31 Responses to Coalition Politics

  1. Excellent work, sir.

    There’s an interesting implication in your chart showing candidates, organizations, and Congressional parties: One-half of Republicans in Congress are more conservative than Ted Cruz. I’m aware of very few who could potentially qualify.

    As much as I appreciate ConservativeReview.com, their position/policy details on some of the candidates seem incorrect or outdated to me. The example I am most familiar with is Carly Fiorina (not my own top choice, but I like her). Policy positions are ascribed to her personally at a time when she was a hired spokesperson for John McCain and made it clear that she was speaking about his positions, for example. She is much closer to Cruz in recent years.

    There are some variations that your persuasion bands don’t quite account for. For example, a number of Americans are one-issue voters on certain key issues: “I’d never vote for him because he supports x,” whatever it is. In this case, most likely only a single component of the ten-element ranking would be a factor for those people.

    Another example: It may well be that an actual conservative candidate, articulating the principles of liberty rather than subservience and dependence, might naturally cut across a broader swath of voters than these persuasion bands indicate. Certainly Ronald Reagan’s landslide victories in 1980 and 1984 are suggestive of this effect.

    I am intrigued by the differences between your General Social Survey (GSS) that you show at top and the chart of bands that you assembled below. They are not from the same source and not necessarily inclusive of the same people, but your bands show a population that skews decidedly left, whereas the GSS shows a population significantly to the right of center. That dichotomy seems outside of the range easily explainable by differences between general population and voters. And the voters that actually voted in 2014 don’t evince this liberal bias at all: November 2014 was a strong victory for conservatives across the country, with comparatively high turnouts. (One media- and Obama-promulgated notion that almost no one showed up was easily debunked.)

    I have long held that candidates should not “run toward the center” in national elections, but should hold (and explain) policies based upon clearly-described principles that would be widely held as good for the country.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Keith. Lots in your comment to chew on.

      I looked pretty extensively for a newer Twitter analysis. If you read the links I provided, I’m not too clear on whether Barbera draws his conclusions from just the candidates’ Tweets, or also their fans’ responses. Also, 140-character Tweets are marketing soundbites, highly influenced by the messaging the candidates (and their staffs) are trying to project — not necessarily a perfect reflection of their actual campaign platforms. But it was interesting and gave some insights on the left side of the spectrum too: Warren to the left of Sanders, who’s to the left of Mother Jones, who’s to the left of Obama, who’s to the left of MSNBC. And most of them further left of zero than Cruz is to the right of zero.

      I like Fiorina too, though I like Marco Rubio slightly better. I think they’re the 2 most articulate who are also “likable.” Cruz is articulate, but his style just seems a bit contrived — like a political caricature. I don’t think any left-center voters are going to feel a “connection” with Cruz’s persona (media-distorted as it is). It’s not fair to Cruz, but perception is reality.

      I too have read through all of Conservative Review’s ratings pages. Took me hours, and it seemed pretty peevish and sometimes a bit petty. It’s like they’re trying to stoke the fires of ultra-right discontent, not just observe it. Here’s how I would personally rate the 13 remaining candidates’ positions from left to right: Graham, Kasich, Christie, Bush, Trump, Carson, Fiorina, Huckabee, Rubio, Santorum, Jindal, Cruz, Paul. There’s a clump in the middle (from Carson to Santorum) that are kind of a toss-up for me to differentiate their conservative purity.

      In your comment about “articulating the principles of liberty rather than subservience and dependence,” you found the main reason I wrote the article. It’s all about communicating our first principles, and making sure the fired-up primary voters don’t jeopardize our cause by selecting a hard-core conservative that can’t articulate the traditional wisdom & benefits of conservatism like Reagan did.

      Keep in mind that the 3000-person GSS survey asked people to self-describe their political position, without any issue-by-issue breakdown. I’ve observed many “centrists” and “moderates” are really left-center in their myriad beliefs, without realizing it. They think they’re pragmatic, but they’re not.

      Regarding the 10,000-person Pew survey, I spent one paragraph addressing how I think the nature of the wording in the ten pairs of statements reeked of straw-man-ship. An entire article could be written about that. That’s why I emailed you the detailed info a few nights ago — it’s just begging for additional analysis of bias. In Pew’s fine print about the survey questions 25 & 50 (used for the polarization analysis), they admit the questions are a bit dated since they want to keep them consistent across the years. But of course they would never analyze themselves for bias. They’re blind to their own blind spots.

