The Party Deconstructs

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CK MacLeod

WordPresser: Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001.

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101 Responses

  1. Avatar LTL FTC says:

    Schadenfreude is such a great word, dare I hope for another word that means schadenfreude mixed with mild terror?Report

  2. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    I’m not sure which would be worse: for all of the pledged candidates to break the pledge on their own, for all of them to keep it, or for Reince to rip it up. I think the latter would be worst and won’t happen. I think the first would be the best of those three.

    Realistically they won’t all do the same thing.Report

    • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Michael Drew says:

      I’d still consider a contested convention unlikely, albeit much more likely than in most cycles. Its hard to say whether or not Cruz can both stay in and stay viable enough to get significant numbers of delegates.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Don Zeko says:

        Well, he needs to keep Rubio from consolidating the field… so he needs to pull, what, 20% of the delegates consistantly? Now, in reality if Rubio gets within spitting distance of 50% with his own delegates the establishment will tip it over his way so really Cruz and Trump need to, together, pull about 60% of the delegates. Assuming Trump is at a hardish 35% that means Cruz would need to pull 25% if the delegates? That’s a tall order for a man running in his niche. Remember, NY and CA are winner take all and are packed to the gills with moderate establishmentarian Republicans.Report

        • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to North says:

          If Cruz and Rubio are both still in by Palladino’s NY and post-Arnold CA (have you met a California Republican recently?), then the Trumpening is likely in full effect. Note also that California is also a closed primary on the R side – independents and Ds don’t get to play. (It was also closed the last time I voted in a CA primary, in 2008. You may or may not be happy to note that I, as an independent, voted for your Democratic darling, since I was still afraid of Obamamania at the time. So I may be one of the few real Hillary voters at this site!)Report

          • Avatar North in reply to CK MacLeod says:

            You and me both it seems.
            I dunno, I get the feeling that Cruz may stay in pretty much no matter what. I believe he has the money to go the length; but he needs to pull like 20-25% to actually threaten a brokered convention (assuming Trump manages 35-40%).Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North says:

              Well, in my view Cruz has effectively no (zero) shot at the nom, so at best he can play spoiler to Rubio or (more likely) force a brokered convention which he even more certainly has no shot of winning. I realize that it’s mathematically and politically possible that he wins and all that….

              What will keep him going, in my view, is the ghost of Scalia. The position he holds regarding that process will present too many opportunities to pander to his own narcissistic delusions (??) to back gracefully outa the race.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

              My view is that Cruz and Rubio will continue to get 20 to 25 percent of the vote each a la South Carolina.Report

          • Avatar Roland Dodds in reply to CK MacLeod says:

            “Note also that California is also a closed primary on the R side – independents and Ds don’t get to play.”

            Oh, I will definitely be registering as a Republican to play in that June primary (assuming Bernie is toast by then).Report

          • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to CK MacLeod says:

            For what it’s worth, I voted for Hillary in the 2008 CA primary, too. So that’s two.Report

        • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to North says:

          I’d agree. I think the two most likely outcomes right now are that either Trump stays near his steady 35% or so, in which case rubio probably consolidates and wins without a floor fight, or Trump picks up enough votes to average near 50%, in which case he probably wins without a floor fight.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Don Zeko says:

            That about sums it up methinks.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Don Zeko says:

            There’s also the consideration of whether Trump’s ego — and his love of free publicity and personal, narcissistic investment in this process — reacts to losing a floor fight.

            He’d go third party or urge his followers to revolt/leave, and I can’t really say how many would listen to him. My gut says that the kind of people that are supporting him would not take kindly to feeling Trump lost on some sort of “technicality”. It’d validate their whole belief the system is rigged against them.Report

            • Avatar Barry in reply to Morat20 says:

              Morat20, the biggest factor that I see is that Trump will have assured massive retaliation, and the GOP establishment will know that. He *can* go third party, he *will* be followed by a damaging percentage of people[1], he *can* easily self-fund a presidential run, and the media *will quite happily* hand him literally several hundred million US$ worth of publicity.[2]

              [1] Take the various voting calculators on the web, and knock the GOP down by 5 points, and see how many states turn blue.

              [2] They’ve already given him that much. If he *does* go third-party, and the ‘liberal’ MSM treat him like they normally treat third-party candidates, then that will tell us that the GOP Establishment put a lot of literal horse’s heads in a lot of literal beds.Report

          • Avatar Barry in reply to Don Zeko says:

            “I’d agree. I think the two most likely outcomes right now are that either Trump stays near his steady 35% or so, in which case rubio probably consolidates and wins without a floor fight…”

            This assumes that Rubio gets a much bigger share of the drop-outs’ voters than Trump does.

