What Does It All Mean?

Sanders’ upset in Michigan reminds me of the old story (which you can find Russ Roberts re-tell fully here) about the dog food company that went to all kinds of trouble to advertise a new dog food, yet somehow the marketing effort failed utterly. After reviewing all the messages and ad gimmicks, someone finally said, “Maybe the dogs don’t like it.”

Once again the Democratic establishment has cleared the field for Hillary except for an eccentric old coot from Vermont, and bestowed her with a massive campaign that generates countless sure-fire ideas for maximizing local votes, and she still can’t put it away. Maybe voters just don’t like her or her (non) message. This dog food just won’t sell. I’m wondering if Obama won’t quietly ask the Justice Department to indict her after all so they can get rid of her and nominate Elizabeth Warren or Slow Joe instead.

Cruz is said to be enjoying an “upset” over Trump in Idaho, but I’m not sure how large an upset it really is, given Idaho’s demographics. Still, what accounts for Cruz’s strong showings in so many places? I know he is said to have an excellently organized and run “ground game,” but there has to be more to it than that. I have a hypothesis that his strong debate performances have worked for him, and I’d like to hope there are some quantitative political scientists carefully studying poll data and focus group results to see whether there’s something to this.

With hypothetical polls showing that Trump would lose a one-on-one matchup with Cruz, I’m also thinking a one-on-one debate format would go very poorly for Trump against Cruz. Trump’s Don Rickles act really only plays when he can pivot against several rivals at once. One-on-one with that act and he’ll come across even more boorish than he already does, while Cruz runs circles around him on actual policy issues.

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