Why the D’s should thank God Almighty for the R’s


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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61 Responses

  1. Avatar Will Truman says:

    It’s funny that you should post this now, as Rubio’s nomination viability has not been higher in this cycle. Most of those ahead of him in the polls aren’t viable.

    It’s most likely down to Jeb, Rubio, and Cruz. I think Rubio’s odds there are not bad at all.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      I just heard an NPR interview with him (last Friday, I think) and he sounded great. He even navigated the Trump! issue pretty well in that he didn’t play up his earlier accusation that Trump is touchy and sensitive and instead just admitted that he said it and moved on to some of the differences between them in terms of policy. I especially liked the way he phrased his views about the Iran Nuclear deal. I still think he’s gonna make a move, and I still don’t see Jeb actually creating any Jebmentum. He’s just too bland and inept. (So my belief that he’ll only win if other folks lose is still operative!!!)

      I watched Colbert’s interview of Trump the other day and have to say he comes across as much more personable than I expected. He rolled with the punches, dished out a few of his own playfully enough, etc. I don’t think he’s even close to peaking, but a lot will depend on how well he navigates the fickle nature of The Base now that he’s moving into Policy mode.

      And adding onto the Trump suff: I think the fact that he’s selffinancing his campaign, or atleast is on record saying he’s not gonna take any monetary support from big business or other key players, is – if he actually follows thru on that – a huge selling point for him, and one I’d imagine we’ll hear alot more of as things move forward.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      Agreed that it’s not been higher than now.

      Still, I do not believe that the base is going to allow someone who supports BLM, actively talks about reaching across the aisle, is open to immigration reform, and supports the barrage of liberal-friendly government policies that Rubio supports to get the nod.

      On top of everything else — and I admit here I am likely being uncharitable, and FWIW I sincerely hope I’m proven wrong — he hasn’t gone the Ted Cruz route of “American”-izing his image. There’s been no jettisoning of the Hispanic sounding name or attempts to get rid of the Hispanic accent, and I just don’t believe that can fly right now in GOP circles.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Well, if you keep throwin out predictions you’re bound to be right ONE of these times. 🙂Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

          Which predictions are you thinking of? (That Trump would quickly fame out is the obvious one that comes to my own mind.)Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            Yeah. The repeated predictions that Trump will flame out. 🙂

            I hear ya about the likelihood of Rubio winning the primary given the angrybigotedwhiteguy-vibe of the base, tho. He’s gotta make up those lost votes somewhere.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Everybody is disqualified for some reason or another, but somebody has to win…Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Well I hope you’re right because I concur that Rubio is the biggest threat to Hillary that the GOP has on slate so I very much hope his own base savages him and drives him out of the race.

        Now I wouldn’t go so far as to say Rubio has an advantage over Hillary. There’s been some damage done to his party, he’s had to flipflop entirely on immigration to re-beg his way back into the GOP’s tent and the Dems have a mild baked in advantage in presidential races but he’s by far the best the GOP has to offer.

        Personally I’m rooting for Jeb!, of course, since I think Hillary would beat him like a drum in the general. He’s certainly not been covering himself in glory but he has an awful lot of money, powerful friends and staying power. That’s not nothing; it got his brother the nomination after all.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe says:

          People liked W on a personal level more than they did his dad or his brother.Report

          • Avatar North says:

            True that, he had establishment support, money and gave off the comforting vibe that if you enjoyed a beer with him you wouldn’t be the dimmest person on the porch and that is plenty personable, especially if God(ess?) damned Al Gore is the contrast.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        Well that – I don’t pretend to understand US politics, or Republican ones specifically. But it seems to me the deal with Trump is not so much that he has much chance of being nominated, but that something like 1/4 of registered Republicans like him more than any other candidate, and they’re going to vote for someone eventually. So, of the candidates who seem remotely viable for other reasons, who is going to mobilize the Trump contingent is a big question.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          A lot of them won’t end up voting in the primary. I expect the rest to scatter. The possibility that Cruz could capitalize is why I have him in the top three, though.

          Same with Carson,though I think Cruz is less likely to capitalize there.

          I expect Rubio or Jeb to get the bulk of Fiorina support.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 says:

            You do realize that fully half the GOP primary voters appear to be in the “crazy” group? Trump and Carson alone make up something like 40% together.

            Winnowing the field is all well and good, but when half your voters are attracted to crazy like moths to flame……I don’t think they’ll go quietly home without voting in the primary.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              I think a fair amount of Trump supporters will stay home because they’re not actually people that vote unless particularly inspired and I don’t think any of the other candidates will inspire them. Others will just move on to a traditional candidate. The more committed and ideological will line up behind Cruz, probably.

