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Handicapping the 2016 U.S. Presidential election

Updated on July 31, 2016

Hillary's road to the White House

She has the easiest path. Aiding her cause are two of the best public speakers the left possesses, in Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, a man who can speak to the working class in Joe Biden, her daughter Chelsea speaking about her work ethic, and a relentless, and tireless, attack dog in Elizabeth Warren. As long as they do most of the speaking, and she can keep her husband on point, Trump doesn't have much of answer among his supporters on the right.

There are only two things that can derail her ascendancy. One, no more embarrassing leaks. She doesn't need the public to be reminded any further of her email scandal, or the embarrassing issues at the DNC. These need to be put in the rear view mirror, because by November the public will have either forgotten, or won't care. We voters have a very short attention span. And two, she needs to remind the Bernie supporters of Ralph Nadar, and how he cost Al Gore in 2000 of three counties in Florida. Three counties that ultimately gave George W. Bush the election. She doesn't want these voters going over to the Green Party to vote Jill Stein.

In other words, leave nothing to chance.

Also, at the debates, she needs to keep her cool when faced with Trump's insults and antics. Stay on point, and hammer him on his supposed anti-establishment attitude. Don't be afraid to go after his lack of experience, and his speeches about minorities. But she needs to stay on the moral high ground, and not be baited into a war of words. She can leave that to her daughter, and to Warren. They're much better suited for that.

Hillary Clinton

Trump's path to the White House

The Don has a rough path. Not only does he have to deal with the media and its favoritism to Hillary, but his own party is divided. And then there's landing places for them such as the Libertarian and Constitution Parties. And while the Democrat Party is relatively united, he is pretty much standing alone.

His lack of political correctness got him the Republican nomination, but made him enemies along the way, and provided ammo for the opposition as well. Hillary may be the least trustworthy Presidential candidate in quite some time, but his likability rankings are closer to Bush's in 2007.

To fix this, he needs to make peace with the various factions in the Republican Party opposed to him. Contrary to what him and his followers think, he needs Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and even guys like Mitt Romney working with him. Simply put, Trump can't beat Hillary AND the opposition within his own party. And the last thing he needs is for these opposition forces to start endorsing the Libertarian, Constitution, or the Reform Parties. It would be even worse if they started endorsing Hillary.

As for Clinton, he needs to keep letting his children speak about the sides of Trump the average American doesn't see. He needs to trot out current employees, especially women and minorities, who can contradict the message the Democrat Party will continually put out about how he treats women and minorities. He doesn't need an attack dog for Hillary, he can handle this himself, but he needs to stay on message, outline clear plans for what he will do as President, and continually pound Clinton on her various scandals and track record, WITHOUT wandering into the conspiracy theories he used during the primaries.

He also needs to keep reminding the public about Hillary's national security issues, the human rights records, particularly on women, of countries that support the Clinton Foundation, and how the policies of Democrats have affected the poor in places such as Flint and Detroit. And he needs to talk about Hillary's Wall St. speeches, and how she's already bought and paid for.

Also, let his allies speak of how Perot cost H.W. Bush the Presidency.

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Donald Trump and his family

Gary Johnson's road to the White House

First things first, Johnson needs to get on the debate stage. The party is close, needing just three more percent in the polls. Once there, he needs to make an impact. He has to hit Hillary on the failures of Arab Spring, her contradictory stance on Wall Street, the failures of Democratic policies, her national security issues, and he needs to hit Donald Trump on his rhetoric, his record as a businessman, and his flip-flopping.

If he could pull in endorsements from several prominent Republicans that are anti-Trump while keeping the establishment at arm's length, this would help as well.

Finally, he needs to outline exactly how people would benefit from Libertarian policies. Don't just say the free market will solve their problems. Show them how. Having a few noted economists to show the difference between his policies and that of his opposition would help.

And finally, we are war-weary nation. Remind people that you are firmly opposed to more wars, more intervention into other nations' affairs, and more nation building, while both Hillary and Trump are talking about more of the same American foreign policies since World War II.

Gary Johnson on foreign policy

Dr. Jill Stein

Dr. Jill Stein's road to the White House

Stein's road is a difficult one. On one hand, she needs to win over the supporters of Bernie Sanders who are disenfranchised by Hillary's nomination, by reminding them that her platform is almost identical. On the other hand, she needs to widen some faults in the Democratic Party that emerged during the convention.

