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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Trump, Bannon, and the GOP After Alabama



After Trump slut-shamed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday for having the temerity to call for his resignation over allegations of sexual harassment, early Wednesday morning Trump was busy disassociating himself from the stench of Moore’s humiliating defeat in a haze of deflection. To be precise, at 6:22 a.m. Eastern time, our commander-in-chief tweeted, “The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!”
Numbers went up mightily? Decked stacked him? Trump may as well have said that he was for the Iraq War before he was against it. Apparently, Trump forgot, no one forced him to back Moore. In the run-up to Tuesday, Richard Shelby, Alabama’s senior senator, announced that he would not vote for Moore, while Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former senator, refused to say for whom he cast his ballot. The fact is that in a single cycle in a single state, Trump backed two losing candidates.
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If Trump is the face of the Republican Party then Bannon is its soul, and therein lies the Republicans’ dilemma. In these polarized and polarizing times, the Republican base grows ever angrier, making the GOP primary playbook ever more likely morph into a roadmap for driving over a cliff come November. Whether the Republicans can do anything about that remains to be seen.
 Jones’s win is a reminder that running statewide is not the same thing as running for Congress but with more money and a louder megaphone. Rather, it is about speaking to a larger population with varied concerns. Nuance still matters, and being normal counts.
During the Obama years, the Democrats forgot these rules and saw their party get hollowed out, losing control of both houses of Congress as well as governorships and state legislatures aplenty. Hopefully, the Republicans will get a grip soon enough. Just don’t bet on it.
Philip Bump at WP:
 Using data from Pew Research and the Census Bureau, we put together this look in 2015 at how the country will change by 2050.
Older — but less white and, importantly, less religious. In other words, it will in significant ways look much less like the voters who supported Roy Moore than those who supported the Democrat, Doug Jones. Two-thirds of Jones’s support was nonwhite. Six-in-10 Jones voters were women. In fact, about a third of Jones’s support came from black women alone.

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 Many Republican leaders have seen this demographic problem coming for a long time. They probably didn’t expect it to emerge so soon, and in Alabama. It’s not their party’s fault that it happened where and when it did, but it’s a reminder that it may start happening more and in more places.
One more word of warning for the GOP. Moore’s electorate was much less diverse than Trump’s — and even with that slightly-more-diverse electorate, Trump lost the national popular vote by millions of votes.