The contents of the following blog come from an animated conversation among friends (1) as we enjoyed a first-rate Oregon pinot noir. Midst the tippling, comments, criticisms, skepticism and questions, all offered in the spirit of bonhomie, coalesced into the query “What are the odds?” and thus a prompt to make some sense out of this craziest of election seasons. So, here we go!!
Hillary Rodham Clinton
It is a fool’s errand to calculate HRC’s chances of winning the general without first getting a handle of where she stands vis a vis the FBI’s investigation of her private server and the e-mails that came to and were sent from that computer. The reality is that the candidate’s attempts to mitigate the damage done by all this have been less than effective. Once its inquiry has been completed, the FBI could come forward with anything from a “There is nothing here” to “very bad judgment but nothing illegal” to a criminal indictment. Clearly HRC’s political future hangs in the balance.
Frankly, it is hard to imagine that the Bureau will issue a “Nothing here” finding. HRC’s own inadequate explanations strongly suggest something is indeed amiss. So, that would leave us with the latter two of the just cited possibilities. If it’s a “bad judgment” call then the question becomes “How much damage will that do to the woman’s chances in the election, especially given her already existent unfavorability ratings?”
In a head-to-head match-up with Primadonald, she would be wounded but not mortally. She would still hold the votes of the majority of women, Hispanic and African-American blocs. That would make her competitive, but not a sure winner. HRC needs the support of the young Sanders devotees; not a certainty as noted in the last blog posted at this site (2). Without them, her odds are perhaps no better than 50/50.
Of course, if the FBI indicts HRC, then the only honorable thing for her to do is drop out of the race, leaving the field open to Bernie Sanders (BS) who may be hanging around in the hope that something just like that will happen.
Bernie Sanders (BS)
Notwithstanding the fact that the senator is very unlikely to actually win the nomination, his fans make much of the fact that he has consistently beaten Primadonald in head-to-head poll match-ups. Of course, these results do not take into account the fact that BS has not been a target of conservative fire or much media scrutiny. This leaves one to wonder just how well acquainted the average voter is with his strong socialistic impulses and policy positions. It is entirely possible that his relatively high “favorable” ratings are a product of a lack of voter knowledge. Be that as it may, the candidate has his youth bloc in tow and should carry the same ones assigned above to HRC. Democrats are so united in their opposition to a Primadonald presidency that they will rally around BS. All this considered, his odds of winning the general could be as good as 60/40. But, those numbers could change dramatically depending on just how effectively conservatives are at tarring him as a “communist” whose universal healthcare and free college tuition ideas would bankrupt the nation and drive us even further into debt. (3)
Only in the last few days has the media turned its attention to the emergence of a viable Libertarian third-party with former governor Gary Johnson at the top of the ticket, joined by another former governor, William Weld as his running mate. Talk about a “landing place” for disaffected folks who cannot stomach Primadonald, HRC or BS!! The likelihood is that most of those voters lean right so their defection would hurt the NY real estate mogul the most. Obviously, that inures to the benefit of either HRC or BS, whomever is the Democrats’ nominee.
Finally, there is this: Notable conservatives in the “NeverTrump” movement are giving off signals that an alternative to Primadonald will emerge from their ranks. If that does indeed happen, then between that individual (whomever that might be) and the Libertarian Johnson, the presidency would be handed to the Democrat’s nominee. However, either one or both of these two “wild cards” could well take the Senate out of play and leave it under Republican control. In that case, we would enter 2017 with a divided government and no better off than we are right now.
Pass the pinot noir and make it a “double”.
1.With thanks to John, Kamal, Laura and Mike for your candor and willingness to share.
2.See “Burned up”.
3.This is no small matter; the nonpartisan Tax Policy Institute has run the numbers on BS’s proposals and concluded that his expenditures would exceed revenues by about $ 6 billion dollars.