The GOP are heading perilously close to the perfect political storm; A storm in which the candidate of the plebs is so completely unacceptable to the patricians that a convention battle ensues. The way things are headed in the GOP Presidential race, they’re sailing dangerously close to that storm.
As Nate Silver notes, this discussion has been going on for a month or so. What will happen if, say, Newt Gingrich emerges as the plebeian choice? How with the party patricians respond?
Republicans are dangerously close to having none of their candidates be acceptable to both rank-and-file voters and the party establishment. It’s not quite clear what happens when this is the case; there is no particularly good precedent for it. But since finding a nominee who is broadly acceptable to different party constituencies is the foremost goal of any party during its nomination process, it seems distinctly possible that Republicans might begin to look elsewhere.
The question is then, where would they look? Probably to a Jeb Bush, a Paul Ryan or a Chris Christie. While none of those are perfect candidates, and it’s highly likely that Obama would wipe the floor with any one of them in a general election, it’s fascinating to me that the Republicans simply have nobody left on their team that appeals to a wide swath of voters in America. There are no principled conservatives left willing to affiliate with the modern Republican Party.
Is anyone really surprised? Look at how Lincoln Chafee was treated. Look at how Jon Huntsman is being treated. Actual conservatives, ones with ideas backed in large part by data and science, are marginalized in the modern Republican party. They are treated as pariahs, while the know-nothing Randians like Paul Ryan, Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin take center stage. Is it any wonder the modern GOP is suffering from a candidate crisis? As my wife loves to say, “You plant corn, you get corn.” You plant ignorance in your base, you get an ignorant base. Fox News viewers are ignorant and I’ve got the data to prove it.
It will be interesting to see if there is a real floor battle over the nomination at the GOP Convention. It might make it interesting to watch, or at least pay attention too. Modern conventions are nothing more than well-staged anointments for the party-blessed candidate. But in this case, if that candidate is so unacceptable to the party, even though the people want him, it may make for interesting television. I’m sure the networks are salivating at the prospect of a nomination battle.
Between their voter intimidation and disenfranchisement tactics, their anti-Hispanic fervor, latent racism and their adherence to dysfunctional economic policies, what’s not to love in the modern GOP?