Having bludgeoned all his rivals for the GOP candidacy for president into submission, Donald Trump now gets to turn his rhetorical “gifts” fully onto Hillary Clinton. It’s going to be quite interesting to see how The Donald goes after Her Royal Highness. One thing is for certain, though – it’s going to be quite a summer-popcorn extravaganza.

The post-mortems from Trump’s Indiana primary victory and the subsequent dropping out by Cruz and Kasich have poured forth in the last day and a half. They seem primarily focused on two areas: current Trump v Clinton polls, bookie odds and election betting figures; and the inevitable questions about how and whether the Republican party and Trump will come to terms.

However, there’s a third undercurrent that I think will start becoming increasingly common: a narrative that, behind the wild-man bluster and the WWE-style smack talk, there are real and positive policy positions that would do the country good. I’ve seen two such in the last couple days.

First, columnist Conrad Black discusses how Trump’s foreign policy speech, one he uncharacteristically delivered from teleprompter, and finds it coherent and plausible.

Second, columnist Betsy McCaughey has glowing things to say about Trump’s economic policy proposals.

I expect to see many more positive policy assessments as we get closer to November, all in an effort to give those who care about seriousness in politics the idea that Trump is, in addition to or perhaps under the carnival barker persona that we all see, someone with serious ideas and concrete plans.

Detractors are, and have been, pointing at the current polls, which show Clinton way ahead of Trump. Detractors are also pointing to Trump’s unfavorable rating, pegged at 57% in a March CBS/NYTimes poll. However, snapshot polls this far in advance of an election are notoriously unreliable, and both Bush Sr. and Reagan polled well behind Dukakis and Carter at this stage in their election campaigns. Trends are, I think, more predictive, and Trump has seen a significant uptick regarding winning the general over at electionbettingodds in the past few weeks (more than doubled, from 12% to 26%).

Trump also has a huge asset working in his favor. That asset is Clinton herself, who has the charisma of a pet rock and the political instincts of a tapeworm, and whose unfavorable rating is pegged at 52% in the same March poll. Clinton has the Democratic nomination essentially sewn up, but only because she has an insurmountable lead in superdelegates. Despite her inevitability, she just lost the Indiana primary to Bernie Sanders. This alone is a terrible sign of weakness and reveals a problematic trend. Sanders, despite being (barring some seismic event) mathematically eliminated from the nomination, is continuing his campaign. That certainly won’t help Clinton, who is not doing well among the young and the party’s purist liberals. And, come the general election, she will, like it or not, be the face of the Obama years, of the Establishment, and of Wall Street. The email scandal will also hang over her head, even if indictments do not come forth, and in Trump she is facing an opponent who will not bear any sense of restraint or decorum. Trump will hammer her with every sin, real and purported, of her past.

That last bit is the wild card. I don’t think that many political solons quite get how much people are enjoying the reality-TV aspect of Trump’s presentation, and the giant f*** you to the establishment that a Trump presidency represents.

We are just over half a year away from the election, and a whole lot can and probably will happen in the next 6 months that will affect voters’ choices. But, as of today, I repeat my prognostication from late February, and state that Trump will beat Clinton in November. I’m not alone in this prediction. Rush Limbaugh, loathed by many and loved by many, predicted Trump will win (in a landslide). So has Anne Coulter. So have certain economic modelers. Most predictors say Clinton has it in the bag, but there’s something really, really different about this election, and I think that most predictors don’t quite get it.

Will I crow triumphantly in my predictive acumen, or merely eat crow? Only time will tell. I won’t be happy no matter who wins, but I long ago resigned myself to that sad truth. Now, for me, it’s just about watching the spectacle unfold.

UPDATE 11/9/16
Seems I got it right. I admit I went into last night with a rational expectation that Clinton would win. However, my gut told me a different story – that the energy propelling the Trump movement could flip this election around, that the giant ethical miasma surrounding the Clintons could indeed turn what should have been a sure-thing into a “what the hell happened” result, that there was probably too much echo-chamber among the forecasters and tea-leaf readers. So, I hedged, calling it too close to change this 6 month old prediction.

The money people, as usual, saw it first. Even as the news organizations tempered their predictions, the gamblers, Wall Streeters and currency traders saw it happening. Electionbettingodds had Trump at 17% to win early in the day, and 90% by 10 PM. The stock market futures and the peso futures plummeted. There will be market turmoil, but as with the Brexit shock, things will settle down. The Left is despondent, and I must admit my share of schadenfreude for that. Soon there will be gnashing of teeth and endless deconstructions. What really matters, though, is what Trump and the Republicans are actually going to do. That’s a rather great unknown. They’ve been handed the ball, lets see what they do with it.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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