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Why Hillary Clinton isn’t worried: Difference between primary and general elections

Updated on July 22, 2016

Is Donald Trump trying to sell a lemon to America?

The long awaited GOP Convention, known on Twitter with the hashtag #RNCinCLe, is over. Many are sighing with relief, and waiting with breath that is baited for the fresher energy of Hillary Clinton that will come next week with the Democratic Convention. But this week, the energy has been very draining, and terrifying, to many watching the GOP Convention and the long seemingly ego parade of Donald Trump. It was one ego blast after another, with zero policy initiatives to back it up. And it also seemed like one lie after another. But to fact check every statement made over the course of the convention would likely take years. However, there is one fact that he himself kept spewing over and over again that just made a lot of people cringe, because it just isn’t based in a reliable and valid predictable outcome at all.

That is that, he says, because he did so well in the primaries, better than his lead competitor Hillary Clinton, that he is a sure thing to win in the general election. That’s a fact check fail, Mr. Trump.

This simply isn’t a valid representation of facts at all. This is like the used car salesman telling you that because 20 million cars of one specific type were purchased last year, 20% more sales than the leading competitor, that you will have nothing but good experiences with it.

What the used car salesman isn’t telling you is that, 19 million of those car owners either changed their minds, or spent the rest of their car purchase lives in the machine shop getting their seemingly good car repaired due to one defect after another. Meanwhile, the people that bought the competitor are quite satisfied with their results and have much fewer complaints than the buyers of the number one car. But the used car salesman won’t tell you that. And it is that greasy, shady feeling that many get when watching Donald Trump try to sell America a used car that won’t get then anywhere fast.

That seems to be what the Trump campaign is selling. A campaign that is one defect after another. We’re not talking about the massive plagiarism scandal that brought the entire Trump campaign integrity and Presidential probability into question. We’re talking about his facts that he spun so he could sell America a used car.

What facts were those? That winning in the primaries means winning in the general.

Well, Hillary Clinton won in the primaries too. That’s why she’s on the ticket. But just because Trump got more actual votes than her in the primaries, doesn’t make him a sure thing. In fact that he keeps promoting this stat as if it is is an indicator of just how worried he is himself.

But he, and his children, kept promoting this statistic as if that was the case. They called it a “historical movement.” They have to say something. There is nothing more historically moving for America right now than a woman taking the Oval Office. They need a fact to beat that. So they are spinning the ones that they have, and wildly out of control at that.

We did some looking and some historical digging, and the Trump stats just don’t really mean a thing. In fact, there is no statistical or historical significance that shows a relationship between winning in the primaries, and winning in the general election. This is why Hillary Clinton is not worried, and the GOP should not be celebrating their primary wins now. It’s a whole new ballgame, Mr. Trump.

It’s something that New York Times columnist David Brooks has been saying for a while. In March of this year he told Meet the Press, “There’s no correlation between primary turnout and wins in the Fall in the last 11 elections.”

Facts about Primaries: He who won the primary, didn't always win the election.

This chart illustrates the last 11 General Elections cycles for America.  The bold numbers indicate who won the General Election, the asterisks indicate where there was a competitive primary contest.
This chart illustrates the last 11 General Elections cycles for America. The bold numbers indicate who won the General Election, the asterisks indicate where there was a competitive primary contest. | Source

There is no party unity in the Grand Ol' Party.

And he’s right. A look at the stats on the Federal Election Commissions concurs. In the last 11 elections, regardless of the party, 7 out of 11 times, the party with the least number of votes in the primaries won. Which means, lower turnouts led to a win, more times than it didn’t.
The key to the numbers is turnout, and that is what Mr. Trump keeps preaching about. “We had the highest turnout in history! It’s a movement!” The facts suggest, who cares?

David Brooks of the New York Times, the Federal Election Commission, and Politifact all agree that turnout is low when there is an incumbent in the picture. Thus it is impossible, statistically impossible, to predict an election based on primary numbers. But that’s all Mr. Trump has right now, so he’s running with it like it’s his job. Or, like he wants it to be his job.

According to the numbers crunched from the last 11 elections, 5 of them had low primary turnouts due to an incumbent in the picture. The 1984 election had triple the Democratic voter turnout than Republicans, and the new President was President Ronald Reagan. Only 3 times did the party with the higher primary vote win the popular vote.

That was, 1976, 1992, and 2008. All three of those were Democratic wins too by the way, which is important. Democrats historically, statistically, and specifically have more registered voters than the Republicans.

On the Republican side of things, 3 races occurred where the Democrats had a higher turnout in the primaries. But Ronald Reagan and George Bush still won the elections. In fact, when George W. Bush won, Democratic turnout was double the previous election cycle. Come 2000 though, the Republicans really brought it out with an extra 3 million voters, but Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote.

He still didn’t win the Presidency. But as Oprah would say, that’s a whole other show.

Now does this mean we say goodbye to our primary numbers since they can’t really predict anything? No. They still have some significance.

But in terms of Elections 2016, we have to look at the individuals, and the situation, to realize what they actually mean. The GOP had 16 people on the ticket at one point. The Democrats had 2. And yes, that makes a difference in interpreting the numbers. Combining Hillary Clinton’s and Sanders numbers we get a number that actually surpasses Mr. Trump’s.

