Page 2 of 3


Voter in Maricopa, Arizona Credit: AP – Franklin

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Talk about predictions, here is a prescient one:

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

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

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

Virginia (13) Bush: 53.8 –Trump: 44.4

Colorado (9) Bush: 51.7 – Trump: 43.3  

New Mexico (5) Bush: 49.8 –Trump: 40 

Nevada (6) Bush: 50.7 – Trump: 45.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


(Angela Major/The Janesville Gazette via AP)

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

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

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A few more observations:

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

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

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

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


AP Photo/John Locher

Re-posted from RealClearPolitics on Feb. 22, 2020

COMMENTARY By Myra Adams – RCP Contributor

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE.

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

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

1960: Will America elect a Catholic president?

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

Answer: Kennedy won a close but controversial victory.

2008: Will America elect an African American president?

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

Answer: Obama won a comfortable victory.

2016: Will America elect a woman president?

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

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

2020: Will America elect a gay president?

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

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

Answer: To be determined.

2020: Will America elect a Jewish president?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Topics: John KennedyMichael Bloomberg2020 Democratic Primary2020 Election2020 Democrats


(AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

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

COMMENTARY by Myra Adams – RCP Contributor

Myra’s Complete Archive Is Here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WWJS? – “What Would Jesus Say?” 

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


(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Re-posted from Real Clear Politics, January 26, 2020

MYRA’S COMPLETE ARCHIVE IS HERE.

COMMENTARY By Myra Adams – RCP Contributor

Last February at CPAC, while I chatted about Donald Trump’s 2020 reelection prospects with an influential conservative radio talk show host, he made a statement that resonated with me: “If Trump wasn’t Trump, he’d be Reagan.” 

Given the robust economy and lengthy list of accomplishments that my fellow Republicans love to recite (319 to be exact) — along with a “promises kept” timeline from Trump’s reelection campaign — I agreed then, as I do now, that the president’s reelection chances minus all the drama equal President Reagan’s.

Moreover, I can personally attest that among Republicans — when five or more are gathered in his name — this discussion topic often arises: “Trump is the greatest president since Reagan.”

And then there’s this quote from a Florida Republican Party official that recently appeared in the Palm Beach Post: “‘I used to say that President Trump is our best president since Ronald Reagan. I don’t say that anymore. I say President Trump is our best president since Abraham Lincoln,’” he said to cheers.

It’s no joke that many Republicans fantasize about 2020 as the sequel to 1984 — Reagan’s blow-out reelection victory over Walter Mondale — the lackluster former vice president who served under an even more lackluster president, Jimmy Carter.  

For the record, Reagan winning 525 Electoral College votes with only 13 for Mondale —10 from his home state of Minnesota and three from the District of Columbia — stands today as the GOP’s highwater mark. (It’s hard to believe now, but second is President Richard Nixon’s 1972 reelection trouncing of Sen. George McGovern with an Electoral College victory of 520 to 17.)

Ah, the glory days of my party winning “red states” in every direction across the fruited plain — before they were even called “red.” (That started during the 2000 election.)

Given Trump’s RealClearPolitics job approval rating average of 44.8%, compared to 52% for Reagan at this time in 1984 — it is unlikely that even with a Reagan-like economy, Trump could win in a landslide. But he could still win reelection after a nothing-burger impeachment (likely forgotten by Election Day) is overshadowed by all the “promises kept.”

The truth is millions of Americans who are not hard-core MAGA hat wearers will vote to reelect him by overlooking “Trump being Trump” because “I love how my 401K is doing.” This week, I heard those exact words from a middle-aged white male luxury car salesman in Florida. He gleefully proclaimed that “business is great,” but he is not thrilled with Trump’s persona and behavior that resulted in his impeachment.

Thus, the conundrum upon which Trump’s reelection prospects hinge: Do fat paychecks and plump 401Ks provide an affirmative answer to the question: Trump is Trump, but can he still be Reagan?  

My answer is yes, especially among white male voters. However, and unfortunately for Trump, women of all races are looking beyond the well-worn 1992 phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Energized, engaged women are 2020’s demographic to watch since they constituted a larger percentage of the electorate in 2016 —52% to 48%. Same in both 2012 and 2008, when the electorate was 53% female and 47% male.

Recent RealClearPolitics general election match-up polls show how gender might shape the presidential results while impeachment monopolizes all the media bandwidth. (And I know how much Republicans hate this exercise because of the mantra “Don’t believe the polls.”)

A detailed CNN poll released on Jan. 22 showed Biden — still leading the race for the Democratic nomination in the RCP average — defeating Trump by nine points.

