August 12, 2015

"There are only five candidates with a plausible path to the Republican nomination..."

"... two sitting senators ( Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz), two sitting governors ( Scott Walker and John Kasich), and a former governor ( Jeb Bush). They represent a choice among very different persons, but also—and more fundamentally—between competing strategies for the future of the Republican Party."

Says William A. Galston at the WSJ.

85 comments:

Skeptical Voter said...

Galston has a healthy ego. Likes to make pronunciamentos from atop his editorial Mt. Olympus. But he does present some compelling arguments here--he makes a case for his opinion. I'm still not persuaded he's correct. It's a long way to November 2016 and a lot of things can happen.

Coconuss Network said...

I'm in Clinton Camp, at least this year, but definitely like Trump, even with his brash comments. People need to chill. He's making solid points. And politics is never politically correct. Get a grip !!

Nonapod said...

With each election, it becomes harder for Republicans to parlay a base-mobilization strategy into national victory... Republicans who think that a different tone without substantive changes can do the job are fooling themselves... winning the White House without endorsing comprehensive immigration reform and adopting a more-welcoming stance toward gays and lesbians would be difficult at best..

His central point seems to be that Republicans need to become less conservative if they want to win. This has been the main theme that the GOP has been trying to push on the base since 2012. It hinges on some facts and some strongly held assumptions about voter demographics and turnouts. For example, one assumption seems to be that the Democrat voter turnouts in 2016 will closely mirror 2008 and 2012, that they'll turn out in droves for Hillary like they did for Obama.

campy said...

There are no republican candidates with a plausible path to the oval office.

Brent said...

Probably the most accurate analysis of the year so far.

I am so tired of wasting time on the insecure who see this election as a sport, particularly conservatives, who would rather complain about purity and let the world go to hell if they don't get their way. That's where Rush Limbaugh lost me in 2008. Does any conservative alive today believe that a John McCain Presidency would have delivered a Sotomayor or a Kagan, both Affuirnative action placement disasters on the Supreme Court? Its not about you alone. Its about the continued prosperity and safety of the United States and the world by extension. Obama's reckless snd accelerating destruction of America's military capabilities can only be turned around by a Republican President.

I ask every loudmouth conservative whiner about the establishment blah blah blah the same questions and often shut them down. Did you vote for McCain? Did you vote for Romney? If not, then you personally elected Obama and are responsible for the shit we are stepping in in America today. Pull your head out, wake up, be an adult and elect a Republican.

Michael K said...

Wall Street Journal issues.

winning the White House without endorsing comprehensive immigration reform and adopting a more-welcoming stance toward gays and lesbians would be difficult at best.

I don't care about the gay and lesbian thing but immigration is a third rail for the GOP this year, It's why Trump has done so well so far.

Michael K said...

"I'm in Clinton Camp, at least this year,"

It's a shame that Obama can't run again, isn't it. He could finish his work instead of having to rely on Hillary to bring the country down.

Bay Area Guy said...

It's a nice, short, sober piece by Galston. Good find, Althouse.

If the GOP doesn't flip out, get distracted, chase rabbits down rabbit holes, it can win this election. Hillary is a deeply flawed candidate.

The question is whether a GOP win is good for the country. I would suggest that, because the Dem party is so corrupt and intellectually bankrupt, it probably is.

Brent said...

Nonapad, Ronald Reagan would not win today among Trump supporters. That's mpt c;iche. Every single Trump supporter I have personally talked to knew absolutely nothing about Reagan's policies or governance., even among those older than I. True conservatives do not vote for Trump. They are only the wounded seeking to take the fight to the liberals that they are afraid are besting them today. Horrible strategy that will insure conservative failure.

Another thing, ask a Trump supporter to define "Republican establishment", without resorting only to names. They can't. Those people do not love America. They love themselves and their egos. Avoid them even after Trump blows away.

Nonapod said...

Brent, I'm no fan of Trump... not sure where you got that. And I think Reagan is a bit overrated, I liked him but I don't revere him like some conservatives do.

Tank said...

Brent

Pull your head out, wake up, be an adult and elect a Republican.


The last time I did that (Bush the first time), I got:

1. A brand new drug prescription entitlement.

2. Minority housing that blew up the worlds economy.

3. A totally unnecessary war in Iraq that cost a trillion wasted dollars, thousands of wasted lives (dead young American men), and dozens of thousands of terribly wounded young American men, all for absolutely nothing.

Yes, that's what we "adults" got.

Then we (not me) went with the so-called adult choices, McCain and Romney, who each gracefully lost to the worst president we've ever had.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

The WSJ has been utterly dependent upon illegal immigrants to print and distribute its paper edition for maybe the last two decades, near as I can count.

The Drill SGT said...

And none of them will say what is needed to deflate the Trump bubble:

"First build a Big F'ing Fence"

traditionalguy said...

The Murdoch owned media are all proclaiming in harmony the lyrics to a song that Trump's lead is over, gone, rescinded, kaput, vanished, disappeared, and null and void.

Big Lie brainwashing is the preferred tactic for the Ruling Class of every stripe.


Unknown said...

Tank, this is Brent again (my device will not let me identify). The sentence said "elect" a Republican. I disagree with your Bush analysis, but that aside, we both agree that Obama is destructive and so will another Democrat. But heres the thing: Elect. And that opportunity becomes less amd less with the idiot selfish me before America "true conservatives" who wpuld rather lose and complain and enjoy their money and personal safety (aka Limbaugh) while the country goea further to hell and they Never do anything to help it. Words are shit if you don't look ahead and figure that each conservative needs to do more than talk and vote. They need tobget out of the way if theybare't going to work. Work. Elect.

traditionalguy said...
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traditionalguy said...

JEB, the sneaky Bush, that Wall Street brought out of retirement to speak Spanish sweetlyat the newly migrated north horde of the Spanish Empire's Catholic Faithful is the only candidate that Hildabeast has a path to victory over.

If Trump cannot beat that strange gang of misfits, then he's not the man that I believe him to be.

Hagar said...

I think the Trump and Sanders waves indicate that the voters say "none of the above" in both parties.

I do not know about this supposed "moderate" and "conservative" divide in the Republican Party, but I do think a candidate who can state his, or her, goals in clear and straightforward English may be what they are looking for.

cubanbob said...

Brent said... really? I voted for McCain. I voted for Romney. I voted for both Bushes. I'm tired of voting for Democrat lites just because they are less bad than Democrats. So what is the next kindler, gentler moderate Republican going to do to actually deal with the real systemic economic problems this country has that are the result of excessive government? Be a better and more competent administrator of the welfare state? Kick the can down the road a few more years? Marvelous. In the end I will have no choice between bad and worse voting for bad but enough of the self-delusional crap. In the meantime I will vote for the most conservative, small government candidate on the ballot in the primaries.

D.E. Cloutier said...

Right now the predictions of political columnists in the mainstream media are about as relevant as the predictions of fortune tellers at carnivals.

