Already the campaign season is shaping up to be chaotic. I believe the confusion will go all the way to the elections in 2016.
The analysis may seem obvious to the pundits, but laying it out helps me, at least.
Here are the options on how the chaos might happen and the results.
1. Hillary is weak right now, but her buddies in the news media will help her rehabilitate her image, with over a year left. They see that it’s best for her prospects to get these scandals out of the way early. Then, late in 2016, the news media and her campaign (but I repeat myself) can claim that those stories are old or partisan and never went anywhere. She’s still here.
Reinvigorated, she can compete against the Republican nominee and cause a close election and then chaos.
But whoever the Dem nominee is (within reason), the rest of this piece still applies.
Additionally, Trump said in the first debate he won’t guarantee to support the nominee. Before then, Bill Clinton nudged him to get involved in Republican (not Democrat) politics in the first place, shortly before Trump announced his candidacy.
It’s obvious that Clinton saw that his wife (broadly defined) was struggling. He recalled he got into the White House by billionaire, third candidate Ross Perot in 1992. So why not get another billionaire to join the fray and stir things up?
Clinton saw the 2014 Republican momentum. It was time to slow it down and confuse it.
Trump-the-Trojan horse maneuver sets up the next options.
2. Trump won’t win the nomination, due to his extremism and unpresidential temperament, but this billionaire with a gigantic TV ego does not promise to go away quietly. He has said several times already he wants to keep his third-party option open. He claims he needs to say that for leverage against the “Establishment” if it doesn’t treat him as he thinks fit (as if the other candidates don’t need “leverage”; they’re just not egocentric enough to demand it by threats).
If he doesn’t get the nomination, but steps away with a sneer, without endorsing the nominee, then the backlash from his entire run is that, as many in the GOP believe, he has been hurting their brand during the primaries. He fits the caricature of the Republican: Rich, mean, uncompassionate, boisterous, big-business, older white male.
Using a flamethrower, he’s tearing down Reagan’s Big Tent. His shoot-from-the-hip, unspecific, outlandish comments and one-liners scare away reasonable voters. All of this boisterous talk distracts voters from high-quality candidates and serious policy proposals.
However, they don’t seem to realize it’s the only party that can win. They must not let undefined, notional Perfection be the enemy of real-world imperfection.
Much like Churchill said of democracy, the RNC is imperfect, but it’s better than the DNC or a never-victorious, spoiler third party.
If Trump doesn’t win the nomination, he might blame the GOP “Establishment” and go third party. He says he’ll sign a pledge not to do it, but why wouldn’t a rootless, opportunistic maverick break that pledge if he were benefited somehow?
3. If he does go third party, he won’t get Perot’s nineteen percent, due again, to Trump’s extremism and unpresidential temperament. But all he needs in order to throw the election into chaos and help his friends the Clintons is two or three percent. He can certainly afford to buy lots of TV time, as Perot did. And even more confusion: he could attract rootless voters who would have voted Democrat.
If he gets more than three percent, then there will be no chaos, and Hillary or the Dem nominee walks into the White House.
4. Trump will (improbably) get the nomination. He expresses conservative anger against the “Establishment.” He “tells it like it is” (whatever the two “its” mean) and won’t go PC (everyone promises that). He’ll take the fight to the Left and won’t let them get away with “it.”
However, he might turn out like Arnold Schwarzenegger, who, at the end of his service as governor of CA, worked with the Left more often than not, particularly on environmental issues. Tough talkers always seem to cave in the end, when they get challenged or seduced by their opponents (Samson, anyone?). Trump, after all, has been involved in Democrat politics for a long time. Why wouldn’t he get seduced, once he won the White House?
Most troubling of all, however, is that he has unsubstantial policies views. So far, he has not given a non-rambling speech that doesn’t promote his Total Awesomeness.
A political party wins elections by advancing serious issues for voters to get behind.
5. If Trump disappears quietly, then the GOP has a strong chance for victory. Even if Hillary gets rehabilitated, she might still be too weak to compete, so the chances of chaos are reduced. But he won’t disappear quietly.
No doubt about it, Trump is a divisive figure. No wonder Bill told him to consider getting involved with Republicans. Trump hurts them and helps his wife and the Dems.
The 2016 elections promise to be chaotic.
After all is said and done, no matter who the Republican nominee is, after a confusing primary season, it is now not clear to me who will squeak out a victory, after an electoral recount in a state or some other kind of electoral chaos:
Chaos, chaos, chaos.
Trump is not destined to occupy the White House. However, he might have another destiny.
As I wrote in my piece, “Ten reasons not to vote for Trump,” maybe my beloved America sadly needs today a good old fashioned shaking. We have been, after all, in the prophetic words of Judge Robert Bork in 1996, twenty years before the upcoming elections, “slouching towards Gomorrah.”
9/3/15: “Donald Trump sports, not surprisingly, a miserable 15 percent favorable, 82 percent unfavorable image with Hispanics nationally,” the Washington Times notes. Thus, he surely is scaring Hispanic voters from the GOP. See my own brief analysis at American Thinker a day later.
9/4/15: George Will correctly notes the obvious: every time that Trump speaks, he hurts the GOP’s chances in 2016. Too scary and unstable. Centrists voters, who live between the two forty-seven yard lines, will paint the GOP with a large brush.
Trump signed the loyalty pledge not to run as a third party candidate, as he did back in 1999. But will he keep it, if he can get away with not keeping it? Who knows? After not getting the nomination, he might meet with Hillary, if he’s angry enough. I believe he suffers from that much self-delusion; he identified as a Dem until recently.
It’s a pity Trump is in the race. Hillary is weak right now. Without Trump, the GOP could easily win the White House, but since he’s a billionaire, he can afford to stay in the race a long time, while he diminishing the GOP’s brand and making the race close, hence the chaos.
11/8/15: Trump will not run as a third party candidate because of the logistical problems with getting his name on the ballots. However, if Rubio or Jeb is the nominee, Trump might meet with Hillary.
3/17/16: It looks like Trump is inching his way towards the nomination. There will be rampant chaos if he goes head-to-head with Hillary.