(AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE.

Re-posted from RealClearPolitics May 22, 2020. By Myra Adams – RCP Contributor

If there were an “official” feeling to describe how Americans view the forthcoming 2020 presidential election, it would be “fear.” However, a study shows election fear predated COVID-19 and the ensuing economic upheaval to form what is now a tumultuous, interconnected triad.

The annual Survey of American Fears conducted in August 2019 by Chapman University found 47.5% of Americans were “afraid or very afraid” of the 2020 election outcome. But among some demographic groups that percentage pushed up considerably — liberals, for example, registered at 74.6%.

Undoubtedly, due to a variety of factors, the national percentage is on the rise.

With this election fear in mind, I was motivated to conduct a “friends and family focus group,” asking, “What fears, if any, do you have about the 2020 presidential election?” Promised anonymity, the respondents were chosen because they follow politics and hold strong, passionate, diverse opinions about President Trump’s possible reelection. Thus, what follows is a stunning — albeit small– snapshot of these “Divided States of America.”

Let’s start with four voters from Florida, often affectionately called “the mother of all swing states.” (And Florida voters relish that description.)

Here is what a robust Trump supporter and loyal Republican Party activist fears about the election:

“First, I worry most about election integrity and that the left is devising ways to steal the election. I think the left is happy to destroy America and why they continue to want our country shut down. 

“As we all know, the Russian Hoax and the Impeachment Farce didn’t work. Now it’s ‘ruin the economy and try to cause a recession.’ As a result, we are bending over backward, giving away money due to the shutdown. It’s all no good!

“Second, after election integrity, the left is trying to devise ways to steal the vote. If they should, our world will be terrible. I’m afraid the left has devious ways to do the steal. Under the left, the USA will be a world of socialistic everything! Our freedoms would be limited until completely dissolved. I’m sure our religious freedoms would go by the wayside with everything else.”  

A former Republican activist answered:

“I fear that Trump could win. He is too inept to be a president. I strongly believe that he is throwing Americans under the bus. We are all going to suffer because of Trump.”

An entrepreneur who is a very loyal Trump supporter said:

“No fear because Trump will win with no problem.”

The Florida voter group concludes with a Christian nonprofit executive:

“I fear Biden will win because Trump has turned off women voters. With Biden, we get an administration that will limit religious freedom, usher in socialism, and appoint judges who support unrestricted abortion.”

Next, we hear from a Pennsylvania voter who is an enthusiastic Trump supporter:

“As for fears about the election, I am very anxious. Voter fraud is of great concern, particularly in Pennsylvania and Michigan, where anyone can request a mail-in ballot. Why is no type of ID required to vote? These two items are enough to rig the election.

“Biased media coverage is also a major fear. Couple that with a Democratic machine that will lie, cheat and, I believe, kill, to get their agenda passed.  

“Scariest of all, if Biden is elected, he is a bumbling idiot who will be used as a puppet for the left. Socialistic and secular rule sends shivers down my spine.

“Sorry to ramble, but you hit a nerve, to say the least.”

From Virginia, a former federal employee answered:

“I fear that Trump will be reelected. I really, really hate the Republican Party and Trump right now.”

Another Virginia voter who is an influential Trump supporter wrote:

“I fear that if voters blame Trump/Pence for their economic and health frustrations created by COVID and buy into the past and present false narratives of the leftist media and liberal Democrats, and do not vote Trump/Pence for another four years to restore America to pre-COVID prosperity and success due to their leadership — then I fear our nation will never recover from this pandemic.

“I am fully convinced that front-runner Joe Biden is not competent at this stage of his life to lead our nation forward.”

In Georgia, a reliable Trump supporter in the advertising business thinks:

“This pandemic of fear has revealed how easily a totalitarian regime could come to power. Just look at Michigan, where the partisan divide has widened even further. The left is fueled by powerful forces driving us toward socialism and globalism. The right is trying to hold on to personal liberty, free-market capitalism, and national sovereignty.

“The election is not about policy differences. It is about what this nation is going to become — what will it mean to be an American in 20 years? Will we still say the Pledge of Allegiance? Or will there be a new pledge to some globalist entity? China is the model. Is that what we want?” 

From South Carolina, a retired lawyer who held a high position in a prior Republican administration:

“My fears are what if Trump is reelected and Democrats control Congress? How many lawsuits, investigations etc. will we have? How will that paralyze the government?

“Who will be Biden’s VP? Could it conceivably be a socialist?

“If the virus returns in the fall, what will voter turnout be? Would we see an increase in other forms of voting that could trigger all kinds of fallout and lawsuits?”

Now we travel to the state of Washington and hear from two “techies.” First, a marketing executive with a major software corporation:

“My biggest concern is that after Trump loses (in a historic drubbing of Jimmy Carter proportions), he does not go gracefully. Instead, he begins contesting the results and questioning the validity of the system that rejected him.

“If you asked me in January about Trump’s chance of reelection, I would have said ‘most likely’ due to the strength of the economy. Trump had an excellent opportunity to lead with his coronavirus response. Instead, he showed us how out of touch and unbalanced he really is — our nation can’t afford a president who can’t lead in times of crisis.