            In addition, Trump will benefit from any winner-take-all/winner-gets-lion’s-share rules.

            And finally note that the public endorsements are coming in. LePage and Christie as of the time of this comment, and likely many more by the time that people read this comment.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Don Zeko says:

        If there’s a brokered convention, it means the GOP establishment is officially dead.
        They already lost their candidates for the cycle, which is punishing enough, but…

        Nobody who’s not currently voting for Trump likes trump (and that’s from a GOP consultant)Report

        • Avatar Barry in reply to Kim says:

          “If there’s a brokered convention, it means the GOP establishment is officially dead.”

          In the short term. What I think that Rubio’s back-up dream is (the primary dream is that he wins this August and this November):

          1) Rubio comes in second, clearly ahead of Cruz, who suffers from the fact that he’s a prime a-hole in the land of prime a-holes, and that the Establishment and Trump both slap him.

          2) Trump gets the nomination, and does a Goldwater on the GOP.

          3) The Establishment stages a winter purge of everybody they can f*ck over who supported Trump or Cruz.

          4) Just as importantly, the Tea Party is trimmed back a lot. They got their Glorious Leader, who led them to a complete rout. The term ‘Rino’ or ‘Establishment’ are no longer insults with a critical mass of GOP voters. [Yes, there will be Tea Partiers until the end of time, but if there are not a lot of them, they’ll have far less power.]Report

        • Avatar Barry in reply to Kim says:

          “Nobody who’s not currently voting for Trump likes trump (and that’s from a GOP consultant)”

          Name, please? I’m not harshing on you, but the one thing we’ve seen since last summer is various ‘experts’ assuring us that Trump could ony go as far as he had at the time, and definitely no further.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

      To be clear, everyone, I’m talking about the pledge to support the nominee that Reince made them take. What will be done or not done – by Reince and/or each (ex-)candidate – with or about that were Trump to capture the nomination.Report

  3. Avatar North says:

    As discussed CK, I’ll reiterate here that I am still firmly unconvinced that Trump has a serious shot at the nomination (I am holding it at a solid 15% probability).
    What would convince me that Trump has good odds of being the GOP nominee? Well a good first step would be if someone claiming trump has good odds could describe to me how Trump actually WILL get the nod. In terms of citing how he will do it according to the GOP’s delegate rules. I will try to briefly, do the same explaining why I DON’T think Trump has good odds of getting the nod.
    In a high altitude overview the GOP convention delegates are awarded by the various state contests. Most of the states award delegates proportionally to your share of the vote*. So the difference between first place, second place etc finishing can be quite small in terms of delegates. Second there’s a pool of delegates controlled by the party establishment that they allocate on their own without regards to the states contests. Those the party very literally decides on.
    Now people keep looking at Trump and saying “He’s won so many contests (come in first place) that if he were a normal candidate the party should give him the nomination.” And they’re right because normally the Party will throw in with whoever is the commanding leader in the interest of party unity once the voters mark him out for them. But Trump isn’t normal; he’s not acceptable to the establishment so no matter how many first place pluralities he wins they’re not going to suddenly go “Oh well let’s start pulling for him for the general”. Now granted, there has been rumblings that the GOP would make peace with him if they have no choice and I have no doubt they would do so but I do not see any scenario where they’d put their thumb on the scales in his favor. No, Trump is going to have to seize the nomination one tooth grinding delegate at a time.
    In order to get the nomination Trump must have the majority of the delegates. Not just more delegates than another candidate, he must have enough that the second place candidates delegates PLUS the party controlled delegates together can’t outnumber his delegates. You do not do that by pulling 35% of the vote. Period. Full stop.
    So, what does Trump need to do? He needs to win, yes but that’s the minimum. He needs to win and he needs to win bigger. He needs 50% or more wins in some states. Or he needs his opponents to trade wins so they all stay in the race and keep dividing the 65% “not Trump” pool between them. Do I see either of those things happening? No, no I do not. I see the division of the “not Trump” pool fading. Bush is gone; Kasich will be gone soon; Carson will either be gone or a non-factor soon. Cruz is the only wild card. These are objective facts: the rules of the GOP nomination game and the rules of the GOP delegate apportioning. If someone wants to convince me that Trump has good odds of being the nominee then I’d like to see that argument made using the facts of how anyone wins the GOP nomination. Convince me with reality, please! I would be DELIGHTED to see Trump take the nod. I’d be over the moon-lampshade on head-drunk on tequila happy if Trump got the nomination. There is no one on the site more unhappy that fishing Marco Rubio is the most likely winner of the GOP nomination than me! No. One.
    *And those states that are winner take all are mostly positioned far enough back in the calendar that 35% of the votes aren’t going to win them. They’re positioned, very much by design I think, so that the field is narrow when they happen and they just crown the consensus candidate.
    With all that said the post is certainly interesting. I cop to long being a standard bearer for the “the conservatives made their bed on this” line of thinking (though I wear the label liberal left uneasily) so when it comes to the Trump phenomena I’m mostly of the “serves them right” or “I hope he kicks them harder” school. I’m also of the “Trump won’t be able to do much damage in the event he gets into office, arguably less than his compatriots could” school. Man, was this post written for me?
    I’d definitely agree that National Review has burnt their bridges. No way do you walk the magazine back into the fold after you publish an ‘Against Trump’ edition. On one hand, however, so much the better. It is pretty much blatant that the necessities of political reality have shredded conservatisms’ soul (see Bush, George W). Some distance between the philosiphers and the pols would probably be a damned good thing. On the other, other hand it’s possible that the Donald may end up running basically a third party candidacy with the GOP virtually sitting the race out and focusing on down ticket races in which case NRO will only be on the outs with a temporary administration and there’ll be few bonds to repair. It’s not like the Donald can revoke their press passes, NRO doesn’t have any.
    But really, I don’t see much chance of the Donald winning the nod and even less chances of my own party somehow managing to lose to his Trumpness. So the scenario of a President Trump seems very remote in my mental political map.Report

