If you are anything like me, you have been wondering which Republican presidential candidate would be the best for the Democratic Party in the upcoming election. Of course, if you support a sane democracy that will have a general election focused on the issues, you would probably go for John Kasich, who would probably beat any of the Democratic candidates. But if you are looking at which candidate can lead to Democratic wins down the ballot, the easy choice would be Donald Trump.
Many of us have been going back and forth wondering if Trump or Ted Cruz would be the best candidate for Democratic chances to win the presidency, the Senate, and even the House of Representatives. Regardless which of these two candidates are the eventual GOP nominee, the general election outcome would probably be bliss for Democrats. But Trump has hit the “trifecta” as far as support: new voters, lack of Republican support, and those voters that Donald loves, “the poorly educated”.
First, let’s look at new voters. One of the biggest stories coming out of this election year is how Trump is in bringing new voters. Of course, these voters are being persuaded to vote because of Donald Trump and nothing else. So, if we come to a general election scenario, there is a likelihood that these voters might go to the polls, only vote for the top of the ticket, and walk out the door. Democrats, on the other hand, might be more likely to vote straight-ticket Democrat because the probable nominee, Hillary Clinton, will have broad Democratic Party support.
The new voter phenomenon links to the second problem for Republicans, which is the lack of support within the Republican Party for Trump. This could have two adverse effects. First, moderate Republicans might either stay home or vote for Clinton. Because of the dislike for Hillary on the Republican side, most will probably just stay home. This, again, helps the Democrats. The other problem that Trump faces is that he is bringing in a number of voters that identify as independents. Because these voters have no partisan attachment, they might also decide to skip down-ballot races, again benefiting Democrats.
Finally, the last group that Donald is doing quite well with is “the poorly educate”, using his words. One piece of research that I have just started working on asks the question “do lower information voters simply vote for who they think is going to win”? One theme that has been apparent during this primary season is Trump spending a good chunk of any speech talking about his poll numbers, boasting him ability to win. If voters who are less sophisticated merely go out and vote for Trump, they also might skip the down-ballot races as well.
When looking at Ted Cruz, he still can solidify Republican voters. While he might perform worse than Trump in a general election, people turning out to vote for Cruz will probably vote in down-ballot races. Therefore, Cruz might hurt the ticket at the top, but Trump will be more damaging to down-ballot races.