              Carson voters are a different sort and I suspect will behave differently. Less likely to stay home, more likely to fall in line.

              If the “crazy faction” as you put it all get behind Cruz or someone, then Cruz wins. Do you think that’s going to happen? Do you think Carson and Trump are likely to get lots and lots of votes once the primary is underway? I think their support is likely to fade with time. If not before Iowa/NH, then shortly after.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m just pointing out that 50%+ of the GOP base has lined up behind crazy people, absolutely spurning anyone from the ‘Establishment’. (And frankly spurning anyone with even a hint of actual electability).

                However it turns out NOW, that seems to be a real, long-term problem.

                Maybe you get lucky again this year, and everyone’s stuck with Jeb or Rubio who, to paraphrase Ghostbusters, won’t scare the straights.

                But that still doesn’t get you past the fact that half or more of the GOP primary voters wanted a crazy person. Maybe they never could find the right crazy person, but they all agreed “crazy” was a big seller on the menu.

                That…that’s a real freaking problem, and laser focusing on whether all the crazy people self destruct (pretty common with crazy people) does not get rid of all those crazy voters demanding crazy things.

                So I go back to the point where, say, you’ve got Rubio or Jeb up there. Do they act crazy for the base? Or does the base turn out in the numbers one would expect from people who got exactly nothing of what they wanted.

                There’s a reason the GOP has had to run so consistently against Democrats, had to ratchet up “OMG KENYAN SOCIALIST LIBERAL MUSLIM GUN THIEF” and point and yell at Obama. Because god help them, when they run on what their voters want, America recoils in horror.

                Assuming their voters can ever agree. Tax cuts on the rich don’t seem to excite them as much.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                All of which, to whatever extent true or not, has jack crap to do with what I was talking about.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                I think Wills’ point is closer to this:
                -There are people who actually get off their ass to vote in primaries (minority).
                -There are people who don’t (majority).
                -Pollsters reach both of these groups of people when they conduct polls. They try to screen the non-voters out through questions like “are you going to vote in the primary” but that’s a very imperfect filter so a lot of actual non-voters get polled.
                -Normally this is not a huge problem because the low engagement non-voters generally voiced similar opinions to the high engagement voters. This cycle, however, Trump is romping to a victory in the low engagement group but it’s unclear if the actual voting groups opinions match that.
                -Trump supporters are significantly more likely to be part of the non-voters folks that the pollsters interview.
                -So if Trump flames out that does not translate as so much actual support going to anyone else because much of Trumps putative support was phantasmal in the first place.

                This is close to my own opinion (or maybe I’m projecting mine onto Trumwill) that Trumps support is non-serious and won’t translate into actual primary votes. Iowa and New Hampshire should tell us what we need to know. If Trump (as I expect) turns in a performance that’s seriously lower than his polling suggests it’ll be over for him. He’ll be exposed as a phantom candidate and with that perception crippled his popularity will collapse.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                This will be the first Presidential election cycle since Colorado started sending mail-in ballots to all registered voters. I’m curious to see if it affects turnout in the primaries.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I reckon it won’t.

                Showing up for the primaries is its own reward. Remove that, and all you’ve got is the papers you threw on the end table last week and wait where are they now HONEY??? WHERE’S THE BALLOT???Report

              • Avatar North says:

                That should be very interesting.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Oh, I gotcha.

                Yeah, I disagree. I think the crazies are the base — the ones that turn out to vote — not some people only involved because of a personality or a firm attraction to a specific candidate.

                I don’t think you can hit 50%+ of Registered Republicans preferring the crazy otherwise. Because it’s not just Trump — it’s Carson. It’s Cruz. It’s the fact that in 2012, you had crazy after crazy hitting the top until they flamed out (as crazy does, because crazy can’t handle the long run).

                There’s still the fact that fully half the registered Republicans want a crazy person to deal with.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Well we should know by the time the contest is heating up in South Carolina which way it is.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Yes to this. But one thing to say in defense of Morat’s view is that the primary field this year, unlike other years, isn’t comprised entirely of clowns, charlatans, and grifters. Yet Carson and Trump (who as far as I can tell are neither charlatans nor grifters) account for over 50% of the first-choice picks. On the other hand, the fact that Carson and Trump are competing against some quality competition and still leading in lots of polls projects an image of respectability (not quite the right word) to the views upon which they’ve each gained traction.

                So Morat is right that this primary feels alot like the last one insofar as the base is crazy, but he’s perhaps wrong in thinking that the base (and the candidates they support) will continue to be viewed as crazy by the establishment and outsiders. Slowly but surely, those “crazy” views are gaining just as much traction as Carson and Trump have established.


              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                I am going to reserve judgment on the meaning of polls until we get at least to the point where historical winners were leading in the polls.

