Five Reasons Why Kasich-Rubio Is the Right 2016 Ticket


Re-posted from National Review     August 14, 2015

 

Kasich good

Ohio Governor John Kasich

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the annual conservative RedState Gathering, where nine Republican presidential candidates gave fiery speeches. Although all were very impressive speakers, I kept applying the “Buckley rule” — these days, generally thought of as “nominate the most conservative candidate who is electable” — and did not feel confident that any of them could actually win the White House in 2016.

Unfortunately, Ohio governor John Kasich, the candidate who I believe exemplifies this form of the Buckley rule better than the other 16 candidates on the GOP bench, was not even invited to speak at the Gathering. From what I could gather, Kasich was not considered “conservative enough.” (As opposed to Donald Trump, who was invited to speak but was disinvited by RedState editor Erick Erickson after Trump’s “bloody” comments about Megyn Kelly were deemed too offensive.)

Applying this rule to the 2016 Republican presidential ticket leads me to conclude that Governor Kasich paired with Florida senator Marco Rubio is the most conservative team that could be elected in our politically polarized nation.

Before I’m disinvited from the 2016 RedState Gathering, my fellow conservatives need to be reminded of a 1983 statement by President Ronald Reagan, “I have always figured that 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.”

So, inspired by the wisdom of Reagan and Buckley, here are five reasons why a Kasich-Rubio ticket deserves consideration by even the most conservative Republicans as an electable “half a loaf” (politically, I’d argue it adds up to a whole loaf).

REPUBLICANS ARE FLUNKING ELECTORAL COLLEGE MATH, BUT KASICH-RUBIO COULD PASS THE TEST

Last November on National Review, I penned a piece about why the Electoral College is a big blue barrier to Republicans winning the White House in 2016 or perhaps ever again.

However, a Kasich-Rubio ticket could be the GOP’s best chance of breaking that barrier and acquiring the 270 votes needed to win the presidency.

For starters, Kasich is a twice-elected governor of Ohio, a “must win” state for Republicans. In 2014, he was reelected with 63.8 percent of the vote and he currently has a 60 percent approval rating. Shifting to the presidential scoreboard, in 2012, President Obama won Ohio by a margin of only 3 points. Therefore, the chances of Governor Kasich winning his home state are excellent. But adding Ohio’s 18 electoral votes to Mitt Romney’s 2012 Electoral College total of 206 only brings Republicans up to a pitiful 224 votes, miles away from 270.

Enter Marco Rubio, who has earned the support of 7.3 of Republican primary voters. Meanwhile, his Senate job approval rating among Florida voters stands at 50 percent positive and 38 negative. Not great, but this could significantly improve if Rubio makes history as the first Floridian ever to appear on a U.S. presidential ticket.

Considering that in 2012 President Obama won Florida by a razor-thin margin of just under one percentage point, let’s assume that Rubio could deliver his state’s 29 electoral votes — bringing the Republican tally to 253, only 17 votes shy of 270. (Of course, this equation optimistically assumes that all 206 Romney states remain red.)

To win those remaining 17 electoral votes, a Kasich-Rubio ticket would likely turn to the states that Obama won by less than six points in 2012.

One possibility is Pennsylvania — Ohio’s eastern neighbor and Kasich’s birth state. It offers 20 big electoral votes and Obama’s winning margin was only 5.4 points. (Not since 1988 has a Republican presidential nominee won Pennsylvania, so a Kasich win would be monumental.)

Next target is Virginia’s 13 electoral votes with Obama’s slim 3.9 point margin of victory. Then Colorado, with nine votes and another 5.4 point victory margin. Followed by Iowa, with six votes and a 5.8 point margin. There’s also New Hampshire, with its four votes and Obama’s 5.6 point margin of victory.

Since the Republican path to 270 is very narrow, voters in these five states (along with the two home states) can expect to become very well acquainted with John Kasich and Marco Rubio.

