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Can anyone here imagine 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?