Hell Yes I’m Voting for Kasich Today

Today is primary day in Ohio, and on the GOP side of things this election is a “winner take all” sort of affair — whoever gets the most votes in the GOP primary gets to take all 66 of Ohio’s GOP delegates to the Republican National Convention, which this year, as it happens, will be in Cleveland.

As a voter, I’m registered as an independent, i.e., not of either party, so on most primary election days when I go to pick up my ballot, I usually get to vote only on some local non-partisan stuff. However, if one so chooses, Ohio allows one to ask for a party ballot. Eight years ago, if memory serves, I asked for one for the Democrats. This year, I’ll be asking for the Republican ballot, because this year I want to vote for Ohio Governor John Kasich in the GOP primary.

More specifically, not only do I wish to vote for Kasich in the GOP primary, I also specifically wish to vote against Donald Trump. My vote will be only one of hundreds of thousands (or perhaps millions, depending on the turnout), but this year, I think voting for Kasich, and against Trump, is the very best use of my vote today.

Why? Well, you know. Because Trump is an active danger to the body politic, a fatuous demagogue who is far better at inciting racist anger for laughs than articulating any policy position beyond a two-sentence bluster at the stump. There’s no doubt that the Republican Party went out of its way in the last several election cycles to bring about someone like Trump as a successful candidate, and because of it there’s no doubt that it deserves Trump and everything he brings with him. But the rest of us don’t, and Trump is already doing damage outside of the party.

To put it another way: The GOP has been a sloppy drunk for years, and this year it’s sprawled on the couch, shitting its own pants and moaning horribly. And whether or not everyone else thinks that this is what the GOP deserves, from a moral point of view you have to take its keys and keep it from getting on the road and possibly killing others as it swerves through traffic.

John Kasich, as I’ve noted before, is not a person with whom I have much in common, in terms of positions. He’s much more conservative than I like, is terrible for the rights of women and workers, and would generally exasperate me as president. I don’t want him in the job. But for all of that, Kasich is not a horrible person, inciting other people to be as awful as they can possibly be. He has respect for the idea of constitutional government and its checks and balances, and genuinely seems to believe — within the limited scope of conservatism these days — that government can do some good. No one is punching anyone at a Kasich rally, nor is he offering to pay the legal fees of the assaulter. No one is throwing out Nazi salutes. No one is spewing racial epithets.

If Trump were not the GOP front runner at the moment, this would be another year where I would take the non-partisan ballot. I’m sanguine about the Democratic side of the race; I’d be fine with either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in the general so I don’t feel the need to weigh in on that. Let the Democrats sort that out. Generally speaking in most years I feel the same about the GOP side: Not my circus, not my monkeys. If this were just Kasich and Cruz and Rubio at this point, I’d make popcorn and enjoy the show.

It’s not. Trump is, I feel, a legitimate danger, both in who he is as a presidential candidate — an inchoate, grasping, insecure, angry and ignorant blowhard — and in his encouragement of the worst aspects of America that have dredged themselves out of the muck and attached themselves to his mess of a campaign. Not everyone who supports Trump is a horribly racist piece of shit, to be sure. Trump himself didn’t make the conditions of legitimate economic anxiety that he’s tapped into for his campaign. But people who are horribly racist pieces of shit have found support and encouragement from Trump, and revel in the legitimacy he’s offering.

So here’s the question: When you have the opportunity to vote against someone who you see as both the worst major party candidate in your lifetime and an actual danger to your country, on many levels, do you take it? My answer: You’re goddamned right you do. It’s more than just an electoral choice. It’s a moral imperative. And as a bonus, I’ll vote for a person whose presence in the general election will not fill me with disgust. I’ll take that.

Will this stop Trump? Certainly my single vote won’t, although if Kasich wins Ohio, it becomes that much harder for Trump to win an outright majority of GOP delegates, and if he doesn’t do that, then the GOP national convention is likely to be interesting as hell. Nor am I under the illusion that, save some truly fantastic legerdemain at the convention, Kasich will be the eventual GOP nominee. I do suspect when all is said and done, Trump will either be the GOP nominee, or the electoral calisthenics required to deny him the slot will tear the GOP right in half.

But if he is the GOP nominee, it won’t be because I slept on my chance to say “Hell, no” to him. The best case scenario is the that I only have to vote against him once. But if necessary I’ll be delighted to vote against him twice (the worst case scenario would be voting against him three times). I’m hoping for just once, suspect twice. But either way, voting against him is a thing I’ll be doing.

Does this mean I think everyone in Ohio should be voting in the GOP primary, against Trump (and for Kasich)? No, I think people anywhere, not just in Ohio, should vote their conscience. My moral calculus isn’t the same as everyone else’s, or possibly anyone else’s. I would be happy if at the end of the evening Trump was fourth in Ohio, and pretty much everywhere else; it would mean a great number of voters agreed with me that the man was an electoral nightmare and should be stopped. I’m not exactly holding my breath.

But again, this isn’t about what others do. It’s about what I do, with my vote. And my vote today is for Kasich, against Trump.

123 thoughts on “Hell Yes I’m Voting for Kasich Today

  1. As always with political discussions, the Mallet is out. Behave. Previous political comment threads has been a little jerky especially near the end of them, so I’m likely to have a hair trigger on the Mallet for this one.

  2. Taegan Goddard talks on Political Wire on how Trump really needs to root for Kasich to win Ohio for him to stay in the race — the reason being that if Kasich loses, he drops out of the race, and the remaining electorate unites behind Cruz, giving him the best chance to defeat Trump. However, if Kasich wins, he stays in the race to the convention and continues to split the vote, allowing Trump to take more states going forward.

    So perversely, a vote for Kasich may actually end up being a vote for Trump.

  3. I did the same this morning. As someone whom Kasich essentially called a thief for expecting to receive compensation I agreed to defer until my retirement, I have a personal beef with him, so voting for him was not my favorite thing to do. But it seemed the necessary thing.

  4. You and I are generally not on the same political side, but today we are. #NeverTrump

  5. Well written piece John. I don’t have it in me to ever vote for any right winger on any ballot but I get your argument.

  6. Bbbut it’s not really a vote against Trump. I just made this case to another friend at some length, I’ll try to do the short version here and provide cites if requested.

    If Kasich wins in Ohio, that’s nice but ultimately really doesn’t mean much. I know Romney is advocating for this, but dude, ROMNEY. He doesn’t know wtf he’s doing, and a fatal flaw in this “just beat Trump, doesn’t matter who beats him” strategy is that it may, possibly, mean that Trump doesn’t get ENOUGH delegates (leading to a contested convention), but it Trump will still have the MOST delegates. That means that in a contested convention, the “winner” (Trump) will have his rightful nomination stripped from him by the establishment… and that’s just BOUND to go well.

    Cruz is the only person who has a chance to actually beat Trump outright, if that’s the direction you’re going. It also means that if Kasich loses Ohio, he’s likely to drop out (as will Rubio if he loses Florida, as looks likely), which means Cruz can go mano a mano with Trump.

    Meanwhile, if you say “but I absolutely can’t stand Cruz,” then vote for Hillary!! She is the one who has the best chance of beating whatever Republican becomes the nominee, and Ohio is a big piece of getting her the nomination free and clear ASAP.

    Even if Trump wins the nomination — which he is very much on track to do — it doesn’t matter if he loses the general. And so that’s where I think energies should go.

  7. I was a Reagan Delegate in 1984 and could never, ever vote for Trump. As bad as some elements of the GOP are today, Trump is worse. He epitomizes everything wrong with America.

  8. My only concern with this strategy is that Ted Cruz is the one who would benefit the most from Trump’s defeat. If anything, Cruz’ policies and beliefs are worse than Trump’s even if he isn’t the embarrassing bully that Trump is. I get where you’re going with this, but man, calculating the lesser of two evils is tough this year.

  9. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”—variously attributed, but probably Edmund Burke

    You’re a good man John. Vote your conscience, and here’s hoping that the large and silent majority vote with you.

  10. Writing as a British citizen, living in the UK, who has never visited the USA, thank you so much for this vote. Trump constitutes a real and present danger to my safety if elected President, as well as a real and present danger to many Americans even while just a candidate.

  11. Re: A Kasich win being better for Trump:

    It’s possible but it’s also possible that it’s not; I’ve seen arguments on both sides. In any case if Trump is going to win Ohio, it almost certainly won’t be by a one vote margin (Likewise Kasich). I feel pretty comfortable voting my conscience in this case.

  12. Election Day down here in Florida as well.

    Voted for Bernie because I want Hillary to sway to the left. She hasn’t asked me how I voted but I’m quite sure she will.

  13. Ryan Campbell

    I get the feeling that no one is quite sure what is the best plan* since it’s not like anyone has experience with this sort of thing, or Trump’s sort of candidate. And I don’t know Republican voters well enough to predict if the Rubio/Kaisch folks will break for Cruz, Trump or just stay home and wonder what the hell just happened.

    The Democratic race is straight-forward at least: two major options. (And, as John said, while I don’t precisely line up with either, I think neither will run the ship of state onto a sandbar on purpose or through negligence, unless it was that or let it sink. )

    * Currently, it seems to be ‘strategically vote for the top-polling candidate that is not Trump’.

