Donald Trump’s Yuuuuge Millennial and Independent problem – It’s either Ted Cruz or we lose

Posted on March 15, 2016


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I normally dislike such insipid titles

as the one I chose for this column. But in this particular case, the reality could not be more simple and straightforward. As the GOP Presidential nomination race moves forward, it is becoming more evident that in terms of voter’s preference, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are going to be arriving at the GOP Convention in Cleveland with the biggest trove of delegates and that Trump will not accumulate enough delegates for an outright majority.

Now that the race is narrowing to a choice between Cruz and Trump, GOP voters have to do some critical thinking on the practical matter of who actually can beat the Democrat nominee in November, which seems to be shaping up as Hillary Clinton.

This assumes of course, that the Obama administration fails to do what the law of the land requires it to do and indicts Clinton for breaking federal information security laws and the corruption pertaining to her activity as Secretary of State, soliciting funds for the Clinton Foundation.

Trump supporters have bought into Donald Trump’s extravagant claims that he will build a border wall, deport illegals (he’s walked that back already), invoke an aggressive trade policy, jump start jobs and a host of other attractive promises. There’s more than one problem with this set of assumptions, beside the fact that Trump has a history of supporting politicians that have opposed all of these initiatives. The problem is that there is very little likelihood that Donald Trump will be elected.

An eye-opening set of data has resulted from a new poll commissioned by USA Today / Rock The Vote, conducted by the Ipsos polling firm. The poll surveys 1,541 likely voters in the 18 to 35 year old demographic – “Millennials”. It portends a bleak picture for the electability of Donald Trump in a general election.

In a contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton wins that large voting segment 52% to 19%. This, needless to say, is a staggering gap. When the survey breaks down the comparison along ethnic lines there are no Silver linings to be found. Hillary Clinton wins the White vote nearly 2-to-1, 45% to 26%. Hispanics break for Clinton, 61% to 14% and with Blacks, 67% to 5%!  Trump does no better with Asians, who the poll finds would prefer Clinton to Trump, 60% to 11%.

General election voters will reject Trump

And the poll uncovers something that Republicans have been discussing – the #NeverTrump phenomenon. Whereas most anti-Trump GOP voters would either look further down the ballot for a third party candidate or write-in an alternate choice; 1 in 4 Republican millennials would choose the Democrat nominee, the survey finds.

Trump’s problems with millennials simply compound his other problems with Republicans and independents. An average of polls shows that overall he only receives the support of 26%. The lack of support of independent voters – a growing category of people who are weary of partisan politics, would portend a landslide electoral victory for Hillary Clinton.

All of the above decimates the core premise of Trump’s angry voters. Even though it is a highly dubious assumption that Trump will make good on the promises that Trump supporters find so attractive, it is useless to choose him as the nominee if the chances of him actually getting elected, are as slim as these numbers indicate. You wind up with 4 or 8 more years of Obama style governance – or worse.

There is an alternative. Ted Cruz. While Donald Trump has what he would describe as “Yuuuge” unfavorables – higher even than Hillary Clinton’s, Cruz does not.  Ted Cruz’ acceptability ratings with independent voters have been consistently on the rise, while the more independents get acquainted with Trump, the more of them he loses.  Frank Newport of the Gallup polling organization discusses the problem Trump faces in a general election:

“Most political and media commentators have at this point installed Donald Trump as the GOP front-runner. But this narrative tends to obscure the fact that Trump is the most unpopular candidate of either party when the entire U.S. population is taken into account — and that he has a higher unfavorable rating than any nominated candidate from either of the two major parties going back to the 1992 election when we began to track favorability using the current format.”

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Trump has a firm core of support with between 25 to 35% of GOP primary voters. Outside of that milieu, he encounters daunting resistance. Most likely voters find him a turn off. Ted Cruz, on the other hand, has higher net favorability numbers with the general electorate than Hillary Clinton and has polled very well against her in a general election scenario.

If you want to nominate a candidate that can actually move the needle back toward conservative and Constitutional governance, Ted Cruz is the man who can actually make it happen. Don’t let your anger about the current conditions in America lead you into a foolish decision.