It appears now that the nomination of Donald Trump is single most likely thing to ensure Hillary Rodham Clinton is elected to President that the Republican electorate could have done. In the primary, it appears that "A vote for Trump" actually did turn out to be "a vote for Hillary."
This is because despite Trump's unique strengths (fearlessness, an unshakable base, willingness to shift positions quickly and fluidly, and charisma) he has some weaknesses that no other conceivable candidate would offer.
- Enmity with the Republican party (Trump Tells GOP to Shut Up)
- A massive fund-raising problem (Trump was given a list of 20 donors to call, called 3, and then gave up)
- A baffling inability to self-fund (Trump asks for ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS from voters)
- A unique toxicity (Apple refuses to engage in Republican convention because of Trump)
And so on . . .
Trump is looking at millions of dollars in un-answered air-time.
A huge disparity in staffing:
And, while one could make a case for Trump's ability to get free air-time and, perhaps, run an effective skeleton-crew campaign (without a lot of spending) the data we have so far?
He's not running effectively.
A Rock so Heavy God Can't Lift ItThe mechanic behind this was that the generalized anger at the GOP establishment created a litmus test that, literally, no one could pass. The qualifications for nominee were the proverbial "rock so heavy God can't lift it." The candidate had to be anti-establishment, an outsider, but with more political experience than Barack Obama. He had to be a young vibrant minority--but scrupulously constitutional, untarnished in any respect, and yet welcoming to a bigger tent. He had to have the donors, the blue-collar, and the religious voters all covered. He had to be a happy warrior . . . and at the same time, very, very angry.
Trump didn't manage all of this (he wasn't breaking 40% until there was nobody left against them--and then then only got some level above 50%) but he managed most of it. The problem is that he managed the worst parts. He was an iconoclast--but his big tent was mostly to make the most vocal racist component of the GOP feel at home. He's an outsider--yes--but his political experience is so limited that bringing him into the most powerful office in the world is like hiring someone who has never seen a pipe before to fix your plumbing.
Finally, and most uselessly, he exploited a flaw in the primary electorate that does not seem to exist in the general populace: raw, absolute hatred of "political correctness." His statements after the Orlando shooting were hailed by his base and hated by everyone else.