  14. Primary Day in my State is late April, by which time I expect we’ll probably know the outcomes in both Parties. My vote will certainly not make any difference in November because I’m in a very Blue State. Ohio of course is a Swing State.

  15. It’s also possible that the world is round and possible that it’s not; I’ve seen arguments on both sides. (Isn’t the relative merit of the arguments more important than the fact that they exist?)

    Of course one vote is unlikely to really change anything, but the point of this was that you’re voting because you’re trying to change something (Trump’s ascendancy). Plus, this is a public forum that may influence other votes — hence my pushback, rather than just sighing and saying “oh well.”

  16. What happened to your earlier post about how ridiculous it is to expect ppl to vote against their interests purely for the sake of defeating Trump? Looks like you’ve done a complete 180.

  17. I voted for Kasich in the Georgia primary, for the equivalent reasons from the conservative side. What a tailspin! The Dem primary is the usual Menckenian “advance auction of stolen goods”, but the Republicans are undergoing their very own Gotterdammerung. As a society, we may be simply tapped out of good leaders at the moment. It happens.

    There is a cropping-time in the races of men, as in the fruits of the field; and sometimes, if the stock be good, there springs up for a time a succession of splendid men; and then comes a period of barrenness. – attrib. Aristotle

    “Certainly it constitutes bad news when the people who agree with you are buggier than batshit.” — Philip K. Dick

  18. I was tempted to ask for the Republican ballot here in Illinois for just the reasons you state. However, I live in Cook County, there are local offices where who wins the Democratic primary, will win the election in November. And I have definite preferences in these races. So, there it is. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the best result possible.

  19. Susie:

    What makes you think you know what my interests are, other than what I expressed here?

    In more general sense, you’ll note I did not recommend how anyone else should vote, merely explained how I did vote.

  20. Well, hell, yes. As a independent, that’s the way to go. In DC, the logical vote was for Rubio or Kasich, and that’s the way it played out. In Ohio Rubio will be lucky to come in third, so Kasich. In Florida, Rubio, though that looks like too little/too late.

  21. “a fatal flaw in this “just beat Trump, doesn’t matter who beats him” strategy is that it may, possibly, mean that Trump doesn’t get ENOUGH delegates (leading to a contested convention), but it Trump will still have the MOST delegates. That means that in a contested convention, the “winner” (Trump) will have his rightful nomination stripped from him by the establishment… and that’s just BOUND to go well.”

    That’s a fatal flaw *for Republican supporters*. For those who have no great interest in the continued wellbeing of the Republican party, the Republicans tearing themselves apart until the convention, and possibly after, can only be a good thing — and if it leads to a third-party Trump run, then it may see a certain victory for the Democratic candidate, and possibly some steering back towards the realms of decency from the Republicans, if their more noxious supporters split off.

    Either way, though, I’d like to echo what my friend po8crg says above. Those of you with a right to vote in the US elections are not just voting for your own country, but for the world — US foreign policy will be deciding whether the UK goes to war with a bunch of Middle Eastern countries for no good reason over the next few years, just as the most obvious example. Your decisions are, of course, your own, but please remember that.

    (I am, of course, also very concerned for my friends and in-laws in the US, none of whom will be voting for Trump, but all of whom are being hurt by his continued presence in the political world).

  22. Good point about a third-party run, Andrew; that would be a good outcome. What I actually meant, though, is that the contested convention would end up not being contested at all, and Trump would still be the nominee because of the utter chaos that would ensue otherwise.

    And I very much agree that this election has global implications, so going the route that is most likely to keep all of the Republican crazies out is the best route, IMO. (I’m not one to generally call Republicans crazies — there are plenty of sane, rational Republicans and probably some I’d willingly vote for, given the chance. But all of these Republican presidential candidates… yeahhhh. And I include Kasich in that.)

  23. Since you live in such a heavily republican district, voting in the R primary is also basically the general election in many many cases. That’s one reason why I’m not voting R strategically here in Cuyahoga County because there too many other downballot races I’d want to vote for.

  24. For what it’s worth, that’s what my wife, who would otherwise have voted for Clinton, did in the Michigan primary. I.e., voted for Kasich in hopes of shifting things away from Trump. It didn’t work, but there you go.

  25. Becca:

    Agreed that there’s not necessarily a better plan than voting for Kasich. I just find the election strategy strangeness very interesting. Def’ cool with people voting their consciences!

  26. jfbeacom: “That means that in a contested convention, the “winner” (Trump) will have his rightful nomination stripped from him by the establishment… and that’s just BOUND to go well.”

    Just because a candidate gets the most votes in the primaries does not make them the rightful nominee. They still have to follow the rules. We may not agree with those rules, but they are the rules. The Republican National Committee set those rules before any of the primaries or caucuses were held. All the candidates agreed that in exchange for the right to run as Republicans they would comply with them.

    Rule 40(b) states: “(b) Each candidate for nomination for President of the United States and Vice
    President of the United States shall demonstrate the support of a majority of the delegates
    from each of eight (8) or more states, severally, prior to the presentation of the name of
    that candidate for nomination. Notwithstanding any other provisions of these rules or any
    rule of the House of Representatives, to demonstrate the support required of this paragraph
    a certificate evidencing the affirmative written support of the required number of
    permanently seated delegates from each of the eight (8) or more states shall have been
    submitted to the secretary of the convention not later than one (1) hour prior to the placing
    of the names of candidates for nomination pursuant to this rule and the established order
    of business.”

    If Mr. Trump arrives at the convention with 49.9 % of the delegates in 43 states and 100% of the delegates in 7 states then despite the fact that he had received a likely overwhelming majority of the votes and probably has sufficient delegates overall, according to this rule he is not the rightful nominee because he did not meet all of the qualifications under the rules. At that point the process under Rule 20(e) will be enabled to take additional votes. Other rules determine whether a delegate is required to vote for a particular candidate, and how oftern. See https://prod-static-ngop-pbl.s3.amazonaws.com/media/documents/Call%20of%20the%202016%20Convention_1448920406.pdf.

    If someone — candidate or voter — does not want to accept the rules they can either lobby for changing them before the next nominating convention, or set up their own party and convention with their own rules. Arguing that the rules are unfair, or deprive certain individuals or groups of their “rights” is just another way of saying that you don’t want to play by the rules. This is no different than playing Monopoly and arguing that you should be able to role again if you don’t like your first role. My answer to those people is the same as my answer would be in the Monopoly situation: you are free to set your own rules for the game you run, but I do not have to play with you.

  27. If I were on the GOP side of things I would vote the same way. I might not agree with everything Kasich says but I like that he is running a positive campaign and when asked about his policies he seems to have put real thought into his reasoning. Unlike Rubio, Cruz, or Trump, who just sound angry and hateful. I wish Kasich the best of luck :)

  28. Hmmph. ROLL again not ROLE again. I guess I was ROLE-playing when I should have been ROLL-playing.

  29. “Conservatives who for 8 years sowed the dragon’s teeth of partisan politics are horrified to discover they have grown an actual dragon.”

    ~ Stephen King

  30. As a woman, Kasich (and Cruz and Rubio) scare me more than Trump. I like having control over my own body, thank you very much (yes, I know Trump is claiming to be “Pro-Life” now, but historically he’s not been, and he’s not as scary religious as the others so I think this is just a ploy).

    I also think that Trump will be easier to beat in the General Election than Kasich, because Kasich ‘appears’ to be more moderate, and at least from discussions I’ve had with conservative women (which I realize is anecdotal, but I am seeing a pattern), they will vote for Hillary over Trump, but would vote Kasich/Cruz/Rubio over Hillary.

    Being in NJ, our primary is among the last in the nation. We’ll see what the state of the GOP and Democratic primaries are when it rolls around; I’m “Undeclared”, so I can vote in either primary by declaring for that party when I go to vote.

  31. I’m hoping that the Republican convention starts without a clear majority winner. I want to see how the Party deals with the issues raised by the Trump campaign and the sentiments it has stirred up. Will the party leaders bow their heads to the man, or will they stand by their current rhetoric and risk a party schism? In other words, do their words have any meaning, are their motives honorable, or are they in the end all a sad sack of weasels?

  32. (the worst case scenario would be voting against him three times)

    And they didn’t hold an election in 2024….

    Reuben Bolling has a good cartoon on Tom the Dancing Bug this week: he illustrates one of your comments regarding the Republican sowing of the wind.

  33. Michael T.: As of this morning, thanks to a win in the Northern Marianas, Trump has met the criterion of a majority of delegates in at least 8 states or territories. It’s conceivable (though unlikely) that he’ll be the only candidate to meet that threshold by the Convention. Right now Cruz has 4, Rubio 2, Kasich 0.

  34. Michael T, oh, of course. Perhaps I should have put “rightful” in quotation marks — I thought it was clear enough from context though that I didn’t mean that literally (any more than my statement that a contested convention was bound to go well was literal).

    The point is, the case that Romney etc. are making is that the goal should be to keep Trump from getting enough delegates. Then the big boys can come in and make things right.

