The GOP crackup may be starting

Rep. David Jolly, a Florida Republican Congressman who wants to replace Marco Rubio in the Senate, took to the House floor yesterday to call on Trump to drop out. Leaders of the state party in all three of the early primary states took the extraordinary and controversial step of denouncing Trump this week. The RNC dropped him from their planned fundraiser. House Speaker Paul Ryan had a succinct reply to questions about Trump’s antics, “this is not conservatism.”

None of these moves are likely to dampen Trump’s poll numbers. In fact, in response to the New Hampshire chairwoman’s courageous stand there are growing calls for her resignation. And while most of the major candidates have distanced themselves, Ted Cruz, who is running an increasingly close second, is standing by Trump. Resistance from established party leadership is not dimming Trump’s prospects.

What separates Trump from the oddball candidates in prior campaigns is the weakness of the party infrastructure, his relative competence, independence from the usual financing demands, and his unfiltered appeal to racism. In short, he isn’t going away, which seems likely to force a major schism in the GOP.

Trump cannot win the nomination of the GOP for two reasons. First, as we are already seeing the party will not unify behind him, meaning the only route to a win is brute numbers – massive wins in primaries and caucuses 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 count.

So we have an ideologically unacceptable candidate who has built a formidable base of support who isn’t going away and will almost certainly run a devastating independent campaign if he isn’t somehow mollified. If his ideology was truly unique it might be possible to isolate him. His message isn’t at odds with the party, it is merely unfiltered. Donald Trump is stating out loud what far too many Republicans in positions of power have been saying behind closed doors. That’s why we can’t make him go away.

The Republican Party does not have leadership capable of navigating this storm. The crack up has begun.

What does it look like when a modern political party falls apart? We have some examples, at least at the local level. Perhaps one of the finest is the split that tore apart the Republican Party in Houston’s Harris County in the 90’s. For a few years the party technically had two chairmen after religious fundamentalist Steven Hotze led an insurgency to remove Chairwoman Betsy Lake.

What happened in Houston was relatively localized, with only a few other examples across the South. That fight was part of the wave of Dixiecrats fleeing the Democratic Party over its declining support for white supremacy. Houston became a battleground because unlike most of the rest of the South, the city already had a fairly well-developed Republican infrastructure aligned with the party’s national character. Across most of the rest of the Jim Crow Belt this takeover occurred with little resistance.

There has been very little formal research into what happened in Houston, but Google Books preserves a fine account from Professor John M. Bruce in the book God at the Grassroots: The Christian Right in the 1994 Elections. As the fight over Donald Trump plays out we’re likely to see the kind of fight that occurred in Houston spreading across the country.

For those of us who still hope to see a Republican Party that embraces reality and promotes sane, healthy politics, early evidence of a split from the white nationalist fringe is exciting. Let’s hope this conflict matures.

****

Former Houston Press and Houston Chronicle journalist Tim Fleck delivered some colorful coverage of the fight for the Harris County GOP in the 90’s. Here are a few of the highlights:

Log Cabin Fever

The Kingdom and the Power

Into the Den of Stockmania

Kissing Off a Kingmaker

And from Jim Simmon:

God, Guns and Kombucha

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.

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Election 2016, Republican Party, Uncategorized
98 comments on “The GOP crackup may be starting
  1. BigWilly says:

    99% of the stuff out there about Donald Trump is 100% pure manure. The kind I think y’all are gonna be eatin’ with a smile come next November. Given the choice between an aging red agent and lesbian I think the voters will have a pretty easy choice to make when voting for the Republican.

    The fact that Democrats refuse to confront illegal immigration and Islamic terrorism should effectively end their credibility with rational, thinking, adults. They’ve already hit rock bottom, and they’re not coming back up.

    All we got to do is kick back and Rahm this election home. Chicago style. A clear and obvious example of how Democrat leadership fails by design.

    • flypusher says:

      “Given the choice between an aging red agent and lesbian I think the voters will have a pretty easy choice to make when voting for the Republican.”

      You got some potent stuff there BW. Be careful with the dosage.

      • BigWilly says:

        I’ll retract lesbian and substitute victim of serial philanderer.

      • 1mime says:

        Victim of serial philanderer…..And, Hillary handled that in full public view with great dignity. How does that diminish her as a person? If you want to start a list of all the victims of serial philanderers, you better get a big piece of paper. The list falls on both sides of the political spectrum….men with big egos and compromised values. For the life of me, I do not understand how you can extrapolate that as a negative comment about the women who are hurt in the process! Sort of like saying, the rape victim “asked for it”.

        Come on, BW, opposing views are invited and respected here as long as they’re based upon some sense of reality.

      • BigWilly says:

        1mime, I’m so disappointed in you.

        I thought you were above all of that, but I guess you’re just another one. Why do you think there are so few actual Republicans that post at this blog anymore? Your slanders grate and grind, your libels are never made whole.

        My reality is not for you, and I want none of yours. That whole “reality” argument coming from you is a giant load of toad crap.

      • 1mime says:

        You are free to express your opinion, BW. Reality is really what each of thinks it is, right?

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      What exactly are you basing the “Democrats refusal to confront Islamic terrorism” on exactly?

      Just because Dems are taking the sane and reasonable perspective and not giving in to our base instincts (I.e. we don’t need to sell out American values by slamming the door on ALL Muslims, and we don’t need to get involved in another disastrous, unwinnable mid Eastern war) doesn’t mean they are “refusing to confront”.

      Last I heard , Obama has been begging congress to act and authorize more force used in Syria. This happened months ago, if not longer. Whybhasnt congress acted yet? They certainly acted quick to prevent Syrian civilians fleeing war, based on the Paris attacks that was carried out by European citizens.

      • flypusher says:

        “Whybhasnt congress acted yet? ”

        Certain actions require a spine, and the ability to put country above party.

        So much easier to not act and then bitch and moan about Obama being weak. Plus if you give him that authorization, he could possibly be successful in using it! What if he dealt ISIS a mortal blow before the election!!!!!! We can’t be having that!!

      • 1mime says:

        It has been almost one year since Pres. Obama asked Congress for approval to engage militarily with Syria. Let’s dig into this a little more. Why, do you think Republicans simultaneously refuse authorization for a military engagement while criticizing the President for not engaging? Fits with the narrative we’ve seen for seven years. Box him in, then criticize him for not taking action that he legally was constrained from without legislative approval, then skewer him as a “do nothing” President. Classic.

        I can’t wait to read O’s autobiography once he leaves this mess. He is probably too much of a patriot and gentleman to tell all, but the back stories would be sad, fascinating reading.

        In the meantime, he has to govern. Hence the EO’s…doing what he can in spite of a Congress that hamstrings him every way possible. Remember McConnell’s infamous comment the night before he took office? Does anyone here not believe that we have seen seven years of delivery on that promise?

      • BigWilly says:

        “Just because Dems are taking the sane and reasonable perspective and not giving in to our base instincts (I.e. we don’t need to sell out American values by slamming the door on ALL Muslims, and we don’t need to get involved in another disastrous, unwinnable mid Eastern war) doesn’t mean they are “refusing to confront”.”

        Trump suggested a short term “ban.” I don’t see anything wrong with that. All of the other things which you attach to it about base instincts and what not…sometimes you have to go with your gut I suppose. The base instincts are there for a reason, an ancestral memory of starvation perhaps?

        No, I don’t agree with you in this case. I have a good friend, Lebanese Muslim, and his garage (he assures me) is filled with ammo. He’s also an avid shooter. I doubt that he’ll ever do anything beyond shooting up pumpkins and tin cans, but I have to wonder if he’s not on a list somewhere.

        I’m kind of at a loss here. How can you square Muslim practice with your general world view. I mean if you think I’m such a bully boy Christian (or whatever), what makes you think you’re going to convert them? Do you think, for instance, they’ll support gay marriage and abortion?

        I’m drawing a blank. There’s no rationale there.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Fly, pretty much. The GOP strategy has been:

        1. Blame gov’t for all problems, say gov’t is broken

        2. Once elected, do everything you can to ensure gov’t is broken

        3. Say “see? We were right!”

        Repeat

      • BigWilly says:

        I know that strategy. 1) Blame the former President 2) Cry racism. Racism should end up under a new “Godwin’s Law” for blogging. How much can you flog that tired old horse before you kill him?