The War on Trump is starting to remind me of 1964, when Northeasters in the Republican establishment -- Nelson Rockefeller, Bill Scranton, etc. -- did everything possible to stop Barry Goldwater. Eventually, after Goldwater's nomination, many "Rockefeller Republicans" refused to lift a finger to help Goldwater in the general election. The result: All factions within the Republican Party suffered damage in a massive Lyndon-slide.

D.E. Cloutier said...

Correction: Make that Northeasterners, not Northeasters.

traditionalguy said...

The fake it on orders Media is the one talking about the ANGER of the silly voters supporting The Donald.

The few internet sites not so infected talk about the intelligent voter's expression of a RESOLVE to stop the defeat of the USA at the hands of mass betrayal for lucre going on in DC for 25 years by a Governing Class recruited by the promise of a share of the loot to wage war against Americans.

Thorley Winston said...

“Another thing, ask a Trump supporter to define "Republican establishment", without resorting only to names. They can't.”


That’s pretty much true of anyone who throws around the term of “establishment” or “neocon.” It’s basically a substitute for blaming anything that doesn’t go the way someone wants on Snowball or Goldstein.

Brando said...

"His central point seems to be that Republicans need to become less conservative if they want to win."

How are "accommodating towards gays and lesbians" and "comprehensive immigration reform" less conservative? You may disagree with both policies, but neither really fits on the scale of "keep government off my back" to "ah, government, get all up on my back".

There are two main arguments going around:

1) The GOP keeps losing because it is insufficiently conservative, and if it nominated a true conservative then the base would turn out more and they'd win elections.
2) The GOP keeps losing because it is too conservaite, and if it nominated a more moderate candidate then they would be able to win more moderate voters away from the Democrats.

The thing is the recent losing candidates (Romney, McCain) were considered moderates by the party's rightists, but the party's moderates complained that those same nominees had to lean so far to the right to win their nominations that they became easily portrayed as tools of the right in the general election. So as usual, defeat becomes an orphan, and everyone pins it on the "other guys".

Maybe this time the GOP could nominate someone with a reputation as a conservative who can spend the entire election reaching out to the middle, and see if that works?

Brando said...

"That’s pretty much true of anyone who throws around the term of “establishment” or “neocon.” It’s basically a substitute for blaming anything that doesn’t go the way someone wants on Snowball or Goldstein."

It's also hilarious that Trump himself is somehow not "establishment". Born into a wealthy and connected NYC family, brags of the politicians he "owned" (of both parties!) going back to Abe Beame, uses government connections (or some Tea Partiers might have called it "crony capitalism") to amass his fortune, and has had the media follow him around for four decades--but he's somehow not "establishment".

You can't argue with Trump fans. Logic and facts are simply "establishment" constructs, used to justify everything that is going wrong in Washington.

Bay Area Guy said...

The key point, though, is that Trump is not hurting the GOP race or brand. He actually may be helping things, because he says, bluntly, perhaps too bluntly, what a lot of people are thinking. See his speech about Ford Motors building a plant in Mexico.

So, I think both the advocates for Trump and the opponents for Trump, should calm down a bit, allow the race to proceed, and allow him to win or lose on the merits.

My gut is that once the media papparazzi get their fill of Trump, and realize that he's just another candidate, the hype will subside, and he will lose some of the early primaries.

I could be wrong.

Hagar said...

Abraham Lincoln was firm on only one point: There will be no secession.

dreams said...

No Carly, the war on women continues.

Nonapod said...

Brando said...

How are "accommodating towards gays and lesbians" and "comprehensive immigration reform" less conservative?


I think it's fair to say that traditional social conservatives strongly oppose same sex marriage. And most Conservatives tend to oppose any kind full amnesty that may fall under the rubric "comprehensive immigration reform".

(Full disclosure: I'm a fairly socially liberal sort of guy that doesn't have a problem with same sex marriage. And "Immigration reform" is far to general and vague for me to take a definitive stance on.)

Beldar said...
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Brando said...

"I think it's fair to say that traditional social conservatives strongly oppose same sex marriage. And most Conservatives tend to oppose any kind full amnesty that may fall under the rubric "comprehensive immigration reform"."

I suppose that's true for many on the Right who do oppose those things--to them, it defines "conservative" and in a way that's right, if "conservative" means "traditionalist" (though if porous borders are the norm, then perhaps it's not really "conservative" to prefer sealing the borders).

As for the overall idea that party platforms and nominees should adjust to a broader electorate that has moved in the other direction, this isn't without precedent. The question is whether such change would be so fundamental and wrong for the GOP that it would cease to be a viable party.

David Begley said...

Carly wins the whole thing. You watch.

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't see JEB Bush winning. The other four - maybe.

What this author seems to be missing is the None of The Above sentiment. Bush is the establishment candidate in a year when an establishment Republican is unlikely to win. Trump has tapped into this sentiment, of ignoring the establishment, political correctness, etc. A pro amnesty Republican is DOA. That is one of those things that the establishment wants, and the rank and file hates.

The funny thing this time is that so many of both parties are backing None of The Above. The outsiders, who have probably sold out, but maybe not, as contrasted with the establishment candidates who definitely have. We now see Sanders beating Hillary! by 7 or so in NH. Still, she is the likely candidate, and isn't going to lose to an insider Republican playing her own inside game. Rather, I think that it is going to take someone who can poach disaffected Dem voters, and the other 4 Republicans possibly could.

dreams said...

Walker or Ted Cruz works for me.

D.E. Cloutier said...

Re: Fiorina

Business is theater. Carly is a good actress. But her performance at HP lost her a lot of fans. It will be interesting to see if she can crawl out from under some of the baggage on top of her.

From a hit piece by Michael Hiltzik at the Los Angeles Times: "The foundation stone of Fiorina's political pitch is her business career. It's impressive on paper, underwhelming in reality."

The article: "What non-Californians don't know about Carly Fiorina -- but should"

Link:
http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-non-californians-carly-fiorina-20150811-column.html#page=1

traditionalguy said...

Reagan won his trust of average Americans from his 5 minute homily given weekly on The General Electric Theater touting American values. They later trusted him to be LOYAL to their values.

Trump has the same trust that he will be loyal to the value of reality based economic victory we all want to see back again. Unless you are one of those Establishment Billionaires investing in Swiss Gold Francs and Chinese Industrial Joint Ventures to get a 40% return while holding onto a perfect hedge against inflation.

Trump will win if he lives that long.

Nonapod said...

It all comes down to what were the reasons you believe the GOP lost the presidency in 2008 and 2012. Personally, I think 2008 is easier to explain than 2012. In 2008 there were a lot of prevailing factors that favored the Democrats. The incumbent party just had a big market crash and a protracted, unpopular war. And the Dem candidate seemed young and appealing compared to the old crotchety GOP candidate.

But 2012 is a bit more difficult to explain. Despite what a lot of people have said in hindsight, I believe Romney was a pretty strong candidate. I'm not convinced that the GOP lost because they picked a poor candidate. I suspect that the Democrats simply ran a much more focused and micro-targeted campaign in the swing states, and there was most likely no small amount of voter fraud.

