Saturday, May 14, 2016

Why I think Hillary Clinton is a long shot for winning the presidency.

Official Senate picture of Hillary Clinton. 

As of this writing Hillary Clinton is the odds on favorite to win the presidency this November. This is in spite of the fact that she hasn't even locked up the nomination at this point, with several elections to go. Her defenders cite record low approval ratings for her opponent, Donald Trump, as a reason she might win. They also cite chaos in the Republican Party and the demographic advantage the Democrats have. In short, they believe that Donald Trump has no path to the presidency.

I'm not so sure. To be completely honest, I am biased against the Clintons. I never liked either Bill or Hillary Clinton, and I don't want either of them in office. But I think the media is ignoring some huge disadvantages that Clinton has. I won't go so far as saying that Hillary has no chance, but all the articles crowning her as the next president are far too premature. At the very least she has some massive problems. I could be wrong but I think she definitely has an uphill battle. 

A note on the format. I am going to stick to a "listicle" style post for this one. It's not my favorite way to do things but it does make it a bit easier to write. I'm going to start with some obvious disadvantages and then go onto a few things that could break either way. 

1. Bernie Sanders is still a thorn in her side. Sanders has been winning primaries for quite some time and, as of this writing, is only 283 delegates behind Clinton, and if the Democrats had more winner take all races, he might have caught her. It's not impossible for Sanders to catch up in terms of pledged delegates, or at the very least close the gap. 

No matter what though, Sanders is kind of screwed. He doesn't have the super delegate advantage that she has. So even if he somehow manages to tie or even pass Clinton, it's extremely unlikely that he is able to win. But if Sanders makes it to the convention at a near tie, or even with a lead, the Democratic convention will be contested. As you all know, pundits and media people talked ad nauseam about how a contested convention would rip apart the GOP, but it looks like the Democrats could do the same thing.

All of this could cost Clinton the support of the Sanders supporters. Some will, of course, fall in line when, not if, Sanders loses. But the rest are going to be mad as hell, especially if the race is so close that the super delegates end up deciding the race. If that is the case then Clinton will probably lose some of their support. Some of them will be disillusioned and stay home in November. Some will vote third party, for Jill Stein or whoever the Libertarians pick (probably Gary Johnson). And a small but significant number will cross over and vote for Trump just out of spite.

 And none of this even mentions the possibility of a third party run for Sanders. I doubt he would do so, but I have heard rumors that Sanders could be picked as a running mate for Jill Stein. If that happens, Trump will win and win easily. Of course, Clinton could try to mitigate Sanders by tapping him as a VP pick, but I don't see that happening. She isn't going to be forced into picking him and wants to pander to minorities by picking either a woman, black or Hispanic VP.

2. Bill Clinton is a major liability for Hillary Clinton. Not only does he sometimes get into trouble with the way he talks, he counters one of Clinton's best attacks against Donald Trump. Hillary desperately wants to attack Donald Trump on his behavior with women. If it was anyone else making the attack or anyone else being targeted it would probably work. But Trump is willing to go where nobody else is willing to go.

Every time that Hillary Clinton attacks Trump on this issue, it is trivial for him to turn the issue around on her. Because of Bill Clinton's treatment of women and Hillary's actions defending him, she just can't use that line of attack without it backfiring on her horribly. It has nothing to do if the attacks on Trump are true, but everything to do with the Clinton's being gigantic hypocrites on the issue. 

Bill Clinton has been accused of rape, groping, exposing himself, sexual harassment and generally being a pervert. Not all of those charges have been proven but there is a pattern there and even if only some of them are true, then it goes directly against the argument that Hillary Clinton is the correct person to talk about women's issues. Trump's labeled her an enabler and she has also been accused of harassing the victims of her husband. 

Indeed, her husband is probably the reason that Clinton is so unpopular among women. Sure, she still has better favorability ratings then Trump does among women, but I think there a lot of women out there that don't want to support a woman that has enabled her husband to be a sexual predator. Some of them aren't convinced yet, but I am betting that this will be a major line of attack for Trump which will hurt Clinton in the end.  

3. The e-mail scandal could end up destroying her. As of this writing, she hasn't been arrested yet, but she is still under investigation. If she does end up getting arrested one of three things will happen. The first is that she drops out. I can't see her doing that. The second is that she continues to run even under arrest because if she doesn't she goes to jail. Third, she could get pardoned by Barack Obama. 

All of those options hurt her massively. Obviously if she drops out she isn't going to win. If she runs after being arrested she is going to be an easy target for pretty much everyone. The worst thing that could happen though is if she gets a pardon. This would infuriate the right and the center and could even anger a few people on the right as well. People hated it when Ford pardoned Nixon and I am guessing people want to see her answer the charges. She won't do that if she is pardoned.

Even if she isn't arrested, the e-mail scandal hurts her chances. Though there are many people that don't understand why information security is so important, or don't care even if she did break the law, there are millions of people out there that do understand. These people are mad as hell that she is getting away with something that would get almost everyone else fired or imprisoned. I can't see many people in the military or anyone with a security clearance voting for Clinton. 

4. Her health. Though Hillary Clinton looks and sounds better then her husband, she still has some serious questions about her health. She has had problems on the campaign trail with repeated coughing and even being unable to get back to a debate on time. The fear is that she won't even survive a full term. She might not even make it to November. If she did drop dead tomorrow I would not be surprised. 

Which is kind of odd because Hillary Clinton is about the same age as Donald Trump. He's 69 and she's 68, but there is no question in my mind who is in better health. I haven't seen Trump ever coughing or having any kind of medical issues whatsoever. 

