A US Presidential Election Analysis
Once in a while, important events deserve to be discussed and they dislodge physics topics. I wrote in the past about Donald Trump, and today I want to revisit the topic and present some analysis on what is currently going on in US election politics. By now the election outcome is all but certain: Trump will lose, and Clinton will win, but what is the basis for this prediction?
If you never heard of it, there is an amazing site by Nate Silver: http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/
Nate Silver has a huge well deserved prediction credibility and he performs in-depth analysis of the elections way more than what you find on the usual media outlets like CNN.
In the image below you see the daily graph of the winning chances for Trump (the red line) and Clinton (the blue line).
Mid July Trump got a post Republican convention boost and he was on the rise until Clinton had the democratic convention.The sharp Trump decline after that convention was due to his attack on the Khan family, whose son died for America. When that scandal faded, mid August, Trump's odds began improving following Clinton's erosion of trust due to the email server scandal, and also due to concerns about her health. Then came the first debate in which Trump had a very good first half an hour but was ill prepared for the long haul of the debate. That started a turn-off reaction for the independent voters who only now got the first serious look at him.
Still the slide was temporary and the fluctuations were comparable with the prior two weeks and for two days he was climbing back in the polls. At this point the famous tape of him bragging about grabbing women by their genitals surfaced and this started a a chain reaction mostly inside the Republican party. The tape reversed the trend, but what killed his election chances was his performance in the second debate. Trump made two strategic mistakes:
- he attacked Hillary (and Bill Clinton) instead of sincerely apologizing
- he dismissed the tape as locker room talk and claimed he did not do anything physical
Let's see what those were fatal mistakes for him. By going on the offensive when people expected genuine contrition made Trump appear as a rabid dog and people were hugely disgusted by his behavior. The general consensus of the independent people who watched the second debate was that they themselves felt dirty and in need of a shower. The second debate reduced Trump's changes into low teen numbers. If you look at the two prior cycles: June-August and August-October you notice the bouncing back rate for Trump and that there is not enough time for him to close the gap before election day.
Now even if the election is postponed a few months, Trump will never recover due to his second strategic mistake. For all his playboy behavior, it is impossible that he never did anything real as he was bragging on the tape. But by claiming it was all "only talk" as opposed to Bill Clinton's actions encouraged women to come forward to tell their stories. Once this started it cannot be stopped. Just ask Bill Cosby on how it happened in his case: the same pattern will repeat here.
When the tape was released, republicans running for reelection started deserting Trump out of fear that he will negatively affect their changes of reelection due to the backlash in the women's vote. But by now is is clear Trump's chances of election are virtually zero and this has the potential to split the Republican party.
After the election loss, the finger-pointing will begin. Rience Priebus has no real vision or power and will most likely lose his job. The power vacuum will start a chaotic period for the Republican party which will end either by a victory of anti-Trump forces, or a party split. My bet is that the party will remain intact since politicians tend to act as a pack: there is strength in numbers and it is hard to survive alone.