In our spring 2015 Trends Journal, two months before Donald Trump, a bona fide reality-show champion, became a contestant in The Presidential Reality Show™, we forecast Hillary Clinton would win the race for the White House. In part, we wrote:
“If the election were held today, and Hillary Clinton survives the cash-for-influence scandal, we forecast Clinton as the winner. On issues of gay rights, women’s rights and abortion, Cruz, Paul, Rubio, Carson, Fiorina and Huckabee will find weak support among a sizable portion of women voters.
“With all the candidates, including Clinton, on the same war page and none presenting strong and unique economic policies to truly create jobs and increase wages, what separates Clinton from the guys is the girls.” (“Chelsea Clinton: Female president will make a ‘substantive difference’,” USA Today, April 10, 2015.)”
In subsequent Trends in the News broadcasts and Trend Alerts, we also forecast that Clinton’s Democratic challenger, Bernie Sanders, who ran a much better-than-expected race but will not get the nomination, would be Clinton’s vice-presidential running mate. We noted that “Sanders has succeeded in attracting die-hard Democratic liberals, the financially desperate and deeply indebted millennial voters back into the party fold.” Thus, with Clinton getting 270,000 fewer votes in this election compared to her 2008 run during the same period, Sanders as a running mate would serve to increase Democratic voter turnout in November while countering Clinton’s 56 percent negative-personality rating and her pro-war policies.
While Sanders gained support by casting Wall Street as America’s Public Enemy No. 1 and Clinton as a major benefactor, and it became statistically clear he would not receive enough delegates to secure the nomination, it has been widely reported that Sanders has eased up on attacking Clinton’s Wall Street connections. Instead, Sanders has focused stump speeches on berating the leader of the Republican political pack, Donald Trump.
PLAYING THE “WOMEN’S CARD”
In a race against Trump, initially we believed Clinton’s victory was sealed when Trump, already suffering “women problems” in the polls, sunk 73 percent into negative territory when he said a woman should be subject to “some form of punishment” if she had an abortion and they were illegal. And, as we noted at the onset of the Democratic campaign last September, when Clinton’s daughter Chelsea championed the belief that a female president would make a “substantive difference,” the Clinton plan was to be gender-focused.
However, considering the Trump strategy to attack Hillary Clinton for playing the “women’s card,” questioning her “strength and stamina,” and portraying her as an enabler of her husband’s sexual exploits, he has, in effect, brought her pivot gender issue to the fore as he seeks to minimize its importance months before they face off as their party’s nominees.
Celebrating his sweeping victories in five primaries at the end of April, Trump mocked Clinton for lacking the credentials to make a White House run. “Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the women’s card… And the beautiful thing is, women don’t like her.”
Trump ramped up the attack on Clinton’s credentials and her playing the “women’s card” two days later on The Today Show. “Without the women’s card, Hillary would not even be a viable person to even run for city council positions. I think the only thing she has going for her is the fact that she’s a woman,” Trump said. “She has done a terrible job in so many ways.”
Later in the week, on Fox News Sunday, Trump again escalated the gender-issue attack saying, “Even women don’t like her. They don’t like her. But it is the women’s card, and she plays it, and I’ll let you know in about six months if she plays it well, but I don’t think she’ll play it well. It’s true. If she were not a woman, she wouldn’t even be in this race.”
TRUMP OUT-CLINTONS CLINTON
Again, as we stated last year, months before Trump became a contestant in The Presidential Reality Show™, “what separates Clinton from the guys is the girls.” After she was attacked by him for her playing the “women’s card,” Clinton responded: “The other day, Mr. Trump accused me of playing the, quote, ‘woman card’,” Clinton said. “Well, if fighting for women’s health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the woman card, then deal me in.”
By dealing herself into Trump’s hand by doubling-down on the “woman card,” Clinton, while reinforcing support among her core base, has, in effect, abandoned the famous slogan and centerpiece strategy of her husband Bill’s 1992 race for the White House: “It’s the economy, stupid.”
Indeed, according to a CNN/ORC poll released May 4, the critical issue for nine out of 10 voters is not gender, race, creed or color… “It’s the economy, stupid.” As we have continually documented in our publications and broadcasts since the onset of the Panic of ’08, the data prove and the polls confirm the wage, lifestyles and the spirit of the average Americans are down in the dumps and continue to decline … while their resentment of the 1 percent, who have gotten much richer as the equity markets soared, intensifies.
Thus, while billionaire Trump trumpets promises of restoring jobs and to “Make America Great Again,” not only has he out-Clintoned Clinton by playing the “It’s the economy, stupid” card she has dropped… when it comes to bringing back jobs to America, it is Bill Clinton, President Obama and Hillary Clinton that Trump has blamed for sending them abroad: “It’s NAFTA, the Transpacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, stupid.”
Therefore, despite Clinton leading Trump by 13 percentage points nationally according to the CNN/ORC poll, when the race for the White House heats up this summer, Trump has a clear shot of beating Clinton, since we forecast an economy of more of the same… but much worse for the shrinking middle and growing lower classes. While Clinton will clearly win the women’s vote, when it comes to an electoral process, Trump, the uncontested reality-show champion with a proven track record of playing to the public, has chartered a path to victory.
TREND FORECAST: Barring an ongoing barrage of self-inflicted wounds, despite his bluster, missteps, misquotes and numerous distortions of truth and facts (http://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/statements), and despite the general media/political consensus that he has no chance of winning, we contend Trump is an odds-on favorite at this time.
And as we continually stress and clearly state, while we can forecast trends, no one can predict the future. There are too many wild cards — and the Trump card does not get wilder.
In addition, a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows some 56 percent of Trump and Clinton supporters — the highest share in recent history — say their vote is intended more to oppose the other contender than to support their favored candidate. Thus, considering both candidates are burdened with high negative ratings, and Americans are highly dissatisfied with the two-party system’s congressional performance, there is still time for a third-party candidate to become a serious contender in The Presidential Reality Show™. TJ