“Trump Now Faces an Impossible Task” Sound Familiar?

By | 5/04/2016 Leave a Comment
Presumptive Nominee of the Republican Party

Soon after Donald Trump’s thumping victory in the Indiana primary, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus tweeted official confirmation of what the business tycoon had been waiting to hear for so long: 

“@realDonaldTrump will be presumptive @GOP nominee, we all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton”  

The GOP establishment – or at least, those in charge at the RNC – were finally forced to confront the reality they had for so long wished would just go away. After Trump’s trouncing of rival Ted Cruz, who had staked out Indiana as a firewall of sorts for the Stop Trump movement, they knew the game was up and they had no choice but to at last pull their heads out from beneath the sand.

It also forced the sudden and unexpected exit of Cruz, whose hopes for a contested convention in which he could outmaneuver Trump during complex rounds of balloting were now dashed. But it wasn’t just the Indiana result – which was a big enough blow in itself – now the overall momentum of the race had shifted too heavily in Trump's favor to stop him. Polling data from the last remaining races was already showing the billionaire comfortably ahead in many of them before any real campaigning had even begun.

In the aftermath of this momentous night, the next day’s headlines in the mainstream media were full of talk of the near-impossible task that now lay ahead for Trump in the next stage of his bid for the White House.  

And of course they’d every right to express skepticism about his chances with the way things currently stand. With a mere 29% of women – who will make up a majority of voters – having a favorable opinion of him, and having enraged a large segment of the critical Hispanic demographic, he would appear to be facing an almost Herculean task in trying to turn things around in such a relatively short period of time. 

But to write him off for the general right now would nevertheless be a big mistake. 

Countless pundits, politicians, journalists and beltway insiders spent much of the past year naysaying his chances at winning the nomination. He proved them all wrong. Now those same smug grins are returning to the faces of the chattering classes as they seek vindication in his match-up against the eventual Democratic nominee. And the same tropes of so-called conventional wisdom – that he can’t debate well, that he offers no substance on the issues, that he doesn’t have any foreign policy knowledge or experience – are all starting to creep back into the conversation. 

But those seeking prognostic retribution would do well not to go too far out on a limb in their gloomy predictions of his fate in the fall. You only have to look at a few headlines from earlier in the year to see why: 

This from Bloomberg View in January: “Trump Will Still Lose. Here's How.” And this from the New York Daily News in February: “Donald Trump, despite N.H. primary victory, faces tough task to win GOP nomination.” This from CNBC in March: “Yes, Trump could still lose.” And finally from Forbes in April: “If Donald Trump Loses Wisconsin To Ted Cruz, Trump May Lose The GOP Nomination.” Of course, Trump did lose in Wisconsin…but look at him now.

The upshot:

Count him out at your peril, for although Donald Trump faces some steep odds between now and November, he’s been there before. And consider this: if a cool $75.7 million spent on 64,000 negative ads by anti-Trump groups failed to take him down…maybe nothing will.

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