2016 — March 31, 2016 at 4:12 pm

WARNING: This may be as unpopular as Trump will get


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These are stormy days for Donald Trump, who is increasingly demonstrating both the glow and consistency of a rotting peach.

As he nears the Republican nomination, or at least clarity that he will be the candidate who heads into the nomination with the most delegates, there’s increasing evidence that some major players in his party are preparing to swipe the nomination from him. John Kasich is still in the race, even though his only plausible path is somehow get the party to overrule the millions of Republican voters who backed Trump.

Even worse, reporters and opponents are beginning to expect the billion-dollar baby to know stuff, like his own stand on abortion. And his outreach to women now includes a campaign manager who was arrested on battery charges for reaching out to a female reporter and yanking her arm.

Even worse, if his poll numbers were a Trump casino, we’d be in on the hook for another Trump bankruptcy.

“Trump is viewed unfavorably by at least 80 percent of some of the groups that Republican strategists had hoped the GOP might improve among: young voters and Latinos,” Greg Sargent reports. “He’s viewed unfavorably by three out of four moderates.”

Even worse, he’s not even popular with the one group of voters he’s planning on winning over in such massive numbers that he will draw a new electoral map.

Sargent explains:

[T]his new polling further undercuts the already weak case for an implausible Trump victory: the idea that he can win by making surprise inroads in relatively white states in the industrial Midwest, thus riding a wave of working class white anger into the White House. Trump is viewed unfavorably by a narrow majority of non-college whites (52 percent).

Instead, the electoral map is looking like this through Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, if the two candidates with the most delegates thus far end up securing the nomination:


But, unfortunately for us, things are bound to get better for Trump.

After Wisconsin, which he’ll probably lose, the remaining primary states still look good for him. And the  white males without college degrees who tend to like him really, really like him.

Being the “least-popular candidate to represent either party in modern times” is probably not a great position to be in. And he was actually less popular when he was pretending to run in 2000.

But this also lays the groundwork for an excellent comeback story.

You can be certain the media isn’t going to be complicit in a bloodbath that has viewers tuning out in September.

And the more likely he is to lose, the more vicious and unpredictable he will become. His game — and remember this  — is to make the Democratic nominee more hated than he is. And it’s possible — but not very likely — that many people on the left may assist him in that effort.

Republicans are likely to unite behind Trump and give him the nomination, unless he manages to convince them that nominating him may cost them to much to bear — say, a custom-made House majority.

And if he picks up the party’s nomination and there’s some sort of normal semblance of the “negative partisanship” that defines this era, his numbers will improve, possibly even radically. Just as many Republicans despised Mitt at this point as despise Trump. And elephants tend to fall into line.

Trump isn’t likely to become president of the United States. In Michigan, we know his plan to win the “Rust Belt” is a delusion on par with Trump Steaks.

But he shouldn’t have been able to get this close to being the nominee of a major party. He is increasingly reckless, divisive and shameless, and finding new ways to do that is a miracle in itself. Expect the story to get much better for Trump in the next few weeks. Then get ready for the press to tell you he could win.

And we have to campaign like that’s true.