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Post '16 GOP Autopsy


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#1
Carrie Mathison

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Wanted to get your thoughts on this- while there's still a few people posting here and before Nightly dies.  I know the election hasn't actually happened yet, but we're getting to the point where the writing is almost on the wall, so it's never too early to start. 

 

First, this is what this thread is not.  These replies will not be allowed:

 

a) Trump-bashing.  Yes, we get that you don't like Trump.  This thread is not about whether you like Trump or not, or how badly you think he damaged the GOP.  It's about going forward.

 

b) The GOP base is evil, racist, redneck, Nazis, hitler, etc.  See above.  This thread is not about whether you like the GOP base.  Hate on them all you want, do it in a different thread.

 

c) The GOP can never win an election again, because bla bla bla, it's going to collapse, bla bla bla.  I don't care whether you think the GOP will ever win again or they're screwed for a generation.  This is not a prediction thread about what you think will happen IRL- leave it at the door.  This thread is about if, hypothetically, you woke up tomorrow and you were the GOP's next RNC chairman.  What would you do if you had to find a way to get the GOP to win back the White House?

 

 

 

Now that we got that out of the way.  There's basically two prevailing schools of thought on this.  First, that the GOP find a way to appeal to minorities.  Second, that the GOP find more white voters.

 

Let's talk about the first theory.  As much as it pains me to say this, I've never really understood this school of thought and think this is where AM radio hosts sorta have a point.  What precisely is the GOP supposed to do to make millions of minorities suddenly wake up one day and say, "hey!  I think I'll vote Republican!"  I just don't see it happening.  When I press a lot of my liberal friends about what "appealing to minorities" actually means, it ultimately just ends up being some hemming and hawing about "being nicer."  Uh.. OK?  Whatever that means.  I'm pretty sure Huffpost is going to write the same damn articles no matter who the GOP runs.  The GOP candidate is predictably going to be called racist Hitler pretty much guaranteed.

 

Let's look at some 2012 results (we don't have the '16 results yet, but I'm assuming for this that Trump will not perform any better than Romney).

 

If only white males voted- Romney wins 501 EV to 37.

If only males (of all races) voted- Romney still wins 322 EV to 216.

If only whites voted- Romney wins 441 EV to 97 (this is actually one of the often glossed over 'secrets' of 2012- a majority of white women voted for Romney)

 

With minority demographics however, Romney lost Hispanics by 71 to 27 and Blacks 93 to 6.  He did slightly better if you only include Hispanic and Black males.  His worst demographic was Black females (96 to 3).

 

Another "secret" of 2012 that few people talk about- Romney won the youth vote as well, if you only include whites (51% to 44%).  He lost young Hispanics and Blacks at a ratio similar to their overall demographic.

 

Now here's an interesting thing I learned recently- a Pew study indicated that among "English dominant" Hispanics, Clinton leads Trump, but only 48 to 41.  A solid lead for Clinton, but not too far off the national average actually.  This suggests that "English dominant" Hispanics probably track (more or less), the national popular vote %.  Now what English dominant means, I'm not sure (the study says it's those that are 'more proficient in English than Spanish,' so probably those that grew up only speaking English in the home). 

 

I see this as both good and bad news for the GOP.  Good news in the sense that the evidence indicates that the oft-repeated theory that the "more Hispanics assimilate, the more conservative they become" has some truth to it.  But it's bad news too, because this is not something the GOP can change, accelerate, or do much about either way.  It's not like one day the RNC can snap their fingers and all of a sudden the characteristics of the entire Hispanic demographic nation-wide have changed.  Maybe the Hispanic demographic changes on its own over time, or maybe it doesn't, but either way it's not happening in 4 years, 8 or maybe even 30.  And on top of that, for reasons in their own self interest (and who could blame them), the Dems are likely to block any effort to try and accelerate it as well.

 

So the GOP, to win the Hispanics outright, would have to find a way to somehow appeal to the non-English speaking (or bilingual) Hispanics, and I just don't see a credible way to do so.  If the GOP ran someone Hispanic who spoke fluent Spanish, they would be criticized for pandering.  If they don't, they get criticized for being the party of "old white dudes."  So the GOP is sorta damned if they do, damned if they don't here- which begs the question of whether the GOP is better off just writing off Hispanics altogether.

 

 

That leads me to the second part of this post- theory #2.  That somehow the GOP has to find more white voters.  Now, in order to do so, this means the GOP basically gives up NV, NM, VA and CO, but one could argue this is a sunk cost since they're gone for the GOP anyway.

 

In this theory, the GOP has to find a way to hold FL while flipping PA.  This theory assumes the GOP wins OH (but not worth going into any more detail than that, since OH is basically a microcosm of the US with a stable population, either party is always going to have to win OH to win the election).

 

Flipping PA requires two things- first, that the trends in western PA continue to go strong for the GOP, and second, that the GOP is able to flip enough of the northeastern rust-belt cities (Scranton, etc) to balance out Philly (which is gone for the GOP).  I've read numerous demographic studies (too lazy to link right now, but can find them if someone requests) that suggest these areas actually are trending to the GOP, but the Dems still turn out enough votes in Philly to cancel them out.

 

So the goal would be to have a candidate that increases turnout in northeastern PA, but keeps Philly from getting excited and turning out.  Let us consider who the candidate would be.  (again, this is not a thread about Trump).  Biden is very popular in the area, so a folksy, straight-talking White guy that doesn't come off as a rich douche is a good fit (then again, that guy is a good fit for a lot of suburban American just in general).  This hypothetical candidate would probably have to put economic issues front-and-center and be more populist than the mainstream GOP.  If this cycle's primary showed us anything, it's that the establishment would find that unacceptable from the get-go.  What's interesting though, is whether the current establishment has already lost the battle.  At least in Europe, right-wing populism has already become the conservative movement.  Where I used to live, in Switzerland, the right wing populist party (the Swiss People's Party) actually has a national majority in their Congress-equivalent.  So is this the wave of the future?  Maybe so, because at the end of the day, movement conservatives (as much as they may hate hearing it), don't make PA competitive.  10 years ago they made VA competitive, but demographics have changed such that VA isn't in play anymore.  The unfortunate fact for the purists is simply that they don't exist in large enough numbers in swing states.

 

So who does this candidate look like?  I can't think of an example of one this cycle, but it would probably be someone with similar positions to Trump (minus the more loony stuff), with the demeanor, attitude and temperament of someone like Kasich.  Interestingly, Kasich himself could've been that person, but he never had an opening as long as Bush and Rubio were in the race (and the inability of him to steal their thunder, perhaps is indicative of how skilled a campaigner he really was).  This brings up one big practical issue this route would have- a candidate of this style would have a difficult time getting out of the primary, especially in the youtube era.

 

So would this theory be superior to the "appeal to minorities" theory?  I don't know.  I can tell you right off the bat that it has one flaw- it's more of a short term fix, long term problem-- for the simple fact that these areas (northeast PA, MI, etc) are not growing in population, whereas other states like VA and CO are (especially CO- which is growing extremely fast... over 25% every 10 yrs... the fact that the Dems have picked those two states up is a straight up steal and probably the single greatest victory for them since LBJ).

 

 

 

My thoughts are not organized enough yet to state which road I'd take, except that I find option 1 to be unrealistic, while option 2 has long term demographic issues and practical issues with the primary.  The best way forward then, may be a combination- option 2 in the short term, while waiting for option 1 to become viable, while assessing how the Hispanic demographic does (or doesn't) change over the next 30 years.



#2
Poe Dameron

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This thread is about if, hypothetically, you woke up tomorrow and you were the GOP's next RNC chairman.  What would you do if you had to find a way to get the GOP to win back the White House?

 

You're going to hate the flippant answer, but I'd just wait four years and not toss away another easy election against Clinton and you can run pretty much any candidate with an once of likability and credibility (i.e. not Cruz or some other protest candidate) and expect to win.  I don't expect a happy four years forthcoming and Clinton is such an unlikable person that if she didn't receive the gift of Trump, we'd be talking about how much she's toast right now.

 

Republicans need a big winner to win at this point anyway.  Trying to piece together 270 electoral votes in a close election is starting to be a fool's game.  The goal from the start from now on should be to win by at least 5 points in the popular vote so that the structural disadvantages begin to go away.  Yeah, it seems like an easy plan, but trying to thread the needle is how we got here.  Democrats successfully expanded the map with Obama so that voting patterns were semi-permanently altered.  Republicans can do the same with a big win.

 

 

 

So the GOP is sorta damned if they do, damned if they don't here- which begs the question of whether the GOP is better off just writing off Hispanics altogether.

 

I'm a bit tired this evening so this won't be the tightest post, but here goes some thoughts on the longterm issues:

 

Okay, I'm first going to say that any strategy that begins by making sacrifices to the god of demographics is foolhardy.  That's the thinking from the Karl Rove-type data gatherers that resulted in split the party on immigration in the first place, drove Latinos to the Democrats in droves, and has now ended in Trump.  You should always be pushing your position forward and trusting that the army will have your back.  Otherwise, you're always retreating and you'll lose.

