Donald Trump is What You Get When There Is No Presidential Way to Drain the Swamp

by johndavis, October 10, 2017

Donald Trump is What You Get When There Is No Presidential Way to Drain the Swamp October 10, 2017        Vol. X, No. 9        9:13 am There is no presidential way to drain the swamp There is no presidential way to drain the swamp. President Trump understands that better than anyone else in Washington DC. That’s
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Donald Trump is What You Get When There Is No Presidential Way to Drain the Swamp

October 10, 2017        Vol. X, No. 9        9:13 am

There is no presidential way to drain the swamp

There is no presidential way to drain the swamp.

President Trump understands that better than anyone else in Washington DC. That’s why he is indifferent to the outrage of his critics like US Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican who chairs the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Corker has questioned the president’s “stability” and “competence.” He tweeted Sunday that “the White House has become an adult day care center.”

That’s it for Corker. He is now in the Trump trap.  The latest Republican on a long list to fall prey to Trump’s ploy of needling his opponents into the tangled web of reactionary vindictiveness.

The Trump trap. Force your opponent to defend the way things have always been done … in the swamp. In Washington, DC. Where working class Americans struggling with inadequate employment opportunities are ignored in favor of those freed by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision to form super PACs and buy the influence of elected and appointed insiders with hundreds of millions of untraceable dollars.

Yes, that swamp.

Congressional leaders take heed: Every despicable, incompetent, crude, insulting, immature, reckless, irresponsible and insensitive thing that Trump has ever said or done COMBINED, is not as bad in the minds of his supporters as a do-nothing federal government rigged for the privileged few.

President Trump will continue to make fools of US Senate and House leaders who continue to protect the swamp. Who put the moral high ground of the way things have always been done ahead of getting things done. Those who value civility over outrage.

Trump voters chose unpresidential over civility

Trump is an angry protest vote. That’s why everything that he says or does that is deemed outrageous by traditional presidential standards is acceptable … in the context of an angry protest.

Think about Trump as African-Americans rioting, looting and burning buildings in protest of racial injustice in law enforcement. Think about Trump as a masked, black-clad anarchist throwing police barriers through windows on the campus of Berkeley University in protest of a conservative speaker.

Or, as Michael Moore said on Meet the Press, October 2, 2016, think about Trump as a “human Molotov cocktail that they get to go into the voting booth on November 8th and throw him into a political system that has made their lives miserable.”

Trump was elected to be a constant pain in the neck of the establishment. An obnoxious interruption in the way things have always been done. Infuriatingly insensitive. Callous. Crude. Unpresidential.

Here is a list from the New York Times of about 100 mistakes President Trump has made. As unpresidential as most of them are, read them in the context of this thought: Donald Trump was not elected to be presidential. He was elected to drain the swamp.

There is no presidential way to drain the swamp.

Only 18% of Americans say beliefs are more important than action

A new Gallup poll released Monday, October 9, 2017, shows unequivocally that American voters want federal leaders to get things done even if it means compromising their beliefs. Only 18% say that leaders should stick to their beliefs even if nothing gets done. Three times as many voters (54%) want political leaders in Washington, DC to compromise to get things done.

The lack of legislative action on issues that matter most (immigration, healthcare and all matters that spur job growth from trade and tax reform to infrastructure spending) is why Americans continue to list Dissatisfaction with Government/Poor Leadership as the most important national problem.

On September 18, 2017, Gallup released a poll showing that 71% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed, and that “satisfaction with governance is related to Congress approval.” Congressional job approval today? About 13% per Real Clear Politics average.

Meanwhile, President Trump’s job approval is 39% per Real Clear Politics. Nothing to write home about, but three times that of unproductive Republican and Democratic leaders in Washington.

Unfortunately for establishment Republicans, the voter outrage that propelled unpresidential Donald Trump past their hand-picked candidates for president is now being redirected against US Senate and House Republican incumbents in next year’s GOP primaries. In today’s political environment, the establishment is the kiss of death. It’s why US Sen. Luther Strange lost to religious right zealot Roy Moore in the Alabama GOP primary on September 26. (Moore makes Jesse Helms look moderate.)

US Sen Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund spent $6,552,462 of the nearly $11.5 million spent by outside sources in the Alabama US Senate GOP primary race and lost to a challenger whose outside allies spent $1.5 million. The establishment is the kiss of death in 2017-2018.

Conservative revolutionary Steve Bannon, former White House adviser to President Trump and now executive chairman at Breitbart News, led the charge in Alabama against the establishment. Against Karl Rove and the US Chamber. He is now promising to challenge every incumbent Republican US Senator in 2018 … except Ted Cruz.

President Trump will continue to make fools of US Senate and House leaders, like Tom Corker, who protect the swamp. Who put the moral high ground of the way things have always been done ahead of getting things done. Those who stand by tradition and civility and in the face of voter outrage.

Donald Trump is what you get when there is no presidential way to drain the swamp.

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Establishment Denial is Trump’s Greatest Political Advantage Among Four Key Predictors of 2018 Winners

by johndavis, September 14, 2017

Establishment Denial is Trump’s Greatest Political Advantage Among Four Key Predictors of 2018 Winners September 14, 2017        Vol. X, No. 8        10:13 am You can forget about a Democratic wave election in 2018 The biggest political mistake being made today by establishment leaders of all institutions everywhere, at every level, is underestimating the ability of
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Establishment Denial is Trump's Greatest Political Advantage Among Four Key Predictors of 2018 Winners

September 14, 2017        Vol. X, No. 8        10:13 am

You can forget about a Democratic wave election in 2018

The biggest political mistake being made today by establishment leaders of all institutions everywhere, at every level, is underestimating the ability of President Donald J. Trump to get what he wants.  The Establishment is in denial.  Establishment denial is Trump’s greatest political advantage among the four key predictors of 2018 likely winners, including the economy, Supreme Court decisions on immigration and redistricting, and presidential job approval.

Establishment denial. It’s as if the Establishment cannot bring themselves to acknowledge that a self-made billionaire … one with his name atop 65 resort properties and skyscrapers scattered over the world, the author of 15 books, including best sellers, with a degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and the conqueror of two political dynasties, the Democratic Clintons and the Republican Bushes … just might be as smart as they are.  Or God forbid, even smarter!

Further, the news media elite of all persuasions, the academic community and many of the best and brightest from the worlds of business and government cannot bear to admit Trump’s ability to get what he wants without their genius and support.  In Trump’s Washington, DC, they are no longer indispensable.

Establishment hubris; establishment denial is Trump’s greatest political asset.

Donald Trump won because he rejected the Establishment.  The Establishment of both the Republican and Democratic parties.  The establishment way of doing things.  Of measuring success.

