I generally find very little interesting about the hybrid of Big Data worship and undergraduate-level methods skills at Five Thirty Eight. This infographic produced in the wake of Ted Cruz's announcement – Good luck, asshat – has a lot going on in addition to the basic message that his candidacy is going absolutely nowhere.


Several things stand out.

1. Republicans who actually won the presidency in the past probably would not be able to win the nomination today. It says a lot about the massive changes in the GOP since the 1980s that George HW Bush and Richard Nixon are virtually communists by the current standards.

2. Holy shit was Barry Goldwater out there. He is probably too conservative to get elected today, which means that in 1964 he must have looked like Kaiser Wilhelm next to the other candidates of the day. That decade was a time of transition and change politically, but the leap from Eisenhower to Goldwater…wow.

3. Look at the staggeringly large gap between public statements and congressional voting record for both Pauls. Ron and Rand might – hold on to your seats – have a tendency to say one thing and do another. However, the conservatism of their congressional voting records is no doubt skewed by the fact that most votes in Congress are economic and regulatory in nature. These issues are the ones where the Pauls are on the far right. On some social and foreign policy issues they are, in line with their libertarian philosophy, not quite as conservative. Congress doesn't vote on those things nearly as often, though. Social issues are basically just campaign fodder and they're more likely to figure prominently in the Supreme Court docket than the agenda in Congress.

4. Chris Christie is going nowhere slowly.

5. Man there have been some dog crap Republican candidates over the past few years. Ah, John Kasich. We hardly knew ye.

34 thoughts on “RED TIDE”

  • A Different Nate says:

    So, Ted Cruz. The guy born in Canada to a father who was, in turn, born in Cuba and didn't naturalize until 2005, and an American mother. Any bets on how many Teabaggers demand to see his birth certificate or question his legitimacy for President?

  • So Eisenhower was so far to the left that he doesn't even make it onto the chart? (He should have been included for perspective.)

  • Wow! He who must not be googled's actual voting record.
    Talk about someone who says one thing, but then does another. Be interesting to parse that for economic v social issue votes.

    At least Goldwater's messaging and actions are equal ;)

  • I generally find very little interesting about the hybrid of Big Data worship and undergraduate-level methods skills at Five Thirty Eight.

    Agreed, from a mathematical point of view Nate Silver isn't doing anything particularly interesting. His real achievement is getting some degree of national attention for numeric data in any form.

    In the kingdom of the innumerate, the competent statistics undergraduate is king.

  • Freecookies says:

    There are some people that think Cruz is the 2nd coming of Reagan. Personally, I don't see it. He's cut from the same cloth as Obama, he's one of those smarmy kids in high school that wanted the class president position on his Ivy League application so he could get into an Ivy League school, so he could meet the right people, so he could leverage that into being considered for the presidency.

    In other words, he a checklist ticker. That's fine and it may very well get him selected for the job. And that kind of training is great for keeping something running already on an even keel. Won' get any surprises out of him, that's for sure.

    HOWEVER. If another 2008 crisis comes up on his watch, he's going to be just as clueless as Obummer in how to handle it. I've yet to see anyone who has faced a dangerous unexpected situation and at least lived through it, if not transcended it. Paper pushers and box tickers, the lot of them.

    But don't tell that to some of these people. They project onto these guys all sorts of nutty things. Guess the PR people they hire are good at their jobs…

  • c u n d gulag says:

    The scary thing is, we are one other additional horrendous terrorist attack on US soil, or another major economic Depre/Rece-ssion, away from some GOP Christian Fascist willing the Presidency, and both houses of Congress (again!).

    Conservatives across this nation get on their knees at least 3 times a day, kneel, and pray to Jerusalem, that this happens.
    And, they've been doing this since the results of the 2008 elections came in.

    They see terror – whether over a terrorist or economic catastrophe – and the resulting fear, hatred, and bigotry, as a means to victory.

    Modern Conservatism is ruled by total psychopaths, with a constituency of sociopathic rubes, too stupid, ignorant, and bigoted, to know that they're being used.

