Says Mike Warren drily in reply, “Good thing the GOP dodged that bullet.”
Skip to 2:30 below for the key bit. This is a smart message by a smart spin doctor — right up to the point where she starts talking about Trump “expanding” the party. He’s not expanding it right now. What he’s doing is bringing in more white working-class voters while hemorrhaging college-educated whites from the traditional GOP coalition, which, combined with the left’s stranglehold on minority voters, is a nice recipe for a Democratic blowout. If the party’s dead set on embracing an all-white strategy for winning national elections in a country whose population is becoming more minority, it needs every white voter it can get, lower-class and upper-class and everything in between. Failing that, if the GOP is hellbent on becoming the party of downscale whites exclusively, it needs a superb turnout operation to find those voters and get them to the polls. (They have the numbers to win that way. For now.) Trump gives you the worst of both worlds. He’s too boorish and demagogic to keep well-educated whites in the fold and he’s too contemptuous of the modern ground game to maximize turnout among his niche. It’s quite possible that he’ll underperform Romney on election day this year, including and especially among whites. What’s left of the “expanding party” argument then?
Conway’s under no illusions, though. Her populist pitch here is designed with turnout in mind, giving working-class whites a reason to vote in the absence of a sophisticated operation to get them to the polls. Trump should pound this message relentlessly for the rest of the race: It’s no longer a Democrat/Republican battle, it’s the “workers” versus the “elites” of both parties, embodied by Hillary Clinton and Paul Ryan. He won’t win but he could overperform expectations and flex some political muscle. As one Trump advisor told Bloomberg, it’s important to do as well with Republican voters next month as Romney or McCain did so that, in Bloomberg’s words, “Trump’s vision continues to hold sway over the party after the election.” (Even Team Trump is preparing for defeat, it seems.) Show the GOP that a populist campaign can do as well at the polls as traditional business-class Republicanism and not only will Trump’s influence over the party persist, so will the viability of populism as an organizing principle for future Republican candidates.
Don’t be surprised if the elites don’t want to ride along on that journey, though:
Two big-money donors who have given or raised tens of thousands of dollars for Donald Trump are livid at the Republican presidential nominee and are asking for their money back, according to a bundler who raised money for Trump…
The fundraiser, or “bundler,” who collected the donations said that the two donors together have contributed or raised tens of thousands of dollars for Trump. Bundlers, common in major party presidential campaigns, are supporters who tap into their own networks to raise money for a candidate.
This bundler, who says he has raised close to $1 million for Trump, said he, too, is fed up with the nominee and has informed the Trump Victory fundraising leaders that he’s done raising money for the candidate.
A tough call Trump fans will have to make after the election if he loses is how much to blame their leader’s personal foibles for his defeat and how much to stand by him. A committed populist would cut Trump loose on grounds that he was simply too personally undisciplined to win. Trump’s protectionist, restrictionist, isolationist message should go forward, but with a more able messenger. That’d be the smart play, but Trump’s ego won’t permit him to acknowledging personal failings. Everyone else will be scapegoated for his loss — the election was rigged, the media was in the tank, the Republican leadership stabbed him in the back, etc. There is no Trumpism without Trump. If that’s what Trumpers come to believe, then they’re all lined up to try again with him in 2020. He’ll have a better ground game next time! The p***y-grabbing tape will be old news by then! I bet you’ll even hear some argue that four years of a Clinton/Schumer/Ryan elite ruling Washington together will be good for Trump in that it’ll make the working class feel that much more starved for a radical populist alternative. There are a million ways for ardent Trumpers to spin a defeat, even a landslide defeat, that keep hope alive for ultimate populist victory in 2020. The only question is how much the great man himself needs to be part of it.
Oh, by the way:
Source tells me Kellyanne Conway agreed with Hill surrogates who said Trump shouldn't attack Ryan but focus on Clinton.
— Rachael Bade (@rachaelmbade) October 12, 2016
Not sure how to square that with her elites/worker class-warfare message below, but oh well. It’s the right move internally. Yesterday Steve King foolishly called for “amputating” the establishment wing of the party that’s been faithless to Trump, but as I said up top, you can get away with that only if you’re able to turn out such an enormous number of working-class whites that you can afford to lose every other demographic decisively, including whites with a college degree. That’s a long-term loser in a diversifying country and a probable loser in the short-term unless the GOP improves stupendously in GOTV operations very quickly. Conway, by seeking to avoid a fight with Ryan, seems to think the, ahem, pro-“elite” voters within the party won’t be so easily replaced. Especially in the next 27 days.