Children–and adults–often believe that when they root or hope for a team or for an event to occur, that their wishes can influence the outcome. This irrational behavior probably underlies the fervent cheering for sports teams. And candidates in political processes. Despite my adherence to scientific and rational principles, I admit that I too am guilty of these sins on occasion.
Statistician/blogger Nate Silver‘s prediction for the US election, if all women abandon Donald Trump!
Months ago, when pundits here in the US were mostly rejecting the notion that Donald Trump might win the Republican primaries and become the Republican nominee in the presidential elections, I was saying “Bring it on!”
Being a supporter of the Democrats since my arrival in the US in 1998, I predicted that the election of such an unimpressive (to say the least!) candidate–someone who is a populist and not even part of the mainstream conservative movement, would likely fracture the party. Little did I know that the drama would play out just a month before the election, although I knew that “unimpressive” could easily turn to “utterly disgusting,” “revolting,” “racist,” “birther,” “misogynist,” “sexual harasser,” “criminal,” “tax evader,” “serial liar,” “vengeful,” “misfit,” “bad judgment,” “poor temperament,” etc. etc.
It did. But only after the release of a particularly disgusting conversation between Trump and another TV celebrity. What is remarkable to me is how long and how many individual incidents registered with the American public until this one finally is causing the Trump campaign to truly crash. And why?
The list of Trump follies has been growing exponentially in recent weeks. We have seen a man who cannot sling two sentences together and speaks with no filter in a stream of consciousness that offends women, African Americans, Latinos, disabled people, and families of veterans who died in defense of the country. A narcissistic being whose thoughts focus first and foremost of himself. A rich, privileged, spoiled-brat, who always had money and power, and abused it at every opportunity. A man whose business principles include stiffing contractors and ordinary people, because he knows that they cannot afford to sue him in court.
Trump has probably paid little or income tax in many years, and apparently hasn’t given a cent to charity in recent years. He has led the racist birther movement, claiming that President Obama wasn’t born in the US, even after the President showed his birth certificate. He has made outrageous and demeaning statements about women, ranting about their bodies and looks, rating and ranking them like prize cattle. He has called woman “disgusting,” “fat pigs” and “slobs.” He goes on frequent Twitter rampages attacking anyone who dares criticize him, particularly women.
And yet-and yet- despite this very partial list of his egregious behaviors, Trump has, until recently, received support from about 40% of likely voters in the US. How is that possible? And why only now, are Republican leaders beginning to abandon ship?
Statistician, blogger, and head of the “538” website Nate Silver, wrote just now that had Trump been up by 5-6% in the polls, rather than down by that margin (as he is–or was–just before the video tape broke), it’s quite possible that we would not be seeing so many rats jumping a sinking ship.
With regard to the questions I penned above: Why (until now) ~40% support? The US is a polarized society, with roughly 50% of the electorate supporting democrats, and 50% supporting republicans. I won’t get into the history of this, but it’s fair to say that the Republican Party is also polarized from within. The so-called Tea Party, or more conservative branch of the Republican Party may include up to 50% of the Republicans. Anywhere from 30-50%. Hard-core enthusiastic Trump supporters may also comprise up to 50% of the Republican base, and probably include a large segment of the Tea Party group. I believe that with this base of core supporters, nothing that Trump will say or do will change their minds. It is the other half of the Republicans–still supporting Trump (until now), who are beginning to rethink their support. Until now, they have rationalized their decision by maintaining that a vote for the democrats will help elect a democratic supreme court and democratic agenda–which is more important than the integrity of the president. However, the absolute vulgarity–not to mention likely illegal behavior–exhibited on prime time television, has begun to sway the tide.
We have heard so many Trump-invented conspiracy theories: The “birther” conspiracy, the delegitimization of highly popular President Obama by fabricating stories that he was born abroad (even after he produced a birth certificate), that the elections are “rigged” against Trump, that the media has been unfair to Trump (the media has been far too patient). The list goes on and on. So now it is time for the ultimate conspiracy.
I may have been correct about Trump causing a civil war within the Republican party–but what if–what if–WHAT If TRUMP and his ascension to the Republican Party presidential nominee IS MERELY A TRICK PERPETRATED BY THE DEMOCRATS TO GET HILARY CLINTON ELECTED?
Stew on that one, Trump campaign…