Earlier this month, Dana Milbank—a left leaning columnist for the Washington Post—literally had to eat his words about Donald Trump’s candidacy.
In a column from October Milbank wrote, “I’m for certain Trump won’t win the nomination that I’ll eat my words if he does. Literally: The day Trump clinches the nomination I will eat the page on which this column is printed in Sunday’s Post.”
As if to prove he is out of touch with blue-collared, salt-of-the-earth Americans who are fed up with the slow demise of their way of life and livelihoods, Milbank crowdsources recipes, had them prepared by “acclaimed chef Victor Albisu of Washington’s Del Campo restaurant,” and had The Post’s James Beard Award-winning food critic” on hand to taste and judge the dishes.
It’s not enough for ivory towered elites just to eat crow and admit they were wrong, they have to have it prepared by elite chefs. I guess we should just be thankful that Milbank admitted he was wrong; after all, he is far from the only liberal pundit to utterly and completely misunderstand the current of anxiety coursing through the veins of the average American.
In short, Americans are scared – scared that the current economy is the “new normal,” scared that wages are stagnant and jobs are scarce, scared that the federal government grows stronger even though families and communities are growing weaker, and scared that globalization is really just a fancy word for “fewer opportunities.”
Trump, who speaks plainly and forcefully, catered to these previously ignored Americans. He built a successful mega-corporation, and he honestly believes that he can re-build the American economy. He’s promising to make America great again, and even if he can’t, voters take comfort in knowing that he’s at least offering to try.
Pundits, pollsters and prognosticators, most of whom only see the world that exists outside the window of their corporate office, misunderstand the hopes and fears of working- and middle-class Americans. Or worse, they understand, and look down their noses at the small-minded plebeians whose voting cues must arise from either a lack of education, racist tendencies, or both.
So it’s no surprise that those pundits could not predict that Donald Trump wouldn’t just be competitive in the Republican primary race, but would instead dominate it. And it’s no surprise that those same pundits immediately cheered Trump’s success in clinching the Republican nomination, thinking that their gal Hillary Clinton would run away with the general election.
How’s that working out for them? Not well.
A new Fox News poll of registered voters found Donald Trump up three points on Hillary Clinton, 45 percent to 42 percent. That’s a significant change from last month, when the same poll showed Clinton with a healthy 7-point lead. Perhaps more disastrously for Clinton, the poll showed that she is now seen as “more corrupt,” less “honest and trustworthy” and more likely to “say anything to get elected” than Donald Trump. The poll also found that Clinton’s net favorability rating fell from negative-19 to negative-24, while Trump’s soared from negative-24 to negative-15.
Before you go writing that poll off as some conservative-tinged outlier, consider the result of a new Washington Post-ABC News poll that shows the presumptive Republican presidential nominee with a 2 point lead (46 percent to 44 percent) over the Democratic front-runner. Compare that to March, when the same poll showed Clinton with a comfortable 50 to 41 percent lead.
Or the results of the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, which shows Clinton leading the New York businessman by a 46 percent to 43 margin, well below the 11-point lead the poll found in April.
Admittedly, it’s difficult to fully parse the meaning of these polls at this point in the race. With several state primaries still left on the docket and Sen. Bernie Sanders still in the race fighting Clinton with everything he’s got, it’s possible that some Sanders’ voters aren’t being honest about their ultimate intentions. Nevertheless, these polls should keep Democrats up at night, especially since Trump is earning roughly the same percentage of Republican votes (85 percent) and Clinton is of Democrat votes (88 percent). In other words, the Republican party is coalescing around Trump, while Democrats largely appear to have already found their nominee.
Will any of these polls or cross tabs matter to pundits. Probably not. They’ll go right on ahead believing that Donald Trump doesn’t have a snowball’s chance at winning the nomination. Thankfully, Dana Milbank already has plenty of recipe’s for newsprint when it comes time for them to eat their words.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore. See more of his work HERE.