Right Numbers, Wrong Conclusion


Philip Bump, Another warning for Republicans: Trump can’t win you your election

Yesterday, I wrote about how Trump when to Louisiana begging voters to make the election for governor a referendum on his impeachment. He wanted them to “send a message”—and said so very plainly. His efforts juiced voting among his cultists in rural areas, but they ginned up even more anti-Trump voters among African-Americans and among folks in the suburbs of New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

In the remote event you pine for a lot of detailed data supporting that thesis, then Mr. Bump’s article is the article for you.

A Little More Context

I’ll add a bit more data. In 2016, 1,178,638 Louisiana voters exercised the franchise for Donald Trump, while 780,194 chose Crooked Hillary. Deceitful Donald won 58.1 percent, Crooked Hillary received 38.4 percent, and a hodgepodge of weird third-party candidates garnered a collective 3.6 percent of Louisiana voters.

On Saturday, the notorious socialist, Governor Edwards, got the nod from 774,469 voters—pretty much the same number who liked Crooked Hillary in 2016. Republican candidate Eddie “Me Hug Trump” Rispone got 734,128.

Let us take a swig of coffee and reflect on those numbers. Almost half a million Louisiana voters—444,510, to be precise—voted for Trump in 2016 but chose not to vote for the candidate Trump endorsed in 2019, all while he was begging and pleading with them to send Washington a message on impeachment. Putting it another way, 62 percent of Trump’s Louisiana voters still believe his bullshit and are still willing to do what he tells them to do. The other 38 percent of his voters? They’re either immune to his gaslighting, or maybe they want to send a different message: go ahead and impeach the sonofabitch.

Right Numbers, Wrong Conclusion

Bump writes,

To be fair, Trump has never been terribly effective at delivering general-election victories. In 2018, his endorsed candidates went about 50-50, though he’d been effective at winning primaries for Republicans.

But right now Trump needs Republicans to feel more confident in his ability to win elections than he did then. When Bevin lost, we noted the difficulty of the timing for Trump. With impeachment looming in the House, he needs Republicans to feel as though they can’t buck him without paying a political result. Expending a lot of political capital on winning gubernatorial races in red states only to see the Republicans lose doesn’t send that message. Quite the opposite.

The underlined passage is wrong. If a Louisiana senator voted to remove Trump from office, the data discussed here imply he would lose at least 62 percent of his base. “Voting to buck him” would indeed likely be politically disastrous.

On the other hand, a vote to acquit might cost up to a third of his base.