David Bahnsen speaks for a lot of Establishment Republicans. Today, he’s linked at the National Review. At this point, Bahnsen is so exasperated with the persistent popularity of Donald Trump that he’s calling on us all to beseech God to intervene.
I’m not sold on his political analysis here, but I do want to note his conclusion.
Trump will not be the President of the United States. His support level is maxed at 35-40% (generously) of the Republican primary voters. In a general election contest, he will lose the nine figure free publicity of the national media, who will turn on him in a New York minute. The blue collar white males who resent the economic changes of the last 25 years will be more than offset by his depleted support from Hispanics, females, and other grown-ups. His skyrocketing unfavorables will matter, and he will lose. And if I am wrong, that is even worse. The United States will be the laughingstock of the world if this man were to become our commander-in-chief.
You will not hear me talk about Trump’s ceiling. I won’t say he’s maxed out at any level. I am not about to say that he will lose the general election. I’m somewhere between skeptical, agnostic and terrified about these questions.
But, if Trump is going to lose as big as people like Bahnsen think he’s going to lose, it’s because a lot of moderate/soft Republicans conclude that it will be better if Trump loses to (presumably) Hillary Clinton than if he wins.
This is the time in the four-year election cycle when people love to promise that they’ll never support the nominee they don’t prefer. Sanders’ voters will never vote for Clinton. Erick Erickson will never vote for Donald Trump. If Ted Cruz is the president, we’re all moving to Costa Rica.
It’s mostly bullshit. The vast majority of people will hold their nose and vote for one of the two major party nominees. Very few committed Democrats or Republicans will cross over to vote for the other side. And no one is moving to Costa Rica.
But this cycle is a little different than most. I can see a lot of New Jersey Democrats who work in the financial sector deciding that they’d rather deal with Trump or Rubio or Cruz than with Bernie Sanders. And I can see a lot of Wall Street Republicans not going for the religious anti-choice extremism of Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, and who know Trump well enough to be embarrassed by him and his desperate efforts to show he has class. They don’t like his act and they’re not haters on immigrants, Muslims, or anyone else.
This year, there’s potential for some real shifting in the shape of the electorate. And there really are some voters in both parties who might leave their party for good if they don’t get the nominee that they want.
There are also a lot of young voters who will be making up their minds about whether they’re aligned with the left, the right, or reality television.