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slim

OK we live in interesting times and predictions, especially about the future, are even trickier than usual, but I take it that these points are non-controversial:

(1) Trump is a completely undisciplined narcissistic sociopath, who is also none too bright, although he does have a certain animal cunning, along with a version of the perverse charisma that some sociopaths seem to radiate.

(2) He has no campaign organization.

(3) Make America White Again wouldn’t be a good campaign strategy even if (1) and (2) weren’t the case.

Therefore, it seems quite probable that by the time the fall rolls around, it will be obvious that Trump will be heading for a historic beatdown, something in the 61-39/58-42 range, i.e., a margin previously thought impossible in these partisan times when too few people can see the wisdom of a Bloomberg-Friedman ticket, and which would certainly cost the GOP the Senate, while seriously denting even their gerrymandered majority in the House.

Assuming that’s roughly correct, what happens then? Does the GOP establishment jump ship and go into triage mode? Or do they ride this bomb all the way to the ground, Slim Pickens-style?

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  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    Why don’t you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?

    • bowtiejack

      Excellent!

  • so-in-so

    Once you are straddling the bomb and on the way down I see no advantage to getting off.

    • ThrottleJockey

      And that’s exactly where this election will take the GOP, to the bombing range. I don’t think Dems will just capture the White House and Senate, I think they’ll win the House too.

      The animosities Trump has provoked among women and Latinos are so high this will be a wave election. Not least because a lot of older white married women who voted for Romney over Obama 56% to 42%, will happily vote for the first woman, especially since she’s a white.

      • timb

        I know of no Republican voter who plans to vote for Hillary and I just saw 50+ of them at an open house last week. Some are committed to not voting; most hate Hillary so much, they have resigned themselves to vote for Trump.

        In our polarized society, it’s the “I choose to stay home” that’s the danger for the R’s

        • Exactly this. The recipe for a Clinton win is turning out the base that voted in 2012. The recipe for a wave is turning out the base + Republicans who hate Hillary but can’t bring themselves to vote for Trump deciding to stay home.

      • slothrop1

        All of the recent head-to-head polls show Clinton barely outside the margin of error. You’re forgetting the number of voters for Green party/libertarians.

        HRC’s warmongering, the bizarre “9/12” comments, etc. People hate this – enough people who will not vote as a result, or will vote for the alternative candidates.

        I will admit that Trump’s behavior is so bizarre, psychopathic, that I almost wonder whether he is trying to lose.

        • Aaron Morrow

          Few of the recent head-to-head polls show Clinton barely outside the margin of error; it looks like polls moved in a pro-Democratic direction around Memorial Day or so.

          • howard

            This is also a misunderstanding of “margin of error,” which does not mean “add or subtract this number from the polling outcome.” It is a reflection of how likely it is that the person ahead in the polling is actually ahead.

        • Rob in CT

          I think you’re behind the times. The most recent polling is better than that.

          But I’m not surprised you’ll continue with your narrative about the “warmonger.”

        • brugroffil

          Look at the latest RCP national GE average. Trump is cratering, Clinton is rising. Look at state-by-state polls, same thing. Even where they’ve found “close” races, like a few polls in PA, if just half of reluctant Sanders supporters turn out for Clinton she’s up by +7.

          It’s going to be a bloodbath. The LP might pick up some votes from disaffected Republicans, but the Green party is going to remain irrelevant.

        • ColBatGuano

          Bernie still lost.

        • ForkyMcSpoon

          You do recognize that when you consider the polls in aggregate, you don’t use the margin of error for the individual polls to evaluate the polling aggregate, right? It’s pretty clear that she’s ahead, it’s not basically tied, if that’s what you’re implying.

          (Using RCP) she’s ahead by a larger margin now than Obama was ahead of Romney at any point during the 2012 aside from a week in February 2012. Close to +6 right now, but there’s room to grow as a fair number of Bernie voters are still “undecided”.

        • ajay

          All of the recent head-to-head polls show Clinton barely outside the margin of error.

          Not quite. Here’s the last few.
          15 June Clinton 43%-37% Trump
          14 June 49-37
          13 June 39-36
          9 June 42-39
          9 June 42-38

      • TribalistMeathead

        I think they’ll win the House too

        Unfortunately, this seriously underestimates just how gerrymandered the House is right now.

        • CrunchyFrog

          I agree with you … BUT … if some how it becomes a big wave election the gerrymandering will suffer major blowback. In those states the Dems are crowded into a few districts and the Reps all have safe – but not TOO safe – margins. In a wave election every Rep in a gerrymandered state (say, Texas or Pennsy) is vulnerable. A 60-40 national election gives the Dems a bigger than 75% majority in the House.

          • ForkyMcSpoon

            I don’t know about a 75% majority, but it’s true that gerrymandering tends to make it so that a minor loss results in a solid majority… but once you breach the wall, a lot of usually safe seats will fall together.

            So a >10 pt win in the national House vote could translate to larger gains than you would expect. Whereas a 4 pt win would probably not be enough to win a majority.

          • pseudonymous in nc

            Gerrymanders start to unwind a little in the latter half of the decade: people move, people die, people turn 18, LPRs become citizens. 2016 may be a bit too early, but in a wave…

            I’m annoyed that the NC legislature got to revise its hyper-gerrymandered map mid-decade after losing the VRA case about how gerrymandered the 2011 map was. The new districts are less atrocious, but they’ve clearly run them through the computer so that GOPers can pick their own voters.

        • ASV

          Gerrymandering is designed to maximize vote-distribution efficiency, at the expense of vulnerability to a wave. Say you have a 50-50 state with 10 districts, gerrymandered to create nine 55-45 R districts and one 95-5 D district. Now bump the D share up by five points in each one. Those nine R districts are now toss-ups.

          • Gwen

            If the Democrats win the House, the very first bill they should pass is a Voting Rights Act that does two things:

            1.) Overturn Shelby County.

            2.) Require *every* state to use a non-partisan independent board to do redistricting, or something else that will effectively nullify GOP gerrymandering.

            It’s time to go nuclear on the Republican Party.

            • E.Garth

              My preference for “something else that will effectively nullify GOP” is multi-member districts (ideally state-wide) with every voter having as many votes as there are Representatives to be elected (and they can divide the votes any way they want among the candidates). Only the most unpopular views would not be able to get somebody elected, Representatives would not need to kowtow to a specific group in order to be re-elected, and appealing to a less numerous group would often get a candidate elected.

              • Gwen

                That might undermine minority representation though.

                • E.Garth

                  People who are not a large percentage of the population can put all of their votes on one candidate. (or on two, etc.)

                  My strong suspicion is that there would be quite a few people who regularly put more than one vote on a particular candidate; even strong party loyalists have preferences about candidates in their own party. [“I definitely want Candidate X in, so I’ll give him/her a couple of extra votes out of my 17 votes.”]

                  The more that a popular candidate receives lots and lots of votes the lower the number of votes the other candidates need to become one of the top (number of positions) candidates. Thus it seems likely that when a really popular candidate runs the resulting set of Representatives will be people with more divergent views/histories/etc.

                  There are proportional representations systems that I think would do a better job of ensuring that pretty much every viewpoint that is “willing to participate in civilization” has representation proportionate to the percentage of population, the big advantage to the multi-member multi-vote approach is that Americans unfamiliar with other approaches to voting seem to have an easier time seeing it as fair.

                  The other thing that I like about this is that it makes negative campaigning less beneficial because someone not voting for ‘the enemy’ might still not vote for you without a good reason to vote _for_ you.

              • ForkyMcSpoon

                Until voters learn to be strategic.

                And then in Texas, if 55% of voters prefer Republicans, they settle on a list, vote for all of those representatives, and they outnumber the other 45% of voters.

                Result: 100% GOP Texas delegation.

                It won’t always work out that way, but doing that at the state level is a terrible idea and it will absolutely NOT nullify the GOP.

                It will nullify the minority party in each particular state. But you’re trading Dem seats in the South for GOP seats in California or New York.

                • Chaz

                  No, that’s not correct.

                  Say a state has six representatives. Then in EG’s rather odd plan each voter gets six votes. In your GOP maximalist scenario the GOP agrees on six candidates and then each bigoted voter votes for all six (one vote for each candidate.

                  The Democrats can counter that by not running six candidates. Instead, say they only run four, and they work out a way to spread the votes around evenly*. That way there are six bigots evenly splitting 55% of the available votes and 4 Democrats evenly splitting 45% of the vote. The top four finishers will be the four Democrats (with 11.25% of the total vote each) and two Republicans will make it in with 9.17% each.

