Enthusiasm versus Age

In general in American politics, it is better to be supported by the old than by the young. The young have enthusiasm, and will volunteer and knock on doors for you. The old actually show up on election day.

This strikes me as explaining yesterday's results fairly well. Bernie Sanders has all the enthusiasm: no one at all seems to be enthusiastic about voting for Clinton. Democratic participation is way down across the board from 2008 or even 2012. Bernie is winning young voters by vast margins, but he loses the elections because only a few of the young show up relative to their numbers.

As the enthusiasm of the young is disappointed by watching the corruption of the DNC wash away their icon's chances, how many of them who did make it out to the primary will make it back out to the general? I have already heard three young people I know say that they will not be turning out to vote for Mrs. Clinton in the general. Perhaps they will change their mind. Perhaps not.

Republican enthusiasm is way up. Trump voters especially seem to be both enthusiastic and showing up, suggesting that the enthusiasm for him is with the older voters rather than the younger ones on average -- though there are occasional surprises in Trump's support. But anti-Trump Republicans are enthusiastic too: they are enthusiastic about voting against Trump.

Cruz did well last night relative to all the other non-Trump Republicans. By taking Texas and Alaska, America's most emblematically Red states, he has surely won the right to be the conservative candidate in the race. I think the remaining non-Trump candidates should withdraw, especially Rubio, whose near victory in Virginia was occasioned entirely by his support in the Washington, D.C. metroplex. This is not the year for D.C.'s favorite son.

If you don't want Trump, Cruz is probably the last chance. He's the other candidate in the race who is plausibly an outsider, and who speaks to the anger among the millions of voters who have been backing Trump enthusiastically. If you want that enthusiasm to carry over into the general, and you certainly do if you want to win, finding a way to swap Trump out for an establishment figure is not the way to go. Cruz could win the primary and the general. Trump could, too. Nobody else in the field strikes me as having the chance.


Tom said...

Well, a lot of the primaries have been open, and I suspect Trump is bringing in people who do not normally vote Republican. It's possible there are a lot of conservative, working class Democrats voting for him. That may skew where we think the enthusiasm lies. If Trump is not the Republican nominee, we may see much less enthusiasm in the general.

Oklahoma has a closed primary and went for Cruz. It's not as emblematic of conservatism, but it has been growing increasingly conservative over the last 10 years. In 2008, not a single Oklahoma county went for Obama.

Tom said...

More on open vs. closed primaries. I hope Brooks is right.


Ymar Sakar said...

Cruz and the Tea Party were what the Left were seeking to shut down, with all that IRS, ABC, ATF, stuff going on in the background.

Even if Trump is too stupid to have a generational strategic vision and plan, the Leftist alliance is a different breed entirely.

Ymar Sakar said...

Open primaries is like when Chicago says dead people usually vote Democrat. The fix is in there.

Edith Hook said...

You are aware that some in the Commentariat are sensing an undercurrent of political realignment, that the old framework of divides, left/ right, conservative/liberal, Dem/Rep may be losing their power. I too thought Trump was a flash in the pan til I saw the massive crowds he was able to draw with people waiting in long lines on a bitterly cold night in New England. It’s my assumption that they weren’t all Conservatives or Republicans.
Are the R's gonna triple down on stupid and continue to denigrate the Trump supporters?
How come they can't figure out that by doing so they are reaffirming what the disenfranchised already believe about GOPe motives and fueling Trumps campaign?

Curious about what Romney is going to say?

Tom said...

I suspect we are seeing a realignment, and I agree that denigrating Trump supporters is a mistake. Someone needs to figure out how to dump Trump but keep his supporters, and I suspect that will mean either clearly communicating how the party's platform already helps those people or changing the platform to a certain extent. Maybe both.

Tom said...

I guess one ideal outcome could be that Cruz becomes the nominee and Trump endorses him, leading to his supporters shifting over and becoming part of the Republican mainstream.

Grim said...

Curious about what Romney is going to say?

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Sorry. :) I guess you weren't here in 2012.

Are the R's gonna triple down on stupid and continue to denigrate the Trump supporters?

Probably. I get the sense that establishment figures, and conservative intellectuals, think of Trump as so despicable that they automatically can't respect anyone who would support him.

I myself feel differently about it. Trump violates my moral sensibility by showing disrespect for ladies. He also violates it by showing contempt for men who have done far more than he has, and who deserve respect from him -- McCain on the ground of his war service, for example. He is without honor in the sense that he fails to understand the proper role of honor, and shows no honor to others even when they plainly merit it.

