Terry McAuliffe 2020? Name one Democrat who can stop him


This piece first appeared April 25, 2017, on  Washington Examiner . Then Drudge linked to it on June 13, 2017. I say to my friends, “File this away!”)

McAuliffe
With a recent poll finding that 45 percent of Democrats long for a new national leader, could Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe be the man to watch? Even McAuliffe himself is dropping hints. Is that laughter I hear from Republicans saying, “Yes, yes, bring him on”? But I also hear echoes of Democrats laughing at the prospects of running against Donald Trump in 2016 and Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Here are six reasons why the GOP should not laugh at Terry McAuliffe’s presidential rumblings.

1. Terry McAuliffe is ambitious, wealthy and power-hungry with nothing to lose

By law, Virginia governors can only serve one four-year term. Thus, on January 13, 2018, Governor McAuliffe will become a former governor after only four years of elective experience. But do years in office even matter anymore? Besides, McAuliffe’s strength is his political credentials that far exceed other potential 2020 Democratic candidates. Furthermore, in party leadership circles McAuliffe is a living legend.

For starters, McAuliffe currently serves as chairman of the National Governors Association (NGA). McAuliffe’s best friend, President Bill Clinton, was NGA chairman during the 1986-87 term.

In 2008 McAuliffe was chairman of Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign.

Between 2001 and 2005 he was chairman of the Democratic National Committee. During that time in 2004, McAuliffe served on the Clinton Foundation board of directors.

In 1996 he served as co-chairman of President Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign.

2. McAuliffe is putting out feelers for his 2020 presidential run

The leadership vacuum at the top of the Democratic Party is tailor made for a power-player such as McAuliffe, and he has twice hinted about a 2020 presidential run.

First on February 26 in the New York Times: “Asked if he wanted to be president, Mr. McAuliffe said, ‘I don’t know, I might.’ ”

The second was on March 29 when McAuliffe told ABC’s Jonathan Karl and Rick Klein: “‘You know my personality, go big or go home, adding I’m not thinking about it, but I never take anything off the table.’ ”

Translation: Watch out 2020 Democratic hopefuls. McAuliffe is in exploration mode, and if he decides to move forward, prepare to be crushed.

3. Good news — bad news, McAuliffe is best friends with the Clintons

For decades, Terry McAuliffe was the Clinton’s go-to-money-man-fundraiser-extraordinaire. Then, as governor in 2016, he delivered Virginia’s 13 electoral votes to Hillary’s column and greased the skids that anointed Virginia senator and former governor Tim Kaine as her running mate.

The good news is that in one day before lunch, McAuliffe could reassemble any part of the Clinton machine worth saving. By afternoon he could enlist his own vast network of loyalists, and by happy hour, “Help Terry Dump Trump 2020” will be ready to roll.

But the bad news is that McAuliffe is perceived, rightfully so, as a “son of the Clintons.” Certainly, Clinton fatigue would be McAuliffe’s biggest obstacle, along with his dubious past as a wheeler-dealer businessman. (See President Trump, Donald J. for how to handle that problem.) If McAuliffe were to run, he must first establish himself as his own man, and as governor of Virginia and chair of the NGA, he is doing exactly that.

4. McAuliffe could suck up all the early oxygen from the rest of the 2020 field

Yes, McAuliffe could easily raise well over a billion dollars – what it will cost to run for president in 2020 — but his skill set extends far beyond fundraising. After decades as a top-tier Democratic Party leader, Clinton acolyte, now Virginia governor and NGA chairman, McAuliffe has formed strong alliances with other national leaders. Potentially those relationships might lead to early endorsements, leaving many vacant seats on what looks like now could be a mini-van full of 2020 candidate wannabes.

5. Watch the 2017 Virginia gubernatorial race and 2018 midterm elections

McAuliffe’s hand-picked successor, Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam, is in a tougher than expected primary race. If Northam were to win his June primary and the general election victory in November, that would signal Governor McAuliffe’s strength in a swing state and act as his national springboard. (Update: Northam won) Currently, McAuliffe enjoys a 52 percent approval rating. But even more telling will be how active McAuliffe becomes in the Democrat’s midterm election quest to win back Congress. If McAuliffe is in the thick of the national fight, it is a sure sign that his own 2020 announcement is forthcoming.

6. Who better times two?

In 2020 who better to contest President Trump than another multi-millionaire businessman with decades of political experience and tons of business and political baggage?

