Donald Trump's Super Tuesday Wins Should Make Democrats Breathe A Sigh Of Relief
If you're a Democrat, odds are high that a few of the facts of tonight's primaries have you curled up into the fetal position — primarily Donald Trump's massive Super Tuesday win, with the Republican hopeful winning Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Virginia and Tennessee early in the night, his share of the vote as high as 50 percent in some of the states, according to the Washington Post. Though we won't have the full picture until early Wednesday morning, Trump's wins paint him as a likely Republican frontrunner, poised to go head-to-head with Hillary Clinton, who as of this writing has won six states (Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas and Arkansas).
For many Democrats like me, the possibility of a Trump nomination seems like an extremely chilling thought — but some Democrats believe that a Trump ticket is actually the surest path to a Democratic win in '16. The Washington Post reported on one Virginia primary voter, who believes so deeply that a Trump nomination could lead to an easy win for the Democrats ithat she voted for him:
In liberal Arlington, legal secretary Madelon Bloom said she thought she could best help Clinton win the general election by casting a ballot for Trump. “I voted for Hillary by voting for Trump,” Bloom said outside Glebe Elementary School. “I think if Trump — I call him ‘Chump’ — gets the nomination, people will be appalled, and the Republicans won’t vote in November.”
And while her actions may be unusual, they may be far more sensible than they initially seem. A CNN/ ORC poll showed both Clinton and Sanders easily beating Trump in a hypothetical general election, while similar models show Clinton having a harder time defeating Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio in a general election.
And though the Washington Post also spoke to Clinton supporters who were voting for Rubio out of fear of a Trump nomination, there is a chance that Trump running as the Republican candidate could cause Republican voters to vote Democrat or sit out the election. Megan McArdle looked into the phenomenon of #NeverTrump Republicans in a piece for Bloomberg View, talking to dozens of passionate (and sometimes lifelong) Republicans who could not bring themselves to vote for Trump in a general election. McArdle found that the some of these anti-Trump Republicans were willing to go to great lengths to keep the New York businessman out of office:
This is not just base demotivation: a lot of people, perhaps half or more, said they would consider voting for Clinton or Sanders if Trump was close to winning. A few said they’d volunteer or give money to them if necessary.
Assuming that a Trump ticket will put a Democrat in the White House is a risky game, of course — as Vox's Dara Lind noted in a piece examining the assumption that Trump's nomination will lead to an easy win for Clinton or Sanders, if Trump can win the candidacy, there's also a chance he can win the presidency:
It is irresponsible to root for the victory of someone you genuinely believe is the worst option to run the US. Because as unlikely as you may think a Trump victory is, it is absolutely possible. It is, in fact, more likely than you think.
It's playing Russian roulette, but with democracy.
Tonight, this is all still theoretical. But as the biggest night of the 2016 election season (besides the actual election, of course) winds down, many Republican voters are may be pondering a previously unthinkable choice.