Economic Crisis


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

Re-posted from National Review February 9, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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h-sign

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

Re-posted from  Washington Examiner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me on H stage.jpg

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

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


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

hillary yes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


florida-map

Re-posted from National Review  12/3/2015 

Pop quiz: Can you name this state?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Some recent corporate rebranding campaigns show how Clinton could market her image.

Re-posted from National Review on February 24, 2015

This past weekend the Washington Post ran a piece with the headline: “The making of Hillary 5.0: Marketing wizards help re-imagine Clinton brand.”

The title caught my eye because back in December, here at National Review, I penned a piece titled “Hillary Has a Brand.”

That headline, along with numerous bullet points detailing Hillary’s brand, was lifted (as the piece explains) from e-mails I had received from a Hillary supporter, whom I had egged on after his initial e-mail commenting on my piece about likely Hillary campaign manager John Podesta.

Aside from the headline, my favorite line offered by that rabid Hillary supporter was: “She is Hillary Clinton and everyone knows who she is.”

Having since developed an ongoing interest in Clinton’s brand, I was dismayed over the weekend to read that Hillary has yet to develop one and is now employing two corporate “marketing wizards” to help her with that formidable task.

According to the Post, the corporations where these marketing wizards have successfully launched rebranding campaigns include Coca-Cola, Southwest Airlines, and Walmart.

Could these massive corporate campaigns offer some clues about Mrs. Clinton’s branding strategy when her 2016 run for the White House is finally launched? Let’s take a look.

In September 2014 Entrepreneur had a report touting the success of Coke’s rebranding:

The company’s “Share a Coke” campaign — in which Coke bottle labels were personalized with 250 popular names, in addition to various terms of endearment, including “Bestie” and “Wingman” — has reversed a downward sales trend that has plagued the company for the past decade, according to The Wall Street Journal.

It’s obvious that Coke’s marketing strategy could easily be transferred to Clinton’s 2016 brand with a “Share a Scandal” campaign. Just imagine 250 old and new Clinton scandals and names associated with controversy appearing on personalized bumper stickers, yard signs, buttons, and dog collars, and across all social-media platforms.

What a clever way to reintroduce all the old favorites like Whitewater, Paula Jones, cattle futures, Lincoln Bedroom, Monica Lewinsky, Hillarycare, impeachment, Juanita Broaddrick, and Vince Foster to a new generation of young, hip voters, many of whom were not even born when the Clintons took office in 1993.

The next corporate rebranding that potentially transfers to Clinton’s campaign is Southwest Airlines’ “Massive Brand Refresh.” On September 8, 2014, a headline based on that phrase appeared in Advertising Age with a report stating: “The initial effort breaks today with a commercial unveiling the new plane design themed, ‘Without a heart, it’s just a machine.’”

Hillary’s campaign could easily adjust Southwest’s tagline to read: “Without a heart, Clinton is just a machine.” And as a throwback to former President Bill Clinton’s famous “feeling your pain,” the branding slogan “Hillary has a heart” offers a fresh, new, and sensitive vibe for 2016.

Speaking of hearts, Roy Spence, one of Hillary’s “marketing wizards,” was quoted on that subject during Hillary’s 2008 campaign:

“I’m more actively engaged on a daily basis for awhile to make sure that Hillary’s heart gets communicated,” said Mr. Spence, whose friendship with the Clintons goes back three decades.

Finally, perhaps the best branding example of all is Walmart’s 2013 campaign.

As reported by Forbes:

It must be a great time to be in advertising, as yet another retailer has launched a new image campaign. “The Real Walmart” is meant to school consumers on just what, or who, the real Walmart is.

Just imagine the possibilities for Clinton, as this Walmart-inspired “The Real Hillary” branding campaign practically writes itself!

Even the Washington Post’s 5.0 branding piece reports that this “real” concept is bouncing around the brains of the two marketing wizards, Wendy Clark and the aforementioned Roy Spence:

People familiar with Clinton’s preparations said Clark and ­Spence are focused on developing imaginative ways to “let Hillary be Hillary,” as one person said, and help her make emotional connections with voters.

Eureka! It’s Walmart!! And with it, Hillary’s branding problem is finally solved! Here are my recommendations to the marketing wizards:

The “real” Hillary sets up mini-campaign headquarters in all the battleground-state Walmart stores. Then, in regularly scheduled visits, Mrs. Clinton “emotionally connects” with voter/shoppers, showing her heart — literally — as she personalizes their Walmart purchases with her newly designed “H”-within-a-heart campaign logo in exchange for all their contact information.