    • Avatar Autolukos in reply to North says:

      In terms of pro-Trump datapoints, there’s a Massachusetts poll from over the weekend that has Trump at 50%.

      Consolidation in the field probably breaks against Trump’s disfavor, but that may not be enough to stop him from picking up majorities down the stretch: fundamentally, it’s easier to get to 50% from 35% than from 15 or 20%. I’m not sure I’d bet on Trump winning at even odds just yet, but he’s getting closer.Report

    • Avatar Mo in reply to North says:

      @north Sorry, but you’re explanation is all wrong. First of all, the GOP no longer has superdelegates (excluding the random unbound Colorado delegates). Also, while only 16% of delegates are winner take all, another 50% are a hybrid system. Those can turn into winner take all/almost all (for example SC is a hybrid and Trump won all of the delegates) very easily, if, for example the hybrid involves winners of congressional districts. I am not saying Trump will win, but 15% strikes me as quite low.Report

      • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Mo says:

        Well, as that useful article explains, the Rs do have unpledged delegates, aka Super-Ds, but fewer of them, and required on the first ballot to “do the right thing and vote with their states.” Not sure what other shenanigans the party apparatus might be able to come up with between now and then, though I’m sure a lot of people are studying up.Report

        • Avatar Mo in reply to CK MacLeod says:

          But the fact that they have to vote with their states on the first round means that if Trump comes in with a majority based on just the state votes there’s no other firewall. Even if it’s exactly 50%+1. In the Democratic convention, 50%+1 of state delegates won’t cut it.Report

          • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Mo says:

            @mo Understood, but, with a locked 1st Ballot reflecting the known results, and failing to produce a decision, we then move into those apparently complicated 2nd and potentially later ballot rules… So, the “super-delegates” might have an influence. I have no idea today how much of one. In the still unlikely event of a brokered convention, we’ll all be experts by this Summer – and THAT could be a reality TV spectacular of all time!Report

            • Avatar Mo in reply to CK MacLeod says:

              But the super delegates will have less of an influence than the pledged delegates that can go their own way. The loser of the Rubio/Cruz lane will likely have far, far more influence than the superdelegates.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Mo says:

                Well… that’s for the 3rd ballot or later I think! This is so completely the year to finally have a brokered convention again… with Trump as star… the whole crowd could join together shouting “you’re fired!” to the losers each round… building up to the big “YOU’RE HIRED!” chant for the acceptance speech at 3:43 AM in Cleveland… on the second day of balloting… with the whole world watching…Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Mo says:

        Mo, you are absolutely correct and props to you on it. That said the delegates for candidates who drop out and an assortment of other delegates can be shoved around by a variety of rules and conventions so the establishment does have a little pot of delegates they can basically move around if they choose to. It’s certainly not the number or the control the Dems have with their Super Delegates but it’s plenty to tilt the scales in a close fight.Report