 

I think it's obvious to state now that if Bush had embraced a tight but fair immigration policy he ran on in 2005 instead of letting McCain, Kennedy, and Specter run the show, the GOP would be in MUCH better shape today.  So they did the wrong thing for political reasons and here we are (though the same folks will still claim superiority).

 

Personally, I've always said that the key to winning the Latino vote is to stop helping Democrats have them think of their heritage within the voting booth.  Whenever Democrats succeed in making a group think about such things (black, Latino, female, etc.) they dominate.  When they think of themselves more as individuals, Republicans at least have a chance of persuading them.  So the goal is to mainstream the population.  But that's a longterm goal probably a generation away from coming to be and requires fixing the borders and lowering immigration to the point where assimilation can truly crystalize before that clock even begins to start ticking.

 

But, again, I'm not holding my breath because the "smart" folks in the party seemed darned eager to help out the Democrats with weak borders and calling Republicans bigots for thinking that they're nuts for putting foreigner interests over that of their citizens.

 

Trump actually has the right approach in making some inroads on this front.  He's the first Republican to try and speak to the minority groups and ask what voting Democrat has gotten them beyond and shared sense of victimhood.  Trump is obviously a bad messenger, but it's a drumbeat Republicans should be sounding in order to shake loose the naturally persuadable voters in those groups that stay with the Democrats because they've never really even considered otherwise.  The media call it an appeal to white voters, and in some ways it is because it demonstrates just how focused Democrats are in dividing the country among racial and gender lines in order to win elections, but it's also a necessary first step in bringing forth new discussion and diversity of ideas within groups that have in recent times become more and more monolithic in their voting patterns.  The Black Lives Matter, open borders, transgender bathroom movements eventually can't stand on their own because they're so irrational if you take even half a step back from the group think.



#3
The Kurgan

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You know, sometimes one party or the other or its ideology just becomes dominant enough to gain enough of an upper hand that it becomes their game to lose.  The GOP had this kind of an advantage in the mid to late 1980s, if I recall.  Before that it was the Dems again in the 30s.  So this seems kind of cyclical.

 

I think it was Nietzsche who once said that the best way to destroy any ideology or world view was for it to be argued poorly.  Oftentimes the best strategy is to let the loose cannons on the other side do your work for you.  After a few decades of religious crack-pottery on the far right, and a progressive media establishment willing to dredge it up and ridicule it, the overall mood shifted leftward to where we got now.  Conservatives haven't really been helping themselves here - I see a real deficit of ideas here.  Since Obama's taken office, the right has been obsessed with him on a personal level, putting him at the center of elaborate conspiracy theories, obsessing over his birth certificate, the old canards about the democrats all being a bunch of gun grabbing commies, and so on.   Overwhelmingly, conservative media shows almost autistic levels of introversion and obsession with pet issues that resonate strongly with the hard core base but little else.  That the meme obsessed internet pranksters on 4chan and Donald Trump are the most vibrant forces on the American political right says a great deal about the decline of this movement.  Doubtless Russel Kirk and William F. Buckley are howling in anguish in whatever hell they're in watching all of this. 

 

Thing is, they're not exactly up against truly potent enemy here.  The fringes of Black Lives Matter, tumblr feminism and so on present a gold mine of ridiculousness to rival anything the "who would Jesus bomb?" crowd have ever come up with.  The frustration with political correctness, the smug arrogance, the "agree with us on everything or you're evil racist Hitler" emotional blackmail and the sundry double standards and piss-poor logic constantly displayed by the Huffposts and Buzzfeeds of this nation is palatable, and given a tight, disciplined, well connected, well financed, focused and determined leadership, could become a substantial political force in the next five to fifteen or twenty years.  But there just seems to be a self absorbed obliviousness on the American right that cannot or will not see these kinds of opportunities, and just keeps hammering the same old trickle down economics and hawkish global power projection that got Reagan and Bush in the White House, as if nothing's changed since then.  Hard to believe that it was hardly ten years ago that we were wondering whether America was "The Right Nation", in that conservative power and hegemony seemed utterly entrenched.  What the hell happened?



#4
Darth Ender

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I am the target demo for #2.  White, male, PhD, high income, straight, (but I am atheist, so, you know, there is that).  I WANT to vote Republican...I am a Rockefeller Republican; however, I haven't voted Republican since Bush.  I voted Obama in '08 (I would have voted for McCain, but Palin made me want to stab my eyes out) and Libertarian since and I will vote Libertarian once again in November.  I would have voted for either Rubio or Kasich in November.  

 

To win me back in 2020, Republicans need to do the following:

 

1.  Republicans claim they are small government, but this is only true in spirit.  NCLB, Patriot Act, Medicare Prescription Expansion, Homeland Security, TSA, TARP, Economic Stabilization Act, etc were all federal expansions pushed by a Republican administration.  Each of these expanded both the power and reach of the federal government.  Talk about how you will reduce, rather than expand, government.  GIVE SPECIFICS and discuss how you will make the transition to less government in that area.  

 

 

2.  Stop arguing with scientists.  Stop with this anti-vaccine, Creationism, global warming is a conspiracy bull****.  Advocate for governmental spending in PURE RESEARCH.  Have a national science goal such as going to Mars.  Think about the long-term economic and technological advances that would come from this

 

3.  I loathe the far-left.  The only thing I loathe more is the far right, primarily the Christian Right.  I support canidates discussing their personal beliefs (I want to know if a candidate thinks the world is 6000 years old),  But don't make your personal belief in a creator into a driving force in policy creation; telling the world Jesus told you to run (I take that back...I DO want to know if you believe an all-powerful being is telling you this); or worse yet, making combating Christian persecution/ Christmas into a thing.  

 

4.  Stop giving a **** what private citizens do in their personal lives.  This includes same-sex marriage, pot, prostitution, euthanasia, etc.  Stop legislating morality.  I am tempted to add abortion to this.   However, despite being pro-choice, I empathize with some pro-life arguments about the sanctity of life.  

 

5.  America is great because of immigration.  Stop being so goddamned afraid of illegal brown people.  The best and the brightest from all over the world come here for college.  Create and expand immigration policy that allows immigrants to stay here and allows a clear path to citizenship such as S1B.  

 

 

6.  Stop dicking around in the Middle East.  This includes our unwavering support of Israel.  Drop the whole "they hate us for our freedom" BS.  Accept that  dropping bombs on countries we are not at war with, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians (possibly millions), and interfering/ rigging elections maybe kinda sorta makes people hate us.  

 

Just a few points to clarify.  I am not a pure Libertarian.  I think the federal government has many essential roles in society such as public safety, protection of the environment, national defense, enforcing contracts, building infrastructure, pure research, etc.  Also, I am very aware the left are guilty with many of these same issues.  They also have their own set of issues that prevent me from voting for them.  Hence, why I vote Libertarian.  Based on what I value, Gary Johnson is the best (but not perfect) representation of me in this presidential election cycle.   


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#5
Justus

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1. Overwhelmingly, conservative media shows almost autistic levels of introversion and obsession with pet issues that resonate strongly with the hard core base but little else.  That the meme obsessed internet pranksters on 4chan and Donald Trump are the most vibrant forces on the American political right says a great deal about the decline of this movement.  Doubtless Russel Kirk and William F. Buckley are howling in anguish in whatever hell they're in watching all of this. 

 

2. Thing is, they're not exactly up against truly potent enemy here.  The fringes of Black Lives Matter, tumblr feminism and so on present a gold mine of ridiculousness to rival anything the "who would Jesus bomb?" crowd have ever come up with.  The frustration with political correctness, the smug arrogance, the "agree with us on everything or you're evil racist Hitler" emotional blackmail and the sundry double standards and piss-poor logic constantly displayed by the Huffposts and Buzzfeeds of this nation is palatable, and given a tight, disciplined, well connected, well financed, focused and determined leadership, could become a substantial political force in the next five to fifteen or twenty years.  But there just seems to be a self absorbed obliviousness on the American right that cannot or will not see these kinds of opportunities, and just keeps hammering the same old trickle down economics and hawkish global power projection that got Reagan and Bush in the White House, as if nothing's changed since then.  Hard to believe that it was hardly ten years ago that we were wondering whether America was "The Right Nation", in that conservative power and hegemony seemed utterly entrenched.  What the hell happened?

1. Of the right you said, "introversion and obsession with pet issues that resonate strongly with the hard core base but little else." I see the same of the left--ask yourself, of all of America's serious, internal problems --problems that threaten the survival of families to advance in this generation, the left's biggest national, obsessive campaign has been (and remains) transgender / bathrooms / attempting to force people to alter biologically based identification. What's truly sickening is that I've seen this from the center of the manipulative storm throughout my professional life in the media; while endless numbers of children in one of the richest countries in history starve, while consciously ignored reasons for black violence / death / how drugs came to grip communities since the post WW2 years, its are substituted with glued together attempts to make BLM the new Civll Rights Movement, but THE leading story has often focused on sexuality/identiy, as if that is the central concern driving the majority of lives in this country.

