New York: More rowdy than Donald Trump are his junkies.
Like him they are shrill, offer no details, hate Hillary Clinton, Muslims, free trade, fawn over Trump’s madcap plans and are kicked to see America’s first black president get out. When Trump uses the high ground of debate podiums to sink into what’s inside his pants, his fans cheer lustily, they vote with delight.
When Trump speaks of riots, they hold placards for the TV cameras and say “he’s right, we would do the same thing.”
Trump's joked that he could "stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody" and not lose any voters. He did not. Instead, he won Florida and claimed he’s just short of Abe Lincoln in being “presidential”.
As the world recoils at the prospect of a Trump presidency, political liberals are turning to math for solace.
Are these angry white voters enough to fire Trump - billionaire turned “global risk” into the White House?
Are there enough white voters in the 2016 US Elections for any candidate to win without getting a lion’s share of the non-white vote?
The calculators are out as a Trump verus Clinton match-up looms.
Here’s what we know for sure.
There are enough voters who could have stopped Trump already.
These are the non-voters who sat home during the primaries that have pushed Trump closer to the Republican nomination. Just one look at this chart below explains it all.
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) March 20, 2016
In at least 4 states in this chart - Florida, Lousiana, Nevada, Kentucky, the vast majority of Trump’s own party has not voted.
America has had among the lowest voter turnouts among developed countries. Voting in primaries has always been low, even a 20% turnour sets off celebrations. Turnout in the Republican contest around this stage is at its highest since 1980, but still averages just 17% of eligible voters, according to Pew.
Some of the more recent ‘Stop Trump’ genre of polls are showing that opposition to Trump is uniting a rising generation of young people under 30 in Clinton’s favour. All this at a time when Bernie Sanders is clearly sweeping the young white vote while Clinton wins the black and Latino votes.
Although Clinton has swept major primaries, she is losing white men by double-digit margins in key states Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio, exit polls show.
This is a sharp turn from 2008, when Clinton won double-digit victories among white male voters in all these three states.
Yes, Clinton is doing well among Hispanics where millennials will account for nearly half (44%) of the record 27.3 million Hispanic eligible voters projected for 2016—a share greater than any other racial or ethnic group of voters but Hispanics aren’t famous for getting out the vote either. Asians do a lot better while voting Democratic.
The number soup aside, there’s no doubting this: Trump’s dominance of free media has stirred up angry, white, male voters. When he’s not firing insults at opponents, Trump’s favourite line is that he has brought millions and millions of new voters to the race. !
But USnews calls this the start of the backlash of the backlash. Social media jock Trump may be but in the general election, millennials are going to turn on the windbag, says the newspaper. !
“The Silent Majority For Trump,” read placards at Donald Trump rallies held up by mostly white Republicans who parrot Trump’s favourite lines against Obama and have little else to say ostensibly because Trump himself has given few details beyond name calling, insults and unworkable plans prone to constant revision. !
The Silent Majority “myth” survives - that there are untapped masses of white voters anxiously waiting for a rock star.
“Call it the Lost Tribes of the Amazon theory: If only you paddle far enough up the river and bang the drum loud enough, these previously hidden voters will gather to the river’s edge”, says The Daily Beast which claims there are just not enough white voters in America anymore to win on their strength alone.
4 in 10 eligible voters typically stay at home during a presidential poll.
“Each side therefore concentrates on stirring up people who support it but might not vote. That raises the anger to a new pitch,” says The Economist.
Look at this chart alongside - although the U.S. electorate this year will be the country’s most diverse ever, eligible white voters still outstrip all the other ethnic groups.
Is that what Trump is calling the silent majority?
“It is certainly not silent, it’s most likely uneducated,” fumes a Wall Street banker “fed up with the choices.”!
Although the White voter base has grown the slowest, it’s still more than 6 in 10 voters ( 69%) in the 2016 election. See the bar graph alongside. Growth in new white voters has been slow but they remain on top in absolute numbers.
Those numbers will be lower this year, which means Republicans need to keep increasing their margins among whites to stay where they are — even to keep losing by the same amount.
How to Dump Trump?
The ‘Dump Trump’ chance hinges on the discrepancy of all these numbers - historically low voter turnout, anti-Trump anger, the phenomenal number of non-voters and Republicans who are fed up. Swing voters matter less because both sides despise each other so much.
The Clinton camp is pivoting towards wooing the enemy within the Republican party - characterised by folks like Mitt Romney who have spoken out against the demagogue billionaire - “Through the calculated statements of its leader, Trumpism has become associated with racism, misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, vulgarity and, most recently, threats and violence. I am repulsed by each and every one of these.”
In answer, if Donald Trump re-opens the Bill Clinton - Monica Lewinsky files - which he threatens to, the asymmetry of the numbers could rip apart Clinton’s campaign.
Online shaming powered by Trump’s 6 million Twitter followers is a potentially terrifying prospect for Clinton.
Hillary and Trump are equally unpopular - 60% of Americans wish they were not stuck with either of these candidates.
Traditional non-voters who cast their ballot in 2016 can upend the game into a landslide general election.
First Published On : Mar 21, 2016 02:34 IST