KASICH DOES NOT SCARE INDEPENDENTS, MODERATES, AND CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRATS

Almost all of those states, though, are either bluish or purple in many ways. Less-than-conservative voters are crucial to winning them, and Kasich looks right for the job.

Governor Kasich is touting his Ohio economic success story — jobs, lower taxes, and a budget surplus — which translates well into soundbites at debates and on the campaign trail. Furthermore, Kasich portrays himself as a compassionate-conservative type, pointing to his faith as the reason why in 2013 he expanded Medicaid under Obamacare, covering 275,000 Ohio residents. In his presidential announcement speech on July 21, he said, “The Lord wants our hearts to reach out to those who don’t have what we have.”

Kasich’s decision to expand Medicaid and justify it on the grounds of his Christianity is a key reason why many conservative primary voters dismiss him, but it’s also among the reasons why it will be extremely challenging for Democrats to portray Kasich as a “war on women” right-wing nutjob.

In fact, as a popular, successful, incumbent, Midwestern governor with blue-collar roots, Kasich has the greatest potential to attract independents, moderates, and conservative Democrats from traditional blue states. That is the reason why Kasich is rumored to be the general election opponent most feared by Team Hillary. (And the Kasich campaign is not shy about fundraising off this rumor.)

BECAUSE OF OBAMA, EXPERIENCE MATTERS MORE

Compared with then-senator Obama’s noticeably thin resume when he ran for president in 2008, Kasich’s resume is deep and full of exceptional experience. From 1983 until 2001, he represented Ohio’s 12th congressional district. Kasich served for 18 years on the House Armed Services Committee, earning him national-security credentials, but even more important, he became chairman of the House Budget Committee when Republicans took control of Congress in 1995.

Kasich can brag that he was the “chief architect” of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. President Bill Clinton signed it, and there has not been another federal balanced budget or a budget surplus since.

Then between Congress and the governorship, Kasich hosted his own show on the Fox News Channel. There’s no doubt that his extensive media, legislative, and executive experience positions Kasich as a formidable candidate if or when he is embraced by the Right.

A DEMOGRAPHICALLY BALANCED TICKET

Governor Kasich is the Baby Boomer son of a mailman, and in 2016 he will be age 64 — which qualifies him as “old” and “vanilla.” It’s Marco Rubio who brings a unique demographic balance to the ticket: Born in Miami in 1971 to Cuban immigrants, Rubio’s ethnicity offers a much-needed facelift to the sagging jowls of the Grand Old (White) Party electorate.

He was speaker of the Florida state house before riding a tea-party wave to the U.S. Senate in 2009. Quickly a rising star, Rubio’s developed expertise in foreign policy and immigration issues. The last issue, of course, meant Rubio has experienced a few Washington ups and downs.

Rubio speaks of his life as an American success story and proudly promotes it in either perfect English or Spanish. He is an inspirational speaker, full of passion and conviction about the promise and opportunity that America holds for sons and daughters of all immigrants, but especially Hispanic ones. Of course, this is the voter group that the GOP needs to convert in order to stay competitive: Obama won Hispanic voters easily in 2012, taking a whopping 71 percent of them. Rubio’s presence on the ticket has the greatest potential to deliver the 47 percent of Hispanic voters that could ensure Republicans win the White House.

Rubio, with his youthful appearance, could also help attract voters between the ages of 18 and 29, 60 percent of whom supported Obama in 2012.

Rubio word

Florida Senator Marco Rubio

Then, if a Kasich/Rubio ticket could hold or even increase the white vote that Romney won in 2012 (he took 59 percent of white voters), this ticket has a real shot of breaking the Electoral College’s “blue barrier” and winning the White House.

IF KASICH-RUBIO CAN UNITE THE PARTY, THEY COULD WIN WITH A TICKET OF TRUST

The big question is whether the Republican party could unite behind a Kasich-Rubio ticket. It’s up to Kasich to persuade primary voters that he really is “conservative enough” — every Republican needs to win some purple and blue states. Still, the Ohio governor will likely have a tough slog ahead, and hasn’t made it any easier for himself recently: He’s come out in favor of a path to legal status for undocumented workers and stated during theFox News debate that he accepts gay marriage as the law of the land.

