How a Trump primary “win” could go sour

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

It has been apparent for some time that the GOP is on a path to national irrelevance. No less a source than the party’s own post-2012 assessment trumpeted this conclusion and urged a change of course. No course correction has occurred. Now, in the shape of Donald Trump, we can start to see the outline of how the party might crack apart and realign itself.

Trump’s apparent popularity among Republican voters, sustained over several months, suggests he might actually be successful in the primaries. That success would set up an irreconcilable conflict with the party infrastructure. Our nominating process evolved with the expectation that a presumed nominee would be apparent before anyone casts a vote in a primary. Success by Trump in the primaries will not necessarily secure either the nomination or the support of the party.

If Trump makes a credible run at the nomination it will almost certainly lead to a formal division of the GOP. Here are the factors that might contribute to a division and a few examples of how the process could play out.

For starters, we have to understand the disconnect between winning a primary and securing convention delegates. The first thing does not necessarily lead to the second thing. With many state-level deadlines running out soon, Trump still has none of the ground presence required to win at the convention.

Contributing to this uncertain climate is yet another factor. Though Trump is farther behind than some others, none of the candidates has the kind of broad local presence it takes to definitively secure the nomination. This has never happened in the modern era.

There are a lot of very good reasons why Republicans always nominate the guy who finished second last time or was anointed by party insiders. Our process is structured to favor this outcome. Winning the nomination demands a national presence with a strong local ground game in every corner of the country. It is nearly impossible to accomplish this on a first national run.

Illinois presents a fine example of how this challenge plays out. When voters go to the polls here in the Republican primary in March they will not be selecting their favorite candidate. They will have the opportunity to vote on a slate of “electors” nominally committed to a certain candidate.

In order to have a presence on the ballot, each candidate must recruit electors in each of the state’s 18 Congressional districts. Those electors must then obtain enough signatures to appear on the ballot in that district. A candidate who fails to recruit qualified electors will not appear in the primary.

The collection period has already started here and the Trump campaign apparently has no declared electors working to get on the ballot. Trump is not the only candidate with this problem.

Lining up electors is still only part of the process. Only 54 of Illinois’ 69 Republican delegates are selected in the primary. The rest come from sitting officials and at-large selections made at the state convention. Those other 15 delegates carry no formal commitment to any candidate. What are the odds that they would support Trump at the convention under any circumstances?

Illinois’ process for selecting a nominee may be unique in its particulars, but it is typical of the broader pattern. In some states, like Minnesota, Iowa and Nevada, the caucus is merely suggestive of the final delegate count. Getting delegates to the national convention means winning support at county and state conventions. In most cases, that means developing a base of support in the years leading up to the campaign.

As another example, Texas’ 155 RNC delegates are selected at the state convention. Texas follows a process similar to Illinois in which 2/3 of the delegates are assigned via a complex schedule on a per-Congressional District basis. The remaining 1/3 of the delegates are at-large, selected from a pool of applicants. Primary results are supposed to influence the assignment of delegates. However, a candidate with little grassroots support and poor state level organization could find himself nominally represented by delegates who are deeply committed to another candidate.

With a presumed nominee none of this really matters. State level politicos who might not be tremendously supportive will still go along with the tide. In the absence of a presumed nominee, and with a candidate like Trump emerging from the primaries as the leader, delegates’ behavior at the convention becomes very difficult to predict.

We face a series of potential nightmare scenarios. All of these scenarios are plausible. Odds favor the possibility that one of them, or something along these lines, plays out.

Scenario 1 – Trump wins with a majority in the primaries, yet fails to secure a majority of the convention delegates. Delegates select another candidate, perhaps even someone who did not participate in the primaries. Trump graciously concedes…just kidding. He throws a fit and threatens an independent run.

Scenario 2 – No one wins a clear majority in the primaries. The top finisher goes into the convention with the largest number of delegates, but not enough to secure the nomination without brokering a deal. Trumps graciously concedes when the party rejects him…

Scenario 3 – Trump pulls off a narrow majority in the primaries and a slim majority of the delegates, enough that the convention selects him as the nominee. Do Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and others mount the podium in Cleveland to endorse Donald Trump? Really? Really really?

A brokered convention might be incapable of selecting a consensus nominee, with two or more candidates emerging from the wreckage promising a continued campaign for the White House. A Trump win at the convention is likely to result in a large number of prominent national Republicans either leaving the party outright or declaring support for Clinton. This is how political parties crumble and realign. Alliances and relationships formed on a divided convention floor become the raw materials of new partisan coalitions.

It is early yet. If Trump somehow implodes by February none of this might happen – this time. However, without some major realignment, the 2020 campaign will be even worse. If we somehow get a reprieve from chaos next summer, hopefully the party will use that window of opportunity to learn the neglected lessons of 2012. We could use the first years of the second Clinton Administration to build a sane, inclusive party ready to face the future. What are the odds?

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Election 2016
171 comments on “How a Trump primary “win” could go sour
  1. […] few weeks ago I speculated that the Trump campaign would fail to submit a full slate of delegates for the Republican primary in Illinois. On Monday, he beat the odds and delivered a complete […]

  2. […] sufficient to land an overwhelming delegate majority. And that raises the second problem – he hasn’t built the grassroots infrastructure necessary to secure convention delegates. He can win primaries and lose the delegate […]

  3. […] A previous post outlined a unique problem for this field – none of the candidates has sought the nomination before and, as a consequence, none of them has built an organization capable of supporting a national campaign. This is a particularly pressing problem if Donald Trump manages to lead in the primaries, since he will likely be unable to secure the pool of convention delegates that a potential victory would ordinarily yield. […]

  4. Rob Ambrose says:

    Came across this “literacy test” given to black people in order to be able to vote in 1965 (!).

    It is literally impossible to pass this test in ANY amount of time, let alone 10 minutes.

    And ppl like Ben Carson say with a straight face that their is no legacy of racism? and bkacks today are all personally responsible for their own poverty situations?

    What a disgraceful human being. If you take away the ability of a certain people to vote, how can you then demonize them as being lazy, uninterested in politics, and uneducated?

    • 1mime says:

      You are so right, Rob. Carson is choosing to trumpet his personal achievements without recognition or acknowledgement of those who sacrificed so that he would have the opportunity to utilize the intelligence he was born with. That he did so is wonderful, that he has chosen to ignore the real impediments many others face, is shallow and unbecoming. That is why inclusion and diversity are so important in life and in politics – to keep us grounded – to keep us humble and appreciative, and to never allow ourselves to forget or ignore others whose lives are less fortunate.

  5. 1mime says:

    This is OT for this blog post but it relates very closely to many prior posts. The subject: justice. I am encouraged that so many small efforts are making headway in addressing injustice for the poor. These young lawyers are joining the efforts of others (SPLC, Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy) who are committed to bringing change to American justice for the poor.

    It is important in all the political noise that we not ignore nor forget that real people are facing incarceration and fine problems just because they are poor, mentally ill, or Black. I will keep posting articles like this as my small contribution to keeping this issue before you. We can’t forget or ignore what is happening to others around us.

    • duncancairncross says:

      Hi 1mime
      I disagree with you on “means testing”
      I have mentioned this wrt race – selecting a specific race (be they ever hard done by) to give (or return) benefits tends to split your society and cause tension between the other poor and the race benefitted
      My answer was to benefit ALL of the poor – not just the African Americans or the Maori

      Thinking about it this principle could and should be applied to all government benefits
      Some of the middle class get grumpy at payments to the poor
      The solution is to make things like state pensions, child allowances and the like totally equal,
      Yes that means that the 1% get it as well – but they are only 1% so not a major problem

      This makes the operation of the system simple and cheap BUT more important removes a divisive meme from our society

      When (I’m an optimist) we get a Universal Basic Income it should be the same

      • 1mime says:

        Duncan, I wasn’t clear with my advocacy of “means testing”. This would be applied to those who are seniors and eligible for Medicare and Social Security. At present, everyone over age 65 is eligible for Medicare. Limited means testing for Medicare already exists for health insurance premiums, but it is a nominal cost for the benefits received and relating to the financial wealth of the individual. I would prefer this means of generating more revenue more fairly to shore up the program than I would to raise the age of eligibility to 67 which is the current GOP position. This would work fine for those in good health (principally those who have enjoyed good insurance and had less strenuous occupations), but would be very hard for those who were low wage earners and performed hard labor. With Social Security, the recommendations also are looking at age increase for eligibility as well as changing the indexing of the COLA (cost of living adjustment) – which benefits the government but costs the retiree. Obviously, if the programs need financial shoring up, changes will be needed. No where in the GOP plan will they agree to raise the income cap on wages that are taxed for social security taxes.

