Guest Column by Dan Israel
As I survey the presidential political landscape and absorb all of the commentaries, polls and pundit analysis, I see three potential scenarios playing out in November.
Option 1: Truman Beats Dewey
The pundits get it wrong, and Donald Trump wins.
Seems like a distant promise, right? But keep two things in mind.
First, let’s start with a generally understood fact: About 25 percent of Republicans and 25 percent of Democrats do not want to support their candidates. In all likelihood, the restive bases will not vote for the other side, but they are more inclined to stay home.
However, Trump did something to appeal to his social conservative base that Hillary Clinton did not do for her progressive base: Trump gave social conservatives a bone with Mike Pence as his VP pick.
He also has let everyone know whom he would consider as Supreme Court nominees.
What about Hillary? Well, she gave the progressive wing the finger with her VP choice. Tim Kaine, let alone Hillary, is no darling of the left.
She is banking on Bernie Sanders to help bring over the progressive wing, but his efforts may not help as much as had been expected. Bernie’s newly formed political organization, Our Revolution, has lost much of its staff because the operation has become too “establishment” for its founders. Some members of the progressive wing now consider him a sellout.
The point is that Hillary is taking the progressive wing for granted, hoping to appeal to the “mighty middle,” i.e. moderate voters. In reality, the mighty middle is a fallacy. They don’t come out to vote.
The ones who bother calling from the phone banks or going door to door are the hard-core supporters and, most important, the ones who go to the polls, for the Republicans and the Democrats. Moderate voters cannot be relied on to come out in the numbers that progressives and social conservatives do.
Another point to consider is that Hillary did not learn the lesson of Al Gore. In 2000, Gore did not position his run as a third term of Bill Clinton. Truth be told, a lot of Americans wanted it, but he chose to run away from Bill Clinton. And Gore lost.
Could Hillary be repeating history? If she presented herself as a third term of Barack Obama, it would certainly mobilize the black voting base of the Democratic Party to come out. But I just don’t see that happening.
What odds do I put on this outcome? About 35 percent.
Option 2: Republicans Have Their McGovern Moment
In 1972, the dream of the progressive wing was manifest in the Democratic candidacy of George McGovern. He represented everything the progressive wing wanted, from being anti-war to offering $1,000 grants to all Americans unconditionally. He and the Democratic Party got destroyed.
Similarly, and I am sure many of my Democratic friends hope for this, Trump represents the dream of the anti-establishment wing. In this scenario, Republicans not only lose the presidency, but also the House and the Senate.
I put the chance of this outcome at only 20 percent. As many people as I speak with, it appears that many, particularly on the Republican side, will split their ticket. Even if Hillary wins, I don’t see the House and Senate flipping.
Option 3: The Scorched Earth Policy
There are many things we can say about Trump, but one thing is certain: He hates to lose.
If his pollsters see him losing with no viable path to the presidency in mid-October, why not just double down on the fact that the rules are rigged against him and the Republicans didn’t do enough to help him?
By dropping out, he saves face by not losing in an election, and he gets to ruin the Republicans. Outlandish? What has been conventional this entire cycle?
I give this scenario the highest chance at 45 percent.
What do you think?