There are two ways the Republican candidate can win the presidency: 1) finding the correct calculus to get to 270 electoral votes, or 2) busting up the electoral paradigm. Those who look at option 1 see that they need to flip Florida (Bush, Rubio) AND flip some of the Great Lake states (Kasich, Walker) AND re-capture Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire or any combination of other swing states. Using this philosophy, one would target seniors and Hispanics in Florida and discuss rust belt issues (i.e. trade) in the Midwest. In other words, they would pick the players and the issues to specifically garner those swing state voters.
Those supporting option 2 also realize that those same swing states need to be flipped, but they would cast a wider net. Let’s get 20% of the African-American vote. Impossible? There are some polls that show Donald Trump getting that type of support. I understand that SurveyUSA and these others might be outliers or are questionable, but is anybody else getting these types of marks?
How about those McCain voters who stayed home in 2012? They clearly fall into the “disaffected voter” category to whom Trump is appealing. If they didn’t come out to stop Obama in 2012, we certainly can’t rely on them to come out and stop any Democrat in 2016. The GOP better give them a candidate they can vote for and I don’t think that candidate’s name is Jeb Bush.
Should we try to win the millennials? They’ve already pulled the lever for the “celebrity candidate” in the past, but they’ve also seen what that hope-and-change has gotten them. They see a limited number of jobs, they see their families with stagnant incomes, and they now understand that good economic news on the TV doesn’t apply to them when they’re broke! Trump is rich, he’s got lots of money, I mean he’s really got lots of money. Who else can appeal to millennials in that way?
Now I love [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ]. I’m a big fan of Scott Walker and Ben Carson. Marco, Carly, and Bobby are good, and even Jeb will do in a pinch. But the GOP voters picked Mitt Romney and [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ] in the last two cycles, and neither of them could defeat the most unqualified presidential candidate in US history! One could say that the presidential-election Democrat voter is just as passionate about their candidate as the non-presidential-election conservative voter is in the off-years. The problem is that there are just too many Democrat loyalists and too few Republican ones.
The Buckley Rule says to vote for the “rightwardmost viable candidate.” I’m under no illusion that Trump is rightwardmost of any candidate. I’d bet real money that Trump has no idea about Federalist 10, Friedrich Hayek, or Proverbs 22:4. And sorry Hugh Hewitt, he hasn’t read “The Looming Tower.”
That being said, Trump is the most viable candidate in the general election. He’s not playing by Republican rules, he won’t play the Democrat rules, he’s won’t play by the media rules. Trump makes his own political rules. He will win the support of those who haven’t given the Republican Party any look whatsoever. He’ll even win those Republicans who haven’t given Trump any look whatsoever. He’ll increase the GOP share of minorities and millennials. He’ll flip those swing states while making Michigan and New Jersey competitive. I don’t see any other candidate reaching that high bar.