 

That kind of single-minded cultural project fits your "introversion and obsession with pet issues that resonate strongly with the hard core base but little else." as much, if not more than those on the right.

 

2. As you pointed out:

 

"I think it was Nietzsche who once said that the best way to destroy any ideology or world view was for it to be argued poorly.  Oftentimes the best strategy is to let the loose cannons on the other side do your work for you."

 

Quite true. One would imagine the way for Republicans to recapture the White House is not by sending poor and/or joke candidates off to engage in a day-by-day war with results already determined by the left's 24/7/365 manipulative benefactors. Oh, no. They must not only allow Clinton to win, but give room for the left's orgiastic, single-minded campaigns (generally cultural) to run roughshod all over the America the left seems to despise (and contrary to certain board member's fantasies, they are not all in the south & Midwest by any stretch of the imagination). Let he left turn the heat up on the pot, then walk away in smug confidence that the cultural beatdown is complete, if you see where this is going. But to let this unfold requires an Olympian amount of patience from the right (which they have not demonstrated so far).

 

In theory, the slow boil resentment will not just spring from the expected--the "soldiers" already in place (for one example, hardcore Trump supporters) but from the average citizen who feels the campaign of so-called "new think" gives the finger to "the others"--ultimately telling them to "accept the (ideological) mark," so to speak, or face being crushed into the dust of irrelevancy--taking the form of character assassination, blacklisting (already in effect in several professions) and being turned into a universal pariah.

 

Now, having posted that, I know some will think that's just a 21st century repeat+modified version of Agnew & Nixon's reference to the "Silent Majority," but unlike that allegedly underrepresented 1969 demographic, today's population faces a mind crushing (or altering) force attempting to normalize its beliefs at a level never imagined before. In 1969, the media was not of one mind, and certainly lacked the astoundingly invasive (influential) power of social media. The right has not learned that they cannot trade shots with this force, ans they lose ground after every battle. They need the left to show / push themselves on the population like never before, and wait for a bursting pushback that no amount of quarterly Coulter books, daily O'Reilly and Limbaugh rants, or Trey Gowdy investigations would ever inspire.

 

Granted, the theory would never play out with such ease, but letting the enemy--the loose cannons--abuse their victory is the only way to reach voters that under any other set of circumstances, would not give the Republicans as much as a mocking eyeroll. That population--potential voters--need to be "shot" by the left's loose cannons to open their minds, but the Republicans cannot expect voters to be a safe haven if they're still selling anything like Trump, Cruz, or Christie.



#6
The Kurgan

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Now, having posted that, I know some will think that's just a 21st century repeat+modified version of Agnew & Nixon's reference to the "Silent Majority," but unlike that allegedly underrepresented 1969 demographic, today's population faces a mind crushing (or altering) force attempting to normalize its beliefs at a level never imagined before. In 1969, the media was not of one mind, and certainly lacked the astoundingly invasive (influential) power of social media. The right has not learned that they cannot trade shots with this force, ans they lose ground after every battle. They need the left to show / push themselves on the population like never before, and wait for a bursting pushback that no amount of quarterly Coulter books, daily O'Reilly and Limbaugh rants, or Trey Gowdy investigations would ever inspire.


First of all, you're right to point out the aggressively introverted and preach-to-the-choir nature of the progressives as well.  But presently there's a difference between them and the conservatives, and I think this difference has, over the last ten years or so, been instrumental to the rising dominance of the democratic as opposed to the republican mainstream, at least nationally.

 

A consistent sampling of progressive media would generally look something like this: "Racism!  Misogyny!  Homophobia!  Angry white dudes. Neckbeards.  Dudebros.  Angry.  Old white guys. Hate.  Stupid misogynistic homophobic Christians. Uneducated. Uninformed. You're a white male! You are a misogynist because misogyny!  The GOP opposes abortion because misogyny.  Hate women and hate gays and immigrants.  They hate because republicans and Christians.  More angry white dudes and more homophobia. Republican governor cuts education because racism. RACISM! ANGRY! HATE! white guys. Basement dwelling trolls who can't get laid. Angry white dudes objectify women because misogyny!"

 

Now take a look at what I've consistently seen from conservative media: "Obama.  Hillary.  Obama is a communist.  Obama is a nazi.  Obamacare is fascism.  Liberals are fascists because big government. Hillary is a commie who wants to take your guns away. The democrats are all racists because Sen. Robert Byrd was in the KKK once upon a time. Obama is at war with white people because Beyonce's Superbowl halftime show, Black Lives Matter and the New Black Panthers.  Obama hates God.  Obama wants Shari'a law for America. Obama hates Christmas and our Christian traditions.  We're the party of Lincoln! The democrats keep blacks dependent on welfare, just like Jim Crow!  Show us the birth certificate, Obama!  Show us the emails, Hillary!  Hillary for Prison. Hillary the shrill, man hating feminist! Monica! Bill Clinton's a rapist. Democrats divide America with divisive identity politics. Democrats are the true racists and misogynists!"

 

See the difference?  

 

The progressive/democrat world view is stupid and evil, but it's also consistent and, within its own ideological strictures, somewhat logical.  It's quite a simple formula, actually:  Progressives would have us believe that women, blacks, gays and other identifiable minorities and a handful of the white male elect are basically adrift in a raging, tempestuous ocean of unchecked white male privilege and bigotry, which needs only a Republican government to become a force 5 hurricane of pure, unadulterated Hitler level genocidal hatred of all things non alpha male Caucasian.  It's incredibly insipid and over-simplistic, but at least there's some kind of cohesive narrative.

 

With the conservatives, on the other hand, there isn't.  There's pretty much zero logic to it at all, except for pervasive theme of obsessive and personalized hatred for the persons of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and whichever card-carrying democratic party politician happens to be most prominent in any given moment. Beyond that, anything goes. The most flagrant of logical impossibilities are advanced back-to-back, all casting Obama and Hillary especially, and any other relevant democratic party politician as having Luciferian degrees of evil and power.  They are fascist, communist and liberal.  They are Muslim, atheist and pagan. They are racist against whites and blacks.  They are misogynistic and misandrist in equal, eternal measure. They can single handedly control banks, guide the flow of world trade and bring about catastrophic inflation, unemployment and even crash the markets entirely, which they do not hesitate to do because they are Obama and Hillary.  

 

To the extent that the conservative narrative even makes sense at all, and as an ideology it most certainly doesn't (especially when all of their small government and family values rhetoric crashes upon the rocks of their actual actions in the real world) it is rooted entirely in personalized hatred and bizarre conspiracy theories surrounding prominent democrats.  There's no vision, no world view, no real cohesive narrative beyond any of that, and this has been the case pretty much since the late 1990s.  I think this is a considerable over-arching factor in the comeback that U.S liberalism has made since the days of Reagan and Gingrich.  



#7
Carrie Mathison

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Ender

 

I am the target demo for #2.  White, male, PhD, high income, straight, (but I am atheist, so, you know, there is that).  I WANT to vote Republican...I am a Rockefeller Republican; however, I haven't voted Republican since Bush.  I voted Obama in '08 (I would have voted for McCain, but Palin made me want to stab my eyes out) and Libertarian since and I will vote Libertarian once again in November.  I would have voted for either Rubio or Kasich in November.

I think you're misunderstanding option 2. Option 2 isn't talking about that demographic.

Option 2 is talking about mostly working class whites in areas that are typically Democrat leaning, in distressed economic locations, whom haven't voted GOP since Reagan (a few for Bush), and historically have had ties to big labor unions in manufacturing.  The classic example is Luzerne or Lackawanna County PA (where Scranton is).  The trend lines indicate these areas are moving towards the GOP, for many reasons, but mainly because the Dems have abandoned their economic interests in favor of identity politics.  For now there are still enough Dem voters there to keep the GOP from winning them outright.  But the idea is those Dem voters are persuadable, and with decreased turnout in Philly, PA becomes competitive for the GOP.  There are other examples of this in western PA and Michigan.  This was also West Virginia 20 years ago (it has since already flipped to the GOP, so this might be foreshadowing where MI and PA go).  This demographic has several views quite a bit different than yours- for example, they aren't necessarily opposed to big government (just when it doesn't benefit them).  Also they're anti-trade and especially anti-immigration.  One thing both demographics have in common is neither is that socially conservative or religious.
 
Your demographic is already majority GOP.  The ones who are not fall into one of two categories- a) those living in blue states that have already bought in to the Dems' identity politics and SJW stances (these voters are your typical latte liberals and are not persuadable, not that it really matters since few live outside of deep blue states); b) those living in swing states like FL and OH that would be naturally voting GOP anyway if the GOP has the more popular and likeable candidate.
 