        I see your Stormfront and raise you one Democracy Now, with Amy Goodman. Bend over and grab your ankles, Euro style, left wing politics at its most scabrous.

      • flypusher says:

        “I’m kind of at a loss here. How can you square Muslim practice with your general world view. I mean if you think I’m such a bully boy Christian (or whatever), what makes you think you’re going to convert them? Do you think, for instance, they’ll support gay marriage and abortion?”

        Is there some monolithic “Muslim practice” that applies to every Muslim in the world here? Please elaborate, because I haven’t heard of it.

        As for not approving of things like same-sex marriage, I’ll say to any disapproving Muslims the same thing I would say to disapproving Christians- you are free to disapprove all you want. Your religious group is free to not admit/serve LGBT people. But you are NOT free to dictate those views to people outside your group.

        It’s not actually rocket science here.

      • 1mime says:

        In the past, that freedom to believe and live (within legal constraints) as you wish has been a core strength of American Democracy. Of late, the mandate to impose one’s personal beliefs on others has been in full display. It’s not “enough” to have the freedom of your own beliefs, it is now imperative to impose these beliefs on others, to create a society that broadly reflects your views and disposes of others found wanting.

        As you point out, Fly, this is where your rights start interfering in my rights. And, that is one of the biggest problems we face in today’s political environment.

      • flypusher says:

        The way I see it 1mime, is that there are a lot of Christians still trying to grok the loss of cultural dominance. I think most of us here can remember times/places were it was assumed that of course everyone was Christian (except for your Jewish friends) and if anyone was agnostic or atheist or pagan, they stayed in the theological closet and paid lip service to Christianity to avoid rebuke. Few dared to criticize Christians/ Christian beliefs/practices. Now people do, and it is a logical progression of 1st Amendment rights. But if you are if the mindset of “those rights are meant for Christians”, these are crazy and frightening times for you. But you ought not to be afraid of everyone having the same rights you do.

      • BigWilly says:

        fly-what, exactly, do you know about Islam, or Christianity for that matter? I’m tending to think shinola, but I could be wrong.

        As far as disapproval goes, I vote and I will not vote for a pro gay candidate. You’ve effectively stated that tolerance isn’t enough and that moderation is a fool’s play.

      • flypusher says:

        “fly-what, exactly, do you know about Islam, or Christianity for that matter? I’m tending to think shinola, but I could be wrong.”

        I know plenty, but I stick to a condensed version of what us relevant. I know that both faiths have experienced a lot if schisms, so that each one has a lot of different sects that don’t agree with each other on a lot of different things, including how to interpret their scripture. Given this lack of universal agreement, the only way to have religious freedom is to keep church and state separate, which means you can’t base only laws solely on the notion that you think God doesn’t approve.

        “As far as disapproval goes, I vote and I will not vote for a pro gay candidate. You’ve effectively stated that tolerance isn’t enough and that moderation is a fool’s play.”

        Vote however you want, express whatever opinion you want. Just don’t take on any delusions that free expression means freedom from criticism. You’re also free to try to put words in my month, but I will continue to call bullshiat on you when you do.

    • Martin says:

      @BIGW We have long known that an argument with a big guy like you is futile. But let me tell you this: Many of us are here because we are afraid that the GOP is nearing collapse, because exactly of people like you. Your brand of freedom sucks and we want none of it. It is full of bigotry, injustice, inequality and dogmatism. It is freedom only for your narrowly defined in-group of authoritarian, white, christian, males. It is egocentric, self-righteous and broadly supported by religious fundamentalism. It is an ideology no different than any other fundamentalism around the world. And let me tell you I am neither a socialist nor a democrat but I truly hope @Lifer is right that the break-up of the GOP is near and that it happens before we end up with a real tragedy.

  2. Rob Ambrose says:

    If anybody thinks rhetoric isn’t dangerous or Trump isn’t really hurting the nation in real, tangible ways, read this

    http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/donald-trump-white-supremacists-216620

    The KKK and site like Stormfront (the white nationalist site) ar seeing a big bump in traffic and membership. As the guy says, Trump is basically making it OK to be overt about your racism again (I’m paraphrasing).

    The guy is a menace.

  3. johngalt says:

    Listen, there is no “rebuilding” the GOP after whatever catastrophe may (or may not) be ahead. There are two options, first that the party muddles on with all its internal conflicts. That’s what I’d wager on. Second, the establishment Republicans purge the Cruz, Tea Party wing (I’m honestly not sure whether Trump actually associates with this wing, or simply hovers around it). The most likely outcome of that is that the Tea Party starts running far right candidates as a third party, cementing Democratic victories in what are currently marginal GOP seats. The math of this is obvious, which is why it’s the less likely option. That leaves muddling on, trying to find the answer to the question of how conservative a candidate must be before they can no longer use the “insufficiently conservative” excuse for losing.

    • MassDem says:

      I think that the Tea Party wing may very well up and leave the GOP once Obama is gone. They have already started to focus their wrath on their fellow Republicans. Their demands are almost impossible to meet since they have little basis in how the real world operates.

      It certainly isn’t unprecedented that large voting blocs have walked away from their party– there are the Southern Dixiecrats who left for the GOP, and the pre-Reagan GOP liberals & moderates who either became Democrats or Independents. Once you feel your party no longer represents your views, you are not likely to stay, even if that means letting the other side win. Unless of course you are Lifer, who seems to be more of an optimist than anyone I’ve met in a long time!

      • johngalt says:

        I think Lifer is in the “bargaining” stage of grief. Perhaps moving toward depression.

      • texan5142 says:

        Lol! Yes you are.

      • texan5142 says:

        The title of this post proves you are already in a stage of denial “may be starting” , that horse has left the shoot and rounding the far corner.

      • flypusher says:

        I’m rooting for your opportunity to reform/rebuild scenario, Chris. I’m not going to try to make any predictions about that it this point, because my crystal ball is showing too many nexus points.

      • 1mime says:

        Ah, the old is the glass half empty, or, half full? Lifer documents what is happening within the Republican Party and sees it as a predictable and opportune time for change. Personally, I wish him luck with that as I support a viable two-party political system that actually governs! I do not, however, believe the conservative base is showing any sign of becoming more rational, which, in my opinion, is where impetus for lasting change begins. I’m a bottoms up kinda gal as this makes the most sense to me. Those at the top will be the last to know.

  4. Sir Magpie De Crow says:

    One comment from a Trump supporter:

    “We gathered in World War II all the Japanese and put them in camps… It’s appropriate today to do to the Muslims, same way,” said David Brooks, 67, a former owner of a paving company. “And anybody that don’t like it, liberals can get the hell out. I’d close every mosque in the this country.”

    If Republicans can’t muster a mere sliver of decency to repudiate that kind of noxious bigotry that they have allowed to be let loose in the party by the likes of Trump… I don’t ever want to hear any of their s**t about liberals and secular progressives limiting “religious freedom”… Or how how much Obama is violating the Constitution. Fair is fair.

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      In other news, the killer (and domestic terrorist) who shot up that Planned Parenthood clinic claimed in court numerous times he is “a warrior for the babies”… Except for of course the devastated kids whose parents he killed who will for a lifetime have a bitter taste in their mouths whenever the Christmas holiday season rolls around. He is but another horrific example of a diseased segment of the conservative communuty. The Pro-Life movement in my opinion is an absolute absurd fraud. It is merely the Anti-Abortion movement, whose adherents are often perfectly fine voting for incompetent militarists/mideast adventurists, politicians bought and paid for by NRA lobbyists, Anne Rand cultists who believe that the social safety net should be extinct and most ironically those political ghouls who have made their careers by advocating for the death penalty… Regardless if their state justice systems can properly apply the ultimate punishment. Does that truly sound “Pro-life” to you? Or anyone of sound rational mind who understands the concept of ” hypocrisy”?

      • MassDem says:

        I always distinguish in my mind the kind of Pro-Lifers who you describe, and other organizations such as the current Catholic Church, who are more consistent in their pro-life views.