        • Avatar Mo in reply to North says:

          Agreed that if it goes to the convention past round 1, Trump is toast. However, he could conceivable rack up enough of a lead in March that he gets the winner shine and takes enough delegates by the convention to make that a moot point.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Mo says:

        Also worth reading is Sam Wang’s analysis. Note that this was written before South Carolina: http://election.princeton.edu/2016/02/11/the-anti-trump-path-gets-very-narrow/#more-14057Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to North says:

      Perhaps because I do not wish to see “Turn out the lights!” in range of the national security apparatus, and not just the nuclear codes, and because I do not want to have to spend the months from the beginning of the Olympics until Judgment I mean Election Day hoping against whatever unmentionable events, and because I find Trump’s manners, including his incitement of violence, contemptible, and do not wish to see them rewarded, as a bad example for the nation’s youth and others, I have seen my own judgment skewed to the negative on Trump’s prospects from early on. Even though I knew or should have known that Trump was tapping into something, I, like you, but not like Our Tod, misunderestimated him, and so I’m on guard against doing so anymore.

      How does he end up the nominee – as some like ol’ pessmist Allahpundit now predict?

      Say, Cruz stays in, supported by the same core of ideological TPs, Evangelicals, immigration hard-liners, budget hawks, law hawks, and Rubio-skeptics that have always supported him, with the obstinacy that guided him, and them with him, through debt-ceiling brinksmanship and the 432nd effort to repeal Obamacare, and further supported by Rubio’s weaknesses, his callowness and his history of waffling or betraying conservative core issues.

      Meanwhile, Rubio stays in because he really does believe he represents, and probably is right, a winning R coalition, in the future as in the past, even he himself is not quite ready to lead it convincingly. He wraps up near full support of the Establishment and its money, but in the process further identifies himself, to the benefit of both Cruz and Trump, as a squish.

      Maybe both Rubio and Cruz, fueled by intense dislike and ambition and exaggerated self-regard, think a brokered convention is at least possible, which means that each and his supporters, by bowing out, would be sacrificing an opportunity to demand concessions.

      They don’t have to continue undercutting each other much longer, by the current pattern, for Trump to accumulate a series of plurality wins, even potentially in Rubio’s and Cruz’s home states. Also note that, though many of these states are not Winner-Take-All, few or none (too much research for a comment) are purely popular-vote proportional either. Notice that Trump collected all of SC’s delegates, in a virtual WTA result despite his having won <35%.

      So, the current pattern or something close to it lasts long enough to give Trump a very large lead, to tack as much to the center as he chooses, and to spend the Spring continuing to win pluralities, and even building on his margin… Is it likely? I have no idea. Consider also that he is self-financing, even if notably chintzy.

      I’ll note that RTod believes – I think this is what he believes – that the party really is deep down or not so deep down a lot more racist or nativist than it pretends, and is not going to nominate a Cruz or a Rubio, however much it likes to entertain itself with the prospect. So, in short, the party of resentful white people picks the only resentful lily left in the field… (Notice how Trump is now questioning [dog-whistling] about Rubio’s eligibility to be Prez.)

      …and the party of the rich picks the richest person left in the field, and the national polls still show him as competitive as anyone, so the team-players who want to win, and win, pick the guy who keeps on talking about winning with a clear conscience…

      …and many of the traditional analysts – whom I’d rather not believe – are already calling him the favorite, as are the betting markets…

      And it’s all the same guy, one whose followers really do seem the types who would burn the convention down, with his blessing, if the “unpledged delegates” (aka super-delegates, smaller as a proportion on the R side, I believe) were to try to take what was rightfully his from him… (and they won’t risk it)…

      So, who am I to agree with you he’s got only a 15% chance for the nom?

      But I still think the party will find a way to stop him, somehow – or do I just want to believe that?

      And, if he’s the nom, who knows what other Hells are waiting to break loose?

      Please now return to the beginning of my comment.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to CK MacLeod says:

        I am not so full of myself as to discount your narrative and I confess, right there along side you, that I never expected him to get remotely this far so already my impressions, understandings and impressions are suspect. I would say, though, that Super Tuesday should pull back the veil on the subject a lot. I think we’ll have a significantly better idea of where things stand after that, specifically where things stand when you have a bunch of states voting without the intense campaigning the states up to now have “enjoyed”.

        And I can completely understand your reasons for not wanting Trump as your nominee. I have no desire to have him as President either. I simply desire he lose in the general rather than the nomination contest. As a considerably more right wing sympathetic person you would, understandably, not agree on that and I understand that entirely.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to CK MacLeod says:

        I think RTK is wrong that GOP voters are so racist that they wouldn’t essentially ever nominate even a white Latino for president.

