MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE

Reposted from RealClearPolitics Nov. 11, 2020

“If Republicans don’t challenge and change the U.S. election system, there will never be another Republican president elected again.” – Sen. Lindsey Graham on Fox News Channel, Nov. 8, 2020.

The South Carolina senator was specifically addressing why “President Trump should not concede” the election after “allegations of system failure [and] fraud.” But he also indirectly broached a wider truth. So let that truth come marching in about the GOP’s bleak prospects for no “Republican president elected again.” If Republicans choose to confront it, they need only look at exit polls from the Washington Post, ABC News, and NBC News, all reporting similar demographic voter data (and subject to change).

At this writing, it appears that Joe Biden is on track to win 306 electoral votes. Ironically, that is the exact number Donald Trump won in 2016, which he often characterized as a “landslide.” (Officially, and after two electors defected, Trump won 304 votes.)  Yet, Trump failed to win the popular vote in either of his presidential races. Although not the final 2020 numbers, Biden has a respectable margin of 50.9% to 47.3%. Nonetheless, Trump deserves credit. Yes, Biden is ahead by 5.5 million votes  78.2 million compared to Trump’s 72..7 million  but the president increased his 2016 total by a whopping 9.8 million votes, up from 62.9 million.

We know that winning the presidential “popular” vote does not grant entry to the Oval Office. The candidate must have robust support to muster the math needed to earn at least 270 electoral votes. But the popular vote points to a stark, inconvenient truth that is tough for the GOP to handle.

Starting in 1992, there have been eight presidential elections, but only once, in 2004, has the Republican nominee won the popular vote. And my party cannot count on the rare Electoral College “flukes” of 2000 and 2016 that delivered the White House. The truth of the GOP’s demographic crisis becomes more apparent after examining the pertinent 2020 exit data.

Let’s start with whites – 67% of all voters, but down from 70% in 2016. That decrease should shock Republicans for three reasons.  

First, three percentage points in four years is greater than the decrease from 2012 to 2016 when the white vote dropped two points, from 72% to 70%

Second, the exit polls agree that Trump triumphed with white voters, winning them by 17 percentage points, 58% to 41%. However, in 2016 he won whites by 20 points over Hillary Clinton, 57% to 37%. It does not take a math genius to figure that Trump losing three percentage points of white voters after the white electorate itself decreased by three points contributed to his defeat. Conversely, if Trump had won the white vote by at least 20 points or more a second time, he would be planning his second inauguration

Third, in January 2020, the respected Pew Research Center projected that eligible white voters would be 66.7% of the electorate. Pew underestimated by 0.3 percentage points, probably due to record turnout, but will the white electorate shrink another three percentage points, or more, by 2024? The aging and dying white population could support such an estimate.

Consequently, the next GOP presidential nominee must capture an ever increasing share of the white vote if he or she lacks greater appeal to minority voters. In 2024 perhaps the nominee will need to earn 20 to 25 percentage points more than the Democratic candidate in order to win the popular vote and reach 270 electoral votes.

Here are more reasons why Lindsey Graham spoke truth.

In September, I wrote a RealClearPolitics piece headlined “How the Hispanic Vote Is Growing in Power.” Again, I used Pew Research Center data projecting eligible Hispanic voters to be 13.3% of the 2020 electorate. In 2016, Hispanics were 11% of voters.

The new exit poll data shows Hispanics at 13%, a record two-point increase, doubling what had been a steady one percentage point increase every four years. Joe Biden won 65% – down slightly from the 66% that Clinton won in 2016. In the meantime, there has been much reporting about how Trump increased his percentage among Hispanic voters. Yes, he did, winning 32%, up from 28% in 2016. However, as I wrote two months ago in that Hispanic power piece, “By now, [Hispanics’] two-thirds support for Democrats is a well-established voting pattern.”

If trends continue, the 2024 electorate is likely to be about 15% Hispanic. Thus, with the GOP traditionally winning only about one-third, dramatically increasing the share to 40% or 50% will be a challenge for any Republican presidential nominee. Remember that in 2004, George W. Bush won reelection with support from 44% of Hispanics. Does that help explain why he is the only Republican to win the popular vote in the last eight presidential elections?

Let’s look now at African Americans. They are also 13% of the voting electorate, one percentage point up from 12% in 2016. Blacks even surpassed Pew’s 2020 projection of 12.5%. Furthermore, during Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 elections, African Americans’ share of voters grew to 13% but shrunk back to 12% in 2016. Now this group is back to 13%, giving the Biden/Harris ticket some bragging rights.

Biden won 87% of Black voters but dropped two percentage points from Clinton’s 89% in 2016. Trump increased his share of African American voters, winning 12%, up from 8% in 2016. By comparison, since the 1980 election, the GOP presidential nominee who won the highest percentage of African American votes was Ronald Reagan with 14%, and Blacks were then 10% of the electorate. In 2020, Trump, with his 12% share, is tied for second place with Bob Dole in 1996.

Asian American voters stayed steady at 4% of the electorate. Biden won them by 27 points, 61% to 34%. But Trump increased his margin by seven points over 2016 when Clinton won Asians 65% to 27%. That is good news for the GOP, but more improvement is needed as this demographic continues to grow.

Overall, the 2020 non-white vote was 33% of the electorate, with Biden winning 71% to 26% for Trump. Henceforth, with the non-white vote potentially growing every four years, if the GOP continues on its current trajectory, Lindsey Graham’s inartful statement is destined to be a political reality.

But what exactly did Graham mean when he said, “If Republicans don’t challenge and change the U.S. election system, there will never be another Republican president elected again”? We know he is accusing Democrats of cheating now, but is he also insinuating as much into the future? And, is he slyly suggesting that the GOP permanently try to suppress the non-white vote?

Here is a more grounded suggestion: The Republican National Committee should dust off and update its famous “2013 autopsy report.”  It was written after Mitt Romney’s 2012 devastating loss to Barack Obama when it was clear that although Romney won white voters by 20 points – 59% to 39%, with whites then 72% of the electorate – the demographic crystal ball looked more brown and black. (Romney won only 6% of Blacks, 27% of Hispanics, and 26% of Asians.)  

Astonishingly, in 2016 Trump blew up the autopsy recommendations of “widening the tent” by focusing on engaging whites, especially blue-collar men in the Rust Belt. Now that Trump has lost the “blue wall” states – and potentially the reliably red states of Arizona and Georgia – a new blueprint (or should I say “redprint”) is needed to build the most massive, inclusive political party that policy, attitude, and money can buy.

In the meantime, bottle the policy ingredients that Trump used to marginally increase his percentage of non-whites and that helped win back House seats and likely keep control of the Senate. Then, ban Lindsey Graham from publicly discussing “challenging and changing” the U.S. election system when it’s demographic changes that are the greatest impediment to electing another Republican president. This is a truth the GOP must handle.


MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE

Reposted from RealClearReligion on Oct. 30, 2020

Whether you are voting for Donald Trump, Joe Biden, or another candidate, my Election Day advice is the same: Pray for a peaceful outcome.

Remember, this is America, the world’s oldest democracy that many believe the Almighty had a hand in birthing. Our nation grew into a proud example of representative government without election-related violence ever associated with the quadrennial exercise of choosing our next leader.

Yet today, there are numerous mainstream media reports of militias forming. For example, at NPR: “Five states – Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Oregon – have the highest risk of seeing increased militia activity around the elections: everything from demonstrations to violence.”