That is primarily due to Biden walloping Trump with women by a margin of 61% to 37%. Should Team Trump be worried by that 24-point gap? No, but it is worth noting the increase over 2016 when Hillary Clinton won women by 13 points, 54% to 41% over Trump.

Conversely, the poll continues to show men’s preference for Trump over Biden by a nine-point margin of 53% to 44% — with the president down two percentage points from 2016 when he won men by 11 points over Clinton, 52% to 41%.

When the CNN poll breaks out battleground states (buried in table 100), Trump’s performance with both men and women improves slightly. Although Biden still defeats Trump by two percentage points (49% to 47%), it is well within the margin of error. And with men — consistently Trump’s strongest demographic — he is preferred over Biden by 55% to 40%. (A battleground state increase of 15 points, up from nine points nationally within the same poll.)

With battleground state women, Biden’s advantage is cut to 18 percentage points   — 58% to Trump’s 40%. (Still a “yikes.”)

Now let’s turn to a Florida Mason Dixon poll released on Dec. 31, 2019, with data detailing the political state of Trump’s new “home state.”

Ultimately, 2020 could be decided by the party that wins Florida’s 29 Electoral College votes that Trump won in 2016 with a 1.2% margin of victory. (File this away: As a result of the 2020 census, Florida is projected to gain two Electoral College votes — making the state an even greater prize in 2024 when popular Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to make a run for the White House if reelected in 2022.)

Back to Florida 2020, the poll shows how Biden and Trump could potentially engage in a bloody cage fight with Biden now edging Trump by only two percentage points, 47% to 45%, with 8% undecided. (RCP also displays a later Jan. 15 Florida FAU poll with the same Trump-Biden two-point spread, but I used the earlier Mason Dixon poll because of its detailed crosstabs.)

Among Sunshine State women voters, Biden leads Trump by 11 percentage points, 50% to 39%, with 11% undecided. But Trump leads with men by 10 percentage points, 53% to 43%, with 4% undecided. Signaling how racially contentious Florida is going to be this year, Trump leads Biden with white voters 58% to 33%, with 9% undecided.

Biden trumps Trump with African Americans, 92% to 4%, and only 4% undecided. Then, there is the growing Hispanic vote (20% of the state’s eligible voters) becoming more mobilized. This could be a real detriment to Trump, shown losing Hispanics to Biden by 61% to 32%, with 7% undecided.  

Finally, the latest poll (Emerson) displayed by RCP has Biden and Trump tied nationally and with a perfectly mirrored men vs. women battle – 57% of men approving of Trump with 38% disapproving, and 38% of women approving of the president with 57% disapproving.

Altogether, these polls and many more point to the fact that when it comes to supporting Trump, even with a strong economy, women are less enthusiastic than men. Are they more concerned that Trump is not a role model for their children or that they find his aggressive behavior not befitting a president?

Is that concept key to the question “If Trump wasn’t Trump, he’d be Reagan”? The answer will determine whether women are powerful enough to give Trump a permanent “time out” in November.



Re-posted from Real Clear Politics Dec. 21, 2019
By Myra Adams – RCP Contributor

Myra’s Complete Archive Is Here.

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Every four years we hear the following two statements:

This is the most consequential presidential election in American history.

This is the most contentious presidential election in American history.

Every four years those statements ring true because, looking back, the prior election always seems tame by comparison. Therefore, let’s explore three reasons why 2020 will in fact be the most consequential and contentious presidential election in modern U.S. history.

The first is historical – it will be the first time an impeached incumbent is running for reelection. After acquittal by the Senate (barring any unforeseen circumstances), President Donald J. Trump will be the Republican Party’s nominee.

This remarkable circumstance calls for a new political playbook addressing two unprecedented questions: How does an impeached president run for reelection? How does the opposing party run against him? Sounding like the plot of a fictional Netflix series, the 2020 race is set to rest upon that bizarre foundation.

Part of the scaffolding arising from that foundation involves potential fallout from impeachment for incumbent officeholders whose names will appear below Trump’s on the ballot. Depending on their impeachment vote, how much will the electorate punish or support their members of Congress and senators up for reelection? By the time Nov. 3, 2020 rolls around, will impeachment have faded, still quietly ripple, or remain a divisive issue influencing many down-ballot races? The answers will be among the most interesting to learn.

The second reason why 2020 will be the most consequential and contentious presidential election ever waged is the racial and gender composition of the tickets and the electorate. 

It is practically a given that the Democratic Party ticket will be “balanced.” For example, if former Vice President Joe Biden is the nominee, as a white male he will need to select a running mate who is female or, better yet, a non-white female. The same equation applies to whoever else might win the nomination. The need for balance stems from the changing color and feminization of the electorate — with the overwhelming majority voting Democratic.

Here are some interesting electoral statistics:

In 2016, 70% of voters were white, but for 2020 the Pew Research Center projects a dip to 66.7%. Hispanic voters constituted 11% of the 2016 electorate and, next year, they are projected at 13.3%. African Americans were 11% four years ago and this bloc is expected to grow to 12.5% in November.

Also in 2016, the white-male Trump/Pence ticket won 57% of the white vote compared to 37% for Hillary Clinton. But in 2020, with the percentage of white voters projected to decrease by 3.3 percentage points, Team Trump must reach out to more white voters, which means more rallies and more outrageous statements that often alienate other groups.

Meanwhile, Trump is trying to increase his share of Hispanic and African American votes, but whether he can offset the decrease in white voters remains a critical question. Ultimately, race and steadily changing demographics have the potential to diminish the GOP’s long-term viability as a national party, and that is both a consequential and contentious issue that will dramatically play out and impact the 2020 campaign. 

(For the record, the last time both presidential tickets comprised only white males was 2004 when Bush/Cheney faced off against Kerry/Edwards.)

The third reason why 2020 will top the consequential/contentious scale is the increasing power of politically engaged women voters. In 2016, women constituted 52% of the electorate compared to men at 48%. Hillary Clinton won women by a margin of 54% to 41% over Trump. In the 2018 midterm election — according to Pew Research Center’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data — women were 53% of the electorate with men at 47%.

In 2020 women could best men by an even greater margin, and that could be problematic for the president.

In a recent Fox News poll, women voters preferred Biden over Trump by a margin of 51% to 36%. That means Trump is down five percentage points from 2016 when he won 41% of women, as stated above. But Trump’s real problem is with white women — a group he won 52% of in 2016 compared to 43% for Clinton. Worse, the Fox poll has Trump losing white women to “Sleepy Joe” Biden by five percentage points, 47% to 42%.

Furthermore, this week a Quinnipiac University poll had a stunning revelation about Trump and women voters: “Women disapprove 57-38 percent, but it is the president’s best approval number among women thus far.” That 38% “best” approval number is three points lower than the 41% of all women that Trump won in 2016, which could indicate Trump has a severe women problem.

Taken together — engaged, motivated, largely anti-Trump women voters combined with the wild card of impeachment fallout, and a 3.3% decrease in white voters potentially shrinking the GOP base — all this should be reason enough why the 2020 election is going to be the most consequential and contentious in American history … until 2024.


(Click here for Myra’s complete op-ed archive)


AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Re-posted from RealClearPolitics, August 8, 2019

One of my all-time favorite lines is “How do you make God laugh?” Answer: “Tell Him your plans.”

And my recent political counterpart is “How do you make Republicans laugh?” Answer: “Texas is the 2020 battleground state.”

The quadrennial three-dimensional math game, more commonly known as the Electoral College, already challenges President Trump with an excessively large number of 2016 red states in need of serious defending — with no plans to expand his base. But Texas as a bona fide swing state is the campaign equivalent of launching the D-Day invasion while fighting the Battle of the Bulge.

Widely reported nationally, the fight for Texas has in fact begun (and not as a Republican laugh line).

An early harbinger of this confrontation is the RealClearPolitics general election match-up poll average showing Joe Biden leading Trump in the Lone Star State by three percentage points. Folks, this is Texas, so Trump should be leading the Democrats’ front-runner well outside the error margin after having won there by nine points in 2016. But as Republicans laugh about “battleground” Texas, they generally downplay any negative Trump polling.

They shouldn’t. To appropriate the familiar Apollo 13 quote: “Houston, we have a problem.” In a recent piece headlined “Texas Republicans Brace for 2020 Drubbing,” Politico reported, “In one sign of potential concern about Democrats’ inroads in the state, Trump’s campaign is currently spending more money on digital ads in Texas than in any other state.”

Team Trump’s spending there in the summer of 2019 is an unprecedented warning sign that the GOP’s once-firm grip on its 38-electoral-vote ruby-red “crown jewel” could be in jeopardy.

Since 1980, no Republican nominee or incumbent has ever needed to wage a serious battle to win those 38 votes in a state long regarded as “safe.”

Texas last went “blue” in 1976 when Democratic nominee Jimmy Carter defeated President Gerald Ford. (This was decades before states were designated as blue or red, which started during the contentious 2000 presidential election.)