Seriously now, to quote Hillary, “What difference, at this point, does it really make?”

The answer applied to branding is “not much.” For, as my reader’s e-mail back in December so simply and eloquently stated, “She is Hillary Clinton and everyone knows who she is.”

That heartfelt anti-branding statement could be interpreted as both good and bad news for both Republican and Democratic marketing wizards.

— Myra Adams is a media producer and political writer. She was on the 2004 Bush campaign’s creative team and the 2008 McCain campaign’s ad council. Her writing credits include PJ Media, the Daily Beast, RedState, and the Daily Caller.


Re-posted from National Review

Credit: National Review

Credit: National Review

Mitt Romney is keeping a very high profile this midterm-election season by campaigning coast to coast for Republicans, and two recent polls suggest why he might be encouraged to stay active in politics. Romney and his family say Mitt will not be running for president in 2016, but in August the two-time presidential candidate and 2012 GOP nominee made sure to add, “circumstances can change.”

GOP strategist Mark McKinnon describes what what those changing circumstances could look like. “If Jeb Bush or Chris Christie do not run,” McKinnon tells National Review Online, “then one could make an argument for Mitt Romney.”

A Romney three-peat would add another taste to an already spicy political stew that will start to heat up the day after the midterm elections. Could Romney be the key ingredient?

The RealClearPolitics (RCP) poll averages for the 2016 GOP nomination indicate that the top four contenders are virtually tied with primary voters. The leader is Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky with 11.8 percent, followed closely by former Florida governor Jeb Bush at 11.6 percent. In third place is former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee at 11.3 percent, and trailing is New Jersey governor Chris Christie at 10.6 percent. Mitt Romney’s name is currently not included in RCP’s 2016 Republican nomination poll averages.

But Romney’s name was included in a mid-October ABC News/Washington Post poll of GOP hopefuls, and he earned a whopping 21 percent of primary-voter support. That number was more than double the 10 percent earned by Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee, who tied at second place. The rest of the pack was in single digits. Those surprising results sparked talk of a Romney comeback.

With all that chatter in mind, McKinnon’s “argument for Romney” does indeed have validity if Jeb Bush and Chris Christie do not run — and even more if they do.

For within GOP circles, Bush and Christie are considered “establishment candidates,” and the conservative wing of the party is fed up with establishment candidates. This attitude is a direct result of three failed “moderate” establishment presidential nominees: Dole in 1996, McCain in 2008, and Romney in 2012.

Conservatives believe all three were sold to them as the GOP’s best chance of winning the general election. From those losses stem current conservative distrust and zero enthusiasm for another establishment presidential candidate.

Conversely, it is highly unlikely that the GOP leadership will allow a controversial conservative or inexperienced fringe candidate to head the national ticket. This conflict between the establishment and the conservatives could make the 2016 GOP nomination process long and very contentious.

Take Jeb Bush, whose last name is already a potential problem. The news that Jeb Bush is seriously thinking about running for the nomination elicits a collective “no way” from base voters. At conservative events, I often hear the phrase “shoved down our throats” whenever Bush’s or Christie’s name is mentioned for 2016.

If Bush and Christie fail to gain traction among a majority of primary voters and the same fate awaits Rand Paul, Rick Perry, and Paul Ryan, to name a few of the eleven candidates listed in RCP’s nomination poll, the argument for Romney begins to take shape.

The former Massachusetts governor could be thought of as a safety net that a polarized GOP hopes never to use but is sure glad to have in reserve. He’s a potential compromise candidate all sides could live with though no one is thrilled about.

Romney becomes even more promising when he is matched against Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic-party nominee.

Both Romney and Clinton have experience running national campaigns and were accused of running bad campaigns. In 2016, presumably each will have learned from past mistakes, and the level of campaign management and messaging would be evenly matched.

Romney and Clinton are both multi-millionaires, so the populist argument of “too rich to relate to me” would have no traction. (In fact, one can hardly wait to see the Clintons’ tax returns.)

The two are equally able to raise the sum of more than one billion dollars that will be needed to run a presidential campaign in 2016.

Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton are the same age. Born in 1947, they will both be 69 years old in 2016, so age is off the table as an issue.

In 2008 both Clinton and Romney were rejected by their parties, so they have learned and grown from that experience. Romney’s loss in 2012 was also a character-building exercise. Now he has fought his way back into the public arena with grace, humility, and class.  The same could be said of Clinton after her 2008 loss.

