Hope for Anti-Trumpers?

 

For those who are worried that there is no hope of avoiding a Trump victory, I offer the following graph of opinion polls leading up to the South Carolina Republican primary. This is hardly ideal data, but it is the best we have, and it does seem to reflect what happened in the final vote.

Cropped Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 8.41.16 AM copyThe magenta line is Rubio; the dark blue line near the bottom is Kasich; the black line is Cruz; and, most importantly, the blue line at the top is Trump. I’ve put a vertical line on February 11, because it was clearly an inflection point with sudden shifts in many of the candidates’ slopes. And, beautifully, you can see that the Trump blue line near the top starts sloping down.

So what happened immediately after February 11? There may be other factors that I don’t know about, but I can think of two.

First, there was a Republican debate in South Carolina and Jeb Bush (bless him, and may I be smitten for every negative word I’ve ever said about him) showed that you can successfully attack Trump in a debate. He got Trump to say several damaging things that could be used to turn voters. In South Carolina, people really don’t like Planned Parenthood, and his praise for them changed the minds of previously committed Trump voters. And the 9/11 and Iraq War trutherisms also helped. Rubio’s recovery from the New Hampshire debate undoubtedly contributed to his improving numbers. But while that might explain a recovery to a previous level of support; it does not explain how his support rose higher than it had ever been before.

So that brings me to my second observation: the inflection point corresponds with when the ground game really got started in South Carolina. And ground game really matters in primaries. Relatively few voters vote in primaries, and they often make their decisions based on personal contact. Ground game means going out and talking to voters. It’s a technique that works best with volunteers with sincerity and enthusiasm, and I think that Rubio’s late start ground game — dwarfed by a professional ground game run for weeks out of Cruz’s SuperPAC with paid workers — probably made a difference. (I am biased here, but the wisdom that ground game matters in primaries is widely accepted. Disclosure at the bottom to say how I formed this opinion.)

Let’s look at some of the other lines.

Kasich rose. Why? That’s obvious: the strong showing in New Hampshire led a few voters to think he was the best Trump stopper. I am desperately hoping that no one thinks that any more.

Jeb Bush was slightly up, but not by much. Why? He attacked Trump, but everyone otherwise thinks he is just not a strong candidate.

Carson dropped. Why? I think we can all guess that everyone is figuring out that he is not a serious candidate.

Finally, there was Cruz. He’s got a drop, but it’s shallow, and it’s easy to say that that’s “error of measurement,” except for the fact that Rubio ended up beating Cruz in the final vote tally. This is where this post is going to make some people angry, and I apologize for that. Maybe Cruz advocates can come up with a better explanation than mine for why that happened. But I believe that there is one other factor that made a difference, and that is the quality of the candidate. The third thing that changed at around that time is that, of course, all the candidates arrived in South Carolina and voters got to see them. And many voters just do not like Ted Cruz.

I’m no Majestyk, but I hope that some of you who have been discouraged will take heart, and perhaps take action.

Disclosure: I woke up after the New Hampshire primary, took stock, decided that the Trump candidacy was far too dangerous for me to stand by and do nothing, and concluded that it was time for my family to make some sacrifices. So I packed my husband up and he went off to South Carolina to volunteer.

Adding on February 28, as of yesterday I am told that I am now to refer to my husband as “with the campaign,” rather than as a volunteer. I have absolutely no idea what that means, but I know I sent him off as a volunteer with no thought other than that we were going to have to do something to save the Republic, and it was going to cost us something.

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  1. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Lucy Pevensie: First, there was a Republican debate in South Carolina and Jeb Bush (bless him, and may I be smitten for every negative word I’ve ever said about him) showed that you can successfully attack Trump in a debate.

    I have not had it in me to hate Jeb Bush, but this rather persuades me that that is my own failing.

    Tom, as soon as I read the headline I was yelling “YES”.  The whole time people were waiting for Trump to self destruct, I was thinking not while Jeb is still in.

    Mark Steyn has been repeatedly quoting himself from the time that the donors first started lining up behind Jeb, about how the idea of Bush v Clinton was going to turn people off.  A year ago, with all of the money and scaring Mitt Romney off, he seemed inevitable.  Trump is the reaction to that.

