Chuck Baldwin has some interesting comments on the recent Indiana primary:
As with many people, Hoosiers like people of faith and principle, but they don’t like people who parade it on their sleeve. Frankly, many Christians (including me) were fed up with Glenn Beck and Ted’s preacher-father.
All of Cruz, Sr. and Beck’s pontificating about Ted being the “anointed” presidential candidate who was going to usher in the Second Coming and how Christians were betraying God if they didn’t vote for Ted became too much. Add the insurrection against Phyllis Schlafly at Eagle Forum by Cruz supporters and Hoosiers had had enough. . . .
Yes, Trump had Bobby Knight. And, yes, Trump had the momentum of appearing to be 2016’s version of all of the anti-establishment predecessors in one very flamboyant package. Still, this was Indiana. The State was Ted’s to lose–NOT Donald’s to win. And Ted lost.
Not sure I agree with everything he says in the post, even about the makeup of Indiana voters, but the sentiments should be enough to get us thinking about how potential American voters—conservatives, party-first Republicans, “blue-dog” Democrats, independents, and moderates of all stripes—will likely view Trump in the general election. This impetus coincides with a few numbers that piqued my interest last Wednesday morning.
Baldwin says that Indiana should have been Ted’s to lose. He’s not only right, the numbers are absolutely staggering. Consider these numbers: accord to the New York Times’s count, Ted Cruz drew 404,327 votes in this Indiana primary. What you may not realize it that that’s almost more than Romney drew (410,635) as the hand’s-down winner in 2012. It’s 84,000 (or 26%) more than McCain won Indiana with in 2008. In fact, Cruz had more votes in Indiana than any previous winner of that primary except for the almost statistically-irrelevant difference with Romney.
Now, this kind of gives Cruz his due, whatever that may be. In any normal Republican primary, these numbers would clearly have made him the frontrunner and winner in Indiana—in all other cases, by a landslide. But there’s the point. This is not a normal primary. These tremendous numbers in favor of Cruz in reality only serve as a back-drop for the even more impressive public appeal of Donald Trump.
Why? Because on top of the normally-sweeping performance of Ted Cruz’s impressive 404k votes, Donald Trump drew a whopping 587,706.
I hope the enormity of that strikes you.
First, this 588k number by itself is more than all Indiana GOP primary votes total in any given previous contest (I looked back all the way to 1980). (This is true with the exception of only 2012, but if you take out the unique draw of Ron Paul to that total, it is true there also). In other words, Donald Trump won more votes in this contest than all the candidates combined, including their winners, in any given previous contest.
Second, know that Trump did this while only spending less than one-sixth of what Cruz and Cruz-supporting PACs did in Indiana.
Third, remember that Trump did this on top of the 404k votes Ted Cruz drew. Take Trump out of this contest, and the total vote numbers for the Indiana primary are roughly equivalent to that of every previous Republican primary in that state. Take Trump out, and this primary looks like a normal Indiana GOP primary. But this means that Trump has brought over half a million new voters into the GOP in Indiana. Trump single-handedly more-than-doubled voter turnout for Republicans in the Indiana GOP primary. Numbers like this, for Republicans, have never been seen before, ever, in Indiana. It’s not even close.
Where did these new voters come from and who/what are they? We know that all the hard-core Democrats and liberals went for Hillary or Sanders (they had relatively high voter turnout, too). So these new GOP voters were very likely not plain liberals. Then who are they? I think they are probably independents, moderates, some latent old-school (close the borders-type) conservatives Republicans, and so-called blue-dog Democrats (who, remember, voted for Reagan).
Like Baldwin, I also am an Indiana native, but I am from the southern part of the State. The people I know there are conservatives, but many are life-long, old-school Democrats (often merely ‘cause daddy was). They are religious (including many Roman Catholics), pro-gun, generally pro-life, pro-strong military, anti-crime, “our schools are different,” anti-drugs, anti-Muslim, anti-immigration, and want the borders closed and their jobs protected. In short, they are typically, generally¸ Republicans, except they identify as Democrat, certainly at the local level. (This is the same type of person we were introduced to in Kim Davis: a strong-standing conservative that everyone was shocked to find out was a registered Democrat.) They will vote for Democrat sheriffs, prosecutors, judges, and state reps, but may go either way in any given general presidential election.
And, with the message of beating-up foreign nations in trade, securing “our jobs,” and closing the border, Trump just won them all. He seems to have just proved this in the primary, and this speaks toward something similar happening nationwide in the general.
And when sanctimonious pundits get their plumage ruffled because Trump is “vulgar,” these millions of voters will laugh at them and tell them to go change their diapers, if they’re not already ignoring them completely, as they usually do. The truth is, the only reason they every tuned-in to FOX News was to hear the crassness, vulgarity, and in-your-face tough-guy act of Bill O’Reilly. For some reason, principled Christian conservatives, eager to hear from FOX if we’ve nuked Baghdad yet, watched the same guys with fist-pumps and clinched jaws until someone condemned Trump for speaking the same way.
Indiana is made up of farmers, factory workers, and small businesses that support both. Blue collar, all. I’ve heard these heartland America, salt-of-the-earth, family-values characters for good portions of my life tell dirty jokes, make openly racist comments, and complain about foreigners and foreign products. Do you think Trump’s crassness and vulgarity is going to turn them off? On the contrary, it resonates and inspires them to run to the voting booth.
So I hear what Chuck is saying. These people don’t wear their religion on their sleeve. What they may preach and speak in tongues to on Sunday is for Sunday. Monday on the factory floor is a whole ‘nother story. And so is Tuesday in the voting booth. Even if a Cruz can draw winning numbers with Republicans as an “anointed one,” a Trump can shatter records with them and the masses by standing for the things so many of these people truly care about.
I am not a political pundit and certainly not some expert election analyst (or else I’d be making a lot more money!). Although, all of this should be taken as only that—an attempted analysis and certainly not any endorsement. I could be short-sighted and wrong about all of this. But Baldwin’s experienced comments do confirm my own experiences, and I suspect they do represent a lot greater swath of America than just Indiana. And when I see the mind-boggling numbers from the primary, I can only think it has to speak of something different than normal. If that difference is other than what I have stated here, I would like to hear it.