      • 1mime says:

        Ooh, I assume you are being facetious when you talk about the consistent views of the Catholic Church…..Dogma, yes, actions – an emphatic NO. The pedophilia horror that was known and actively covered up by the Catholic hierarchy has impacted thousands of lives around the globe and in the U.S. All the money in the world won’t replace the destruction of the innocence of children abused by their religious “fathers”. This certainly wasn’t perpetrated by “all” priests, but it was allowed to continue.

      • flypusher says:

        Yes, the Catholics are to be commended for consistency here (anti death penalty & anti Iraq war), plus they actually do offer support (material, emotional, spiritual) to women with a crisis pregnancy if they agree to carry to term.

      • flypusher says:

        1mime, I don’t let the Church off the hook concerning the coverup of child abuse. That was disgraceful and they need to be making some serious reparations to the victims, as well as cooperating with law enforcement on any cases still subject to prosecution, and reforming their hierarchy to not let it happen again. But to be fair in one’s judgment of a person or an organization, one must look at the entire picture, bad and good. Thus I will give credit were I see credit is due on the pro-life issue.

      • 1mime says:

        Fair response, Fly, and I agree on that point. Contradictions are rarely this broad or obvious, though it took a while for the latter to be know, didn’t it? It seemed appropriate to rejoin on the pedophilia issue as both murder at PP clinics in the “name of life” and slow deaths of innocent children through sexual abuse, are abhorrent. Catholic Charities does fine work and there are many good priests and good Catholics. I was speaking to a singular issue.

    • flypusher says:

      “We gathered in World War II all the Japanese and put them in camps… It’s appropriate today to do to the Muslims, same way,” said David Brooks, 67, a former owner of a paving company. “And anybody that don’t like it, liberals can get the hell out. I’d close every mosque in the this country.”

      Shameful, but not shocking anymore. Shame on anyone who thinks this man is wrong, but doesn’t get out and vote next year.

  5. flypusher says:

    History rhyming again, 100 years ago, the preferred phobia was about Catholics:

    http://www.vox.com/2015/12/9/9880942/islamophobia-catholics

    Haters always gotta be hating……

    • MassDem says:

      One of the driving forces behind the Common School movement (free universal public education) in the mid-1800s was the desire to inculcate Catholic immigrants with the values of the dominant Protestant culture and turn them into acceptable citizens.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Ironically, the exact opposite dynamic is what’s behind the current trend from Conservatives to get their kids OUT of public schools (and into charter schools/homeschooling)… A desire to DEsimilate from the overall “liberal” society.

  6. pbasch says:

    Paul Ryan will be drafted. He’s already acting all presidential. He won’t be tainted by the absurd primary process. Just sayin’.

    • johngalt says:

      Why is Ryan, tainted by absurd budget proposals and his own failed campaign, preferable to the less insane candidates like Kasich, Rubio, or Bush?

      • Griffin says:

        Hey at least he gave up on living by Ayn Rand’s philosophy … but only because she was an atheist who was an actual civil libertarian on social issues. In other words Ayn Rand WASN’T RIGHT-WING ENOUGH for Paul Ryan.

      • MassDem says:

        While I wouldn’t vote for Ryan, he appears to have succeeded in taming the wild & fractious House, which is no small feat. He appeals to a wide spectrum of the GOP, and is likely to run for President some day, if the Establishment can’t talk him into running this time around. He handled himself well on the national stage in the last election and I think most folks would blame the defeat in 2012 on Romney, not Ryan.

        As for the others, Bush has too much baggage and isn’t an appealing candidate, Kasich is too unknown and seems to be angling for the VP slot at this point anyway, and Rubio doesn’t appear ready for prime time yet.

      • 1mime says:

        Because when delusional people observe delusional policy, it seems rational. I doubt many people have looked seriously at Ryan’s budget proposals, JG. He’s the “fair-haired boy”, remember?

      • 1mime says:

        MassDem – Ryan is getting a pass this session from his GOP brethren. If he deviates and begins to actually work with the Dems to get things done, they will come down on him. He has seemed like the rational one but JG is correct about his hard right policies and values. To his credit, he has stayed out of the public fray, thus bolstering his creds among the “watchers”. He may be a Presidential candidate, but I suspect it will be in 2020, not earlier. The GOP needs him too much right where he is – for now.

  7. flypusher says:

    Dear Santa,
    All I want for Christmas is a Trump 3rd party run, and lots of sunlight on the know-nothing types.

    Thanks,
    Flypusher

  8. Rob Ambrose says:

    That Stockman character sounds like an embarrassment.

    • goplifer says:

      He’s a first-rate asshole.

      • texan5142 says:

        This.

      • texan5142 says:

        That is being kind Lifer.

      • 1mime says:

        Followed closely or parallel to A-H Woodfill and Hotze. Don’t know how the Republican Party has remained viable in the city. When Bill White was running for Mayor and was opposed by a very poorly qualified opponent, I asked a friend who lived in the inner city who is deeply involved in GOP politics how he could possibly not support White, given his experience and qualifications. He punted with the straight ticket comment. I could not believe it.

  9. 1mime says:

    Homer, count me as a Blue Wall skeptic as well. I just don’t trust the concept to perform as expected. I don’t know (or care) if that’s negative thinking or simply being realistic, but there are not going to be any “gimmes” in this election. The Republicans have too much to gain to not fight tooth and nail and the Dems are notoriously poor about voting except when they are highly motivated. That motivation will have to be conjured up as I don’t see Hillary’s campaign lighting up the base. (Let me be clear that I will vote for Hillary as I believe she is the most competent and experienced in the group. She will, “do no harm” – I’ll take that…unfortunately, a lot of others won’t.)

    GOP voters,on the other hand, consider voting the Holy Grail. The party organizes the senior vote (push flyers, early voting cards….they make it real easy for the elderly to do the thing they want to do anyway)….The wingnuts will be out because that’s what they do. So, couple these factors with a world that is unstable and a populace who is responsive to hyperbole and fear tactics, and the race could defy predictable outcomes….Blue Wall or not.

    I so hope Lifer is right and I am wrong.

    • lomamonster says:

      1mime – I share your trepidation based on your above last paragraph. I would also like to add that it could be multiplied by my belief that ‘the dumbing down of America’ actually worked and has complicated the issue irrevocably.

  10. n1cholas says:

    . If his ideology was truly unique it might be possible to isolate him. His message isn’t at odds with the party, it is merely unfiltered. Donald Trump is stating out loud what far too many Republicans in positions of power have been saying behind closed doors. That’s why we can’t make him go away.

    Dog whistles.

    Authoritarian bigots (about 27-28% of the population) will support the strongest possible fascist candidate that exists for them to support. For example, Bush II still had about 27-28% favorable rating while Iraq was on fire, and New Orleans was under water.

    Trump is the first choice of authoritarian bigots, because he has thrown down the dog whistle, stomped on it, and instead yells out his bigotry. And the authoritarian fascists love it.

    Regular bigots prefer a candidate who still uses the dog whistle, but will support whichever candidate screams the loudest through it. They like it out in the open, but they don’t want it spelled out clearly, because that would get them labeled as bigots because they support it. Instead, they can project and accuse whomever points out the bigotry as the real bigot.

    Conservative/Republican Very Serious People (aka the grifter sub-type Republican) prefer candidates who play the dog whistle skillfully, never accidentally screaming through it. Think St. Ronald or Reagan: Philadelphia Mississippi, and his young bucks, T-bones, and Cadillacs. By using the dog whistle very, very carefully, that candidate gets the authoritarian bigot vote simply by being the only candidate, but also wins the Very Serious People vote because they know that they can still control the authoritarian bigot vote.

    Trump doesn’t need the Republican party establishment to carry the authoritarian bigot base. He has enough money to finance himself and have some independence from the establishment, and he’s a savvy enough businessman that he knows that he can play the “liberal media” by simply saying crazy things and letting all of the reporting focus on him, keeping him in people’s minds.

    What GOPLifer says is absolutely correct.

    There really isn’t that much difference between what Trump says, and what Republicans believe behind closed doors when others aren’t listening in. But Trump is saying these things out loud, and it’s giving the game away about what the Republican party generally, and the Republican establishment specifically, is all about. And the Very Serious People are pissed because they cannot control the authoritarian bigots they’ve been cultivating for the past 50+ years.

