What Do Trump Enthusiasts Expect?

 

Can anyone here imagitrump-splitne a scenario in which Donald Trump is elected President of the United States in 2016? Show me how it works, in the real world. Under what conditions could Trump secure the GOP nomination? Having secured it, under what conditions could he win 270 electoral votes? Can anyone imagine him winning as an independent?

Would you agree with me that it’s a highly unlikely scenario?

PPP reports that in North Carolina, “Trump’s really caught fire with voters” on what it describes as the “far-right.” Their polls show that 66 percent of self-described “very conservative” voters “see him favorably.”

I’m not sure what the words “see him favorably” really mean, here. Do they mean, “I would vote for him, either in the primaries or in the general election,” or do they mean, “I have a good feeling about the man, and while of course I don’t take him seriously as a candidate, I think his participation in politics will have a salutary effect on the candidates for whom I might vote?”

I ask because in my view, the odds of Trump winning the presidency are extremely small. I can’t sketch out a plausible series of events in my mind such that the number of people energized by his pugnacious personality aren’t more than offset by the number who are horrified by it. I’m surprised that so many people who describe themselves as “very conservative” voters in North Carolina have a favorable view about him, because I assume a large number of them are what we on Ricochet would call social conservatives. If “seeing him favorably” should be translated as, “I would vote for him,” it suggests this group is a lot more willing to compromise on their social conservative principles, or at least to take big risks with them, than I would have expected.

If they mean, “I would vote for him,” I suspect it also means, in a way, “I give up.” Unless they’re seeing a path to the White House for Trump that I just can’t work out, it sounds as if they want to use their vote as a protest vote, rather than use it in a way that might result in someone more conservative than Hillary Clinton in the White House.

Or perhaps they’re hoping to use their support for Trump to force the rest of the GOP to take immigration more seriously? That’s the theory that makes the most sense to me.

What do you think’s going on? Assume that politics is the art of the possible. I wouldn’t at this stage say that a President Trump is impossible, but I’d say it’s so unlikely — and also so likely to split the GOP and thereby give us President Clinton — that to support him is, essentially, un-conservative, considering that conservatives pride themselves in seeing the world as is is, as opposed to how they want it to be.

This, according to research done by CATO, is how it is:

  1. The Millennial Generation, those roughly 87 million adult men and women born between 1980 and 1997, now represent one quarter of the U.S. population, outnumbering the Greatest Generation (1913–1924), the Silent Generation (1925–1945), the Baby Boomers (1946–1964), and Generation X (Gen Xers) (1965–1979). In addition to being far more likely to have posted a “selfie”on social media than other generations, the Millennials also have distinct attitudes toward a range of important foreign policy issues. With those on the leading edge of Millennials now hitting their mid-thirties, this cohort is becoming increasingly influential.
  2. Compared to other cohorts, Millennials are more liberal, more ethnically and racially diverse, more technology centered, more supportive of government action to solve problems, and the best-educated generation in U.S. history. … Millennials are more liberal than previous generations. This liberal shift is linked to more tolerant social attitudes in particular, with Millennials clearly more supportive of same-sex marriage, single motherhood, and nontraditional family structures than older generations.
  3. Much has been made of Millennials’ support for Barack Obama in the 2008 election and the subsequent decline in the Democratic Party’s advantage with Millennials since then. But although the voting patterns may shift as youthful exuberance  meets the reality of Washington politics, the history of polling on liberal and conservative ideology suggests that Millennials will remain a more liberal group over time. A recent report by Jeff Jones of Gallup, for example, concluded that Millennials will remain more liberal and that the overall American electorate will tilt more liberal as older and more conservative Americans begin to die. Following the work of Ghitza and Gelman, Millennials’ liberalness may stem in large part from their coming of age under Bill Clinton (a popular Democratic president) and George W. Bush (an unpopular Republican president). Another potential source of Millennials’ liberal attitudes is the fact they are also the most ethnically and racially diverse generation in the United States: just 57 percent of the Millennial Generation are non-Hispanic whites, 4 percent fewer than Generation X and 15 percent fewer than the Baby Boomers. This diversity, in turn, is due in large part to recent immigration: 11 percent of Millennials were children of immigrants, up substantially from 7 percent for Gen Xers and 5 percent for Boomers.

