Opinion: Trump diminishing GOP chances

August 27, 2015


— Every sulfurous belch from the molten interior of the volcanic Trump phenomenon injures the chances of a Republican presidency. After Donald Trump finishes plastering a snarling face on conservatism, any Republican nominee will face a dauntingly steep climb to reach even the paltry numbers that doomed Mitt Romney.

It is perhaps quixotic to try to distract Trump’s supporters with facts, which their leader, who is no stickler for dignity, considers beneath him. Still, consider these:

The white percentage of the electorate has been shrinking for decades and will be about 2 points smaller in 2016 than in 2012. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first president elected while losing the white vote by double digits. In 2012, Hispanics, the nation’s largest minority, were for the first time a double-digit (10 percent) portion of the electorate.

White voters were nearly 90 percent of Romney’s vote. In 1988, George H.W. Bush won 59 percent of the white vote, which translated into 426 electoral votes. Twenty-four years later, Romney won 59 percent of the white vote and just 206 electoral votes. He lost the nonwhite vote by 63 points, receiving just 17 percent of it. If the Republicans’ 2016 nominee does not do better than Romney did among nonwhite voters, he will need 65 percent of the white vote, which was last achieved by Ronald Reagan when carrying 49 states in 1984. Romney did even slightly worse among Asian-Americans — the fastest-growing minority — than among Hispanics. Evidently minorities generally detected Republican ambivalence, even animus about them. This was before Trump began receiving rapturous receptions because he obliterates inhibitions about venting hostility.

Trump is indifferent to those conservative tenets (e.g., frugality: He welcomed Obama’s stimulus) to which he is not hostile (e.g., property rights: He adored the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision vastly expanding government’s power of eminent domain). So, Trump’s appeal must derive primarily from his views about immigration. Including legal immigration, concerning which he favors a “pause” of unspecified duration.

Some supporters simply find Trump entertainingly naughty. Others, however, have remarkable cognitive dissonance. They properly execrate Obama’s executive highhandedness that expresses progressivism’s traditional disdain for the separation of powers that often makes government action difficult. But these same Trumpkins simultaneously despise GOP congressional leaders because they do not somehow jettison the separation of powers and work conservatism’s unimpeded will from Capitol Hill.

For conservatives, this is the dispiriting irony: The administrative state’s intrusiveness (e.g., its regulatory burdens), irrationalities (e.g., the tax code’s toll on economic growth), incompetence (Amtrak, ethanol, etc.) and illegality (we see you, IRS) may benefit the principal architect of this state, the Democratic Party. This is because the other party’s talented critics of the administrative state are being drowned out by Trump’s recent discovery that Americans understandably disgusted by government can be beguiled by a summons to Caesarism.

Trump, who uses the first-person singular pronoun even more than the previous world record holder (Obama), promises that constitutional arrangements need be no impediment to the leader’s savvy, “management” brilliance and iron will. Trump supporters consider the presidency today an entry-level job because he is available to turn government into a triumph of the leader’s will.

This is hardly the first time we have heard America singing lyrics like those of Trump’s curdled populism. Alabama Democrat George Wallace four times ran for president with salvos against Washington’s “briefcase totin’ bureaucrats who can’t even park their bicycles straight.” What is new is Trump promising, in the name of strength, to put America into a defensive crouch against “cunning” Mexicans and others.

Republicans are the party of growth or they are superfluous. The other party relishes allocating scarcities — full employment for the administrative state.

Trump assumes a zero-sum society, where one person’s job is another’s loss. Hence his rage against other nations’ “stealing” jobs — “our” jobs.

In 2011, when Trump was a voluble “birther” — you remember: Obama supposedly was not born in America, hence he is an illegitimate president — an interviewer asked if he had people “searching in Hawaii” for facts. “Absolutely,” Trump said. “They can’t believe what they’re finding.” Trump reticence is rare, but he has never shared those findings. He now says, in effect: Oh, never mind. If in November 2016, the fragments of an ever smaller and more homogenous GOP might be picked up with tweezers, Trump, having taken his act elsewhere, will look back over his shoulder at the wreckage he wrought and say: Oh, never mind.

— George Will is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.


Lawrence Freeman 2 years, 9 months ago

Trump is a self-centered, selfish, bigoted, crass, loudmouth and has no clue about diplomacy, In short a poster child for the new republican party.

Paul Beyer 2 years, 9 months ago

When I hear name Trump, I think a typical, loud mouth GOP politician. Excellent representative of everything the GOP stands for.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 9 months ago

"Trumpkin?" Hadn't heard that one before; you know rhymes with "pumpkin." Hmmmm.... maybe Republicans need to start wearing crucifixes to protect themselves from Trumpires? Or perhaps they are in need of a Trumpectomy? I guess they have only themselves to blame--I mean what do you expect will happen when you touch your tongue to a cold Trumphandle?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 years, 9 months ago

George Will knows that the Republican party has been courting the hateful, racist, and uninformed voters for several years now, ever since, Johnson decided to back equal rights for Blacks. The GOP jumped on that, and were able to attract all those Southern Democrats. Why is he surprised that a rude obnoxious, hateful man like Trump is popular with these people? I don't agree with a lot of what Will stands for, but I never took him for stupid.

