Is it actually possible?

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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87 Responses

  1. Will Truman says:

    No. I mean, I am the never say never guy in a lot of respects, but no.

    If Trump does well in Iowa and New Hampshire (which is unlikely), the field starts drying up fast and enough will rally around someone who is left.

    The problem that the right-right had last time is that there was nobody to rally behind. Not the case here, where there are at least palatable establishment and fusion candidates. And the establishment right is better able to organize than the right-right.Report

  2. Morat20 says:

    Nah. Trump wears out fast. Unfortunately, he’s doing the damage now, because everyone’s jockeying to get air-time over him.

    And once that’s over, there’s going to be a lot of people who have said some unfortunate things. And then they’re going to be facing off against each other, and trying to top that. So more unfortunate things.

    If the GOP doesn’t wrestle this clown car to the ground PDQ, HRC’s entire ad campaign is just going to be clips of whomever wins the GOP primary speaking. Debates, speeches, interviews — all those unfortunate things, falling straight from his own lips.

    She’s not even gonna have to edit much.

    Hand to God, if this is the GOP’s deep bench (and that’s what I was hearing before the process started, that this year — unlike 2012 — you’re gonna see all the serious candidates and deep thinkers stepping up, because those smart ones didn’t want to face off against an incumbent in a recovering economy) then the party is right screwed.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Morat20 says:

      Indeed. Witness the beginning of the end of Trump 2016 happening before our eyes.

      Thank you, Megyn Kelly, and on behalf of men everywhere who were not raised by wolves, sorry you had to endure that quip.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Burt Likko says:

        I think his slide does begin here, though Kelly being only a partial explanation for why. The debates have started, the campaign is getting real, and potential voters are going to start getting serious. Trump has a number of serious supporters, but that’s not what got him to 20%.

        (If his poll numbers are still above 20% in a couple months, then I will be alarmed. Not that he’ll win the nomination, but that his indentation the primary will be permanent.)

        (On the other hand, I’m actually not at all sure his presence is actually hurting the other candidates much. He’s caused the major ones to cede crazytown to him at least as far as immigration is concerned. I do not see the Rush To The Right that some others do. And he makes Ted Cruz look reasonable by comparison.)Report

        • LWA in reply to Will Truman says:


          A serious question.

          What sort of daylight is there between a Trump Administration and say, a Walker Administration?

          So far as I can tell, Walker might not dismiss Angela Merkel as being cranky and on her period, but other than that, I’m not seeing much.Report

          • Kolohe in reply to LWA says:

            If you think the Bush Jr administration was too wonkish and detail-oriented for you, Trump’s your guy. Otherwise, Walker is a good fit.Report

          • Will Truman in reply to LWA says:

            Spirit of the administration’s would be different, as would focii, as would relations with Congress (both parties) and world diplomacy. Apart from immigration, his views on which have swung wildly and may swing wildly again, Trump has a populist agenda on economics that Walker lacks, health care most specifically.

            It’s hard to say in all because Trump has no track record and last I saw, no issues page.Report

            • LWA in reply to Will Truman says:

              The fact that Trump doesn’t have any core beliefs is exactly the problem.

              When you elect a candidate, what you really get is dozens of advisors, hundreds of staffers, all of whom come from somewhere.

              With Obama, for example, you got people from within the Chicago Dem machine, from the DNC, old Clinton hands, and Dem statehouses moving up.

              W had the same apparatchiks from his dad’s administration, and so on.

              I can’t see any of the candidates drawing from a different pile of resumes than Trump.

              We know that any GOP administration will gets its foreign policy from an email from Dick Cheney, its economic policy from Wall Street, social policy from Liberty University, and talking points from Roger Ailes.

              Any GOP administration will have banning abortion as Job #1a, tax cuts as Job 1b, privatization of any social welfare programs as Job #2, and war with somebody as Job #3.

              I don’t usually subscribe to the “they’re all the same” stuff, but in this case they pretty much are, by their own words and actions.

              None of them offer really any meaningful difference in direction, which is why we are down to arguing about whose personal style is most abrasive, or whose flag pin was bigger.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to LWA says:

                To repeat: Walker has stated views and a track record. Trump has no issues page, a history of ideological flexibility, and even what views we do have differ from Walker’s.

                Trump supports a nationized or single-payer health care system, Walker doesn’t.

                If your view is that there is basically no difference, your mind is doing a lot of heavy lifting. And that’s even before we get to the non-policy differences between them, which are considerable but on which you don’t have to rely to see differences.

