I’m a foreigner, with a deep love for the greatest show on earth – the US Presidential Election.
I was 6 when George H. W. Bush was elected to the White House … that didn’t stop me from sharing the news (and explaining the Electoral College) to my primary school classmates the next day. In the years since, it’s not uncommon for me to schedule holidays to enjoy the rolling news coverage of election day, and it will therefore come as no surprise that I have opinions on the quadrennial competition.
Earlier in this cycle I felt the need to opine on Donald Trump. And several months later, I’m going to double down on my prediction that he will voluntarily withdraw from the Republican Party nomination prior to the Iowa Caucuses.
Here’s the tweet by me establishing a history.
Feel the need to get this on the record: @realDonaldTrump will not be on the ballots in Iowa, NH or elsewhere. He will withdraw beforehand.
— Jacob Aldridge (@jacobaldridge) August 14, 2015
In one way, I have already been proved wrong – I hadn’t realised how far in advance nominations for the ballots are submitted, and so it would now appear Trump may appear as an option. But my primary point still stands:
Donald Trump will voluntarily withdraw from the Republican Party nomination prior to the Iowa Caucuses on February 1, 2016.
Back in July and August, the reasoning behind my prediction aligned neatly with Nate Silver et al – the pundits who concluded poll favourites would bounce around (as they did in 2012) and that Trump would flame out a la Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann. I believed that when he dropped, he would follow his past behaviour and withdraw prior to exposing his financials. That reasoning has proved incorrect.
At this time (late November, 2015) the process I believe will lead to my prediction coming true is, broadly:
- Trump’s polling numbers will drop between now and mid-January. Without holding me to specifics (see point 2), this probably needs to be in the range of shifting from the current low-to-mid 30s to <7% in the early voting states and nationally; THEN
- Recognising he won’t win the Republican nomination (which may happen at 15% in the polls, or need to be <1%), Trump will blame the Republican Party apparatchik for undermining him; THEN
- He will withdraw himself (again, prior to Iowa) claiming a take-down from the inside as the only possible reason people aren’t going to vote for him.
This may or may not lead to a 3rd Party run for President – I wouldn’t put it past him.
Could I be wrong?
Sure, it’s happened before!
The two people who have me concerned are Thomas Power, who bases his predictions on Klout / Social Media presence and engagement – not yet scientific, but the only person I know who predicted David Cameron’s re-election in a big way; and Scott Adams, whose Master Persuader Hypothesis is making as much (or more) sense to me than most of the theories put out by pundits so far in this election cycle.
Their theories are united in arguing that this election cycle will be different.
I’ve been hearing that for most of my life. So while I may be wrong, I’m backing myself – this cycle won’t be that different, and Trump would rather walk away in a position of power (as per his previous ‘runs’ for President) than be defeated in the actual caucuses and primaries.
Exactly how and when he withdraws may differ, but I stand by my prediction: Trump won’t be running when February arrives.
PS: If you like how I write about US Presidential Elections, you may enjoy the serialised novel I wrote during the 2004 campaign, The Cookie from the Cookie Jar. Search for truth through the eyes of Cabinet and the media, after the newly elected President is assassinated on election night.
PPS: There’s a certain irony that 5 words in this blog post are spelled incorrectly by US-English standards, versus the British English style I have chosen for this website!