What The Hell You Can Lose

In November of 2012 the Republican establishment was shocked by Mitt Romney’s Electoral College landslide loss to Barrack Obama. By December they came out with what is popularly known as the Republican Autopsy Report. Being the wordsmiths they are its actual title was the Growth and Opportunity Project. If 2016 is any indication it was a waste of time and money.

One of the conclusions they reached is that they were getting very little voter support from Americans of color. What made that situation even more ominous for a political party interested in winning national elections is that those demographics were growing faster than white voters. Soon the collective minorities will be the majority.

Donald Trump started out his campaign by insulting Mexican-Americans during his announcement. He ended up becoming the Republican nominee. His history dealing with African-Americans is troubling to say the least. Add those with Trump’s words and actions during the campaign and it doesn’t make the GOP any more appealing to Americans of color.

Unless Trump can magically make a lot older, white Republican leaning voters suddenly appear this fall his prospects look dim. In 2012, on the way to a decisive loss, Romney got about 27% of the non-white vote. Trump doesn’t appear to be able to reach that low and losing number. The best I have seen him poll among African-Americans is at 2%. Even if that polling has a large margin of error and you add all of it to Trump’s total 10% is unachievable. Something along the lines of Trump receiving 17% of the total non-white vote looks like a legitimate projection; that number is simply insufficient to translate into a victory.

The one state where I think he may do OK with the Hispanic vote and possible contend is Florida. That is because the Hispanic vote in the Sunshine State is primarily Cuban and the older generation of Cuban-Americans is loyally Republican. On election night Florida will be one of the key states I’ll be watching. If Trump loses Florida it will almost be over. It is difficult to find a legitimate path to victory for Trump without Florida. The last I heard Trump had one field office in Florida and Hillary was ahead in the polling by high single digits. Perhaps he believes in magic.

In the last few days Trump has supposedly pivoted to be more encompassing of minority (especially African-American) voters. If this is his best sales pitch he may be the world’s worst salesman. His tag line to African-Americans is: “What the Hell have you got to lose?” Wow! That was immediately preceded with a critique of African-American life in America: “You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58% of your youth is unemployed.” Besides the fact that Trump’s data is all demonstrably false and/or grossly distorted this paints a darker picture of America than his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention did. If Trump’s depiction of America were accurate I’d be part of the crowd looking for the exit door.

Trump entreaty to African-Americans isn’t working. I’d like to believe that Trump and his advisors aren’t so politically inept to have thought that it would. Therefore I accept the analysis that it is really cover to allow what are normally loyal and reliable Republican voters to vote for Trump and in their mind believe they are not voting for an unacceptable racist and xenophobe. This is part of Trump reaching out to the true conservatives in the Republican base. The problem is that the extremists who got him to this point don’t want any modification in language. Bubba thinks what Trump has been saying up to last week was just fine. Hell, it is fun to go to a Trump rally and maybe get a chance to sucker punch a black guy.

Last Sunday Trump’s latest campaign manager Kellyanne Conway fielded a question from Dana Bash on CNN about whether the oft proposed Trump Deportation Force was still part of the program. Her answer was, “To be determined.” That was too cute for many persuadables and too soft for Bubba. Many in Trump’s primary base view a statement like that as too political and a softening of a key position.

If the Republican brand was dead after the 2012 election Trump has done nothing to resurrect it; in fact he may have served more as an undertaker and buried it. My advice to the Republican National Committee and high ranking elected Republican officials is cut all ties with Trump immediately and concentrate on what you have to lose: the offices you now hold that are up for reelection in November. That is a hell of a lot.

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