So now is a good time to remind my conservative comrades about Ronald Reagan’s “half a loaf.” And, here is my own warning, based on some old wisdom: “A party divided against itself will lose.”

In the mostly blue state of New Hampshire, Kasich is attracting support, including a key endorsement from a former George W. Bush adviser, dealing a real wound to Jeb Bush’s candidacy.

It’s not just New Hampshire where he looks viable, though: Kasich’s impressive Fox News debate performance successfully introduced him to millions of Americans.

Today, Kasich received a boost from respected political guru Larry Sabato and his Center for Politics, which ranked the Ohio governor in their group of five “First Tier: Real Contenders.”

Kasich is at the moment only supported by  4.3 percent of Republican primary voters, but he only entered the race on July 21, meaning he’s already making real headway.

Kasich and Rubio are two vastly different men from different generations who share humble roots and personify the American dream. Equally important, Kasich and Rubio are telegenic, excellent speakers, scandal-free, and, best of all, can be “trusted” — which will be a huge issue and a real advantage for Republicans should they be facing off against Hillary Clinton.

I reached out to Newt Gingrich, who was speaker of the House when Kasich served as budget chairman, and he likes the idea, too. “A Kasich/Rubio ticket would be very strong. So would a Rubio/Kasich ticket,” he told me.

But for the five reasons stated above, I think the choice is easy. And in 2024, after serving eight successful years as vice president, Marco Rubio could be elected president at the ripe old age of 53.

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‘Real’ Solutions to Hillary’s Brand Problem


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.

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Mitt vs. Hillary 2016: An Even Match and Why It Just Might Happen


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.

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Can Rick Perry Get A Second Chance With GOP Voters In 2016?


Author’s Note: On March 29, 2014  this piece was posted on  The Daily Beast
After a disastrous presidential campaign in 2012, can Texas Governor Rick Perry mount a credible bid for the White House in 2016?
Perry 2
Texas Governor Rick Perry is currently on a media tour touting the theme that America is a great place for second chances, specifically second chances for Texas governors with national ambitions.

Perry is trying to erase the memory of his disastrous 2012 GOP presidential campaign which included “brain-farts” and “oops” debate moments with his folksy, charming, and uniquely American manner.

Curious about Perry’s comeback strategy, I asked Texan and GOP presidential media guru, Mark McKinnon and he said, “His second act is looking really good. He just needed a little humbling.”

Let’s explore this concept a little further.

Up until his ill-fated Republican presidential primary run, Perry had never lost an election in his entire life.

Perry, who succeeded George W. Bush as the Lone Star State’s governor in 2000 after Bush’s election to the presidency, has won three gubernatorial elections in a row and a grand total of six statewide races in Texas.

In fact, Perry, who is not seeking re-election this year, will be the longest serving governor in Texas history when he leaves office in 2015.

He is poised for 2016 as a politically battle-hardened governor of a powerful state who, on paper is eminently qualified to be President of the United States.

Of all the governors with presidential ambitions, Perry is among the most active and vocal proponents of the Republican philosophy of smaller government and less regulation.

Perry claims his governing philosophy has resulted in Texas leading the way in economic growth and job creation. The Lone Star State is currently the fastest-growing large state in the United States and Austin, Dallas and Houston are three of the nation’s top five fastest-growing cities.

Texas is booming and Perry takes much personal credit for that, but he still has two major problems. First, the Texas governor will have to explain away the manifold gaffes and failures from his last presidential campaign.

Perry’s explanation is a good one. It has been well-documented that Perry was recovering from experimental back surgery involving his own adult stem cells only six-weeks before making his official presidential announcement at the conservative RedState Gathering on August 14, 2011. Then, throughout his campaign, he was taking painkillers, not sleeping and having trouble standing due to chronic pain.

