2016 Republican Convention

Cleveland and the RNC: Perfect Together for a Very Bad Reason

What's the difference between today's GOP & The Mistake on The Lake? The former leaves town later this week. Other than that, not much.

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RNC Scene
Nick Gillespie, Reason

I love visiting Cleveland, which is on its second day of hosting the Republican National Convention. The West Side Market, Velvet Tango Room, the incredible skyline and waterline—all so, so good.

I got to know Cleveland pretty well during the making of Reason Saves Cleveland with Drew Carey: How To Fix the Mistake on the Lake and Other Once-Great American Cities. That 2010 documentary looked at all of the ways that Cleveland has declined since its high-water mark around 1950 (the same holds true for many, many American cities). Despite a big-city ambience and some totally unique offerings, if a place defines the Rust Belt, it's "the mistake on the lake." (And please, STFU already about the city's "world-famous" orchestra.)

Various pressing issues in Cleveland—mediocre-to-awful schools, declining population, terrible day-to-day governance, punitive business regulations and zoning, and more—stem from an inability to change how things are done, even when everyone regrets the outcomes. If you watch the full doc below, you'll see that sensibility on full display especially in the final section, which covers a city council meeting Drew Carey and I attended after the original series had come out. Councilmen weren't even sure how to get certain things done, like putting up a non-conforming business sign, for their constituents.

At the same time they are well-meaning and sometimes incompetent, local leaders (including businesspeople and folks in the nonprofit sector) are constantly trying to throw Hail Mary passes that will somehow "save" or resurrect the city. God forbid that people get down to brass tacks and figure out how to make a place safe without constantly harrassing minorities, attractive to business and residents, and good at providing basic services. Instead, what you get in Cleveland and so many other languishing towns are new money-losing convention centers to replace old money-losing convention centers, taxpayer-funded sports stadiums, and fiscal black holes like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or that perennial policy bad penny, "light rail." Rather than take the time and do the work of building the city in small but important ways—sell off municipal golf courses, say, or jack up the number of charter schools for all residents and decrease the number of land-use zones from a mind-numbing 20 to something like Houston's near-zero approach—the city's leaders are always looking for that big money play that will win the game, so to speak.

Even—or maybe especially—in the wake of the Cleveland Cavaliers bringing home the city's first sports title since 1964, you can expect even more of that sort of junk. While it's nice that Cleveland can shed its loser image in one dimension, it really doesn't matter if the Cavs repeat or if the Browns and the Indians make the playoffs. If Cleveland is going to ever come back as a city, it needs to do different things differently. Some good policies that have worked in other cities are laid out in substantive-but-entertaining Reason Saves Cleveland.

But before Cleveland can do different things differently, its residents and especially its leaders need to think differently.

Which brings me to the Republican Party, which is technically in Cleveland this week to nominate Donald Trump as its presidential candidate and shares a similar mind-set with Cleveland. Talking to Republicans over the past couple of days has been fascinating. Most of the delegates and activists I've spoken with readily acknowledge that Donald Trump is just short of a total disaster. Here's a guy, after all, who has never held elective office and makes junior-high-level gaffes when it comes to basic knowledge about how government works (at one point, he talked about his sister, a federal judge, "signing laws"). For the entire Obama years (and with some notable exceptions such as Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Justin Amash, and Thomas Massie), the GOP has either ultimately gone along with every spending hike or simply twiddled its collective thumbs. The GOP has shown at almost every opportunity that it really is not serious about governing. Trump is not the cause of that, of course, but he is clearly an effect of a party that is fundamentally unserious.

And yet, virtually all the Republicans I've talked to are crossing their fingers and trying to talk themselves into the idea that the only reason Trump can't crack higher numbers is because the media are against him and conservatives more generally (they say this even as they say he's not a "real" conservative). They're still holding onto the idea that Hillary Clinton will be arrested, indicted, and convicted, which is about as smart as thinking that a new convention center will regentrify a city that's lost more than half its peak population. Many of the delegates and attendees I've talked with are totally on-board with libertarian positions regarding same-sex marriage, criminal-justice reform, foreign policy, free trade, and even immigration. Yet when you suggest that the GOP actually start strutting that stuff, you see the same mix of panic and fear that I saw in the face of Cleveland city council members and muckety-mucks.

But here's the deal, GOPpers: A political party is like a city. People evacuate cities that no longer create the right environment for parents, kids, and businesses to prosper. And they evacuate political parties too, and that's happening right now for the Republicans despite wins at the state and local levels. Just 26 percent of voters identify as Republican and the reasons are pretty clear why. When the Republicans were in power, they not only failed to deliver on their promises, they delivered in all the wrong ways: massive spending hikes, huge increases in regulations, and incompetency at foreign policy. The Republicans at the RNC know this, but they refuse to fully admit it and make sure it won't happen again. Indeed, Donald Trump's budget plan, such as it is, calls for prolonging and increasing the already-historically high federal budget

"Clinton would increase spending by $1.45 trillion over ten years, from 22.1 to 22.7 percent of GDP." Under Trump, spending would increase "from 22.1 to 22.5 percent of GDP."

When it comes to so-called social issues, the GOP is still trying to work increasingly unpopular positions on everything from abortion to pot to porn to immigration. They don't need to do anything about anything, of course, because don't you know Hillary and the Clinton Initiative and the Democrats and everybody else is so patently godawful that the election and power will come their way. Or, same thing, they don't need to change on social issues—including simple respect for people who don't look, speak, smell, or fuck like them—because that would break apart St. Reagan's "three-legged stool" of social conservatives, economic conservatives, and defense conservatives. But check the calendar, folks. It's 2016, and vast and growing majorities of Americans have no problems with alternative lifestyles (and btw, there are only alternative lifestyles). Just a few years ago, a GOP president and Congress "abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system," and we're still facing the blowback from a reckless, ill-conceived, and poorly executed foreign policy that both Reps and Dems have pushed. Hillary Clinton is an endangered species, among the last of unreconstructed hawks who believe Woodrow Wilson was on to something when he wanted to make the world safe for democracy. And yet every Republican in Cleveland will tell you we cannot afford to elect someone who will retreat an inch from anywhere we currently have troops.