“These times make me wish that we still had Obama — and I voted for McCain!

“If our nation can’t quickly forgive and realize how open some of these wounds are and begin working together towards a common-sense policy for things like health care, education, immigration, and basic social safety nets, then it will just get worse. History will point to Trump as the catalyst that broke our nation rather than a contentious time in history. Make America Great Again — vote Anyone But Trump 2020.”

Second, a computer engineer in senior management at one of the nation’s largest companies:

“My fear is Trump knows that if he loses the election, he’s screwed. He’s going to go nuclear, and the usual checks are already gone. How far will Trump go, and what are people around him (including the right-wing press, various government agencies, and the judicial branch, which has lost credibility due to partisan judges) going to allow? He seems likely to have his enemies blackmailed, jailed, and assassinated (either directly or indirectly).”

Finally, two voters in California beginning with a Trump supporter who is a well-known conservative writer:

“I fear voter fraud. But it’s more of a concern than a fear.”

Now we “wrap” with a major studio film producer who has earned decades of credits on movies you have watched:

“I fear that this [bleep]bag, [bleep]hole, mother[bleep] narcissistic, sociopathic, self-absorbed lying piece of [bleep] who is masquerading as our leader actually might have a chance of getting reelected.  How’s that for a quote, Myra?”

Gulp.

The extreme division expressed by my “friends and family focus group,” although unscientific, likely mirrors sentiments throughout our nation and leads to my fearful conclusion:

The election and its aftermath are gathering plot elements, characters, and a script to produce what could be a very long horror movie in November.

Myra Adams is a media producer and writer with numerous national credits. She served on the McCain Ad Council during the GOP nominee’s 2008 campaign and on the 2004 Bush campaign creative team. She can be reached at MyraAdams01@gmail.com or @MyraKAdams on Twitter.


Voter in Maricopa, Arizona Credit: AP – Franklin

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE.

Re-posted from Real Clear Politics May 16, 2020. By Myra Adams – RCP Contributor

While recently unloading the dishwasher, an old faded coffee mug caught my eye. The mug emblazoned with “Bush Country 2004” and “My America!” also displays a predominately red map of the USA. The image, originally bright red (but faded to pink after 16 years of washing), illustrates all the counties won by George W. Bush in his 2004 reelection campaign.

Conversely, counties won by his opponent, then-Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, are in blue, seen mainly around the coasts with splotches sprinkled amid continuous stretches of red.

The mug reminds me of the vast electoral transformation that has occurred since 2004.

For example, formerly “ruby red” Arizona, with 11 electoral votes, now ranks among the most hotly contested 2020 battleground states. Arizona? Really? For longtime Republicans, that is almost unthinkable considering the state’s political history.

Starting with Richard Nixon’s reelection in 1972, every GOP presidential candidate won the state up until 1996 — when Bill Clinton worked some reelection magic.

After that blue blip, the Grand Canyon State stayed “red” from 2000 to 2016. Bush won 54.9% of Arizona’s vote in 2004 — compared to Donald Trump in 2016, who eked out a 48.7% to 45.1% victory over Hillary Clinton.

Now, RCP’s “battleground” poll average has former Vice President Biden leading President Trump by 4.4 percentage points.

If Trump loses Arizona, the GOP can point to an increase in Democrat-leaning Hispanic voters, along with an influx of baby boom retirees, many of whom moved from east and west coast “blue” states for a lower cost of living (and possibly better weather).

Perhaps with Arizona at center stage in 2020, the state should be substituted into that old presidential election adage: “As Ohio goesso goes the nation.”

My “Bush Country 2004” mug map is also a reminder that the GOP lost four reliably red states in the three presidential elections since Bush’s victory — Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico — with a combined total of 33 electoral votes. Today, only the most die-hard Republican optimists predict that any of these states will swing back to red in 2020.

Talk about predictions, here is a prescient one:

In an interview on Feb. 23, 2008, the late Tim Russert, then host of “Meet the Press,” expressed that “Virginia, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada will also be crucial this year as changing demographics make them more winnable for Democrats.”

And starting in November 2008, that is precisely what happened.

Shown below are the four states with the percentage of vote that Bush won in 2004 — compared to Trump’s losing percentage in 2016. The states’ electoral votes are also displayed in parentheses.

Virginia (13) Bush: 53.8 –Trump: 44.4

Colorado (9) Bush: 51.7 – Trump: 43.3  

New Mexico (5) Bush: 49.8 –Trump: 40 

Nevada (6) Bush: 50.7 – Trump: 45.5

My question is: Where does the GOP go to “find” 33 once-reliable electoral votes?

Fortunately for Trump, he found the answer in three of the formerly most reliable blue states with their combined total of 46 electoral votes. Back in 2004, the Bush campaign only dreamed of winning Pennsylvania (20), Michigan (16), and Wisconsin (10). (Note that in 2004, the three states’ combined electoral vote total was 48, with 21 for Pennsylvania, 17 for Michigan, and Wisconsin unchanged at 10.)

To Trump’s credit, he bulldozed his way into the hearts and minds of white working-class voters with a message of nationalism and populism — barely winning all three states with a combined victory margin of just under 80,000 votes.