Second, Perry has to cope with the lingering shadow of his predecessor in the Texas governor’s mansion, George W. Bush. The comparison to the still unpopular 43rd president reinforces Perry’s poor 2011 primary performance. As a result, it is almost too easy for Democrats and some unfriendly media outlets to brand Perry as another dumb Texas good-ole-boy and for Americans to believe it. All that is needed is a re-play of Perry’s most painful debate moments and “mission accomplished.”

But if there is any way American voters could disregard these factors, here is why Perry deserves a second chance as illustrated in this often asked Gallup poll question: “What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?” Among the top three answers were unemployment/jobs and the economy in general, both areas where Perry has built a strong record in Texas and makes very compelling arguments about his ability to nationalize them in his stump speech.

If Perry does decide to run again, are Americans willing to give Rick Perry his second chance after he was so thoroughly humbled in 2011? Don’t forget, being knocked down and then forging ahead are strong personality traits that most Americans admire. But on the flip side, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

 

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Can a Republican Win 270 Electoral Votes in 2016…or Ever?


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.

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16 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Will Win In 2016


Re-posted from The Daily Beast August 3, 2013  by 

As a lifelong Republican, I am not pleased with my own prediction—nothing would thrill me more than if a conservative were to win back the presidency. But my political reality instincts lead me to believe the following. (And I’ve been right before: in January 2011, I cowrote “12 Reasons Obama Wins in 2012.”)

Unless there is a radical change of circumstances within the Republican Party and its crop of presidential wannabes, or some unforeseen cataclysmic national event that dramatically alters the current economic and political landscape, or a serious deterioration in her health, Hillary has it locked up.

Here are 16 reasons why Hillary Clinton is poised to be elected the next president of the United States, in order of importance.

1. Madame President: A Great Social Movement in the Making

A great social movement to elect the first Madame President is gathering wind and will reach sustained hurricane strength on November 5, 2014—the day after the midterm elections and the “official start” of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Akin to the movement that elected the first African-American president in 2008, the “Madame President movement” will be propelled by the mainstream media, Hollywood, and social media. Together they will build momentum and coalitions across all platforms, while reveling in their awesome social and cultural significance. You will hear the “triumph of the ’60s feminist movement.” You will hear that you will be “voting to make history.” And you will hear that your vote will be used as a “hammer to break through the glass ceiling of the Oval Office.” Warning: Prepare for the onslaught, because it is coming your way.

2. The Media Is Ready to Crown a Queen

Hillary, the first female presidential nominee of a major party, will be anointed by the media, Hollywood, and pop culture—just as they anointed the junior senator from Illinois in 2008. The only difference between then and now is Obama was hailed as the messiah, and Hillary will be the queen ready to ascend to her royal throne. Already NBC has announced a Hillary miniseries set for air before the network has to steer clear of FCC equal-time regulations. (In other words, right before Clinton officially announces her candidacy for maximum ratings.)

3. Groupthink: It’s Her Time, and She Deserves It

Between now and 2016, listen as political pundits exclaim, “It’s her time,” or “She deserves it.”

Long-suffering Hillary, who was publicly humiliated by her cheating husband and then triumphed over adversity by being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000. Long-suffering Hillary, who was defeated by her own party for the presidential nomination in 2008, and then further rejected by Obama to be his running mate.

Triumph came later when “Hillary the team player” became the globe-trotting secretary of State and despite a lack of any real accomplishment, eventually earned international respect and higher approval ratings than the team leader himself.

Therefore, because of her highs and lows, the “unholy alliance” of cultural and media forces truly believes that it’s her time, that she deserves it. This groupthink will make for a toxic punch of media bias that the Republican presidential candidate will be forced to drink on a daily basis.

4. Organization the Obama Way

Hillary’s campaign-in-waiting, the Ready for Hillary PAC, is readying itself to turn into her official campaign as soon as Madame General signs the battle order.

