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It’s roll-your-eyes, pie-in-the sky fantasy talk, but that doesn’t stop the Republican presumptive nominee, billionaire Donald Trump, from prophesies about it.
We’re talking about how Trump dubs himself “a unifier,” when such preposterous claims stand in stark contrast with the divisive campaign he’s built throughout the primary process.
As it’s been laboriously chronicled, Trump’s reality show antics, bellicosity, and penchant for racist and misogynistic remarks have not only alienated key voting blocks, including women, African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, and America’s allies, but has cast serious doubt on whether even a traditional move to the center could reverse a fraction of the damage he exacted over the last 12 months.
Now as he attempts to reinvigorate his campaign for the upcoming fall election, Trump has changed his tune. He knows he can’t win the presidency without consolidating the GOP base, but also because the reality of the general election map for any GOP nominee, let alone someone like Trump, is bleak.
If every one of the 18 states plus Washington, D.C. that went blue in six of the last six presidential elections continues its trend into 2016, Trump’s likely Democratic competitor, Hillary Clinton, will start off with around 242 electoral college votes—just 28 shy of what she’ll need to become America’s 45th President.
Short of Trump revolutionizing the electoral map, he’s bound for failure.
That’s why Trump is now striving to foreshadow an alternate universe where he metamorphoses the electoral map. He’s forewarning of a fall election where new voters, Reagan Democrats, Independents, stalwart Republicans, Tea Partiers, conservatives, evangelicals, young people, Bernie Sanders’ supporters, and others join forces to build an unprecedented coalition that propels him to the White House.
Part of Trump’s argument is that his populist narrative of castigating free-trade agreements, his pursuit of an isolationist ‘America First’ foreign policy agenda and his anti-establishment tirades will resonate in non-traditional Republican states. Such messaging has raised questions among the GOP elite about whether, ideologically, Trump is even a “true” Republican. Trump’s campaign, however, freely bucks the elitists in the Republican Party and boldly attests that this messaging creates an opportunity for him to win traditionally safe blue rust-belt states like Pennsylvania and Michigan in the general election.
Trump’s challenge is that the math and current polling data paint quite a different picture than his delusionary universe where pigs fly and unicorns grace the Earth with their presence.
First of all, women, who made up a sizable 53 percent majority of the 2012 electorate, overwhelmingly have a negative opinion of Donald Trump. In fact, 75 percent of women have an unfavorable view of him. Trump’s numbers among minorities are even worse, and if current polling trends hold, it’s plausible that he could fare far worse than Mitt Romney did against President Barack Obama in 2012 with African Americans and Latino voters.
In the 2012 election, Obama crushed Romney in electoral college votes, 332 to 206. Obama bested Romney among women voters by a jaw-dropping 12 points. African Americans sided with Obama by 93 percent and Latinos did by 71 percent.
And in the rust-belt states primaries of Pennsylvania and Michigan, Clinton got more votes than Trump in both states, even in Michigan where she lost to Sanders.
Beyond Clinton starting with a considerable advantage among states that went blue in six of the last six general elections, Trump’s awful poll numbers among women, African Americans, Latinos and even Independents and some Republicans have for sure revolutionized the electoral college map—but not in his favor.
States that historically have gone red more often than not are now all of a sudden in play for Clinton.
In the South, red states like Georgia where Romney beat Obama by nearly eight points, Trump is only ahead by one, putting Clinton in clear striking distance. North Carolina, which Obama won in 2008 and lost in 2012 and which was a red state since after the 1976 election, has Clinton leading Trump by a substantial nine points. In Virginia, which besides for Obama’s elections has gone red since 1968, Clinton is leading by double digits.
In the West, according to Real Clear Politics, Clinton is ahead of Trump by two points in Utah, a state that’s voted red since 1968. She’s also leading Trump in Arizona, which besides 1996, has gone red since 1952. And in the Midwestern state of Missouri, which besides 1992 and 1996, has gone red dating back to 1968, Clinton is also besting Trump.
Altogether these demographics, latest polling and the historical electoral mappoint to the reality that Donald Trump is right about one thing— he has truly woken up the ‘silent majority.’ His problem isn’t whether or not he’s right about that, but rather that he woke it up against his own self-interest.
With six months before the general election, Clinton of course can’t take anything for granted, but if trends among women, minorities and moderates continue in this direction, these voters could feasibly launch her to the White House with an electoral landslide not seen since Reagan in 1980.