My point is that I'm not convinced that the prevailing narrative (that the GOP needs to become much more appealing to certain demos if it wants to win the 2016 presidency) is entirely correct. I suspect that whether Hillary weathers this latest storm or we end up with Biden as the Dem candidate, we will be dealing with a depressed turnout on the Dem side.

Michael K said...

"Those people do not love America. They love themselves and their egos. "

They are the Perot voters come back 25 years older.

"I think it's fair to say that traditional social conservatives strongly oppose same sex marriage. And most Conservatives tend to oppose any kind full amnesty that may fall under the rubric "comprehensive immigration reform"."

I don't care about gay marriage but I am concerned about the left's war on the culture which is more about free speech and not being hounded to death by the lefty SJWs. That applies to Christians and college boys. I have grandson who is 10. I sure hope this is over by the time he is 18.

Immigration is about the rule of law. I agree that legal immigration is a mess but the way to solve that is not to abandon all law.

damikesc said...

Does any conservative alive today believe that a John McCain Presidency would have delivered a Sotomayor or a Kagan

Guaranteed? No.

But Roberts, Souter, Warren --- all Republican nominated.

I ask every loudmouth conservative whiner about the establishment blah blah blah the same questions and often shut them down. Did you vote for McCain? Did you vote for Romney? If not, then you personally elected Obama and are responsible for the shit we are stepping in in America today. Pull your head out, wake up, be an adult and elect a Republican.

And I'd tell you to kindly fuck yourself.

We elected Republican majorities in both houses of Congress. What the fuck have THEY done?

Jack and shit.

I don't see any need to vote for a party that openly loathes me and will end up doing whatever Dems want anyway.

Another thing, ask a Trump supporter to define "Republican establishment", without resorting only to names. They can't. Those people do not love America. They love themselves and their egos. Avoid them even after Trump blows away.

Bill Clinton couldn't get nominated as a Democrat today.

YoungHegelian said...

As the Republican National Committee’s postmortem report on 2012 argued, winning the White House without endorsing comprehensive immigration reform and adopting a more-welcoming stance toward gays and lesbians would be difficult at best.

Sure that all makes sense for the Republicans. NOT!

'Comprehensive Immigration Reform" means, bluntly, making a bunch of non-citizen Mexican immigrants citizens. How do most Mexican Americans vote? Democrat. Are the Republicans so stupid that they think that the Mexican aliens will be so eternally grateful to them for naturalizing them that they'll vote Republican? How much additional of the Latino vote did the Republicans get for Reagan's amnesty program?

As for adopting a more welcoming stance to gays, well, there's a lot of moderate gays out there, for sure. But there's this very vocal cohort that has, is, and will target religious based organizations with all the weapons at their disposal, and the SCOTUS just gave them some heavy artillery to add to their arsenal. How exactly the Republicans are supposed to adopt a "more welcoming stance" to a group that seeks to undermine the historical 1st Amendment rights that a huge chunk of the Republican electorate holds dearest Galston never elaborates. Has the The Advocate run an issue on freedom of religious conscience as the basic bedrock of the 1st Amendment? Yeah, my subscription must have run out, too, 'cause I didn't get that issue, either.

This is how the Republican World looks from Manhattan, so ,yeah, it's going to have a Bizzaro world air to it.

Brent said...

damikesc,

Roberts is a conservative. Souter began as a conservative, then changed. But conservatives at least got more from him than any conservative has got from Kagan or Sotomayor out of the gate.

Warren - please. How far back do you have to go?

I will not fuck myself, thanks for the invite. I'll trust that you are successful at it and leave it at that.

Republican majorities are not enough. This may be new to you, but Republican majorities short of a veto-proof majority have a hard time with a Democrat Presidency. You might not be aware that a Congress doesn't make laws on its own. So, a Republican President with a Republican majority will never be as bad as a Democrat Lead-the-country-down-the tubes-as-fast-as-possible Presidency, no matter who the Republican is.

Look, you're mad, I get it. But sitting it out and taking your ball home and yelling at the adults trying to save America to get off your lawn is not a winning strategy for anything you want. The time to get involved is now. Write letters to papers that are wrong. Use social media. Condemn every single Democrat because they have the WRONG ethical, moral, economic and security philosophy for the United States of America. EVERY SINGLE Democrat candidate and potential candidate. Every One. Don't wait until its too late. Message: If our country elects a Democrat President in 2016, you and your future family are screwed for good, and there will be no - absolutely NO chance for - recovery. With what Obama has put into play, it WILL be past the point of no return. 2020 will be too late to effect changes, way way too late.

So lick your wounds and get back in the fight to defeat ANY Democrat in 2016. That's all that really matter.

bbkingfish said...

Who said it?

“This one surprised me a little, but the polling is clear. Walker is the only candidate who lost ground in every single post-debate poll.”

"Loser" is going to be a frequently used word in GOP politics for the rest of this year, at least.

For now, Scott Walker is the biggest loser in the GOP field. He is ahead in the battle to be King of the GOP Losers, one might be tempted to say.

If he sinks any further in the polls, the Donald may fire him on stage at the next debate.

It would be great for ratings.

Brando said...

"But 2012 is a bit more difficult to explain. Despite what a lot of people have said in hindsight, I believe Romney was a pretty strong candidate. I'm not convinced that the GOP lost because they picked a poor candidate. I suspect that the Democrats simply ran a much more focused and micro-targeted campaign in the swing states, and there was most likely no small amount of voter fraud."

I think it's true that the Dems ran a smart campaign (Obama had kept his campaign offices open since 2008, and kept his activists engaged--they had better organization than the GOP). But the biggest issue, I think, is that the economy was on the upswing.

"My point is that I'm not convinced that the prevailing narrative (that the GOP needs to become much more appealing to certain demos if it wants to win the 2016 presidency) is entirely correct. I suspect that whether Hillary weathers this latest storm or we end up with Biden as the Dem candidate, we will be dealing with a depressed turnout on the Dem side."

I think the GOP's problems are a number of factors. There are a lot of parts of the country (cities, inner suburbs, etc.) where it's not a viable party.

Sebastian said...

I have recommended Galston as future GOP debate moderator. This piece backs it up. He's the rational liberal who'd bring out the best in the candidates.

Look, I'd prefer a pretty hard-line conservative Pres. I understand the frustrations many people on this blog express -- the base wants x, conservatives won't stand for y, previous GOP candidates were wrong because z, the establishment stinks because . . .

All well and good, but Galston is talking about a path not to the nomination but to the presidency. I'm pleasantly surprised he includes Cruz, but think he goes too far there. It's unlikely that swing states that took O over Romney will swing to a person far to Mitt's right.

The basic point is that base mobilization is not enough for the GOP. Therefore, it must reach out to the middle--independents, soccer moms, conservative-leaning Hispanics and Asians. Some sort of immigration reform and friendliness to gays will be necessary to win them over--if not as virtue signaling then at least as anti-evil-Republican immunization.

