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March 19, 2016

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They have to know it will still be a blowout for Clinton -- what votes from the normal Democratic coalition would Rick Perry or Tom Coburn attract? -- so it has to be to form the nucleus of a successor party.

I'm thinking they ran the numbers. The white vote currently polls at 49 Trump, 40 Clinton. If the undecided vote splits evenly, it's 54.5 Trump, and that's seven and a half points lower than went for Romney.

(In March 2012, it was 57 Romney, 36 Obama, and undecideds ended up splitting evenly.)

That puts Texas into play. Given that Trump is polling somewhere around Satan among Latinos... I get that even if Trump manages 19% of that vote, perhaps by promising he would shoot himself after being sworn in, Texas turns blue. Texas.

And hell, it seems most Mormons wouldn't vote for Trump, even against Clinton. He polls like cholera there too. It might even be worse than Trende's racial calculator indicates. Blue Utah.

It's more likely that urban Republicans (and the Chamber of Commerce) move to the Democratic Party than form a third party with any staying power. Better part of the governing coalition than locked out of power for several elections.

The prolonged Progressive Conservative - Reform Party split in Canada probably can't happen here. You'll just see a large segment of the "Red Tory" Republicans move to the Democratic Party and remain there. A Republican Party altered by Trump would continue to evolve along a populist path with local power in a few states and no national power.

If you get enough of those former Republicans to join up as Clinton Democrats (with some rural and working class whites drifting away) that could durably shift the Democratic Party further to the right on many economic issues.

There's been no sign of that, Dave, save for some Republican foreign policy mavens. On the other hand, a third party spoiler run is attracting serious talk. What's your evidence of GOP movement to the Democrats?

I've seen a few indicators that after the convention the Republicans against Trump will largely bifurcate. Conservatives will either vote Republican or sit the election out. Urban Republicans and social liberals will move to Hillary or sit the election out.

The polling seems to back this up. Hillary is perceived as most likely to compromise of all the candidate running for President (Washington Post-ABC and others). Among Republicans who live in progressive environments this sense that Hillary is more moderate than Obama is well ingrained.

Beyond that I think you're short selling the openness of Neocons to Hillary. She is perceived as more interventionist than Obama due to Iraq and Libya.

The crosstabs I've looked in polling suggests Hillary does around 5-10 points better than Obama among conservatives and Republicans.

This election has shown you can't take anything for granted but my many interactions with moderate Republicans (I work for the federal government), gives me an impression that Hillary will further consolidate the educated and the urban voters in the Democratic Party.

There aren't that many urban Republicans. What cities elect Republican mayors without suburban input? San Diego, recent GOP territory, replacing the grope-aholic Democratic mayor. Albuquerque, a mess. Fort Worth, deep in the heart of Texas. Oklahoma City, like Texas without the privilege of once having been Mexican.

(New York City is a special case. Note how Bloomberg has distanced himself from the GOP.)

Romney received 29% in cities over 500,000 and 40% in cities between 50,000-500,000. If Trump loses just a third of those urban Romney voters and keeps all else the same he's at 44%.

Urban Republicans don't usually matter in cities with partisan elections but nationally they're as numerous as Hispanic voters.

I'm not seeing the first class do much more than run up the popular vote. Maybe Charlotte would flip North Carolina from the 2012 map -- note that North Carolina is ridiculously gerrymandered, so it likely wouldn't even have an effect on a congressional seat -- and maybe Indiana and Arizona become more competitive, the first against the trend, the second with it. Nice, but it was an electoral landslide anyway.

The second class, I want to see where you're getting your data, because that population range is classic suburban territory. How are they distinguished?

Your profile of an "urban Republican" doesn't really fit anything. Yes, Romney gets voters in cities. But 29% of the vote in cities over 500,000 is a small sliver overall, and probably reflects the natural diversity of large areas to include even conservative white voters. The majority of GOP voters in the Northeast Corridor are White Catholics! They may not be full of ideological Ayn Rand activists trying to dismantle the state, but they are probably pro-life and very sympathetic to the Donald overall.

I think we'll see suburban Republicans go through a lot of angst. Some, like in Wisconsin, will probably come back into the GOP fold in the end. Others, like in Phiadelphia, will probably end up nudging themselves over the edge for the Democratic Party. More interesting will be how Mormons in Utah, or professionals outside of Houston, will vote.

Carlos, put aside Texas, that scenario likely flips Indiana, Missouri, and Arizona. If Hillary is north of 52% in those states (all very likely) it means the Democratic candidates have a GREAT shot of winning. Indiana is an open seat, so no incumbency there. I could expect McCain to run ahead of Trump, but Kirkpatrick is also a strong challenger.

