WeeklyStandard: In the aftermath of the 2012 election, conservatives/Republicans generally split into two camps about where the movement or party needed to head next. One camp thought the key was to do a better job of making the case for conservative principles and policies (and to do a better job of developing specific policies consistent with conservative principles), especially to Main Street Americans, many of whom are blue-collar voters.This proves to the moderate RINO camp that "the key was to do a better job of making the case for conservative principles and policies, especially to Main Street Americans, many of whom are blue-collar voters," following the '08 and '12 losses. Yet, this message falls on deaf ears among the media elites and the political establishment. While they're settling to assist Trump over Cruz, they're tirelessly anointing Rubio as their go-to boy. But why would the Republican Party nominate someone for president who has such an electability problem when it comes to illegal immigration, amnesty and the threat to citizenry and sovereignty?
This camp was particularly frustrated with Mitt Romney's failure to fight on the issue of Obamacare or to champion a conservative alternative to it, and it argued that Republicans couldn't win national elections without advancing a conservative message that would appeal to the old Reagan Democrats. It blamed the 2012 loss squarely on Romney's shoulders (and on the shoulders of those who failed to answer the bell and thus gave Romney an open path to the nomination).
A second camp maintained that Romney's defeat was the nearly unavoidable result of changing racial demographics, and it set out to pursue open-borders immigration "reform," more lenient criminal-sentencing policies, and the like, in an effort to try to negate, or at least to minimize, Democrats' success at playing racial-identity politics. Apart from these targeted efforts, which largely seemed designed to exonerate Romney and his allies, this camp showed little interest in changing the way Republicans do business.
As has been widely reported, Donald Trump's appeal has mostly been to blue-collar voters, and he has risen to the top of the polls by blasting open-border immigration policies and the business-as-usual way of Republican—and American—politics. It is therefore striking that the Iowa entrance polling suggests that Trump lost among blue-collar voters (or, more specifically, among voters without college degrees) to Ted Cruz.
According to entrance polling, among the roughly half of all Republican voters without a college degree, Cruz won 30 percent of the vote, eclipsing Trump's 28 percent. Marco Rubio was a distant third, winning the support of just 17 percent of voters without college degrees. Cruz did 5 points better among voters without college degrees than among college grads (30 percent to 25 percent), while, among all candidates included in the entrance polling (Cruz, Trump, Rubio, Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders), Rubio was the candidate who had the lowest portion of his support come from those without college degrees—he did 10 points worse among voters without college degrees than among college grads (17 to 27 percent).
According to the entrance polling, Cruz also fared better than Trump or Rubio among younger voters. Among voters under the age of 30, Cruz won 26 percent of the vote to Rubio's 23 percent and Trump's 20 percent. Among voters in their 30s and early 40s, Cruz won 30 percent of the vote to Trump's 23 percent and Rubio's 21 percent. (Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton got clobbered among younger voters, winning less than 30 percent of the vote among those under the age of 45.)
Cruz's strong numbers among blue-collar voters lend credence to his expressed determination, emphasized in his victory speech, to win Reagan Democrats back into the Republican fold. Cruz could certainly do more to appeal to such voters—for example, he could champion a winning Obamacare alternative, a move that would also help convince GOP primary voters that a Cruz nomination could result in an electoral win in 2016 and a huge policy win in 2017. Yet, even already, Cruz's appeal to blue-collar voters has helped him notch an impressive win in a crucial state.
PJMedia: There hasn’t been this much excitement in the luxury boxes since the 1991 Kentucky Derby when Mane Minister showed at 87-1. Marco Rubio’s expected third-place showing set off a frenzy of spin and sly promotion in the commentary class. The conventional wisdom is that Rubio is the more electable Republican in November as compared to Ted Cruz or Donald Trump.The piece moves on to Rubio's biggest problem (i.e., his advocacy of amnesty) and how the establishment is getting this just as wrong as they did with Romney...
The conventional wisdom is wrong, just as it was in 2012 and 2008.
Marco Rubio has two significant problems that render him a problematic November candidate. The first is his record on the most important issue of the year. The second is being the newly anointed preferred candidate of the Washington establishment.
The strongest supporters of Marco Rubio are those who think the political rules of 1996 still govern election outcomes in 2016. They believe a candidate cannot win without appealing to the moderate middle. They still believe the incentive and reward system of the pre-polarized world governs election outcomes (or they are themselves politically moderate).
They are unfamiliar with the revolutionary role of data analytics that now enable candidates who appeal to the base to drive deeper into their base. It allows them to turn out ideological allies at a far cheaper marginal rate than appealing to the hard-to-mobilize moderate middle.
In other words, the strongest supporters of Marco Rubio will be the same folks who thought Mitt Romney and John McCain were the most electable in November because they were moderate, or not as conservative.
Romney won the moderate middle and independents in 2012 but still lost the election.
This happened because Obama used the Catalist database. Catalist gave him the ability to identify and motivate the most extreme ideological voters who came with the smallest marginal cost to turnout. While Obama was driving deeper into the leftist base and turning out ideological allies at 1 unit of marginal cost, Romney ignored his base. Romney spent time trying to persuade independents, who by their nature were tough to persuade at, say, 5 units of marginal cost.
In 2012, the Republican Party nominated the one candidate who could not hammer President Obama on the central issue of the year -- government-managed health care. Mitt Romney was a champion of government-run health care as governor of Massachusetts and that effectively destroyed his ability to press fire on the president. The Republicans who nominated Romney in February and March abandoned the most mobilizing issue for November.So right. And though this piece focuses mostly on his amnesty record, ring-leading the Gang of 8, there's also Rubio's neocon tendencies towards surveillance and Democracy projects leading to unwanted wars that disables him from the conservative fight that MUST happen in order to turn this sinking ship around.
But Romney was sure to appeal to the moderate independents in November, right? Romney was more electable than Gingrich or Santorum, we were told.
After Iowa, it appears the same people who brought you Mitt Romney are now smitten with Marco Rubio (Ann Coulter excluded). We’re hearing the same thing we heard in 2016. Claims that Rubio is the most “electable” candidate are wrecked on the history of 2012.
Rubio's flirtation with amnesty does more than keep the base home -- it limits his rhetorical weaponry.
Romney couldn't effectively attack Obamacare because he once supported something similar. How will Rubio credibly attack the lawless deferred-action policies of Obama when he shared the same goals? Is it enough for Rubio to say: "I wanted legislation to grant amnesty; Obama does it by edict!"? To the base, the distinction is meaningless.
It's crazy when even I have to agree with Chris Christie, of which I'm no fan...enough with the establishment coddling! It's time for THE PEOPLE to wake up and decide, dammit!
Related link: Ted Cruz Best Choice to End Lawlessness at Justice Department
Why Are So Many Millennials Feeling the Bern?
ADDENDUM: via Levin...
Conservatives have a real opportunity to explain to the American people why their agenda is way more important than the lefts. Right now, Republicans are throwing away the opportunity to reach young people and other Americans with a conservative message. Instead, they and their media surrogates are focusing on tweets. Why not discuss and articulate real issues like an over reaching EPA, national security, and immigration? That was the problem with Mitt Romney and John McCain, they claimed conservatism but couldn’t articulate conservative principles and issues....and as Romney was to RomneyCare, so will Rubio be to the Gang of 8. Indefensible.
Related link: Horowitz: Is Rubio Really the Most Electable Candidate?