Politics Magazine

Underestimating The Damage Trump Is Doing To GOP ?

Posted on the 19 August 2016 by Jobsanger
Underestimating The Damage Trump Is Doing To GOP ? (Caricature Of Trump and GOP Senate candidates is by DonkeyHotey.)
Donald Trump is not doing well in his run for the presidency. But he is not just hurting himself with his antics and his lack of establishing a ground effort in the states -- GOP officials are now worrying that he may be hurting their Senate candidates, their House candidates, and the party as a whole.
Jonathan Allen has written an excellent column for Roll Call about this, and he believes we may actually be underestimating the damage Trump is doing to the Republican Party. Here is much of what he had to say:
If Donald Trump were the dictator of a banana republic trying to hold onto power against the will of his people, this is the moment when his tanks would start rolling on his cities. Or, given his particular demolition fetish, when the nukes would start falling on them. That’s because he’s heading, with reckless abandon, toward an Electoral College wipeout. His chances of winning the old-fashioned way are so far gone that his campaign and its surrogates have laid out a three-option plan for defeating Hillary Clinton: imprison her without trial, execute her for treason (again without trial), or delegitimize our hard-earned democratic election system. It’s easy to think that the race is close because Clinton is leading Trump by “only” 6.2 percentage points in a RealClearPolitics average of recent surveys that include Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein. But the average popular-vote margin of victory in the last 10 presidential elections is 6.6 percentage points. In the same period, the winners of presidential elections have averaged 374 electoral votes — 104 more than necessary to be sworn in as president and about 70 percent of those available. With the exception of the unusually close 2000 election, the Electoral College system has skewed in a way that exaggerates popular-vote margins. For example, when George H.W. Bush destroyed Michael Dukakis, 426-111, in the Electoral College in 1988, he won by less than 8 percentage points in the popular vote. Only twice since then — Bill Clinton in 1996 and Barack Obama in 2008 — has the winner had a wider popular-vote margin than what Clinton currently has in the average of national polls. More important than Trump’s national polling deficit is the fact that he’s trailing across traditional and nontraditional battleground states. There are now 272 electoral votes in states that RCP rates as leaning toward Clinton, likely to go to her or solidly in her column. Another 112 come from states rated as tossups (plus Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, from which an elector is chosen independent of the statewide result). On Wednesday morning, Clinton had a lead in six of those eight states, including a statistically insignificant three-tenths-of-a-point edge in Deep South Georgia. Furthermore, in talking to Democratic and Republican strategists in recent days, it has become clear that the polls could be significantly underestimating the Clinton margins that we’ll see on Election Day. Here’s why: Clinton has poured money into both television advertising and field organizing even in states where she has an outside chance of winning while Trump has been inactive. Republican and Democratic experts in field organizing say that a tiptop organization can make a small but significant difference — maybe as many as four or five percentage points — in a particular state. That is, where Clinton’s building an operation and Trump isn’t, polls are likely underrepresentative of her strength. . . But Trump’s failure to put together even a bush league campaign organization has Republican insiders rightly worried about the long-term implications of the impending November debacle. He’s refused to do the presidential-year work that parties rely on to build their donor, volunteer and voter lists for future elections at the local, state and national levels. So, the perils of Trump are not limited to losing the presidential election and dragging congressional Republicans down with him. Democratic and Republican strategists say he could do truly lasting damage to the size and strength of the party and its ability to find and mobilize like-minded voters.

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