                  It’s a system that demands strategy; if you overreach you can lose big. The parties would figure out a way to make it work. If the parties knew the 55%/45% split and considered it reliable then likely the Democrats would only run 3 candidates, and the Republicans would run 4. Then if the 55/45 split held up the end result would be a 3-3 split. If the R’s overperformed that year then they have a shot at getting 4-2 instead.

                  But sometimes the advance predictions would be wrong, parties would follow a bad strategy, and you’d get funky results. Better to just use proportional representation in my opinion.

                  *There are ways to do it. Taiwan actually has a dumbass system kind of like this, so the parties set a slate and then instruct their voters which candidate to vote for by the voter’s birthday.

                • ForkyMcSpoon

                  So EG meant you are able to allocate multiple votes to the same candidate?

                  This still relies on the parties behaving strategically to reduce vote splitting then, and can have unpredictable effects and wonky strategies required, as you point out.

                  Either way, it still won’t nullify the GOP (altho it likely would reduce their gerrymandering/structural advantage in the House tho) and it’s still a silly idea.

                  If you want proportional representation… just do proportional representation.

                • Bill Murray

                  The Democrats can counter that by not running six candidates. Instead, say they only run four, and they work out a way to spread the votes around evenly*. That way there are six bigots evenly splitting 55% of the available votes and 4 Democrats evenly splitting 45% of the vote. The top four finishers will be the four Democrats (with 11.25% of the total vote each) and two Republicans will make it in with 9.17% each.

                  No, Chaz, I do not think this will work. Let’s assume a 6 representative region with 6 Republicans running against 4 Democrats, and that each voting Republican votes for each Republican and each voting Democrat votes for each Democrat. The district is 55% Republican. With 100 voters, each Republican candidate ends up with 55 votes and each Democrat ends with 45 votes and the totals would be 330 votes for Republicans and 240 votes for Democrats.

                  E.Garth’s system is essentially the Hugo nominations system, which, as has been proved, can be gamed.

      • ajay

        Not least because a lot of older white married women who voted for Romney over Obama 56% to 42%, will happily vote for the first woman, especially since she’s a white.

        And who better to give us insight into the minds of older white female Republican voters?

        • Bill Murray

          well knowing quite a few older white married women that generally vote Republican, most are favorable to Secretary Clinton over misogynist Trump. I have no idea if they would favor her versus Romney or Ryan

  • mattius3939

    This is pretty easy, they’re going to do their damndest to have it both ways, and suffer or be given the benefit of the doubt by those so inclined.

  • Denverite

    Does the GOP establishment jump ship and go into triage mode? Or do they ride this bomb all the way to the ground, Slim Pickens-style?

    My guess is lots of backroom arm-twisting to get Trump to drop out voluntarily in favor of Mittens or some generic Republican not interested in running in 2020. If it works, great, they don’t lose the presidency so bad, and there’s a small chance they keep the Senate.

    If it doesn’t, it’s Thelma and Louise time. If they let Trump get obliterated, then the racist xenophobes will probably come back into the fold in 2020. If they try to force him out, they still get obliterated, except now there’s a real chance the racist xenophobes leave the party for good. And our political scene goes back to 1860-style sectionalism.

    • McAllen

      If it doesn’t, it’s Thelma and Louise time. If they let Trump get obliterated, then the racist xenophobes will probably come back into the fold in 2020. If they try to force him out, they still get obliterated, except now there’s a real chance the racist xenophobes leave the party for good. And our political scene goes back to 1860-style sectionalism.

      Yes, I think this is the key to the GOP’s actions. The one thing the establishment doesn’t want is to be blamed for Trump’s failure.

      • Barry_D

        “Yes, I think this is the key to the GOP’s actions. The one thing the establishment doesn’t want is to be blamed for Trump’s failure.”

        Their big problem is that Trump is running a frothing at the mouth rage-against-The-Establishment campaign. It’s already against the GOP elites as much as everybody else.

        If they f*ck him over (or if he thinks that, or just feels like it), he could lead a wave revolt against the GOP by the people whose votes the GOP desperately needs just to survive.

        Knocking 20% off of their downticket vote should be quite doable.

    • CP

      If they make Trump back out, his entire base will see it as confirmation that the establishment really are the RINOs/liberals/fake conservatives they thought, and will take it as a stab in the back (remember, they think Trump can win). Enough of them would probably stay home in anger that the election would be just as big a disaster. Republican leaders know this, so I don’t see it happening.

      • efgoldman

        Enough of them would probably stay home in anger….

        Or bring out the shootin’ arns phallic substitutes. And if they do it at the convention, I wouldn’t want to be a Cleveland LOE.

        • postmodulator

          Cleveland PD spent the Nineties as, I believe, the single biggest wholesale drug supplier in the city. Last year they tried to cover up murdering a kid, and did successfully dodge any consequences for it.

          I’m rooting for injuries, is my point.

          • CP

            The nineties, of all times? So, they just saw the LAPD Rampart Division scandals going on and thought “hey, that’s awesome. We should get right on that”?

          • Turkle

            As a former Clevelander, I’m appalled (but not surprised) to read this. Do you have a source link that I could read?

      • catclub

        I still think Trump gets a $500M payday from the real GOP billionaires for dropping out.

        Of course, I would want him to then say he was forced out and run as a write-in.

        I also would like a pony.

        • busker type

          mind blown.

        • Barry_D

          “I still think Trump gets a $500M payday from the real GOP billionaires for dropping out.

          Of course, I would want him to then say he was forced out and run as a write-in.

          I also would like a pony.”

          Or they could spend $200 million on the House and Senate races. For example, hand $5 million each to the 20 most vulnerable GOP Senators or challengers to Dem Sentators.

          Then spend $2 million each on the 50 most vulnerable GOP Reps.

          Then spend $100 million f*cking Trump good and hard.

          Imagine if all of those people suing him suddenly had lavish money for lawyers.

          Imagine some forum shopping for lawsuits against him. For example, some coal company A-hole openly bought the West Virginia Supreme Court. I’m sure that he’d happily rent it to some billionaires for long enough to prosecute Trump on whatever.

      • advocatethis

        Even if they don’t make Trump back out, they’re still going to get blamed when he loses for not supporting him vigorously enough.

      • Warren Terra

        I figure they have to let Trump lose his way, so as to keep his base energized, so that in the future some Republican can package most of his terrible ideas with a friendlier face. Think Goldwater and Reagan.

    • John F

      My guess is lots of backroom arm-twisting to get Trump to drop out voluntarily in favor of Mittens or some generic Republican not interested in running in 2020.

      How pray tell does this work on Trump, how would his reaction to such attempted “backroom arm-twisting” be anything other than, “#### you I’m going ahead and I’m taking you down with me”

      • Denverite

        I didn’t say it was going to be successful. I said that was what the establishment was going to do.

        • John F

          Well I for one really hope they try

        • ThrottleJockey

          There are different factions of “the Establishment” (that’s been the problem this whole cycle) and some of them are quite happy to let Trump feather their nests with his billions in exchange for ignoring his racism and xenophobia. There will be a few Ben Sasse type holdouts but as far as November is concerned the cake is baked.

          And you heard it here first: Hillary will trounce Trump in a wave election, and the Dems will win back both the Senate and the House. Bet on it.

          • AMK

            They’ll make a dent in the House for sure….but win it back? No. Enough of the non-Trump GOPers in enough of those districts are capable of ticket splitting.

            • timb

              Or, folks who don’t vote for Trump (like one of my cousins), but still intend to vote for every other GOP’er on his ballot

            • Anon21

              The only way it works is if GOP voters stay home in record numbers. An embarrassing candidate who is sure to lose to the reviled Hillary Clinton could produce such an effect, but I agree that it will need to be a large effect to actually deliver the House to the Democrats. It’s a definite possibility, though, which shows what a disaster Trump represents for the GOP.

          • brugroffil

            “Trump’s billions” seem more and more illusionary at this point, he’s certainly not giving them to the GOP establishment people, and he’s already severely hurting fundraising and promising to do essentially nothing to build fundraising and campaign infrastructure. Even those cravenly in it just for the cash gotta be pissed at him.

            RE: the House, I think I’ve read that the Democrats aren’t even running enough candidates in enough very-longshot-but-necessary-to-take-the-house races.

        • efgoldman

          I said that was what the establishment was going to do.