        I agree with you that all should benefit – the poor and the wealthy – it’s just a matter (to me) of being equitable….which, of course, is highly debated.

      • duncancairncross says:

        The situation here is a bit different
        National health system with effectively free healthcare
        National “superannuation” (Pension) fixed at 65% of national average wages
        Everybody get the “super” at age 65
        One of the effects is we have no pensioners below the poverty line
        There is talk of increasing the eligibility age and also making it flexible – take it early and get less or later and get more

      • 1mime says:

        That flexible “pension” situation exists in the U.S. already in Social Security. Medicare is “fixed” unless one has a major life-altering health issue in which case they could access early through a disability category. As I indicated earlier, the problem for the poor or low wage earner – since the U.S. has no universal basic income – is that those who earned the least throughout a life of working at menial wages, or at a highly strenuous, physically demanding job – are generally least able to “delay’ access as their life expectancy is much shorter than the white collar person.

  6. 1mime says:

    Daily Kos threw an interesting suggestion out there today – “Elijah Cummings for Hillary’s VP”.
    In case you’re not familiar with him, he’s a Democratic Congressman representing Baltimore, MD. He is ranking Democratic member on the House Benghazi Select Committee and also serves on Oversight and Government Reform, Transportation and Infrastructure for the 114th Congress. He is a forceful advocate for issues he supports, and strongly stands his ground within the committees. His defense of Hillary Clinton in the Benghazi Prosecution was memorable as were his notable head to head confrontations with Darrell Issa – who definitely makes my list of the worst GOP members of Congress.

    As interesting as it would be to have Rep. Cummings as VP, I value his work in behalf of Democrats inside Congress. He is an articulate, strong, unapologetic member of the Democratic Caucus and takes no BS…..IOW, an endangered species. Confront him in committee hearings at your risk. No dancing around the edges – what you see is what you get. How very refreshing.

    • Griffin says:

      My dream ticket is Alan Grayson and Sheila Jackson Lee… jk I just wanted to give Lifer a mini-heart attack. I wish either Cummings or Elizabeth Warren had run for President as the progressive alternative to Clinton they both would have a better chance than Sanders of beating both Clinton and the establishment Republicans and I have the feeling Sanders only ran because no other progresives were running and he felt he had an obligation to do so. John Lewis would also be a good choice if he’s not too old to run.

      Choosing a vice president is tricky because in many cases it leaves that person more powerless than they were before, in which case I’d probably go for a Blue Dog Democrat to balance the ticket. Actually someone like Jim Webb would have been perfect had it not been for his idiotic stance on the confederate flag and his weird presidential run.

      • EJ says:

        Warren’s endorsement of Clinton early on was one of the smartest things I’ve seen. She’s a canny operator and I’d be surprised if we don’t see more of her in future.

      • 1mime says:

        NO…not Webb…he is a disenchanted conservative…which is fine, but we don’t need someone who lacks a strong Democratic values system. It will be interesting to see who Hillary might choose. Julian Castro? Elijah Cummings? Whoever it is will need to bring a strong voter segment to the team. Castro would bring Hispanics; Cummings, Blacks. Undoubtedly, Hispanic support may be more important depending upon who she faces in the general election…..assuming she is the nominee (-:

        Maybe Lifer could have a “mock” “pick Hillary’s VP” lottery to go along with the “Trump” one?

  7. 1mime says:

    While we’re “connecting the dots” here, there has been little commentary that about who will succeed Ryan as Chair of Ways and Means. Here’s one WaPo article on the subject. I am not a fan of Kevin Brady….in his district and get his email, etc. (pays to read what the other side is saying…thinking…). He is senior but will be interested to see if one of Ryan’s first power plays will be to champion a moderate for the position (Tiberi) since this committee has been so important to him in the past and certainly will be if he becomes Speaker.

    • EJ says:

      1mime, have you considered blogging? It’s hard not to notice that your wordcount here at Chris’s blog is greater than his is. You have a lot of well-supported opinions, you write well and you have an enviable historical perspective. If you wrote a blog I’d read it.

      • 1mime says:

        EJ, thanks for the lovely compliment, but I enjoy my role as a participant. I have been accused (justifiably) of being “wordy” (-: but writing a blog of Lifer’s caliber is a huge commitment and one I don’t feel I could maintain well. I don’t know how many appreciate how hard Chris works to present his blog posts….relevant, well documented, timely, interesting and extremely well written. I receive tremendous pleasure participating and it offers me a healthy, interesting outlet. I have always been interested and involved in politics but my life circumstances now do not allow me to get out much and engage publicly. Hence – I read a lot and post a lot (here) because I love the blog and those who engage here.

        I have been asked by many to consider writing a blog for caregivers. (My husband has Parkinson’s Disease and I have been a full time caregiver for eight years.) I have learned a lot in caring for him that could be useful to others, so I have given that idea some thought. The negative is that it would not offer the mental diversion to that which consumes most of my day. In a word, “mental balance” is what I strive for. I have a great deal of energy and have tried to channel it positively while in a home setting. My only disappointment with the blog is that it doesn’t allow me to meet each of you directly. The blog is my window to a bigger world filled with some nice people who interest and challenge me. I’ll take that.

        Thanks again, EJ. You let us know if you write a blog because I’d love to follow you too!

      • EJ says:

        I wrote a maths blog at one point, but then life got busy and it fell by the wayside. I sometimes think of picking it up again.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      How dysfunctional. Its like parents who try to show off to new friends by bashing their children.

      What would you think of any parent willing to do this? Or any friend who would be impressed by it?

      On a related note of nutso, this idiot says Hillary should be impeached in her first day of office. This guy is an elected congressman in the most powerful nation on Earth. That’s terrifying. I guess the “high crimes and misdemeanors” hes refering to are having the temerity to be a president while being a woman?

      • 1mime says:

        Temerity + Hillary = First Female POTUS.

        Repubs eating their own…..why does this surprise anyone?

        Rob, When you have time, read the Newsweek piece I linked below to Griffin. It is powerful.

    • goplifer says:

      More pointed analysis on this subject from Vox. They are dead-on:

      “People are giving Carson money so that he’ll have the money to ask more people for money. It’s a form of pyramid scheme. There’s no real field operation, policy staff, or any other manifestation of the kind of campaign apparatus that could plausibly result in victory.”

      • 1mime says:

        Lifer, can you even imagine Carson having to make a critical decision on launching an attack or other military operation? I shudder to think of it. Then, I think of Cruz in the same position and I shiver. When will people realize that intelligence is a gift; wisdom is earned.

      • 1mime says:

        Lifer – Is this pyramid marketing scheme a Republican concept, or, is it practiced by both parties to the same extent? If so, I have not been aware of this happening in Democratic circles as much as in Republican circles.

        The fact that 80-90% of the money raised is being spent and charged as management fees to consultants, marketing firms, etc reinforces your earlier thought that those who “manage” the candidate’s campaign, are the big winners…..the candidates, maybe not so much. I do believe that sincere candidates want to win….running a campaign at any level, but especially the national level, is exhausting and very public. Some candidate’s only skill is running for office. I doubt they can make a comparable living in the real world….certainly not one which carries all the attendant perks of office and ego gratification.

        Sounds cynical? You betcha. (The latter the only lasting contribution of SP to the body politic.)

      • 1mime says:

        Lifer, you and I are probably the only two people here interested in this primary result, but it is very interesting that the two Democratic candidates for Gov/Lt.Gov in LA did so well. Of course, once deals are cut between the three top GOP candidates, the General will probably revert to a Republican win. Still, it is illustrative of the immense dissatisfaction with Jindal as well as the simmering frustration of the populace for all of the incredibly bad governance. It appears that the Black vote came out big in the race, judging from the parish/precinct data. This race is probably an anomaly in the nation but one still questions what lessons there could be for other elections. I think 2016 is going to be an election for the historical record books.

  8. 1mime says:

    For those on the right (and left) who are breathing a sigh of relief that Paul Ryan is the heir apparent for Speaker, I suggest you re-visit his great budget plan and dig deep. Voucherize Medicare? Check. Balance the budget in ten years? Check. Make cuts to achieve this with no new revenue? Check. And, so on. Be careful what you wish for.

    In the NYT article, they suggest that he has agreed with the HFC to adhere to the Hastert Rule (meaning – all legislation must be passed with Repub votes, no Dem votes can be used.) think of the import of this as it relates to the budget and the debt ceiling….