If McAuliffe “went big” as hinted to ABC News, he will attempt to avenge Hillary Clinton’s 2016 defeat. McAuliffe could joke, “You wanted her but you got me.” Who better than a close family friend who for decades has stood in Washington’s center court playing hardball power games?

My fellow Republicans, are you still laughing?

Myra Adams is a media producer and political writer. She was on the 2004 Bush campaign’s creative team and the 2008 McCain campaign’s ad council.

Advertisements
Posted in Economic Crisis | Leave a comment

Defending President Trump Is Becoming More Difficult


trump-and-meThe author with a Trump cut-out at CPAC March 2016. (This photo is from Myra’s personal archives and did not appear with the National Review piece below.)

Re-posted from National Review February 9, 2017

If you believe that the results of November’s presidential election have negatively impacted a personal relationship with a family member or friend, you are not alone. In fact, 40 percent of likely U.S. voters agree with this sentiment, according to a recent Rasmussen Reports survey.

Count me among that 40 percent! With political emotions running hot, family gatherings are more strained. Facebook comments are sparking feuds, and friendships are being tested. Here is a personal story.

Over the weekend a dear longtime friend from Los Angeles called me to chat about politics, as he has for decades. (He admits that everyone around him thinks like him, so he enjoys my perspective.) Often our discussions are heated because his views are usually 180 degrees from my conservative Republican leanings. During our most recent conversation, my friend said, “Don’t feel you have to defend Trump every time we talk.” That statement resonated because as a Trump voter, I want to defend the president, but Trump’s actions are making that more difficult.

For example, last week I attended the National Prayer Breakfast. In the hall afterward I agreed with a friend’s observation that “Trump gave a good speech, for Trump.” Moreover, everyone I spoke to thought the president’s speech was “adequate” but totally overshadowed by Barry Black’s keynote address. Black, the chaplain of the U.S. Senate, gave a rousing, unforgettable testimony that brought down the house, greatly impressed Trump, and dominated the post-breakfast chatter.

As previously arranged, an hour later I called a friend, an avid Trump supporter, who watched the prayer breakfast on television. After telling him that Trump’s speech was well received in the room, my friend expressed a vastly different opinion, saying, “Trump went off the teleprompter when he mentioned Schwarzenegger. It was like nails on a chalkboard.”

I was surprised and said that “Trump asking the room to pray for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Celebrity Apprentice ratings was perceived as a joke.”

As it turned out, my friend was 100 percent correct. Trump “going off teleprompter” caused a media explosion, and Schwarzenegger struck back. In a Twitter video, Arnold sarcastically said:

“Hey Donald I have a great idea. Why don’t we switch jobs? You take over TV, because you’re such an expert in ratings, and I take over your job and then people can finally sleep comfortable again. Hmm?”

Furthermore, in a statement to ABC News, Schwarzenegger said he is “praying that President Trump can start improving his own approval ratings.”

Here is why I have a difficult time defending President Trump — the man has yet to realize that he is president of the United States when the day after the prayer breakfast he tweeted, at 6:30 a.m.:

“Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger did a really bad job as Governor of California and even worse on the Apprentice . . . but at least he tried hard!”

Unfortunately, in the media, the solemn annual bipartisan National Prayer Breakfast was reduced to a backdrop for a Donald-vs.-Arnold celebrity feud, with the prayer breakfast sustaining collateral damage.

The larger question concerns whether President Trump is ever going to learn that as president of the United States he must never engage in petty public personal attacks against anyone. Such attacks make him and the office of the president look small. Just imagine if President Trump had ignored Arnold’s responses. Then Trump would have looked presidential, and Arnold would have been reduced in stature, for attacking the president.

But Trump’s personal Twitter attacks continued. On Saturday morning, February 4, Trump attacked federal Judge James Robart, a George W. Bush appointee, who temporarily stopped the president’s controversial travel ban Friday night. Trump tweeted:

“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!”

Yes, that bright, shiny tweet deflected the media’s attention from the Schwarzenegger feud. However, President Trump’s personal attack on a judge was perceived as an assault against a co-equal branch of government — far more serious than a tweet fight over ratings.

Yesterday a department store was the target of one of Trump’s Twitter tirades, as he lashed out at Nordstrom for dropping his daughter Ivanka’s fashion line (from which she stepped down as CEO in January). He tweeted:

“My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!”

Clearly Nordstrom crossed what I call a “fashion line in the sand,” forcing White House press secretary Sean Spicer to defend the president’s tweet by saying that Trump “has every right to stand up for his family.”

