I'm convinced that the 2016 Republican Party's presidential candidate, Donald J. Trump, has either a memory problem or he's suffering from acute Attention Deficit Disorder. Or maybe it's the conman-cum-presidential-pretender just gushing out all over the place. I've never seen a man execute so adroit a political pirouette in the waning days of the 2016 presidential elections. At one time he believed in the polls, practically lived by them every day. Now? Don't believe the polls "we're winning." And up to last week he was shouting loudly and incoherently that the election was "rigged." Now? Hey presto! "We're winning" -- even in states that Hillary Clinton does not need to win but is leading him in the polls nonetheless.
But the stark, unvarnished facts is that, one -- Trump is loosing and with 15 days to go before Americans get to choose a new president its near impossible to see just how he's going to turn around things and pull out a victory, no matter what he says and how hard he and his surrogates try to cut it, dice it, and spin it. Two, he's become a real drag on the Republican down ballot races to the extent that GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan is telling his members its "every man for himself." Trump has become so toxic and radioactive for the GOP that stalwart Republicans have jumped ship and bolted from him putting the U.S. Senate in jeopardy and in striking distance for the Democrats.
The Republican elders and mainstream members are biting their fingernails every day, not because they are stuck with a very bad and temperamental candidate given to bragging, boasting and lying, but because he's so thin skinned that the slightest real or perceived offense triggers a sustained angry meltdown and produces some erratic, off-message and unhinged behavior clearly not suited for a presidential candidate.
So the big question for Mr. Trump is this " is the election rigged and are you really, really winning?"
No. Don't answer that because we're gong to be treated to some very garbled and incoherent stuff. So Let's look at some of the FACTS.
Let's start with the question of what's needed in the last 15 days of this election. BOTH campaigns are focused on getting out the vote. This period is about CLOSING THE DEAL with the American people. It's not in he main about campaign issues, name-calling, political hyperbole or self-assurances at rallies and public gatherings. It's about drilling down and convincing undecided and independent voters to vote for you. So we've seen Hillary Clinton make the case for her being the best candidate for the job and asking Americans to vote for her.
What does Donald Trump do? Well, he started by attacking the women who accused him of sexual abuse saying that when he wins the campaign and becomes president "all of those women will be sued." In short, we'll be treated to a Reality TV spectacle of a sitting United States president embroiled in a public sex scandal court trial or case with a group of women -- in full view of the international community. Nice!
So when his campaign finally was able to clam him down, he then floated his "What I will do in my first 100 days in office." A desperate speech that demonstrated that suddenly the grim reality of his stupidity had set in. Rather than spend the time during the early stages of his campaign in burnishing his credentials and pushing his economic policies, he spent it attacking everyone for no good reason. He showed his unsuitability for office during three presidential debates when without trying Hillary Clinton succeeded in needling him and getting under his thin skin. Predictably, he spent unnecessary time that his campaign did not have attacking EVERYBODY for his political immaturity and stupidity.
No matter how political strategists all of hues and stripes told the man that "building a wall" is not a political strategy nor is "insulting EVERYBODY" who dare to have a dissenting view, the still did it. His campaign hog-tied by a domineering and petty candidate just, well, "let Trump be Trump" with all of his egocentricities and bully-boy behavior. Yet he hunkered down, put on blinkers and forged ahead with his neophyte brand of politics clearly unsuited for playing in the big leagues. In short, he's just not ready for prime time politics. All of this came to a head in early voting with 33 states and the District of Columbia already having voted. Absentee (write in) voting is also taking place in 27 states "without excuse." According to CNN and a number of other polling houses Democrats have a significant edge in voter turnout as of now.
Moreover, national polls have put Hillary Clinton at either a 12 or 8-point lead over Trump and projects her as the favorite to win the election. FivethirtyEight (www.fivethirtyeight.com ) puts HRC at an 84.0 percent to win the presidency as compared to 15.8 for Donald Trump (Polls Plus forecast-- polls & economic indicators). That's horrible news for Trump and the Republican Party hence Trump's new talking point to "ignore the polls; we're winning." The good news for the American electoral system is that we now have 200 million more people - that includes 50 million young people -- on the voter rolls.
Let me digress a bit here a speak about the so-called "youth vote." Political pundits and mainstream news anchors have been consistently pushing the issue that HRC has had some difficulty in attracting young voters from the 2008 Obama Coalition. I think that this time around we're comparing apples with oranges. BOTH HRC and Donald Trump have found it very difficult to bridge the generational voting gap. Trump is 70 years old and HRC is 69. Both push traditional, turn-off issues AT young voters instead of speaking TO them as Bernie Sanders did. He was able to bridge the age and generational divide because he SPOKE THE LANGUAGE OF YOUNG VOTERS and addressed their concerns in ways that neither HRC nor Trump could do.
President Obama was 47-years old in 2008 - 20 years younger than HRC. His appeal to the youth was because he, like Sanders, spoke to and understood their concerns. Many were around his age and had left college with staggering student debts and were finding it very difficult build a career and get ahead. Then Senator Barack Obama related to this voting block while HRC's message resonated with seniors and white middle class women in the main.
But back to the 2016 down-to-the-wire presidential campaign. At this final stage in the game voter turn out and getting out the vote are critical things. HRC, a bit confident and nervously comfortable at where her campaign is at this stage, has pivoted to helping Democratic candidates in down ballot senate races because the projections are that Democrats can either win or tie the Senate.
Trump cannot do because he's so toxic to republicans at this time. Instead he is focused on rallies and crowd sizes that is a dangerous and often misleading matrix, as very political strategist knows. Crowd size does not validate or indicate the projected level of voter turn out. Rather, it's about geography, curiosity, and the culture and energy of the organizers of these rallies. Campaigns can also offer "incentives" to people to come out and fill arenas and other open rally spaces further contaminating the crowd as political indicator matrix.
Nobody votes at political rallies. In campaign strategic thinking political rallies are all about campaign/candidate visibility that's very low on the voter contact spectrum, than say direct mail, phone calls or door-to-door activities. Great political campaigns do not place the kind of store on political rallies that Trump likes to boast about. If you have the kind of huge ego that Trump has and the addictive need for public adoration, sympathy, crowd-reinforcement and reaffirmation then you're going to love political rallies. That, by itself, does not translate into votes on Election Day -- period.
So now about this ground game thing. Hillary Clinton's campaign has 490 field offices across the United States to date. Her campaign is swatting out Donald Trump's in key battle ground states like Ohio by 25, Pennsylvania -- where Trump as only a 20 percent chance of winning -- by 22, and Colorado by 28. HRC has nearly three times the number of field offices as Trump nationwide -- a stunning 490 to his paltry 178. The point is that without a significantly high number of new field offices in the next 15 days the reality is that Donald Trump's ability to get his voters to the polls is severely restricted and curtailed. And in an election like this YOU CAN WIN OR LOSE ON ELECTION DAY.