                And to add to all that, Trump isn’t really a Republican in any meaningful sense. Say what you might about Walker, but his agenda will be some variation of a Republican one. Trump? We have no reason to believe that’s the case.Report

              • On top of all that, if we assume any consistency at all for Trump, his first priority would be something that’s not even on your list: The border.

                Abortion is not something he has shown a whole lot of interest in. No reason to think he would start.

                And his advisors would more likely include Bill Clinton than most Republicans. They’d include at most a subset of the GOP with the rest not wanting anything to do with him any more than his campaign manager who just quit.

                If you want to argue that all Republicans are the same, Trump is the worst example imaginable.Report

              • On top of all that, if we assume any consistency at all for Trump, his first priority would be

                adding his face to Mt. Rushmore.Report

              • Doctor Jay in reply to Will Truman says:

                Trump says he fired Roger Stone. Oddly, on this I think I’m inclined to believe Trump over Stone, who, ahem, is a player.Report

          • Kim in reply to LWA says:

            Trump ain’t bought and paid for … yet.
            And we know who Snotty’s sugar daddy is.Report

      • If only Trump had called Kelly a feminazi instead, there would have been no backlash at all. If he’d called her a slut, a prostitute, and a porn actress, there might have been a short-lived one, but nothing with lasting consequences.Report

        • LWA in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          A quick troll through Gateway Pundit shows that much of the commentariat there are way ahead of you in that regard.

          I think Erick the Redstate or the RNC types are kidding themselves to think the Trump genie will go quietly back into the bottle.

          The rubes can be riled up into a mob pretty easily, but mobs are pretty tough to control.Report

        • Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          If Trump would have made misogynistic comments about Sarah Palin, he’d be equally in deep water.

          It wasn’t the comments, it was the target, who has enough street cred (i.e. going toe to toe with now-outsider Karl Rove) for people to remember the now often ignored Reagan 11th commandment.Report

          • Will Truman in reply to Kolohe says:

            I agree with this. (Sadly.)Report

          • Burt Likko in reply to Kolohe says:

            I was going to push back on this.

            Then I imagined Trump making the same comment about HRC, Elizabeth Warren, or Nancy Pelosi. And I realized @kolohe was a lot more right than wrong, and experienced moral disappointment.

            This made me a sad panda.Report

            • CK MacLeod in reply to Burt Likko says:

              Mostly disagree. Of course, the reaction would have been different, somewhat less unanimous, but it still would have been overwhelming and very harmful to his campaign if he had made that comment vs. HRC now that the focus is on him as (in some people’s minds) “the frontrunner.” Note also that the origin of the entire kerfuffle was his being challenged for being a sexist bully by a voice from the rightwing media at the rightwing media-sponsored debate of the rightwing candidates. …And, on the matter of hypocrisy, this is still well before we consider whether certain leading D politicians, certain very famous and leading D politicians, haven’t gotten away with a lot worse on the particular matter of treatment of women (and others).Report

      • KatherineMW in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Not just the one insult from Trump. He was going after her on Twitter the whole night after the debate.Report

        • “I’ve got this great idea for a new product! It’s like a mini-blog. People can use their cell phones to post whatever they’re thinking, right at that moment!”

          “Hmm. To post stuff, do you have to qualify, or be approved by some sort of governing board?”

          “No, that’s the beauty of it. It’s totally open!’

          “So, say, Donald Trump could use it?”

          “Oh. Shit. Never mind.”Report

  3. Burt Likko says:

    If I’m an HRC supporter or a Democrat hoping for a fish-in-the-barrel election, it’s hard to even dream of a better event than a Trump nomination.

    Like, seriously. To top it, Trump would need to pick Cthulhu as his running mate.Report

    • Better yet, Trump does a reality show to pick his VP. Each week he gives someone a shot, and viewers can vote yay or nay on their cell phones. The best part would be the whole right-wing noise machine explaining why that’s the right way to do it. George Will would have quotes from Jefferson, National Review would be quoting the Federalist Papers, etc. Then the day after Trump and Ryan Seacrest lose to Hillary 93%-7%, the entire RWNM would pull a Jennifer Rubin.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Burt Likko says:

      National polls are still showing an unpleasant battle for the GOP.

      Now, sitting this late out with no incumbent on the ticket hypothetical match-ups — even with banes attached — are “Ideal Democrat” versus “Ideal Republican”. Because nobody has actually campaigned. No one has had to choose positions, no one has had to pander, no one has had a chance to be defined as a person. In short, if you’re a voter you can look at any random name and just…project…your ideal version of a candidate out there. (Primary voters less so. They’re already learning, but right now it’s all RV screens). An ideal Republican or Democrat, with no scandals, who is for all the things you are for, and against all the things you are against. Who has done nothing to tarnish their shining potential.

