Republicans really, really love Trump


Donald Trump’s rapid rise in the polls last year to become the leader of the race for the Republican nomination initially caused concern but not too much alarm within the party establishment. Then as his rise stalled and his poll numbers stagnated at around the 35% from January through March of this year, his plurality in the polls was shrugged off as his ceiling of support, his leadership position as an artifact of the field being crowded with 17 hopefuls that was splitting the anti-Trump vote and that as candidates dropped out, their supporters would slowly coalesce around one of the other candidates, preferably the party’s preferred candidates like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, and that Trump would slowly lose ground and then disappear.

Of course, that did not happen and yesterday’s sweep of five states by Trump with vote totals of 58% in Connecticut, 61% in Delaware, 54% in Maryland, 57% in Pennsylvania, and 64% in Rhode Island, far exceeding his current national poll average of around 40%, should finally put the nail in the coffin of that hope. He has now won in every part of the country, 25 out of the roughly 40 contests held so far, and there are only 10 left. There is no doubt that he has national appeal within the party. Republicans love him, they really love him, and he can (and will) gloat over last night’s victories and the failure of all the plotting and scheming of his adversaries to deny him the nomination.

He clearly feels that he has laid claim to the nomination and in his victory speech pretty much ignored Cruz and Kasich except o say that the race was over and they should quit. He instead blasted Hillary Clinton, testing out themes that we are going to hear over and over again in the coming months.

Ted Cruz’s third place showing in four out of yesterday’s five contests, winning just three of the 198 delegates at stake, really hurts him and puts him in Marco Rubio territory and may be the metaphorical ‘punch in the face’ that has long been coming. Cruz has said that will make a ‘major announcement’ at 4:00pm Eastern Time today but left unclear what it was. Speculation ranges from withdrawing to announcing his choice as vice-president. If it is the latter, only someone like Carly Fiorina who wants the limelight and has no future in politics would agree to it. [UPDATE: Yes, Fiorina it is, the ultimate nightmare ticket.]

John Kasich is still in fourth place in terms of delegates won and he got just nine delegates last night. Neither he nor Cruz cracked 30% in any of the states. Their supposed joint effort to derail Trump in Indiana (next Tuesday), Oregon (May 17), and New Mexico (June 7) now seems to be a purely symbolic one, trying to deny him a total sweep of all the remaining primaries.

On the Democratic side, I expected a sweep by Clinton of all five states and she won four, three of them (Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania) by large margins. I was pleasantly surprised to find Sanders coming close in Connecticut and winning Rhode Island by a double-digit margin but last night pretty much tightened Clinton’s grip on the nomination and in her victory speech last night she, like Trump, spoke as if she were already the nominee.

Comments

  1. sonofrojblake says

    Taking him seriously yet?

    Specifically, taking seriously the possibility that
    (a) he’ll get the nomination and
    (b) once he turns his fire properly on the Democrats he’ll burn them to the ground the same way he burned the Republicans?

    What’s been most interesting about this most interesting US election of my lifetime has been the persistent refusal of the pundits to take Trump seriously, in the teeth of the evidence, WAY past the point where they should have started. Expect the Megyn Kelly interview to be devastating.

  2. doublereed says

    While President Trump would be disastrous, he would unite the opposition and democrats would almost certainly dominate 2020. The Republicans would most likely fall in line, but many simply wouldn’t know what to do. He would be a massively unpopular president, and would have disastrous policies for government that we would need an actual leader to help recover.

    On the other hand, Clinton would could possibly be even less popular. We have the right wing that has demonized her for 30 years, as well as a huge amount of progressive liberals who don’t like the establishment. Not only that, but even the people voting for Clinton in the primary are doing so for pragmatic reasons rather than actually liking her (I’m still unsure what she wants to do for the country). For all the things that Obama has done poorly, I imagine it would be far worse under Clinton, splitting the democrats further.

  3. doublereed says

    I guess ideally Clinton would win, but then get challenged in 2020 by an actual progressive again. That doesn’t seem that unlikely, considering how unpopular she’d probably be.

  4. says

    I actually look forward to a debate between Clinton and Trump. Oligarch cage-match! Look how deeply they are willing to humiliate themselves for power!

  5. doublereed says

    All Trump has to do is be like “Didn’t I buy you a couple of years ago?” and point out how corrupt she is over and over again. Unsure if he would be smart enough to go that direction. Unlike Sanders he can be way more brash about it “How much are you paid to say that?” Maybe he’ll just make a bunch of sexist remarks because he can’t help himself.

    Honestly, we haven’t really seen Trump against a competent politician up until now. Maybe Cruz.

  6. sonofrojblake says

    he would unite the opposition

    What, you mean like he’s united them this year behind, er, Bernie and Hillary?

    @doublereed, 4: You’re proposing the concept that a sitting president would be challenged from within her own party? What are you smoking? Or are you suggesting that the Republican candidate would be “an actual progressive”, in which case, seriously dude, what ARE you smoking?

    @Marcus Ranum, 5: In debate between Clinton and Trump, only one person can possibly come out humiliated. What would humiliating Trump even look like? I can’t picture it.

    @doublereed, 6: You’re still unsure if Trump would be “smart enough”? Again, what are you smoking? Just how comprehensively does he have to dominate before you admit he’s doing it deliberately and is, almost by definition, way smarter than you? Certainly for starters way smarter than making ” a bunch of sexist remarks because he can’t help himself”. If you think he’s not in 100% control of every word out of his mouth you are really not paying attention and are not nearly scared enough of him.

  7. doublereed says

    @8 sonofrojblake

    You’re proposing the concept that a sitting president would be challenged from within her own party? What are you smoking? Or are you suggesting that the Republican candidate would be “an actual progressive”, in which case, seriously dude, what ARE you smoking?

    Yes, I’m suggesting the democrats might run against a sitting president because they’re afraid that Clinton wouldn’t be re-elected. Far-fetched is not impossible. There have been plenty of “unprecedented” in recent years, and the progressive arm of the Democratic voters is frankly becoming a hard-to-ignore voice in our elections.

    If you think he’s not in 100% control of every word out of his mouth you are really not paying attention and are not nearly scared enough of him.

    Oh please. He’s not Ted Cruz. He already just started doing sexist remarks with the “woman card” nonsense he already threw at Clinton. He couldn’t help himself. He’s good at marketing and manipulating the media, and that makes him dangerous, but let’s not pretend that he’s some sort of chessmaster.

    He’s constantly spouting random things and contradicting himself. Ah yes, so deft and strategic. Come on, self-control is not why he is winning.

  8. doublereed says

    Again, I think Clinton will have one of the most unpopular presidencies of history.

    Nixon’s popularity at impeachment was about 24%. Hillary’s approval rating is already at 30-40%.

  9. Nick Gotts says

    sonofrojblake@1,

    Your bizarre belief that Trump is some sort of political supergenius flies in the face of the evidence. While he will now almost certainly win the nomination, he has actually gained vote share in the primaries more slowly than any recent frontrunner, he is well behind Clinton in match-up polls, and his net unfavourability ratings are unprecedented for a potential Presidential candidate. Sure, he’ll have plenty to attack Clinton with – but the attack ads against him only need to consist of clips from his own speeches.

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