Which Democrat will be our next President?
Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders. Martin O’Malley. Lincoln Chafee. Jim Webb. Or who knows? Perhaps Joe Biden will throw his hat in the ring after all. Or Elizabeth Warren. Heck, I’ve even heard Al Gore and John Kerry’s names bandied about. There is plenty of time. Perhaps there will be a new “dark horse” candidate who will sweep the field as Barack Obama did in the 2008 election. One thing I am pretty certain about; it probably won’t be a Republican.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t impossible that a Republican could pull it off. Trump, if he doesn’t step in it between now and the election, is a possibility. But you never know with business people. I remember when Clayton Williams, a businessman, was running for Governor here in Texas. He seemed a shoe-in; until he made an unfortunate remark about rape and the weather. The media, and his opponent, Anne Richards, were all over that; his 20 point lead in the polls abruptly vanished, and he never recovered. Good businessman. Not so good politician.
That’s the problem with the business types. They may have some “political experience” when it comes to making business deals, but they don’t have a true politician’s expertise in “mouth control.” The good news is that such folk actually say something when asked a question, and often don’t seem to be much concerned with what people think. The bad news is that such folk actually say something when asked a question, and often don’t seem to be much concerned with what people think. Or cognizant of what they just said and how it will play in the media.
Personally, I like most of the candidates in the Republican field. There are a lot of good people there who I believe could do a creditable job as President. Trump is not one of my favorites, but I would vote for him were he the nominee. I am not sure he is temperamentally suited for the job – not sure he will get along with Congress, even if it remains in Republican hands. I am also not quite sure where he stands on a number of issues, such as who he might choose as his cabinet, whether or not he has a cogent foreign policy or plan to fix the economy, and a whole host of other things. He does seem to have popular support however, which is certainly a plus.
So why do I think that we will have a Democrat in office on January 20th 2017, after all the election dust clears in November next year? Two reasons: demographics, and the Republican electorate.
Let’s take the Republican electorate first. I can illustrate that point with my own situation. I am 58 years old. And I have had enough. I have argued various political positions over the years, only to finally “grow out” of them when they proved to be naïve, politically infeasible, or just simply “not ever going to happen” based on real-world experience.
I used to be a big supporter of the Libertarian Party and would argue that “the only reason that Libertarians (or any other third party) can’t win is because people think that they can’t. If everyone who wanted to vote for a Libertarian candidate and didn’t because they thought they couldn’t possibly win actually voted for the candidate, then the Libertarian would win! Self-fulfilling prophesy,” said I, and actually even convinced some folks to waste their vote by voting for the Libertarian candidate. Of course, the Libertarian never won – never even seemed to make any difference in the miniscule amount of the vote they did receive.
The problem is that the few out there who finally decide to “vote their conscience” are simply overwhelmed by the mass of people who don’t even know anyone other than Democrats or Republicans are running, much less care. Most of the electorate won’t even become cognizant of what’s going on until a few weeks before the election. Everything happening now is solely for the benefit of the few who actually vote in primaries, and of course, pre-emptive strikes on candidates that both parties are afraid might win the nomination.
Other than Ron Paul, who ran for president on the Libertarian ticket in 1988, receiving 432,179 votes – or 0.5% of the votes cast – are there any other Libertarian presidential candidates (much less anyone lower on the ballot) of years’ past that you could name? And most folks, if asked, would probably say Paul was a Republican, blissfully unaware of that Libertarian run in 1988. As Paul figured out, it’s perfectly fine to have Libertarian ideas and a Libertarian viewpoint. But if you want to get elected, you have to run as a candidate of one of the two major parties. And the only party where you have a prayer of winning a primary with a Libertarian viewpoint is the Republican Party.
So much for my foray into third-party politics; as much fun as it might be to speculate, the American system is rigged against success by any such, both politically, as in the difficulty of getting on the ballot, raising money, and getting the name recognition and respect that would be required, and in the “real politick” sense of actually getting anyone to overcome their normal voting inertia and actually cast a vote for you.
There is another problem with the Republican electorate that I can best illustrate, again, by my own evolving experience. While I like a number of the candidates running, there are a few that I don’t. And I have reached the point where if one of those is the candidate, I will not vote for him. I will vote for state and local candidates. I will vote in my Senate and Congressional election. I simply will either leave the Presidential ballot blank, or will cast my vote for the Libertarian, simply to say I voted.
I will not vote for Jeb Bush. Enough is enough. The two former Presidents’ Bush were both fine folk as individuals, as I am sure, is Jeb. That is all well and good; as presidents however, they in my opinion left a lot to be desired. Were they better than their opponents? Yes. However I have reached my limit of being cajoled into voting for someone simply because he or she is “better than the alternative.” I want to see a conservative candidate for president, and I am becoming increasingly convinced that this will never happen, simply because the “smart money” and the party apparatus backs more “congenial” sorts who can “get along” with those on the other side of the aisle. Perhaps if they lose enough elections with their “congenial” candidates, they will wake up and try something else.
The problem of course is the deep and burning question, “what is a conservative?” Everyone seems to have a different answer to that question, and a favorite candidate who fits that bill, and there are a lot of people out there who are becoming like me – tired of holding their noses and voting for someone they don’t want. This is one reason why we don’t have a President Romney right now; too many Republicans considered him a RINO, and stayed home on Election Day.
I recognize that. However, my “no vote” list is pretty short. The only two on it now are Bush and Christie – and I might be convinced to hold my nose on Christie. Of the remainder, some I really like and the rest I could live with. But everyone’s list is different; and no matter who wins, there will be some Republicans who will stay at home rather than cast their vote for someone they perceive, rightly or wrongly, as a RINO.