On Sunday, a veteran Republican strategist told me he firmly believes a civil war is imminent if Trump wins. And I say perhaps the reverse is possible if Biden wins. After all, on several occasions, the president has publicly stated that if he loses, the election was “rigged.” Not surprising, since I know many Republicans who think that all this talk about a landslide is good news for Trump, not Biden. (Check out Rush Limbaugh’s radio show transcript from October 14.)

Then a handful of Republicans and boatloads of Democrats have told me that a Biden landslide would guarantee the most peaceful outcome. How could Trump rally his troops for an uprising if the results are indisputable?

That is one question on a list of thoughts, observations, and prayers for my last column of this nature before Election Day.

Topping the list is a strong feeling that Americans are totally fed up with the Electoral College. If an alien from Pluto observed the election campaign, it would think that the United States had only six states. The alien would beam back to the Mothership that two of those states reigned supreme – Pennsylvania and Florida – and those voters ruled over Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Arizona.

Currently, Republicans generally oppose ending the Electoral College after losing the popular vote in 2000 and 2016 and still winning the White House. Moreover, the GOP thinks that big “blue” population states would tilt the election to the Democratic nominee. But, if (BIG if) Biden were to win Texas – the “red” state “crown jewel” with 38 electoral votes – Republicans could quickly have a change of heart and start embracing a direct presidential popular vote.

Furthermore, a blue Texas under the electoral vote system would mean a significant chunk of the 2024 presidential campaign energy and attention would shift to winning the Lone Star State. Watch closely because, according to the RealClearPolitics Texas poll averages, Trump only leads Biden by 2.3 percentage points – within the margin of error in a state that Trump won by nine percentage points in 2016. If you are a Republican, pray that Texas does not go “blue.”

Second on my observation list, if Trump loses, his refusal to appeal to swing voters might prove to be his reelection campaign’s most egregious strategic error.

In June 2019, I wrote an RCP piece headlined “How GOP Insiders View Trump’s ‘Base-Only’ 2020 Strategy,” after being prompted and intrigued by a Trump quote in a Time Magazine interview. When asked if the president should reach out to swing voters, Trump replied, “I think my base is so strong, I’m not sure that I have to do that.”

Yikes, bravado red flag warning!

At that time, the economy was humming along strong, and “Contagion” was a virus horror movie. Still, Trump’s RCP job approval average in mid-2019 hovered around 44% – exactly where it is today – a remarkedly stable number that would foretell a tough reelection.

It’s worth quoting Mark McKinnon’s prescient quote from my piece. McKinnon was speaking from experience as the chief media strategist for George W. Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign. Talking about Trump’s base-only strategy, he said, “It’s a risky strategy because in order to be successful, it means the campaign has to suppress turnout with Democrats to a level at or lower than it was in 2016. And given what we saw in 2018, Democratic turnout is likely to be significantly higher.”

Today’s record early-voting turnout and accusations of Republicans trying to suppress the vote are double scourges striking Team Trump that point to the inherent flaws of a base-only strategy. Not only lousy public relations for the GOP but when the voting pie grows, even a solid, static base serves up a smaller piece.

However, since the election is not over and if the president wins through prayers and Divine Intervention, then his base-only strategy will be considered brilliant but risky and non-traditional – like so much of Trump’s presidency.

Third on my list is a Trump action that could be looked back upon as a crucial turning point that did immense harm if he were to lose reelection. A poignant example of Trump serving his base with a “red meat all the time and to hell with blue land” attitude, this event took center stage Monday night when Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in as the Supreme Court’s newest member. Justice Barrett, a lovely, brilliant, pious, well-qualified woman, offers Trump the opportunity to please his base, especially “values voters” like no other presidential act.

Yet, rushing her through Senate confirmation in record time could yield some Election Day consequences, impact Supreme Court decisions for decades to come, and result in “court packing” if Biden wins. But for this discussion, let’s focus on the Senate optics.

The nation is hurting. No new COVID-related economic relief packages were passed, and now the Senate is adjourned until after the election. What signal does that send to non-base voters? Trump and GOP Senate leaders only had the base in mind when they rammed Barrett through while millions were in the process of voting. Furthermore, were those antics on the minds of record numbers of women and minority voters waiting in long lines to vote on Monday and through Election Day?

My last and overarching thoughts about the 2020 election is that Americans are sick of division. They are tired of all the Trump drama. Americans want to be unified, and Joe Biden, flawed as he is, offers that hope for millions of voters. Will this be a “hope over fear” election where unity wins over division? Or will Americans vote to keep the status quo? Never forget that for the vast majority of religious Republicans, Trump is their hope for a better America and with thousands of prayer groups asking to keep him in office.

Nevertheless, if “Blue America” defeats Trump and the Republican Party with resounding force, then the president and GOP leaders should look in the mirror and say, “We were the dividers. We fostered fear over hope. But we will be back in 2022 and 2024 when the Democrats overreach and with a kinder gentler message.”

In the end, no matter who wins, America will be transformed with God’s help.

But in the meantime and on Election Day, pray for peace. And depending on the outcome, an orderly transition, if that be His Will.


Myra Adams is a media producer and conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. She is also Executive Director of www.SignFromGod.org, a ministry dedicated to educating people about the Shroud of Turin. Contact: MyraAdams01@gmail.com or on Twitter @MyraKAdams.


MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE

Reposted from RealClearPolitics – Oct. 23, 2020

“But you can tell the story of why this year might genuinely be different as well! In particular, you can see how there may be many Republican-leaning voters who genuinely like his [Trump’s] policies but dislike him personally on such a visceral level that they cannot bring themselves to vote for him.” – Sean Trende, RealClearPolitics senior elections analyst, Oct. 20, “What a Big Biden Win Would Look Like.”

What Trende wrote is true, but also there is an opposite reaction — Republicans who admit that they personally despise the president but are voting for him anyway because they like his policies.

Such contradictions in voter behavior diminish the chances of predicting the presidential winner once afforded by a light-hearted, hypothetical question asking voters: “Who would you rather have a beer with?” 

(Note: After searching during this election cycle, I have yet to find that question asked by any polling company.)

When this theoretical, quadrennial beer question entered the political domain (around 2004, based on my research), pollsters concocted that pop-culture scenario to gauge “likability” as a factor in predicting outcome. To be clear, that poll served as a metaphor only, as two recent commanders-in-chief – and at least one candidate for the job – did not drink.  

After all, beer sharing aside, Americans are not only voting for a president but someone who they will invite into their homes over the next four years.

However, it just so happened that the “have a beer” question was a decent predictor of who would win the White House.

For example, in 2004, a poll found that 57.3% of undecided voters preferred President George W. Bush as a drinking buddy over Sen. John Kerry. Voters picked Bush even though he abstained from drinking, while Kerry — his “elite” Democratic challenger — was perceived as more “snobby.”  

During the 2008 election pitting Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain, I read a revealing modern twist on the beer bro’ question from a young male’s perspective. He said that McCain would be “more fun one-on-one in a bar crawl.” But, Obama “would get me into better clubs” and “make sure the ladies paid equal attention to me.” Now that is some focus-group insight! A window into why Obama’s perceived magnetic personality and nice-guy image was key to his decisive 2008 win over McCain, who was considered more hot-tempered.  

In 2012 when President Obama was up for reelection, he again won the brew challenge with favorability numbers that surpassed his weaker job approval rating while running against Republican Mitt Romney. (As a member of the Mormon faith, Romney did not drink.)