    • Griffin says:

      “Make cuts to achieve this with no new revenue?”

      Even that’s too generous since they want to also cut taxes and thus have even less revenue. Marco Rubio, the “moderate” establishment candidate is even crazier about it, wanting to cut so many taxes it would create a 4-5 trilltion “hole” in the deficit, and insisting they would pay for themself.

      More Ezra Klein on Rubio:

      I would respect them far more if they just outright said deficits don’t matter and the benefits are worth the cost. But I don’t see how cutting taxes on the rich helps anyone. If anything I’m not sure I want them to spend some of that money as it makes me worried about increasingly dangerous levels of speculation.

      • TheMeansAreTheEnd says:

        The Republican strategy for years has been to CREATE deficits & then insist that social services spending must be cut to cover the shortfall. They do it with unfunded wars, but doing it by tax cuts for the rich makes it a win-win from their viewpoint. Scott Walker has done the same to great effect in his state. I suspect that most know they are lying, but consider it OK in their great cause. In some cases they could indeed be stupid enough to believe that giving money to the rich creates jobs, despite all evidence to the contrary.

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t agree that the strategy of Repubs over the years is to “create” deficits as an excuse to “cut” social programs. What I do believe is that Repubs were not hesitant to create a deficit if it was to their benefit and then attempt to “pay” for it with cuts to social programs. There is a difference in my view. Ex. the prescription drug plan – not funded with cuts or new revenue; the Iraq war, same; the current increase in the DOD budget above sequestration limits without agreeing to a commensurate increase in other budgetary needs. It’s entirely self-serving.

        It is clear if one studies decades of data that the economy has performed better under Democrats who are reviled by conservatives for their “spending excesses” without devastating cuts to basic services as Repubs always insist upon when they hold the purse.

      • 1mime says:

        Griffin, I don’t want waste in government, but I do believe in a social safety net. It must be responsibly run, adequately funded, and appropriately targeted. Of course there will be fraud, and waste just as there is in any super large corporation. That should compel greater efforts at efficiency, not a scrapping of the entire program. Balanced budgets in an economy of America’s size are a myth and not possible or practical. Too many unexpected events….a million here, a million there and soon you’re talking big money… (all those hearings (-: )

        I see government as a positive, necessary machine which requires maintenance, supervision, and updating as both needs demand and circumstances allow. If all changes are pursued with good intent, I have no problem with that. I may not be totally happy, but I am one person. What is important is that, on whole, fairness and equality are integral in the process. Don’t “cut” just to say you “cut”; don’t “spend” just to satisfy. Cut and spend wisely and fairly. That is all I ask.

      • Griffin says:

        @Mime I should have been more clear I was talking about not wanting extremely wealthy people spending some of that money as it tends to lead to speculation, I would prefer they had a very high marginal tax rate and that the capital gains tax rate raised a bit (taxing large financial transactions would be nice too) as a detterent against dangerous speculation. I also want a safety net, and either a basic income or job guarentees.

      • 1mime says:

        Tax reform is needed but it must be done in a way that improves the status quo…addresses the income divide…deals with loopholes (such as the carried interest loophole). I don’t want to gouge the wealthy but I do want this group to pay their fair share….which would likely be higher in most cases than it is today, especially given this group’s ability to finesse tax codes. Likewise, I would like to see people in the middle get a little more tax relief. It is desirable that ALL Americans contribute but with so many working at sub par wages, there is no way other than sales taxes for these millions to participate. It’s so complicated and I am not qualified except to offer an opinion, I definitely disagree with the carried interest loophole.

        There needs to be more means testing for participation in retirement and other government assistance programs. If this is re-distribution then I’m for that.

  9. 1mime says:

    For those who are interested, Hillary Clinton will be the sole guest tonight on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC (CST, 8pm).

  10. duncancairncross says:

    Here is Dr Brin’s take on the Donald

    • 1mime says:

      I will be voting Democrat, however, I have felt the race might come down to Trump and Cruz on the right. If so, it was obvious to me that Trump would be the more sane choice for Republicans….even if they don’t take it.

      Was struck by the reference to the 8 months of “dirt” finding by the (W) Bush administration on Bill Clinton’s tenure. …”the Clinton Administration — long proclaimed by Fox to be the “most corrupt” — in fact turned out to be the only one in U.S. history with ZERO high officials even indicted (let alone convicted) for malfeasance of office. Though not for lack of desperate GOP effort, during the first 8 months of 2001, using their complete control over all branches of government to seek anything they might pin on the Clintons….”

      Some things never change. For the life of me, I have never been able to fathom why a party that projects its image as being godly, shrewd and smarter than everyone else, would resort to tricks like: suppressing the vote; swift-boating candidates; witch hunts; and, now I learn, using government agents to go after the previous administration looking for corruption. Is it possible that those who profess to be so much better are really just better at using dirty tactics.

      • Griffin says:

        There is actual dirt on the Clintons due to them reveling in establishment politics. For instance not revealing over 1,000 foreign donations to the Clinton foundation and the increasingly obvious favors that were done in return… and that’s not even getting into her taking millions from the same people she denounces (wall street, pharmacuetical companies, etc.).

        In many ways the Benghazi “investigation” and other wingnut manufactroversies are something of a blessing in disguise for Clinton because if the GOP were sane and capable of making criticisms grounded in reality they would probably beat her in 2016 (assuming they had a reasonable candidate as well), especially when people are in an angry, populist mood and she is possibly the most pro-establishment candidate in modern US history. However they aren’t capable of doing that so she’s going to be our next president, and most of the people on this site (myself included) will vote for her even if its physically painful for them to do so.

      • 1mime says:

        Griffin, I don’t believe much of what I read about any highly placed politician unless the information is repeated across many valid media sources. Too many moving parts. I read your Bloomberg link and on the face of it, it raises many questions. I need to read all of the links in the article before I make a full response. I noted the link with Mark Halperin and will never forget the ugly, derogatory slur he made of President Obama. It was not “cute”, or appropriate, and most unprofessional.

        I would like to offer a different analysis on the subject of the scrutiny of Hillary Clinton over many years with the Benghazi probe as one example. It is a highly documented and well researched study of the background of the Benghazi investigation with Hillary as its underlying focus. Before you make your final personal decision about Hillary, I’d recommend you read this. I’d be interested in your final thoughts.

        Is Hillary Clinton pristine ? Most likely not. Then again, who among us, is? What she is is highly intelligent and experienced across many spectrums (legal career, Watergate counsel, First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State, grandma….) She. will. do. no. harm. She will make good decisions and represent America well. I trust Hillary with the red phone. Can you say the same of any of the GOP front runners? In these times, that means a lot. She understands governance, politics, and foreign affairs.

        We often talk about how politics is infused with people who have been there too long. There is something to be said about the balance and caution that being older brings to the decision making process. Look at the disrespectful antics of the fifty-somethings who dominate the TP and HFC. Do you see much wisdom there or do you see hot heads who care little about protecting our nation and everything about their goal to bring it down. Hillary was prescient in seeing the need for major health care reform in the 90s and offered ideas to address health needs in the U.S. A subject most politicians were ducking.

        There are few of us (insignificant or great) who would survive the minute scrutiny that most politicians face when they seek the office of Presidency. As long as the scrutiny is fair, I support that. When its intent is to malign or destroy or misuse information, I unequivocally oppose it.

      • Creigh says:

        Mime, I too might rather see a President Trump than any of the other Republican candidates. I’m not sure I can articulate why, but maybe it’s because I’ve never felt that Trump hates me, and I’m not at all sure about the others. Or maybe, in a milder version of that, I’d rather have a buffoon than a zealot. He just feels less threatening, somehow.

  11. texan5142 says:

    Mark my words, I do believe the economy is about to take a big shit. The price of materials has been declining steadily over the past few weeks and or months and there is no sign of it bottoming out. Hold on, we might be heading for a wild ride.

    • 1mime says:

      TX, read the NPR link above on why this time it will be different in the debt ceiling outcome.
      When the people who hold the power are hell-bent on petty politics and don’t give a damn about consequences to our country, how can the outcome be good for the nation?

  12. rightonrush says:

    Wishing our neighbors to the South God speed. If anyone is interested here is a live cam that’s in the path of the hurricane.

    • texan5142 says:

      Have been watching live cam of that all day.

