Tidbit from a poll today
Nothing of politics has been noted here lately because there really is nothing profound to say. Hillary Clinton is not FDR or RFK. So there is the quadrennial temptation to say, Enough of this! Unless the Democrats reclaim their role as the party of economic justice and international peace, we should just let them hang! But no sooner does that thought form, then the Republicans trot out their nominee. That person is inevitably worse, and sometimes disastrously so. It is difficult to see how they could ever top their choice of this year. But ever since the election of George W. Bush in 2000, it’s been clear that the Republicans are vastly more talented at politics than at statecraft. And since then they have made so obvious the tools needed to fool all of the people some of the time that even an incurious, self-absorbed, personality-stunted celebrity could see how to manipulate a ratings-driven TV media and the anarchy of the internet to cobble together a winning coalition of low information, entitled, self-pitying followers sufficient to topple the powers-that-be in the party of anti-intellectual, white entitlement. And with the mantle of the party of complaint, self-pity and obstruction, the Republican nominee seems to command around the same number of votes nationally as the Democratic nominee, even though he is manifestly unstable, has dangerously low levels of impulse control and possesses neither basic knowledge of affairs or even a good instinct on matters of national concern. The Democrats have greatly suffered from their recent history of compromising on the power of labor, temporizing with the financial industry, substituting a politics of group identity for real civil rights enforcement, ignoring economic justice and emphasizing power rather than human rights in international affairs. And so by nominating a candidate who embodies so many of those mistakes the election is where it now is: The Democrats have nominated a candidate so unpopular that she probably could not defeat any serious Republican except their current nominee. And the Republicans have nominated a candidate so manifestly unfit that he probably could not defeat any serious Democrat except their current nominee.
None of that has really changed for a long time and none of it is likely to change. So why continue to rehash it?
I bring all of this up, however, only because yesterday’s Public Policy Polling presidential poll contained some interesting measures of public opinion. Not the presidential results, but rather some beliefs of likely Republican voters. One rarely expects to find much good policy views among this group but it is not often that one sees such surprising lack of sense. (Yes, yes, I know, they believe climatologists and evolutionists are parts of two giant cabals intending to damn their economy and their souls, respectively, purely as a hoax.) Consider the questions with respect to Russia. Bear in mind that this party’s last nominee, Mitt Romney, said that Russia was America’s single most important geopolitical foe. Their 2008 nominee, John McCain, made the Russian incursion into Georgia seem like the Anschluss. But in this current poll Republicans by a margin of 66-22 “say Clinton is a bigger threat to the United States than Russia.” One really has to marvel at the ability of a demagogue, skilled in media manipulation and supported by the talking points of a cynical political party, to demonize a particular person on whom they spill all their venom. On November 11, 2010, while she was the official taxed with America’s relations with the world, including Russia, she had a 61.7-32.9 approval rating. (Check here for her ratings over time.) I guess this current Republican delusion explains why Donald Trump can play footsie with Vladimir Putin and other despots and not suffer the fate that any other politician in the history of the United States would have.
That result might not seem as stunning to those who did not live in Cold War America where us-against them was taught as the only patriotic way of thinking. Or maybe Republicans have finally become inured to the fact that their party has been hijacked by autocratic Russophiles and those with intimate financial ties to the Russian oligarchy. But surely in the 21st century this must come as a shock:
33% [of Republicans] think Clinton even has ties to Lucifer,
to 36% who say they don’t think so,
and 31% who are unsure either way.
In other words, 64% of Republicans either believe or entertain as a serious possibility not only that Lucifer exists but that Hillary Clinton has unholy conversation with him.
No wonder Trump spent next to nothing on his primary campaign and doesn’t believe in get-out-the-vote. Evidently, his party can be had with two bit conjurations and a couple of voodoo dolls.