Since he was first publicly mulling his presidential bid last May, Donald Trump has been viewed unfavorably as a candidate by a majority of Americans. Look at the list of every single favorability poll compiled by Real Clear Politics . Like many of his ventures, Trump is constantly in the red:
I’m pretty sure Sauron’s favorability rating is higher than Trump’s.
(Speaking of Middle Earth, why is John Kasich still in the race? He needs to win 116% of the remaining delegates to secure the nomination on the first ballot. Unless Republicans are tabulating the vote using Common Core Math, he has no chance to win. He has to know it. And if he knows it, he doesn’t care. I’m beginning to suspect his entire purpose is to deny Cruz a path to the nomination and deliver it to Trump in favor of… something. He doesn’t even want to debate unless the Donald is there.)
For some reason, the massive dislike of Trump isn’t sinking in with his supporters. The idea that 60+% of the American people do not like Trump may be a disadvantage to winning an election seems to be no big thing to his followers. The National Review’s Jim Geraghty has had the unenviable task of debating Trumpkins on Twitter on the lack of a viable path for Trump to win the general election. His trying to explain to Trumpkins why a man despised by almost two thirds of the country is not someone you want as a standard bearer is starting to remind me of Bruno Kirby’s character in City Slickers as Billy Crystal tries to explain how to program a VCR for the umpteenth time, never with any success.
Unfortunately for Mr. Geraghty, he is handicapped by two factors: 1) The 140 character limit on Twitter precludes presenting well thought-out reasoning and forces users to conduct political discussions in sound bites; and 2) Trumpkins are unimpeded by the need to reason out concepts. (Or as G.K. Chesterton observed, “If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment.”).
[As bad as Geraghty has it, I feel really bad for Jonah Goldberg. He seems almost despondent about the state of the Republican Party. There seems to be the realization that the GOP is not, in fact, a conservative institution. Last week’s G-File has an air of resignation as to the inevitability of Trump’s ascendancy. Goldberg is the old cynical cop who was once the bright idealistic rookie until the system crushed his soul. At least Kevin Williamson is seemingly channeling his inner Anthony Cloyden Hayes: “If the world is going to hell in a bucket, I want to hold the handle.”]
Give National Review credit. Long considered the paper of record for the conservative movement, they are doing all they can to let people know that Trump is not a conservative and conservatives should not be supporting The Donald.
The same cannot be said of the Democrat Party and the Progressive movement. While Hillary Clinton has been viewed favorably in the past, the last time any poll found her positives outweighing her negatives was in an ABC poll conducted July 8-July 21, 2015. (You could even argue that poll was an outlier. The Economist/YouGov polls which were occurring on a weekly basis had her unfavorable for all of June and the end of May as well). The RCP Average last had her favorables in positive territory on May 25, 2015. So 298 days and counting of being seen unfavorably with no sign of let up. In exit polls of Democrats, those who believe trustworthiness is important in a leader, do not like and are not voting for Hillary.
[And as an aside, what pray tell, does it say about those who don’t think honesty is something to be looked for in a leader?]
Sure, there is the occasional piece about how Hillary isn’t well liked or that she has credibility issues. But the subject is always raised in such a way as to wave away any concern. (“Sure you have to count your fingers after you shake hands with her. But at least she’s not Trump!”). Rolling Stone is edging around it, pointing out the New York Times is carrying Hillary’s water. Note they’re not taking on her, just her minions. (Also it is Rolling Stone. Not exactly the most credible organization to be questioning the journalistic credentials).
This isn’t just some sort of liberal bias in favor of the presumptive heir to the Obama Crown. It’s not even “Drink the Flavor-Aid” level of fanaticism. We’re talking the UFO Regression Hypnosis level of cultness in defense of Hillary. The media’s coverage of Democrats is reminiscent of an old Dennis Miller joke about the Story of the Emperor’s New Clothes: When the child pointed out the Emperor was naked, he was stoned by the crowd for making them look bad. The press actively goes out of its way not learn anything that might suggest Clinton is unfit for the office. If the FBI decides Hillary should be prosecuted for her email/server screw-ups, you have to wonder if the media will report it. Donald Trump likes to brag he could stand on 5th Avenue with an elephant gun shooting tourists and get away with it. And he probably would. But the press would be there covering it, albeit with MSNBC’s Morning Joe lobbing softball questions (“Donald, some might think capping an old woman in a wheelchair a tad excessive.” “Minka, if we’re going to keep health care costs down, we need to cull the slowest and weakest.” “Great answer, Donald”). If Hillary Clinton did the same thing, not only would the press not cover it, but they would probably be in another borough of New York City talking about anything but Hillary.
The fact that Clinton is disliked by a majority of Americans even with the media carrying more water for her than Gunga Din ever did is amazing. Imagine her favorability ratings if the media covered her as they do Republicans.
So, we are looking at the major parties each nominating as their standard bearers, candidates that are disliked by a majority of Americans.
I don’t think that has ever happened before in the history of the Republic. Yes, polling and the concept of favorability ratings is relatively new, but I cannot think of a campaign where the voters hated both sides. This may very well be the first time a majority of voters will go into the voting booth trying to figure out which candidate they hate the least. The question is: will the General Election campaign be more or less negative. Now contrary to what the chattering classes will tell you, negative campaigning does work. (You know why I know? Because if it didn’t work, campaigns wouldn’t spend precious money on something that had no benefit or adversely affected them). So, if most people hate Candidate X already, throwing mud at him isn’t going to be of much benefit to Candidate Y. Of course, Candidate Y may decide to scorch the earth to ensure no one even thinks of casting a vote for Candidate X.
Maybe this is the cycle for a third party candidate to shake it all up?
Or maybe blow it all up?