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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Cruising the Web

Well, those are depressing results. I have that same sense of just not recognizing my country as when people were going bananas over Barack Obama in 2008. But I could better understand how people were deceived by what he was saying and not understanding who he truly was given how the media portrayed him as this enlightened savior who would save us from the taint of racial prejudice and partisan divide. I knew it was hooey back then and so it has proven to be. But Donald Trump? I can read all the analyses about how people are angry and admire him for being strong and speaking out on what they believe. But he so clearly is a Johnny-come-lately to those beliefs. And his whole demeanor is so off-putting and his concept of what it would take to govern is so idiotic, yet people seem to buy the entire shtick. I just find it very depressing.

John Kasich was able to camp out in New Hampshire much the same way almost the way that Jimmy Carter camped out in Iowa in 1976. He was able to appeal to independents and to skate above the fray because his opponents didn't seem to realize that he was surging and so they didn't attack him. They were all too focused on attacking Rubio. Well, that worked out in bringing down Rubio, but it didn't help Christie; it just left a path for Kasich to win second. But he doesn't have much of an operation outside of New Hampshire and now he has to go into the South where he won't be able to use independents. Maybe he'll attract some of the donor class money that was betting on Rubio as the most electable. But his opponents will make sure that he'll now have to answer for how he instituted Medicaid expansion in his state by going around his legislature. And just talking about how he'll be able to go through the Pearly Gates and those who oppose Medicaid expansion won't will not, I expect, sell all that well in the South. Jay Cost argues that Kasich could maybe lose in the South and still put together wins in the northern states, particularly the ones that go on March 15 when the primaries are winner-take-all.
It's a highly unlikely angle. He will probably struggle to raise the funds he'll need. But if he holds on somehow, while Rubio and Bush pummel each other to pieces, and the party is staring at either Trump or Cruz, the money might swing to Kasich.

Isn't the Kasich case at least as persuasive the Bush case? Bush has spent tens of millions of dollars, only to finish less than one point better than Kasich in Iowa, and four or five points worse than Kasich in New Hampshire. The only thing Bush has going for him is money—but money runs out.

The Bush team is surely satisfied to have defeated Rubio tonight, but the obsession with the junior senator from Florida masks a glaring weakness so far exhibited across the two states, and indeed the national polls: Republican voters so far do not seem willing to give him a serious look. If Rubio fails to right the ship, and Bush continues to struggle, why can't the money go to Kasich eventually? And if the money goes to him, why can't the votes?
It's the path that Rubio was hoping to take, but now faces more barriers than he anticipated having. Perhaps Kasich could swing into the lead in that so-called establishment lane.

Jeb Bush lives to fight another day. Perhaps he's recovered his stride and his brother's and Lindsay Graham campaigning for him in South Carolina will help him there. I don't see it, but I've given up having any sense of what Republican voters want. I think the real victor in the GOP race other than Trump was Cruz who certainly beat expectations that he couldn't finish in the top three in New Hampshire. Perhaps he got some of the libertarian support that Rand Paul would have garnered if he were still in. And he probably also benefited from Rubio's fall. He hardly campaigned in New Hampshire and spent only $600,000 compared to the $36 million that Bush and his super PAC spent and the $15 million that Rubio spent. Bush can be happy that he is not dead yet, but will he be able to do better than fourth place? I don't think so. And remember that Bush was predicting for a long time that he was going to win there.

I don't know if Rubio can recover. His speech struck the right tone of humility and determination, but we'll see if the bell can be unrung on that debate performance. My feeling was that the performance wouldn't matter as much as weeks passed if he can dispel the accusations of being robotic. There's actually another debate on Saturday night in South Carolina. He'll have a chance to demonstrate that last Saturday's debate was an anomaly. We'll see if he can do it. And we'll see if Christie is still in the race but he, at least won't qualify to be in the SC debate which will feature only the top five candidates from New Hampshire as well as the top three From Iowa and the top five in the average of national polls. As Roger Simon writes, "Karma's a bitch." Simon recounts observing Rubio in some private moments with his kids and at a hotel in New Hampshire and concludes that "Marco Rubio is a helluva nice guy." Well, we all know where nice guys finish in politics.

Or will Bush and Cruz pick up the slack? It seems that the Rubio and Bush campaigns are ready to attack each other in a bloodbath in South Carolina. That may just help Cruz there. Maybe the support of Tim Scott and Trey Gowdy will help him in South Carolina but he'll have to dispel the sense that his moment may just have passed.

