TL;DR Meme Version of Taylor’s Post

In case my 1000+ word post on Trump and the GOP field was too much, here’s the meme version:

Brace Yourself Winter is Coming. - Brace Yourself, GOP Winnowing is Coming

Having read some of the comments on my post, and having thought a bit more about what I am trying to convey, the issue is this:  by the time the voting starts there won’t be 17 candidates running.  And whatever the number of candidates who run in Iowa and NH, that number will be smaller by SC and soon thereafter.  Many of these candidacies (I am looking at you, Rick Perry) are already showing signs that they are not sustainable.  The support from those candidates will go elsewhere and while Trump may get that support, it seems likely that a lot of that support will be to other more traditional candidates (because if you are inclined to support Trump, you are probably already doing so).

That is why I noted that 78 > 22 (and even if the 22 grows, there is still a lot of support elsewhere–the question remains as to Trump’s ceiling.  I think he is near it, but I may yet be wrong (I base this on historical trends and the nature of his appeal–and again would argue that if GOP voters currently supporting other candidates really liked the kind of thing Trump has to offer they would already be supporting Trump).

Still, we shall see.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, US Politics, , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. 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. JohnMcC says:

    You surprised me with this 2d post, Dr Taylor. I just dashed off a couple of paragraphs with the message roughly parallel to the illustration above. Assuming that — as we are assured — Mr Trump will never be the nominee/President (take your pick) still his success so far tells us a good deal about the Republican coalition, it’s internal weakness and the failure of it’s leadership.

    Watching and reading about nat’l politics over quite a few decades I have somewhere picked up the contention that strong insurgencies inside a party — and even more so a 3d party run based within an established party — are precursors of a major shake-up/break-up of that party. The template for this thought is the Wallace candidacies of ’68 and ’72. Gov Wallace based his rebellion at the Dem conventions solidly within the D-party as it existed (the old NewDeal coalition including the SolidSouth) and then in his independent campaign led the old Dixiecrats right out of the party. It was very little effort for the Nixon-led Repubs to pick them up. (There is a lot unsaid about the Goldwater candidacy, the Mississippi ‘Freedom Democrats’ and the Civil Rights Acts in this analysis but it generally is congruent with my thesis, I believe, and is left out because I strive for brevity — believe it or not.)

    As I said in my response to your ‘original’ original post — if the R-party was a stock, I’d be shorting it with every cent I could raise.

  2. @JohnMcC: I am curious (honestly) as to what is surprising about this post: because even if Trump is nominated, it will come because the field is winnowed to 1.

    Ultimately, though, you are making the kind of argument that I am trying to quell a bit here: the idea that we have enough evidence to suggest Trump is some kind of watershed. We do not have that kind of evidence yet.

    By definition you can’t assert someone is the new face of the party at 22% when there is so much support currently being given to other candidates.

  3. gVOR08 says:

    IIRC, the number of self declared Republicans is about 35% of the electorate. If you take the Crazification Factor of 27% and assume, as seems reasonable, that they’re all Republicans, Trump’s ceiling is 27/35 = 77% of Republicans.

    From Wiktionary:
    trumpery ‎(plural trumperies)
    1. worthless finery; bric-a-brac or junk
    2. nonsense
    3. (obsolete) deceit; fraud

  4. gVOR08 says:

    More seriously, history may not repeat, but it’s the best guide we’ve got. I expect another round of conservative flavor of the month, with Bush emerging at the end with the nomination bought fair and square. But I get less confident of that prediction as time goes by.

  5. bookdragon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I think the perception that Trump is the new face of party, despite his ~22% rating, is because nearly all the other candidates are echoing him. If he were being challenged on his assertions or proposals it would be different, but he is not. Largely, the other 16 are either ditto-ing what he says (like repealing or ignoring the 14th Amendment) or taking his statements and trying to out-trump Trump by cranking the crazy to 11 (Trump talks a wall and mass deportation. Carson follows by mentioning the idea of using drones to patrol the border).

  6. @bookdragon:

    I think the perception that Trump is the new face of party, despite his ~22% rating, is because nearly all the other candidates are echoing him.

    There is some of that going on (as I noted in the other post).