          Unless he actually suffers a malady (heart attack, stroke) which he looks like might happen, no way he voluntarily leaves. Maybe, just maybe, the Kochs and Adelsons could buy him off – he’s got a lot of debt, and a lot of litigation he could settle – but I’m not sure they would, or that he would accept.

          • timb

            The Kochs are committed to the Senate and to using this to try and improve Gary Johnson’s standing, in the hope the Libertarian Party becomes a real party at the local and state level.

            • busker type

              Have the always been this dumb? How did they make all that money?

              • Rob in CT

                They inherited a giant pile of it and didn’t fuck up. That doesn’t require supergenius.

                Also, you can be great at business and terrible at politics.

                • advocatethis

                  Plus, they’ve had a singular focus on maximizing their return on investment, without being bogged down by notions of preserving the environment or justly compensating their employees.

          • sam

            I think his ego is such that if he were significantly behind Clinton closer to election day, he couldn’t actually stomach losing to her – I think he would suddenly develop mysterious “health problems”, or there would be some other personal emergency, that would “force” him to drop out but that would allow him to continue spewing forever and a day about how, if only he had been allowed to continue fighting until election day, he would have kicked her ass.

            • catclub

              some other personal emergency

              Trump U trial?
              Trump U depositions?

            • Warren Terra

              It’s not feasible to drop out close to election day (ballots get printed, electors get named), and it’s far easier to deny the polls and then later to deny reality.

      • njorl

        If they can get him to see that Donald Trump will be the biggest loser in American history, that he will be a national laughingstock for the rest of his life, he might be convinced to drop out.
        Convincing him won’t be easy.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Especially since he won the primaries so hands down convincingly despite all the, harrumph, prognosticators who told him otherwise. Why the hell would he believe those guys when they were so spectacularly wrong before?

          • brugroffil

            He’s already unskewing the polls today!

            Which is funny, because the polls were telling everyone that the talking heads were wrong and that Trump was going to win the primaries.

            The man is completely delusional.

          • CD

            This. For the Republican primary, everyone who told him to run a proper campaign and behave like a statesman was shown wrong. We’re also seeing the limits of campaign-by-rally: you turn out the most ardent, but rallies reinforce the extreme tendencies of the candidate.

        • efgoldman

          If they can get him to see that Donald Trump will be the biggest loser in American history, that he will be a national laughingstock for the rest of his life

          He won’t admit it, even to himself, but his brand has already suffered irreparable harm, and it’s only going to get worse the longer he stays in.

    • Troll comment deleted

      Troll comment deleted

    • efgoldman

      And our political scene goes back to 1860-style sectionalism.

      “Goes back to….”? Except for the slavery (and, probably, outright war) part, we’re already there.

    • timb

      Exactly, they’ll ride the bomb and know the last time a President tried to do a 3rd term, he failed miserably. They’ll know history is on their side in 2020

      • a_paul_in_mtl

        You mean “tried to win a fourth consecutive term for their party”, I presume? Actually, the historical precedent is mixed:

        1876 (Republicans): well, this election was a mess, but it wasn’t a clean victory either way and the Republicans did get a fourth straight term…at a price. The Republicans went on to hold the office of POTUS until 1885.

        1908: William Taft won a fourth straight term for the Republicans.

        1932: Herbert Hoover failed to win a fourth straight term for the Republicans due to his handling of the Great Depression

        1944: FDR won a fourth term (and Truman won a fifth for the Democrats in 1948)

        1992: George HW Bush failed to win a fourth term for the Republicans

        It’s far from clear whose side “history” will be on in 2020.

        • a_paul_in_mtl

          Actually, I should have said 1872, not 1876, and that wasn’t even an asterisk victory like 1876.

    • There’s a James Thurber story called “The Greatest Man in the World” that seems prescient: http://www.cudaclass.info/enc1102/shortstory/greatestmantext.pdf

    • Aardvark Cheeselog

      the racist xenophobes leave the party for good. And our political scene goes back to 1860-style sectionalism.

      6,000,000 civil war deaths later (allowing for population growth) we get another chance at Reconstruction. With luck we don’t fuck it up this time.

  • socraticsilence

    I think Ryan has been trying to amputate the arm to save the body for a long time. The problem he faces is losing the 1/3 of the GOP that loves Trump and are necessary for House candidates to win, its why he’s vacillating between endorsement and condemnation.

    • Stan Gable

      “What we’ve got here is… failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it… well, he gets it. I don’t like it any more than you men.”

    • Except it’s not 1/3 it’s 2/3.

      • Gregor Sansa

        1/3 loves him, 1/3 can tolerate him, 1/6 can barely tolerate him, 1/6 can’t. Leaving him with 41.33% in the general election (assuming Republicans and leaners are 50% to start with.)

        You can take every digit of that to the bank.

        • postmodulator

          There are a lot of infinitely repeating digits in that sentence. My bank might have trouble.

          • Captain Splendid

            That’s why they’ll round it down (or up, whichever works in their favour.)

    • AMK

      Yeah the fundamental problem here is that outside a handful of upscale country-club congressional districts, there is no Republican Party without the people Trump represents. The GOP trying to win without them by throwing Trump overboard would be worse off than a Democratic Party that tried to win without PoC by canning Hillary and nominating Sanders Jim Webb.

      • ThrottleJockey

        Sanders would’ve won 90% of the black vote just like every other Dem not named Obama has done and–given who he’d be facing–probably 80% of the Latino vote.

        • AMK

          Like I said, worse off. 90% of the Trump faction…essentially, the GOP base….would not just be good soldiers and show up to vote for Willard. And for a national election, they need 100% of them in the best of circumstances.

  • Therefore, it seems quite probable that by the time the fall rolls around, it will be obvious that Trump will be heading for a historic beatdown, something in the 61-39/58-42 range, i.e., a margin previously thought impossible in these partisan times when too few people can see the wisdom of a Bloomberg-Friedman ticket, and which would certainly cost the GOP the Senate, while seriously denting even their gerrymandered majority in the House.

    I’m skeptical of Trump’s downballot damage. Partly it’s the gerrymander in the House, but it’s also the fact that ticket splitting doesn’t need to be a thing of the past, especially now that, politically speaking, we’re off the map and into waters just marked “Here Be Trump”.

    How many people in, say, New Hampshire, hate Clinton’s guts and REALLY don’t want to see her have a Democratic Senate to work with? They can easily vote Ayotte and leave Trump blank. Ditto senate races in other 2-time Obama states like Ohio, Iowa, and Florida. If Republican Senate and House candidates (and their campaign managers) have any sense, they’ll run against Clinton (who is also historically unpopular for a nominee), not with Trump.

    • Cassiodorus

      For that matter, I don’t think Trump will lose by those kinds of margins. Clinton maybe wins 55-45, and that’s pushing it.

      • Agreed. I think Clinton clears 50% of the popular vote, but not by much, and Trump limps in around low-40s, losing less than 5% from what Romney got. It’ll be an electoral college slaughter, of course, but that won’t help pass any legislation.

        A 10+ point Clinton blowout is predicated on the assumption that Trump will be so reviled by November that people who’ve never voted Democratic will vote Clinton en masse out of revulsion, and I just don’t see that happening. Trump is too weak a candidate not to lose some votes from Generic Republican, and Gary Johnson and his merry crew are going to rack up more votes than usual, but that’s it.

        Oh, and the press will harp on Clinton for not winning by “enough”, whatever the hell that means. Gawd this election (and the next four years) are going to suck.

        • efgoldman

          A 10+ point Clinton blowout is predicated on the assumption that Trump will be so reviled by November that people who’ve never voted Democratic will vote Clinton

          Or that country club/suburban Republiklowns won’t vote for Combover Caligula, whether they stay home or blank the top line or vote Johnson. But yes, absolutely, the next 4-1/2 months and the next four years will suck.

          • kped

            They’d suck far more with Trump though!

        • Anon21

          A 10+ point Clinton blowout is predicated on the assumption that Trump will be so reviled by November that people who’ve never voted Democratic will vote Clinton en masse out of revulsion

          No. It’s predicated on the assumption that reliable Republican voters will be too embarrassed or discouraged to turn out. We’re already seeing the beginning of such an effect in current polling, with Democrats doing better among likely voters than among registered voters (they usually do worse, sometimes much worse).

      • Morbo

        At some point I saw the number for “Never Clinton” at 43%, so I think 57-43 is within reach. If Trump is considered so odious even by them that they stay home then 60-40 isn’t out of the question.