Meanwhile, with the election less than six months away, that once impenetrable “blue wall” now trends purple on a shaky red foundation.  

The latest RCP battleground poll average has former Vice President Joe Biden leading in Pennsylvania by 6.5 percentage points, Michigan by 5.5, and Wisconsin by 2.7. But at Team Trump, strong confidence prevails. All the most ardent supporters I know are still in lockstep, saying, “All the 2016 polls showed Hillary winning” as they don battle gear.

With that thought in mind, I suggest relabeling the fight for the “blue wall” to “Gettysburg on steroids.” All the “blood” and “treasure” both parties will politically expend equates to that horrific battle — far exceeding the ho-hum generic “battleground” states label.  

Now I look southeast on my faded coffee mug map, stopping at North Carolina with its 15 electoral votes. Bush won it handily with 56.1% of the vote in 2004.

I believe that North Carolina is underplayed as a decisive battleground state — overshadowed by Florida, “the mother of all swing states.” Consider electorally that North Carolina is more significant than Wisconsin, but receives less national media attention, even with five additional electoral votes.

Let’s review North Carolina’s revealing presidential voting history.

The Tar Heel State went red for seven straight presidential elections stretching from 1980 to 2004.  Then, in 2008, due to rapidly changing demographics and Barack Obama’s unique appeal to African American voters, he broke the GOP’s long stranglehold — narrowly winning by 49.7% to 49.4% over Sen. John McCain.

In the 2012 election, Mitt Romney brought the state back to red — defeating Obama by a margin of 50.4% to 48.4%.

Four years later, in another squeaker, Trump defeated Clinton there 49.8% to 46.2%.

Currently, RCP’s poll average shows Trump and Biden virtually tied, but the last poll had Trump up by three percentage points.

Again, it bears repeating: On election night, watch this New South bellwether state because “As North Carolina goesso goes the nation.”

Finally, the message visually symbolized by my old “Bush Country 2004” mug is “red map fading.” Remember that Bush won reelection in 2004 without Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. (See the 2000 election for the most dramatic example of a GOP presidential win without penetrating the blue wall.)

 Bush’s “mission accomplished” was achieved in part because there were just enough solid red, leaning red and could-be-red states to forge a very narrow path to 270. That was in addition to a hard-fought, well-funded, strategically messaged, expertly managed and executed battle plan.

But on election night, it all came down to Ohio. If not for Bush’s slim 2.1 percentage point lead that won him 20 electoral votes, he — like his father — would have been a one-term president. Instead, Bush stands as the last GOP president to be reelected. (In six months, that could change.)

Speaking of tight, decisive Ohio races, the latest poll has Trump leading Biden within the margin of error. Way too close for comfort after the president initially won the state by a whopping margin of 8.1 percentage points.

“Red map fading” means the muddy red road that Bush slogged along in 2004 is gone. Trump’s only path to 270 is the aforementioned “Gettysburg on steroids” with a full-frontal charge into the blue wall and other major states that he barely won in 2016 — Florida by 1.2 percentage points,  Pennsylvania by 0.7, Michigan by 0.2 and North Carolina by 3.7.

Then, when Arizona is tossed into the equation as a battleground, Trump’s electoral math — perilous well before the COVID-19 economic crisis — appears more troubled.

Worse news of all for my fellow Republicans, and potentially the most earth-shattering in modern American political history, is the once bright red “star” on my mug map that has dimmed over Texas.

RCP lists the Lone Star State, with its game-changing 38 electoral votes, in the 2020 “toss-up” column. Is Texas on tap to be the greatest of all battlegrounds?  Even the RCP poll average has Trump and Biden tied within the margin of error.

In 2020, Hispanic voters will be the largest minority voting group with the potential to shift major swing states blue. The Pew Research Center found “about 62% identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, while 34% affiliate with or lean to the Republican Party.”

If Hispanic voters turn out in record numbers, as they did for the 2018 midterm elections, that means my formerly bright red and shiny mug could fade to barely pink after Nov. 3, 2020.

Now more than ever, my Grand Old Party and old mug need an infusion of color — without it, both will fade away.  

Myra Adams is a media producer and writer with numerous national credits. She served on the McCain Ad Council during the GOP nominee’s 2008 campaign and on the 2004 Bush campaign creative team. Twitter: @MyraKAdams


(Angela Major/The Janesville Gazette via AP)

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE.

Re-posted from RealClearPolitics May 8, 2020 (Linked on Drudge Report May 8/9) By Myra Adams – RCP Contributor

Earlier this week, a depressing economic prognosis linked on the Drudge Report concluded:  “A whole lot more pain is on the way, and it is going to shake our nation to the core.”

That forecast also describes my election night nightmare: contested presidential race results with neither candidate willing to concede. The discord is triggered by delays and system failures while county and city election officials work tirelessly, processing the largest number of mail-in ballots in U.S. history.

The nightmare spans election week with “reports” alleging vote-by-mail “irregularities” in a handful of swing states too close to call. Then, on Friday, Nov. 6, in dueling press conferences, both President Trump and former Vice President Biden declare victory. Chaos ensues. Armies of lawyers are mobilized along with the National Guard, and then … fortunately, my alarm clock interrupts the bedlam.  

