Kamikaze Cruz vs The Convention

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Will Truman

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

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  1. Avatar Morat20
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    says:

    Look, if he’d explicitly said “Screw this guy” and not even attended (like every former President and a whole bunch of bigwig GOP politicians), that’s one thing. Getting up there and giving a speech notable because he didn’t say “Vote for Trump” (but didn’t say vote against him either)? That’s…wishy-washy at best. It’s having your cake and eating it.

    If Trump loses, he can claim he was against Trump and point to the speech. If Trump wins, he can explain that he was unsure of Trump but clearly supporting the party, and point to the speech.

    Not that it matters, because Ted Cruz is a notorious a**hole, so frankly he’ll put himself right back into “WTF, dude” territory soon enough anyways.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20
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      says:

      I think it could have been wishy-washy, and that’s sort of what I was expecting, and that maybe have been what he thought it was doing. Viewers, including the media and conservatives for and against Trump and more than a few liberals, said that the delivery was not-wishy-washy. His refusal to endorse was itself a statement.

      It’s being treated as worse than what Kasich did.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Morat20
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      says:

      In short, he is being a very good lawyerReport

  2. Avatar Autolukos
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    says:

    Ted Cruz vs. Dan Patrick is the primary Texas deservesReport

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    The multi-billion dollar question is what happens to the GOP after Trump. Does it depend on whether Trump wins, Trump loses and takes the GOP down with him, and/or Trump loses but the GOP manages to retain a majority in the house and/or Senate?

    I don’t think anyone really knows. Cruz seems to be betting on Trump losing and the GOP elite behind the doors doing things to make sure that there are no future Trumps.

    There is a chance that Trumpism is here to stay though and the GOP will go further into the politics of cultural grievance and white identity as they have been doing for many decades now.

    Or maybe a Trump loss will be bad for the Trump and Cruz wings. I don’t know…..Report

    • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      You’re asking the wrong questions, and assuming that they even have answers.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      The multi-billion dollar question is what happens to the GOP after Trump.

      Well, yeah. And assuming that Cruz is planning for the 2020 nomination, what’s his game plan? If I were offering advice, it would be to hope Trump loses, then slowly position himself as “Cruz the populist” by wrapping things that at least sound sane around parts of Trump’s platform. That is, it wasn’t the message, it was the messenger. Today George will said that the US is a left-center country now. I normally have almost no use for George (aside from his opposition to the designated hitter rule), but still…Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Michael Cain
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        says:

        I agree with George Will I think. The country seems on its way to a realignment from being center-right to center-left. I suspect we will see a lot of fight and entrenchment to make sure this happens as late as possible in some or many quarters. There are lots of issues and complications though.

        Plenty of people in my age cohort are still GOP leaning though not as much as say people who were around 10 or 12 in 1980 when Reagan became cohort.

        Thought, suppose Johnson wins 13 percent of the vote. Most of this will probably come from the Republican camp. Can the Libertarians become the second party in the U.S.?Report

        • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Saul Degraw
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          says:

          A double-digit Presidential run would help raise the LP’s profile, but to have any chance of displacing the Rs there would have to be mass defections of elected officials and fundraisers. Not very likely.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Autolukos
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            says:

            There’s the fact that the LP’s platform is, in fact, incredibly unpopular once people learn what it is.

            Which is what made their debates fantastic from an audience perspective.

            So an LP that emerges from irrelevance will not be recognizable to their supporters now.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Michael Cain
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        says:

        If anybody could make me dislike baseball, it would be George Will.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      Well, I expect that “We’re not gonna get blacks or Hispanics anytime soon” is probably item number 1.

      Also, I suppose outreach to the groups alienated by Dubya (anyone under what, 30 now?) is probably off the table after this mess.

      So I suspect the GOP is going to be stuck either trying to figure out how to drive a very small demographic out to the polls in record-breaking %s or double-down on suppressing voting — either via voter ID laws or trying to make politics so toxic it turns voters away from voting.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Morat20
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        says:

        And the voting ID laws just got two big defeats yesterday that the Supreme Court is unlikely to reverse. Though I suspect the GOP will keep trying. Honestly at this point they are ideologically bound and committed which is fine if you are willing to be a minority party for your ideals. But the GOP seems to want to rule as well but not change their ideology even if a majority disagrees with it.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Saul Degraw
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          says:

          A Full Trump party is ideologically changed (on the economic policy end if nothing else) and is not necessarily a minority party.