I think this could have an impact on voters, but I also think that it could hurt Hillary Clinton in other ways. For example, if her condition, whatever it is, has a flare up, she could be forced away from the campaign trail at a critical time. It could also effect her debate performances and he various rallies and fundraising speeches. 

5. Her support among minorities isn't as strong as it once was. Don't get me wrong. The vast majority of the minority population is going to vote Democratic this election. And I don't think she has done that much to alienate minorities. But I do think that Donald Trump is uniquely qualified to get some of the minority vote, at least when compared to other GOP candidates. He will do bad among minorities but most GOP candidates do horrible.

Trump has strong name recognition among the black population. And unlike previous candidates, like Mitt Romney, he has some appeal. Trump's personal style is much closer to what many blacks think rich people should act. He's not a snooty millionaire like Romney was. Trump lives like a rap star, with his obvious consumption and flashy style. The black community knows Trump and has some reason to like him. Indeed, more than a few black celebrities have endorsed Trump, like Mike Tyson, Terrel Owens and Azealia Banks.

Plus they might like some of his policies. Sure, I don't see many blacks liking him due to his support of law enforcement (another constituency that Clinton has pissed away), but they may like him on other issues. The black community has been especially hit hard by illegal immigration and free trade deals, so as Trump focuses on those issues he might peal away a bit of support from Clinton.

As for other minorities, Trump isn't going to be liked by Hispancis but more of them will like him then you would think. Not all Hispanics care about immigration as some of them have been here for generations. And not all Hispanics care if Trump bashes Mexico. Why would someone from Cuba or Puerto Rico care if he cracks down hard on Mexico? Don't get me wrong, Trump will do poorly among Hispanics, but I don't see him doing all that worse then anyone else in the GOP would.

And Trump is even making inroads with the LGBT community. He's basically said that he's fine with states deciding things like gay marriage and the various bathroom bills. He also seems to be rather pro-transgender, at least compared to other Republicans. Now I don't think that these inroads are enough that the LGBT community will cross over. But it does show me that some might, certainly more then if Ted Cruz had been the candidate. Given how small the LGBT community is, it won't matter too much, but every little bit helps Trump and hurts Clinton. 

6. She's losing support of white males. This is mostly a problem with the Democratic party in general, but as a whole the party is moving away from the interests of white males. Even liberal ones. Sure, Bernie Sanders has a lot of support of male liberals, but Clinton does not because she doesn't focus on the issues that they care about.

Instead Clinton is pandering to minorities and women. Which is the worst thing she could do if she wants white males to vote for them. I won't speak for all white males but I do believe that there is a lot of unhappiness and disgust just waiting to be tapped into. As Clinton focuses in on things like Black Lives Matter and Planned Parenthood, white males are asking themselves "what can you do for me?" And Hillary Clinton doesn't seem to have an answer for that. 

You know who does? Donald Trump. You could say that Hillary Clinton's opponent is focused like a laser on issues that white males care about. White males have been hurt by the economy, generally support gun rights and are turned off by identity politics. All of those things aren't focuses of the Clinton campaign but are major points in favor of Trump. Add that in with the lack of support from women and minorities as outlined above and you can see how this could be a problem for Clinton. Barack Obama was able to win the presidency without the support of the majority of white males, but I don't think Hillary Clinton is strong enough to say the same thing. 

And now here's a short list of things that could break either way:

1. Debate performance. I get the feeling that Trump is going to wipe the floor with Hillary, but I have to admit that it could go either way. I don't know if Trump hitting Hillary hard will help or hurt. Some people might think he is a bully even if he destroys her.

2. VP Pick. This could go either way. If Clinton picks Sanders and Trump makes a boneheaded pick like Sarah Palin, it could really shake up the race. But if Clinton picks some unknown token minority and Trump picks a good candidate, it could shake up the race in the opposite way. Most likely is that the race is only slightly impacted either way. Though I am not a fan of Chris Christie, he would be a major help in hitting Hillary.

3. Terrorism. I tend to think that a major terrorist attack on the scale of Paris would probably help Donald Trump. He got a huge bump in the polls after Paris, San Bernardino and Brussels mostly because his proposed temporary ban on Muslims entering the country was the only real solution being offered. If another attack happens, especially if it happens here, expect Trump to gain from it. On the other hand if ISIS doesn't pull off any major attacks, then the support for the ban could fade. 

4. Social Media. I think that Clinton is completely outclassed here. Obviously Trump is a social media candidate and in comparison Clinton is way behind. It's a double edged sword because Trump often gets himself in trouble over his tweets and facebook posts. Still, I think even a stupid tweet helps Trump more then it hurts. 

5. Third Parties. This might be a big year for third parties. Already, a lot of people have said they are going to vote for the libertarian candidate, which will hurt Trump more then Clinton. And if the #nevertrump people actually do end up running a third party candidate, it would obviously hurt the race, even if they only get 1% of the vote. On the other hand, if Sanders runs third party or goes as a VP pick for Jill Stein, Clinton is screwed. 

6. Civil unrest at either convention. People really don't like protesters so of the usual suspects, communists, anarchists, Black Lives Matter, manage to disrupt either convention it might help Donald Trump. 

So does Hillary have a chance? Yes, but I also think that as a candidate she is very weak. I also think that Trump is quite a bit stronger then she is and is in a better position than the media is giving him credit for. I really do think that he's got a much better chance of winning then Hillary does at this point of the race. All that being said, this election cycle has been crazy and I wouldn't want to put money on any of this. Who knows what will have changed by November? 

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