    However, the main reason for the perception in question in the media coverage (and I suppose I am guilty of the hype, after a fashion, as I have written numerous posts on this subject, but none about other candidates).

  7. @gVOR08:

    IIRC, the number of self declared Republicans is about 35% of the electorate. If you take the Crazification Factor of 27% and assume, as seems reasonable, that they’re all Republicans, Trump’s ceiling is 27/35 = 77% of Republicans.

    I don’t follow your calculation.

  8. JohnMcC says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: First, by ‘surprising’ I meant that I didn’t expect a 2d post on the same topic. Did not mean that the content is surprising. Sorry that I wasn’t clear.

    And I guess you’re advocating a bit of wait-and-see before deciding that the Trump phenomenon has the strength to amount to a crisis with the Repub party. OK.

    I was hoping to get from you an idea of where that line lays but it’s perfectly reasonable to have an opinion but to hold it close to the vest. I’m just an internet-roaming non-expert who has no stake in any of this so it’s easy for me to blather on about something I understand poorly. But I’m also content to wait-and-see. Still, I’m impressed at the vehemence with which Trump supporters have turned on the so-called R-party “leadership”.

    Thanx for the reply.

  9. @JohnMcC:

    by ‘surprising’ I meant that I didn’t expect a 2d post on the same topic

    The honest truth is that the original reason for the post was that I was overly enamored of my nerd-joke “Winnowing is coming.” I ended up adding the rest because I thought it helped clarify my position.

    Mostly I am arguing that I think conclusions are being drawn about Trump that are premature at best.

  10. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I agree that they are premature (for reasons beyond those that you note and that I have noted in other posts here), but I suspect that some on this forum may be hoping for Trump to be a force to permit the possibility for the same kind of jettisoning of the radical element and triangulation back toward the center that the Democrats accomplished at the end of the Reagan era.

  11. JohnMcC says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: Regarding the ‘jettisoning of the radical element and triangulation back to the center’ by the R’s in the future. It is desperately to be hoped for. I was once a Repub — my first vote was for Mr Nixon in ’68 — and have respect for real conservatism. The country as a whole would be infinitely better off with two sane parties.

    But for myself, the picture is of a party suffering strong seismic forces. One side or the other will prevail — which one? One side will lose — what do they do?

  12. bookdragon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: No doubt media coverage is a big part of it. Trump is loud and outrageous == eyeballs == ratings.

    However that does not excuse the other candidates from having the moral courage to stand up to him. If one of them really wanted to differentiate himself (herself if I thought Carly was running for anything but a VP slot), he’d stand up and call Trump out on his immigrant-bashing and flirtation with encouraging the white supremacists in the base. But no one has really done that. The closest any of them come has been rife feckless waffling (God forbid you offend the bigots – those people are reliable GOP votes).

    Abraham Lincoln should be hitting 1 million rpm in his grave by now.

  13. Tillman says:

    @bookdragon: Ah, but someone did stand up to Trump’s ludicrous blithering. That someone was Rick Perry. His fortunes haven’t done well since. There might be a bit of a Cantor effect going on — his loss is being read into various omens it doesn’t belong with — but certainly some handlers, and even some candidates, think Perry’s loss in the polls right after tackling Trump are linked.

    And look at what he said too!

    “He offers a barking carnival act that can be best described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued,” Perry charged during an address at the Willard Hotel in downtown Washington. “Let no one be mistaken: Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.”

    That’s some hardcore “telling it like it is” that I happen to agree with, and bam! Total loser for Republican primary voters. Then again, I suppose he did decide to go to bat for John McCain.

  14. @bookdragon:

    However that does not excuse the other candidates from having the moral courage to stand up to him

    Agreed.

    @Tillman:

    Ah, but someone did stand up to Trump’s ludicrous blithering. That someone was Rick Perry

    Yes, but how well was he doing before that? 😉

  15. dazedandconfused says:

    The media finds Trump so entertaining it is likely they will likely drag the GOP to a Blutarsky Crisis. Trump’s roll is being met with mostly silence now but he will need an Otter to fully back him. Seem unlikely “Otter” will consider the situation so lost that pointlessness and stupidity is the best course of action.