More recently, the 2016 election results proved that Texas’ bright red-state star had begun to flicker. Although Trump won there with 52.2% support to Clinton’s 43.2%, it was the smallest margin of victory for a Republican presidential nominee in the 21st century. (Yes, nine percentage points is “Texas small.”)

By comparison, Mitt Romney trumped Barack Obama by 16 points in 2012, 57.2% to 41.1%. In 2008, John McCain defeated Obama by 12 points. And before that George W. Bush won his home state by 23 points in 2004 and 21 points in 2000. 

Now Trump’s margin of victory is further clouded by troubling downward trends.

According to Morning Consult’s state tracking data, when Trump took office in January 2017, his job approval rating in the state was 54% with 34% disapproving. By July 2019’s end, his rating showed a net approval decrease of 14 percentage points with 51% approving and 45% disapproving.

The good news is that the president’s Texas job approval is 7.8 percentage points higher than his national RealClearPolitics average of 43.3% with 53.6% disapproving.

Note that Morning Consult’s July data did not include any fallout from the Aug. 3, mass shooting in El Paso. But Civiqs’ survey this week of registered voters shows Trump’s Texas approval has dipped to 50% with 47% disapproving.

As a 50-50 tossup, Texas amplifies the alarms heard after 2018 midterm election when a virtually unknown (at the time) U.S. Senate candidate named Beto O’Rourke, then a three-term El Paso congressman, assembled a “new coalition” of voters — young, non-white, female, urban —  and almost unseated Ted Cruz, who won reelection only by 50.9% to 48.3%. 

For a deeper dive, read Sean Trende’s recent RCP piece, “Yes, the GOP Should Worry About Texas,”  which explains inconvenient demographic truths about why Beto’s 2018 results could be a bellwether for 2020 races up and down the Texas ballot. 

Perhaps if the late Tim Russert, NBC’s iconic “Meet the Press” moderator, were alive today, he would hold a whiteboard with the words “Texas,Texas,Texas” as the 2020 state to watch — while, in his other hand, still holding his famous “Florida, Florida, Florida” sign. Ever since the explosive 2000 presidential election, Florida has been the “mother of all swing states” with its 29 electoral votes. But in 2020 that status could be “trumped” by Texas as the “Godzilla of all swing states.”

If the Democratic presidential nominee were to win Texas’ 38 electoral votes, America would undergo a political “tectonic-plate shift.” Theoretically, the Democratic Party would dominate the Electoral College vote, painting the White House “blue, blue, blue” for the foreseeable future.

As a Republican, I can only imagine how a “blue Texas” would demolish the morale of red-state voters. Potentially, the loss could ignite a Republican firestorm to replace the constitutionally mandated Electoral College with the popular vote. Ironically, such as shift has long been opposed by the GOP, but the idea continues to gain traction after the 2000 and 2016 presidential elections exposed quirks and flaws in the current system. (Some would say resulting in “illegitimate” presidents.)

No one knows what will happen in 2020 except that the entire country will be a battleground, both literally and figuratively. And that is not a laugh line.


Reposted from Real Clear Politics Feb. 22, 2019

(Click here for Myra’s complete op-ed archive)

According to today’s RealClearPolitics polling average, President Trump’s job approval is 44.3 percent with 52.6 percent of voters disapproving of his performance.

Now contrast his job approval with that of the last two presidents at this same point in their first term, both of whom were re-elected. On Feb. 22, 2011, the RCP job approval average for Barack Obama was 48.5 percent with 45.7 percent disapproving. On this same day in 2003, George W. Bush’s average was 57 percent with 37 percent disapproving.

It is also notable that Trump’s job approval average throughout 2018 and up to today has yet to reach 45 percent. Conversely, his average disapproval rating has consistently ranged between 51 and 55 percent.

Meanwhile, those dismal numbers are only one gigantic pothole on his bumpy road to re-election. What I consider Trump’s greatest foe is voter demography as outlined in the recent Pew Research Center study, “An Early Look at the 2020 Electorate.” That study projects the percentage of eligible voters from each of the nation’s four largest racial and ethnic groups. Unfortunately for Trump, the results do not bode well based on how these same groups voted in 2016.

It’s the math, stupid! Specifically, how demographic math impacts Trump’s ability to win the required 270 Electoral College votes and thus, a second term.

Let’s take a closer look, but first a caveat: Pew’s projected percentage of eligible 2020 voters by racial and ethnic group will likely differ from the percentage who actually cast a ballot.