Finally, there is the demographic issue; like it or not, it’s there, and it is only going to get worse.
It is a fact that there are certain demographic groups who do not vote Republican. Most Blacks, for example, wouldn’t vote for a Republican if the Republican was the only person on the ballot. My son recently had me watch an episode of “Black-ish”, a TV series that emphasized this point (Season 1, Episode 23: Junior Becomes A Republican). It was a pretty funny episode. I laughed a lot. But one of the reasons it was so funny (and it lampooned Republicans just as much, of course), is that so much of it was true. Comedy is always funnier if it is based on truth.
The show starts off with the following:
“There are certain things in life that are just true. Fact: The Earth revolves around the Sun. Fact: Two times two is four. And fact: Black people aren’t Republicans. We just aren’t. We vote for Democrats. And it’s not just an Obama thing. He could have dropped-kicked this baby and I still would have voted for him. But black people also overwhelmingly backed this guy [picture of Mike Dukakis], this guy [picture of Al Gore]. Get down, now. Hell, 91% of black people voted for this guy [picture of Walter Mondale]. Fact: 91% of Walter Mondale’s family didn’t vote for Walter Mondale. Sure, the other side may trot out a token black face every now and again, but the fact of the matter is, being a black Republican is something we just don’t do.”
There is a label the Black community has for Blacks who stray from this immutable law. It is a label that is in fact mentioned in this episode. That label is “Uncle Tom.” It is a label with a lot of power.
Ben Carson won’t get an appreciable percentage of the Black vote if he is the candidate.
Likewise, Marco Rubio isn’t going to get most of the Hispanic vote.
Hispanics aren’t as lopsided in their voting as Blacks are, but they still overwhelmingly swing to the Democrat side of the ledger. And this administration has done all it can do over the past seven years to increase the percentage of the Hispanic population in the US, and peanut butter spread them across as many states, particularly red states, as possible. The voting in many states is pretty close; a relative handful of votes could swing the election one way or another.
Let’s leave aside the issue of illegals voting in national elections, though this is becoming an increasing problem, since in many states not only can you not check to see if the person voting is actually authorized to vote, you can’t even pose the question. For example, the Supreme Court just struck down Texas voter ID law. The administration successfully argued that there are 700,000 people in the state of Texas who have been disenfranchised simply because they are, for one reason or another, unable to obtain one of the nine recognized forms of identification authorized under the voter ID law, and the Supreme Court agreed that this violated the Voting Rights Act. I find it embarrassing that we have 700,000 U.S. citizens of voting age who cannot or will not figure out how obtain a Texas driver’s license issued by DPS, election ID certificate issued by DPS, a personal identification card issued by DPS, a concealed handgun license issued by DPS, a United States military ID card containing their photograph, a United States citizenship certificate containing their photograph, or a US passport.
Can it be that we have 700,000 adults so stupid that they can’t find their local DPS? How do these folks survive? And do they have a burning desire to vote anyway? I suppose one could be in a nursing home suffering from dementia and not able to get to (or even consider) going to DPS to get an ID card, but is that person likely to up and decide to vote all by themselves anyway? I can see where it might make it difficult for someone wanting to cast a ballot (illegally) for them – but then again, that someone could always send in an absentee ballot in their name, so cheating is still possible.
Be that as it may, Democrats can pretty much count on the Hispanic vote just as they can the Black vote, even if that vote is not quite as monolithic. They make up some in sheer numbers what they lose in percentage as Hispanics make up 16.4% of the population vs 12.2% African-American. And the Hispanic percentage is growing rapidly while the African-American percentage is stagnant or shrinking, largely due to the vast number of African-American babies aborted since Roe vs Wade; millions of Black citizens who were never born.
The African-American community may be shrinking in percentage of the population, but they are, as a block, staunchly and reliably Democrat when it comes to their vote. To all appearances, that will continue into the foreseeable future.
Hispanics have children, particularly first generation Hispanics. Those millions of illegals – even if they don’t manage to illegally vote in our elections, will have many children, American citizens all, who will vote in our elections eventually. Again, the percentages here favor the Democrats.
Then there are the other, much smaller minority groups in the US, pretty much all of whom also typically vote Democrat.
All this gives the Democrats a huge advantage. In fact, estimates are that right now, 46% of the electorate will reliably vote Democratic in any given presidential election, leaving Republicans only 4% of the “undecided” vote to play with. That isn’t much of a margin. There are always upsets of course, and someone like Trump, who according to some polls is currently pulling Democrats as well as Republicans, could upset the apple cart.
But polls showing The Donald vs Hillary still show Hillary the victor, and Moody’s election model, which has a perfect track record in accurately predicting every presidential election since 1980, shows that if the election were held today, the Democrats would win 270 electoral votes to 268; a narrow victory to be sure, but victory none the less.
Of course, the election isn’t today – it’s over a year away; a lot can happen in a year. Hillary may not even be the eventual nominee – she lost in 2008 after all to Barack Obama, and her baggage load has only increased. And at this point, who knows who the Republican nominee will be. Still, unless something drastic happens, the odds favor the Democrats.
Then there is Trump’s recent statement that if “Republicans don’t treat him well” he may very well run as a third party candidate, following in the footsteps of Ross Perot. Rasmussen polling shows as of now, were he to do so, 36% of likely GOP voters say they would likely vote for him (18% very likely). While 19 % of Democrats say they would follow suit, with 9% saying they would be very likely to do so, this would not be enough to offset the large Republican turnout for Trump, and such a run would pretty much guarantee a Democrat victory.
All things being equal, which of course, they most assuredly are not, if I were a betting man, I would wager that come 20 January 2017, like it or not, there will be a Democrat sitting in the oval office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The only question is which one?