Most of his supporters, though, are ordinary decent people who are just tired of being locked out of the system we have. They want to break that system because it's become hostile to them. They think Trump will shatter the systems of control being imposed upon them, which will create at least a chance for something new to begin. Maybe Trump will succeed at 'making America great again.' Maybe he'll just break the system we have, so there's a chance to start over.

Whatever Trump is himself, he does offer an opportunity there that no other candidate can offer. Every other candidate in both parties is an outgrowth of the political system that ordinary Americans have come to hate. He's the only one who might do something different. So there's a kind of rationality to the choice, in spite of the dishonorable nature of Trump himself, and in spite of the serious danger involved in destabilizing a complex system. Ordinary people who are seizing the one chance -- and the first one in many elections -- are not behaving like fascists who want to dominate everything. They're behaving like people who are angry and sick of being dominated themselves, and who are taking their one shot at breaking the system that does that to them.

Texan99 said...

The open primaries may be skewing the picture away from what genuine Republicans want, but it's also showing us what Republicans-plus-the-middle want, and in November the voters will be Republicans-plus-the-middle for any Republican candidate who expects to have any chance of success.

Cruz is my man, as I've said. I won't deny he has flaws, but they are in areas that are not high priorities for me, and in any case I think he's been in public office long enough not to hold any surprises for me. I also trust him to behave professionally at least as well as he's behaved so far, which is above my threshold for what to expect from a political office-holder.

Trump is a huge concern for me. I really have no idea what he would do. I have absolutely no confidence that I can take seriously anything he says. I'm slowly coming around to the realization that I can't even yell at people who will simply refuse to vote for him even against Hillary Clinton. This is getting to be a very serious situation for the party I don't want to leave, knowing that there is no other party for me to defect to.

When it's a Republican squish, I may be frustrated, knowing that he'll disappoint me, but I'll still vote for him over a Democrat. This is different. It's not that I think Trump's a Republican who's unreliable on some difficult issues when the chips are down. It's that I don't have any idea what he's up to, and I believe he would say absolutely anything at any time if it got him the immediate response he wanted. What would he actually do? Would Congress stop him? Would the military?

The weirdest presidential race I've experienced, at any rate.

Grim said...

It's that I don't have any idea what he's up to, and I believe he would say absolutely anything at any time if it got him the immediate response he wanted. What would he actually do?

It's an interesting contrast with Clinton and Romney, who would also say absolutely anything at any time to get the immediate response they want. But, in those cases, we know what they would actually do.

They're the Devil We Know. Trump is the devil we don't.

Texan99 said...

Yes, it's not so much the problem that a politician may be lying, which I know is not that unusual, though I've never shared your opinion of Romney. It's that in Trump's case there's really a blank slate, and he clearly has no intention of giving us any accurate information that would allow us to get a vague fix on the direction he might be coming from. Since he's never held office, we don't even have that reality check. He prides himself on being a maverick, not beholden to any particular ideology, so he's a blanker slate than usual--and his temperament doesn't exactly give me the warm comfies.

Edith Hook said...

As I have mentioned, I have already voted. I was tempted to vote strategically, but instead voted for the candidate I sincerely thought would be the best CIC. I am not particularly proud of my vote. Back to the idea of voting "strategically"; for the longest time I thought those who were participating in polls were just playing the pollsters and sending a message to the GOPe. I guess I was wrong.

As for Trump policies, I really don't understand why you can't google his website. For myself, I have no expectation that I would be able to glean Trump policy from debate sound bites and I don't look to partisans for objective inputs.

Tom said...

It's not that I can't read what's on Trump's website. It's that I have no idea if that's what he'd really do or if that's just what he thinks will get him elected.

Grim said...

Well, that's true for all of them. The difference with Trump is that we don't know what he'll really do instead of what he says he'll do.

Edith Hook said...

OK, now I understand.

Grim said...

That's overstated, though: I think we do know what Trump will do in general, though it is impossible to predict specific policies. He is in love with the ideas of size and beauty. Everything is going to be "huge," it's going to be "beautiful," it's going to be "so big you can't believe it."

That suggests a very expansionist view of the Federal government, at least the Federal government under Donald Trump. He's not just going to want to do stuff with it. He's going to want to make it bigger than ever, so it can do more huge and beautiful things. "Make America Great" is going to mean the Feds invested in every aspect of American life -- even moreso.