      Cheers,
      – Jeff

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tricia says:

    Very good and informative post! I too agree with your conclusion that Marco Rubio has the greater odds of winning even though my first pick is Carly Fiorina. I’m ok with that too as I really like a lot of what he says and has done. I’ve always been a fan of Bill Buckley’s standard of backing the most conservative electable candidate and right now I think MR fits that well. Should be interesting to see how this all plays out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am blessed/cursed with a pretty good memory. I recall Rubio’s push for amnesty. As noted by a pro-Rubio commenter:

      … the “Gang of 8″ comprehensive immigration bill that Rubio co-sponsored in 2013 offered a path to citizenship – not an unconditional one (“What I said throughout my campaign was that I was against a blanket amnesty,” he said at the time. “And I was, and this is not blanket amnesty,” he argued, because illegal immigrants would pay “serious consequences” for breaking the law), but it was clearly part of the bill. Rubio now notes that insists that he has learned his lesson about supporting these kinds of thousand-page monstrosities and trying to do everything on immigration at once, but the fact that the Gang of 8 bill represented 1) a sharp break with his 2010 campaign rhetoric, 2) his signature legislative effort in his one term in the Senate, 3) a repeat of the same basic approach that had failed in 2007, and 4) an apparent example of him getting snookered by Chuck Schumer, the bill’s author, into supporting a bill full of mischief in the minutiae, added up to a major trust problem that Rubio has yet to fully live down.

      But Marco Rubio has another problem with regard to US borders: He has taken a pro-Muslim Brotherhood position, asserting that anyone who has a problem with the Muslim Brotherhood is a crackpot. For example, when five Congresspersons wrote with concerns about MB-connected people in government, Rubio was quick to attack them:

      Marco Rubio throws Bachmann and other GOP under the bus over letter about Huma Abedin -UPDATE: Audio Added

      I have problems with him based upon these and a few other issues. He has been a reliable supporter of the GOP establishment, while portraying himself as a conservative. It means that his actual positions and policies are not principle-based, and are uncertain as Heisenbergian particles.

      He’s not terrible, and is a happier choice than a number of the alternatives … but I certainly hope that we can do better.

      Carly Fiorina has a somewhat similarly fluid history — but her evolution has been in a steady establishment-to-conservative direction, whereas Marco Rubio has cycled back and forth several times over the years seemingly based upon what suited his needs of the moment.

      I am hoping that Ted Cruz can get a chance to be heard out there. He is both a new senator and arguably the most accomplished man in the Senate, and this article — written by people that don’t like Cruz, but still informative — demonstrates both his brilliance and also talks about the perception issue that our host raised.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tricia says:

        Ha the old blessing and curse of a good memory! Mine is too but only selectively as I tend to tune out a lot of what I don’t want to hear. Maybe I have blinders on when it comes to Rubio but to me he is one of the few who have crossover appeal and quite frankly his gang of 8 fiasco doesn’t upset me much. He made a mistake, listened to his constituents and changed course and has been pretty reliably conservative over the years. Enough for me any way. I did not however know he felt that way about the Muslim Brotherhood and if true, this will present a more serious problem, I will have to look more in to that. agree with our author here that there is something off putting about Ted Cruz and the way he comes across. I like his positions and would certainly vote for the man but I don’t think he would garner many Democrat votes.

        Fiorina by the way has always been more conservative than what’s being reported about her past. Many of her statements from back then come from describing McCain’s positions whose campaign she had worked on. During her own run against Barbara Boxer she still ran to the right but keep in mind it was California where conservative Republicans are an unprotected and endangered species. I do agree though she’s got some issues that will continually pose problems.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Keith, I had been thinking of replying to you to clarify my observation about Cruz’s style by jokingly saying that he delivers his political speeches the way William Shatner delivers his dramatic roles. But I had decided not to pick on Cruz like that.

        Then I got to reading the Washington Post article you linked to, and was surprised to find this:

        When [Cruz] was 13, his father signed him up for classes at the Free Enterprise Institute, where he spent hundreds of hours studying the Constitution, the Federalist Papers and other founding documents. He was one of five teens in the institute’s constitutional collaborators program, in which kids memorized the Constitution, wrote speeches and performed for Rotary clubs and other groups across Texas. Cruz was the star. (He also acted in high school and was so serious about his craft that he considered going directly from high school to Hollywood. His parents talked him out of that one.)