The Republicans, in other words, will do everything it takes to keep making the same mistakes over and over again. They will marvel that the outcomes never improve. They will stick with their awful, statist, dumb version of conservatism even as they mouth libertarian platitudes about the sanctity of the individual and the need for a government that does less and spends less (which is what a majority of Americans want).

So it's fitting that the GOP has gathered in Cleveland, a city that sadly prides itself on its "world-class orchestra" and NBA championship and will do everything it can to never do anything differently.

It doesn't mean that Cleveland's not a great place to visit. It really is.

But you know what? Fewer and fewer people want to live there.

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NEXT: Rand Paul Isn't at the RNC. He's Literally Curing the Blind Instead.

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  1. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

    TRUMP4LIBERTY

    1. O Jesu Christe, did you not see the part where Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, twin princes of the One True Libertarianism, disapprove of your nationalist candidate? And what kind of faux libertarian would approve of someone who smells so much like Pat Buchanan?

      Seriously, have these Libertarians for Trump characters even seen a single episode of the Wire, paid California state income tax, or had a bad trip on THC-infused candy in their whole fuckin’ lives?

      1. Wire? yes but I get the characters names confused
        California? Not one thin dime
        Bad Trip? That’s for latent schizos who can’t handle their drugs

      2. That is some intense butthurt right there.

        1. this may be the first time Ive agreed with u on anything, cyto

    2. President Clinton thanks you from the future for clearing her path.

      1. Eat shit, commie.

    3. HURGLEBARGLEGUUUURGH

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      GUUURRRRRRRGH GARY JOHNSON BAD

      1. I’m confused….the handle says ‘Warty’ but it’s acting just like SIV. WHY ARE YOU SO CONFUSING?

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  2. Just 26 percent of voters identify as Republican

    This is how it starts, Hihn Gillespie.

    1. I like eels,
      Except as meals.
      And the way they feels.

  3. I rather enjoyed Cleveland when I visited with my girlfriend back in June, albeit this was when they were tearing up Public Square and a bunch of other areas to make it pretty for the convention.

    But still, I’m a fan of art deco architecture and thought the metroparks were pretty neat as well. Don’t see that much green living in Phoenix.

    1. Your girlfriend from Canada?

      1. Nobody tell him Cytotoxic is “jailbait”

      2. She’s from Lakewood, Ohio, actually. And she’s already plotting to take us back in the winter where I’ll encounter this thing called “snow”.

        1. Check out R&R Hall of Fame if you haven’t. Plan 3 hours tops.

          1. We thought about it. We were down by the lakefront when we got caught in a thunderstorm downpour so we ran into the closest building, which was the Great Lakes Science Center.

        2. Lakewood? if you drop a quarter kick it down to west 17th before you pick it up.

        3. Don’t do it man – its a trap. Everybody knows that living with snow turns you into homocidal maniacs. Look at ‘The Shining’ and ‘Fargo’.

        4. Lakewood is beautiful, try out Angelos Pizza, great food.

        5. Grand Moff, I’ve had enough snow for ten lifetimes. If you are interested, I’d be happy to swap houses with you for February. I am in Solon, the states best public school district, and our property backs up to 30 acres of virgin forest. Very private.

          1. I work in Solon, nice city, I like that Chagrin Falls is right next door too.

          2. Solon is now #2. I’m in #14 (Olentangy by Columbus)

        6. Lakewood? Oh sure…yeah…

  4. Cleveland exists to make Pittsburgh look like heaven on earth.

    1. So what does Baltimore exist for?

      1. To make Cleveland look like heaven on earth?

    2. Detroit exist to make Cleveland look not terrible.

      1. Actually everyone I’ve talked to who have lived in Cleveland liked it alright. Granted we’re talking mostly suburbanites but still.

        1. Modest housing costs, excellent access to arts, sports, outdoors activities, good schools (suburbs only), near perfect summer weather, gorgeous falls, numerous ethnic areas, reasonable commutes, zero state tax on small businesses. If you can get away for 6 weeks in the winter as I do, it’s magnificent.

          Don’t move here. You’d spoil it.

    3. Canada exists to make USA look sane.

      /told to duck. Remains erect.

      1. Ahem! We have a much lower corporate income tax and no inheritance tax AFAIK!

        1. Well, I must say, my business adventure in Florida came to an unfortunate and abrupt end thanks largely to the obscene government interventionism. Bureaucrats have a bit too much power as we know but when their power is such that it threatens a start-up you know things are bad. From what I’ve seen in Florida and heard about California, I’m not so sure Canada is that bad. I could be wrong.

          We’ll give it another whirl in another year but it was bitterly disappointing.

          1. another whirl in a year or year and a half that is. /fingers crossed.

          2. Canada rates higher on economic freedom indices than America does. It’s true!

    4. Pittsburgh is pretty cool.

  5. Lots to like in this article, Nick. The inevitable quibble:

    When it comes to so-called social issues, the GOP is still trying to work increasingly unpopular positions on everything from abortion to pot to porn to immigration.

    I don’t think its clear at all that the GOP are on the wrong side of the country on some of these (namely, abortion and immigration). I also think that the GOP apparatchiks are more on the wrong side of the country on others (gay acceptance, if not “rights”/privileges, for example,) than the GOP rank and file.

    That said, your disdain for the GOP’s utter failure to advance any kind of agenda, much less the one they profess, is dead on target.

    1. Lots to like in this article, Nick.

      Especially the alt-text.

