All posts by Jerome Armstrong

Trump's move to the alt-right base in a four-way vote

Trump cannot win a two-way contest against Clinton. That has been obvious since day one. Neither can he win a three-way race with the Libertarian Johnson included. However, if you add Jill Stein to the equation, everything changes. Trump probably knows this by now, given how involved his polling is with his decision-making. So how does he get a four-way race?

He's already tipped his hand on how: by including Johnson and Stein in the debates. He also circumvents the Presidential Debate Committee in the process (an added bonus of blowing up more things). The Trump campaign has no respect for the two-party system. They are just as inclined to blow that up as they did the Republican Party during the primary season.

Trump will announce that he is including Johnson and Stein in the debate, and Clinton is also invited. He won't ask, he will make it an invitation, and the media networks will jump at the chance to host the event on their station. Johnson and Stein will accept without question. What will Clinton do? Probably make the wrong move.

The right move would be from strength. Accept both third-party candidates to the Presidential debates, and tell Trump she'll debate him anytime, anywhere, one-on-one or with other candidates.

But possibly, out of fear of the unknown and bad advice, Clinton will avoid a response, hide behind the presidential debate commission as the debate arbitrar, and open up a lane for Trump.

Stein is not a great candidate. With wide publicity and deep public financing, she did horribly in a very blue state, while running for Governor in MA. Trump is a lousy debater, with no depth and a lack of composure. Johnson is not going to knife anyone and would ruin his brand if he tried. Clinton, by far and away, is the most able debater of the four, and would come away the winner each debate.

If you look at the calendar ahead, the debates stand out as the best shot for Trump to shake it up. But he also does poorer with fewer on the stage. With four, his lame one-liners don't have to be repeated as often. Trump has shifted to a base strategy, which has not chance to win a traditional D vs R matchup that fights over the center, but it opens up another way to win the election.

It's a very populist move, which has the chance of polarizing Clinton as the establishment candidate, and opening up a lane for Stein to move into taking away double-digits or more, of the Clinton PV total. Especially if Clinton declined, and let Trump be on the stage alone with Stein and Johnson. That would be a potential catastrophe for Clinton.

It's the only alternative I see open to Trump. There is not a silent majority on the sidelines rooting for Trump. It's just the opposite, with AV and RV polls showing him losing in an even larger landslide than LV polls. A strategy which tries to turn a two-party contest into a base vote by attacking Clinton non-stop will do nothing to increase his own numbers past the low to mid 40's.

However, a strategy which keeps Trump in the 40's, while taking 10% away from Clinton, moving it off the table, has potential. It's a wildcard with Johnson potentially taking away more votes from Trump too, but it's much less predictable than a Clinton vs Trump GE.

That's potentially what this Breitbart move is all about, with the alt-right narrative movers and rightwing pollsters officially coming on-board the Trump campaign. My prediction is that it's a set-up for their next move, of broadening the presidential choices. This move caters to and secures the base; the next move potentially splits up the opponents base. I am sure too, that Clinton's hold on the left base, which Sanders held, is tenuous at best.

The populism of the move also lets Trump gain the upper hand in the media narrative. The partisan Democrats reaction to this sort of 'throwing out the rulebook' is to accuse, deny, and assume an elitist position. I don't think Clinton has the political instinct to override those partisan elitists either, unless she's learned from the early '08 primary lessons of being on the wrong side of populism.

As I glance at this election sideways every once in a while on Facebook, I may be just pulling out a non-starter and giving to much credit to the Trump strategy. This decision-making move though, along with what I have read him say about the debates, looks like a clear read of a potential shakeup of the contest ahead.

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Johnson is the October Surprise

I still have the feeling that Gary Johnson is going to become the October surprise. Ben Sasse never happened, which clears the way for Johnson and Weld to have a real shot. This is pretty amazing.

A great post on Red State describing what the state of the election is today.

And just to be clear, I have no role in the campaign. I worked for Johnson's '12 effort, setting up all of his tech and digital campaign, but bowed out once it got going. That was the end of the gig. I've nothing to do with politics, now, but I do care for the direction of the country, and electing Johnson would be incredible.

As I outlined a few months ago, all that has to occur is for the election to be moved into the House of Representatives, by neither Clinton or Trump netting the majority of electoral votes. Theoretically, it is possible (between two candidates) to have a 269-269 tie out of the 538 votes. It's also possible that Johnson/Weld win a few a state, or a few states, to keep the majority away from Clinton or Trump.

Utah, as RS blogs, is probably the best shot. In fact, Johnson may already be considered to be an election-day favorite in the state, if things go the way of the trend. But he probably needs at least another state or two, in a three-way race, to have this scenario pan out. They would most likely also be western states, speciifically mountain region. Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, fit more or less in that role.