Assume the next election will be dominated by a growing cohort of self-described liberals, who will continue to become more liberal until conservatives like us begin to die. It does’t seem highly likely to me that this growing cohort could be persuaded to vote for Trump.

Given that, what are the people supporting Trump thinking? Are they enjoying a Republican Id fantasy in which the rest of the electorate doesn’t exist? Are they trying to influence their own party? Are they just having fun?

Has it occurred to them that in doing so, they will in effect send Hillary to the White House in a sealed train? And that if this seems okay to them, they probably shouldn’t be describing themselves as “very conservative?”

Anyone see a different way of looking at it?

There are 255 comments.

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  1. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    TL;DR

    We don;t expect him to win anything.  We expect him to spotlight the appetite for bare-knuckled brawling and the telling of unpleasant truths.

    We are sick and CoC tired of cowardly CoC Stepin Fetchit Republicans  who prostitute themselves and us, conservatives and Americans, for the increment of approval that gets them invited to dinner parties, but which does not bring meaningful victory.

    Explanations, explications, excuses.  Sick of all of it.

    Trump is a clown without a chance, a ghost dancer with a magic shirt who is *still* more palatable than the low, vile, corrupt GOP functionaries.

    • #1
  2. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Do they mean, “I would vote for him, either in the primaries or in the general election,” or do they mean, “I have a good feeling about the man, and while of course I don’t take him seriously as a candidate, I think his participation in politics will have a salutary effect on the candidates for whom I might vote?”

    Option three.  We hope to be remembered well by those who fifty years from now try to piece together what happened before it all came crashing down.

    • #2
  3. user_33712 Member
    user_33712
    @BobCroft

    Myself, I’m hoping for a Trump/Bernie Sanders election, for the humor and pathos of it all….

    • #3
  4. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    I think they literally do mean “I give up.”

    The surge for Trump gets on my nerves more than the 2012 monthly favorites.  I think because I lived in Wisconsin.  If all you want is sheer toughness, there’s at least one candidate in this race who has proven he’s willing to show courage in actual governance rather than on the primary campaign trail and who is not only bold but conservative.  And instead you’re offering me this guy who can spout some conservative noises but — for all we know — is a closet Democrat?

    Telling primary voters what they want to hear is not courage.  Trump is offering style over substance, and when there is actual substance on offer that drives me crazy.  (I will admit that it does not help that Trump’s style also gets on my nerves badly.)

    Remember Mike Lee talking about not rewarding whoever shouts “Freedom” the loudest?  I was trying to find a transcript this morning, and couldn’t.

    • #4
  5. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Every election cycle, some clown appears and announces that he is running.  The clown makes a speech or two in which he doesn’t follow the usual rules of political discourse.  This has two effects:  First, it immediately convinces everyone that the clown has no chance.  Second, it convinces the deeply disaffected that here they have someone who won’t play by the same old rules that left them disaffected in the first place.

    For a brief time, the clown shoots up to somewhere near the top of the polls.  Then he makes some outrageously stupid statement, and people begin to find out what his actual positions are, and the clown flames out.

    As a measure of actual support for the clown, these polls are pretty worthless.  But as a measure of how many voters are deeply disaffected, the clown poll is an interesting insight.

    • #5
  6. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    Trump enthusiasm is among people who say they are conservative but are not especially politically aware…..sort of our own “low information” voters.  Politically active conservative’s favorite sport is judging each other’s conservative qualifications to see if you are a RINO or not for God’s sake!  Trump is the walking definition of a RINO.  Anyone who endorsed Hillary, donated to Anthony Weiner, was a vocal proponent of single payer government healthcare, etc etc….and then decides to run as a Republican, is a charlatan and that’s all.

    • #6
  7. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    I agree with BDB above, number 1. Trump won’t win but I love that he will deal with the real issues that most of the candidates have been schooled to not delve into. Immigration is a great example. There are others.

    One thing for certain: don’t do what Bush 41 did (allowing Perot in the debates) and allow Trump anywhere near the general election. Bush 41 had it easy, too. He was the incumbent and could have had his way in this. It will be a little more difficult in this election but I hope they aren’t that stupid again.

