Now that it seems increasingly likely that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for president (Bart-like shiver of fear) the pertinent question is whether he can actually beat Hillary Clinton come November (assuming she’s not wearing an XL ankle bracelet under house arrest in one of her million dollar homes).
The way I see it there are four groups that hold the keys to Trump’s fate in the general election.
1. Republican voters who like Trump and will vote for him
2. Republican voters who don’t like Trump but will vote for him to stop Hillary
3. Republican votes who don’t like Trump and won’t vote for him (a.k.a. SECRET- Squishy Elite Cuckservative RINO Establishment Traitors)
4. Independents and Democrats who like Trump more than Hillary and will vote for him
Trying to determine the true size of any of these groups is difficult.
The first group probably represents 35-40% of people calling themselves Republicans at the moment. They are the least likely to move into another camp.
The second and third groups comprise the remaining 60-65% of the GOP and it’s anyone’s guess how they are split right now. Whatever the split is today it will almost certainly change based on events and time. Trump could drive more people into the “Never Trump” group or he could coax some back from it into holding their noses and choosing the lesser of two evils. As the calendar moves closer to November and the prospect of President Hillary becomes more and more real I suspect that “Never” may morph into “Okay, But Just This One Time” for some of the third group.
The real wild card is the fourth group. No one really has a good handle on how many independents and Democrats Trump has attracted so far or could attract in November against Hillary. This is the group that’s either going to win or lose the election for Trump.
If he can get enough independents to support him and enough Democrats to cross over-in the right mix of states for electoral college purposes-he could win as long as the size of this group is larger than the group of Republicans who won’t vote for him. If #4 > #3 (again assuming the right electoral college mix) it’s entirely possible that he could become the next president of these here United States.
It still doesn’t seem probable, but eight months ago neither did Trump being the GOP front runner after Super Tuesday.