That data from a June 2012 report on Mediaite also quoted an MSNBC guest describing Romney as a “geeky, awkward candidate on the campaign trail” who “doesn’t project a lot of personal warmth. He doesn’t seem the kind of guy you’d want to sit down and have a beer with.” Likeability was a significant factor in 2012, and the more popular Obama was overwhelmingly reelected.

Then in June 2016, Rasmussen reported polling results for the presidential candidate with whom “likely voters” would prefer to have a beer. Donald Trump won 45% to Hillary Clinton’s 37%, with 18% undecided.

Yet, Trump and Clinton were nearly tied at 42% to 41% when likely voters were asked which candidate “they’d prefer to invite home to dinner with them and their families.” Again, a large percentage, 17%, were unsure. Those mid-year polling results predicted the tough, unsettled race that lay ahead.

Four years later, we are less than two weeks from what everyone calls “the most important election of our lifetime.” (In a December 2019 RCP piece, I argued that voters think that way about every presidential election.)

Now let’s revisit the all-important beer-buddy question from a new perspective. Sean Trende’s analysis about Republicans who like Trump’s policies but won’t vote for him due to his unlikeable personality is supported by Politico’s Tom Alberta, who wrote:

“Generations of pollsters and journalists have fixated on the question of which candidate voters would rather have a beer with—a window into how personality translates into political success. Here’s the thing: Americans have been having a beer with Trump for the past four years—every morning, every afternoon, every evening. He has made himself more accessible than any president in history, using the White House as a performance stage and Twitter as a real-time diary for all to read. Like the drunk at the bar, he won’t shut up.”

Nonetheless, for the vast majority of Republicans, Trump is their favorite “drunk” who “won’t shut up,” and they don’t want him to. Millions of loyal, banner-waving, rally attending, MAGA hat wearers enthusiastically love and support the president because of what he has done, will continue to do, and are gladly voting to keep him in office.

Even Republicans who find Trump personally abhorrent will hold their nose and cast their vote with the other hand. I know this firsthand because these voters are my friends.

Last week while making a point in my controversial Trump piece, I included a text received the prior week from a dear friend who is a Republican leader explaining why I had to support Trump. It read in part:

“Pay attention to ISSUES, not personalities.”

In so many words, that is the mantra I hear repeatedly, and often this way: “Your house is on fire; do you care if the fireman is a jerk?”

Furthermore, reacting to my piece last week, RCP readers sent me numerous Gmails. These mostly angry messages exposed the schism facing our nation when millions of voters would relish that proverbial “beer” with Trump because of what he is doing for America. An example:

“Trump is one of the few people standing between mainstream American and the precipice.”

Also, I heard from Republicans who want to kick Trump out of that proverbial bar, such as this RCP reader:

“I have never seen the virtue of a group of people so much undermined by one person than the typical Republican has been by Trump.” The reader ended his long message writing, “Thank you and God Bless You for writing your article and making me feel less alone. I now have some hope.”

Finally, before I go drink a beer, here is an RCP reader’s message that best represents the view of most Trump-voting Republicans:

“Yes, President Trump’s tweets are boisterous in nature and hurt him. Yes, he certainly has flaws. At least I know he will fight for my rights and has demonstrated a willingness to do so. That’s why I’m voting for him…I can overlook everything else.”

Hey Trump campaign, an RCP reader just wrote your next commercial!


Credit: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE.

Reposted from RealClearPolitics on Oct. 16, 2020

Since 1975, I have remained a proud, loyal member of the Republican Party through decades of winning and losing. But with Election Day fast approaching, my requested mail-in ballot from the nation’s most decisive battleground state – Florida – remains unopened after nearly three weeks.

A permanently sealed ballot would stand as a personal time capsule to what I believe was an egregious strategic error perpetrated upon this nation by my party on Feb. 5, 2020. That day Senate Republicans failed to convict President Donald J. Trump on the articles of impeachment approved by the House, charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Given all that American voters have endured since — the double scourge of an out of control, mismanaged pandemic, resulting in great economic harm —Trump’s impeachment has largely been relegated to ancient history. Although only the third U.S. president to be impeached, Trump is the first to run for reelection after acquittal.

And because he was not convicted and removed from office, and legally allowed to run for a second term, I consider the Senate’s not-guilty vote to be the most egregious strategic error of 2020. Hence, if only the GOP had acted responsibly, today my sealed ballot might read the name of Michael R. Pence on top, in place of Donald J. Trump.

Before my fellow Republicans stop reading, let me explain and defend myself.

First, I know many Republicans will take umbrage with my suggesting that Trump was rightly impeached and should have been convicted over a “phone call” with the president of Ukraine. However, I believe the specific charges were emblematic of the president’s “anything goes,” “I can do no wrong,” and “no rules apply to me” attitude. This same attitude accounted for how he comported himself pre-impeachment and further emboldened his post-impeachment behavior and authoritarian-leaning tendencies.  

On display now is how this “Trumpian” attitude is backfiring, especially among suburban women, evidenced by him pathetically asking voters at a Pennsylvania rally, “Will you please like me?” Well, they don’t.

That helps explain why the words “Biden and landslide” are increasingly linked in polling and news reports. And, why Drudge Report headlines recently screamed: “BATTLEGROUND MAP EXPANDS, SHOCK POLL: BIDEN +17,  ‘91% CHANCE’ OF WINNING.”

Furthermore, check out the RealClearPolitics “No Toss Up States” Electoral College map projecting Biden to overwhelm Trump by 375 to 163 electoral votes. Might it look more balanced if Pence had replaced Trump?

And what if the actual results are close to that RCP projection? I will point to the root cause as a self-inflicted wound from the trigger pulled on Feb. 5 by Republican senators, primarily out of fear.

Not all, but enough GOP senators voted to acquit Trump fearing blowback and name-calling attacks, especially those facing tough reelections. After seeing Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) announce his intention to convict and the Trump treatment he received, they understood that casting an acquittal vote was a safer and quieter decision.

Many senators also feared retribution from Trump-supporting MAGA constituents about being “primaried” and voted out of office. Ultimately, those senators prioritized their political careers over what I believe was best for America. While selfishly doing so, they set an unimpeachable, unconstitutional behavioral precedent for future presidents to exploit. (Looking back to 1974, applying this 2020 standard to President Richard Nixon means that he might not have been forced to resign.)

Second, I am well aware that it is revisionist history to imagine “President Pence” topping the GOP ticket and most likely accompanied by a woman VP nominee. Still, I am confident that Pence would have successfully stepped in and made a valiant attempt to unite and heal the nation. Perhaps other Republicans think that Pence would not have been the strongest candidate to replace Trump on the ticket. However, in February 2020, keeping Pence in place as the new incumbent president would have been the more prudent and stable choice.

Had that happened, RCP’s “no toss up” map might now be displaying more “red,”  and RCP’s Senate “no-toss up” seat projections might not show the GOP losing control of the chamber.

If only 19 more Republican senators had voted “guilty” on Feb. 5. Then Americans could have been spared what has evolved into a daily “theater of the absurd” — a chaotic White House reality show starring “Superman.”

Worse are childish and desperate statements from Trump’s Twitter account, or directly from his mouth. With utterances and behaviors more associated with banana republic dictators, Americans have come to accept and ignore them as “Trump being Trump.”

Here are three recent episodes that stand out and should not be ignored.

First, last week Trump asked (or rather, insisted) on national cable television  that Attorney General William Barr issue indictments against Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Just another “normal” day on the campaign trail! But in America, an incumbent president does not ask for his predecessor and current opponent to be indicted. Sadly, Trump’s astounding request was not treated as a major news event. 