      • rightonrush says:

        Gonna be lots of destruction. Global warming is here and kicking arse.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Someone forgot to tell Mother Nature that CC is a hoax cooked up by thousands of people who’ve devoted their lives to facts and the scientific method but are happy to throw it all away because….the war on Christians?

      • Doug says:

        “Global warming is here and kicking arse.”

        [sigh] I was wondering who was going to be first. Had my money on Rob.

        So far, 2015 has the 4th lowest ACE over the last 45 years. The lowest? 2013, followed by 2012 and 2014. Yes, this is a very strong hurricane. No, there is no correlation between CO2 and hurricanes, although an El Niño tends to increase eastern Pacific hurricanes. We do have a very strong El Niño now.

      • Griffin says:

        @Doug Aaaaand debunked.

        Though the correlation is not always positive and the effects of global warming on hurricanes could take a while to measure. There can be inhibitions to hurricane frequency as well due to El Nino.

        “Climate models give mixed results on whether the average storm intensities will change, but most show evidence for some increase in intensity.” – Patz Fitzgerald

        “One inhibiting factor is the El Nino, a body of relatively warm equatorial water in the eastern Pacific. Absent for the past few years, it is expected to bring weak to moderately warm water to the South American west coast. A characteristic of El Nino is westerly winds in the upper troposphere that act to shear the tops off Atlantic easterly waves coming off the African Coast, preventing them from growing into named storms or hurricanes…” – William Gray

        You know Doug if you used all that time and energy on not being objectively wrong about one specific issue you’d probably have something interesting to say by now.

      • Doug says:

        ““Climate models give mixed results on whether the average storm intensities will change, but most show evidence for some increase in intensity.” – Patz Fitzgerald”

        Of course, because models are more real than reality.

        “A characteristic of El Nino is westerly winds in the upper troposphere that act to shear the tops off Atlantic easterly waves coming off the African Coast, preventing them from growing into named storms or hurricanes…”

        umm…this hurricane is in the Pacific.

      • Doug says:

        So many disappointed people this weekend. I wonder what’s going to be the next Worst Event Evah™ that proves global warming?

      • 1mime says:

        Com’on, Doug, Breitbart? I’m probably one of the more moderate GW advocates here, but, your source is Breitbart?

    • johngalt says:

      It’s probably a bad sign that the camera is now down.

      No particular weather event, this one included, can be ascribed to global warming. The best one can say is that extreme weather is more probable in a warmer climate but the evidence for this is not that well established.

  13. Griffin says:

    My feelings about Marco Rubio are becoming increasingly aligned with Ezra Klein’s.

    “What makes me so confident in Marco Rubio?”:

    I suppose the biggest question is where are Fiorina’s supporters going to go after she drops out? She’s associated with the Outsiders and it’s presumed they’ll benefit from her leaving but I don’t know, while she says batshit crazy things and has a personal record of being a borderline sociopath she still presents herself as “respectable” enough that many of her supporters may otherwise go for establishment candidates. I suppose her supporters may be the kingmakers for the GOP nomination if the other candidates supporters are about as predictable as they are made out to be (as in clearly being either Outsider vs Establishment supporters, and the Outsiders losing bits of support to more “electable” candidates when the primaries draw closer).

    • goplifer says:

      Klein is inching toward a revelation. Final sentence:

      “I’m exerting a lot of energy here to deny that the GOP primary simply is the thing it looks like it is, and Republican voters simply have the preferences they clearly, in poll after poll, say they have.”

      Translation: I’m resisting the obvious conclusion that a majority of GOP voters are utterly, irreconcilably delusional.

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s my problem with Rubio (not that my opinion will make any difference). He supposedly has this deep investment in immigration reform due essentially to his own background. Then he back-pedaled from supporting a plan he originally endorsed….His position on womens’ issues are consistent with his colleagues, which are still abhorrent to me and will be to younger women who someone his age might attract except for his anti-choice rhetoric.

        I simply do not find Rubio to have much depth. That probably doesn’t count for much these days (Trump?), but in a head to head competition with a Hillary Clinton, who is such a substantive, experienced candidate, I think he pales in comparison.

      • Griffin says:

        I used to think the same, which may be a delusion in and of itself. It’s curious that many (though not all) liberal pundits have a tendency to give GOP voters the benefit of the doubt and assume they’ll “come to their senses”, if it was the other way around there’s no way in hell conservative pundits (or even beltway pundits) would give liberal voters the benefit of the doubt even if their favorite choice was only slightly left of Barack Obama.

        You’d think liberal pundits would pounce on this as an opportunity to bash the Republican base but then again liberals have rarely been very effective at going on the offense unless the failure is pretty explicit, such as Romney’s 47% comment.

      • goplifer says:

        Rubio might grow up someday. His background suggests a lot of potential. Right now he is shallow, opportunistic, and clumsily cynical. At this stage of his career he’s still a B-team guy. That makes him one of the party’s best potential candidates, by the way, but still…

      • Crogged says:

        How can one be surprised any longer about the vehemence of this opposition, the lengths some rather intelligent people go to stay on the team and message? Several friends sent me some FB postings regarding Hillary’s ‘lies’-one in particular recalled that Hillary said she ‘generally’ didn’t use email during the day-and said this was a lie because of the ‘copious’ amounts of emails uncovered. Unhinged thousands of comments later, no one asked-what is ‘generally’ and how many is ‘copious’? Just free form rants in order to keep the checks coming in-see the NYT story today about the money these PACs raise and how it is spent.

        It was a fact-Hillary lied and drank infant spinal fluid to improve her complexion too!

  14. RightonRush says:

    Oh goody! More bull shit and another waste of tax payers money is coming down the pike.

    • Turtles Run says:

      I am so glad there are no real problems in this country,

      • rightonrush says:

        They couldn’t get into Hillary’s pants so now they are going for Cecile Richards….again. I bet Ann Richards and Barbara Jordan are laughing watching these clowns.

      • 1mime says:

        Maybe – but responding to lawsuits and document demands is expensive for organizations. TX announced in today’s Chronicle that it is demanding records (on some trumped up excuse) on patients and procedures relating to Medicaid reimbursement. Compliance with even trivial or bogus demands still costs money, and it is all a matter of making the means achieve their end goal – closing down PP.

      • texan5142 says:

        Not laughing, more like they are vomiting with repulsion watching these clowns. God I miss the strong, level headed women in politics like Ann Richards and Barbara Jordan. If they were alive today and still in politics, you can bet your ass they would have a thing or two to say about the current crop.

      • texan5142 says:

        I believe not enough is said about this remarkable woman.

      • rightonrush says:

        They were a couple of good old Texas girls Tex. They were women in the tradition of Jane Long, tough, fair, and didn’t book no $hit.

  15. Owl of Bellaire says:

    Chris, does that make Ted Cruz the “rough beast slouching toward Bethlehem to be born”?

    Or will he have to be satisfied with Tel Aviv?

    • goplifer says:

      If it’s born in Bethlehem it cannot get a US passport that identifies it’s place of birth as Israel. Important considerations.

    • Hi
      Public information requests
      Here (NZ) if you request some information from your local council the council is entitled to charge a reasonable sum to collate and redact (personal information) the information for you
      It has got to be a “reasonable sum” and the council may have to defend that costing in front of a judge

      Do you not have the same in the USA?
      So if the House requires some records they pay a reasonable sum to the organisation that they are requesting from?

      • 1mime says:

        Since the Republicans control the budget, and since the budget is tax payer money, the cost is simply part of doing business. Overtime, research time, hearing attendance, extra hires that may be necessary to meet demands and deadlines, costs a lot of taxpayer $$. Cummings point was that there had already been 6 hearings on Benghazi in Congress, and the seventh one (led by Trey Gowdy) was already at $4.7 Million and counting. The State Department, Defense, Central Intelligence have to meet document and witness production demands and defense out of their existing budgets. IOW, the Select Committee “spends” with a blank check, the parties that must produce documents has to work within their budgets. It’s not right and it is definitely not justified in this particular case in which the Republicans are trying to make the end result justify the means.

  16. 1mime says:

    Don’t like to play by the rules that are embedded in the Constitution? Change the rules! Or, over-rule the one appointed to follow parliamentary procedure…..I mean, the means justifies the end, doesn’t it?

  17. Rob Ambrose says:

    Nice example if capitalism at its best: the company is still making a profit, while lowering the costs to consumers enormously.

    On a side note, how disgusting is it that this company can sell this product for $1/dose and still turn a profit while the Shrekli was charging hundreds.

    Hopefully it bankrupts the scumbag.

