Rick Perry vs World
31 July 2016
The strangest thing about 2016 to me
It's been a crazy campaign. The Republican Party lost a hostile takeover to a liberal Democrat from a New York. An outright socialist nearly got the Dem nomination.
Yet to me the strangest thing is still:
Why did Ted Cruz look at the Dewhurst campaign and think, "Yeah, that's the kind of campaign I want to run for president!"?
The Dewhurst campaign did their best to "otherize" Ted Cruz in 2012. They implicitly and explicitly called him a sellout to the Chinese Communists, they had trucks parked outside the Cruz campaign office, they tried to make him seem like a foreigner, there was lots of immigration innuendo, they questioned his patriotism, etc etc.
This was all came to a head when Ted Cruz got a little emotional during a debate and directly confronted Dewhurst to ask why a Dew mail piece explicitly questioned his patriotism.
The piece was written by Jeff Roe, the Cruz 2016 campaign manager.
That's hardly the end of it -- Cruz 2016 relied pretty heavily on the people behind Dewhurst 2012.
So again, why did Ted Cruz look at those campaign tactics and think, "yeah, that's what I want!"
I don't get it.
14 July 2016
Munisteri leads the charge for Donald Trump
On the Rules Committee, Munisteri leads the charge for Donald Trump:
TX GOP chairman Steve Munisteri rebukes Senator Lee, saying he claims to represent the grassroots but isn't reflecting the will of voters— Tim Alberta (@TimAlberta) July 15, 2016
23 June 2016
Could Donald Trump lose Texas?
Could Donald Trump lose Texas? Yes.
Is Trump likely to lose Texas? No, because not even Trump is "likely" to do that horribly, but it is absolutely possible.
Republicans presidential nominees run about 19% better in Texas than they do nationally.
The last couple presidential elections in Texas weren't close: Romney beat Obama by almost 16% (running 20% better than his 4% national loss), whereas McCain won by just under 12% (running 19% better than his 7% national loss).
Hillary is leading by about 7% right now, so that suggests we're looking at a 12% margin in Texas at the moment. While Hillary is the 2nd least liked presidential nominee of all time, she's facing off against the least liked presidential nominee. Ever. Given the massive financial and enthusiasm deficit on the Republican side, I'd say the more-likely-than-any-other-individual-scenario is that Hillary ends up winning by more like 10 or 12, a la with 55 or 56%.
If so, we're looking at Trump +7 in Texas instead of +12.
But our demographic makeup is more Latino than the national average, and Trump will definitely run behind.
Latinos are only about 10% of voters nationwide, but with Trump on the ballot, Latinos will likely be close to 20% of the Texas electorate. A normal GOP presidential candidate gets about 35% of the Texas Latino vote, and a good one like George W Bush can get close to 50%. Trump will be lucky to get 15% of it -- anecdotal evidence suggests many of those folks can't vote for Hillary but certainly some will.
Depending on that number, we could be anywhere from Trump +2 to +8.
If Hillary gets to around +11% nationally over Trump, then Texas should see some polling that is in the margin of error.
Whether you think that is possible depends on how likely Trump is to be able to balance his appeals to the white working class voters who don't normally vote versus many of the conservative-leaning suburban white women (who do vote!) who are put off by Trump's bigotry and misogyny.
It also remains to be seen whether the right can put together any sort of fundraising apparatus for GOTV without a cooperative or palatable figure at the top of the ticket -- if not, you'd think that adds a percent of two to where the polls peg Hillary.
Lots of X factors, but on balance they probably weigh against Trump.
Hey, Hillary could get indicted. Or Russian hackers could release all the emails that she recklessly put on the internet in order to keep her emails shielded from FOIA laws.
One final point: in the final days of the campaign, Trump could do anything. If he's losing, he's unlikely to simply run the race out hard to keep the margin of defeat low so that Republicans save the House majority. He doesn't care -- he hasn't even pretended to be a Republican for more than a few years! He consistently referred to the Republican Party as "them" or "you" even during the primary. That sort of X factor definitely increases the possibility that Trump somehow does the unthinkable and loses Texas.
What will happen down the ballot is anyone's guess.
01 June 2016
Who won the runoffs?
I was somewhat surprised to see Michael Quinn Sullivan claim victory in the runoffs last week:
Tonight's runoff elections produced important wins around the Lone Star State for conservatives. Most significantly, three major leaders in the Democrat-enabling House Republican leadership were defeated.
On the other side of the Capitol, the Texas Senate was markedly improved with conservatives handedly winning the two open seats.
In the biggest upset of the evening, taxpayer champion Wayne Christian defeated establishment candidate Gary Gates in the race for Railroad Commission. Despite Gates spending untold millions in six previous runs for public office, conservatives made sure seven wasn't his lucky number.
Those are the high points.
The downside is that conservatives basically broke even in the Texas House in 2016 due to the Straus/teachers' union alliance picking up a good number of the open seats. Hence, unless something changes, Straus will be re-elected Speaker.
Of course, it is possible that something changes. At some point, you'd think many of the folks in the Texas House would realize that joining up with Straus is a career killer. Without exception, everyone who has joined the Democrats and voted for Straus has lost when attempting a bid for higher office. Also, conservatives have had decent success at picking off Straus loyalists. If you stick your head out for Straus, look out.
