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“He’s Eliminated Any Margin For Error”: There Aren’t Enough White Dudes In America To Elect Donald Trump President

It’s not a secret that Donald Trump is not very, and is not likely ever to become, popular among minority voters. He’s also given women a lot of reasons to dislike him for his porcine ways, and they have reciprocated with some terrible favorable/unfavorable ratings. A recent ABC News–Washington Post survey showed Trump at 29/68 among white women, a demographic group that only one Democrat (Bill Clinton in 1996) has carried since the 1960s.

Yes, of course, Trump is reasonably popular among white men, and some would argue that his piggy-piggy baiting of women could help him push his margins in his honky-bro base even higher, especially in a race with Hillary Clinton where the Democrat would likely self-identify strongly with the offended. But there are only so many voters, and when you write off too many of them you eliminate any margin for error.

Ron Brownstein shows how narrow Trump’s path to a general-election victory will be unless something fundamental changes:

[I]f Clinton matched the usual Democratic performance with non-white voters and also carried even half of white women, Trump would then need to win more than three-fourths of white men for a national majority, a daunting prospect.

“A daunting prospect” is one way of putting it. “Impossible” is another. Ronald Reagan won two-thirds of white men in his 1984 landslide victory over Fritz Mondale. Is Trump supposed to beat that? Seriously?

No, Trump’s not going to carry all of the white men in America, particularly since he strikes many of the younger bros as a cartoon-villain representation of everything they dislike and fear about the baby-boom generation. So he’d be wise to explore ways to kiss and make up with the majority of Americans he’s disrespected.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, May 5, 2015

May 6, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Election 2016, White Men | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“2016’s Scrambled Coalitions”: Trump’s GOP Foes Have Six Weeks To Topple Him From His High Wire

Republicans belong to a more ideological party, but ideology has mattered less in the GOP primaries this year than in the race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Clinton is in a nearly unassailable position to win her party’s nomination. But assuming she prevails, her primary fight with Sanders has underscored weaknesses she will have to deal with to win in November.

And Donald Trump’s moves toward moderation on social issues last week reflect not only his campaign’s understanding that he cannot win as a far-right candidate but also his need to tread carefully to maintain the crazy-quilt coalition he has built in the GOP primaries.

New York and Massachusetts Republicans are quite different from the ones found in Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee. Trump carried all five states, bringing together some of the most extreme voters on the right end of his party with a large share of those who consider themselves moderate.

As the 2016 primaries reach their decisive moment, the results so far point to a scrambling of alliances inside both parties.

To earn her delegate lead, Clinton has built a significantly different coalition in 2016 than she did in 2008. The most important and obvious shift is among African Americans, who formed Barack Obama’s base against her eight years ago and are now Clinton’s most loyal supporters. They will loom large in Tuesday’s primaries, particularly in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Clinton ran well behind Obama among voters under 30. She’s doing even worse among younger voters this year against Sanders.

She has done well among voters over 45, among those with a strong identification with the Democratic Party, and among the roughly one-third of primary voters who do not identify themselves as liberal (a group that includes many nonwhites). In her New York victory, she carried moderate and conservative Democrats by 2 to 1. But even where she has lost, this group has come her way. In Michigan, for example, she carried the non-liberals 52 percent to 43 percent.

Sanders speaks of increasing participation in Democratic primaries, but turnout this year has not exceeded the admittedly exceptional 2008. He does, however, seem to have mobilized more progressive voters: A comparison of the exit polls with surveys of Democrats nationally suggests that the primary electorate this year is more liberal than is the party as a whole.

Overall, turnout patterns have been mixed. They were down in many of the earliest states, such as New Hampshire, and sharply down in some later states, including Alabama, Texas and Ohio. But 2008 and 2016 turnouts were roughly comparable in other states, including New York, Massachusetts and Wisconsin.

There is another factor in Sanders’s strength that points to a Clinton problem this fall: Even where she has won, she has run poorly among white men. In New York, Sanders got 57 percent of their votes; in Michigan, which Sanders won, he got 62 percent. She has also regularly lost in rural areas.

White men as a whole would likely prefer any Republican over any Democrat this fall, but Clinton would have to find a way to cut her losses. Against Trump, at least, polls suggest she would so overwhelm him among women that she could triumph anyway. This would be less clear if she faced a different Republican.

An awareness of his need to improve his standing among women may have prompted Trump to insist last week — to the consternation of social conservatives — that the GOP’s traditional platform plank against abortion include exceptions for rape, incest and protecting a mother’s life. He also spoke out against North Carolina’s anti-transgender law.

Trump’s willingness to part with social conservatives (for now, at least) also reflects the ways in which his vote defies the old Republican patterns.