  • OliverWendelHolmslice says:

    Legitimate GOP predicament:
    Ted Cruz is as far to the right as they come
    Ted Cruz announced first and made it clear he intends to throw red meat to the base
    Does this now mean that evey other candidate that declares after him actually has to go even further the right to compete for the crazy vote? Or do they risk trying to bring some sanity back to the Republican primary process?

  • Boring and Steady won the race for Romney. He patiently waited for all of the less sane candidates to burn out and at the end the donor base and primary electorate realized there really was no other option.

  • Emerson Dameron says:

    One interesting thing you didn't mention: Jeb Bush isn't particularly conservative. That surprises me, honestly. I thought he was a hardcore drown-it-in-the-bathtub guy.

    I assumed, up until now, that he was the presumptive nominee, destined to shellack HRC in the general and be a huge part of our lives for eight years. I'd pretty much resigned myself to it.

    But he's going to have to make some significant concessions to the far-right, which is all about questioning Republicans' ideological purity. Cruz will be gone by Super Tuesday, of course, but if he lays into Jebbers on his wingnut bona fides, that could fuck up the narrative.

    Cruz has indicated that he'd be more than happy to settle for a VP spot or a place in Jeb's cabinet, so this might be too optimistic. But I'd love to see these guys do some damage to each other in the lead-up, because Hillary is unelectable and we are stuck with whomever emerges from this this clown-car primary.

    PLEASE let Graham run. The guy is gay. It's going to be a disaster.

  • One thing you overlook is that all politicians are shape shifters. George HW Bush would be whatever the voters wanted him to be. So if they wanted batshit right-wing crazy, they would have gotten it. I don't think you can say that past presidents wouldn't be electable today. They would have changed to meet the challenge.

    @RosiesDad — Ike was a total fraud. What you saw in public was not what he was doing out of sight. He was totally on board with overthrowing democratically elected governments and assassinating left-leaning foreign leaders. However, he demanded, and got, plausible deniability. Also, he helped create the military-industrial complex he later supposedly warned us about.

  • The slate of Republicans lining up to campaign for the 2016 nomination, even at this early date, looks like an insane clown posse without the makeup. There are plenty of criminals and empty celebrities already. We need more hookers and comedians, though it would be difficult to ratchet up the crazy much further. Whole thing is a circus.

  • @skipper – I think it's important to differentiate between domestic and foreign ideological policies. Ike was a commie hating Realist who took The Long Telegram to heart. Assassinations and toppling governments are all in a days work for containing communism. But at home I do think that you had a far more liberal presidency than anyone on this chart. I don't think that its because he was a fraud, but that there are different ideological frameworks for foreign and domestic policy.

  • Brutus: pity Orly Taitz wasn't born 'Murkun. Now that would send this krazee klown posse into a whole new dimension. ;)

  • Yep, Holmslice, that's exactly what Cruz' candidacy will result in–a move to the right for everyone. Yay! But it will be fun to listen to Cruz be an ass to everyone in the United States in his attempt to win the primary.

  • Bitter Scribe says:

    Oh, Goldwater was out there all right. People tend to forget that his big thing was opposition to civil rights. When he said "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice," he meant the "liberty" of Southern whites to prevent black people from voting, entering public establishments and, in some cases, living.

    This is why it makes me a little crazy when I see him lionized today as some sort of principled conservative. There's a tendency to see the racists of the past–and make no mistake, he and William F. Buckley Jr. were racists–through rose-colored glasses.

  • Pete Gaughan says:

    I think Scott Walker is still a good bet for the nomination. Yes, he has red meat in his resume for the teabaggers (if his policies were charted here like everyone else's voting record, they might put him out there with the Pauls); but you never catch him frothing at the mouth, so he can be sold to the general public and establishment as a Bush Jr -style smiley face.

  • I am still surprised no editorial cartoonist has caricatured Cruz as Eustace Haney.
    "Why are you always selling what I'm thinking of buying?"
    "The question is, why are you always buying whatever it is I'm selling?"

    Regarding Ike, when the British tried to sell Truman on overthrowing Mossadegh, he sent them packing. When they tried it with Ike, he sent them the CIA. Adlai Stevenson wouldn't have done it – but he also would have had Hiss as SoS, so it's complicated.

  • ^^ Bitter Scribe ^^ is right. "Conservative" is a synonym for "racist". Pure and simple. They are "conserving" White Christian Straight Male Privilege.