She also needs to get on the debate stage, but her task is harder, as her party is little known, and she is even less well-known.

Much like Gary Johnson, she needs to enunciate how her policies benefit the average American. She needs to hammer Hillary's record on everything, and show that her actions don't really represent the left. She needs to hit Hillary on immigration, foreign policy, taxes, minimum wage, healthcare, and the debt.

As for Trump, hit him on the fact that he has funded the opposition, including Hillary. Hit his immigration policies, and don't be afraid to tie Hillary to him, and compare them. Especially their similarities. Like all third parties, keep hammering that voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting evil.

As for Johnson, you need to compare and contrast your platform with his, and explain how your plan is better. Don't bother with other candidates. He is the largest opponent in your way, because his party garnered more votes last election than all other third parties combined.

Darrell Castle's road to the White House

If the Reform Party had a nominee, he would have the most difficult road to the White House. As it is, their road is hard.The candidate is virtually unknown. The party loses votes to Republicans via the Tea Party, and the Libertarians due to both wanting to uphold the Constitution, and their opposition to illegal immigration, affirmative action, and abortion gives them uphill battle with minorities and women. Add the stigma that they absorbed George Wallace's party, and the instant they actually rise up as a threat, every opposition party will hit them on this.

So, first, some endorsements by men like Ted Cruz would help, then they can pull in Tea Party members who are opposed to Trump. They need to contrast themselves with the Libertarian Party in a favorable light. Same with the Green Party,

And explain how both Clinton and Trump have violated the Constitution, or plan to. Use the Federalist Papers to support your positions and explain how people benefit from your positions. The party needs to get attention, positive preferably, and to create separation from the other conservative parties. And he really needs both Clinton and Trump to face plant.

Castle on the Federal Reserve


I am leaving the Reform Party off this list. Without a clear candidate as of this writing, and only a few months until the election, they are seriously behind the eight ball. That neither candidate is even remotely close to being a household name doesn't give them much time to make up ground in the election season.

As of right now, I don't foresee anyway that Hillary loses this election. As much as I'd like to see a Gary Johnson presidency, his best bet is to watch the Republican Party finish imploding under Donald Trump, and then in the next four years he and his party can step into the void that creates.

As for Trump, he couldn't barely muster half the Republican vote during the primaries until it was down to him and Cruz, and then only barely. He's facing a divided house, and an opponent that has, at the least, the support and aid of a friendly media. And he's provided plenty of ammo for the DNC to hammer him all election long. And if he thinks Megyn Kelly was unfair to him, wait until he gets to the debates and faces Hillary friendly moderators.

As for Jill Stein, she needs a lot of help to siphon off some of the Obama coalition from Hillary to win, without the support of President Obama, or Senator Sanders. The Bernie supporters were mostly Democrat outsiders anyways. All Hillary needs is to maintain the Democrat base, keep the LBGT base, and the minority votes, and she wins.

I wish I could see another way, but this is the year of Hillary Clinton. Get ready for 2020, because that's when she'll get beat.

As always, feel free to comment below but please keep it civil.


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    • profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Childers 

      2 years ago from Michigan

      It means she shouldn't retaliate. I'm no way implying she's moral. But past history in presidential elections shows candidates who constantly engage in negative campaigning tend to lose if they are the ones doing it.

      And as much as I don't like Hillary, she will hammer his lack of coherent ideas in the debates. Trump doesn't have enough support in his own party to win

    • Carolyn M Fields profile image

      Carolyn Fields 

      2 years ago from South Dakota, USA

      What is this "moral high ground" of which you speak? As far as I can see, it's vacant at the moment. You make some interesting points. The only thing you may have left out was the "secret" support that Trump may have in people who are afraid to openly admit that they will vote for him - for fear of being called a racist or worse.

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      Randy Childers 

      2 years ago from Michigan

      Pretty much, though we are in agreement on bho's aproval ratings....not sure how either

    • Bobby Shanahan profile image

      Robert Carbery 

      2 years ago from Seattle, WA

      In addition to Hillary’s easy path, she also has Barack Obama’s approval numbers, around 50% now somehow, which could help propel her to the White House as well. And, the electoral college is very tough for a Republican to win the presidency right now, taking into account the current demographics, and the fact that the Dems simply need to win one battleground state (OH, FL, NC) and they likely have it in the bag. Feel the Johnson! (Or don’t dump Trump, either way Anyone But Hillary!)


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