What if Hillary Clinton beats Donald Trump by a wider margin than any president since her husband trounced Bob Dole in 1996? If Nate Silver and his team over at FiveThirtyEight are even remotely on their game, then this election will be an absolute bloodbath for the GOP.
As of this very moment, Silver and gang give Hillary Clinton an astounding 86.6% chance of winning. I don’t remember FiveThirtyEight having Obama/Romney even nearly this kind of blowout, and Obama won it handily. The chances of Hillary winning are just the odds as computed by their algorithm. However, if you look at how they predict the states will fall, it will be a blowout, and right now she’s projected to get just 20 electoral college votes less than her husband did 20 years ago.
This could have all kinds of implications for a mandate for Hillary…if her opponents weren’t the same Republicans that will be fresh off eight years of blocking President Obama’s agenda. Although, the chaos and turmoil that Trump is creating within the GOP might cause real problems for them down ballot this year. So maybe her legislative hurdles will be much shorter than Obama’s were.
If you were a conspiracy theorist, Trump’s pluperfect villainy, right down to sending veiled messages about assassination couched in jokes, as being really, really convenient for Hillary. It’s super-duper nice for her that Trump’s out on the campaign trail being more Sarah Palin than Sarah Palin could ever hope. I’m not saying that having your opponent dog-whistle imply you should be murdered if you win the election is good for Hillary’s sleep at night; I’m just saying that the constant negative shit that Trump brings on himself gives her a pass in terms of answering any really tough questions from the press, which she should be having to do since she’ll very probably be our next president this time next year.
My good friend Manny wrote this week about how liberals need to not feel smugly confident about this election and still push to get liberally-minded candidates elected down ballot. I do not disagree with him on that front, but I do wish the press would stop pushing the narrative of how close this election can be or will be. I’m not saying Nate Silver is the end-all, be-all of political predictions. I’m just saying his algorithm is pretty spot-on historically, and common sense dictates that a campaign like Trump’s waging would be a disaster of absolutely epic proportions.
Ultimately, I’m in the camp that thinks the country necessarily needs a cogent, rational right-wing to temper the left-wing. I like balance, believe it or not. But a total annihilation of the Republican Party might be what’s needed to raze them to rubble in order to rebuild in a way that even remotely looks like Modern America looks.
So the question is why isn’t the media absolutely blasting the FiveThirtyEight prediction right now? In 2012, it didn’t seem like we could go a day or two without the press telling us how Nate Silver’s algorithm had updated the chances of Obama’s re-election. My theory is that we’re not hearing about the nightmare that FiveThirtyEight is predicting for Trump because it doesn’t confirm the one bias I think the media actually does have — and that bias toward profit.
There is an inherent value to an election that will be close. It keeps readers and viewers of all political stripes engaged and locked-in. You click more stories and watch more news packages on the election if you think your guy or gal is in a real dogfight. It’s in their best interests to sell you a tight race, even if it’s just not going to be that close. I happen to put a lot of stock and faith in Silver’s algorithm. It seems to be based on really solid calculations, and it got the 2012 election pretty much spot-on with the exception of a state or two.
The fact that FiveThirtyEight is currently putting a state like Florida into Clinton’s favor isn’t that big a story to me. It’s the probability they’re giving it, which right now is over 70%. We are looking at the kind of sweeping win that Republicans have masturbated to when Reagan did such a thing in ’84. The truth is that no Republican president has had that kind of popularity since. Maybe Hillary’s win will be more about how repugnant Trump is than how great she is, but in the end, that might not matter to history all that much.
So what does it all mean? You tell me. In my view of things, if people are still angry about how the primary process went down, they can take comfort in the electoral map FiveThirtyEight is publishing right now. It means if you live in a safely Hillary state, you can vote for someone else and not hurt her chances. Or don’t do that, I don’t really care. What I know for certain is that until I see FiveThirtyEight move the fences in toward Hillary to the point where her chance of winning is 50% or less, I’m going to get off the Trump Hysteria Train.
I’m staying on the Unending, Merciless Mocking and Disrespect Toward Trump Jetliner though; I’m never getting off this fucking thing. He’s a gift to comedians everywhere, and you don’t look a gift douche in the mouth. At least that’s what I was always taught, anyway.
Follow James on Twitter @JamboSchlarmbo.