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September 21st, 2017

Insight

What's the Single Best Thing the GOP Has Going?

Bernard Goldberg

By Bernard Goldberg

Published Feb. 1, 2016

I've been trying to figure out how a Republican can win the White House this time around and I'm having a tough time.

First, there's the well-documented problem of demographics. Since minorities tend to vote Democratic, and since there are more minorities in America today as a percentage of the population than in past elections, that means there are fewer white folks around who are unhappy with the way things are going. And since Republicans desperately need white folks who are unhappy about the way things are going in order to win you get the point.

Then there's the related issue of the Electoral College, which is stacked against the Republican Party. As long as big population states like California, New York, and Illinois remain unwaveringly in the Democratic camp — and as long as Massachusetts and Vermont and Rhode Island and Connecticut and Washington State and Oregon and Minnesota and a few others historically throw their support to the Dems — Hillary (or, who knows, maybe Bernie) are on their way to victory before the first vote is even cast.

And then there's that small matter of the civil war raging inside the Republican Party.

Donald Trump was right when he said he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue in New York and he wouldn't lose support among his many loyal followers. They love Mr. Trump, as they respectfully call him. They're not passionate about the Republican Party. They're not passionate about conservatism (how could they be if they're supporting Donald Trump). So if Trump doesn't get the nomination, there's a good chance his devotees would claim the game was rigged and say something like "Drop Dead" to the GOP Party.

Cruz supporters are just as loyal — and doctrinaire, to boot. They comprise the hard right of the party — sometimes known as the suicide wing — that believes that anything less than ideological purity for the conservative cause is the same as selling out your principles. There was a time when they might have supported Trump if their guy didn't get the nomination, but with all that bad blood between Trump and Cruz, don't bet on it.

And if one of the more moderate conservatives somehow manages to win the nomination, he (or she, if the talented Ms. Fiorina pulls off the impossible) would have to be an incredibly masterful healer to unite the disparate factions of the party — and that won't be easy (which is a nice way of saying, given the passion of the Trump and Cruz acolytes, that would be almost impossible).

The wild card are Reagan Democrats, blue-collar voters who don't have much in common with country club Republicans but who see Donald Trump, a man right at home in the fancy clubs attached to his many golf courses, as their kind of guy — tough, anti PC, no nonsense. If enough of them turn out, anything is possible.

Republicans, of course, can hope the Democrats lose their minds and actually nominate the proud socialist Bernie Sanders whose politics make Nancy Pelosi look like Pat Buchanan. But that won't happen.

So that leaves Hillary Clinton, who is unlikeable, and lacks charisma, who is not seen as trustworthy and oh yeah, the FBI may recommend criminal charges against her.

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