But many of those folks probably don't mind. They get cushy lobbyist jobs and if they stuck around long enough, then they get a sweet pension.
31 May 2016
Choose Your Own Adventure
WHEN: It's the summer before the Iowa caucus.
WHO: You are a senator from Texas running for president. You're young and ambitious. You've built your national brand as a "truth-teller" who will "take on the corrupt establishment."
CONTEXT: The current polls are led by a New Yorker who has been a liberal Democrat for most of the past few decades. He is by far the most liberal candidate to ever run for president in your party, and he's actually somehow leading in the polls.
The same liberal New Yorker personifies the corrupt establishment, and you've made fighting them a cornerstone of your career. He hated Reagan, and while he's switched parties a few times while chasing the zeitgeist, he's a massive donor to the worst politicians of both parties. Though his fortune appears to be largely inherited, he dabbles at real estate development which frequently involves large donations to local politicians whenever zoning or regulatory issues are encountered.
You are the true conservative truth-teller. There's a large slice of the conservative electorate that hangs on your every word, believing that you always speak the truth.
A) Take him on. Tell the truth. Stand on principle.
He's a fraud. You know he's a liberal con man. Everyone knows it.
The liberal New Yorker has channeled a certain anger from a slice of the electorate, but behind the scenes he winks and nods to his lifelong friends and co-conspirators in the liberal / New York media.
His record is equally as pro-choice, pro-amnesty and anti-gun as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. In fact, it's arguably even more liberal, as he's taken recent positions indisputably even farther left on those issues than Hillary and Bernie.
It's time to unmask the con man. Not only is it the right thing to do, it'll earn you points from party activists and fundraisers who are tired of seeing a liberal lead the polls of a conservative party. It will guarantee you air time on TV.
If you succeed, you'll look like a strong leader who can do more than just piss people off. You'll look presidential.
B. Bear hug
* Hold rallies with the New York liberal.
* Declare him "terrific" at every opportunity.
* Compliment him as "brash" whenever he puffs himself up and attacks the disabled/veterans/etc.
* Enthusiastically defend him from all conservative attacks on his record by saying, "[Liberal New Yorker] speaks the truth!"
Your favorability numbers are quite low, leading your political consultants to tell you that getting head-to-head with this liberal New Yorker is probably the only way you can win the Republican nomination. The talk radio hosts and "conservative" clickbait media have shown that they will follow your talking points.
Surely, as soon as you get head-to-head with a liberal Democrat with New York values, there's no way you can lose. Presumably the talk radio hosts will follow your sudden conversion when Mr. New York Values becomes a foe instead of your best buddy.
Choose your own adventure.
01 April 2016
April placeholder post
This is the April placeholder post.
02 March 2016
Huge night for Donald Trump
Super Tuesday was a huge night for Donald Trump, but perhaps not for the reason you would expect.
Sure Trump won most of the states that voted, but in a divided field that's to be expected.
Donald Trump's path to victory depends on everyone staying in the race. As such, the most important thing for Trump was to hope that Cruz got results that convinced him to stay in the race.
Cruz has no path to the nomination. We've now passed all the states where Cruz was on friendliest terrain, and he couldn't muster much in the way of stopping Trump, except in two states where social conservatives control the electorate (Iowa and Oklahoma) and at home in Texas.
Moreover, Oklahoma doesn't award delegates to the winner', so no one tried to win it, because winning it wasn't worth anything on a delegate level.
The question is whether Cruz recognizes the reality that he has no path to the nomination. If Cruz does, Trump is a long shot for the nomination because winner take all states are coming and Trump can probably only win those in a divided field. If Cruz doesn't, then Trump should waltz to the nomination with the 35-40% of the vote that he's got.
It's pretty tough to recognize reality sometimes. That's what Trump is counting on -- and that's why it was a huge night for Donald Trump.
28 February 2016
Drumpf Drumpf Drumpf
Ted Cruz and his allies created the monster. Can he kill it before it eats the conservative movement?
27 January 2016
Ted Cruz and Rick Perry: the anti-ethanol ticket in Iowa
In the aftermath of Perry's 2012 campaign, I talked to a few staffers about what went down. There were some common complaints: Joe Allbaugh, new consultants who didn't care about Perry, etc
But the thing I heard the most was that the ethanol lobby's campaign killed Perry. He was just starting to recover from "oops" and get a little traction going into the final week when they went after him.
While Ted Cruz has done some recent equivocating on ethanol intended to blur his stance to voters, the ethanol lobby has picked Cruz out has the candidate they want to go after this time.
That's why I was surprised that the Ted Cruz campaign announced Rick Perry's support right before Iowa and then put Perry out to campaign for Cruz.
The Cruz campaign is all-in on the anti-ethanol ticket in Iowa. If that works, it might change the way people play the Iowa game.
09 January 2016
Donald Trump's birther attacks might be leaving their mark
Terrific Donald Trump is going birther on Ted Cruz
Google's auto-complete seems to suggest that the birther attacks are leaving their mark.
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