by Rod D. Martin
November 20 2015
Most important political fact of the week: Hillary has imploded in Colorado.
Colorado is a formerly-reliable red state that the Democrats turned blue late last decade, in part due to massive expenditures by software magnate and LGBT activist Tim Gill. Whole books have been written on the carefully-executed strategy that brought this about, with the general theme that the left knows how to flip a red state, can do it anywhere anytime, and conservatives are surely doomed. And even if that’s a bit much, liberal pundits assure us that Colorado is lost to Republicans forever.
Well, maybe. But on Wednesday, Quinnipiac released a poll that may be even worse for Hillary if they’re right.
In match-ups with the leading Republican candidates, Hillary Clinton lost to all four by double-digits: 37-48 against Donald Trump, 38-51 against Ted Cruz, 36-52 against Marco Rubio, and 38-52 versus Ben Carson.
Note that these are supposedly the most polarizing Republican candidates, the ones officially deemed “unelectable.”
It’s a solid poll: sample size 1,262 likely voters with a margin of error of 2.8%. Maybe its an outlier, but I doubt it.
If Hillary is getting crushed in Colorado, Democrats have serious problems. It’s hard to see how Colorado has shifted so dramatically back red without other states moving toward the R column also: there are a lot of factors in play in so large a move, and few of them are local.
But boiling things down to hard math, assuming Republicans can keep everything they won in 2012 and also win Florida and Ohio (which they must), Colorado puts them at 262 electoral votes, or just eight shy of the 270 needed to win. That means that all they have to do is bring Virginia (13) home to take the White House. And failing that, Iowa (6), Wisconsin (10), New Mexico (5), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4) and Maine (4) all look winnable.
Altogether that could be a total of 310, without contesting Michigan (16), Pennsylvania (20) or New Jersey (14), two of which have a Republican governor and one a Republican Senator, all of whom were elected since Barack Obama.
All of this will play out in light of the second most important political fact this week: Democrats’ over-the-top tone-deafness on security.
As I detail elsewhere, there are a lot of very reasonable questions post-Paris regarding the refugee crisis. Obama and Clinton dismiss these – and anyone who asks them – as ignorant bigots. Their irritation – particularly Obama’s at the Antalya summit – is palpable.
This is not a good way to persuade people to do what – again, post-Paris – seems reckless at best. It is, however, a good way to convince people you aren’t concerned for their security, or at the very least, don’t care what they think. Over the last week, Donald Trump has surged another 17 points to a whopping 42%. Marine Le Pen now leads the French presidential field, with 28% to Sarkozy’s 23% and Hollande’s 21%. 76% of UK voters want to scrap automatic entry for EU migrants. There is serious talk of an end to the Schengen Zone. And across the West, voters are doubting that their leaders actually represent them.
I should add that, of all people, Hillary Clinton should know better: her husband was unceremoniously dumped after his first term as Governor of Arkansas largely because of a similar tone-deafness regarding Cuban refugees (none of whom, by the way, were thought to pose a terror risk). Yet she seems to have learned nothing from this, and indeed, when asked in the first debate whom she was proud to count as an “enemy,” two of the three she named were domestic, which is unseemly in a Presidential candidate under the best of circumstances.
There are real questions about the refugees; there are even more about how best to protect America and the West from the terrorists who may be among them. An impatient “trust me” is already not playing well. It will play worse should (God forbid) a few of the 10,000 Syrians just offloaded at New Orleans blow up an American city in the next several months.
Even if the Democrats are right about this issue, they need to adjust their tone or this is likely to become their albatross.
By the way, an important side note: did you happen to see the video of a stadium full of Turkish soccer fans booing the suggestion of a moment of silence for the Paris victims, and then chanting “Allah Akbar”? As we discussed two weeks ago, Turkey’s re-election of would-be Sultan Recep Erdogan represents the consolidation of Islamist power in our NATO ally and prospective EU and Schengen Zone member. No one seems to be taking this very seriously either. Except perhaps Marine Le Pen.