Today, September 14, 2017, in Gallup’s latest national poll on the most important problems facing the country, once again we see “Dissatisfaction with Government/Poor Leadership” at the top of list as the #1 problem facing the country in the minds of voters.  But poor leadership was the #1 problem facing the nation the entire year in 2016 … before Donald Trump was elected president.

The poor leadership in Washington, DC is the Establishment and their way of doing things.

Voters know that until we get rid of the Establishments way of doing things in Washington, DC, we will never solve the other problems in dire need of attention like immigration, tax reform, health care, race relations, the national debt and unifying the country.

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the consummate establishment Republican, demonstrated just how out of touch he is with most Americans when, in August, he told a civic group that President Trump’s “excessive expectations” about how long it takes to get legislation passed were because Trump had “not been in this line of work before.”

McConnell is apparently unaware that Trump’s “excessive expectations” are a mandate from voters who elected him over the establishment candidates precisely because they, like Mitch McConnell, have proven themselves inept lawmakers despite their experience in the line of work of governing.

Trump won because he would not be cowed by the establishment. The news media. Wall Street. The GOP. The Obama insiders. Trump would not be broken by those who buy ink by the barrel or sell airtime based on popular ratings.  Broken like most Democratic and Republican establishment leaders.

Voters didn’t reject Democratic and Republican ideas, they rejected Democratic and Republican establishment leaders.  Both parties still have great ideas.  It’s the leaders who have sold out on those ideas in exchange for the security of a rigged federal government favoring privileged insiders.

In electing Trump, voters put solving the Country’s most important problems ahead of all matters of political loyalty or ideological bias. Even ahead of gender and religious sensitivities.

Imagine this:  Voters who elected Trump considered solving the Country’s most important problems a weightier consideration than all his personal weaknesses, his lack of military and government leadership experience, and every offensive comment he ever made … combined.

Trump voters see him as the only revolutionary leader in Washington, DC rich and powerful enough to stand up to the rich and powerful establishment insiders who have ignored the fears and concerns of those struggling to make ends meet while feathering their own political nests.

If Trump maintains his forcefulness as a revolutionary leader intent on getting things done with or without the establishment, odds are a new Trump-led bipartisan congressional coalition will pass immigration, tax reform and infrastructure legislation that will drive his job approval numbers up.

The economy is already trending favorably.  Per today’s Gallup poll, the percentage of Americans naming the economic concerns as the #1 problem is now 17%, “the lowest since July 2007.”

US Supreme Court trending right on immigration and redistricting

With the nation’s economic recovery picking up steam and the likelihood of a successful Trump-led bipartisan governing coalition coming together in Washington, the final major predictor of likely winners in 2018 is the US Supreme Court.  And it is trending right.

Two US Supreme Court’s decisions announced Tuesday, September 12, 2017, signal the rightward shift of the court on immigration and redistricting, a turn of events that may yield many years of “wins” by Trump on those two volatile issues.

One decision, overruling the historically liberal San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit in favor of Trump’s efforts to tighten restrictions on new immigrants and refugees, is a win likely dismissed by the establishment because other travel ban related cases are pending.  Meanwhile, there have been 3 Supreme Court “wins” for Trump on his travel ban executive order.

Another decision announced Tuesday, with implications for Republican legislative district remapping in North Carolina, blocked a lower federal court ruling in a Texas case where Republicans were accused of intentionally drawing racially discriminatory districts.  If the latest Republican maps pass US Supreme Court scrutiny, the GOP is favored in 2018 to win supermajorities in the North Carolina Senate (need 30 of 50 seats) and House (need 72 of 120 seats).

The fact is, under the United States Constitution, there is no greater potential for “winning” politically than a president’s ability to create a favorable ideological balance on the United States Supreme Court.  Trump secured that potential with the nomination of 49-year-old Neil Gorsuch as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Think three to four decades of Trump “wins.” The Trump Court.

One more conservative nominee on the Supreme Court, someone like US Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, and Trump will surely be able to keep his campaign promise, “We’re going to win so much. You’re going to get tired of winning.”

On Tuesday, September 12, 2017, the US Census Bureau reported that median household income in America was $59,039 in 2016, the highest earning-year ever.  Democrats will soon argue that only President Obama deserves credit for record middle-class household earnings.  After all, President Trump was not sworn in until January 2017.

However, in 2018, voters will not care to quibble over details like the fact that Trump was not at the helm when the highest earning-year record was set.  Whether the news is good or bad, the ins get the credit and the blame.  It’s fundamental to American politics.

Meanwhile, the establishment will likely continue to deny their ineptitude and not change the way things have always been done.  Their denial is Trump’s greatest political advantage, the impetus for forming a bipartisan governing coalition to get things done.

With the economy in solid recovery and a right-trending US Supreme Court, a successful bipartisan governing coalition is the final key to making 2018 a big year for Trump and his allies.

In 2018, only genuine antiestablishment revolutionary leaders like Trump and those who join him in passing immigration reform, tax reform and infrastructure spending bills will receive the political stamp of approval by impatient American voters with “excessive expectations.”

Today's voters could care less about what line of work you are in or what party you belong to or how important you think you are.  They want results.  Trump is all about results.  That's why the establishment leaders of all institutions everywhere, at every level, are making a big mistake underestimating the ability of President Donald J. Trump to get what he wants.

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New Orleans Shows the Better Way to Resolve the Issue of Confederate Monuments on Public Property

by johndavis, August 17, 2017

New Orleans Shows the Better Way to Resolve the Issue of Confederate Monuments on Public Property August 17, 2017        Vol. X, No. 7        2:13 pm Locally, airing opposing views, and in accordance with the law The issue of what to do with North Carolina’s Confederate monuments is a matter that must only be answered locally,
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New Orleans Shows the Better Way to Resolve the Issue of Confederate Monuments on Public Property

August 17, 2017        Vol. X, No. 7        2:13 pm

Locally, airing opposing views, and in accordance with the law

The issue of what to do with North Carolina’s Confederate monuments is a matter that must only be answered locally, city by city, “in accordance with the law,” by way of a process that recognizes and respects opposing views.  Otherwise, we risk more of the destruction of monuments and the disfiguring of statues, as we have seen in Durham, or the violence we saw in Charlottesville.

It is a mistake for our statewide politicians, including our Democratic governor and our Republican state legislature, to force how local communities resolve this matter.  If the governor and legislature want to provide leadership on the issue, they need to call a Special Session and pass a bipartisan model process for how each city in North Carolina can resolve the issue of Confederate monuments locally.

