Roger L. Simon

How Trump Can Win the General Election

I don’t take it as a foregone conclusion that Donald Trump will win the Republican nomination this year, but it’s looking more likely than ever with his new pause on Muslim immigration so popular with GOP voters.  It’s even looking likely he will win on the first ballot at the convention.

Is this a catastrophe for the Republican Party?  Karl Rove, writing in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal (“Trump is the Democrats’ Dream Nominee”) seems to think so. And he backs it up with stats from a major polling company:

When Quinnipiac asked whether each candidate “cares about the needs and problems of people like you,” 46% said Mrs. Clinton does, and 51% said she doesn’t. If that sounds bad, take a look at Mr. Trump’s figures: 36% said he cares about people like them, and 59% said he doesn’t. Among Hispanics his numbers were 14% to 83%, and among blacks 9% to 88%.

When asked if each candidate “shares your values,” 42% of voters said Mrs. Clinton does, and 55% that she doesn’t. This might be problematic for the likely Democratic nominee, depending on who winds up as her Republican opponent. But, again, Mr. Trump’s numbers were worse. Only 35% said he shares their values, and 61% said he doesn’t.

All these numbers combine to make Mr. Trump the weakest Republican tested by Quinnipiac in head-to-head matchups against Mrs. Clinton, to whom he loses 41% to 47%. Among young voters, he loses by 20 points, 32% to 52%. He receives only 13% of Hispanic votes—less than half of what Mitt Romney did in 2012—to Mrs. Clinton’s 76%.

Looks pretty grim for Trump. (The one who wins consistently head-to-head versus Clinton is Rubio, and often by a fair margin.) But there are two ways to look at those stats — the proverbial half full or half empty.  If you take the more positive view, Trump has nowhere to go but up with blacks and Latinos.  The question is “can he?”

In the words of Cesar Chavez, “Si, se puede.”

Trump already has the white vote so he has plenty of time in the general election to focus on minorities (or soon-to-be majorities) — and he may have a better than even chance of getting them, mainly because their lives have been so miserable under Obama and the Democrats in general. You think they don’t know liberal programs have been a failure for decades?  They live it.  They just need someone to remind them and tell them how they could fix it.

That could be Trump if he makes a serious effort to go into their communities.  He’ll certainly get their attention.  Love him or hate him, everyone wants a piece of The Donald. It’s the huge advantage he has as a mega-celebrity.  Why should he stop now?

African Americans particularly may be surprisingly easy.  They’ve had  the most abysmal time of all under Obama, who acts as if his existence alone is enough to lift up the black community.  And when he does log in, all he does is stir things up and make things worse.  Have we heard of even one new program for African-Americans under Obama?

Trump has already been in the black community and received a surprisingly good response from African-American ministers.  I would imagine that would have encouraged him to do more in the general election. The Donald seems to like praise (understatement of the year).

Latinos will present greater challenges for Trump, but even there he can make inroads.  He’s got two potential Latino running mates (Rubio and Cruz) if he can restrain himself from insulting them too much in the next few months.  Who knows?

It’s clear, however, there’s one group The Donald will never get now and we all know who they are — Muslims.  Fortunately for Trump, they are, for the moment at least, a small voting bloc.