    2. “I don’t think its clear at all that the GOP are on the wrong side of the country on some of these (namely, abortion and immigration).”

      Poll data is very clear that they are on the wrong side on those issues.

      1. Give a guy a link. Geez.

        1. Oh Christ Reason has polled these issues to death, but fine.

          Immigration: https://reason.com/archives/201…..ion-stance

          It was called a long time ago: https://reason.com/archives/199…..anent-immi

          As for gay marriage: look it up yourself. Look up any jurisdiction that had gay marriage ‘forced’ onto it by judicial decision ie Canada and you’ll find opposition all but gone within 10 years.

      2. Poll data actually suggests they’re closer to the median than democrats on abortion for sure and probably immigration (what the dem position on immigration really is is unclear).

        In any event, libertarians are at odds with more of the country then either major party, so it hardly makes sense for libertarians to appeal to the mandate of the people.

  6. What’s happening to the GOP is the most widely misunderstood thing that’s happened in a long, long time.

    Understand that Trump’s core support is disaffected Democrats.

    Whites, blue collar workers, the middle class, they’ve all been chased out of the Democratic Party–which only seems to care about LGBT, BLM, environmentalists, Muslims, and illegal aliens anymore. All of these Trump supporters that are flooding the Republican Party are coming from the white, blue collar, middle class demographic that used to be the bread and butter of the Democratic Party.

    Why is clear evidence that the Democrats’ traditional core constituency is abandoning the Democratic Party and flooding into the Republican Party evidence that the Republican Party is in trouble?

    If everyone who isn’t LGBT, BLM, an environmentalist, a unionized government employee, or an illegal alien is abandoning the Democratic Party like rats off a sinking ship, then it isn’t the Republican Party that’s in trouble.

    1. “If everyone who isn’t LGBT, BLM, an environmentalist, a unionized government employee, or an illegal alien is abandoning the Democratic Party like rats off a sinking ship, then it isn’t the Republican Party that’s in trouble.”

      I should have added:

      It’s like people see the Republican ship teeming with rats and assume there must be something terribly wrong with the GOP.

      What they don’t realize is that all those rats swarmed in off the Democrat’s ship–because it’s sinking.

      1. Here’s hoping the Clintons go down with it.

    2. “Understand that Trump’s core support is disaffected Democrats.”

      The only actual data I’ve ever seen you present in favor of this narrative is that Trump did better in open primaries. I’ve never seen you present any other evidence to support this. And I think it’s a lot more likely that Trump benefited more from conservative Independents who don’t like the Republican establishment voting for him than Democrats. Sanders also did better in open primaries, but that doesn’t mean his base was disaffected Republicans.

      I think the core problem with your analysis is that you’re relying on decades-old stereotypes that haven’t been true for a while, and then concluding Trump is causing all these changes. The last Democrat to win the white vote was Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Jimmy Carter is the only one since then to even get 45% of the white vote. The Republicans have gotten 55% of the white vote or more in every election since 2000 (inclusive). And at least for the recent portion of this history, they’ve done better with blue-collar whites than white-collar, college-educated whites. Romney got over 60% of the vote from this group, which was several points better than his showing among college-educated whites (I don’t recall the exact numbers).

      1. “I think the core problem with your analysis is that you’re relying on decades-old stereotypes that haven’t been true for a while, and then concluding Trump is causing all these changes.”

        I’m not claiming that Trump is causing any of these changes. I’m claiming that he’s symptomatic of what’s happening within that white, blue collar demographic. In other words, he isn’t causing those changes; those changes are causing him to gain support.

        He’s running as a traditional Democrat. He’s to the left of Bill Clinton on a number of issues.

        In terms of decades-old stereotypes, they aren’t stereotypes. That white, blue collar workers have been a core constituency of the Democratic Party since before the Great Depression up to and through Obama’s first term isn’t a stereotype, and just because the Democratic Party leadership has made the mistake of abandoning demonizing their own core constituency over the last few years doesn’t mean they’re no longer a core constituency.

        It may just mean that the Democratic Party has made a huge mistake in taking their core constituency for granted.

        1. “It may just mean that the Democratic Party has made a huge mistake in taking their core constituency for granted.”

          It would if there was any reason to believe they are going to lose, but it’s clear they are going to win and not by a close margin.

          1. The Republicans probably nominated the only person running who could have lost to Hillary.

            She might have lost to Bush, she’s so unpopular.

            Hillary Clinton’s favorable ratings have stood steady at around 40% since January.

            Hillary Clinton’s unfavorable ratings have stood steady at around 55% since January.

            According to Gallup, as of two weeks ago, Hillary were still at precisely those numbers.

            http://tinyurl.com/7hazzde

            —-Gallup

            If you think Hillary beating Trump is indicative of some long term advantage to Democrats’ electoral prospects in the future, you’re really out to lunch.

            P.S. Don’t expect Cytotoxic to back up anything he says.

            1. “Don’t expect Cytotoxic to back up anything he says”

              Again with the projection….

              People make too much hay of her (awful) favorability numbers. Fact is, the electoral college has been favoring the Democrats more and more since 2000 or so, Hillary or no. Trump will seal that fate.

      2. I should add, this has all happened before:

        “Reagan Democrats” no longer saw the Democratic party as champions of their working class aspirations, but instead saw them as working primarily for the benefit of others: the very poor, feminists, the unemployed, African Americans, Latinos, and other groups.”

        http://tinyurl.com/z2nupnq

        Is a stereotype something that’s been true for decades and remains true today? What we’re seeing happen with Trump is what happens when the Democratic Party leadership neglects its core constituency. Just because the same thing is happening that always happened before in this situation doesn’t mean it’s a stereotype.

        1. Except that Reagan also got the college-educated white vote. Trump won’t get, so the GOP has traded down massively.

          1. Your naked elitism is a disgusting.

            1. No it isn’t. There is nothing wrong with elitism.

              1. Free markets are about individuals making choices more rationally through markets than elitists ever can on their behalf.

