Thursday, March 3, 2016

A new frontier in nomination politics: anti-endorsements

Well, Trump is toast now!  There is nobody more beloved among Republican voters than Mitt Romney, and Mitt is now throwing his full weight behind the Stop Trump movement.  Too bad.  It's been a fun ride.

We track endorsements, and certain political scientists used to be convinced that they pretty much controlled the nomination process.  What we haven't seen before is a rousing string of anti-endorsements.  Romney and McCain are the highest profile examples, but Lindsey Graham has joined the chorus.  Paul Ryan isn't exactly cozying up to Donald, and Senate leaders are encouraging their ranks to dissociate from Trump.

How strong are anti-endorsements?  We don't know.  We haven't seen this before.  We currently have a poll and delegate leader, cruising towards the nomination, with a growing movement among the party elite to stop him.  The problem for the concept is this:  if the leaders don't want their followers to vote for Trump, then for whom?  Without a positive alternative, they may simply leave the party demoralized for the general election.

Trump has been anti-endorsed by Fox News, The Pope and nearly every congressional leader capable of mustering attention for a press conference.  Do we really expect the last two losing presidential nominees, neither of whom were beloved by the activist base, to change things?

Who could?  The reanimated corpse of Ronald Reagan, possibly, but Trump would just call him "low energy."  After all, he hasn't done anything but decompose for more than a decade.  Loser!  It's very sad!

Regardless, perhaps we should start tracking condemnations in addition to endorsements.  I doubt they will have much predictive power, though.

For those who haven't noticed this, The Onion has, as usual, captured things perfectly.

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