    This is Frankenstein’s monster running loose, destroying everything it touches, if you’re a Republican establishmentarian.

    Of course, if you’re an American authoritarian bigot, or the fascist candidate that will earn their votes, this is an amazing time to be alive. Obama’s existence as an atheist muslim kenyan usurper Black Man in a White House for the past 7 years has made all of this totally acceptable for the authoritarian bigot.

    For anyone who wants to read about authoritarians, and prefers to read books than burn them, or shoot them full of holes and post the image on Twitter, here ya go:

    http://members.shaw.ca/jeanaltemeyer/drbob/TheAuthoritarians.pdf

    • texan5142 says:

      Yep!

    • Griffin says:

      Ha I just linked to that book a couple days ago. It seems to become increasingly relevent everyday I definitely recommend reading it especially you Lifer. The only reason not to is because it’s stuff you probably already know about.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      n1cholas, I started reading that book and it’s hard to put it down.

      The author’s style is so breezy sometimes, I had to remind myself his writing is based on data.

      Any idea what he thought about Obama’s two elections?

  11. Pseudoperson Randomian says:

    Why do I have trouble posting? I just posted something but it’s not visible, and posting it again says the comment is a duplicate. Here’s a copy of what I posted just now

    I don’t know about implosion, personally. Fear is a powerful motivator, and no matter what’s in the news today, the GOP is smartly using that. Donald Trump is unfiltered – but plenty of the other candidates are implying similar things.

    There are reasonable things you can do but those require nuance, and there is no nuance in public discourse. Here’s Angus King on Visa Waivers and additional restrictions on Visa Waivers to certain people – and mind you, these are restrictions on *Waivers*, not Visas.

    http://www.newsmax.com/t/newsmax/article/705144

    Somebody else showing nuance last week? Obama.

    Of course, nuance doesn’t make for good story. So, no one likes it. He didn’t say anything incendiary about Muslims or Islam – not giving any extra ammunition to ISIS propaganda, but did place responsibility on Muslim Americans for some citizen surveillance.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/11/obamas-muslims-paris-attacks/416721/

    I mean, seriously – who better than Muslims, the liberal, normal kind to spot the crazies in their midst. Hell, the folks of the California shooter did notice something was off but they didn’t bother to report their family member.

    The actual sad and annoying part about snowflake culture is the rejection that Muslim Americans would be better placed to spot the crazies in their community before they actually do crazy

    http://www.npr.org/2015/12/08/458869660/some-muslim-americans-irritated-by-obamas-call-for-them-to-root-out-extremism

    • goplifer says:

      Anytime you post more than 2 URL’s the post gets sent to me for approval. I was busy blathering on about my election predictions and didn’t recognize I had a post pending.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        Oh, good to know. Thanks! Wish it said it was pending approval or something though

      • 1mime says:

        Wow, Crogged, that was sobering. We get used to hearing the 5% unemployment number thrown out and don’t realize how many people have simply stopped trying to find a job.

        The comment about fewer men committing to marriage and children is sad. It used to be something associated more frequently with Black men, but, per the article, this choice is crossing races.

        I’ve spent years of my (former) life working in and around the field of public education. I noted that 85% of the men were only high school graduates….and since the survey was fairly narrow, 24-50+, that is disappointing. That means these men at the older end of the range were born in the 60s – not so long ago. It’s so sad that there aren’t better and more re-training opportunities for these people. Hopefully, the infrastructure bill will offer more people in this category an opportunity to work.

        You are correct to tap into a group that is angry and afraid of their circumstances. A Donald Trump cuts through to them….even though his personal situation was and is so very different.
        This statistic from the article is telling: “The United States, which had one of the highest employment rates among developed nations as recently as 2000, has fallen toward the bottom of the list.” This ranking is deserving of more digging. The question I have is “why”?

  12. Pseudoperson Randomian says:

    I don’t know about implosion, personally. Fear is a powerful motivator, and no matter what’s in the news today, the GOP is smartly using that. Donald Trump is unfiltered – but plenty of the other candidates are implying similar things.

    There are reasonable things you can do but those require nuance, and there is no nuance in public discourse. Here’s Angus King on Visa Waivers and additional restrictions on Visa Waivers to certain people – and mind you, these are restrictions on *Waivers*, not Visas.

    http://www.newsmax.com/t/newsmax/article/705144

    Somebody else showing nuance last week? Obama.

    Of course, nuance doesn’t make for good story. So, no one likes it. He didn’t say anything incendiary about Muslims or Islam – not giving any extra ammunition to ISIS propaganda, but did place responsibility on Muslim Americans for some citizen surveillance.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/11/obamas-muslims-paris-attacks/416721/

    I mean, seriously – who better than Muslims, the liberal, normal kind to spot the crazies in their midst. Hell, the folks of the California shooter did notice something was off but they didn’t bother to report their family member.

    The actual sad and annoying part about snowflake culture is the rejection that Muslim Americans would be better placed to spot the crazies in their community before they actually do crazy

    http://www.npr.org/2015/12/08/458869660/some-muslim-americans-irritated-by-obamas-call-for-them-to-root-out-extremism

  13. 1mime says:

    Good thoughts, all. Frighteningly so. Consider this little juggernaut…Cruz staying silent on Trump? Cruz & Trump’s early sit down? Looking at Pres/VP here? Bringing together the Trump base (? still trying to figure that one out) – and Cruz base – evangelical….we’ve got ourselves a horse race!

    • Griffin says:

      Notice how nobody’s even talking about Marco Rubio anymore. It’s like everybody has silently concluded (and in the case of many insider types, conceded) that the Establishment Republicans are probably going to lose the nomination and are barely worth talking about. Their only hope is for all establishment republicans but one (Rubio) to drop out and for all three radical right “populists” (Cruz, Trump, and Carson) to stay in and draw support from each other fairly evenly (and Carson will almost certainly be dropping out at some point). Otherwise the GOP will just have to outright veto and override the choice of their base and thus cause in all out political war between the Establishment and the base.

      • 1mime says:

        Rubio just announced landing another big GOP billionaire donor, Ken Griffen. Add his $$ to Paul Singer’s and that of Frank VanderSloot, and that buys a lot of air time….etc. Evidently, the establishment big donors haven’t given up.

    • goplifer says:

      I’ll just go ahead and lay it out there. Here’s what I think is about to happen.

      Cruz wins Iowa. Trump wins NH. Cruz and Trump finish 1&2 in SC, not sure which is on top.

      Then in the 12 primaries/caucuses on March 1 Cruz or Trump finish 1-2 in all but a couple of them. Maybe Rubio steals MA or VT, but only with a narrow plurality.

      By the middle of March it’s a two-man race between Cruz & Trump, with Bush and Rubio still sticking around, but only grabbing a handful of delegates. The rest of the laggards probably drop by then. When neither Bush nor Rubio win FL on 3/15, shit gets seriously real.

      Probably neither Bush nor Rubio officially quit before the convention, but neither has more than a couple hundred of the 2400 convention delegates.

      Cruz might beat everyone both in the overall number of primary votes and in the delegate count. If that happens he’ll be the nominee regardless of whether he secures a solid majority or not. Trump probably won’t complain much and he’ll probably endorse Cruz. Here’s where it could get REALLY interesting.

      Trump might win more votes in the primaries than everyone else, but unless he’s winning with margins north of 60% (almost impossible) he won’t go to Cleveland with a majority of the delegates (see prior posts for the reason). If Cruz, Rubio and Bush are still in the race, no one will be winning many primaries (if any) with more than 50%.

      If Cruz remains a consistent second place and wins a few primaries with a solid plurality (TX, LA, MI, KS, OK, GA, TN are a good bet), he’ll be the leader in the delegate count, but without the kind of mandate that would win on a single roll-call vote. Cruz and Trump would probably control a majority of delegates between them, enough to block the convention from opting for a gimmick like nominating someone who isn’t running (Romney, Perry, Portman, etc).

      That leaves two possible plays. Cruz cuts a deal with Rubio/Bush to lock out Trump. Or, Cruz cuts a deal with Trump.

      Would Cruz consider becoming Trump’s VP? Not if Cruz is leading in the delegate count. Would Trump run a disastrous independent campaign if Cruz cut a deal with Bush/Rubio? Yes. And of course, Trump isn’t going to be anyone’s VP.

