Confidence Isn’t Complacency: Democrats Shouldn’t Be Afraid To Say & Believe Clinton Will Crush Trump

The odds are strongly in favor of Hillary Clinton absolutely crushing Donald Trump in this fall’s presidential election. She leads him in polling, organization, fundraising, and in about a thousand other head to head factors.

Clinton also has the advantage of being a Democrat, the party that has excelled at presidential elections. In five out of the last six presidential contests, the Democratic nominee has received a plurality of the votes and outright electoral and popular vote majorities in the two most recent contests. As a Democrat, Clinton is likely to immediately win a majority of states with the most electoral votes. This includes California, New York and Illinois. Her party has also tended to win four out of the five states with the largest electoral college haul.

Clinton will be campaigning with a president with an approval rating over 51%, while none of Trump’s predecessors for the Republican nominee will probably campaign with him, and the most recent nominee actively opposes him. If George W. Bush did campaign with Trump, he would probably be hurt by the exercise, not helped.

It is against this backdrop of dominance that I encounter, on a daily basis, liberals who are constantly wetting the bed.

Frankly, I don’t understand it.

It isn’t that I’m saying Clinton can’t possibly lose. But a dispassionate look at recent history, the state of the campaign, and Donald Trump’s unique positioning as someone directly opposed to the base values of the Democratic Party and its voters does not bode well for his chances.

There isn’t anything wrong with acknowledging this, saying it, and taking it as your dominant attitude heading into the election.


When Michael Jordan was at the height of his basketball prowess, he didn’t go into the NBA Finals telling his teammates they “might” win or that he “hoped” it would work out. He went into those games knowing he was the best basketball – perhaps even athlete – in the entire known world. And then he performed up to that level of expectation.

When the allies landed on the beaches of Normandy in World War II, despite the war juggernaut Hitler had demonstrated thus far, they didn’t say they “hoped” the D-Day landing would work, nor did they hedge, hem, and haw about the mission at hand – smashing the Nazi machine. They went in, knowing that they would win and would prevail, because they had to.

There isn’t any serious person on the left that thinks about the task against Trump as “in the bag,” to the point where they aren’t ready to show up on November 8, 2016, with anything less than the intention to beat Donald Trump’s rear end from coast to coast.

We know he’s a misogynist who is appealing to the worst racist and fascist elements in America in a way we haven’t seen this blatantly in decades. We’re well aware of the downside of a Trump victory, and there isn’t anyone with an ounce of seriousness on the left who thinks that huge issues aren’t at stake – choice, the Supreme Court, health care, immigration, national security – and on and on.

But we also know that the likelihood of victory is on our side, and we should stop acting like a gaggle of Eeyores, constantly beating ourselves up and rending garments like we’re down by 20 percentage points.

In reality we’re far closer to being on the winning side of an epic landslide that metaphorically punches hate, racism, misogyny, ignorance and a million other qualities emblematic of the worst of America right in its stupid face.

And we should act like it.

Act like a winner, and be a winner. Don’t act like a loser when you’re winning.

Trump is going to be toast, let’s get on with it.

(Featured image via Flickr)

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  • while valid points, there are very good reasons for anxiety among the Democratic supporters and certain leaders:

    1) never underestimate the Democrats’ ability to f-ck up a sure thing.
    2) half the states – about 22 last I checked – are facing voter suppression efforts that can flip more than one of them for Trump in a close race within those states. if overall voter turnout does not go up to counter those suppression efforts, this can become another Election 2000 debacle.
    3) the poor turnout of Democratic and progressive voters in midterms could carry over to this cycle even with it being a Presidential year – and thus a (projected) bigger turnout than midterms. Let’s be honest: Hillary is facing sizable backlash from the Bernie supporters refusing to accept her. It may be enough to drive a good number of them into not showing up at all (granted, the Republicans are facing a worse dilemma with Trump, who is more reviled than Hillary). I live in Florida. We are STILL living – painfully – with the consequences of poor voter turnout in 2010 and 2014 that left us with Rick “No Ethics” Scott, all because not enough Democrats wanted to show up and vote for centrists like Sink or Crist.
    4) The failure surrounding a vote like Brexit in the UK. It looked like the Remain voters would show up and that it would be a close win… and then the Leave vote won and they’ve been regretting it ever since. As a result, polling and “hoping” for the common sense of most voters to win out can’t be taken for granted.

    The best way to make sure none of those points I’ve given pans out is to A) keep everyone fully informed and alert and B) get the damn votes to the ballot boxes for every Democrat, left-leaning Indy, and Progressive out there.

