Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Trump Map

Well, I suppose it's time to address the elephant in the room.

I know we're all shocked (shocked!) to learn that the Republican Party's standard bearer is now a carnival barker that embodies all of the things anyone who has actually lived in this country for any length of time already knows about the Republican Party; that they earn their votes and money on racist, sexist, homophobic rhetoric funded by both the military industrial complex and the backs of poor (white) people conditioned to resent and blame those with just a little bit less than they have, or have a different skin tone.

So good on Donald Trump for laying all of that so bare that the rank and file supporters have officially lost their taste for the genteel veneer of 'compassionate conservatism' that the party has used for all these years in favor of the raw red meat of an open false sense of superiority.

I'll explore why this is in another post, but the much easier question that occurred to me this morning is this:

Just what does a Presidential electoral map look like in a Trump versus Hillary or Bernie Sanders match up? For Republicans, it's ugly.

First, don't underestimate the ability of Democrats to do what they do well in Presidential election years, and that's drive up turnout. Is it likely to top the Obama years? Not really, simply because Hillary isn't as inspirational a candidate (though whether gender politics can make a difference has yet to be determined). But the anti-Trump turnout is likely to be quite high. Any candidate who walks into the election with negatives in the high 60s has a real problem; this was as if W decided he was going to run for a third term in 2012.

So let's mix in the usual assumptions of urban versus rural and the continued evolving demographics of the Republican Party into a white, rural version of the French National Front to get the following:

That's a 425-115 Democratic Party win if you're scoring at home or on the road. It is the most optimistic projection I can come up with, if we're being honest, and there are only four states that are seriously "in play".

Missouri - I've kept red, simply because I don't think the urban turnout in Kansas City and St. Louis is going to out pace the white and rural turnout in the rest of the state.

Georgia - On the other hand, I think, for the first time, we might see minority and urban turnout inside of Atlanta proper outweigh the suburban and rural vote so much that Georgia swings toward the Democrats, particularly if the candidate is Hillary and not Bernie Sanders. I don't regard this as a permanent trend, necessarily, just a by product of an anti-Trump vote.

Texas and Arizona - When 8 in 10 Latinos have a negative view of Donald Trump, you're going to have real problems in some states in which you ordinarily shouldn't. These two states wouldn't be close in a typical year, but in a year where Trump is the candidate, you can at least see trouble from here. 

This is the very, very bad night scenario for the Republicans at the Presidential level.

The Senate

It gets even better in the Senate in this scenario:

Barring local controversies, Democrats are likely to hold their Senate seats in Nevada, Colorado, the only two that conventional wisdom considers contestable among candidates standing for re-election at this point.

This scenario puts Democrats in what I would consider a strong position to pickup seats in Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin, along with retaining open seats in Maryland and California.

It also puts them in a soft position to pickup seats in Arkansas, North Carolina, Missouri, Florida (which is the seat Marco Rubio is vacating) and Indiana, and it puts even Kentucky in play if Jim Gray campaigns sufficiently deftly against Rand Paul (though I'm not optimistic). Louisiana is also an open seat but the Democratic bench is so shallow there that I doubt a candidate steps forward that can take David Vitter's vacated seat, diapers and all.

Democrats need to pick up five of these Senate seats to get to a 51-49 majority. Even a 50-50 tie, with a Democratic President, nets them the Senate. 

So that's the skinny on the damage the Donald can cause to the Republican Party. It's not quite Goldwater in 1964, but it's pretty grim.

Next time, we'll talk about why Sanders and Trump supporters have very different responses to the same fundamental angst that drives their political views.