      Are Republicans capable of brokering a convention that rowdy? It seems unlikely. There is a very real chance that the party leaves Cleveland still fighting over technicalities, leaving some ambiguity about who is actually the nominee. Or the party might crumble at the convention with multiple candidates continuing to run under some confusing, semi-Republican or hyphenated Republican label.

      Or, Cruz cuts some form of a deal for Donald Trump’s endorsement to end the matter. With a majority between Trump & Cruz, there’s reason for Rubio or Bush to make a fuss about the outcome. Trump goes away (sort of) and Cruz racks up an impressive 40-42% of the popular vote in November. Republicans lose the Senate by a wide margin and the House by fewer than a dozen seats.

      Then we start trying to figure out how to rebuild.

      • Crogged says:

        “Likely Republican primary voters” is a much smaller pool than the “I’ll pay attention two weeks before the election-undecided” pool and they are very different types of voter.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Or….

        Cruz wins Iowa, but by January, he’s been consistently leading in the polls, and although he wins, he doesn’t beat his expectations.

        A plucky Rubio sneaks into second or third, exceeding his expectations.

        New Hampshire, not likely to vote for Trump, but may vote for Cruz, sees Rubio as a viable establishment alternative, and Rubio wins New Hampshire or comes in second again to Cruz.

        Now, Trump has “lost” two primaries. Even if he wins Iowa but does not meet polling expectations, Trump doesn’t win New Hampshire.

        With Cruz and Rubio now both viable, and Trump fading, all of the party machinery turns in favor of Rubio.

        Now, I don’t think Rubio is ready for prime time. I was worried about a Romney/Rubio ticket four years ago, but every time Rubio gets on the big stage, he stumbles. There just may not be enough there there.

        Looking into my crystal ball:

        If Rubio wins Iowa and New Hampshire, he’s the nominee.
        If Rubio wins either Iowa or New Hampshire, he’s the nominee.
        If Rubio comes in second to Cruz/Trump in Iowa and New Hampshire, he’s the nominee.

        Only if Cruz and Trump (or a Santorum/Carson) dominate Iowa and New Hampshire, with Rubio/Jeb?/Kasich way down in single digits, does Lifer’s scenario play out.

        Trump’s idiocy and Cruz’s surge in Iowa may be coming too soon. Iowa is more about meeting, exceeding, or failing to meet expectations, and Cruz’s best long-term shot is to not be leading in the polls doing into Iowa by too much.

      • 1mime says:

        I think the deal has already been struck between Cruz and Trump. There’s no other realistic explanation for the private “meet” between them ions ago, and for Cruz’ silence when all others are bashing Trump. The thought of Cruz garnering 40-42% of popular vote is unbelievable to me, which probably is a good indication of how wrong I am about everything in this election. The people who have spoken positively about Cruz (on this website and elsewhere) are people who look at life differently than I do. We will find out when those numbers shake out. I keep thinking about what a serious time it is in world affairs for America to experiment with a leader whose beliefs and values are so untested.

      • Creigh says:

        What kind of a deal could Cruz offer that Trump would be at all interested in?

      • MassDem says:

        I think it is impossible that Trump doesn’t win NH, and by a large margin too.
        I know I’m sounding like Peggy Noonan here, but I was in a blue collar NH town over Thanksgiving, and the number of Trump lawn signs was quite impressive. I didn’t see any for any other R candidate. They are a flinty bunch up there.

        I did hear something interesting on NPR today. Apparently Trump has big business interests in the Mideast. Newspapers & religious leaders have been calling for his partners to sever ties. Probably the only consequence he would understand is a hit to his pocketbook. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.

      • 1mime says:

        I think America under a Pres. Rob Portman would better served than under any of the persons currently seeking the office under the Republican banner.

      • 1mime says:

        Creigh, if I knew what was said in that meeting between Cruz/Trump, I would be a very rich woman! The “what if” scenario is interesting…..what, indeed, could Cruz offer Trump to “go away”….Secretary of State (-: ???!!!

        Your turn….

      • Creigh says:

        If Trump can’t be first banana, he’s going to sit on the sidelines and throw rocks, best case. If he doesn’t lose momentum completely in the primary process, I can’t see him just going away quietly. No way he’s VP or cabinet, and surely even Cruz isn’t dumb enough to want Trump in his administration.

  14. Martin says:

    @Chris: To me this still reads like an experiment in party politics. We make fun of it and call it crazy. Comedians turn it into entertainment and the media stays fair and balanced, analyzing everything and taking even the crazy seriously. What happened this past week was a big step across the line. The reaction is way below what it should be as I think you pointed out as well. It is unacceptable that other politicians do not strongly distance themselves from this lunacy.

    And it is not just Trump. Cruz is downright mean and Rubio’s naiveté striking.

    To me this is not fun or comedy. This is hard reality and it is very dangerous. Catastrophic leaders often get elected. That is what happened 1933 in Germany. It was an election and not a coup. What happened later is now in our history books, but the polemic and the program was in plain sight then as it is today in America.

    America needs to say no in a much stronger way if we really think this is crazy. Asking whether you should still stay in the GOP is simply the wrong question. The rhetoric has crossed any reasonable line and gone way past normal or acceptable standards. And I don’t think we are anywhere near the bottom. The downward mobility among white male middle and working class people will continue and geographic inequality will increase. These people will not go away and they will not change their views.

    Racism and bigotry cannot be part of the political vocabulary and if we tolerate it we are guilty as charged as a people for whatever happens next. The consequences could easily be disastrous. A big boo for the Republican establishment. Shame on you!

    • piranha says:

      As to Germany, it was something in between an election and a coup. First Hitler got himself appointed to chancellor of the coalition government with a mere 35% of the vote and his party in 2nd place, and took control of the police. Then came the Reichstag fire (so convenient), and emergency law gave Hitler the power to rid himself of the communist party by arresting the lot of them. Dissolve government, new elections, paramilitary forces intimidating everyone not a Nazi, and yet Hitler did still not get a majority. So he forced the new Reichstag to vote him a nice set of dictatorial powers during their first meeting (again with his thugs providing the impetus), and it was curtains on democracy. So, yeah, he was elected, but it wasn’t exactly a free and open election where anyone ran around with a purple finger the next day, praising democracy. I’d call it a coup myself. Hitler never planned for there to be another election.

      Do you foresee that happening here? Do you really think Trump is a fascist? I don’t — I think the man is an unmitigated egomaniac, but I don’t see him as a person to overthrow democracy and crown himself Donaldo Trumpolini I, or anything like it. How would that even work? Would his people all don hair pieces and march in lockstep on Washington, their modified assault rifles at the ready? Seriously, if Trump is the nominee, do not worry about winning the general. 65% of the electorate is scared shitless of him, the blue wall will grow tall. It’s all they talk about on left sites (when the Sandernistas and Killary supporters can take a moment from tearing into each other). It’d be a bigger GOTV effort than either candidate could manage on their own. Even #bernieorbust people won’t stay home. Cruz has almost as big a scare factor, but the wall will be less tall. Personally, I find him scarier.

      Full disclosure: I’m Canadian (and a socialist to boot) and have no dog in this fight, other than that what you guys do affects all of us, so I pay attention. I loathe Trump/Cruz, but I think the chickens are merely coming home to roost; this is what the Republican party has nurtured all along, the racism and sexism and xenophobia and blind hatred of everything different. I don’t think there is any fixing it without kicking the vipers out of the nest. Or, find yourself a charismatic snake whisperer. Alas it seems the one you got right now is not using his powers for good and nobody can control him.

      Maybe start thinking about proportional representation, and more than 2 parties. We have the latter and are thinking about the former, since we now regularly have governments who represent at most 40% of the people. Which is not a good thing.

      • 1mime says:

        Piranha, you add a lot to this blog! I’m really impressed with the folks posting here who hail from Canada….maybe that’s far enough away from TX for a Dem like me to find a little solice (-:

        Charismatic snake whisperer, indeed! I share your views on the Don and your concerns about Cruz. But, watch out for that parade of Don-Lites, there can only be ONE Don hairpiece….