The primary reason we need a sensible process for to how to resolve the issue of Confederate monuments locally is because too many people on all sides think that their moral authority on racially sensitive issues is so absolute that it warrants the dismissiveness of other views.  That it justifies the enforcement of their views on everyone else.

Far too many of us … including many in the university community, rural conservative Southerners, members of the news media, liberal elites clustered in big cities and elected officials in both parties … bask in an air of righteous dismissiveness, especially on matters of racially sensitive issues.

That’s why, after considering the lawlessness in Charlottesville and Durham over the issue of Confederate monuments, I would like to recommend a more civil model … the way the City of New Orleans resolved the issue after decades of anger, anxiety, anticipation, humiliation and frustration … as detailed in a speech delivered on May 23, 2017 by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Mayor Landrieu tells of how the “full weight of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government” was brought to bear on the matter, including public hearings, three separate community-led commissions, a 6-1 City Council vote, and the opinions of 13 different federal and state judges.  He relates how one of the most compelling questions the people of New Orleans had to answer was, How do we explain to our children why Robert E. Lee stands atop of our beautiful city?

Most importantly, Landrieu tells the story of how the issue of Confederate monuments in New Orleans was resolved locally with respect for all sides and “in accordance with the law.”

That’s what our cities and state must do in North Carolina. Public hearings. Community-led commissions. City council votes. Judicial review, federal and state.

It’s difficult because it’s personal

I am a son of the South, with ancestors who owned slaves and fought in the Civil War.  In my youth and young adulthood, I have stood with reverence before Confederate monuments and with respectful admiration before the graves of my ancestors who fought for what they believed at that time was right.

But then I became a father of the South, and I grew to realize that my Confederate ancestors were also fighting for the right of states to maintain an economic system based on slave labor.  For a right that we all now recognize as inhumane.  A right that was wrong.

Now, I am a grandfather of the South, with six wonderful grandchildren, including an African American granddaughter.  What do I say to them in defense of Confederate monuments in the highest places of public honor?  What would I say about those monuments in a museum?

Should all Confederate monuments be put in museums?  What if the city is the site of a famous Civil War battle?  Is the city square the museum?  In the context of local Civil War history, can a city be a museum?

Whatever we do, North Carolinians must wrestle for themselves locally with questions like those as well as like the one the people of New Orleans had to answer, How do we explain to our children why Confederate monuments stand atop our beautiful cities?

Per Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina, under the auspices of the UNC-Chapel Hill Library, there are over 200 Civil War memorials, statues and historical markers in our state.  We have over 50 statues, most honoring the Confederacy.  That’s why we must embrace a more civil way to consider their removal “in accordance with the law,” and in recognition of and respect for all opinions.

Otherwise, we will be trying to explain to our children and grandchildren why our own self-righteousness on racially sensitive matters led to our dismissiveness of the opinions of those who disagree with us and ultimately to more of the lawlessness like in Charlottesville and Durham.

Governor Cooper and the Republican leaders in the legislature need to call a Special Session to pass a bipartisan model process for how each city can resolve the issue of Confederate monuments.

 

- END -

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UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate Wins U.S. Presidency Despite Accusation of Slave Trading Based on Fake News

by johndavis, July 20, 2017

UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate Wins U.S. Presidency Despite Accusation of Slave Trading Based on Fake News July 20, 2017        Vol. X, No. 6       7:13 am Too disgusting to appear in public print   Fake news is nothing new. In 1844, James K. Polk, an 1818 honors graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
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UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate Wins U.S. Presidency Despite Accusation of Slave Trading Based on Fake News

July 20, 2017        Vol. X, No. 6       7:13 am

Too disgusting to appear in public print

 

Fake news is nothing new.

In 1844, James K. Polk, an 1818 honors graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, won the race for U.S. President despite being accused by his opponent, Henry Clay, of being a “slave trader.”  The accusation was based on “a completely fake excerpt from a book,” according to a Mother Jones story, Ten Most Awesome Presidential Mudslinging Moves Ever.

Fake news 173 years ago!

Henry Clay, a slave owner like Polk, thought he could win the votes of northern abolitionists if he attacked his opponent as worse than a slave owner, a “slave trader,” even though it was not true.

James K. Polk, born in Pineville near Charlotte, had some fake news of his own.  He accused Clay of having sex with whores and breaking all the Ten Commandments.  When Polk’s Democratic allies were compelled by the press to provide evidence, they declared that the details were “too disgusting to appear in public print.”

What a great political defense!  I would tell you, but it’s too disgusting to appear in public print.

Thriving in the toxicity of uncertainty and confrontational insults

 

President Donald J. Trump, like President Polk, can counterpunch with the best of them.  As First Lady Melania Trump said during a 2016 campaign rally in Milwaukee, “When you attack him he will punch back 10 times harder. No matter who you are, a man or a woman.”

Trump’s modus operandi is to lure his enemies into a nasty, below the belt name-calling fracas, pushing their buttons until they blow their cool and act like fools, rendering them the loser.  He thrives in the toxicity of uncertainty and confrontational insults.  “Little Marco,” “Low Energy Jeb,” “Crooked Hillary,” Trump insults you until you retaliate in kind.  Until you make a fatal political mistake.

Trump does not care that he is loathed by his enemies.  It’s how he keeps them off balance.  All Trump cares about when the dust settles is that he is the winner and you are the loser.

Trump does not care that the latest ABC News/Washington Post nation poll shows his job approval at a dismal 36%, the lowest rating for any president during their first six months in 70 years.  He simply discredits negative findings of fact on Twitter, calling the ABC News/Washington Post poll “just about the most inaccurate poll around election time!”  That’s all his base needs to hear.  They remain loyal.

  • 90% approval rating among conservative Republicans; 82% among all Republicans
  • 61% approval among evangelical white Protestants
  • 55% approval among white men without college degrees

Why does Trump’s base remain loyal?  Because they still see him as the only leader in Washington DC who is rich and powerful enough to stand up to the rich and powerful insiders who have ignored the fears and concerns of a middle-class electorate struggling to make ends meet, all the while growing the federal largess with borrowed money to a historic national debt of nearly $20 trillion.

And besides, what is the alternative to Trump?  Only 37% in the ABC News/Washington Post poll say the Democratic Party “stands for something” other than being against Trump.

Per Gallup’s July 5-9, 2017 national poll, the #1 problem facing the country today is “Dissatisfaction with government/Poor leadership.”  It is an indictment of the entire establishment in the nation’s capital, including the news media, the Republicans, the Democrats and all partisan allies.

The biggest problem facing the establishment in Washington today is the one that Henry Clay faced in the presidential race of 1844.  No matter how hard a punch they throw, Donald Trump, like North Carolina’s own James K. Polk, will shake it off and punch back 10 times harder.

