Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Is It Fair To Blame The Disintegration Of The Republican Brand On Trumpy The Clown?


Right-wing nut Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) made an interesting observation on Twitter yesterday. He reminded his 4,000 followers that Trump is a disaster and can't even poll above the Republican registration in California. He was referring to the new USC/L.A. Times poll that shows Hillary beating Trump in a head-to-head 59-28%. Not only is Trump failing to make any headway among Democrats or Independents, he's likely not even locking up Republicans! Both McCain and Romney took 37% of the vote and even the weak 2014 Republican gubernatorial candidate, Neel Kashkari, won 40%. And remember Carly Fiorina got all the way up to 42% when she ran for the Senate in 2010. Trump's 28% is a low-water mark for Republicans in the Golden State. At the moment, there are 17,660,257 Californians registered to vote:
Democrats- 43.6%
Republicans- 28.7%
Independents- 27.7%
Trump's problems stem from his inability to turn what he insists the great love The Latinos have for him into votes. In a head-to-head match-up Hillary beats him among registered Latino voters 78-13%. As a point of comparison, Kasich would take 21% of Latino voters against Clinton and Cruz would win 20%. The Latino voters must not realize this Donald Trump is the one that they love.

David Axelrod, an Obama political operative, points out that the GOP's problems aren't confined to California-- and not just the fault of Trump. In fact, Axelrod claims, the Republican Party is imploding in slow motion in front of our eyes. McConnell's and Grassley's strategy of stonewalling President Obama's nomination of conservative Justice Merrick Garland is widely disliked by the public. And he claims that the GOP seems "resigned to death in November by fire or by hanging. The prolonged nominating process is merely a means of determining the nature of the execution and limiting the risk to other candidates on the ballot."
Having stoked anti-Obama fever in order to score midterm victories at the polls and then failed to deliver on pledges to derail major elements of the President's agenda, the party elite now finds itself overrun by a wave of outrage and discontent.

That wave has carried Donald Trump to the brink of the nomination, a hostile takeover that so horrifies the Republican establishment that many are now turning in desperation to a man they dislike almost as much as the prospect of Trump as their standard-bearer.

Sen. Ted Cruz's entire tenure since his arrival in Washington in 2013 has been dedicated to taunting a Republican leadership he views as accommodationist.

He called Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a "liar" on the floor of the Senate. He led the party over the cliff of a government shutdown in a vain effort to derail Obamacare. To this day, he casts his campaign as one to upend "the Washington cartel" of insiders and lobbyists who he says have betrayed the GOP and the country.

Now, that same "cartel" is slowly and grudgingly embracing Cruz, who is currently running a distant second to Trump, as their last, best hope to deprive the bilious billionaire of the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination.

Sen. Lindsey Graham's painfully tepid "endorsement" of Cruz last week, followed by Mitt Romney's announcement that he would stand up for the Texas senator in Tuesday's Utah caucuses, reflected the dilemma in which the GOP finds itself.

In backing Cruz, neither of these pillars of the Republican establishment spent a whole lot of time extolling his virtues, focusing instead on the man they are desperate to stop.

"Today, there is a contest between Trumpism and Republicanism," Romney said. "Through the calculated statements of its leader, Trumpism has become associated with racism, misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, vulgarity and, most recently, threats and violence. I am repulsed by each and every one of these."

So he's for the other guy.

Jeb Bush followed in similarly measured fashion on Wednesday.

...Many are gravitating to Cruz, arguing, as Bush did, that his predictable views are more plausible in a Republican nominee than the philosophically promiscuous, cult of personality spectacle that is Trump.

"I don't like Cruz, but I can defend most of his positions with a straight face," one prominent Republican leader told me. "I don't know how I go on TV and make an argument for Trump."

There is a potential bonus of a Cruz nomination, this party leader explained. For the past several cycles, conservative activists have complained that by nominating relatively moderate candidates-- Romney in '12 and Sen. John McCain in '08-- the party spurned its base and depressed Republican turnout.

"Let's have Cruz, and we will put that issue to rest," said this party leader, convinced that the Texan's appeal, pitched to evangelicals and the right, is too narrow to command a general election. "If it's Trump, there will be no resolution. Each side will blame the other for the disaster."

But all these efforts to stop Trump may well be too late. Even if they succeed in depriving him of the delegates he needs to clinch the nomination, his victory in Arizona's winner-take-all primary meant Trump probably will come close.

That would leave the party establishment in the unhappy position of either embracing the front-runner or courting a rebellion among his supporters by dumping him. And while a few weeks ago, many still talked hopefully about swapping in a fresh and more appealing recruit-- say, House Speaker Paul Ryan-- the somber realization is seeping in that it will be hard enough to topple Trump, much less bypass Cruz at the same time.

Though Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, would enter a general election campaign with historically high negatives, she is running well ahead of Trump, whose unfavorable ratings eclipse even hers.

Cruz runs a tighter race in early polls. But as a factional candidate, his ability to grow is very much in question.

Only Gov. John Kasich is outrunning Clinton in general election trial heats. But Kasich has won just one of the first 37 nominating contests-- his own state of Ohio-- and netted not one delegate in Tuesday's races in Arizona and Utah.

Kasich's brand of compassionate conservatism might sell in a general, and he would be a comfortable choice for the party establishment. But he has struggled to find traction within a party riven by anger.

The party leaders are prisoners of their base.

...Playing base politics-- tolerating nativism, birtherism and promising obstruction at every turn-- could cost Republicans the presidency and threaten control of the Senate.

And if the GOP crashes and burns, it will probably get a more liberal court nominee than Garland from the next President Clinton.

For seven years, the GOP establishment knowingly and cynically rode the anti-Obama tiger, feeding the beast with a steady diet of red meat.

Now, whatever happens at the Cleveland convention, the party elite may wind up as dinner.
Yesterday some idiot in Trump's campaign allowed him to walk into the lion's den, unarmed. He did a 17 minute interview with Wisconsin's most admired far right radio host, Charlie Sykes, not knowing that Sykes has been an outspoken Trump opponent who says he won't vote for Trump in November even in the unlikely event that Trump somehow manages to out-maneuver the establishment and win the nomination instead of Paul Ryan. List to how Sykes diced and sliced the floundering Trump:

A week from today, Trump is going to be roadkill in the Wisconsin primary. The problem for Republicans, though is that you can't blame the tarnishing of their brand solely on Trump. Conservative governance has been catastrophic, on one level or another, in almost every state where they've managed to seize power. They're not all as bad as Michigan, Kansas and Louisiana, but every GOP-controlled state experimenting with the "red-state model," is in big trouble. The latest example of inevitable conservative inability to govern is how the Kansas Republican crackpots are offering a $2,500 bounty to any student who rats out a transgender woman using an "incorrect" restroom. I suspect taxpayers in the bankrupt state might not feel that's the most appropriate way to use the state's diminishing resources! After one term of Republican rule in Harrisburg, Pennsylvanians decided to replace Gov. Tom Corbett. Voters flocked to the polls to elect progressive Democrat Tom Wolf, who beat Corbett 55-45%. Keep these crazy people out of the White House and replace them in Congress!
Goal Thermometer

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