Not great, Bob.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Breaking Down the Vote by Geography in Pennsylvania, Part II

Back on the topic of the results in Pennsylvania and what we can learn from them, if the Dems have in fact alienated rural voters to an extent where it'll be very tough to overcome by getting out more of the urban and suburban vote, then we need to place a ton of resources into, as Booman (Martin Longman) says:

Unfortunately, this can’t be swept under the rug. And the Democrats cannot afford to make this political behavior become habitual and culturally ingrained in the North as it already is in the South.
Progressives need programs, strategies and organizing in these communities. And they need it now.
We need that no matter what. Even if we could win the presidency every time without rural voters, we still have Senate, House, gubernatorial, state legislative, and other seats to win. At the same time, we do not have unlimited resources. Someone with access to more data and more time to crunch numbers will have to determine the proper allocation of resources. We'll also have to think about how to break the bubble of right wing media.

I'd like to throw one more thing into the mix by playing devil's advocate for a minute here.

Putting aside the racist and xenophobic messages, which I do think were important to Trump's winning over these voters, could it be that the combination of the candidate and his method of campaigning (which I admittedly watched with glee because I thought they were totally the wrong way to campaign), was perfect for reaching the rural voter? After all, rural America was the home of the traveling road show, the medicine show... messages spread out throughout the countryside about the miracle snake oil? Was Rudy Giuliani the geek?

Do the Republicans have any other raging assholes (yes, in spades), with the demagogic charisma (maybe?), with the kind of celebrity (sorta), who could pull off the campaign Trump did? Not on the same level. Assuming for a minute that the rural splits from Pennsylvania hold for other states the Dems need, could Trump's unique brand of circus rage-gasm have been the difference between that 70-30 2012 split in rural areas in 2012 and the 80-20 one in 2016? If so, that's something we need to take into consideration. I don't see the Republicans selecting anyone "moderate" if Trump doesn't run for re-election (it still hurts my head to think that the "re" part is a thing), but whether they do or don't might be a major factor in how the Democrats should strategize going forward. Ted Cruz might be the heir apparent, and I think he doesn't fit the Trump mold that well. Would Jeb! draw 15,000 people three times a day?

While you think about it, here's a better medicine show: