Sunday, April 10, 2016


It's nice to think that a contested convention will lead to disaster for Republicans in November, but Not-Trump is doing surprisingly well in the polls, despite the tone of this report:
A third of Republican voters who support Donald Trump could turn their backs on their party in November's presidential election if he is denied the nomination in a contested convention, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll....

"If it’s a close election, this is devastating news" for the Republicans, said Donald Green, an expert on election turnout at Columbia University.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted March 30 to April 8 asked Trump’s Republican supporters two questions: if Trump wins the most delegates in the primaries but loses the nomination, what would they do on Election Day, and how would it impact their relationship with the Republican Party?

Sixty-six percent said they would vote for the candidate who eventually wins the nomination, while the remaining third were split between a number of alternatives such as not voting, supporting a third-party candidate, and switching parties and voting for the Democratic nominee.

Meanwhile, 58 percent said they would remain with the Republican Party. Another 16 percent said they would leave it, and 26 percent said they did not know what they would do with their registration.
There's 66% support for a usurper among Trump voters in April? Let's compare that with May 2008:
Just how badly is the Democratic Party divided?

According to the exit polls, half of Clinton's supporters in Indiana would not vote for Obama in a general election match up with John McCain. A third of Clinton voters said they would pick McCain over Obama, while 17 percent said they would not vote at all. Just 48 percent of Clinton supporters said they would back Obama in November.

Obama gets even less support from Clinton backers in North Carolina. There, only 45 percent of Clinton supporters said they would vote for Obama over McCain. Thirty-eight percent said they would vote for McCain while 12 percent said they would not vote.
So Clinton supporters said they were less likely to vote for Obama six months before the 2008 general election than Trump supporters are to vote for Not-Trump seven months before the 2016 election.

And two months later, in early July -- even after Hillary Clinton conceded -- there was still more rancor among the Democrats than there seems to be now among the Republicans:
One week after Sen. Hillary Clinton made a public show of unity with Sen. Barack Obama, a new survey suggests supporters of the New York senator are increasingly less likely to follow her lead....

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Friday, the number of Clinton supporters who plan to defect to Republican Sen. John McCain's camp is down from one month ago, but -- in what could be an ominous sign for Obama as he seeks to unify the party -- the number of them who say they plan to vote for Obama is also down, and a growing number say they may not vote at all.

In a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey completed in early June before the New York senator ended her White House bid, 60 percent of Clinton backers polled said they planned on voting for Obama. In the latest poll, that number has dropped to 54 percent.

In early June, 22 percent of Clinton supporters polled said they would not vote at all if Obama were the party's nominee, now close to a third say they will stay home.
You know how that turned out, right? Obama won -- and 83% of voters who said they'd backed Clinton voted for Obama. That was plenty. The election wasn't close.

Trump voters are going to express butthurt for a while -- and then they're probably going to lick their wounds and vote for whoever they think can beat the hated Hillary Clinton. Not-Trump is doing just fine.


Blackstone said...

Perhaps. But recall Obama and Clinton worked to reconcile the party and both Clintons to their credit endorsed and stumped for Obama and down ballot candidates. What are he odds Trump would do the same? At best Trump would do what Ted Kennedy did in 1980 to Carter - make Cruz him and never giving a strong endorsement. It's also possible the short fingered vulgarian gives the GOP a vulgar single short fingered response.

Trump is not a long time party member, nor does is he likely to want to try again. Contrast with Senator Sanders. While he isn't a long time party member and probably this is his last hurrah, at heart, i believe he is more sympathetic to doing whatever it takes to beat the Republicans.

It's probable a good many Trump supporters would support Cruz without Donald's endorsement, if Cruz engineers a second ballot win, which he is organizing for. But if the party were to screw over both Trump and Cruz, all hell would break loose and the establishment knows this. Can someone come up with a scenario the party establishment would decide it's better to loose than to take their chances on Cruz or Trump? I am all ears on gaming that one out.

Victor said...

Most Bernie-bro's/sis's, will vote for Hillary.