In my good conscience, I can’t defend a president who does not understand the power of his office. I want President Trump to be successful and to make “America great again.” I am his “base.” But if Trump thinks childish actions are pleasing to all of his base, he is sadly mistaken.

President Trump is an impulsive entertainer, and his going off teleprompter can have dangerous consequences. He has yet to learn that as president, he speaks and writes words that can turn into weapons, and weapons start wars, foreign as well as domestic.

As president of a polarized nation where close relationships are being strained, Trump needs to be the president of all Americans, not just base voters who are more forgiving.

Trump has now twisted the famous words of President Teddy Roosevelt, “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” by speaking loudly and carrying dynamite. Trump can still earn the respect of the American people, by staying on his teleprompter and shutting down his Twitter account. Above all, he must remember that he is the most powerful man in the world, and he should start acting accordingly.

 

Posted in Economic Crisis | Leave a comment

How the Clinton victory party went from coronation to despair


h-sign

Stage on Nov. 7. “What if she loses?” I thought.  (Credit: Myra Adams)

Re-posted from  Washington Examiner.

The first public sign that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was unsure of victory was when they canceled the fireworks scheduled for 9 p.m. on election night.

As it turned out, there were fireworks on Nov. 8, but not from a barge on the Hudson River. Instead, it was political fireworks exploding after the greatest upset in modern presidential history. The degree of the upset was further accentuated by the enormity of the physical site chosen for Clinton’s victory party, the Javits Center in Manhattan.

Keeping with Clinton’s theme of becoming the first female president, Javits offered a gargantuan glass ceiling to hammer home the meaning of her impending victory.

As the New York Times reported, “The symbolism seems clear. Mrs. Clinton has referred repeatedly of busting through ‘the highest, hardest glass ceiling’ — at least figuratively — by installing a woman in the Oval Office. If Election Day breaks her way, she will address the nation beneath a literal one.”

It would have been a perfect photo opportunity. One could imagine Katy Perry’s song “Roar” playing in the background, with Clinton hoarse from yelling the names of all the famous women who helped her break the gargantuan glass ceiling that towered above.

But, as I am fond of saying, “How do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans.” God definitely had a different plan for that evening. Clinton could never have imagined she wouldn’t even enter Javits on election night.

Besides the symbolic glass ceiling, the selection of Javits signaled Team Clinton’s total confidence that victory was assured.

My first visit to Javits was on Monday when I picked up my press credential. I was astounded by what I saw. It looked like grand scale preparations for a national nominating convention with an assumed outcome rather than an event where the outcome was undetermined.

The streets were already blocked, causing traffic havoc with battalions of police ready for anything. Hundreds of journalists were already at their battle stations and rows of satellite trucks lined the streets

In the back of my mind, I kept thinking, “What if there is a surprise? What if she loses?” The stage was lined with flags, with a predominant “H” symbol hovering over it all. The possibility of a major upset was resonating with me since that morning when a friend in Donald Trump’s inner circle was extremely confident of victory.

Thanks to that conversation, coupled with the canceled fireworks, I looked at the activity in Javits through a different lens, with the word “arrogance” swirling in my brain.

On the afternoon of Election Day, I again arrived at Javits. It was no easy feat after negotiating my way through an armed camp and what felt like miles of walking.

The buzz in the air allowed for only one possible outcome. Defeat was not even a remote possibility. The election had already been won. Time to party!

But as we know now, voters had their say. Later that night, I saw grown men cry and staffers hugging each other for comfort. No one in the Javits Center could believe the defeat that was unfolding across Clinton’s “blue firewall” in the industrial midwest.

Maybe it was just a coincidence, but the large screens throughout Javits and in the media filing room kept cutting away from the harsh reality of actual voting results to play Clinton’s “fighting for women and children” propaganda videos. Furthermore, the election night broadcasts were continually interrupted by footage from the rally just outside. That’s where notables like Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., were leading the crowd in a continuous chant of “I believe that she will win!”

Schumer’s chanting did not make it so. More than half of the American people made it abundantly clear they did not want the Clinton family back in the White House. Trump won just enough votes in key battleground states to earn an impressive Electoral College victory while Clinton suffers the pain of winning the popular vote by the smallest margin of 47.7 percent to Trump’s 47.5.

Now, instead of planning for the transition and inauguration, Clinton is fading away from the public eye. Perhaps she is just sitting around, hoping President Obama will pardon her from any possible crimes relating to her emails.