      • timb

        Obama won by 8 the first time and that was a complete rejection of Bush, McCain, Palin, and their policies. That’s about as much as I believe is possible

        • catclub

          McCain, Palin

          What are the odds that Trump picks a better VP than Palin?
          I would guess 20% chance.

          • This implies that there are at the very least 4 picks worse than Palin. And that’s just nonsense.

            • David Duke, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz.

              • catclub

                I think Trump picks Jim Webb.

                He picks up all those Democrats that pined for Webb!

                Also: Joe Arpaio, Ted Nugent, Carly Fiorina,
                Joni Ernst

            • ForkyMcSpoon

              He can still pick Palin herself.

              Also Newt Gingrich is pretty loathsome.

              I’d love to see Jeb be Trump’s running mate. It’ll never happen, but my god, the humiliation.

          • sam

            They have to find someone who is willing to tie themselves to this shitshow.

      • GFW

        I’m thinking 52/42/6. A good year for minor parties, particularly the Libertarians.

        Dems can take the Senate, but it will be close and it’s not a sure thing. The house is out of reach, for now, despite the fact that there will be about 1 million more votes for Dem house candidates than for R house candidates.

      • brugroffil

        55-45 in the national popular vote translates to ridiculous EC victory, though. Nobody’s going to see Reagan-Mondale any time soon, but this would probably be the closest we could come.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      People keep talking like the Iowa Senate seat is up for grabs. I find this really really unlikely unless someone is willing to put a *lot*- and I mean truckloads- of money behind Patty Judge- and even then, I’m skeptical

    • navarro

      another problem is the special goddamn snowflakes who either won’t vote or keep saying they’re going to vote for jill stein. i’ve gotten into some seriously depressing discussions at boingboing trying to encourage sanders supporters to vote for clinton once sanders concedes. i’ve had dozens of replies and private messages about it telling me that we need to “heighten the contradictions” and how voting for clinton is just another vote for the establishment responsible for republicans and trump. given the nature of the community at boingboing i think they reflect the attitudes of a lot of twenty-somethings, gamers, hi-tech early adopters, etc. i think the attitudes they express there are shared by a much larger group than i wish were the case.

      all of which is to say that the margin of victory for clinton is going to be much smaller than it ought to be. i’m thinking she’s going to win by a margin closer to 51-49 (or perhaps even 48-47 with 5% nationally voting for stein) and i think the republicans are going to maintain control of the house and the senate.

      • BigHank53

        I doubt that group is as large as it appears. It’s just very, very noisy, especially online. I’ve voted for third-party presidential candidates myself…when I knew my state was a foregone conclusion and it was a mere protest.

        • efgoldman

          I doubt that group is as large as it appears. It’s just very, very noisy, especially online.

          This. Fewer actual people, but with bigger, louder megaphones. Technology is a wonderful thing, except when it isn’t.

          • postmodulator

            Fewer actual people, but with bigger, louder megaphones.

            See also: why the Libertarians think they’re a bigger bloc than they are.

      • twbb

        The frustrating thing is that argument might have — MIGHT have — flown in 2000, but considering now we see that the electorate as a whole doesn’t hold political parties accountable for very long, it doesn’t fly at all.

      • Bruce B.

        I think a lot of those noisiest “never Clinton” types did not vote in the primaries and won’t vote in the general. There’s a style of online rhetoric one learns to associate with someone who genuinely isn’t backing it up with real-world action.

        One diagnostic: the absence of selfies with “I voted” stickers. It’s very striking compared to the social media feeds of anyone who’s politically active and has politically active friends.

    • Rob in CT

      I’m skeptical of Trump’s downballot damage.

      Me too.

      I could see him losing 55-45 (or perhaps 54D-41R-4L-1G) but the GOP holding the house and the Dems only taking the Senate by a fairly narrow margin. I see ticket splitting increasing this cycle (show up, leave President blank or vote libertarian, and then straight-ticket GOP for congress).

      • GOP holding the house and the Dems only taking the Senate by a fairly narrow margin

        That’s my expected outcome. Taking the Senate for the first two appointment filled years of Clinton’s term would be a huge win, but even narrowing the House considerably won’t be enough to get anything more than token legislation passed.

        • Rob in CT

          I mean, right now Sam Wang’s “snapshot” for the Senate is 49D+I/51R. I don’t know enough about the individual races to say much, but I find it hard to believe the Dems will surpass, say, 52 seats.

          And the House is a pipe dream.

          • Karen24

            49+1+51= one too many Senate seats. Doesn’t he mean 50/50?

            • Rob in CT

              No. 49 D+I, not 49+1/51.

              48 Dem, 1 Sanders, 51 Reps.

              • Jestak

                Or 47 Dem, 1 Sanders, 1 Angus King, 51 Rep.

                • Rob in CT

                  Oops, yeah, that.

  • Karen24

    Please please please please don’t tempt fate by saying things like this!!!

    • Gregor Sansa

      Don’t be silly. What could possibly go wrong? Relax. Hillary is unstoppable.

      • Karen24

        Haven’t you ever been to the movies? Watched TV? Read a novel? That line you typed is exactly the thing someone says before becoming Monster Lunch.

        • efgoldman

          That line you typed is exactly the thing someone says before becoming Monster Lunch.

          So, this week are you Chicken Little or Eeyore? Or maybe, now that the primaries are over, you’ll stay one or the other for the month, or until November.
          Meanwhile, here’s Gerry Cheevers’ goalie mask to keep you entertained and properly frightened. Don’t go in the basement!!!!

        • Gregor Sansa

          But monsters don’t exist. And stop looking over my shoulder when I’m talking to you!

      • tsam

        Yeah–don’t you watch cartoons? That’s a plot device that foreshadows your impending doom. DOOOOOMMMMM!

  • CP

    Assuming that’s roughly correct, what happens then? Does the GOP establishment jump ship and go into triage mode? Or do they ride this bomb all the way to the ground, Slim Pickens-style?

    I think they’re limited in their options by the fact that, on the one hand, their voter base simply won’t allow them to back down from the crazy, and on the other hand, I think most of them are mentally simply incapable of jumping ship for the Party of the Peons/Party of Class Warfare/Party Of The End Of The World As We Know It. So, in the immediate future, more of the same.

    • richard mayhew

      Agreed, there are severe operational limitations about what the currently neutered Republican Establishment can do. The first step is simple:

      a) Call John Boehner and ask him how morning drinking is at the golf course and if there is an available tee time?

      b) Figure out how much of the Republican base will stay home if they visibly shiv Trump versus how much can be saved if they move $100 million dollars to the North Carolina, Florida, Arizona and Colorado Senate races

      • CP

        I suppose there’s always another option: they could have Trump assassinated. They could then make a martyr out of him, and use his memory and the ensuing outrage to catapult the candidate who replaces him (i.e. whatever handpicked establishment stooge they want) into the White House.

        • Karen24

          As per the first comment on this thread.

          Why don’t you play some solitaire?

        • so-in-so

          I mean, I know the Secret Service has a bit of a bad rep lately. Still not sure that Ryan can show up with a gun a couple of hookers and do what he wants with Trump.

          • DAS

            How would anything involving a gun and hookers further discredit Trump anyway? People who support Trump presumably already know what kind of person they’re supporting

            • so-in-so

              The hookers are to keep the SS guys busy while Ryan uses the gun. See CP’s post further up.

          • Richard Gadsden

            I dunno, having a long chat with some of Trump’s SS guys might get you some interesting responses, especially if you could offer them a pardon from Trump’s replacement as a backup plan if they get caught.

        • They could then make a martyr out of him

          and declare the Donald-Drumpf-Lied the official Republican song!

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          1. Recruit muslim patsy
          2. buy stinger missile on ebay
          3. connect 1+2+TrumpForceOne
          4. GOP wins in landslide, WITHOUT Trump.

          See? Easy. If you have infinite money and zero morals.

          • CP

            buy stinger missile on ebay

            “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Stinger missiles shall not be infringed.”

            Well, Stinger missiles are arms, after all.

          • tsam

            I’m rooting for a tie vote with the tie breaker being a crappy actor–hilarious hijinks are sure to ensue.

          • advocatethis

            See? Easy. If you have infinite money and zero morals.

            How did we circle back to the Koch brothers?

  • They have no choice but to ride the party all the way to the ground, Slim Pickens-style. The GOP asylum is already administered by a majority lunatic coalition. Trump is currently pushing the few remaining sane people out and this process will only accelerate. Maybe the GOP will become a rump regional party and a new center right corporate sane will form.

