Thursday, March 17, 2016

Last Call For The Destiny Of Demography

This, by Daily Beast's Stuart Stevens, is why I'm not worried about Trump winning.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan won 56 percent of white voters and won a landslide victory of 44 states. In 2012, Mitt Romney won 59 percent of whites and lost with 24 states. But it’s a frequent talking point that white voter enthusiasm was higher for Reagan and turnout down for Romney. Not so. In 1980, 59 percent of whites voted and in 2012, 64 percent of whites voted.

But still the myth survives that there are these masses of untapped white voters just waiting for the right candidate. Call it the Lost Tribes of the Amazon theory: If only you paddle far enough up the river and bang the drum loud enough, these previously hidden voters will gather to the river’s edge. The simple truth is that there simply aren’t enough white voters in the America of 2016 to win a national election without also getting a substantial share of the non-white vote. Romney won 17 percent of the non-white vote. Depending on white voter turnout, a Republican needs between 25 percent and 35 percent of the non-white vote to win. RealClearPolitics has a handy tool so you can play with the percentages.

The Trump campaign talks about being able to reach out to Hispanics and African Americans but it’s not an overstatement to say he would be the most unpopular candidate with either group to ever lead a national ticket. Only 12 percent of Hispanics have a favorable view of Trump with 77 percent unfavorable. Even among Hispanic Republicans, he has a 60 percent unfavorable ranking. Among African Americans, 86 percent have an unfavorable view of Trump.

So let's play with that tool.  Here's the 2012 numbers for Obama-Romney:

If we keep turnout the same, and are SUPER generous to Trump and give him 5% of the black vote, 20% of the Hispanic vote, and 25% of the Asian vote, he still needs more than 64.5% of the white vote to squeak out a win, WAY more than Romney got.

And if we keep turnout the same by percentage, poor Donald would need more than 89% of the white vote to win.

Now let's try my best educated guess: non-white turnout is up, Trump gets a measly 4% of the black vote and 15% of the Hispanic and Asian vote, and turnout among white voters is down (because emoprogs stay home and whine or something) but the white voters who do show up, Trump gets 65% of them, a huge increase in white voter share.

Trump absolutely gets the crap kicked out of him and then some.

This is the scenario I see with Trump running.  You would have to see non-white voter turnout under 50% before the race gets close with the dismal percentages of non-white votes that I think Trump would get. Likewise, unless you think Trump is going to get 18% of all three non-white voting groups (yes, that includes getting 18% of the black vote) he's done.

He can't win, folks.  Marco Rubio? Rubio might have been able to get enough of the Hispanic vote to win, but he'd need something like 60% plus more white votes than Romney got.

So no, the GOP is screwed without black, Asian, and Hispanic votes.  Absolutely.  And this is why they are in full panic mode

Neocon Cruz Missiles

Everything you need to know about the whole "Would Ted Cruz actually be worse than Trump?" thing is summed up in this Eli Lake piece at Bloomberg View (Yes, the same Eli Lake that doesn't know foreign policy from fried okra and says Trump's foreign policy would somehow be indistinguishable from President Obama's) that details all the Bush-era neocon rejects that have wormed their way into Cruz's foreign policy "brain trust".

The first name on the advisory list that stands out is Frank Gaffney, a former Reagan administration Pentagon official who has emerged as a lightning rod in the Obama era, accused by the Southern Poverty Law Center of being one of the nation's leading Islamophobes. 
When Trump proposed a temporary ban on all Muslim immigration, he quoted from a 2015 survey of American Muslims commissioned by the think tank Gaffney founded, the Center for Security Policy. It concluded that a quarter of U.S. Muslims supported violent jihad against the U.S. This led to speculation in the Washington press that Gaffney was advising Trump. 
But Gaffney is a Cruz man. In an interview, he said that he met Cruz when he was running for Senate in 2012, and that he has briefed him on the FBI's investigation into a Muslim Brotherhood-linked charity known as the Holy Land Foundation and on how Sharia law is a threat to America. "I hope that some of that went into his decision to introduce legislation to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization," Gaffney said. 
Until this year, these views were considered radioactive by the Republican establishment. George W. Bush, after Sept. 11, famously appeared at a Washington mosque and declared that Islam was a religion of peace. Senator John McCain, when he was his party's presidential nominee in 2008, famously rebuked a talk-radio host for calling his challenger "Barack Hussein Obama," a dog whistle to the president's Arabic middle name. In 2012, the campaign of Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, spurned Gaffney and other conservatives who warned that Sharia was a domestic threat.

This time around it's a little different. As Cruz makes the case that he is the last, best chance to prevent Trump from winning his party's nomination, his foreign-policy advisers include not only Gaffney, but also three others who work for Gaffney's think tank: former CIA officers Fred Fleitz and Clare Lopez and former Army Special Forces Master Sergeant Jim Hanson. Also on the list is Andrew McCarthy, a former assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the first World Trade Center bombing. McCarthy has been outspoken in his view that adherents at least to political Islam are seeking to impose Sharia law in the U.S.

