Wednesday, April 06, 2016


The old cliche about the presidential nominating process is "Democrats fall in love; Republicans fall in line." That didn't seem to be the case this year -- certainly not on the Republican side -- but it now appears that Republicans are doing as they're told:
Preliminary exit poll results suggest a coalescing of the anti-Trump vote behind Ted Cruz in the Wisconsin presidential primary -- raising the specter of a ceiling for Donald Trump....

Cruz won seven in 10 voters who care most about the candidate who can win in November, up from 22 percent in previous contests. Trump won just two in 10 of these voters -- down from a third previously....

Forty-four percent said they’re interested in an experienced candidate rather than an outsider (it’s averaged 41 percent in previous contests) -- and Cruz won seven in 10 of those voters, more than twice his average, 33 percent....

Angry voters have been and remained a pro-Trump group; but there were fewer of them; Cruz did better among angry voters who didn’t go for Trump; and Cruz did especially well among those who weren’t angry, doubling his usual score in this group.
Voters were angry for a while, but now they've been told angry is a bad thing, so they're anti-angry. Voters wanted an outsider for a while, but now they've been told outsiders are bad, so they're anti-outsider.

It's not as if these voters are moderate or reasonable -- they're Republicans, and conservative ones at that. (Exit poll numbers say that "three-quarters of Wisconsin GOP voters identified themselves as conservatives, a record in exit polls back to 1976.") In general, Republican voters aren't moderate or reasonable. But in past primary seasons GOP voters were eventually willing to get behind the rich, established, deeply rooted party favorite, if that favorite seemed to hate Democrats enough, because they came to believe that the clout wielded by the favorite might be enough to vanquish the evil liberals.

McCain was angry. Romney was angry. But no one this year seemed to have the right combination of establishment clout and anger. The party's favorite, Jeb Bush, was a pathetic nebbish. The party's other favorite, Marco Rubio, turned out to be a pipsqueak who repeatedly embarrassed himself. So GOP voters gravitated to Trump -- after all, he'd been fed to them for years by a party elder in the form of a TV channel, Fox News.

But now the fact that Trump can't win a general election is so obvious that even GOP voters believe it's not a lie liberals are telling because Trump is the guy who really scares us. And the party elders have, at long last, settled on one candidate, so the voters are going along.

That's the thing about voters with a taste for authoritarianism: they respect wielders of power. Until now, party leaders failed to wield the power they had. They didn't lead the voters by the nose to one candidate. Now they're doing that.

Of course, those party leaders probably want to betray their new favorite in a bait-and-switch at the convention. But the more I read about Cruz's delegate-securing efforts, the more I think he really might triumph in Cleveland. So I'm calling it a two-man race: Cruz vs. Ryan. Trump is going to win a lot of delegates in the east, and he's going to finish with the most delegates, but he's going to be about 50 delegates short of what he needs to win on the first ballot, so he's not going to be the nominee. We're told that "six in 10 Kasich and Cruz voters say that if no candidate wins a majority of delegates, the convention should decide the nominee" -- the party leaders have said that's for the best, and the anti-Trump sheeple are now dutifully agreeing. I think the hacks pretty much have their party back.


mlbxxxxxx said...

Trump won about the same percentage of the vote in Wisconsin that he has been winning throughout the primaries. It's just that, without a bunch of others in the race, 35-40% is no longer a winning number. There was never a "gravitation" of republican voters to Trump. And his support hasn't collapsed. He's winning about as many votes as he ever has. The only thing that has ever been necessary to beat Trump is to reduce the race to 2 contestants. That has been obvious for a long time.

AllieG said...

I'd call this prediction possible but highly premature. And I'll bet real money Ryan will not be the nominee. I agree with Josh Marshall. Maybe you can swipe the nomination from one actual candidate, but not two.

Victor said...

Politically and organizationally, Cruz is much smarter than Trump.
And he's certainly proven that he's anti-establishment.

So, if the convention tries to foist Paul Ryan on the angry mob, THAT'S when there may be be big trouble - not if Trump doen't get the nomination.
Sure Trump's fans will be angry, but not as angry as when what's left of the GOP establishment puts forth Ryan's name.