    • Nobody serious is doing any of this. Stop being a scaredy cat.

      • Karen Lee

        Thank you for being awesome.

      • I wouldn’t call it being scared. I’d call it being vigilant.

        we GOTTA get the Progressive and Left-leaning vote out this cycle. That should be a certainty no matter how we view this coming November.

      • dbtheonly

        Call me a scaredy cat if you will but:

        Trump is not playing the game we’re used to playing. He’s broken the system.

        Rightly or wrongly, Clinton has huge negatives. Not as bad as Trump, but enough to suppress turnout?

        Trump plays the Lamestream Media like a violin.

        Trump will have nearly unlimited money. You really think those RW Billionaires aren’t going to cough up?

        Trump has the RW Media in his pocket. He controls the message.

        There will be some other “scandal du jour” dumped on Clinton. It doesn’t have to stick much. Remember Swift Boat?

        Democrats have won the last two Presidential elections. #3 is much harder. In fact those predictors that measure elections absent candidates have the Republicans winning.

        So, in the words of the immortal Han Solo, “Don’t get cocky, kid.”

  • Sick Of Bernie-Bots

    Great article. The Dems I come in contact with are well-informed and energized. And when have we ever counted on the Naderite emo left? Once the convention happens and St. Bernie finally gets dumped like yesterday’s trash, it’s full speed ahead.

  • Mark Stein

    Thank you, Oliver Willis. I was beginning to think I was the only one who sees the great likelihood of an epic, crushing defeat. I have been saying this for a while, and the evidence has been growing stronger as time goes by. Victory to Democrats, may we prevail like hell down-ticket, too!

  • glen_tomkins

    Yes, Trump is 5-7 points down in the polls, and yes, he has all these disadvantages compared to Clinton in all the ways we’ve convinced ourselves a presidential campaign has to be run.
    The problem from going from these two premises to the conclusion that Clinton beats Trump in a landslide is that these two premises actually undermine each other, rather than support each other. Trump has had all of these disadvantages from day one of a campaign that started with him given a 0% chance of wining the R nomination, and today he has won that nomination and is only, in early July, down 5-7 points against the D.
    The disadvantages are already factored in to the polling, and they have not put the race in anywhere near landslide territory. There is absolutely no reason to look on what we imagine to be Trump’s campaign disadvantages and expect them to further suppress his standing in the polls.
    Consider this factor that we consider a Trump disadvantage, that he keeps saying outrageous things. We tend to whine about all the free media Trump has gotten, but that media attention came to him almost entirely over what we consider gaffes, Trump’s saying all those misogynistic, racist things, with absolutely no dog whistle buffer, no message discipline. If the process worked as we seem to imagine, if a presidential candidate just saying things, with no message discipline, actually was electoral poison, Trump would already be as dead as Rasputin.
    Yes, patting ourselves on the back over how wonderful our side is, how our candidate is about to kick the stuffings out of Trump, is dangerous complacency. We’re trying to deny what the campaign so far this cycle has been trying to tell us, that a candidate just saying what they mean, however outrageous, appeals to voters.
    Sure, if I were betting money on this race, I would bet that Trump doesn’t really understand how this works, and he won’t be able to make the truth-telling thing work against Clinton as effectively as it did against his R competitors for their side’s nomination. All he had to do to beat the R field was throw away the dog whistle, baldly state what all of them were trying to be clever about and say through a dog whistle, to appeal to their base while not scaring off swing voters. They had no response to that, that truth-telling left them floundering. They couldn’t denounce his statements as outrageous, because they all have sworn blood-oath fealty to the idea, to take one example, that ethnically cleansing 11 million of our fellow Americans. They just would never state it so baldly. But what objection could they make to a bald statement of what they all claim to believe? So they flailed and floundered and Trump beat them like drums.
    Pulling the same trick on our side’s dog whistles will take more effort, be a further reach. He may have lucked into the winning strategy to get the nomination, but will need to know what he’s doing to make Clinton flounder and flail, and may not be able to pull it off however clever he is, because it is much more of a reach. Our side’s dog whistle on immigration, to continue that example, is that after we talk about whatever slightly less insane and inhumane plan we have for the undocumented, we always throw in that our plan will better secure our borders. Whatever the hell that means, whatever the hell it could possibly mean except that there actually is a problem of hordes of Mexican rapist and murderers flooding in were our borders not properly secured. We never say that our immigration laws should be ended, not mended, we never get into the rationale behind not having open borders, behind the idea embodied in our current laws that the borders do indeed need to be secured. They only need to be secured if there’s some existential threat posed by open borders. If there is such an existential threat, then what the hell is our side doing pussyfooting around with the idea of granting amnesty to even one of the 11 million people who broke laws necessary to our security?
    Sure, Trump only makes this attack effective if he draws Clinton into an actual extended debate, and, no, Twitter Trump is not clearly willing or able to get to a Lincoln-Douglas level of extended discourse. But at only 5 down, he’s only an accident — a terrorist attack, or a good convention bounce — from winning even if he doesn’t figure out how to turn his anti-messaging campaign to his advantage.
    I have this strange idea, that I don’t think is at all defeatist or a symptom of Major Depression, that just maybe our candidate ought to do some truth-telling, throw away the dog whistle, stop hiding behind messaging, and just say what our side believes. This would always have been a good idea for the long-term health of our party and of the nation’s politics, but sure, always carried the short-term risk of alienating voters who might vote our way in ignorance of what we stand for, if only we dog-whistled enough, declared our fealty to securing our borders and putting super predators in jail, and such-like. This cycle though, we just might be up against a truth-teller — a teller of ugly truths to be sure — who will make truth-telling by our side a short term necessity as well as the long term good it has always been.
    Even if we do have this election sewn up, we should act as if it were the fight of our country’s life, because it is.

