Sorry, Nate. Trump’s Not Going Away
Nate Silver is considered somewhat like a god in the circles I travel in. My liberal friends in New York adore his incredibly accurate voting predictions. My sports buddies remember all the work he put into building databases capable of really scary accurate sports predictions. When he put his data mining skills into politics, he had the most accurate predictions of anyone on the planet, predicting (for example) 34 out of 36 Senate seats and 36 of 37 gubernatorial races in 2010. Now Silver has taken to trying to calm down people who are afraid of Donald Trump’s ascendancy. Last week he published a paper titled, “Dear Media, Stop Freaking Out About Donald Trump’s Polls,” in which he put his vast analytical tools to work to show that Trump would soon fall.
As Shaun King writes in the New York Daily News today, though, Silver has largely missed the mark here. King points out five important ground-breaking things about Trump’s campaign that Silver has probably not even considered — that perhaps no analytical model has considered yet.
First, the crowds. Have you SEEN Trump’s crowds? Ted Cruz was campaigning in Iowa this weekend, appearing at Pizza Barns with handfuls of supporters. At the same time, Trump was filling convention centers, arenas, and pretty much every venue he’s gone to. Maybe his support is illusory, and maybe people won’t actually come support him in the voting booth, but Trump is drawing massive crowds in a way that is unprecedented.
Next, Social Media. We’ve pointed this out at Trump Stump before, but King just figured it out: Donald Trump has more followers on Facebook and Twitter than ALL of his competitors, combined. His closest rival is Ben Carson — and he has 5 times Carson’s supporters. King speculates that Carson’s social media following could very well why he’s done so well in the polls to begin with, saying, “This may mean more for why Ben Carson is second place in most polls than we ever considered.”
Third, His Views. Like them or not, Trump’s views are a firebrand. A person may hate the fact that Trump is passionately anti-illegal immigrant, anti jihadist-Muslim, and anti-social-justice-warrior. The fact remains that there are millions disenfranchised Americans who have been dying to hear a candidate stand up for their side of that debate, and Trump is the first and only candidate who has done so unabashedly.
Then, Staying Power. Silver — like Jeb Bush — believes that America is going to suddenly fall out of love with their summer fling. He’s a fad. He’s the new flavor of the week. He’s going to fade. Problem is, Trump hasn’t been on top for a few weeks. He’s been the leading candidate in this race for six months — six months! King writes, “When any candidate leads so solidly in the polls for six straight months, it’s real. He’s not a fad. He’s not new… If anything, Donald Trump is that guy for the millions who support him right now.”
Finally, Money. Trump doesn’t have to bow to the demands of super PACS, mega donors, or any special interests who seek to pull him one way or the other to buy a vote. He’s not going to fade because donor money dries up. He’s not going to pull out because his backers have abandoned him. He has the cash flow to take this all the way through the primaries, and put up a hell of a fight the whole way.
You can read King’s entire editorial here.