          Either way the party is likely to need to make some changes one way or another. Those changes may not be what people assume, though (ie embracing immigration reform).Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman
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            says:

            I think an economically populist party can win. I don’t think they can win Trump’s numbers among minority voters. HRC was pushed to the left economically by Sanders so economic populism is more in the air except among selected GOP old-guarders and the libertarian set who like “income inequality” is good contrarianism.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Saul Degraw
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              White women and unmarried whites currently repelled by economic policy about the focus on certain social issues.

              The notion that it’s just impossible for a party to win without minority support is something we tell ourselves because the alternative is too depressing.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman
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                says:

                Bouie covered this a few months ago. Trump and subsequent Republicans would need to win millions more of the white vote and the demographics are changing.

                There are still plenty of white voters who strongly identify as Democratic. White women have been drifting more and more to the D column as the GOP seems unable to prevent people like Aiken from getting nominated to candidacy.

                Lindsay Graham was right. There are not enough angry white dudes for the GOP to replenish their vote.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                I don’t believe Trump can. That’s why I don’t think he’s going to win. That’s a different question than what can happen in the future with a coalition built over time.

                People assume that our future multicultural electorate looks like California and not like Texas.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman
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                says:

                The truth will probably be somewhere inbetween. I don’t expect Texas to be a solidly blue state like California or Massachusetts but I do think it can become another Colorado or Florida and that is dangerous for the GOP.

                George Will seems to think the diversification of Texas and their increased urbanity is making them more blue. Why do you think otherwise?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                Election results. But that Texas is currently red is not why I mention it.

                I mention Texas primarily as an example of what a consolidated white vote looks like. And that it can exist within a diversified electorate. Sometimes, it’s more likely to.

                I don’t think it’s anywhere near impossible to consolidate the white vote in Wisconsin, Michigan, and other northern states.

                Trump’s problem is that you can’t do it without women. Cruz’s problem is that you can’t do it without the irreligious voters and those who want or need bigger government. But these are not things that can be figured out, especially if there is a huge recession or scandal coming from the other side.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Will Truman
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                Texas had a consolidated white vote because it’s population, prior to the last 10-15 years consisted of conservative white people in conservative professions (defense industry, oil & gas, etc.).

                As the George Will article pointed out, as more non-conservative white people move into the state (ie. tech sector) and the state diversifies, it’d becoming harder for that conservative core to keep control of the state.

                Plus, there aren’t that many white votes left out there who are amenable to even a milder Trumpism. They’d be maybe amendable to an actual right populist platform, but if that actually happened, you’d lose the votes of other white voters who like tax cuts.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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                We will have a better idea after November, but I’m not at all convinced that last paragraph is true.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman
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                says:

                I think we largely agree but disagree about whether it matters or not.

                I don’t disagree on consolidating the white vote in diverse states and possibly leading to GOP control or solid red status but I think it can only exist for so long. Will seems to think the tide is turning on this strategy in Texas. Texas also has a substantial number of Hispanics who can be convinced to vote socially conservative as long as you are not too anti-immigrant. Trump might be turning this though.

                Pete Wilson tried to do the Texas thing in California and ended up destroying the California GOP.

                Again, the phrase white vote seems void for vagueness. I’m Jewish and that muddles me but I know plenty of people who are white and Christian and too my left and this is not an insubstantial number of people. When you talk about Cruz’s problem, I basically read it as white people can be loyal Democratic and liberal too.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                You are not at all who I have in mind when I talk about Cruz’s problem.

                If the national white electorate is like the California white electorate, we have nothing to worry about. I don’t think it is.

                The “white vote” has many shades, but as whites become a minority, and pending future events, that is subject to change.

                I’d feel a lot better if I believed that the GOP needed to improve or at least not get worse to win. I fear a future where they don’t. And not because I’m a Republican, because in that future I’m functionally a Democrat.Report

              • Avatar Mo in reply to Will Truman
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                says:

                @will-truman Actually, Texas is an example of what Hispanic outreach working does. Cornyn won 48% of the Hispanic vote in 2014 and Greg Abbott won 44%. It’s not just about consolidating the white vote.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Mo
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                says:

                Texas provides arguments for both sides of the Best Republican Path Forward argument. (Though, broadly speaking, the White Consolidation crowd believes the poll numbers on Hispanics in Texas, and GWB with Hispanics, are erroneous.)Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Will Truman
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                says:

                Texas looks like Texas because politically smart Republican’s realized they couldn’t turn out a massive chunk of the voting base and actually keep control of the state.

                There’s a reason why even Rick Perry seemed more immigration friendly than the teeming masses in 2012.

