Matthew Yglesias says Trumpism is a natural consequence of the GOP refusing to moderate on taxes or immigration.
Republican leaders sweated as the Summer of Trump became the Autumn of Trump, and now are in full panic as we enter the Winter of Trump. But this year of Trump is the direct result of their own preferred political strategy — by refusing to tack to the center on either taxes or immigration, they are left with an amped-up form of white identity politics as the preferred path to a majority.
He cites how they did not follow the prescription of the RNC 2012 election post-mortem. Romney got much less of minority (hispanic and asian) votes than Bush did.
The point is that many white Americans don't like the presence of a large Hispanic population in the United States (they complain about the Spanish-language signs, about the "press one for English" option on phone trees, etc.), and Latinos know it. The RNC's view was that Romney's self-deportation policy communicated that he is one of those white people, and that was toxic.
He then goes into the "missing white voter" thesis (of Romney's defeat) which apparently is also wrong. Those missing voters actually correspond to Perot voters and aren't in the deep south (though a Democrat isn't going to win in the south regardless) and apparently line up with Trump supporters pretty well.
So then another possibility (suggested by Ross Douthat):
Rather than move to the center on immigration in the hopes of wooing affluent Latinos and Asians, move to the center on economics to woo secular working-class whites. But given the aging of the population and the natural demand that creates for more spending on highly popular retirement programs, there's simply no way to move to the center on economics without showing some restraint on the tax-cutting front.
But of course "Indeed, the entire party is moving in the opposite direction of moderation on taxes. Jeb Bush, the most electability-oriented candidate in the race, is offering a tax cut that is four times as big as his brother's, while more conservative contenders like Ted Cruz offer plans that are even more extreme."
So amazingly he points out "Trumpism as the only viable strategy" and "Republicans, in other words, are disagreeing with Trump about how to leverage voter fear of Muslim immigrants into electoral advantage, not whether to do so." As evidence:
- Jeb Bush is talking about anchor babies.
- Marco Rubio wants the government to be more aggressive about shutting down certain mosques and other gathering places.
- Chris Christie thinks we need to track immigrants like FedEx packages.
- Ben Carson has analogized Syrian refugees to dogs.
- Ted Cruz ups the ante on the Syrian refugee issue by repeatedly referring to "Syrian Muslim refugees" as the problem.
- Rand Paul says Trump's proposal to bar all Muslim immigrants is a mistake, but that he's "called for something similar" that could accomplish the same goals.
Which fits with my perception of the GOP, every candidate is spouting batshit crazy talk. The New York Times has a nice break down of Where the Candidates Stand on 2016’s Biggest Issues. They all seem crazy to me on gun control, refugees and obamacare (it's not perfect but it's helping) and most on immigration, climate change, abortion (I'm fine if you're pro-life but even in the cases rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother?), and cutting taxes enormously without cutting defense and magically balancing the budget. And at least four of them don't believe in evolution. I said "most" for those last few points, only Bush, Christy, Kasich, and Pataki don't fall into that list. Pataki has missed the filing deadline for 9 states including FL, OH, TX and VA so he's out. Kasich stands no chance of winning the nomination. Maybe I wouldn't describe Bush and Christy as batshit crazy but I wouldn't vote for them either.
Adam Sewer says The Antidote To Trump is diversity.
Trump’s attacks are aimed, consistently, at groups that have no influence in the Republican race. There are vanishingly few black Republicans to check Trump’s generalizations about black people. There are not enough Republican Latinos to take umbrage at his demonization of Latinos. And there are not enough American Muslims, either within the Republican Party or outside of it, to make him pay for vowing to strip them of their basic rights.
The answer for why Trump perseveres is simple: As conservative intellectuals are painfully realizing, there is a large constituency within, and adjacent to the Republican Party whose presence reflects not a commitment to traditional conservative philosophical principles, but to protecting the cultural and political prerogatives of a shrinking, white Christian majority.
A few weeks ago Nate Silver wrote, Dear Media, Stop Freaking Out About Donald Trump’s Polls.
Right now, he has 25 to 30 percent of the vote in polls among the roughly 25 percent of Americans who identify as Republican. (That’s something like 6 to 8 percent of the electorate overall, or about the same share of people who think the Apollo moon landings were faked.) As the rest of the field consolidates around him, Trump will need to gain additional support to win the nomination. That might not be easy, since some Trump actions that appeal to a faction of the Republican electorate may alienate the rest of it. Trump’s favorability ratings are middling among Republicans (and awful among the broader electorate).
The Monkey Cage said a month ago, Republican voters actually aren’t divided into ‘establishment’ and ‘outsider’ camps. " There is no clear contest between the “establishment” candidates, such as Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, and “outsiders,” such as Donald Trump, Ben Carson or Carly Fiorina. The campaign isn’t creating polarized camps of Republican voters."
They also plotted second choices among voters to see who benefits from various candidates dropping out.
Carson, Cruz, Trump, and Rubio are all tied together in the center of the plot. If any one of them were to drop out, most of their supporters would shift to another of the front-runners. But Cruz seems particularly well positioned to pick up support if both Carson and Trump exit--Rubio, on the other hand, stands to gain a significant number of supporters if Carson’s campaign ends, but fewer if Trump drops out--What’s striking in the graph is how few arrows run to Trump. In fact, the exits of only two candidates — Carson and Cruz — are likely to benefit Trump. No other candidate’s supporters list Trump as a second choice.