Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The smart money is on Rubio to beat Trump

I opened Bye, Bobby! Jindal drops out with dueling observations on the state of the GOP field.
Kunstler remarked on the state of the campaign at his blog yesterday.
The cowardice in the college executive suites is mirrored in our national politics, where no persons of real standing will dare step forward to oppose the juggernaut of Hillery-the-Grifter, or take on the clowning Donald Trump on the grounds of his sheer mental unfittedness to lead a government.
I disagreed with him about the Republicans being unwilling to take on Trump.*
There are plenty of people with stature in the Republican Party trying to dislodge Trump and Carson from the top two spots.   Off the top of my head, I count four current senators, three current governors, a former senator, and four former governors, along with a former CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation, all trying to beat that "immigrant-bashing carnival barker" and his competitor Doctor Pyramid.  They're just not succeeding at it.
That was only half of what I had to say on the topic of Republicans taking on Trump.  Here's the rest, which I promised to use in the comments to Record page views, comments, and 100th follower: Monthly meta for October 2015.
Right now, the smart money is on Rubio, as PredictWise's aggregate of betting markets gives him a 47% chance of winning the nomination.  Trump may be in second, but he's well behind at 19%.  Then comes Cruz at 13% and Bush at 10%.  The rest of the field, including Carson, is in single digits.  Let's see if the people putting their money where their mouths are end up being right or losing their shirts.
Since last Monday, those odds have moved.  Rubio is still at 47%, while Trump and Cruz have both gone up to 22% and 16% respectively.  Bush is still at 10%, while Christie is hanging on at 4% and Carson has fallen to 2%.  The "smart money" among gamblers may think that Rubio is the most likely to win the nomination, but they are taking both Trump and Cruz more seriously.  That last is not good news.

Follow over the jump for more.

Those placing bets on the candidates aren't alone in supporting Rubio.  FiveThirtyEight wrote The Republican Establishment Inches Toward Marco Rubio earlier this month and illustrated it with the following graph.

Since then, Rubio has moved into undisputed second place in endorsement points with 29, including one endorsement just yesterday from Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington.  He didn't gain ground on Jeb, though, as he got one from Mike Bishop of Michigan.**  Still, Rubio is probably the best candidate to do what both Kunstler and Michael Tomasky of Politico The Daily Beast think needs to be done.  Yesterday, Tomasky asked Who in GOP Will Finally Stop Trump?
Who in the Republican Party is going to step up here? Because this is A Moment for the GOP, make no mistake. It’s a historical moment, and when your leading candidate is joking about his supporters beating people up at rallies and musing about religious ID cards for around (ahem) 6 million of your citizens, it’s time to say something.
What he's hoping for is something along the lines of Margaret Chase Smith's "Declaration of Conscience."
“As a Republican, I say to my colleagues on this side of the aisle that the Republican Party faces a challenge today that is not unlike the challenge which it faced back in Lincoln’s day. The Republican Party so successfully met that challenge that it emerged from the Civil War as the champion of a united nation—in addition to being a party which unrelentingly fought loose spending and loose programs.”

“The Democratic administration has greatly lost the confidence of the American people… Yet to displace it with a Republican regime embracing a philosophy that lacks political integrity or intellectual honesty would prove equally disastrous to the nation. The nation sorely needs a Republican victory. But I do not want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny—Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear.”
"The Four Horsemen of Calumny—Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear"--I like that so much that I'll use it.

Unfortunately, Tomasky is not optimistic about the strength of the response to Trump.
I would suspect that this week we’ll start to see a little of this. Marco Rubio might make a statement that’s very carefully worded, as most of his statements are. Lindsey Graham may have it in him to say something interesting and semi-honest. But for the most part, I’d suspect that what we’re going to hear will be the rhetorical equivalent of wallpaper—they’re going to try to cover up the ugly exposed surface and nothing more.

And why would they do more? If they admit that Trump is a fascist, they’re calling one-third of their voters fascist. Will they do that? And this predicament raises the interesting question of how one-third of their voters came to admire a neo-fascist and open racist in the first place. Gee, it can’t have anything to do with the kind of rhetoric and “harmless jokes” about the current president and about the 47 percent that Republican leaders have winked at for seven years, can it?
The answers are no and yes, which means the candidates and leaders won't push back too hard.  Sigh.  Too bad, as Godwin's Law does not apply when one is talking about actual fascists.

*I'll return to the other half about Hillary Clinton and the Democrats later.

**That's an opportunity for a Examiner.com article.


  1. I reckon that Weaselwig will eventually spout enough stuff that's so cumulatively vile that he will choke himself with his own foot in the mouth. Which should give rise to a new phrase: "Trumping the Shark."

    All is not lost for the Repugs, tho! Godwin's Law might not apply, but Overton's Window does. T-rump will have lowered the level of acceptable discourse to a new high of hatred. So they can screech even nastier during the time of President Clinton II. Get ready for non-stop jabber about menstrual blood. Winning!

    1. Yes, The Penguin will eventually shoot himself in the foot while it's in his mouth, but that may not happen until spring at the earliest. It's possible, but not likely, that he could last until the general election. Trump vs. Clinton would be very entertaining, although entertainment value shouldn't be the sole consideration for an election.

      As for the Overton Window being shifted, ugh, that's right. Too bad it's morning. If I were reading this after 5 PM, I'd be tempted to pour myself a good stiff drink. Instead, I'll warm up my coffee.

  2. If the polling reflects the true feelings of the primary base, then there's little the GOP establishment can do. Trump is just eating up all the oxygen in the room.
    I'm convinced that any direct assault on Trump will fail, because his base is so far into Angry mode that they won't listen to reason and will believe the attacks are just the Establishment getting "their" way again.
    If the GOP is going to do anything, it's going to do something with the delegation counts, trying to tweak the results subtly enough to keep Trump from winning outright, and trying to get this all into the convention where they can rig the rules to let Rubio/Jeb/whoever's in Second Place that the Establishment trusts "win" the convention.
    What is most troubling for the GOP is this: none of their potential regular election possibilities have favorable numbers. Almost all of them are working with UNfavorables in high digits: Carson is the only one with a positive ratio http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/11/18/ready-new-poll-finds-that-donald-trump-is-viewed-as-one-of-the-most-unfavorable-republican-candidates/ It's almost a moot point: whoever gets the nomination is going to win a broken GOP party that may not unite behind the nominee as their standard-bearer.

    1. Short of Trump blowing himself up, which hasn't happened yet. The best they can do is watch the more mainstream candidates drop out out by one and hope their supporters line up behind Rubio or Jeb! Then they can hope the primary voters in Blue States vote for the establishment standard bearers over Trump or Cruz. That might be enough that the GOP equivalent of superdelegates vote against Trump and for Rubio or Jeb! That could put one of them ahead of Trump or Cruz. That might not be enough for an outright majority. We could end up with a brokered convention that settles on Cruz or drafts Mitt. I could revive the Willard the Rat label for that!

      As for the party being unable to unite behind a standard-bearer, that's almost a given now. However, we'll see.

      BTW, Krugman, Abramowitz, Nate Silver, and Ezra Klein are having quite a conversation about how realistic Trump's chances are. I might have to write up something about it after the holiday.