                Free minds is about people thinking for themselves rather than having elitists do their thinking for them.

                Elitism is incompatible with libertarianism.

                It’s perfectly compatible with fascism and communism, though. Hell, elitism is what rationalizing authoritarianism is all about.

                You should be ashamed of yourself.

                1. I don’t think you know what elitism is.

                  However, it is very clear that the vast majority of the people cannot think worth a shit. They are droolers. That’s why they need an intellectual elite-myself being an example-to think for them on issues like ‘who should I support this election’.

                  Smart people who can think critically need to embrace the fact that they are part of an elite that is distinct from the peon masses, not pander to them with bromides about the ‘wisdom of the salt-of-the-Earth common man’.

                  1. “They are droolers. That’s why they need an intellectual elite-myself being an example-to think for them on issues like ‘who should I support this election'”

                    You are a smug, arrogant, ignorant asshole.

              2. There is nothing wrong with elitism.

                It’s just a little bit sad coming from somebody so incredibly less than ordinary.

            2. Elitism or no my point still stands. A GOP without the college-educated white vote = no more GOP presidents.

        2. Reagan democrats have not been the base of the Democratic Party for decades. By the Election Day, no one under the age of 50 will have ever voted for Ronald Reagan. The stereotypes I’m talking about are in regards to blue-collar whites being the base of the Democratic Party. They haven’t been for a while. The changes you’re talking about have already happened for the most part.

          The base of the Democratic Party these days is mostly liberal whites (who tend to be college educated and live in urban areas), blacks, and increasingly other minorities (Hispanics, Asians, along with LGBT people, etc.). Blue collar whites have voted republican more often than not for a while.

          Also you could play the blame game from both sides. Is it the dems fault for abandoning working class whites or are they just mad that the dems are now catering to groups they don’t like instead of them? And the GOP over the decades has also seen groups abandon them (blacks, many northern whites from liberal or moderate Protestant backgrounds, etc.)

          1. Excellent points. Cali might not always get it right but he/she/xe is a far better writer than I am.

          2. “Reagan democrats have not been the base of the Democratic Party for decades.”

            I’m not sure you’re clear on who the Reagan Democrats were.

            The UAW hasn’t been the base of the Democratic Party for decades?

            How long ago was it that the Democrats used taxpayer money to nationalize GM and gave a majority share ownership to the UAW?

            The AFL-CIO hasn’t been the base of the Democratic Party for decades?!

            What about SEIU?

            The Reagan Democrats were blue collar workers who were chased out of supporting the Democratic Party over the same elitism and culture war bullshit that’s chasing Trump Democrats out of the Democratic Party today.

            They like Trump because he’s not-PC. Isn’t that a main selling point?

            1. To answer your questions: no, they haven’t been Ken. You’re behind the times. So is the Dem party; that’s partly why they bailed those guys out. The main reason is because it’s in their governing philosophy.

            2. So now the goalposts move from white blue collar workers to unions specifically?

              You do realize that the vast majority of Reagan Democrats are either dead or senior citizens now, right? Old white people aren’t the base of the Democratic Party and very few of them are still working union jobs.

              And in general, unions are still an important democratic constituency, but they aren’t as big a part of the base as they used to be. And more to the point, blue-collar white union workers are far less important than they used to be. Private-sector union membership is at historic lows, and after you subtract out non-white members, and whites who still vote Democrat, you’re not looking at a huge portion of the electorate – and most of that portion has already been in the R column for years. I don’t see any evidence that Trump has attracted a huge additional number of these people. Certainly not to the point that they, and not people who have been Republicans (or conservative Independents) for years, are the core of his supporters.

              1. “So now the goalposts move from white blue collar workers to unions specifically?”

                Are you kidding? That isn’t moving the goalposts anywhere.

                “A Reagan Democrat is a traditionally Democratic voter in the United States, referring especially to white working-class Northerners or Midwesterners who defected from their party to support Republican President Ronald Reagan in either or both the 1980 and 1984 elections.”

                —-First Link on Google

                https://www.google.com/#q=reagan+democrats

                That’s the constituency of the Trump Democrats, too, and if Trump wins, that’s exactly what people will be calling them–“Trump Democrats”.

              2. Old white people aren’t the base of the Democratic Party

                Ever heard of the AARP you fucking moron?

      3. Don’t expect Ken to ever back his stuff up. Once he latches onto a narrative, he won’t let evidence or logic pry him off.

        The demographics that the GOP is supposedly winning over are ones that are shrinking and dying off. The Dems are smart to ditch them for demos like Hispanics and Millenials.

        1. Cytotoxic only believes facts that support his preferred narrative.

          And his preferred narrative seems to be all about hating rednecks or something.

          He’s basically morphing into Shrike + Tulpa before our eyes. Either that, or it’s always been that way, and it’s just become more noticeable as those other two have faded more into the background.

          1. You can stop projecting onto me any day.

            Now that you mention it, the commentariat here is getting so bad and stupid Tulpa is actually starting to look not so awful. He wouldn’t be dumb enough to believe Trump is electable.

      4. “The only actual data I’ve ever seen you present in favor of this narrative is that Trump did better in open primaries. I’ve never seen you present any other evidence to support this.”

        It’s actually come up several times in my posts. It usually happens on a state by state primary results basis.

        CNBC put it together in an impressive graph here:

        http://tinyurl.com/j29tytk

        According to this guy at Red State, the way he calculated it:

        “Of 31 million who voted in the Republican Primary 38% approximately were Democrats.”

        http://tinyurl.com/j3bbkns

        He seems to be bemoaning the fact.

        Anyway, talking about the demise of the Republican Party and not accounting for the fact that what they’re talking about is a result of traditional Democrats flooding into the Republican Party isn’t getting the whole picture.

