Watching the GOP “debate” the other night, I started thinking about how my bias will effect my judgement of the results. That’s what you always see with these things. Everyone wears their bias on their sleeve. I know Kasich fans who swear he carried the night. Trump fans are on twitter claiming Trump had a good night. Kevin Williamson needed his meds doubled in order to avoid being committed.
That last bit is a good example. Williamson hates Trump. It is an irrational, unhinged hatred, which would be fine except that Trump is doing well. Worse for Kevin is that his readers are mostly enjoying the show and see Trump as a protest vote. The result is Kevin sounds like a low-IQ lunatic. Bias can be very powerful stuff.
Anyway, I was watching and wondering how my bias is shaping my opinions. I want to like Perry, but he’s just not very good so I’m probably doing OK on that score. I want to like Walker and I’m probably willing to overlook his wobbly responses to the important questions. I want to hate Santorum, but I have to admit he says sensible things. I can at least see why people like him.
The truth is I don’t have a big investment in the Republicans. Thinking about my biases, that’s the conclusion I hit on. I’m probably more invested in Kevin Williamson’s nervous breakdown over Trump, as I used to enjoy reading Kevin’s columns. Who the GOP nominates for their guy is simply not all that important to me. I’m just not that into them anymore and they are not into guys like me either.
The last few elections, I went to vote out of habit and loyalty to the old ways. I was born into a country where people, who were like me, tried hard to win my vote. I now live in a country where people who hate me and are nothing like me chase the votes of people who hate me. Voting, for me, is mostly about remembering the way things used to be. Occasionally there’s something on the under-card worth considering.
The other night, thinking about this stuff, I was reminded of this Sean Trende piece from the last election. This table explains Trump and it predicts who the GOP must pick for their candidates in order to win:
Whites are starting to walk away from the process. Not all classes of whites. The Trende piece shows that it is the rural and working class whites, that is staying home. He characterizes them as the Perot vote, which would now be called the Trump vote. The folks on the Dissident Right, who would not be considered downscale in any other context, are certainly a part of this dynamic.
My guess is the GOP’s biggest problem is with white men. I know a lot of white guys who are generally disgusted with the Republicans. I was at lunch the other day with men who are typical middle-class suburbanites. The sort you think of as Chamber of Commerce types. All of them were fed up with the GOP and they were talking about Trump. They know he is a clown, but they’re just tired of the bullshit from the party.
Now, Trump will never be the nominee. That circus on Thursday night was just the appetizer. While Trump helps Bush and the surrender wing of the GOP right now, he is seen as an embarrassment so he has to go. Ideally, from their perspective, the air goes out of his balloon in the fall and he drops out over the holidays. That way he is a non-story for the primaries.
Can they win without these voters?
Here are some math to consider. These are states along with their electoral votes that are Democrat locks: WA(12), OR(7), CA(55), NM(5), ME(4), NH(4), VT(3), MA(11), RI(4), CT(7), NY(29) NJ(14), MD(10), DE(3), DC(3), HI(4). That’s 175 votes and they need 270 to win.That’s just the states that are a mortal lock. The GOP will not even campaign for president in these states.
Here are the “swing states” that the media locks in on every year. CO(9), MN(10), WI(10), MI(16), IA(6), MO(10), OH(18), PA(20), VA(13), NC(15), FL(15). That looks like a lot, but states like MN have not gone GOP since the 70’s. Demographics say this can change, but until it does there’s no reason to think it is going to in 2016. Adding back the heavy leaners to the Democrat total you get 240 electoral votes.
The GOP has to sweep Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida and make sure none of their more reliable states like Missouri swing the other way. Virginia has been invaded by Hispanics and Yankees, who vote Democrat exclusively. It went for Obama the last two times for that reason. Similarly, Florida went Obama the last two times.
Can the GOP win these states if they don’t drive up that white guy vote? Maybe, but the odds are against them. Can they win with a guy like Bush at the top of the ticket? There’s where things get interesting. A Bush – Kasich ticket will give the GOP the White House as they are sure to carry Ohio and Florida. Similarly, a Kasich – Rubio ticket will get them the White House. Any other combination is probably a loser.
So, there’s no reason to pay any attention to the GOP primary. The die is cast.