Home 2016 elections Despite Strong Evidence to the Contrary, WaPo Pushes Faux “Trump Could Rewrite...

Despite Strong Evidence to the Contrary, WaPo Pushes Faux “Trump Could Rewrite the Map” Narrative


Another day, another utterly ridiculous attempt at political narrative creation by the Washington Post. This time, it’s the Post’s Chief Correspondent, Dan Balz, attempting to argue that “a 2016 race between Clinton and Trump could devolve principally into a pitched battle for the Rust Belt.” In other words, as a comment at conservative Virginia blog Bearing Drift puts it (in a blog post on “stupid things people are saying about the presidential election”):

“The one thing you forgot to add to your list — all of the media spinning their wheels on how Trump can ‘re-write the map’ and be a competitive candidate in a desperate attempt to manufacture a horserace when he’s on track for a landslide defeat in the general.”

Of course, the Post’s political “analysis” is almost never correct — for instance, see my post on Chris Cillizza’s laughably wrong 2015 (e.g., for months he had “JEB” as the favorite for the GOP nomination and was completely writing off Donald Trump as a factor at all) — so we shouldn’t be surprised at the latest drivel by Dan Balz about how a likely Trump vs. Clinton contest would be super competitive, wild, crazy, map-scrambling fun! Yeah, sure, except for a few of those pesky things known as “facts.”

  • A new poll by the Deseret News finds that either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would defeat Donald Trump in deep-red Utah! If Trump is struggling to win Utah, which Mitt Romney won with 73% of the vote in 2012 and John McCain won with 62% of the vote in 2008, then, seriously, Trump is going to lose in an epic landslide, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Ronald Reagan in 1984, Richard Nixon in 1972 or Barry Goldwater in 1964.
  • Another new poll finds Clinton and Trump tied (and Sanders leading Trump by 3 points) in Arizona, which went for Romney 53%-44% in 2012.
  • As for the argument that higher turnout for Republicans than Democrats in the primaries spells DOOM for Democrats in November, see Primary Turnout Means Nothing For The General Election by Harry Enten of 538.com. So much for that theory.
  • Another poll in another key battleground state, Ohio, finds: “If Trump emerges as the GOP nominee, fewer than two-thirds of Ohio Republicans (64%) say they would get behind him in a general election against Hillary Clinton. Another 10% would actually vote for Clinton, 12% would vote for an independent or 3rd party candidate, 6% say they would not vote at all, and 7% are not sure what they would do.” Whoops!
  • How about Florida? Uhhhh. “If Trump emerges as the GOP nominee, 3-in-4 Florida Republicans (74%) say they would get behind him in a general election against Hillary Clinton. However, 8% would actually vote for Clinton, 9% would vote for an independent or 3rd party candidate, 4% say they would not vote at all, and 5% are not sure what they would do.”
  • As for the “Rust Belt,” the Real Clear Politics polling average has Clinton up 7.8 points over Trump in Michigan; 10.5 points in Wisconsin; etc. Sure, things could change by November — my guess is that Trump will actually do WORSE than these numbers once people really focus on the concept of that lunatic having his finger on the nuclear trigger — but for now, there’s no sign of Balz’s “pitched battle for the Rust Belt.” At this point, if there’s a “pitched battle” anywhere, it looks to be in deep-red states like Utah. But hey, you gotta sell newspapers/attract “eyeballs” and all that.
  • Overall, the Real Clear Politics polling average has Clinton ahead of Trump 47%-41% nationally, with the latest two polls (NBC/WSJ and ABC/WaPo) showing her up 13 points and 9 points, respectively. The last time someone won the White House by 13 points or more was in 1984, when Reagan beat Mondale by 18 points.

Bottom line: Most certainly, Democrats should NOT get overconfident, as anything can happen in a presidential election, but right now it’s very difficult to see how Trump would win any state that Obama won twice, while it’s easy to see how Trump could LOSE several states that Republicans won in 2008 and 2012. As for Dan Balz and Company, I might take them a bit more seriously if: 1) they didn’t have a vested interest in creating a particular narrative; 2) they were right about stuff more than once in a blue moon.

  • Aww

    I am sorry. I think Clinton will win a general election over Trump. But let’s not lead the article with the ridiculous notion that Clinton will be competitive in Utah. If so, she will win 45 out of 50 states.

    • That’s what that poll shows; the point is that Trump is VERY unpopular in Utah, so who knows what will happen.

  • Quizzical

    Looks like the map has been pretty consistent over the years

  • Disappointed

    Trump might win in a landslide.

    The leftwing media has been lying for the last 6 months and continues to lie about who Trump is, who is voters are and his chances in this election. They’ve been wrong every time. In fact, for ANYONE to say what a candidate’s chances are in the general at this point is absurd and smacks of propaganda….the only point of it is to discourage voters.

    We don’t know who Trump’s running mate is. We haven’t yet begun to see Clinton in the spotlight for her crimes as a politician. The media has NO IDEA how many voters will vote for their party, will vote against Hillary or what events will take place in the next few months. The disrupters at his rallies are only making him a sympathetic speaker. If they are so certain Trump will lose then quit trying to manipulate the race now.

    One thing we know is that Cruz will likely lose. He’s too conservative for the general and nothing in his primary results indicates he will expand the base. We also know that Trump is moderate, despite the demonizing by the press and his losing opponents. We also know that the more the media lies about Trump the more his popularity grows. I believe the negative hysteria is a sign he is winning.

    • a) There is no such thing as a “leftwing media.”
      b) Far from lying about Trump, the media hasn’t even begun to dig into his corruption, extremism, bigotry and authoritarianism.
      c) Of course electability is a factor in considering who to vote for. And no, Cruz wouldn’t have a good chance of winning either.
      d) Someone who advocates the draconian policies – immigration, torture, war crimes, restricting first amendment liberties such as freedom of the press, environmental, tax, etc, etc. – is as far from “moderate” as you can get.

  • True Blue

    What effect will third party, specifically Libertarian, have on general election? I watched Gary Johnson interview yesterday; he’s hopeful to be the nominee and he claims the party will be on ballot in all 50 states. I just don’t see Sanders or Clinton voters gravitating toward him.

    • No reason to think it will have any significant impact, as it never has previously.

      • True Blue

        If anything, those annoyed by Trump would be the likely converts IMO. Oh, and how I wish I could find some of that leftwing media; Trump tv time warrants switching channels. Thank goodness for Blue Virginia and other progressive blogs for the “real” fair and balanced retorts.