A nice Democratic majority in the Senate makes the 2018 election, with its Senate map favoring traditionally Republican states, much less unpleasant in the face of a Trump-ized GOP.

But I want the House. I used to think the Tea and Freedom elements in the Republican caucus were a shanda (and John Boehner appears to agree with me), but who knew that even further swings to the fringe right were possible? I never expected the Klan firewall to fall overnight.

The talk about this that's going around now is just crazy: the idea is that a third-party spoiler run will somehow lead to nobody getting an electoral majority, which would throw the election to the House, which would then install Mitt Romney as President (I think the scenario generally imagines that Mitt Romney isn't even the patsy who actually runs third-party, that's somebody else, but it all ends in puppetmaster Mitt being installed as President without a single popular vote).

How does this work? Are they really just confusing the notion of nobody getting a popular-vote majority with nobody getting an electoral-vote majority?

Even if that did work, would the House really vote to install someone who nobody voted for (or who a small minority voted for) as President? I guess, the way the vote works, only a majority of 51 state delegations has to vote for him. But you know that every single one of those people would get primaried to hell and gone in 2018. Meanwhile, the claims of illegitimacy that people threw around about the last three Presidents would be nothing compared to the ensuing shitstorm.

...26 state delegations, of course, I mean.

@Logan: Suburban Republicans in Massachusetts and NH are all in for Trump. No angsting there. The more it pisses off their liberal and dusky neighbors the more they love him.

I do know some weakly-Democratic-leaning independents, professional-class types, who are planning to hold their noses and vote for Hillary but would actually prefer Mitt Romney if he ran third-party. This may be a thing specific to Massachusetts, where people still have some residual fondness for the old, allegedly moderate Mitt who ran for governor in 2002. Some are still convinced that was the real guy and 2012 Mitt is some kind of facade.

@Carlos: Up to now, the fragmentary state-by-state polling that's happened so far shows Bernie Sanders walloping Trump in a huge electoral landslide, but Hillary Clinton just winning at about an Obama 2012 level. Maybe less; some recent polls show her losing Florida and tied in Iowa.

That Utah poll is the first indication to really go beyond that. I'm wondering if it's just an outlier, since there has been very little general-election polling outside of traditional swing states.

I can't say where I'm getting my other information, but Sanders walloping Trump is almost certainly an artifact of his gentle media treatment and his lack of name recognition. You're a habitué of Democratic blogs, so you're going to think Sanders is widely known and already has been through the wringer, but he's barely been touched. He's been on the Woolite cycle.

Of course, one could legitimately wonder what the hell Trump's attacks against Sanders would even mean.

I actually agree about Sanders. The Republicans have completely held fire on him because they want to run against him, and Hillary Clinton has been gentle because she has a good chance of winning the nomination anyway and doesn't want to alienate his voters. There's a lot in his past that could be used in a general election campaign to paint him as a complete weirdo. But his fans are making hay over all these polls and insisting he's the electable one.

Meanwhile, the lower-information Berniacs on Facebook are straight-up relaying right-wing attacks on Hillary Clinton from outlets like Breitbart, without realizing that that's what they are. The ones on Democratic blogs are a little smarter than that but they're still gloomily insisting that Hillary is a guaranteed loser (because her approval rating is still trending down) and only Sanders can beat the Republicans. The argument that he hasn't actually been the subject of a lot of negative attention yet is rejected as wholly speculative.

Still, it is a little weird to have the further-left candidate doing much better in general-election polling than the centrist, and leading in conservative states. It suggests that some kind of actual realignment is happening in the longer term.

I think it's more easily explained by the generation-long propaganda campaign against Clinton, especially in conservative states. You couldn't turn on a radio in some of those places without hearing how she personally killed Vince Foster etc.

@Matt Suburbanites outside of Boston, Taxachusettes and bleeding into New Hampshire have always been a little odd. They are an aspect of the Bost-Was corridor, but not representative of the suburbanites of Long Island, or outside Philadelphia, or in Northern Virginia. Scott Brown's stick could only work in two states. Well, maybe Jersey too.

Speaking as a heartless bastard... the way the US electorate responds to the terrorist attacks in Brussels will be a useful indicator of what we might be dealing with politically down the line, if there's a big international crisis later in the year. Trump and Cruz are of course out there saying exactly what they would say. Hillary Clinton polls well in surveys of who the public would trust in a crisis. So I wouldn't venture to say who benefits.

@Logan I grew up in Chantilly at the far western end of Fairfax County, but the neighborhood was very different in those days. Much whiter, semi-rural with new tract housing developments popping up in what had been farmland, and very conservative. A lot of the residents who moved into those developments were employed by three-letter security agencies or defense contractors. Prime Reagan territory once he appeared.

Now, it's SoCal-like urban sprawl and much more diverse; a lot of Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern immigrants live there.

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