Monday, February 29, 2016

Last Call For Network News

Leslie Moonves can appreciate a Donald Trump candidacy.

Not that the CBS executive chairman and CEO might vote for the Republican presidential frontrunner, but he likes the ad money Trump and his competitors are bringing to the network.

"It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS," he said of the presidential race.

Moonves called the campaign for president a "circus" full of "bomb throwing," and he hopes it continues.

"Most of the ads are not about issues. They're sort of like the debates," he said.

"Man, who would have expected the ride we're all having right now? ... The money's rolling in and this is fun," he said.

"I've never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It's a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going," said Moonves.

You think ol' Les here is going to be hurt in any way by a Trump presidency?


Rally Points

Nate Silver says the math doesn't add up when it comes to Republicans backing Trump, in particular conservatives who've long hated him and found him distasteful, or something.

If a realignment is underway, then it poses a big empirical challenge. Presidential elections already suffer from the problem of small sample sizes — one reason a lot of people, certainly including us, shouldn’t have been so dismissive of Trump’s chances early on. Elections held in the midst of political realignments are even rarer, however. The rules of the old regime — the American political party system circa 1980 through 2012 — might not apply in the new one. And yet, it’s those elections that inform both the conventional wisdom and statistical models of American political behavior. 
This doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be completely in the dark. For one thing, the polls — although there’s reason to be concerned about their condition in the long-term — have been reasonably accurate so far in the primaries. And some of the old rules will still apply. It’s probably fair to guess that Pennsylvania and Ohio will vote similarly, for example. 
Still, one should be careful about one’s assumptions. For instance, the assumption that the parties will rally behind their respective nominees may or may not be reliable. True, recent elections have had very little voting across party lines: 93 percent of Republicans who voted in 2012 supported Romney, for example, despite complaints from the base that he was insufficiently conservative. And in November 2008, some 89 percent of Democrats who voted supported Barack Obama after his long battle with Hillary Clinton.
But we may be entering a new era, and through the broader sweep of American history, there’s sometimes been quite a bit of voting across party lines. The table below reflects, in each election since 1952, what share of a party’s voters voted against their party’s presidential candidate (e.g., a Democrat voting Republican or for a third-party ticket). There’s a lot of fascinating political history embedded in the table, but one theme is that divisive nominations have consequences.


Silver has a mild point.  Reagan Democrats in 1980 and 1984 did make a difference, as did the Dems who jumped ship on McGovern in 72. and those elections certainly broke that mold, but look at the last 4 presidential elections.  

There's very little party-flipping, and what does happen effectively cancels out.

So no, I see something very close to what we've seen before, somewhere around a meager 10% of voters switching up, and it happening on both sides, effectively neutralizing the phenomenon.  90% of voters are going to stick with their party in November.

Another massive Democratic defection like 1972 or 1980 isn't going to happen in our heavily partisan body politic.  Worst case scenario is 1992, where about 25% of voters switched up, but it happened on both sides, and that was with Perot clogging up the works.

I don't think you'll see mass defections on either side.  Too much tribalism. 

Trump Cards, Con't

WaPo's Philip Rucker and Robert Costa document the atrocities as the GOP goes into full Conserva-Schism ahead of Super Tuesday.

The implosion over Donald Trump’s candidacy that Republicans had hoped to avoid arrived so virulently this weekend that many party leaders vowed never to back the billionaire and openly questioned whether the GOP could come together this election year.

At a moment when Republicans had hoped to begin taking on Hillary Clinton — who is seemingly on her way to wrapping up the Democratic nomination — the GOP has instead become consumed by a crisis over its identity and core values that is almost certain to last through the July party convention, if not the rest of the year.

A campaign full of racial overtones and petty, R-rated put-downs grew even uglier Sunday after Trump declined repeatedly in a CNN interview to repudiate the endorsement of him by David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Trump had disavowed Duke at a news conference on Friday, but he stammered when asked about Duke on Sunday.

Marco Rubio, who has been savaging Trump as a “con man” for three days, responded by saying that Trump’s defiance made him “unelectable.” The senator from Florida said at a rally in Northern Virginia, “We cannot be the party that nominates someone who refuses to condemn white supremacists.”

The fracas comes as the presidential race enters a potentially determinative month of balloting, beginning with primaries and caucuses in 11 states on Tuesday. As the campaign-trail rhetoric grew noxious over the weekend, a sense of fatalism fell over the Republican firmament, from elected officials and figureheads to major donors and strategists.

“This is an existential choice,” said former Minnesota senator Norm Coleman, who is backing Rubio. Asked how the party could unite, Coleman said, “It gets harder every day when you hear things like not disavowing the KKK and David Duke. It’s not getting easier; it’s getting more difficult. . . . I’m hopeful the party won’t destroy itself.”

The choice for voters is not simply one of preference but rather a fundamental one about the direction they want to take the country, with the insurgent Trump promising utter transformation.

“For many Republicans, Trump is more than just a political choice,” said Kevin Madden, a veteran operative who advised 2012 nominee Mitt Romney. “It’s a litmus test for character.”

Madden, like some of his peers, said he could never vote for Trump. If he is the nominee, Madden said, “I’m prepared to write somebody in so that I have a clear conscience.”

And ladies and gentlemen, I am here to call absolute BS on the notion that Republicans would ever sit out, write-in, or flip to the Dems to avoid Trump.  The racism Trump demonstrates has been at the heart of the GOP for decades and it hasn't bothered their consciences yet.  Why would it start now that Trump has figured out how to win with it?

Unlike some Democrats, who I really do believe would vote for Trump to sabotage the country if their candidate doesn't win the primary, the GOP hates Democrats more than they like themselves, it is what always has united them.  The notion that they would vote for Sanders or Clinton instead of Trump is laughable, as laughable as the notion that they will write in Romney or someone else, or that the GOP will split into a third party.

Maybe, maybe they will stay home.  Maybe a few.  But considering Mitt Romney got 60 million votes in 2012 and everyone basically hated the guy, Trump will get at least that in 2016 and probably more.


The support for the loud, obnoxious racist demagogue is baked in, folks.  Tens of millions of Americans are perfectly okay with it.  And they're going to vote for Trump.  Let's get this notion that Republican voters don't know what they're getting with Trump out of the way. They know exactly what they are getting, and he's winning for a reason.

Republicans could have chosen to stop Trump at any time.  They haven't.  They won't.  Stopping Trump is up to the rest of us.


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