    Whereas, if Trump doesn’t have enough to put him over the top, but that’s because Kasich, Cruz and Rubio have split the “other” vote, and Trump still ends up with the largest number of delegates, then he will be PERCEIVED as the “rightful” winner.

  35. another great post, loving your electoral coverage! I usually ignore the primaries since I am independent. Now I’m wondering when they are and if my state allows for me to do what you’re doing. I agree with your moral calculus. Guess I have some research to do!

  36. Oddly, the best way to stop Trump may be for Kasich and Rubio to both lose so they drop out and leave it a head-to-head Cruz/Trump race. I say this as an actual Republic whose choice, of the four remaining, would be Rubio, Kasich, Cruz, Bastinado.

  37. In thirty or forty years, with the benefit of hindsight, some post-graduate poli sci student will write their thesis on what, exactly, happened to the GOP for it to end up in this mess. I look forward to reading it, because right now all I can think is “what the-“. It’s like we’re living in the doomed timeline, the one future time travelers come from to urge the protagonist to change the past.

  38. If the Republicans want to be saved from themselves, the absolute least that Rubio, Cruz and Kasich can do is announce that if Trump gets the nomination, they won’t back him. None of the three has done that. So until that happens, I feel that Trump is exactly what the Republicans deserve.

    I also think that Trump should get the nomination and get thoroughly destroyed in the general election. Out of the smouldering crater of destruction, the remnants of the GOP can start to rebuild.

  39. @Susie

    I suspect there is a pretty big difference between “vote for the politician who you would find to be ‘an acceptable plan B’ should your preferred candidate/party not win the election” and “Enable the GOP to pretend 2015 never happened with your vote.”

  40. @jfbeacom “What I actually meant, though, is that the contested convention would end up not being contested at all, and Trump would still be the nominee because of the utter chaos that would ensue otherwise.”

    Presuming I didn’t miss something when I looked up contested conventions for the GOP, the last time the GOP didn’t have a candidate with the majority of the delegates prior to the convention was 1952, when it essentially came down to Taft and Eisenhower. From what I read, many of the delegates supporting the other candidates (particularly Warren and Stassen) favored throwing their support behind Taft since he was viewed as being more conservative. However, Republican party leaders thought Eisenhower had a better chance in November. B/c of that they had a bunch of the delegates shifted to Ike and, to minimize backlash from Taft’s supporters, brokered a deal in which Ike agreed to compromise on several key issues in Taft’s favor and Taft agreed to speak out in support of Ike.

    Of course, this is all far enough in the past that it may not have much meaning as to how the RNC might play out today. I mention it only because I don’t think it’s a safe assumption that Trump would get the Republican nomination in a contested convention. Personally, I think they’d avoid him like the plague, but that may just be wishful thinking on my part.

  41. I struggled with this in Michigan, and ultimately voted in the Dem. primary. However, there’s a part of me that thinks that since in my mind the possible Republican nominees (in descending likelihood- Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Kasich) are all bad options, the most easily beatable one for Hillary is Trump. I dunno, I don’t like the choices, or the outcome, and kind of want to go lie down now.

  42. CEC, I don’t really think it’s a safe assumption that Trump would still come out with the nomination in a contested convention, no; my argument is more against the other side of it. I don’t think it’s a safe assumption that a contested convention would mean Trump DOESN’T get the nomination.

    Because that’s the Romney et al strategy. Vote Kasich in Ohio, vote Rubio in Florida, and keep Trump from getting enough votes to just plain get the nomination. Then wrest it from him at a contested convention. I think that’s easier said than done.

    If the goal is to keep Trump from getting the nomination, a far more reasonable way to do that is for Rubio and Kasich to drop out, and give Cruz the chance to surpass Trump in delegates in the remaining primaries.

    And Rubio and Kasich are more likely to drop out if they lose their respective states; which means Kasich losing in Ohio, which means don’t vote for Kasich! :) (Alas, too late for Scalzi, as I discovered on Twitter. Although just maybe there was a last-second change of heart?)

  43. “I think people anywhere, not just in Ohio, should vote their conscience” is one thing I completely agree with you about and voting against Trump is another. As much as I dislike the choices we’ve been given (across the board) this year, I think Trump could be the most dangerous (from the GOP side) so I am voting today primarily (pun not initially intended) to vote “not Trump”.

  44. I think Rubio and Cruz are far more dangerous to the country than Trump is. Line up their positions on things like Social Security, Medicare, Planned Parenthood and then determine who is more frightening.

    Yes, Trump’s openly racist positions are disgusting, but the policies he’s described in relation to them (the Big Wall Paid For By Mexico and No More Muslims) have 0% chance of succeeding. The “destroy Medicare and Social Security” plans of the other two knuckleheads just might, though.

    To go with the analogy, I’d much rather have a pants shitting demagogue passed out on my couch than a sober suicide bomber driving on the streets.

  45. DAVID – good point. They could change the rules at that time to say that only persons that have held an elected office can be the nominee! But the the righteous anger probably would destroy the party then. It’s not really cricket to propose rules and then swap them out at the last moment, though of course it is permitted.

    Theophylact – yeah, I used that only as an example of a rule (or as DAVID would put it a proposed rule) that many would find “unfair.” Clearly he’s met that criterion.

    Full disclosure – like our host I usually register as an independent. But this year I am a registered Republican because Arizona, though it has flirted with an open primary, currently requires you to designate before the primary. Though Bernie has made it interesting since Michigan, Hilary is such an odds on favourite to win here that voting in the GOP primary is much more useful this time around. I will be voting Kasich next week. I do not know about other states, but the AZ Republican ballot will also include: Santorum, Cook, Rand, Rubio, Graham, Bush, Trump, Fiorina, Pataki, Cruz, Huckabee, Christie and Carson. Wonder if anyone (paging 538.com?) has done an analysis of how many primary votes are wasted because the candidates that leave the race are still on the ballot?

  46. Trump is a real jerk. I don’t know why Republican chooses him for Presidential campaign as he will only bring insult to America. He is a shrewd person looking forward to revive and expand his realty business. Those who are going to vote for him, will regret, why did they vote for such jerk?

  47. I voted for Kasich in IL, for the same reasons. It doesn’t make me happy, but I felt like I had to do it. All these arguments based on who would be the most electable Democrat, or the least electable Republican, or who would be most likely to tear the GOP apart if they won, etc are defensible, but they’re also speculative. What’s certain, what’s happening now, is that Trump is emboldening racists and actively encouraging violence against political opponents. That’s enough to merit a vote against.

  48. @CEC

    Taft lost that nomination primarily as a result of his objection to the Nuremberg Trials. He felt they were applications of ex post facto laws, and he wasn’t wrong in that regard.

    Ike was a good president, but today’s “strict Constitutionalists” would have gone with Taft.

  49. The republican party requires a minimum number of delagates to cinch the nomination. I forget the exact number, but last I checked, Trump was a ways away from it yet. If no republican gets that minimum number, the R’s go to a brokered or contested nomination. At that point, they might try to justify dumping Trump and going with someone else, because the R’s are seeing Trump causing some moderate Rs to revolt. However, if Trump is NOT thr nominee, even if someone else is picked entirely within the existing set of rules, the extremists who support Trump might revolt and either stay home or if Trump runs as an independent, then vote for Trump as a third party.

    This is probably the best possible outcome for D’s because Hillary is polling to just *barely* beat Trump or any other R in a head to head vote, so having Trump run independent and split the vote will help cinch the Ds getting the whitehouse.

    In an extreme case, the R’s might try to take the nomination from Trump and the party permanently fractures, possibly helping progressives everywhere make progress while the fascists try to put themselves together. I have heard some Rs say they might decide to let Trump keep the nomination because taking it from him would fracture the party and is too costly for the Rs. And then they just hope he loses the genral election. But others think THAT might fracture the party from moderate Rs.

    However it pans out, the immediate point is to keep as many delegates from Trump as possible. If they keep him under the required number, the party has the chance to nominate someone else.

    The ideal ideal would be Trump goes independent, the Rs nominate some robot, Bernie wins the D nomination and the conservative vote is split, putting Bernie in the whitehouse with a large margin. Then 4 years of the most potential for progress this country has seen in a long, long, time. On top of that, the republican party is permanently fractured and it takes a couple elections to get their act together, so after 8 years of Bernie, we get a new Dem in the whitehouse who follows in his progressive footsteps.

  50. John Scalzi, as a Canadian I’ve been following the US election coverage loosely and won’t pretend to fully grasp all it’s nuances. Just wanted to say that in our national election last October I voted against someone rather than for a candidate. I voted for Liberal leader Justin Trudeau because I thought he was the best chance to beat Stephen Harper. In hindsight it seems almost silly, because it turned out that most of Canada felt the same way and voted accordingly. In my case it worked out well, so far I am both pleased with Prime Minister Trudeau so far and infinitely more pleased that Harper is gone.

    It’s definitely tricky voting “against” rather than strictly voting “for”, but sometimes it’s the best you can do for the outcome you want. Good luck!

    (However, another example would be when Toronto voted against the main mayoral candidate because of his ties to our previous mayor – and then ended up with Rob Ford, the infamous crack-smoking mayor of Toronto. Politics: crazier than any fiction.)