Second, on several occasions and at the presidential debate, Trump has refused to state that he would leave office if he disagreed with the election results. He also has said that the only way he could lose is in a “rigged election.” Such outlandish remarks have prompted many Americans to hope Biden wins in a landslide so that GOP leaders will be forced to assist in a peaceful transition of power.

Fortunately, all Americans believe that a “peaceful transition of power” is a hallmark of who we are as a nation. The pride embodied in this foundational concept is always on display during the inaugural swearing-in ceremony when the incumbent (defeated or term-limited) is present, along with all former presidents physically able to attend. 

Third, information leaked from Trump’s tax returns reveal that he is in severe financial distress. The president owes $400 million coming due during his second-term time frame. But unknown is to whom — persons, groups, corporations, banks, or even countries (friendly or unfriendly) — does he owe these millions.

The Trump financial revelation prompted Mike Morell, former acting director of the CIA, to write a Washington Post op-ed headlined: “Trump is in debt. We can’t ignore the national security risks that come with that.” Morell noted that if the president were instead an applicant seeking a sensitive job, “Trump would have been denied a [security] clearance” over concerns that “high levels of debt would create an unacceptable counterintelligence risk.”

Still, matters such as these three and many more are of no consequence to my GOP friends (who might not be my friends after reading this piece). I have written twice during 2020 that my party has turned into a “Trumplican” cult of personality where reasonable, educated, successful, patriotic Americans dismiss or rationalize Trump’s behavior for reasons spelled out in a recent text sent to me by a VIP Republican and longtime friend:

“Quite frankly, Myra, I don’t know how you can call yourself a Christian and not support Trump. Pay attention to ISSUES, not personalities. You judge a tree by its fruit, not how pretty its flowers are.”

As I see it, the truth is Trump only cozied up to Christians for political expediency and certainly does not comport himself as one. But yes, a big yes, is how his policies and judicial selections have been pleasing to conservative Christians. Nonetheless, I know Mike Pence is a Christian — a real-deal prayer warrior and humble man of God. But, because Pence’s name is in second place on my unopened ballot, I cannot, in good conscience, vote to reelect Trump after supporting him in 2016.

Conversely, neither can I bring myself to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. That would be a vote to support a future beholden to the anti-Christian left — transforming the American economy and culture into one with socialist leanings and empowering a Democratic Party that worships at the altar of climate change and secular humanism. 

“Thy will be done” is my response to my friend.

On Election Day or soon after, I fully expect my party to lose the White House and Senate, stemming from the controversial consequences of the majority of GOP senators’ reckless decision back on Feb. 5.

Finally, it pains me to write that I will not be casting a presidential vote for the first time since age 18. Instead, I will pray on Election Day that God helps and blesses our nation.


MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE.

Reposted from RealClearPolitics – Sept. 18, 2020

Those who follow politics know that the future is uncertain for an overwhelmingly white Republican Party, due to clear-cut demographic trends. Voters who identify with the GOP are more likely to be male, over age 50, have no college degree, live in rural areas, and worship as Christians.

I joined the College Republicans in the aftermath of Watergate when the GOP was also in decline. Yet, our handful of student members were optimistic that conservative governing principles would eventually prevail. In 1980, that is precisely what happened: Ronald Reagan was elected.

Forty years later, conservative governing principles are largely passé, and Republican gatherings resemble a focus group of aging white Americans. Moreover, in 2020 whites are projected to be 66.7% of the voting total, dipping from 70% in 2016 and down steeply from 88% in 1980.

In the last three presidential elections, the Republican nominees lost the popular vote but won the shrinking white electorate by sizable margins. Trump in 2016: 57% to 37%. Romney in 2012: 59% to 39%. McCain in 2008: 55% to 43%.

Turning to the current White House race, a recent national Fox News poll found a significant shift in white voters’ presidential preference. Among likely white voters, President Trump is leading Joe Biden 54% to 43%. But Biden’s campaign is celebrating that 11-point gap because, in 2016, Trump won whites by 20 percentage points over Hillary Clinton. If these Fox poll percentages hold, Trump’s nine-point decrease among two-thirds of the electorate will make it statistically challenging for him to win the popular vote and, more importantly, the Electoral College.

In the meantime, election reporting is fixated on the Hispanic vote, and for good reasons. This is the first election when Hispanics are projected to be the nation’s largest minority voting group, at 13.3% of the electorate, surpassing the projected 12.5% for African Americans.

Compare those percentages to 2016 when Hispanics were at 11%, just behind African Americans at 12%. (In 2008 and 2012, Barack Obama boosted African American participation to 13%, a record high.)

I vividly recall when the national Hispanic vote was only 7% around the turn of the century – and the mantra among anxious GOP strategists was “We can’t lose the Hispanic vote like we lost the black vote.” And in the next breath came some variation of “or we will go the way of the Whigs.” The strategists were fearful because “safe” red states such as Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, and Florida had growing numbers of Hispanic voters who were voting Democratic at 60% or more. Unfortunately for my party, the continuation of that trend is exactly what has happened.

Since around 2000, when the Hispanic vote started to gain traction, the Republican Party’s success in attracting this group has been dismal. Over 60% of Hispanics have voted for the Democrat presidential nominee in every presidential election starting with 1992, shown below with one sub-60% exception.

What follows are Hispanic presidential voting percentages since that year and their share of voting totals shown in parentheses.

2016: Clinton 66%-Trump 28% (11%)

2012: Obama 71%-Romney 27% (10%)

2008: Obama 67%-McCain 31% (9%)  

2004: Kerry 53%-Bush 44% (7%)

2000: Gore 62%-Bush 35% (7%) 

1996: Clinton (record holder) 73%-Dole 21% (5%)

1992: Clinton 61%-Bush 25% (2%)

Currently there are numerous reports about how Biden is not attracting Hispanic voters compared to previous Democratic incumbents and nominees — especially Hillary Clinton. Therefore, the Trump campaign should be encouraged since numerous polls, such as the one cited earlier from Fox News, show that among likely Hispanic voters, Trump is earning 41% compared to 57% for Biden. (Remember that nationally in 2016, Trump only won 28% of Hispanics.)

But among registered Hispanic voters, the Fox poll shows Trump dipping to 38% with the same 57% for Biden. In a national You/Gov poll, again measuring registered Hispanic voters, Trump sinks to 30% with 52% for Biden and 12% “not sure.”

Next, let’s look at battleground Florida, where it is almost imperative that the president win the state’s 29 electoral votes if he hopes to secure a second term. Last week a St. Pete poll of likely voters had Biden winning the Hispanic vote 53.3% to Trump’s 41.5%.

This week, a Monmouth poll of registered voters shows Biden leading Trump among Florida’s Hispanics 58% to 32%. To compare, in 2016 Clinton lost the state to Trump by 1.2 percentage points, but won Florida’s diverse Hispanic vote 62% to 35%. So this survey is not good news for either candidate since both are down from 2016 percentages, but Trump’s deficit of 26 points mirrors his gap four years ago.

Now let’s examine the 2020 battleground states through the lens of 2016 Hispanic voting by party along with their percentage of the state’s voting total. Note that the states listed below are likely to increase their percentage of Hispanic voters by about two points or more this year. The states selected are all “toss-ups,” according to the RealClearPolitics 2020 Electoral College map and presented in order of the largest Hispanic electorate.

