Is There Really A Clinton-Trump Horserace?

I was surfing the internet last night and happened upon a piece on Slate by Jamelle Bouie that immediately caught my eye. The headline was intriguing: “There Is No Clinton-Trump Horserace.” Well, I thought, you’ve got my attention now, and I immediately started reading the article.

The more I read, the more I realized Bouie was absolutely right and that this race is over with. Sure, there are two candidates running, but all the polling numbers and other factors all suggest that race itself is merely a formality because Clinton is going to win. As the article states, when it comes to a horserace, the reality can best be summed up thusly:

“There is no horse race here. Clinton is far enough ahead, at a late enough stage in the election, that what we have is a horse running by itself, unperturbed but for the faint possibility of a comet hitting the track. Place your bets accordingly.”

Now, I certainly don’t expect you to take my word (or Jamelle Bouie’s) for it. So let’s lay some facts and numbers on the table and see what develops.

The Polls

Clinton leads in the Talking Points Memo average by a margin of 3.3 percentage points. The Real Clear Politics averaging of polls shows Clinton in the lead by a 6 points. Lastly, the Huffington Post’s average of national public polls has Clinton leading by 7 points. A 2 to 3-point margin would indicate a close race. But in modern presidential elections, 6 to 7 points suggests a landslide on the order of 2008, when President Obama beat John McCain.

Along that same line, polling models from FiveThirtyEight, the New York Times, and the Princeton Election Consortium all tell us that Clinton will be the victor in November,  FiveThirtyEight gives her an 85 percent chance of winning. The Times calculator places Clinton’s chances at 89 percent. Princeton says Clinton has 96 percent chance of victory.

Let’s say you’re making a friendly wager with a buddy for a steak dinner and you’re told in advance you have an 85 to 96 percent chance of winning. Do you also include in that wager a bottle of the best Scotch on the market? I would take that bet any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

The Campaigns

Clinton is running a professional campaign which is backed by large sums of money and fully staffed at every level, including in the states which will be the margin of victory. Just last week, in contrast, we learned that a 12-year-old is running Trump’s campaign in Colorado. Nothing against young people, but are you kidding me?!

But even if Trump makes a decision to fully staff his campaign at this point (and he won’t), it’s too late to make that change and expect any results. That kind of infrastructure has to be in place a year or more in advance of a national election on the Presidential level. If you doubt that, go have a chat with the folks who ran both of President Obama’s races and they’ll tell you the same thing.

States In Play

Georgia, Missouri, South Carolina, and Utah are still in play. Do you think George W. Bush would have lost those states? No. And he didn’t. So just the fact that they’re still competitive tells you all you need to know. Trump is toast.

Horserace? One horse is nearing the finish line and the other is still the barn having its morning oats.

h/t Slate

This article was originally published by the same author at

By Andrew Bradford

Proud progressive journalist and political adviser living behind enemy lines in Red America.

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