        Now I can’t help but dig up a couple short videos about Shatner’s legendary over-acting, just for some laughs:

        🙂
        – Jeff

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        • Understood. (I will confess that I have, stuffed in some decades-old box, a record of songs performed by Leonard Nimoy. Some aren’t bad.) I saw a couple of minutes of Shatner on some show called “Third Rock” years ago, and was appalled. He seems to have made a career of being a horrifically bad actor with a signature style of poor delivery.

          I don’t see anything like that in Cruz, though. Even the WP article notes that Ted Cruz has mellowed much in recent years. And hearing his speeches and his conduct in the Senate during hearings and such gives a far different impression from that created by his contentious media adversaries. But I agree that Democrats are not likely to be shown enough of him to be convinced by principle; the media needs to keep him (and other conservatives) at the circus sideshow level.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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          • I’ll give my circus sideshow 3 rings, with this:

            Now getting back to mature banter…..

            Regarding Ted Cruz, I have nothing at all against him, despite my poking some fun here. There’s probably nothing he’s ever said that I disagree with personally. I don’t even begrudge him the ObamaCare filibuster attempt. But it’s not me (or you) that needs to be convinced, it’s at least 10% of the voters in the middle, who are non-Republican swing voters.

            As for the liberal media not showing enough of Cruz to convince swing voters of the wisdom of his principled vision for America, it sure would help if a few more of the no-chance candidates would follow Walker’s example and drop out. The remainder of the debates would be far better with fewer candidates on stage.

            If a Republican besides Cruz wins the presidency in 2016, I fervently hope they tap Cruz to be Attorney General, to the apoplectic shock of liberals everywhere.

            – Jeff

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      • vicki530 says:

        I may be misunderstanding this completely, Keith…but my take on Jeff’s summation was that he was speaking in terms of electability…not necessarily that he thinks Marco Rubio is a terrific choice. ???

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        • Hi Vicki,

          Over the weekend, I had the honor of having my article reblogged/embellished at a site called Citizen Tom. It gave me a chance to clarify my summation about Marco Rubio. That topical thread didn’t last very long there, though. It got scattered into debates about tariffs and trade imbalances and the housing/mortgage crash of 2008, etc. Much of it is being handled by the capable economic knowledge of Keith DeHavelle…..so now I’m just throwing a fire cracker into the crowd once in awhile, and marveling at Keith’s stamina. 🙂

          – Jeff

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  3. Here’s a HotAir.com collection of the latest insider/pundit buzz about Ted Cruz’s chances against the other GOP candidates:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2015/10/10/quotes-of-the-day-2223/

    – Jeff

    Liked by 1 person

  4. tannngl says:

    That’s a great analysis, Jeff. But I think it’s at one point in time?

    As far as Ted Cruz, I have been contributing to him since 2013 every month. He is the only conservative with any backbone as I see it. He doesn’t waffle, nor does he lie. His values are mine. He is my candidate.

    I understand what you are saying about choosing wisely in the primaries a candidate who can win. But that has been the problem for a very long time in the Republican Party, I think. Conservative values have all but disappeared. It may be only us old people who feel this way but I don’t think so. I see many young who do as well. Ted’s donations are amazing. His organization is superb. Keep your eye on him. Worth watching.

    Thanks for this very interesting post. You are very smart.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi tannngl.

      About Ted Cruz, you said “He is my candidate.” In the primaries, each of us should not be picking our personal candidate. We’re picking the candidate for others — for millions of voters (greater than 48%).

      As I said, the further right a candidate is, the better he/she must be at articulating and persuading . And I don’t mean persuading you — I mean persuading the 10-15% of voters who are uncommitted swing voters and are ideologically quite a distance from the candidate.

      I agree that Cruz would make a great President. And I don’t want a soft conservative like McCain or Romney or Bush again either. So I hope Cruz learns how to really persuade voters who are slightly left-of-center, as he must to win the general election. Otherwise he won’t be our President, he’ll only be a deeply conservative candidate who didn’t win. If you didn’t have a chance yet, this link provided in one of Keith DeHavelle’s comments is worth reading: (http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2015/03/24/ted-cruz-principled-or-smug-know-it-all/). The article is slightly harsh, but I think it’s pretty accurate about the difficulty Ted Cruz has with his quest to be seen as “likable.”

