The Race for the GOP Nomination - Post-Thanksgiving Thread

You can keep the tip.

I’ll keep an eye out for you.

Lots of new polls in the past day or so.

Douglas Fulmer & Assoc. 1/18-19: Cruz 27%, Trump 25%, Carson 11%, Rubio 9%, Bush 7%.
[del]Lorax[/del] Loras College 1/13-18: Trump 26%, Cruz 25%, Rubio 13%, Carson 8%, Bush 6%.

Everyone else is at or under 4% in both polls. Looks like Iowa’s held steady over the past week or two: Trump and Cruz in a dead heat, Rubio still slightly ahead of Carson for third.

New Hampshire:
UNH, 1/13-18: Trump 34%, Cruz 14%, Rubio 10%, Bush 10%, Kasich, Christie, Paul 6% each, Fiorina 4%.
Gravis, 1/15-18: Trump 35%, Kasich 15%, Cruz 10%, Rubio 9%, Christie 8%, Bush 7%, Fiorina 5%.

Everyone else is at or below 3% in both polls. Trump’s lead continues to hold, and there’s a bit of a jumble way down below him. The Kasich surge to 20% that ARG showed was clearly an outlier, but his UNH number looks similarly outlier-ish. And the notion that Establishment voters will coalesce around one candidate is increasingly problematic, because nobody knows which candidate to get behind.

However, my takeaway from the Gallup favorable/unfavorables of the various candidates among Republicans that Nate Silver includes here is that Rubio’s the only one who’s got much of a chance of turning a good NH showing into something more, but he continues to fail to break out of the pack. And if he’s third in Iowa, but only barely ahead of Carson, that’s not going to give him much of a bounce going into NH.

Nate Silver says that one of his big reasons for being skeptical of Trump was that, surely, the GOP Establishment would want to bring him down, and would ultimately succeed.

But he says he’s had to change his views on that, since (a) there hasn’t been any evidence of a concerted attack on Trump, and (b) to the extent that the Establishment is ganging up on anyone, it’s Cruz.

My reasons for thinking Trump would eventually fold were different. My longtime take is that even most of the GOP base expects their Presidential candidate to look, well, Presidential. The only time I thought Trump might be self-destructing was an incident where he seemed to be turning into too much of a buffoon for even his fans to get behind. But then the ISIS terror attacks in Paris happened the very next day, and blew that out of the minds of anyone who’d noticed to begin with.

The other part of that that I thought that Republicans might eventually wise up to was that there are no details, no nitty-gritty, behind any of Trump’s proposals. They’re all pretty much off the top of his head, like your blowhard Fox-watching uncle at Thanksgiving. My belief used to be that while most people weren’t going to be interested in those details, they at least wanted the sense that those details were there, that their candidate had some clue of how to make his ideas happen.

It’s appeared for awhile that that’s not the case now, but I figured that if GOP voters still cared about that sort of thing, it would show up as we got close to voting time in the early states. So far, though, not a sign of it. And of course, most of the other candidates’ policy proposals have little more detail than Trump’s do.

Also, consider the attempts of his rivals to challenge him. He’s wiped the floor with Bush. He took Cruz’ ‘New York values’ bit and tossed it back in his face. And Rubio seems to be more interested in taking on Christie and Kasich than going after Trump. Everybody wants somebody else to knock Trump off his pedestal.

All this is by way of saying that, damn, Trump could actually be the GOP nominee. It’s harder and harder to see what, exactly, will keep this from happening.

NOW is it different?

Sure, just not in a way that seems connected to the argument you made in the other thread:

At that point, the race was really down to three candidates - and still is, although Rubio seems to be running out of time, and Cruz isn’t looking as strong as he was a few weeks ago. There’s no ‘anything could happen’ here. It’s just ‘WTF, the unlikely candidate who’s leading in the polls could actually win.’

Whoa! Two new polls in Iowa have Trump up by double digits over Cruz.

CNN-ORC 1/15-20: Trump 37, Cruz 26, Rubio 14, Carson 6, everyone else 3 or under.
Emerson College 1/18-20: Trump 33, Cruz 23, Rubio 14, Carson 9, everyone else 5 or under.

