Photo of the day

From an In Focus gallery on the 5th anniversary of the Japanese earthquake/tsunami.

A tsunami reaches Miyako City, overtopping seawalls and flooding streets in Iwate Prefecture, Japan, after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck the area March 11, 2011.

Mainichi Shimbun / Reuters
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The divided Republican Party and the general election

A friend and smart political scientist, Audrey Haynes, along with some other smart political scientists who have been studying primaries for decades, have a new article out that looks at how having a divided party– as measured by results in primaries– impacts the general election vote.  Their analysis suggests real trouble ahead for the Republican Party.  Even if Trump were not a weak general election candidate (he is), the very fact of the deep divisions in the Republican party is not, not good for them:

Divided political parties rarely win presidential elections, according to a study by political science researchers at the University of Georgia and their co-authors. If the same holds true this year, the Republican Party could be in trouble this presidential general election. [emphases mine]

The study, which examined national party division in past presidential elections, found that both national party division and divisive state primaries have significant influence on general election outcomes.

In this election cycle, the nominee of a divided Republican Party could lose more than 3 percent of the general election vote, compared to what he would have gained if the party were more united…

National party division has an even greater and more widespread impact on the national results, often leading to decreases of more than 3 percent nationwide.

Looking again at the current presidential election cycle, Trump had received 39.5 percent of the total national Republican primary vote as of March 16, while Clinton had received 58.6 percent of the Democratic vote. If these proportions hold for the remainder of the nomination campaign (and if these two candidates win the nominations), then Trump would lose 4.5 percent of the vote in the general election, compared to what he would have received if the national Republican Party was not divided.

Does this mean Trump (or any other Republican) definitely loses a general?  Of course not.  Is it yet more evidence that Hillary Clinton goes in with a truly substantial advantage?  Absolutely.

Quick hits

1) Jamelle Bouie’s take on race and Trump’s appeal.

2) This new book on the history of Eugenics in America seems fascinating.  Loved the Fresh Air interview.  Especially the part about how America was complicit in the Holocaust.

3) Surprise, surprise, NC’s Voter ID law made it tougher for college students to vote.

4) Chait on why Trump is driving conservatives crazy.

5) Krugman on the GOP and the working class:

Stripped down to its essence, the G.O.P. elite view is that working-class America faces a crisis, not of opportunity, but of values. That is, for some mysterious reason many of our citizens have, as Mr. Ryan puts it, lost “their will and their incentive to make the most of their lives.” And this crisis of values, they suggest, has been aided and abetted by social programs that make life too easy on slackers…

Meanwhile, the argument that the social safety net causes social decay by coddling slackers runs up against the hard truth that every other advanced country has a more generous social safety net than we do, yet the rise in mortality among middle-aged whites in America is unique: Everywhere else, it is continuing its historic decline.

But the Republican elite can’t handle the truth. It’s too committed to an Ayn Rand story line about heroic job creators versus moochers to admit either that trickle-down economics can fail to deliver good jobs, or that sometimes government aid is a crucial lifeline. So it ends up lashing out at its own voters when they refuse to buy into that story line.

6) Enjoyed this piece on how parenting has changed in 10 years as my kids are 11 years apart.  I’m always a little amused at how I’m the old parent now when I take Sarah to pre-school.  Meanwhile, when I coach David’s soccer team I’m one of the younger parents.

7) This Vox piece on how Peabody Energy has abused their workers and the American taxpayer is such a sad, depressing story of American business and politics.

8) Texas Governor claims “voter fraud is rampant.”  Right and Donald Trump has run the most honest campaign ever.

9) Dahlia Lithwick on the “disgraceful” Republican response to Merrick Garland.

Crucially, nobody who has been listening to Obama talk about his ideal jurist for the past eight years will be surprised to learn that caution, judicial restraint, and the ability to compromise are among Garland’s most prominent personal qualities. Those of us who are for less caution and more sharp elbows may have chosen, time and time again, to believe that Obama has been lying all these years about his distaste for liberal Scalias. But he wasn’t! And as someone who recently begged for a Justice Elizabeth Warren, I concede that Garland is precisely the kind of judge Obama most values—a “reasonable” one. That an organization like Fox News would criticize the president’s “reasonable” choice as a pretextual effort to look “reasonable” forpolitical gain is about the best distillation of everything that is deranged about our current politics. Obama breaks liberal hearts by being moderate, then is accused of faux-moderation by the right.

10) Loved this Seth Masket post on the responsibilities of political scientists in this current political “crisis.”

11) Hey Bernie supporters… Hillary Clinton is really liberal.

12) And a very strong endorsement for her approach from Political Scientists Pierson and Hacker.

13) Slate’s Jim Newell on the strategery behind the Garland nomination.

14) Some random blogger I’ve never heard of, but his analysis of why Trump will not win the general election (personally, I’d go with “is quite unlikely to win”) is pretty spot-on.

15) The sexism behind claims of Hillary’s “shouting.”

16) Drum on the silly Putin worship from the right.

This is such a tired cliche: Putin the 19th-century strongman, a modern-day Clausewitz who upends the world by simply taking charge and doing whatever he wants. Meanwhile, Obama mewls helplessly on the sidelines, issuing empty condemnations from the State Department but unable to stop the he-man who’s bullying him.

Sigh. Can you imagine the conservative reaction if Obama announced a bombing campaign with limited objectives, and then withdrew after six months? It would be merciless. He’s abandoning our ally! He was never serious in the first place! Our enemies are laughing at us! We need to crush our enemies, not annoy them with pinpricks!

But when Putin does this, he’s the reincarnation of a new world order, not a guy with a smallish military and a grand total of one (1) military base outside his own territory. Putin, like Donald Trump, is a helluva marketing genius, but that’s largely thanks to all the American conservatives who are in such thrall to him.

17) The pundits who accurately foresaw the rise of Trump.

18) I’m so not a fan of UConn, but I really do feel bad for what has happened to them in the world of college sports.  A really interesting story that touches on so much of that has happened with NCAA athletics.

19) After reading Drum’s article on assisted suicide a few weeks ago, I wondered why we don’t use inert gases for executions?  Now, I don’t like the death penalty, but if we’re going to have it, this seems like the way to go.

20) Hillary learned important lessons from her losing 2008 primary campaign.

We saw that in the 2008 Democratic primary—not with Clinton but with Barack Obama, who lost large states like Florida, California, and Texas, and either tied or lost the national popular vote (depending on how you count the Michigan primary). But the Obama campaign was less interested in winning states than in maximizing delegates in every contest. Where he had an advantage, Team Obama worked for landslides; where he was losing, Team Obama tried to fight to a draw or modest defeat. The result, after two months of voting, was a structural advantage. Unless Clinton won the lion’s share of delegates going forward (or his campaign imploded under some hypothetical crisis), Obama couldn’t lose.

Which brings us back to 2016. Bernie Sanders has a strong campaign. He’s dominated contests like New Hampshire and kept margins close in states like Massachusetts and Nevada. But Hillary Clinton, having learned lessons from her last campaign, is running a race for delegates. And like Obama before her, she’s run up the score in favorable states and held tight in contested ones.

21) Post coming soon on Trump and the gender gap.  Expect lots of ads like this.

22) The Democratic Party’s crazy 1924 convention may be some useful history for Republicans in 2016.

23) How the NY Times has successfully re-invented itself in on-line publishing.

24) Loved this great NY Times Magazine post-mortem on Rubio’s campaign.

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