What does it say that Donald Trump in 2016 has passed Mitt Romney’s vote total from 2012?
According to a recent article by Kyle Cheney of Politico, Donald Trump is about to win more primary votes than any other Republican presidential candidate… ever.
The section of the article delving into this deserves to be quoted in full:
“Trump surged to more than 10 million votes, according to totals that include Tuesday’s preliminary results across the Northeast. That’s already about 250,000 more than Romney earned in the entire 2012 primary season and 153,000 more than John McCain earned in 2008.
More significantly, Trump is positioned to easily pass the modern record-holder, George W. Bush, who collected 10.8 million votes in 2000.”
Let this swish around the old noggin’ for a little bit. If Trump’s campaign continues on its current course, he isn’t just going to be the Republican presidential nominee; he will have a great popular mandate than any other Republican candidate since the advent of the modern primary system. Even if loses to Hillary Clinton in the general election, this will still be a historic achievement, and it is worthwhile to analyze its implications.
1. There is no way Republicans can deny him their party’s nomination without being accused of cheating.
At this point, it’s virtually impossible for Trump to not walk away with a majority of the popular votes cast by the Republicans who participated in this year’s primary. That said, a case could be made for denying him the nomination if his victory was a squeaker or had in some other way been compromised. If/when Trump surpasses George W. Bush’s 10.8 million votes from 2000, though, he will have accomplished an electoral feat of considerable magnitude. How can the GOP deny him the nomination when, mathematically speaking, he has a better claim to it than any Republican presidential candidate before him?
2. Republicans need to ask themselves what it means that Trump has done so well.
I’m reminded of an observation by Milo Yiannopoulos in his April 27th editorial for Breitbart: “It’s pretty clear that they, not you, are the Republican Party.”
This comment was directed at the Republican Party establishment which wishes to thwart Trump, and much as I detest Yiannopoulos, the man has a point. The rest of us may see Trump’s racist, xenophobic, and sexist language as repulsive, but an unprecedented number of Republicans strongly identify with those sentiments. These aren’t just undercurrents within the Republican Party; this IS the Republican Party, or at the very least its dominant segment. Given how Trump has been remarkably light on specifics in this election cycle, there really isn’t much else that his supporters could have latched onto besides his deplorable bigotry towards these various marginalized groups.
3. We need to start worrying about the realistic possibility of a Trump presidency.
The problem isn’t simply that Clinton’s lead over Trump is far from commanding (the most recent polls peg it at anywhere from 3-to-11 percent), but that Trump has inspired so much more enthusiasm than her. Anyone following the Democratic primaries has noticed that most of the enthusiasm, if not the votes, have been going to Bernie Sanders; by contrast, there is little question that Trump is sweeping the Republican Party by storm. While there are factors other than excitement that determine electoral outcomes, Trump certainly has an edge over Clinton in motivating his supporters to actually turn out on Election Day. Democrats should not be complacent about this.
There isn’t much else to say about the subject of Trump’s popular vote total, at least not until the next round of balloting occurs. Suffice to say that, for anyone who thought Trump could be thwarted in his bid to become our president, those 10 million plus votes should be very, very sobering.
Photo: Flickr – Gage Skidmore/”Donald Trump”