      Except….Hillary’s about as defined as an incumbent President. Which means you’re seeing something closer to “Actual Hillary numbers” (or close to it) against “Best Possible Republican numbers” and the result is…Hillary winning. It’s not even terribly close.

      Hillary, of course, has room to drop. She will be further defined, even for her already high visibility status. But the GOP candidate has even MORE room to drop.

      And I can’t see a single man on that stage that’s not going to be turning off a segment of potential voters. Whether because he’s too GOP social orthodox, too GOP business orthodox, too anti-immigration, not anti-immigration enough, too populist, not populist enough, too anti-abortion, not anti-abortion enough…..

      And worst of all — the GOP still has not adjusted to the YouTube age. You can bet Hillary’s team took copious notes on Obama’s campaigns (after all, she ran against him. And then worked for him. And is on the same team as him. You copy winners) and while she can’t run a “hope and change” campaign, she’s certainly capable of seeing the potential of all those YouTube moments.

      I don’t think it’s gonna need to be hidden cameras and private remarks. I’m pretty sure there’ll be plenty of grist for the video mill from pure public spectacle.

      The base expects red meat, but when you feed it to them — that video gets slapped up during the general for the mushy middle to see.Report

      • KatherineMW in reply to Morat20 says:

        Looking at the polls for hypothetical Democrats against hypothetical Republicans, it’s true that Hillary is either tied with or beating almost any prospective Republican challenger in virtually all the recent polls (in one of them she’s 1 point behind Jeb, but in two others she’s beating him by 5 or 6 points). I don’t think that means the Republicans can’t still damage her popularity, but you’re right that they likely have more unrevealed skeletons in their closets than she does.,_2016Report

        • Hillary is in a good position, though far from bulletproof. It’s hard to glean too much this far out.

          Familiarity and being unknown cut both ways. When Romney was being polled, he polled better than the rest despite his skeletons being out there because familiarity can help even if you’re not perfect. And generally speaking, the more familiar the Republican candidate, the better they poll against HRC – to the extent there is any relationship at all.

          As mentioned, I put HRC’s odds at 2-to-1. Good odds! But I don’t think one can look at her current poll numbers and conclude that it’s in the bag.

          I do wish they would keep polling for Romney as a benchmark, though.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

            Nobody is bulletproof.

            As for using Romney as a benchmark — that’s likely to skew your results. You’re adding in nostalgia (well, effectively — people will happily project “He could have done better” without having to worry about how he could have done worse, inventing an ideal Romney presidency of the last four years) AND you’re using a candidate not in the race — another helping of idealism unfettered by the actual nitty gritty of running.

            Basically you’re adding in a bit of counterfactual with a heaping side dose of ‘all things to all people’.

            Might indeed be useful data, but might just lead you down a totally unrealistic path.Report

    • Doctor Jay in reply to Burt Likko says:

      The thing is, I remember thinking something like this in 1979 about a Ronald Reagan candidacy. I think a few people had better start taking him seriously enough to think about how to counter him, since a lot of people have just fallen on their face trying to do it.

      Not that I’d vote for him in a million years.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        It’s been said before though, Reagan had been working towards that 1980 victory since approx 1964. He spent a length of time about equal to Jon Stewart’s Daily Show run bringing the mountain to Mohammed

        No one on the outside today looks like they want to put forth the same effort of slow boring of hard boards.Report

  4. CK MacLeod says:

    No. None of it was ever even kind of remotely real. I’m willing to be convinced that there were flesh and blood people represented by the moving 2-D images on my various screens – despite all I’ve done to avoid them – and that actual human vocal chords were producing all of those annoying sounds, but that’s it. The Trump candidacy was over before it began, and, in reference to more realish candidates, someone who consistently pulled in 15% – 30% of the vote in primary after primary without ever winning any would still need to win a majority of convention delegates. After proportional allocation in the first half of the Republican schedule, if some candidate who had antagonized the field, the party, and the party-supporting media was still “first past the post” with a low plurality of die-hard recalcitrants, the rest of the party (and donors) would unite around actually more popular candidates, and ensure victories for them in the Winner Take All second half of the schedule. Added to the ca. 1/6 of Republican delegates who are un-pledged, it’s not a sure thing that a Realer Trump who’d gotten some earlier success would even get a good speaking slot, much less the nomination.