And when Trump and his allies are pressed for the evidence to prove the veracity of an unsubstantiated counterpunch, they simply say something dismissive akin to what Polk’s allies said 173 years ago, we would tell you, but it’s too disgusting to appear in public print.

Meanwhile, as the establishment engages in the mutually assured destruction of revenge politics, voters await impatiently for problems to be solved … and for Election Day 2018.

It’s time for the establishment in Washington, DC, including the news media, the Republicans and the Democrats, to stand for something other than being against Trump.

 

- END -

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 JND Signature 2017John N. Davis

 

Need a Political Speaker for 2017? If you would like a sensible and entertaining summary of the results of the 2016 federal and state elections, go here to for fees and contact link.

Highlights of 2017 Speech: John Davis’ 2017 speech will draw conclusions about the implications of the 2016 results for your organization, as well as, the implications of the results for the 2018 and 2020 state and federal elections.

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What I Would Say if I Were Speaking at the NC Democratic Party Convention This Weekend

by johndavis, July 14, 2017

What I Would Say if I Were Speaking at the NC Democratic Party Convention This Weekend July 14, 2017        Vol. X, No. 5        7:13 am Making centrist Democrats and moderate independent voters feel welcomed   Monday’s News & Observer reported that North Carolina Democrats are coming to Raleigh this weekend for their annual Unity Dinner,
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What I Would Say if I Were Speaking at the NC Democratic Party Convention This Weekend

July 14, 2017        Vol. X, No. 5        7:13 am

Making centrist Democrats and moderate independent voters feel welcomed

 

Monday’s News & Observer reported that North Carolina Democrats are coming to Raleigh this weekend for their annual Unity Dinner, and Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General under President Barack Obama, will speak about how they can take back the reins of political power in state capitols like ours.

As I read the story, I began to imagine what I would say to Democrats if I were on their dais Saturday.  After all, the topic of how Democrats can recover their glory days in North Carolina is an intellectual challenge that I have stewed over a lot since the Republican takeover in 2013.

That was the year I wrote a series of reports titled, Top Ten Keys for NC Democratic Political Recovery, arguing that Democrats needed to shift their focus to “moderate voters hungry for a meat and potatoes economy,” and suggesting that “emerging generations must become the party’s priority.”

The final report in the 2013 series, Find a New Balance or Fall like a House of Cards, states that “finding a new balance is the overarching key to political recovery for Democrats.”  It concludes with the following thought:

“Demographic trends driven by population growth argue that Democrats have a bright future in North Carolina, but how bright and how soon will be determined by how quickly the party finds a new balance with leaders and issues that will make centrist Democrats and moderate independents feel welcomed.”

That thought is as instructive in 2017 as it was in 2013.  It is how I would begin and end what I would say to Democrats if I were on their dais Saturday.

You are stronger than you think: mayors and statewide leaders

 

I would also say to Democrats that they are in a stronger position than they think to rebuild their party because of who won in 2016.  If I could have chosen the most strategically valuable statewide races to win in 2016 for rebuilding the North Carolina Democratic Party I would have selected Governor, Attorney General, Auditor, Secretary of State and the NC Supreme Court.

Democrats won those.

I would say that Democrats are stronger than they think because they have local and statewide leaders in place who are appealing to the state’s fastest growing constituencies of urban voters, young voters, women and minority voters.  Democratic-friendly constituencies one and all.

Most urban mayors are Democrats.

Four statewide Democratic leaders, sixty-and-under, emerged out of the 2016 races with qualities that exemplify personal strengths needed for rebuilding the Democratic Party for 21st Century North Carolina.  They are smart and politically savvy, with an impressive track record of political successes totaling 28 General Election wins.  The four are:

Roy Cooper, 60-year-old Governor of North Carolina, who was a Morehead scholar at UNC Chapel Hill, where he earned his Juris Doctor degree.  Prior to winning the governor’s race in 2016, Cooper ran four successful statewide campaigns for Attorney General, four successful state Senate races and three successful races for the North Carolina House.

Deborah Ross, 54-year-old Democratic Party nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2016, earned a Juris Doctor degree from UNC Chapel Hill and an undergraduate degree from Brown.  Ross ran five successful campaigns for the North Carolina House.  Granted, she lost the U.S. Senate race to Richard Burr, garnering 2,128,165 votes to 2,395,376 for Burr, but Ross raised an impressive $14 million, a bit more than Richard Burr’s $13 million, and attracted $29 million in outside spending compared to about $30 million in outside spending on behalf of Burr.

Josh Stein, 50-year-old North Carolina Attorney General, earned a Masters in Public Administration and a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard.  His undergraduate degree is from Dartmouth.  Stein won four races for the North Carolina Senate before leaving to focus on his 2016 successful campaign for Attorney General.

Wayne Goodwin, 50-year-old chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, was an honors graduate from UNC Chapel Hill, where he also earned his Juris Doctor degree.  Goodwin won four campaigns for the state legislature and two statewide campaigns for Commissioner of Insurance before losing his race for a third elected term in 2016.

There are many others, like Dan Blue, III, 44-year-old Raleigh attorney, who has three degrees from Duke University, including an MBA and Juris Doctor and a background on Wall Street.  Although he lost his race for State Treasurer 2016, his leadership strengths grew exponentially for daring to run.

Democrats are in a stronger position than they think because of a new generation of very smart, well-seasoned statewide leaders with personal qualities that enhance their potential to appeal to urban voters, young voters, women and minority voters in the effort to rebuild their party.

Neither party has an advantage among North Carolina voters

 

I chose to highlight the Democrats above because they are level-headed.

Those Democrats understand that Roy Cooper would not be in the Governor’s Mansion today if former Republican Governor Pat McCrory and the Republican House and Senate leaders had not mismanaged HB2, the infamous “bathroom bill” that sparked world-wide ridicule and undermined the State’s reputation for sensible government.

The only other issue I can think of in modern political history that has been as poorly managed and as damaging to our reputation as HB2 is the academic fraud uncovered in the African American Studies Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  HB2 was that bad.

Governor Cooper won by only 10,281 votes out of 4,711,021 cast, despite being handed the race because his Republican opponent tripped over HB2 and fell.

All Democrats must accept the fact that Governor Cooper’s win is not a sign of resurgent Democratic strength in North Carolina.  The state remains a swing state where neither party has a built-in advantage among the voters.

Per Gallup’s study of the partisan leanings of each state, on average, about 42% of North Carolinians think of themselves as Republicans and 42% think of themselves as Democrats.  Only about 20% tell Gallup that they are “Liberal;” about 34% say they are “Moderate” and about 40% say “Conservative.”

If the Democratic base in North Carolina is 42% of the electorate, which certainly includes all the liberals and most of the left-of-center moderates, how are they going to grow to 50% of the voters without appealing to centrist independents who couldn’t care less about political parties?

That’s why I argued in 2013 that political recovery for North Carolina Democrats will begin when “the party finds a new balance with leaders and issues that will make centrist Democrats and moderate independents feel welcomed.”

Unfortunately, the 20% “Liberal” cohort has taken over the Democratic party.  It is a cohort of angry liberals obsessed with labeling the motives of anyone who disagrees with them as racist, sexist, homophobic, misogynistic (hates women) and Islamophobic.

If I were on the Democratic dais Saturday, I would say, “Don’t get angry, get even.”

Get even by coming up with better ideas for how you are going help voters deal with income and opportunity challenges.  Affordable education.  Get even by developing a plan for making their lives safer from foreign and domestic threats.

Voters see vindictive hyperbole for what it is.  A waste of good oxygen.

Here is an illustration of just how absurd Democrats appear when vilifying Republican motives.

What if Nikki Haley runs for president in 2020, will Democrats be sexists?

 

What if Nikki Haley is the GOP nominee for president in 2020? You know, the former Republican governor of South Carolina and current Ambassador to the United Nations.  Will it be fair for Democratic men who choose not to support her to be labeled sexists?

Isn’t that how Democrats labeled Trump supporters in 2016?  If Trump is a misogynist, then his supporters must be misogynists.  Guilt by association?

What will Democratic women do if Nikki Haley has the next opportunity to be the first female U.S. President?  If they do not support her, will it be fair to label them xenophobic?  Xenophobia is a fear of foreigners.  Haley is the daughter of immigrants Ajit Singh Randhawa and Raj Kaur Randhawa from Punjab, India.  She was raised a Sikh.

South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman, Dick Harpootlian, declared during the 2013 gubernatorial race that the party will “send Nikki Haley back to wherever the hell she came from.”

Is it fair to label all Democrats xenophobic because of one rogue state party chairman?

Isn’t that how Democrats labeled Trump supporters in 2016?

I would not be surprised if Nikki Haley runs for president one day.  She is only 45 years old.

Barack Obama had been in the U.S. Senate less than two years when he, at the age of 45, summoned his political consultants David Axelrod and David Plouffe to Chicago in November 2006 to discuss running for president.

She certainly has more government experience than Obama had when he ran.  Certainly, a former governor, Ambassador to the United Nations and U.S. Secretary of State would be considered a viable candidate for president of the United States.

U.S. Secretary of State Nikki Haley?

What if current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson steps down and President Trump appoints Haley Secretary of State?  Not a far-fetched notion in light of the statement Tillerson made to the Independent Journal Review in March, 2017, “I didn’t want this job.  I didn’t seek this job.”

It could happen.

Then will it be fair to question the motives of all Democrats who do not support Republican Secretary of State Nikki Haley and label them as sexist xenophobes?

If I were on the Democratic dais Saturday, I would say, “Don’t get angry, get even.”

Get even by coming up with better ideas for how you are going to help voters deal with income and opportunity challenges.  Affordable education.  Get even by developing a plan for making their lives safer from foreign and domestic threats.

Forget the demands for ideological purity from the 20% cohort of state liberals.  Ideological purity is an unreasonable expectation for rebuilding a party that needs to find “a new balance with leaders and issues that will make centrist Democrats and moderate independents feel welcomed.”

That’s what I would say if I were speaking to Democrats this weekend in Raleigh.

- END -

Thanks for reading the John Davis Political Report

JND Signature 2017John N. Davis

 

Need a Political Speaker for 2017? If you would like a sensible and entertaining summary of the results of the 2016 federal and state elections, go here to for fees and contact link.

Highlights of 2017 Speech: John Davis’ 2017 speech will draw conclusions about the implications of the 2016 results for your organization, as well as, the implications of the results for the 2018 and 2020 state and federal elections.

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Establishment Democrats Clinging to 20th Century Priorities are #1 Deterrent to 21st Century Resurgence

by johndavis, May 31, 2017

Establishment Democrats Clinging to 20th Century Priorities are #1 Deterrent to 21st Century Resurgence May 31, 2017        Vol. X, No. 4        10:13 am Part 1: Seeing Public Life through the Prism of 50 Years Ago   Democrats have a bright future here in North Carolina and around the nation, assuming they can get beyond their
[More…]

Establishment Democrats Clinging to 20th Century Priorities are #1 Deterrent to 21st Century Resurgence


May 31, 2017        Vol. X, No. 4        10:13 am

Part 1: Seeing Public Life through the Prism of 50 Years Ago

 

Democrats have a bright future here in North Carolina and around the nation, assuming they can get beyond their strategy of inclusiveness that excludes everyone except minorities and liberals; if they can come down off the political high ground of ideological rigidity and shift their focus to casting a net of economic opportunities wide enough to rebuild a winning coalition.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama, said as much at the Stanford Graduate School of Business on February 6, 2017.  Emanuel said that Democrats would rather be right than win. (In my 40 years as a political professional, I have never heard that expression used to describe anyone but Republicans.)

"Winning's everything," implored Emanuel. "If you don't win, you can't make the public policy. I say that because it is hard for people in our party to accept that principle. Sometimes, you've just got to win, OK? Our party likes to be right, even if they lose."

Today’s establishment Democrats are losing because they are clinging to 20th Century strategic priorities like civil rights, women’s liberation and Great Society poverty programs as if no progress has been made in the last 50 years; as if nothing should be as important to today’s emerging generations of Democrats than yesterday’s agenda.

But, what could be as important as civil rights, women’s liberation and poverty programs?

African American talk show host Tavis Smiley, in a conversation with Alyona Minkovski on HuffPost Live on January 15, 2016, stated, “Sadly — and it pains me to say this — over the last decade, black folk, in the era of Obama, have lost ground in every major economic category.”

Despite the tough times for African Americans and middle class white voters under Obama … higher poverty rate, lower median household income, declining net worth, widening wealth gap, and the lowest labor force participation rate since those numbers have been kept … the Clinton campaign failed to prioritize economic opportunity.

"This is the first campaign that I can recall where my party did not talk about what it always stood for, and that is how to maintain a burgeoning middle class," said former Vice President Joe Biden at the University of Pennsylvania, March 31, 2017 .

Instead, Clinton focused on old-school racial pandering.  “You know,” she said, “to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.”

Biden, who has spoken about the “elitism that’s crept in party thinking” when arguing that working-class Trump voters are not racists, told the audience at Penn, "They're all the people I grew up with. And they're not racist. They're not sexist. But we didn't talk to them," Biden said.