Joshua Cain 2 years, 9 months ago

"Ever since, Johnson decided to back equal rights for Blacks. The GOP jumped on that, and were able to attract all those Southern Democrats." DHR

Not true. The republicans dominated the democrats in both the civil rights act and voting rights act passage. I think the transformation you speak of came after Johnson.


Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 years, 9 months ago

Sorry, it was more Nixon's southern strategy that flipped the south. But it certainly helped that Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, and the labeling of Roosevelt as a commie. It has worked quite well.

Marc Wilborn 2 years, 9 months ago

Trump is adored by a certain part of his party much like Sanders is adored by a part of the Democratic party. Both out of the mainstream. Both pretty much unelectable. Maybe Trump has a slight chance based on who he picks for VP. Sanders is a dinosaur who preys on people who are just as passionate as those who like Trump, just for different reasons.

Lawrence Freeman 2 years, 9 months ago

Trump has no chance no matter who his VP is.

Kate Rogge 2 years, 9 months ago

True that, Mr. Wilborn. The beginning of every big election campaign season is dominated by the true believers (left and right). Then reason sets in, and we'll all either turn to other, electable, candidates, or sit back and watch as our ideologically pure candidate takes the party down in flames.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 9 months ago

I agree with most of the sentiment here, Trump is a no class, doltish, jerk. The thing that really rankles me is that 20% or so of the polls place him "First" place, accepted by all as the hands-down "leader" of the party. 20% is not the leader of ANYTHING, there are 80% of the poll results that DO NOT LIKE TRUMP. But this fact seems to get lost in all the selling of soap and diapers that is the true aim of the so called "news media"

But that salient fact gets lost with all the news dudes and babes who continue to "Trumpet" the fact that this idiot is ";leading with a huge lead". 51% is a minimal lead in anyone's book of statistics and to continue how this clown is the unopposed "leader" is just plain foolishness.

Rick Masters 2 years, 9 months ago

Everybody calm down. He will Perot himself right out of this before all is said and done.

Lawrence Freeman 2 years, 9 months ago

Everybody is calm. I actually hope he gets the nomination. That would guarantee a democratic win.

Obama's approval is still at 44%. congressional approval is still mired at 15%.

Rick Masters 2 years, 9 months ago

I understand the strategy you suggest but I just can't see it happening. His campaign will supernova long before the actual nomination.

Mark Jakubauskas 2 years, 9 months ago

Quit bitching, Will. The Republican Party laid down with the hogs and pigs of the Tea Party, and now they're complaing that they got manure on them ? Reap what you sow, George.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 9 months ago

Who and what do the other 15 presidential candidates represent?

What are the many ALEC influenced GOP elected officals doing with their time while on OUR tax dollar payroll?

The United States of ALEC, a special report by Bill Moyers. Aired on Moyers & Company.

"The United States of ALEC," a special report by legendary journalist Bill Moyers on how the secretive American Legislative Exchange Council has helped corporate America propose and even draft legislation for states across the country.

ALEC brings together major U.S. corporations and right-wing legislators to craft and vote on "model" bills behind closed doors. It has come under increasing scrutiny for its role in promoting "stand your ground" gun laws, voter suppression bills, union-busting policies and other controversial legislation.

Although billing itself as a "nonpartisan public-private partnership," ALEC is actually a national network of state politicians and powerful corporations principally concerned with increasing corporate profits without public scrutiny.


Richard Heckler 2 years, 9 months ago

Think about the reckless spending supporting the other 15 presidential candidates? We're talking some very big bucks.

So how does this beyond reality spending represent the greater majority of Americans who cannot even close to that level of wealth?

Why do we americans vote in the rich which are supported by the rich to make decisions for WE the entire upper middle class, middle class and low income?

Hey middle class republicans you too are getting duped make no mistake about it.

Why do we americans vote in the rich which are supported by the rich to make decisions for the entire middle class and low income?

Is it possible we're not getting the most ethical choices on the block?

Too many of the rich want to destroy the middle class. They have sent tens of millions of middle class jobs abroad with no job replacement in sight.

Isn't their something wrong with this picture?

Ask yourself why are we voters tend still voting for the largest spending candidates?

If upper middle class, middle class and low income voters want to protect jobs,money,retirement investments and our children's future we best stop voting republican.

Very large ALEC dollars has eliminated republicans from the republican party yet still pretend to be republicans. Hmmmmmmmmm something very wrong has taken place.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 9 months ago

What just might prevent Donald Trump from being the people's choice? An extremely corrupt organization...... yes yet another one.

Meet the Presidential Debate Commission Inc. that will put Jeb Bush in place.

The League of Women Voters served as a genuinely nonpartisan presidential debate sponsor from 1976 until 1984. The League courageously included popular independent candidates and prohibited the major-party campaigns from manipulating debate formats.

