Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Friday, July 22, 2016

Nuremburg On The Cuyahoga

So that happened....

Trump managed to fire up his crowd of fellow travelers with his "red meat" schtick last night.  Most sane observers from the reality based world saw a speech with no policy specifics and no vision for America beyond the inarguable greatness of Donald J Trump.  They saw incitement to hatred juxtaposed jarringly with claims of tolerance.  By the end of a very long speech, they saw Orange turn to Red as Shouty Man yelled and yelled and yelled.

Inevitably, a convention produces a "bounce" for the candidate at the polls.  Trump just got a week of free media, he should expect to see his numbers rise.

But most media coverage was unremittingly negative - from plagiarism to Ted Cruz to the tone to the lies.  Will even terrible coverage give Trump a bump?  Will all the awful things said about Hillary Clinton drive her numbers down?  Or will they rally some Bernie supporters around her in defense?

Most of all: What did Trump do to unify his party or win new voters that didn't vote for Mitt Romney in 2012?  Certainly the party is not unified.  Conservative "thought leaders" are denouncing the party of Trump and leaving the Republican party.  Not enough to have an electoral effect, perhaps, but that's telling.  Some evangelical groups are choking on Trump, too.

But what has he done to win new voters?  Remember two things: Obama won fairly handily in 2012 during the lingering pain of the worst economy since the 1930s.  The Obama Coalition is younger than the Romney Coalition.

So, we can presume that 2012 is kind of a baseline of sorts.  Obama had a bad economy that hadn't bounced back as much as it has now.  He was running against an anodyne boring Republican.  In the summer of 2012, his job approval rating was basically break even after being underwater for most of 2011.  While Obama was more personally popular than Clinton, he wasn't a "lock" for reelection.  Even with those headwinds, Obama won 51% of the popular vote and 332 electoral votes.

How many of those 51% who voted for Obama are going to vote for Trump?  How many of the 47% who voted for Romney might vote for Clinton?  Or Gary Johnson?

So, keep your eye on the convention "bump" but don't worry too much until after the Democrats have their turn.

If there's no bump however, that means a lot.

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