Morning Ed: Politics {2016.01.19.T}

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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19 Responses

  1. Kazzy says:

    Jay’s piece was interesting. It would seem that Rubio’s background — what with all the boot strap pulling and lack of “Ivory Tower indoctrination” — would make him more amenable to the base. And yet, he’s not. SO what is it the base is really looking for in a candidate? Why does Cruz — man of the elite, not man of the people — appeal to them so?Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

      I think a combination of perceived youth/age is some of it. The degree to which he has embraced his ethnicity (and, by extension, multiculturalism) is another part of it, which for some makes him a tool of those who want to disrupt their preferred society.

      That being said, it was the base that put him in office to begin with. So that’s at best a partial explanation. The other part might be the extent to which he has been embraced by the wrong people within the party.

      Or the appearance thereof. Which is one of the really funny thing. Rubio gives the appearance of being younger than Cruz, but isn’t. Rubio’s claim on being a product of America is as good as or stronger than Cruz’s. Rubio’s support from the establishment is, up to this point, underwhelming. But these things are the narrative.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

        Interesting, Will. I was surprised to learn of their respective ages.

        However, this stands out from your comment: “The degree to which he has embraced his ethnicity (and, by extension, multiculturalism) is another part of it, which for some makes him a tool of those who want to disrupt their preferred society.”

        I’m not sure how to read this as anything other than bigotry in action.

        I almost included in my initial comment a discussion of Cruz and Rubio’s race/ethnicity. I’m making a number of assumptions but Cruz certainly “presents” as much more white than Rubio is. And, in fact, it is very possible that he is “white” insofar as he has exclusively or primarily white European ancestry. You also have his name, shortening Rafael Edward to Ted and a much less “Spanish-sounding” last name. Rubio, on the other hand, has a much more “Spanish-sounding” name and, based simply on “phenotype”, probably has African and/or aboriginal ancestry in his lineage. Now, some of this just is: Cruz’s last name is what it is and Rubio’s is what it is and both gentleman’s skin and hair are what they are. And some of it is by choice: Ted’s first name and many of the things that Jay discussed. I will not speculate as to the motivation for their choices; they are their personal choices to make and ought to be respected.

        But it strikes me that the actual of-the-people but much-more-Latino-y candidate is being held at arm’s length while the Harvard-lawyer*-elitist but much-whiter-candidate is being embraced.

        And it reminds me of all the folks who rally around Trump’s comments about Muslims and Mexicans despite him abandoning many major conservative talking points (most notably Obama-care).

        This leads me to believe that the support surrounding these three candidates has much more to do with identity politics and the like than anyone wants to admit.

        Which doesn’t make conservatives in general or the folks who support/resist Trump, Cruz, and Rubio unique in any way. But I tend to focus on actions over words and the relative support each of these candidates enjoys among Republicans/conservatives tells me that race and ethnicity — of the voter, of the candidate, and of the people the candidate purports to support — matter a great deal.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Will Truman says:

        @will-truman “That being said, it was the base that put him in office to begin with. So that’s at best a partial explanation.”

        Maybe. But I think it means something different to be hispanic in Texas conservative circles today — and for that matter, in Florida’s — than it does in Alabama’s, Ohio’s, and Idaho’s. Which is to say that outside of Texas and Florida and maybe a half dozen other states, I don’t know that the base elects Rubio.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          Idaho elected Labrador.Report

          • Labroador’s an odd cat: Puerto Rican, Mormon, Republican. The Idaho Republican officials are an interesting bunch. The governor favors Medicaid expansion, and this month asked the legislature, which opposes expansion, to instead approve an all-state-funded plan to cover the same group of people. The attorney general seems to be doing his best to hold the federal Department of Energy’s feet to the fire over cleaning up the nuclear crap at the Idaho National Lab.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:

      I think it shows the demographic problems of the GOP. Cruz appeals to more GOP voters because they are old and angry. They don’t want a Tupac and Lil’Wayne quoting guy.

      The number of young pop culture loving conservatives is probably very small. Or relatively small. Young left-leaning voters are not buying the “Hip-Hop is really conservative” memeReport

      • Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Yes and no, @saul-degraw . I doubt Tupac or Weezy are giving Rubio much traction with that contingent. And yet I bet that even these “cultural” elements aside, a segment of the conservative base exists that would choose the fair-skinned Latino guy named Ted over the olive-skinned Latino guy named Marco based primarily on those differences.