Clinton (and now Romney again) are rock stars in their respective parties. They have that intangible gravitas, and both are respected nationally and on the world stage.

Predictably, both Clinton and Romney would be decrying Obama’s policies, but here Romney – though he pioneered the Obamacare model of universal health care with an individual mandate in the Bay State in 2006 — might have an advantage. Hillary, as secretary of state, was part of Obama’s administration and is already having a tough time trying to separate herself from Obama and his policies.

Romney, on the other hand, is a Republican and an experienced businessman who represents the power of a free-market economy to lead the way in solving national problems. His message of better management, smaller government, fewer regulations, less entitlement, and more opportunity did not work in 2012, but it can only become more appealing after voters have had four more years of Obama.

On the other hand, the Obama administration has proven that big government’s inability to fix anything. Just by virtue of being Democrats, the Clintons can run only as champions of big government.

These potential contrasting messages of Romney and Clinton would have rung true even before Hillary’s “October surprise,” when Clinton said, “Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.”

Clinton made this unartful statement last week while campaigning in Massachusetts for Martha Coakley, who is running for Mitt Romney’s old job as governor.

Clinton has since tried to clarify her remarks, but the passionate video stands forever.

Hillary’s zinger, insulting to all American business owners, has the potential to match Mitt’s disastrous 47 percent comment from the 2012 campaign.

This October surprise, two years early, played into the Republican narrative that this kind of wrongheaded Democrat thinking is harmful to America’s future.

Romney the businessman is a strong spokesman to counter this anti-capitalist message. Will this new development keep Mitt salivating over that spicy 2016 political stew into which Hillary has just dumped an entire bottle of Tabasco?

Drink lots of water, folks, because the 2016 race is going to get very hot, very fast.

— Myra Adams is a media producer and political writer. She was on the 2004 Bush campaign’s creative team and the 2008 McCain campaign’s ad council. Her writing credits include National Review,  PJ Media, the Daily Beast, RedState, BizPacReview and the Daily Caller.


Reposted from The Daily Beast  by Aug 18, 2013

As a conservative here is what I know: The GOP’s 2016 presidential nominee will be more conservative than ever, and have a heck of a time winning the Electoral College.

Recently, I attended a political event where about 400 conservative Republicans gathered to hear an impressive parade of conservative congressman, governors, and senators.

As I was chatting with a man in his mid-30s, the conversation turned to the 2016 presidential race. When I asked him who he was supporting as the Republican nominee, his answer was Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Then I was prompted to ask the question I ask every Republican after they tell me their preferred candidate: “Do you think Rand Paul can win 270 electoral votes?” The man immediately replied, “I never thought about that.”

For the record, I anonymously submitted that same question to Rand Paul himself at a Washington luncheon this past May. It was selected as the last question by the moderator, and Paul largely deflected it, instead speaking vaguely about the need to attract Democratic voter groups.

There is no doubt that Senator Paul is gaining traction among the conservative Republican base—for whenever two or more conservatives are gathered together in His name (Ronald Reagan, that is) Paul is always mentioned as someone who could lead the charge to take back the White House.

Also, let me state that the concept of nominating someone more conservative than ever in 2016 is a foregone conclusion among the Republican base. That is to say, I would be totally shocked if New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie won the nomination, because he is perceived as a moderate in the losing mold of Dole ’96, McCain ’08, and Romney ’12.

Furthermore, as a direct result of those past losses, the primary voting base has a “been there, done that” attitude, so there will be no compromising in the selection of the 2016 nominee, or you can expect a conservative third party to emerge with disastrous electoral consequences.

As I continue to ask the question “What Republican can win 270 electoral votes in 2016?” there are no good answers, because the following three obstacles serve as cement barriers blocking the GOP from the White House driveway.

1. Awareness of the problem

The Rand Paul supporter who had not even thought about the answer to the 270 question is typical of many, if not most, conservative activists and primary voters. Therefore, raising the 270 question early and often should be an integral part of the 2016 GOP presidential-primary dynamic. How can a problem find a solution when only a few Republicans are even willing to acknowledge that there is a problem?

2. No compromising on core principles

Conservative Republicans uphold their conservative principles as a shiny badge of honor never to be tarnished. I, too, am a conservative Republican. However, I think like Ronald Reagan, who when trying to get legislation passed in 1983 said the following:

“I have always figured that a half a loaf is better than none, and I know that in the democratic process you’re not going to always get everything you want.”

