I know that the consensus among pundits in Washington DC right now is that Donald Trump is set as the Republican nominee. The consensus also was in 2016 that Hillary Clinton would win and in 2020 that it’s not a close election. We all know how those turned out.
For Democrats, a part of this is of course wishful thinking. Donald Trump is probably the only Republican Joe Biden could beat. For Republicans, they just can’t imagine anything different. It’s always difficult for parties to move on from a populist leader. There is a point in time, where it doesn’t work anymore at the polls with the leader in question, but neither without him.
I’m not hearing a whole lot of arguments as to why Trump is set other than the reference to the current polling. So let me give you my arguments why I think everybody in DC might be wrong.
Months before an election, polls are virtually irrelevant in terms of predicting the outcome of a race, that is, even if the polls were accurate at that moment. And that is a big if in the US as the polling market is seriously flawed. Polls were pretty off in 2016, 2018, 2020 and 2022. After each cycle, pollsters claimed that they have found the solution with even smarter weighing of their data.
I’d like to remind everybody of February 13, 2008. That was the date when Barack Obama overtook Hillary Clinton for the first time in the nationwide polling for the Democratic presidential nomination. It was more than a month after his upset win in Iowa.
Republicans might reconsider nominating Trump because he is a deeply flawed candidate. As is often the case, a candidate’s biggest strength is also his biggest weakness. What makes him so tremendously popular among his MAGA base, makes him unelectable to swing voters.
That said, I’m not saying that Trump can not win the nomination. He can. It’s a multi-candidate field and after all, he has won the nomination with a plurality of the votes before.
If he is the nominee, he can even win the general election. That would however have little to do with him, but with the economy and Joe Biden. If voters were to turn even more sour about the status quo, Independents might tilt back to Trump. Remember this: elections are always a choice.