        I also don’t think the milder possibility I am about to suggest is the case, either. But I do think it’s possible, and it’s this: that after eight years of a brown person whom they (the contingent of the GOP that has these feelings, being in this speculation big enough to deny certain persons of their choosing the nomination, if not big enough to dictate who it will be uniquely) regard as illegitimate as president, or at best whom they regard as someone who has done the country grievous harm as president, that yes, this year they do want a lilly-white, possibly even a WASP as nominee – especially if, as I suspect, many of them consider the fate of the person (and the country) to be to lose to Hillary Clnton one way or the other.

        So: not that they would never nominate a non-(non-Latino-white) person, but that they are really quite inclined not to do so this year, because of the black usurper whom they’ve had to suffer these eight years, and because they think they’re going to lose anyway. Hillary’s bad head-to-head numbers against Rubio may be working to keep this feeling in check a bit (if it even exists).

        Again, I don’t think this is why the GOP would not nominate Rubio if they don’t – I think it would be primarily about immigration. But I do think that Rubio’s name and background plays into the problems he has on that issue, so it’s not irrelevant, either.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Michael Drew says:

          The same primary electorate that Trump just got a plurality of also picked Nikki Haley for governor during the reign of the Kenyan usurper.Report

          • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Kolohe says:

            Governor is just one vote, and, arguably – but appropriately if we’re dealing with unconscious or irrational sources of resentment – the Presidency is the most “intimate,” psychically integrating vote anyone makes.

            More specifically, if you think about the role of immigration in Trump’s rise, and as a long-simmering heavily emotionalized topic for the conservative grassroots, it’s not hard to see why someone who felt strongly about the matter would experience hesitation over the kind of “message” that a President Cruz or President Rubio would send about the Latinization of American culture. How is that supposed to repel all them _______ crossing our borders? To them Cruz and Rubio are virtually “anchor babies” or not even that! They viscerally don’t want America to be about the immigrant experience anymore! (Though maybe they’d make an exception for Slovenian ex-models…)Report

          • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Kolohe says:

            I don’t think a profound analysis is necessary here. Neither Nikki Haley’s name nor her physical appearance scream “ethnic.” Am a suggesting that (some) voters are really this shallow? Why yes: I am.

            I am on record as predicting that the Republicans would nominate a white male. I made this prediction last fall, when I thought Bush was the likeliest white male. Cruz is, realistically, as white as anyone. If his name were “Ted Cruise” no one would give it a second thought. Rubio is another matter. I think that some non-trivial percentage of voters will hesitate. Some will gird their loins and pull that lever, but some won’t. This is operating at the margins, but I think it is a barrier.

            Mostly, I think that Trump is the favorite, based on Sam Wang’s analysis at Princeton Election Consortium. This is, of course, also consistent with the “white male” prediction.Report

            • I don’t think what’s going on is best described as “shallow.” I think it’s complex and over-determined, in some ways quite “deep,” even if it doesn’t reflect a policy-logical decision-making process.

              All things considered, the Rs were very likely this time around to gravitate toward a maximal anti-Obama, and in simple, stereotypical terms the maximal anti-Obama would include “white,” “macho,” “coarse,” “older,” “commanding,” “loud,” “assertive,” “non-political,” “powerful” and a bunch of other terms and related emotional reactions that suit Trump a lot better than they happen to fit Cruz, Rubio, Jeb Bush, or anyone else in the R field (and Nikki Haley and a Tim Scott endorsements don’t help).

              The field lost its other leading bully/blowhard/Daddy when he assaulted Rubio – whom he had been calling “bubble boy” – bringing them both down. Trump, meanwhile, amplified his advantages using brutal prison/schoolyard tactics. He picked out the competitor in the field who was closest to him in “stature” – physical stature, fame, resume – and violently crushed him, verbally beating him up, over and over, establishing his own dominance.