The key is to win FL, OH, and VA and have a good shot in CO, NV, and IA. That's why Galston correctly rates Bush and Kasich high, even though they rub most conservatives the wrong way. The Galston 5 will duke it out. Fiorina may get it in there as VP option, but Bush or Walker are more likely to go with Haley or Martinez for political experience and women/minority cred, and Kasich will be a strong VP option for Walker, Bush, and Rubio.

The real base, including evangelicals who may be attracted to Carson or Cruz right now, is going to think long and hard about the Galston case.

Brent said...

Nonapad, I agree with most of your assessment. about 2012.

Here is where Republicans fail today above everything else: Not taking the fight to the Democrats. First, bring an AK47 to the gun fight. The Democrats are Economically , morally, and security issues bankrupt. Completely. C.O.M.P.L.E.T.E.L.Y. Press those points day in and day out. Who cares if your liberal family members want to "get along"? Until Conservatives see the reality of this election, failure will continue to be the smell. The reality?

This is war. This election is a fight. your enemy is not your fellow Americans, it is the Democrat philosophies, the beliefs that America doesn't have to be the world's biggest Super Power, the belief that America's best economic days are behind her, the belief that America's problems can be solved by making everyone bow down to Speech censorship and making gun ownership almost impossible and taking away from the successful to give to the less hard working, to make America "fair" above making America 'Free".

Now, if your fellow American Democrats and mixed ups get pissed because someone has the balls to take it to them not by just saying vote for this guy, but actually throwing down against the stupid and screwed up ideas and poorly though-out circular reasoning failed philosophies, then we have a daily chance to do something.

The Planned Parenthood fiasco is not over. Even if you ae an abortion supporter, you can condemn in every breath the Margaret Sanger who wanted to eliminate balck people founded Planned Parenthood.

You and I want to win. Start now. Condemn the Democrats at every single turn and opportunity you have, politely if you can, but heated if necessary. They will get over ot. It really doesn't matter to them anyway one way or the other. Disturb them. they CANNOT win on facts. Use all the snark you want - they do, and never bat an eye (that immoral internal thing Dems have, again).

Ready to win? Start now.

Brando said...

"We elected Republican majorities in both houses of Congress. What the fuck have THEY done?"

I'd happily take a do-nothing GOP Congress over a Dem Congress passing things like Obamacare, minimum wage increases, card check, and who knows what else ends up on their wishlist.

Part of the problem is when you become the majority, you do so by expanding your group to include a lot of disparate sub-groups who won't all agree on things. You either have to be skilled enough to win more into the fold or cobble together compromises, or you have to accept inaction and disappointment.

This isn't a defense of the amount of inaction we've seen lately--which is quite a lot--but I have no illusions that anyone could have a cakewalk. Even if that someone was somehow Donald Trump.

Michael K said...

"This may be new to you, but Republican majorities short of a veto-proof majority have a hard time with a Democrat Presidency. "

Bill Clinton showed the Democrats how to win this and Gingrich showed the GOP how to lose it.

bb is still hoping that Hillary does not implode. I agree that the Republicans can lose it but that would just bring the revolution on faster. Personally, I think the black radicals, unless Soros can control them, are going to recreate 1968.

Jeff said...

Romney won the white vote pretty handily, but he lost because his anti-immigrant rhetoric turned off both Asian and Hispanic voters, as well as some white women. And he clearly had no chance of getting many black votes running against the incumbent first black president.

Do the math. If whites are only 70 percent of the electorate, winning 60 percent of them only gets you to 42 percent. You still need 27 percent of the nonwhite vote to get over 50 percent of the total. Romney got less than that. If whoever the eventual Republican nominee is tries to appeal to Trump supporters by going the anti-immigrant route, he or she will fail worse than Romney did.

The anti-immigrant base needs these facts repeated to them again and again. They are not going to get their way, we are not going to deport the people already here. We're not going to build a wall or require everyone to show their electronic papers (E-Verify) before they can work. We're not going to outlaw abortion or gay marriage. GET OVER IT. If you continue to insist that the Republicans nominate someone who advocates these positions, you are only helping the Democrats.

The Democrats, by the way, are not going to nominate Hillary Clinton. Now that Bernie Sanders is showing how weak her support actually is, expect some real Democratic heavyweights to get in near the end of the year. I've said before and still believe that Mark Warner or someone like him could easily beat Hillary and would be very formidable in the general election.

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
damikesc said...

The anti-immigrant base needs these facts repeated to them again and again. They are not going to get their way, we are not going to deport the people already here. We're not going to build a wall or require everyone to show their electronic papers (E-Verify) before they can work. We're not going to outlaw abortion or gay marriage. GET OVER IT. If you continue to insist that the Republicans nominate someone who advocates these positions, you are only helping the Democrats.

If they won't do it, I'll ask again ---

WHY SHOULD I VOTE FOR THEM?

They won't do anything except what Dems want. Got it. I can just vote Dem then. Save the time.

You're selling your theory incredibly poorly.

I'd happily take a do-nothing GOP Congress over a Dem Congress passing things like Obamacare, minimum wage increases, card check, and who knows what else ends up on their wishlist.

My beef isn't that they do nothing...they do nothing beneficial for conservatism.

They were set to bring back the benefits of Obamacare had the SCOTUS ruled against Obama. They decided to just forfeit their treaty powers over the Iran deal. They voted for a terrible trade deal (that Obama is now just walking away from, making them look like even bigger fucking idiots). They quickly approved Obama puppet Lynch as A.G as well.

Benefit of the GOP, to me, seems exceptionally low.

It'd be insane to keep voting for them and expect them to change. They need a damned bloodbath to change. The worst thing that could have happened to this country was the GOP winning the House in 2010.

Lessons were not learned.

Look, you're mad, I get it. But sitting it out and taking your ball home and yelling at the adults trying to save America to get off your lawn is not a winning strategy for anything you want. The time to get involved is now. Write letters to papers that are wrong. Use social media. Condemn every single Democrat because they have the WRONG ethical, moral, economic and security philosophy for the United States of America. EVERY SINGLE Democrat candidate and potential candidate. Every One. Don't wait until its too late. Message: If our country elects a Democrat President in 2016, you and your future family are screwed for good, and there will be no - absolutely NO chance for - recovery. With what Obama has put into play, it WILL be past the point of no return. 2020 will be too late to effect changes, way way too late.

They won't change anything and they really hate conservatives.

I owe the GOP nothing. Fuck them. Fuck all of them.

Jeff said...

Damikesc,

Grow up. To win the election, you have to appeal to a majority. You are not a majority, you're just one voter. If you want to go home and sit it out, you're even less than that. You don't like it, too bad. This is a democracy and you don't get your way unless you can persuade a majority of your fellow citizens of the rightness of your positions.

You want to complain that the Republicans are not as conservative as you are? Fine. Run for office yourself. See how many votes you and your positions get. Otherwise just grow up.

Fritz said...

Count me as any of the above but Bush, except against Hillary. I would vote for a rabid skunk over Hillary.

As far as Bush is concerned, I don't even care if he is the absolute best candidate, we don't want to establish a dynasty. Second best is acceptable.

