Who's Been Voting for Them?
Thursday May 5, 2016
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Here's what I don't understand.
I have been told, and have retold, the theory that people who vote in primaries - Republican and Democrat - are far to the right and left of the total members of their respective political parties.
That those who actually come out to vote are the true believers. The most righteous of the Right, and the most, uh, lefteous of the Left.
Yet, here were are in 2016.
The most loyal members of the Democrat party are voting for Hillary Clinton over the most Liberal choice, Bernie Sanders.
The most loyal members of the Republican party are voting for Donald Trump over the most Conservative choice, Ted Cruz.
As every 2nd tier stand-up comedian of the past 20 years might have said: What's up with that?
Nationally, according to the most recent USA Today/Suffolk University poll, Donald Trump's Fave/Unfave was 28.2 - 61.4.
Hillary Clinton's Fave/Unfave in that same poll was 37.4 - 54.2.
Seven percentage points better, but not exactly Doris Day numbers.
So, if neither Clinton nor Trump is the most Liberal nor the most Conservative, and if a wide swath of the American public hates their guts; who the hell has been voting for them?
The Sunday papers were full of stories about how the Republican Party has already all but turned to dust so we might just as well consign it to the appropriate bin of history.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis) said he was "just not ready" to endorse Donald Trump. That's his right. He gets exactly the same number of votes on November 8 as you do.
West Virginia is next up on the primary calendar tomorrow. As I suggested in a Tweet the other day (with my usual zero scientific evidence):
If you asked 100 West Virginians: Who is Paul Ryan? You would get 98 blank stares.
And, of the two who answered, one would have thought you were asking about Jack Ryan of "The Hunt for Red October" and the other Tom Clancy books.
Speaking of Paul Ryan (which is sort of a pun), Sarah Palin is attempting to elbow her way into the news by threatening to work on behalf of Ryan's opponent in the Wisconsin Congressional primary this August.
Explaining to CNN's Jake Tapper, she said:
"His political career is over but for a miracle because he has so disrespected the will of the people, and as the leader of the GOP, the convention, certainly he is to remain neutral, and for him to already come out and say who he will not support is not a wise decision of his."
That is the verbal equivalent of running your index finger back and forth across the keyboard of your laptop and expecting Hamlet to appear on your screen.
Reports of the death of one or the other of the major political parties have typically been greatly exaggerated.
In the election of 1936, Franklin Roosevelt was re-elected to his second term. That wasn't the big news. The big news was that the GOP won only 88 seats out of the 435 in the U.S. House.
The Republican Party convention was held in Cleveland that year. Alf Landon of Kansas was nominated. He had been the only Republican Governor elected in the 1934, so he was riding high.
End of the GOP.
In 1964 Lyndon Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater in the Electoral College 486-52. 44 States (plus DC) to 6.
End of the GOP.
Richard Nixon lost to JFK in 1960 then ran for, and was defeated in, the election for Governor of California in 1962. He famously declared in a press conference "You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around any more."
Six years later he was elected President. Six years after that he resigned in disgrace.
End of the Republican party. Again.
In 1980 Ronald Reagan won the election for President against Jimmy Carter. Four years after that he beat Sen. Walter Mondale of Minnesota 525 electoral votes to 13. Reagan won 49 states to Mondale's one (plus DC). It is commonly accepted that Reagan would have won all 50 states had he not taken a dive in Mondale's home state.
End of the Democratic Party.
You see my point. And, all that is just in my lifetime.
The American political system is flawed. But, it has survived even tectonic lurches back and forth.
I am confident the two parties will survive the President Campaign of Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump in 2016.
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to Jack Ryan, to Exeunt, and to the election of 1936.
Also a sweet cat Mulfoto for Mothers' Day.
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