In a matter of days, the Clinton campaign morphed from assuming a coronation to hoping for a presidential pardon. Arrogance is the word that links the two.

Me on H stage.jpg

The author behind enemy lines on Election Night at Hillary ‘s “victory party.”

Myra Adams is a media producer and writer who served on the McCain Ad Council during the 2008 McCain campaign and on the 2004 Bush campaign creative team. Her writing credits include National Review, WND, Washington Examiner, Breitbart, PJ Media, The Daily Beast, The Daily Caller, RedState, BizPacReview and Liberty Unyielding. E-mail her at MyraAdams01@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @MyraKAdams.

Posted in Economic Crisis | Leave a comment

‘Trump Test’ Will Haunt the GOP in 2020


donald_trump_108984675_1_610x458

Re-posted from National Review Oct. 18, 2016

As a long-time loyal Republican, my chronic fear is that George W. Bush will be the last Republican president. (A fear expressed earlier this year by Bush himself.)

This fear predates Donald J. Trump’s rise to the GOP nomination. It is a concern that I’ve expressed more than once over the last four years. But Trump’s inevitable Election Day loss coupled with a raging Republican civil war has strengthened the odds of a White House under permanent Democratic control.

At this writing, no one knows if Trump will disengage from active Republican politics after November. But it doesn’t really matter because his short-term legacy will be what we’ll call the “Trump Test”:

Did you support Donald Trump?

Did you campaign with or for Trump?

Did you denounce any of Trump’s statements or policy stances? Which ones? How and when?

Did you vote for Trump?

If you’re a candidate for the 2020 GOP nomination, you’re going to have to address these toxic questions. And your answers will inevitably enrage at least one sizable group of voters. Some of the 2020 contenders will have better answers than others. But all will be tainted by their responses to Trump, because of the passion he stirs in both his supporters and his detractors.

On one side are Trump loyalists infuriated that party leaders (see: Paul Ryan) are not fully funding, campaigning with, or standing by their man. After Trump’s inevitable loss in November, these loyalists, many of them grassroots activists who helped Trump win the nomination, are poised to blame the GOP high command, accusing Republican leaders of disloyalty and threatening to leave the party.

On the other side are the Never Trumpers, who will join with the squishy middle to shout, “I told you so” when Trump loses. Expect these folks to be armed with plans to reform the primary system that allowed Trump to “hijack” the party. (“Super delegates” anyone?)

All indications are that the war between these two factions for control of the GOP will only get bloodier between now and 2020. It almost makes you pine for those polite pre-Trump days when the “only” intra-party conflict was between the “conservative” and “establishment” wings of the GOP. But then you remember it was that conflict that spawned this one, by giving rise to a fractured primary field. Competing against 17 other candidates, Trump seized the party by the throat through a combination of bombastic showmanship and voter frustration, gaining momentum after attracting relatively small percentages of fed-up primary voters desperate to try something radically outside the box.

History will note that Trump’s movement eventually demolished all the conservative and establishment candidates and blurred the lines between the party’s two traditional factions. But not forever! When Trump finishes with the party, the traditional factions will reemerge even more divided by the fallout from his loss, the ensuing arguments over his legacy, and fights arising from the 2020 presidential candidates’ answers to the Trump Test.

Democrats, on the other hand, won’t be divided in their opinion of Trump’s historical meaning. They’re already licking their lips in anticipation of the opportunity to replace Bush with Trump as the Republican bogeyman of choice in voters’ minds. Instead of the tired mantra about how Bush wrecked the economy, they’ll be able to hang Trump around the necks of GOP candidates nationwide.

So yes, there is reason to fear that we’ve seen the last Republican president. But going forward, we should keep the faith that a leader will eventually emerge to follow in Ronald Reagan’s footsteps. After all, we know “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

— Myra Adams is a media producer and political writer. She was on creative team of the 2004 Bush campaign and on the ad council of the 2008 McCain campaign. E-mail her at MyraAdams01@gmail.com.

Posted in 2016 Presidential race | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ready for Madame President? ‘It’s the Electoral College, stupid.’


Author’s note: This piece originally appeared on National Review, July 12, 2016. Some of the polling data has changed slightly but the general theme still holds.

hillary yes

It was during the 1992 presidential election that the famous phrase “It’s the economy, stupid” hit the airwaves. That simple message, displayed on the desk of James Carville, Bill Clinton’s campaign manager, helped Carville maintain the message discipline that subsequently delivered Bill Clinton to the White House.