    • tsam

      I still think it’s going to take a sustained minority in Congress for them to moderate in the least bit. As long as they have what power they do have, they aren’t going to fix what they seem to think ain’t broke. They certainly aren’t fast learners–otherwise they’d be competing for other demographics besides 1%ers and racist dumbfucks.

      They’re basically pandering to a ceded demographic, which doesn’t strike me as a smart long term strategy. And that’s just fine by me.

      • DAS

        Even if the GOP loses control of Congress (and the Presidency and there is a liberal majority on the Court), the GOP controls many states (and with it, the aparati of running elections and redistricting). Since the GOP is essentially a plutocratic nihilist party, this is all they need to remain relevant: a party with a nihilistic vision of federal governance needn’t have any majorities at the federal level as, by definition, such a party doesn’t need to actually pass laws to effect its agenda.

        Anyway, so long as the GOP remains a viable party, the media will treat them as sane and equal to the Democrats in legitimacy … the media wouldn’t want to be seen as biased toward liberalism, now would they?

        • efgoldman

          the GOP controls many states (and with it, the aparati of running elections and redistricting). Since the GOP is essentially a plutocratic nihilist party

          Except, with a SCOTUS of Four Savonarolas instead of five (and maybe even fewer) it’s likely that one of the voter suppression cases coursing thru the districts will wind up before them, and Shelby County either overturned or modified, and the VRA given its teeth back, per the plain language of the second half of the 15th amendment.

        • Just_Dropping_By

          a party with a nihilistic vision of federal governance needn’t have any majorities at the federal level as, by definition, such a party doesn’t need to actually pass laws to effect its agenda.

          Except that’s not really true, traditional breathless LGM histrionics about “veto points,” notwithstanding. As long as the Democrats control the White House and. at least occasionally, control the Senate, the whole thing keeps moving left gradually because federal administrative agencies and the courts will be primarily Democratically-influenced.

      • Richard Gadsden

        There is no “they”.

        Each one has to deal with their personal incentives before the party incentives, and the personal ones are to keep pandering to win the primaries.

  • spearmint66

    The GOPe (Ryan, McConnell etc.) would love to ditch him and have wanted to forever. It’s a murderous collective action problem though, one which nobody has come close to solving. They can’t just decide to do it. They have to get a lot of other people (delegates, but others too) on board with a specific plan. Those people all have their own nonoverlapping preferences and decision trees. Most importantly they need to unite behind a replacement, and that has proven rather difficult.

    • catclub

      Most importantly they need to unite behind a replacement

      This.

      • efgoldman

        The Replacements would probably love to run.

        • Bill Murray

          Bob Stinson would have made a great President

  • Dagmar

    Proverbial rock and a hard place. Dump the social conservatives to become more centrist in order to further the gilded age economic agenda. Or, give up on having broader centrist appeal, turn harder to the right, embrace the constitution-flouting agenda, embrace polarization, and go all-in for judicial activism. Either way, Texas will attempt to secede. And, like Denverite says, we cycle back to the politics of 1860.

    • CD

      Are there really that many social conservatives? Despite occasional efforts to look churchy Trump is not campaigning on social conservatism.

      • so-in-so

        They know they have enough in Congress, and Trump has a hand that can sign bills.

      • ColBatGuano

        Social conservative and misogynist/racist are fairly overlapping sets. They don’t care as much about mouthing the god stuff if you give them the hate.

  • Santiago

    I’m curious why the US couldn’t integrate Hispanics into the ‘white’ category along with Jews, Italians, Irish, etc. Too much injun blood in them?

    • Woodrowfan

      they talk funny. not good English!

    • I think we will, I give it 10-15 years.

      • Dennis Orphen

        As a third-generation half Italian/half Norwegian immigrant, I agree completely.

        • JR in WV

          How does the garlic go with the smoked salmon? Asking for a friend…

          ;-)

          • ForkyMcSpoon

            As a half-Italian, half-Swedish guy who doesn’t like fish, I can’t tell you.

            But vitlökssill is a thing that exists (garlic herring).

    • Murc

      I’m curious why the US couldn’t integrate Hispanics into the ‘white’ category along with Jews, Italians, Irish, etc. Too much injun blood in them?

      If this happens it will be the salvation of the Republican Party. If third and fourth generation latinos think of themselves as white in 2036 they might be in much better shape than many of us predict.

      Hell, they might get lucky and get some second-generation latinos in there as well.

      One of the cautionary tales I like to tell is about my paternal grandfather, god rest his soul. The first of his family to be born in this country, in the early twenties, when being Italian meant you were emphatically not white. Served in WWII, Roosevelt Democrat, union man.

      Until 1980. When he started voting Republican and never looked back, because he was an Italian man born in the early twenties and so was kind of misogynistic and was, in fact, pretty fucking racist himself. That might not have made a difference if he’d remained non-white… but he didn’t. By 1980 he was certainly considered white, as was his son, my father. As am I. (I am in fact one of the whitest dudes you will ever meet.) And that gave him the freedom to indulge in the ultimate form of white privilege; kicking at non-whites and indulging his own worst prejudices.

      Will this happen to latinos? Maybe. Maybe. Might not. I’d be willing to say the odds are against it.

      Can it happen to latinos?

      You bet your ass it can.

      • CP

        It absolutely can (heck, I can think of a few Latinos I knew in Miami who were as horrifically right wing as any white guy – even outside the Cubano community).

        The thing is, at this point the GOP is still loud and hateful enough that the vast majority of Latinos simply isn’t going to vote for them. To continue the analogy from last century, Latinos right now are at the place where “ethnic whites” were in the 1920s, not the 1950s, much less the 1970s. It’s going to take some time for the GOP to dial back the bigotry, even assuming they want to.

      • twbb

        Of course it can; it’s happened already, here but especially in Latin America.

      • mccrckn

        Look at how many people in the Southwest claim “Spanish” (rather than Mexican) descent, a topic on which I believe Loomis has posted previously

        • Murc

          Not just Spanish, but “pure Spanish.”

    • Just_Dropping_By

      Many Hispanics already are integrated into the “white” category.

    • DAS

      Heck, even certain folks in the African diaspora get to be considered white under certain circumstances. E.g. Mrs. DAS was born in a whites only hospital (South FL in the waning days of Jim Crow, but in the de jure segregated South nonetheless) in spite if having two black parents: her father was a Jamaican immigrant with a master’s degree, so he counted as white.

      I think Mrs. DAS also counts as white being that she’s a Jewish lawyer.

      • efgoldman

        I think Mrs. DAS also counts as white being that she’s a Jewish lawyer.

        She does NOW, as my father (first generation born in this country, 1915) would if he were still alive. As would my grandparents, born in the old country, even with heavy accents, would now.
        Mom’s family came over mid 19th-century, so they were already “white” before I was born.

        • DAS

          I guess your mom’s family was in a similar position to my maternal grandmother’s: she had an uncle living quite happily in a neighborhood that had reasonably strictly enforced restrictive covenants preventing Jews from living there, and yet somehow nobody cared about the religious beliefs of a blond with a not-at-all-Jewish sounding last name and no foreign accent. I’m pretty sure that her parents (my great grandparents, who lived long enough for me to get to know them) belonged to clubs that didn’t generally allow Jews.

          • bw

            My sense is that Miami Beach abandoned the covenants against Jews fairly quickly after about 1935, even though they technically remained “on the books” until the early 1950s. I think was just too much money pouring in for homeowners to care who they sold or rented to, especially since many were not the original owners who signed the covenants. Also, the war accelerated things somewhat I think – it brought lots more people to the beach and only augmented the booming economy; lots of servicemen were stationed around there.

            (My own great-grandfather moved from below 5th to well above it sometime in the late 1930s.)

    • AMK

      Physical appearance matters. If you’re sufficiently dark and sufficiently mestizo/Mesoamerican-looking, an expensive suit and flawless command of the language is not going to save you from racists. That’s basically how it’s worked in Latin America for centuries…the elite look like they’re from Madrid, the poorest look like the Mayans who greeted Cortez.

      Even among the “white ethnics” in this country, there are dark Sicilians who are treated as Arabs by other Italian-Americans, and anybody who’s grown up Jewish here knows that Sephardics are likewise just fancy Arabs.

  • Troll comment deleted

    Troll comment deleted

  • ploeg

    Insofar as there was a time to force Trump out, or at least to attempt to moderate Trump by forcing him to ditch his current set of bootlickers with a set of bootlickers who are more conversant with reality, that time was when Trump didn’t have a majority of delegates and the party regulars had some negotiating leverage. They didn’t have the guts to stick with it then, and they won’t have the guts to make the move later on.