                Non-Texas Republican’s seemed to have some issues learning this.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Jesse Ewiak
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                says:

                I think this is mostly true, but there are limits to where this gets us. There is no demographic electoral college; one can easily imagine future elections where the basic demographic breakdown of the vote is similar, but you move the partisan split of each group by a couple percentage points and get a totally different outcome.Report

              • Avatar Mo in reply to Don Zeko
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                says:

                The GOP’s best shot is turning Latinos white the same way Italians were.Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to Mo
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                says:

                Well, burritos are like wraps and wraps are just white people’s food. There is a white guy who operates a food stand near my current place who sells baked potatoes and burritos. So, the whitening of hispanic culture is not necessarily too far away.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Murali
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                says:

                Burritos have been white people food for some time already.

                It is common for people from both California and Mexico to complain how they cannot get “good Mexican food” outside of those places. When pressed, you realize that they are talking about CalMex and TexMex respectively.

                In other words, it gets very difficult to draw a meaningful line between which parts of culture of the present American Southwest are Mexican and which are “American.”Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to j r
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                says:

                I think you meant outside of California and TEXAS, not Mexico

                Which is totally my observation. Restaurants with food like they eat on Mexico are for arugula eating foodies. You can’t get fajitas, charro beans, guacamole or nacho con queso in those damn places. No self respecting Texan would go thereReport

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman
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                says:

                Did you read Will’s column on Texas?

                Sure the GOP can win without a minority vote. They can win in Idaho and Iowa. They certainly can’t win in California without the minority vote and they can’t even win in Oregon or Washington.

                Yet for some reason, commenters here and people in the media think that the Democratic Party really needs to think hard about why they are losing among white men without college degrees. I’m not sure this is true and I think the media is projecting.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                Yeah, that last argument is not an argument I am making here.Report

              • Avatar David in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                “Needs to” can do a lot of work – either will be driven to, or morally ought to. I’m a long-time Democrat but I solidly would argue that the party should think about white men without college degrees in the interest of having a unifying platform (even if rejected by many for grievance politics). I’d like the party to be more clearly, at least in aspiration, the party for everyone – and given that part of why it gets my support is a desire to have government help mitigate risk and limit damage to those left behind by the economic engine of capitalism, a Democratic Party that doesn’t concern itself with less educated white men is one that misses a target group whose interests should influence its overall agenda.

                Given the salience of identity politics, demographic trends, and the success of ethnic/cultural grievance strategies on the right, the Democratic Party absolutely doesn’t “need to” in terms of its electoral strategy, at least short-medium term. It can win without them, and they are a hard target.

                To me, it’s a distinction between the platform and the process. Much like it’s been important for the Republican Party to compete for minority votes along small business or social conservative lines, even though they didn’t drive or explain its success, I think it’s healthy for the Democrats to compete for white working class votes or at least incorporate some of their perspectives into core platforms. The intellectuals should care about this as a stewardship matter. The party operatives who get out votes, not so much.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to David
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                says:

                @david

                The Democratic Party does a lot for the working class. The ACA was a good program for the working class.

                The problem is that a good chunk of the white working-class seems to dislike ACA because they see it as a handout to minorities.

                If this is the attitude that persists, I am not sure what the Democratic Party specifically can do for the WWC without betraying their core and loyal base.Report

              • Avatar David in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                I agree with all three points, but I still think it’s important (and healthy) for the party to continue to define itself and its offerings broadly a la ACA – not really specifically things for the WWC as much as aiming at class inequality. I think the Bernie campaign showed that there is some juice there.

                Note that I see this not as a strategy for “winning them over” but as a framing about the Party’s purpose and who they purport to speak for. At a time of division, it’s important to act like the party of everyone, especially where it is not at cross-purposes with interests of core constituencies (and sometimes, even when it is). It’s the best way to combat the zero-sum rhetoric of the other side, and the norms implied do matter, I think.

                I know that this won’t necessarily happen organically, due to the electoral math, which is why I think it needs consistent championing from the party’s thinkers.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      Depends on what November looks like. It Trump wins then we know. Beyond that, the margin will help dictate who has the stronger and weaker hand. If it’s a blowout the party will have a problem that it has to address (like after 2012 senate races). If it’s close, the Trumpers may be able to purge everyone from the party they can credibly blame for the loss. If it’s in between, it’s hard to say.

      One x-factor that may help Trump is that some anti-Trump Republicans are leaving the party altogether, which may shift the internal balance regardless of the November outcome. I mean not just voters, but party people leaving the hen-house completely to the foxes, potentially.