  18. Martin says:

    Very impressive analysis. Why is nobody else talking about this? I am looking forward to seeing this unfold. What a spectacle!

    As to the post-2012 assessment you reference, they are making a very common mistake many startup companies are making too: They confuse marketing with product-market fit. The GOP offers the wrong product and all the marketing in the word cannot change that. You cannot sell a product for which there is lack of or dwindling demand.

    • goplifer says:

      ***They confuse marketing with product-market fit***

      Thank you. For years now, since the party released its 2012 assessment I’ve been looking for the right phrase to describe that situation. You nailed it.

      As for why no one is talking about the situation facing us this year? No one in politics, and I do mean no one, gets rewarded for delivering bad news.

      The entire enterprise is constructed on relationships, not results. It is vital to be liked. It is vital to be associated with the right people. Winning is nice, but it is secondary.

      As a consequence, there is really nothing to gain materially from looking under the hood and commenting on the machinery. I am confident that no one in the party, even the people who understand how this stuff works, is looking at the stuff I just described with the slightest concern.

      • 1mime says:

        I was with you for a bit, Lifer, until you said that “winning is secondary”. I believe winning is all in politics. I agree that people aren’t checking under the hood, but that serves the “winner take all” politician just fine.

      • goplifer says:

        Winning is entirely beside the point for everyone but the candidate. Sometimes even for the candidate.

        Bring me a campaign consultant who made more money from the winning campaign, or lost money when his candidate lost. I will wait right here.

        And you would think that winning helps to burnish a politico’s credentials. It doesn’t. And losing doesn’t seem to matter either. It is student council all over again, writ large.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Winning isn’t actually important if you weren’t actually looking to be elected to an office where you’d have to make responsible compromises instead of remaining liberated as a carefree bomb-thrower.

        Losing an election lets you play the martyr, bulk up your donor lists, and use campaign funds in all sorts of legally permitted but creative ways.

    • 1mime says:

      But, isn’t “demand” from the far right exactly in sync with the GOP product, vis a vis the candidates and policy positions? Who is the tail and who is the dog in conservative circles? What am I missing here?

  19. 1mime says:

    Benghazi Hearing – Hillary Clinton, 10; Trey Gowdy, 0.

    • stephen says:

      Watch about 30 min. of it. All I saw was partisan politics. Democrats praising Clinton and Republicans accusing her. An accusation would be made and before she could answer another one was made. Benghazi will be used against Republicans in the general election. This was not smart politics.

      • TheMeansAreTheEnd says:

        “This was not smart politics.” True, but such hearings are not SUPPOSED to be politics at all. But since the Republicans intended it as politics from first to last, why shouldn’t the Democrats push back & why should the taxpayers bear the cost?

      • 1mime says:

        These hearings made the Republicans look mean, petty, and completely verified McCarthy’s slip of the tongue and Hanna’s admission that this committee was all about bringing Hillary down. (which everyone who’s paying attention knew, of course).

        NINE hours they grilled Clinton. Even the laid back, even-handed David Gergen expressed deep dismay over how brutal the hearing was – and, a portend of how the ugly partisanship in politics is now being reflected in how they conduct hearings. I watched all nine hours and Hillary somehow maintained her composure, was respectful, and demonstrated her ability to remain above the fray….even when Pompeo and Gowdy were their ugliest.

        If I were a citizen of another country and watching this, I would conclude that Democracy is not working in America.

      • Turtles Run says:

        “…..why should the taxpayers bear the cost?”

        Because to fiscal conservatives there is no cost to high for stigginit to Hillary.

      • 1mime says:

        Elijah Cummings (who was powerful in the B. hearing), made a wise observation about the cost of all the B. hearings (7) and all the staff and material costs to produce the hundreds of thousands of documents they have demanded (estimated as approximately $20million all together , without including the Defense Dept requests). He said that here we are discussing a tragedy that cost American lives and trying to vilify those who had to manage it at significant cost to the taxpayer without focusing any real attention on making our embassies safer. “Imagine how much more safe we could make our embassies world-wide if we spent this $20M on them, instead of this political witch hunt?”


      • Turtles Run says:

        1mime – That is a great comment.

  20. Daniel Womack says:

    I keep telling everyone to stay calm, Trump is not going to be the nominee. BUT, Clinton will be the next President. It’s going to happen. She has rebounded just like the Clintons do and today’s performance was another sign her campaign is on the rebound.

    Love reading your stuff.

    Sent from my iCloud.


  21. Rob Ambrose says:

    One of Trudeau’s policies that he campaigned on is mandatory voting.

    Every citizen must vote or face a small fine. There will be a space for “none of the above” if that is your prerogative. But he wants to treat voting as a duty, not a privilege.

    Interesting concept. And one that hasn’t a hope in hell in America.

    • Griffin says:

      Yes and he wants more proportinal representation, which I’m also a big fan of. It’s worth noting though that he’s not doing this out of the kindness of his heart though, the centre-left in Canada is split between the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party which makes it easier for Conservatives to win, and the Conservative Party does better with low voter turnout. So while more proportional representation would probably cost the Liberals a majority they would pretty much always be in government.

      If you add up the votes the “left” (Liberals, NDP, and Greens) got in the last elections you get over 60% of the vote. Vote splitting in a first past the post system is basically the only way the Conservatives won so many times so it’ll be interesting to see what they do if proportional representation passes. They’ll have to hope Liberals become fat and lazy from being in power for too long without serious competition.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Griffin, you’re absolutely correct in that it will benefit Trudeau directly.

        But there’s nothing wrong with that, and its still the right thing to do. I’ve never heard of a democracy that gets hurt by more voter participation.

    • 1mime says:

      Yeah, the GOP track record on voter suppression is a “tell” as to mandatory voting chances in the U.S.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Mime: NO to mandatory voting. Voting should remain a right, a freedom, and it should always be accessible for those who CHOOSE to vote. But It should never be obligatory. Otherwise, NOT voting becomes criminalized. The last thing we need is another reason to fine people or put them in jail, to add another layer of hardship to certain groups of people.

      • 1mime says:

        You are correct, Tutta, but I wish so much that we could find ways to motivate people to vote. Maybe what we ought to do is to make it a criminal offense to “Keep” people “from” voting, thus ending all this crap to suppress the vote. Work it from the back end.

        It would help if SCOTUS would rule in that regard. Republicans have gotten so far out of line on this that it has become impossibly difficult for local groups to fight it.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I believe in making voting more accessible, to expand the time frame for voting, to increase the number of polling places, but NEVER to force it.

        So I don’t want to hear anyone say that my opposition to mandatory voting is just an attempt at voter suppression. Quite the opposite. It’s about voter freedom.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Tutt…I’m with you on this, but in the US, with certainly some exceptions, many of the folks against mandatory voting would be the same folks who seem awfully happy to suppress voting now.

        Easier voting, a “national holiday” for voting, and other things to make it more accessible would be good things.

        There are some folks who I respect that will point out that with early voting, we have lots and lots of time to vote, and in a city like Houston, it isn’t necessarily all that hard to find a place to vote (although that is not true in all parts of the city), but folks have real lives with real demands, and unless they really, really, really want to vote, most folks are not going to vote early and most folks wait until election day.

        It would be rainbow and sunshine if folks would make voting a priority, but that is not going to happen any time soon, and we need a system that handles that reality.

        Or, you become the GOP in a southern state and do whatever you can to make it just a little bit harder for folks to vote in the hopes that the extra hurdle dissuades some folks from voting.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Exactly, Mime. You have the sincere wish to motivate people, but forcing them is not the solution. I know we’ve had this discussion before.

        Some people seem to think that the solution to voter suppression is mandatory voting, but both are forms of coercion.

        The worst thing I could ever say about you is that you’re OVER-ZEALOUS. 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        Yes, it is both a blessing and a curse (-:

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      The Constitution doesn’t have a thing to say about party primaries… or, for that matter, about political parties themselves. Many of our nation’s founders spoke earnestly and loudly AGAINST the idea of political parties or “factions” — yet here we have them.

      And the fact that we didn’t plan for them in our constitution, which was written before much of the formal political science about partisan politics had been formulated, means we have an antiquated and, often, ineffective form of national governance. We’re still running the 1.0 version of the political software, despite the upgrades in many other countries. Heck, we didn’t even contemplate saddling Iraq with the same time of government we inflict on ourselves; instead, we guided them toward a parliamentary system, like most of the rest of the planet.

