Although, I am NOT a supporter of Donald Trump, as a political junkie I can’t help but be curious about why he has made recent remarks that one would expect to hear from a democrat. Despite, whatever negative thoughts that I harbor against Mr. Trump, I do give him credit for being a somewhat clever business person. So, the question remains, what is “the Donald” up to with his current tactics.
On Saturday 2/13/16, Donald Trump while present in a republican debate, did not hesitate to raise the audience’s and Jeb Bush’s ire when he dared to trample on republican sensitivities by stating for the record that the former President George Bush failed to keep America safe. He pointed out that the 9/11 attacks occurred on U.S. soil under President Bush’s management which included oversight of all U.S. intelligence agencies. He added that the 2003 U.S. incursion into Iraq was a major mistake, based on false premises which has destabilized the middle east for years to come. He did all of this in South Carolina which is where the former republican President George W. Bush has high approval ratings and where there is a large military contingent.
During this same debate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) questioned Donald Trump about his past positive support for Planned Parenthood. The Donald quipped, “It does do wonderful things, but not as it relates to abortion. There are wonderful things having to do with women’s health, but not when it comes to abortion.”
Contrary to what the pundits were saying, I do not believe that Mr. Trump was just extraneously making confrontational comments. To solve this mystery, I first started to do research on any data about the followers of Donald Trump. I did find a December 31, 2015 NY Times article by Nate Cohn with the headlines: “Donald Trump’s Strongest Supporters: A Certain Kind of Democrat.” Hmmm…
(The Civis (Analytics source) estimates are based on interviews with more than 11,000 Republican-leaning respondents since August. The large sample, combined with statistical modeling techniques, presents the most detailed examination yet of the contours of Mr. Trump’s unusual coalition.)
The following are excerpts from Nate Cohn’s report:
“He is strongest among Republicans who are less affluent, less educated and less likely to turn out to vote. His very best voters are self-identified Republicans who nonetheless are registered as Democrats. It’s a coalition that’s concentrated in the South, Appalachia and the industrial North, according to data provided to The Upshot by Civis Analytics, a Democratic data firm.”
“But during the Obama era, many of these voters have abandoned the Democrats. Many Democrats may now even identify as Republicans, or as independents who lean Republican, when asked by pollsters — a choice that means they’re included in a national Republican primary survey, whether they remain registered as Democrats or not.”
“Mr. Trump appears to hold his greatest strength among people like these — registered Democrats who identify as Republican leaners — with 43 percent of their support, according to the Civis data. Similarly, many of Mr. Trump’s best states are those with a long tradition of Democrats who vote Republican in presidential elections, like West Virginia.”
Based on the above Civis Anaylic study, we have discovered that Donald Trump’s very best voters are self-identified Republicans who nonetheless are registered as Democrats.
It just so happens that the State of South Carolina has an open primary system which means that not only can republicans vote in their primary election, but so can the democrats and independents. Also, there is same day registration for first time voters.
Now we know the rest of the story. During the recent 2016 debate, Donald Trump was not fearful of losing the loyalty of those following him because the majority of them are not hard line conservatives. In fact, the South Carolina public polls as of 2/17 show that he is still leading. He may also garner some votes from democrats on 2/20/16.
By the way, the South Carolina media market has been inundated with an 80% margin of negative ads against Donald Trump. There may still be a loss of votes on the upcoming republican primary because of his recent debate performance. If he survives all this by winning, he will become much more difficult to stop.
While he is leading by a significant margin in the most recent South Carolina and Nevada polls, there was an NBC/ Wall Street Journal national poll taken soon after the 2/13/16 republican debate which has Senator Ted Cruz leading against all his opponents, including Donald Trump by 2 points. We will soon find out if this poll is for real and if Donald Trump’s tactics during the Saturday night debate may have cost him on a national level.