        1. So your proof that Democrats are the core of Trump’s support is a CNBC article that says Democrats are 5% of the republican electorate (and that many of them aren’t voting for Trump) plus random unscientific and illogical conjecture by some guy on RedState? That is weaker than I thought

          1. Ken is weaker than I previously thought. The Trumpening is very good for revealing the weak minds.

          2. There are all sorts of sources with the same conclusion.

            If you don’t like mine, go find some of your own.

            The argument the Red State guy is making (and I believe he’s publicly anti-Trump) by citing the statistics doesn’t really change the statistics. If more than a third of the Republican voters who participated in the primaries were Democrats, then that’s what they were–regardless of his using that as excuse to denounce Trump and undermine his support in the Republican Party.

            The graph at CNBC, however, clearly shows that Trump fared far better in Open Primary states where Democrats could vote for him. You asked me for evidence of that, and I provided it.

            P.S. If 5% of Democrats swing to Trump, that gives Republicans a 10% margin. That isn’t unsubstantial.

            1. The guy at Red State tortures the statistics and makes a bunch of unfounded assumptions. They don’t actually prove his claim true. Any statistician would laugh their ass of at his reasoning.

              There are cross party voters in every election. It’s totally normal for 5-10% of a party’s voters to vote for the other side. Polls show that Clinton and Trump attract pretty even support from the other party, and both less than 10%, which is normal. There’s no evidence that Trump specifically is attracting a bunch of them on his own.

              The open primary thing is one data point, but it doesn’t come close to conclusively proving that Democrats are his core supporters. There are also other explanations. Many of the closes contests were in unfavorable states for Trump (he was weakest in the Great Plains and Mountain West regions) and/or where caucuses, where Trump’s lack of a ground game (and Cruz’s solid ground game) often hurt him. Trump did better among Republicans in open primary contests, so how does the Democrat-theory explain that? Also, even if Trump didn’t do better with Independents in open primaries, he often still benefited because Cruz, his top competitor, did a lot worse with them. Kasich was particularly strong with them, but he was still nowhere near strong enough with them to be a threat.

              1. “The open primary thing is one data point, but it doesn’t come close to conclusively proving that Democrats are his core supporters.”

                Trump Democrats aren’t just registered Democrats who cross party lines to vote for Trump; they’re also people from that core Democrat demographic–white, blue collar, middle class. They respond to issues that union and tradesman Democrats traditionally held–like Trump being anti-free trade. They’re also vehemently anti-PC, which is what drove many of them out of the Democratic orbit.

                We laugh at, “They took our jobs!”, but those guys are lining up behind Trump.

                I don’t know if you’re expecting a signed affidavit from every Trump supporter giving you both all their demographic information and detailed explanations for why they support Trump. We don’t get data that inclusive. All we get is the data points we get–and Democrats (and traditional Democrat constituencies that have been chased out of supporting the Democratic Party by progressives) are going off the reservation and crossing party lines to support Trump. They’re what put Trump over the top in the primaries–and, yeah, primary results are about as extensive and accurate a data point as we’re likely to get before the election.

                If a stead 55% of the American people disapprove of Hillary Clinton, I”m going to say that a lot of those people are from traditional Democrat constituencies.

                1. Regardless, my point is that the Republican Party’s demise is greatly exaggerated–especially if the problems we’re seeing are not necessarily just because registered Republican voters are rejecting traditionally Republican issues. If the problems the Republicans are experiencing are actually a result of traditional Democratic core constituencies abandoning the Democratic Party and overwhelming the plurality in the Republican primaries, then we better account for that.

                  Trump won the nomination despite being largely unpopular with traditional Republicans! It would be one thing if the Republican candidate were massively unpopular because he was espousing traditional Republican stances on free trade, etc. That isn’t the case. The Republican faithful are resisting Trump because they don’t buy his commitment on traditional Republican issues.

                  1. When people talk about the demise of the Republican Party, they need to account for why so many disaffected Democrats (and traditional Democrat constituencies) have been supporting Trump. They also need to account for why we have a two party system in this country (it’s about single-member districts) and realize that even if the Republican Party changes in some ways at the national level, it isn’t dying at the state level–the Republican Party is stronger in the states than it’s ever been since the 1920s. If the current trends continue, the Republicans may control both houses in so many state legislatures, that they’ll be able to call a convention to propose new amendments to the Constitution.

                    I see all sorts of data points telling me that the narrative about the demise of the Republican Party is getting it all backwards. If Trump wins, the Democrats better hope they retake the Senate; otherwise, the extent of their power will be limited to state legislatures in a handful of deep blue states–with no power to speak of at the national level. And should it really be surprising that a party predicated on progressive hatred of the white, blue collar, middle class is being abandoned by the white, blue collar, middle class?

          3. The other thing that’s interesting about that graph at CNBC, Trump lost in only three open primary states: Minnesota, Ohio, and Texas.

            In Ohio, Trump lost to Ohio’s own Kasich, and in Texas, Trump lost to Texas’ own Ted Cruz. Even when Reagan took 49 states, Mondale won his home state.

            13 of 16 states with open primaries–that’s a powerful showing in states with open primaries.

    3. I think you’re taking trends that have for the most part already happened over the course of decades and then attributing them to Trump and recent Democratic Party actions. But I think the data shows that for the most part, this is a change that has already happened and was going on long before Trump, Obama, etc. hit the scene.

      1. “But I think the data shows that for the most part, this is a change that has already happened and was going on long before Trump, Obama, etc. hit the scene.”

        There might be an argument for demographic changes; for instance, immigration and procreation from Latin America and Asia might mean that the white middle class won’t always be the force it once was.

        That being said, I suspect we’ll find that the Latino middle class and the Asian middle class of the future isn’t likely to behave much differently from the white middle class. For instance, I don’t know that there’s anything about being middle class Latinos or middle class Asians that would make them any more willing to pay more at the pump to stop climate change.