Is my nightmare detached from reality? Or will a late-fall COVID-19 “second wave outbreak” shift the electorate from in-person to mail-in voting on a scale that could wreak havoc on our democratic process?

Trouble is brewing, as reported in a April 25 Politico piece headlined “States rush to prepare for huge surge of mail voting.”

Quoted was Wendy Weiser, the vice president for democracy at the Brennan Center, who warned: “We’re going to see a substantial switch to mail voting whether or not anybody prepares for it. The question is, will the system be prepared to accommodate and process that, or will it be a real mess?”

For starters, the “real mess” begins well before ballots are even processed on Nov. 3, with every state having different mail-in rules and criteria for requesting an absentee ballot. What could possibly go wrong when mail voting is quickly and dramatically expanded amid the first coronavirus/social distancing/emotionally charged presidential election conducted during the worse economic climate since the Great Depression?

Last month, an NPR report headlined “Coronavirus May Reshape Who Votes and How in the 2020 Election” highlighted the problems:

“Some states require that voters have an excuse — such as being out of state or ill — while others have no-excuse absentee voting. States with all mail-in elections automatically send ballots out to registered voters, while others require voters to request such a ballot. Some states pay the return postage; others do not. Some states require mail-in ballots to be received by Election Day, while others only require that they be postmarked by then.”

Giving credence to my nightmare are potential problems in two “must-win” swing states. The aforementioned Politico piece cites Amber McReynolds, CEO of the nonprofit Vote at Home Institute (more on her later), as noting that “Michigan and Pennsylvania, two of the most important 2020 presidential battlegrounds, are also two of the states at greatest risk” and that both “recently enacted no-excuse absentee voting, meaning they have little infrastructure and have only managed low levels of voting by mail in the past, creating more opportunity for error.”

What amount of “error” is “acceptable” in states that Trump barely won in 2016  — Michigan by 0.3 percentage points and Pennsylvania by 0.7 — when forced to quickly ramp up for “no-excuse absentee” voting? Again, what could possibly go wrong in these two states with a combined total of 36 electoral votes, the winner of which is likely to be the next president or re-elected?

That raises another question: How much new mail-in voting is expected in November?

I asked Michael McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida who tracks voter participation at the United States Election Project. “A good guess at this point is half, or more, of all ballots cast will be by mail,” he answered. Then McDonald added that “there are some states where we could see substantially fewer ballots cast by mail, so that 50% nationwide is misleading.”

Interestingly, he pointed out that in 2020, even before coronavirus, “we were already looking at close to 30% mail ballots.” That alone would be record-breaking if compared to 2016 when mail-in ballots accounted for 21% of 128,838,342  presidential votes cast. The figure inched up to 23% during the 2018 midterm elections.

Election officials must heed this warning about the tremendous expected increase. “If states don’t prepare now they won’t have enough equipment,” Amber McReynolds told Politico.

Professor McDonald expressed a much dimmer view: “Even if the federal government today allocated $2 billion for running the November election, the pipeline from the federal to state to local governments where the elections are run is already broken. The insufficient $400 million the federal government has allocated is not flowing to the local election officials who must prepare.”

Disheartened, McDonald told me, “There is not enough time between now and the election to purchase the equipment and do the training we need to manage a large number of mail ballots. We are falling into a black hole, and there is no way out at this point.”

Also sending warnings is President Trump — rigorously messaging against the massive, seemingly unstoppable trend toward mail-in voting. On May 1 he tweeted: “Don’t allow RIGGED ELECTIONS!”

His tweet was accompanied by a RealClearPolitics op-ed headlined “28 Million Mail-In Ballots Went Missing in the Last Four Elections.” (That claim was disputed by McReynolds, the Vote at Home Institute CEO, in a subsequent RCP piece headlined “There Were NOT 28 Million ‘Missing’ Mail-In Ballots.”)

Trump, determined to keep actively supporting in-person voting, told White House reporters on April 7 that “mail-in voting is a terrible thing. I think if you vote, you should go, and even the concept of early voting is not the greatest, because a lot of things happen.”

The next day Trump followed up on Twitter, writing: “Absentee Ballots are a great way to vote for the many senior citizens, military, and others who can’t get to the polls on Election Day. These ballots are very different from 100% Mail-In Voting, which is ‘RIPE for FRAUD,’ and shouldn’t be allowed!”

Who knows, that election “F-word” might become the rallying cry used by both candidates — making the contested 2000 election seem quaint by comparison.

Meanwhile, should we expect Trump’s warnings of “fraud” and “rigged elections” to increase over the ensuing months as mail voting grows in popularity and states loosen criteria and restrictions? Moreover, is he building both a legal platform to launch his defense and a safety net if he falls?

During an election of such great consequence, both parties will have their guard up like never before. And never before has a presidential election relied so heavily on the U.S. Postal Service — a near-bankrupt institution pleading for “$75 billion in cash, grants, and loans” and warning that if funding is not received it could close down operations by June.

Voting expert McDonald is also concerned, telling me, “Post office delivery has slowed, and if you vote by mail that gums up the works.”