In 1980, for example, the League invited independent candidate John B. Anderson to participate in a presidential debate, even though President Jimmy Carter adamantly refused to debate him.

Rather than acquiesce to the President’s objections, the League hosted a debate between Anderson and Republican nominee Ronald Reagan that attracted over 55 million viewers.

Four years later, the Republican and Democratic campaigns vetoed 68 of the moderators proposed by the League to pose questions during the first debate.

The League held a press conference and lambasted the campaigns for having "totally abused" the process. As a result of the ensuing public outcry, the campaigns accepted all of the League's proposed moderators for the next debate.

And in 1988, the George Bush and Michael Dukakis campaigns drafted the first secret debate contract -- a "Memorandum of Understanding" that dictated who could participate and under what conditions. The League refused to implement the contract and issued a blistering press release, stating that "the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter."

It is precisely because the League had the courage to resist the demands of the major-party candidates that the CPD was created. The Republican and Democratic parties would not tolerate a debate sponsor that insisted on challenging formats or the inclusion of third-party candidates.

In 1986, the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee ratified an agreement "for the parties to take over presidential debates." In 1987, the chairs of the Republican and Democratic parties incorporated the CPD. In 1988, the CPD seized control of the presidential debates from the League and has sponsored every presidential debate since.



The Presidential Debate Commission Inc. MUST BE eradicated!!!!!

Armen Kurdian 2 years, 9 months ago

Trump's support will stay where it is, because as other GOP contenders drop out, their supporters will consolidate around others in the GOP field. Trump is a fantastic businessman, but would make a terrible President, as would most of the folks running on both sides right now.

Barack Obama has so polarized this nation that you have guys like Sanders & Cruz running, who are on far on the edges of the political spectrum, and also resonating with voters. Before you decide who's views you like the best, you have to ask who has the right skillset to be President, then pick from that pool.

From that perspective, Hillary Clinton would be an awful President, ruinous, as Obama has been in so many ways. She is a complete phony and dishonest. Sanders would be a better choice, though his ideas would destroy our free market system. O'Malley was a terrible governor (I lived in Maryland), but at LEAST he has executive experience.

On the Republican side, I only see Christie, Bush, Huckabee, and Walker as those who really have the skillset to be a good President. We have seen in the last 6 1/2 years you cannot run a country on ideology. Carson, Fiorina, Rubio, all good people, but no way they would be able to fill the chair under any circumstances.

Paul Beyer 2 years, 9 months ago

Based on what the right wingers post, Obama polarized the nation simply by being black. Is that not a simple fact?

Kate Rogge 2 years, 9 months ago

I think Kasich would be a more credible GOP candidate, and that he might pull disaffected and moderate voters that would otherwise go to the DEMs. As to Clinton, what I like best is that she's going to appoint 2-3 lefty U.S. Supreme Court justices during her two term presidency.

Richard Heckler 2 years, 9 months ago

Bernie Sanders Is The Man

In contrast I want to dump the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Democratic Leadership Council in an effort to restore democracy.

In dumping the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Democratic Leadership Council means the GOP needs to be buried because American Legislative Exchange Council has so corrupted the GOP there is no chance of restoration. The DLC boys and girls will need to hit the road.

Then of course the Green Party Agenda will need to be voted in by voters in order to reinstate a two party system that debates and votes across the aisle in celebration of Democracy and hard working Americans.

Bernie Sanders in my eyes is not so much a liberal or a socialist but more of a fiscal responsible and socially responsible individual interested in bringing America back to America. In essence he reminds of an old school democrat and an old school republican.

Face it neither WOMEN nor Republicans nor Democrats nor the Middle class will ever be able to afford those masquerading as the Republican Party!

--- Go With Bernie http://go.berniesanders.com/stand-with-bernie

--- Robin Hood Tax to Fund College Education http://ourfuture.org/20150519/a-robin-hood-tax-to-pay-for-college-for-all

Ideology and Integrity http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/01/opinion/paul-krugman-ideology-and-integrity.html?_r=0

Then again The Presidential Debate Commission Inc. could also prevent Bernie from the process. So NOT democratic!!!!

Kate Rogge 2 years, 9 months ago

There's an online site that compares your answers to political, economic, foreign policy, etc. questions to Presidential candidate positions. It's a hoot!


I'm a long-time Clinton fan (87% match), and she's who I'll vote for next year. But, I was amazed to see that I scored a 95% match with Bernie Sanders! So much for that thin candy-coated veneer of 'moderate' Democrat, huh? I don't see any chance that Sanders can win the general election, and I would hate for us to repeat the stomping Democrats got by running to the left with McGovern and Dukakis (I worked for both campaigns - the kiss of death). But it does my old lefty heart good to pretend, every now and then, that we've got a shot in Hell.

Scott Burkhart 2 years, 9 months ago

It would be entertaining to hear Trump call people names for four years. Counter productive but entertaining.

Kate Rogge 2 years, 9 months ago

LOL. I know, right? I've been trying to come up with the most astonished head of state. A face off with Angela Merkel? Kim Jong-un? Just about anybody in the Middle East or Central and Latin America.

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