As of this writing (June 2, 1016) Trump is going to be the Republican candidate and Hillary will very probably run against him for the Democrats. Sanders has an outside chance at best though polls indicate his chances of beating Trump are better than Hillary’s. So if you want to vote for continuity and abhor the thought of taking a kind of bungee jump into the unknown, you want to know how the odds stack up in a contest between Hillary and the Donald. If the odds are ten to one for Hillary there’s no question: if she is your first choice, you vote for her. But if they are only fifty-fifty, or less, then maybe right now, before the Democratic convention, you should take Bernie more seriously. It’s a bungee jump with him too, but your prospects are a good bit better than if you stick with Hillary, and Trump wins.
The trouble is that it’s not easy to calculate the odds for Trump. How deep is his popular support? Is it superficial attraction that will wear off for many voters before they actually come to vote? Or is it something that appeals at a deeper level, that grips enough voters to swing the election in his favor? Well, some of each presumably, but what’s the mix?
How do you make a great nation of over 300 million people cooperate on big national issues? They aren’t cooperating well enough now. Ask any of the three candidates and they’ll agree on that at least, while disagreeing on which specific problems are most important and need the most attention.
With Trump more than with either Democrat, rational analysis doesn’t cut it. The wellsprings of his supporters’ discontent run deep. There’s an inarticulate quality to their rage, a sense that not just their own personal fortunes but that of the nation as a whole has been ill-served, that things that should have gone right have gone wrong, and that the country’s leaders have been tried and found wanting. Not just the individual leaders, but the whole class of beautiful people who have been lecturing them on the tube and slapping them with taxes and regulations and generally messing with them to no apparent benefit. This is the army the Demos confront, and at present it is not small. Perhaps the hard core is a minority and there are outliers, and if the Democrats can pick off enough of them they will prevail. But can they? Will they?
Given this assessment, one concludes there is a significant likelihood that if Bernie runs he will win, and a significant chance that if Hillary runs, she won’t.
June 2, 2016