Beyond that, it is really just a matter of how high Johnson is in the national vote before single states would go his way. If he's at 30% alot more, less so with being at 20% in the final vote.

The other way is that Johnson gets to 270 all by himself (what a world!). To do that seems quite a reach. He'd need to be at that 30% and take states like Texas and California. Option A is easier.

It is certainly plausible. In a nation which puts a Trump at 40 plus in the polls for vindification, they would just as likely put a Johnson in the Presidency. Why opt for the tragic with the comedic offers up.

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The October Surprise

This is shaping up to not turn out as expected. Well, the second part, anyway. Clinton is ahead of Trump and will win a one-on-one. I don't care what the polls say otherwise, Clinton wins that matchup everytime at the state level. The primaries have ended with the frontrunner securing the nomination (not technically, yet).

But who thought that the GOP race would be over before the Democratic one? And Sanders is just pulling tighter. The Morning Consult national poll is at 48-42. Sanders is very close, but has not been able to knot it up. We'll see what June 7th brings. At some point, the flag gets waved or the troops move onto a new fight. The chances of Sanders going Independent seem slim, but what about a Sanders-Stein Green ticket come August? That seems within the realm of happening, with at least a slim shot.

Johnson's choosing of Weld was a great move. Without another entry of a 3rd party ticket, they may be the October surprise. They would need to get to at least 30% nationally for them to win a few states though, and that seems a high hurdle.

And where are the pro-life conservative voters going to go? That's where I think Ben Sasse comes in to run. You see, he doesn't need to win, but only finish in the top three. And I think a plurality, or perhaps a majority, of the states back Sasse in the House.

The amount of disdain for Trump and Clinton is palatable. All a viable candidate needs is to keep either of them from a majority of the EV's and it would go to the House for a vote.

If it goes to House, each state delegation casts one vote for one of the top three EV contenders to determine a winner. All Sasse and, say Romney, need to do is win one state, be it Utah or Nebraska, and they are in 3rd. That doesn't even take 30% nationally.

Come January 2017, the Republicans will likely still have the majority of state delegates in the House, and they will block vote behind a sitting member above all others. And second, they would rather have a Republican, be it Johnson/Weld or Sasse/Romney, than Clinton, or, for that matter, Sanders/Stein.

Clinton, all of a sudden, looks very weak in this projected outlook. Maybe she lucks out still with an EV majority. Perhaps. I like the idea of Sasse running, if only to make sure Trump does not become President.

I really like the idea of five viable tickets running for the President. Like most Americans, I don't even know who I'd vote for in that scenario. If this unlikely scenario happens, it may just wind up influencing the state delegate composition as well.

Maybe it winds up with none of the candidates being able to reach 26 state votes. Then it would go to the Senate, where a majority would choose among the top two tickets VP choices, for President. Far-reached, for sure, but the potential endgame if things start to go on tilt in October.

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The Race Goes On for Bernie and Ted

Bernie and Ted refuse to turn over. Kasich is an afterthought, at least for now. Clinton's inevitability remains, but not so much for Trump.

Bernie Sanders has won six of the seven contests since 3/15 and gained 81 delegates on Clinton. But, to put that in perspective, Clinton gained 102 delegates over Sanders on 3/15. He's closing the gap, but its still a big hole of over 200 pledged delegates, 1253-1025. Next up, a Wisconsin primary and a Wyoming caucus. Sanders will narrow the gap further. To just 200 delegates? Possibly. Then the huge contest in New York, on April 19th, with 291 delegates at stake. That's a really big deal. Clinton has to be expected to win New York. I'll venture that if Sanders comes out of New York down just 200 delegates, he's barely still got gas. There are few few caucuses going forward, which helps Clinton. But California is huge and might eventually favor Sanders, but for now leans to Clinton.

Ted Cruz is also a winner of the caucus system. He swept the Utah caucus, and the ND caucus has all the makings of an Anti-Trump selection. Cruz is also likley to gain about 40 delegates overall on Trump in Wisconsin. The GOP is getting behind Cruz, and it's beginning to show up in the polls. A recent CA poll shows the trend-- Cruz and Trump now tied in a state that Trump must win in order to gain a majority of delegates prior to the July convention. Overall, Trump is still in a commanding position, leading Cruz by over 280 delegates, with 47% of the pledged delegates. If Trump goes over 50% of the delegates with New York, he starts to look inevitable.

It still looks like a Trump vs Clinton contest. Gary Johnson polls over 10% as the Libertarian candidate, and we are sure to get a Christian Constitutionalist candidate if Trump is the GOP nominee. It's doubtful any other 3rd party candidate emerges on the right. On the left, the longer Sanders goes on, the more likely is is that the Green Party gets a rise from an anti-Clinton defection.

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