    • #31
  2. Duane Oyen Member
    Duane Oyen
    @DuaneOyen

    Judge Mental:Cruz supporter – additional observation.

    That is also about the time that Rubio’s media coverage started spiking and was almost entirely positive. Not just me noticing. I’ve had others mention that without prompting. For one of them that was almost the first thing he said when he saw me.

    Now is that more coverage because of more support or the other way around? The chicken and egg part doesn’t matter and doesn’t negate the fact that you’ll get a positive feedback loop out of that.

    Judge, the problem that Lucy describes is real, unless you think that Andrew Ferguson and Charlie Cooke are sneaky and mean leftists in disguise.

    In 2005, we pointed out something that still strikes me as true: if virtually everyone who works with you hates you and opposes you, it might be a good idea to check into it.  In 2005, that was the case with almost all Swift Boaters, and in 2016 it is the case with virtually all Senators, GW Bush, and co-workers in the Bush43 administration.  Are they all left-wing moles or Washington sell-outs?

    You can have the greatest platform in the world, but if the voters react negatively to the  messenger, 1 Corinthians 13:3- it profits you nothing.

    • #32
  3. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Lucy Pevensie: First, there was a Republican debate in South Carolina and Jeb Bush (bless him, and may I be smitten for every negative word I’ve ever said about him) showed that you can successfully attack Trump in a debate.

    I have not had it in me to hate Jeb Bush, but this rather persuades me that that is my own failing.

    Actually, that’s why I’ve hated him all along. It’s just that, bless him, on the way out he managed to land the first blows against Trump and show that it was possible.

    • #33
  4. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    Austin Murrey: If he loses Florida – and it certainly looks like he will – the most likely result if he does remain in the race – and it certainly looks like he will – is make Trump either out-right winner or the over-all delegate winner in the nomination process.

    I don’t think he’ll lose Florida.

    I know there are polls out now that suggest he will. But people are making their minds up in this election at the very last minute. Florida is two weeks away. Look at my initial graph; look what happens to Rubio’s support when he and his ground game get going.

    • #34
  5. Matt Bartle Member
    Matt Bartle
    @MattBartle

    You know, every football season, about 10 games in, fans of 4-6 teams start working out the possible routes their team has to get into the playoffs.

    It’s almost always wishful thinking.

    • #35
  6. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Duane Oyen:

    Judge Mental:Cruz supporter – additional observation.

    That is also about the time that Rubio’s media coverage started spiking and was almost entirely positive. Not just me noticing. I’ve had others mention that without prompting. For one of them that was almost the first thing he said when he saw me.

    Now is that more coverage because of more support or the other way around? The chicken and egg part doesn’t matter and doesn’t negate the fact that you’ll get a positive feedback loop out of that.

    Judge, the problem that Lucy describes is real, unless you think that Andrew Ferguson and Charlie Cooke are sneaky and mean leftists in disguise.

    In 2005, we pointed out something that still strikes me as true: if virtually everyone who works with you hates you and opposes you, it might be a good idea to check into it. In 2005, that was the case with almost all Swift Boaters, and in 2016 it is the case with virtually all Senators, GW Bush, and co-workers in the Bush43 administration. Are they all left-wing moles or Washington sell-outs?

    You can have the greatest platform in the world, but if the voters react negatively to the messenger, 1 Corinthians 13:3- it profits you nothing.

    I don’t know how you got any of that out of what I wrote.  I made a simple observation that at about the same time as the inflection point described, he started getting a lot more coverage.  Is that where you got the idea I was talking about leftists?  Because I meant Fox News.  I have it on in the background pretty much all the time as I do other things, and there was a noticeable spike in his coverage and it was mostly very positive.  I was never claiming there was a conspiracy.  (I was actually trying to preempt the idea by saying it didn’t matter.)  My point was simply that more positive coverage will lead to increased support.  That has been proven many times.  You can increase support for Hitler if you start running positive stories about him every day.  (And no, I’m not comparing Rubio to Hitler.)

    • #36
  7. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Lucy Pevensie:

    Actually, that’s why I’ve hated him all along. It’s just that, bless him, on the way out he managed to land the first blows against Trump and show that it was possible.