Category A (as I've already explained) will never vote GOP unless there's a realignment.  Category B will vote GOP but the GOP doesn't need to do anything 'special' to win them since they naturally lean GOP, they just can't royally f-ck up the nomination process once again.  In other words, they're not really part of Obama's base (even if they voted Obama in 08 and 12).  Winning them secures OH and FL back in the R column, but it doesn't flip any Dem states.  In order to do so, the GOP has to actually peel off a segment of Obama's true base and grow the tent... option 1 and 2 in my original post are designed to do that (and are the most discussed options by pundits right now), but I'm also open to hearing a possible option 3 (if it exists).



#8
Carrie Mathison

Carrie Mathison

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Poe I was damn near certain when I started this thread that your post was going to annoy the hell out of me... but.. I find nothing particularly objectionable about it.  Maybe I'm in a good mood, maybe it's the subject matter, who knows, but cheers to that.

 

First off, flippant or no, you have a fair point- in some sense, there's going to be a bit of over-reaction and over-analyzing when the dust settles, when it could be as easy as- just let Clinton be herself and run a halfway decent candidate in '20.  Because at the end of the day, Clinton has high unfavorables, is generally unlikable, and will probably have at least one scandal in her first 4 years.  I don't see any of that changing, although she'll also have the incumbent advantage.  Will that be enough?  Add in a good economy and probably so, but if we're just sorta petering along, there's no reason why even a mediocre GOP candidate isn't right in this.

 

Second, I think you have an entirely valid point that you can sometimes miss the forest for the trees here, especially when you start doing demographic math and counting electoral votes.  At the end of the day, I think you're right that just moving the national popular vote % by 5 points with a candidate that has broad appeal is really all the GOP needs to do- the electoral math will fall into place if the GOP accomplishes that.

 

It sounds like we're sorta in agreement that option 1- the minority option, is something that pundits love to write about but upon closer examination, is hard to figure out exactly how the nuts and bolts would work (not to mention that some of what needs to happen is beyond the GOP's control anyway).

 

How do you feel about option 2?

 

Going back to your original point- let us consider possibilities for simply moving the national barometer.  Candidates with broad based appeal.  Any possibilities?

 

One that immediately jumps to mind is Ryan.  One great thing about him is he has the ability to sound completely earnest and sincere, no matter what he's selling (it must be a midwestern thing).  He has a few negatives too- first, he looks kinda boyish (dumb, but important in the TV era), I could see him falling into the Sanders trap of being a bit of a p-ssy when he needs to attack, and finally, as much as movement conservatives are going to hate hearing this, I'm not sure supply-side really is the way to grow the base.  It's gonna cause trouble in places the GOP has fertile ground for growth, like PA and MI, and yes, I know in your opinion that "making sacrifices to the god of demographics is foolhardy," but we have to consider the consequences.  These areas are places the GOP really oughta be able to flip, especially if we're not going to be able to take back states like NV, VA, and CO.

 

I suppose Rubio could make a comeback but I'm not convinced that he's anything but a lightweight.  I know the GOP was hoping he'd be the Hispanic Obama, but I think he sorta revealed himself to be an empty suit that let Christie embarrass him on national TV.  It's too bad, because on paper, Rubio is the perfect GOP candidate.  But if he can't re-invent himself, I think his 15 min are up.

 

Those are the only 2 that are really jumping out at me right now.  Bush?  Ehh.. he was a candidate for the pre social media/24-7 news era.  Put him in the 80s and he does great.  That and I think Trump did permanent psychological damage to him.

 

Other '12 candidates were either niche candidates (Cruz) or had baggage (e.g. Christie). 

 

One possibility that I really like is Sandoval- he's basically the total package- he's got the education and background, the experience, from a swing state, is non crazy, and also is impossible to play the "old white man" card against.  Unless Sandoval revealed himself to be a fraud like Rubio, I don't see him losing to Clinton in '20.  Problem is his abortion stance though, which the base will never find acceptable.  Your opinion on him?



#9
Darth Ender

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 Winning them secures OH and FL back in the R column, but it doesn't flip any Dem states.  In order to do so, the GOP has to actually peel off a segment of Obama's true base and grow the tent... option 1 and 2 in my original post are designed to do that (and are the most discussed options by pundits right now), but I'm also open to hearing a possible option 3 (if it exists).

I see what you are saying now.  I would propose making this demographic option #3.  I do think there is a small, yet statistically meaningful, voting block that fill this demographic.  The neo-con policies and pandering that have dominated the party for the last 40 years or so just do not represent the younger Gen Y/ Millennial demographic.  I do think it is a pitfall to say that this demographic would have voted for Rubio or Kasich.  I think despite being a bit more socially liberal, this demographic has a shifted mindset away from traditional politics.   Look at the breakdown of Johnson supports, specifically the age and political affiliation.  Johnson appeals to younger and republican leaning voters that are aligning with Johnson for many of the reasons I outlined before (none of which go against traditional republican philosophy).  

 

1_2.png

 

I know Colorado is a small swing state, but it is full of the demographic I belong to.  Johnson has been eating into Trump's lead, particularly with younger voters.  I doubt that these voters are enough to win CO this election for the GOP, but maybe next cycle it will.   However, in a few states you mentioned, this voting block would be enough to win the state for the republicans, primarily the two most popular swing states: Florida and Ohio.   But you never know, since over half of each candidates voting block is voting against the other party.  

 

I do think long-term #1 is the future key to success, but it will take a few election cycles.  Option #3 can be done in 2020.  If Clinton has a reasonably decent four years, there is no way the Republicans win back the white house running out a Cruz.  Additionally, this slight shift in policy will only increase the republican voting block as the Cletus-Jesus vote is safely in GOP hands for the time being.  


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#10
Brando

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RE: Option #1, there's no way to significantly change the numbers in the long term, but I have some thoughts on it.

 

First, look at dropping some of the rhetoric.  Clinton and Trump both back border security and some type of barrier, but Clinton doesn't run around screaming about it.  Sure, the media is going to be softer on her for it, but still, it doesn't have to be a defining issue.  

 

Look at welfare reform in a way that actually uses welfare to help people.  I'd propose a tiered system that allows people to slowly improve and slowly get off the system.  Most of the working poor are going to get small raises that may eventually get them off the system, but it ends up costing them more than the increase in pay, so they find ways to avoid that increase in pay.  A graduated system could help this, and it helps to say that the GOP is actually interested in helping people get into better situations.  

 

I'd also double down on schooling for trades.  Counter the free college movement with more help for trade schools.  Again, something that's more likely to assist the poor and keep young people away from liberal college campuses. 

 

For the most part #2 is the way forward.  Creating some momentum is step one, and showing that the GOP is capable of winning.  That has to start with the establishment backing winners.  Jeb was never going to win.  W just doesn't have the popularity even with Republicans, and that rubs off on him.  Bill Clinton has been gone long enough that he's seen in a warmer light, and Hillary benefits from the glow (see every Spam post about how great Clinton's presidency was).  By the time they picked up on Jeb being a loser, it was too late.  Rubio probably had a better chance.  Kasich too.  In fact, a Rubio/Kasich ticket would've probably done pretty well.  Both from swing states, both fairly popular, running against an incredibly unpopular Clinton.  The main problem is that there doesn't seem to be much of a unifying persona in the GOP right now.  The Trump/establishment split is pretty major, and I don't know that Rubio could easily win in 2020, mainly due to his sophomoric behavior toward the end of the primaries.  He showed that he just isn't ready for prime time.  Serious candidates don't go for penis jokes.  

So, yes, the main thing the GOP needs to do is win the presidency.  Everybody likes a winner, nobody likes a loser.  


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#11
Poe Dameron

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It's gonna cause trouble in places the GOP has fertile ground for growth, like PA and MI, and yes, I know in your opinion that "making sacrifices to the god of demographics is foolhardy," but we have to consider the consequences.  These areas are places the GOP really oughta be able to flip, especially if we're not going to be able to take back states like NV, VA, and CO.

 

Well, here’s the thing.  While I am skeptical of changing policy based on demographics, that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in marketing.  In fact, I’m a strong advocate of the GOP going after the most persuadable voters.  The GOP braintrust goes after black and Latino voters, but they fail to ponder just how many persuadable voters there are in those groups or the people they alienate in a vain attempt to go after them by abandoning principles and attacking their voters.  The groups that I’ve long advocated the GOP make concerted efforts for pursuing and tailoring their message towards are:

 

1.  The working class.  Your favored group from my understanding.  There are obviously many opportunities to reach out to these groups as Democrats become more and more the party of social liberalism and ethnic division.

 

2.  Women.  Both Democrats and Republicans fail to recognize how diverse women are in their political temperament.  While you do have some women who follow the Democrat line about it all being about abortion and fake statistics on the wage gap, most women do not look at themselves as victims and would prefer to think of themselves as individuals equal in society.  As such, many women who grew up somewhat liberal are very much gettable to the right message if given a chance.  Again, this does not mean changing policy.  This means treating them as adults who care about more than being on Team Girl.