John henry said...

Why is trump not a plausible candidate? He is leading in the polls and not by just a little bit.

Maybe he will implode. Maybe he will quit. Maybe a million other things could happen.

Right now it looks like if the primaries were held next week he would be the Republican nominee by a wide margin.

As I wrote at the Isthmus a week or two ago and as Glenn picked up in USA Today today, perhaps Bernie should be Trump's VP or vice versa.

Maybe both run independent candidacies for the offices.

The real problem is that the GOP doesn't want the voters deciding who the GOP candidate is. They want someone beholden to them and chosen by them.

That is one of the reasons Trump has so much support. Lots of people like me that don't care that much for Trump but support him a a giant FUCK YOU!!! to the party. Same thing with Bernie. Hilary is the anointed, whether you like it or not? Uh-uh.

John Henry

John Henry

damikesc said...

Grow up. To win the election, you have to appeal to a majority.

"Run a squish" has been a winning strategy so far. McCain did amazingly.

I voted, happily, for Romney because I thought he was a phenomenal choice. But if the candidate is shit, like McCain, I won't do it anymore. Screw it.

You keep acting like the Republicans want to roll back the state when evidence CLEARLY shows they do not. They want to "try really hard"...but fail. Over and over.

If Walker wins the nom, I'll vote for him. Ditty Cruz. Probably ditto Paul, but that's sketchy. Bush? No. Screw that. Kasich? I'll vote for Hillary before I vote for him.

You are not a majority, you're just one voter. If you want to go home and sit it out, you're even less than that. You don't like it, too bad. This is a democracy and you don't get your way unless you can persuade a majority of your fellow citizens of the rightness of your positions.


We've tried it your way for about 16 years. We won a tiny majority once and lost the popular vote 3 times.

Your way, clearly, isn't winning majorities.

Run Bush and the Dems win. No matter WHO they run, they will beat Jeb. Ditto Kasich.

I'm not playing "Rah rah" for "my team" any more. Both sides want to fuck the country.

You want to complain that the Republicans are not as conservative as you are? Fine. Run for office yourself. See how many votes you and your positions get. Otherwise just grow up.

Or...I can just not vote. I notice you've not once actually pointed to a reason to vote FOR a Republican.

Because you cannot name one either.

Note: If not for immigration, Trump is a non-entity in the race. Immigration is a huge issue...but you're gung-ho to just ignore it. Because, hell, we can't fix the problem.

Screw it. I'll happily take my ball and go home and laugh at the suckers.

John henry said...

Damiskec

Do not take your ball and go home. I understand how you feel and I feel the same way.

You, and I and everyone of us who feels this way need to go to the polls and vote. We don't need to vote for dem or repub. We can vote for a third party. We can write in a name. we can make a big X on the ballot.

By not casting a ballot, you are letting the bastards win. They can moan about how apathetic voters are, low turnout and so on and spin it how they like.

If some large percentage of the ballots were not for the 2 major candidates, it would be hard to ignore.

As you say, in a Bush/Clinton matchup what difference would it make who won? Each is worse than the other. So don't try to vote for the lesser of two evils. There isn't one.

But do vote against a corrupt system filled with venal corrupt assholes.

John Henry

Unknown said...

John Henry,

What is your advise for? What will it accomplish for America?

Michael K said...

"From a hit piece by Michael Hiltzik at the Los Angeles Times:"

Those who don't live here probably don't know what a dishonest hack he is.

Carly has to address this issue NOW and put a well researched discussion on her web site.

The angry rants about not voting unless Trump is the nominee is Perot all over again and you know what that got us.

The silliness about Romney being a "squish" is nonsense. He was almost the perfect guy to turn the country around.

McCain was who I supported in 2000 as I was not impressed with Bush. McCain turned out in 2008 to be too old and not to know what to do about the financial crisis. The one good thing he did was Palin.

Too many GOP voters are into the "No True Scotsman" fallacy and do not understand that there are many people who agree on some issues and not on others, Goldwater was a terrible candidate but an interesting man.

The Big Tent was what elected Reagan.

damikesc said...

You, and I and everyone of us who feels this way need to go to the polls and vote. We don't need to vote for dem or repub. We can vote for a third party. We can write in a name. we can make a big X on the ballot.

I voted Bob Barr in 2008 (and I hate that loon). And while the idea is nice, for me, voting takes --- on a good cycle --- 3 hours minimum (my area's election commission is run by people who eat crayons). For me to sit there and wait for that long, I must believe in a candidate. I waited 4 hours to vote Romney in 2012. He, seriously, is the best candidate we've had for President ever, IMO. Didn't agree with everything but he got stuff done and seemed trust-worthy. He was a squish, but I trusted him.

How many Republicans running do I seriously think won't stab people like me in the back at the earliest convenience? I trust Walker. He went through Hell, got incredible things done, and never backed down. He isn't boisterous, but he should be listed as one of the great governors of ANY state. Cruz seems brilliant and he's been attacked so harshly and not backed down that I doubt he'd sell out. Rand Paul has too much of a crazy streak for me to feel super comfortable.

But the others? Bush and Kasich are both major no's. I like Fiorina as a speaker, but she is not going anywhere. Perry has been unable to catch any heat, sadly. Trump is a side show but one who has shown that there is an issue that the others want to ignore that will get people up and supporting you. Huckabee loves the state having power far too much. Jindal has no hope.

As you say, in a Bush/Clinton matchup what difference would it make who won? Each is worse than the other. So don't try to vote for the lesser of two evils. There isn't one.

But do vote against a corrupt system filled with venal corrupt assholes.


Don't disagree. But my faith in our electorate is low.

We had an eminently qualified man opposing a man who has fucked up everything he touched. And the fuck up won. Comfortably.

damikesc said...

Too many GOP voters are into the "No True Scotsman" fallacy and do not understand that there are many people who agree on some issues and not on others, Goldwater was a terrible candidate but an interesting man.

Too many Republicans have zero actual beliefs.

With Reagan, you knew there were lines he wouldn't cross. With Bush, you knew that certain lines wouldn't be crossed.

What about Jeb? Is there anything he'd stand on? Kasich used to be a budget hawk of the highest order --- he's now cowering behind his perversion of faith to explode his state's budget in a few years.

A big tent is nice --- but if rolling the state back isn't part of your goals, then I simply can no longer hold my nose and vote for them.

John henry said...

Unknown said...
John Henry,

What is your advise for? What will it accomplish for America?

Perhaps nothing immediately. Perhaps. But staying home will definitely do nothing.

Perhaps if enough people do this, we will eventually get some different people and different ideas. Perhaps.

But staying home or voting for one of the two will definitely change nothing.

What is your suggestion? Got any better ideas?

John Henry

Jeff said...

Actually, there are other reasons to vote Republican. Court nominations are one. As bad as Roberts and Kennedy are, I'd rather see more like them than like Kagan, Sotomayor and Breyer. And occasionally we do get a Scalia or Thomas. Think about it. When was the last time a Democratic President nominated someone you approved of to the Supreme Court?