Gaffney alone is bad enough. Gaffney's sidekicks make it worse. McCarthy on top of that is nitro and napalm...and then there are the "serious establishment" types that Cruz currently has who are there to "counter" these guys:

At the same time, Cruz's team includes former officials who reject Gaffney's broad view that any Muslim who believes in Sharia law by definition believes in a totalitarian and violent ideology at war with America. 
"We're at war with a coalition of radical Islamists and radical secularists. It's not all one thing, nor is Islam all one thing," Michael Ledeen, a former Reagan administration official and a Cruz campaign adviser, told me. 
Jim Talent, a former Missouri Republican senator who was a key adviser to Romney in 2008 and 2012, is signed up for the Cruz team. So is Mary Habeck, a former staffer on George W. Bush's national security council, who is an expert on jihadi organizations and has warned against demonizing the entire religion of Islam. 
Another Cruz adviser, Elliott Abrams, helped craft Bush's policy to empower moderate Muslims in the Middle East against radicals. He told me he feels much the same way as Habeck. "It's now 15 years since 9/11, and I think it's obvious that Muslim citizens in the U.S. and Muslim leaders abroad have an absolutely critical role to play in fighting jihadis and other Muslim extremists," Abrams said. "This is partly a battle within Islam that they are going to have fight and win. Alienating these potential allies is the kind of foolish policy that the Obama administration has engaged in when it comes to Arab states that are our allies." 
Victoria Coates, who has been Cruz's main adviser on national security since he came to the Senate, told me this tension on the policy team "is by design and not an accident." She added: "Both Frank and Elliott are people I went out of my way to set up meetings with the Senator. He has met with both of them individually for years."

Let's get this straight, Cruz's foreign policy team is an absolute nightmare.  If Donald Trump was president, I'd say there was a good chance we'd end up in a global war by accident. If Ted Cruz is president, we'll end up in a global war on purpose.

So yeah, in at least this aspect, Cruz would be worse than Trump, if that's something you could possibly imagine. The guys that Dick Cheney found too awful all working for Cruz?  We'd be in World War III before dinnertime on Inauguration Day.

That scares me more than Trump, which should tell you something.

The Sedition Edition Of The GOP

Turns out Republican lawmakers played a role in keeping the FBI from rounding up Ammon Bundy and his merry band of armed seditionists in Oregon for weeks while they interfered with the proceedings and allowed the mess to drag on. The story from Oregon Public Broadcasting:

On a cold January morning, a posse led by a former Army company commander named Matt Shea rolled into the Harney County Courthouse and wanted to speak to the sheriff.

But this wasn’t a group of militants, or outlaws. They were state lawmakers from four western states, including Oregon. Most of them were members of a group called the Coalition of Western States, or COWS.

They were hoping to talk directly with Sheriff David Ward and convince him to support the armed militants at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Instead, COWS members would meet that day with a Harney County deputy and a sheriff from another county, an FBI agent and other local officials.

The out-of-town visitors presented themselves as wanting to help understand and, if possible, end the armed occupation at the refuge.

“I’m just looking at peaceful resolve,” said Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, a COWS member who was patched into the meeting by phone.

“That’s our intent,” agreed Shea, a state representative from Washington. “If there’s any opportunity to save life and prevent any further escalation of anything, I think we all agree we should take those opportunities.”

Oregon Republican State Rep. Dallas Heard also attended the meeting, however he says he is not a member of COWS.

The 90-minute conversation was recorded by participants at the Jan. 9 meeting and given to OPB.

On the recording, Harney County Judge Steve Grasty thanks the group for their concern, but asks them to stay away from the refuge. Grasty said the militants were showing signs of fatigue and defeat, and worried that a visit from lawmakers would reinvigorate Ammon Bundy and the rest of the occupiers.

“If we’re getting close (to a resolution), and you embolden Bundy by your presence, and this runs on for weeks and months, it will be awful in this community,” Grasty said.

The FBI agent also asked the lawmakers not to visit the refuge.

Those pleas fell on deaf ears. And Grasty’s prediction came true.

COWS representatives visited the refuge, which was closed to the public. The lawmakers acknowledge they fed the militants information gathered from that meeting, and militant leaders talked openly about what they learned from those disclosures.

“These lawmakers have shown great courage to support us,” said Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, who would later die after being shot by state police. “Much more than others who refused to come and look us in the eye.”

The visit was the latest step in an ongoing and organized campaign by these lawmakers, essentially the political arm of the militant movement, to make a once-radical political cause part of the mainstream.

In other words, Fiore and Shea and other Republican state lawmakers belonging to COWS gave material support to domestic terrorists.  There's not really room for too much debate here, these lawmakers gave Bundy's thugs information and support to avoid federal law enforcement, and then Bundy's crew bragged openly about how these lawmakers helped them.

Seems to me some Republicans need to be answering some very uncomfortable questions about high crimes against the federal government committed while in office.

But for some odd reason, I'm betting Fiore and Shea and the others won't have to face consequences of their actions.  Perhaps voters would see reason, but this is a party that wants to see Donald Trump as president.

Time to start busting down office doors, I suspect.  You make yourself an enemy of the state like that, maybe the state should treat you like one.


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