 

3.  Young voters.  Yes, Republican values can be cool.  With the Democrat overreach on social issues, the backlash will happen in the youth vote as well.  Pretty much by definition, the young voters will always be among the most plastic in their ideological moorings.  I mentioned once that I thought Gary Johnson might be able to suck up some of the Sanders voters.  A few of you pointed out, correctly, that Sanders and Johnson are pretty much opposites as far as ideology goes.  However, I was correct.  Johnson is getting a lot of the youth vote, including Sanders voters.  It’s why, despite predictions that Johnson hurts Trump such as Ender’s above post, the truth is that his presence is pretty much a wash for who it hurts more and Trump actually does slightly better in four-way polls as compared to head-to-head polls.

 

 

 

Going back to your original point- let us consider possibilities for simply moving the national barometer.  Candidates with broad based appeal.  Any possibilities?

 

Three young possibilities that come to mind.

 

Nikki Haley:  I’ve long had my eye on her as a potential candidate for the future.  She’s an old Tea Party candidate from 2010, but has been skeptical of Trump.  Which puts her in the range of where I expect (and hope) the GOP to be in 2020.  She’ll have finished her two terms as governor and won’t have anything better to do with her time.  She’s also well-suited to go up against Clinton in particular.  Little bit of a hang-up in that she’s been accused of having an affair a few times.

 

I would place her as a potential Obama/Rubio candidate for next cycle, except with definite executive experience.

 

Cory Gardner:  On paper, he’s a bit middle-of-the-pack.  A decently solid conservative and ideas guy, but not setting the world on fire.  But Gardner makes my little list for one very particular reason: No one has run a smarter race against the Democrat playbook than his 2014 Senate run.  By the end of that race he’d so effectively neutralized the attacks on him that he’d gotten Mark Udall labeled “Mark Uterus” and contributed to the national sentiment that the Democrats were desperately holding onto the Senate with a few scare tactics aimed at women and minorities.

 

The basic Clinton attacks would roll right off him.

 

Ben Sasse:  Sasse is somewhat of a newcomer, and probably would generate the most controversy among the Trump diehards as a leader of the whole Never Trump movement.  I’m sure Hannity will never forgive him.  However, it would be a shame if having an ounce of courage that the GOP establishment as a whole lack to Trump’s buffoonery took down Sasse permanently.  We have here a true believer in the philosophical underpinnings of conservatism with a teacher’s heart.

 

I see Sasse as Cruz without all the terrible flaws.  He can be utterly uncompromising, but he’s fairly genial while doing so.  He’s one of the best out there right now at actually explaining the conservative movement, somewhat ignoring current issues like Clinton and Obama in favor of the basic conservative philosophy of limited government as a whole.  If there’s a candidate out there that could renew the Reagan movement by changing people’s minds about the nature of government in our lives, it’s Sasse.

 

I would also throw in Mike Lee as another possibility.  If the party is still hungry for red meat, Lee is quite capable of tossing it out there, but again, he doesn’t have Cruz’s sharp elbows and bridge-burning tendencies.  He rates low on electability though.

 

 

 

One that immediately jumps to mind is Ryan.  One great thing about him is he has the ability to sound completely earnest and sincere, no matter what he's selling (it must be a midwestern thing).

 

Ryan is a born legislator.  Personally, I think that selecting him as VP was one of Romney’s bigger mistakes as he brought very little to the campaign trail.  I would have advised him to choose Christie, who was at the height of his loudmouth power and would have provided a soundbite a day against Obama.

 

One need only look at how utterly unable Ryan was to combat the joke that is Biden in the VP debate.  All he had to do was turn to the camera, point at Biden, and let the American people know that this is the smug arrogant attitude that represents the Obama administration and he would have won the debate.  Instead he stuck to his talking points.

 

 

 

I suppose Rubio could make a comeback but I'm not convinced that he's anything but a lightweight.  I know the GOP was hoping he'd be the Hispanic Obama, but I think he sorta revealed himself to be an empty suit that let Christie embarrass him on national TV.

 

For what it’s worth, I don’t think Rubio is actually a lightweight.  He seems to be a pretty smart guy.  That unfortunate run-in with Christie was exposing the same thing that every other candidate on the stage was doing.  Sticking to a set of talking-points that they decided they wanted to hammer in that day.  It’s not like even the most extemporaneous debaters like Christie or Trump don’t have game plans and repeat themselves.  Trump, in particular, will repeat the same thing a dozen times in five minutes if you let him.

 

Rubio actually ran one of the better campaigns of the primaries.  He tamped down on the over-eagerness that marked some of his early Senate days when he’d rush out to the camera or try to be a part of the action when it wasn’t necessary.  He’d been told early that he was a candidate for president, so he felt the need to be in on everything and it actually hurt him.  Particularly when he didn’t have the good sense to run screaming from the room when Schumer and McCain approached him to try and be the front man for their immigration sell.  Rubio got stuck believing that he needed a real accomplishment on his resume and instead of insisting on a real compromise, he accepted 95% of what Schumer/McCain wanted along with the usual “pay back taxes” nonsense as some sort of petty slap on the wrist meant to appease the anti-illegal bloc that they believed was only interested in making them suffer.

 

If he’d shown some of the discipline he later would in the early- to mid-primary season, there’s a good chance Rubio would have solidified the base without that bit dragging him down.

 

 

 

One possibility that I really like is Sandoval

 

Pro-abortion.  Non-starter for a typical politician.  Even Trump had to switch on that issue.  Only Giuliani has made any headway with that position in the recent past, and Sandoval doesn't have nearly the goodwill Giuliani banked.



#12
Poe Dameron

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A consistent sampling of progressive media would generally look something like this: "Racism!  Misogyny!  Homophobia!  Angry white dudes. Neckbeards.  Dudebros.  Angry.  Old white guys. Hate.  Stupid misogynistic homophobic Christians. Uneducated. Uninformed. You're a white male! You are a misogynist because misogyny!  The GOP opposes abortion because misogyny.  Hate women and hate gays and immigrants.  They hate because republicans and Christians.  More angry white dudes and more homophobia. Republican governor cuts education because racism. RACISM! ANGRY! HATE! white guys. Basement dwelling trolls who can't get laid. Angry white dudes objectify women because misogyny!"

 

Now take a look at what I've consistently seen from conservative media: "Obama.  Hillary.  Obama is a communist.  Obama is a nazi.  Obamacare is fascism.  Liberals are fascists because big government. Hillary is a commie who wants to take your guns away. The democrats are all racists because Sen. Robert Byrd was in the KKK once upon a time. Obama is at war with white people because Beyonce's Superbowl halftime show, Black Lives Matter and the New Black Panthers.  Obama hates God.  Obama wants Shari'a law for America. Obama hates Christmas and our Christian traditions.  We're the party of Lincoln! The democrats keep blacks dependent on welfare, just like Jim Crow!  Show us the birth certificate, Obama!  Show us the emails, Hillary!  Hillary for Prison. Hillary the shrill, man hating feminist! Monica! Bill Clinton's a rapist. Democrats divide America with divisive identity politics. Democrats are the true racists and misogynists!"

 

See the difference?  

 

The progressive/democrat world view is stupid and evil, but it's also consistent and, within its own ideological strictures, somewhat logical.  It's quite a simple formula, actually:  Progressives would have us believe that women, blacks, gays and other identifiable minorities and a handful of the white male elect are basically adrift in a raging, tempestuous ocean of unchecked white male privilege and bigotry, which needs only a Republican government to become a force 5 hurricane of pure, unadulterated Hitler level genocidal hatred of all things non alpha male Caucasian.  It's incredibly insipid and over-simplistic, but at least there's some kind of cohesive narrative.

 

With the conservatives, on the other hand, there isn't.  There's pretty much zero logic to it at all, except for pervasive theme of obsessive and personalized hatred for the persons of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and whichever card-carrying democratic party politician happens to be most prominent in any given moment. Beyond that, anything goes. The most flagrant of logical impossibilities are advanced back-to-back, all casting Obama and Hillary especially, and any other relevant democratic party politician as having Luciferian degrees of evil and power.  They are fascist, communist and liberal.  They are Muslim, atheist and pagan. They are racist against whites and blacks.  They are misogynistic and misandrist in equal, eternal measure. They can single handedly control banks, guide the flow of world trade and bring about catastrophic inflation, unemployment and even crash the markets entirely, which they do not hesitate to do because they are Obama and Hillary.  

 

To the extent that the conservative narrative even makes sense at all, and as an ideology it most certainly doesn't (especially when all of their small government and family values rhetoric crashes upon the rocks of their actual actions in the real world) it is rooted entirely in personalized hatred and bizarre conspiracy theories surrounding prominent democrats.  There's no vision, no world view, no real cohesive narrative beyond any of that, and this has been the case pretty much since the late 1990s.  I think this is a considerable over-arching factor in the comeback that U.S liberalism has made since the days of Reagan and Gingrich.  

