Donald Trump won the Republican nomination through the “power of not being a politician,” and his slogan, “Make America Great Again,” means different things to different people who all feel like they’ve been left behind economically, said Nathan Gonzales, editor and publisher of The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report.
“Some people thought it meant build a wall, some thought it meant better trade deals, but everyone sort of projected onto Trump whatever they wanted,” Gonzales said at the IRI Vision Annual Conference on Monday.
He still believes Clinton can win, even though her post-convention lead has “almost entirely evaporated,” because she only need to win one of four key states—Ohio, Virginia, Florida or Colorado—while Trump needs to win all four.
“When you look at the state-by-state polling for much of this year,” he said, Clinton has had the advantage in Colorado and Virginia.
Regardless, the race will be close. Democrats were “never going to have a blowout,” he said, but a win would be very tight.
Democrats need a net gain of four seats to get a majority in the Senate, Gonzales pointed out.
“There are enough competitive states in play for the Democrats to do that,” he said. Pennsylvania, North Carolina and New Hampshire will be key states for Republicans to defend because they have to include a “coalition of voters that includes Trump supporters and people who are offended by Trump.”
Gonzales believes Democrats will successfully gain those seats, but it will be “very, very narrow.”
In the House, Democrats need 30 seats out of only about 40 competitive seats, he said. However, “House races develop late,” he said. “There’s still time for the bottom to fall out for Republicans.”
He said the “NeverTrump” Republicans—those who don’t vote at all because they don’t want to vote for Donald Trump—could be “disastrous” for the Republican party.
Gonzales said a “synergy” existed between the people who wanted to vote for Bernie Sanders and those who might vote for Trump. “Fundamentally,” he explained, with both Trump and Sanders, “we’re speaking to a group of voters who feel like they’re playing by the rules and other people are getting ahead — other people who aren’t playing by the rules.”
For Trump supporters that means illegal immigrants, and for Sanders supporters it’s big banks, he said.
“We still have some twists and turns ahead of us,” said Gonzales.
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