The GOP vs Donald Trump and the Voter Base Problem

A FoxNews Friday evening ritual has proven to be a window into the corporate soul of Fox about the GOP candidates.

The Friday panel always has Dr Krauthammer and a couple of others, each laying out $100 in poker chips, placing odds on who will likely win the GOP nomination.  (This is the only night I watch this show anymore, ever since I found “World’s Dummest” on TruTV, an easy two clicks away from Fox.)

Fox only added Democrats to this game in the past few weeks, since Hillary was considered a shoo-in. She still is according to these Fox wizards. Even with new criminal counts breaking daily, up over 20 now, they still bet $80 on her, while the obvious bet is to put $95 on the Field, i.e., a candidate “to be named later.” Still, these are great insights into the Fox culture, proving the politics-above-all-things nature of the network, showing no moral indignation at all that Hillary even being a candidate instead of awaiting trial in a holding tank. She has committed multiple crimes that even that Mosby woman in Baltimore could prosecute successfully. If Hillary is dealing with the White House now, she should be negotiating pardon, not endorsement.

What we know then is that Fox is clearly comfortable in this alternative universe of reality. And this also reflects Fox’s, and their employees’, status within the Republican Establishment. I think the proper term is “pimp” as we learn more and more about the true composition of the Establishment. FoxNews is now the official guardians of the GOP’s gate, and inside that gate is a culture that is now acting on laws as ancient as the pharaohs, suffocating the life out of the America of ordinary folk.

So, of course we are storming that gate.

This theme then will dominate (or dog) the GOP race for much of the coming year, and you’ll need a program to tell who is on whose side, Establishment or the People as they are filled with poseurs. Most of all, note the respective Voter Bases…and their portability.

For instance, the Establishment voter base is pretty well fixed. And it ain’t enough to win; never has been and never will be. This single fact explains why the Establishment strategy since Karl Rove gained 60 pounds and became a guru, has been to go get the “moderates,” for their only other option would be to get the aforementioned regular-people vote, who they really don’t like, for a variety of cultural as well as political reasons. (e.g., Democrats have regular folk who do what they’re told. The GOP can’t get that lucky.) The Establishment conundrum over the past few cycles has been that in order to get their guy (instead of some quack conservative) nominated, they already had to run off those same hayseed Christians during the primaries.

Instead of trying to incorporate them, they’ve reduced ghettoizing them into a campaign template.

For instance Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are the darlings of the Establishment in this campaign, and the Fox odds-makers with chips in their hands still make them odds-on favorites even though their standing with voters since the debate have taken a tumble. It’s obvious that Fox insiders and the regular voters are reading different tea leaves (or instruction manuals). Adjusting for windage, Fox odds-making rules seem to say, if their men (Bush or Rubio) stumbles, they’ll  make up lost ground along the way but if the other guys do well (Trump, Carson, Cruz, Walker) they’ll stumble along the way. Sounds more like wishful thinking than analysis. Talk about betting on the come.

For perspective, Here’s the Real Clear listing of the GOP candidates (this will change, of course): 

Trump (22), Carson (14), Walker (9), Huckabee (8), Cruz (8), Fiorina (7) Rubio (5) Bush (5) Paul (5) Christie (3) Kasich (2) Jindal (2) Graham (2) and Santorum (1) and Perry (1).

Shorthand, Conservatives 43, Trump (a stand-alone outlier) 22, Establishment 13, and other outliers, including Fiorina, Paul, and Kasic 14.

You can see the Establishment’s primary dilemma, namely their dilemma with the primaries (no d-e intended).

For this reason, I think, Kasich has been “promoted” from outlier to Establishment based on his debate performance even though his numbers also fell among voters after the debate.

And Kasich is an interesting study, for he is the only “top tier” candidate without a voter base. To me a “voter base” means people who believe their candidate is the pick of the litter. No 1. Better than all the rest. I don’t see John Kasich having such a base, outside of a small constituency in Ohio, any more than Pataki or Jindal have. Northeasters see Christie as better than Pataki, conservatives see Walker better than Jindal , and Junior Samples’ blind hound dog Beauregard better than Lindsay Graham. See how it works? Actually, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry should be in this group as well, for while they had a voter base in 2012 who really believed they were the best of the presidential field, they no longer seem to enjoy that, in part because the conservative field has expanded in both size and quality.

