The Sneezing Opossum
To hear the liberal talking heads on my TV and the panhandling millionaires in my inbox, Donald Trump is the biggest threat to the republic since the Cuban Missile Crisis joined forces with 9/11 to lead an army of giant alien grizzly-sharks infected with Ebola. Well, that, or maybe Sarah Palin.
Trump started out as a joke, but now he’s become no joking matter. Of course, those of you who read my work (hi, Mom!) know that joking about terrible things isn’t just my job—it’s my lifestyle.
Democrats do worse in low-turnout elections, and 2016 is guaranteed to be lower than Melissa Harris-Perry’s ratings. Clinton-versus-Trump is the worst choice American voters have faced since Franklin Pierce eked out victory over a rusty bedpan. And the bedpan might have won had its running mate not been a young John McCain.
But this year’s turnout will merely decide whether Hillary Clinton wins by single or double digits. And if she loses, we deserve the apocalypse that will follow. One does not simply hop into a car with Gary Busey and expect to survive the trip.
The argument always boils down to, “Nobody thought George W. Bush could win, either.” This overlooks two key facts: (a) technically, he didn’t win, and (b) even Dubya didn’t try to sell steaks through the Sharper Image catalogue.
Bush also did not go into the 2000 election with sky-high negatives among every demographic, either. Trump’s got underwater approval ratings among blacks, Hispanics, women, Asians, Muslims, and Paul Ryan. He’s relying on elderly white people, half of whom will enter the voting booth and forget why they went in.
Bush also won the endorsement of a key voting bloc: his family. By contrast, Laura Bush has said she won’t vote for Trump; George H. W. Bush is withholding his endorsement; and Jeb Bush said he probably won’t vote at all, partly because he’s still trapped in that locker Trump stuffed him into.
It’s also worth noting that Dubya had not yet sufficiently damaged the Bush brand. Voters in 2000 looked at him the way Warner Bros. looks at Batman v. Superman: Yeah, it’s terrible, but maybe the sequels will do better.
Post-Dubya, the Bush name carries the same cachet as Acme in Looney Toons. Jeb had universal name recognition and a massive war chest, and he won as many primaries as Ben Carson but without the charisma.
Forty-seven percent of Republican women claim that they will never vote for Trump. Given that they also really despise Hillary Clinton, you can expect a major write-in campaign for “shoes” or “that guy who at least wore a tie on our first date.”
No Republican president has won without at least 30 percent of the Hispanic vote. Trump is currently at 17 percent. At this point, he would have to eat so many taco bowls, he’d look like a blimp made out of cheese tortillas.
Trump claims he “gets along very well with the blacks,” pointing to a poll that shows him winning 24 percent of the black vote. The highest a Republican has won was 11 percent in 2004, which means that, like Trump’s casinos and marriages, those results are not built to last.
In fact, it turns out that the poll Trump cited included not just black voters, but all voters of color—including, presumably, orange. A more reliable poll shows Trump with three percent of the black vote, even less than McCain (four percent) and Mitt Romney (seven percent), and basically tied with someone named “Margin of Error.”
In other words, Dubya faced a very different electorate, with a unified party, and he still lost the popular vote. While he won in 2004, he did it with the help of incumbency, “security moms,” long voter lines in Ohio, faulty voting machines, and faulty Democrats.
It’s true that Republicans will rally around whatever they put at the top of the ticket, even if it’s a Ben Affleck double feature. Picture, if you must, Governor Rick Perry, who once called Trump “a cancer on the Republican Party,” but now says he’s open to being Trump’s running mate. Obviously, Perry’s own campaign failed, so we’ll never know how many electoral votes would’ve been racked up by the Perry-Luekemia ticket.
Oh, and don’t give me the Ralph Nader argument. Even the most popular name in America would have had to start long ago to get on the ballot in battleground states, so you can just forget your dream of President Saturated Fat.
Not that any of this makes any difference. If Trump becomes president, I’ll still be laughing hysterically, though it will be partly due to the medication and straight jacket.