      – Jeff

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      • tannngl says:

        I’m not sure that article is harsh, Jeff. Most of it is taken from Cruz’s book: A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America.
        The author of the WaPo article includes most of the negatives about Ted’s life (according to Ted) but leaves out almost all of the positives from the book! (Although the author talked with people who knew Ted in the past outside the book, too.)

        I still hold that I must vote for the person, even in the primaries, I believe will be the best president for our country. I don’t agree with you that I must vote for the person that at the most people in the country will vote for-those 48%. I want to see a strong conservative win in the primaries who will not lie nor back down in his principles and will stand on our nation’s Constitution. No one else in this present line up even knows the Constitution as well as Ted Cruz.

        I’ll vote for my candidate and support him to my utmost and pray that God will bring to fruition his election. That part is not up to me.

        In the past we have allowed candidates to win primaries who have lied to us! They did whatever it took to get elected especially if that meant telling us they were very conservative on the issues! I’m thoroughly through with that method. We get Republican in name only candidates that cannot win elections.

        I read a poll right after the last presidential election when Barack Obama was re-elected for the second term. I must say I was so depressed. I felt our freedoms and sovereignty were going to be in jeopardy. In a large part that has and is truly happening right now. But the subject of this paragraph is not me. It’s the poll. Wish I could find it. It asked questions to across the board US citizens, Republican and Democrat. When completed, the results showed that somewhere in the 70’s percentile, most people agreed with me on conservative ideology! This was an amazing thing!

        So, I believe most Americans are American. They may no longer know what the Constitution exactly says, nor, certainly not what the founding fathers said in the many papers and letters about the Constitution, but they know the flavor of our liberties and what is right. They’ve only been lied to by the press and our officials. I’m going to rely on that innate sense of right and wrong. And God’s forgiveness.

        My candidate is Ted Cruz.

        Liked by 2 people

        • And now we have a Gallup poll showing Ted Cruz as having the highest favorable ratings of any candidate. I am hopeful.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’m hopeful too, Keith.

            Besides that fascinating Hillsdale Dialogues podcast series you told me about (which I’m about 60% completed with), I’ve also been catching up on the backlog of American Conservative University podcasts I had neglected — going back to late September just after the first GOP debate. As you’re no doubt aware, about 1/3 of ACU’s shows are about Ted Cruz. They are clearly making a top priority of illuminating his Reagan-like candidacy and philosophical fortitude. You and Tannngl will be pleased to know it’s working on me. I also think Rubio has been a bit erratic in his tactics lately.

            Every day I both curse and bless you, Keith, for bringing various time-consuming podcasts to my attention. I know you’ve perfected the art of double-speed listening, but I can’t handle that. Only Mr. DeHavelle and Mr. Spock are that gifted with mental acuity. 🙂

            Best wishes to you for 2016!
            – Jeff

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            • Well, dagnabit, Jeff, you’ve now got me almost afraid to mention that I just went through the audio podcasts of the entire Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers. My opinions were changed somewhat in a number of respects. Lots of wrong guesses mixed in with good guesses on both sides — and Alexander Hamilton deserved the chewing-out that the Federal Farmer gave him.

              I listened to the two sets interleaved in time. That doesn’t work perfectly, as they were not exactly responding to each other. But the arguments tended to move together well enough, with the occasional cross-reference to the other side, that this was a useful way to go about it.

              One minor complaint concerns the rather variable quality of the readers. Some seemed to nail it, others struggled a bit, which interfered with the ultimate listening. But not fatally so.

              ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

              Liked by 1 person

            • tannngl says:

              I think I like you too!

              Liked by 1 person

          • tannngl says:

            I think I like you!

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: 10/17/2015: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF YOUR VOTE — PART 2 | Citizen Tom

  6. vicki530 says:

    Dagnabit, Jeff, you owe me a beer, my man! Yours is the first article I’ve read today, and I was all settled in for a gentle, albeit, intelligent dissertation with which I would wholeheartedly agree. But, no-o-o-o, you just had to engage in facts and figures that fully explained how things work and how they are currently going. You just had to point out the implications of our actions when it comes to voting in primaries. You made me have to think, which causes my brain to sweat, which causes dehydration, a dehydration that definitely ranks among the top reasons why any thinking American would settle for nothing less than an adult beverage.

