As Sigmund Freud said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes the numbers are just the numbers. And in the case of the Republican party’s numbers, the outlook for wresting the White House from Democrats in 2016 is looking like a cigar that has already blown up in their face.
The problem for Republicans is a Grand Canyon sized gender gap combined with a demographic shift and messaging problem that has only gotten worse since their abysmal showing in 2012.
A slate of recent polls – some done by Republicans themselves – show that their message to women and minorities has been a Freudian slip of disastrous proportions. And in the face of a growing gender chasm, the last thing you want to do is run against a highly popular and highly qualified female candidate who is poised to win her party's nomination by acclamation.
If you had any doubt that Hillary Clinton is a cinch to be the next president (should she run), puff on these numbers.
A recent internal GOP poll conducted by Karl Rove’s American Crossroads SuperPac identified the clicking time-bomb of the gender gap. "The Democrats hold a 40-point advantage over the Republicans among women voters on who "looks out for the interests of women," and a 39 percent edge when it comes to who "is tolerant of other people's lifestyles." Female voters who say job creation is their top issue favor Democrats by a 35-point margin."
Those numbers are consistent with a CNN poll from six months ago, which found that 55% of Americans think the GOP doesn't understand women. That number rises to 59% among all women and 64% among women over 50, the latter group being a generally loyal Republican demographic.
A recent Gallup poll reports that the number of Americans identifying as Republicans has plummeted to 25% – its lowest level in the quarter century it has been tracking the number.
A Federal Election Commission report shows that when combining the total number of votes cast in 2012 for president, House and Senate, Americans voted for the Democrats 176,167,000 times and for the GOP 158,605,000 times. That means Americans cast over 17 million more votes for Democrats than for Republican.
And a recent Washington Post/ABC poll breaks down the problem in gory details:
- Among women, the favorable/unfavorable numbers for the GOP are 33-62. For the Democratic Party they are flipped around, at 54-40.
- Among nonwhites, those numbers for the GOP are 25-70. For the Democratic Party they are flipped around at 68-26.
- Among Latinos, those numbers for the GOP are 29-65. For the Democratic Party they are flipped around at 61-33.
- Among adults aged 18-29, those numbers for the GOP are 31-61. For the Democratic Party they are flipped around at 51-35.
- Among moderates, those numbers for the GOP are 32-66. For the Democratic Party they are flipped around at 52-45.
Plus Clinton’s recent hawkish comments on foreign affairs fit well with the current national concerns over ISIS and Israel. So on both domestic and foreign policy, and in the mood of the electorate, two years out Clinton is uniquely positioned to win the White House in a way that no candidate has been since Dwight Eisenhower in 1952, and maybe even since FDR in 1932.
Of course, lots of things could happen between now and November 2016. But among the wide universe of things that could happen, the GOP coming up with a dynamic candidate isn’t one of them. And women or minorities suddenly embracing the GOP’s message isn’t another.
Sometimes the obvious is so obvious that people who don't want to believe it make ridiculous assertions to try to disprove it, like Rand Paul's assertion that Clinton's hawkish policies led to the rise of ISIS. Or Rove's assertion that she has brain damage. Or Rush Limbaugh's assertions that Clinton has had a "major break" with the black community and that she "sympathizes" with the kidnappers of Nigerian schoolgirls. Hysterical claims like these prove that Clinton's inevitability is driving conservatives to a level of insanity worthy of Sigmund Freud himself.
But sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a two-year presidential campaign is just a formality.