This presidential election is not a contest between Clinton and Trump (and, to a lessor extent, Johnson and Stein). Rather, it is a referendum on Trump.
And assuming that Trump is going to lose, the voters will be electing whomever is running against him. Turns out, that’s Hillary Clinton (remember her?).
Clinton’s election Trump’s defeat will be a monumental smackdown with a mandate against all his horrors, HRC will not have a mandate.
Let’s assume my prediction of a 48.3%–45.2% popular vote spread is correct, which many of my friends think is waaaaay too high for the Donald. This plurality harkens back to her husband’s 43% win back in 24 years ago (count ’em!), but that was with a serious third party contender. Still, I expect about 20% of her supporters aren’t voting FOR HER they’re voting AGAINST HIM. It’s not unusual to have some voters only voting against the “lesser of two evils.” But I can’t imagine it’s ever been this significant.
Add to that her unpopularity; her not being a good campaigner (cf. Coakley, Martha); and all the faux scandals drummed up by Faux News. And it’s clear to me that few voters in America will be supporting her.
So my point (see! I’m getting around to it!) is more of a two-part question:
- How much of a mandate will she have to govern?
- Is she a sitting duck in 2020?
Here’s the counter points to my worries:
- She’s much more popular when she’s actually in government (Senator, SoS) than in campaigns (’92, ’08, ’16). So maybe my worries will be over when the dust settles on November 9th.
- W had no mandate in ’00 and he ran with it like he was king of the world. A mandate is whatever you say it is. Winning is enough, even if it’s a squeaker, and she’s got four years to do a good job.
Obama sort of had a mandate in ’08, but that was due to McCain’s terrible campaign, Bush’s unpopularity, the financial meltdown, and inevitable pendulum swing between parties. But the GOP got to work obfuscating him at every turn for eight fun-filled years.
So I worry that we’ll have a wounded president even before she starts and will be hard to re-elect in four years.
Am I wrong? I welcome your comments.