    • #7
  8. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    Larry Koler:I agree with BDB above, number 1. Trump won’t win but I love that he will deal with the real issues that most of the candidates have been schooled to not delve into. Immigration is a great example. There are others.

    One thing for certain: don’t do what Bush 41 did (allowing Perot in the debates) and allow Trump anywhere near the general election. Bush 41 had it easy, too. He was the incumbent and could have had his way in this. It will be a little more difficult in this election but I hope they aren’t that stupid again.

    He isn’t “dealing” with the issues.  He is parroting what he thinks are populist opinions with frantic extreme bloviations.  This will do for the immigration debate what “kill whitey” slogans do for race relations, what the claim of “back alley abortions” does to the abortion debate.  It’s pandering and that’s all, not discussing and issue.  Over generalization just sets up battle lines, it never achieves any kind of consensus.

    • #8
  9. user_1100855 Member
    user_1100855
    @PaddySiochain

    CJjh9EdUsAAljpI

    • #9
  10. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    How much of his apparent success is over-reporting by the left’s lap dogs? If I wanted to make Republicans (both the party and the base) look unserious the very first person I’d want to be their spokesman would be Donald Trump. Once people realize he’s hard selling them on a very used car they will walk away.

    • #10
  11. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Larry Koler: I love that he will deal with the real issues

    Shouting stupid [expletive] about real issues and dealing with them are not the same thing.

    • #11
  12. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    I think by any measure I am a far-right voter in North Carolina, and all I can say is, you’ve got me.  I can’t imagine what people are thinking. My husband, who has much better connections to Republicans around the state, might be able to tell you, but he is out of town at the moment. I hope, however, that these polls simply reflect the overall increasing unreliability of polls on any subject.

    By way of speculation, I will offer these two thoughts: on the local talk radio show here there used to be a woman who must have been considered conservative by someone’s standards.  As far as I could tell, her only conservative credential was her anti-immigration stance. There’s clearly a significant anti-immigration streak here. Also, Republicans are making inroads into the black community here, and those are the people who are most directly hurt by illegal immigration.

    • #12
  13. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    The King Prawn:How much of his apparent success is over-reporting by the left’s lap dogs? If I wanted to make Republicans (both the party and the base) look unserious the very first person I’d want to be their spokesman would be Donald Trump. Once people realize he’s hard selling them on a very used car they will walk away.

    Yes. I never trusted polls, but these days I trust them less and less. KP, you know what I think about the SSM polls.

    • #13
  14. user_124695 Inactive
    user_124695
    @DavidWilliamson

    Yeah, and I bet Claire can’t even buy a pair of pantsuits.

    Personally, I think Ms pantsuits has planted her good friend on us. But, yeah, a debate between Sanders and Trump would be clarifying. At least Mr Sanders wont leave his Socialist pants in the closet.

    • #14
  15. liberal jim Inactive
    liberal jim
    @liberaljim

    Could it possibly be that people support the message but not the messenger?

    I think legal citizens are fed up with the illegal immigration farce and the establishment politicians who silently promote it.  They are also fed up with trade deals that favor crony corporate cohorts of the same establishment.

    Jan 2015 federal sentencing stats reveal that illegal immigrants make up nearly 23% of federal prison population, yet they account for less than 5 % of the adult population.  Who is the bigger clown Jeb who says these felons came hear as an act of love or the Donald who says we are not being sent the best and brightest.  My biggest clown vote goes to Jeb.

    As for the “hard working illegals”; if indeed they are hard working,  and not availing themselves of welfare, the principles of supply and demand mean they serve to depress the wages of legal citizens.  This coupled by the multiple manufacturing plants built and being built on the Mexican side of the borer, thanks to NAFTA, mean less money and financial security for legal citizens.

    In short there are millions of legal citizens who are fed up and are not going take it anymore and who are currently voicing support for the Donald, for he is the only one  speaking truth to power.   I am certain there will be more joining him shortly.

    Certainly you are intelligent enough to have figured this out, but choose instead to obfuscate.  Why?

    • #15
  16. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    The Donald is too ugly to be elected.

    • #16
  17. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Maybe people are sick of having certain political opinions ruled anathema by secular elites and punished through economic coercion.