Another is Obamacare. It's possible that a Republican President in 2016 will get Obamacare repealed. There is absolutely no chance at all of that happening if a Democrat wins.

The disaster unfolding in the Middle East is a bipartisan affair, but it seems likely that any of the Republicans will do better over there than the Democrats will.

We'll get more regulation from a Democratic administration than from a Republican one.

I'll grant you that there's less difference between the parties than either you or I would like, but there are reasons for this. The primary one is the idea of the Median Voter. Assume there are exactly 100 voters and you line them all up from left to right, i.e., the first one on the left is the most Socialist, the guy next to him is the second most left-wing, and so on, until you get to Attila the Hun in the rightmost position.

A conservative politician who aims his appeal at voter number 74 will also appeal to voters on both sides of that voter. Let's say his appeal is broad enough that voters 49 through 100 all like him. Does that mean he can win? No. All his liberal opponent has to do is aim his pitch at voter 73. The conservative will get the votes from 74 to 100, but the liberal will get everyone from 1 to 73, because he is closer to their positions than the conservative is.

If you think about how this works, it's clear that if they want to get elected, both the liberal and the conservative will aim their appeals very close to the center of the line. The equilibrium will be that the liberal aims at voter 50, and the conservative at voter 51. The real battle will be the conservative trying to make the case to at least a few of the voters to the left of 50 that they should vote for him for some other reason, such as "I'm more honest" or "My opponent is a horrible person". Meanwhile, he also has to defend himself from his liberal opponent who is trying to do the same thing to him. This also explains why elections so often turn on personal attacks.

So face it. You're not going to see a really solid liberal or a really solid conservative win unless the other side really screws up. That's the nature of the game. It sucks, but every other system for choosing leaders seems to suck just as much or more.

damikesc said...

Jeff, I wish that were true. But we had a moderate and highly competent conservative against a not terribly competent, fairly left wing Progressive last time and he was beaten soundly.

richardsson said...

Well, Mr. Galston, if you think your chosen "viable" candidates prove to be viable in the primaries, no worries, eh? The other candidates will run out of money, say stupid things, or get shoved out of the way. But, it's the voters who decide these things, not you Mr. Galston. The Tea Party might have produced joke candidates but the Republican establishment, in Blubbering Bonehead and Cowardly McConnell, have produced a joke leadership. The President shreds the Constitution and they sit on their fannies and do nothing. The guy who negotiated the 2012 debate deal with the Candy Crowley and George Steffi bungles still has a job in Republican politics. I'd say it is time to sit back and let the voters tell us who the viable candidates are next year.

Jeff said...

Damikesc,

I agree. But I think he was also a political incompetent. Romney did not need to go the anti-immigrant route, he would have won the nomination handily anyway. It was an unforced error, and when you're running against an incumbent with a solid base, you can't afford to do that. Especially when you know going in that the mainstream media is going to take any mistake you make and blow it up into your worst nightmare.

One of the very few things Trump is doing right is aggressively fighting the media. Romney never really did that. He didn't have to do it personally, but if not, he needed somebody to do it on his behalf. Traditionally, this is the job of the Vice Presidential nominee. Paul Ryan was a disaster here. His main concern seemed to be that he didn't want to offend anyone. If the election is close and the media are against you, you need an attack dog. Bush did not need one because he faced such weak opposition. But Romney was running against an incumbent with a solid base. He needed somebody to do the attacking that he was not temperamentally suited for.

Back to the immigration stuff. A remarkable thing that few people seem to notice is that Romney not only lost the Hispanic vote, he lost the Asian vote by even more. It seems that any hint of anti-immigrant rhetoric these days sounds to all nonwhites like "they only like white people". You can protest it all you want, but that's the world we live in, and a competent political operator should know it. Perhaps Rubio can get away with it, but I suspect that even if anti-immigrant rhetoric doesn't hurt him very much with Hispanics, it will still cost him a lot of Asian and black votes. There's just no upside to it.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Michael K said...
The angry rants about not voting unless Trump is the nominee is Perot all over again and you know what that got us.



Michael, I respect you and enjoy reading your comments here and over at Powerlineblog, but I think you're missing the point about Trump. Or maybe not even Trump per se, but about the protest vote.

Every election cycle it's the same thing. It's the moderates vs the right wing. For simplicity sake I will use Michael Medved as the voice of moderates. Do you ever listen to his show?

If you do, you'll know that he makes the same arguments on his show that I've heard here. Don't take your ball and go home because if you do, you're electing the Democrat. You're responsible for Obama.

Look at the exit polls. Did we take our ball and go home when Bush was elected? Nope. How about with McCain or with Romney? Nope, we didn't. We showed up in droves to vote for both.

What happens though when a right wing person is elected? What happens when you get an O'Donnell or an Akin and the party establishment doesn't like them? They crash and burn. It's a lesson to the right wing, don't you think? It's to push a point. But when Roberts (In Kansas, was that the Senators name?) or the guy in Mississippi I think, when they defeat the Tea Party candidate, we stills how up in droves to vote for them.

And therefore, election after election, we get taken for granted. Look here in this very thread. Look at what Jeff is writing;

"So face it. You're not going to see a really solid liberal or a really solid conservative win unless the other side really screws up. That's the nature of the game. It sucks, but every other system for choosing leaders seems to suck just as much or more."

It's de facto that the moderates, the Michael Medved types control the election. They'll all say, "Oh, we won't take our ball and go home. We'll vote for the Tea Party guy." but then the next sentence is, "The other guys though? Oh, they won't vote for the tea party guy. We're going to lose and it's your fault!"

We need to change this default. And the only way to change it is to become them. To stop voting for these losers. To stop being taken for granted. Period.

We need the Jeff's of the world writing on blogs like this, "If we vote for the Romney, if we vote for the McCain, the right is going to stay home and we lose." They need to start figuring out how a candidate that is to the right can appeal to the middle. Not how a guy in the middle can appeal to us on the right. Because I'm tired of voting for that guy.

I voted for Allen Keyes in the 2000 primary but I sucked it up and voted for Bush. I wasn't going to vote for Arnie in California, but Hugh Hewitt convinced me to suck it up and vote for Arnie because he was better than the alternative. Same with McCain, same with Romney.

For 15 years now I've sucked it up and voted for the lesser of two evils.

And even though I've been doing that, things continue to head downhill. Voting for the moderate guy isn't working. Something has to give.

The Godfather said...

Galston's analysis is superficial (at best), based on one debate and the candidate bios. Why Kasich and not (say) Christie? Because Kasich is a new face on the national scene, and he stuck to his talking points and delivered them well. Christie's been around for a long time, he's not fresh. How fresh will Kasich be six months from now when the first votes are counted? I don't know, and neither does Galston.

Why Cruz and not Paul? Because in the one debate Cruz did a good job of smoothing over the prickly edges of his personality and Paul didn't. Will that change in the next six months? I don't know, and neither does Galston.