    I don’t disagree with any of this in substance: Bush should have been able to figure out that it was not meant to be even before jumping in and — frankly — it’s just his own hubris that kept him in.

    • #37
  8. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    The problem with beating Trump is that it’s so easy to map out the scenario where neither Cruz or Rubio drops after tomorrow.

    If Rubio has 3 or 4 close seconds to Trump, but no wins, as seems likely, Cruz will win Texas and argue that he’s won two states, so he should be the one left standing even though Rubio will have more delegates and performs better in the remaining states.

    • #38
  9. Sash Member
    Sash
    @Sash

    So what is everyone going to do?

    It took me awhile to understand that there is nothing positive about Donald Trump.  And I can’t be a Republican if he is the head of the Party.

    So what are my options?

    The Democrats have moved so far left, is there any hope of moving them to the center?

    I believe the Democrat Party does everything it can to keep minorities dependent on them.

    When Trump and Sessions were pandering to the KKK yesterday.  I realized that some things D’s say about R’s are true.  Parts of this Party ARE racist.

    I saw with my own eyes that Jeff Sessions must get elected by pandering to racists.  Racists are part of the Republican party in enough numbers to win a Senate seat in the South.  And swing a nomination for President.

    That sickens me.

    I’ve also been troubled by odd rejection of a path to citizenship… I don’t blame immigrants for coming here.

    They have been invited by our government policies.  I don’t want to take out my frustration with Democrats on innocent people.

    I want to control our borders and come into the present day by acknowledging we can’t have open borders.

    Yes, Obama has violated the rule of law that is the foundation of justice.  However, the vitriol spewed towards innocent people is not called for!

    Is there room in the Democrat party for pro-life, rule of law, pro-traditional families, people?

    • #39
  10. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    Though I fear the worst, I am not ready to give up and will be speaking for Marco Rubio at the caucus in Minnesota tomorrow night.  I think Rubio has an excellent chance of winning here and that win could be the spark that ignites his campaign.

    Why do I think he’ll win here?  Minnesota nice – we don’t go for the nasty people like Trump.  Unemployment is about 4% – if you can fog a mirror you can find good work.  Furthermore, we need more immigrants here, not fewer (at least those who are willing to work). Trump’s schtick don’t play here.

    As for why I support Rubio over Cruz, there has been recent analysis done based on exit polls that show Rubio has much more room for growth in his support than Cruz does.  Crux does horribly with moderates and non-evangelicals, for example, and will have a hard time growing beyond his current 20-30% support base.

    • #40
  11. Sash Member
    Sash
    @Sash

    Frozen Chosen:Though I fear the worst, I am not ready to give up and will be speaking for Marco Rubio at the caucus in Minnesota tomorrow night. I think Rubio has an excellent chance of winning here and that win could be the spark that ignites his campaign.

    Why do I think he’ll win here? Minnesota nice – we don’t go for the nasty people like Trump. Unemployment is about 4% – if you can fog a mirror you can find good work. Furthermore, we need more immigrants here, not fewer (at least those who are willing to work). Trump’s schtick don’t play here.

    As for why I support Rubio over Cruz, there has been recent analysis done based on exit polls that show Rubio has much more room for growth in his support than Cruz does. Crux does horribly with moderates and non-evangelicals, for example, and will have a hard time growing beyond his current 20-30% support base.

    Tell them, that this is not just about which candidate would be President, it is about the soul of our Party.

    I won’t stay in a Party headed by Donald Trump.

    I believe they will gain a bunch of poorly educated racists and lose educated people who can see through a con man.

    If you have seen the racists on the internet, you must know that is true.

    • #41
  12. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Frozen Chosen:Though I fear the worst, I am not ready to give up and will be speaking for Marco Rubio at the caucus in Minnesota tomorrow night. I think Rubio has an excellent chance of winning here and that win could be the spark that ignites his campaign.

    Why do I think he’ll win here? Minnesota nice – we don’t go for the nasty people like Trump. Unemployment is about 4% – if you can fog a mirror you can find good work. Furthermore, we need more immigrants here, not fewer (at least those who are willing to work). Trump’s schtick don’t play here.

