News that the loathsome Ted Cruz has rocketed to the lead in the Field Poll ahead of the noxious Donald Trump among California Republicans is mildly interesting, but not nearly as important as the findings regarding women and Latino voters of all stripes.
True, Cruz has shot up to 25% from 6% in October, passing Trump at 23%, up from 17% in October. That suggests that if he holds on throughout the primary season, Cruz could try to capture a huge cache of GOP delegates from California late in the game. Of course, Trump’s campaign hasn’t befouled the Golden State yet, so who knows where things will stand by June 7.
Of course, neither Cruz nor Trump nor likely any Republican stands a chance of actually winning California in the general election. That will be Hillary Clinton. (Clinton enjoys a 55%-39% favorable rating among California women voters and a 63%-29% favorable among Latinos.) But who knows – maybe California Republicans could play a role in picking their nominee if the rest of this crowd keeps beating the others’ alleged brains in.
No Love for Donald: What is more important is this: the natavistic, misogynistic, narcissistic Trump is reviled by two of the most critical voting blocs in California (and U.S.) politics – women and Latinos.
Trump, about whom 95% of likely voters have an opinion, is viewed unfavorably by 85% of Latinos and favorably by a measly 10%. Not too surprising for a candidate who opened his campaign with a racist attack on Mexican immigrants and whose calling card is the big fat fence he’d like Mexico to build to keep out immigrants from the south.
Moreover, his unfavorable rating among women voters is 76%, compared to just 20% favorable. Of course he has insulted women from Megyn Kelly to Hillary Clinton in the most juvenile, vulgar and tasteless terms and offered exactly nothing by way of support for women’s issues.
In California – as Calbuzz has noted ad nauseum – candidates who oppose a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and women’s right to choose abortion have no chance of statewide electoral success. And to the extent that California portends America’s sympathies, this bodes poorly for Trump’s chances nationwide.
Cruz a Non-Starter: And then there’s Cruz, the Grandpa Munster doppelganger and Joe McCarthy disciple, who is slightly less reviled in California because he is less well known – by 80% — with 51% unfavorable and 29% favorable.
Among Latinos, Cruz is viewed unfavorably by 51% of voters and favorably by just 19%. And among women, the Texas
rattlesnake senator has a 48% unfavorable rating and a 28% favorable standing. These numbers can only grow worse for Cruz if his extremist right-wing views on immigration and abortion rights become better known to California voters.
None of this may matter much because California’s presidential primaries come so late in the nominating process. What’s more instructive is how these numbers reflect on the leading candidates’ appeal to two key constituencies in the popular vote.
Bottom line: Of course, Trump’s reaction to all these, you know, facts, would no doubt be meh. The fact that he doesn’t play by the rules is old news, but the implications of that — and how other Republicans softened up the political landscape enough for him to get away with it — is the subject of a must-read piece by Mark Schmitt, director of New America’s political reform program:
But in recent years, Republican politicians especially have not only defied the rules, they have also protected themselves from the consequences. Restrictions on voting, along with aggressive redistricting, reduce the influence of the median voter. Campaign war chests (including “super PACs”) scare off opponents, from within their own party as well as the other. By crippling civil-society institutions such as unions and community groups, which organize middle- and lower-income voters, they sometimes avoid being held accountable. They can use ideological media to reach mostly like-minded voters.
And by recasting politics as a winner-take-all conflict between wholly incompatible ideologies and identities — as most of the presidential candidates have done — they help to closely align party and ideology, so that those who identify as Republican will always vote Republican and vice versa. When politicians know more or less who will vote and how, they can ignore most voters — including their own loyalists.
And thank you for that.