Finally, I asked if the forthcoming election keeps him up at night.

“It’s very possible that we are going to have a colossal train wreck come November,” he replied. “We are going to see system failures, people unable to vote, and much litigation firing back and forth. We expect lots of fraud claims, primarily from Donald Trump, that will undermine the legitimacy of the election result.”

Sadly, my election night nightmare with both sides claiming victory could mirror that dire economic outlook linked to by Drudge: “A whole lot more pain is on the way, and it is going to shake our nation to the core.”

Myra Adams is a media producer and writer with numerous national credits. She served on the McCain Ad Council during the GOP nominee’s 2008 campaign and on the 2004 Bush campaign creative team.


Re-posted from RealClearPolitics on March 25, 2020
By Myra Adams – RCP Contributor

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE.

Coronavirus question: How many Broward County, Fla., police officers does it take to shut down a neighborhood nail salon?

Answer: Three. Two to enter and announce, “The governor is shutting down all non-essential businesses” and one outside to provide backup.

To their credit, the policemen were kind enough to say to the owners, “You can finish what you are doing.”

Since “what you are doing” was applying bubble-gum-pink lacquer to my nails, I had the honor of being the salon’s last customer on Sunday afternoon.

Now that you know that chapter of the story, let’s explore the wide and deep repercussions of what I call “the great unraveling.”

Close to the beach and across the street from where we live in South Florida is a small strip shopping center that fulfills our mundane, daily needs. In addition to a grocery, pharmacy, restaurant, and coffee/donut chain, there are a variety of mom-and-pop stores that provide services such as keeping my paws and claws from becoming unwieldy. Like so many nail salons across America, the owners are a Vietnamese couple who employ about 12 of their fellow countrymen and women.

The co-owner spouse, at age 10, was a refugee during the Vietnamese “boat people” crisis in 1980. Her family, seeking freedom from the brutal communist regime, escaped and survived a harrowing three-night journey from Da Nang to Hong Kong before eventually emigrating to Washington state. She will never forget how cold, wet, hungry, and seasick she was during the entire ordeal.

Decades later, she and her husband made their way to South Florida, and for the last 10 years have operated at their current location.

Up until last Sunday — in accordance with the initial orders of Broward County officials attempting to slow the spread of the virus — the mask-wearing owners were trying to keep the salon open by allowing a maximum of 10 people inside at any one time, including employees. When I was there on Sunday, the couple was worried about staying in business.

I suggested that they call their landlord to ask for reduced rent during the crisis. The husband complained, “That company is so big, with hundreds of shopping centers, they don’t care about us” — but after I pointed out the shopping center’s current vacancy rate, he said he would call.  

During our discussion, his wife made light of the government potentially giving a $1,500 payment and tax breaks, saying, “How is that going to help us survive if we don’t have customers?”

And then, as if on cue, the police entered with Gov. DeSantis’ shutdown order.

Multiply this one nail salon and its employees by millions of family-owned businesses in every sector. After decades of hard work, countless American dreams could be destroyed — many home-grown or inherited, while some began in a small open boat escaping communism. No matter their story, how will millions of small-business owners and more millions of their employees pay their bills? Government payouts and loans will not be enough to stop the hemorrhaging. Will corporate landlords cut them breaks or even delay rent payments during the mandatory shutdown?  

The fate of my nail salon is a microcosm for how the “great unraveling” could lead to a “greater depression.” Here is how:

Pre-virus, the U.S. economy was “perceived” as strong, but how strong? According to a Brookings Institute report,  “53 million people in the U.S. — 44% of the country’s workers — earn low wages. Their median hourly earnings are $10.22, and for those who work full time year-round, median annual earnings are about $24,000.”

Maybe some of my favorite nail salon employees fall into that group. There is no doubt that the current massive workplace shutdown will create poverty and despair the likes of which our nation has never experienced.

Am I too cynical and overreacting after experiencing the nail salon closure and feeling the owners’ pain?

I think not.

Linked Monday on the Drudge Report was a sobering quote. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard predicted that “the U.S. unemployment rate may hit 30% in the second quarter because of shutdowns to combat the coronavirus, with an unprecedented 50% drop in gross domestic product.”

Bullard’s statement triggers me to invoke the Great “D” word, especially if unemployment does reach 30% and half the economy dissipates. Now, consider these comparable, historic unemployment rate facts:

“The highest rate of U.S. unemployment was 24.9% in 1933, during the Great Depression. Unemployment remained above 14% from 1931 to 1940. It remained in the single digits until September 1982 when it reached 10.1%. During the Great Recession, unemployment reached 10% in October 2009.”

Therefore, if Bullard’s prediction proves correct, 30% unemployment would be three times the rate during the Great Recession and five percentage points higher than the peak of the Great Depression. Wrap your arms around that.

We know that President Trump is obsessed with the economy as a scorecard for his presidency. Thus, one can imagine that nothing makes him cringe more than the name Herbert Hoover — the Republican president in office when the 1929 stock market crash sparked the Great Depression.