        As Will notes, Rubio “embracing” his ethnicity makes him a “tool” of those who want to “disrupt their preferred society”. What is their preferred society? One in which all Latinos look and act like Ted Cruz?

        For what it’s worth, I don’t know that we can conclude that Ted Cruz does not embrace his ethnicity. This is what I meant above about not speculating on his motivations. Latinos are not a monolith. But Rubio surely looks, sounds, and seems much more like the sort of Latino that the people Will is discussing would cross the street upon seeing. And that might make all the difference.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:

          My opinion on the questions in your second para is yes and yes.

          I am always reminded of Conor’s Pomo cons with people like Rubio and JayfromBrooklyn. They want the fruits of secular society but to keep traditional values. I am not sure this is possible.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Kazzy says:

      Rubio was squishy on immigration for one. Like Hillary’s war vote, he’s got to spend his time in the wilderness to prove he’s learned his lesson. (Hillary sucked up her primary loss and spend several years supporting Obama whole heartedly, for instance).

      Rubio also doesn’t, in my opinion, sell the crazy well enough. He doesn’t have that passionate sincerity (fake or otherwise). I suspect he may be coming off as….Romney-esque. You know, the squishy intellectual type that might be swayed by “arguments” or “make deals”.

      And lastly, and this is sadly legitimate — he’s short, slight, and doesn’t project the alpha-male vibe the GOP is currently hankering for. He is, basically, not very Putin-like. And the GOP’s base wants a Putin-type.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

        If you talk to anti-immigraiton folks, Cruz is considered squishy on immigration, too. That’s something that’s hobbling Rubio’s campaign, but not especially to Cruz’s benefit.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:


          Has Trump “shifted the middle” on immigration? Is anyone who falls short of using Mexican slave labor to build a wall considered “soft”?Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

          Yeah, but Cruz has that passion stuff down. You can sell a lot of flip-flopping if you come at it full bore. You have to sound like you really, really mean it.

          Not in a “white paper changed my mind” way (that’s poll following! Real men don’t poll follow!), but in the “Lord Almighty, I have seen the light” way.

          The reformed sinner whose zeal is now second to none, you know?

          Cruz can sell the red meat in a way Rubio can’t. Romney couldn’t either. Whether they believe it not, they don’t convey that sort of angry passion that I think is a keystone to the GOP primaries these days.

          They’re sick of pandering. Of being told “This time, we’ll really do it! Just vote!”. They want a true believer.

          Rubio…doesn’t feel like one. Doesn’t have that vibe. I suspect, deep down, primary voters worry he’s the type to compromise, when they’re looking for a candidate who will burn down the building if he doesn’t get his way.Report

          • Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

            The reformed sinner whose zeal is now second to none, you know?

            Except that, from the anti-immigration people I know, it doesn’t actually seemed to have worked. If it had, he might be the prohibitive favorite right now.Report

            • Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

              Well, Cruz is a bit handicapped by being considered a giant a**hole by everyone who has ever met him.

              That’s probably not going to have a direct effect (the voters haven’t met him, not personally) but the indirect effect is probably pretty handicapping, especially in a primary.

              Not even active sabotage — politics is a lot of networking, whether personally, or acquiring talented staff, getting the names of good resources for various states, cooperation from state or city or county party organizations….

              All you need to run is a political Sugar Daddy, of course. Cruz has, by and large, been missing big endorsements, big names, and the usual kind of individual pushes (from within the party) that push you into the big leagues. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find he’s been facing the same problems when assembling staff, trying to coordinate on the ground, etc.

              A lot of Senators would rather see practically anyone else win the primary. That’s a lot of indirect weight.Report

    • Mo in reply to Kazzy says:

      I think it’s affect and willingness to work across the aisle. Rubio is hopeful and understands the value of giving up a little to get a lot. The votes want someone who is mad and will win compromises based purely on force of will (see: the sailors that got picked up by Iran should have opened fire and been killed instead of getting captured). Ignore the fact that Cruz hasn’t accomplished anything in the Senate.Report

  2. Alan Scott says:

    That might be the first time I read a Mark Steyn piece. It feels… oily. I get the feeling (given that other article about partisan fact gaps) that he might have written a very different column if the chance for a $200 amazon gift certificate was on the line.Report