The aftermath of a narrow Trump electoral defeat

In this election, it’s not just important as to who wins, but also by what the margin of victory will be.

Despite the recent polls showing Trump closing within Clinton’s lead, it’s all but certain that he will still lose in the end eventually. But how he loses makes a big difference.

If Trump loses in a landslide, then the aftermath will be fairly simple and clear-cut. He will have gone down in history as a loser, the GOP leadership will realize they should never have nominated him, everyone will distance themselves from Trump, and move on to 2020.
But if Trump loses narrowly - say, by a narrower margin than Romney did in 2012 - then it gets much messier. His “the election will be rigged!” bogus claims will have a shred of credibility to his supporters, any purported unfair advantage that Hillary may have had will undergo much more scrutiny, Trump’s overall message (being a demagogue of the deportation, anti-globalism, anti-elite, anti-establishment firebrand variety) may remain intact for 2020. And many will conclude that it was the person, not the message, that lost.
Trump probably won’t run again in 2020 - even his supporters will have rejected him by then and the guy will probably be fatigued. But the margin of victory in this election makes a big difference in what happens next.

Would parallels be drawn with Gore’s loss in 2000? Particularly with reference to Florida? Might electoral reform ensue?

Trump is such an egomaniac that he will never be able to survive a defeat. It’ll be rigged, cheated, bought, whatever, but he will never address, or accept, that he was just an unpopular candidate. He’ll continue thinking he’s was a god and one of the most popular candidates ever, but never, in any way, admit he lost.

That said, it’s gonna be close. So close in fact, that I predict half this board will be on Xanax by election night. Me included.

I’ve been giving some thought to this scenario. If she can just barely beat Trump, it means she would probably have lost to someone like Kasich, Cruz, or even Jeb. In this scenario I think that the Democratic Party as a whole would be best served by Clinton declaring that she won’t run for reelection just after the midterms. That would allow the younger Democratic candidates to energize younger voters, and avoid Clinton having to face a stronger Republucan candidate that would probably beat her.

So what are you going to do if he concedes that Clinton’s narrow victory was fair and square?

First off Obama-Romney final tally was not super close: 3.9. Kerry-Bush was 2.5, Gore-Bush … well. Fact is following a two-term incumbent of the same party is a tough sell and two generic candidates should be neck and neck. I am hoping for a very large Clinton margin but will unsurprised if it is as close as +2. This a pretty polarized electorate. Surprised if it is closer though. And pleasantly surprised if it is more than +8.

The big impact will first be on the GOP.

If it is a blow-out (let’s say over +8) then the elements that want to become at least slightly less unwelcoming to those who are not all of white, Christian, and heterosexual, have their say. The deplorables will be able to win some House seats but at Senate and national levels will have decide between breaking off on their own, staying home, or picking the less poor (to them) of the choices available.

If close (define it as under +2) then those of the a bit less unwelcoming element are pretty toothless and have to drag the death process of da pandering to da deplorables along. The possibility of having a unified party moving forward for them is remote and the next primary season looks ugly and divided again with a weaker bench than this time.

Better for the GOP and the country if it is a blow out. Regular sized loss? Romneyish? I think the bit less unwelcoming element still prevails but it is much messier and unsure.

In any case a president HR Clinton will be judged on how she’s done in the job, and how things outside anyone’s control have rolled. In ways that she can falsely claim credit for or falsely get blame for?

I think this is more magical thinking than reality-based.

Anyways, in your scenario does Trump win the popular vote but lose the electoral vote, or lose both?

Why makes you think it’s magical thinking?

Regardless of the margin of victory, I think the clown car is not going to happen in the next Republican primary assuming Clinton wins this year. I think it’s likely that younger, more serious Republicans will be running in the 2020 primary. It’ll probably be young governors like Nikki Haley, Matt Bevin and Brian Sandoval, young senators like Ben Sasse and Tom Cotton, and most likely Paul Ryan as well. If Clinton could barely handle the clown car, I don’t like her chances against the murderers row of folks I mentioned above.

Because it’s completely ignoring reality. Nate Silver gives Trump a 40% chance of winning right now. Only a fool would be completely certain he won’t.

To pick the nit, Velocity did not say “completely certain” - the phrase was “all but” …

Now whether or not you choose this point to worship at the altar of Saint Nate the Silver is up to you, but other aggregators do not go so high even after this week with this polling. NYT’s TheUpshot still has him at only 27%, PEC 14%, and the betting markets as collected by PredictWise at 30%.

Yeah, “all but” is still generous based on current polling, but “magical thinking” it aint either.

Meanwhile hows about you play it as a hypothetical and don’t fight it?

Maybe. And maybe one or two of them could be formidable. But without a clear solid loss for Trump several of them running is a not a path for any of them winning. Getting past the primary gauntlet of a base that can be dominated by a group of deplorables will be tough.

If Trump loses by a narrow margin, I believe he will accept it with all the grace, dignity, and good-sportsmanship with which he accepted Obama’s birth certificate.

Except that being an incumbent gives her an edge she doesn’t have right now.

So you’re saying it will take him eight years? I believe it.

Not to mention the not insignificant four more years of demographic changes.

I’d be both delighted and astonished, and I’d take back some part of the rotten things I’ve said about him.

Here’s what I think would happen.

If Trump gets blown out, he won’t run again in 2020.

If he loses a nailbiter, he’ll turn up the crazy a bit and keep preaching about what a total shithole America is. All the while Clinton will be doing a pretty good job as president so his message will resonate with fewer people. Trump will then go on to win the Republican nomination in 2020 followed by an even bigger loss in the general than in 2016.

This is the post FOX world. Trump will build his loss into a narrative. He will not admit to humiliation in the slightest. He will blame it on the election being rigged. And he will start his own news channel to compete with Fox and make them into a “liberal” outlet.

If you have been listening to right wingers for the last few years you know that every event gets built into the narrative somehow, regardless of how absurd the construction is. There has never been any reckoning for them, yet anyway. It could be peace and prosperity under a democrat, terror attacks and economic downturn under repups trickle down economies, any scenario possible in between. Don’t matter. And it won’t until the demographics make the Rs simply give up hope.

I think at some point people will get tired of Trump and may think “What was I thinking?” but it will only be because Trump is ridiculous. But not all demagogues are as out of touch as Trump.

I would consider that I had been transported to an alternate universe. I would doubt my own sanity.

With one exception. This could happen if The Donald was tied down, injected with powerful drugs, and then convinced to stand in front of the cameras and read nicely from the TelePrompter, because he was for sure going to win in 2020, provided only that he nicely reads what the TelePrompter is saying and then shuts up and leaves without taking questions. And even the TelePrompter, whose contents was authored by the Blonde Bimbo Spin Machine, would scroll its text opining that this was not a loss but a “victory for the future”. Afterwards, it would become the first known case of a TelePrompter machine actually throwing up and quitting its job.