This is the electoral map I want to see on November 8, a decisive verdict that puts the outcome beyond all doubt.
This is the best of the best case scenarios for Democratic victory that political statistician Nate Silver outlined in a recent blog post (although he still also sees scenarios for a Trump victory).
The map doesn’t have to turn quite that blue for Hillary to win, but I’m starting to think it’s nearly the minimum result we have to hope for in the face of Trump’s appeal to “Second Amendment people” and his insistence that the only way he could not win is if the election is “rigged” against him. As cartoonish as this talk is, we can’t laugh it off.
Trump’s Second Amendment comment can be classified as a sort of terrorism, an invitation to any Trump enthusiast who believes “tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants,” with Hillary in the role of tyrant. All it takes is for one unstable person to hear that remark (retroactively labeled “sarcastic”) the wrong way. While some observers have noted Trump was also insulting responsible gun owners, the fringe element does exist. It includes people like Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people in the Oklahoma City bombing. He cited fighting for the rights of gun owners as one of his motivations owned a T-shirt with that Jefferson “tree of liberty quote” and imagery of dripping blood.
Meanwhile, the “rigged election” talk makes a Trump loss almost as scary as a Trump victory, partly because of the incitement to political violence that has been building for months. One reason the Republican #NeverTrump movement failed to stop Trump’s nomination is that people were terrified of the rioting that would result if his followers perceived the nomination had been stolen from him by party insiders. That day of reckoning may only have been delayed, not avoided.
The worst possible result might be a close result on November 8, something akin to the Florida recount disaster in 2000. Imagine the angry old white man reaction to having the Supreme Court hand the presidency to Hillary. I see gunfire and explosions. In fact, any result that comes down to close decisions in one or two states, any hint of voting irregularities (and there are always some) would have a scary aftermath.
No matter what the margin of victory, Trump is likely to claim he was robbed and happily whip his supporters into a dangerous frenzy. At this point, there are a whole lot of people (including the grown ups on the Republican side) wondering if he would rather lose and complain about it than win and have to do the hard work of being president. But theory of the accidental success, or Trump as the campaign equivalent of Springtime for Hitler (see below: “where did we go right?”), has been popular for most of the past year, and it didn’t stop him from winning beyond all expectations and pundit predictions throughout the primaries. He could still win (or come scary close to winning), despite himself.
I’m sorry to be so depressing, but my only point is that no matter how good the polls look for Hillary today, we won’t be able to relax until at least November 9. Let’s all do our part to make sure it’s not close, particularly not here in Florida.