by Guest Blogger David Gerrold
So, here’s an alternate scenario for November.
Let’s look at the numbers.
Donald Trump does not break 40% in his primary victories. That’s not 40% of the electorate — it’s 40% of the republican voters. That’s the fanatics, the whackadoodles, and the energized rednecks. It’s the ignorati — the ones who hold up signs saying, “Keep your govt hands off my medicare.”
Let’s assume he gets the republican nomination. Despite all the machinations of the party, lets assume he shows up at the convention with 1237 pledged delegates. The convention turns into a massive floor fight. The convention is supposed to be that moment when the party unifies — but not this time.
Or, let’s say he shows up with 1236 pledged delegates and loses the first nominating ballot. The convention turns into a massive floor fight and possibly a riot. There will be protesters and demonstrators outside the convention hall. There will be a lot of tension. Things will get ugly.
Either way, the convention becomes an embarrassment and the party adjourns in greater disunity than ever before.
(By the way, Trump broke the law when he promised Carson a cabinet post for his endorsement. Will there be an indictment? Or will this be conveniently forgotten?)
The key point here is that the republican convention will not unify around Trump — and if anyone else gets handed the nomination, he will not be able to unify the party either, because the Trump supporters will be so angry, they’ll quit or walk away or try to mount a third party effort.
If Trump does get the nomination, the idea that the republican party will try to mount a third party effort against him, so as to throw the election into the house of representatives is a fascinating scenario, but don’t hold your breath. Organizing that would be a monstrous problem.
So … it’s either Trump or Cruz or Romney or who the hell knows, trying to unify a party that has been ripped apart by evangelicals, tea partiers, Trump supporters, and what remains of a tattered establishment.
If it’s Trump — and I suspect it will be Trump — if he’s only pulling 40% of the republican vote now, how will he do in the general election? (Or substitute Cruz, who does even worse.) Not well.
This fracturing of the republican party means that many republicans will stay home in disgust, feeling that there’s no one to vote for.
It also means that many republican women — even those who hate Hillary Clinton — will end up voting against their own party’s candidate. (This is not wishful thinking on my part. This was a real phenomenon in 2008 and 2012. It will be even more so in 2016.)
I don’t think the remaining primaries are going to be easy on Hillary — but, the prolonged primary season of 2008 was good for both Hillary and Barack Obama, because it gave them both good practice. It hardened Obama for the campaign ahead. This year, Hillary and Bernie are both being tempered (strengthened) by the forges of the primary battle.
But this is the point — the democrats, for all their various faults (all of which the concern trolls will be quick to list) have learned how to organize, have learned how to unify, and have demonstrated that they have learned the importance of a well-planned ground game.
The democratic convention of 2016 will be as well-constructed a show as it is possible for them to create — it should be at least as good as the 2008 convention.
So, post-convention, the republicans will see a slump in their numbers. Post-convention, the democrats will see a bump. This should result in adding 5% to the lead of the democratic nominee.
If Trump is the candidate, he will attempt to bully the democrats. It won’t work. The debates will be fascinating. Either Hillary or Bernie will demonstrate just how little Trump actually knows about anything.
If Cruz is the candidate, he’ll have to run on what a terrible job President Obama has done. This will give the democratic candidate the opportunity to point out that DESPITE REPUBLICAN OBSTRUCTIONISM, including Cruz’s own effort to shut down the government, President Obama has still managed to cut the deficit and get the economy back on track.
If Cruz or Trump attempt to denigrate Obama’s record, it’s the perfect opportunity for Clinton or Sanders to list the successes of this president and promise to build on those successes. It’s a bear trap for the republicans.
And … President Obama has made it clear he intends to lend his support to the democratic nominee. If it’s Hillary, she’ll have the President, she’ll have Michelle, she’ll have Bill, all campaigning for her. She’ll have three of the most popular democrats working to energize the base and get out the vote. A lot of other high-profile democrats will be given their moment in the spotlight too.
And if it’s Hillary, expect there to be an evening for Bernie Sanders to speak to his supporters and explain that even if they haven’t won the nomination, they have won a very big victory — they will have been able to force more progressive issues into the party platform, they will have moved not just Hillary Clinton, but the whole party in the right direction — and that it’s time to keep pushing in that direction because every step in the right direction, even a few small ones, is a good thing.
If it’s Bernie — well, the convention will be an old-fashioned revival meeting that leaves people breathless and inspired — and Bernie will pull a lot of Trump’s voters away from him.
Now this might all be wishful thinking on my part — but it’s based on two things.
Every time I’ve said the republicans can’t be that stupid, I’ve been wrong. So this time, I’m predicting they will be that stupid.
Every time I’ve said that the democrats have a pretty good idea on how to win the election, I’ve been right. So … I’ll stick with that.
The one thing that is every bit as critical as the presidential election is the downticket races. This is one area that the dems have not mastered as well as the republicans. But this year, with the republican ground game possibly in tatters, who knows?
We shall see.
Nebula and Hugo award winning author David Gerrold is the author of over 50 books, several hundred articles and columns, and over a dozen television episodes. TV credits include episodes of Star Trek, Babylon 5, Twilight Zone, Land Of The Lost, Logan’s Run, and many others. Novels include WHEN HARLIE WAS ONE, THE MAN WHO FOLDED HIMSELF, the “War Against the Chtorr” septology, The “Star Wolf” trilogy, The “Dingilliad” young adult trilogy, and more. The autobiographical tale of his son’s adoption, THE MARTIAN CHILD won the Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novelette of the Year and was the basis for the 2007 movie starring John Cusack, Amanda Peet, and Joan Cusack. His web page is here.