The more Trump looks like losing, the closer he comes to winning

World of Politics with Harry McGee

I’m terrible at predictions. It’s taken me a career to admit it to myself. Trying to predict accurately how people will vote is like trying to drink soup with a fork. As Mark Twain said: “There’s no accounting for folks.”

Most people got the result of the 2016 presidential election wrong. And I was one of those people.

Seeing Donald Trump waltz through the Iowa caucuses this week and whip his rivals – he got over 50 per cent of the vote and won big majorities throughout the State and from just about every different group of Republican voters – from the evangelicals, to the libertarians, to the right-wing, to the college-educated moderates.

His victory this week made me wonder how wrong I had got my prediction back in 2016.

My parting words on the eve of the election were: “I’m calling it for Hillary Clinton but without a landslide. It will allow her the prize of a single term presidency. Hardly box set material!”

I just couldn’t see a pathway to a Trump presidency. But then I was viewing the US elections through the prism of a middle-class Irish voter at a far remove from the American street.

You forget how different America is when it comes to welfare, free enterprise, trust in government and in justice, the value of human life, outlook, foreign policy, religious beliefs.

There was an ultra-conservative element to US political life that was not as apparent back then to us, even though we had seen examples of it over the previous two decades with the likes of Newt Gingrich and the Tea Party. But they seemed to be from the minority, a smallish one.

Our idea of the Republican Party was of buttoned-up conservatives, the likes of Gerard Ford or Mitt Romney or Ronald Reagan, even though he was seen as a radical republican in his day with his brand of extreme free market economics, aka Reagonomics.

Pictured: Donald Trump: a knack of landing on his feet.


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