Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Technically, Trumpf Is Still Ahead But Cruz Is Surging And Will Soon Overtake Him


Herr Trumpf doesn't like seeing himself as a loser, but he will soon have no choice. Even Republican voters are waking up to his obvious shortcomings and are starting to coalesce around an even worse candidate, Ted Cruz. A Quinnipiac poll of national Republicans and 3 state polls of GOP voters-- Florida, South Carolina and New Hampshire-- all seem to predict what has already happened in Iowa-- the end of Dr. Ben's campaign (now little more than a campaign donation mop-up operation) and a gradual end to Trumpf dominance as Cruz becomes the consensus candidate of the angry, inchoate masses on the right of the political spectrum.

OK, first the polling data, so you can see what I'm talking about:
1- Iowa- The RealClearPolitics polling average shows Cruz over Trumpf 30.2 to 26.2% and, even worse, the most recent Iowa GOP polling, from CBS News, shows Cruz surging to 40% while Trumpf settles back down to 31%. Cruz's crucial evangelical-fueled field operation in Iowa would probably result in Cruz beating Trumpf even if the numbers were reversed but with Cruz's momentum and the kind of lead he's developed over Trumpf, Iowa is all over for the potty-mouthed New York billionaire.

2- New Quinnipiac national poll has Trump and Cruz in a statistical dead heat, but... 50% of American voters say they would be embarrassed to have Trump as president, 28% of Republicans claim they will never vote for Trump no matter what, and both Bernie and Hillary lead Trumpf in national head-to-head match-ups, Hillary 47-40% and Bernie, the more electable Democrat, 51-38%. American voters in general see that Trumpf is neither honest nor trustworthy (58-36%), and by a 61-34% margin, most say Trumpf does not share their values. In terms of the GOP horse race, Trumpf is still ahead with 28% but Cruz has surged into a clear second place with 24%, while Rubio is a weak third with 12%.

3- New Hampshire- Cruz, who hasn't prioritized New Hampshire has moved into second place with 16%, behind Herr Trumpf's 24%, but Cruz's 65-19% favorable rating augurs well for him against Trumpf's 48-45%. Among GOP contenders, only poor Jeb is more disliked by New Hampshire Republicans (48%).

4- South Carolina- Cruz has prioriitized South Carolina and he is now exactly tied with Trumpf, 27-27%, Cruz surging, Trumpf going in the opposite direction. Their favorle/Unfavorable contrast is pronounced. Cruz-- 71-17% but Trumpf is much more divisive even among South Carolina Republicans: 56-37%.

5- Florida- Cruz is surging and Trumpf is gently declining. Trumpf is still ahead with 29% but he's down 4 points. Cruz is the obvious candidate with momentum, up a startling 15 points at 18% and both are way ahead of Floridians Rubio (17%) and poor Jeb (10%). Again, Cruz has a much better image among Florida Republicans than Trumpf. Cruz's favorables are 70% and his unfavorables 18%., while Trumpf has a 61% favorable rating and a 34% unfavorable, worse than anyone's bust Jeb (36% unfavorable).
Trumpf may never lose the crackpot, fringe hate groups that back him, but he is starting to lose the Hate Talk Radio hosts who gave GOP voters permission to support him. Beck has already announced he won't even vote for Herr Trumpf if he's the GOP nominee against Hillary. Those are strong words for a Hate Talk Radio celebrity. Trumpf angered Limbaugh by calling attention to the fact that Cruz is a maniac-- and Trumpf immediately backed down and went and sit in the corner to pout. But hasn't uttered another anti-Cruz word since. Limbaugh: "A genuine conservative, even in the Republican field, would not go after Cruz this way. So that just raised a red flag for me, made me somewhat curious." Hannity was equally angered by Trumpf going after Cruz that way.
[W]hile Trump seems happy to slash and burn his way through much of the press, he can’t afford to do the same with influential conservative talkers... In many ways, Trump's campaign has resembled a traveling conservative talk show. Like a good host, he gives voice to their frustrations; it's one of the reasons why he has been embraced so quickly as a card-carrying conservative, despite what the National Review has referred to as his "progressive past."