But he had to spread his voter base across 16 people. Exit polls for the Democrats in the primaries show that, although most voters favored one candidate over the other, most voters would still vote either Hillary or Sanders, regardless of who made it to the ticket. That means, a Democrat is a Democrat is a Democrat.

This is not the case for the Republicans, who still needed to lecture their convention attendees about party unity. This is a very, very divided party. And this alone may be the biggest predictor in what many are saying is going to be Mr. Trump’s ultimate and epic fail.

Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump

Who do you think is going to win General Elections 2016?

See results

Hillary Clinton's swept the primaries, and the delegates, with margins greater than her counterpart in the general.


Many Republican elite did not even attend this convention this year. What does that tell you?

Once a Republican, yes. But exit polls of the GOP Primary indicate that if a voter’s candidate isn’t on the ticket, that doesn’t mean they are going to automatically vote for the next guy, like the Democrats (more often than not) will. For many tried and true GOP, if their tried and true GOP isn’t on the ticket, they aren’t voting. Period.

Which means all of the GOP people that showed up for the primaries, wanting one person and one person only, will not show up if their guy isn’t on the ticket. In other words, when Donald Trump told the convention that the GOP had record primary turnout, he didn’t mean that was caused by himself alone.

That’s what he wanted people to think. That was the used car he was selling. But the truth is, the GOP had record turnout because there were 16 people on the ticket!

And a lot of the tried and true Republicans are very ticked off right now. The entire Bush family did not even go to convention. Ted Cruz will still not endorse Donald Trump. And Mitt Romney from Elections 2012 also did not go to convention.

This is all very, very bad news for the Republican party. They have no reason to celebrate at all. And this is why Hillary Clinton just isn’t worried. She gets closer and closer to crushing him with every passing day. She has the advantage of picking up every voter of Bernie Sanders, who has now endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump is not picking up a lot of support from his opponents, and he only took one third of the vote of the primaries. He also barely just barely got delegates, only taking slightly less than half of the available delegates. Hillary Clinton got half, more than half of the votes, and she swept the delegate count by a landslide very early on. And more than half is all that is needed to win the Oval Office.

Hillary Clinton also has every single minority group locked, thanks to Donald Trump ticking them all off. She has the women vote, which is over 50% of the vote. Women also hold the margin of error.

There’s no question it is going to be an extremely competitive race. But Donald Trump is trying to win by trying to sell America a used car. And Hillary Clinton, is the reliable stand by with a proven history that America actually trusts. Watch this video from Fish Tank on why Trump’s primary strategy is “not fit” for the general election.

Trump’s primary strategy not fit for general elections


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    • Christine Beswick profile imageAUTHOR

      Christine Beswick 

      2 years ago from Niagara on the Lake, Ontario

      No, Bernie Sanders did not win the Democratic nomination. And yes, she would have won the nomination without super delegates. As for your questions about "rigged", I have never heard of any winner of any election complaining about "rigged." Only people that lost. Since this format has been in place for decades, I would say it is the format of the people, and the people have spoken. The choice for Democrats is clearly Hillary.

    • Readmikenow profile image


      2 years ago

      Is Hillary going to be able to win an election without "super" delegates? The Democrat primary was rigged against Bernie Sanders. Can Hillary win if the election is not rigged in her favor? Is Bernie Sanders actually the legitimate winner of the Democrat primary? How would Bernie Sanders be doing right now?

    • Christine Beswick profile imageAUTHOR

      Christine Beswick 

      2 years ago from Niagara on the Lake, Ontario

      What I am hearing from a lot of people are the words "fear" and "anger" at the very thought of Trump entering the Oval. I really don't think it's going to happen. I agree, I think she is going to crush him. His thoughts of a police state that serves only America, and no other country, are terrifying all across the globe, specifically for NATO partners. And yes, the thought of him now getting Security Briefings just scares the snot out of me. You're 100% correct, and thank you for sharing. Dear Dems: Get thee to the POLLS!

    • Alternative Prime profile image

      Alternative Prime 

      2 years ago from > California

      Hillary is going to Decimate RACIST "Delusional Donald" in November and he's gonna' inevitably take a BUNCH of Republican Senators & Congress-persons DOWN into the DIRTY Sewer with him ~ His Dwindling FAN Base are certainly Gullible enough to VOTE for a Swindler like Trump who has Expressed EXPLICIT PLANs to SLASH their Wages if indeed they Work for a LIVING, however, the VAST Majority of Americans are indeed smart enough to spot a "SCAM Artist" & REJECT a CON-Man like him ~ LOWER Wages, Contemplating Arming Saudi Arabia with Nukes, NUKING Europe, DEFAULTING on OUR Debt, IGNORING NATO Countries in Peril ~ These are just a few Destructive "DELUSIONs" Donald has FLOATING around in that little DEMENTED, Mean Spirited Mind of his ~

      However, we as Democrats Cannot become COMPLACENT, we must TEACH Donald & all the Little DONALDs to come, a Stern LESSON by Encouraging a MASSIVE Progressive DEM Voter Turn-OUT in November ~


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