Michael Gerson: The reality conservatives must face

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  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 20, 2014 12:59 p.m.

    Checked it again and Clinton only bot 43% of the popular vote.

    Google "Did Clinton lose the popular vote but win the electoral vote" and read up on it.


    I guess you have to define what you mean by "Majority" of the popular vote... or we may be talking apples-and-oranges.

    A "Majority" means... over 50%.
    A "Plurality" means... you got more votes than another person.
    But there are other usages of "majority".

    Many Presidents didn't get a "Majority"

    1844 -James K. Polk (D) 49.3%
    1848 -Zachary Taylor (Whig) 47.3%
    1856 -James Buchanan (D) 45.3%
    1860 -Abraham Lincoln (R) 39.9%
    1876 -Rutherford B. Hayes (R) 47.9%
    1880 -James A. Garfield (R) 48.3%
    1884 -Grover Cleveland (D) 48.8%
    1892 -Grover Cleveland (D) 46.0%
    1912 -Woodrow Wilson (D) 41.8%
    1916 -Woodrow Wilson (D) 49.3%
    1948 -Harry S. Truman (D) 49.5%
    1960 -John F. Kennedy (D) 49.7%
    1968 -Richard M. Nixon (R) 43.4%
    1992 -William J. Clinton (D) 43.0%
    1996 -William J. Clinton (D) 49.0%

    Plus the 4 who won electoral college but not the popular vote (which doesn't matter)

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    June 20, 2014 12:16 p.m.

    @ 2 bits, you state that Clinton received 47% of the vote and Bush and Perot collectively received 56% of the vote. That is AMAZING! Let me do the math. 47 + 56 = 103. Now how did that work? Maybe it was the same Republicans then as those who counted Florida in 2000. And some think Putin can manipulate the vote. The GOP has Putin beat!

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    June 20, 2014 12:11 p.m.

    I disagree with Gerson often, but here he is correct, a rational voice directed to an irrational Republican Party. Wait until the DesNews prints Gerson's piece that the Washington Post entitled "Stop the Iraqi blame game." But then, maybe we won't see it on these pages because it deviates from the Roger Ailes messaging.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    June 20, 2014 10:53 a.m.

    @SG in SLC
    You nailed it and certain conservative contributors have trouble with the math. The scenario is not pretty for the GOP or the Tea Party. Either they adapt and compromise or they'll permanently become the party of dissent.

  • Mark B Eureka, CA
    June 20, 2014 10:27 a.m.

    GWH Bush and Perot got 56% of the popular vote in '92? Impressive. How'd Bush's second term come out?

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 20, 2014 9:32 a.m.

    Let's take a break from politics. It's summer. And I'm going to stop in great falls tomorrow and get a bunch of fireworks. We can worry about all this stuff in a couple years.

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    June 20, 2014 9:23 a.m.

    The truth,

    Popular voting results are obviously a pretty good indicator of overall voter sentiment, but Electoral College results are, too, so if you want to talk electoral math instead, we can do that.

    There are 538 electoral votes, and 270 are required to win.

    Traditionally "red" states – carried by the Republicans in the last four presidential elections (TX, GA, AZ, TN, MO, AL, SC, LA, KY, OK, UT, KS, AR, MS, NE, WV, ID, AK, MT, WY, ND, & SD) – total 180 electoral votes.

    Traditionally "blue" states – carried by the Democrats in the last four presidential elections (CA, NY, IL, PA, MI, NJ, WA, MA, MN, WI, MD, OR, CT, HI, RI, ME, DC, DE, & VT) – total 242 electoral votes.

    The remaining "swing" states (FL, OH, NC, VA, IN, CO, NV, IA, NM, & NH) total 116 electoral votes. Assuming the red and blue states follow the trend (not certain, but probable), if Florida (huge Hispanic population; immigration issues paramount) swings Democrat, that’s the ballgame. If Ohio and Indiana (Rust Belt states; labor issues paramount) swing Democrat, that’s the ballgame In short, if any 28 swing state electoral votes go Democrat, that’s the ballgame.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    June 19, 2014 6:33 p.m.

    Our system of government is NOT based on popular vote.

    We are NOT a democracy.

    We are a representative republic, no matter how much the left wants to change that (and change it for the worse I might add)

    These popular vote arguments are silly and childish. Not unexpected from the mentality of the left.

    We are better than that.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    June 19, 2014 5:51 p.m.

    2 bits -

    Yes Bush won the election. He did not win the majority of the popular vote though. Gore did.

    But GW did win the election. Thanks to the Conservative-infested US Supreme Court.

    . . . And GW confidently went on to take Clinton's successes and DESTROY them all.

    Such is the nature of Republican leadership.

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2014 5:45 p.m.

    2 bits,

    You're playing semantics games.

    I'm pretty sure FT meant that Bill Clinton won a *plurality* of the popular votes in 1992 -- he received the most votes of any presidential candidate in that election. George W. Bush in the 2000 election, not so much. The Supreme Court ruled that Florida's electoral votes were awarded to Bush (arguably rightly so), and so, yes, he was (again, arguably) legitimately elected President. I think you are missing the point, though. Republican presidential candidates undisputably have NOT received the most popular votes in 5 of the last 6 presidential elections. No, that does not negate George W. Bush's two terms, but it does indicate a trend, and given that the candidate who wins the aggregate popular vote virtually always wins the aggregate electoral vote, it also says something about the odds of the Republicans winning back the presidency, barring a change in the trend.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 19, 2014 4:45 p.m.