    As for why I support Rubio over Cruz, there has been recent analysis done based on exit polls that show Rubio has much more room for growth in his support than Cruz does. Crux does horribly with moderates and non-evangelicals, for example, and will have a hard time growing beyond his current 20-30% support base.

    I believe I made this argument inarticulately to Gretchen Carlson. :)

    • #42
  13. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Frozen Chosen: Why do I think he’ll win here? Minnesota nice – we don’t go for the nasty people like Trump.

    Curious to know… does Rubio’s recent turn in style damage the nice vibe?  I think it might for some people, but I have no idea how many or how many might like it.

    • #43
  14. Sash Member
    Sash
    @Sash

    Rubio supporters aren’t the only ones who need to do some soul searching.

    I started to write all the reasons I think you are wrong about Cruz and Rubio… but that is probably not helpful.

    The bottom line is Cruz’s best shot is tomorrow.  Rubio’s best states are still to come.

    And if Trump continues down and Rubio continues up… Rubio is our best shot to beat Trump.

    Trump’s mask stayed on too long for Cruz to rise.

    I do wish someone would get the three together and make some compromise.

    At this point any of them would be better than Trump… even Carson.  Who seems oblivious that he is messing up.  Maybe he’s the Democrat plant.

    • #44
  15. Sash Member
    Sash
    @Sash

    Judge Mental:

    Frozen Chosen: Why do I think he’ll win here? Minnesota nice – we don’t go for the nasty people like Trump.

    Curious to know… does Rubio’s recent turn in style damage the nice vibe? I think it might for some people, but I have no idea how many or how many might like it.

    I had the same thought.  I know my husband and son like Rubio better this way.  But I actually liked the other Rubio.

    • #45
  16. Sash Member
    Sash
    @Sash

    Theodoric of Freiberg:Trump has already said he believes the GOP has reneged. So if he is not the nominee, he will run independently, securing the presidency for the Democrat. And if he gets the nomination, the GOP will have to support all of his insane utterances and stances (like not disavowing David Duke and the KKK) and the Democrat still wins. Talk about a total disaster for the GOP and the nation.

    This election cycle seems like a bizarre bridge hand. Trump we lose. No Trump we lose.

    I would rather lose than help put a man like that in the Whitehouse.

    I wish he’d get out and run third party, because then I’d still have a poltical home.

    If he wins the nomination I must look for a new party.

    • #46
  17. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    Frank Soto:The problem with beating Trump is that it’s so easy to map out the scenario where neither Cruz or Rubio drops after tomorrow.

    If Rubio has 3 or 4 close seconds to Trump, but no wins, as seems likely, Cruz will win Texas and argue that he’s won two states, so he should be the one left standing even though Rubio will have more delegates and performs better in the remaining states.

    Absolutely right, although the same remains true if Rubio’s third in delegates to Cruz. We’re depending (wishing?) on ambitious, accomplished men to surrender their best hope for the highest office to the benefit of a political rival.

    • #47
  18. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    Lucy Pevensie:I don’t think he’ll lose Florida.

    I know there are polls out now that suggest he will. But people are making their minds up in this election at the very last minute. Florida is two weeks away. Look at my initial graph; look what happens to Rubio’s support when he and his ground game get going.

    That’s what they said about New Hampshire. And South Carolina. And Nevada.

    Sooner or later Rubio has to win.

    • #48
  19. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Austin Murrey: Sooner or later Rubio has to win.

    True, but we should point out that Cruz winning Iowa and Texas doesn’t count as winning by the definition you are laying out for Rubio.

    They have to win winner-take-all states.  Cruz hasn’t done that either.

    • #49
  20. Sash Member
    Sash
    @Sash

    Austin Murrey: Sooner or later Rubio has to win.

    To win the nomination probably.

    I will leave the Republican Party if Trump is the nominee, so I am hoping for a brokered convention now. A brokered convention to save the soul of the Republican Party from Donald Trump.

    And that just means keeping Trump below what he needs to become the nominee until the convention.

    That may be the whole game and no one drops out.  Someone has done the math and with them all in Trump can’t get it done.

    Republicans with Trump at the top can not win the General anyway.