Some top-notch Obama campaign talent, Jeremy Bird and Mitch Stewart, have already been hired to build an organization similar to President Obama’s two nearly flawless, state-of-the-art campaigns. It would be nearly impossible for the Republican presidential candidate to quickly build and match what will then be a huge national campaign organization with a three-year head start. For even the Republican challenger, it would appear as if Hillary were the incumbent.

5.  Barrels of Money

For the 2012 presidential campaign, both candidates eventually raised a billion dollars. But Obama had the advantage of early money and put it to great use, negatively defining and attacking Romney throughout the spring of 2012.

Between now and 2016 Hillary could easily raise more than a billion dollars and much of it early. In fact, just this week it was announced that Ready for Hillary had raised over a million dollars in June 2013, without its candidate of course.

This early money will give Hillary the same advantage Obama had to smear whoever emerges as her likely opponent while the GOP primary season chugs along to its conclusion.

6. The Electoral College is Slanted Toward Hillary and the Democrats

Just how much of an advantage will the Electoral College offer Hillary in 2016?

Here are some startling facts:

In 2012 the final Electoral College results were 332 for Obama and 206 for Romney. If Romney had won the battleground states of Florida (29 votes), Ohio (18 votes), and Virginia (13 votes), Obama would still have been reelected but by a closer margin of 272 to 266.

Now, just because Obama won well over 300 electoral votes does not mean Hillary will repeat that achievement. However, the path to 270 is much easier for any Democrat candidate given current and future demographic growth and established voting patterns.

7. Hillary Will Have Either Symbolic or No Primary Opposition

The only reason why ambitious power players like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo or Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley might challenge Hillary to a primary is to increase their own national name recognition with the goal of landing on Hillary’s VP shortlist. (The battle to top that shortlist will be the real Democratic primary of 2016.) Not having a real primary will be a tremendous advantage for Hillary, thus freeing her up to concentrate on the general-election battle while the Republicans are still battling each other.

Meanwhile, Vice President Biden will fall in line and become an avid campaigner and fundraiser for Hillary because he will obey his bosses’ orders—both of them.

8. The Hispanic Voting Bloc Is Hillary’s to Lose

In 2012 the Republican Party was shaken to the core after Romney lost Hispanic voters to Obama by a lopsided margin of 71 percent to 27 percent.

Now remember, the Ready for Hillary PAC has already hired some key Obama managers and field organizers who helped produce those outstanding results. Certainly part of their new job will be to ensure that the fast-growing Hispanic population continues to be a loyal Democratic voting block.

Additionally, Ready for Hillary will be “ready to register” all of those 50,000 Hispanic teenagers who will be turning 18 every month for the next two decades.

9. The African-American and Asian Vote Is Also Hillary’s to Lose

The Republican Party was hardly surprised when Obama won the African-American vote by 93 percent to 6 percent in 2012. But they were surprised that he won the Asian American vote by a wide margin of 73 percent to 26 percent. Will Hillary resonate as well with both these two groups?

I can only take a wild guess about Asian-Americans’ attitude toward Hillary, but I do remember Bill Clinton being called America’s first black president well before we had one.

10. Bill Clinton Will Be a Tremendous Asset to Hillary

“Vote for the First Dude” is a bumper sticker waiting to happen.

During last summer’s Democratic National Convention, Bill Clinton convinced America to vote for President Obama in what was heralded as such an eloquent speech that it made Obama seem small by comparison.

At that moment, Democrats and their media allies experienced a tsunami of feel-good Clinton nostalgia that continues to this day, and “Hillary 2016” is the supreme beneficiary. Furthermore, from a pop culture/media perspective, her leaner, non-meat eating, more highly evolved, totally rebranded, well-respected charitable husband (of Clinton Global Initiative fame) will be one of Hillary’s greatest assets on the campaign trail.

