Thursday, August 13, 2015

Reasoning With Trump Supporters

When you do it, try to address the larger underlying problems, not just the problems with Trump. Otherwise, there's a good chance they'll just move over to some other bad candidate, like Ben Carson.

A lot of Republicans have too low a view of the Republican leadership and too high a view of the American people, for example. They don't know much about electability. They think voters are more conservative than they actually are, and they underestimate how much physical appearance, communication skills, reputation, and other such factors determine how people vote. Something that needs to be emphasized is that we don't vote alone. We vote with other people, and those other people limit our options. At this stage in history, the corruption of the American people limits our options much more than some Republicans realize or want to admit.


  1. You are beginning to sound like Karl Rove and his "electability" mentality. But look at where Rove's electability thinking got us in the last two elections: Obama and neutered Republican establishment.

    1. Alan,

      Concern about electability isn't exclusive to Karl Rove. It's a standard component of political analysis, across the political spectrum. Some people irrationally ignore it or underestimate it. Sometimes people even deny that they're concerned about it while demonstrating in their actions that they actually are concerned about it. But those people seem to be exceptions to the rule.

      If you aren't concerned about electability, then why support somebody like Trump or Bobby Jindal (who you recently referred to positively)? Why not just write in the name of a friend, an uncle, a political commentator, somebody serving in your local government, or somebody else you agree with more than you agree with somebody like Trump or Jindal? Because you know that a candidate has to meet a threshold of electability. You just aren't consistent about it.

      Your reference to concern over electability not preventing losses in the last two presidential campaigns doesn't make sense. It's not as though the winners in those two elections, the Democrats, weren't concerned about electability. If the Republicans hadn't been concerned about electability, it doesn't follow that we would have gotten two Republican wins. What we could have gotten, instead, were two losses by an even larger margin. If we'd nominated, say, Herman Cain in 2012, Obama probably would have been reelected by an even bigger percentage of the vote. How is that a preferable approach to take? And what about the many Republican victories in recent years (taking over the House in 2010, taking over the Senate in 2014, winning a majority of governorships, winning a majority of state legislatures)? Those campaigns were run with a concern for electability. Why ignore those? Since electability is about a candidate's chances of getting elected, what sense would it make to say that getting rid of our concern for electability would produce more election victories?

      As for a "neutered Republican establishment", I've already documented the inaccuracy of that assessment. The Republicans have been successfully blocking much of what the Democrats would have done if they'd controlled Congress, they've publicly made the case for conservative positions on many issues, they've drafted and passed some conservative legislation, etc. Republicans outside of Congress, such as Republican governors and Republican state legislatures and Republican judges who haven't been facing the limitations Congress has faced with a Democratic president in office, have achieved many good things. Go to the web sites and other sources I cited in my 2008 post on John McCain and Barack Obama. Go look at what the American Conservative Union, National Right to Life, the National Rifle Association, etc. say about the achievements of the Republicans in recent years. They've done a lot of good, and you keep ignoring the documentation.

  2. Jason can speak for himself, but I believe Jason's criterion is that electability is a necessary, but insufficient criterion. Electability is not the only consideration, but voter for a predictable loser is equivalent to voting for a Democrat.