In primary after primary, he has split white evangelical voters with Ted Cruz. At the same time, Trump has performed as well among moderates as he has among conservatives. A partial exception is New York, where Trump ran best among self-described conservatives. But even there, the exit polls still showed him defeating John Kasich narrowly, 46 percent to 42 percent, among moderates.

The failure of both movement conservatives and established Republican politicians to stop Trump so far arises from their inability to imagine that someone could appeal simultaneously to moderates — they see Trump more as a manager and leader who could get things done — and to the party’s most hardcore right-wingers on immigration and race, and also in the ferociousness of his opposition to Obama.

Trump’s GOP foes have six weeks to topple him from his high wire.

 

By: E. J. Dionne, Jr., Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, April 24, 206

April 26, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, GOP Primaries | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Revolution Incorporated”: How Clinton Can Bring Sanders Supporters Into The Fold

With the Republican presidential race careening toward a fractious convention in Cleveland and Donald Trump warning of riots, the coming Democratic convention has garnered little comment. But don’t expect Philadelphia to be all brotherly love. Reconciling Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and their respective camps, will take some work.

Yes, modern party conventions have been turned into slickly packaged made-for-TV unity fests: Carefully vetted speakers deliver carefully crafted messages, while any disagreements are settled off-camera. And yes, Barack Obama and Clinton made amends after a bitter primary season eight years ago. But there’s far more ideological conflict between this year’s candidates than between Clinton and Obama in 2008.

The most likely scenario at this point is that Clinton will be the nominee but Sanders will arrive in Philadelphia with a formidable number of delegates. In that case, the closest parallel is when Michael Dukakis overcame Jesse Jackson’s insurgent movement in 1988. That year didn’t end well for the Democrats, but it offers some useful lessons about achieving party unity, allowing ideological differences and generating passion.

Like Sanders, Jackson stunned the party establishment with a strong showing in the primary race. He won 13 primaries and caucuses and 7 million votes, amassing 1,200 delegates. Also like Sanders, he electrified young Americans. He helped register legions of new voters and outperformed Dukakis with voters under 30.

Going into the convention, Jackson and his followers demanded recognition for what they had built. They wanted Dukakis to acknowledge that they were integral to the Democratic coalition. They sought debate over the direction of the party and the country. And they thought Jackson had earned serious consideration for the vice presidency. Jackson delayed his endorsement, waiting for respect to be paid.

Dukakis, meanwhile, was eager to focus on the general election. He was tired of dealing with Jackson and intent on proving that he would stand up to him. He snubbed Jackson in his running-mate selection, and, by blunder or calculation, failed to tell Jackson before news leaked that he’d tapped Sen. Lloyd Bentsen. When Jackson learned of the pick from a reporter, he didn’t hesitate to broadcast his grievances, capitalizing on the six busloads of reporters that accompanied his caravan from Chicago to the convention in Atlanta. He suggested that he might contest Bentsen’s nomination at the convention. When he arrived, he was greeted by thousands of activists ready to march at a nod of his head.

Only as the convention got underway did Dukakis finally meet with Jackson. At a negotiated “unity” news conference, Dukakis promised that Jackson would be involved in the campaign “actively and fully in a way that will bring us together and that will build the strongest grass-roots organization.”

Jackson met with his delegates that morning and convinced them to keep their powder dry. “We came looking for noble works, not fireworks,” he told them. “Not show business, but serious business.” As William Greider wrote at the time for Rolling Stone: “Jackson’s speech was as deft as anything I’ve ever seen a politician achieve with his listeners — building their commitment to future struggles and simultaneously cooling them out about the one they had just lost.” A less-skilled orator might not have been able to pull it off. And a less-committed Democrat might not have wanted to.

Sanders, too, will finish the primary contest with an army of impassioned supporters eager for recognition of their revolution — some even urging a third-party run. Clinton’s campaign operatives will want Sanders to step back, salute and turn his fire on the Republican nominee. But Sanders will be in a position to determine what happens in Philadelphia and will have major influence on whether his supporters turn out for the nominee. Respect must be paid.

In contrast to Jackson in ’88, Sanders has no interest in the vice presidency. His focus is on the direction of the party. “When people respond by the millions to your message, then that message is now mainstream,” Sanders recently told the New Yorker. “That changes political reality. Smart politicians like Hillary Clinton and anybody else have got to move where the action is, and the action is on those issues that I’ve been raising.”

Like Sanders, Jackson built his campaign around a fundamental challenge to the party’s timid agenda, calling for raising taxes on the rich and corporations, reducing military spending, increasing social spending, and barring the first use of nuclear weapons. When Jackson continued to press this agenda beyond the primaries and ahead of the convention, some Democrats accused him of being divisive. Jackson countered: “We grow through debate and deliberation. We can have unity without uniformity.”

The Dukakis camp incorporated some of Jackson’s agenda into the party platform, though it was often masked in vague language. At the convention, three additional measures went to the floor for debate, including the first call for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. And in his prime-time speech, Jackson challenged the party’s direction, even as he praised Dukakis. Disagreements were aired, but the convention ended with Jackson’s family joining those of Dukakis and Bentsen on the stage in unity.

In Philadelphia, Sanders will demand a debate over the platform. He’ll push for rule changes, particularly curbing the role of unelected superdelegates. He will seek floor votes on key issues in dispute. His ideas, in fact, will have the support of most of the delegates. And he’ll get a prime-time address to make his case.

The Clinton campaign would be well advised to embrace some of Sanders’s ideas and graciously endure public debate on others. Endorsing tuition-free public college would generate excitement. Banning super PACs in Democratic primaries would acknowledge Sanders’s challenge to big money. Floor debates on issues such as breaking up big banks, national health care, a $15 minimum wage and the right to a union may be inevitable.

As 1988 demonstrated, unity doesn’t require the suppression of conflicting ideas. In fact, the nominee may be better served by being big enough to allow an airing of the party’s differences. Sanders has won a staggering percentage of young voters, the future of the party. They are more likely to stay engaged if they see their champion and their causes given a hearing and making headway at the convention.

One final lesson from 1988: While unity at the convention provides peace, it doesn’t promise passion.

Dukakis left Atlanta with a double-digit lead in the polls over George H.W. Bush. He was hailed for unifying the party and for “handling” Jackson. Jackson stumped across the country for the ticket, registering black voters and rousing audiences wherever he went. But Dukakis continued to frame the general election as a question of — and this may sound familiar — competence, not direction. As Rolling Stone’s Greider warned at the time: “Running for president on a promise to be competent and honest is thin gruel.”

Indeed, Dukakis sank after the convention, undermined by his own missteps and a viciously negative Bush campaign, featuring the infamous race-based Willie Horton ads. In November, he lost in a low-turnout election, with black participation falling even more than that of the general population.

Sanders has vowed to endorse Clinton if she gets the nomination. But he can’t transfer the passion he has generated to her. She’ll have to figure out how to inspire those voters or depend on the Republican nominee to terrify them into the voting booths.

 

By: Robert Borosage , President of The Institute for America’s Future; Opinion Page, The Washington Post, March 25, 2016

March 27, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Democratic National Convention, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Some Folks Are Gonna Switch Parties”: There’s Potential For Some Real Shifting In The Shape Of The Electorate

David Bahnsen speaks for a lot of Establishment Republicans. Today, he’s linked at the National Review. At this point, Bahnsen is so exasperated with the persistent popularity of Donald Trump that he’s calling on us all to beseech God to intervene.

I’m not sold on his political analysis here, but I do want to note his conclusion.

Trump will not be the President of the United States. His support level is maxed at 35-40% (generously) of the Republican primary voters. In a general election contest, he will lose the nine figure free publicity of the national media, who will turn on him in a New York minute. The blue collar white males who resent the economic changes of the last 25 years will be more than offset by his depleted support from Hispanics, females, and other grown-ups. His skyrocketing unfavorables will matter, and he will lose. And if I am wrong, that is even worse. The United States will be the laughingstock of the world if this man were to become our commander-in-chief.

You will not hear me talk about Trump’s ceiling. I won’t say he’s maxed out at any level. I am not about to say that he will lose the general election. I’m somewhere between skeptical, agnostic and terrified about these questions.

But, if Trump is going to lose as big as people like Bahnsen think he’s going to lose, it’s because a lot of moderate/soft Republicans conclude that it will be better if Trump loses to (presumably) Hillary Clinton than if he wins.

This is the time in the four-year election cycle when people love to promise that they’ll never support the nominee they don’t prefer. Sanders’ voters will never vote for Clinton. Erick Erickson will never vote for Donald Trump. If Ted Cruz is the president, we’re all moving to Costa Rica.

It’s mostly bullshit. The vast majority of people will hold their nose and vote for one of the two major party nominees. Very few committed Democrats or Republicans will cross over to vote for the other side. And no one is moving to Costa Rica.

But this cycle is a little different than most. I can see a lot of New Jersey Democrats who work in the financial sector deciding that they’d rather deal with Trump or Rubio or Cruz than with Bernie Sanders. And I can see a lot of Wall Street Republicans not going for the religious anti-choice extremism of Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, and who know Trump well enough to be embarrassed by him and his desperate efforts to show he has class. They don’t like his act and they’re not haters on immigrants, Muslims, or anyone else.

This year, there’s potential for some real shifting in the shape of the electorate. And there really are some voters in both parties who might leave their party for good if they don’t get the nominee that they want.

There are also a lot of young voters who will be making up their minds about whether they’re aligned with the left, the right, or reality television.

 

By: Martin Longman, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, February 22, 2016

February 23, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Different Analyses Of What’s Wrong With America”: Here’s The Big Difference Between Bernie Sanders And Donald Trump

Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary represented about as emphatic a rejection as you could imagine of that imposing monolith we’ve been calling “the establishment.” Bernie Sanders certainly felt it. “The people of New Hampshire have sent a profound message to the political establishment, to the economic establishment, and by the way, to the media establishment,” he said. “The people want real change.” On the Republican side, you could almost hear the establishment whimpering sadly as the possibility of Donald Trump being their nominee became even more real.

But we shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that Sanders’ and Trump’s success — whether temporary or not — represents two sides of the same coin, a single phenomenon manifesting itself simultaneously in both parties.

That isn’t to say there aren’t a few similarities between the messages the two men are sending. People joke about Sanders and Trump both being supporters of single-payer health care, even though Trump’s “support” consists of a couple of favorable comments years ago; the truth is that he doesn’t seem to know or care much about health care, just like most policy issues. But Trump has sounded some economic populist themes, particularly on trade, where he’s been as skeptical as Sanders of the free trade policies pursued by Democratic and Republican administrations alike. And Trump has no particular commitment to conservative ideology, so if he does become the nominee, don’t expect him to advocate for traditional Republican economic ideas.

That aside, Trump and Sanders have fundamentally different analyses of what’s wrong with America and its government, and what ought to be done about it.

Anger has been the signature emotion of this election on the Republican side. And while there’s no question that many Democratic voters have problems with what has happened during the Obama years, they’re not angry so much as they are disappointed. And that disappointment is really with governing itself — the difficult slog of legislation, the necessary compromises, the inevitable mix of victories and defeats. Hillary Clinton’s problem is that she doesn’t promise anything different; her point is not that she’ll remake American politics, but that through hard work and persistence she can squeeze out of that unpleasant process some better results.

It’s a pragmatic, realistic message, but not one to stir the heart. Particularly for idealistic younger voters, Sanders’ vision of not just different results but a transformed process was bound to be appealing. To those liberals whose attachment to the Democratic Party is less firm — which may also be true of younger voters — Sanders says that the problem isn’t the other side, it’s the whole system, and the “oligarchy” that controls it.

Trump too has a message that transcends partisanship. But where Sanders says the problem is that the system is corrupt because it’s controlled by the wealthy and corporations, Trump argues that the problem is stupidity. He doesn’t want to bring about some kind of transformation in the system. He wants to just ignore it, and produce unlimited winning through the sheer force of his will. For instance, they may both have problems with the trade agreements America has signed, but Sanders will tell you it’s because corporations exerted too much influence over the content of those agreements. Trump just says the agreements were negotiated by idiots, so we got taken to the cleaners by foreigners.

Here’s another important difference between the two: For all their misgivings about the Democratic establishment, Sanders’ supporters are idealistic, hopeful, and looking for dramatic change that is rooted in liberal ideology. They want more comprehensive government benefits in areas like health care and education, higher taxes on the wealthy, and greater restrictions on financial firms. In short, they want their party to be more ideologically pure.

Trump’s supporters, on the other hand, aren’t motivated by hope and idealism but by anger: anger at immigration, anger at Muslims, anger at foreigners, anger at a changing country that seems to be leaving them behind. They want a restoration of American greatness, the feeling of mastery over events and the world. They are far less interested in fulfilling a wish list of conservative policies — which is why they’re unfazed when other Republicans accuse Trump of not being a “real” conservative. He isn’t, and his supporters don’t really care.

There’s another difference: As dramatic as both victories in New Hampshire were, Trump and Sanders face very different prospects from this point forward. Trump is the overwhelming Republican frontrunner, standing far atop a chaotic race in which his opponents are dropping like flies. He may or may not become the nominee, but at the moment he’s got a much better shot than anyone else. Sanders, on the other hand, still trails Hillary Clinton in national polls and faces a daunting map. He’ll now have to go to states with large numbers of the minority voters among whom Clinton has been particularly strong.

We don’t yet know how deep the desire for “revolution” among Democrats really goes, and that question will probably determine the outcome of their primary race. The conservative rage that propelled Donald Trump to victory in New Hampshire, on the other hand, seems virtually inexhaustible.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; Contributor, The Week, February 10, 2016

February 11, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Ideology, New Hampshire Primaries | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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