Republicans don’t have an “ex-president problem.” They have a failed party.
As the matchup between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton takes shape, it has begun to dawn on some conservatives that the Republican Party faces a distinct handicap: The Democrats will have two popular ex-presidents to campaign for them, and the GOP will have none. Bill Clinton is the party’s most effective surrogate for wife Hillary, writes Byron York in the conservative Washington Examiner: “Republicans haven’t had the same luck. The only two-term GOP president in the last generation, George W. Bush, has stayed mostly out of politics in the seven years since he left the White House.” Meanwhile, writing for The Wall Street Journal opinion page, Richard Benedetto grapples with President Obama’s value as a surrogate. “When Mr. Obama ran for office in 2008, a central part of his campaign strategy was to heap blame on George W. Bush,” writes Benedetto. “How has Mr. Obama dodged similar treatment?”
How indeed? The answer, I’d suggest, is something along the lines of by governing competently rather than presiding over a flaming wreck of a presidency. But this answer presumes a level of introspection into the success of the last two Democratic presidents, and the conspicuous failure of the one wedged between them, that is absent from both columns, and from conservative thought in general.
More: Why Democrats Have Popular Presidents — NYMag
Trump is considering “five or six” for his running mate, according to the Associated Press
Source: Trump’s Miss Vice President pageant – The Washington Post
Jonathan Chait has a theory about why Trump’s success took him and other pundits by surprise: “The Republican Party turns out to be filled with idiots. Far more of them than anybody expected.” But this idea is singularly unhelpful. It actually helps absolve Trumpkins of responsibility: Idiots are usually not held accountable for their acts.
Thankfully, we have actual data on Trump’s supporters. Far from being idiots, they are people who would normally be considered functioning and successful. Trump’s supporters are better educated andwealthier than the American average.
Rather than characterizing them as losers who are easily fooled, Trump’s supporters—who amount to at least a plurality of the Republican primary electorate—deserve to be looked at in their own terms. Trump’s essential appeal is based on racism. He launched his campaign talking about Mexican “rapists,” and subsequently stirred up xenophobia against many other groups, especially Muslims. His racist pitch succeeded because the Republican Party is overwhelmingly white and has relied heavily on dog-whistle appeals to racism since the early 1960s.
Trump is appealing to the aggrieved privilege of well-to-do white Republicans who feel threatened by America’s changing demographics and challenges to the traditional racial hierarchy in the age of Obama.
Racism is evil, but it is not idiotic from the point of view of racists. White racists see themselves as benefitting from Trump’s proposal to shore up the old racial status quo. Their value system deserves to be challenged, but they aren’t being fooled by Trump. They know what he’s selling and they like it.
Source: Are Donald Trump’s supporters idiots? | New Republic
The Republican Party turns out to be filled with idiots.
Why did almost everybody fail to predict Donald Trump’s victory in the Republican primaries? Nate Silver blames the news media, disorganized Republican elites, and the surprising appeal of cultural grievance. Nate Cohn lists a number of factors, from the unusually large candidate field to the friendly calendar. Jim Rutenberg thinks journalism strayed too far from good old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting. Justin Wolfers zeroes in on Condorcet’s paradox. Here’s the factor I think everybody missed: The Republican Party turns out to be filled with idiots. Far more of them than anybody expected.
In the previous election cycle, joke candidates like Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann briefly caught the fancy of Republican voters but collapsed in the face of scrutiny. Republicans did rally around Sarah Palin after her vice-presidential selection was unveiled, but eventually her lack of qualifications became so impossible to deny that she didn’t even bother running in 2012. It was natural to expect a similar collapse from Trump, who cut an even more absurd figure (and certainly carried more ideological baggage on issues like abortion, health care, past support for Democratic candidates, and many other things).
Most voters don’t follow politics and policy for a living, and it’s understandable that they would often fall for arguments based on faulty numbers or a misreading of history. But a figure like Trump is of a completely different cast than the usual political slickster. He is several orders of magnitude more clownish and uninformed than the dumbest major-party nominee I’ve ever seen before. (That would be George W. Bush.) As low as my estimation of the intelligence of the Republican electorate may be, I did not think enough of them would be dumb enough to buy his act. And, yes, I do believe that to watch Donald Trump and see a qualified and plausible president, you probably have some kind of mental shortcoming. As many fellow Republicans have pointed out, Donald Trump is a con man. What I failed to realize — and, I believe, what so many others failed to realize, though they have reasons not to say so — is just how easily so many Republicans are duped.
More: Here’s the Real Reason We All Underrated Trump — NYMag
The Republican party is rallying behind a candidate who polls less favorably than some of our most reliably despised things.
Donald Trump may have all but secured the Republican nomination for president, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into strong, even basic, popularity with the American electorate. That’s according to new findings released by Public Policy Polling, which examined the real estate magnate’s relative popularity to inanimate objects, bugs, medical conditions, dental procedures, and people that we as a nation reliably despise. The list includes lice, root canals, and Nickelback—the Canadian rock band that has only survived because of the engagement of those who share a collective a hate for them.
What did he beat in terms of popularity? Cockroaches and hemorrhoids. But he still lagged behind
Clearly, Trump still has enthusiastic supporters and the PPP found a majority of people who said they viewed the presidential hopeful favorably also backed his birther theories—65 percent believe President Obama is a Muslim and 59 percent are convinced that he was not born in the United States.
The findings come as Republicans scramble to build a unified front to support Trump in the general election. But in doing so, they’ll be backing a candidate who is less popular than invasive bugs and dental surgeries, in addition to a man they themselves once described as “our Mussolini.”
Source: Donald Trump Is More Unpopular Than Lice and Nickelback | Mother Jones