Texas: (D) 61% (R) 34% (24%)

Florida: (D) 62% (R) 35% (18%)

Nevada: (D) 60% (R) 29% (18%)

Arizona: (D) 60% (R) 30% (16%)

Pennsylvania: (D) 74% (R) 22% (6%)

Michigan: (D) 59% (R) 38% (5%)

North Carolina: (D) 59% (R) 39% (5%)

Wisconsin: (D) 63% (R) 34% (4%)

Ohio: (D) 68% (R) 28% (3%)

All we know for sure in mid-September is that 2020 will be another step up for the growing Hispanic electorate’s clout in close battleground states and, ultimately, the national election.

Circling back to the GOP’s “losing the Hispanic vote” mantra of decades ago, there was much discussion about how Hispanics “should be Republicans.” The thinking was that, in general, Hispanics are conservative, family-oriented, and religious, with many starting and owning businesses. However, in the ensuing years, this bloc has remained in the Democrat fold, likely because of immigration issues and “not feeling welcome” in the GOP.

By now, their two-thirds support for Democrats is a well-established voting pattern. That, combined with Asian voters also trending toward Democrats, the shrinking (and always split) white vote, and African Americans virtually in lockstep with Democrats, suggests a daunting long-term future for the Republican Party. But I remind myself that after President Ford’s 1976 election loss, I had the same thought.  

Of course, there is always the possibility that a GOP presidential candidate will emerge who “looks like the new America.” Already, three prominent Republicans come to mind, but let’s save that discussion for after November.


Credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE.

Reposted from RealClearPolitics – Sept. 11, 2020

This week in September 2016, I wrote a report headlined “Confirmed by Trump insider: ‘Trump TV’ is Plan B after election.”

Four years later, but not confirmed by any “Trump insiders,” the same conclusion seems appropriate for similar reasons — it makes both good business and political sense for Donald Trump to launch a “Trump TV” media venture should he suffer a reelection defeat. It’s an assessment based on the president’s narrow path to winning 270 electoral votes, which grows statistically more daunting by the day.

(Cue “There you go again” — Ronald Reagan’s iconic pronouncement from his October 1980 debate with President Jimmy Carter.)

Briefly, here are two key reasons to dust off and update “Trump TV as Plan B.”

First, students of politics know the phrase “As Ohio goes, so goes the nation.” It’s a well-deserved maxim, since the 1960 presidential election was the last time Ohio did not vote for the winning candidate.  

In 2016, Trump won the Buckeye state and its 18 electoral votes by a whopping margin of 8.1 percentage points — seemingly securing a “safe” spot atop the 2020 red-state column. Instead, the current Ohio RealClearPolitics poll average has Joe Biden leading Trump by 2.4 percentage points, a statistical tie bringing the state back to its traditional battleground status. Despite scant media attention, Trump’s Ohio slippage is an ominous sign.

Second, RCP’s Electoral College map is a reality check for Team Trump, where Biden is credited with 212 votes, either “solid” or “leaning,” compared to Trump’s 115. Remaining, and spread among 16 states — several of them traditionally reliably “red” — are 211 electoral “toss-up” votes. Biden needs to win only 58 to reach 270 and remove “vice” from his former title. Conversely, Trump must draw the political equivalent of a royal straight flush in poker to win 155 out of the 211 remaining votes to reach 270. Not favorable odds for an incumbent.

However, the president could eventually “win” by losing should he launch Trump TV on popular delivery platforms with a wide range of programming.

Here is a concept paper for such a venture:

In 2016, Trump earned 62.9 million “popular” votes. For our purposes, let’s assume he wins close to that number in November, so even 10% of it would account for a potentially substantial audience.

By comparison, according to the Fox News Channel, in August “Hannity”  was “the most-watched show on cable news, averaging 4.7 million viewers for the show’s best month ever.” In second place was “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” averaging 4.4 million viewers. Therefore, it is plausible that Trump TV programming, geared to his loyal base, could easily compete with the most popular Fox prime-time shows.

Currently, Trump TV (not labeled as such) is already operating with show production values rivaling cable television while hosted on the campaign’s official website. Campaign events are live-streamed and in-person ticket registration is offered. (Similar to the arena rallies of old, these events are primarily used to gather voter contact information.)

If Trump loses, he and his family could stay politically relevant and ripe for a comeback by offering counter-programming to the Biden administration. “His family” is the operative phrase. Ivanka, currently a White House senior adviser, also courts the limelight with a domestic lifestyle brand rivaling Kim Kardashian’s, while Don Jr. appears to have caught “Potomac Fever.” In an extensive August profile, the New York Times Magazine requoted him saying, “It’s sort of cool if you’re at a stadium of 15,000 people and they start chanting ‘46’ when you’re speaking.” (Donald Trump is the 45th president.)

Speaking of the Kardashians, it was widely reported this week that after 14 years and 20 seasons, their reality show, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” is ending in early 2021. What fortunate timing for launching the Trump TV network’s first reality show. (My suggested working title: “Keeping Up With Trump’s America.”)

Mirroring the Kardashians are the Trump family’s “star” spouses. First and foremost is Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner. History could view him, at age 39, as the second most powerful man in Washington, and perhaps the world, during the Trump administration. How then, does he go back to being a run-of-the-mill NYC real estate developer/socialite after spending four years as the de facto White House chief of staff; secretary of state; head of domestic and legislative policy; pandemic CEO; Middle East peace envoy; the Trump campaign’s 2016/2020 chairman; and most trusted adviser to the president of the United States?

Henceforth, Jared’s new perch could be as president of the Trump TV Entertainment/ Lifestyle Brand/Data Services/News Network and Make America Trump political party. (His father-in-law would be CEO.) Jared could manage and exploit Trumpism to foster a political dynasty well into the 21st century. (Trump has 10 grandkids.)

Ready to assume a leading role on Trump TV is Don Jr.’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, currently head of major donor fundraising for the reelection campaign. She is already a seasoned television personality after spending 12 years on air at Fox News. (A made for Trump TV subplot involves Guilfoyle’s ex-husband Gavin Newsom. He is currently the governor of California and is believed to have national political ambitions, so one can imagine a Gavin vs. Don Jr. presidential race.)

Another telegenic Trump spouse is Lara, wife of Eric. She also comes to the family from television, where from 2012 to 2016 she was a story coordinator and producer for the CBS news magazine “Inside Edition.” Lara Trump’s title is senior adviser to Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. She is also a campaign media surrogate, often seen promoting her father-in-law on Fox News.

Once the family is decoupled from the White House, a Trump TV enterprise offers the perfect opportunity to reposition and reload for whatever comes next. But what platform could be acquired? Since the Fox News Channel is so successful and not for sale, I suggest two conservative network options.

First is One America News Network. Although OANN attracts a small audience to the right of Fox, President Trump is its No. 1 fan. At times, he has unabashedly promoted the fledgling outlet when Fox has not supported him 100%. Now there is much talk about a rift between Trump and Fox owner Rupert Murdoch, with Trump making accusations of “unfair treatment” and how the network is “going rogue.”

Second is NewsmaxTV, owned and led by Christopher Ruddy, a longtime Trump friend. Maybe for the right price, Newsmax TV could be rebranded as Trump TV? Or, at the very least, host some pilot programming?

But does Trump TV really need a cable network? If millions of MAGA supporters are already clicking DonaldJTrump.com — the campaign’s official URL — then after the election, the site can be repositioned into the family’s all-encompassing platform.

Trump TV offers endless programming possibilities, starting with polishing the 45th commander-in-chief’s legacy while he builds his presidential library. (“Buy your personalized gold-plated MAGA bricks now!”) Moreover, international/domestic lifestyle/travel/golf/spa/real estate programming will help rebuild, promote, and sustain what was formerly a lucrative revenue stream: licensing the Trump name.

