Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Will the Pliable Pence Amend His Resistance to Entitlement?

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Will the Pliable Pence Amend His Resistance to Entitlement?

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Crucial political decisions often concern which bridges to cross and which to burn. Donald Trump's dilemma is that he burns some bridges by the way he crosses others. His campaign depends on a low-probability event, and on his ability to cause this event without provoking a more-than-equal and opposite reaction.

Extrapolating from recent elections, the turnout of non-college educated whites this November would be expected to be 3 percent smaller as a portion of the total turnout than in 2012, and college educated whites a 1 percent larger portion. The core of Trump's support consists of non-college educated whites, a cohort whose 2012 turnout was 60.4 percent. There is a low probability that Trump can motivate recent non-voters in this cohort to increase the turnout to 67 percent. There is, however, a high probability that the way he stimulates such people -- still more insult oratory and fact-free "policy" expostulations -- will cause other groups to recoil.

For the first time since at least 1952, Democrats probably will win a majority of voters with college degrees. Consider, particularly, women with post-bachelor degrees. This fast-growing group is already approximately 65 percent Democratic. Can Trump ignite a spike in the non-college white vote without causing a more- than-commensurate increase in the Democratic propensity of the college-educated?

Speaking of low-probability events, Trump's literary interests were hidden until his vice presidential search took him to Charles Dickens' "David Copperfield," where he found Mike Pence, whose sometimes unctuous affect resembles Uriah Heep's: So very 'umble. The adjective "oleaginous" might have been invented to describe Pence's performance with Trump on "60 Minutes":

Being chosen by Trump is "very, very humbling." Trump is "one of the best negotiators in the world" and will provide "broad- shouldered American strength. …

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