    …barring super-ebola pandemics and extraterrestrial mass assassination plots wiping out all other candidates.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to CK MacLeod says:

      I think one might want to mull over what it is that Trump is doing and saying that’s getting him 15 to 30% of the vote. Despite many of the things he’s actually doing and saying.

      In short, something he says or does resonates with up to a third of GOP primary voters.

      What is it? Why does it resonate? And what’s that say for the rest of the candidates, who either have to tap into that…or see a depressed base turn-out for another ‘RINO’ candidate?Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

        That they want a nationalized health care system, of course. And they’re very generously forgiving of people who donate money to Hillary Clinton.Report

        • Or that yelling “Mexicans!” loud enough excuses both of those.Report

        • I’m not so sure but what a white populist Republican could sell single-payer to a third of the Republican primary voters. How much heat has Trump really taken from the rank-and-file for saying that it works in Canada and Scotland?Report

        • Okay, at a computer now and can write more about Trump voters. There is no single Trump voter, so it’s several profiles (with some overlap between them):

          1. People who feel very passionately about immigration. The Trump voters I know fall into this category. Immigration trumps all else and the actually viable candidates are either sell-outs (Rubio, Jeb) or possible sell-outs (Walker).

          2. White supremacist sorts. Not just racists, though they fall into this category as well as the previous) but supremacists. Don’t know any of these personally, but boy howdy are some of the blogs running into this. It’s been interesting to watch. This is probably not a large group, but they are loud.

          3. People who vote with their viscerals. This is a lot of it. Trump makes them feel a certain way that they like to feel. Things suck, but we can be great again! Oh, and the GOP has sold us out! Everybody is selling us out! Those people! Those people.

          4. Apolitical types. In his higher-mark polls, a chunk of his support comes from people who are actually not really Republicans (or regular voters, registered vs likely differences exist). In the same way that Ron Paul drew support from such people. In fact, some indications are that he’s drawn support from Paulites. Which is interesting, when you think about it.

          5. Eccentric Republicans. Seriously, some Republicans are in favor of things like nationalized health care, or single-payer. They vote Republican because they hate liberals even though they might be in favor of raising the minimum wage greatly or are pro-choice. (I know a couple of Trump voters who support raising the minimum wage and are pro-choice… they’re not in #4 because they are Republicans, though.)

          Which reminds me, I need to see how ScarletNumber feels about Trump.Report

          • Oh, I forgot what may be the biggest group (or not):

            6. Don’t know who they are going to vote for, don’t care, aren’t paying attention yet, but are hearing Trump’s name a lot so sure.Report

            • CK MacLeod in reply to Will Truman says:

              Good analysis, but left out a group that overlaps with many of those, and even underlies some of them to different extents: Sick of it all people who like to get or imagine getting a rise from or pissing off one or more of 1) liberals, 2) The Establishment, 3) serious people, 4) pollsters, 5) superior people, 6) polite people, 7) educated people, 8) prigs, 9) hypocrites, 10) themselves: The Pink Flamingos Vote – except it’s a “vote” only in the broad sense, since none of these poll responses are “real” votes in elections, which is why “mulling it over” too much is probably a waste of time, unless it’s news to you that a sliver of the population is fairly cynical about all of the things that you take very seriously, though possibly serious about some things you consider irrelevant or beneath contempt.

              I confess, sometimes I myself get alienated enough from the whole thing that I could imagine telling a pollster I was a Trump supporter. I wouldn’t do it because I truly find him repugnant, so the words would have difficulty passing my lips, plus I’m not into empty self-contradictory gestures anymore, but, if I were just a teensy bit more over it all, or something, I might take some perverse pleasure in lamely and impotently tossing a Trump spitball at the whole thing. Even the real votes that I’ve most enjoyed casting over the course of my life have often been “finger-in-the-eye” votes – imagining the look on the face of some very well-meaning friend of a friend or ex-girlfriend or former ally etc. observing the evil I’d just done…Report

            • Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

              Yeah, don’t forget the standard 10% of people will vote for anyone who isn’t a known child molestor.Report

          • Road Scholar in reply to Will Truman says:

            Will Truman: 5. Eccentric Republicans.

            Regarding these people, there’s a substantial chunk — like at least 20% or so — of folks, who by any reasonable metric based on their policy preferences, are actually liberal but nonetheless self-identify as conservative and, I assume, at least nominally Republican. I don’t know whether it’s the Alex P. Keaton effect or a holdover from the very successful effort to demonize the Liberal brand in the Reagan era or what, but there it is. You also have something like 40% of libertarians and a similar number of communitarians (polar opposites to libertarians) self-identifying as conservative.