        Ask me how they feel about free trade, and I might ask about what they do for a living–rather than whether they’re Latino, Asian, or white.

    4. Why is clear evidence that the Democrats’ traditional core constituency is abandoning the Democratic Party and flooding into the Republican Party evidence that the Republican Party is in trouble?

      Because the Democrats will almost certainly win this year.

      Who cares what percentage of the white vote they’re getting, as long as they win?

      Look at it this way. A few decades ago, before BLM and LGBTQI caused the supposedly catastrophic (for Dems) alienation of working class whites, the Democrats were capable of losing 49 states in a presidential election. Even if you live another 50 years, do you think the Dems will ever again lose 49 states in your lifetime?

          1. No, just an aside to you.

      1. “Even if you live another 50 years, do you think the Dems will ever again lose 49 states in your lifetime?

        It’s like we’re coming out of the Carter Administration right now.

        If Ronald Reagan were being nominated today, and you could only buy gasoline on even numbered days if your license plate ended in an even number, and inflation were in the double digits, not to mention unemployment . . . anybody else remember the misery index? It was around 20% when Reagan took office.

        If he were given free reign and slashed taxes, got rid of the oil crisis with a strike of his pen to let the market work, if the unemployment rate started dropping, etc., etc.

        Yeah, I think Reagan could win that election just like he did all over again.

        Everybody seems to think everything has changed since or because Obama was elected. During the Bush Jr. Administration, it seemed like neocons would rule in Washington forever. Obama has made public policy worse, but in terms of what makes economies and elections work together? The Romans would recognize our current situation.

        There is nothing new under the sun.

        1. “It’s like we’re coming out of the Carter Administration right now.”

          WTF planet do you live on? Because here, on Earth, in the real world, Obama has a +50% approval rating despite being the worst president since LBJ.

          Seriously you need to stop talking about this stuff. You need to go outside and talk to real people before you vomit up these wordy fantasies of yours.

          1. I left the word “Assume” off the front of the sentence.

            “[Assume] it’s like we’re coming out of the Carter Administration right now.”

            Yeah, if things were like they were when we were coming out of the Carter Administration–with all the details I listed–and some future President addressed those problems the way Reagan did, then, yeah, I suspect that President would carry every state but the home state of his opponent in his reelection campaign–just like Reagan did.

            What, are you a big Reagan fan or something? Are you all mad because you want to think only someone as wonderful as your hero Reagan could accomplish reelection results like that?

            1. You may as well ask me to assume that unicorns are real and Duck Dynasty isn’t hyper-cancer.

              1. The question was whether a candidate in the future could win 49 out of 50 states again.

                I answered that question.

                If you don’t like the question, take it up with Mint Berry Crunch.

                I thought it was an interesting question.

                1. I doubt even then we’d see such a lopsided result ken.

                  1. It doesn’t surprise me that you don’t think the same thing would happen for the same reasons if we were in the same situation.

                    . . . and that’s because you’re a disingenuous troll who only believes facts if they support your preexisting bias towards anti-redneck elitism.

                    1. No Ken, it’s called ‘reality’. Do you think MBC is also a troll? Anyone who doesn’t swallow your intricate narratives thatched together with your trademark ‘creative’ reasoning?

                    2. I think you’re a troll because you act like Tulpa.

      2. This.

      3. No, but not the Republicans either. Most states used to be swing states, so you could get prez elections where either the Democrat or the Republican swept the board nearly clean. Over my lifetime, an enormous segregation has developed, such that there are now few swing states. Largely it’s been a matter of people moving.

    5. If you examine the voting demographics for each presidential election, the white percentage of the vote drops about 2% every 4 years like clockwork. The Dems have been quietly importing reliable socialism-friendly ringers since 1965; Hispanics may not vote as frequently as black voters or in quite the same block numbers, but that constant grind has been enough to neuter the conservativish populist vote you saw among the Reagan Democrats and now the Trump MARs.

      The only way to prevent the continued Californiazation of the union via forced federal immigration is to stop and then reverse the demographic changes that’ve driven the rise of the openly corrupt/stupid Obama-Sanders left who know they can get away with murder because their core constituency don’t know and don’t care about their corruption. Enter Trump and reactive GOP identity politics.

      1. See my comment above.

        In short, I suspect the views of people in the middle class tend to converge regardless of race.

        I know for a fact that the children and grandchildren of immigrants tend to become more like the children and grandchildren of native born Americans with each successive generation.

        That’s true of those who remain poor.

        I’m sure it’s true of those who make it to the middle class, too. There’s just no substitute for economic growth.

        1. I know for a fact that the children and grandchildren of immigrants tend to become more like the children and grandchildren of native born Americans with each successive generation.

          That’s the bone of contention. It’s been 50 years since Ted Kennedy worked his magic. Are we seeing second- and third-gen Mexican immigrants voting like the Euro-Americans who constituted 90% of the population in 1960, or are they consistently supporting hard-left big gov policies? California tells the tale, and it’s not one of magic soil that leads non-Europeans to vote and live like Europeans do.

          1. “California tells the tale, ”

            No it doesn’t. Cali is an outlier. Texas is much more conservative now that it was 20 years ago when it had fewer Hispanics in it.

          2. White voters in California vote D a lot more than the used to. Brown won the white vote comfortably in both elections and Obama did in 2008. Exit polls had Romney winning it by single digits in 2012 although recent analysis has indicated that exit polls in 2012 probably underestimated both the whit share of the vote as well as obama’s share of the white vote nationally.

            I’m also not sure why we are viewing white people, a group that mostly supported trump and sanders this year, as an electoral model.

          3. The great grandchildren of immigrants are acting exactly like the great grandchildren of native born Americans–if you match them for economic level.

            My point is that it’s the socioeconomic level that dominates–not the race.

