So it is all but official the battle for the Presidency will be between Hillary Clinton for Democrats and Donald Trump for the Republicans. Trump has bested all of his Republican rivals and stands alone in the Republican field as the presumptive nominee. Clinton has not yet sealed the Democratic nomination but her victory is inevitable with the focus of her campaign already turning to the General Election and the fight against Trump.
Hillary Clinton as a candidate divides voters. She has been dogged by a number of controversies, most recently over her e-mails and it appears these scandals have registered with the American voters. The latest poll ratings showed her unfavourability ratings at 54.9% compared to favourability ratings of 38.4% equating to an overall negative rating of 16.5%. These findings are often considered the best indicator of a candidate’s success chances and therefore are far from pleasant reading for Clinton.
Furthermore Clinton does not boast universal support in her own party. A lot of Democratic voters are openly resentful of her and are far from certain to turn out and vote in the General Election. Turnout could be crucial in this unpredictable election and if Clinton cannot convince the Sanders supporters she could face a difficult night.
In normal circumstances this would be a Republican’s to lose, however these circumstances are far from normal. Donald Trump has so far defied all political norms and rules in his meteoric rise to the Republican candidacy. He has insulted large proportions of the American electorate, but yet has still managed to be successful. Could he repeat this trick at the General Election?
Although Clinton’s ratings are bad, they are nothing compared to Trump’s. His unfavourable ratings stand at 58.3% with his favourability ratings at 36.5% giving him an overall negative of over 20%. Trump has insulted both women and Hispanics in this election and it is hard to see how given the demographics in the U.S a candidate can be successful with these tactics.
Trump, like Clinton has problems on his own flank as well. Remarkably there are still many in the Republican Party unwilling to either campaign for or endorse Trump. This is true of some Republican voters as well. A figure who cannot even convince his own party to back him is surely going to find it hard to convince the country to back him.
Clinton is a beatable candidate. A Republican candidate who could appeal across the divide would likely be successful. Trump is not the candidate. Clinton may not be liked, but she is more popular than Trump. Therefore in what is likely to be a highly negative campaign fought between two unpopular candidates, it will be Clinton who will be successful. In the fall with no great enthusiasm America will elect their first female President.
Article by Mike Hough
Photograph – CNN