Tuesday, April 12, 2016

No Republican Is Going To Win The White House In November, But Which One Will Do The Most Severe Damage Down Ballot?


Some say the presidential push that Paul Ryan is making now is actually to set him up for a 2020 run after this year's GOP Dunkirk (see video above, which I found on Donald Trump's Twitter feed yesterday). After all, Bernie would be 80 when he starts his second term and Hillary would be 74. I suppose Ryan could still be presented as a "fresh face," although I suspect 4 years as Speak will tarnish him unredeemable with his own base-- or make him anathema to independents.

In recent days, we had far right pundit Charles Krauthammer predicting that the Republican Party would disintegrate if Trump is denied the nomination in Cleveland. "A parachute maneuver," a cute way of referring to Ryan's campaign to be this year's nominee, "might be legal, but it would be perceived as illegitimate and, coming amid the most intense anti-establishment sentiment in memory, imprudent to the point of suicide. Yet even without this eventuality, party suicide is a very real possibility. The nominee will be either Trump or Cruz. How do they reconcile in the end? ... And if Trump loses out, a split is guaranteed. In Trump’s mind, he is a winner. Always. If he loses, it can only be because he was cheated. He constantly contends that he’s being treated unfairly. He is certain to declare any convention process that leaves him without the nomination irredeemably unfair. No need to go third party. A simple walkout with perhaps a thousand followers behind will doom the party in November."

Yesterday, Tim Carney, a rightist, asserted outright, no frills attached, that "If Republicans nominate Donald Trump, they nearly cede the White House to Hillary Clinton. Trump wouldn't merely be an underdog in the general election. He would be the worst Republican nominee since Alf Landon 80 years ago.
The polls show Trump would be a disaster. To date, Trump's message control has been a disaster, and it would be a disaster in the general election. His political inexperience, which has hamstrung him in the primary cycle, would be a disaster in the fall.

All indications suggest a Trump versus Hillary battle would be a one-sided affair. [Those same polls show an even worse donnybrook for the GOP if Democrats wake up and nominate Bernie, who kills Hillary among independents.]

...Clinton leads Trump by double digits in most recent polls, with an average of 10.6 percent according to RealClearPolitics. She has led Trump in the RCP average for the entire campaign. That lead grew steadily throughout March, ever since Clinton and Trump became the clear front-runners for their party nominations.

Compare that to past elections. In the first half of April 2012, President Obama's lead over Mitt Romney hovered between 2.3-5.3 percent. Obama's largest lead in the RealClearPolitics average at any point in 2012 was 5.9 percent. Obama held a double-digit lead over Romney in only one poll after March 1, 2012.

Obama's largest lead over John McCain was eight points.

The problem isn't just Clinton's lead. It's Trump's apparent ceiling: His average in head-to-head national polls against Clinton has never climbed above 44 percent, and he's been hovering around 40 percent since Super Tuesday.

No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio, and Trump is looking bad in Ohio. Clinton beat Trump in all three Ohio polls conducted in March, by an average of six points.

Any review of the Electoral College looks ugly for Trump. [And they can kiss Rob Portman's Senate seat goodbye. The incompetent DCCC isn't contesting a single House seat in Ohio, but a Trump-led ticket could end in victories for Keith Mundy against Jim Renacci and for Michael Wager against David Joyce.]

The website "270 to Win" looked at polling averages and found Clinton carrying 260 electoral votes to Trump's 115 votes, with 165 up for grabs. Clinton's vote total on the site doesn't include Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio or Florida, all states where Clinton has to be considered the favorite. If Clinton carried Minnesota, Ohio or Florida-- any one of those-- she would win.

Look at every other swing state. In New Hampshire, Trump trails in every poll this year, most recently by eight points. In Florida, Clinton leads by eight in the latest poll and 2.2 percent in the RealClearPolitics average. Clinton beat Trump in the only Iowa poll. Clinton beat Trump by 17 points in the only Virginia poll this year.

Trump says he can expand the electoral map and win in places Republicans haven't won in decades, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania. The polls don't concur.

Trump trails Clinton in Michigan by double digits in two polls conducted in late March. Every Michigan poll this year has shown Trump losing to Clinton significantly, and the margin grew after the Michigan GOP Primary, which Trump won.

Clinton led Trump in every Pennsylvania poll in March, most recently by 13 points. Trump hasn't cracked 40 percent in a single Pennsylvania survey this year.

...First, we should expect Trump to flop in the debates. Trump had success in GOP primaries, but there was a reason he called them off-- refusing to participate in a post-Florida Fox News debate and ignoring Ted Cruz's calls for one-on-one debates. Trump thrived in crowded debates where all he had to do was rudely put down Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio and where he could get away with always changing the topic.

In the less-crowded debates after South Carolina, Trump looked worse. Rubio exposed Trump's utter shallowness on healthcare policy, and Trump found himself flailing in policy areas where he was way out of his depth. Recent interviews, in which television journalists Anderson Cooper, John Dickerson and Chris Matthews pressed Trump on abortion or nuclear proliferation, exposed his incompetence.

In a one-on-one debate against Clinton, Trump's lack of policy knowledge and critical thinking skills would be glaring.

There's also the boorishness problem.

Despite all the talk about equality and equity, and treating women the same as men, we don't really live that way. Men are still expected to treat women with more courtesy than men treat other men. Put another way: You can be a boorish bully toward men in ways you can't toward women.

Trump probably helped himself by interrupting, insulting and sneering at Bush and Rubio. It may have been deliberate on his part, but it's also his personality. When he behaves that way toward Clinton, he will accomplish the incredible: making Americans feel sympathetic toward her.