And who gets the Trump votes? And why? I think it very likely that Trump will fade, and when he starts to fade he'll fade fast, like a tropical sunset. Where does his 20% go? You want a blunt talking straight-shooter? How about Christie? You want someone who wants to close the southern border? Well, Jeb's not your man, is he? Can you trust the Latino Senators?

Rick said...

The Godfather said...
I think it very likely that Trump will fade, and when he starts to fade he'll fade fast, like a tropical sunset. Where does his 20% go?


I think Trump's candidacy is similar to Howard Dean's. They're brash and pose as outside the establishment (which is true, but their primary goal is to change their outsider status). Voters like flirting but are concerned the crazy will come out, as when a third date starts talking seriously about astrology or The Patriarchy [strategy: finish dinner but leave separately from the restaurant].

Howard Dean's support went to John Kerry, the "electable" candidate. I think in this race the electable candidate is Jeb Bush.

The Godfather said...

. . . and another thing. The Republican candidate needs to get mad. No, not mad at Megyn Kelly for asking a question. Not mad at another Republican for being too affussive in thanking the President for disaster aid. Mad at what the Democrats have done to our country.

There are millions of people out there who lost their jobs in the Great Recession (yeah, right: Boo Bush), and who would have gotten their jobs back long since in any other recession. But under the Obama Democrats' policies, they're either stuck working part time, or they've opted for disability status. Doesn't that make you mad?

We used to have a reasonably effective system for providing health care; for most people it worked well enough that to sell a change Obama had to lie and say that you could keep your existing coverage. Now, many people have poorer coverage at higher costs. Doesn't that make you mad?

Workers and would-be workers in the lower end of the wage range have been worrying for years about "cheap foreign labor" taking their jobs; they thought it was foreign trade that was the threat. Now it's millions of illegal immigrants who are all of a sudden legal for all practical purposes. And they are "legal" because the President decreed that they would be "legal" after the voters elected Republican majorities in the House and Senate that opposed amnesty. Doesn't that make you mad?

My candidate for some time has been Scott Walker. He's the anti-Trump, and that's one of the things I like about him. But in Wisconsin he went to war with the public employee mafia and he beat them. The American people need to hear that he's prepared to go to war for us. He shouldn't let his even-tempered midwest personality obscure the fact that he's mad as hell and won't take it anymore.

Birches said...

But 2012 is a bit more difficult to explain. Despite what a lot of people have said in hindsight, I believe Romney was a pretty strong candidate. I'm not convinced that the GOP lost because they picked a poor candidate. I suspect that the Democrats simply ran a much more focused and micro-targeted campaign in the swing states, and there was most likely no small amount of voter fraud.

As Taranto says, thanks to the IRS, Obama is "President Asterisk."

Romney was a weak candidate insofar as he was from a state that could never deliver their electoral votes to the Republicans. He probably should have been a no-go for that reason alone, which is a shame because I really think he is probably one of the only politicians out there that would have done whatever it took to fix this country's finances without any regard to his re-election or legacy.

If you're looking at the Electoral College and the math involved, Walker, Kasich, Rubio (and I guess maybe Jeb though I don't think he counts as much since it's been so long since he's won an election) seem to have the most pull. Rubio will end up on whoever's VP ticket--Florida's 29 electoral votes are just too good to pass up.

As for immigration, people need to realize that there's a difference between advocating for legal status and supporting a path to citizenship. There's also the factor of putting policies in place that result in self-deportation. The problem is that the second a candidate talks about Immigration reform without saying "Deportation Now!", the hardliners start yelling, "Amnesty! Amnesty!" And so no one can have an honest conversation.

Rick said...

Birches said...
But 2012 is a bit more difficult to explain. Despite what a lot of people have said in hindsight, I believe Romney was a pretty strong candidate.


I agree with others that Romney had a chance to be a good President, maybe one of our best. But I don't think he was a good candidate. His background was weak [Romneycare, blue-stater, establishment guy, etc] and his Mormon status hurt him [the biggest drop in support between Bush and Romney was the religious right].

Romney would have been better off consistently pointing out his background was in making institutions work better, something government obviously needs. Unfortunately he apparently believed this message wouldn't sell so he went with not-Obama. But not-Obama wasn't popular enough and the 47% comment was death to that message (as reinforced that Obama was for the 47%).

Birches said...

Galston talking about the "Hispanic vote" as a monolithic must win seems silly to me. Where would a higher percentage of Latinos voting Republican have helped in 2012? Would it have turned Ohio? Nevada? New Mexico? Colorado? Why can a state like Arizona have a similar Latino population as Nevada, but be reliably red, while Nevada is solidly blue? Same for New Mexico and Texas. Voting patterns have less to do with ethnicity than many analysts seem to understand.

Birches said...

@ Rick

That was nanopod's analysis, not mine.

Bay Area Guy said...

@ Michael K said:

"The Big Tent was what elected Reagan"

I think this is right, and many modern Conservatives have forgotten this.

Reagan won many Dems and Independent voters -- union, blue collar types, who didn't care a fig about supply side economics. These people never became Republicans, some voted for Bush in '88, but many voted for Perot or Clinton in '92 and returned to the Dem camp.

As Nixon once said, you can't win without Conservatives, but you can't win with only Conservatives.

I am hoping that Jeb! does not win the nomination. I do not plan on voting for him in the primary -- Walker and Rubio are my top choices. But, if Jeb! does win the nomination, a few smart folks here are gonna have to face an unpleasant choice -- stay home (which helps Hillary!) or hold one's nose and vote Jeb!

Myself, because the Dems are so atrocious and Hillary so unappealing, I'm gladly voting for for whoever Hillary's opponent is (Trump, Paul, Fiorino, anyone).

Nichevo said...

Maybe the Republican potential voters are maxed out and we need to focus on decreasing the Democratic coalition and the Democratic turn out. They seem to have no trouble spoiling for the GOP, why not return the favor somehow?

Guildofcannonballs said...

"Actually, there are other reasons to vote Republican. Court nominations are one. As bad as Roberts and Kennedy are, I'd rather see more like them than like Kagan, Sotomayor and Breyer. And occasionally we do get a Scalia or Thomas. Think about it. When was the last time a Democratic President nominated someone you approved of to the Supreme Court?"

Wow, you just don't get it even though you demonstrated you have the facts.

Leftists* win, every time they nominate a future SCOTUS. They don't worry about their hard-Left picks getting blocked, nor do they worry about appealing to anything but the growing Leftist win column, unlike naive simpletons who think in terms of "calling balls and strikes." Over time, when the Leftist team bats 1.000 and "our" team bats .750, guess what happens? Think about it.

What happens in 20 years when Roberts votes Leftist 25% of the time and the Leftists vote non-Leftist 10% of the time?

Think it through.

Don't accept the Leftists ought to be in power and any bone thrown to others is a blessing; fight the Hell out of them and demand conservative Justices like Justice Levin or Justice Cruz or Justice Reynolds. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Bat 1.000 and accept nothing else, like the Leftists have shown how to do.


*I over-use the term here but consider, they actually compliment themselves for voting in lock-step so often. They are correct to see through the childish euphemisms for the raw exercise of power conservatives like to think of with regard to the Court.