I suspect they'll go with Cruz, and if/when he loses, they can say, "Ok, we gave you what you wanted, a REAL conservative, and what happened? Next time, maybe you'll listen to us!"

The election will be Dem's to blow.
And somehow, I fear they will.
Hillary's fading, and wait until Cruz and hie ratfuckers go after her.
Or especially, Bernie. Cruz's Super PAC's will have TV ads with Bernie as Pontiac Pilate!

I hope I'm wrong.

AllieG said...

One more brief point. Whoever is the non-Trump nominee, should one come to pass, will have to have as their first order of business assuaging the feelings of all those Trump voters. This will not be easy, and would certainly result in the nominee (especially if Cruz) exposing their darker/darkest sides to the general electorate.

BroD said...

I think Ryan will be perfectly content to let Cruz take the nomination and go down in flames in the general. That would give him a great opportunity to be the hero who puts the party back together. It'll be interesting to see how he approaches that challenge.

Unknown said...

AllieG highlights the biggest problem for Cruz when he wins the nomination despite having finished the primaries far behind in delegates and popular votes. What does he tell Trump's 10 million voters - not the most reasonable group of people - that he's their legitimate representative?

Rand Careaga said...

I have my issues with Mrs. Clinton, but I'm not particularly concerned about ratfucking in the general campaign. She's endured enough of that in twenty-five years that it will not rattle her. But lordie, I wish she could be half the "natural" at campaigning that her old man was back in the day.

Ten Bears said...

Back when he looked the camera in the eye and said "I didn't inhale"?

Greg said...

I wish she could be half the "natural" at campaigning that her old man was back in the day.

I agree, Rand. It's been essential to the recent Dem cause that their standard bearer be extra good at selling , promoting what is (in theory or result) a mushy lib-centrist incrementalism. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were that; Al Gore and John Kerry were not. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have yet to show they can be that, in my view. And even if either win the election, that lack of salesmanship threatens to sink them in their first term. Think Bush Sr. after Reagan -- what changed most was that a slick actor wasn't catapaulting the propaganda.

Feud Turgidson said...

So, what's good today, Marcel?...Really? The Steve M. is off? How does that happen? ... Ah, outliers; yes, we all have them. Alrighty then: I'll have one order of mlbx and keep the x coming, gimmme one order of EACH the AllieG sweet and he AllieG sour, the Victor looks pretty appetizing today and you KNOW i've been a fan of that look since way back before I had spots. Really? Okay, then, just the first 3 paragraphs, you can go ahead and trim off the last two paragrpahs, gotta watch my waist. Also, how about a kiddies order of the Rand C. No, none of the Greg or 10B today, but sure, I'll take an Unknonwn amuse bouche.

And Marcel, could you ask the sommelier, whatsit, Etienne? to bring up a couple of bottles of Womean's Reproductive Rights, and for dessert a flacon of AntiJeebus Reality. Oh, and could you arrange to put up a temporary barrier against that table on the far right, cuz, damn, that's one ugly ugly Canadian baby, we might not to eat at all.

Jim Snyder said...

Aside from the points raised above, Trump will enter the convention with the most delegates, and Cruz will be not-too-far behind.

If Digby is correct, Trump is preparing for a Samson-like pulling-down-the-temple popcorn-fest:

The CW is that Trump's delegates will defect on the 2nd and 3rd ballots ... but reporting is that Trump has hired Paul Manafort to work his will on Trump delegates:

My impression (FWIW) is that it's a disaster for the Replicants if Trump gets the nomination, possibly even more of a disaster if Cruz gets the nomination (Days of Rage, Sheeples!, and btw, what is the reverse-Alinsky?), and yet even more of a disaster for the GOP if Raynd gets the nomination (because Truz and Crump will be pulling down the pillars).

There's also the mechanics issue: Crumpz will control the rules committee. How does Raynd get the nomination when he's not eligible.

Anything can happen on the 50th ballot ... but I will be very surprised if the GOP nominee is competitive in November... too many Big Egos in the soup.

Invest in popcorn futures!