  15. DFC says:

    As usual the Lifer’s take on the GOP’s fortunes is thoughtful and worthwhile, but I have to disagree on the forensics here. The crackup isn’t a “may” question. It’s a certainty. And it’s not starting. It’s been in the blueprints for decades. It had to happen, and it became obvious and pronounced at least twenty-five years ago, with the advent of niche communications and microprogramming. The Republicans built a fatal flaw into their bedrock: they promised their followers the absolute right to personal interpretations of the very idea of freedom. Back when there were central pundits and thought leaders like Buckley and Kirk, they could manage this by speaking ex cathedra and controlling the cathedra. With the explosions of cable TV and AM radio, decentralized publishing media and the Web, that control vanished. The thought leaders like Buckley had to give way to noise machines like Limbaugh. Audiences were won by volume and passion, not erudition and argument. The people whom Buckley condescendingly called “Janissaries” overran the leaders. Now someone like Buckley would be dismissed for thinking at all, and his foppish Yalie preening would get him beat up in the schoolyard the way O’Reilly kicked George Will’s teeth out.

    What used to be argument turned into shouting matches; the shouting matches turned into theatrics; the theatrics devolved into WWE feuds staged for packed houses of paying idiots. It had to happen because these base voters were told for years that they were free to cling to their beliefs, that the party would defend and validate them. and that their causes would be the GOP’s causes. They’ve been misled, used, exploited and betrayed all this time. Now the GOP can’t separate them from their beliefs, and can’t mollify them for all the broken promises. The crack that was built into the modern party had to give way sometime. All the self-appointed pundits competing for air time, all the anger they feed, all the frustration they engender, have all been like water pouring into that crack, growing from a trickle to a torrent; and now Jeb! can’t win on his name the way George? did. Now the promises of tax cuts trickling down can’t work anymore. Now the promises to stop gays and roll back Roe are seen as worthless lies. The rank-and-file is hearing it from all sides, on every website, on every talk show, and the evidence is just too much to ignore anymore–they’ve been had. And the Janisaries’ last entitlement, the freedom to think as they want, is being fed like a Dumpster fire shamelessly by the candidates who make them believe it still matters.

  16. vikinghou says:

    First indications show that, despite Trump’s outrageous comments about Muslims, likely GOP voters are sticking with him.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-12-09/bloomberg-politics-poll-trump-muslim-ban-proposal

    I think the upcoming convention is going to be a corker. The question is who will be walking out on whom? Could there be an en masse walkout of Trump delegates from the convention floor?

  17. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    At least two words of caution on warnings of an impending implosion.

    As goofy as Trump might be, a Bloomberg poll this week has 65 percent of likely Republican primary voters say they “favor” Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims, and more than a third say that it “makes them more likely to vote for him,”

    Couple that with the fine folks at 538 showing all the data that suggests people trust the GOP to address terrorism than they trust Democrats. With the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, people are more worried about terrorism.

    When people believe something is a big issue (even when it isn’t) and people trust one party on that issue more than they test the other party, the trusted political party wins those elections.

    If people feel unsafe going into November 2016, that is an albatross around Obama’s neck that will happily be transferred over to Hillary. A couple more terrorist attacks in the US or around the world, and folks are going to get awfully jumpy, and the GOP will happily stoke those fears and link them to Obama/Hillary.

    “Look, I don’t know about you, but I know I feel less safe than I did in 2008. Who was hiding behind the leadership from other countries during the Arab Spring, who did nothing as the Muslim Brotherhood started taking control, and who paved the way for ISIS by not letting our brave military men and women finish the job in Iraq and Afghanistan? Do you think those people can deal with terrorism on our shores? Do you think those people can deal with ISIS? Well, I don’t either, and Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, and the architect of all those plans that have gotten in the mess we are today.”

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      With so much state and local control, and a relative toss-up of the 2016 presidential election, if something tilts to a GOP President in 2016, we will be looking at a very, very slow implosion and very incremental change in the GOP, if only in recognition that demographics of the electorate are changing.

      I hate to say it Lifer, but if you want your party to change in the remotely near future, the GOP must lose 2016. You may think the Blue Wall makes this a lock, but we are 51/49 either way at this point.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        With all respect, Homer, you speak about that “51/49” as if we were electing the president by popular vote in this country. Not that I wouldn’t love for it to be that way, but even Trump himself acknowledges the structural advantage that Democrats have going into 2016.

        You’ve talked before about these potential “what-ifs” and how you can never be sure of anything in politics. And while I agree with that, at some point you have to get into the realm of the possible and explain, precisely, how Republicans in this political climate can actively compete in states like Michigan, Maine and California; states that, yes, elect Republicans at the state level, but that Republicans essentially cede during presidential years

        They can’t, and they won’t. Barring a complete collapse on the Democratic side, that just ain’t going to happen.

        Furthermore, it doesn’t matter how well Republicans do at the state and local level. I agree with Lifer in that being able to viably compete for the presidency is what keeps a political party alive at the national level. Without that, you can’t be a national party, no matter how well you do elsewhere. It’s contradictory and makes no sense.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Ryan – my 51/49 is probability of winning, not necessarily popular vote percentages.

        I would note however, that popular vote is wildly correlated with electoral votes, and if Obama loses three or four percent of his popular vote, he doesn’t win the election.

        My main point is that I don’t buy the Blue Wall as much as Lifer does (and many/most people here do).

        The GOP isn’t going to win (and doesn’t have to win) California or New York, and the Democrats are not going to win Texas.

        This current overwhelming trend in states voting Democrats (i.e., the Blue Wall) is not wildly different than the apparent advantages the GOP had in the elections leading up to the election of Bill Clinton in 1992.

        All it takes is the right candidate and the right situations to turn things on their head. A little bit of terrorism and a little flub in the economy in 2016, and the circumstances certainly do change.

      • Crogged says:

        Three to four percent of the popular vote is a huge amount of voters to move. Mr. Obama won “only” 51.9 percent of the vote-which was about 5 million voters more than Mr. Romney. Despite his Muslim name, his race and an economy limping like a new born foal. “Likely Republican primary voters” is not the tip of the iceberg, it is a shrinking base.

    • 1mime says:

      Hillary Clinton has a lot to answer for, but she inherited the mess in the Middle East. That has been going on, really, for centuries, but certainly was exacerbated by the Iraq War under W. Of course, people who don’t like history the way it happens, and prefer it the way it is reinterpreted, may buy into the “it’s Hil’s fault” garbage.

      All I’ve got to say about the U.S. and the Middle East is this: It’s a damn good thing that the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans have given us as much of a protective barrier as they have. That string of luck is running out. We had better hope that the new encryption being used by ISIL is broken to even the playing field a little.

      Keep in mind the temperament and judgment that will be required of the C-I-C when the “test” comes, and, it will come. Bomb the Sh$* out of them? Carpet-bomb them? Destroy them?

  18. Griffin says:

    I’m not sure the GOP not having a shot at the White House is enough to destroy the party. After all the Democratic Party didin’t have much hope of beating the GOP for about 50 years after the Civil War, unless they nominated a DINO (e.g. Grover Cleveland) or the GOP literally split in two (i.e. Roosevelt vs Taft) and the same could be said for the GOP for about 13 years after the Great Depression hit. A party being able to compete for Congress seems to be enough to keep it together, and the GOP will be competitive on that level for awhile.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Lifer has already gone into detail on this before, but there’s a difference between a political party losing a lot and not being able to compete. Just because the Democrats lost the presidency quite consistently during the time you mentioned doesn’t mean that they weren’t able to compete.

      Republicans are on the verge of not being able to compete for the presidency at all. Along with all the other states that Lifer puts under the Blue Wall, if Virginia falls into the solidly Democratic column, that’s it; that’s the presidency right there and it’s game over before the game’s even started.

      Then there’s my own home state of Florida, a state which Democrats can afford to lose and still have plenty of other routes to win while Republicans absolutely cannot afford to lose it. If Florida’s changing demographics and what we’re seeing with the GOP start to tilt the state away from being a down-to-the-wire-nailbiter to start looking more and more reliably blue in presidential years, that’s just icing on top of the proverbial cake.

      And let’s not forget that Georgia is also becoming more competitive on the national scale. President Obama didn’t even campaign there in 2012 and he didn’t lose the state by that much. If not in 2016, the Peach State is going to be one of the next battleground states.

