relying on turning out a greater number of that base. But he can’t afford to lose any of that core base.
And here’s the rub. He is losing some of that core base. Whether it be Billy Graham’s granddaughter coming out in support of Biden and slamming evangelicals’ support of Trump, or whether it be the white working-class or over 50s and seniors drifting away (at a historic rate) from Trump and to Biden, things are bleak. Trump needs every one of those votes and more.
Let me furnish you with Jerushah Duford’s words before giving you a really indicative anecdote of a friend of mine. Graham’s granddaughter stated in an op-ed for USA Today:
I have spent my entire life in the church, with every big decision guided by my faith. But now I feel homeless. Like so many others, I feel disoriented as I watch the church I have always served turn its eyes away from everything it teaches. I hear from Christian women on a daily basis who all describe the same thing: a tug at their spirit.
Most of these women walked into a voting booth in 2016 believing they were choosing between two difficult options. They held their breath, closed their eyes and cast a vote for Donald Trump, whom many of us then believed to be “the lesser of two evils,” all the while feeling that tug.
After detailing how Trump has acted against Jesus’ teachings and what against should be the evangelical moral outlook, she continues:
I feel this tug every time our president or his followers speak about the wall, designed to keep out the very people Scripture tells us to welcome. In Trump’s America, refugees are not treated as “native born,” as Scripture encourages. Instead, families are separated, held in inconceivable conditions and cast aside as less than.
Trump has gone so far as to brag about his plans, accomplishments and unholy actions toward the marginalized communities I saw my grandfather love and serve. I now see, through the silence of church leaders, that these communities are no longer valued by individuals claiming to uphold the values my grandfather taught.The gentle tug became an aggressive yank, for me, earlier this year, when our country experienced division in the form of riots, incited in great part by this president’s divisive rhetoric. I watched our president walk through Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., after the tear gassing of peaceful protesters for a photo op.
He held a Bible, something so sacred to all of us, yet he treated that Bible with a callousness that would offend anyone intimately familiar with the words inside it. He believed that action would honor him and only him. However, the church, designed to honor God, said nothing.
It seems that the only evangelical leaders to speak up praised the president, with no mention of his behavior that is antithetical to the Jesus we serve. The entire world has watched the term “evangelical” become synonymous with hypocrisy and disingenuousness.
One of my grandfather’s favorite verses was Micah 6:8, in which we are told that the Lord requires of his people to do justly, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk humbly. These are the attributes of our faith we should present to the world. We can no longer allow our church leaders to represent our faith so erroneously.
The whole piece is well worth reading.
Just in two months, according to Pew, Trump’s advantage in support amongst white Catholics has dropped from 19% to 8%. That is an 11% drop in very little time. White Protestants’ support has dropped 6% and white evangelical Protestants’ support has dropped 5%. Interestingly, Biden’s support didn’t jump with these groups so it looks like they will go for third parties or abstain.
Looking from a white working-class perspective, things are not good for Trump either:
That 90-something-million, however, represents an increasingly shrinking share of the American electorate. When Ronald Reagan secured his second term in 1984, non-college educated whites made up six-in-ten of those that voted. In the 30-plus years since, their importance as a voting bloc has fallen election-on-election. In 2016, they made up just one in three (34 per cent) of those that voted, and demographic projections indicate they’ll have fallen further in two weeks’ time.
Four years ago Trump won 67 per cent of voting non-college-educated whites, an increase of 6pts on 2012, and also 6pts on 2004 – the last election where a Republican won the popular vote. This was the highest performance of any Republican candidate amongst the demographic since Ronald Reagan. Polls this time round, however, project Trump to win the support of just 55 per cent of them, the lowest since figure 1996.
If borne out, the Rep-Dem gap would narrow from 39pts in 2016 to 11pts today, and Joe Biden would end up giving the best performance for a Democratic candidate among America’s white working class since Bill Clinton in 1996. This national swing alone would be seismic, and enough to reverse all of Trump’s wins in the midwest, and then some.
Trump’s problem with the base that once gave him victory comes from two sources. The first is the seemingly genuine appeal of Joe Biden, and the second is white women.
So, despite what white evangelical nutjobs who live on an exclusive diet of FOXNews and Breitbart might tell you (yes, those ones in the threads on this blog), Trump is not going to romp it in. Perhaps Republicans are taking heed of what some of their own are saying (don’t just concentrate on flag-waving in-person rallies, or dune buggy rallies and boat flotillas).
Looking at that data, and looking at what Trump needs in order to win, he just can’t do it.
A friend of mine told me this, this morning:
PURELY anecdotally, Johno, I don’t know if you know this about me, but I am half American – which means I get to vote (yes I use those nasty mail in ballots and have already returned mine!) but I have a huge family over there, and it’s pretty split between Democrats and Republicans.
The incredible thing I’m seeing ON HERE is my Republican relatives publicly decrying Trump, ripping into him in some cases, arguing with their friends and even mothers, about him… And today, I’ve seen another one (who lives in South Carolina) just change their profile pic to have a Biden/Harris overlay on it – so no doubt who they are voting for!
Polls aside, what I’m seeing with my extended family, especially on the Right wing side is that they’re either just not going to vote because they can’t abide Trump (but can’t bring themselves to vote for Biden either) or are actually genuinely switching and going to vote for Biden. It’s incredible really. If this is replicated even a little bit in the wider populous I think Trump is in for a drubbing!
Wow. This is diamond. Now, I know more detail about this anecdote that would be of vast interest to you that I cannot publicly share. It has some more potency than meets the eye. Suffice to say, if this is happening in a very religiously conservative and austere Catholic household in this anecdote, is this happening elsewhere? And the data says…yes.
So from anecdata and data, and from understanding the 2016 and 2020 elections, we can see that Trump really does have an uphill battle. Now, he could still get in and we should all be worried, but we could also be on the verge of a swing right down the ballot:
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