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    personally, I find Mike Manley’s work much more interesting than this other guy

  • brad

    It’s pretty much impossible to predict. Neither Trump nor his supporters are rational actors, their behavior could run a wide range. It’s easy to see him imploding or even dropping out after the first debate, but it’s also easy to see him doing scarier things and begin issuing fatwas and the like. What are the odds that, if he stays in, he’ll even recognize the election results?
    My guess is that at some point soon after the convention Trump will do something that will make Ryan and the rank and file withdraw their endorsements and the RNC essentially stop working for him. Which will leave him racists and Russian hackers to run the campaign.
    It’s hard to see any way by which he wins, the question is how ugly he’ll contribute to it becoming. And there’s no evidence that he’ll have any restraint. I’m more worried for Clinton’s safety than I ever was Obama’s, and I very much did worry.

    • Dennis Orphen

      To the a person with a mechanistic, deterministic world-view, human beings should be unpredictable due to their irrationality. But the opposite is true. Humans have the unique property of being both irrational and predictable. Trump tries to stay in to the end, putting his safety more at risk than Clinton’s.

  • petesh

    The Republicans are individuals, and that’s how they’ll react. A few (Ryan, McConnell) do think seriously in party terms but even they will fudge and trim if needed when running for personal reëlection (just trying a little New Yorker style there). The rest will run as required — tea-drinking if that’s their district, experienced if that plays, lying desperately to conceal their experience if necessary. They’ll be all over the map.

    What would be the result for an individual if they do dump Trump at or before the Convention? For McConnell, I’d say he loses his job as Majority Leader in the subsequent chaos. Ryan (so long as he doesn’t become the nominee) might keep his, and might even benefit from losing a few extremists. They wouldn’t really, would they? Might they?

    • efgoldman

      A few (Ryan, McConnell) do think seriously in party terms

      In congressional party terms. That’s the only place they have leverage. Although even there, Granny Starver and Weeping Cheetoh have and had far, far less influence than any speaker of my lifetime, possibly any post-War of Treason speaker.

      • Kalil

        Hastert had very little actual influence, with the House run pretty much entirely by Tom DeLay. Dunno how that compares to Ryan’s situation, but at least in Ryan’s case, there’s no single point of power opposing/overriding him, he just has to deal with a dozen petulant factions splitting off in one direction or another.

  • The GOP is like the monster from a bad slasher movie. Every time you think they have been killed off they come back for the next sequel.

    • Gregor Sansa

      They’ve applied the “second time as farce” operator so many times now that it’s a tragedy. But at least they’re finally approaching the eigenstate.

      • DAS

        I found this incredibly funny.

        But maybe because I have been working a lot on trying to bound the Schatten norm of a difference between two matrices (a Schatten metric, if you will) given the Thompson metric between those two matrices. I think I have a solution, but I have this suspicion the result I want already exists, and my Google-Fu just isn’t good enough to find it.

        • Gregor Sansa

          Trump, of course, has the yuugest, classiest eigenvalue.

    • Dennis Orphen

      Best. Analogy. Ever.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        That’s why you need “heads on sticks”, to be really, really SURE.

        • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

          I’d suggest nuking from orbit, but there’s the collateral damage to be considered.

  • brugroffil

    A lot of them are already saying that Trump’s comments are “unfortunate” or just refusing to acknowledge that a reporter is there asking them a question about Trump. They’ll try to distance as much as possible, but the blast radius from this one is gonna be big.

    I’m betting that Ryan wishes he had waited just one. more. day. before endorsing Trump.

  • Todd

    “Trump was always a hidden Democrat anyway”
    “Without Trump, we would have won 40 states”
    “Something something media….terrorists are the real winners”
    “2020 was always our true goal”
    “Poll taxes are the only true liberty”

    • Fortunado

      “Without Trump, we would have won 40 states”

      Yup. Portray Trump as a one-off loser that they didn’t want anyway, and go back to what worked in the other elections.

      • so-in-so

        Like 2008 and 2012?

        • ColBatGuano

          Yeah, I wonder how many Presidential elections they’ll have to lose before they change. Given that things are working for them at the lower levels just fine, it could be awhile.

      • efgoldman

        Portray Trump as a one-off loser that they didn’t want anyway

        That’s what they’ll do, for sure. Since facts, history, and analysis are unknown to them, the fact that Combover Caligula is the raging id of the party they created, will be ignored and lost on them.

  • Woodrowfan

    they’ll ramp up on voter suppression.

    • Pat

      We have a winnah!

    • Rob in CT

      They’ll be doing/trying that anyway.

  • DAS

    What about SCOTUS? Just as a number of liberals will vote for Clinton, no matter how they feel about her, because SCOTUS, a number of conservatives will vote for Trump, no matter how they feel about him, because SCOTUS.

    In this light, the GOP’s blocking Garland makes sense: a 4-4 court keeps the issue alive whereas if Garland were confirmed, the SCOTUS would have a liberalish majority for some time no matter who is president.

    • Pat

      I think they’ll confirm him in a lame duck vote.

      • witlesschum

        They should do that, but I don’t think Obama and Reid will let that happen.

        • kped

          Reid already said he wouldn’t.

      • random

        Why would they do that?

    • Gregor Sansa

      I think that logic starts to weaken when it’s clear Trump is a loser regardless. I mean, if Clinton were polling over 15 points below Trump (FSM forbid), I’d be considering writing in Bernie. Strategic voting is only worth it if it has some conceivable chance of mattering.

  • celticdragonchick

    The GOP will pretend Trump never happened and Cruz et al will exhume Reagan’s corpse in 2020 and publicly shag it onstage like GOP presidential candidates have done every election year.

    • timb

      This is very true in the medium true. Ted Cruz IS the 2020 nominee and he will continue to try to ape Reagan. except, he’s no Reagan. He’s not Teflon; he’s absurdly disingenuous; he makes people think he was a serial killer. he has none of Reagan’s gifts, but he will be the odds on favorite to win in 2020

      • FMguru

        Also, he looks like a fish monster.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          And he’s a horrible person!

      • BiloSagdiyev

        APE REAGAN? You might be onto something, with today’s technology…. where is Bonzo buried now?

    • efgoldman

      Cruz et al will exhume Reagan’s corpse in 2020

      “Weekend at Ronnie’s”

  • Murc

    Does the GOP establishment jump ship and go into triage mode? Or do they ride this bomb all the way to the ground, Slim Pickens-style?

    I’m gonna challenge the premise.

    Part of the Problem of Trump is that the GOP Establishment themselves are currently in a state of transition and disarray.

    When people say “the GOP establishment” it is implied they mean the Bushes, the Romneys, the McCain’s, etc. The staid old guard who want to keep the country relatively stable so the looting can continue. Corporatists, basically. Or the eponymous “sane billionaires.” (“If we keep the people alive, we can make more money off them!”)

    I’m not sure that’s true anymore. Those guys still exist. And there are a lot of them. But there are less of them every year, because they’re gradually being replaced by agents of the insane billionaires and theocratic culture warriors and white nationalists. Cantor was scalped by those people. So, in a very real way, was John Boehner, even though he still has his seat. McConnell is running scared of them. I predict that by this time next year, Paul Ryan will have either been replaced by a true believer or will have become indistinguishable from one himself.

    You could argue that those people aren’t really part of the GOP establishment… but how long do you have to be in Congress and how powerful does your faction have to be before it becomes the establishment faction, exactly? The teahadis are exercising so much power these days there’s an argument they’re approaching that point, if they haven’t passed it already.

    So what you’re really asking is, will the part of the GOP establishment that represents the old guard jump ship into triage mode, while vigorously fought by the new parts of the GOP establishment?

    I think the answer to that is no. They’re gonna ride Trump all the way down, and then they’ll retrench for 2018, which will probably be a bloodbath for us.

    Really, what worries me isn’t Trump. What worries me is that there are probably a shit-ton of proto-Trumps, city councilmen, state legislators, backbenchers, etc. who are watching what Trump is doing and thinking “I could do that. I believe all those same things. And there’s clearly a constituency for it. But Trump is a buffoon, and I am not; I actually know how to run a political campaign, and I know how to incite race riots without looking like a clumsy boor.” (Hell, in some parts of the south being able to incite a race riot while never raising your voice or using crude language is practically a fine art.) Someone who can make an appeal to white nationalism that draws in white women, as well.

    I really fear some second coming of Reagan, a “great communicator” with genuine political gifts and a boatload of charisma and the ability to work the media like a hand puppet while selling open fascism. I fear it a lot.

