By Mark Green
In his new book, BrightInfiniteFuture.net and an excerpt in The New Republic, the Host explains how generational trends, the GOP lurch from mainstream to extreme, the successful presidencies of Clinton/ Obama as compared to Bush43's miserable one -- and the prospect of either Cruz or Trump -- will this Fall ratify a continuing shift in the progressive-conservative tug-of-war because the former now simply have the better case.
Realigning Election? 1932 ushered in decades of a New Deal coalition. The '60s Southern White Flight from D to R helped launch the "Backlash Era" of Nixon-Reagan. But given rising of minority, millennial and single women support for Dems, might this Fall see a landslide shift cementing a "New Progressive Era"?
Bob is skeptical, noting that Rove predicted a new GOP era in 2004 which was not to be -- true... but is that relevant now? However, he notes a) Obama's rise in popularity as a marker of the continuing presidential success of his party, and b) the Republican inability after its 2012 failure to be more inclusive of immigrants and women. "The primary process has made that impossible - Rubio wanted to do that but was punished for it."
Mary acknowledges at least a cultural realignment but thinks the country is not realigning on Left-Right issues but rather dealigning on top-down ones because the ruling elites are disappointing the bases of both parties. Bob agrees on the cultural shift: "my USC students think it's crazy how badly Republicans are out of step on issues like marriage equality and a path to citizenship. We're on our way to a majority white country that freaks many Republicans out."
Mary balks at ID Politics but when one party gets a smaller share of a growing constituency, that's a big long-term problem.
Host: The point is not that "demography is destiny" alone -- although an electorate 90% white when Reagan ran is a different country than the 70 this Fall. But when you multiply these trends by the enormous unpopularity of Trump & Cruz personally as contrasted with a popular Dem program, the Dem Party is getting in a position to win POTUS, SCOTUS, SENATE, the federal judiciary -- and the House by or after the 2020 Census and redistricting. Indeed, if he RNC mishandles this coming Convention, it could either tar it with Trumpism for years or watch it split apart.
A democracy knows how to get rid of bad officials -- they can be voted out or prosecuted. But what happens when your party has a base that thinks the American president is not an American, Benghazi was worse than Watergate, "reverse racism" is wore than racism and climate change a hoax? Probably, you wait.
Trump or Cruz? Bob concludes that it's too early to tell if Wisconsin will prove an inflection point for Trump who's escaped previous predictions of doom. "Remember that a candidate can recast his image at a Convention in his nominating speech -- Gore rose 13 points after his. Cruz seems shrewd enough to do that and organize his Convention well. But the problem for the GOP is this -- who scripts its Convention if there's no nominee before it starts?"
Mary agrees that Trump can't win a general election, she thinks Cruz would or at least reduce Senate and House loses. Bob is not so sanguine, noting that Cruz's national unpopularity is almost as high as toxic Trump's.
The big question: could Mary support Trump or is she a #nevertrump? Long pause: "I need to see more solutions... not long policy papers but his views on Supreme Court, regulatory reform. Then I might... but I certainly would if Convention leaders try to steal it from him by rigging the rules!"
Clinton-Sanders. Shrum thinks that their spat over qualifications helped neither. "Bernie may have over-responded by saying that HRC was not qualified but Clinton showed nervousness" by her campaign's constant attacks which risked offending Sanders's ardent young supporters and keeping them home this Fall. Indeed, both pulled back from the cliff given their mutual party interest. So far, Mary acknowledges, "this has been a pretty typical contest between utopians and realists" which shouldn't lead to permanent schisms in November.
What happens when Sanders is trailing significantly after New York and then starts challenging the legitimacy of Superdelegates as 'undemocratic'? Mary: "that's a nice political argument but irrelevant. Since when do we have a pure democracy - we have a representative republic. A better tactic than offending them would be to go after them."
Bob: "you've known a lot of major Democratic candidates and you now Hillary: is the taint that she's a dishonest liar unfair though effective?" Shrum says it's wrong and the result of a fatigue that has perhaps set in after three decades as a prominent target in public life. "But she didn't help herself with the email sever problem and taking those six figure Goldman fees." (When asked about this after show is taped, Clinton responded that perhaps she's a better officeholder than candidate and that her popularity will rise when she doe the job well, as she has in the past.)
Paid Parental Leave. San Francisco just enacted it for up to six weeks for both mother and father. Good pro-family idea or just anti-business/pro-big government? Mary says its fine if a business does this to attract workers but doesn't like it when the government requires it, "then it's like coerced volunteerism." Bob thinks it'll work here as "it's worked in Europe to help young parents without having any significant effect on economies."