Trump vs. Clinton or R vs. D

Benjamin Wallace-Wells on the (crazy) fact that Trump and Clinton, two decidedly non-generic candidates may not even matter.  At least if the latest polls are accurate.  We seem to have reached the age of partisanship über alles:

In a way, this election can be seen as an ultimate test of how powerful political polarization is. If Trump can receive the same support as Mitt Romney, and if Clinton—who eight years ago ran to the right of Barack Obama, in a Party that since has moved substantially to the left—can receive the same baseline support as the President, then the populist anger that has moved through both primaries this year may matter less than we thought it would. For all the bold talk about how Donald Trump could pick up Bernie Sanders’s voters, or how Hillary Clinton would inherit Jeb Bush’s, that does not appear to be happening. Populism has been an earthquake, but its tremors have not altered the map of electoral politics. There is not much more than an echo of the culture wars of the early aughts in the contest between the casino mogul and the former Secretary of State who attended his wedding, both of them of New York. And yet the basic tribal division of that era persists, red states versus blue states, strong as ever.

It really is amazing, if not actually surprising, the degree to which Republicans are willing to overlook what a fantastically dangerous and inappropriate presidential candidate Donald Trump is.  And I’ll not pretend Hillary Clinton is perfect, but her flaws are A or AA compared to Trump’s major league.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

7 Responses to Trump vs. Clinton or R vs. D

  1. rgbact says:

    I disagree. Trump is losing a decent number of Republicans…..trouble for Hillary is she’s also losing many Democrats. Journalists just aren’t measuring the party losses appropriately. Losing even 3% more of your base is massive these days. McCain got 90% of Republican votes in 2008 and lost big.

    But I do maintain that anyone dreaming of a Hillary double digit win was fooling themselves. Partisan loyalties are just too strong. But even small losses now become critical

  2. R. Jenrette says:

    This election looks pretty bad for America.
    I heard a whisper that if neither Democratic candidate.wins a majority of delegates going into the convention, a Biden Warren ticket could emerge. OK, maybe it was me that whispered it.
    Hillary needs to act quickly and get Elizabeth Warren on board as VP before that can happen. A double up on a single sex ticket and a leading progressive on that ticket would shift the news balance dramatically.
    Take the headlines and the story away from Trump.

    • Steve Greene says:

      Warren is a no-go. MA has a Republican governor who would appoint her Senate replacement.

      • Jon K says:

        The same is true of Sherrod Brown in Ohio. My money is on Tim Kaine from VA. He helps lock down Virginia, and Terry McAuliffe can be counted on to replace him with a Democrat. I don’t think Hillary has to worry about the Hispanic vote turning against her when Trump is the opponent. That significantly reduces the pressure on her to choose a Hispanic running mate.

        Have you seen the names being floated as Trump’s potential choice? It is beyond crazy and includes Newt Gingrich, Bob Corker, and Jeff Sessions. He has announced that choosing a woman or a minority VP would be seen as ‘pandering’. I guess they are all in on pushing white identity politics as their main campaign platform.

      • R. Jenrette says:

        Better to lose a Senate seat than the Presidency.

  3. Jon K says:

    I would humbly submit that we are still too far away from election day for these polls to really be useful.

    Consider the following from May 4 2008 Gallup tracking poll: McCain has the edge over each Democrat. Registered voters currently prefer McCain to Clinton by 46%-45% and McCain to Obama by 47%-42%.
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/106981/gallup-daily-obama-49-clinton-45.aspx

    We haven’t even started the actual general election campaign yet. With Trump still pushing dangerous ideas like pulling out of NATO, I don’t understand why national security Hawks could in any way be OK with that.

    On the other hand Sanders is doing all he can to be a turd in the punch bowl for the Democratic Convention. Just look at his picks for the platform committee Cornel West and James Zogby. Cornell West is pretty close to an antisemite based on his public statements, and Zogby is no friend of the Jewish state. Why Sanders is trying to bring disunity at every opportunity is truly baffling. It’s like if he can’t get his way he will settle for blowing stuff up wherever he can without regard to the consequences. I find that to be extremely selfish behavior, and it shows that this is about him rather than sustaining any sort of movement after the election.

  4. itchy says:

    I was completely wrong on Trump’s chances to win the Republican nomination, but … this is how I would have expected the general election to play out given Trump and Clinton as the nominees.

    rgbact might be right that there will be some on each side who stay away, but, generally, I expected Republicans to line up behind Trump and Dems to line up behind Clinton — and for the race to be single digits all the way.

    I’d be quite surprised if it doesn’t go that way. (Then again, I’ve already been surprised.)

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