That explains Monday’s Washington Post headline: “Trump weighs restarting economy despite warnings from U.S. public health officials.” The Post reported, “America will again — and soon — be open for business,” he said. “Very soon, a lot sooner than three or four months that somebody was suggesting. A lot sooner. We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.”

Followed by Tuesday’s headline: “Trump says he wants ‘country opened’ by Easter, despite warnings from public health experts about coronavirus outbreak.”

Will trying to stop the “great unraveling” prevent a “greater” depression? Stay tuned for what could be hailed as Trump’s boldest, monumental balancing-act-of-a-decision. A desperate leadership gamble where national economic health “trumps” public health. And, if successful, it would redefine his presidency and boost his reelection prospects.

Of course, critics will call the decision “bad medicine” and “irresponsible” — especially since the virus is likely to continue spreading along with reports of overwhelmed hospitals, equipment shortages, and increased fatality rates.

Furthermore, and optimistically speaking, consider if, because of Trump’s gamble, the unemployment rate sharply rises but falls back to single digits by summer or early fall. And consider that GDP dramatically shrinks — but at a rate significantly less than the 50% predicted by James Bullard. In those cases, then Trump will spin a victory, comparing himself to Franklin D. Roosevelt. “He saved the economy” and “He won the war” could be the new 2020 version of “Make American Great Again.”  

My barometer of virus recovery — a one small shop as economic-health focus group — will be when the nail salon reopens, rehires the 12 loyal employees, and can afford rent again. In the meantime, while closed, I expect my nails to chip, crack, and split  — symbolic of a suffering nation.


AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Re-posted from RealClearPolitics Feb. 28, 2020
By Myra Adams – RCP Contributor

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE.

The War of 2020 is raging at CPAC. The annual four-day Conservative Political Action Conference of activist Republicans, taking place through Saturday at National Harbor, Md., is the best place to measure the vital signs of a GOP on the attack — message, energy and confidence.

Let’s start with the message: CPAC’s theme emblazoned everywhere from the lips of each speaker is “America vs. Socialism.” During a one-minute chat with Matt Schlapp — the chairman of the American Conservative Union, which hosts CPAC — I told him it was a great theme. He thanked me and said it was his idea. But America vs. Socialism is more than just a terrific, easy-to-remember 2020 message. It sets up the “Us vs. Them” warring factions for the battle to reelect President Trump.

At CPAC, here is the simple underlying message repeatedly voiced from the stage, paraphrased in two sentences: “We Republicans represent all that is good in America. The Democrats want to destroy all that is good.”  Moreover, if you needed one word to summarize the “zen” of CPAC, that word is “fear.”

For further elaboration, scroll through CPAC’s agenda and read the titles of the speeches and breakout sessions. Here are a few of my favorites:

“The Fate of Our Culture and Our Nation Hangs in the Balance” — Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX-2)

“Stopping Socialism: Exposing and Defeating the Socialist Plot to Hijack America” — sponsored by The Heartland Institute

“Freedom of Speech in America… And How We are Losing It” — sponsored by Freedom of Speech in America

“Black Guns Matter: Living Conservatism Courageously”– Maj Toure

“Because Trump: How the Left Justifies Acts of Violence,” — a panel discussion moderated by Julio Rosas, Townhall.com.

“Why the Left Loves Open Borders” — sponsored by The Heritage Foundation

“Culture Jihad: How to Stop the Left From Killing a Nation” — Todd Starnes

CPAC’s agenda is also chock-full of Trump administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, Cabinet secretaries, the acting White House chief of staff, campaign high-command (Brad Parscale), and family crowd-pleasers Donald Jr., Ivanka, Jared Kushner, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Lara Trump and many more.  On Saturday afternoon, the king of “T-PAC,” Donald J. Trump, is scheduled to appear.

ueling the America vs. Socialism message is energy and confidence from the packed ballrooms and hallways at the massive Gaylord Hotel. The buzz is “Four More Years,” uttered with great conviction and a “nothing can stop us” attitude. Even folks I spoke to who are not 100% in love with the president all have a similar mindset: “Consider the alternative.”

Election night predictions range from Trump winning 48 states to simply more states than he won in 2016.

Having attended CPAC since ancient times (pre-internet and social media), I have never observed a crowd this much in lockstep, inhaling the smell of victory. (For comparison, compare ‘What I Learned at CPAC 2019.”)

Every year CPAC grows larger and becomes more of a spectacle. Even the lone heckler at vice president’s speech on Thursday was a Trump look-a-like who was escorted out of the packed ballroom to chants of “USA! USA!”

There are thousands of “Trumplicans” networking and having a grand old time with the Grand Old Party, now unrecognizable to most grandfathers. Colorful characters abound, many wearing provocative T-shirts. My favorite slogans were “Deplorable Lives Matter” (worn by a white male senior citizen) and “Ban Commies Not Guns” (adorning a young man with a yarmulke on this head).

For sale was Trump merchandise of every imaginable variety, enough to fill a small CVS, but the glittering Trump ballgown on display was not for sale. A transgender 6-foot-5 “Lady MAGA” paraded around the lobby with long blond hair and wearing a red-white-blue tutu and red 8-inch heeled knee-high go-go boots.