Jim Snyder said...

And it's just pop-psych-at-a-distance, but I get the impression that Trump might be happier to be "cheated" out of the nomination than to be the nominee, because it's way more fun to whine than to be responsible.

I just do not see Trump as a gracious loser and team player.

My two pesos.

Jim Snyder said...

Sorry, forgot to mention this Amanda Marcotte post which complements Digby's:

Amanda Marcotte:

"So yes, when Stone starts saying that he’s going to get hotel numbers and insinuating he’ll provoke riots, it’s a threat with teeth."

A pity that the Secret Service won't allow firearms.

Ten Bears said...

It has always been my impression Trump is not serious about this. It's a lark, or a joke, perhaps even world class trolling. Now that it's gone this he's painted himself into a corner and now is looking for dry spots so he can get out without getting his feet wet. His ego won't handle losing, especially to a woman. Getting "cheated" out of the nomination is but one way to not lose.

Though I'm still not at all unconvinced this hasn't been an elaborate ploy to get Clinton elected.

Jim Snyder said...

@Ten Bears:

Did you read the xojane article that's goin' round?

If the appartchik is to be believed, Trump expected to be the runner-up.

Feud Turgidson said...

How come everybody but me can read other folks' minds?

How come I hardly ever realize what I really wanted until later, but with everyone else it's so dang easy for them to go see-think-want-go?

Why do some folks figure Drumpt was telling the truth a year ago or before he announced for this contest, oh but NOW he's lying?

Say Berie's right and Drumpf's very pathology is based on lie lie lie all the time. How then is ANY thing he says nor or before or at any time more 'reliable' a read on "how" he thinks (apparently with a categorically superior brain that everyone else) or what he's up to?

Feud Turgidson said...

Something else I don't get from any cable news org or MSM writing:

I see the reports on (the supposed wizard - to me, Der Count) Paul Manafort ("Juan, Two, T'reeeeeee"), and before that crazy Roger Stone lurid threat to unfaithful delegates they'll be on a Bill Hicks reality show idea "Let's Hunt And Kill Billy Ray Cyrus"), but actually those two are PARTNERS, along with Mister Establihshment Election Fixer Charlie Black, all of them at one time partners together with Lee Atwater. So - WTF is THE establishment Aristocrats (<--) doing working for DRUMPF?

Okay, slow down and back track: the best of that partnership is Charlie Black - so why is HIS name not front and center for Drumpf? Could it be that just saying Roger Stone is like saying Rumpelstiltskin but what suddenly disappears is the fact that the GOP ownership class IS STILL THERE and indeed was there all along - among other things, paying Stone's invoices? Even slower: Stone is nuts, and OUTRAGEOUSLY so to a point of seeming to be a clown - but not his PARTNER Manafort, who's what R pols expect to come to their rescue once they send up the GOP bat signal. But BOTH Stone AND Manafort are partners with The Single Most Connected Dude in Republican Politics Like Ever (certainly since Nixon), Charlie Black. Why does all this not hold MEANING in the supposed "establishment" ploy to DROP DRUMPF? Because, man, that GOP message OTHOH and this Stone-Maanfort-Black(stealth) entry is very VERY "on the other" level inconsistent.

(I have another thought about what we're being told to expect, but it might water this one down, so, I'll post it separately.)

Feud Turgidson said...

I cannot think of any convention I've been aware of since Chicago 1968 where the WORST place to watch accurate coverage was from a TV (or cable now) network temporary studio set-up high above the action.

This convention will mostly not be televised in any MEANINGFUL way by studio suits like the clueless Brian Williams reading out partial scores. It'll be more meaningful to know WTF is going on down there on the floor and in hotel suites and hallways, from some one actually IN the fray oir connected to someone in the fray, calling, texting or tweeting. This is going to be face-in-face knife-to-tummy gunbarrel-to-brainpan Hannibal Does Italy sweaty smelly blood-mist in the air faces of the dead feces of the dying emptied out on the battlefield old time NASTY, and MERCURIAL.

The convention will be tweeted.

Ten Bears said...

I read it. Not buyin' it.