Thursday, July 21, 2016

Donald Trump's Republican Party is still divided

The Republican National Convention being held in Cleveland, Ohio, this week was supposed to be the moment that Republicans of all stripes — those who voted for him in the primaries and those who didn't — united behind Donald Trump.

Well, so much for that.

Ted Cruz, a senator from Texas who was Donald Trump's main rival during the long primary season for the Republican nomination, was booed off the convention stage on Wednesday night after giving a speech in which he refused to endorse Trump.

You can read the rest of this analysis on what the polls say about the Republican Party's divisions here.

The Pollcast: Mr. Trump goes to Cleveland

The Republican National Convention being held this week in Cleveland, Ohio is Donald Trump's chance to unite the party behind him in his quest for the White House.

Will it work?

Last week, Donald Trump announced that Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana would be his running mate. An attempt to attach a sturdy, experienced politician to Trump's erratic ticket, it was the first act in normalizing Donald Trump in preparation for the campaign against Hillary Clinton.

The second act is taking place this week. His team has descended upon Cleveland to put a Trumpian stamp on the Republicans and their National Convention, which is bereft of appearances by some of the biggest names in the party.

It is an indication that the fissures exposed by his unorthodox candidacy will not be papered over so easily.

What does this mean for the U.S. presidential campaign?

Joining me from Cleveland on this week's episode of the Pollcast is Keith Boag, the CBC's senior reporter in Washington, D.C.

You can listen to the podcast here or subscribe to the podcast to automatically download future episodes here.

The impact of Libertarian Gary Johnson on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

There's one name that you might begin to hear more and more as voting day approaches in the U.S. presidential election: Gary Johnson.

But who is Gary Johnson, you ask? Over two-thirds of Americans are wondering the same thing. He is the former governor of New Mexico and he is running as the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee for the second consecutive election.

He's also one of the most unpredictable factors in what has been an unpredictable American campaign.

U.S. politics are rarely kind to third-party candidacies. Both the political system and media coverage is designed for two parties. And in order to get into the debates, a third party candidate needs to be polling at 15 per cent.

That is a threshold that is within Gary Johnson's reach.

You can read the rest of this analysis here.


  1. If any country needs a viable three or more party system it is the USA !!

    1. They'd need a radical overhaul of their institutions for that to work, though. The electoral college would almost certainly have to go away.

      Right now, if a third-party candidate wins some states, that would take the choice of President out of the voters' hands entirely, and instead congress would choose.

      In theory, a two-party system should serve the people well, as they'd both move toward the centre to capture votes. But that's not what they're doing. While it's true that the two parties have almost no policy differences, I wouldn't describe them as being in the centre of the American political spectrum. Instead, they're basically colluding in their shared cronyism.

      Occasionally, someone like Bernie or Trump will come along and threaten that system, which causes the parties to freak out that someone might stop their gravy train, but in the end the establishment always seems to win.

      The only hope they have, right now, for a change to their fortunes is a victory by Trump, which is a terrifying prospect. A Trump presidency could well be disastrous and brief, but it might help break the party system.

      Also, if Trump and Clinton's shared unpopularity continues to grow (Trump's is holding steady, but Clinton's is getting worse), someone like Gary Johnson could well win a state. And if that happens, all hell could break lose.

  2. People forget, I think, how successful Ross Perot's first campaign was.

  3. Cruz's snub will be forgotten by tomorrow. He is only popular with people who hate Clinton and so will vote Trump anyway.

    Trump's speech showed him to be an ultranationalist one-trick pony. His strategy may have won him 45% of Republicans in the primaries but that in no way represents all Americans. There simply aren't enough Americans who see foreigners as such a threat that they need a one-note, anti-immigrant president. I thought he had a decent chance of winning before this week, but not anymore.

    1. Trump's strategy clearly isn't to persuade skeptical voters. He's not persuading anyone. All Trump is trying to do is drive down Clinton's voter turnout. It's basically the same strategy Stephen Harper employed in 2008 and 2011, and it worked well.

      The conflict with Cruz also won't hurt Trump. It gets him media coverage, which has been a good thing for him all along. I think the Cruz thing plus the general downbeat tone of the party right now will hurt down-ballot Republicans quite a bit. The Democrats are guaranteed to hold the Senate, and the Republican lead in the House will likely be significantly reduced.

      And given that - this really is an all-or-nothing election for the Republicans - they really should confirm Obama's Supreme Court nominee (Merrick Garland). Garland is clearly a compromise choice. If Trump doesn't win in November, that will make this election a huge win for the Democrats, and they're not going to nominate anyone nearly as moderate as Garland. And given the ages of the Justices, the next President is almost certainly going to get to nominate another justice or two. The Republicans need to hedge their bets and confirm Garland, just to take away on of Clinton's nomination opportunities. And if Trump wins, he'll get to appoint conservative justices to get the conservative majority back anyway.

      There's no real downside to confirming Garland, and significant risk in not doing so. They're just being stupid.

  4. And now the "Big Bang" starts !! Already the DNC Chairwoman has resigned. The leaked emails show who really runs the party although I think that is about to change !! Probably for the good to

    1. The most troubling thing about those emails, to me, is that the DNC apparently thinks that atheism is scary.

      And if even the Democrats are willing to use the spectre of non-believers as some sort of tool of fear, that country's problems are going to be even harder to fix than I thought.

    2. Polls still show that Americans are the least likely to vote for an atheist as president, compared to other minority groups.

    3. I know, but I'd hoped that was concentrated among the overtly religious republicans, not the supposedly more genteel democrats.

      I realise it wasn't so long ago when a sitting Vice-President, in the middle of what would be a successful Presidential run for him, said he didn't think atheists should qualify as citizens (GHW Bush, 1987).

      But with so much progress being made for other minority groups, it's appalling that the Democrats still seem to think like that.

    4. Ira, likelihood is that many Democrats don't - but they realise voters, especially religious voters (as mentioned in that email, the guy was talking about Southern Baptists he knew) still do. They'll play the same game Republicans do, I don't know why you'd think they wouldn't.

    5. Because it's appalling. Demonizing a minority group is never acceptable.

      Now I can see why Clinton's approval rating does nothing but fall.

    6. No one cares, Ira. I say that as an atheist.


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