Days of Change

Risk Averse | May 7, 2016

If you live long enough, you’ll meet yourself. You’ll also probably want to punch yourself in the face.

Back in 1992, a president with a record high approval rating just a year earlier was beaten by a Southern governor who decided to take a chance on running for president in a year when Democrats who had a chance didn’t want to wage a losing campaign. If there’s one thing you can say about Bill Clinton, he likes to take chances.

What’s interesting is that the president also faced a challenge within his own party. The challenger was a media personality. He talked about illegal immigration from Mexico and abroad. He wanted to bring back manufacturing and jobs in the trades being sent to other countries. He was Pat Buchanan.

For fun, I wanted to compare the nomination path for Buchanan and Trump. It turns out that the contest calendar is very different today than it was in 1992. I can say that Buchanan got 37% compared to 35% for Trump in New Hampshire. In states that had contests between February and May of both years, Donald Trump only had 11% higher support on average than Buchanan. Then again, in 1992, unpledged was the third highest vote getter after Bush and Buchanan.

Donald Trump is running the old Pat Buchanan campaign. His advantage is that instead of facing one incumbent challenger, he faced off against two or more relatively unpopular politicians. Of course, George Bush had 70% support in the primaries and it didn’t work out for him. Now, Bill Clinton was incredibly popular and that’s why Bush lost. Not exactly. Clinton had about 43% of the vote in the Democratic Party primaries. Hillary will probably beat that in 2016.

After a rough but informative reaction to my anti-Trump comments yesterday, there was a comment about Trump being “worth the risk.” I responded that I wasn’t much of a gambler. The reason I don’t gamble is that I am too good with numbers. The odds are ridiculous. Why would anyone gamble? I have other compulsive behaviors, but gambling isn’t one.

I also have a feel for numbers and the Trump numbers feel bad. He has higher negatives among Latinos than Bush and that group is registering in higher numbers. He does badly among women. He does well among the older people who have already gone to the GOP in the last decade.

Could I be wrong? Absolutely. I assumed the GOP would try to stop Trump by getting behind Ted Cruz. Instead, they were paralyzed with indecision. Trump was “winning” in the Charlie Sheen sense, with 30-40% totals until the race was basically over. If Donald Trump had a path to victory, this wasn’t it. He leveraged the party’s fecklessness.

Democrats are another matter. The big guns won’t come out until the nomination. Hillary can’t access the big bucks and destroying Trump now might encourage the GOP to write him out of the convention with a few rule changes. Mitt Romney had the guy who said he killed his wife. Trump has fired employees, shorted people on real estate deals. There’s probably some people out there who lost their house at his casinos. They’re all coming to your TV.

Whichever way it goes this year, it will be big. He’ll lose big or something will go sideways and he’ll win big. Either way, no one needs my vote. I also won’t be shutting up.

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2 Comments

  1. I also won’t be shutting up.

    Thank you for years of an interesting, informed, and informative blog. I’ll see you after the CA primary.

    Comment by Mary — May 8, 2016 @ 3:11 am


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