 

We must have lived through two different versions of the 2000s, because Democrats were completely stuck on Bush and Cheney throughout their eight years in office.  Can your remember how much foaming of the mouth went on about Halliburton.  Outside of hating the Iraq War, Democrats rode a hate train into taking over Congress and then into the White House based on nothing.

 

Republicans actually were the party of a fairly cohesive set of ideas in that decade and remained so at least until they lost power in the White House.

 

And, really, it was anger at Clinton that allowed Republicans to win in 2000 as well despite a historically strong economy that all prediction models basically said would be impossible to get past.  So the idea that anger in politics won't get you anywhere is not exactly true.  It's quite effective.



#13
The Kurgan

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We must have lived through two different versions of the 2000s, because Democrats were completely stuck on Bush and Cheney throughout their eight years in office.  Can your remember how much foaming of the mouth went on about Halliburton.  Outside of hating the Iraq War, Democrats rode a hate train into taking over Congress and then into the White House based on nothing.

I spoke to just this issue here, relatively recently:
 

 

But I think most of what you wrote in the second paragraph could be used to describe an anti-Bush liberal circa 2004.


Or Donald Trump today. I know what you're saying. I do remember it. I remember feeling that way myself about George H.W Bush and Newt Gingrich back when I subscribed to The Daily Worker and Z magazine, and I even remember from my childhood how much my mother and (to a much greater extent) my Marxist-Leninist brother despised Ronald Reagan.  Not old enough to remember Nixon, though.  Sorry.  Closer to home, I have friends who I'm sure would have killed former Canadian Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper if they absolutely knew they could get away with it.
 
Never the less, I think the hatred that the right has for the high level politicians in the democratic party is personal and fundamental in a way that isn't the case on the left.  Leftists display perpetual shock and outrage that men who hold high office, no matter the party, would willingly collude with the forces of evil, and feel about those men the way anyone would about a traitor or a collaborationist.  Which is light years away from charity, empathy or brotherly love.  Not even the benefit of the doubt one might extend a misguided extremist or a once good man who succumbed to the temptations of power and skimmed off the top, so to speak.  People who should know better willingly collude with the forces of evil, and judgement and condemnation is the only righteous response to this.
 
Rightists, however, do not believe that the politicians on the other side knowingly collude with the forces of evil.  Rightists believe that the politicians of the other side ARE the forces of evil.  That, I think, based on the tone of hundreds of right vs. left blogs and commentators I've read over the years, is the difference between the two.  Leftists loathed Bush and they loathe Trump, but I've never seen it suggested that either are the actual Antichrist.  That's the difference, IMO.

 

Republicans actually were the party of a fairly cohesive set of ideas in that decade and remained so at least until they lost power in the White House.


Key word here being "were." Their successes in the 1980s and 1990s had a lot to do with not only a set of basic principles, but the manner in which those principles were communicated.  So well aware were key conservative figures of the importance of framing and communicating issues that Newt Gingrich issued a memo to his Republican colleagues outlining its importance.  What I've noticed is that a lot of American conservatism has forgotten this in favor of personalized hatred of Democrat party politicians and an almost exclusive emphasis on the horse race, as it were.  The progressives, on the other hand, heeded Gingrich's message loud and clear, and have been reaping the rewards for quite some time now.  Progressives have been defining the beliefs of American conservatives, and have been able to frame key issues and set the terms of national discourse in their favor, especially since Obama came to office.  That the progressives were much quicker to exploit social media didn't hurt their cause either.
 
It doesn't get through to everybody, of course, and solidly red states have more or less remained so, at least until now. But control over the narrative on a national level works on a more long term level and gradually erodes support for marginalized view points, unless they can get their act together and push back in a way that resonates with people.  This is why Americans under 30 are much more socially liberal than their older counterparts, not because youth are intrinsically more leftist.  That's the price you pay for making Obama's birth certificate, or Obama's alleged Islamic or communist affiliations key and top priorities.  Which is what I've seen almost universally across the right wing blogosphere.  Were the conservatives to tone down the conspiracy theories, the religious nut-jobbery or the alt-right race baiting and stick to a core message of individualism and personal responsibility, I think they could regain ground in the next fifteen years.
 

And, really, it was anger at Clinton that allowed Republicans to win in 2000 as well despite a historically strong economy that all prediction models basically said would be impossible to get past.  So the idea that anger in politics won't get you anywhere is not exactly true.  It's quite effective.

Bush's 2000 victory was very, very close and, as you might recall, mired in controversy.  I'm not saying Bush didn't win fair and square, but that one could easily have gone either way.  As for anger politics, it can work short term, but your opponents can just as easily commandeer that anger and turn it against you, especially if they do a better job at controlling the narrative.  This has been the story in US politics for quite some time now.  Public anger also gave the democrats both the white house and the congress in 2008, though it also took away the later in 2010.  Anger politics works in the short term.  It's a good means of solidifying one's base, but also comes across as alarming to the center.  That's why public backlash hit the religious right so hard in Bush's later and Obama's early years and why the social justice warriors are now having to run to the social media conglomerates at the executive and governance levels and targeting advertisers, and demanding censorship of voices critical of them.  And it will hit the alt-right and the anti-SJW edgelords soon enough - Hillary just went after them directly, as a matter of fact.  
 
Point is, anger politics is a short term tool.  Controlling the narrative and using political office to deliver demonstrable results is what solidifies a particular ideology and the parties that cozy up to it for a generation, at least.  The American right has lost sight of this, and they need to get it back, or it won't matter who they nominate in 2020.


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#14
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Wanted to get your thoughts on this- while there's still a few people posting here and before Nightly dies.  I know the election hasn't actually happened yet, but we're getting to the point where the writing is almost on the wall, so it's never too early to start. 

 

First, this is what this thread is not.  These replies will not be allowed:

 

a) Trump-bashing.  Yes, we get that you don't like Trump.  This thread is not about whether you like Trump or not, or how badly you think he damaged the GOP.  It's about going forward.

 

b) The GOP base is evil, racist, redneck, Nazis, hitler, etc.  See above.  This thread is not about whether you like the GOP base.  Hate on them all you want, do it in a different thread.

 

c) The GOP can never win an election again, because bla bla bla, it's going to collapse, bla bla bla.  I don't care whether you think the GOP will ever win again or they're screwed for a generation.  This is not a prediction thread about what you think will happen IRL- leave it at the door.  This thread is about if, hypothetically, you woke up tomorrow and you were the GOP's next RNC chairman.  What would you do if you had to find a way to get the GOP to win back the White House?

 

 

 

Now that we got that out of the way.  There's basically two prevailing schools of thought on this.  First, that the GOP find a way to appeal to minorities.  Second, that the GOP find more white voters.

 

Let's talk about the first theory.  As much as it pains me to say this, I've never really understood this school of thought and think this is where AM radio hosts sorta have a point.  What precisely is the GOP supposed to do to make millions of minorities suddenly wake up one day and say, "hey!  I think I'll vote Republican!"  I just don't see it happening.  When I press a lot of my liberal friends about what "appealing to minorities" actually means, it ultimately just ends up being some hemming and hawing about "being nicer."  Uh.. OK?  Whatever that means.  I'm pretty sure Huffpost is going to write the same damn articles no matter who the GOP runs.  The GOP candidate is predictably going to be called racist Hitler pretty much guaranteed.

 

Let's look at some 2012 results (we don't have the '16 results yet, but I'm assuming for this that Trump will not perform any better than Romney).

 

If only white males voted- Romney wins 501 EV to 37.

If only males (of all races) voted- Romney still wins 322 EV to 216.

If only whites voted- Romney wins 441 EV to 97 (this is actually one of the often glossed over 'secrets' of 2012- a majority of white women voted for Romney)

 

With minority demographics however, Romney lost Hispanics by 71 to 27 and Blacks 93 to 6.  He did slightly better if you only include Hispanic and Black males.  His worst demographic was Black females (96 to 3).

 

Another "secret" of 2012 that few people talk about- Romney won the youth vote as well, if you only include whites (51% to 44%).  He lost young Hispanics and Blacks at a ratio similar to their overall demographic.

 

Now here's an interesting thing I learned recently- a Pew study indicated that among "English dominant" Hispanics, Clinton leads Trump, but only 48 to 41.  A solid lead for Clinton, but not too far off the national average actually.  This suggests that "English dominant" Hispanics probably track (more or less), the national popular vote %.  Now what English dominant means, I'm not sure (the study says it's those that are 'more proficient in English than Spanish,' so probably those that grew up only speaking English in the home). 

 

I see this as both good and bad news for the GOP.  Good news in the sense that the evidence indicates that the oft-repeated theory that the "more Hispanics assimilate, the more conservative they become" has some truth to it.  But it's bad news too, because this is not something the GOP can change, accelerate, or do much about either way.  It's not like one day the RNC can snap their fingers and all of a sudden the characteristics of the entire Hispanic demographic nation-wide have changed.  Maybe the Hispanic demographic changes on its own over time, or maybe it doesn't, but either way it's not happening in 4 years, 8 or maybe even 30.  And on top of that, for reasons in their own self interest (and who could blame them), the Dems are likely to block any effort to try and accelerate it as well.