    • #17
  18. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    liberal jim: In short there are millions of legal citizens who are fed up and are not going take it anymore and who are currently voicing support for the Donald, for he is the only one  speaking truth to power.

    What truth? “I’ll make Mexico build a fence, pay for it, and think it was their idea” is speaking fantasy to power.

    Jonah is right. It’s time for an intervention.

    • #18
  19. Klaatu Inactive
    Klaatu
    @Klaatu

    Three things pop to mind.

    1.  The media love to play up anyone who makes conservatism look ridiculous.

    2.  A significant percentage of people, including conservatives enjoy being pandered to.

    3.  Trump has a built in audience who already see him favorably as that guy who is on TV.

    • #19
  20. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    Come on now. Highlighting the immigration issue is getting traction. Do people here want it ignored? The first tier candidates will have to deal with it now. That’s a good thing.
    Politics is an iterative process and especially during the primaries. Each candidate tries things and watches the results. They watch each other and try to coopt each other. This is all to the good.
    Mischief-making by the media is our chief concern because the Dems and the MSM work together. People on our side fall for media sucker bait all the time.

    • #20
  21. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    The King Prawn: What truth? “I’ll make Mexico build a fence, pay for it, and think it was their idea” is speaking fantasy to power.

    He’s speaking fantasy to a set of primary voters — admittedly a common practice — but he’s doing it on steroids.

    • #21
  22. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    The Donald declares what lots of people both believe and wish they heard from more palatable candidates. Example: “If you don’t have a border, you don’t have a country.”

    That’s true, quotable, and a lamentable million miles from today’s ruling class’s policy preference.

    Disaster lurks, though, if he runs as a third-party candidate and like Ross Perot, takes away enough R votes to guarantee Pantsuits in the WH. What a shame when the Rs field such an impressive group of candidates.

    • #22
  23. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    Trump is a clown. But he is a very cunning clown. Conservative Americans are deeply worried that illegal immigration will work a transformation in the country that will make it susceptible to something like the populism that has ruined Argentina and Venezuela. The liberals clearly relish this prospect. They want to provide illegal aliens with a clear path to citizenship and to use them to shift the political balance, and they are perfectly happy to have them voting — even if they do not have citizenship.

    The leading Republican contenders — above all, Bush and Rubio — have failed thus far to sound the alarm. They are running business-as-usual campaigns. They do not address the threat to our institutions posed by the use of the IRS and of state laws to suppress free speech. They say next to nothing about the need to control our borders.

    Trump, sensing the public mood, wades in.

    Yes, he is a spoiler. Yes, he is a clown. But he is able to do what he is doing because his rivals for the nomination have failed to address adequately a question of public policy that is of surpassing concern to many voters.

    We face a larger problem. The Chamber of Commerce and the businesses it represents want cheap labor; and, like most businessmen, they think short-term. They do not care about the long-term consequences attendant on flooding the country with aliens.

    Bush, Rubio, and the like are owned lock, stock, and barrel by the Chamber of Commerce. So are most Republicans.

    No one speaks up for ordinary American citizens who are working stiffs. It is no wonder that Trump’s statements have stirred interest.

    Let me add that many a Democrat is listening intently to Trump. On the question of immigration, the African-American leadership has sold out. Their constituents are not entirely unaware of this. On the question of immigration, the AFL-CIO leaders have sold out. The members of the private-sector unions are also sensitive to this fact.

    • #23
  24. Butters Inactive
    Butters
    @CommodoreBTC

    Trump enthusiasts expect other candidates to take illegal immigration seriously.

    • #24
  25. The Cloaked Gaijin Member
    The Cloaked Gaijin
    @TheCloakedGaijin

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:Under what conditions could Trump secure the GOP nomination? Having secured it, under what conditions could he win 270 electoral votes? Can anyone imagine him winning as an independent?

    Well, I suppose if no candidate received a majority of the electoral votes, a Republican Party-dominated House of Representatives in both representatives and number of states could decide to pick Trump as the least worst of the three top vote-getters.

    Trump might somehow become less demonized.  He’s given a lot of money to Democrats and doesn’t seem to be tied to down to the issues.