  51. John,

    NPR did a bit on your district (John Bohner’s) yesterday–or at least I recall you writing that he was your representative.

    Any clue/desire to say who you voted for in your district for the primary? Sounded like there were a lot of candidates and each more conservative than the last.

  52. Ezra Klein makes the point that Trump is simply too gullible to be President:

    He has a lousy bullshit detector, he doesn’t gravitate toward the smartest people on any given topic, and he doesn’t much care about finding the best information. Worse, verifying the information he receives just isn’t a great passion for Trump — he believes the information he wants to believe, and he’s not particularly interested in learning that he was wrong. His knowledge of policy has remained thin, and, despite being burned again and again, his credulousness toward online sycophants has persisted.

    These are bad traits in a candidate, but they would be disastrous traits in a president. America can’t entrust its future to someone who thinks “All I know is what’s on the internet” is a sufficient response to repeating falsehoods for the umpteenth time. America can’t hand over its nuclear arsenal to someone who will believe any conspiracy theory he’s presented with as long as its confirms his priors.

    We need to do better.

  53. I have to disagree with you here John – Cruz is a worst candidate than Trump. The rundown goes:

    1) Taxes – both will slash taxes on the rich, and explode the budget deficit, so a draw here (I am likely to suffer here – although we’re in the top 2% incomewise, after the elimination of the state taxes paid deduction from Federal income tax, and the removal of the mortgage interest tax break, we may be worse off – though we are already deep into AMT)

    2) Climate change – Cruz doesn’t believe in it, Trump won’t do anything about it – draw

    3) Overseas wars – Cruz wants to fight/invade Iran, Syria, Libya and North Korea. Trump will start wars by accident. Trump wins

    4) Women’s rights – Cruz is all for barefoot, pregnant and subservient, and banning access to all contraception and abortion – Trump is marginally less neolithic. Trump wins

    5) Getting stuff done – this is the big one. Cruz, oily scumbag that he is, actually has policies that the Republicans support (privatizing social security, attacking any country that looks as the US funny, destroying workers’ rights). Trump has some, but in the last 8 years we’ve seen how weak the President actually is when he is 100% opposed by Congress. So Trump is actually likely to be far less damaging than Cruz, as he won’t be able to exercise power.

    6) Religious nutocity – Trump by a landslide, Cruz appears to think being President is his manifest destiny, and God told him that.

    So Trump it is, ahead on points.

    I do think it will go to a brokered convention, Paul Ryan will be “reluctantly” selected (he’s not completely stupid and worked out what a bunch of nutjobs he has to work with as Speaker, so this is his last chance) and Trump will split off on a third party run. This will crash the Republican party, but I don’t see that there is enough sanity left to actually have a viable party come staggering out of the wreckage.

  54. I’ve been reading the election threads here because of how knowledgeable and passionate the commenters are. So this seems like a good place to ask a question that’s been on my mind.

    Regarding the comments about how a Cruz or Rubio presidency would be scarier than a Trump administration, isn’t the effect on the electorate a major issue with Trump that it isn’t with the other candidates? Meaning, a president Cruz might seek to enact a lot of anti-women/poor/immigrant measures and may or may not being able to get them through Congress. This would be an issue with president Trump as well I’d imagine, but we’d also have the added issue of a large segment of the citizenry still riled up, still angry and still ready to beat on people who disagree with them. And they’d have the validation for their actions and attitudes by having put their candidate in office.

    I don’t know enough about politics to work this out clearly but I’d really like to know what everyone thinks.

  55. And I know Trump is a bigoted asshat, but I think Cruz is probably just a better hidden bigoted asshat.

  56. I do wish that there was a national requirement to include “None of the above” on all election ballots. In over four decades of voting, I can’t honestly say there have been more than a handful of times when I really felt strongly that I was voting FOR a particular candidate. Most often, it’s been a case of holding my nose and pulling the lever for the one that I dislike the least.

    I don’t know if any pollsters have assessed it, but I’d be curious what the outcome of this year’s contests would be if “none of these idiots” was an option on all ballots. It might be largely similar to actual results, but then again it might not.

  57. “I’ll be delighted to vote against him twice (the worst case scenario would be voting against him three times).”

    My immediate reaction upon reading this: “Wait, how would you vote against him three- ohhh, crap…”

  58. Here in Michigan I know many Hillary supporters who voted for Kasich as an anti-Trump vote. I agree that their stand voting against Trump is as important as voting for Hillary, though none of that analysis has filtered down into the analysis of the Democratic results–Bernie won by about 20,000 votes and I suspect that many of them were Hillary supporters who, like you, could live w/Bernie and so voted for the sane guy in the other party. But the Dem primary here splits up delegates so Bernie’s win didn’t hurt Hillary badly, other than in the publicity. The Winner-Take-All Ohio Republican primary makes it even more important to keep ALL those delegates away from Trump.

  59. @Not the Reddit Chris S
    hidden? I feel like he waves that flag pretty high.

    He’s also the reason why I don’t feel comfortable with the “vote for Trump so Kasich and Rubio will drop out and votes consolidate around the guy who’s left who isn’t Trump”.
    The guy whose left is Ted Cruz.
    Ted Cruz getting to nominate a Supreme Court Justice.
    Nope. Nope. Nope.

  60. @Jerome O’Neil, those are my thoughts exactly. I find Trump horrifying, but I’d actually rather see him get the nomination than Cruz, who is equally horrifying but has a much better chance of winning. Trump would be an embarrassment; Cruz would be a disaster.

  61. I did the same thing in NC, except I voted for Cruz. I don’t like Cruz but he’s the only one with a snowball’s chance of beating Trump in NC. Kasich doesn’t ahve a chance here.

  62. For all those that believe Donald Trump as President of the United States is a “Good Idea”, I have three words – “Remember Richard Nixon.” As far as the rest of the candidates, from both parties, all of them disgust me. I agree with you, John, on John Kasich, merely because I am fairly sure I could prevent myself from projectile vomiting when voting for him for President as opposed to all the other candidates.

  63. I voted for Bernie on Super Tuesday, at least partly because I’ll probably never get a chance to vote for someone like him again. I hope I don’t have an opportunity to vote against Trump, but if I do, I certainly will.

  64. The harm Cruz could do as president is in passing regressive policy that can be repealed in 4 years. Trump barely has policy: he is running on demagoguery, scapegoating, and xenophobia. Congress can refuse to pass his proposals but it can’t make him shut up. The harm Trump could do as president would last a lifetime.

  65. @Clare Cruz or Trump would end up picking at least one Supreme Court Justice, possibly 2. And Cruz’s picks would probably be worse for everyone who isn’t a straight white Christian male. A conservative super-majority on the court is damage that could last far, far longer than 4 years.

  66. Trump is dangerous, but he isn’t nearly the threat to our country that Ted Cruz is. If Cruz had his way women would be wearing a Christian version of the burka and waiting to usher in the second coming of Christ. He’s dangetous because he believes the garbage he spews, unlike Trump who just spews.

  67. Avilyn : As a woman, Kasich (and Cruz and Rubio) scare me more than Trump. I like having control over my own body, thank you very much (yes, I know Trump is claiming to be “Pro-Life” now, but historically he’s not been, and he’s not as scary religious as the others so I think this is just a ploy).

    Avilyn, you may be perfectly correct about Trump – indeed, I think you are.

    That doesn’t mean that, sometime during his Presidency, when he needs to shore up his base and distract people, he won’t drop his trousers and take a big steaming dump over women’s reproductive rights. He may not be against them ideologically, but as a matter of opportunistic distraction, abortion issues are possibly the biggest target around.

  68. Well, John, you vote your conscience, and I’ll vote mine….the difference is that I won’t tell people how I voted…seems to me it’s called a “secret ballot” for a reason. You won’t see campaign signs, stickers, buttons, etc., in my yard, on my car, or my clothes.

    You’re damned right I voted. I voted 2 weeks ago, absentee, and while I might disagree with your choice (I said I MIGHT, that “secret ballot” thing again), I’m glad you voted. As far as the comments about Trump that others are making, they’re entitled to their opinions….and no, they cannot infer that I voted for Trump…..I’m just tired of hearing people say the same stuff over and over about Trump….while ignoring the crap that’s on the other side of the fence with Clinton and Sanders…..my two cents.

  69. Rick in OKC : For all those that believe Donald Trump as President of the United States is a “Good Idea”, I have three words – “Remember Richard Nixon.”

    RMN is remembered for his paranoid and venal grasping for power that resulted in the Watergate scandal. A repellant, oily-souled car salesman of a man.

    Let me suggest, however, that as Presidencies themselves go, his was pretty successful, and the major problems faced were external – the oil shock for example. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidency_of_Richard_Nixon

  70. Need to rewrite the whole primary process and incorporate E Pluribus President. Definitely No Awarding Trump/Cruz.

  71. I’m registered as a Democrat really because I haven’t found more than a couple of Republicans I have voted for in my entire lifetime. It is not so much out of liking the Democratic Party, as a dislike as the Republican one. I admit that in the General Election I will vote for Clinton or Sanders over any Republican because I think the country will get worse more slowly, not because I really like them or their positions in a really positive way.