And with Cruz, Bush, Kasich, and Rubio battling it out, Trump will float above it all like the bloviating buffoon that he is.

I'm used to voting for the candidate whom I dislike the least. Never have I felt that so keenly as I do this year.

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I feel so depressed over the state of the Republican race that I can't even fully enjoy the schadenfreude of Hillary's humiliation. But it is delicious to see her dishonesty finally bringing her down. And she brought it all on herself. She's the one who decided that she needed a private server to keep her emails secret from FOIA requests. She's the one who, with her husband, focused so much on making money that they ignored how it would look to get huge speaking fees from Wall Street firms or companies and countries who had business before the State Department. The chickens that are coming home to roost could fill the KFC daily supply.

And now they head into the South where the last card Hillary has to play against Bernie is the race card since that whole gender unity doesn't seem to have worked for her. Politico examines how the Democratic primary is "about to get racial."
If Sanders is truly going to become a Barack Obama-style Clinton-slayer of 2016, he knows he’s going to need to start racking up Obama-level support among non-white voters, and quickly, because the Democratic primary is about to come down to race.

The Sanders campaign understands this, which is why the first campaign stop after his blowout victory in New Hampshire is a breakfast meeting Wednesday with the Rev. Al Sharpton in Harlem’s iconic Sylvia’s restaurant.
Sanders, who represents the overwhelmingly white state of Vermont in the Senate, has yet to prove he has the ability to win minority voters -- a critical component of the Democratic Party coalition. He’s said he’s confident non-white voters would come to him once they heard his message -- and aides consistently repeat that claim – but his close defeat in Iowa and landslide win New Hampshire, two states that are just as white as Vermont, haven’t answered any of the questions.

The next two early states to vote, Nevada and South Carolina, have much larger Latino and African American populations, which means he no longer has the luxury of appealing to his base of white liberals.

“He can’t get there from here. She can win with everything he’s got,” said Joe Trippi, who faced a similar problem when he was trying to figure out the math for the 2004 campaign of Howard Dean, another Vermont liberal popular among white progressives, but one who didn’t have a primary opponent with the kind of strength among African-Americans and other minority voters that Clinton’s shown in 2008 and so far in this race.

“Once you leave New Hampshire, the Democratic Party is 44 percent non-white,” Trippi said. “What Iowa should have told everybody is that they’re probably going to dead heat each other among the 56 percent of white Democrats—and that’s probably being generous to him, because of all the conservative and moderate white Democrats elsewhere around the country.”
Ugh. If we thought the way that Hillary tried to shame women into voting for her, wait to see two old white candidates pandering to minorities.

This whole race is going to get a whole lot uglier before we achieve any clarity. And I anticipate more days where I feel as depressed about our political system as I do today.


Phil Brown said...

I agree. It's depressing.

Suvy Boyina said...

Mrs. Newmark,

This is Kaysuv. I have to say, I'm reading your blog quite regularly. Simply put, your analysis is excellent and I generally agree with your political sentiments. I also don't really like anyone in the field, although there's something I like about every candidate.

I gotta say that I think we're entering a new political axis. The old political axis we've had since Reagan has completely broken down, which really started with Obama in 2008. Of course, we're still in the middling stage where you're seeing a generational shift, but we're not fully through. So you have some of the elements of the old system combined with elements of what the new system is gonna look like.

One thing to keep in mind is that basically everyone under the age of 25 never saw the last days of the USSR and everyone under 30-35 barely remembers it. Also remember that my generation has basically lived through a depression with crippling debt, but we never saw the kinds of problems in the 1930's. In other words, our current depression is much closer to the ones we saw in the 19th century--closest to 1837, 1857, and 1873 IMO. I can get into the financial and economic specifics and details, but it's basically a slow deleveraging where indebted households are grinding their way through excessive debt built up over the past 20 years. Almost everyone in my generation is in debt, largely because of college debt for a variety of reasons while we've had deflationary pressure over the past few years, wages have stagnated, and all productivity gains have gone to "the 1%" (I don't like talking about inequality as an issue, but it's something we must discuss because it rings with my generation heavily). So you have people walking out of college with massive debt because college tuition has increased much more quickly than wages have. Also keep in mind that student debt IS NOT dischargeable in bankruptcy.

Marco Rubio has tried to pass very fair legislation on this issue and he seems to have a very practical way of dealing with things, which is why I like him. But alas, you are correct: Rubio is a nice guy, but nice guys finish last in politics.

l4k said...

If it is Trump vs Sanders, I expect at least two well-heeled independent candidates. Bloomberg plus someone else with a more libertarian bent.