...He lacks the political skills, the likability, the public support and the fundraising ability to beat Hillary Clinton. That's why he won't even come close.
Here at DWT we've been warning that neither Trump nor Cruz was the likely nominee but that Ryan would be. No one agreed, until a few weeks ago when Ryan started getting pretty blatant. And now, even the last-on-the-block-for-news, the NYTimes, is-- albeit half a year late-- whispering that it could be Ryan. Why else would be be bothering heads of governments in the Middle East and Europe and trying to demonstrated his presidentialness, discussing two topics he's utterly clueless on, security and intelligence. And then the campaign video puffing him up while "deploring identity politics and promoting a battle of ideas-- set to campaign-style music."
While Mr. Ryan has repeatedly said that he has no intention of becoming his party’s nominee this year, he is already deep into his own parallel national operation to counter Donald J. Trump and help House and Senate candidates navigate the political headwinds that Mr. Trump would generate as the party’s standard-bearer-- or, for that matter, Senator Ted Cruz, who is only slightly more popular.

Mr. Ryan is creating a personality and policy alternative to run alongside the presidential effort-- one that provides a foundation to rebuild if Republicans splinter and lose in the fall. “He is running a parallel policy campaign,” said Senator Tim Scott, Republican of South Carolina.

He is shaping an agenda that he plans to roll out right before the convention, a supplement of sorts to the official party platform. He gives regular speeches on politics and policy-- particularly on poverty and economic issues-- then backs them up in the news media.

It is not a move without risks. His policy positions on immigration and trade, which have contributed to his mirage candidacy, are in great tension with the views of many Republican primary voters.

“I’m a big fan of Paul,” said Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama and one of the very few Trump supporters in Congress. “He’s a good person and he’s smart, but issues like trade and immigration are going to be important, and I don’t think anybody gets the Republican nomination that’s not in sync with a substantial majority of the American people on those two key issues.”

...“There is no question that Ryan is operating in a very ambitious way,” said Peter Wehner, a former director of the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives under President George W. Bush who has known Mr. Ryan for two decades. “He is trying to set forth a path for the party with ideas and policy proposals and principles,” he said. “That is unusual for a speaker in an election year, but Ryan himself is a very different person, and this is the product of this very unusual presidential year.”

Mr. Ryan’s parallel track is intended largely to counter Mr. Trump, who stands apart from him and many of the party’s policy traditions. While Mr. Ryan is a vocal advocate of trade deals and wrote legislation that gave President Obama expanded authority to negotiate them, Mr. Trump is equally vocal in opposing free trade.

Mr. Ryan is the architect of his party’s plan to rein in spending on entitlement programs, while Mr. Trump has vowed to leave such spending untouched. Mr. Ryan has also been a leader in his party in supporting an overhaul of the immigration system; opposing this is at the center of Mr. Trump’s campaign.

...[W]hile Mr. Ryan’s positions remain popular with many Republicans in Washington, they are out of step with the white-hot populism that has fueled this year’s campaign. He remains a proponent of changes to the immigration system even though some Republican voters have been attracted to Mr. Trump’s plan to ban Muslims from entering the country and force Mexico to pay for a wall at the border.

Even within the House, Mr. Ryan’s ideas have met with resistance. He cannot get a budget passed, largely because he will not support the deep spending cuts favored by conservatives like Mr. Cruz.

Mr. Ryan has long said that he will support the party’s nominee, even as he has taken frequent shots at Mr. Trump’s comments. But many Republicans expect that if Mr. Trump prevails, Mr. Ryan will avoid directly helping him, choosing instead to shore up vulnerable House Republicans, particularly those who may be running away from Mr. Trump.

“I don’t think he would use his position as the stick in the eye of Trump or taunt him,” Mr. Wehner said.“But I don’t think Ryan would be at all shy about laying out the agenda of the Republican Party, because, remember, there are a lot of people voting against Trump out there.”
Little Chucky Schmucky and The Donald

The Democrats will probably win back the Senate in November; the big task is to bank enough seats so that when the GOP has a huge year in 2018, the Dems still hold on. That isn't how Schumer and Tester are gaming this out. A Democratic wave election could mean lost Republican seats not just in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire, Florida, North Carolina (the 7 relatively easy ones), but also in Iowa, Missouri, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana and even Kentucky, enough states to hold the GOP at bay when the electoral map makes the Republicans competitive in red-leaning states with very weak incumbents-- Indiana (Joe Donnelly), Montana (Jon Tester), North Dakota (Heidi Heitkamp), Missouri (Claire McCaskill), Virginia (Tim Kaine)-- and possibly even in Florida (Bill Nelson or his open seat if he retires), Wisconsin (Tammy Baldwin), Pennsylvania (Bob Casey), West Virginia (Joe Manchin) and Ohio (Sherrod Brown), not mention the New Jersey seat, which will depend when Robert Menendez's trial happens and if he resigns or goes to prison, etc. That's a lot of risk and the Democrats should be stocking up on Senate seats now, which makes it all the more frustrating that Schumer has blackballed Democrats who can win this year and make a difference rebuilding a tarnished brand-- like Sestak in Pennsylvania, Grayson in Florida and Edwards in Maryland-- in favor of his brand of corrupt conservatives (Schumercrats), Katie McGinty, Wall Street errand boy Patrick Murphy and Chris Van Hollen. When Obama attacked Trump last week, it was to get hyper-partisan anti-Obama Republicans to rally towards the banner of the weakest Republican candidate in anyone's memory.

Help elect real progressive, values-oriented Democrats to the Senate this year by clicking on the thermometer; no Schumercrats on this list, I guarantee you that:
Goal Thermometer

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