    I also agree that Trump is far more dangerous than any Candidate running in recent memory.

    That being said I would have a problem voting in a primary for anyone I would have no intention of voting for should they reach the General Election because of my lesser dislike for the other side.

    I guess I would also have a problem if Republicans started voting in the Democratic Primary as a way of removing someone on that side, or even if they felt that the Republicans were likely to lose, and that their vote of say Clinton over Sanders could be more valuable than their general election vote of Trump over Clinton.

    It all seems spoilerly to me, and there is something in that which does not sit well. I will happily wait till my turn to vote against comes in November…

  72. Edward Brennan: One’s right to vote is there to be used ANY way one wants to use it. Ain’t no right nor wrong nor spoileryness to it…

  73. “My vote is just one of…”

    It seems to me that in peacetime we can’t expect a waving flag and beating drum to encourage us to leave our crops half-grown to go serve as “just one of a whole army…” but still, as with being individually ecological, we can, at a peaceful election, go serve by voting, perhaps by silently humming our own “go for it” song.

    I like the energy of the people at the polling station.

  74. I’m an expat Oregonian living in the UK (I’m also a British citizen). I’d vote for a block of wood over any of the lamebrains on the right, though I’ll be voting for Hillary (then Hillary or Bernie). Not only do I greatly fear a Trump presidency, but my current country of abode is going to vote on leaving the EU shortly. Quite a lot of people here (at least in rural Yorkshire) don’t get exactly what that will mean (trade agreements, businesses, etc. out the door). Basically, if the UK leaves the EU and Trump gets elected president, my husband and I have to hope that Iceland will take us as political refugees.

  75. Well, it’s your vote, and you have to do what your conscience tells you, but I, for one, couldn’t cross over to vote against Trump because of the risk that doing so would benefit Ted Cruz. As much as Trump scares me, Cruz scares me just as much, if not more. And a brokered convention could be just the thing to land Cruz on the top of the ticket. You could say that with the party thus fragmented, any Republican nominee would lose in November, but I’m not willing to take that risk. With all that in mind I felt my conscience tell me to vote for Bernie, which I did.

    OTOH, I did hear tell of a number of otherwise Hillary voters crossing over to vote for Kasich/against Trump, because they were confident that Hillary would comfortably defeat Bernie without their vote. So you may have ended up helping Bernie after all.

  76. Hugh57:

    As noted, I had no intent in voting in the Democratic primary at all, so my participation in the GOP primary didn’t cost Hillary (or Bernie, for that manner) anything.

  77. So, let me get this straight; Trump is the worst candidate in your lifetime and a danger to the country- but you don’t see that the establishment candidates (including Clinton, bigger war hawk than Republicans) are nudging us right along to world war 3? Speaking of lifetimes and danger, when was the last time NATO shot down a Russian jet besides last year? 1952. It’s not just an isolated incident, it ties back to the greater power struggle between Shia and Sunni Muslims, who also act as proxies; Russia partnered with Iran and the US behind the Saudis- because oil… I guess.

    I mean, I just can’t believe we are still allies with a country that constantly stabs us in the back, still has beheadings, where most of the 9/11 hijackers came from, and provides support to so-called moderate rebels in Syria that are indistinguishable from ISIS because fighters switch sides at the drop of a hat.

    Meanwhile NATO is still encircling Russia who is making it plain that they’re not putting up with our shit anymore while at the same time trying to be the only ones actively avoiding conflict. My friend in the guard goes to Latvia next month- why? So they can drive a convoy right next to the Russian border in a prick waving contest. Another friend’s son in the Navy will be sailing by the Chinese in the south China sea to wave their dick’s at China’s sandcastles. Both countries have had enough our shit and it makes you wonder why we have to go about provoking everyone like this. It makes you wonder who runs this country, surely not people who are sane and give a shit about America.

    Trump gets all of this- he’s one of the few people I’ve ever seen in public media acknowledging the insanity of geopolitics at the moment. He gets my vote for that alone. I’m willing to look past every single other thing he’s ever said that I don’t like because the guy gets that their is a colossal shit storm right around the corner; and not just economically.

    When the countries are broke and in recession they take the people to war, one way or another, before they turn on their own government. This is our last chance at political resolution to pull ourselves, and perhaps the world, back from the brink. The global recession has already started and the US will be the last to know; oil and commodities exporting emerging markets (i.e. largely the 3rd world) have already entered. Wars and economic strife rage in many countries and we can’t hope to fix it all, but at the very least we can hope to avoid putting someone in the white house who boasts about her conquest in Libya- “We came, we saw, he died.” Jesus, that woman is scarier than anybody else on the political stage.

    Trump is going to piss people off, especially allies and trading partners- no doubt. We’ll have to endure lots of whining here at home as well about social issues. If anything he plans on doing finally gives real domestic GDP a shot in the arm; instead of treading water for the past seven years- people in the middle will finally be too busy making money again to fight against each other too much. We won’t fall apart at home.

    I think economists have proven they don’t know wtf they are doing at this point; hiking into a downturn just to show they can- meanwhile the bank of japan goes with negative interest rates… QE infinity via asset purchases, moar debt, etc. In my mind he honestly can’t do any worse with foreign or economic policies. To keep going down that road is insane. I don’t think he can do any worse.

    This is the last chance the way I see it.

  78. Sorry, John I didn’t see where you had stated that you had “no intent of voting in the Democratic Primary at all.” You stated that you usually vote “independent” (in Ohio this is technically “issues only,” which means you get to vote on school levies and such, if there are any), and that you did take the Dem ballot in 2008. I took this to mean that based on past experience, you could have gone with any one of the three options (R,D, and issues-only).

  79. Thank you. Were I an Ohio voter I would absolutely do the same for the same reasons. Being Texan I voted for Hillary in our primary. She won our State.

  80. I am looking at this election as a litmus test for the American people. Do we deserve a Trump White House? If we elect him we deserve him. My optimistic side thinks there are enough moderate voters who think Trump is everything he is being called and really do not want to test the checks and balances in our system to that level.

  81. I plan on the doing the exact same thing for the same reason in a few weeks up here in Wisconsin. Assuming Kasich is still in the race. If he wins Ohio, I suspect he will be.

  82. @Michael T
    I see you quote of the rules but it misses context and timing.
    The rule you quoted was created just before the 2012 when the rules of the convention are set. Up until then, there really aren’t any hard-and-fast rules, outside of the majority of delegates are needed. It was 5 states for the 2008 convention and has fluctuated at other times so it’s not really worth anything which is why it’s been ignored completely until now (mainly by the Trump supporters or those on the Left trying to cause trouble for the fun of it)

    For me, I’m usually a Republican, which means I’m not the Tea Party. So voting against Tea Party people is being pro-GOP.
    The fact the 2008-2010 GOP leaders allowed the modern version of the Know-Nothing Party to fall under the banner for awhile was stupid. It worked in Lincoln’s time (1854 & 1856 non-Presidential election) but they had both better control and their own radicals to offset it. It’s blown back in the idiots faces as most of us knew it would.

    Glad to see you vote to keep Trump at bay – more need to do so since as bad as a Cruz candidacy would be, a Trump one would be so much worse (I’m more sure of Cruz losing the Presidential run than Trump and that would be great for the GOP – proof the TP can’t win nationally).

  83. GOP – Born, 1854, died not long after 2016.

    Sooner or later, the Republicans have to decide what they’re going to be. They certainly are not what they once were.

  84. First I need to say I am Canadian and I am fascinated by your democratic process.
    Then I have to say I am a giant Science fiction fan.
    Finally I have to say Nehemiah Scudder and Heinlein was off by 4 years :(

  85. I hope it works out better for you than it did for me in 1980. Living in Texas, I have the same “privilege” so in 1980 I cast my only vote for a Bush in my life by and voted against Ronald Reagan… History has proven me right about that one sadly.

  86. Well written original commentary followed by a good thread with lots of thoughtful thinky bits. This is like a blog version of The Daily Show. Good job Scalzi, The Place to Go for Politics.

  87. So you want Cruz to be the nominee? Cruz, who shut down the government and deprived people of their salaries and disability checks just to get some air time in his fake attempt to overturn the bill giving millions of poor people health insurance. Cruz who is a vicious racist, sexist, Islamaphobic, homophobic neocon theocrat, with a bankrolling father who would like to burn people at the stake. Cruz who is literally no different from Trump — who is in fact worse than Trump because while Trump just says whatever he thinks will jazz up the audience, Cruz actually does want to get rid of democracy and bankrupt the country and have people beaten to a pulp — the right people of course. Cruz who utterly everybody hates except perhaps his children. What, so the Republican party can save face and pretend it isn’t a racist cesspool that wants to bring back lynchings and debtors prisons fulltime?

    I don’t want people to get beaten up and killed, but I’m not foolish enough to think that isn’t going to happen whether Trump is the front runner or not. It was happening before Trump even ran. Trump is just useful to people who want a justification to lash out, upset that repressed groups less and less won’t go along with the bigotry and rich people are great myths; he doesn’t have to tell them to do violence — they do it on their own (see the past Oregon standoff.) He’s doing the exact same thing Sarah Palin did years ago, only even better for them, he’s a man and a billionaire. The Republican party has been dead since 2008. Everybody has just been trying to pretend that it’s not a zombie since then, while infrastructure crumbles about them from the Republican state machines milking state governments for cash and privatization.

