Election results do not reflect merely personal popularity or the appeal of issues positions. Pure politics matter as well. And so, here are three reasons that Hillary Clinton will win the November election.
THE GROUND GAME. Public opinion polls are worth nothing when compared to the ability to register and turn out people who will vote for you. This requires sophisticated, comprehensive organization in precincts throughout the country, including carefully planned use of internet venues such as social media. In 2008, Hillary Clinton was overmatched in these matters when running against Barack Obama in the Democratic primaries. Obama's team understood how to make best use of old and new tools in organizing his campaign, and this was a big factor in his being able to defeat Clinton and later John McCain. During the 2012 campaign, Obama's supporters refined their techniques. Many of those supporters are now working for Clinton. She will not be outmaneuvered again, particularly because Donald Trump's campaign reflects total lack of understanding of grass-roots organizing.
People do not just show up at the polls on Election Day; they must be courted and reminded even about basics such as where they should go to vote. A solid ground game, which Clinton has, is needed to accomplish that.
THE MINORITY VOTE. According to the Pew Research Center, 226 million Americans are eligible to vote this year, 11 million more than in 2012. More than two-thirds of this net growth of the electorate comprises Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans. Among these three groups are 64 million eligible voters. In 2000, 78 percent of the U.S. electorate was white; in 2016, that figure is 69 percent.
Clinton is likely to win minority votes by a massive majority, particularly because Trump has alienated so many of these voters. To consider just the Hispanic vote, in crucial states such as Florida and Virginia, as well as throughout the Southwest, Trump's provocative comments have spurred Hispanic voter registration, which could give Clinton an even bigger boost. This takes us back to the previous point about organization. If the Clinton campaign can turn out minority voters on Election Day, they may provide the margin of victory in numerous states, including some that have voted Republican in recent years.
THE HISTORIC MOMENT. The 2008 campaign was shaped in part by the historic opportunity to elect the first African American president, and in 2016 the prospect of the first woman president will certainly motivate many voters (men as well as women). Some Republican women and others who might not particularly care for Clinton are likely vote for her for this reason. The question is, how many? A larger number, particularly among Democrats, will be extraordinarily enthusiastic participants in the election process, egged on by the misogynistic comments that Trump is almost certain to keep making during the course of the campaign. Whatever voters' feelings about Clinton herself, the idea of a woman as president will do much to shape the election results.
Trump certainly has assets as well, primarily his ability to cultivate dissatisfaction with America's current direction. But in terms of getting actual votes on November 8, his strengths do not compare with those of Clinton. She will win.