            And it’s not just a matter of normal human eccentricity: the numbers for actual conservatives self-identifying as liberal is only about 4% IIRC. There’s a distinct “brand bias” in one direction only. This is important to remember when looking at, for example, poll results categorized on the basis of a self-identification as liberal/conservative or Republican/Democrat.Report

            • Kim in reply to Road Scholar says:

              Are these conservadems? I mean, if you’re in favor of corporal punishment and torture and maybe uniforms in school, and you tell yourself that you’re “old school” about stuff — including dignity and respect to your elders… I can see where you’d come out with the whole “I’m conservative” idea.Report

          • Brandon Berg in reply to Will Truman says:

            In other words, he’s the Republican Bernie Sanders.Report

          • I also agree with pars of this taxonomy of Trump support, as I suggested yesterday.

            What I’m dying to figure out is how it figures into these polls, which I think are skilled professionals’ best attempts to produce an instrument that predicts who is going to vote in GOP primaries. Presumably that means in large part identifying who has voted in past GOP primaries. So how does the outside-GOP support figure into that sampling?

            Obviously, there are lots of ways. I’m just curious how what’s showing up as Trump support is filtering through the screens that try to structure the numbers to represent likely GOP primary voters.Report

            • A lot of the polls seem to not be doing a very good job of trying to screen voters by likelihood. I believe that a lot of them are vapor for the reasons that CK points out. Some of them may not even realize that they are incapable of voting in the GOP primary. Some of them may not actually be registered. A few people have said that polling outfits don’t start taking polls really serious until Labor Day, so we may be looking at some weak polling.

              One of the thoughts I’ve had lately, though, is how weak out polling in general seems to be. It seems to me in every poll, “Who did you vote for last time?” should be a question in the crosstabs. It’s really surprising to me that in the Exit Polls that isn’t a question (at least, not that they report.)

              If the GOP had half a brain, they’d be conducting their own polls to get into the mind of the Trump Voter, finding out just how many of them are legit, where they’re coming from, and their voting history (including how many of them voted for Perot, if they were around). Or maybe they are and we just don’t know about it. They wouldn’t be for public consumption, though you’d expect leaks.Report

  5. LeeEsq says:

    Romney was running unopposed. None of the other GOP candidates in 2012 was running a serious campaign. In this year, you have at least three very serious GOP candidates; Jeb Bush, Scot Walker, and Marc Rubio.Report

  6. zic says:

    I think it actually is possible.

    We’ve already got two election losses to a black guy.

    That’s no where as bad as losing to a girl. A party might never recover from that.Report

  7. Brad DeLong says:

    Yes, I am horrified. But what can I, a Democrat, do to help the situation? Other than pray that the Tea Party Sheeple will fall in line now that the Fox News megaphone has decided that Donald Trump is the Antichrist, that is…Report

  8. Autolukos says:

    It just isn’t true that “the huge variety of the people on the cray-cray fringe split up the whacko-bird primary votes over time.” Numbers to come are pulled from Wikipedia.

    What actually happened? Early polling saw a bunch of people grab the True Conservative mantle and lose it, but already in Iowa 84% of caucus-goers went for one of Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul. Rick Perry managed another 10%. In New Hampshire, 80% went for one of the first four, with Huntsman getting his moment in the sun by pulling in 17%. By South Carolina, the big four pulled in 98%.

    Of the three non-Romney candidates, Paul drew a lot of his support from people who wouldn’t otherwise have voted in the primary (though he probably did still pull more from the anyone-but-Romney camp than from Romney himself; still, I’m going to consider him less as a competitor for the right wing and more as an outlier with his own agenda). Santorum emerged as the right-wing champion. Gingrich was between Romney and Santorum.

    Even if we run Romney against the combined Gingrich-Santorum vote, Mitt does well early: he goes from the top vote-getter in 10 of 13 pre-Super Tuesday states to the top vote getter in 8 of 13. On Super Tuesday, it hurts him more, as he goes from winning 6 of 10 to 4 of 10. Gintorum does well in the remainder of March, adding Hawaii to Santorum’s actual wins in Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. At this point in the real campaign, Gingrich became less active; Santorum dropped out after Romney won Maryland (almost grabbing a majority) and Wisconsin (Gintorum squeaks this one out) in the next two primaries. Gingrich perked up long enough for Romney to grab majorities in five states on April 24 before dropping out for good.