      Just with that alone, and not even mentioning Arizona or Texas, that’s enough to snuff out any lingering hopes of Republicans retaking the White House. That’s exactly what I mean by not being able to compete.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Regarding not being able to compete:

        From our friends in 538:

        Since the 1956 election: “Every time Democrats have been trusted more on people’s top issue, the Democratic presidential candidate won. Every time Republicans were more trusted, the Republican presidential candidate won…In the most recent campaign where terrorism was at the top of voters’ minds, 2004, Republican George W. Bush was re-elected. Bush carried voters who selected terrorism as the No. 1 issue by a wider margin (72 percentage points) than voters who selected any other issue.”

        Read that again. Bush won by 72 percentage points those folks who said terrorism was their most important issue. He didn’t win 72% to 28%…he won 86% to 14% of those folks. If we get more attacks, and people get more worried about it, it will certainly help the GOP, inside and outside the Blue Wall.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Homer, with all respect, you should know very well that 2004 was a particular circumstance that aided the GOP in that we were still in the relative aftermath of 9/11; people were afraid and wanted the sense of security that President Bush seemed to offer at the time. In addition to that, Democrats also had to contend with Rove’s diabolical genius in how, at least in the short-term, he splintered the Democratic coalition at the time and even with all that, Bush only won 286 electoral votes, barely clinching the presidency.

        Circumstances like that don’t come along very often, and if you think a few random terrorist attacks, deplorable as they are, will somehow propel the GOP to national prominence again; with all respect, you’re drinking the kool-aid.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Ryan – I’m assuming you and I live in the same nation, so I’m perplexed by your statement.

        “…will somehow propel the GOP to national prominence again”

        At least in the nation in which I live, the GOP has control of the Senate, overwhelming control of the House, and 32 governors. In any real way, the GOP has plenty of national prominence.

        The GOP also controls the way we talk about any number of financial issues and abortion. The estate tax that affects a tiny percentage of really rich folks is a “death tax” that destroys small businesses and family farms. No one is anti-life, but the GOP commandeered the “pro-life” moniker. Everyone really likes it when their taxes are cut, and the GOP has firmly staked out that position.

        About 70% view the economy as bad, poor, or trending bad. Those people are wrong, but they still vote.

        Even though the annual budget deficit is down two-thirds from what it was when President Bush was with us, people think it’s worse. People still trust the GOP more to handle the national budget, and for those who believe the deficit is the most important issue, the GOP has actually increased its lead over the Democrats (despite the deficit going down under Obama).

        One could argue that the GOP has done everything it could to block Obama on the economy and to make things worse, but since there is a Democrat in the White House, the Democrats are going to get blamed for it.

        In terms of Kool-Aid, I might suggest that folks who are claiming this election is a done deal 11 months out are nipping at something a bit stronger than Kool-Aid.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        That all sounds well and good, but I have quite a few problems with your arguments:

        – Republicans control the Senate, true enough, but they’re well on the defensive in 2016 with Democrats being the odds on favorite to retake it, and I don’t say that simply because that’s Lifer’s opinion. It’s simple math and in a presidential year, voters will show up and, barring an absolute Democratic collapse, deliver the Senate back into Democratic hands.

        – As for the House, and you’ll have to pardon my language, I’m quite tired of all the whining and bitching of how Republicans have a lock on it and it’ll be impossible for Democrats to even THINK about retaking it before 2020. It’s been substantially made more difficult, to be sure, but not impossible. Democrats need a seven-point advantage over Republicans to retake the House, and in a year where the GOP would be foolish enough to nominate a far-right nutjob like Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, that’s not inconceivable.

        – As for your point about national prominence, it’s true that the GOP controls a majority of governorships and state legislatures, but that does not make them a nationally relevant party. That depends entirely on their ability to viably compete for the presidency, and you’ll recall that they’ve been thoroughly walloped by President Obama in both 2008 and 2012. Arguing to the contrary is nothing of mistaking the forest for the trees. The Republicans haven’t been a nationally relevant party in many years, instead doubling down on a strategy that relies on a declining bloc of aging white voters that are, quite literally, dying out.

        At this moment in time, the GOP is nothing but the party of the past, trying with some short-term success to hold onto power in a world that’s already moving ahead of them. How would any person who understands this think that Republicans are a nationally prominent party? Not me, that’s for sure.

        – As for taxes, I don’t buy that. I genuinely believe that that issue, while still of relative importance to people, has run its course. The American people, IMO, are by far more concerned with the state of the economy at large; whether their children are going to be better off than they are, what we’re going to do to raise incomes, how we’re going to compete in the broader world, how we’re going to create more and better jobs, etc.

        Republicans, as is their wont, have used the issue of taxes as a divisive one for far too long and overused it. It’s finished.

        – With respect to the budget and the deficit, exactly what percentage of people think of that as the most important issue for them? I don’t recall the exact number the last time I saw a poll on it, but, iirc, the number didn’t even reach double-digits.

        – Finally, I’ve never suggested that the election is already over. True, I believe that Democrats are going in being the odds on favorite to win, but the possibility, however small, is always there that something unforeseen could happen to upset the balance and throw everything for a loop.

        That said however, I base my current opinion on what I see happening before me right now and not on worrisome “what-ifs” that may or may not occur.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Ryan – I’m not even sure where to begin, but we’ll start at the top and just beat our way down.

        To your first point, 2012 was a Presidential election year, and the Democrats gained a whopping 2 seats in the Senate, while having their Senate asses handed to them in 2010 and 2014.

        Other than Obama carrying the world in 2008 and Bush fatigue in 2006, you are looking at a string of Senate elections in 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2010, 2012, and 2014 where the GOP did very fine in overall Senate elections. All of the sudden, you expect 2016 to be a complete flip?

        I get that 2016 looks good for the Democrats, and I would rather be a Senate Democrat up for election than a Senate Republican candidate, but your “simple math” is based on a lot of hope.

        To your second point – In 2012 (still a Presidential election year), all 435 House seats were up for election. The GOP won 234 of those in a year when evidently Obama was doing some walloping. In 2014, Democrats were similarly spanked. Magically, however, you expect 2016 to be wildly different?

        The Democrats have underperformed in the last three Senate and House elections (one of which was a Presidential year). I might suggest that maybe the Democrats need to actually do well in an election or two before you toss out “simple math” as an explanation for them winning in 2016.

        At this point, your 2016 prediction is a bigger “what-if” than anything I’ve tossed out because the congressional democrats have not won shit since before Justin Bieber existed in the national conscious.

        To stay with your second point, for every person tossing around, “far-right nutjob”, I’m pretty sure I can give you an equal number of people tossing around, “ultra-liberal failed Secretary of State under whom the country has become less safe from Muslim extremists”.

        To your third point. Evidently, you and I have a very different interpretation of the words “nationally relevant” when talking about a political party. I would suggest a party controlling two of the three branches of the federal government is a pretty damn relevant party, not to mention control of a solid majority of the states.

        Evidently, losing two elections in a row to a transcendent candidate, a better campaigner than he is president, who was running against less than earth moving candidates of McCain and Romney indicates that a party is unable to compete for the Presidency, and losing two elections in a row “entirely” suggests they are not a nationally prominent party.

        It is a pretty good thing that Bill Clinton wasn’t listening to you in 1992 after watching the GOP hand the Democrats their asses in three straight presidential elections.

        Staying in your third point, yep, aging white voters are dying. You want to guess the group with the most reliable voter turnout? Aging white voters. Want to guess what percentage of the electorate will be white in 2016? About 70%.

        In the 11 battleground states (all of which saw Obama lose votes from 2008 to 2012), all will have Whites as at least 65% of eligible voters, and most have Whites at over 80% of eligible voters.

        White folks haven’t all died yet, and the Democrats severely underperform with White folks. If you have some illusion that the Black vote for Hillary is going to be what it was for Obama, then I’m not sure how to help you.

        You may say, “but what about Hispanics?”, and I’d say, wake me up when we have an election where Hispanic voter turnout is within 15 percentage points of Whites.

        In your stated opinion, you believe the American people are far more concerned with the state of the economy at large, whether their children are going to be better off, creating more jobs, etc.