Non-political family-specific programming could include Melania hosting a modeling and fashion design show called “Be Best Dressed.” Ivanka could make cameo appearances on every show every day, no matter the topic, but she and her children might star in their own series, “Size Four Mother of Three.” Barron, now a tall, handsome teenager and a magnet for young ladies, might emcee video game championships at Trump hotels around the world.

(Another lineup possibility: Roger Stone as host of a dirty-tricks game show titled “Pardon Me!”)

The former president could continue his regular schedule — chatting up friends and loyal supporters while touring and playing his golf courses, all presented on-air. Between swings, he would surely remind viewers of his greatest presidential achievements that Biden is now dismantling.

For “news” purposes, the former president could hint at a 2024 comeback, unless he passes the torch to the next generation. They, in turn, will battle it out for the nomination, driving up ratings on “Keeping Up With Trump’s America” — which by that time is a hit reality show — proving that losing the White House means winning prime time. But, since we all know that Trumps never lose, stay tuned.


Credit: Wade Vandervort/Las Vegas Sun via AP

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE.

Reposted from RealClearPolitics – Sept. 3, 2020

A veteran GOP political strategist told me he likens the current state of America to pressure building inside a volcano and predicts, “It will blow its top immediately after the election.”

Living in Florida, perhaps I watch too much of The Weather Channel, but my own election natural disaster analogy resembles the tracking of a monster hurricane as it moves closer to the U.S. mainland. Based on present conditions, we know at least a Category 3 will strike late on Nov. 3 and gather strength on Nov. 4 or 5. Virtually everyone is aware of the potential for devastation, and millions are taking pro-active precautions — buying guns and ammunition.

Last month, Fox Business reported, “Gun sales surged 135% year-over-year in July to about 2 million and have already matched all of last year, according to a report released earlier this week by research consultancy Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting. Sales were up 145% in June, 80% in May and 71% in April.”

A Brookings Institute report based on data from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System found, “In just the first six months of 2020, approximately 19 million firearms have been sold, representing more than one firearm for every 20 Americans.”

Notably, gun sales dramatically rose in response to the George Floyd protests, resulting in 150,000 per day on June 2 and 3. August gun sales, to be reported in about a week, are projected to set another record — contributing to surpassing the total 2019 U.S. gun sales in only eight months. Women are part of this national gun buying spree, comprising 40% of first-time owners, according to NSSF, the trade association for the firearms industry.

More detailed information about female owners can be found in a recent survey by A Girl & a Gun Women’s Shooting League. A fast-growing national organization with 138 chapters, AG & AG promotes gun ownership, safety, training and “encouragement,” while redefining “girls night out” with shooting range social events. What about “suburban women” — that highly sought-after voting group? Some will be “packing heat” on Election Day, just as they do every day in their attractive “carry purses.”

All this gun-buying data reminds me of a song lyric — “Paranoia strikes deep/ into your life it will creep” — from 1967’s “For What It’s Worth.” This protest anthem by Buffalo Springfield was recently resurrected during the Democratic National Convention, but performed with a modern twist.

Americans have become paranoid about Election Day since the daily violence and upheaval we are seeing could be perceived as a warm-up for post-election chaos when either Joe Biden or Donald Trump “wins.” My quotation marks are in anticipation that determining the next president could take days, weeks, or even months — plunging our nation into levels of civil unrest not seen since the Civil War. We can expect various mail-in ballot controversies, along with potentially millions of rejected or fraudulent ballots to trigger something resembling the “Election Lawyers Full-Employment Act” with endless lawsuits at every state and local level.

The critical question is when the winner is ultimately announced, will the losing candidate accept defeat and calm his supporters? Will they listen to him anyway? In the interim, if both sides are claiming victory, chaos could reign. Municipal police departments, as we’ve already seen, are ill-equipped to handle large numbers of violent protesters. And based on explosive gun sales, these mobs might be armed.

With paranoia striking deep, unprecedented small arms sales have caused a nationwide ammunition shortage. In a July NRA report headlined “Manufacturers Struggle to Keep Up With Soaring Ammunition Sales,” a spokesman from Brownells, a weapons and ammo company, said, “Ammunition continues to fly off the shelves.”

The August edition of NRA Shooting Illustrated was headlined, “Ammo Shortage May Last Until 2021” and mentioned Winchester Ammunition experiencing a 17% increase in orders over the last three months.

A banner atop Winchester’s website reads:

PRODUCT DEMAND NOTICE: Like many manufacturers in the shooting sports industry, we are experiencing an extremely high demand for our products. We are continuing to manufacture and ship our high quality products on a daily basis. We appreciate the support and thank you for choosing Winchester.

John Fischer, CEO of Winchester parent company Olin, was quoted saying, “We expect this elevated level of demand to continue at least until the end of the year.” And why is ammo demand predicted to remain “elevated”? NRA Shooting Illustrated cited perhaps the understatement of the year:

“A Presidential election in November will have an impact on the prediction.”  

Circling back to election weather analogies, the most optimistic forecast is a “political hurricane” goes “out to sea.” Imagine a clear winner is declared late on Nov. 3 or early into the next day. There are peaceful coast-to-coast celebrations for our newly elected or re-elected president, and all is well across the “Armed States of America.”

Conversely, the hurricane could strike as a mild regional tropical storm or, worse case, strengthen to a Category 5. If the latter, our nation could “blow its top,” resulting in disrupted supply chains and nationwide curfews. There might be widespread deployment of the National Guard or the most dreaded scenario — President Trump invokes the Insurrection Act, deploying federal troops and declares martial law.

After seeing that A Girl & a Gun has a chapter near me, it might be time for a “girls night out” at the gun range because November is coming.


Credit: Ralph Alswang/Public domain

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE.

Reposted from RealClearPolitics – August 21, 2020

Since the end of World War II, there have been 18 U.S. presidential elections, 11 of which involved incumbents. Eight of those presidents won reelection, demonstrating the power of incumbency.  

Conversely, the familiar tag line “past performance does not guarantee future results,” heard at the end of financial ads, is equally applicable. Subjected to that devastating truth were the last three one-term presidents — Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush, all forced to join the “exclusive club” Donald Trump is fervently trying to avoid.

Examining the failed reelection campaigns of 1976, 1980, and 1992 may offer lessons for the current Oval Office occupant.

Election of 1976 Vote Share:  Gerald Ford (48% of the popular vote) vs. Jimmy Carter (50.1%)

Electoral College: Ford 240, Carter 297  

Why Ford Lost: First, he was an unelected incumbent, and his unpopular pardon of disgraced predecessor Richard Nixon dogged his campaign. (Over the years, however, the pardon decision was viewed more favorably.)

Second, Ford presided over what was perceived as a lackluster economy with high unemployment/inflation and slow growth. In the same vein, Ford’s much-derided Whip Inflation Now initiative still ranks high among domestic policy blunders. (During my after-school job as a Woolworth’s cashier, management pinned a WIN button on my blouse.)

Third, the dramatic fall of South Vietnam occurred on April 30, 1975. The helicopter evacuations from the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon left a devastating image that not only stained Ford’s administration but negatively impacted American foreign policy for decades.

Fourth, even with the economy showing signs of improvement in 1976, Ford could not escape the general feeling that voters thought it was time to put the calamitous Nixon/Watergate/Vietnam years in the rearview mirror.