    Zooming way out I see the media as having a vested interest in playing up the drama of Presidential races as much as possible. That is where the river of political money mostly winds up. The media’s deadly seriousness is shown by the amount of time they give to elections years before they happen. Turn on the news or crack a newspaper and the headlines are about who might run and who might not.

    It’s ridiculous for everybody but the media’s bean counters, I reckon.

  16. Tillman says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Hey, Perry needed a way to stand out from the field. He chose to criticize Donald Trump as a ticket into the debates. No one expected it to backfire, if that’s even what happened.

    Need I remind everyone the conventional wisdom at the beginning was Trump would flame out in less than a month?

  17. @Tillman: Perry was already in the single digits and flirting with being in bottom tier already. I am not sure that we can even statistically measure the effects of what you are asserting.

    And yes: I will admit that Trump is doing better than I originally thought would be the case. But the distance from where he was to where he is and that from where he is to the nomination are vastly different.

    As I noted in the other thread: the real campaign hasn’t even started yet. We are at the stage of cable TV debates and butter cows. It is the preseason.

  18. de stijl says:

    New PPP poll out. Trump is 35% in NH.

    PPP’s new New Hampshire poll finds Donald Trump in the strongest position of any poll we’ve done anywhere since he entered the race. Trump laps the Republican field with 35% to 11% for John Kasich, 10% for Carly Fiorina, 7% each for Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, 6% for Ben Carson, 4% each for Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, and 3% for Rand Paul. Candidates falling outside the top ten in the state are Rick Perry at 2%, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Rick Santorum at 1%, and Jim Gilmore, Mike Huckabee, and Bobby Jindal all at less than 1%. Everyone does have at least one supporter on this poll.

  19. de stijl says:

    The thing I didn’t foresee is the rise of Kasich and Fiorina.I know that Fiorina got major props for her performance last week in the losers debate, but still.

    Bush and Walker are tied at 7%. Ouch.

  20. To partially repeat myself:

    Trust me: there is going to be a post from me at some point that either looks back to point out how I had been right about Trump and why what I argued in this post and elsewhere came to pass or one in which I have to state how thoroughly wrong I was. Clearly I think the first scenario to be radically more probable than the second,

    And really, all I am arguing here, ultimately, is that getting caught up in the fact that Trump is ahead right now is a mistake and with this fragmented a field no one can be considered a serious front-runner.

    And like I said above: the real campaign hasn’t even started yet. We are at the stage of cable TV debates and butter cows. It is the preseason.

  21. de stijl says:

    35 > 22

    Insurgencies never happen, and when they do, they fail.

  22. @de stijl: Funny, I thought you didn’t want to talk about that any more.

    All I can say is this: you need to figure out what you mean by the term and I would recommend re-examining what you think are appropriate historical analogies.

    Bottom line: when Trump is still in the lead in early March, you can say “I told you so” and you will be correct. If Trump is nominated, you can really, really, say how right you were. No worries. I will hope for some grudging acknowledgment, however, if things don’t work out that.

    We shall see how it plays out.

  23. @de stijl: And in October 2007, McCain was in third place behind Romney and Giuliani (link).

    McCain (the eventual nominee) not only won that contest, but Rudy came in single digits.

    It is the preseason.

  24. de stijl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I’m flummoxed.

    I don’t really know why we’re beefing.

    No fooling. What is our problem?

    We have a minor disagreement about whether Trump will be the eventual nominee and how we got to that point where that might happen and yet you treat my comments as if I’ve slapped a loved one.

    I truly don’t get it.

  25. de stijl says:

    Who is Jim Gilmore and why is he running for President?

  26. @de stijl:

    We have a minor disagreement about whether Trump will be the eventual nominee and how we got to that point where that might happen and yet you treat my comments as if I’ve slapped a loved one.

    This strikes me as an odd interpretation of the comments I made above (as well as of our entire interchange on the subject), but so it goes.

    No doubt text is difficult to interpret. But I will refrain from future such interchanges.

  27. de stijl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    You are venturing into stalking behavior.

  28. @de stijl: Ok, so responding to a comment directed at me in a post I wrote is “venturing into stalking behavior”? If you don’t want to engage me, why comment on my posts and direct comments to me?

    (I was going to ignore the comment, but the logic here was so strange that I decided to respond).