      Another x-factor is the vacancy atop Fox News and what direction they go.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        Another x-factor is the vacancy atop Fox News and what direction they go.

        Additionally, there are the reports that Trump has been working this year on launching a cable news network to compete directly with Fox. (If actually launched, it’s hard to think of a better landing spot for Ailes.) I suspect that much of the battle within the party will be reflected in the battle for ratings in those two networks.Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    Gaming this out in my head for the whole “what happens after Trump loses” scenarios is interesting but I don’t see Cruz being the 2020 frontrunner.

    Sure, he’s the kingslayer… but he proved that he can’t be trusted. Thanks for stabbing the bastard in the back, Ted! You’ve gone as high as you’re ever gonna get. Oh, by the way, your brethren in the senate still hate you for your senate shenanigans too.

    Think that he can parlay this into a decent gig somewhere but it ain’t gonna be in government.

    Maybe he can teach next to John Yoo or something.Report

  5. Avatar Kolohe
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    says:

    He allied himself with Trump last year because he believed if he could get into a one-on-one with him, the party would have to back him.

    It did almost work though. The timing just didn’t quite work out, Bush sucked up too much establshment oxygen early and flamed out quickly, allowing Rubio and Kasich to hang on a bit longer than Cruz needed, and Trump had slightly too much momentum when we finally got to mano v mano pequeno.

    In January, everyone would have laughed at Cruz being the mainline GOP’s last best hope against Trump, yet that’s what actually happened.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kolohe
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      says:

      I don’t see any way he could have withstood the northeastern onslaught. Even with the post-Wisconsin glow, he’d just thrown too much salt on the soil. And that salt was the direct result of the tactics that got him there.

      He ran a hell of a campaign and I found myself doubting myself for a bit, but we found his ceiling of support within the party. Even when the alternative is Donald Trump.

      His stubbornness and lone Wolf strategy is a good way to get about 2/3 of where he needed to get.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    Chris Hayes and Ross Douthat are both reporting that Trump’s acceptance speech is pure culture war.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      “Buchananism without religion.”

      “Very very dark, dystopic”

      Hmm.Report

    • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Saul Degraw
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      says:

      Politico has the text!Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Autolukos
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        says:

        Crap.

        It’s a good speech.Report

        • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Will Truman
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          says:

          I’m definitely the target, not the audience, so my violent eyerolling throughout is probably a sign of that as well.Report

        • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Will Truman
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          says:

          Now that ive read it, I don’t think it is “Buchananism without religion.” It’s pretty good. It’s populist, and it’s predicated on some untrue assumptions (e.g. USA is highly taxed compared to other natiobs, NAFTA has cost rather than created jobs, evangelical Christians face imminent loss of their liberties, we are at immediate risk of violence because of bad people from other lands) but… so what? It’s a good speech. If you want to vote Republican, if you really do distrust Hillary Clinton, it’ll pull at you.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman
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          says:

          How is it a good speech? Maybe I am just too liberal here but this feels like a lot of fear-mongering to me. Who is this going to connect with that hasn’t already bought Trumpism? Can Trump deliver this without riffing?Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Saul Degraw
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            says:

            It provides a semi-coherent worldview and narrative for his candidacy, which is a weak point of his. It’s a scary world out there, with threats coming from all quarters (criminals, illegal immigrants, terrorists, corporations) and the powers in the world won’t protect you from it and I will.

            There’s something in there for most conservative groups, and uniting the party is a priority. It also reaches beyond that into economic security.

            It is, of course, very light on policy and plays loose with the facts, but that’s to be expected. It would help if someone else were giving this speech, but Trump is Trump and he’s still only down by a modest margin.

            Eighteen year old Trumwill (who voted for Bill Clinton) would be intrigued. Thirty-seven year old Trumwill isn’t impressed. I expect that most people have more in common with the former me than the latter.

            I don’t think it’s going to put him over the top, but it’ll be worth a couple points and that’s basically HRC’s margin right there. Clinton will get her chance, and the numbers will correct, but the “Who’s winning” question stands a good chance of getting disrupted.

            (My own assessment of where the race is going from here is unchanged. However, I figured that the speech would be good. He can still screw up the presentation, though.)Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Saul Degraw
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            says:

            As someone who scores “liberal” on various online tests, for reasons that aren’t traditional liberal, I point out regularly that the contemporary western liberal perspective is a minority opinion globally, and barely a majority in many western “liberal” democracies. And that liberals that forget that are setting themselves up for a variety of disappointments. Brexit won. Trump is a recession based on the big banks screwing things up for the working class away from winning.