Twenty-four years later, “It’s the Electoral College, stupid” is the operational message guiding Hillary Clinton’s historic quest to become Madame President. Although this math-based message is too politically crass for desktop display, the reality is that math trumps message, and math trumps Trump. Let’s do some electoral math for a dose of this reality.

According to the Real Clear Politics (RCP) electoral map, Mrs. Clinton is only 60 electoral votes shy of the magic 270 needed to win the White House. Currently, RCP awards her a whopping 210 votes compared with Trump’s 164.

Clinton’s 210 votes are derived from eight solid Clinton “dark blue” states totaling 119 votes. In addition, she’s predicted to win 35 votes from three royal blue “likely Clinton” states, and 56 votes derived from seven light-blue “leans Clinton” states.

Given that Clinton needs to win only 60 out of the 164 remaining electoral votes within 13 toss-up states, her internal campaign slogan must surely be “It’s the statistics, stupid,” reflecting the overwhelming statistical odds in her favor.

Worse for Republicans, Clinton could lose a major battleground state such as Florida, with its 29 electoral votes, and still reach 270. For example, she could cobble together 62 votes from the following five states where RCP poll averages show her in the lead; Michigan (16), Ohio (18), North Carolina (15), Colorado (9), and New Hampshire (4).

Alternatively, all she needs is 62 votes from Florida (29), Pennsylvania (20), and Virginia (13), and she has made history. This three-state victory is entirely possible considering that Clinton is also leading in the RCP poll averages in Virginia by 4 percentage points, in Florida by 3.7 points, and in Pennsylvania by 2.3 points.

Proof that Republicans are following Trump off a cliff are two traditional red states that appear on RCP’s list of 13 toss-ups. Georgia, with 16 electoral votes, has consistently gone red for the last five presidential elections; and Arizona, with 11 electoral votes, has faithfully landed in the red column nine out of the last ten presidential elections, with 1996 the only exception.

To prove how precisely Team Clinton is playing the Electoral College math game, one need only look at the eight states where her campaign spent $26 million on the airwaves in June. Those states were Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia.

All eight are included on RCP’s list of 13 toss-up states, and their electoral-vote total is a nice round 100. By the way, during June, the Trump campaign spent absolutely nothing — as in zero – so Team Clinton had the airwaves in battleground states all to themselves.

Most significant about Clinton’s June ad buy were two RCP toss-up states, Pennsylvania and Michigan, that Clinton bypassed. Those two electorally heavy Rust Belt states populated with disgruntled white male voters are part of Trump’s winning formula. But they are of no great concern to Clinton, and here is why. Historically, Michigan, with its 16 votes, and Pennsylvania, with 20, have been won by every Democratic presidential candidate since 1992. Internally, Team Clinton knows that they don’t have to waste precious June resources on old-faithful voters. However, if Clinton is spending heavily in either state in September, take that as a sign that Trump is making inroads.

Since Clinton needs to win only 60 out of a possible 164 toss-up votes, the following data explains why she is likely to win double that number and possibly even more: According to the respected Pew Research Center’s survey of registered voters, Clinton is winning women by a margin of 59 to 35 percent. By comparison, in 2012, Obama won women by 55 to 44 percent over Romney. In 2008, Obama won women by a margin of 56 to 43 percent over John McCain.

Now, here is some good news for Trump. He is winning men by six points, 49 to 43 percent. But Romney won men by seven points, 52 to 45 percent.

More good news for the brash businessman, the overall white vote is in Trump’s favor 51 to 42 percent, a comfortable nine-point margin. But Romney won whites by 20 points, 59 to 39 percent over Obama.

It is no surprise that Trump is losing Hispanic voters to Clinton by a margin of 66 to 24 percent. But what is surprising is that Romney actually did worse, losing Hispanic voters to Obama by 71 to 27 percent.

African-American voters are totally in lockstep for Clinton, 91 to 7 percent. Shockingly, Obama did only slightly better, winning this voter block 93 percent to Romney’s 6.

Younger voters ages 18 to 29 are choosing Clinton over Trump by 60 to 30 percent.

Voters ages 30 to 49 are also in the Clinton camp, 52 to 39 percent.

Older voters ages 50 to 64 are with Clinton, too, but by a smaller margin of 49 to 46 percent.

The 65+ crowd is the only group that Trump is winning, and by three points, 49 to 46 percent.