The once deadly “Clinton fatigue” that plagued Hillary in 2008 now only lives in the minds of Republicans. And unless Elvis is reincarnated as a Republican, the GOP has no celebrity stars that even come close to “Bubba the Big Dog.” (Don’t even think about Clint Eastwood or his empty chair.)

11. Hillary Will Run for Either Obama’s Third Term or Bill Clinton’s

If Obama’s presidency tanks in its final years, than Team Clinton (with the help of the complicit media) could easily repackage herself to run for Bill Clinton’s “third term.” (Remember that his third term was won by Al Gore in 2000 and then stolen by that evil George W. Bush, or so goes the Democrat folklore.)

However, the trick for Hillary is to still utilize Obama’s ever-likable persona just enough to fire up his loyal base to serve her own purposes. This tactic will achieve success no matter how low Obama’s approval ratings go, because there are always Republicans to blame.

12. The Republicans Have a Weak Bench With Little Star Power

If the Democrats did not have Hillary, or she declines to run, then both parties would have weak benches.

In this hypothetical case, the campaign playing field would be roughly equal (except for that growing slant in the Electoral College). But the Democrats do have Hillary, and all signs point to her running, so that leaves only a weak GOP bench and the question, “How can any of the potential GOP candidates possibly win 270 electoral votes?”

13. The Long GOP Primary System Plays to Hillary’s Advantage

On May 30, 2012, Romney finally won enough delegates to win the Republican nomination. And during that month, Obama pummeled and defined Romney as a rich mean man of privilege who fired people like you so he could become even richer. Romney didn’t know what hit him and hardly responded. Some Republican political consultants believe May was the month when Romney lost the general election because he was too busy wrapping up the nomination and building a national campaign organization.

This is only one example of how the Republican primary traveling circus went on far too long, hurting the eventual winner, and was extremely debilitating to the image of the party in the eyes of the general electorate.

Now in 2016 (unless order suddenly comes from chaos), it looks like we are in for another long, heated, Republican primary season while Hillary assumes the Obama-like incumbent position, ready to pounce on whoever starts to emerge victorious.

14. Hillary Will Make the Case That She Is the Only Leader Who Can Bring Us Together

As the potential first woman president and commander in chief, Hillary must prove that she has the capacity for strong leadership and is not afraid to compromise with Republicans in order to solve the problems confronting this nation. And with friends throughout the media singing her praises, this task should be a no-brainer—even with the Benghazi clip of “What difference does it make?” being played nonstop by Republicans.

But the irony here is that by offering herself up as the strong leader that America desperately needs (like she did so well in 2008), she draws an obvious negative comparison with our current leader, who is sadly lacking in this skill set and whose blessings she wants out on the campaign trail.

My guess is the media will gloss over Obama’s lack of leadership while bolstering Hillary’s and they will both get what they want: Obama, a historic legacy and Hillary his office. Because with the media on your side, everything is possible!

15. Calling Hillary ‘Old’ Insults the Old Republican Base

Hillary was born in 1947, making her 66 years young. If elected president, she will turn 70 during her first year in office. But as we all know, 70 is the new 55, so this is not a problem. But the next time you hear a Republican say that Hillary is too old to run (as I do all the time) please have these facts handy:

In the 2012 election, voters over the age of 65 composed 16 percent of the electorate and voted for Romney over Obama by 56 percent to 44 percent—making this age group Romney’s most loyal voting block. Next most faithful were the 45- to 64-year-olds, who constituted 38 percent of the voters and supported Romney 51 percent to Obama’s 47 percent.

So how do these stats help Hillary?

The answer is today’s “old people” do not think of themselves as old but rather smarter, more disciplined, better educated, and more competent than the generations that followed. Romney won older voters because he appeared more competent and accomplished than Obama. Now it is Hillary who will wear the competent and accomplished label more often than black pantsuits.

In addition to the competence factor, older voters (especially aging baby-boom women), relate well to someone like Hillary identifying with her life journey and numerous family struggles. Therefore, old people will carefully listen to her message and give her the benefit of the doubt—since the concept of “it is her time and she deserves it” will have been drilled into old people’s brains by the mainstream media.

16. The GOP Has Weak Arguments Against Hillary

Recently, someone sent me a link with a video from the Stop Hillary.com PAC. The video portrayed her 2017 “inauguration.” The voice-over was Hillary taking the presidential oath of office while the following words were flashed on the screen: Whitewater, Vince Foster, Travelgate, Rose Law Firm, and Benghazi. Then as Hillary finishes the oath saying, “So help me God,” the words “So help us” flash on the screen.

Along with the video, here is the mission statement of the Stop Hillary PAC:

Make sure Hillary Clinton never becomes president! America can’t survive another team back in the White House. In 2016, it will be too late to stop Hillary. we’ve got to hold her accountable right now. Stop Hillary PAC was created for one reason only—to save America from the destructive far-left, liberal cancer created by Bill and Hillary Clinton that’s trying to corrupt America. Stand with Stop Hillary PAC today to take a stand for America’s future and STOP Hillary dead in her tracks.

Now, does any thinking Republican actually believe that dredging up ’90s-era scandals is going to stop Hillary? (Benghazi is different, but unfortunately the mainstream media and general public have lost interest, and by 2016 it will have as much negative impact on her as Travelgate.)

If these arguments are the best the “Stop Hillary movement” can muster, then it is time for some new arguments.

And Finally…

Because of reasons No. 1 through 16, and in spite of the fact that Hillary is extremely polarizing and travels with a lot of baggage, she is still poised to win in 2016 because frankly, there is no one who can stop her. Unless, as stated at the beginning, there are unforeseen cataclysmic national events that dramatically alter the current economic and political landscape or Hillary has major health issues and drops out even before she gets in.

For the record, I am not in favor of any of the above options. The best I can hope for is that the presidential election campaign in 2016 will be fair, clean, and without the blatant media bias that tipped the scales for Obama in 2008 and 2012.

But since we are talking about Hillary as the first woman president, and a rekindled Clinton media love affair, good luck with all that!

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A Strong Social Movement to Elect the First Female President Spells Trouble for the GOP in 2016


Screen grab from Hillary Clinton's new web site.

Screen grab from Hillary Clinton’s new web site.

There were two great national social movements of the 20th century, Civil Rights and the Women’s Movement. (Also known as the Feminist Movement, Women’s Liberation and Women’s Lib.) As these movements gained momentum they contributed to the social upheaval that helped define the decade of the 1960s.

Now, in the 21st century both movements are still evolving and their cultural and societal effects are part of our daily life, but the success of the Civil Rights movement shines slightly brighter, as witnessed by the second inauguration of the first African-American President of the United States

Through Barack Obama, one of these two great social movements has reached the pinnacle of power twice. But in next few years, will the Women’s Movement, led by its representative-in-chief Hillary Clinton, make an all out attempt to achieve that same goal?  And will the “dominant media” be 1000% behind Clinton as the leader of the movement to help elect the first female President of the United States?

The answer to both questions is “yes” and “yes, definitely.”

For the record I am not, nor have I never been, a Hillary supporter, but as a baby-boomer Republican woman having come of age during the peak of “woman’s liberation,” I can not ignore what I foresee as an extremely ripe political movement on the horizon, even though its leader will not receive my vote.

All my political sensibilities point to a majority of American women of all ages, races, education levels and from all parts of this nation banding together to fuel a “Hillary in 2016” super-sized rocket on a trajectory straight to the White House.

However, the rocket ship stays on the launch pad if Hillary decides not to run in 2016 due to declining health or other unknown factors. But if launch is a go, than woe to any Republican male whether he is white, Hispanic, plus-sized or lean, who dares to be her opponent in 2016.

