Back in March, Donald Trump told a crowd in Salt Lake City, Utah, “I have many friends that live in Salt Lake, I have a lot of friends. By the way, Mitt Romney is not one of them. Did he choke? Did this guy choke? He’s a choke artist, I can’t believe. Are you sure he’s a Mormon, are we sure?”
For Trump, who likes to pin particular insults on particular people, “choker” is the favored nom-de-epithet for Romney. Just after the 2012 election, Trump told Newsmax:
Romney’s solution of “self deportation” for illegal aliens made no sense and suggested that Republicans do not care about Hispanics in general, Trump says.
“He had a crazy policy of self deportation which was maniacal,” Trump says. “It sounded as bad as it was, and he lost all of the Latino vote,” Trump notes. “He lost the Asian vote. He lost everybody who is inspired to come into this country.”
He ramped up his attacks and began repeating his standard insult that Romney “choked.” Here he is in January 2015:
“I supported Mitt Romney and he didn’t bring out the people. He choked in the end,” Trump said flatly. “The last month was a disaster. He should have won that election. He was going against the president, who was absolutely not good and not doing well.”
“Frankly, he just choked, choked like a dog, and we cannot allow that to happen again. The Romneycare is still with you, many other issues including the 47% statement that’s going to be brought up again, and he’ll lose for the same reason,” Trump said of Romney.
By this past June, he was still at it:
“Romney’s a loser. He lost the election badly,” said Trump. “He should have won that election.
He was also a “failed candidate” who “failed horribly,” a loser, who “blew” his chance at the presidency. “He lost an election against Obama that should NEVER have been lost!” He was “one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics” and a “dope.” Trump mocked him for his handling of his tax returns. He said he “ran one of the worst races in presidential history” and was speaking against Trump to thwart his inevitable big win. Romney was “a disaster candidate who had no guts and choked!” and “a total joke.” Romney was a “nasty, angry, jealous” failure with “ZERO credibility.” By failing to win, Romney “let us all down in the last presidential race.” He’s “a mixed up man who doesn’t have a clue.” “Mitt Romney had his chance to beat a failed president but he choked like a dog.” And on and on and on and on.
I am the only one who can beat Hillary Clinton. I am not a Mitt Romney, who doesn't know how to win. Hillary wants no part of "Trump"
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2016
Holding Trump to his own standards, then, he needs to not just do better than Romney did in 2012, he needs to defeat Hillary Clinton “like a dog.” Let’s review some of Trump’s particular criticisms about Romney.
Trump is correct that Romney fared poorly among Asians, winning only 26 percent of their votes. Trump currently has 15 percent. Romney only won 27 percent of Hispanic votes. Trump is at 17 points. Trump says if he should be elected president, he would win 95 percent of the black vote during a re-election bid. He’s currently polling at zero to 1 percent with that group.
Overall the picture isn’t better:
On this day in polling history (Oct 19):
2008: Obama +5
2012: Obama +0.1
2016: Hillary +7.3
Trump underperforming both Romney and *McCain*
Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) October 19, 2016
In fact, he’s doing worse than Romney and McCain combined!
Trump told the Associated Press last May, “I will win states that no Republican would even run in.” At other times he said he would put 15 states in play that other Republicans couldn’t.
“We’re going to make them Republican states. Connecticut is one of them,” he said in June. He is losing there by 15 points, according to the latest poll.
“I think we can win the state of California and win it pretty substantially,” he said in June. “Now, I’ve been told by all these geniuses, all these brilliant guys — they all say you can’t win the state of California. I think we can.” Clinton is up by 19.7 points.
In April, he said, “You know, no Republican other than me will campaign in New York. They won’t campaign … They assume that is lost. If somebody ever won New York, it totally, with the Electoral College, it totally changes the map. I think we will win New York. I really do.” He’s at 31.7 percent there in the RCP average.
“We are going to win Illinois,” he said in May. He’s down 15 points, on average.
In March, he said, “We’re going to win Pennsylvania. We’re going to win Virginia. We’re going to win Florida. We’re going to win Ohio.”
In June he said of Oregon, “I think we have a chance. I think we have a good chance.” He’s currently down 9.3 points.
We could go on, but you get the point.
For the record, Mitt Romney ran against an incumbent president who was politically divisive but personally well-regarded. President Obama was the beneficiary of a unified party in 2012 and a submissive media.
Donald Trump is running against the second most disliked presidential candidate in modern history, a corrupt and scandal-ridden politician.
Trump and his supporters have spent well over a year claiming that he would defeat Hillary Clinton, at times saying it would happen in a landslide. It remains to be seen whether he will accomplish what he and his supporters have promised.
But if he doesn’t, if, in fact, he fares far more poorly than Mitt Romney did, what does that make him?