As Donald Trump continues to win early states, the realization is finally hitting mainstream Republicans that he is on track to become the party’s nominee barring either a miracle or a brokered convention in July 2016.
With this realization has come the acknowledgment of both Trump’s supporters and opponents that election pollsters have been horrendously wrong and misguided through the primary season. Also, polls which show Clinton beating Trump in a general election -- such as a Real Clear Politics poll on 2/17 which has Clinton ahead of Trump by 3 percentage points -- are now coming to be seen as completely unreliable, especially 7 months before an election.
Trump has been feeding off his own success and ‘winning’ narrative in the primary season, but the general election season is an entirely different animal.
So far, $9.5 million has been spent by superPACS and other outside sources attacking Trump on the Republican side, Politico reports. Trump has so far been able to fend off attacks from wealthy donors who accuse him of not being a true conservative through canny and well-placed barbs, like when he tweeted a warning shot at the wealthy Ricketts family, writing that the family “better be careful, they have a lot to hide!”
But Trump has so far not faced any real, concerted attacks from wealthy donors on the Democratic side, and he has had to spend very little of his own money up to this point. If Trump becomes the nominee, he will no longer be able to simply rail against superPACs and wealthy donors without putting up anything of his own.
As Town Hall also points out, in a general election, Trump will not be able to rely on the relatively friendly blanket coverage he has been receiving from conservative talk radio and online media outlets. The Democratic side, if it is truly afraid, will be running all manner of ads against Trump through every kind of medium available. Is Trump really willing to start spending up to a billion dollars financing his own campaign?
There are also steps which Clinton can take to start making the Trump brand toxic. To do this, she should point not to herself or her opponent, but to a certain faction of Trump’s supporters, which includes white supremacist David Duke.
Politico reports that Duke has now come out and claimed that “voting against Trump is treason to your heritage.” Clinton, who is banking on the support of a diverse electorate, should constantly be pointing to statements like this and Trump’s infamous retweets from other white supremacists if she wants to create an image of Trump as a hateful, toxic, wannabe-dictator.
Additionally, some ideological conservatives are beginning to realize that a Clinton presidency may be the best thing for conservatives at the state and local levels, according to The Federalist. These conservatives point to the 900 formerly Democratic seats and several governorships gained during Obama’s presidency, which have given conservative Republicans overwhelming majorities in state houses and in Congress. Donald Trump, like a bull in a china shop, could potentially undo all of that in four years. A Trump candidacy would make the return of the Senate to Democratic control a distinct possibility.
So while his supporters are savoring their candidate’s primary victories, they would do better to look ahead at the general election and ponder how Trump is going to attend to these deficiencies. If the Trump Revolution began in 2015 and threatens to take Trump all the way to the July convention, the Counter-revolution against him will begin moments after he becomes the nominee, should that happen.
And it will be brutal.