    • Linnaeus

      It’s interesting; Trump seems to have taken a page from the European far right’s emphasis on nationalism (of a virulent kind) and xenophobia and has deemphasized downward class warfare, though I would not expect a Trump presidency to actually repudiate the latter.

      I can’t say for certain if we’ll see a new incarnation of Ronald Reagan, but I do think we’re going to see more Trumps from the Republican Party.

    • D.N. Nation

      This is where I stand too. I’m afraid less of Trump and more of that Trump was successful. Trump will lose in November, but there will someday come a Trump with actual political chops.

      • bender

        Yeah. Trump has shown the way. Someone with more self control and the ability to retain allies and supporters can go farther.

        And in a way, Sanders has also shown a possible path to power. Gather supporters as an independent and then convince the Republicans to back you.

    • Minor nit: The seat that John Boehner retains is a barstool, and not at a desk on the House floor. Other than that, very cogently stated, and I have for some time shared the dread that somewhere in this great land of ours an ambitious proto-demagogue, a smarter, slicker, savvier character with normally-proportioned hands, is studying Trump—what has worked, what has not, the successful manipulations of a tame press, the unforced errors—and will bring his game to prime time next election cycle. The fact that Trump has got this far should have everyone alarmed over the evidence that the nation’s political immune system has been dangerously compromised, and that its norms and institutions are grown dangerously brittle enough that a few intelligently-aimed blows will suffice to flatten them.

      • bender

        Only one? I think several people are going to give it a try, and they are likely not currently well known. I would put money on a female veteran with a heroic combat record to make a splash in the New Leader of A Party For Our Times department. Vets tend to have some personal discipline and an understanding of how large institutions work.

        “Brittle institutions” indeed.

    • Aaron Morrow

      FYI: Warren Davidson was sworn into Boehner’s old seat last week.

    • bender

      I fear it too and 2020 will be a propitious time for such a person, because ordinary people are not going to be more prosperous or feel more secure in four years, and the weather will certainly be worse.

      I think to be successful, this political leader would need to espouse a more inclusive form of white nationalism than Trump has; reference the discussions in this thread about changes over time in who is counted as white. There is not necessarily a conflict between doing that and having a generally authoritarian platform, backed up by paramilitary violence.

  • I think the face of the Republican establishment will continue to support Trump (in appearances, anyway) to mollify the Tea’hadists, while the Republican money machine will focus on damage control re the House and Senate.

    Clinton will demolish Trump for the presidential, but this will not translate into substantial gains downticket due to the Republican money machine and DNC/DWS incompetence.

    Clinton will take office with a slightly reduced Republican majority in the House and slim Democratic majority in the Senate. She may be able to use this to push though judiciary appointments, specifically the Supreme Court, but not as liberal as most people will like.

    Without the horror of Donald Trump to unify them, the Sanders wing will abandon the Democrats in the 2018 midterms as, even in the best of times, incrementalism will be seen as too slow for them, resulting in control of the Senate possibly going back to the Republicans. Regardless, Republican insurgence will stymie most everything else, and we will likely have a Republican president, House, and Senate in 2020/2024.

    After that, go here: https://cvdanes.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/syria-still-the-proverbial-canary/

    • the Sanders wing will abandon the Democrats in the 2018 midterms

      Heard the same thing in 2010 and 2014 — Dems failed to sufficiently please their left wing, turnout was depressed, Republicans made gains. The problem is that polling suggests that “very liberal” and “liberal” voters vote more frequently and more consistently for Democrats. The “Sanders wing” turns out in midterms and votes D. There’s just a large number of less politically engaged Democratic voters who only turn out for presidential elections. These people tend to be in the Democrats’ demographic base — younger voters, minorities, single women, the poor, etc. These are demographics which tend to vote more strongly Democratic even if you remove the factor of ideology. It’s the more moderate Democratic voters in these demographics who stay home during midterms.

      I don’t see any reason to believe that 2018 is going to be different than 2010 in that sense.

      • We shall see. I think a lot depends on how the House and Senate races turn out. I still think this is going to be an election where we win the presidency by a large margin but the Republicans otherwise hold the line.

      • djw

        Yes. The notion that disappointed leftists are the source of the midterm turnout problem is a theory that’s useful to certain narratives, but has the teensy weensy problem of lacking any actual empirical evidence to support it. Obama voters who didn’t vote in 2010 gave Obama a higher approval rating than those who did.

        • Rob in CT

          And goddamn it’s frustrating as hell.

          There simply aren’t enough annoying leftier-than-thous to matter. Plus, they mostly vote.

          The D coalition at this time (and for the foreseeable future) includes a bunch of demographic groups that have: 1) generally low voter turnout; and 2) higher turnout dropoff in non-presidential elections (as compared to the R coalition, which skews whiter/older/richer).

          And I, for one, do not believe that this is primarily due to the Dems being bad at politics. They can always be better, of course, but I think the main problem is that young people have other things they’d rather do than pay attention to politics, poor people have a lot on their plates and voting is often harder for them, vote supression, etc.. The decline of unions probably plays a role.

          Consistently mobilizing higher turnout amongst those groups is basically the Holy Grail for Democrats, and there are a lot of smart people in the Democratic Party. Yet nobody’s figured out how yet. This makes me highly skeptical of the idea that if only we run nothing but loud & proud progressives in every race, turnout would jump and we’d win. It reeks of magical thinking.

    • random

      It’s not real clear why a white nationalist party would be in an advantageous position in the Electoral College in 2020 or 2024.

    • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

      Clinton will demolish Trump for the presidential, but this will not translate into substantial gains downticket due to the Republican money machine and DNC/DWS incompetence.

      Also, to the extent the #NeverTrump Republicans are actually a significant number, they mostly consist of hard-right Cruz supporters or Establishment types. Even if they do abstain from voting for president, neither of those groups seems likely to stay home.

  • West

    I add my vote to “most GOP establishment members ride it all the way down”.

    1) They have no realistic alternative: they’re fully pregnant with complicity by now.

    2) Most of them wholeheartedly agree with Trump’s beliefs, they just wish he’d use the dog whistle instead of the fog horn. They’re riding it down with deep jealousy in their hearts.

    3) They know how corrupt the mass media is, and how much said media will try to make it a horse race. So they won’t be convinced they’re riding Trump down to defeat until way late in the game, when they’re beyond fully pregnant. This part worries me horribly.

    4) They hope the turnout from the Republican pro-Trump crazies works in their favor for the House if not the Senate. They might be right in many districts. On an aggregate basis, I have no clue.

    5) There’s no “them”; that is, the so called GOP establishment ceased functioning like an establishment some time ago. This year, it’s every man for himself (and we are speaking mostly men here, but yeah, in the few exceptions, I mean that to read every woman for herself, too). There’s a strange kind of prisoner’s dilemma playing out here that is going to make riding it all the way down seem like the least-bad option to anyone within the GOP craziness, even though we outside the GOP craziness can argue it as being the worst-bad option.

    • I agree, but I also think there will be a full-court press by the Republican money machine to prevent that ride from going down as far as many people think it will.

    • efgoldman

      the Republican pro-Trump crazies

      Remember, until very late in the cycle (when it was clear that Combover Caligula would win) he only got a plurality in most states. That’s why the senate is very much in play and just possibly (although i am not optimistic) the house. Since the Dem base (women and minorities) is largely going to crawl over the proverbial to vote against Der Fuhrer, the Republiklowns just don’t have the numbers, particularly if the suburban types stay home.
      Of course, that’s assuming Dems can campaign intelligently and cleverly, nationalize the election, and Velcro the local/state candidate to The Donald.

    • CP

      2) Most of them wholeheartedly agree with Trump’s beliefs, they just wish he’d use the dog whistle instead of the fog horn. They’re riding it down with deep jealousy in their hearts.

      This. That’s been the problem Trump poses for them all along. It’s not enough to simply say you don’t like Trump: you have to be able to say what you don’t like and what you’d want instead, and they can’t do that because they basically agree with him on everything. He’s just playing their game better than they are. They can’t even point to his personality defects, not after they told everybody that the same traits, coming from Sarah Palin, George W. Bush, Dan Quayle and Ronald Reagan, were awesome and folksy.

      I’m not even sure they can formulate in their own minds where the party went wrong or why they hate him so much, since that’s basically impossible to do without at some point falling into liberal heresy. (Romney’s attempt to denounce Trump did exactly that, which is probably why it had no impact whatsoever).

