The election should be a sure thing for Clinton, but it's not
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The last column I wrote provided this undeniable fact: In the last six presidential elections, the Democratic candidate for president has each time won 19 states. That totals 242 electoral votes. You only need 28 more electoral votes to be elected (the threshold is 270).


The Republican candidate can count on 13 states going Republican every time and that totals only 102 electoral votes. That sounds great for the Democrats, but before one declares victory, it must be emphasized that this campaign has produced a Republican candidate named Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpUPS, FedEx shut down calls to handle mail-in ballots, warn of 'significant' problems: report Controversial GOP Georgia candidate attempts to distance from QAnon Trump orders TikTok parent company to sell US assets within 90 days MORE.

Trump is truly like no other candidate in American political history. In a sentence, he breaks all the rules and gets away with it. And he wins. No one thought or said when he began that he would be the nominee of the Republican Party. But now he is the presumptive nominee.

But Trump is not a true member of the Republican Party; he is a member of the "Trump Party." All this talk about party unity and all these meetings with GOP leaders — Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanTrump slams 'rogue' Sasse after criticism of executive actions Wary GOP eyes Meadows shift from brick-thrower to dealmaker Budowsky: Why I back Kennedy, praise Markey MORE (Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcGrath reshuffles campaign in home stretch to Senate election GOP senator draws fire from all sides on Biden, Obama-era probes Chris Wallace rips both parties for coronavirus package impasse: 'Pox on both their houses' MORE (Ky.) yesterday — are really not that important. Mostly, they are for show. Yes, I'm sure Trump would like the bigwigs of the party to support him. And he doesn't want a convention in Cleveland where none of the GOP leaders appear on stage with him. But all this is really of secondary importance.

Trump did not get nominated by the Republican Party because he projected himself as a pure Republican or a pure conservative. In fact, you can make the opposite argument: He appealed to those in the Republican Party who didn't give one damn about whether or not the GOP royalty liked him or agreed with his stance on various issues. Trump won because he was radically different. The people who chose to participate in the nominating process found this difference to be appealing and even attractive.

Now, an important point should be made. Over 30 million people voted in the nominating process. When it comes to the general election in November, 130 million will vote. That is a much bigger universe and many of those who did not vote in the GOP contests are firmly in the Democratic camp (African-Americans and Hispanics, for example). Couple this with women independents, and it sure looks pretty good for likely Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMcGrath reshuffles campaign in home stretch to Senate election Appeals court blocks Hillary Clinton deposition on private email server What Biden must do to keep his lead and win MORE. As Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP senator draws fire from all sides on Biden, Obama-era probes Has Congress captured Russia policy? Graham on Harris: 'No issue' as to whether 'she is an American citizen' MORE (R-S.C.) memorably said of his own party, "We are running out of old angry white men."

But with all this, I was astounded by the Quinnipiac University poll that came out a few days ago. Clinton has a lead of a mere 1 percentage point in both Pennsylvania and Florida. And Trump is actually winning by 4 points in all-important Ohio.

To use the tired cliche, this one poll is just a snapshot in time, but if I were Clinton, I would be downright nervous and scared. Trump has something that I will call the "2016 X-factor." People are for him, defying logic and reason. They have chosen to suppress every ugly, crude and bigoted remark he has made. In their heart of hearts, and in their brain, they should not conceive of him being president of this country, but they still want to vote for him.

The last time this situation occurred it was 1964. Republican nominee Barry Goldwater ran on the slogan, "In your heart, you know he's right." The Democrats were successful in portraying Goldwater as unfit for the office and he carried only five states.

Trump appeals to the lowest common denominator and to the worst in our human nature. He is a showman who reminds me of the term that former Washington Mayor Marion Barry used to describe himself: a "situationist." This shallow "situationist" is unfit for the highest office in the land. The prospect of him being president scares me. But if he can con enough people with this X-factor, then all sanity and coherence will have meant nothing.

Trump is banking that enough of the people who vote in a presidential election will abandon good judgment and in the privacy of the voting booth cast an angry defiant know-nothing vote.

It's up to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party to not let the country go mad.

Plotkin is a political analyst, a contributor to the BBC on American politics and a columnist for The Georgetowner.