    So, obviously, we can’t simply assume that removing one of Santorum and Gingrich would have handed his voters to the other; on the one hand, some would have gone to Romney (probably more if the race is Romney-Santorum than if its Romney-Gingrich), while on the other the dynamics of the race would have been different, as even a mildly better performance before Super Tuesday could have paid big dividends down the road for a challenger. Still, one thing we can conclude is that, where Romney did well, he mostly did quite well, usually beating the combined totals of the two serious challengers. The narrative of the right-wing vote being split handing Romney victories doesn’t hold up.

    A better version of the fragmentation argument is that the early circus allowed Romney to stockpile money from and build organization among moderates while more conservative candidates fragmented the right wing’s resources. Here, Trump’s willingness to lose money to gratify his ego definitely helps with the financial side of things, though it doesn’t suck up available donors the way Romney did. The fact that the GOP elite and right wing media, pro and anti-Romney strongholds respectively in 2012, mostly don’t like Trump bodes ill for the organization part of things, though.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Autolukos says:

      {{Whoa. That’s a good comment.}}Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Autolukos says:

      You’re leaving off the end results of Citizens United. I think that’s probably going to have a huge impact going forward. Not just Jeb’s months-long coordination with his SuperPAC to make sure they knew what to do.

      I mean the fact that anyone can luck into a sugar daddy who will bankroll them as long as they fight the good fight.

      The money doesn’t have to dry up, even if the cause is lost. Because it’s pocket change to some of the folks bankrolling a fellow crazy.Report

  9. trizzlor says:

    See stage 4 of Donald Trump’s Six Stages of Doom. The winnowing seems to happen fast enough that Trump-like eccentrics still don’t stand a chance. If he’s *very very* lucky, Trump will keep the 20% he has now and end up like Ron Paul 2012: a seemingly potent candidate by the numbers, yet zero chance of being president. I say this as a liberal voter, with disappointment.

    **and yes, I accidentally posted this into the other GOP primary thread**Report

  10. Kolohe says:

    I don’t think your common wisdom is correct, but more importantly, Trump is going to have the largest divergence between polling and vote percentage of any candidate since RON PAUL. (though I think trump’s poll numbers are going to come crashing down well before any voting happens and perhaps very,very,soon)

    Elections, and especially primary elections are about getting your people to show up to vote. And there’s never been any evidence that Trump has the competence or the patience to deal with the process of setting up an organization to be the machine on election day.Report

  11. Damon says:

    ” the thought that in 2015 a major political party in the US would put Trump atop their ticket should be completely and utterly horrifying to you.” You mean like Dukakis? I’d split my sides open laughing if Trump got the nomination.

    Can you imagine THE HORROR if he won?!! I’d die from lack of air from laughing so hard. And you thought the “birthers” were wackos. Imagine what you’d see from the losing party’s side after he did. Oh my, that’ll be entertainment! The circus comes to the Capital. Almost make me want to vote for him.Report

    • Doctor Jay in reply to Damon says:

      I think your remarks here perfectly encapsulate the appeal of Trump. He appeals to people who want to see the people he makes uncomfortable feel uncomfortable. It’s vicarious revenge on all of “those people” who, in their view, make their lives miserable. A very large percentage of the internet works this way these days.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        Or those lovely people who disable their emissions control systems on their giant trucks to blow black smoke. And I suspect often have testicles hanging from their bumper.

        Why? Because it “pisses off liberals”.

        I have to admit, having seen one of those, I never felt anger. I felt curiosity. “That’s an awful lot of work just to damage what’s go to be low mileage already. Gas is still 2.50+, and you’re probably needing the top-end stuff cause that looks like V8 so it’s probably three bucks or more. Expensive” followed by “And you’re spending that to…make someone you’ll never actually see or talk to angry? Like, it’s all to make imaginary anger happen? Sad.”Report

        • Damon in reply to Morat20 says:


          Allegedly there was a study due that stated the most “asshole-ish” drivers were drivers of Prius’s and BMWs Given that it’s entirely likely that, out in the more rural areas, you’re more likely to find a Prius than a BMW, and it being a Liberal Signaling vehicle, it embodies all that the “big truck” driving guy despises, I’m sure you can understand the reaction. 🙂

          Besides, most Prius drivers are Clovers too.Report

          • zic in reply to Damon says:

            On the Prius:

            I drive a hybrid now, too. And one thing you become really aware of is that coming to a complete stop and then moving quickly uses a lot of gas. It’s almost better to keep rolling; but slowly.