So, how did that elitist strategy of inclusiveness that excludes everyone except minorities and liberals and fails to address the economic concerns of middle class voters work out for Democrats?

During President Barack Obama’s administration, yesterday’s agenda yielded nothing but one catastrophic political loss after another.  A net loss of 1,024 seats at the state and federal levels: 13 fewer Democratic governors, 9 fewer U.S. Senators, 63 fewer U.S. House members, a whopping 949 fewer state legislators and 29 fewer Democratic-led state legislative chambers.

Lost the U.S. Senate and House, the White House and, worst yet, the U.S. Supreme Court.

North Carolina Democrats need to have a planning retreat and discuss why only 53% of 18-to-25-year-old voters turned out to vote in 2016 with Hillary Clinton as their nominee.  Why only 57% of African American male voters bothered to turn out last year.  All likely Democrats.

Democrats need to huddle up and figure out why their party, traditionally the friend of the blue-collar worker in America, lost working class voters in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, culminating in the defeat of Hillary Clinton.

Democrats have a bright future, because emerging generations of voters lean Democratic.

Whole new generations of multi-cultural, socially tolerant young voters are poised to flex their political muscle.  Cities are teaming with predictably Democratic-friendly young voters.  North Carolina’s universities, healthcare institutions and major corporations are attracting young, progressive thinkers from around the nation.

Republicans in Raleigh and Washington D.C. are pushing the new generations of voters to the Democratic Party with their own ideological rigidity.  Yet, new generations of likely Democrats are being turned off just as much by older generations of out-of-touch Democrats who do not know when to take their old-school priorities and exit stage left.

It’s time for old school Democrats with their 20th Century priorities to let go.  Yes, that includes Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Despite all that they have accomplished, they have also exploited their positions of public esteem for hundreds of millions of dollars in personal wealth.  And, they have maintained their grip on power through sneaky, behind-closed-doors establishment politics such as the schemes exposed by DNC WikiLeaks emails to undermine the nomination of Bernie Sanders.

Simply put, younger generations will never follow old-school pandering politicians who cheat to get ahead.  Nor will they follow establishment Democrats who espouse the elitist strategy of inclusiveness that excludes everyone except minorities and liberals and fails to cast a net of economic opportunities wide enough to rebuild a winning coalition that includes middle-class voters.

Establishment Democrats clinging to 20th Century priorities are #1 deterrent to 21st Century resurgence of the Democratic Party.

It’s time for them to let go and allow a new generation to lead.

 

- END -

Thanks for reading the John Davis Political Report

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John N. Davis

 

Need a Political Speaker for 2017? If you would like a sensible and entertaining summary of the results of the 2016 federal and state elections, go here to for fees and contact link.

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North Carolina: Best Place for Women Candidates Unless Hillary Clinton Tops the Ballot

by johndavis, April 5, 2017

North Carolina: Best Place for Women Candidates Unless Hillary Clinton Tops the Ballot April 5, 2017        Vol. X, No. 3        2:13 pm Worst Year for Women: 75%-win record; 33% in 2016 In 1996, Elaine Marshall, a Democrat from Lillington, became North Carolina’s first woman elected to a statewide executive office.  Marshall defeated Richard Petty, “The
[More…]

North Carolina: Best Place for Women Candidates Unless Hillary Clinton Tops the Ballot

April 5, 2017        Vol. X, No. 3        2:13 pm

Worst Year for Women: 75%-win record; 33% in 2016

In 1996, Elaine Marshall, a Democrat from Lillington, became North Carolina’s first woman elected to a statewide executive office.  Marshall defeated Richard Petty, “The King” of NASCAR, in the race for Secretary of State.  Thus, began the modern era for women candidates running in statewide races in North Carolina.

From 1996 to 2014, 48 statewide general election races in North Carolina featured women running against men.  Women won 36 of the 48 statewide races, for a winning percentage of 75%.

In 2016, there were 9 statewide races featuring women running against men, including the presidential race between GOP nominee Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.  Only 3 of the 9 women won, a dismal 33%, bringing the overall winning percentage since 1996 to 68%.

North Carolina is one of the best states in the country for women candidates.  Since 1996, the state has distinguished itself in the following ways:

  • North Carolina’s first woman governor (Beverly Perdue, 2009-2013) presided over a female-majority Council of State elected statewide including Secretary of State, State Treasurer, Auditor, Commissioner of Labor, and Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • North Carolina has had a female-majority Supreme Court, elected statewide, that included a female Chief Justice (Sarah Parker, 2006-2014)
  • North Carolina Court of Appeals, elected statewide, led by Chief Judge Linda McGee, has had a female majority, and a rare three-judge panel of African American women
  • North Carolina has elected two female U.S. Senators elected statewide (Dole & Hagan)

Two reasons women do so well in North Carolina in races against men is that women outnumber men on the voter registration rolls and women turn out in higher percentages than men.

  • Registered voters 4/1/2017: 3,564,122 women (54%); 3,017,032 men (46%)
  • Turnout: 486,000 more women than men in 2012; 515,000 more women in 2016

You would think with those two advantages, and with Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket with the potential of becoming the first women elected president of the United States, that all women candidates would have had an advantage in races with men.

But in 2016, gender was not nearly as important to conservative women as ideology and party.  In other words, 2016 was not a “War on Women” election, it was a war among women for partisan and ideological advantage.

In North Carolina, that meant that Republican and Republican-leaning women, who turned out in higher numbers than Democratic and Democratic-leaning women, voted Republican all the way up and down the ballot.

That’s why all 6 women who lost, of the 9 who ran against men, were Democrats.

War Among Women NOT War on Women

The “War on Women” is a failed Democratic political strategy because it is a false narrative.  There was no war on women in 2016, but there was a war among women.

Socially conservative, pro-life women versus socially liberal, pro-choice women, both fighting for a friendly U.S. Supreme Court.

Women who remember the Equal Rights Amendment battle as if it were yesterday versus women who learned about the Equal Rights Amendment in the same American History class that taught them about the early-20th century Suffragettes and their fight for the right to vote.

Democratic-leaning urban women, rich and poor, versus Republican-leaning suburban and rural women, rich and poor.  Big government women versus the-government-that-governs-least-women.

College-educated women versus noncollege-educated women.  Married versus single women.

Professional moms who spend the day as executives in the private-sector-public-sector workplace with kids in daycare versus professional moms who spend the day at home with their kids as the chief executive officer of their family.

Married women with gainfully employed husbands or partners versus married women with husbands or partners who cannot find a job that provides them respect and recognition.

Religious right women versus religious left women.