  • Editor of the Fabius Maximus website

    Paul,

    Best summary of Campaign 2016 I’ve seen.

    Since so many Americans have come to regard politics as a variant of Fantasy Football, there’s little interest in this kind of clear analysis.

    Instead politics is entertainment for the Outer Party (America’s managers, professionals, and small business owners). Passive entertainment, with cheering of the good team and booing of the bad people.

    The 1% watches and probably laughs. Rightly so.

  • CaptainBringdown

    Therefore, it seems quite probable that by the time the fall rolls around, it will be obvious that Trump will be heading for a historic beatdown, something in the 61-39/58-42 range, i.e., a margin previously thought impossible in these partisan times

    I can see Johnson getting somewhere close to 10% of the vote from Republicans who can’t make themselves vote Trump, so a 16%+ blowout seems unlikely to me.

    • Jestak

      I think that if Trump drops below 40%, it’s far more likely to be connected to Johnson getting close to 10% of the vote, not to Clinton getting close to 60% of the vote. If that’s how it breaks down, I’d expect the Johnson voters to stick with the GOP in congressional races, which would result in, best case scenario, a Republican House and a narrow Democratic Senate majority.

      • CaptainBringdown

        Yep, that’s how I see it too.

  • Frank Wilhoit

    Here is the only feasible Republican strategy.

    Cut Trump loose. Let him do whatever he wants, as if he could be constrained anyhow. But invest no $, effort, or messaging into the Presidential race. Never use the name “Donald Trump”. Never use the name “Hillary Clinton” either — wait a moment and see why.

    Leave the House to take care of itself, which it will. Not more than a handful of seats could change hands, no matter what happens.

    Invest *everything* in the Senate, with this message, verbatim (for at least the first ten words):

    “If the Democrat Party manages to steal the White House, we guarantee you that not one single nomination for any office requiring Senate confirmation will be considered. Dead. On. Arrival.”

    On the stump, nothing else. Just this, over and over. In “highbrow” venues, some word salad about the illegitimacy of the “Democrat” Party and how they have never won, and could never win, any election, anywhere, without falsifying the results. Hint very heavily that this only happens in cities and embark upon, but then pull back from, fascinating digressions as to the invalidity of urban civilization. Stay clear of anything specific enough to be disprovable.

  • AMK

    Back when Trump first started gaining steam, I really thought we could be seeing the beginnings of a successful Romney strategy at work…. tack hard right in the primaries, then get back to the center and exploit your opponent’s national unpopularity. This failed for Romney because for the GOP base (and most of the country) he’s a fundamentally unrelatable aristocrat with the charisma of a wood pile and zero political skills beyond chatting up other boardroom reptiles, and because Obama even at his lowest was really not as unpopular in those swing counties in Ohio, Florida etc as the GOP liked to imagine.

    But it could have worked for a version of Trump…a genuinely charismatic celebrity outsider who has spent years fleecing rube America on reality television while sharing the fundamental interests of fellow oligarchs, and who would be running against a historically unpopular democrat he could undercut with certain populist positions on trade and foreign intervention. Obviously that isn’t what’s happening, because Trump’s strategy since late in the primary has been to double-down on the open racism, and he’s clearly an ignoramus incapable of running a polished operation…but it’s interesting to think about.

    • efgoldman

      Trump’s strategy….

      I think that’s giving him way too much credit. He doesn’t have a “strategy.”

  • timb

    Going through the comments, a second interesting question pops out to me. If you’re Clinton, how do you maximize the Trump factor to make more Republicans stay home?

    I mean, do you run a base campaign or do you just shut up and let Trump embarrass himself?

    • Rob in CT

      I think she’s doing rather well so far.

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      You goad and bait him.

      She did that with the foreign policy speech.

      Democratic surrogates can attack him from all directions. Warren has been doing it on Twitter. Trump has to respond. He can’t help himself – you attack him, he has to punch back. Even when doing so will make him look petty. Even when he has more important things to be doing. And there’s a decent chance he’ll eventually let loose some slurs when they poke him just right.

      And the (GOP) party won’t come to his defense. Just as they mostly let Hillary’s foreign policy speech go unanswered.

  • Just another John

    I think that the Repubs will tell themselves that Trump’s not a real conservative and that clearly Conservatism was failed not that it failed and we’ll see a repeat of the clown car only more so next time.

  • pianomover

    I just watched The Graduate last night and comparing the shots of the UC Berkeley campus then (1967) with the way it looks now is fascinating. It looked like a whites only campus back then. Time have truly changed.

    • Wapiti

      My older brother lives in Berkeley with his Chinese-American wife. They took her 80+-year-old uncle up to the campus a few years back. The uncle asked my brother “Where are all of the engineers?”; apparently the engineering school was very white when he was at Cal.

    • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

      It looked like a whites only campus back then. Time have truly changed.

      From Wikipedia:

      Demographics of student body (Fall 2015)
      Undergraduate Graduate California U.S. Census
      Black 3.3% 3.6% 6.5% 13.2%
      Asian 39.0% 17.3% 14.4% 5.5%
      White 26.0% 37.9% 38.5% 61.7%
      Hispanic13.7% 6.7% 38.6% 17.7%
      N A 0.7% 1.0% 1.7% 1.2%
      Int’l 13.5% 23.8% N/A N/A
      Other 3.8% 9.7% 3.7% 2.8%

      A sizable chunk of mostly rich international students (because they can pay), an over representation of Asians, and everyone else (including whites) under represented. The Ivies would probably look similar if they didn’t set a soft-quota of 20% on Asian applicants.

  • Joshua

    You got a guy out there saying everything the wingnut right wants to hear – indeed, that’s why they like him. He says the things they’ve been saying in their bubbles for a decade. Now that we are in the general election, his “pivot” is literally nonexistant. So what happens when he goes down in flames? Does the Clownhall/Heh-Indeedy Media/etc. people rethink things? Or will they they find some way to paint Trump as a DINO too? What purity tests will Donald Trump fail?

    • so-in-so

      No, I suspect the REAL Trump followers will blame the country club GOP ‘elite’ for the loss, and double down on white supremacy. Its what they wanted all along, playing nice got them nothing even when their guys did win.

  • Here’s what happens: Trump does it all himself.

    Donald Trump on Wednesday singled out Republican leaders, explicitly telling them to get tougher, sharper, smarter and quiet.

    The presumptive Republican presidential nominee during an Atlanta rally threatened to win in November with or without the support of his colleagues, who have grown weary after months of being forced to respond to the businessman’s bombastic proposals and controversial off-the-cuff statements.

    “You know, the Republicans, honestly, folks, our leaders — our leaders have to get tougher,” Trump said Wednesday. “This is too tough to do it alone. But you know what? I think I’m gonna be forced to. I think I’m going to be forced to.”

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told POLITICO on Tuesday, “I’m not going to be commenting on the presidential candidates today” — a statement that comes after recent condemnations of Trump’s attack on an American judge over his Mexican heritage and his proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country.

    Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn on Tuesday went a step further than McConnell, telling POLITICO he will no longer talk about Trump until after Nov. 8.

    • ColBatGuano

      he will no longer talk about Trump until after Nov. 8.

      Hilarious. How does he think that is going to work?

    • He sure talks about being tough a lot. He’s probably eating a lot of well-done Trump Steaks so the word is always at the back of his mind.

  • rdennist

    Conservatism can’t fail, it can only BE failed. No wait, that’s not the one. I GOT IT! No True Conservative… No. Oh, of course. If only we would have run a True Conservative.

    We’ve heard this the past couple of cycles. John McCain? A man who sticks his thumb in the eye of the party any chance he gets? Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts? Why don’t we simply run Ted Kennedy’s corpse while we’re at it.

    2020 will be like 2016, only turned up to 9 or 10. Right now were at a 2 or 3. Trump has taught them the way of the future, wait till someone competent seizes on it

  • N__B

    Has anyone considered the possibility of Melania, with a candlestick, in the ballroom?

  • Randall Smith

    First time commenter, long time reader….

    Does anyone else wonder what all of this will be taken as by a Poli Sci masters student in 2050? Clearly, Paul Ryan wishes he could be responsible voice for some type of Conservative Party — but none exists. And Hilary is the voice of the Liberal party — but only because she has to be. Trump is, well, Trump. We are in the throes of forces beyond the leaders of each group, but each leader is bound to them. What will the conclusions of this Master thesis be?

    • N__B

      What will the conclusions of this Master thesis be?

      Og need fire. Og cook liberal haunch.

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