Having this opinion puts me in direct disagreement with writer Matt Lewis, who concludes in a piece which appeared in The Week  entitled, In Four Years We’ll Be Inaugurating Marco Rubio; “Watch out, Hillary. Come January 2017, America won’t be inaugurating its first female president. We’ll be inaugurating our first Latino commander-in-chief. “

But my contrary belief is that the movement to elect the first female president of the United States already has tons of industrial strength momentum and its own sense of historic urgency now seen almost daily on display throughout the mainstream media. Whereas, the movement to elect a Latino commander-in-chief will not be nearly as strong in 2016 as it will be say a decade or two from now.

For the remainder of 2013 and probably well into 2014, the major theme of all the Hillary coverage will be focused on the question, “Will she run?” But once that is answered in the affirmative, and deals are made to eliminate any Democratic primary opposition, you can expect blatant mainstream media bias on par with what occurred during the 2008 presidential campaign fueling the historic movement that elected the first African-American president.

Let us not forget how much the dominant media loves the triumph of a social movement whose members were formerly discriminated against. Certainly electing the first woman president in 2016 totally fits that bill. (And now, unlike in 2008, they really like her Bill again too!)

Another advantage Hillary will have in 2016, that first played out in the 2008 presidential election (and only to a slightly lesser extent in 2012), was the notion that if you dared not to support Obama, first as a candidate and then as an incumbent, you risked being labeled a “racist.”

This means heading towards 2016, do not be surprised when an eerily familiar mantra starts to unfold, labeling anyone not supporting Hillary for President a chauvinist, sexist or “anti-woman.”

Just watch how Hillary’s candidacy will ignite a whole new “War on Women”… but with a unique twist. For once the movement is totally underway a battle of name calling will be waged against any man (especially) or woman (most likely) who is not a foot soldier in Hillary’s army, marching in lock step towards conquering the Oval Office in the name of “Girl Power.”

As one prominent Republican campaign strategist told me during the 2008 McCain campaign, it is nearly impossible for any presidential candidate to be victorious if he or she is running against a social movement and Hillary in 2016 will most definitely be a social movement.

Ironically in 2008, Hillary was burned when she ran up against an even stronger social movement (at the time) with its goal to nominate the first African-American Democrat candidate.

But in 2016 all the stars will be aligned in her favor. This is because for great movements to be successful they must be perfectly timed and fueled by a desire to achieve something once almost unachievable or to compensate for past treatment now considered to be unjust. And the movement of Hillary in 2016 has all of the above.

Additionally, successful movements like Obama’s quest for the presidency in 2008 must first have the full faith and backing of the dominant media and once that is achieved, all the “plain folks” usually just fall in line.

(See gay marriage and gay rights as the most recent example of such a movement).

Furthermore, Hillary Clinton in 2016 will have even more of an advantage than did Senator Obama at the beginning of his movement.

Her favorability is already extremely high at 67% and she does not have to be introduced to the American people, as was the case in 2008 with a little known newly minted Senator from Illinois.

Even if Hillary’s popularity somewhat diminishes (which it will), Republicans with an eye for 2016 must not be in denial that they will be up against a historic movement with the largest, most powerful voting block that abandoned them by a margin of more than 10% in 2012.  (Exit polls indicate 55% of women voted for Obama and 44% for Romney, with women comprising 53% of the entire electorate.)

However, the dominant media, in concert with the growing power of American women will form a tour de force that, in my opinion, no male Republican presidential candidates currently on the 2016 horizon can expect to overcome.

It is my sincere hope that the 2016 GOP candidate will find a way to win the White House anyway. But if Hillary is the Democrat nominee she will be more than a presidential candidate. Hillary Rodham Clinton will represent a “triumph” of the women’s movement similar to the “triumph” of the Civil Rights movement which twice helped elect Barack Obama.

And, as we have just seen in 2008 and 2012, running against a social movement is made even more difficult when the dominant media is totally supportive of the movement and will do everything in its power to forge a “happy ending.”

Re-posted from RedState.com

 

 

 

 

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