It was not a war on women in 2016 that kept Hillary Clinton from becoming the first female U.S. President.  It was a war among women.

Over time, women sorted themselves into ideologically allied coalitions that included men: conservative women and their male allies versus liberal women and their male allies.

In the end, conservative women and their allies defeated liberal women and their allies because the conservative coalition was more enthusiastic about turning out to vote.

Apathy Among Democrats Cost Clinton the Presidency

Turnout is driven mostly by enthusiasm for the candidate and the campaign message.  In 2016, too many Democrats simply had a hard time getting enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton.

Gary Pearce, lifelong loyal Democrat and advisor to Governor Jim Hunt (author of Jim Hunt, A Biography), wrote on April 27, 2016, in his Talking about Politics blog:

  • “Even Democrats who believe she is extraordinarily well qualified to be President see the depth of the distrust and sheer hatred she generates.” 
  • “She bears the Clintonian mantle of too many scandals, too much what-the-definition-of-is-is and too much eagerness to grab the money.”

On September 8, 2016, Pearce wrote about Hillary Clinton’s “suspicious nature, her penchant for secrecy and her ill-concealed hostility to the media.”  He also noted, “Since 1992, the Clintons have stuck to a strategy of defiance and stonewalling.”

Michael Regan, a producer with PBS NewsHour, said on November 10, 2016, “Apathy toward Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, especially among the Democratic base,” is what cost her the election.

That apathy among Democrats included Democratic and Democratic-leaning women.

Clare Malone, writing for FiveThirtyEight, concluded, “Although Clinton didn’t outright lose women, their relatively anemic support for her in key states [Florida’s 4-point margin] played a role in her Electoral College demise.”

North Carolina was one of the key swing states where conservative women turned out in greater numbers than Democratic and Democratic leaning women, leading to Hillary Clinton’s Electoral College demise.

North Carolina’s Turnout: Democrats Never Got Excited about Clinton

In the November 2016 General Election, per an analysis of 2016 state turnout conducted by Democracy North Carolina, Republican women turned out at 75% while only 71% of Democratic women turned out.  Republican men were 75% compared to only 65% of Democratic men.

In 2016, 72% of white voters turned out compared to only 64% of black voters.

The highest percent turnout in 2008 and 2012 was African-American women, leading the state with 77% in 2008.  In 2016, only 70% of black women voted.  (White women 2016, 72%.)

In both 2008 and 2012, overall African-American turnout was greater than white turnout, a first in state history.  Only 57% of African-American male voters turned out to vote in 2016.

Did black men fail to turn out for Hillary Clinton because they are misogynists?  Sexists?  Or was it that many African-American men thought that things would be a lot better for them economically after eight years of the first black president, but they weren't.

Black rapper Sean “P.Diddy” Combs, appearing with Al Sharpton on MSNBC’s PoliticsNation last September, said that blacks should “hold their vote” for Clinton, because black’s “got shortchanged” under Obama.  “I don’t believe any of them,” said Combs.

Young Democrats and Democrat-leaning young voters never got excited about the presidential campaign after Bernie Sanders took his bow.  Again, per Democracy North Carolina, nearly half (47%) of 18 to 25-year-olds did not vote in 2016.  In 2008, 60% of the youngest voters turned out enthusiastically for Barack Obama.

Here's the cruel political reality: it does not matter if your advantage among young voters is a lopsided 58%-to-36% (Clinton’s advantage), if only half of them bother to go vote.

Meanwhile, 78% of the 66-year-old and up voters voted.  They backed Trump 60% to 37%.

Turnout is how you win.  Turnout is how you lose.

North Carolina is still one of the best states in the country for women candidates running against men in statewide races.  Women have defeated men 68% of the time in the 57 races since 1996 that came down to a male candidate versus a female candidate in the General Election.

The greatest irony of 2016 is that Hillary Clinton’s failure to inspire Democrats, including women, to turn out and elect her as the first woman president of the United States, along with her inability to discourage Republican women from turning out for Donald Trump, led to the worst year for women running statewide in North Carolina in the modern era.  Well, Democrat women.

In the end, it was not a war on women that kept Hillary Clinton from becoming the first female U.S. President.  It was a war among women, conservative women and their allies who defeated liberal women and their allies because the conservative coalition was more enthusiastic about turning out to vote.

 

- END -

Thanks for reading the John Davis Political Report

JND Signature 2017John N. Davis

 

Need a Political Speaker for 2017? If you would like a sensible and entertaining summary of the results of the 2016 federal and state elections, go here to check John Davis’ availability.

Highlights of 2017 Speech: John Davis’ 2017 speech will draw conclusions about the implications of the 2016 results for your organization, as well as, the implications of the results for the 2018 and 2020 state and federal elections.

Subscribe to the John Davis Political Report and JDPR TrendLines here.

 

Will the Arrogance of Invulnerability Mask the GOP’s Threat of Losing and Blind Their Strategic Judgment?

by johndavis, March 1, 2017

Will the Arrogance of Invulnerability Mask the GOP’s Threat of Losing and Blind Their Strategic Judgment?   March 1, 2017        Vol. X, No. 2        11:13 am Always Remember that You are Vulnerable While watching Republican President Donald Trump’s first address to the joint session of the Republican-led U.S. Congress last night, I thought about the
[More…]

Will the Arrogance of Invulnerability Mask the GOP’s Threat of Losing and Blind Their Strategic Judgment?

 

March 1, 2017        Vol. X, No. 2        11:13 am

Always Remember that You are Vulnerable

While watching Republican President Donald Trump’s first address to the joint session of the Republican-led U.S. Congress last night, I thought about the same scene eight years ago, when Democratic President Barack Obama stood for the first time before a Democratic-led U.S. Congress, and I wondered if Republicans realize just how vulnerable they are.

That’s the most important political lesson I’ve learned from watching campaigns for power over the public purse for over 40 years. Always remember that you are vulnerable.

Eight years ago, on this day, March 1, 2009 … the 41st day of President Barack Obama’s first term … Democrats wielded all the political power in Washington, DC and in Raleigh.

So much power that they forgot they were vulnerable.

In addition to a Democrat in the White House on March 1, 2009, Nancy Pelosi, D-California, was Speaker of the U.S. House; Harry Reid, D-Nevada, was Senate Majority Leader.

On March 1, 2009, Pelosi led a 257-to-178 Democratic majority in the U.S. House.  On the Senate side, Reid had a filibuster-proof majority of 58 Democrats and two independents who caucused with the Democrats.

In Raleigh, on March 1, 2009, Democrats ruled unchecked. Beverly Perdue, D-Craven was Governor, Mark Basnight, D-Dare was President Pro Tem of the NC Senate, and Joe Hackney, D-Orange was Speaker of the NC House.