            Now I don’t know if this driving behavior is all of the ‘asshole’ rep Prius drivers have, but I’d guess it’s a large subset, and the intent isn’t to be a jerk, so much as to drive using less fuel, which in itself makes some folk think you’re being an asshole to begin with because you’ve opted out of the Pick-Up Truck Lifestyle™. The driving technique that offends is to not come to a complete stop, (so driver’s might try to grab openings a complete stop would suggest be avoided) and then accelerate slowly because that’s how you save gas; making the cars behind you have to break a lot, and so wasting their gas. Total asshat driving, too. If the full stop predicated not going, the rolling stop, too, requires the same etiquette.

            But it is recursive, and even my comment’s an iteration.Report

            • Kim in reply to zic says:

              Not using your brakes all the time is simply good driving.
              ’round here, there’s always a mountain or two, and you NEED to learn how to downshift, no matter the vehicle. Half the time you’ve got a hairpin at the bottom, and you need your brakes to get you through it. They may not be worth anything if you’ve been riding them the whole way down.Report

            • Damon in reply to zic says:

              @kim @zic

              Actually the “asshole-ish” behavior, which, IIRC was not defined in the study, I interpreted to mean behavior such as

              1) the assumption that if I turn on my blinker and move over I have the right of way, even if you are currently occupying the physical space I want to move into.

              2) driving 15 miles below the posted speed limit in any lane but the far right lane.

              3) failure to use the gas pedal when driving up a hill, thus allowing your vehicle to go from something near the speed limit to 15-20 mph below the speed limit.

              4) failure to move right when others want to pass you, then speeding up to block people going around you on the right so they cannot pass.

              Stuff like that. Which I see in non prius drivers as well. Maybe it’s the alleged “self righteousness” signaling of the prius. Dunno.Report

          • Kim in reply to Damon says:

            Yeah…. I know exactly how studies like that work — it’s signaling and self-report bias the whole way down.

            The actual dangerous asshole drivers are women in minivans, because they’re prone to inattention (kids screaming in the backseat) and panic.

            Priuses are a bit of a danger to walkers and bicyclists, because they can run SILENT. But so long as you’re aware of that, you use your horn, and don’t run over the pedestrians.Report

  12. KatherineMW says:

    No. This is more like the Santorum campaign or one of the other flash-in-a-pan ones in 2012 than the Romney campaign. It’ll get attention for a little while, and then it will fall apart.

    He’s alienated the financial backers, and he’s alienated Fox News. He’s got a higher unfavourable rating (37%) among Republican and Republican-leaning voters than any other candidate in the primary, while his favourables are hovering around the same level as Bush, Huckabee, and Rubio. And the longer his campaign goes on, the more people he will alienate. There are six months until the primaries begin; a candidate who’s this over-the-top, and peaks this early, will never last that long.

    My guess is that Jeb Bush is the Romney of this campaign. He’s the establishment figure, he already has the neocons and the financial backers supporting him, and he’s got a pile of cash on top of that financial backing.Report

  13. Road Scholar says:

    Interesting data point:

    With 23 percent support from registered Republicans, Trump leads his closest rival by 10 points. Trailing behind Trump is Texas Sen. Ted Cruz with 13 points. In one of the more surprising results of the poll was Ben Carson, who finished in third with 11 percent of the vote. Rounding out the top five was Carly Fiorina, who shined in the “Happy Hour” debate, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, both polling with six percent support.

    But it gets better…

    The first question during the debate was a general question asked to all candidates. When asked whether they would pledge not to run as an independent if they didn’t get the nomination, Trump was the only one who said he would still consider it. The NBC News poll shows that 54 percent of Trump supporters said they would still vote for him even if he broke away from the party and ran as an independent.

    So, if I’m doing the math right, and with all the standard caveats of it being early days etc, after the first “debate” about one in eight Republicans say they would vote for Trump if he ran as an independent. That’s gotta be giving some folks in the RNC cold night sweats. Cuz, you know, that’s such a Trumpy thing to do.

    Now you gotta ask yourself: What’s going through the mind of the Hair Apparent? Is he under the delusion that he can actually win? Or is he reasonably competent at math and doing this for some other very Trumpy reason? Now I may very well be reading this all wrong but I don’t see him just giving up and walking away just because he fails to secure the Republican nomination. His ego has enjoyed far too much validation for that.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to Road Scholar says:

      At this point, I’ve come to actually believe what the guys says when he’s at his most outrageous, because he clearly lacks a filter. (e.g.: he casually notes in a nationally televised debate that he bribes politicians.)

      So I go back to what he said about why he wouldn’t commit to the GOP — because, as to use his words, he didn’t want to give up his leverage.