The study projects that whites will comprise 66.7 percent of eligible voters; Hispanics, 13.3 percent; blacks, 12.5 percent; and Asians, 4.7 percent. The fact that non-whites will comprise roughly one-third of eligible voters would not be a problem for Trump and the Republican Party if they did not overwhelming and consistently vote Democratic. But the ever-increasing Hispanic vote is the GOP’s greatest cause of present and future consternation.

For example, due to Hispanic growth, traditional “ruby red” Arizona, with 10 electoral votes, will be among the most contentious 2020 battleground states. And, though Republicans fondly remember when New Mexico last went “red” — in 2004, helping re-elect President George W. Bush – it is now solidly blue.

Republican strategists also fear how the traditionally wide gap between the number of eligible and actual Hispanic voters is dramatically shrinking. It’s no surprise that as the Hispanic population grows, as with any rising ethnic group it becomes increasingly empowered, engaged, and mobilized to vote.

In fact, the 2018 midterm elections could be considered a historic turning point because Hispanics made up 11 percent of voters — a record level of participation. (The number was only 7.3 percent in the previous midterms.) Most important, that 11 percent of the 2018 electorate mirrors the 2016 presidential election turnout when Hispanics also composed 11 percent of the electorate while supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton by 66 percent to 28 percent for Donald Trump.

In past presidential elections, turnout trends for Hispanics showed both consistent growth and solid support for the Democratic candidate. In 2012, Hispanics constituted 10 percent of the voting electorate when 71 percent supported Barack Obama to just 27 percent for Mitt Romney. In 2008, Hispanics were 9 percent of the voting electorate, and 67 percent supported Obama compared to 31 percent for John McCain.

One could even go back to the 1984 Republican landslide when Hispanics made up only 3 percent of the electorate. Still, 66 percent supported the Democratic candidate, former Vice President Walter Mondale, compared to 34 percent who voted for Ronald Reagan.

The takeaway is that the Democrat presidential nominee in 2020 can count on support from at least two-thirds of Hispanic voters, who will likely constitute at least 12 percent of the electorate.

As previously seen, Pew’s study projects that in 2020 the percentage of eligible Hispanic voters is poised to overtake the percentage of eligible African-American voters, who in 2016 were 12 percent of the electorate, with 89 percent supporting Clinton. A great unspoken fear among Republican leaders is that the Hispanic vote has grown to be as solid a Democrat bloc as that of African-Americans.

Asians too are growing into another Democrat voting bloc. In 2016 they were 4 percent of voters and, similar to Hispanics, 65 percent voted for Clinton and only 27 percent for Trump.

Finally, there is the majority white vote that the Pew study projects will form 66.7 percent of eligible voters in 2020. Shown below is how whites’ percentage of the total voting electorate has consistently decreased since 2004 – the last time a Republican president won re-election.

2004:  77 percent
2008: 74 percent
2012: 72 percent
2016: 70 percent
2020: 68 percent?? (My projection based on trends.)

In 2016, Trump won 57 percent of the white vote compared to Clinton’s 37 percent. In 2020, it is anyone’s guess how much Trump will need to increase that 57 percent in order to win re-election because, pre-election, non-white vs. white voter turnout are variables that can only be estimated and modeled.

But, common sense dictates that the shrinking white vote could negatively impact Trump’s chances of again winning the three traditionally Democrat-leaning battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin with their predominately white populations and combined total of 46 electoral votes. These three states boosted Trump’s total to 304, well over the 270 needed for victory — despite him losing the popular vote to Clinton by 2.9 million votes — 2.1 percent of the total cast.

It is also instructive to remember just how Trump won:

-Pennsylvania by 44,292 votes, a 0.7 percent margin of victory.
-Wisconsin by 22,748 votes, a 0.7 percent margin.
-Michigan by 10,704 votes, a 0.3 percent margin.

And already there is trouble brewing for him in Michigan. A recent hypothetical general election matchup poll had all four of the leading Democratic presidential candidates denying him a second term.

But, as my Republican friends are fond of saying, “We don’t believe polls” and   “Pollsters always miss hidden Trump support.”

I don’t necessarily believe my friends, but this I know, the American electorate is not minting enough new white voters to achieve Trump’s re-election unless he increases his percentage of white voters by a yet unknown number of percentage points in exactly the right combination of states where electoral votes add up to 270.

In the meantime, the president can’t change demographics, but he can and must increase his job approval numbers. As a guide, and again I state for emphasis, the last re-elected Republican president, and the last Republican to win the popular vote, won a close re-election race against John Kerry in 2004 with a 48 percent job approval and a 47 percent disapproval rating the last week before the election.

Today Trump’s approval is four points below, and his disapproval is five points above, George W. Bush’s.

Based on all you have read, draw your own 2020 conclusions.