            Argue that the great grandchildren of immigrants tend to remain mired in poverty and you have a better argument–because poor uneducated people tend to think the same way on economic issues regardless of race.

            1. Late to reply here, but just in case you check the thread this morning:

              One of the chief reasons that the early 20th century was so disastrous for American small gov classical liberalism is that immigrant populations weren’t the same as the early WASP immigrants to the US or even the Scots-Irish who settled in my neck of the woods. The government itself realized that when they put heavy quotas on immigration from southern Europe relative to northern–it wasn’t just bigotry against Italians and eastern Europeans, but a recognition that people who lacked the Anglo tradition of limited state authority would not respect limited state authority in the US.

              The rapid erosion of rights that occurred from Roosevelt to Roosevelt is a good reminder of what can happen when immigrant populations (and, being fair, the enfranchisement of people who’re more likely to support security states with less suspicion of the civic cost of these states) have no tradition of Magna Carta, the unwritten Constitution, or the rest of the Anglo tradition.

              And Mexican-and Central-Americans who are now voting are not in the same zip code culturally as southern Europeans, let alone people who might be inclined to view English common law and limited government as a good.

      2. There is no evidence that immigration is embiggening the welfare state or reducing economic freedom.

        1. What are we defining as the size of the welfare state? Because, given that most immigrants are poor, by definition increased immigration (of poor people) increases the fraction of the population eligible for entitlements.

          Now, one might argue that immigrants don’t take advantage of entitlements at a rate necessary to realize this possible increase in the fraction of the population that’s on the dole, but that’s likely because so many of them are illegal and afraid of INS deporting them.

          So, if the argument is that amnesty and greater legalization of immigration won’t increase the burden on the welfare state, I don’t buy it, because the very fact that illegals are here illegally is likely a big reason why they don’t take advantage of the system to the full extent of their eligibility. What is to stop them from doing so just like poor American citizens once they are ‘legitimized?’

          I think the GOP should (or should have, this ship will likely set sail soon) tried to make a ‘grand compromise’ on immigration and agreed to loosening of immigration restrictions in return for the Dems agreeing to go along with cutting back eligibility for entitlements. This would allow more immigrants in, but leave said immigrants less solidly in the Dem’s camp since 1) the GOP wouldn’t be the malevolent force trying to deport them and 2) the Dems wouldn’t be able to promise them as much free stuff as per the deal to cut entitlement eligibility while letting them in.

        2. What are we defining as the size of the welfare state? Because, given that most immigrants are poor, by definition increased immigration (of poor people) increases the fraction of the population eligible for entitlements.

          Now, one might argue that immigrants don’t take advantage of entitlements at a rate necessary to realize this possible increase in the fraction of the population that’s on the dole, but that’s likely because so many of them are illegal and afraid of INS deporting them.

          So, if the argument is that amnesty and greater legalization of immigration won’t increase the burden on the welfare state, I don’t buy it, because the very fact that illegals are here illegally is likely a big reason why they don’t take advantage of the system to the full extent of their eligibility. What is to stop them from doing so just like poor American citizens once they are ‘legitimized?’

          I think the GOP should (or should have, this ship will likely set sail soon) tried to make a ‘grand compromise’ on immigration and agreed to loosening of immigration restrictions in return for the Dems agreeing to go along with cutting back eligibility for entitlements. This would allow more immigrants in, but leave said immigrants less solidly in the Dem’s camp since 1) the GOP wouldn’t be the malevolent force trying to deport them and 2) the Dems wouldn’t be able to promise them as much free stuff as per the deal to cut entitlement eligibility while letting them in.

      3. Sanders supporters were overwhelmingly white liberals

        1. And will back Clinton.

  7. Note the following:

    1) Trump did better in open primary states where registered Democrats could vote for him, too.

    2) The Republican Party has never been better off than it is right now at the local level. Look at all the state legislatures where both houses are under Republican control. Look at all the Republican governors.

    3) Trump’s message is tailor made to appeal to blue collar whites–certainly in terms of illegal aliens and being anti-free trade–tailor made to appeal to blue collar whites who have been chased out of the Democratic Party by PC/culture war progressives.

    4) Trump didn’t win the overwhelming majority of the Republican votes. He won a significant plurality with the aid of white, blue collar refugees from the Democratic Party.

    5) The people who are sent to the convention are probably not from that Trump Democrat demographic. They’re the old line Republican faithful. Of course, they’re going to think Trump is a disaster–their concerns are the ones his blue collar, middle class Democrat supporters are displacing.

    Put all that together: 1+2+3+4+5 means don’t count the GOP out yet.

    The Democrats better start getting worried that they’re losing the American middle class–and no means to win them back–unless they think the American middle class finds environmentalism, BLM, illegal aliens, and militant LGBT/PC bullshit appealing.

    1. “unless they think the American middle class finds environmentalism, BLM, illegal aliens, and militant LGBT/PC bullshit appealing.”

      Reminder: the Dems are almost certain to win this year.

      “2) The Republican Party has never been better off than it is right now at the local level. Look at all the state legislatures where both houses are under Republican control. Look at all the Republican governors.”

      Which won’t matter when they are The Party of Trump. The Trump Party has no future.

  8. From what i saw on The Wire, the only thing that would “Save” many of America’s failing cities would be a Fallout-Style apocalyptic decimation of the legacy institutions, and actually allow someone other than politically-connected developers to come in and do something productive with the now-unzoned and unregulated neighborhoods that are currently tied up in a bottomless morass of this

  9. I warned everyone. I warned everyone that Cleveland sucks balls but did anyone listen? Yes, they did, because when I talk people listen.

    1. Come again?

  10. I’ve been reading Hoffer’s The True Believer lately. It’s a depressing commentary on current and past events. It also leaves little hope for the freedom minded.