In part, all this demographic data help explain why the Electoral College is so slanted toward Clinton.

Sure, “It’s the economy stupid” will always have some relevance, but with national demographic shifts toward active younger voters, female power, and a more racially diverse population, “It’s the Electoral College, stupid” is the Clinton campaign’s favorite slogan and the mantra of every Democratic presidential candidate for decades to come.

Could George W. Bush be the last Republican president? Some of us have been asking that question in recent years. It’s a question that scares me now more than ever.

 

Posted in Economic Crisis | Leave a comment

Why Florida Shines as 2016’s Most Influential State


florida-map

Re-posted from National Review  12/3/2015 

Pop quiz: Can you name this state?

  • In American history, the major political parties have never nominated a presidential or vice presidential candidate from this state.
  • Since 1976 every Republican presidential candidate who has won this state’s primary election has gone on to win his party’s nomination.
  • Starting with the 1996 presidential election, the candidate from the party that won the Electoral College votes from this state also won the White House.
  • According to the latest RealClearPolitics poll averages, four out of the top five Republican primary candidates vying to win the presidential nomination are either full-time or part-time residents of this state.
  • The leader of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and the second in command at the Republican National Committee, Sharon Day, are both residents of this state.

As you may have guessed, Florida is the answer to every question, which means the Sunshine State’s impact on the 2016 election will be undeniable. A strong case can be made that as Florida votes, so votes the nation.

But politics is unpredictable, and historic trends do not hold forever, so let’s explore which of these Florida trends are most likely to stand in 2016.

The fact that no major-party presidential or vice presidential candidate has ever hailed from Florida is the trend least likely to hold when you consider the following:

Incumbent Florida senator Marco Rubio was born in Miami in 1971.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush has lived in the state since 1980.

Dr. Ben Carson relocated to West Palm Beach in 2013 after retiring as director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

Then there’s Donald Trump, officially a resident of New York City. Trump, however, has many strong business and personal ties to Florida. Back in 1985, Trump bought the historic Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach and spends much time there, especially during the winter months.

Chances are high that one of these four candidates will win the March 15 Florida primary.

But it remains to be seen if the pattern, first established in 1976, that Florida’s Republican primary winner goes on to become the party’s presidential nominee will hold true in 2016. (1976 was when President Ford won the state and fended off Ronald Reagan’s primary challenge.)

The track records of the two most recent GOP presidential primaries are worth noting.

In 2008, John McCain emerged victorious after defeating both Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. (Giuliani dropped out the very next day and Romney shortly thereafter.) Then, in 2012, Romney won a heavily contested Florida battle against Newt Gingrich.

This cycle, the pressure is on for Bush and Rubio to win their home state’s primary. Fail here, and either candidate could pull a “Rudy Giuliani” the next day.

Meanwhile, Trump too must win the Florida primary to prove that he is a mainstream candidate and potentially viable in a general election.

Here is what we know today: Florida’s primary will be brutal, expensive, and consequential. Furthermore, it will be a harbinger of Florida’s decisive role in determining who will become the next president of the United States.

With its 29 electoral votes, Florida ranks as the third biggest Electoral College prize, tied with New York. These two states are surpassed only by Texas with 38 votes and California with 55.

Unfortunately for Republicans — if “traditional” state presidential voting patterns, established since 1988 and 1992, hold true in 2016 — it is imperative that Florida’s 29 votes land in the “red” column in order for the GOP ticket to have any chance of reaching 270 electoral votes.

Democrats seem to have a bit more wiggle room: In the 2008 and 2012 elections, President Obama could have lost Florida’s electoral votes and still have easily reached the winning number of 270. But it is notable, with consequences for 2016, that in 2012 Obama won Florida by only 1 percent of the vote, and it’s possible that the next Democratic presidential nominee won’t have such a thick padding of electoral votes.

Historically, Florida’s influence on presidential elections looks like this:

Since 1996 every winning presidential candidate has won Florida’s electoral votes.

The last time a Republican presidential candidate won Florida but still lost the election was back in 1992. This was when Arkansas governor Bill Clinton defeated President George H. W. Bush in a quirky three-way race with Ross Perot.

Then came the 2000 election. If you were too young, Google “Florida 2000 election.” There you will learn about the epic Supreme Court battle that ensued over whether Texas governor George W. Bush or Vice President Al Gore should have been awarded Florida’s electoral votes and the presidency.

