What Australians need to know about the American election.

by on 9 August, 2016

Donald Trump will win the US Presidential Election, argues Sam Oldfield:
Australians are looking at the American election through an Australian prism, they are looking at the negative campaign against Trump promoted by Sky News and others and thinking Trump can’t possibly win. They are mistaken.

America doesn’t have compulsory voting, less than 57.5% of eligible citizens voted in 2012 and that was for Obama, the candidate that beat Hillary in 2008. What got Obama his second term, and I said this at the time, is the absolutely lacklustre performance of Mitt Romney.

And therein lies the key, what’s going on with Sanders supporters, and democrats in general, is that they are not actually willing to vote for Clinton. Sure a lot of hardliners will make the trip to the booth, but Sanders supporters will wallow in their own misery and the cynical just won’t bother.

What Trump has that Hillary doesn’t have is a positive message, and Hillary’s slogan says it all “love trumps hate.” Donald Trump is defensible, anyone who’s tangled with me on the matter knows I can give a good defense and I’m not the only one. But nobody even bothers to defend Clinton. So the best Hillary can do is convince people not to vote for Trump, but Trump can not only give reasons not to vote for Hillary, he can convince people to vote for him.

The wildcards are the media and the election itself. In the latter there’s a chance the election will be rigged in some key places, there’s nothing that can be done about that except keep an eye on it. In the former the media has done an excellent job of keeping Trump’s message off the television. But as I write this I’ve got Trump’s economic speech in another tab (it’s great). This is the social media election.

The most compelling pieces of evidence are two. The first is the increased traffic to pro-Trump news sites like Breitbart, which smashes records every month. The second is the recent controversy over the Reuters poll. For those who missed the story they changed their methodology from polling likely voters to polling registered voters. Before they were measuring people who were going to vote, now they are measuring people who can vote, and lo and behold Hillary gets a boost, they are measuring people who won’t vote for either candidate as voting for Hillary.

Hillary’s current lead is fictional, there’s about 3 or 4 points there that won’t show up on polling day and she’s leading by around 6 or 7 which puts them within a margin of error of each other which the media has astoundingly dubbed “the Trumpocalypse”.  It’s the same thing that happened with the Brexit.

Sam Oldfield is an economist and political commentator from regional Victoria.

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