Kyzer SoSay said...

Everyone here is so damn insightful. I'm honestly torn between the 2 main arguments being presented here. Both have merits, both have downsides. How the hell is a (relative) young'un like me to really decide? I like Walker right up until Trump started talking tough. Now I like him, but not for any specific policy - I just like that he's able to play the Left's game better than they are. He shrugs off the gotcha questions and talks about whatever he wants instead. But he's not specific enough on anything to really nail him down. What a conundrum.

Birches said...

@ Guildofcannonballs

I actually think Sotomayor is a squishy lefty. In 10 years, I think the Left is going to rue that nomination.

The Godfather said...

@Kyzernick: Deciding isn't all that difficult, young fella. Just listen to the old Godfather.

Guildofcannonballs said...

I hope you're right Birches, and I don't recall the specifics, but SS frightens me more than EK.

SS had a dissent alone that was really out there, denying the most basic rights, but, again, I can't remember what the opinion was and why it was so horrible.

Hopefully that means I am just full of it.

Guildofcannonballs said...

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/04/22/the-scalia-sotomayor-thunderdome/comment-page-1/

Phil 314 said...

I read this piece and thought "heads will explode" and they have.

The only sop to the right in this opinion piece was Cruz.

Can I just say that Ted Cruz looks funny.

Jeff said...

I'll say it again: staying home doesn't teach the party a lesson. If left of center candidates win because conservatives stay home, the Median Voter Principle I outlined above means that both Democrats and Republicans will move further left. In my numerical example above, if the 10 most conservative voters, the ones numbered 91 thru 100, stay home consistently, then voters 45 and 46 become the median voters, the ones both parties will make their pitch to, instead of voters 50 and 51 as before.

I think most of the people arguing that the Republicans should move right are making an even more fundamental error, i.e., you actually think that politicians, left or right, actually have firm convictions. They don't. Politics is one of those professions where the best liars rise to the top. I wish it weren't so, but it is. You get elected by saying different things to different people, selling access to big donors, and changing your position whenever it's to your political advantage to do so. If you don't behave this way, you'll get beat at the next election by someone with fewer scruples.

A great example can be found in this Politico article, in which Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill proudly describes how she manipulated Republican primary voters into nominating Todd Akin, the only one of the three Republican contenders she thought she could beat. She is actually proud of her dishonesty and effective disenfranchisement of half the voters in her state. And her story should also make you wonder why Donald Trump entered the Republican race only a few days after meeting with Bill Clinton to discuss it.

This is how you succeed in politics. If you think the Republicans are any better, you are frightfully naive. As Mark Twain said, Congress is America's native criminal class. He was not kidding.

For the most part, politicians have no real convictions other than "get past the next election." The ones who do have convictions are at a distinct disadvantage. The way you effect political change is not to rail about how awful the current crop of pols is. You do it by changing the minds of the electorate. If most of the 100 voters in my example above become more conservative the politicians will follow suit. There is no magical savior who, if only he can get elected, will save the country. A really good leader can move the electorate, as Reagan did, but he also had the advantage that the 1970's were so awful that people were ready for a change.

These days, it's harder to make that argument. By the time we vote next year, the economy will be a bit better than now, with pretty low unemployment, rising home prices, and low inflation. Most likely we will not be in an active hot war. The task for conservatives is to educate the voters about how things really work and thus convince them that conservative policies are better. Logic, not bluster and vulgarity. Trumpism is a dead end. So too is loudly proclaiming how conservative your preferred candidate is without first convincing the voters that that's a good thing.

damikesc said...

By the time we vote next year, the economy will be a bit better than now, with pretty low unemployment, rising home prices, and low inflation. Most likely we will not be in an active hot war.

Except unemployment isn't very low (thank you, Sanders, for pointing that out) and rising home prices should be a huge concern given that it seems to also be attached to the EXACT same problems that caused the crash in 2007-8. Government-recorded inflation has little impact on people as most people who, say, shop for groceries have noticed steep increases in costs. And Obama is intending to spike energy prices astronomically with his new EPA regs.

The Republican needs to stop being so polite. Be harsh. Tear into Obama and Hillary without relent. Smile while doing it...but do it.

Brando said...

"Except unemployment isn't very low (thank you, Sanders, for pointing that out) and rising home prices should be a huge concern given that it seems to also be attached to the EXACT same problems that caused the crash in 2007-8. Government-recorded inflation has little impact on people as most people who, say, shop for groceries have noticed steep increases in costs. And Obama is intending to spike energy prices astronomically with his new EPA regs."

It won't matter--the unfortunate fact for the GOP is that Obama took office at a time when the economy was in a downward spiral (it was largely how he got elected) and people were worried that banks were going to fail, house values dropping, stock market dropping--the trend was what was important. And while there's a lot wrong with the official unemployment figures (e.g., they don't reflect the shrinking workforce) and inflation figures (e.g., they don't count a lot of items that are rising), the trend has been steadily improving (including rising house values you mention) which will get a lot of unsophisticated voters to credit the Dems with this.

Of course, that trend clashes with the Dems also going on about how awful inequality is, how bad race relations are, etc.--that's one of their challenges next year. A smart Republican can exploit a lot of this, and pick up enough votes to cobble an electoral majority. Or, they can continue to infight and emerge with a divided party and a weak nominee.

damikesc said...

It won't matter--the unfortunate fact for the GOP is that Obama took office at a time when the economy was in a downward spiral (it was largely how he got elected) and people were worried that banks were going to fail, house values dropping, stock market dropping--the trend was what was important. And while there's a lot wrong with the official unemployment figures (e.g., they don't reflect the shrinking workforce) and inflation figures (e.g., they don't count a lot of items that are rising), the trend has been steadily improving (including rising house values you mention) which will get a lot of unsophisticated voters to credit the Dems with this.

But few people feel THEIR personal situation has improved. Voters are going to be way less impressed by government figures when they can barely make ends meet and it only gets worse.

An unemployment rate of 5 something percent when little Johnny from college cannot get a job worth a damn is not going to resonate, I don't think.

Of course, that trend clashes with the Dems also going on about how awful inequality is, how bad race relations are, etc.--that's one of their challenges next year. A smart Republican can exploit a lot of this, and pick up enough votes to cobble an electoral majority. Or, they can continue to infight and emerge with a divided party and a weak nominee.

A Republican with even the tiniest sliver of guts can make a powerful argument.

"BLM --- don't like all of the police killing blacks? It seems to be a really big, persistent issue where the government is run by Democrats"

"Income inequality is a problem? Agreed. What cities is it the worst and what party has run those cities for decades?"

...but the candidates won't do it. They are too obsessed fighting with Trump or mouthing boring platitudes right now because the campaign "managers" who have been shit for years are STILL being listened to (Kasich hired John Weaver which disqualifies him as a Republican candidate to me).

Again, Walker can make this argument. He's either too timid to do so (which sounds implausible) or his campaign "Advisors" are the usual collection of idiots who have run God awful campaigns for a while now.