Now as we edge closer to the 2016 primary season, there are two factors that could greatly impact which party wins Florida and, subsequently, the White House.

First is Florida’s fast growing Hispanic population. In 2012 Obama garnered 60 percent of Hispanic votes, which then made up 17 percent of all Florida voters. (Expect that number to be at least a few points higher in 2016.)

Second, and related, is an “exodus” of Puerto Rican residents fleeing to Florida from their economically challenged island. Most are already U.S. citizens who largely lean Democrat. (It should be no surprise that Hillary Clinton visited Puerto Rico in September and Jeb Bush did the same in April.)

Finally, when you consider Florida’s historic electoral and political trends, it becomes clear that what happens in Florida does not stay in Florida — like sunshine, it is felt everywhere.

— Myra Adams is a media producer and political writer. She was on the 2004 Bush campaign’s creative team and the 2008 McCain campaign’s ad council. Her writing credits include National Review, WorldNetDaily, Washington Examiner, PJ Media, the Daily Beast, RedState, and the Daily Caller. Follow her on Twitter @MyraKAdams.  Contact: myraadams01@gmail.com

Posted in Economic Crisis | Leave a comment

GOP Nominee Needs 64 percent of the White Vote and 30 percent of the Non-White Vote to Win in ’16


Does Presidential Racial Group Voting Data Since 1976 Spell Doom for Republicans?

electoral-college-2012

 

It is well-established among pollsters that for either party’s presidential nominee to win in 2016 they must attract the correct balance of what is now commonly referred to as the white vs. the non-white vote.

This development has spawned numerous articles and demographic math games whereby one can plug-in the estimated turn-out for Whites, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian voters and thus predict a party’s margin of victory or defeat.

For example, a recent Real Clear Politics interactive turn-out calculator shows that for the Republican nominee to win the White House, he or she must capture at least 64 percent of the white vote. (This assumes the white and non-white voter turn-out numbers remain historically consistent.)

The need to achieve 64 percent of the white vote should be extremely disconcerting for the GOP because since 1976 there have only been two presidential elections where the Republican nominees won over 60 percent of the white vote and that was in 1984 and 1988.

On the non-white vote side of the equation, respected Republican pollster Whit Ayres predicts that the Republican nominee must win at least 30 percent of the total non-white vote in order to win the White House.

Republicans must not sugarcoat these numbers because the party is swimming against strong tides of presidential election voting data dating back to 1976.

First, as you will clearly see in the data displayed further down, the growing non-white population has consistently voted for Democratic Party presidential candidates by wide margins going back almost five decades.

Second, the white vote that splits between the two major parties by varying degrees in every presidential election is shrinking as a percentage of the total electorate.

Can Republicans overcome these two problems? Sure, in politics anything is possible – but here is a behavioral science explanation as to why the white and non-white vote is unlikely to make a large swing towards Republicans in 2016.

After the disastrous results of the 2012 election, I tried to understand how our nation could have reelected President Obama with his dismal record of achievement.

While doing some research I found what I believed was the answer — a phenomenon called ‘tribal voting” and wrote about it in a piece on November 14, 2012.

“Tribal voting” simply means you vote for a Republican or a Democrat because of your tribal allegiance. My piece quoted Richard A. Friedman M.D. who, in his November 12, 2012  New York Times piece,“Primal Emotions Come to Fore in Politics” wrote:

“Once you’ve selected your party, you are likely to retrofit your beliefs and philosophy to align with it. In this sense, political parties are like tribes; membership in the tribe shapes your values and powerfully influences your allegiance to the group.

So strong is the social and emotional bond among members of a political tribe that they are likely to remain loyal to their party even when they give it low marks for performance. Yankees fans don’t jump ship when their team loses any more than Republicans switch parties when they lose an election.”

Then I mentioned how I tested Dr. Friedman’s theory on my own mother and wrote: “Recently I asked my 86-year-old mother (now 89) why she voted Democrat her entire life and her explanation was rather simple, ‘Everyone I knew voted Democrat and I was always one who went along with the crowd.’”

(Obviously, her daughter broke with the crowd and has been a Republican tribeswoman since 1975.)

However, I recognize that my own anti-tribal behavior is not the norm, whereas political tribal behavior among non-white voters and white Democrat-loyal demographic groups has been remarkably consistent in presidential elections going back decades.

Let’s look at some facts gleaned from the Roper Center’s “How Groups Voted”, an on-going study that has examined presidential election exit poll data starting in 1976.