    So any damage done to the party has been done, a brokered convention that resulted in Trump being tossed out has no down side, when you realize that making Trump President is worse than kicking him out and losing all those new racist voters.

    I’d rather be a part of a Party that did the right thing and lost.  Than did the wrong thing and won.

    • #50
  21. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    Matt Bartle:You know, every football season, about 10 games in, fans of 4-6 teams start working out the possible routes their team has to get into the playoffs.

    It’s almost always wishful thinking.

    Except for the teams that do make the playoffs.  Are you suggesting that all the teams should just stop playing because there’s a chance they won’t win?

    • #51
  22. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    Frank Soto:

    Austin Murrey: Sooner or later Rubio has to win.

    True, but we should point out that Cruz winning Iowa and Texas doesn’t count as winning by the definition you are laying out for Rubio.

    They have to win winner-take-all states. Cruz hasn’t done that either.

    No he hasn’t and he probably won’t – I’m on record here stating that Cruz will fall out before Rubio does. Cruz’s plan was to have the nomination locked up by 3/15; he doesn’t and I don’t think he can win at this point.

    • #52
  23. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    Austin Murrey:

    Lucy Pevensie:I don’t think he’ll lose Florida.

    I know there are polls out now that suggest he will. But people are making their minds up in this election at the very last minute. Florida is two weeks away. Look at my initial graph; look what happens to Rubio’s support when he and his ground game get going.

    That’s what they said about New Hampshire. And South Carolina. And Nevada.

    Sooner or later Rubio has to win.

    I’m not sure, actually,  that that is what they said about those states.  At that point the game was to stay in and not flame out like Walker. And to fend off incoming fire from Jeb.

    • #53
  24. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    Sorry, duplicate comment.

    • #54
  25. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Austin Murrey:

    Frank Soto:

    Austin Murrey: Sooner or later Rubio has to win.

    True, but we should point out that Cruz winning Iowa and Texas doesn’t count as winning by the definition you are laying out for Rubio.

    They have to win winner-take-all states. Cruz hasn’t done that either.

    No he hasn’t and he probably won’t – I’m on record here stating that Cruz will fall out before Rubio does. Cruz’s plan was to have the nomination locked up by 3/15; he doesn’t and I don’t think he can win at this point.

    I’m so freaking depressed that this con man has ruined this race.

    Cruz vs. Rubio is what this primary should have been.

    • #55
  26. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    Frank Soto: Cruz vs. Rubio is what this primary should have been.

    Well, I would’ve preferred Jindal v. Walker.

    But to each their own.

    • #56
  27. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Austin Murrey:

    Frank Soto: Cruz vs. Rubio is what this primary should have been.

    Well, I would’ve preferred Jindal v. Walker.

    But to each their own.

    Both great guys, but I suspect they would have faded as they did, it just would have taken longer with no Trump.

    Walker turned out to not have the skills at campaigning that I assumed he had.

    • #57
  28. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    Frank Soto:

    Austin Murrey:

    Frank Soto: Cruz vs. Rubio is what this primary should have been.

    Well, I would’ve preferred Jindal v. Walker.

    But to each their own.

    Both great guys, but I suspect they would have faded as they did, it just would have taken longer with no Trump.

    Walker turned out to not have the skills at campaigning that I assumed he had.

    Walker was hurt in the campaigning (not sure why) but it was fundraising that killed him as I recall: wasn’t his campaign broke when he left the race?

    • #58
  29. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Austin Murrey: Walker was hurt in the campaigning (not sure why) but it was fundraising that killed him as I recall: wasn’t his campaign broke when he left the race?

    It was.  He tried to build a huge organization in Iowa and burned through his cash too quickly.

    • #59
  30. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    Frank Soto:

    Austin Murrey: Walker was hurt in the campaigning (not sure why) but it was fundraising that killed him as I recall: wasn’t his campaign broke when he left the race?

    It was. He tried to build a huge organization in Iowa and burned through his cash too quickly.

    Phew, chalk one up for the fading memory. Another thing I hold (perhaps irrationally) against Mike Murphy and Jeb Bush.

    Bending on Liz Mair when his brand was “He fights!” wasn’t a great look either.

    • #60
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