    It is time to put a stake through the zombie’s head. And while Trump isn’t the stake I would have chosen (or expected,) if that’s what they want, let them take it down with him, and see what arises from the ashes. And in the meantime, while they’re weak, undue everyone of those unconstitutional laws that they did to kill and imprison people, harm kids and pollute the land, like your pal Kaisch and his pal Snyder. They have blood on their hands and a lot more of it than Trump, though he’s not an innocent with his little con-artist business empire.

    The Republicans who run the party are greedy, malevolent, lying, murdering assholes and the entire ethos of their party has been to grind poor people into bone dust while leeching their labor for pennies in the process. They’ve been that way since 1912 and even worse since 1980. In my lifetime, I now have less legal civil rights as a woman — I am legally less equal a human being — than I did when I was a child, thanks to the Republicans. Trump just held a big old mirror up to them and openly said he’d copy what they are.

    And Kaisch, in true rightward fashion, used that to claim that he’s the rational guy who’s better than Trump, while he turns Ohio into another waste ground. He’s worse than Trump. Not quite as bad as Cruz, but bad enough.

    If people want to do something for the Republican party, leave it. Don’t vote in it. Desert it in droves. Starve it of cash down to just its big emotionally troubled donors. Vote Democrat or anything central or left besides Republican in general elections. Kick them out of every elected office down to dogcatcher. And then the rational ones — if there are any ones left — might rebuild something that doesn’t entirely try to kill, jail and poison everybody. I’m not holding my breath, but it’s possible. Maybe a centrist party. But the Republicans currently are a gang of despotic thieves and that certainly includes all the prez candidates who’ve been running. Swapping out one florid vampire for a slimy vampire does nothing to ease tempers or bigoted rhetoric. It just lets the Republicans pretend, as SNL pointed out in their Mitt Romney joke, that as long as they imply horrible things to set people after repressed groups and accept starvation wages, that’s way better than outright saying the horrible things to set people after repressed groups and accept starvation wages. And it’s not, to my mind.

    But it’s your vote. Which Kaisch has tried to eliminate with the usual voter suppression tactics.

  88. I just found out minutes ago that Trump won Florida. I told my kids that it is truly time for us to consider living in another state. Why would I want them to grow up with people who think he is what suits our country best. It is truly scarier that I realized…..I am also registered Independant. I have never voted Republican and can’t imagine I ever would but to be on the safe side I never say never. I also don’t think the Democrats are all that and a bag of chips but they are the less of the evils in my book. Gee I hope we are all well these coming years cause this crap is scary.

  89. EbBr- I did not say that John didn’t have the right to. There were conditions set for participation, and he followed the letter of the rules. We all measure our own interest when it comes to voting. What I particularly said was that if the tables were turned I’d be bothered. I have every right to that just as much to John decided to vote as he pleases, not how it pleases me.

    Everyone who votes for Trump has the same right, I don’t have to like it, and I don’t have to be particularly pleased at the outcome of their participation. Those votes can leave me nauseous, where John’s just like a dirty play in sports where it is just inside the rules, but not so sure about the spirit.

    Further if a nomination were settled before late states voted, I would be sad to see “independent” voters try to sway a nomination to sway a nomination with a desire to avoid a particular general election opponent towards someone they might find easier to beat. It is all legal by the process, but again the spirit…

  90. Edward Brennan: I would be sad to see “independent” voters try to sway a nomination to sway a nomination with a desire to avoid a particular general election opponent towards someone they might find easier to beat.

    Not trying to argue you out of this response (aside from the fact that you have voiced a perfectly reasonable opinion, I suspect that part of your response is emotional, and I try very hard not to argue against anything where emotion is involved), but in this case–voting against Trump it isn’t exactly trying to vote for the eventual opponent who will be “easier to beat,” or at least it doesn’t have to be, and that does make a difference to me. I’ve never understood “strategic primary voting”–it rarely seems to work, and usually seems at best risky and and at worst more likely to make the choices in the general election worse. However, I can see independent voters wanting so desperately that a particular person NOT be any party’s candidate that they vote for someone ELSE–someone who would not be their choice in the general election. I wouldn’t do it if I had someone I needed or wanted to vote for, but–lacking that–it seems like a perfectly valid vote, to me.

    In other words, voting for someone other than Trump because I believe that Trump is a disgrace to politics and should never be allowed on the national stage is a legitimate choice, in my opinion, though it’s a vote against rather than a vote for. Because sometimes I need to “vote against” a candidate, and until we get a “none of the above, go back and try again” button to push, it’s the best choice the primaries have to offer.

  91. I am not convinced the Republican party will self-destruct. The center of power within it is shifting, because the agreement it had with many of its voters began to come apart under Bush 2 (vote us into power, we will legislate your social conservatism as soon as we have enough power) and those voters feel betrayed.

    I think the ‘”it” part of the party will play the Saruman card (“the Wise…may, with patience come at last to direct it’s courses, to control it. We can bide our time, we can keep our thoughts in our hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high and ultimate purpose…”), and hope that works in the long run.

  92. So this is my first year voting for anything other than local elections and I want to make sure I understand this, each state has a primary which is where registered parties which are just groups of people that get together and meet that states requirements, democrats, republicans, libertarians, and then as a voter I say I am a libertarian or what have you and I get one vote that goes to the person of my choosing in that party and depending on how the state laws work either whoever has the most votes gets the delegates and super delegates or they are divided based on percentages of the populations that voted for them. Then over the entire US whoever gets the most delegates for each party get nominated by their respective party leaders, which fund the nominee’s campaign? Even if the party leaders dislike said person and finally the winners of the primaries fight for presidency? Oh and there can be an independent who has to fund themselves or get donations from people and run but as far as I know never win?

  93. Well, for ill or good, it appears Kasich has won Ohio. Hopefully this will have the desired effect. I’d rather have a radish than Trump as the GOP nominee.

  94. Damion: Then over the entire US whoever gets the most delegates for each party get nominated by their respective party leaders,

    No. I alluded to this earlier. The republican party requires a candidate to win 1237 delegates to win the nomination. If no one has 1237, then it goes to a “contested” or “brokered” convention. Moderate republicans are hoping that other nominees stay in the race to pull delegates from Trump, so that Trump won’t hit the magical 1237 number. Even if Trump has the *most* delegates, he isn’t automatically the nominee unless he gets 1237 or more. Rigth now, Trump only has 619, so he needs another 600+ to lock in the nomination. If he has less than that, its up for grabs at the convention.,

    Moderate republicans hope they can get into a brokered convention so that they can use the rules to hand the nomination to someone besides Trump. If I remember the republican rules correctly, by default, all superdelegates have to vote proportionally to how voters voted. These delegate counts are what candidates take into teh convention. If no one has enough delegates going into the convention, it turns into a brokered convention. The first pass, something like 60% of superdelegates become “free” and can vote for whoever they want. If no one can still secure the number of delegates then 80% of superdelegates become free adn can vote for whoeer they want. (Its been a while, so I might be completely mangling the rules).

    The idea is that once they get into a brokered or contested convention, delegates basically move around to whoever can get the most support, and possibly operate somewhat like an informal “instant runoff” process. So, if Trump goes in with 40%, Cruz with 30%, and Kasich with 20%, then maybe the Kasich delegates decide to side with Cruz, bring him up to 50% and over the 1237 needed, and Cruz gets the nomination. In theory, it is somewhat like an “instant runoff” process, and would result in the candidate with the “best” party support getting the nomination, even though he came in with fewer votes than someone like Trump. In another theory, it might be more like party bosses try to nudge, pressure, and cajole delegates to swing one way or another (using promises of jobs, kickbacks, bribes, adn who knows what else) to give the nomination to the party-bosses favorites.

    No matter what the process, if it goes to a brokered convention and Trump does not get the nomination, my guess is that Trump will run as an independent because he can and he just might get more votes than the republican candidate, but will likely split the vote. If Trump gets the nomination, moderate Republicans have already announced they would rather vote for Hillary than see Trump in the office. So, again, if we’re lucky, Trump splits the right wing vote and Bernie gets into the white house. If we’re really lucky, Trump permanently fractures teh Republican party, taking all his fascist followers with him, and the Republican party struggles for its identity for a few election cycles. It would be fitting karma for all the bigotry they’ve been pushing via dog whistles and code words.

    Also, the Dem primary rules are slightly different. If I recall correctly (again, its been a while) superdelegates can always vote for whoever they want. Delegates I believe are pledged in proportion to the votes cast. Superdelegates go with whoever they want and can change whenver they want. The dems need 2383 delegates to secure the nomination. The nomination isn’t locked in, technically, until the convention, at which point, superdelegates have to pick one candidate and stick with them.

