A top GOP strategist has stated that Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump would suffer a humiliating loss in the general election against the Democratic front-runner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
On Mar. 16, Tony Fratto, the former deputy press secretary of the George W. Bush administration, appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” to offer his take on the current presidential election cycle.
Fratto is currently the managing director of crisis consulting firm Hamilton Place Strategies. Surveying the current Republican primary, he is skeptical that Democratic front-runner Clinton can be defeated, especially by Trump.
The reason is tied with the chaos of the 2016 GOP primary, which may be heading toward a contested convention.
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“In the very best of years, when you have a unified GOP, Republicans have an electoral disadvantage relative to the Democratic candidate that’s pretty clear,” Fratto said.
The strategist added that Trump, who sharply divided the Republican base despite winning the most states so far, will not be able to rally a fractured GOP.
“Trump is not going to bring unity to the party,” Fratto said. “If it’s a contested convention, and it’s someone else, that’s not going to resolve unity either. So, [with] a divided GOP and a fairly unified Democratic candidate, I don’t think this is a hard question.”
Another troubling sign for Republicans: On Mar. 15, Clinton swept both the Ohio and Florida primaries, arguably the two most important swing states in a general election.
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While Trump handily won the Sunshine State, he lost the Buckeye State to Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, a candidate who has no viable path to winning the GOP nomination aside from a contested convention.
Joel Benenson, the chief strategist and principal pollster of the Clinton campaign, agrees with Fratto’s assessment. During an interview with Politico, Benenson expressed more concern about defeating Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the primary than facing Trump in the general.
When asked about Trump’s repeated claims that he will activate enough support among Independents and working-class Democrats to handily defeat Clinton, Benenson flatly replied, “It’s not real."
“What's the evidence of it?” Benenson continued. “I think he’s broken 50 percent in only one state, right?”
Benenson, who had also served as the principal pollster of President Barack Obama’s two campaigns, went so far as to state that Trump has no pathway to the White House and will get crushed.
Early general election polling, while imprecise this early in an election year, has indicated that Clinton has a clear advantage over Trump.
Of the 9 surveys tracking the two front-runners’ potential match-up in the general election, Clinton beats Trump in all but one poll, according to Real Clear Politics.
The polling aggregator averaged all of the survey results tracking national support for Clinton and Trump and found that the former Secretary would defeat the business mogul by roughly 6.3 percentage points.