 

So the GOP, to win the Hispanics outright, would have to find a way to somehow appeal to the non-English speaking (or bilingual) Hispanics, and I just don't see a credible way to do so.  If the GOP ran someone Hispanic who spoke fluent Spanish, they would be criticized for pandering.  If they don't, they get criticized for being the party of "old white dudes."  So the GOP is sorta damned if they do, damned if they don't here- which begs the question of whether the GOP is better off just writing off Hispanics altogether.

 

 

That leads me to the second part of this post- theory #2.  That somehow the GOP has to find more white voters.  Now, in order to do so, this means the GOP basically gives up NV, NM, VA and CO, but one could argue this is a sunk cost since they're gone for the GOP anyway.

 

In this theory, the GOP has to find a way to hold FL while flipping PA.  This theory assumes the GOP wins OH (but not worth going into any more detail than that, since OH is basically a microcosm of the US with a stable population, either party is always going to have to win OH to win the election).

 

Flipping PA requires two things- first, that the trends in western PA continue to go strong for the GOP, and second, that the GOP is able to flip enough of the northeastern rust-belt cities (Scranton, etc) to balance out Philly (which is gone for the GOP).  I've read numerous demographic studies (too lazy to link right now, but can find them if someone requests) that suggest these areas actually are trending to the GOP, but the Dems still turn out enough votes in Philly to cancel them out.

 

So the goal would be to have a candidate that increases turnout in northeastern PA, but keeps Philly from getting excited and turning out.  Let us consider who the candidate would be.  (again, this is not a thread about Trump).  Biden is very popular in the area, so a folksy, straight-talking White guy that doesn't come off as a rich douche is a good fit (then again, that guy is a good fit for a lot of suburban American just in general).  This hypothetical candidate would probably have to put economic issues front-and-center and be more populist than the mainstream GOP.  If this cycle's primary showed us anything, it's that the establishment would find that unacceptable from the get-go.  What's interesting though, is whether the current establishment has already lost the battle.  At least in Europe, right-wing populism has already become the conservative movement.  Where I used to live, in Switzerland, the right wing populist party (the Swiss People's Party) actually has a national majority in their Congress-equivalent.  So is this the wave of the future?  Maybe so, because at the end of the day, movement conservatives (as much as they may hate hearing it), don't make PA competitive.  10 years ago they made VA competitive, but demographics have changed such that VA isn't in play anymore.  The unfortunate fact for the purists is simply that they don't exist in large enough numbers in swing states.

 

So who does this candidate look like?  I can't think of an example of one this cycle, but it would probably be someone with similar positions to Trump (minus the more loony stuff), with the demeanor, attitude and temperament of someone like Kasich.  Interestingly, Kasich himself could've been that person, but he never had an opening as long as Bush and Rubio were in the race (and the inability of him to steal their thunder, perhaps is indicative of how skilled a campaigner he really was).  This brings up one big practical issue this route would have- a candidate of this style would have a difficult time getting out of the primary, especially in the youtube era.

 

So would this theory be superior to the "appeal to minorities" theory?  I don't know.  I can tell you right off the bat that it has one flaw- it's more of a short term fix, long term problem-- for the simple fact that these areas (northeast PA, MI, etc) are not growing in population, whereas other states like VA and CO are (especially CO- which is growing extremely fast... over 25% every 10 yrs... the fact that the Dems have picked those two states up is a straight up steal and probably the single greatest victory for them since LBJ).

 

 

 

My thoughts are not organized enough yet to state which road I'd take, except that I find option 1 to be unrealistic, while option 2 has long term demographic issues and practical issues with the primary.  The best way forward then, may be a combination- option 2 in the short term, while waiting for option 1 to become viable, while assessing how the Hispanic demographic does (or doesn't) change over the next 30 years.

 

As I understand it, the options for your discussion as the GOP needs to either a) increase the white voter turn out for their side, or to somehow better appeal to minorities, based on the two schools of thought you present.  The answer isn't either/or, but both, if the GOP is to win the White House again. Why does it have to be an either/or proposition?  The thing is, it's possible to focus on both at the same time.  THAT is what I think should be done, or at least how I think the GOP should look at it.  On one hand, the white male vote is a demographic that has steadily lost dominance and is increasingly finding it shares its power with other demographics, but on the other hand, it still is a significant enough amount of power, that it can't be abandoned or taken for granted, either. That said, I think Trump's greatest failing is in a rush to sweep up the white and predominantly male vote, he has either ostracized or in some way insulted every other demographic.  So, I think that would pretty much prove your "option two" of attempting to solely appeal to more white voters isn't going to work, at least by itself.  

 

As for option 1, I think the GOP definitely has an uphill battle with minorities.  I think it is fair to say they pretty much have lost the blue collar minority vote.  When it comes to the black vote, I don't think the GOP will ever gain a majority, which I find ironic historically speaking, because the GOP was once the party of Lincoln, and historically speaking, it the DNC, at least in the South, that enacted so many of the oppressive Jim Crow laws, that later caused the civil rights movement to happen in the first place, which since LBJ and the 1960s has been largely championed by democrats (or at least have appeared to be).  Similarly, the GOP has lost the majority of female vote through its stances on what is perceived as female issues, since the 1960s, and the DNC has become the de facto party that champions those issues, as well.  As for the Latino vote, the GOP, by taking a hard line anti-immigration stance in recent years, has pretty much lost the majority of the Latino vote.  In those cases, I am not sure what the GOP can do, if anything at all, to regain a significant minority or female vote, let alone majority vote from any of those demographics. So I see (from a GOP point of view), the case to be made to "cut their losses" with demographics that won't vote for you, anyway.  But the HUGE problem with that is when that is done, that only confirms black and Latino concerns the GOP doesn't care about them (true or just perception) and really, I think the GOP looks bad for doing that.  At that point, the GOP would literally become the party of white males, which as stated above (and I think you seem to agree), is not a long term solution, as the white male demographic loses political power.

 

So for me, that leaves the third option of appealing to both the white and minority vote simultaneously as the way to go, and it would be a mistake to reduce or not focus at all on any demographic.   How that is accomplished, I don't even know where to begin and I am not sure I even have an answer, and really that is almost a topic in of itself.  However,  I think a good place to start is for the GOP to look at all demographics, see what issues are universal and see where all the demographics have commonality, and focus on those topics. The GOP needs political positions that are universal that all groups can rally around, and support.   I can say that (as Ender points out above) the GOP championing divisive issues like abortion, immigration, or anything that appears anti-group of people is a non-starter.  



#15
Justus

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The progressive/democrat world view is stupid and evil, but it's also consistent and, within its own ideological strictures, somewhat logical.  It's quite a simple formula, actually:  Progressives would have us believe that women, blacks, gays and other identifiable minorities and a handful of the white male elect are basically adrift in a raging, tempestuous ocean of unchecked white male privilege and bigotry, which needs only a Republican government to become a force 5 hurricane of pure, unadulterated Hitler level genocidal hatred of all things non alpha male Caucasian.  It's incredibly insipid and over-simplistic, but at least there's some kind of cohesive narrative.

 

With the conservatives, on the other hand, there isn't.  There's pretty much zero logic to it at all, except for pervasive theme of obsessive and personalized hatred for the persons of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and whichever card-carrying democratic party politician happens to be most prominent in any given moment. Beyond that, anything goes. The most flagrant of logical impossibilities are advanced back-to-back, all casting Obama and Hillary especially, and any other relevant democratic party politician as having Luciferian degrees of evil and power.  They are fascist, communist and liberal.  They are Muslim, atheist and pagan. They are racist against whites and blacks.  They are misogynistic and misandrist in equal, eternal measure. They can single handedly control banks, guide the flow of world trade and bring about catastrophic inflation, unemployment and even crash the markets entirely, which they do not hesitate to do because they are Obama and Hillary.  [/quote]

 

To the extent that the conservative narrative even makes sense at all, and as an ideology it most certainly doesn't (especially when all of their small government and family values rhetoric crashes upon the rocks of their actual actions in the real world) it is rooted entirely in personalized hatred and bizarre conspiracy theories surrounding prominent democrats.  There's no vision, no world view, no real cohesive narrative beyond any of that, and this has been the case pretty much since the late 1990s.  I think this is a considerable over-arching factor in the comeback that U.S liberalism has made since the days of Reagan and Gingrich. 