    In short, the whole bloody thing is a bloody mess because the rules for presidential elections are “most votes wins”, so the parties try to act as a pre-filter to find the best candidate for their side. But the rules for how a party picks their candidate is made by the party, not law. So its an arbitrary mess. I heard that Republicans are already tweaking some of their rules to try and stack the deck against Trump. We could get rid of the parties altogether if we had an “instant runoff” system for electing presidents, but that requires amending the constitution. So, probably not going to happen (unless Bernie gets elected, then slight chance it could happen).

  95. Since you voted in the Republican primary did you vote for any other offices besides President–one of the dozen and a half candidates for the seat vacated by Boehner?

  96. Mary Frances-

    You are right, part of it is emotional. I believe strongly that democracy works best when people behave with a certain level of being above board. Strategic voting always reminds me of in sports when teams put in the back-ups when they don’t want to face someone in a particular round of the playoffs. It isn’t like they are trying to lose, but they are entirely okay and even prefer that outcome. Generally that doesn’t work either but it still bothers me.

    I personally don’t care whether someone is registered one party or the other. One should be free to vote for one’s desired candidate, or one’s lesser evil. If it were just an election of say Trump vs Kasich, sure I’d vote for Kasich as the lesser evil. But its not, it is a primary where people who are nominally identifying as Republicans or Republican leaning by grabbing that ballot decide on who they would like. If I would vote for any Democrat running over any Republican running, I have already sort of put myself in a different camp. I might not care who leads it, but it is still my camp. It’s not even that I particularly like the Democratic Circus, it is mine on that basis. If I won’t really consider any republican for the Genera,l how independent am I at this point really?

    In a Primary I want people of relatively like mind to put forward whatever candidate they deem acceptable. It’s not called the Republican Primary for nothin’. In a General Election I will happily vote against all of them. Hell I will even tell every conservative I know to consider voting Kasich over Trump in their primary not mine.

  97. It might be too late for Trump (or anyone else) to launch a viable third-party run after the GOP convention.

    Requirements to get on the ballot vary by state but are not trivial, and deadlines are rapidly approaching. The convention is on 18-21 July. By then, ballot registration deadlines will have passed for 12 states (including big ones like Texas and Florida) and the remaining ones will be over by 9 September. A third-party candidate would have only a few weeks to collect tens of thousands of signatures in each of the 38 remaining states and DC.


    Russia who is making it plain that they’re not putting up with our shit anymore while at the same time trying to be the only ones actively avoiding conflict.

    Actively avoiding conflict? Tell that to the Ukrainians.

    It’s fair to criticise Hillary Clinton for being too belligerent. But if you think Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump are men of peace, I’m not sure it’s possible to have a sensible discussion here.

  98. Sixteen years ago I voted for McCain in the primary because he seemed saner than GWB, it didn’t work out that time. Maybe after this time there’ll be an incentive to develop a conservatism a little more substantive than “Am I my brother’s keeper?”.

  99. I lurk here a good bit of the time, simply reading comments and thinking about the issues, especially on posts like this one. Every once in a blue moon I post. Last night was a blue moon.

    It’s the day after in Florida and it feels like the worst hangover ever, but without the cheap liquor. Down here in Florida (the Gingersnaps say hello to the Scamperbeasts!) Hillary beat Sanders 2:1 in the primary and Rubio got busted big time by Trump, forcing him to withdraw as a candidate. If there’s a consolation prize out of this to give us any cheer, it’s that Rubio won’t run for a consecutive term as one of our two senators. I have no idea who we’ll get in his place, so there’s that.

    My congratulations to Kasich. I have no idea how he effects Ohioan politics, but from the narrow view of a sitting governor, it’s interesting that he won (only) 47% of the vote. This has interesting implications for the next Ohio governor’s race. Again, I have no idea who might run against him or who has a chance of winning, but I’d look at the primary numbers as something of a referendum. In my not so humble opinion they should have been over 50%.

    My congratulations to this excellent group discussion, as well as the moderator and his moderation.

  100. Edward: “I believe strongly that democracy works best when people behave with a certain level of being above board.”

    Yes. But democracy works even better when all the rules of how an election work enfranchise people so that they can give their true vote. Unfortunately, presidential election rules in the US are about a lot of disenfranchisement. The electoral college is an abomination. All electoral votes go to the winner causes people in the “40 percent or less” party in a state to not bother voting. Campaigns only focus on the “battleground” states because those electoral votes are the only ones really up for grabs. Assigning each state a number of electoral votes proportional to its size PLUS 2 means that voters in smaller states get more influence in teh presidential election than big states. And majority-vote-wins rules means that voters cannot indicate their highest preference candidate. This is also why we have a two-party system. And having party rules determine who gets nominated for that party further disenfranchises voters. Party leaders and party bosses influence who gets support in the primary and who doesn’t.

    If we had condercet voting or “instant runoff” voting, the parties wouldn’t have nearly as much power as they do. If someon wanted to run for president, they could get N number of signatures, show up on the ballot. If a voter prefered that person, they could put them as their first preference, but then could put their second preference if their first doesn’t get enough votes. There would be no such thing as a “spoiler” candidate who splits the vote.

    But since we have all these rules that disenfranchise voters, voters *must* use strategic voting or risk being further disenfranchised because they voted for some third party candidate and their vote not only wont count, but takes a vote away from their second-choice candidate, thereby helping their least-favorite choice win.

    So, while one generally wants people to be “above the board” about voting, there is a difference between voter fraud and tactical voting. Fraud is breaking the rules that everyone else is following and is cheating. Tactical voting follows the rules and allows an otherwise disenfranchised voter to try and get their most preferred outcome.

  101. Edward Brennan: If I won’t really consider any republican for the Genera,l how independent am I at this point really?

    So . . . maybe there is another difference between us? I have voted for Republicans in the past, and can see myself doing so in the future. (Not saying you haven’t, but you don’t seem to identify as someone who has–or at least you don’t seem to have identified me as someone who has voted Republican? Which is likely my fault, and I’m trying to correct it.) In fact, once upon a time, I considered voting Republican for president in this election–not too seriously, and well before the field had clarified, I admit, but still–and so I have a vested interest in the (future) sanity of the GOP. Therefore, I can see the need for someone at least somewhat like me to give a massive “thumb’s down” to Trump as a legitimate response to his presence in the Republican primary.

    Cruz’s presence in the primary I find more difficult to stick, in some ways, but I do believe that my response to him is different: I think he’s vile and I would never vote for him, but he’s for-realsie a Republican and always has been, though he represents the goofy and dangerous wing of the party, and if the GOP selects him as their nominee . . . welp, their choice. Not mine, this time. I’ll simply have to take great pleasure in voting against him in the General and pray that that’s enough. Not as sure but pretty sure I can say the same about Rubio and Kasich, too. Trump is the outlier who insults the process, to my mind, and so activates my outrage. Cruz drives this Independent voter even further out of the GOP in disgust; Trump makes me angry on behalf of the GOP and all U.S. voters. Maybe I ought to be able to accept him as the true “choice of the party” and not a clown using (and deceiving) the GOP to pander to his own immense ego, but I just can’t–speaking of emotional responses . . .

    That said, please remember that I basically agree with you about “strategic voting.” I think it’s either silly or stupid, and I can’t ever see myself as doing it. I just don’t see deliberately choosing to vote against Trump as strategic voting–speaking very consciously as an occasional (though not this year) Republican voter.

  102. Think your choice is reasonable, John. As a bummed Sanders supporter, I think we’re going to have to do more than just vote against Trump going forward. As long as the economic conditions on the ground remain unchanged, we’re going to keep getting Trumps going forward, I think.

  103. I would ALMOST say that the best thing possible for the upcoming election is to lash Trump to the prow of the GOP and let him make his insane noises, except for this experience of my province’s politics:

    In the 1980s, the Progressive Conservative Party (yes, really) was run out of office and a wave of actual indictments for their activities followed. The New Democratic Party (very centrist with some nods in the direction of a socialist tradition) took over for about a decade, because the only other party, the (business-leaning centrist) Liberals were tarred by unpopular policies of the national version of the part and there wasn’t anything else with the PC collapse.

    Then a new right-ish party was cobbled together from the un-indicted elements of the PCs and some more radical elements of Liberal and libertarian parties, and it called itself the Saskatchewan Party because who doesn’t love the province they live in? They propped up a loud, funny-looking guy with an odd name who hollered about not taxing the rich and making the poor pave roads for food, and the got not a lot of votes. The next election, and here’s the lesson component of the story, they got a well-dressed and relatively handsome fellow whose name wasn’t strange to lead the party. On exactly the same platform, stated in softer tones and with more circumlocution, they won and have stayed in power since 2007, and as we run toward a vote at the start of April they are looking to win a third time, despite having not done much in the paving of roads department, but having done much to degrade the social and cultural fabric of the province (they did stick the their economic guns, having taken almost no royalties from what was until last fall a booming oil industry).

    The point– if Trump leads the GOP into the election, what the party is apt to take from him is that saying/doing what he says/does works, it just needs a little polishing to lock up the win. There’s a pretty big danger that this is already the case, and that four years hence, the party will offer a magnificently groomed person with a name like Chet Powers whose dimples will mesmerize even some sensible people into thinking Mexico will pay to build a wall against itself.