Enter Jimmy Carter, a little known one-term governor and peanut farmer from Georgia. He was positioned as an unblemished “outsider” when Washington’s leadership represented scandal and failure at home and abroad. With the slogan “A Leader, for a Change,” Carter parlayed that prevailing national attitude to his advantage, while famously saying, “I will never lie to you.” 

Ford’s Last Job Approval Rating Before the 1976 Election50%.

Ford Campaign Ad:  “Peace With Freedom.”

Lessons for Trump: A similar “time to move on” national attitude must be messaged against, but in a positiveunifying way. 

Election of 1980: Jimmy Carter (41% of the popular vote) vs. Ronald Reagan (50.7%)

Electoral College: Carter 49, Reagan 489

Why Carter Lost: A majority of Americans had come to the conclusion that he was a weak leader who was not up to the task.

Voters were fed up with a disastrous negative-growth economy (-0.3 GDP). There was high unemployment (7.2%); hyper-inflation (13.3% in 1979, 12.5% in 1980); record-high interest rates (average mortgage interest rate: 13.7%) and an energy crisis.

All of the above was coupled with seemingly out-of-control international events perceived by voters as rooted in flawed presidential leadership responsible for America’s diminished global standing. The national ego was battered by the Iranian hostage crisis, including a deadly desert rescue debacle;  Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan; and America’s absence at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. 

The stars were aligned for two-term former California Gov. Ronald Reagan to win a dramatic landslide. Reagan presented himself as a strong, principled leader with an optimistic vision of the future. Contributing to Reagan’s success was an ability to connect with Americans through his extraordinary communication skills (especially compared to Carter’s), honed by his years as a Hollywood actor and leader of the nation’s most populous state.

Reagan’s campaign slogan was “Let’s make America great again.” (Sound familiar?)

Most Memorable Campaign Moment: At the end of the only debate between Carter and Reagan, held on Oct. 28, 1980, the challenger looked straight into the television camera and asked, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” Since then, that question has been raised in nearly all presidential campaigns by both parties.

Carter’s Last Job Approval Rating Before the Election33%   

Carter Campaign AdsHerehere, and here.

Lessons for Trump: Carter was perceived as reluctant leader, poor communicator, and generally not up to the demands of the job. Forty years later, Trump views himself as strong, tough, and decisive at home and abroad. But there is a YUGE gap between Trump’s perception and that of many voters, which must be bridged if he is to be reelected in this time of grave national crises.

Election of 1992:  George H.W. Bush (37.4% of the popular vote) vs. Bill Clinton (43%) vs. Ross Perot (18.9%)

Electoral College: Bush 168, Clinton 370, Perot 0

Why Bush Lost:  First, a now-iconic campaign slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid,” was brilliantly hatched and executed by Clinton’s team. The economy was in recession through much of 1992, and Clinton’s message discipline was solid.

Second, Bush’s defeat could be couched as “passing the torch to a new generation.” (A classic phrase from President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address.) Clinton was a charismatic Arkansas governor who, at age 46, was the first baby boomer to be nominated by a major party.

Third, Clinton out-campaigned and out-maneuvered President Bush, who had successfully led the nation through the Persian Gulf War. Team Clinton created and implemented “rapid response” messaging along with a “war room.” They hammered the perception that the president was out of touch with the times, including pop culture. But Clinton was “hip,” and when he played the saxophone on “The Arsenio Hall Show,” presidential campaigns were changed forever.

Fourth is the most contested factor that might explain Bush’s defeat — Ross Perot’s role as the third-party candidate. But the enduring question is to what degree, since Perot won nearly 19% of the popular vote. Upon Perot’s death last year, RealClearPolitics elections analyst Sean Trende revisited this quandary in a piece headlined “We Don’t Know Whether Perot Cost Bush in 1992.”

Most Memorable Campaign Moment: In truth, there were few memorable moments from that campaign, but one brief gesture by the incumbent forever enshrined itself in presidential debate history. Here is a U.S. News & World Report headline: “George H.W. Bush Checks His Watch During Debate With Bill Clinton and Ross Perot.” The subhead: “Where Bush appeared impatient, ‘Clinton steps in and empathizes, empathizes, empathizes.’ “

That innocent wristwatch glance crystallized the perception that President Bush’s time was up.

Bush’s Last Job Approval Rating Before the 1992 Election34%   

Bush Campaign Ad“Agenda” from October 1992.

Lessons for Trump: Don’t be outmaneuvered on the campaign “trail,” which is even more challenging this year with no physical “trail.” Have a clear, concise pitch and institute “message discipline.” Feel the pain of your people. Bill Clinton mastered that act with Bush perceived as being less empathic to the struggles of average Americans. Trump is plagued with a similar problem as the entire nation struggles to deal with the coronavirus and crippled economy. 

Overall Lessons for Trump From the Last Three One-Term Presidents:

If the election verdict is “time to move on,” be graceful and accept the will of the people.  A hallmark of our nation is its smooth transition of power.

But if defeated, look forward to “doing good” as an ex-president. Americans have a remarkably strong and consistent record of liking their ex-presidents (reelected or not) more than when they were in the Oval Office.

And please never again say, “It’ll end up being a rigged election” or I should get a third term.” Both statements practically guarantee that Jimmy Carter will personally welcome you to his lonely, exclusive club where he is the only living member.


Credit: Arelis R. Hernandez/The Washington Post via AP


MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE.

Re-posted from RealClearPolitics – August 14, 2020

Question: What is the fastest-growing racial/ethnic group in the U.S. electorate?

If you answered “Hispanic,” you would be wrong. Instead, it is Asians. According to Pew Research Center, from 2000 to 2020 the number of Asians eligible to vote grew by 139% — compared to 121% for Hispanics.

This week, when Joe Biden selected Kamala Harris to be his running mate, Politico referred to the California senator as “a Black and South Asian woman.” (Harris’s mother emigrated from India; her father, from Jamaica.) And Biden’s list of prospective vice presidential nominees also included Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who is of Thai descent.

Will such high-profile Asian American women leaders help usher in a new era of influence for the increasing number of voters with Asian roots? Asians in America already wield economic power with the highest median income of any race or ethnic group at $87,194 — compared to $70,642 for Caucasians, Hispanics with $51,450, and $41,361 for African Americans.

There are 22.4 million Asian Americans, 5.6% of the population, according to U.S. Census estimates. In November’s election, eligible Asian voters are projected to be 4.7% of the electorate, up from 4% in 2016. Theoretically, if they were strategically concentrated, Asians could potentially influence swing state outcomes when considering that in 2016, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Hampshire, Wisconsin were all won by margins of 1.2 percentage points or fewer.

However, since these voters are not concentrated in battleground states, they are usually overlooked by both parties as a growing voting bloc (an unfortunate consequence of the Electoral College).  

The data explains why – by detailing where Asian voters are primarily located. Starting with the 2008 presidential election, the nine states listed below have all been “blue” with a high probability that they will again vote Democratic in 2020. The states are ranked by their percentage of eligible Asian voters (with Electoral College votes also indicated).

Hawaii 38% (4)
California 14% (55)
Nevada 8% (6)
New Jersey 7% (14)
Washington 7% (12)
New York 7% (29)
Virginia 5% (13)
Maryland 5% (10)
Massachusetts 5% (11)

Furthermore, how Asians vote is revealing.

Almost across the board, 2016 exit polls showed 65% of Asians cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton, compared to 27% for Donald Trump. Worrisome as those percentages are for the GOP, they fall short of exit polling from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, as reported by NPR. That data shows Clinton won 79% of Asian voters with only 18% for Trump.

