Paris + GOP Primary Electorate = ??

We are going to learn a lot about the GOP electorate in the coming weeks.

Once the events of the last couple of days settles into the American consciousness, we will have a very interesting opportunity to see the degree to which the GOP electorate is truly willing to elect an amateur to the White House.  Or, more accurately, whether roughly a half of said electorate really is willing to continue to consider Donald Trump and Ben Carson serious contenders to be the most important executive officer in the world.

Has the party truly evolved to the point that they truly believe a no-nothing is the appropriate person to serve as POTUS?  (And when it comes to foreign policy, Ben Carson has demonstrated a profound lack of knowledge and understanding).  Or, has the party decided that unbridled belligerence and vague declarations of will and leadership is all it takes to deal with complex foreign policy issues, a la Trump?

Another question:  will Jeb Bush finally have formulated a means to address his brother’s mistakes in the region?

Stay tuned to find out!

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, National Security, Terrorism, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    I’ll venture a guess based on nothing but instinct. I think it helps Ted Cruz. Cruz is at the center of the Venn diagram of idiot religious fanatics (Carson voters) and belligerent louts (Trump voters.) It’s easy to imagine Cruz killing lots of Muslims. Rubio will make the right noises, but he’s your kid brother, not your scourge of all things Muslim.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Or, has the party decided that unbridled belligerence and vague declarations of will and leadership is all it takes to deal with complex foreign policy issues, a la Trump?

    Steven, you’re a little late to the game. The GOP electorate decided “that unbridled belligerence and vague declarations of will and leadership is all it takes to deal with complex foreign policy issues,” when they nominated George W Bush. Unfortunately so did a not insignificant number of swing voters.

  3. @OzarkHillbilly: I understand where you are coming from, but a) Bush did not campaign on such in 2000–indeed, he was a ,”compassionate conservative” who was highly skeptical about nation building, and b) Trump is several orders of magnitude beyond Bush in this arena. Trump combines utter belligerence with promises of magic mixed in with a clear amount of total ignorance.

  4. (And if we are talking about the primary electorate, then how he campaigned matters for the discussion.)

  5. ElizaJane says:

    For a quick insight into the Republican mind on this matter, check out the article in today’s NY Post: “It’s time for Obama to Make a Decision: Lead us or Resign”

    http://nypost.com/2015/11/14/its-time-for-obama-to-make-a-choice-lead-us-or-resign/?utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_source=NYPTwitter&utm_medium=SocialFlow

    Basically the argument goes — Obama doesn’t say the words “Radical Islam!” Or the word “War!” (Hillary Clinton’s nuanced response last night drew exactly the same rebukes from the Right). He is not committed to winning.

    So they want a person who says the right aggressive words and acts like they are committed to winning. I mean, could you better describe Donald Trump if you tried?

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Trump combines utter belligerence with promises of magic mixed in with a clear amount of total ignorance.

    Last I recall, it was Bush who talked of an “Axis of Evil” and said things like “Bring ’em on.” You are correct tho in that he was skeptical of nation building, so skeptical he filled his administration with neocons who thought we could invade countries willy nilly, destroy their existing governing structures and infrastructures, then invest next to nothing in what we wanted to replace them with. What is more, his admin thought the populace would be so grateful we would be welcomed as liberators, pay for the war out of their own pockets and shower us with oil in thanks.

    @Steven L. Taylor: And if we are talking about the primary electorate, we would do well to remember that the vast majority of them think GWB was a foreign policy genius unappreciated in his time but that history will vindicate him. In other words, they want another GWB just without the B on the end of the name.

  7. @OzarkHillbilly: you cannot equate Bush’s 2000 campaign and Trump’s, regardless of what one wants to say about Bush.

  8. There is plenty to criticize about Bush’s foreign policy, but that isn’t the comparative point to make here. That is a different issue. I don’t disagree with be long about Bush’s rhetoric.

  9. gVOR08 says:

    It was looking like Trump and Carson both might have peaked, so it’ll be hard to separate out the effect of Paris. But my guess is it will favor Trump and/or Cruz. Trump because he’s the most shameless liar and completely unconstrained by any record or by reality. Cruz because he doesn’t have to act to come off as an a rabid Christian Crusader. I don’t think the base will be looking for a calm, steady hand.

  10. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    I realize that your questions were rhetorical, but all the same, yes, yes, and no.