All of which brings us to our third most important political fact of the week, which is that a realignment is very possible.
That may sound like crazy talk, I know. But it always does, right before it happens. No one believed the South would ever vote Republican, or that Virginia would ever shift back Democrat. No one believed Colorado would shift left, or shift back right. California voted for the Republican in every election but one from 1952 until Bill Clinton, and banned gay marriage with a popular vote of 52-47 as late as 2008. The main constant in politics is its fluidity.
That last example is instructive. Prop 8 passed in a state that has been equated with gayness my entire life, not because Republicans wanted it – there aren’t enough of them – but because of a coalition of blacks, Hispanics and conservatives who shared a common belief. Had it not been for those newcomers, Prop 8 probably would have gotten something like 37%.
Are there any other issues on which Republicans could build a coalition? Security, for instance?
Or how about this one. Immigration and trade treaties such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership are widely believed to destroy American jobs and hold down American wages. We can debate the fine points of those arguments, but what is certain is that the people most affected – and most aware of being affected – are poor blacks and Hispanics.
I know many will instantly dismiss that entire paragraph: blacks will never vote Republican (because obviously they never have before), Hispanics all want amnesty, and so forth.
But Ben Carson is polling 19% among blacks (Republicans usually get 10%, and black Republicans frequently do worse), and incidentally, running even with Hillary among women. A couple of polls have shown Trump as high as 24% among blacks. If any of those statistics carried through to Election Day, Hillary would lose.
Likewise Hispanics. Nearly half of U.S.-born Hispanics oppose Obama’s amnesty, and indeed, Hispanics generally poll conservative on more issues than not, particularly the social issues that are under renewed attack from the left. Effectively tapping that would stop the Democrats’ demographic freight train in its tracks.
So how to do so?
The first and most important point is that the overwhelming majority of both these groups think Republicans just don’t like them. That’s a case GOP insider candidates probably can’t overcome. But Cruz, Rubio, Carson and even Trump might be able to bridge the gap, again remembering that they don’t have to win a majority of either to earn a landslide.
The second and third points are the ones made by Prop 8: Republicans have to dump “outreach” – the very word sounds like us vs. them – and start recruiting, just as they would in any other part of the country. They need to make common cause with black and Hispanic leaders on issues of shared concern, not talk at them (halfheartedly) about, whatever.
There are plenty of common concerns. Take education. Ten years ago in Washington, D.C. a black Democrat mayor adopted Republican ideas on school choice; today, 46% of Washington’s poorest kids are in charter schools, dramatically outperforming their traditional public school peers. In post-Katrina New Orleans, 94% are in charters, and are beating the statewide mean on standardized tests for the first time ever. Yet most Democrat leaders are still virulently opposed to these real-world successes.
Likewise immigration and the refugees. Security affects everyone, and one side seems aloof, dismissive and unconcerned. But job security and wage growth are even more immediate, and it is easy to make the case that Democrats favor illegals who jump to the head of the line over their own core constituencies. And this may even be more true for labor unions whose interests have been jettisoned by two consecutive Democrat presidents. We once called these folks “Reagan Democrats,” but it’s awfully easy to seem them voting Trump.
Am I arguing for a compromise of core principles? Certainly not. But there’s a lot of opportunity here, if someone creative would just think outside the old box.
And that’s really my point. Republicans’ four outsider candidates are definitionally out of that box. To different degrees on different issues, they can carry new messages stated in new ways to new people their predecessors wrote off for decades. If conservative solutions really are better – and we strongly believe that they are – those messages will resonate with at least some who haven’t heard us before. And a lot of that will be because we actually go to them, above and around their normal, universally-leftist information sources.
That effort is not, as most GOP consultants have believed for two generations, futile. Indeed, the combination of these candidates, new technology, and the almost universal disenchantment with both parties creates a rare moment in history in which a genuine realignment could take place.
Will this happen? I don’t know. But it can. And we should work to make it so.