  22. 1mime says:

    Just catching up with the new post. Been watching the Benghazi hearing/prosecution. My thoughts on the Trump wild card nomination is that I believe Chris is correct and the Cruz (God help us) will split the delegates with Trump and come out ahead. I have said it before and I will say it again, I’d trust Trump more than I would trust Cruz, if those two are the last guys standing.

    All of the discussion has been about the candidates, but what about the voting public? Delegates definitely play a convention role, but what about popular vote? What about the Blue Wall?

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Mime, Cruz or Trump or Carson would guarantee a Democrat win. Without question.

      From where I stand, only Jeb has the off chance to squeak out a win

      • 1mime says:

        Then Jeb better make his move. He’s in single digits. His backers are being patient but won’t be forever, and Rubio is courting the same deep pockets.

        You are convinced that the voting public is less crazy than Cruz or Trump. I’m not so sure. One thing is certain, it’s going to be interesting. Let’s hope that’s all it is.

        Lifer – how is the Trump drop out schedule faring?

      • goplifer says:

        ***Lifer – how is the Trump drop out schedule faring?***

        Poorly, at least for everyone who predicted an early collapse. I picked Nov 1. Looks like I won’t be getting a free copy of the book.

      • Turtles Run says:

        “Looks like I won’t be getting a free copy of the book.”

        I will lend you my copy.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        My prediction that President Trump’s popularity doesn’t drop until after his inauguration is looking better and better each day, and all you folks are going to be subject to a massive IRS audit once he’s in power.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Rob…neither Trump or Carson could win a general election.

        I am not confident enough to say that about Cruz. He is smart enough and a good enough politician that his brand of crazy just could be effective. I would like to believe it wouldn’t be effective in the general election, but that is not something I’m willing to bet the country on.

        I would love to believe that women/minorities would flood to the Democrats, but Cruz would light up all the bells for the angry, white, male demographic, and if he drove up the turnout of those folks for this one last time, ugly things could happen.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Regarding Trump, I remember Lifer saying that he had go below 3% in a certain magazine poll before anyone could win the free book. It had nothing to do with Trump actually dropping out of the race.

        I don’t see Trump dipping below 3% ever, really. Even Perry was at 4% when he made the B team of the Fox debate. At under 3%, Trump would have to be a mere blip on the radar screen. I don’t see that happening.

        So Lifer will just have to donate the book to a public library.

  23. Griffin says:

    I know scenario 3 is the least likely but I would pay money to watch it happen. How would bland GOP establishment figures like Rubio react to Trump’s outrageous statements if he were the nominee? Would they still support him or openly criticize him? I suppose they would try to keep quiet and blend into the background but they couldn’t avoid the Trump question forever, especially if he demands their support.

    • johngalt says:

      My guess is that Rubio, Bush, Kasich and the like would suddenly find a deep interest in climbing mountains and be little heard from for the campaign, only to reappear like a phoenix from the ashes of the Trump aftermath.

      • flypusher says:

        Their silence would still be deafening.

        That’s why I’ll never join a political party. I refuse to fall behind any candidate I think is a bad pick.

  24. E says:

    What are your thoughts about how this plays out if it is Cruz or Carson that “wins” the primaries?

    Do you think the establishment would really rally around either of them? It seems to put them in a pickle – stand behind the crazy man or further piss off black and Latino voters.

    • BigWilly says:

      Do you think Cruz and Carson are “race traitors?”

      • E says:

        Huh? No. Not sure how you got that from my post.

      • BigWilly says:

        “stand behind the crazy man or further piss off black and Latino voters.” You mean that minority voters would actually vote for Carson and Cruz? The party would stand behind either candidate regardless of whether or not you think they’re “crazy.”

        I don’t think they’re crazy. Did I misunderstand you?

      • Crogged says:

        In probably the similar manner that the Democratic party establishment ‘stood behind’ George McGovern in 1972.

        I don’t think Cruz or Carson are crazy. Anyone who thinks they have articulated a credible, coherent, governing strategy protecting us from the scourge of ‘liberalism’-pretty fucking nuts.

      • flypusher says:

        ‘Do you think Cruz and Carson are “race traitors?” ‘

        The better way to put it is that most Latino and Black voters are not going to agree with Cruz’s and Carson’s stands on issues important to them, and that will override the common race/ethnicity in the voting booth.

        Just like a sizable number of women would never vote for Palin, despite her possession of 2 X chromosomes.

      • texan5142 says:

        Or is it whom?

      • BigWilly says:

        Yeah, but you know how this works in politics. We’re assuming that, although minority voters include many conservatives in their ranks, they’ll never vote for a Republican because…

        The plantation analogies don’t win us votes. The free stuff comments trivialize the notion of entitlement reform. It’s hard to communicate with people who are conditioned to respond negatively to GOP policy initiatives. We don’t help ourselves by giving away so many prime soundbites.

        There is a tipping point in there. Hopefully we’ll get there soon. I’d like to keep senior leaders in the party like McCain and Powell.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        Listen BigWilly, let’s address that accusation about “race traitors”. Below, I have placed a link to an article from last year on the National Review where Ben Carson defends of all people… Cliven Bundy. Remember him? This is what Carson said about the “Bundy Klan”:

        “The Bundys appear to be honorable American citizens without adequate legal counsel to help resolve a federal land issue about which they disagree with the Bureau of Land Management.”

        Read more at:

        If you have forgotten, Cliven Bundy said this about black people:

        “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

        “And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

        Do you have any idea what black people think of black conservatives that would do something so foolish as to defend a blunt, ignorant, contemptible racist cartoon of a man like Clive Bundy? Who I might add hung out with two supporters who became cop killers (Jerad and Amanda Miller). Ben Carson, like on so many other issues, was poorly informed (or made a poor assumption) on the honor of person like Cliven Bundy.

        Ben Carson couldn’t have made a bigger a** of himself than if he wrote a glowing review of an autobiography written by Randy Weaver (famous closeted white supremacist).

        Ben Carson campaign manager Armstrong Williams is also cut from the same cloth as Carson, Alan Keyes, Allen West, etc. He was formerly mentored by of all people Strom Thurmond (South Carolina Senator/segregationist presidential candidate/rapist of black teenage girl/father of biracial child he never publicly acknowledged)

        So BigWilly, I just want you to know I don’t think the likes of Ben Carson or Ted Cruz are race traitors. I just think they are two run of the mill a**h*les who are looking out for number one who also don’t feel they have any obligation to speak in a factual manner on the difficult problems facing this country. Ben Carson and Ted Cruz are not just guilty of historical revisionism, they have mutilated American/international history in ways I haven’t fully come to terms with.

        Black people and latinos won’t simply give mass support to someone like Carson or Cruz simply because they look like them. Those that are supporting them from those respective communities are just wrong or misinformed. Like a lot of voters, they are mistaking a candidate’s arrogance and excessive combativeness with authentic confidence and knowledge of the issues.

        This is how you get the spectacle of an educated man making the absurd claim that The affordable Health Care Act is the worse thing since slavery.

        Bonus: You should be aware that a significant portion of the muslims population are black, have Christian family members who love & support them and have the right to vote. Ben Carson’s statements about how muslims should never be president did not exactly endear himself to those voters who will be a factor in 2016.

        I hope all this has been illuminating for you. I imagine I will continue to hear how much black and latino minorities should support Ben Carson and Ted Cruz… even though that is not what I am hearing.

      • BigWilly says:

        Everyone in politics loves a good shmear campaign. Did you know that the sinister BEN CARSON would support a higher minimum wage?

        By the way, your product and marketing campaign drop dead in my presence. I like Alan Keyes. Allen West, you’re re-hired. I totally misjudged you the first time around, my bad.

        Trust me, if Hill was in the house she would have Agent Oranged Cliven Bundy like Bill scragged David Koresh and his followers. Men, women, and children, no mercy.

        illuminating-interesting choice of words.

        You mentioned market fitment. What if the public doesn’t understand what it’s looking at? You’ve given them a poop sandwich and told them that it’s not what it appears to be, it’s really something much more desireable. Take a bite, it’s good!

      • Crogged says:

        Mr. Carson also compared the number of ships in the US Navy from (grey hair recall issue here) pre WW1 to current to describe how much ‘weaker’ we are and defended the raising of the minimum wage due to the networking possibilities for the employed and all else they were giving up sitting at home munching government approved soylent.

    • goplifer says:

      Carson can’t sustain a credible campaign. He’s just campaigning for his own TV show. He’ll be gone soon enough, but might end up as someone’s running mate.

      As much as people hate Cruz, he won’t get the same level of concentrated, overt resistance as Trump. Same goes for Carson if by some bizarre chain of events he ends up the winner. Trump is the only guy who would effectively split the party at a public, undeniable level. Cruz might inspire some high-profile defections, but probably only from people already on the fringes like Powell or maybe even McCain.

      • Griffin says:

        It goes to show how far the overton window has shifted to the right when John freaking McCain is considered a leftie in the Republican Party. That’s why I still appreciate Sanders being in the race even if he won’t win, he’s basically slowing down the Overton Window’s right-wing drift among the general population by showing that his views have a decent amount of support.

        Still I have to wonder if in eight years or so we are going to view Ted Cruz as a reasonable, centrist Republican in comparison to “the new guys”.

      • 1mime says:

        Now, there is a scary thought……….

      • antimule says:

        Who do you think will win the nomination? Rubio?

      • goplifer says:

        Hard to say who will win, but if it isn’t Trump I’m guessing it’s probably Cruz. Can’t see any path for Rubio, Bush or Kasich. Have to find support somewhere and this year they just don’t have it.

      • Griffin says:

        If the nominee is either Trump or Cruz could that make it plausable that the GOP could lose a grip on the House despite all their advantages?

      • texan5142 says:

        Well if it is Cruz, the Democratic candidate has already won, no matter who it is.

      • Griffin says:

        Yeah but that’s probably going to happen regardless of who the GOP candidate is. The real question is how much of the House could the GOP going lose?

      • 1mime says:

        No, the real question is will the Republicans lose the Senate. The GOP has locked up the House majority for a while through gerrymandering. If Dems take Presidency and re-take Senate, that would be fabulous. I don’t want one party in control of all three branches of government, but I do want there to be a need and opportunity for compromise. I would like ot see more of the TP and HFC members canned in the Republican Party but doubt that will happen either unless the GOP establishment really put big money and effort behind more mainstream candidates. Problem is, the GOP has created a monster that is feeding on itself with these tightly gerrymandered districts. I don’t know how they get past that without wholesale re-districting at the state level….which opportunity is coming with the looming census…

      • antimule says:

        Okay. So if it ends up being Cruz how bad do you think they are going to lose? And what would be consequences of that loss? My reasoning is that going with a loon would be better long term, because if they lose with a moderate (like Jeb) they will say “that’s because we weren’t pure enough.”

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Griffin, I believe that’s why the culture wars are so hot right now and the friction between right and left is increasing.

        Because while the right wing is moving further right, the left wing is moving further left. If they go far enough apart, we lose common ground with our fellow citizens and no good can come ofbthat

      • 1mime says:

        Moderates have gone underground. They need to think there is a reason to re-engage. Sadly, that way is to vote and fight for what one believes….even if it seems hopeless.

      • Griffin says:

        @Rob It’s more complicated than that. The “left” isn’t really moving further left, they’re just trying to retake their place as being in charge of the Democratic Party. Sanders can call himself a “socialist” all day but at the end of the day he’s basically an FDR liberal who represents a group that was in charge of the Democratic Party for about fourty years until Bill Clinton shifted it from the centre-left/left to the centre. Now that the left thinks its positions are more popular than they used to be and that the GOP is imploding they are becoming bold enough to want to shift the Democrats back to where they were originally. The right-wing on the other hand is basically moving into uncharted territory, with maybe the exception of the Dixiecrats.

        If the “left” even gets taken over by its own Tea Party (probably something along the line of Marxists or postmodern leftists) than I’ll be worried, but for now they are just going back to an older-styled liberalism that only looks far-left because it’s been out of view for a while.

        I do feel bad for people on the center-right though, they’ll have virtually no representation anymore if the Third Way Democrats do get pushed out of leadership positions.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        Ben Carson. Again. Why are people supporting this man? He is number 2 in the polls. Here is the latest from one of the leading figures of batchs*** craziness and rampant Scrooge-ness for the 2016 election cycle.

        Courtesy of Politico:

        “Republicans have fended off accusations for years that they’d gut Medicare for seniors and end the program “as we know it.”

        Not Ben Carson. The former neurosurgeon acknowledges he would abolish the program altogether.

        Carson, who now leads the GOP field in Iowa according to the latest Quinnipiac Poll, would eliminate the program that provides health care to 49 million senior citizens, as well as Medicaid, and replace it with a system of cradle-to-grave savings accounts which would be funded with $2,000 a year in government contributions. While rivals have been pummeled for proposing less radical changes, Carson hasn’t faced the same scrutiny — and his continued traction in polls has left GOP strategists and conservative health care wonks scratching their heads.

        “This isn’t a borderline issue. The politics of this are horrific,” said Doug Holtz-Eakin, head of the American Action Forum and health care adviser to Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.”

        Ben Carson is a doctor for heaven’s sake. Somehow I don’t think those saving accounts that would receive only $2,000 a year would be sufficient for most low income people with longstanding/serious health problems.

        Well, since he seems to like making Nazi analogies often (as in between every breath he takes) perhaps he can pick this fellow doctor as his running mate. They both seem to have the same capacity to empathize for people who are suffering

      • flypusher says:

        ‘Okay. So if it ends up being Cruz how bad do you think they are going to lose? And what would be consequences of that loss? My reasoning is that going with a loon would be better long term, because if they lose with a moderate (like Jeb) they will say “that’s because we weren’t pure enough.” ‘

        Yeah, you’d think that, but watching the mud-wrestling match that is the process of the House GOP trying to select a new speaker makes me wonder. There were people actually asking if Paul Ryan was really “conservative enough”. Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot, people! If Cruz runs and Hillary hands him his ass, some of the TP wing would probably attempt the mental gymnastics to question Cruz’s RW cred. Granted that might implode a few brains, but these people are quite accomplished at self-delusion.

        I’m wondering what would happen if a Dem or ten voted “yes” for Ryan for Speaker. That could be some epic trolling.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Rob Ambrose, there’s little to no good evidence that the Democratic Party has moved or is moving further left. If you look at any plot of DW-NOMINATE scores, it’s pretty clear that the Democratic Party has stayed pretty steady, if anything consolidating towards a more centrist balance, while the Republican Party has been steadily sliding toward the edge of partisanship, sanity, and effectiveness.

        Now, if you REALLY want to reduce partisanship, the answer is to mandate the reform of legislative redistricting on a nationwide scale. The ability for legislators to draw “safe” partisan districts *encourages* uncompromising partisanship, and we simply shouldn’t allow it. It’s not for legislators to choose their voters; it’s the other way around. Redistricting in every state should be done by an independent, non-partisan commission, without regard to incumbency, using standards for districts that are contiguous, compact, and competitive.

      • 1mime says:

        You get a big “high five” from me on independent, non-partisan re-districting commissions, Owl!

    • Crogged says:

      The 2016 Republican Presidential Convention could be awesome historical theater-the craziest since the Dems in 68.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        The image link didn’t work with my last post. Hopefully it will work this time. Anyways… my nominee for Ben Carson’s presidential running mate.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Carson and Armstrong are the literal definition of an Uncle Tom.

      • 1mime says:

        Will the establishment rally behind a Cruz or Trump (or Carson) – yes. They hate the Democrats so much that they will sell their souls to avoid elected Hillary Clinton. And the base has been poisoned as to Hillary’s character so they will either fall in line or not vote – which would be unusual for conservatives but it could happen this time. Let us hope Dems who support Bernie will swing their support to hillary. I think that is why each of them is not dissing the other. Bernie is a good enough man that he would not jeopardize the Democrat’s chance for winning the Presidency to tarnish Hillary. He thinks big and long.

  25. Crogged says:

    Presidential Election of 1912. Four ‘major’ candidates, the party long out of power had to go through multiple party convention votes before settling on its candidate. Compression of time because of the internet means 8 years is ‘long out of power’.

    Party Long out of Power after 14 convention votes-Kasich/Cruz-Co Presidential Nominee
    Crazy Party-Trump
    Just One More Crazy Means I’ve got a Chance Candidate-Sanders

    Nobody gets to 270-race goes to House-Kasich/Cruz win , after winning only one Dakota and Texas in popular vote.

  26. BigWilly says:

    I’m sure if Donald Trump called for people to get out on the streets and make their voices heard it wouldn’t be covered in the same manner as Barney Saunders extolling voters to do exactly the same thing. The media bias is, obviously, more than pervasive. At some level it’s directed by the elites of Hollywood, New York, and Washington D.C.