  104. Let me remind you of something you may not be old enough to remember:

    Shine, Perishing Republic
    by Robinson Jeffers

    While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity, heavily thickening
    to empire
    And protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops and sighs out, and the
    mass hardens,
    I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the fruit rots
    to make earth.
    Out of the mother; and through the spring exultances, ripeness and decadence;
    and home to the mother.
    You making haste haste on decay: not blameworthy; life is good, be it stubbornly
    long or suddenly
    A mortal splendor: meteors are not needed less than mountains:
    shine, perishing republic.
    But for my children, I would have them keep their distance from the thickening
    center; corruption
    Never has been compulsory, when the cities lie at the monster’s feet there
    are left the mountains.
    And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man, a clever servant,
    insufferable master.
    There is the trap that catches noblest spirits, that caught – they say –
    God, when he walked on earth.

  105. @whbeebe – Kasich is in his second term as governor, so he wouldn’t be up for re-election anyway. His 4-year term runs through 2018, so it will be interesting to see if this bid has consequences for his agenda inside the state.

    As far as his sub-50% level of support, it doesn’t terribly surprise me. I don’t think he’s a terribly exciting candidate to a lot of Ohioans. (He could have been vulnerable in his 2014 re-election, if the Ohio Democratic party had bothered to even minimally vet their candidate.)

    Trump’s numbers seem consistent with his national performance, though I guess it’s a surprise that home-state candidates haven’t been able to bite into that. I think the support for Cruz is an interesting example of the direction of the Republican party: a significant player in the Gingrich revolution is now a RINO to 13% of Ohio Republican voters.

  106. @greg: I agree 100% with your last post on how the current system requires tactical voting. :)

    If we had a preferential ballot system (IRV or Condorcet) then the (partisan and undemocratic) primaries would be less important as well. I.e. in an IRV/Condorcet general, Sanders could lose the primary but win still the general (both outcomes are supported by the most recent polls). Less guessing about the “true” underlying preferences/coalitions of people, because the voting data would make it clear: x% of the population prefers A>B>C, y% prefers B>A>C, z% prefers C>B>A, etc. In Australia, each party publishes “how to vote” recommendation cards, with all candidates from all parties ranked according to the party’s preferences.

    @scalzi: Thanks for voting for Kasich. Trump will still win the most delegates, but maybe just maybe Ohio’s results will force a brokered convention. Trump will still come out of that convention as the winner, but a brokered convention will help destroy the GOP even more (which could have delightful repercussions down-ticket). If they pick someone else (especially someone “establishment”), I predict Trump will run 3rd party (which will ensure a D win). But the GOP has signaled that in a game of chicken, Trump wins and they back down. (reasonable Q: can/will he get onto enough ballots in time to make a credible threat?). Or Trump proves me wrong and does back down and we wind up with Cruz? I’m not sure he’s any better on the issues than Trump (for reasons others have given), and also Clinton will beat him by a narrower margin than Trump, which concerns me.

    Personally, I think GOP nominating Trump was inevitable from the moment he entered the race and nothing can stop that juggernaut, and the best way to stop a President Trump (or Cruz) is to nominate Sanders. But you’ve already stated your (reasonable) thoughts about why you doubt that. :) For strategic reasons, Kasich would be my *last* pick for GOP nominee, because (unless Trump runs spoiler) he will probably beat Clinton and has the best odds of defeating Sanders.

  107. lnr03 says: I just found out minutes ago that Trump won Florida. I told my kids that it is truly time for us to consider living in another state.

    You have kids, and you live in Florida?

    Unless they have gills, that seems pretty short-sighted. Sell your property to some right-winger who thinks climate change is just a conspiracy, and move inland.

  108. @Edward Brennan
    Sir, with respect: you seem to have a goodly streak of ‘fair play’ running through you. That’s commendable. But, you DO realize this is politics, right? Not tennis. Or golf. Right?

  109. @fuzznose: “I won’t tell people how I voted…seems to me it’s called a ‘secret ballot’ for a reason.

    You’re misunderstanding the phrase. No one ELSE has the right to know how you voted, unless you choose to tell them. There’s nothing wrong with telling people how you vote if you want to. (There is also nothing wrong with NOT telling people if you DON’T want to.) “Secret ballot” doesn’t mean it’s immoral to discuss your own vote, only to reveal the votes of others.

    @Kat Goodwin: I may be putting words in Our Benevolent Host’s typewriter, but I suspect he would prefer that none of the current GOP field get the nomination of that party, because they’re all loathsome in various degrees. Sadly, “none of these fools” isn’t an option, so a calculation of which particular fool is least, um, foolish has to be made. I think both Cruz and Trump would be disastrous, for different reasons, so saying that I think one would be more disastrous doesn’t translate to support of the other’s candidacy.

    I think Clinton would ALSO be a disappointing president, because I fully expect her entire term to be a continuation of the obstructionist GOP Congress that we’ve seen in the last little while. However, I trust her to wield executive power with more finesse than either Cruz or Trump, and so I prefer her to either of them on the things that don’t require Congressional approval to bring about.

    For me, I’m looking forward to 2020, both because I think both parties will learn SOME lessons about fielding decent candidates and because it’s a census year, which means the election results will have strong impacts on districting decisions for subsequent elections. It would be nice to see some areas get more competitive than than have been.

  110. Andrew Hackard:

    I may be putting words in Our Benevolent Host’s typewriter, but I suspect he would prefer that none of the current GOP field get the nomination of that party, because they’re all loathsome in various degrees. Sadly, “none of these fools” isn’t an option, so a calculation of which particular fool is least, um, foolish has to be made. I think both Cruz and Trump would be disastrous, for different reasons, so saying that I think one would be more disastrous doesn’t translate to support of the other’s candidacy.

    I know precisely why he voted because A) this entry explained why and B) it was a widely and publicly discussed voting strategy to deny Trump a majority leading to a Republican split convention. Republican politicians asked people to do this — vote for the other candidate who could win in that particular state. My problem is not with the cynicism of this strategy, or some virtuous concerns over the prerogatives of Republican voters, since it’s all perfectly allowed.

    What I object to is one thing and then I have a desire. The objection is the mythologizing of it — that Trump is the monster who must be avoided at any cost, or at least used to have an even tougher showdown than the one that’s clearly coming in the Republican party. The idea that Trump is somehow different from the other Republican candidates, the Republican party and Republican politicians. He is not. Everything Trump has said, down to exhorting his supporters and the cops to be violent to protesters, particularly black ones, is the exact same stuff that Republicans have been saying — and making part of their party policy platform and media — for the last twenty-five years. Cruz has been extorting them to violence for years, Palin did it as VP nominee for McCain, but all of a sudden it’s a problem because it’s Trump? The Republicans have been whining about building a wall with Mexico for a very long time. Kaisch is evil. Romney is evil. Snyder is evil. They’ve been evil most of their careers in business and politics. But now they get to pretend to be virtuous reasonable folk on Trump fears.

    I fear them more than I fear Trump because I know that Trump is faking. Not that he won’t go through with Republican policies. He’ll happily gut the EPA again, for instance. But so will all of them. There hasn’t been a real moderate in the Republican party since Bush Senior lost his second term — they can’t afford it. Instead, they had to keep promising stuff to white (males,) wealthy, middle class small business and working/poor. Trump’s success has been entirely because he’s promising the same things that Republicans have been promising them openly for decades but then not delivering (largely because the Republicans cannot turn back time to a Hollywood version of white supremacy,) but because he’s not a Republican and a rich businessman, they’re sure that he will actually deliver on the promises.

    My desire is to cause people to flee from the Republican party in droves. For there to be low voter turnout of Republicans — not high voter turn-out of them. For them to lose elections all down the line from federal to county. For there to be no re-deeming battle against an imaginary monster of Trump — who spouts the entire party platform that they also support — to make them seem in any way reasonable. I don’t care if Trump doesn’t get the majority, but a concerted effort to make Cruz, Kaisch and such look better in comparison — no. I want the party burnt down to the ground because that’s the only way any sanity can arise. When the white people who the Republicans have been teaching to be vicious bigots for decades to keep their votes are finally faced with the fact that the Republican party cannot deliver their Shangri-La and they turn away from it. And the Republicans lose their power, their control over Congress, their control over states that they are destroying and killing people in.

    And then we can start fixing stuff. Then maybe moderate Republicans will finally have incentives to form a new version of the party rather than keep being authoritarian extremists to rally voters who’ve left them, and go after Latinos and such to their cause. When open bigotry has become so toxic and so in the face of more reasonable white people that they can stop pretending that those targeted are exaggerating and work harder to not be seen as the same. So Scalzi’s strategy is not incompatible with that, but it let Kaisch claim solid support in Ohio. Whereas I want Slaver Kaisch’s political career to wither and die as voters desert him. I wanted that far more than Trump losing Ohio. Ask the people of Toledo with their poisoned drinking water and poor women who can’t get access to healthcare. So we have a difference of an opinion, which is not strange as I’m a liberal Democrat and Scalzi is a centrist independent. I’m just registering my protest at the support for Kaisch and the claims that Trump is oh so much worse than the politicians he’s aping who actually go and enact those horrible laws. Trump is just greedy evil. Kaisch and Cruz are evil evil.

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