        Would you like to take a gander at which party those American people favor on those issues?

        Economy: 44/41, GOP
        Job Creation: 42/39, GOP
        Taxes: 43/37, GOP
        Gov’t Spending: 46/29, GOP
        Small Business: 45/34, GOP

        Specifically, the budget and the deficit may not be the most important issues, but the economy as a whole dwarfs every other issue in terms of importance, with “economy in general” and “unemployment/jobs” both rated as more important than any other single issue (and that 3th issue is Dissatisfaction with Government). The American people trust the GOP more on those three issues.

        The fourth issue is “Federal Budget/Deficit”, and while you are right, it polls in the single digits, it still polls higher than healthcare, education, gun control, race relations, and the environment.

        So, right now, we better hope that the 2016 issues focus on gay folks and healthcare (both low single digit issues) rather than the economic issues most important to the American people.

        If there is continued terrorism, you’ll also get to fight against a 40 year trend of the GOP being viewed as better able to protect the country than the Democrats.

        To your last point, you are basing your opinion on what you see happening and not worrisome “what-ifs” that may or may not occur.

        I would suggest I’m basing my opinion on a boatload of data that suggest what you are seeing is being seen through some awfully blue-tinted glasses.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Good grief, this is taking longer than I’d hoped. -__-

        First of all, with respect to the Senate, you know very well that this 2016 is going to be a year with very specific circumstances that favor the Democrats to carry a number of seats, particularly the fact that Republicans are currently defending a number of seats that they won in blue states – like Illinois, Wisconsin and others – in the wave of 2010.

        To be sure, I’m not saying that Democrats are going to absolutely storm the field and there are any number of factors that could happen between now and then, but past performance does not indicate future results, and that same idea of “anything could happen” applies just as much to the Dems as it does to the Repubs.

        Secondly, and just to have it out there, 2012 was a great year for the Democrats; yes, even in the Senate with a net gain of two seats, because, frankly, there just weren’t all that many Senate seats up for grabs that year and not only did Democrats manage to hold onto every single seat that they were defending save for one, they managed to pick up a few. That’s pretty damn good.

        Republican victories in 2010 and 2014 are the exception, not the rule, and if you’ve been paying attention to what Lifer’s been talking about, you know that those kinds of victories – based almost solely on paranoia and low turnout among voters – are actually masking the kinds of problems that are slowly but surely eroding the Republican advantage away.

        As for the House, I’ve been perfectly clear about my intentions there. I have absolutely no expectations for Democrats to retake the House in 2016 barring a complete and damn near seismic wave on their part. Given his most recent comment, Lifer would seem to think differently – given some very specific circumstances, of course – and since, to the best of my knowledge, I haven’t seen him go into any particular depth on that, I’ll have to leave it to him to explain in a future post or comment.

        Furthermore, yes, President Obama did wallop the Republicans in 2012. The reason Democrats did only modestly well in their gains in the House was that even their victory of a million more votes across the country wasn’t enough to overtake the Republicans, due in no small measure to gerrymandering and some other key factors.

        However, voters’ attitudes of their choice for president are increasingly aligned with their votes for the House. In a year where a Democratic presidential candidate could potentially destroy the Republican candidate – say, a Donald Trump or Ted Cruz – it’s not inconceivable that Democrats could retake the House with, albeit, a very small majority.

        It’s difficult, yes, and it requires a lot of things to go just right, but it is possible.

        >] “To stay with your second point, for every person tossing around, “far-right nutjob”, I’m pretty sure I can give you an equal number of people tossing around, “ultra-liberal failed Secretary of State under whom the country has become less safe from Muslim extremists”.

        Both of which are a small minority when compared to the more moderate temperament of the American electorate at large, so I fail to see what your point is.

        Secondly, that “ultra-liberal failed Secretary of State” will, as things currently stand, absolutely throttle those “far-right nutjobs” in a general election. Period, full stop.

        >] “To your third point. Evidently, you and I have a very different interpretation of the words “nationally relevant” when talking about a political party. I would suggest a party controlling two of the three branches of the federal government is a pretty damn relevant party, not to mention control of a solid majority of the states.”

        I never said that the Republicans weren’t a relevant political party. My entire argument is that they haven’t been nationally relevant, with respect to being able to compete on a national scale via the presidency, for a long time, and to that I stand.

        We obviously have a fundamental difference of opinion here, hence it’s pointless to trade back and forth on it. This particular ‘argument’ has become one of semantics, and I despise arguing semantics. Let’s end it right here, shall we?

        >] “It is a pretty good thing that Bill Clinton wasn’t listening to you in 1992 after watching the GOP hand the Democrats their asses in three straight presidential elections.

        You have to go back all the way to the 1980s and early 1990s – a relative eternity ago in politics – to make that point? Please. I’m looking at the circumstances and politics of today to see where the Democrats and Republicans stand. I would recommend you do the same.

        >] “Staying in your third point, yep, aging white voters are dying. You want to guess the group with the most reliable voter turnout? Aging white voters. Want to guess what percentage of the electorate will be white in 2016? About 70%.

        In the 11 battleground states (all of which saw Obama lose votes from 2008 to 2012), all will have Whites as at least 65% of eligible voters, and most have Whites at over 80% of eligible voters.”

        Yeah, Democrats have been underperforming with Whites, I don’t argue that. Then again, they don’t need to compete with Republicans on an even scale in this respect. If Clinton can hold roughly 40% to 42% of the White vote in 2016 (not an unreasonable assumption) and do well elsewhere, that’s all she needs.

        >] “Economy: 44/41, GOP
        Job Creation: 42/39, GOP
        Taxes: 43/37, GOP
        Gov’t Spending: 46/29, GOP
        Small Business: 45/34, GOP”

        Wow, Republicans edge out Democrats by three points in a statistical tie on the economy. My gosh, how did I ever overlook this overwhelming display of Republican strength? >__>

        Even according to your data – which, also, I would like a link to – Republicans only beat out Democrats on the issues that they’ve been running for decades now, taxes and government spending; hardly the bread and butter issues that Americans are thinking about when they go to the polls in November.

        Now that’s not to say that Democrats are in a sudden resurgence, but effectively they’re in a statistical tie with the GOP on the issues that DO matter, the economy and jobs.

        >] “If there is continued terrorism, you’ll also get to fight against a 40 year trend of the GOP being viewed as better able to protect the country than the Democrats.”

        And I will say once more that the specific circumstances that favored the GOP in the aftermath of 9/11 are not going to be in play in 2016, barring some absolutely unforeseen catastrophe that shakes the American people to their core.

        Furthermore, with The Donald out there talking about banning Muslims and creating a registry for them, that’s hardly the kind of tough talk I would think will resonate with the American people.

        >] “I would suggest I’m basing my opinion on a boatload of data that suggest what you are seeing is being seen through some awfully blue-tinted glasses.”

        That’s all well and good, though I would argue your opinion misses the forest for the trees and overlooks the broader picture in favor of past events that relied on very specific circumstances.

        Once again, I will say that Democrats are the odds-on favorite to win in 2016, both in the presidential race and in the Senate races. That’s not to say things are a lock; they rarely ever are, but what I am saying is that it would take a collapse of an absolutely devastating scale for the Democrats to lose. Just sayin’

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Ryan – we are so far down here and the conversations are so long that I’m not sure you and I (much less anyone else) can keep up.

        Just to points:

        You say, “Republican victories in 2010 and 2014 are the exception, not the rule,”…which might be true unless you count 2014, 2012, 2010, 2004, 2002, 1998, 1996, and 1992. I think the easier argument is that 2006 and 2008 were the anomalies, more easily attributed to Bush being bad and Obama being a stellar candidate than anything fundamentally attractive about Democrats.

        You can chide me for going back to a Clinton example, but you realize we have only had two Presidents since Clinton, and in the four elections since Clinton, there seems to have been a Republican elected in about half of them.

  19. csarneson says:

    As long as the GOP is so dominant at the local levels I can’t see the party imploding. Voters seem to be able to separate local elections from national ones. They vote for local GOP candidates who promise to cut spending but then vote against the presidential candidates who continue to spew idiocy.

    I’d love to see the GOP his rock bottom so it can start building back up but I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Goodreads

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 471 other followers

%d bloggers like this: