Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How Cruz Plans To Win: Turning Out The Klan


I wouldn't bet the house on it, but I've thought from the very beginning that Ted Cruz would be the Republican candidate to face Bernie or Hillary. More recently, I came to realize that the GOP ticket would likely be Cruz/Fiorina. Last week I started getting the impression that I'm no longer alone in this assumption. George Will, for one, entertained the notion in a column he wrote for the Washington Post, referring to what Cruz has been up to as an audacious "base plus" strategy, which refutes assumptions about the importance of independent “swing” voters. Will defends him against critics who "say his plan for pursuing the Republican nomination precludes winning the presidency. Jason Johnson, Cruz’s chief strategist, responds: 'I’m working backward from Election Day,' because Cruz’s plan for winning the necessary 1,236 convention delegates is an extrapolation from his strategy for winning 270 electoral votes." Other campaigns are worried that whites-- particularly racist whites-- have stopped voting in big enough numbers for the GOP's racist agenda to be successful. Cruz doesn't see it that way, not at all. In the last 5 elections, from 1996 onward, white turnout declined from 82.5% to 73.7%, while Hispanic and black votes case increased by 4 and 3 points, respectively. Cruz isn't worried.
All presidential campaigns aspire to favorably change the composition of the electorate. Cruz aims to substantially reconfigure the electorate as it has recently been.

Between George W. Bush’s 2000 election and his 2004 reelection, the turnout of non-Hispanic whites increased by an astonishing 10 million. Barack Obama produced a surge of what Johnson calls “two-election voters.” In 2008, the African American voting rate increased from 2004 while white voting declined slightly; in 2012, African Americans voted at a higher rate than whites.

Nonvoting whites, especially those without college experience, are among Cruz’s principal targets. His geniality toward Donald Trump reflects the Cruz campaign’s estimate that perhaps one-third of the Trumpkins have not voted in recent elections. If so, Trump is doing downfield blocking for Cruz, beginning the expansion of the 2016 electorate by energizing people whose alienation from politics has made them nonvoters.

Cycle after cycle, says Johnson, the percentage of true swing voters shrinks. Therefore, so does the persuadable portion of the electorate. Cruz aims to leaven the electorate with people who, disappointed by economic stagnation and discouraging cultural trends for which Republican nominees seemed to have no answers, have been dormant during recent cycles.

Consider Pennsylvania, which has voted Democratic in six consecutive elections and which James Carville described as Pittsburgh in the west, Philadelphia in the east and Alabama in between. Cruz’s aim, says Johnson, will be “to improve on Romney at the margins in the Philadelphia suburbs,” do three points better than Romney (5.5 percent) among African Americans (with many “two election” voters staying home with Obama gone) and to locate and motivate many previous nonvoters in Pennsylvania’s “Alabama.” In 2012, Obama became the first Democrat since George McGovern in 1972 to lose the Pittsburgh metropolitan area.

Whites without college experience include disproportionate numbers of nonvoters whose abstention in 2012, according to the Market Research Foundation, produced Obama’s Electoral College victory. The Cruz campaign’s substantial investment in data scientists serves what Johnson calls “behavioral micro-targeting,” changing behavior as well as gathering opinions. If a person drives a Ford F-150 and subscribes to Guns & Ammo, he probably is conservative. The challenge is to make him a voter by directing to him a package of three- or four-issue appeals tailored to him.

Cruz has county chairs organizing in all 172 counties in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. National Review’s Eliana Johnson reports that through the second quarter, Cruz had raised more “hard” dollars than any of his rivals, and super PACs supporting him have raised more than all but those supporting Jeb Bush. Jason Johnson describes the delegate selection process as follows:

Of the 624 delegates at stake on March 1, 231 are from Cruz’s Texas and Georgia, where Cruz inherited Scott Walker’s entire operation. With Oklahoma, whose closed primary will be especially conservative, these three states have 274 delegates, almost a quarter of the number needed to nominate. Eighty-seven of the 155 delegates allocated on March 5 will be from Louisiana and Kansas. On March 15, when winner-take-all primaries begin and 367 delegates will be allocated, Bush and Marco Rubio will compete for Florida’s 99 delegates, while Cruz is well-positioned for North Carolina’s 72 and Missouri’s 52 (Cruz’s campaign manager, Missourian Jeff Roe, has run many campaigns there).

Whenever this cycle’s winnowing process produces two survivors, they might be two young, Southern, first-term Cuban American senators. Rubio would be the establishment choice. Cruz, with his theory of the election, would not have it otherwise.
I'm pretty certain, Cruz is also the candidate either Clinton or Bernie would prefer to go up against. When Cruz, not to mention his low-info racist voters hear someone-- this year's economics Nobel prize winner, no less (and author of The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality)-- going on, as Angus Deaton did (via Paul Krugman) that "there is a danger that the rapid growth of top incomes can become self-reinforcing through the political access that money can bring," they shrug it off entirely. As they would shrug off the rest of what Deaton said: "Rules are set not in the public interest but in the interest of the rich, who use those rules to become yet richer and more influential...To worry about these consequences of extreme inequality has nothing to do with being envious of the rich and everything to do with the fear that rapidly growing top incomes are a threat to the wellbeing of everyone else."

Alexandra Pelosi explained what George Will was getting out far better than Will did himself on this video she made in Mississippi for Bill Maher's show 3 years ago. This is the Ted Cruz army they;re talking about. Is this really what America is about today? Is this what's going to propel Ted Cruz into the presidency (beyond the GOP nomination? This:

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At 11:03 PM, Blogger tamtam said...

Nice gif. Burn Ted burn!

At 3:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: Alexandra Pelosi's video. This ignorance virus has spread throughout the nation, aided and abetted by the GOP to ensure that no one is smart enough to challenge them successfully and prevent their political dominance.


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