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April 27, 2016

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At this point, I don't think the Republican nomination is going to be seriously contested at the convention. Sam Wang has been doing the math (as has one of his correspondents, using a bizarre but seemingly workable method using Google Correlate). Trump will have an outright delegate majority on the first ballot, and he will be nominated. No floor fight, and the whole thing will be amazingly cringeworthy, because a lot of people in the Republican establishment will still hate Trump.

How many Senate seats do the Democrats have to win in 2016 to make 2018 out of reach for the GOP? Even after 2010, lucky breaks for Senate Democrats in Nevada, Colorado, Delaware, arguably West Virginia with recruitment, saved the majority.

Figure Democrats start off defending vulnerable incumbents in five states: Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, and West Virginia. Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and maybe Maine and Florida could all be at risk. 11 races? Wow.

Hard to see how much of a landslide we could get in 2016 to insulate us for 2018.

Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin seems like a pipe dream. But that adds up to 11, enough to get the Democrats to 56, enough to survive through 2018 if we hold on ...

Hell maybe in meltdown mode you get Georgia?

I've seen conversation elsewhere from state/local folks that the "new people" Trump attracts are traditional Republican voters who show up for the general, but not primaries.

I haven't seen numbers backing that, but it would suggest that there's not real crossover appeal, but that there's intensification, or "deeper mobilization," whatever you want to call it.

I also think--but don't know--that Trump encourages a stronger counter-mobilization than Cruz does.

Cruz has a repulsive personality with limited hitting power. The surge of first generation Americans and Lations registering to vote: “projects 13.1 million Hispanics will vote nationwide in 2016, compared to 11.2 million in 2012 and 9.7 million in 2008.” seems more related to Trump than Cruz.

And Trump has a far worse gender gap, including among reliably Republican demographics groups.

In sympathy with your Republican correspondent, I read his remarks regarding a Cruz presidency not as irresponsible but as having an epically terrible risk-assessment ability, which is as dangerous as Trump's disregard for political and constitutional norms, but wends its way to different wreckage.

As for a world without Cruz, but with Trump, not sure if Kasich would actually benefit. I assume several other candidates would have absorbed Cruz's spot on the spectrum and divided up his voters.

That would still leave a collective action problem as to who got to be the anti-Trump candidate, and by Florida, Kasich hadn't won a state. So.

The situation where Cruz never runs in the primary and the situation where Cruz is forced from the race after Florida could be widely divergent. I'd assume the first scenario would have benefited Rubio (with him potentially winning Florida). The second may have turned out similarly but with Carson receiving many of the Cruz votes and soldiering on into April.

Counterfactual: No Trump run in 2016.

Would it have been possible to elect a Republican without Trump and his public comments?

I don't think so. There's too much of a Democratic demographic advantage to lose Presidential elections absent a poorly timed recession or a major scandal. That may have the positive effect of making Presidential general elections low key cheap affairs while the real campaign funds are spent in the Democratic primary where there's more opportunity for grassroots influence.

I assume Mexican Presidential elections were fairly cheap when everyone knew the PRI was a shoe-in?

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