              Obviously, this dominance question – of likely greatest appeal to white males seeking validation of self-esteem – is not the only factor determining the course of political events on the R side, but it benefits Trump. There ought to be ways to counteract or mitigate its main elements, but his competitors have been too busy lowering themselves and each other in stature instead of raising their own in relationship to Trump.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to CK MacLeod says:

                You could have just said “You know that weird man-crush the right has on Putin? And that odd obsession with Bush’s package in that flight suit photo? They were looking for that kinda thing, turned up another notch”.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

          I heard a different theory about right-wing indifference to electability concerns (that I have certainly heard before but just didn’t think of at the moment I wrote the above): that they regard Clinton as a candidate not as as an invincible foe, but as a wounded duck that will be beaten one way or another by whomever the GOP nominee turn out to be – whether because of Benghazi, emails, or some other reason.Report

    • Avatar Mo in reply to North says:

      I would bet even odds that NR tries to thread the needle and support Trump if he wins the nom and goes against Hillary. They will say, “He’s not conservative, but he’s better than Hillary.” There have already been a number of articles in the magazine saying that much.Report

  4. Bill Kristol tweets:

    The other Republican candidates should be asked how they can continue to take the position they’ll support Trump if he’s the nominee.

    The obvious conclusion is that the other Republican candidates should not be asked how they can continue to take the position they’ll support Trump if he’s the nominee.Report

  5. By the way, I’m going to take this opportunity to admit publicly that I’m responsible for Rush Limbaugh. Sorry, everybody.

    But Sarah Palin was totally North’s fault.Report

  6. Avatar Francis says:

    “Of course, the primary system is not even an imbecilic majoritarianism that bestows the Mandate of Heaven on the candidate with 50.1 while sending 49.9 into internal exile: It is something even more degraded, more like brute numericalism”

    imbecilic? degraded? geez, CK, tell us what you really think. (In all seriousness, do you prefer the Democratic Party’s superdelegate overlay?)Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Francis says:

      Am kinda partial to the system in place during Lincoln’s day. I especially like the idea that candidates and nominees would not campaign for themselves personally, and were expected not to show any interest in their party’s nomination prior to the convention’s having produced it (even if it sometimes produced rank hypocrisy, with would-be nominees closely monitoring and remotely directing events). (For that matter, I wouldn’t mind returning to the tradition of a written State of the Union only – mainly because I find them tedious – but that’s another topic.) The Anderson and Cost proposal I linked in the piece has some of the same underlying spirit in favor of a more participatory and cooperative, mutually respectful, dignified approach to self-government.Report

      • Avatar Dan Scotto in reply to CK MacLeod says:

        I am also partial to the nineteenth-century convention model. One thing that is a complicating factor, though: candidates and their supporters could easily be bought off in those days with patronage. Cabinet positions now are decent consolation prizes, but the patronage for supporters just doesn’t exist any more (at least not in a legal sense).Report

  7. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    I think part of the problem is the parties are less ideological than ever before. Or, perhaps, that they follow the same ideology. They run on different platforms, but much of what they do in power is guided by the same beltway orthodoxies. When those orthodoxies don’t work any more, you end up with a power vacuum waiting for some rough beast to step into it. A revolutionary moment usually finds its Danton, unfortunately.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Rufus F. says:

      @rufus-f

      This almost feels like a slatepitch but I think I agree with you or see what you are saying.

      I’ve noted this before. The Democratic elite and the GOP elite both favor deregulation and free trade. The Democratic elite just do it with a somewhat larger welfare state to soften the blow. I am not sure how many in the Democratic elite would prefer NHS to the ACA if they had the option honestly.

      The problem is that the bases are extremely divided from each other and their own elites largely. This is a much bigger problem on the GOP side but it will become a problem on the Democratic side. Right now the HRC and Triangulation crowd can be rather blase but there is a lot of evidence that neo-liberalism is cracking. Rahm Emmanuel survived as mayor of Chicago on the pure luck of his most likely primary opponent getting diagnosed with brain cancer. Young voters generally don’t turn out but the question remains whether they will become neo-liberal triangulators.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/02/22/younger-votes-didnt-come-through-for-bernie-sanders-because-they-almost-never-do/

      The Democratic Party is moving to the left. Even Matt Y admits that Sanders is more likely to be the future of the Democratic Party than HRC. More socially liberal, more friendly to the welfare state, less interventionist when it comes to Foreign Policy, etc. HRC might be the last person or one of the last people to win a Democratic nomination while maintaining a no legalized marijuana stance.

      The problem for the elites is that they realize the bases are in revolt but they have nothing to offer in return. Partially because they are true believers in the benefits of neo-liberalism and free trade. But I also wonder if they basically think “Yeah things might be really choppy in the United States for a few decades and the working class might need to get used to a lower standard of living but I am not admitting this because Robspierre will come out.”Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I don’t know what a slatepitch is, but that’s basically where I’m going with it. The Dems “moved to the center” in the 90s, which was supposed to remove some sort of Republican advantage, but really made the two parties a lot closer than anyone wants to admit. The problem for working people is where do they go when these policies haven’t worked out for them? At some point, they realize that both parties have left them to fend for themselves, which is when demagogues usually thrive. The rise of someone like Trump is pretty indicative that the whole political system, not just the GOP, is malfunctioning.

