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William C. Altreuter
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Thursday, November 12, 2015

I haven't been watching the Republican Presidential debates because why bother? Anyone who has been paying attention since 1980 or so knows that the policies that are instituted by Republican Presidents are bad policies that cause actual harm, and the huffing and puffing that goes on in the preliminaries is pretty meaningless. As a friend notes elsewhere, if you could own a mutual fund that was fully invested under either Democratic or Republican presidents for the last 100 years or 50 years or 15 years you really would want the Democrat's mutual fund... by a lot. I'm not so sure that the Republicans that get to sit in The Big Chair are even the ones that are calling the shots. St. Ronnie was non compos, GHWB basically went with the same team, and was so disconnected from reality that he was dumbfounded by basic consumer purchases, and, well, we know who ran the W show.

I don't know what shadowy forces are lurking behind the current group. Trump, I suspect, is really just making an ego play. In a way that makes him the most dangerous: if a dog ever actually caught a car it wouldn't know what do do with it, and would walk away. If Trump were to attain the Presidency he'd just turn it over to a group of fawning lackys.  One of the small pleasures of observing Republicans at a remove is watching as the political press keeps getting it wrong, but  it appears that the columnists think it is going to come down to Ted Cruz vs. Marco Rubio.  Cruz is an asshole, but he is an asshole in a way that reminds me of Nixon. Rubio seems like a puff of air-- weightless, colorless and largely undefined. He is Vice-presidential timber I think, but I've been wrong before. Either way, it looks like the two characters that the conventional wisdom believes will come out on top (this week) are Hispanic, and that's kind of interesting. Republicans have been saying for years that they need to reach out for the Hispanic vote, but they are really terrible at it. Part of the reason for this is that they don't really understand what the Hispanic vote consists of. People from Puerto Rico? Mexican descended Americans? Cubano-Americans? Some other sort of brown persons? They don't know. Hell, Cruz is Canadian.

The other problem they have is that they think Hispanics should vote for them even though they almost never support any policy that resembles things that the Hispanic demographic wants. Rubio tried, and that turned into his biggest liability.

All of which leads me to wonder about Hispanic voting behavior and what studies have been conducted about it. On an intuitive level I doubt that there is a Hispanic block, as such, on a national or state-wide level, although maybe Cubano-Americans in Florida are an exception. I think I want to look into this.

| Comments:
I think the enthusiastic embrace of Operation Wetback by the GOP base has settled the direction the Hispanic vote is going. At least, I hope so.
 
Not that long ago, the conventional wisdom was that Jeb! would be the cream rising to the top, once the orangutan flamed out, and now the brain surgeon is doing that job, not that I think he stands any more of a chance.

Cruz and Rubio pretend their ethnic backgrounds will stand them in good stead wtih a bloc of voters more diverse than they can acknowlege and for a substantial number of whom their policies and rhetoric are beyond insulting, as you say.

But with fewer mainstream candidates retaining a seat at the grownups' table, the pool of remaining candidates becomes more and more alarming. Trump's demagoguery is baseless and combative, but appeals, remarkably to a redneck constituency and will take him a long way with what now consitutes the Republican base: angry white people who think government = business and taxes are for other people. Carson will carry the evangelical loons and anyone who thinks a flat tax is a good idea. Fiorina will be left by the side of the road before too much longer, burned out and finally discredited for her failures in businesses; she's still in it because she's a woman, so like Hillary anit-matter, just like a lot of Carson's appeal is in being African American, and therefore Obama anti-matter (but now that Obama's Presidency is coming to its natural end, Republicans have no reason to actually try a black candidate).

Paul won't last much longer, now, and neither will Jeb!, the way he's been going. So Cruz & Rubio? At what point will Cruz attempt a deal with Rubio? Has that ever happened, that a ticket was formed prior to the primaries?
 
No, it's never happened. As close as we've come was in 1980, when the Reagan people floated the idea of putting Gerald Ford on the ticket. (http://mentalfloss.com/article/25085/co-presidency-talks-1980-republican-national-convention)
 

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