Keeping score has proved difficult in this crazy presidential election year, as the polls have been all over the place. One poll released Thursday had presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump with a four point lead, another had presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton leading by six points, and while the average of all the polls still has Clinton leading by five points that’s down by a point or so over the past week and barely over the margin of error and really rather embarrassing given her huge advantage in advertising buys and her opponent’s gaffes over the same period. The only thing that every poll seems to agree on is that neither candidate is at all well-regarded by a vast majority of the American public.
That outlier Rasmussen poll showing Trump with the four point lead has him at only 43 percent, with only 78 percent of Republicans supporting him, which is worrisomely less than the 93 percent than the hated-by-Trumpsters Mitt Romney won in his losing effort in ’12, and we note that the reputedly Republican-leaning pollsters are charging extra to find out the favorability ratings of the candidates. The poll by the reputedly Republican-friendly Fox News that has Clinton up by six points freely acknowledges that an eye-popping 89 percent of the country thinks that “hot-headed” aptly describes Trump, with another 83 percent thinking that “obnoxious” is also a fitting description for the presumptive Republican nominee, but it also finds that only the most gullible 30 percent of the country considers Clinton “honest” and a wised-up 58 percent believe she is “corrupt.”
All that public opprobrium against both parties is entirely justified, as far we’re concerned, and it’s somewhat heartening to see all the polls confirm that a clear majority of the country is paying enough attention to be dissatisfied with its likely choices. At this point either party could win in a landslide if it would only nominate almost any of the 300 million or so American people who aren’t quite so odious as either Clinton or Trump, but it seems unlikely either will do so.
The smart play for the Democrats would be for the Democratic Attorney General to indict the presumptive Democratic nominee on the all-too-plausible charges of violating any number of federal laws with her private and insecure e-mail system and even her “family foundation” that was taking large donations from countries that were also doing business with her as Secretary of State. This would not only disprove a widely held and firmly established suspicion that the current Democratic administration is hopelessly lawless and corrupt, but allow them to nominate any old doctrinaire Democrat that you’ve never heard of because at least they’re not known for three decades of unrelenting scandals. They could go with pesky rival and self-described socialist and full-blown nutcase Sen. Bernie Sanders, who easily trounces Trump in all the polls that still bother to ask about the matchup, or any number of options ranging from faux-Indian and bona fide woman and liberal darling Sen. Elizabeth Warren to the idiot vice president of an awful president who somehow has the best poll numbers of any politician in the country at the moment. That Democratic Attorney General was caught having a recent on-the-tarmac heart-to-heart conservation with the former Democratic President whose wife is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, though, and her Democratic President of a boss has already endorsed her candidacy, so we can’t see the Democrats making the smart play.
That usually Republican-friendly Fox News’ poll has more than half of the Republican respondents saying they still want a nominee other than Trump, and there are still efforts afoot among some of the delegates and influential players and such once-respected conservative media as National Review and The Weekly Standard ourselves to make that happen, but we expect the party to once again miss an opportunity. The Republican “establishment” that Trump vowed to destroy has proved as effete as he always said it was, and that stubborn 17 percent of the country that doesn’t think Trump is obnoxious would make a win over even such a vulnerable nominee as Clinton difficult, but at this point it seems unlikely the party will choose any of the many potential candidates who would creditably represent the party’s past principles, and if even they were unknown it would be because they weren’t known for their own past 30-plus years of private sector scandals and widely noted obnoxiousness. We figure that such a candidate would easily trounce not only Clinton but her pesky self-described socialist and nutcase challenger or that idiot vice president as well, but at this point it’s a risky play even if the smart one, and the Republicans are up until recently the the risk-averse sorts.
We have no more idea how it will all turn out than we do about who will win the World Series, but by our scorekeeping America seems to be losing.
— Bud Norman