    I can overlook this, you being English and all, but you must remember that many of our USA’ers can’t read beyond a 3rd grade level and have the attention span of a gnat. (I’m a Wimbush, so I get it…lol). Anyway, your readers who live here are not among the aforementioned semi-illiterates of which I speak. So, I absolutely did not mean to insult them.

    Okay, enough with my sarcastic approach to humor. My real point is that you have written a well-researched, well thought-out article. It’s packed with useful information. I think you did a terrific job and a valuable service to conservative voters here on our side of the planet. I’m going to post it on my FB page and encourage others to read it…all of it. Great job, Jeff, and thank you for writing it!

    Like

    • Vicki, the last time I heard the word dagnabit, it came out of the mouth of Granny Clampett.

      It’s funny that you’ve assumed I’m English and living in the U.K. I don’t know where you got that idea, other than the fact that expat TC Williamson turned you on to my site. My last name is Rutherford, which is Scottish. And my line of Scots has been living in the U.S. for well over a century. I was born & raised in Colorado, and have lived here all but 4½ years of my life. I don’t think a Scottish Rutherford in Colorado is any stranger than an English Wimbush in Tennessee.

      Thank you for complimenting my article. You correctly picked up on the theme I was stressing — that those of us who are involved early in the election process are participating in a larger responsibility to shape the coalition we hope to build around our core beliefs, such that it’s also able to attract an additional 10-15% of non-Republican swing voters to carry the general election.

      In researching it, I spent a number of evenings finding various data sources and digesting it all. Then I started playing with how to use it graphically to make a simple point. It took me two more evenings to simplify the ideology distribution graphs and add the concept of “persuasion distance” so I could get my main point to emerge from the fog of data.

      I’m glad you grokked it.

      The Marco Rubio observation was an afterthought, not really meant to be the conclusion of the article itself. However, the earnest comments from Keith and Tannngl encouraged me to keep my aperture more open before assuming who the right-most candidate who’s also articulate and persuasive will be.

      – Jeff

      Liked by 1 person

      • vicki530 says:

        lol, Jeff, I tried going with dog-gone-it, but it just looked awkward. It was extremely polite of you to refrain from suggesting that perhaps I’d already partaken of adult beverages when I made the out-in-left-field assumption that you were a Brit. I should leave such impaired analysis to that Vodka Pundit blogger

        But I was thoroughly impressed with your analysis and, especially, all the time, hard work, and research you put into it. It frustrates the daylights out of me when people take a pass on an article like yours because they wig-out over having to think like that ill-conceived, talking Barbie Doll that came out a couple years ago which said, “Math is hard…” Of course, it was a blonde doll, but gee, who noticed that stereotypical swipe?

        Anyway, I hope you will continue to write with the same exactitude and insight all along the l-o-n-g campaign trail that we are all forced to endure. If the mind-numbing length and endless shovelling of human stinky ‘malarkey’ this race yields results in a candidate with a true conservative position, who truly loves this nation and it’s principles and it’s people…well, it will have been worth it. I look forward to your continued informative articles and excellent analysis.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Vicki, you said “It was extremely polite of you to refrain from suggesting that perhaps I’d already partaken of adult beverages when I made the out-in-left-field assumption that you were a Brit.”

          But I was totally suggesting you’d been drinking, via my choice of which of the 1000’s of available Granny Clampett photos to use. 🙂

          – Jeff

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Tricia says:

    Hi Jeff-I was just wondering if you’re ok. We miss you out here in blogland! 🙂

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    • Trish, thanks for inquiring. Yes, I’m quite well. Been busy with a combination of overtime at work, some personal busy-work involving estate/financial planning, and focusing on learning by reading and podcast listening. (Have you ever checked out my “bookshelf” page here?) I’ve accumulated some ideas to write about, but I’m sort of recharging my batteries. I’m not sure when a writing mood will come over me again. Likely soon.

      Best wishes,
      – Jeff

      Liked by 2 people

      • Tricia says:

        You mean you’re busy having a life? Good for you my friend! 😉 I know exactly what you mean about recharging batteries, and yes the mood needs to be right. I’ll have to check out that bookshelf page.

        Best wishes to you as well.

        Like

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