Conservative Billionaires Think They Have It All Under Control... German Billionaires Thought So Too
The Republican base knows what it wants and no one can accuse them of walking into this blindly-- stupidly, sure, but not blindly. The new Siena poll for the NY Times shows Trump with more support (54%) than for all his competitors combined. On top of that, the competitor who the GOP billionaires has decided would vanquish Trump, continues his horrifying collapse. DeSantis is in a position to win Trump dies or is in prison because none of the other candidates get over 2 or 3% support.
“Trump,” wrote Shane Goldmacher in his analysis of the poll, “held decisive advantages across almost every demographic group and region and in every ideological wing of the party, the survey found, as Republican voters waved away concerns about his escalating legal jeopardy. He led by wide margins among men and women, younger and older voters, moderates and conservatives, those who went to college and those who didn’t, and in cities, suburbs and rural areas. The poll shows the some of DeSantis’ central campaign argument— that he is more electable than Trump, and that he would govern more effectively— have so far failed to break through. Even Republicans motivated by the type of issues that have fueled DeSantis’ rise, such as fighting ‘radical woke ideology,’ favored the former president.”
Charlie Sykes used to tell Republicans how to think. He still knows how they do. Yesterday he noted that in Des Moines Friday it didn’t matter to the Republicans gathered in the convention center ballroom that Trump had “hurled insults at their wildly popular governor, or that he is facing a cascade of federal charges… [H]is closest rivals didn’t dare bring up a legal quagmire that threatens to be a liability in a general election if Trump is the nominee for fear of alienating his still-massive support in the grassroots.”
It had to have saddened Sykes at least a little to write that young conservatives have shifted away from giving a hoot about free markets and are now focused on identity politics (and culture wars). “Many of the young people attending the National Conservative Student Conference this week in Washington, D.C., said the health of the economy was not a burning issue for them. The event, hosted by Young America’s Foundation… Breana Marsh, who is the director of membership at Young America’s Foundation and has a degree in finance, said that for her, the biggest issues are, ‘from the conservative perspective, the Second Amendment as well as transgender issues.’ When asked about the economy, Marsh said, ‘I don’t like the way that we’re going,’ adding, ‘The policies being implemented across the United States just are not good.’ When asked about specific policies, she said, ‘Truthfully, I couldn’t name you any right now.’ Exit take: The hangover from the Trump era is likely to linger for decades.”
The shocker is, at least according to Nate Cohn, that “most of the Republican electorate either doesn’t strongly support Trump in the primary or doesn’t support him at all. Most don’t have a ‘very favorable’ view of the former president, either. In theory, it means there’s an opening for another candidate. But with so much of the GOP electorate seemingly devoted to Trump, the path to defeating him is exceptionally narrow. It requires a candidate to consolidate the preponderance of the rest of the Republican electorate, and the rest of the Republican electorate is not easy to unify.
That doesn’t count the MAGAts of course. Cohn describes them as populist, conservative, blue collar, convinced the nation is on the verge of catastrophe and exceptionally loyal to Señor Trumpanzee. They make up 37% of the Republican electorate and they “strongly” support Trump in the Republican primary and have a “very favorable” view of him. “The MAGA base doesn’t support Trump in spite of his flaws. It supports him because it doesn’t seem to believe he has flaws.”
Over 60% of Republicans are not MAGAts according to Cohn, though most of them are open to supporting him (37%) and just 25% have figured out what he is and would not support him— at least not in a primary. They tend to be the better educated and more affluent Republicans, more mainstream… the old-fashioned Republicans. Many of them won’t even vote for him in the general election!
So… can Republican billionaires stop Trump with oodles of cash to burn? Not unless they have a candidate— and they don’t. A Koch-affiliated SuperPAC got two $25 million donations— one from Koch Industries and one from the Chamber of Commerce— and raised another $28 million. And as unsatisfactory as Trump may be, no one is exactly head over heels at the alternatives, especially not DeSantis, who Trump has made toxic in the minds of his followers.