      I don’t think he’s dim enough to think that he can win the White House. I think that he got into this race wanting to leverage whatever votes and support he could muster into… something. I don’t know what that something is, exactly, but I don’t think it’s the White House.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to Road Scholar says:

      Also, does anyone here know anything about online polls of this sort? In terms of accuracy, are they more similar to a telephone poll when done by this kind organization, or are they more similar to when Fox puts up a quick-poll question about whether Obama’s latest speech was good or terrible on their website?

      Because if it’s considered to be accurate, I think @road-scholar is right. This is very, very very bad news for the GOP.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        It’s not an open poll the same way that a Drudge Poll is open. On the other hand, it has a limited track record here to learn and correct from. It’s basically tacked on to consumer polls (What kind of jelly do you like?) done by SurveyMonkey.

        If done right, online polls can be more accurate than phone polls (SurveyMonkey was the only one to get the UK results right). The only previous poll of this type that was done, though, was an outlier. It had a high sampling of “Republican-leaning independents” which is a subgroup where Trump does abnormally well.

        So while the results here shouldn’t be dismissed, we should wait for a follow-up. Someone said that the PPP numbers are expected to show a dip for Trump, but not the dip some may have been expecting or hoping for.Report

    • I’m waiting to see a poll with more typical methodology before I put too much weight on that. Not just because Trump is still at 23%, but because of the down ballot. If that poll is an accurate gauge of where things stand, it changes everything. And here less because of Trump and more because of down-ballot. It means Jeb is likely dead in the water and Walker isn’t looking too hot. It’s good news for Cruz and Rubio, and maybe Carly, but that’s about it. Oh, and it’s potentially very good for Mitt Romney should he want to give the race another look.

      And for Trump, well this didn’t work, so if it continues not to work then try something else. (The next phase is to ignore him.) If that doesn’t work, then let it die on its own or at least hope it does.

      At some point… there’s nothing to be done, though. The people that love Trump that much aren’t a workable part of the coalition. I’m not sure how that’s a gap that can be bridged. If Trump successfully runs a third party campaign then they likely lose. You hope that eventually people just get bored with it, and/or that Trump doesn’t do it, and/or that Trump is organizationally incapable of setting up such a campaign (thanking the good graces that there is no Reform Party husk for him to hop in to).

      But the poll uses a different methodology and its previous iteration over-counted independents. So wait and see. It’s August the year before the election.

      (I do have to admit, while a part of me is not pleased about all of this, another part of me is. Before the shift started happening after 2012, I was envisioning a “Cruz ’16 Because Let’s Just Get This Over With”… sacrificing the election for a more important lesson. This has at least the potential to serve that function. The logical conclusions of a lot of the maneuverings is most easily seen now. As TNR sorta pointed out, the dangers of the “Appeal to the missing white voter” tactic is taking a big hit right now. Good. Even if all of this is a blip on the radar, it’s one that’s likely to be remembered. Again, good.)Report

  14. Michael Drew says:

    It seems like there are at least two different kinds of impossible here. There’s Dan Gilmore impossible. He’s just not going to get the support, regardless. It may not be literally impossible, but it’s not importantly different.

    Ad then it seems like there’s this other kind of impossible that causes people to simply say outright that it’s impossible that the current frontrunner will win no matter what his support levels at any point of the race look like, where if it were literally any other candidate, they would not say that (even though it might actually be the case for some other candidates).

    I tend to think Trump is at least the second kind of impossible. (I think he’s very, very improbable in the Dan Gilmore sense, too, i.e. it;s that unlikely that his support holds up and translates into actually winning primaries and so forth… but I wouldn’t presently put that probability at 0%.)

    What I’m unclear on is exactly what the second kind of impossible consists of. What if Trump started winning primaries this winter and just didn’t look back? I suspect it would still be impossible for him to win. Some action would be to simply not nominate him. These contingencies always are out there – indeed, during the Obama-Clinton wars, was it not established that no delegates are truly, utterly, completely committed. I’m not sure if the bonds of delegate to pledged candidate are stronger in the GOP or weaker. But I think they’re still not absolute. Ultimately, I think the GOP won;t nominate Trump, period. 99%+ probability we never get anywhere close to finding out.

    But I do wonder what kinds of impossibility those who are willing t say it is impossible see wrt to Trump at this point. Dan Gilmore impossibility, certainly. Other kinds too?Report

    • If there is no contingency now, there will be by 2020. I am not aware of a current one, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t. The most likely is that they can forfeit the spot on party ballots and it’s people can get to work putting out “third party candidacy.” It depends on how easy or difficult it is for a party to remove it’s spot on the ballot. I’m guessing not easy, though. So by 2020, something.Report