A few more observations:

The age of attendees is trending older. CPAC used to be a mecca for college and young Republicans, but now there is an equal number of “senior” passes around wrinkled necks.

There is chatter about what is next for the party if Trump wins or loses in November. Will the GOP separate into factions? Will the Trump family members run for office? Will Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo battle it out in 2024? What about Nikki Haley? After Trump, will the GOP be as split as the 2020 Democrats are now?

But those questions are in the future. All that matters now is America vs. Socialism and a message that appeared on the screen from the speech by Rep. Dan Crenshaw:

“We win by telling the right story of America.”


AP Photo/John Locher

Re-posted from RealClearPolitics on Feb. 22, 2020

COMMENTARY By Myra Adams – RCP Contributor

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE.

At Wednesday’s Democratic primary debate in Nevada, since none of the moderators asked the following question, I shall raise it now: Will America elect a Jewish president?

It’s a pertinent question considering that two Jewish candidates currently rank first and third on the RealClearPolitics poll average of nominee preferences among Democrats. But before we discuss this sensitive topic that inevitably will burst into mainstream reporting if either Sen. Bernie Sanders or former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wins the Democratic nomination — let’s briefly review five equally controversial presidential electability questions both past and present.

1960: Will America elect a Catholic president?

Two months before the presidential election, this question generated tremendous political angst. It’s why Democratic nominee Sen. John F. Kennedy famously appeared before a group of influential Protestant pastors in Houston and said: “I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, who happens also to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me.”

Answer: Kennedy won a close but controversial victory.

2008: Will America elect an African American president?

Hawaii-born Sen. Barack Obama — bi-racial with a white mother from Kansas and black father from Kenya — leveraged his heritage and skin color with a message of “hope and change.” Obama attracted both white and non-white voters to win a hard-fought primary against Sen. Hillary Clinton. Then, as the Democratic nominee, Obama charismatically embraced a mission to unite America and address past racial inequities in a “post-racial” society.

Answer: Obama won a comfortable victory.

2016: Will America elect a woman president?

Former first lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was highly favored to make history as the first female president. But, in a stunning upset, Clinton was defeated by Donald Trump, losing the Electoral College vote 304-227. Yet, Clinton won a larger percentage of the popular vote, 48.2% to 46.1% — a 2.86 million-vote margin of “victory.”

Answer: Ladies, be patient – the results were ambiguous.

2020: Will America elect a gay president?

Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Ind., is a Democratic Primary candidate seeking the nomination in a quest to become America’s first openly gay president. Buttigieg, 38, currently ranks fifth on RCP’s average of national primary polls.

Nonetheless, Buttigieg’s candidacy signifies a momentous political, social, and cultural breakthrough for the LGBT movement.

Answer: To be determined.

2020: Will America elect a Jewish president?

The closest our nation has ever come to an answer was in 2000 when Sen. Joe Lieberman was chosen as Vice President Al Gore’s running mate on the Democratic ticket. Then in 2004, Sen. Lieberman ran for the Democratic presidential nomination but fared poorly and dropped out on Feb. 3, 2004.

Answer: Unknown, but possible — so let’s dive in.

For starters, it’s interesting to contrast how Sanders and Bloomberg are addressing their Jewish heritage on the campaign trail.

Let’s start with Bernie. At age 78, the independent Vermont senator — a self-proclaimed democratic socialist — is not known to be religious or to promote his Jewish heritage as part of his political identity.

What follows are Sanders’ quotes from “Two Jews Walk Into a Presidential Primary” — an insightful Jan. 26  Atlantic piece by Jewish writer Edward-Isaac Dovere:

“I am what I am” is how Sanders put it in 2015, when Jimmy Kimmel asked whether he believed in God. “And what I believe in, and what my spirituality is about, is that we’re all in this together.” This view has evolved. In October, in an appearance in Washington at the national conference of J Street—a progressive organization that aims to influence American policy toward Israel—Sanders stood up during his interview and said, “I am very proud to be Jewish. I look forward to being the first Jewish president in the history of this country.”

Conversely, at Prospect — a publication that brands itself “an independent voice for liberal thought” — in a February piece titled “Sanders and the Jewish Vote,” author Mairav Zonszein wrote:

“Jewish media outlets have published columns expressing dread and fear of a Sanders nomination, including the claim he is only embracing his Jewish identity to deflect against charges of anti-Semitism.”

Bernie’s presidential “brand” is more socialist-revolutionary-rabble-rouser than a comforting bowl of homemade matzo ball soup — the specialty of every Jewish grandmother (including mine). And remember, Karl Marx was also ethnically Jewish.

What about former NYC mayor and billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg, who ranks eighth on Forbes’ list of the 400 richest Americans? (For the record, Trump ranks 275.)

Again, Edward-Isaac Dovere’s recent piece in the Atlantic offers some revealing quotes. After chronicling how Bloomberg is suddenly sprinkling his appearances with Jewish culture and Old Testament references, Dovere writes:

“To those who know Bloomberg well and even spent years working for him, this is a surprising turn. As mayor, he was more of the stop-by-synagogue-on-Rosh-Hashanah kind of observer…”

One could argue that in order to win the Democratic Party nomination, a candidate must perform well in states with large numbers of Jewish voters. (Especially in the all-important Florida primary.) Therefore, it’s a sound strategy for both Bloomberg and Sanders to play the “Jewish card” even if they have never overtly played it before.

After all, potentially becoming the first Jewish presidential nominee of a major party would be a significant cultural achievement. Finally, here is my theory why Sanders and Bloomberg are more publicly embracing their heritage after downplaying it for decades.

Both are proactively preparing for the same “criticism guilt advantage” — if you didn’t support Obama, you were a racist, and if you didn’t vote for Hillary, you were a sexist. Therefore, if either man — who celebrated their bar mitzvahs in the mid-1950s — were to face off against Trump in the general election, we would likely hear, “You aren’t voting for Sanders or Bloomberg because you are anti-Semitic.”

As 2020 progresses, with anti-Semitism growing nationally (and worldwide) — and only 2% of the U.S. population identifying as Jewish — ask yourself, “Is America ready to elect a Jewish president?”

No one yet needs to ask or even answer that question, but we might need to in November.

Related Topics: John KennedyMichael Bloomberg2020 Democratic Primary2020 Election2020 Democrats


(AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Re-posted from Real Clear Politics, February 04, 2020

COMMENTARY by Myra Adams – RCP Contributor

Myra’s Complete Archive Is Here.

Are the stars aligned for a “Divine appointment” of historic proportions on Thursday, Feb. 6, at the National Prayer Breakfast, where Donald Trump will deliver perhaps the most consequential address of his presidency? At this writing, it appears that way — through an almost supernatural confluence of events.

Tuesday, Feb. 4: President Trump is scheduled to give his third State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. He will be speaking as an impeached president on trial in the U.S. Senate. But Trump is not the first chief executive to be in that predicament.

On Jan. 19, 1999, President Bill Clinton gave a State of the Union address during his Senate impeachment trial and did not even mention impeachment. Whether Trump will take that page out of Clinton’s playbook remains to be seen. But this we know, reported by The Hill, quoting a senior administration official: “In his address, the president will lay out a vision of relentless optimism.”

Wednesday, Feb. 5: The U.S. Senate’s final vote in Trump’s impeachment trial is planned to occur around 4 p.m. An acquittal is all but certain with Republicans in control. Convincing two-thirds of the Senate to convict and remove the president from office was always considered a futile endeavor.

Thursday, Feb. 6: In the morning, expect the unexpected when President Trump is scheduled to speak at the 68th annual National Prayer Breakfast less than 24 hours after his presumed acquittal. Every president since Dwight D. Eisenhower has addressed this influential audience of 3,500 elected officials, diplomats, national and international religious and political leaders. The breakfast is “literally one of the toughest tickets to get in Washington” — to quote House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) from his 2018 keynote speech, a dramatic re-telling about how God intervened when he almost lost his life in a shooting at a congressional baseball practice in 2017.

Since the date of the Prayer Breakfast is set in stone, the first Thursday in February, I am prompted to ask if the stars are aligned for a “Divine presidential appointment” of historic proportions — a concept believers will recognize as an event specifically arranged by God. 

Words don’t adequately convey the solemn, serious, bi-partisan, and loving breakfast atmosphere when the city’s largest ballroom is temporarily transformed into a sanctuary where glorifying God triumphs over politics.

The audience represents many different faith traditions. However, the program and tone are overwhelmingly (evangelical) Christian. Testimonies, music, and speeches profess love for Jesus Christ and one another in addition to overcoming obstacles through prayer, forgiveness of sins, and trust in the Lord.

Thursday, Trump’s potential acquittal on late Wednesday positions the annual event as a platform for the president’s first major post-acquittal speech. Is that merely coincidental or miraculous? Either way, it raises the question: How will the newly acquitted president comport himself before the National Prayer Breakfast audience?

Will he be humble, and ask forgiveness for anything? Will he be boastful and arrogant? Will he talk about how he leaned on his faith to help him through this presidential crisis? Will he “joke” as he did in August that he is the “chosen one”? Or again, will Trump take his cue from President Clinton at the 1999 Prayer Breakfast and not even mention impeachment?  (At the Feb. 4 breakfast Clinton had yet to be acquitted, which occurred eight days later on Feb. 12, 1999.) In Trump’s case, by Thursday morning, the ink on his Senate acquittal paperwork will still be wet, and he might let it rip.

Nonetheless, the president is being given a historic opportunity to address National Prayer Breakfast attendees at the most pivotal, triumphal time in his presidency. But this extremely dignified, mostly pro-Trump audience is worlds apart from a Trump rally. For starters, political speakers are not supposed to talk about partisan politics.

Then, it goes without saying: Thou shall not gloat or call thy enemies by names other than their own. Thus, will Trump rise to the moment of this Divinely timed occasion? Will his words confirm and reinforce the loyal support he and his policies have earned from voters who are followers of Christ, inside the ballroom and out? After acquittal, will he use this unique Prayer Breakfast timing and setting to talk about loving his enemies and uniting all of his people?

WWJS? – “What Would Jesus Say?” 

Is Thursday morning’s must-see TV programmed by God? Stay tuned.