“In 2016, all the numbers are awful.”
-Slartibartfast, Life, the Universe and Everything, Book Three of The Hitchhikers’ Guide to Galaxy
Slartibartfast didn’t actually have anything to say about the 2016 election — he was speaking of a “revolutionary new way of understanding the behavior of numbers” known as bistromathematics, the study of how numbers misbehave in restaurants.
From the theory of bistromathematics:
The second non absolute number is the given time of arrival, which is now known to be one of those most bizarre of mathematical concepts, a recipriversexcluson, a number whose existence can only be defined as being anything other than itself. In other words, the given time of arrival is the one moment of time at which it is impossible that any member of the party will arrive. Recipriversexclusons now play a vital part in many branches of math, including statistics and accountancy and also form the basic equations used to engineer the Somebody Else’s Problem field.
Recipriversexclusons may hold the key to understanding whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will win the White House on November 8, 2016. That is to say, at any given moment in the race, the candidate who seems most likely to win is the candidate who cannot possibly win on Election Day.
For example. In this handy column for the Boston Globe, Michael Cohen proves conclusively why Trump cannot win:
Back in 2012, Romney won whites by 20 points over Obama. According to the most recent CNN poll, Trump leads Clinton by 9 points among whites. A lot of that has to do with the fact that he’s unbelievably unpopular with female voters. One poll from mid-April shows him with a 75 percent unfavorable rating among all women . . . 75 percent! That’s insanely high.
Trump might have some appeal among working class white men, but the members of that cohort that like Trump are (a) already Republican and (b) were already going to vote for whomever the Republican Party nominates. It’s also important to keep in mind that in 2012, a guy named Barack Hussein Obama won working-class whites in the Midwest. He won them in the Northeast states, where Trump is allegedly quite popular. Democrats do poorly among white working-class voters in the South. In the rest of the country, they are pretty competitive with this group.
So at the outset of the campaign, Trump looks likely to do worse among nonwhite voters, worse among women, and worse among whites than Romney. There aren’t too many other places to make up ground when that is your starting point.
Trump seems fated to go down in flames, doesn’t he?
But that’s OK, because Clinton can’t win, either, as Politico’s Matt Latimer was able to detail no fewer than 12 signs that Trump will win. Number Eight might prove the most prescient:
Trump’s prospects would be strengthened if by midsummer, Clinton, worried about her Sanders supporters, has shown little more than a half-hearted effort to reach out to Republicans. In short, Trump needs to hope for Clinton to stay the safe, conventional candidate who lost to Barack Obama. Her speeches need to remain anodyne and uninspiring, with pandering, focus-group language that screams “career politician.” (A sample line from her last memoir: “From the moment I first held Chelsea in my arms in the hospital in Little Rock, I knew my mission in life was to give her every opportunity to thrive.”) Her policies stay conventional; she enunciates support for, say, tax increases and bigger government programs. Her VP choice proves dull and idea-deprived. In short, if a majority of voters remember what they don’t like about Clinton in the first place by the time the conventions come around, Trump may be poised for a November surprise.
And what nobody on the left wants to acknowledge is that for every female American who will never, ever vote for Donald “young and beautiful piece of ass” Trump, there’s at least one male American who will never, ever vote for Hillary “If I didn’t kick his ass every day, he wouldn’t be worth anything” Clinton.
Trump’s unfavorables indicate he could lose 37 states and fail to win even 200 Electoral College votes. Clinton’s unfavorables put her on the defensive in Blue strongholds like Michigan and Pennsylvania, and in vital swing states like Florida, Ohio, and Colorado.
Clinton cannot win, yet Trump must lose. Trump cannot win, yet Hillary must lose.
The numbers do not lie.
The numbers, they are awful.