    I'm wondering... do you think Bush won by some miracle butterfly ballot BOTH times?

    The fact is... he won both times. And that's pretty much all that matters.


    As far as Bill Clinton not getting a majority of the popular vote... In 1992 he got 47% of the popular vote (that's not a "majority").

    George Bush and Ross Perot got 56% of the popular vote. Which is why some say George Bush WOULD have won IF Perot hadn't split the Republican vote.

    But bottom line... it doesn't matter what MIGHT have happened, or what you think SHOULD have happened (including thinking Bush didn't really win). The winner is the winner, and that's all.

    Thinking to this day that Bush didn't really win... is a lot like the birthers who still think Obama is a foreigner (Bush won, Obama IS a citizen)!

    We will see if GOP never wins WH again. Your first comment made it sound like GOP hadn't won the WH in a long time (hint... it hasn't been that long). And that they may never win again (All American history indicates one-party-rule forever... will NOT happen).

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    June 19, 2014 2:29 p.m.

    @2 bits
    I never wrote Bush was not President and I came to grips with it on day one. I just stated the fact that he did not win the popular vote in his first term. More Americans wanted Gore than Bush. That's a fact. There has only been 2 Presidents win the office without winning the popular vote. It's ludicrous to think a GOP candidate can duplicate Bush and the miracles of the butterfly ballot and the supreme court again.
    As far as Bill Clinton's election, he did win the popular vote and the electoral college so that would make him legitimate. Once again, the candidate with the most votes usually wins (usually).
    My post was to call out that Gerson is correct and conservatives need to come to grips with the demographic facts of America in 2014 if they want to win a national election. If conservatives want to stay in denial they'll also stay out of the WH.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    June 19, 2014 2:17 p.m.

    I wouldn't say that Bush was illegitimate(I do find it ironic that in this case the SCOTUS making a decision is OK, but when you don't agree, like with the ACA, it's activist judges). But it is still true that over the last 5 presidential elections Bush v Kerry in 04 was the only time the GOP won the popular vote in a presidential election. And they did that because GWB and Kerry were almost dead even in the Latino vote. If republicans want to maintain their, homophobic, xenophobic, gynophobic positions they will continue to loose votes. The realities of the demographics of the United States no longer mesh well with their strategies. Sure the Tea Party can pick up seats in Utah and the south but they will never win national elections without changing their policies on certain issues.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 19, 2014 2:05 p.m.


    People who still insist Bush lost the election... are just as lame as the people who still insist Obama wasn't born in America.

    #1. It's over and decided now!

    #2. Bush WAS elected (not once, but twice). You need to eventually come to grips with that fact. Likewise the birthers must eventually come to grips with the FACT that their issue was decided. The court decided (both cases).

    The courts would not have allowed Obama to become President if he wasn't actually born in the USA. And Bush wouldn't have become President (not once, but twice) if he actually lost the election. That's over, done, decided, history.

    Fact is.. Bush was President 6 years ago (no matter how deep you put your head in the partisan sand).

    If you don't believe me... google "List of Presidents". See who was President 6 years ago. It's a fact now (not disputed).


    MOST Americans aren't partisan enough to accept one-party-rule forever.


    BTW... popular vote doesn't decide who wins. Clinton became president without winning the majority of the popular vote.. is he illegitimate too?

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    June 19, 2014 12:32 p.m.

    The GOP has admitted that it doesn't care about national elections. It only wants to control districts. They feel like they can obstruct the president all they want.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    June 19, 2014 12:23 p.m.

    @2 bit
    It's a fact that the GOP has lost the popular vote in 5 out of the 6 last elections. Bush may not have ever become President or won re-election if not for a "butterfly ballot" and a partisan supreme court.
    It's a fact that the white male vote continues to decline and that has been the back bone of the GOP for the past 30 years. The GOP will have to attract more minorities and woman and hold their support among white males. If you think their current policies will do that then you may been sitting next to Dick Morris and Karl Rove on election night in 2012.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    June 19, 2014 12:04 p.m.

    Yes, the tea party is out of control and cannot govern.

  • 2 bit Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 19, 2014 11:29 a.m.


    Gerson is right. Your analysis... not so much.

    You talk like the GOP continually loses the WH... Let's fact-check that. Remember who was in the WH just 6 years ago? That's far from a trend. America switches the party in the WH every 4-8 years (it usually takes 8 years). Google it...

    Not much has changed since Bush was President. The GOP will win again someday (Democrats becoming assuming they will win the WH forever more).... is the recipe for failure.

    When you make that assumption... you will lose the WH. Democrats and Republicans have been guilty of this in the past, and every time it results in you getting replaced by the other party.

    Why would all history come to an end now... and the USA turn to one-party-rule? Google it.. history shows we don't stay with one-party forever.

    And the Tea Party doesn't win any elections. They aren't a party (like GOP or DNC). They don't have their own candidates with a T by their name... they want to influence all candidates (both parties).

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    June 19, 2014 10:47 a.m.

    Gerson nails it. Bottom line, the GOP can't win a national election without additional support from women and minorities. They continue to drive both away with their policies and positions. There are not enough white males and right wing, religous radicals to win a national election. Either they start compromising and working with others or they'll continue to lose the WH. Does the Tea Party want to win elections or primaries?