Friday, August 12, 2016

The Fundamentals Are Fundamental

I keep referring to the fundamentals in this election cycle in a way that is not conventional.  The ordinary meaning refers to the economy (inflation, employment) and whether the country is at war (is the war going well or poorly, what is the public opinion of the war).  I have focused instead on the fundamentals that are usually assumed away, nicely presented by Nate Silver of 538:
But the theory behind “fundamentals” models is that economic conditions prevail because most other factors are fought to a draw. In a normal presidential election, both candidates raise essentially unlimited money and staff their campaigns with hundreds of experienced professionals. In a normal presidential election, both candidates are good representatives of their party’s traditional values and therefore unite almost all their party’s voters behind them. In a normal presidential election, both candidates have years of experience running for office and deftly pivot away from controversies to exploit their opponents’ weaknesses. In a normal presidential election, both candidates target a broad enough range of demographic groups to have a viable chance of reaching 51 percent of the vote. This may not be a normal presidential election because while most of those things are true for Clinton, it’s not clear that any of them apply to Trump.
Exactly what I have been saying: Trump fundamentally sucks, as he has:
  • Not much of an organization, and one that seems to keep popping out complete amateurs.
  • Not much money.
  • No discipline, which means he keeps reinforcing mistakes.
  • Alienated 50% plus of the population: African-Americans, Hispanics, women, Jews, Asian-Americans, Mormons (hey, that's new!), LGBTQ, Native Americans and on and on.  
  • A divided party to say the least, which has lead to:
  • A very weak bench of surrogates--Guliani and Gingrich?  Please.
Hillary Clinton may have had made some mighty significant unforced errors of her own that would hurt her in a normal election cycle--the Clinton Foundation, the emails, etc.  But she has many positive fundamentals working for her:
  • A professional campaign organization
  • A strong digital game--the tweets and videos are quite good.
  • Heaps of discipline as the campaign has been smart enough to stay out of Trump's way of making messes
  • Appealed broadly to traditional Democratic constituencies and opening the door to GOP defections.
  • Has a unified and deep bench starting with Bill, the President (who is very popular these days), Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and scores of others.
The polls are where they are for a reason--Hillary has made the case that Trump is profoundly unqualified and that she is.  If the conventions can be viewed as minor tests of skill/capability/discipline, then Trump failed and Clinton passed with flying colors.

I would say that the next major point in the campaign are the debates except for two things--there may be no debates if Trump cowers away from them, and Trump may have seven more blowups over random things before then.

Just a reminder that folks worrying about what might happen if Trump loses are spending their time better than those who worry about Trump winning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Also underrated: attitudes which contributed to 'white flight' are disappearing in the suburbs. It's why Tim Kaine, a Southerner who has a rare ability to win over Hispanic, black and Asian voters, made Trump's VP pick a dud.