                I expect the Newtorum wing if the party to have a reasonably strong showing, and that they will lose. I think this is true despite the fact that they had the best opportunity to win in recent memory and despite Jeb and Rubio being incapable of making any serious effort to coopt Trump’s signature issue.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                “I am going to reserve judgment on the meaning of polls until we get at least to the point where historical winners were leading in the polls.”

                I think that is a mistake.

                Like you, I still don’t think Trump has a snowball’s chance in hell at getting the nod. (And man oh man, if he does I am never going to hear the end of it from Still.) But it’s pretty far from meaningless.

                We can debate what actual long term meaning is, obviously, but any time you have something this far out of whack from what we’ve seen for.. well, for at least a couple of generation get this much ground support for this long, it clearly has meaning.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

                Oops, just now realizing I read your comment wrong.

                Never mind. My bad.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                {{I already have a comment written and saved so drenched in GLOAT it’ll knock your socks off!}}Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Putting all Trump supporters, or for that matter, all “crazies” in the same category, and treating them as an amorpheous blob, is erroneous. One of the more interesting things about the Trump phenomenon is how heterogeneous his supporters are.

                That Trump pulls disproportionately from marginal Republicans (ie people that haven’t voted in the GOP primary and are unlikely to) has been documented in the polls. That’s not where all or most of his support comes from, but a fair amount of it does. Those people are unlikely to vote at all in the primaries.

                Other Trump supporters are bandwagonners who will jump on a different bandwagon.

                Still other Trump supporters just haven’t thought that much about it and they say “Trump” because that’s the name they’re hearing everywhere, and they’ll move on when they start thinking about it.

                And some are committed. Those are most likely to go to Cruz.

                How much is going in each direction? Not a friggin’ clue. A friggin’ clue, nobody has one.

                There is no singular profile for a “Trump supporter” and that’s why I am pretty sure that some will stay home and others will scatter.

                (And that’s before we get into the thing where Trump supporters and Carson supporters are not interchangeable or an amorpheous blob.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                As someone who (it seems!) is tied into the right/GOP/conservative sphere pretty well, can you speak to who the folks on that side of the aisle see as the “crazies” on the left? Do they see Bernie Sanders the way the left sees Trump? Or is he Carson? Cruz? Paul?

                Do they think of Clinton as those of us on the left tend to think of Jeb or Rubio (i.e., an ideological opponent but one with legitimacy)? I realize she may not fit so neatly into the box given her very varied history.

                But I’d be curious to know how the “other side” thinks.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                THe answer to that is a function of Cleek’s Law:

                The craziness of the candidate is determined by the number of policies presented, their proximity to pure “Kenyan Muslim Socialism”,and the speed (measured in time) of the reflexive opposition. Updated daily, of course. It’s a complicated mathematical formula requiring higher level math and all. Schilling might be your man for this. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Alan Scott says:

                Yeah, the crazies are probably not going to vote at all if they don’t vote for Trump.

                But do we really think Trump is going to officially leave the race?

                Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign was effectively over by the end of January, and he officially dropped out mid-February. And yet he still won Vermont in March.

                People voting for Trump won’t care that he’s not really in the running. They’ll just care that those Damned illegals keep getting into their garden and chewing up the Azaleas. And if he hasn’t flamed out by the first few weeks of the primary season, he’s probably going to be grabbing a pretty significant chunk of delegates, even if his actual chance of winning is zero. That means Trump delegates have the potential to be king-makers if the winner isn’t clear heading into the convention.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                I don’t know if Trump will leave the race or not. He won’t leave to be gracious, but might to avoid getting his ass kicked, depending on how things are looking in a couple months.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Does anyone know if Trump has done the work of getting ballot access past the first four contests or so? Or even past the first two?Report

              • Avatar North says:

                IIRC he threw quite a bundle of money at the problem when he caught fire in August, I believe he’s set up for the ballot in most of the states and definitely all of the early ones.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                That means Trump delegates have the potential to be king-makers if the winner isn’t clear heading into the convention.

                Now that suggestion is one of the few I’ve see that actually explains what Trump is doing in this race. I mean, we *know* he doesn’t want to actually be president, and him doing this for PR seems a bit absurd.

                But I think the idea that he’s trying to play king-maker….that he’s either planning on taking a bunch of delegates to the convention, or possibly drop out and hand support over to someone else…well, that makes sense.

                I mean, hell, we’ve already heard him talk about how he had to pay off Clinton to get her to attend his wedding, right? How much does he think ‘handing the next president the Republican nomination’ is worth in favors?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                It only really works if they stick together as a block. Given the lack of uniformity of his supporters, that’s unlikely.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                I just said it makes sense as a motive for Trump, I didn’t say it would *work*. 😉

                Trump has always been a bit of an idiot.Report

      • Avatar krogerfoot says:

        On top of everything else — and I admit here I am likely being uncharitable, and FWIW I sincerely hope I’m proven wrong — he hasn’t gone the Ted Cruz route of “American”-izing his image.