If the real hosts turn on him-- a move that gets easier and easier to make as Cruz strengthens in Iowa and looks like a real top contender-- Trump risks losing that card and triggering the exodus that many pundits have always believed is inevitable.
Yesterday, GOP establishment publicist David Frum took a look who backs Trumpf and Cruz and why. "The angriest and most pessimistic people in America are the people we used to call Middle Americans. Middle-class and middle-aged; not rich and not poor; people who are irked when asked to press 1 for English, and who wonder how white male became an accusation rather than a description... White Middle Americans express heavy mistrust of every institution in American society: not only government, but corporations, unions, even the political party they typically vote for--the Republican Party of Romney, Ryan, and McConnell, which they despise as a sad crew of weaklings and sellouts. They are pissed off. And when Donald Trump came along, they were the people who told the pollsters, 'That’s my guy.'" It's the harbinger of social anomie and the breakdown of societal cohesion, stoked by Frum's political party for their own greed-driven partisan agenda. The part of their base that has embraced the propt-fascism of candidates like Trumpf, Carson and Cruz are, simply put, life's losers, people unable to cope with any kind of social or technological progress, people who want to turn back the hands of time.

The Trumpf he describes is the polar opposite of GOP patron saint Ronald Reagan. "When Trump first erupted into the Republican race in June," asserts Frum, "he did so with a message of grim pessimism. 'We got $18 trillion in debt. We got nothing but problems… We’re dying. We’re dying. We need money … We have losers. We have people that don’t have it. We have people that are morally corrupt. We have people that are selling this country down the drain … The American dream is dead.' Life's-losers found their voice. "Half of Trump’s supporters within the GOP," he wrote, "had stopped their education at or before high-school graduation... Thirty-eight percent earned less than $50,000... What set them apart from other Republicans was their economic insecurity and the intensity of their economic nationalism."
A majority of Republicans worry that corporations and the wealthy exert too much power. Their party leaders work to ensure that these same groups can exert even more. Mainstream Republicans were quite at ease with tax increases on households earning more than $250,000 in the aftermath of the Great Recession and the subsequent stimulus. Their congressional representatives had the opposite priorities. In 2008, many Republican primary voters had agreed with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who wanted “their next president to remind them of the guy they work with, not the guy who laid them off.” But those Republicans did not count for much once the primaries ended, and normal politics resumed between the multicultural Democrats and a plutocratic GOP.

...A substantial minority of Republicans-- almost 30 percent-- said they would welcome “heavy” taxes on the wealthy, according to Gallup. Within the party that made Paul Ryan’s entitlement-slashing budget plan a centerpiece of policy, only 21 percent favored cuts in Medicare and only 17 percent wanted to see spending on Social Security reduced, according to Pew. Less than a third of ordinary Republicans supported a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants (again according to Pew); a majority, by contrast, favored stepped-up deportation.

As a class, big Republican donors could not see any of this, or would not. So neither did the politicians who depend upon them. Against all evidence, both groups interpreted the Tea Party as a mass movement in favor of the agenda of the Wall Street Journal editorial page. One of the more dangerous pleasures of great wealth is that you never have to hear anyone tell you that you are completely wrong.

...Trump promised to protect these voters’ pensions from their own party’s austerity. “We’ve got Social Security that’s going to be destroyed if somebody like me doesn’t bring money into the country. All these other people want to cut the hell out of it. I’m not going to cut it at all; I’m going to bring money in, and we’re going to save it.”

He promised to protect their children from being drawn into another war in the Middle East, this time in Syria. “If we’re going to have World War III,” he told the Washington Post in October, “it’s not going to be over Syria.” As for the politicians threatening to shoot down the Russian jets flying missions in Syria, “I won’t even call them hawks. I call them the fools.”

He promised a campaign independent of the influences of money that had swayed so many Republican races of the past. “I will tell you that our system is broken. I gave to many people. Before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them, two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me. And that’s a broken system.”

He promised above all to protect their wages from being undercut by Republican [and Democratic establishment] immigration policy.

...Something has changed in American politics since the Great Recession. The old slogans ring hollow. The insurgent candidates are less absurd, the orthodox candidates more vulnerable. The GOP donor elite planned a dynastic restoration in 2016. Instead, it triggered an internal class war.

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