Friday, June 10, 2016

Goin' to California With an Aching In My Trump

So in one of those developing stories where it comes out that someone you oppose politically does something reckless/foolish/both, there's this to say about Trump's apparent plan to campaign heavily in Blue (aka Solid Democrats) states this election cycle:


Or, to quote from Gary Legum at

...California is too big, too Blue, and the state’s Republican Party has all the heft and impact of a Whiffle ball. The state hasn’t voted for a Republican for president since George H.W. Bush in 1988. It has a large Latino population, a group with which he polls very badly thanks to his outright racism. No polling operation that I can find has it on a list of potential toss-ups...
Lemme put it to you this way:

California's so Blue that when you drive past the Nevada/Cali border your radio starts playing the entire catalog of Atlantic Records' R&B artists.

California's so Blue the Blue Man Group can't perform there because they could blend into the background and never be seen again.

California's so Blue they have to dye the wines to their proper red color.

California's so Blue they haven't had a Republican win the Presidential campaign there since 1988.

And yet, a little like Legum notes in his first paragraph in the above article, there's something about this madness that you can't immediately dismiss...

To Legum, it's that Trump wasting his time in California would force Hillary to spend more time and effort in that state than she'd normally would: nowadays all serious campaigning up to Election Day are in the battleground states (which is why as a Florida resident I am going to need to stop watching television ads RIGHT NOW). Legum still realizes it's a "terrible strategy" because it also means Trump is wasting time and effort away from those same battleground states (while thinking it'd be a good move for Hillary because Trump can't afford to waste anything).

In my mind, however, I can't avoid the idea of this making sense because I'm one of those hapless True Believers in the American system of representative government. I'm thinking it's a good idea - and a terrible one - because I'm one of those who believe EVERY district - and every state - should be fought over, contested, brought into the arguments so that the value of those districts/states be validated rather than ignored.

I want all fifty states in the debate. I'm not a fan of the calculated "Battleground State" campaigns despite their effectiveness. Part of me wants Democrats challenging every inch of Red states like Texas and Georgia and Arizona and Montana and Kansas, just on the chance of winning over voters, winning enough voters to make Republicans NOT take those states for granted.

So to be fair, I've got no qualms about Republicans challenging every inch of Blue states like California and Massachusetts and Illinois and maybe Delaware... and for the same reason of making Democrats respond to keep "their" safe states on their side.

Just campaigning in Florida and Ohio and North Carolina and Virginia and Pennsylvania and Nevada - toss-up states with enough Electoral votes to make them necessary - seems a bit underwhelming to me.

I can see Trump making this kind of argument: That letting an Electorally-rich state like California - 55 electors, the most of any state - go straight to the Dems unchallenged is no way to break the electoral strangehold the Democrats have on the College right now. At some point, the Republicans have to make a play against the polarizing demographics within key states and balance the score.

While that is a valid argument to make, Trump is NOT the candidate to be making it. He's a walking disaster of demographic demonization, unable to stop himself from insulting entire voting blocs for longer than three days. There may be a need by the Republicans to campaign in ethnically diverse states like California and Florida to win over ALL possible voters, but Trump is NOT the guy to rely on getting that job done.

This isn't even the right party to make such a move: the Republican Party has been so antagonistic towards minorities and women and college-age voters for over three decades that any attempt now to woo any of those blocs back to them is a fool's errand. If the Republicans want to campaign and win in Cali, they're going to have to sincerely re-invent themselves to more moderate, reformer stances on immigration, education, and wages.

Trump's plan to campaign in California looks both foolish and wise at the same time. There is wisdom in recognizing that the GOP needs to start fighting back to win the states they need to stay in political power at the national level. But it's extreme foolishness on Trump's part to think he's the one who can pull it off.

Certainly there's a layer of full-bore bullheaded ignorance on Trump's part thinking he can "win" anywhere he wants to. He can't.

Just look at the current polling in select Blue states - California especially, then Illinois, and New Jersey where Trump also wants to compete - and you'll see Trump is very unlikely to win any of those voters over to his side, not without him performing radical surgery on his personality into someone who's not a complete less of an asshole.

Trump's losing Kansas: Granted, it's not a major electoral state, but the psychological impact of a key Republican stronghold falling this early to Clinton cannot be overlooked. Can he afford to ignore the Red states that are now toss-ups?

Trump can lose Arizona: once a conservative wingnut safe state, all because his anti-immigrant stance is stirring up the state's Hispanic voters something fierce.

Trump's not guaranteed to flip Florida, which is honestly a toss-up state but where Hillary regularly polls a winner.

And yet Trump thinks he can win in California: a hotbed of liberal tree-hugging socialist San Francisco-Hollywood hippiedom.

Yeah, good luck with that whole "mashing your head with a solid gold Trump doorknob" idea, guys.


dinthebeast said...

To be fair, we do sometimes shoot ourselves in the foot here in California (See Schwarzenegger, Arnold and also Wilson, Peter or really Reagan, Ronald and/or Nixon, Richard) but things are different now. We are the anti-Kansas, governmentally speaking, and a lot of us know it.
I don't care if Trump campaigns here, except for one thing, and being a Roy Cohn acolyte, he may actually be smart enough to be trying this: there will be violence that he can exploit at his rallies. I don't believe it will be enough for a Nixon style "law and order" victory, but it won't help, and it will happen. On the other hand, it's very expensive to campaign here, and any of his (ironically) limited resources we can drain away from the swing states will only help Hillary.
Could he be buying his own bullshit, and starting to believe that everybody loves him and that he will win in a walk? They all do it to one extent or another, and he is a novice candidate to the extreme.
He won't carry my district, I can guarantee you that much: we just re-elected Barbara Lee again with nearly 80% of the vote...

-Doug in Oakland

Pinku-Sensei said...

"Trump wasting his time in California would force Hillary to spend more time and effort in that state than she'd normally would"--She would still be out there, except she would have to hold rallies in addition to fundraisers, which is what Democratic candidates have been doing in California for decades. That would be a reversal. Trump can spend money while she gets the free media.