        The thing Democrats don’t really seem to get is that, for working people, voting for their party is no more “voting their interests” than voting for the Republicans.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Rufus F. says:

          @rufus-f

          The answer is that for decades working people (I assume working people= people without college educations in jobs ranging from the unskilled to semi-skilled to skilled blue-collar or pink collar work) voted based on other parts of their identities. Mainly social politics. Those that primarily identified as white, Evangelicals or otherwise social conservatives, went to the GOP. Those that were not white and/or saw themselves as being more about Unions and Labor went to the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party does fairly well with white, working class voters in every part of the U.S. but the South.

          What the U.S. does not have is a socially conservative or moderate but economically liberal party. This is not the first time an economically left party had divisions over social issues. The U.K. Labour Party faced a lot of divisions and infighting during the 1960s when Roy Jenkins, the debonair and elegant Home Rule Secretary introduced his liberalization legislation. Many old-school Labour voters rejected liberalizing laws on homosexuality, pornography, abortion, and birth control. Many Labour supporters preferred somone like Jim Callaghan who was quite traditionalist and culturally conservative in his social politics while remaining very devoted to the Unions and the Labour cause otherwise.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        This almost feels like a slatepitch but I think I agree with you or see what you are saying.

        There is some truth to this. It is not difficult to find issues where the two parties, or at least their elites are pretty much in lockstep. But neither is it difficult to find other issues where they are not, often with radically different results. Remember when Republican candidates were crawling over each other to establish who would begin bombing Iran the quickest? This is why I have little patience for the “not a dime’s worth of difference” crowd.Report

        • I’d be more comfortable with a wider difference between the parties than “Will bomb Iran” vs “Might bomb Iran”. In either case (were I an American), I’d be being asked to vote for something I strenuously oppose.

          To be clear: Hillary might bomb Iran, Bernie won’t. But all the signs are pointing towards Hillary in the nomination fight.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        The problem for the elites is that they realize the bases are in revolt but they have nothing to offer in return. Partially because they are true believers in the benefits of neo-liberalism and free trade. But I also wonder if they basically think “Yeah things might be really choppy in the United States for a few decades and the working class might need to get used to a lower standard of living but I am not admitting this because Robspierre will come out.”

        There is a real problem with this way of thinking; it implies that politics is a leading indicator. It isn’t. Politics is almost always reactive. What I mean by that is what moves the world is a complicated interaction of economic, social and technological forces. Good politicians try to figure out how these forces work and recommend the best policies for adapting. Bad politicians assign blame to scapegoats and make unreliable promises to change those forces.

        Take international trade as an example. Trade is a phenomenon that exists quite independent of whether we are politically for it or against it. Right now there are thousands of factories in China and elsewhere making products that Americans want to buy. Short of bombing those factories, there’s not much that any President of the United States can do about that in the short term.

        Policy-wise, here is what we could do. We could slap a bunch of punitive taxes on Chinese imports that raise the price and decrease the demand. That might in the long run lead to less imports and more domestically made goods. But here’s the thing, countries tend to have this inconvenient habit of retaliating when other countries start trade wars. So the more we try to keep imports out, the more our export industries will suffer. Check the components of GDP and see what that does to growth. Also, the more we do to artificially increase the price of goods, the bigger the hit that Americans take to their purchasing power (ie wealth).

        Yes, lots of politicians will tell you that there is some ideal policy mix that keeps imports out of the American market and keeps job here while simultaneously boosting exports and preserving economic growth, but lots of people will tell you where to get a good deal on the Brooklyn Bridge, as well.Report

  8. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    One of the things that my Democratic friends don’t talk about much, is what effect the Obama Republicans have had, and would continue to have on the Democratic Party, if the GOP splinters.

    Its one thing when the occasional convert walks into the river, but then the number of converts exceeds the faithful, the entire character of the party changes.

    When people like John Cole and I moved over a decade ago, we didn’t change who we were- we brought remnants of our old conservative selves into the party even as we shed our old ways.