When you look over this data, note that the numbers to the right in parenthesis are the White, Hispanic and African-American share of the total electorate. Watch over the decades how this number shrinks for whites and grows for non-whites. Then ask yourself, “How has the Republican Party consistently managed to repel non-white voters?

1976:  White vote, Jimmy Carter 48% vs. Gerald Ford 52%   (89% White vote)

Hispanic vote: Carter 82% vs. Ford 18%   (1% Hispanic vote)

African-American vote: Carter 83% vs. Ford 17% (9% African-American vote)

1980:  White vote, Jimmy Carter 36% vs. Ronald Reagan 56%   (88% White vote)

Hispanic: Carter 56% vs. Reagan 37% (2% Hispanic vote)

African-American: Carter 83% vs. Reagan 14% (10% African-American vote)

1984:  White vote, Walter Mondale 34% vs. Ronald Reagan 66%   (86% White vote)

Hispanic: Mondale 66% vs. Reagan 34% (3% Hispanic vote)

African-American: Mondale 91% vs. Reagan 9% (10% African-American vote)

1988: White vote, Michael Dukakis 40% vs. George H.W. Bush 60%   (85% White vote)

Hispanic: Dukakis 70% vs. Bush 30% (3% Hispanic vote)

African-American: Dukakis 89% vs. Bush 11% (10% African-American vote)

1992:  White vote, Bill Clinton 39% vs. G.H.W. Bush 41% vs. Ross Perot 21%  (87% White)

Hispanic: Clinton 61% vs. Bush 25% vs. Perot 14% (2% Hispanic vote)

African-American: Clinton 83% vs. Bush 10% vs. Perot 7% (8% African-American vote)

1996: White vote, Bill Clinton 44% vs. Bob Dole 46% vs. Ross Perot 9%   (83% White vote)

Hispanic: Clinton 73% vs. Dole 21% vs. Perot 6%   (5% Hispanic vote)

African-American: Clinton 84% vs. Dole 12% vs. Perot 4% (10% African-American vote)

2000: White vote, Al Gore 42% vs. George W. Bush 55%   (81% White vote)

Hispanic: Gore 62% vs. Bush 35% (7% Hispanic vote)

African-American: Gore 90% vs. Bush 9% (10% African-American vote)

2004:  White vote, John Kerry 41% vs. George W. Bush 58%   (77% White vote)

Hispanic: Kerry 53% vs. Bush 44% (8% Hispanic vote)

African-American: Kerry 88% vs. Bush 11% (11% African-American vote)

2008: White vote, Barack Obama 43% vs. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)  55%   (74% White vote)

Hispanic: Obama 67% vs. McCain 31% (9% Hispanic vote)

African-American: Obama 95% vs. McCain 4% (13% African-American vote)

2012: White vote, Barack Obama 39% vs. Mitt Romney 59% (72% White vote)

Hispanic: Obama 71% vs. Romney 27% (10% Hispanic vote)

African-American: Obama 93% vs. Romney 6% (13% African-American vote)

Asian: Obama 73% vs. Romney 26% (3% Asian vote)

So how will these numbers change in 2016?

Latino Decisions, a premier Latino research group contracted by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to conduct polling, estimates that the White vote will decrease to 70.5 percent, the African American voter share will decrease to 12.5 percent, the Hispanic share will increase to 10.4 percent and the Asian share will increase to 3.5 percent.

Republicans cannot change these demographic numbers, but how about boldly challenging blindly loyal Democrat voters to leave their current tribe?

For example, may I suggest a Republican marketing campaign that asks questions like, “Why am I a Democrat?” Is it because everyone I know is a Democrat? Is it because I was born a Democrat? Why do I vote for the same party year after year, yet see no changes in my economic circumstances? Maybe it’s time to break my voting habit?

There is no doubt that such a marketing campaign would be controversial and widely mocked, but do Republicans really have a choice? Perhaps it is time for a behavioral approach that questions Democratic Party tribal allegiance? At the very least, the concept should be tested in focus groups.

Meanwhile, the 2016 Republican presidential nominee is tasked with needing to win at least 64 percent of the white vote and 30 percent of total non-white vote. That my friends is either a total fantasy or it would be a historic election and one for the record books.

Posted in 2012 Presidential Race, 2016 Presidential race, Barack Obama, Decline of America, Hillary Clinton 2016, Presidential Election 2012, Republican Politics | Tagged | Leave a comment