After just landing from a grueling four days on the left coast, I think the answers are don’t know and absolutely not.
Let me deal with question 2 first: Can any Republican win the White House? While on the left coast, I was regaled with opinions about how the VA does a poor job because they are underfunded, how protected classes need more protection, (LBGT communities and mental illness communities and women – there are jokes to be had there, BTL, have at it), how we absolutely must pay more in taxes, how changing the language from multiculturalism to something else will help conservatives understand how wrong they are, etc. And most of these conversations were forcibly overheard while waiting in group 3 to board United. My contacts were possibly crazier. Now, you may say, “Aggie, the left coast is nutty, everyone knows that.” OK, but how much of the population do they represent? Is it any different on the right coast? And given the breakdown of our legal system, how close to actual victory must they come in order to “win”?
So I am undermining the importance of this:
In ways large and small, with policy and with personality, billionaire Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is forcing his party’s establishment to confront the vast divide between party leaders and the voters who, according to nearly every poll for months, have wanted him to carry their torch to the White House.
A prevailing narrative is that Trump is leading in the polls by appealing to the far right. That’s an oversimplification. Trump is offering Republicans something no other candidate can: An insider’s knowledge of the elite combined with a mischievous determination to upend it and an unorthodox set of policy prescriptions—running the gamut from immigration to campaign finance to Social Security—that aim to achieve that goal. In this year’s contest for the Republican nomination, that platform has proven to have staying power.
“We’re all out there like little bee workers trying to get these people elected, and then nothing changes!” said Fay Schall, a 63-year-old conservative Republican from O’Brien County, Iowa. A Trump supporter, she said the real estate tycoon articulates the frustration voters feel, in part because he doesn’t worry about being politically correct. “People are tired of it,” she said. “I think that’s the nerve that Trump is hitting. Everybody is tired of being trampled on. I think that’s what’s resonating.”
Yes, true. But what happens next, after he or Carson or Fiorina or Rubio accepts the nomination, is that the media explains, patiently and repeatedly, that said Republican candidate hates women, LGBT, people of color, elderly people, sick people, near-sighted people, people who prefer cats to dogs, people who can’t stand pets, bicyclists, and pre-school tots. No decent human being would ever vote for a Republican. Health care won’t even come up this time. We have solved that pesky problem.
The Republicans will respond: False! I love my mother! I have grandchildren! I ride a bicycle! And the media will point to their anger and irrational outbursts. Democrats will give everyone a free college education and a pony!
And of course, the public is to blame for this, not really the media. We are the ones that can’t recall what happened during Benghazi, or the IRS scandals. We can’t do the basic math that explains that the median income is actually lower in real dollar terms under Obama. We don’t mind that the Middle East has devolved into gangs of head choppers, many of whom have been re-branded as refugees and reside in Europe. All we know is that the Republicans are bad people, and crazy to boot!
Once you have a poorly educated electorate, you’re screwed.