At least, that's what it means if opposition to him doesn't run the whole thing off the rails. The possibility that it might I take to the be the rational reason for voting for him, if you are one of those whom the Federal government has decided are disposable -- if not the enemy.

Texan99 said...

Of course I can google his website, but I'm not sure I understand what good that would do. Why should I think that would give me any insight to his actual views or principles?

Tom said...

Well, that's true for all of them Right, but Trump is a wildcard. He may well try to do everything he says he will, but he may also turn around, flip off the people who elected him, and do something completely different. I have no idea.

All the people who support him like that he isn't beholden to anyone, but once elected he will not be beholden to them, either. Why would he care about re-election? He's a billionaire. He'll actually live a better life out of the presidency.

Anyway, I can understand why a lot of people no longer trust our political class and would want someone like Trump. I disagree with Trump as the choice, though.

Texan99 said...

I've been trying to sort through why I consider Trump an unusually threatening figure. After all, we're always exposed to the danger that a public figure seeking office is lying to us and won't follow through on commitments. I think my reaction to Trump stems from his volatile business career and forays into TV reality shows. Much of his appeal is that he has an uncanny showman's sense, and no apparent unease or shame when he shifts a position in order to appeal to a new audience daily. If you're not trying to pin down a consistent position, his style works brilliantly: he's very deft about deflecting criticism and making his critics look small and ridiculous (particularly when they are in fact being rather small and ridiculous). All politicians try to shift now and then, either out of convenience or because they're forced to re-think their positions in light of the facts, but Trump takes this ability to an unusual level, like a very skilled and completely conscience-free con man. Hillary Clinton only wishes she could be so convincing in her daily attempts to do the same. Bill was better at it.

In business, Trump has a long career and reputation of breaking deals whenever it's convenient, including a lot of high-profile bankruptcies. I don't actually object to that in a business context, as it's part of our financial set-up and therefore part of the assumed background in complicated financial transactions among rich and self-sufficient businessmen--but it doesn't help to dispel the sense that he's untethered from principle or truthfulness. And then there's the constant acquisition and ditching of wives and girlfriends. There's no aspect of his life I can look to and say, "This shows he has a core and some integrity." Not a voting record, not a family, not a religion, not a consistently expressed political or social philosophy, nothing. He's a chameleon.

And yet I've never before had anything against the man. The first time I ever heard of him was in the 80s, when he was reported to look out his office window every day in exasperation at the agonizingly slow and incompetent efforts of the city to build a skating rink in Central Park. He impulsively told the city he'd pay for and build it himself, just to get it done. I like the fact that he's been in business his whole life and revels in the deals and negotiations required to get things done. I admire the ability to make money instead of complaining that the deck is stacked against him. I admire his ability not to get trapped by hostile media questions, but to turn the discussion upside-down and get new ideas into it. If I thought I could identify a core and that it was close enough to what I need to see in a leader, I'd happily settle for him, despite his blustering egomania, never a happy trait in someone with the nuclear codes. After all, his competition in the Democratic party is pretty abysmal.

Anonymous said...

One might look to Trump's children and the values he has instilled in them as to his core values.

Ymar Sakar said...

Trump has held CEO equivalent positions. All you need to do to know what he really is, is to see how he rules in his own corporate and private empire, or even his reality shows.

That is the real Trump, and it is the thing Americans feel an affinity for, a tyrant or strong man to tell them what to do. The exact same thing they belittled Iraqis about in 2005.

They will not get another Washington who will refuse the crown.

Democrats are more prone to this strongman vibe than others, given Leftist indoctrination which produced post Rhodesia, South Africa, Cuba, Venezuela, Chicago, Detroit, etc.

But humans are weak, and non Democrats are no different in that sense.

Ymar Sakar said...

The open primaries may be skewing the picture away from what genuine Republicans want, but it's also showing us what Republicans-plus-the-middle want

It's showing that the media, Leftist traitors, Jacksonian Democrats, and betrayed Republicans want to hijack the GOP.

Then it'll really be a one party nation, with two colors only.

The American people know about as much about what they want as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan. Meaning, it's entirely dependent upon how the Leftist propaganda arm massages their perceptions. Control their perception, and you control that person's thoughts and reactions.

What they need and what they want, are usually not the same.