Although Marco Rubio is presented as a conservative (remember, this is Fox News talking) his voter base will still likely migrate to Bush, the Establishment-chosen front runner. The reverse is true for Rubio if Bush should stumble. Jeb’s voter base will migrate to Marco…erasing all doubt among conservatives that Marco Rubio is anything but Establishment, and always has been. Once rolled always rolled, for his first roll was to ingratiate himself with the GOP Establishment in the Senate days after he was sworn in.

(One note on the age and maturity issue surrounding Rubio: he belongs to a generation of “not-yet-proven-by-fire conservatives, as we here have also witnessed up close and personal with Erick Erickson at RedState. They seem to be like stage actors, always striving for the approval of strangers…only in politics, strangers with money and power. And, lacking the wisdom found in maturity, or an inner core of beliefs truly fired by experience, they are generally easy rolls. Some grow up, but some stay rolled. I can’t peer that deep, but for now, Marco Rubio is damaged goods as a conservative. Whatever else Jeb Bush may be, he isn’t a kid.)

So, voter migration is the key, for when a candidate drops out, it’s important their voter base remains in the fold.

Or not, if you’re in the Establishment, for that can actually hurt their chances.

When a candidate drops out, and all but one will, most of his voter base will attach itself to another. Or so you’d think. The only way an Establishment candidate can win is ensure many of those losing conservative’s voter base packs up and goes home during the primaries, then spend millions to make the rest of America believe that little Baptist grannies in the Delta are putting up Jeb Bush shrines over their fireplace, complete with candle.

This is why the Trump steamroller is so important to conservatives…it gefoodles the Establishment’s what-to-do plan about all the social conservatives who line up usually behind Mike Huckabee, and then can be relied on to go home after he drops out. I have always smelled a rat.

While Republicans still have difficulty saying out loud they really don’t want the slut vote, or the baby-butcher vote, they really have no problem in disinviting a third of their party from voting in the primaries, one-issue social conservatives who place their consciences over their wallets. Anyone who cannot find even a glimmer of light between Lindsay Graham’s ears but can pick up that bright light in Ted Cruz’s or Ben Carson’s hearts are not welcome.

The big fly in the Establishment’s buttermilk is Donald Trump, who so far has been able to overcome issues of contradiction in prior positions. Unlike Rubio he’s been able to take money out of the equation, he owes no one, and has diminished the political by elevating the rightness and wrongness and even the commonsensical of issues. (Note that at Fox no one can look at Hillary and see a criminal, only a potential political trains wreck.) So far Trump’s voter base like him for reasons that transcend the political, and even (among religious social conservatives) the emotional.

This deserves analysis, in light of Trump’s growing support from Latinos, blacks, but most surprisingly, social conservatives (the Christian Right), who for years have carried single issues on their sleeve and have always supported candidates with their hearts, often oblivious to the larger Evil lurking behind these moral ruptures in our social makeup.  Now, America has had the unique self-healing history of going through what historians have called “great (religious) awakenings” every three generations or so. But our last one, in the 1980s, lamentably resulted in Christians retreating away from politics unless it was with their own kind, refusing to break bread with Jews, pro-choice conservatives, or anyone who said “shucky-dern” in the vernacular. Since the Clinton years, the result has been that they would hook onto the rising star of some Elmer Gantry who would hold them in thrall, then just as quickly crawl back into their rabbit holes once Rev Gantry had dropped out of the race. Measured in the few millions of voters, Republicans lost several elections because of their absence, and would have lost even more had Al Gore had his way with stuffing ballot boxes in 2000.