And if he's not the nominee, most Trumpeteer's will be too pissed-off to vote for Cruz. They may sit this election out, or write in some cartoon character.
You know, like Trump:
Yosemite Sam comes to mind.

Unknown said...

Good points but remember this: At the end of August 2008, the Obama/Biden ticket trailed McCain by 10 percentage points in the polls. Moving progressive beyond the electorate was failing.

Then the bank/economy crisis hit and the country's mood changed dramatically...The Republican failure was clear.

So Obama was propelled forward from what otherwise could have been a disastrous loss. And we owe the last 8 years and saving the SCOTUS from dogma-obsessed-partisans to fortuitous economic timing.

But it's not too late for idealists who want it all NOW to wreck the party. You know what I mean.

Steve M. said...

There was one USA Today/Gallup poll that had McCain up by 10 in early September (scroll down here), and there were a few others showing McCain leading. Then Sarah Palin went off script. Remember, she was seen as having hit a home run at the convention, and that led to a big convention bump -- then it all fell apart. I think it was Palin as much as the economic collapse. It was also McCain's ridiculous response to the economic collapse. (I'm suspending my campaign to go deal with the economy! And now that I'm back in Washington, I have nothing useful to say!)

sdhays said...

I don't think the analogy holds very well. Trump voters are a special category as is Trump himself. It's difficult to imagine a scenario where Trump doesn't top the ticket yet endorses the nominee and supports him wholeheartedly like Hillary did for Obama in 2008. We'll just have to see how ugly it gets (and I hope it gets really, really ugly). I think it's likely that most of them eventually do vote for the nominee, whoever he is. But if 10% don't, that's still hugely significant.

mlbxxxxxx said...

In Trump and Cruz you have candidates that are equally loathed by their party, Obama and Clinton were equally loved by theirs. That makes a big difference when it's time to unify even when passions run high.

None of the candidates in your examples faced contested conventions. Certainly not one where the front-runner gets pushed aside in favor of someone else who got, by definition, fewer votes in the primary/caucus process. There's not really a historical model for the scenario that is shaping up right now in the GOP. The republican coalition has been cracking up for a while now. They've made their bed not only with racists and Jim Crow throwbacks but also with a group of people, evangelicals, who are preternaturally inclined against unity. They are splitters by nature.

Maybe you're right to be so cynical and defeatist about the future of the GOP, but there certainly appear to be all the right ingredients for a perfect storm on the right that will do lasting damage. Sure looks to me like they are toast in November, at least. At a minimum, I'd bet that the future for the GOP will include primaries continually roiled by challengers. If the malcontents ever figure out how to get together and run one candidate in stead of 6, they might even highjack the whole shooting match.

AllieG said...

Once again, I wish to bring up the following. If Hillary is supposed to have to sound more like Bernie to unite her party, then not-Trump will have to sound more like Donald to unite HIS party. This would come easily to Cruz. Too easily for his own good.

Steve M. said...

Maybe you're right to be so cynical and defeatist about the future of the GOP, but there certainly appear to be all the right ingredients for a perfect storm on the right that will do lasting damage.

The best thing written on this subject is "Why Trump Can't Break the G.O.P." y Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, from The New York Times a week or so ago. Highly recommended.

petrilli said...

It really grinds me to hear liberals crowing about the so called disintegration of the GOP. I just don't see it. So what if all the butthurt Trumpista's and Cruzistas sit out the election and throw The Dems another presidency. Or even the senate. They can afford to. They can afford to for good reasons.
• They have enough governorships and statehouses to render DC impotent and overwhelmed at the same time with their nutjob agenda, especially in the courts. They have a very deep bench of crazy and it's well financed
• They have enough radicals in the Senate to kill any Democratic president's agenda, even if they lose the Senate. And they will keep the house most likely.
• Finally, and I may have trouble articulating this pet idea-- They know they can sit out an election because deep down they know that a Democratic president won't act irresponsibly and blow the place up. Like a child that constantly challenges, even hates their parents, but deep down knows that Mom and Dad will hold things together. The danger is real for us. To them, abstract. Like I said, I'm still working through this last point. It may not be ready for prime time.