There has been one last theory of how Trump will lose this, a combination of ‘his voters won’t show up, he has no ground game’ and the old ‘momentum’ chestnut. The idea is that once Cruz beats Trump in Iowa, due in part to Trump’s supporters not voting in anything like their poll numbers, Trump’s NH supporters will get discouraged and will switch allegiance and/or vote at even lower rates there. And the Establishment-lane voters will coalesce sufficiently around one of their guys so that the lucky Establishment candidate outpolls Trump in NH, and it’s all over for Trump from there.

Maybe that’s how it would play out, maybe not. But it depends on Trump not winning Iowa. And now, with the Iowa caucuses only 10 days away, it looks like Trump’s moving into a big lead there.

If he wins Iowa, it’s hard to see how it’s not game over.

It’s far from game over, because I still don’t think Trump can get a majority. It just makes a brokered convention more likely, as Trump enters with about 40% of the delegates and 3 or 4 other candidates come in with fewer, but significant, delegates adding up to the other 60%.

I think it’s more likely game over for Trump if Trump loses Iowa.

You hope.

I don’t see a narrow loss to Cruz in Iowa hurting Trump’s NH support. And after a NH win, where’s someone going to slow him down?

If he goes into the convention with 40%, with none of the other candidates particularly close, and gets denied the nomination, that will rupture the party, whether or not he runs as an independent.

But if he’s the leading candidate and gets 35-40% of the votes in the primaries, he will get a greater share of delegates than that.

First of all, there are some large winner-take-all states (FL, OH, NJ) which he would likely win.

Second, the states that aren’t winner-take-all have their delegates distributed in various ways, and pretty much any way other than strictly proportional division of delegates magnifies the advantage of the candidate winning with a plurality.

Some are strictly proportional, some are proportional among those who clear a threshold (and if only 2 do and Trump has a plurality, then he wins a majority of that state’s delegates). Some are WTA by Congressional district (CA) or the winner of each district gets 2 of that district’s 3 delegates (GA, TX). The fact is that Trump could easily rack up 51% of the delegates with only 35-40% of the votes, if nobody else is particularly close.

Those large winner take all states have favorite sons in the race. Favorite sons who might be motivated to stay in just to deny him delegates.

Would be nice if Bush would get out though. Then Florida could be left for Rubio.

As I have pointed out previously, as the Republican convention rules stand, no candidate can be put into nomination at the convention unless he has majorities (not pluralities) in at least 8 states (including the non-states like PR, DC, VI, etc). (Rule 40(b), pdf)

If Trump gets 40% of the vote, what are the odds that any other candidate can overcome this hurdle?

I’ve only lived in FL for almost 2 years now. And I’m mostly in suburban greater Miami, which is not natural Trump country within FL. So I’m not ideally suited to giving anecdata about FL voters.

But my man-on-the-scene reporting is that substantially all the home made yard signs or professionally printed bumper stickers I see are for Trump. I have yet to see my first self-labeled Jeb! supporter.

The Trump stickers do heavily skew towards the jacked-up pickup trucks with fishing or hunting stickers on them. But I also see them on nondescript [del]gray[/del] silver Toyotas.

It’s early days yet, but I also see more leftover Obama/Biden stickers than I do fresh HRC stickers. I’m not sure what to make of that.

Overall around here there’s not yet much evidence of an impending election. In absolute numbers I’m not seeing very many stickers and signs. But the few I do see are substantially all Trump.

Excellent point. The way things generally work, it’s hard to see how more than one candidate would ever get nominated. Of course, rules can be and often are modified at conventions.

It seems to me that the establishment has resigned itself to a Trump nomination. They seem to realize that Rubio is their last hope and he isn’t gaining any traction. Bush and Kasich are dead in the water and Christie has to many skeletons in his closet.

Bush looks dead, but Kasich is 2nd in NH, and 2nd can turn into first if Trump gets stopped in Iowa.

As you can see here, McCain didn’t overtake Romney in NH until just before the Iowa caucuses. If Trump looks weak, Kasich could take NH:!

Anyway, thank God for Gary Johnson, saving me the trouble of voting for a Democrat if Trump gets the nomination.

Who? No, I’m not kidding, who?

The Libertarian candidate.

Hmmm . . . Bob Dole now finds Trump more acceptable than Cruz. And he might not be the only party elder who feels that way.

I think I need more popcorn. :slight_smile:

At this point, the only way this race could make any less sense would be if a Wookie from Endor were running.