Sadly, I also agree with former senator and 1996 GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole, who appeared this past May on Fox News Sunday to discuss the growing conservative tilt among Republican primary and base voters when he stated that “Reagan wouldn’t have made it” in today’s Republican Party.

That might actually be true, for at my conservative event, as I listened to speeches from a host of elected leaders, only one mentioned the “C word”: compromise. Instead of “compromise,” all I heard was “we must battle and fight to uphold the principles of conservatism.”

Now, I also believe in fighting for conservative principles, but realizing that conservatives are an ever shrinking minority within the electorate, it is imperative that Republicans nominate a presidential candidate (and other leaders) who can attract moderate voters by stating that he or she, like Reagan, are willing to accept a “half loaf instead of a whole” in order to solve the difficult issues facing our nation.

Otherwise, the GOP will remain locked out of the White House and leave our nation stuck in neutral with a gridlocked government. There is danger ahead for conservatives when core conservative principles are used as roadblocks to any progress.

3. The GOP’s biggest problem is that Democrats start with 246 electoral votes

As Republicans gear up to “take back the White House” conservatives need to be aware of one startling fact: in 2012 if Romney had won the three swing states of Ohio, Florida, and Virginia, he still would have lost the election.

If you want to explore this new reality, check out www.270towin.com. There you can play around with the interactive map and plot out your favorite candidate’s path to 270.

For instance, let’s look at Wisconsin, with its 10 electoral votes. Every four years the Republican mindset says Wisconsin will be a swing state. Then, a few months into the campaign the state loses it’s coveted “battleground” status as polls begin to show its “blue” reality. The truth is that not since 1984, when Reagan won in a landslide against Walter Mondale, has Wisconsin seen red.

Or take Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes, and New York, with 29—both have been blue since Bill Clinton won them in 1992, and blue they will remain.

Then there’s the mega-rich electoral state of California with its 55 votes that turned red for the last time in 1988 when George H.W. Bush won that “California guy” Reagan’s “third term.”

After totaling the electoral votes in all the terminally blue states, an inconvenient math emerges, providing even a below average Democrat presidential candidate a potential starting advantage of 246. Here are the states and their votes:

CA (55), NY (29), PA (20), IL (20), MI (16), NJ (14), WA (12), MA (11), MN (10), WI (10), MD (10), CT (7), OR (7), HI (4), ME (4), NH (4), RT (4), VT (3), DE (3), DC (3).

Let me repeat, if only for the shock value: 246 votes out of 270 is 91 percent. That means the Democrat candidate needs to win only 24 more votes out of the remaining 292. (There are a total of 538 electoral votes.)

With this in mind, David Plouffe, Obama’s chief campaign strategist, predicted in June 2011 that Obama would win over 300 electoral votes. Plouffe stated his early prediction to Dan Balz of The Washington Post and it appears in Balz’s new book, Collision, about the 2012 campaign.

No wonder President Obama was so confident of victory in 2012, for he knew the game was practically over before it began. In case you need reminding, the final Electoral College score was a lopsided 332–206.

The Republican Party leadership, well aware of this depressing math, is now making an attempt to change the rules of the game by supporting an effort whereby states would proportionally award their electoral votes to the popular vote winner in each congressional district.

It is obvious that discarding the current “winner take all” system would vastly improve the prospects of electing a Republican president. But first, this initiative must pass state legislatures before reaching a governor’s desk, where it may or may not be signed into law.

There is some precedent here—the states of Nebraska and Maine are already using this method. However, it is unlikely that more states will follow Nebraska and Maine because this drastic change is politically “too hot to handle” for most governors, even Republican ones.

My suggestion would be to dump the entire Electoral College system and elect the president through direct “popular” vote. That, by the way, is the method favored by 63 percent of Americans.

To change from the Electoral College to direct voting would require a constitutional amendment. But it is highly doubtful that such an amendment would gain any traction in Congress since Democrat leaders have grown fond of the severely slanted Electoral College and have no incentive to make such a change. (Yes, Democrats also remember Al Gore in 2000, but that was ancient electoral math.)

Therefore, no change to the Electoral College means that I will continue asking my question, “What Republican can win 270 electoral votes in 2016?”

And if you are a Republican, please be ready with a candidate you can defend using “real” electoral math. “I have not given that question any thought” is not an acceptable answer and could result in a potential landslide for the Democrats in 2016.