 

To be fair, over the years, the left have indulged in their own bizarre theories or actions having no connection to reality. From:

  • The Bush / Cheney / Neocon "oligarchy" started the Iraq war as a platform for ultimate Middle East control (partially on behalf of Israel), with their corporate partners' waiting to control all oil producing countries.
  • The Bush administration allowed 9/11 to happen to support theory #1, and erode 100% of Americans' civll liberties under the banner of "national security"
  • Pro-life means "enslaving" women  / keeping them "barefoot in the kitchen"
  • Using gender specific pronouns is a form of white, patriarchal discrimination
  • Christmas celebrations and/or saying "Merry Christmas" causes fear and a sense of oppression in "all" minority populations
  • Punishing media talents with suspension for questioning anything about Bruce Jenner
  • Opposing Obamacare for any reason means you want the poor to stay sick and/or die
  • Obsessing on Cruz as some threat to

It goes on and on. Just as intellectually and historically bankrupt as the worst of the Right, with many of the hallmark platform issues making no sense at all (e.g. the contradictory screaming about ending the death penalty on the grounds that no human has the right to end another's life, yet many of the same see no problem with abortion) or serving an overall agenda.

 

For the all of the extremes listed above (that's barely scratching the surface), many are all over the place in terms of origin, philosophy or goals, and not shared by all of its members. It comes off as some wild assemblage of anything that only exists to be anti-Right.

 

On that note, instead of the GOP needing an autopsy, they need a bullsh*tectomy--removing the last vestiges of destructive factions (like white supremacists usually coded under the "values"  / "take America back" banner) while allowing the left (as mentioned before) to swell in its arrogance and overreach (mainly cultural)  to the point where the Great Left Remaking of America implodes. But that will never happen with the way the GOP fights battles today--the Cruz and Trump way, which (among several things) will never move middle road voters to even give an interested glance at Republicans.



#16
Carrie Mathison

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On that note, instead of the GOP needing an autopsy, they need a bullsh*tectomy--removing the last vestiges of destructive factions (like white supremacists usually coded under the "values"  / "take America back" banner) while allowing the left (as mentioned before) to swell in its arrogance and overreach (mainly cultural)  to the point where the Great Left Remaking of America implodes. But that will never happen with the way the GOP fights battles today--the Cruz and Trump way, which (among several things) will never move middle road voters to even give an interested glance at Republicans.


So who should have been the GOP nominee?

Of people that actually had a realistic chance of winning the primaries, that is.

#17
Carrie Mathison

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Chalup- interesting post. You're right that I made it sort of a zero-sum game between Option 1 and 2, and that we shouldn't necessarily assume that it's one or the other.

That being said, while "doing both" sounds nice in theory, I think practically speaking, it gets a little tougher to figure out exactly how it would work.

I'll have more thoughts later when I get a chance to write more, but do you have any ideas how this would work (understanding, of course, that you said you weren't sure where to start)?

I just can't figure out a way the GOP actually does both. Take one of your issues you mentioned the GOP should drop- immigration. They could do that, sure, but then they can't go hard on option 2 (especially in economically depressed rust belt areas, where the anti-immigration stance is moving those areas to the GOP), and I'm not sure it would even gain minority votes at the end of the day. The GOP could even advocate full out amnesty, and then the Dems would just move to the left of them, offer amnesty plus something else, call the GOP racist, and the result would be the GOP still loses Hispanics 70 to 30.

And so on and so forth.

#18
Carrie Mathison

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Poe- again, same thing I told Chalup- more to come when I have some time to write more.

But really quick- I do agree that Haley is someone to watch.

What do you think about people like Amash? Maybe not him specifically, but someone from that camp.

#19
Guest_El Chalupacabra_*

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Chalup- interesting post. You're right that I made it sort of a zero-sum game between Option 1 and 2, and that we shouldn't necessarily assume that it's one or the other.

That being said, while "doing both" sounds nice in theory, I think practically speaking, it gets a little tougher to figure out exactly how it would work.

I'll have more thoughts later when I get a chance to write more, but do you have any ideas how this would work (understanding, of course, that you said you weren't sure where to start)?

I just can't figure out a way the GOP actually does both. Take one of your issues you mentioned the GOP should drop- immigration. They could do that, sure, but then they can't go hard on option 2 (especially in economically depressed rust belt areas, where the anti-immigration stance is moving those areas to the GOP), and I'm not sure it would even gain minority votes at the end of the day. The GOP could even advocate full out amnesty, and then the Dems would just move to the left of them, offer amnesty plus something else, call the GOP racist, and the result would be the GOP still loses Hispanics 70 to 30.

And so on and so forth.

There may not be a perfect solution, and it isn't going to be equal parts of increasing the Caucasian vote, and minority vote.   However, this is the problem as I see it.  Short term, sure, the GOP may pick up votes by taking hard line stances on say immigration, or abortion, or whatever traditionally conservative hot button issue you want to cite.  But in the long term,  I think history has shown us that whenever a political party takes a stance against a group of people based on their race, ethnicity, or nationality, said political party ends up on the wrong side of history.

 

What happens in the future when the demographics of the rust belt shift to favor the very minorities that the GOP tends to oppose (IE immigrants) today?  What happens when Caucasians are no longer the majority in this country, in one or two generations, or at the very least, states like CA, TX, NY, FL and OH? States that you can't win the presidency without.  Wouldn't you say that the GOP is pretty much screwed at that point, if they take up a strategy of ignoring minorities, only to go after the low-hanging fruit of white male voters?  Sooner or later that fruit will dry up.  People have long memories.  They may not remember what was said  or done, but they will always remember how they are made to feel, and I think right now, minorities feel like they have not been treated well by the GOP.  IF the GOP doesn't take steps to do more to embrace minorities, the GOP may find itself going the way of the Whig party in a couple generations.  



#20
Poe Dameron

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What happens in the future when the demographics of the rust belt shift to favor the very minorities that the GOP tends to oppose (IE immigrants) today?

 

Worrying about long-term unfavorable demographic shifts by hitting the accelerator on those shifts and reinforcing the voting behavior by buying into the notion that open borders is the only "Hispanic issue" that matters doesn't strike me as the wisest election strategy.  THAT's the short-term thinking for ya.

 

You want the demographics not to matter?  Chew on the current influx of immigrants long enough for them to just think of themselves as normal instead of an ethnicity.  Worked for Italians and Irish.  That's a process that takes decades.  That's the long-term strategy.  But it only works by slowing down the influx we have and bringing the ones we have within the community and just think of themselves as American.  It's not like it can't be done.  It's not like Latinos even look all that different in most cases, so there's not even really a racial barrier once mainstreaming happens (again, like Italians and Irish).

 

But as long as we keep playing the game where Democrats want to bring in a maximum amount of Latinos as cheap votes and businesses want a maximum amount of Latinos as cheap exploitable labor (children of parents who are callously exploited into an early grave tend not to be the ripest garden for free market ideals... go figure), yeah, they'll continue to be a Democrat voting bloc.

 

It's why woman are still largely a gettable group for Republicans despite Democrats attempting to make the only issues that should matter to them abortion, the made-up wage gap, and a few other grievances.  Women, as a group, are more likely to go into the voting booth not caring about the voting bloc they are supposed to represent according to the Democrats.  They consider themselves mainstream and people first and don't "vote with your vagina" to use a term from the Democrat playbook in 2012.  Actually caring about issues as a whole instead of the petty grievances and tribal behavior that Democrats want in all voters.

 

Sure there's a gender gap, so those efforts from Democrats to make women vote as their own tribe haven't been totally unsuccessful, but it's never been insurmountable for Republicans.



#21
Poe Dameron

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BTW, don't look now, but ever since Trump took that trip to Mexico, he's been on a bit of a roll while Clinton's had nothing but email and health issues.

 

My guess is that no matter what happens in the debates, Clinton will be declared the biggest winner evar, since her comeback will be the next big story and it really doesn't matter how poorly she performs (look at the pre-written stories of how awesome her Congressional testimonies were and how nothing new happened when they completely dismantled her story).



#22
monkeygirl

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I'm learning so much from this thread-THANKS to everyone participating.

Have we had, in the history of the US, a candidate for POTUS' own party members publicly disavow him?

What historical firsts make the subject of this thread different than it would have been post any other election?

#23
Carrie Mathison

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Oh yeah. This election isn't even close to the most, maybe not even top 5.

Take 1912, when Teddy Roosevelt defected, ran third party and took 88 electoral votes and 27.4% of the popular vote.  The GOP only ended up with 8 electoral votes that year because of it.

People have a tendency to always assume their current situation is the "worst it's ever been," or the "most divisive" or the "most polarizing" and so on and so forth.  When in reality, people just don't have an education in US history and have some narcissistic need to proclaim they're going through something special.

 

Truth is, there isn't nearly as much that's remarkable about this election as people think.



#24
Brando

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Except that it is the most important election ever.

#25
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Prediction: The GOP continues to shrink as the boomers die out, becomes relegated to a regional party within 20 years. Something like the Reform Party, though probably not exactly that, will rise to take its place. It will look pretty much like what Darth Ender described as what s/he said s/he would like the Republican Party to look like. During that same time frame the Democratic Party will become an even more amorphous "tell you what you wan to hear" party that will finally lose all defining shape. And they'll start losing members as a result. 





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