    How flexible can the Democratic tent be when the RINOs start filling it up?Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      @chip-daniels

      Interesting and tough question!! I suspect that there will be lots of fights but the obvious boost will be to the centerist wing of the Democratic Party: Pro social liberalism, pro traditional welfare programs like Social Security and Medicare but also very pro deregulation and more friendly to Silicon Valley tech and white-paper technocratic solutions over Sanders styled populism. There will be primaries and fights.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I should point out: All the Obama republicans I know support Sanders. Of course, they’re all in their 20s, so that’s a demographic expectation.

        But the thing about people that are coming from the GOP is that they haven’t bought into the orthodoxies of their new party. And I’d say that the orthodoxies of the Democrats are all over the board in terms of center versus left.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Alan Scott says:

          I’m not sure how you can say they haven’t bought into Democratic orthodoxies. Sanders goes past Democratic orthodoxies into moonbatshit-crazy territory. Maybe it’s just a cult of personality and they don’t actually care about the issues?

          Or did you mean Clinton Republicans?Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            We like to imagine that everyone bases their political preferences on some sort of rigorous orthodoxy.

            But as odd as it sounds, there are plenty of people who are right now deciding between Trump and Sanders.

            Political parties are coalitions, made up of different agendas, so most party people like Clinton and Rubio offer mixed messages carefully calibrated to pander to all constituencies, while Trump and Sanders offer very pure messages that alienate certain members of the coalition.

            But by doing that, they actually resonate with people across the aisle, because there are multiple varieties of liberal and conservative.Report

          • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            Well, they overwhelmingly support nuclear power, and several are pro-gun or anti-union. Is that unorthodox enough? I’m not saying they support Bernie because they agree with every one of his positions. I support Hillary, but I don’t agree with every one of her positions.

            Still, it’s silly to pretend that Sanders subscribes to the democratic orthodoxy. For a big chunk of it, he doesn’t. He’s an extreme economic leftist and has made his name by attacking centrist democratic orthodoxies re: free trade, health care, and so on. As I said, democratic orthodoxies are all over the map.Report

    • Hehe, I’ve had the same thought. If the party becomes a Trump Rump, and I go to the Democratic tent, people who were perplexed that I was a Republican are going to understand why I wasn’t already a Democrat.

      “Pardon me, where is the table to discuss reducing occupational regulations and rigorously expand offshore mineral exploitation?”Report

  9. At least they’re enthusiastic about it. South Carolina Republican turnout set records; the Dem turnout for the Nevada caucuses was anemic. One of the less usual things I’m very interested in this coming Saturday is the turnout for the Dem primary in SC.Report

  10. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    @michael-cain

    Do you think the GOP can keep the enthusiasm up until November or are lots of people going to be feeling dejected when their candidate does not win the fight? How many Trump supporters can be expected to vote for Rubio or Cruz in the general? Same with Cruz and Rubio supporters going for Trump?Report

    • I think the GOP will get their usual turnout of voters who will reliably check off the candidate with the (R) behind their name. The more interesting question is really, “What if the Dems get an off-year turnout this time?” And for the middle third of the voters, it’s hard to motivate people to go out and vote against someone — the Dems need a candidate that moves at least some of those people. Hillary has never been, and isn’t going to suddenly become, that candidate.Report

  11. Avatar Damon says:

    I can’t imagine any “republican” who would vote for HRC. Certainly not if they’d been around and voting during Bill’s presidency.

    Sit out? Yep.Report

  12. Avatar Matty says:

    The whole thing seems deeply bizarre from a British perspective, our political parties are membership organisations. Yes they have internal fights, often bitter ones but (to pick an example) Jeremy Corbyn could not have happened if he had announced while not even in the Labour party that he wanted to lead it.

    I suppose the registered ‘Republican/Democrat’ thing functions a bit like membership but I don’t really understand it, in particular. Who controls the register of who is with which party, the parties themselves or state officials? Can someone be ‘kicked out’ or refused joining as a registered Republican for any reason or do they have to take all comers who are legal voters?Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Matty says:

      It’s mostly a “take all comers” barring provable malfeasance — many states say you can’t vote in both primaries… switching parties and stating on your membership application that you’re just doing it to screw with the other party is also sometimes a crime.

      But mostly the presumption is: you can change at any time, and it doesn’t much matter which party you’re in for the general electionReport

  13. Avatar Barry says:

    Don Zeko: I’d agree. I think the two most likely outcomes right now are that either Trump stays near his steady 35% or so, in which case rubio probably consolidates and wins without a floor fight, or Trump picks up enough votes to average near 50%, in which case he probably wins without a floor fight.

    Rubio runs third; he will not get the nomination.

    Trump will be in a excellent situation to make his own deals, and to blow things up with a third-party run.Report

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