    As I wrote before, the Republican Party created Donald Trump when they decided to side with U.S. Chamber of Commerce business money and illegal immigrants.  McConnell and Boehner won’t even pass bills to force Obama to veto anything other the Keystone pipeline; they should be passing something every day or week.

    The country seems to be changing fast.  Ross Perot received 19% of the vote.  Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger were both elected governor.  Those things happened years ago.  Today’s choice is between another Bush and another Clinton.  Who knows what tomorrow hold?  I’m waiting for Obama to storm away from the Iran nuclear weapon deal over the issue of homosexual marriage.

    • #25
  26. Gödel's Ghost Inactive
    Gödel's Ghost
    @GreatGhostofGodel

    I sure don’t want any Trump enthusiast telling me how whack/unelectable Rand Paul is.

    • #26
  27. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    It’s the silly season, isn’t it? Four years ago we were talking Newt in the same tones.

    There are, however, when moments of anger elevate a candidate. In 1980, George H. W. Bush was the establishment darling. Reagan, it was said, had his moment when he came close to unseating Ford in ’76. Then came the New Hampshire microphone incident. The anger Reagan had at that moment showed him to be the fighter conservatives longed for and they rallied behind him.

    Every politician makes compromises. But the litany of Republicans in DC folding like a cheap tent becomes legendary and, in the eyes of many, becomes an albatross around their necks. People are tired of the incrementalism. GOP “wins” are so temporary they might as well not happen in the first place.

    Republicans regularly get elected promising to limit government but agencies still grow and regulations still multiply. Even Scott Walker, who has been impressive in limiting the unions, really hasn’t scaled back the state government in Madison.

    That level of promising without delivery is what empowers the fringe candidates and demagoguery. The fault is not Trump’s. It’s us.

    • #27
  28. The Cloaked Gaijin Member
    The Cloaked Gaijin
    @TheCloakedGaijin

    Paul A. Rahe: Trump is a clown. But he is a very cunning clown

    I agree with everything you said, Dr. Rahe, but I would only argue that it can be very difficult today to spot the clowns when placed next to other politicians.  Who would have thought bad things about a person like Dennis Hastert a year ago?  At least Trump earned his money through work, inheritance, and maybe some insider influence.  Every politician who isn’t a wealthy doctor or businessman seems to have gotten incredibly rich through taxpayer money, fraud, special land deals, lobbying, fancy law firms, corporate boards, business bribery of their spouse, etc.  “Donald Trump to Meet Families of Victims Killed by Immigrants,” says the headline.  Any other politician could have had that headline, but he or she would have refused it.

    A clown?  Maybe, but a clown playing offense.  Now who’s the clown?

    • #28
  29. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    If you want a serious answer.

    I have some friends who recently got married.  She makes donuts for a gas station donut chain in boston, and mucks stables.  He changes the oil at jiffy lube.  So what does the republican party have for them except “[CoC] off, starve, and then die…. But before you do, send money.” (This is essentially the only thing he has to say)

    So the democrats are nakedly exterminationist about these people.  Eliminating them is their sole animating principle, and for the most part that is the animating principle of a non-trivial portion of Republican party.  For instance, John Podhorertz is [redacted for CoC; ad hominem] They have taken him at his word.

    Trump hates someone else.

    Toss in 30-40 years of lies, and you are left with no reason not to troll the party.

    The Republican Party created Trump by poisoning the well.  The larger problem is if the plurality of the party is more interested in trolling the party…..  Its ability to get these people out to vote for Jeb/Rubio/et al is basically going to be nonexistent.

    I would hope that somewhere in the smoked filled rooms of power someone is sober enough to hear the klaxons and pick up the red phone.

    • #29
  30. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Then if one of these people do make it out of the vast waste land of creeping poverty and crystal meth, the “”reformicons”” are coming to rape them and their families future like the main-characters in feminist erotic fiction in the rolling stone.

    I am sure they all want to send in a few dollars to help the grand old party on its mission to ensure that they get the opportunity to train their H1B visa holding replacement.

    So obviously because if a few thousand things were different, that republicans have no willingness or ability to change, their problems wouldn’t exist, so obviously they don’t exist.  And if they just wait a generation or 2 there will be plentiful good jobs again, so whats the big deal?

    • #30

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