    All this talk of the “Crazy” is just a form of ideological extortion (along with liberalgooptalk like racism, homophobia, Islamaphobia, the War on Women and all that other jass)

    Not to mention that academia’s apparently been completely overtaken by hard left. No, I don’t think I’ll be voting for a Democrat any time soon. I got suckered by Obama, that’s not going to happen again.

    If you’re out there, and you’re a conservative, if you want to survive what’s coming you’re going to have to turn up the cognitive dissonance as far you can to keep yourself sane.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Big W sez: “All this talk of the “Crazy” is just a form of ideological extortion (along with liberalgooptalk like racism, homophobia, Islamaphobia, the War on Women and all that other jass)”

      For sure. The worst part is, all the time spent on all those “trivial’ things stops us from focusing on the REAL issues. Like the War on Christmas.

    • 1mime says:

      BW, surely you aren’t saying that Trump hasn’t gotten the lion’s share of media coverage?

  27. Chris D. says:

    The contradictions of this event are fascinating. FoxNews spent decades grooming GOP voters for exactly such a candidate as Trump, and now FoxNews is unhappy about it. As a political science major I am going to get a kick out of watching this play out. He is going to be a wildcard. He has brilliantly used the primary apparatus of the GOP to launch his run as an independent in the general election. He is uncivil and crass, but does anyone doubt that he is not more politically crafty than all the rest of the GOP candidates combined? It could end up: Clinton vs. Trump vs. Carson vs. a-yet-to-be-named liberal independent carrying the Sanders torch. How can you not love that?

    • flypusher says:

      I think you have a point about the voters being groomed. Trump’s brashness would have been very unlikely to fly in past elections, but all the political stars are aligning for him now. He’s giving Jeb! total hell, and I can’t scrape up any sympathy, because Jeb! made himself such an easy target.

      Frankenstein is such an excellent cautionary tale.

  28. flypusher says:

    Given how much drama the GOP is creating just to pick a new Speaker, any brokered convention would be one of the most epic political cat fights ever. I can’t see how they could avoid a schism.

    As for scenario 1, I absolutely could not blame Trump if he got pissed and went Indy. He could rightly claim that the will of the voters was not bring respected.

    I’m guessing that is schism is inevitable, you’d rather see it sooner than later, am I right, Chris?

    • goplifer says:

      ***I’m guessing that is schism is inevitable, you’d rather see it sooner than later, am I right, Chris?***

      Sorta. It seems like a classic ‘be careful what you wish for’ scenario. I would really like to develop critical mass around a sane alternative policy agenda before the party splinters. If that happens, then that new policy template could simply become the new lodestar for the GOP. If it doesn’t happen then there’s a good chance that the GOP just ceases to exist under that name. We lose the brand, the infrastructure, everything. Then we have to rebuild from scratch under equally well-positioned competition from a galaxy of alternatives.

      That could take a long time to work out. So, I might be okay with seeing the party hold together through one more convention.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        Personally, I would think that the really far right splintering off would be good for the party. The GOP would be better off doing the reorg and restructuring. A rebranding is something that is practically a requirement at this point. It would remove the no-right-is-too-far-right pressures, letting people craft a more sane policy.

        The Dems, who are currently being pulled to the left will create an opening, regardless of what happens in the primary. They’re well on their way to become the classic left and center left coalition instead of the current strange mixture. Many independents who’re scared off by the GOP’s rather extreme stances on social viewpoints, who are otherwise the center or center-right economically will be up for grabs and the GOP can’t access that vote with brand as it is.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Given the sclerosis of our current partisan system, how easy would it be to found a new national party? The well-entrenched duopoly of Republicans and Democrats, always fighting each other but also keen to eliminate any outside competition, haven’t made that exactly easy to do.

        Heck, part of the reason the Republicans haven’t split *yet* is that there’s so much legal and institutional value in simply holding onto the party name and apparatus. It’s “baked in” to so many of our legal and electoral assumptions that starting without it is a significant disadvantage.

        If we really want to encourage voting (without, as Tuttabella fears, mandating it), then we need to make political parties easier to start, and make voting for third-party candidates less ineffective. There are certainly ways to accomplish that; it’s just that the institutionalized political structure actively doesn’t want to consider them.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      For the life of me, I don’t understand why the establishment doesn’t WANT a schism.

      They’d almost certainly get more voters coming then the ones going. And smart, sensible voters, not the useless know nothings that currently make up the GOP base.

      Lots of people are either voting for Hillary or abstaining because of the current state of the GOP, but would gladly come back to a sane, center-right republican party. I believe Lifer is one of those.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        A schism is great… if it’s the OTHER guys who leave, and allow you to keep the party infrastructure, including rights and funding enshrined in practice and policy.

        If YOU are the ones to leave, then you have to build a party from scratch. And our ossified system, designed to *protect* institutionalized parties rather than *nurture* new ones, makes that a titanic task.

  29. tuttabellamia says:

    Totally off topic, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Three Dog Night lately, and coincidentally, I see that Cory Wells passed away this morning.

    I remember being about 5 years old and listening to Mama Told Me Not to Come and thinking, wow, that is a really strange story.

  30. johngalt says:

    “What are the odds?”

    Zero. The GOP is FUBAR. They need the far right theocrats and TPers to get elected to local/state offices, but those wing nuts alienate the centrist voters needed to win a national election. If they split, they might (emphasis on might) capture enough centrists with a common sense fiscal/economic plan to win nationally, but they risk losing at the state level.

    They brought this on themselves – they fed the delusions of the religious right and southern conservatives until it grew into a beast that devoured them.

  31. briandrush says:

    Another interesting post, Chris. Thanks for your insights.

    It occurs to me that if the GOP has to go through this crap (and it does), then this might be the safest time for it to happen. Right now, there’s so much backlog of blocked reform that dictionary-definition conservatism has no chance of obtaining a majority of popular support. It’s time for an insurgency, as it was in the 1930s, and the Republican Party isn’t a good choice to host that insurgency. The Democrats are visibly uncomfortable with it, but do provide a natural home.

    But at some point, we’re going to enact those needed reforms, and the time for insurgency will be past. We will at some point emerge from a 1930s analog to one of the 1950s. Progress must triumph in the long run, but it can’t and shouldn’t always win in every election cycle; that way lies chaos. We will need a conservative party some time in the 2020s or 2030s, and either a healed GOP or a replacement on the sane right must be there to take control.

    So this is a good time for this to happen, if happen it must. The Republicans can’t and shouldn’t win at this time anyway. Hopefully it will all shake out before they can and should.

  32. rightonrush says:

    Just got a robo call from Carson asking for $$

    • irapmup says:

      Why must we have representational government when government is simply a means to get things done that all citizens need?

      We as a nation have been at this game long enough to determine what works and what doesn’t. Strikes me that we don’t need a politician of a certain stripe to consider and then determine which stoplight needs replacement or which road needs repair.

      This is a wasteful game played by people who see and use government as a means to line their and their friend’s pockets with taxpayer money. The difference between Republicans and Democrats who seek office is simply a matter of how and to whom the pie is divided, with neither party considering what is most beneficial to the public they purport to represent.

      While I respect the intent and tone of this commentary my sense is there is an unneeded
      question of who could do it better always being raised.

      Governing isn’t rocket science but it has become a cash cow for most who seek office and until this is addressed as reality the needed changes will always be alluded to but nothing of substance will ever change.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Nothing changes because people refuse to hold officials accountable in enough numbers. The result is that too many people with insane ideas hold to much of a voice as compared to their numbers in the population and they elect officials that are more than willing to cater to their crazy.

        Its fun to blame both sides but a realistic view will let you know one side is quite a bit more willing to elect crazies.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Interesting point
        I have a theory (said like John Cleese)
        When your founding fathers went down the “democracy” path some of them were not well pleased
        They decided to try the chocolate solution
        If your kids keeps asking for sweets – then let him have a lot of sweets, get sick and lose some of that sweet tooth

        It’s working! – took a long time but it’s working

        Here (and almost everywhere else) we have a different system
        We elect our national leaders and our local leaders
        The actual work is done by professionals who work for our society – the “leaders” tell the professional’s what to do

        The result is Town Clerks, Judges, Police, – none of these are elected

        We keep the “democracy” for the leaders
        So we have less democracy but a more capable system

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Duncan — Exactly. Parts of governance are indeed equivalent to “rocket science,” and require people with some training and experience at the helm.

    • texan5142 says:

      Should have told them they can probably find some spare change next to the sponge that he left in that woman’s head.

    • Turtles Run says:

      I got one two weeks ago. Carson’s voice had me asleep in seconds.

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