  • Skepticalist says:

    There's conservative and then there's nuts. The latter is all 21st century young people know. The GOP finally found its very own educated elite.

    Ike wasn't an entertainer and a terrible speaker but he wasn't from Neptune. Fox News would hate having to book him.

  • Chris Christie may be the least conservative of the Republican candidates but he makes up for it by being the biggest asshole.

  • "I don't see it. He's cut from the same cloth as Obama,"

    You're being serious? If so, you're fucking delusional.

    "Chris Christie may be the least conservative of the Republican candidates but he makes up for it by being the biggest asshole."

    "Least conservative" is still a notch to the right of Attilla these days.

  • You all know the truth, which is whatever cosmic monster is elected in the next presidential, we're all screwed, and that includes "all" of us: animals, plants, minerals, you know, the world we live in. Sure, we'll survive, gimp and limp along. What will bloggers and commenters 100 years from now talk about? Won't be this discussion whatever it is. Or maybe it's "the more things change, the more they stay the same" syndrome. Don't know, thus negating the first sentence.

  • "Ah, John Kasich. We hardly knew ye."

    I wish. Bastard is still hard at work fucking up my state with all-you-can-frack sweetheart deals with Big Oil and plenty of red-meat because-Jeebus anti-woman bullshit for the megachurch crowd.

  • I remember that in 1964 Mad Magazine had a two page spread showing the contents of Barry Goldwater's wallet. He had a quotation for the building of a wall around the country.

    Eric Alterman told the story at a book signing that LBJ was asked why he can't just leave Vietnam. He says that he dropped his pants and said "This is why I can't." LBJ had a short time in the navy during WWII (he was an observer on a plane in the pacific when it was attacked and he showed "marked presence of mind" and won the silver star then went back to Congress.) Goldwater ferried planes during the war. So neither really had military experience.

    But I wonder if Goldwater would really have escalated in Vietnam. As a Republican he had the chops to stand up to military advice. Just like Nixon, the proven anti-communist, could go to China but LBJ couldn't.

    I remember him better when he went back to the Senate. During the Nixon impeachment crisis I remember how pissed off he was at Nixon't lying. He also supported gay rights and hated the evangelicals. He also intensely disliked John McCain (See John Dean and Barry Jr's book).

    They used to say "In your gut you know he's nuts" but I'd rather have him than the current crop of republican members of congress.

    What's happening in Washington is not normal. And there is a major effort to convince people that it is. There is also a major effort to teach the kids the "conservative" view of history. I'm afraid that we will have a generation whose "common sense" will be formed by this.

    Look what was done to General Grant's reputation. When he died he was so popular that they built an enormous tomb in NYC. But there was no countervailing force fighting the deification of Robert E. Lee. So Lee is the noble one and Grant is the corrupt drunk.

    Texas has enormous influence on schoolbooks because they buy books for the entire large state. They make the publishers change to match what they want to teach. And I think the publishers are also making changes on their own so they aren't attacked. Look what happened to the news media.

  • I was a kid at the time and I lived in Cambridge, Mass., so take that into account, but this: "which means that in 1964 [Goldwater] must have looked like Kaiser Wilhelm"?


  • "He also supported gay rights and hated the evangelicals. He also intensely disliked John McCain (See John Dean and Barry Jr's book)."

    In other words, when he retired from the pursuit of power, he could be a decent person. This describes a great many evil people.

  • I too am old enough to remember the '64 campaign. Not only did Goldwater massively lose both the popular vote and the electoral college, he dragged down with him a large number of GOP Representatives and Senators. Goldwater is why we have Medicare, the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act, plus enough anti-poverty programs to cut the poverty rate in half. Thanks Barry!

  • As someone old enough(just) to remember Goldwater's campaign, he was indeed out there ("I will defoliate the jungles of Vietnam with nuclear weapons" comes to mind), but at the same time, he wasn't as much of a Dick as a lot of these guys.

    He had a warm friendship with Jack Kennedy, and was an honest-to-God libertarian, meaning I'm pretty sure he would have supported gay marriage and legalizing pot.

    He was actually John the Baptist to the GOP Messiah; Reagan, then governing California and tear gassing students.

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