Brexit’s got people nervous about a possible Trump victory in November. It shouldn’t. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Clinton opening up a double-digit lead over Trump, 51 percent–39 percent. Now that she has clinched the nomination, Clinton is beginning to consolidate and expand support — as many observers predicted she would.
The poll also shows:
First, Trump’s racism and sexism play well with a rump — though never a strong majority — of the GOP. Racism and sexism are a disaster, however, in the general electorate.
Roughly two-thirds of those polled think Trump’s comments about Muslims, women, and racial minorities are racist and/or unfair, and an overwhelming majority strongly disapproves of his recent comments about a judge whose parents were Mexican immigrants. Only 36 percent of the electorate thinks that Trump is standing up for their beliefs.
While some may claim that people are hiding their real views from the pollsters, we should remember that this was also often claimed in 2008, that there was a sleeper racist cell in the country that was going to vote for McCain.
We know how that ended. We should also remember that women are the majority of the electorate, and nonwhites, in the last election, constituted 28 percent of the electorate.
Second, Trump’s handling of Orlando cost him. Only 28 percent of the electorate approved of it, whereas 46 percent approved of Clinton’s response to Orlando. That’s an 18-point spread.
The Orlando massacre also did not make the voters more inclined to support Trump’s ban on Muslim immigration. The notion that terrorism makes people feel safer with Trump is risible.
In other words, the very things that many liberal-minded observers fear make Trump so strong and appealing to the voters — racism, ethno-nationalism, and terrorism — are in fact tremendous liabilities.
Third, not only are elite Republicans defecting to Clinton — the last few weeks saw top executives at AT&T and GM, George W. Bush’s treasury secretary, Richard Armitage, and Brent Scowcroft announcing their support for Clinton, plus George Will announcing his exit from the GOP — but so are the rank-and-file.
13 percent of Republican voters who cast their ballots during the primaries for candidates other than Trump (which was the majority in many states) are now supporting Clinton.
Fourth, Obama’s approval ratings continue to climb. They are now at 56 percent. Incumbency approval or disapproval has an effect on the party’s candidate. Unless the candidate distances himself from the incumbent, as Gore did in 2000. Clinton shows no sign of repeating that mistake.
Fifth, 36 percent of the electorate now identifies as Democrat (up a few points from a month ago). Only 24 percent identifies as Republican.
And to cite the conclusion to The Reactionary Mind,
Which leads me to wonder about the long-term prospects of the Tea Party (remember them?), the latest variant of right-wing populism. Has the Tea Party given conservatism a new lease on life? Or is the Tea Party like the New Politics of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the last spark of a spent force, its frantic energies a mask for the decline of the larger movement of which it is a part?
Modern conservatism came onto the scene of the twentieth century in order to defeat the great social movements of the Left. As far as the eye can see, it has achieved its purpose. Having done so, it now can leave. Whether it will, and how much it will take with it on its way out, remains to be seen.
Yes, polls can change, but we’re fast approaching that moment in a general election campaign, if we haven’t already, when the polls start becoming an increasingly good indicator of the national election results.
So to repeat my mantras since February: Donald Trump is going to go down as the George McGovern of the Republican Party. As someone who has been writing about conservatism since 2000 or so, I look forward to seeing my academic cottage industry put out of business.