This high percentage of Asians choosing the Democratic presidential candidate mirrored the pattern of Hispanic voters, who, by 66% to 28%, preferred Clinton over Trump.

Parenthetically, it is important to note that the Hispanic vote continues to increase steadily. In 2020 Hispanics are projected to be 13.3% of the electorate, up from 11% in 2016. The fact that millions of Hispanics live in battleground states leverages and accentuates the importance of this traditionally Democratic voting bloc.

But similar to Hispanic trends, Asian population growth eventually will spill into, and likely impact, traditionally “red” and swing states since Asian support for Democratic candidates appears to be solidifying and consistent.

How did the overwhelming preference that Asians had for Clinton in 2016 compare to past presidential elections?

What follows is data from the last seven presidential elections, showing the Asian vote as a percentage of the total electorate along with the percentage of that vote received by the candidates. (1992 was the first year Asians were listed in exit poll data.)

2016: (4% of electorate) Clinton 65%-Trump 27%
2012: (3%) Obama 73%-Romney 26%
2008: (2%) Obama 62%-McCain 35%
2004: (2%) Kerry 56%-Bush 43%
2000: (2%) Gore 55%-Bush 41%
1996: (1%) Dole 48%-Clinton 44%
1992 (1%) Bush 55%-Clinton 31%

The trends are clear, the increase in Asian voters has favored Democratic candidates.

Speaking as a longtime Republican, my party can’t just write off this group of voters because they primarily live in blue states. Conversely, imagine how much reporting there would be about “courting the Asian vote” if it were a factor in either candidate winning, say, Florida, Michigan, or Pennsylvania? Potentially losing the Asian vote again by two-thirds or more portends a larger long-term issue. The GOP cannot survive as a national party heavily dependent on white voters since this majority — itself fractured — is shrinking relative to other groups. For example, in 2020 whites are projected to compose 66.7% of the electorate. Compare that to 70% in 2016 — down from 72% in 2012, 74% in 2008, and 81% in 2000.

My party must undergo a dramatic course correction to attract non-whites, including a concerted effort to stop the hemorrhaging of Asian voters before they grow into another double-digit, overwhelmingly anti-GOP voting bloc. And if the current polls prove correct,  there will be a forced course correction with an assist by the first “Black and South Asian woman” on the national ticket.


AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE.

Re-posted from RealClearReligion July 16, 2020. By Myra AdamsRCP Contributor

According to practically every polling and data metric (except fundraising and enthusiasm among President Donald Trump’s base), the president’s reelection prospects look bleak. Nonetheless, his loyal supporters predict victory while continuously reciting these popular mantras:

“All the polls in 2016 showed him losing.”

“Trump supporters lie to pollsters.”

“Polls do not reflect Trump’s secret support.”

On Tuesday, the president reaffirmed those sentiments in a Rose Garden “press conference” that sounded more like a rally speech. Confident of reelection, he also said, “I think we’re doing very well in the polls, and I think you have a silent majority, the likes of which this country has never seen before.”

Trump’s base, armed with that same optimism and great faith, trusts that American voters will keep the incumbent in the White House. The alternative is unthinkable — dystopian havoc, the “end of America” as we know it — if “radical-left socialists” and their “puppet” Joe Biden take power.

Practically the same fears were voiced by the same people in 2016 when, leading up to Election Day, Hillary Clinton was all but officially coronated.

Then, on Nov. 8, against all odds, Trump won a stunning victory. Supporters widely attributed the upset to divine intervention. Count me among them, evidenced by a piece I wrote the following day, “President Trump: Divine Intervention Is the Only Explanation.”

Coordinated prayer efforts encouraging Godly intervention were intense, massive, national, and international — especially in Jerusalem — facilitating the desired outcome exactly when needed.

Chronicling the “coincidental timing” was a Nov. 9 report on the conservative news site World Net Daily headlined “Signs of Divine Intervention in Trump victory.” The title image was captioned, “New York Times graph displaying ‘Chance of Winning Presidency’ in real time.” The graph prominently showcases 9:20 p.m. EST when the election results turned in Trump’s favor and the article quotes some prominent religious and political activists who were involved with the coordinated prayer events.

But that was a “simpler” time. Now our nation has dramatically shifted and changed. No one knows what the heck is going on, what plans to make, or what to expect. Thus, whenever my husband and I discuss the presidential election, he usually concludes with the same refrain, “God is in control.” And I agree, prompting the question:

If Trump was elected due to divine intervention, then would his loss mean that God did not intervene? Furthermore, would a Trump loss be interpreted as the Lord rendering judgment on him?

Statistically speaking on a more earthly plane, if Trump wins — given his dismal mid-July job approval rating — that would be “miraculous” compared to the last two reelected presidents at this same time in the campaign cycle.

According to Wednesday’s RealClearPolitics polling average, President Trump’s job approval is 41.9% with 55.1% disapproving of his performance, a -13.2 percentage point spread.

On July 20, 2012, President Barack Obama’s average job approval was virtually tied at 47% with 47.6% disapproving.

President George W. Bush’s job approval average on July 18, 2004, was 47.1% while 48.5% disapproved, a tiny -1.4 percentage point difference.

Since I am curious about the prospects of another Trump “divine intervention” while the nation is suffering through the triple scourge of a pandemic, severe recession, and racial/cultural upheaval, I turned to an evangelical expert.

Dr. Michael Brown hosts the nationally syndicated “Line of Fire” broadcast and is the author of 40 books. In his latest — “Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass the Trump Test?” — he explores the evangelical arguments for and against Trump and then offers a 10-point strategy showing how we can vote for Trump without selling our souls in the process.

Recently, in conjunction with his new book, Dr. Brown wrote an op-ed headlined “Can Trump Be Reelected Without Divine Intervention?” The title is the flip side to his Nov. 9, 2016, op-ed: “Donald Trump, President of the United States by the Sovereign Intervention of God.”

In that earlier piece, I was intrigued by Brown’s concluding sentence:

In short, if Trump indeed is president by divine intervention, we should pray for divine restraint on his life as well, lest this divine wrecking ball wreak havoc on the nation while tearing down what is wrong. May he be a divinely guided wrecking ball!

I asked Brown if he would comment on that statement through the lens of this question: “If Trump loses in 2020, does that mean God did not intervene?” He responded:

Looking back four years later, it’s clear that President Trump has done a lot of good, keeping many of his promises tenaciously, but there has been a lot of collateral damage in the process. So, the wrecking ball has swung freely, demolishing some things that needed to come down while destroying some others that didn’t need to. But that could all be part of God’s purpose in raising up Trump. He has revealed a lot about the nation – from the extreme bias of the media to the radical leftism of the Democrats to compromise and division among evangelicals. God is the ultimate 4D chess player.

Brown also answered my second question: “If Trump is defeated, is that God’s judgment on him?”

No one said that eight years were guaranteed, or that God could not have a purpose in appointing Trump as president for one term. It’s just like God’s purpose during a sports event. It may not be that your team wins the game but rather grows in character. In the same way, God’s reasons for raising up Trump may not always align with our own perspectives. That being said, from an entirely human vantage point, I would say that if he is not reelected, he has only himself to blame, since, despite all the hostility from the left, if he behaved in a more decent way, he would not have alienated so many allies.

It is far easier to ask questions about the controversial topic of presidential divine intervention and judgment than to provide answers. Therefore, I thank Dr. Brown for his thoughtful responses, but for now, I will only answer both questions with my husband’s all-purpose and always true refrain, “God is in control.”