    1. I read The True Believer recently as well. It confirmed and extended my dismay about humanity.

      1. “Successful mass movements need not believe in a god, but they must believe in a devil.”

  11. Is it true that Trump is bringing back slavery?

    1. Is it true that Trump is bringing back slavery?

      Yes, but not how you think.

      1. Yeah, I’m not wearing that. Get shot from the front and the back.

    2. “Bringing back” slavery?

      Slavery never left.

    3. Free landscaping for every American!

  12. Trump is a third party candidate running within the GOP party structure. Sanders was a third party candidates running within the DNC party structure.

    The duopoly has locked out alternatives and people are sick of it so they’re taking the fight to within the parties. The DNC is just better at preserving it’s own power and controlling it’s candidate choices.

    That said, frustrated people make irrational choices.

    1. Yeah, it makes me so upset I’m going to eat a whole box of Boston Creme doughnuts.

  13. Victorian Venice in color:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tra…..paign=1490

  14. “a government that does less and spends less (which is what a majority of Americans want).”

    This is delusional for reasons that have been discussed many times here Nick.

    Indeed, this article is actually a pretty accurate diagnosis of the GOP, Cleveland, and Nick Gillespie’s writing.

  15. I totally agree with Nick, I’m from the Cleveland area and the city government is about as totally ineffective as they get, Frank Jackson the mayor and the history of cronyism is breathtaking with the likes of Russo and Dimora – two former Cuyahoga county commissioners convicted of multiple accounts of bribery and various other crony activities. It’s really sad because Cleveland is a great place with good food and entertainment. Eateries such as Melt and Noodlecat are phenomenal and of course the Cleveland museum of Art and the Great Lakes Science Center, but, I wondr often when driving up Rt 480 over Valley View bridge with that skyline in view how much greater Cleveland could be without all of these horrible policies. Maybe someday, who knows…

    1. Melt is awful. Seriously. How do people choke that shit down and tell themselves that it tastes good and pretend it doesn’t bind up their bowels for days?

      1. Warty I do agree there is some stuff on their menu that can clog up the old bowels, I ordered the Cuban War Pig once when I went in, holy mackerel it was like everything in the freekin kitchen was thrown on there, but then I tried the Chicken and Waffles, it was great, stoners created that menu.

        1. Try Happy Dog

          1. I’ll have to try it, I’m always looking for new eateries in the area.

    2. I spent a couple decades watching Rochester and Buffalo circle down the drain – I just don’t see how these cities can turn things around. I get the dysfunction, but look at NYC – as dysfunctional or more so but it’s bursting at the seams.

      1. I agree, they keep electing the same boneheads in year after year, so many great cities down the shittube. Look at Detroit, they had like the highest taxes in the country and their city employees had some of the best benefit programs in the US, they never learn.

      2. NYC is a completely different kind of city than Buffalo, Detroit, or Cleveland. Those three cities never had diverse economies so when the stuff hit the fan in the 70’s and 80’s, they were caught standing flat-footed.

        Cleveland is not projected to recover all the jobs it lost during the Great Recession for another seven years. But Columbus, with a diverse economy, had recaptured what it lost and has gained more. Cleveland loves it socialism and living off other people’s money. Right now, it’s broke. It’s living on borrowed time. All the money put into the downtown is not going to save it. The neighborhoods are rotting, the crime is rampant, the city keeps building more government housing, not less. The schools are a failure. But Cleveland big shots think young people moving into downtown is the solution. Never mind that in about 7 years, downtown is not going to be shiny and new anymore and those young people will be leaving for job promotions and/or when they have children and want a clean, safe place to live with good schools.

        It’s not about the diversity, the skateboarding, the bike lanes, or the public art all over the place. It’s the same thing it’s been for a generation: Job opportunities, good schools, clean neighborhoods, reduced crime, and living in a community where people share your values.

        If your goal in life is a job with government, then Cleveland is your town.

  16. Man, I miss Cleveland.

  17. Good article, Nick, lots of care went into it …. and it doesn’t have the usual myriad typoes 🙂

  18. Well he got the Cleveland part right. Cleveland has spent the last 40 years becoming a shrine to poverty, dysfunction, and socialism and is continually shocked by it’s crime rate, poverty, and being a broke-ass city living off other people’s money. A very incestuous place, Cleveland is the same couple of dozen people doing the same thing with their hands in all the pies. They know best.

    The nomination of Donald Trump disproves the GOP is making the same mistakes over and over. If it were not so, then Jeb Bush would be accepting the nomination, just like Clinton. Ohio Gov. John Kasich will tell anyone who’ll listen how much he is worried about the Party’s reputation. But he wasn’t worried enough to show up at the convention Monday night and officially welcome the delegates to his state. This is the “business as usual” mentality the GOP voters have rejected.

    So both political parties and Cleveland might be suffering from doing the same things over and over, but the American people are not. I’ll be voting for Trump. I have never done that before.

  19. Re Cleveland and its “world-famous orchestra,” there was a joke in the 70s. What’s the difference between Cleveland and The Titanic? Cleveland has a better orchestra.

  20. I don’t get the joke about the orchestra. Is someone denying that Cleveland has one of the best orchestras in the country? I love Franz.

  21. trump is a trainwreck & the RNC platform hasnt changed. but good luck with the tribal partisan hackery Im sure its going to make everything fantastix.

  22. I went to Cleveland a few years ago. I enjoyed the Rock and Roll Hal of Fame and the Great Lakes Brewery tour. The city itself seems to be declining, but I saw it through the context of Baltimore, where I lived at the time and which is very much a down on it’s luck city on a massive upswing.

    I don’t really see any reason to ever go back to Cleveland.

  23. Cleveland sucks.
    Cleveland sucks.
    Cleveland sucks.
    Cleveland sucks.
    OHIO!

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  25. IT’S 2016, PEOPLE! TWENTY SIXTEEN!

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