        I don’t think Ted Cruz was raised in a Spanish-speaking household, and doesn’t seem to have taken any steps to Americanize himself any more than any other Canadian-born Texan. I think I remember David Dewhurst, the guy he trounced in the Senatorial election, challenging Cruz to a Spanish-language debate, which he declined. I would not be terribly surprised if Cruz speaks Spanish just fine, though, if not as fluently as Rubio or Jeb Bush.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew says:

          If Cruz speaks Spanish at all, which I’m guessing is absolutely yes, I’m willing to bet his is more fluent than Bush’s. Bush is fluent by most measures I’d say, yes, but still somewhat halting, like a good college foreign-language student who has maybe spent a semester in a Spanish-speaking country. That’s what it sounds like to me, anyway.Report

          • Avatar krogerfoot says:

            Bush has a more pronounced accent when speaking extemporaneously than what I remember when hearing him give a speech probably 20 years ago now—listening to his interview here, the two things that strike me are 1) he has an American accent that he’s not trying to hide (his affirmation sí, sí sounds exactly like how he’d say “see, sea” in English), and 2) he is completely fluent by any measure (“Jeb Bush critica en un perfecto español las cagadas de Donald Trump”).

            Again, I wouldn’t be willing to bet that Bush’s Spanish is “better” than Cruz’s. At Bush’s level of fluency, the exercise wouldn’t make much sense.Report

  2. Avatar trizzlor says:

    I’ve always thought Rubio did wonderfully in interviews, all the way back to him running circles around Jon Stewart on Republican obstruction in 2012. But for some reason he comes off like a cut-rate infomercial pitch-man to me in debates. It’s like two different Marcos. The other thing to keep in mind with him is that a lot of the stuff that makes him likeable to you and me is stuff that he’s either entirely walked back or buried very deep. That gives him a chance to survive the primary if he can sell the new red-meat persona, but he seems to be pretty mediocre at either grabbing the spotlight on the debate stage (like Fiorina does) or during the lull in between (like Cruz does).Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Flip-flopping only matters if it’s a Democratic politician doing it.Report

    • Avatar krogerfoot says:

      I’ve always thought Rubio did wonderfully in interviews, all the way back to him running circles around Jon Stewart on Republican obstruction in 2012.

      I remember being exasperated that Stewart seemed unprepared to handle Rubio’s rope-a-dope strategy. “Gee whiz, we’re trying to govern, but the Democrats block everything we do . . .” Stewart seemed flummoxed by the fact that Rubio didn’t seem, personally, to be a bad guy. I think the same thing, sometimes; I like to imagine Rubio is one of the Rs who have to remind themselves to believe in six impossible things before breakfast each day, or say goodbye to their career.Report

  3. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    If Akin did not exist, the Democrats would have had to invent him.

    Oh wait, that’s pretty much what happened…Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      Have you ever noticed that Todd Akin hasn’t been brought up by anyone other than you in, I want to say, pretty much forever?

      Your brining him up all the time and insisting the the rest of us are talking about him reminds me of notme when he comes here everyday and posts about how he’s not allowed to post here because he’s a conservative.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC says:

        I had to Google to remind myself of who the hell Todd Akin even was.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck says:

        “Have you ever noticed that Todd Akin hasn’t been brought up by anyone other than you in, I want to say, pretty much forever? ”

        Man, that George W. Bush guy, he hasn’t been President for, what, like a whole bunch of years now. Why do people still talk about him? He’s, like, yesterday’s news, man.

        I keep bringing Akin up because, at the time, he was considered emblematic of every Republican’s thoughts about women’s rights. And that’s entirely apropos to discussions of How Awful Those Republicans Area, Let’s Look At This Story About One.

        Hell, if Akin doesn’t matter and didn’t really ever and everyone has forgotten about him, then why should this asshole on Fox News be worth looking at? In a couple of months he won’t matter and wouldn’t have really ever and everyone will have forgotten about him.Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

          DenstiyDuck, Repeatedly, circa 2013 — October 4,2015: Those liberals are always going on about Todd Akin like he’s important! That shows you how stupid liberals are!

          Me, Yesterday: Um… No one’s talking about Akin but you, dude.

          DensityDuck, today: Those liberals are always refusing to admit how important that Todd Akin is! That shows you how stupid liberals are!

          That is some ninja-level goal post flipping.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      How’d the Dems invent Akin? If we did then why haven’t we done so again? Maybe we’re saving that for the general?Report