    • Cyril Figgis

      Trump won the Republican nom because he was the loudest asshole in a 16 way split, he’s running against an adult with a plan and support now.

      • glen_tomkins

        All of Trump’s credible R opponents ran a conventional campaign, they did messaging, they had a plan. He beat them like drums because he ran an anti-messaging campaign. He just said what he meant, with no filter, with no dog whistle.
        No doubt it will be harder to run an anti-messaging campaign against Clinton. I talk about that in my comment. But even if he isn’t able to make the anti-messaging thing work against Clinton, he’s already been the loudest asshole imaginable for over a year, gotten all sorts of media attention for these gaffes, and is only 5-7 points down against this adult with a plan. His lack of a plan is already baked into his standing in the polls. He has been the exact opposite of a stealth asshole. The whole world has seen his pink okole waving proudly in the breeze for 12 months, and he’s still only down 5 in the polls
        If our candidate does nothing, stays mum behind her messaging strategy, sure, she might coast to a 5 point win in November. But that strategy is purely defensive. It can’t beat a good offense by Trump, and the only good offense Trump can run involves continuing to not have the conventional messaging that you seem to think is the only way to win an election. A safe strategy by Clinton can’t even beat a random accident, when the margin she’s defending is only 5 points. Trump is just a good convention bounce or a terrorist attack away from winning if Clinton does no more than try to sit on a 5 point lead in early July.

    • colnago80

      I think this analysis is absolutely correct and accurate. The article disregards Hillary’s astronomical negatives for one thing For another, Nate Silver gives the Donald a 20% chance to win, which is 4 to 1 odds against him. That’s not even long shot odds. I respect Mr Silver who has a proven track record (called 50 out of 51 states in 2012 and the one he missed, Florida, he said was really too close to call) more then the opinions of Mr. Willis, I think that Mr. Willis’ analysis is dangerously optimistic. We are one serious terrorist attack from the Donald turning it around. It will be interesting to see what the polling this weekend yields after the shellacking Hillary received from the FBI director and the ambush of the police officers in Dallas. Law and order may again be in vogue as a political issue.

      I saw an article earlier this week making the argument that Hillary can’t consider Michigan and Pennsylvania in the bag and that the Donald may have a decent shot there. If those two bluish states go to him, Hillary is in deep doo doo.

  • Gary

    I think Trump will crush Clinton as she has so much baggage. She should be in prison

  • No more nervous Nellies.

  • BB

    The reason we COULD end up with Trump is because of pointless articles like this one. If all the Democrats keep saying we’re going to destroy Trump, on Election Day, there could be MILLIONS of people who will simply skip going to vote because they’re “sure” Hillary will win. The analogies of Michael Jordan and storming the beach in Normandie are ridiculous; we should be encouraging EVERYONE to go out and vote in November. Who gives a shit if we’re promoting confidence among Democrats?? Instead, we should be promoting the absolute guarantee of a Trump if EVERYONE doesn’t go out and vote for Hillary.

  • Vivian Lee

    There was an epic crushing defeat all right, except it was the Democrats who were crushed, LOL. The Dems were brutally swept from office because they refused to represent anyone except their chosen few. They just didn’t seem to understand, they were losing big every election.