So predictable have these “emoticon-voters” become that the GOP Establishment has relied on their absence in the primaries, building all their plans around how to snare “moderates” instead, just so long as the religious conservatives didn’t screw up the final selection process. That has become a billion dollar business all by itself. Since 2008, the pied piper of these few million who only vote for select candidates in primaries, and never show up for the general, has been Mike Huckabee, who like other notable ex-preachers, gave up the pulpit to pursue a lower calling, has been able to parlay that relationship into  a million dollar cottage industry for himself, not by selling those votes to the eventual establishment winner, but through pious poor-mouthing ensuring those fine Christians would walk away in disgust and stay home during the general.

But rejoice, Dear Hearts! It seems many of those one-issue Christians have found a new pied piper, and one who doesn’t even pretend to be a man of the cloth. The good news, maybe, after 30 years, Christians are willing to rejoin the fight against a common foe, now that they recognize Evil Himself on the other side, and they seem to like the way Donald Trump proposes to spit in the Devil’s eye and play slap-jaw with him. Or at least lead them into the arms of another who will, perhaps Ted Cruz, or Ben Carson, or Scott walker.

If you haven’t considered this sort of analysis, trust me, Establishment analysts have. They know that Donald Trump represents the return of millions of voters from a long hibernation, with the ability even to dip over into various Democrat wells of discontent, sealed for many years…or haven’t you met Lynette and Rochelle? Trump is enemy No 1, because it is known that those voters will not retreat to their holes, but will stay to fight by the side of any of at least three candidates he bequeaths them to.

The Establishment road forward, then, becomes more problematic because they had always relied, as in 2008 and 2012, on splitting the conservative vote in the primaries, knowing that nearly half of them, the emotional half, would go back home and sulk.

I wrote earlier that the eventual GOP candidate should be a composite of the best parts of each of the better candidates. There are now fewer to draw from than when I wrote that. The sad decline of Rick Perry has been of his own making, but greatly abetted by really poor advisers and analysts, in misjudging the impact Donald Trump is having on a base that could have been his. He would have been a fine president, with the addition of just a few elements, but one of those, Donald Trump’s in-yer-face style, he chewed on and then gagged it back out. Jeb Bush, who I believed to be an honorable man, has diminished himself, in part because he has decided to work for a lot of mercenary financial backers. The true purposes of the GOP Establishment, thanks in part to the profiteering behavior of both Republican Congresses, has hastened the people’s hatred for the same DC establishment Jeb is trying so hard to perpetuate, thus hastening his own demise in this race.

Carly Fiorina will also drop out as her policies become more clear. And her voter base will likely split, many toward the establishment side of the ledger, others toward the conservative. But she is of consequence for she has already added her stamp to the GOP composite, being  the first to identify the overriding, actually only, real issue in this next election, and that is the  intention of the Democrats to totally dismantle the Constitutional blueprint of this nation and replace it with a top-down socialist model. Any candidate who echoes this standard has a chance to win. And Carly was the first to say it. She is part of the composite.

And  Rand Paul, another outlier, also deserves special mention. He will likely drop out when he has to decide to remain a senator or continue his presidential ambitions. But his role in filling out the presidential composite won’t end there, as he will play a major role in bringing into the Republican fold millions of millennials, who may be libertarians now, but most of whom will grow into conservatives, making even larger the “Unwanted wing of the Republican Party” – sitting right next to those “damned Christians”- all of whom will be capable of moving a full 20% of the Democrat voter base to our side as well. In the not too distant future they will become THE New-and-improved Republican Party, if things go right next year. Rand Paul will be a key element to restoring America to its original design, if each of these people who make up the composite, will continue to play the role nature has assigned them.

Right now many parts of the composite are made up of Donald Trump’s Tell-it-like-it-is straight talk, leadership, hutzpah, and even a few policy issues, immigration high among them. It is only for the other conservatives like Cruz, Carson and Walker, each with unique strong suites, to complete a picture of a presidency built on strength of character, integrity and strong shoulders. For (Warning!) should any of them actually become president and begin to carry out the policies they have promised, working, as Ronald Reagan once did, directly with the people, and against a recalcitrant and spiteful (Republican-led) Congress, only this time against both an allied domestic enemy and foreign ones…they must also have shoulders and heart that can carry a thousand pounds of sorrow. Each should study Lincoln’s lonely last five years well.



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