Donald Trump is the GOP nominee.
There are a few ways I could go with this. I would describe my mood at the moment as “confident, but terrified.” I think Hillary Clinton’s going to beat this man like a rented mule in November. But there is a nonzero possibility– it’s not a large possibility, but it exists— that she won’t. Shit happens. And patriotism will no longer be remotely possible in a nation that elects Donald Trump president.
The Republicans at this point have proven that they are what the Democrats have been saying they were for the last thirty years. All of their pretensions are blown away. They have nominated an open racist and fascist as their candidate for the most powerful person in the world. And while I’m aware #nevertrump is a thing, I don’t believe it for a second. Republicans– or at least the pundits and political figures who are being the loudest about #nevertrump right now– always choose party over country, always. Their former Speaker of the House just admitted to being a rapist and a pedophile and they defended him anyway. Every single one of the #nevertrump people will come around. All of them.
There’s lots of talk about high primary turnout. Take it with a grain of salt, as primary turnout isn’t predictive of the general at all. Right now, with the best data I can find, the Republicans have had about 25.1 million votes and the Democrats about 21.7 million. That’s a 3.4 million vote deficit with California and New Jersey, both heavily populated blue states, left to vote; I wouldn’t be surprised if California wipes that deficit out all by itself, especially since Republican turnout is probably going to drop a bit now that the race is settled. So it doesn’t mean anything, and it’s basically a tie anyway.
As far as the Democratic race, it’s all over but the shouting, although there’s quite a bit of shouting to get through yet. Just going by the 85% rule, where Sanders wins any state more than 85% white, I would expect Sanders to win West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, Kentucky, Oregon, and South Dakota, with Clinton winning New Mexico, California, and New Jersey. You will note which column the states with lots of people are in. I would guess the four non-state contests– the Virgin Islands, District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico would all go to Clinton as well, but I don’t know the demographics of the Virgin Islands and Guam might fall under the Hawai’i exception, where there aren’t many whites but also few blacks and Hispanics. Either way there aren’t a lot of delegates there and it doesn’t matter too much which way they go. I’m more certain about Puerto Rico and DC is a virtual lock for Clinton.
Indiana marks the second time the polls have blown the result. I have no hard data, this is just my gut feeling, but: Indiana is famously hard to poll, and I find myself wondering if the combination of that difficulty with Sanders’ biggest supporters being cellphone-only means that his people were harder to find. At any rate, it’s not much of a surprise, because the 85% rule held up. The other blown result was Michigan, of course, which– again, I’m guessing– was partially the result of a big post-debate Sanders swing that the polls didn’t have time to pick up. Or maybe not. Hell if I know.
But back to the general. Here’s the thing you need to remember. You should be paying no attention at all to GE polls right now. Clinton’s ahead, yes, but I would fully expect that with Trump having sewn up the nomination and the Democrats still yelling at each other for a bit, we’re going to see some polls where Trump is ahead, and he should get a bump after the Republican convention. (Should. There is a distinct possibility that the Republican convention will be a tacky horrorshow that will cause the nation to collectively take a step back. It might not help. I’m really glad the Democratic convention is second.) It’s not going to matter. Look at that map up there, and think about the number of states Trump has to flip to win the election, with an electorate that is less white than it was in 2012. And that’s assuming Clinton flips nothing. I’m looking at Utah, believe it or not; Mormons hate this guy. And I still say Indiana could go blue. And there are probably several more. Trump needs to flip 62 EV worth of states. That’s a lot. Where are they? Which ones didn’t go for Romney but will go for Trump?
(There will be no third party runs, people. I do wonder if some of the non-pundit, non-politician disaffected Republicans will land Libertarian, which actually have ballot access in most of the country. But there is no time to put together a third-party run. These things have deadlines. They have passed. No one who has not currently declared is running third party. Stop talking about it.)
And this entire paragraph is a late addition: I’m seeing a lot of talk about the Republicans’ deep bench again, and how Trump will be hard to beat because he beat all of those Republicans on that deep bench? That wasn’t a deep bench. That was a worthless collection of halfwits, charlatans and grifters that I wouldn’t trust to jointly run a Denny’s. It was a clown show. Some fucker had to be the last man standing out of all that nonsense, and the fact that the loudest blowhard and bully managed to be that person doesn’t make the bully impressive.
All told: Do not panic. It’s going to be fine.