            Despite broad progress over the last 125 years, liberals that think the war’s over are badly mistaken.Report

          • Avatar Brent F in reply to Saul Degraw
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            says:

            Its a speech that puts Trump right where he needs to be, the message he should have had the discipline to stick to since he secured the nomination.

            It can be summed up as:
            I, Donald Trump, promise to be the tribune of the anger of ordinary Americans. The elites and the fancy people and the foreigners look out for themselves, you need a man who looks out for you. Americans are the best people and I will always favour Americans over non-Americans.

            Basically, he’s saying he’s the field captain for Team America! Or, another way to look at it, he’s running as Nixon in 1968, the living avatar of the anger of the silent majority.

            I don’t know if its a strategy that he can stick to or pull off or even if would work if perfectly executed, but I think its the strategy availible to Trump that can win.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Will Truman
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          says:

          His delivery of this speech is not very good at all. It’s shouty and clipped. Less “laying out a narrative” and more “LET ME TELL YOU ANOTHER THING”Report

  7. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    1. You’re going to be murdered. Illegal immigrants will murder you and people you love. If they dont, violent Muslims will.

    2. This is Obama’s fault because he racially polarized America and put Hillary Clinton in charge of our foreign policy.

    3. Big corporations bought her so they could run the system, and get rich moving our jobs overseas. Even Bernie Sanders saw this and tried to fight it, but the systen is rigged and he never had a chance.

    4. I’m going to stop it by enforcing the law and building a wall and renegotiating our tade agreements, including NAFTA. I alone can do this.

    5. Then I’m going to cut your taxes and deregulate the energy industry. Jobs will come flooding in, we’ll all be rich.

    6. Then I’ll reform education, replace Obama care with something else, fix the TSA, and rebuild our military. I’m going to get other nations yo pay for it all.

    7. I’m going to appoint judges like Scalia and protect the free speech rights of evangelicals.

    8. Hey, isn’t my family great? They’re the best.

    9. I’m your voice. I’m with you. MAGA.

    I’m a little bit flip here, but I think I’ve captured the substance.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      We are going to ask every Department Head in government to provide a list of wasteful spending projects that we can eliminate in my first 100 days.

      Lulz.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Kolohe
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        says:

        Maybe he should just ask them for a list of the most visible and loved by voters programs and services in their departments. It’d be the same list.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Kolohe
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        says:

        Didn’t someone here state that, during their work with the State Leg, every incoming class of Legislatures seemed to have one guy asking for the list of wasteful and fraudulent spending.

        Because clearly it was a line-item and voted on.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Morat20
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          says:

          Yeahs I remember that. Pretty sure it’s Michael Cain, the resident Western Water and State Legislative expert.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Morat20
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          says:

          The day that new member training did the budget was always depressing. I’m retired now — maybe things are better, but I’d be surprised.

          There were the waste, fraud and abuse people. Of course there is a certain amount of those things. You minimize them by keeping things simple, and with audits. I never met a legislative budget analyst who wasn’t in favor of simple. The WF&A group always seemed surprised that we already had a State Auditor’s Office that found problems and recommended fixes. They seemed to be unhappy that audits actually cost money.

          There were the people who were surprised that 95% of the General Fund got spent on the Big Six budget items — roughly in order of size, K-12 education, Medicaid, corrections, higher ed, other human services (eg, child welfare), and transportation. And that except for higher ed and transportation, most of that GF spending was constrained by the state constitution and/or federal law. I was always tempted to ask, “What did you think state government did?”Report

  8. Avatar Kazzy
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    says:

    “Cruz’s wife, Heidi, was escorted out of the floor by former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who told Reuters he escorted her out because he was concerned for her safety.”

    This stood out to me. Assuming this wasn’t an overreaction on either Heidi or Ken’s part, fearing for someone’s life because a speaker failed to endorse the candidate is… terrifying.Report

    • Avatar Guy in reply to Kazzy
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      says:

      It’s not much better, but fearing for someone’s safety is quite distinct from fearing for their life, both in its literal meaning and in the degree of alarm it conveys.Report

  9. Avatar Mo
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    says:

    Based on Trump’s choice of balloon drop music, I am going to guess that Trump played Gold Digger at his wedding.Report

  10. Avatar Kolohe
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    says:

    People of the internet – stop using the ‘sounded better in the original German’ joke. It’s old enough to drink and get decent car insurance rates.Report

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