WikiLeaks released thousands of emails involving Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, on Friday. In one of the leaked emails from March 2016, an adviser warned against Hillary’s overall campaign strategy, afraid that her campaign was “almost entirely dependent” on Donald Trump winning the Republican nomination.
Brent J. Budowsky, a former congressional staffer and current liberal blogger who has written for The Hill, the LA Progressive, and The Huffington Post, told Podesta he was “petrified” that Clinton might lose the 2016 election, should someone besides Trump win the GOP nomination.
Right now I am petrified that Hillary is almost totally dependent on Republicans nominating Trump….she has huge endemic political weaknesses that she would be wise to rectify…..even a clown like Ted Cruz would be an even money bet to beat and this scares the hell out of me……
Indeed, if head-to-head match-ups between Republicans and Democrats during primaries are useful, Budowsky had a very good point. Throughout the primary, Trump polled worse against Clinton than any other candidate, especially in the last few months, when both Ted Cruz and John Kasich polled closer to (and indeed, higher than) Clinton, compared to Trump’s dismal numbers.
(I have linked to the RealClearPolitics averages for each candidate against Clinton — it is important to note that polling stopped for Cruz and Kasich, so you have to compare these averages against the Trump average for the time in question, not the present. Trump’s best numbers against Clinton came at times when both Cruz and Kasich did even better.)
In recent days, at least 41 Republican leaders have distanced themselves from Trump, notably including House Speaker Paul Ryan. Their disavowals followed the release of audio showing the Republican nominee saying he can abuse women, or “grab them by the p***y.”
To those of us who opposed Trump during the primary, these comments do not represent a revelation, only a confirmation of the character we knew Trump to be. After all, this is the man who bragged about sleeping with other men’s wives and insisted that he did not need to ask God for forgiveness.
Clinton’s message of unity, attacking Trump’s “basket of deplorables,” would not have carried as much weight against Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, or Ohio Governor John Kasich. This is not to say the Democratic Party would not have attacked the eventual Republican nominee as racist, sexist, and homophobic — this is merely the base level of their political “discourse.” But those attacks would have meant less than they do now, were Donald Trump not the nominee.
Next Page: How is Trump doing in polls after his latest scandal?
In many ways, it is true that Republican voters saved Clinton by choosing Trump. After all, he is the least liked presidential candidate in the history of modern polling, and she isn’t far behind him.
Recent polls indicate the Democrat has regained a hefty lead against her Republican rival. After the latest Trump scandal, her lead seems to have increased.
In the latest Rasmussen Reports poll, Clinton has jumped to a seven-point lead — despite the fact that Rasmussen notably skews right. On Friday, Clinton held 43 percent to Trump’s 42 percent, but on Monday, the Democrat scored 45 percent to her rival’s 38 percent. “This marks Clinton’s highest ever vote total against Trump — and her biggest lead — in Rasmussen Reports polling stretching back to August of last year. It’s Trump’s worst showing in nearly two months.”
And Rasmussen was far from alone:
Clinton Trump (4-way)
Clinton Trump (2-way)
— Sam Stein (@samstein) October 10, 2016
Trump gave a powerful performance in the debate Sunday night, and it is quite possible this scandal will blow over, just like his others have. Nevertheless, it does seriously beg the question of how different October 2016 would be looking had someone else won the Republican primary.