So much power that they forgot they were vulnerable.

During the first 41 days of his administration, President Obama’s job approval per CNN had reached a high of 76%, with only 23% disapproving, for a net positive of + 53 points.

With a job approval of 76%, you can do as you please. Right?

Wrong.

By election day, November 3, 2009, President Obama’s job approval per an Associated Press nationwide poll was 54%, with 43% disapproving.

  • During 2009, Obama’s job approval plummeted from 74% to 54%
  • During 2009, Obama’s disapproval nearly doubled from 23% to 43%

In 2009, there were only two races for governor: New Jersey and Virginia.  Republicans won both, despite the efforts of President Obama who personally campaigned on behalf of the Democrats.

The following year, Democrats would lose the special election for Teddy Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts and, in the fall of 2010, would lose the majority in the U.S. House, six seats in the U.S. Senate, six governors and a record net loss of 680 state legislative seats … including the legislative majorities in the North Carolina state senate and house.

All while they had all the power in Washington DC and Raleigh.  So much power that they forgot they were vulnerable.

Because Democrats didn’t think they were vulnerable, they abandoned the middle and moved hard-left.  It was President Obama’s ideological comfort zone.  He had been rated the #1 most liberal member of the U.S. Senate by the National Journal during his short stint as a senator.

But then, because he didn’t think he was vulnerable, President Obama made a rookie mistake.  He put healthcare reform at the top of his list of priorities when the nation was most concerned about jobs and the economy.

It cost Democrats dearly.  The U.S. House and most state capitals in 2010.  The U.S. Senate in 2014.  The White House in 2016.  Soon, the U.S. Supreme Court.

Maybe Lousy Job Approval Numbers are a Good Thing

Looking back on 2016, I never got the impression that Hillary Clinton and her team of political professionals thought that they were vulnerable to Donald Trump and his “basket of deplorables.”  The arrogance of invulnerability masked the threat of losing to Trump and blinded their strategic judgment.

This fall, as in 2009, there are two governor’s races: Virginia and New Jersey.  Both governors are term limited.  Chris Christie, R-NJ, after two terms.  Terry McAuliffe, D-VA after one term.  (Virginia is the only state left where the governor is limited to one term).

Will President Donald Trump be a drag on Republicans this year?  Will rookie mistakes of the Trump administration lead to a catastrophic loss of GOP power in America during the first-term midterm election in 2018?

Today, March 1, 2017, President Donald Trump’s average job approval per Real Clear Politics is only 44%, with 50% disapproving.  That’s a job approval of 30-points below President Barack Obama at the same time eight years ago.

But, maybe that’s not all bad.

Maybe a lousy job approval number early in a presidential administration will turn out to be a good thing; like a cautionary warning.

We shall soon see.

As to whether Republicans will maintain their grip on power in Washington DC and Raleigh, it’s a bit too soon to tell.

All I know is after 40 years of watching campaigns, those who appear to be the least vulnerable are often the most vulnerable.  That’s because the arrogance of invulnerability masks the threat of losing and blinds the strategic judgment of candidates and their professionals.

Little did we know eight years ago, when Democratic President Barack Obama stood for the first time before a Democratic-led U.S. Congress, just how vulnerable Democrats were.

I wonder if Republicans realize just how vulnerable they are today?

- END -

Thanks for reading the John Davis Political Report

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Need a Political Speaker for 2017? If you would like a sensible and entertaining summary of the results of the 2016 federal and state elections, go here to check John Davis’ availability.

 

Highlights of 2017 Speech: John Davis’ 2017 speech will draw conclusions about the implications of the 2016 results for your organization, as well as, the implications of the results for the 2018 and 2020 state and federal elections.

 

Subscribe to the John Davis Political Report and JDPR TrendLines here.

 

Will Trump Make the #1 Political Mistake of the Obama Administration: Picking the Wrong #1 Priority

by johndavis, January 17, 2017

Will Trump Make the #1 Political Mistake of the Obama Administration: Picking the Wrong #1 Priority January 17, 2017          Vol. X, No. 1             10:13 am Only 15% named “health care” as the #1 priority in 2009 Little did we know on this day in 2009, as the finishing touches were being made in preparation for
[More…]

Will Trump Make the #1 Political Mistake of the Obama Administration: Picking the Wrong #1 Priority

January 17, 2017          Vol. X, No. 1             10:13 am

Only 15% named “health care” as the #1 priority in 2009

Little did we know on this day in 2009, as the finishing touches were being made in preparation for the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, that in less than two years Democrats would suffer one of the most consequential political disasters in American history. Will Trump and the Republicans suffer the same fate in 2018?

In 2010, the Democrats’ 63-seat net loss in US House races had not been seen since 1938.  Furthermore, the Democrats lost their rare filibuster-proof advantage in the US Senate.

Among the states, Democrats lost a net of 680 legislative seats in 2010, breaking the record set by Republicans after the post-Watergate GOP political disaster of 1974. Democrats also went from having a majority of the nation’s governorships to only 20 of the 50 state chief executives.

A catastrophic loss of political power at the federal and state level is the lot awaiting the GOP in 2018 if Donald Trump and the Republican congressional leadership make the same mistake that Barack Obama and the Democratic congressional leaders made during his first two years in office.

The mistake? They picked the wrong #1 priority.

In 2009 and 2010, during the worst recession since the Great Depression, 56% of Americans told Gallup that they were worried most about jobs and the economy. That is the finding of a Gallup study of the yearly averages of the most important problems during the Obama years.

However, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress made health care reform their #1 priority, an issue deemed most important by only 15% of Americans.

Then, the political disaster of 2010.

Top Democrat Chuck Schumer said health care was the wrong priority

US Senator Chuck Schumer, D-NY, who as Senate Minority Leader is the nation’s highest ranking elected Democrat, told a National Press Club audience in November, 2014, “Unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them in electing Obama and a Democratic Congress in 2008 amid a recession. We took their mandate and put all our focus on the wrong problem -- health care reform.”

Schumer’s 2014 National Press Club appearance was in the aftermath of the loss of the Democratic majority in the US Senate. With the exception of holding the White House in 2012, the ill-fated decision to make health care reform the #1 priority of President Obama’s first two years in office has become the political gift that keeps on giving … to Republicans.

In the Campaigns of 2014 and 2016, health care reform continued to be effectively used by Republicans to defeat Democrats because Democrats foolishly continued to overstate its relative importance in American life. What was more important?

The Gallup study of the most important problems during the Obama Administration, with a sample size of about 96,000 respondents (12,000 per year for each of the eight Obama years), shows that health care was never as important as the economy, jobs and government reform.

  • Health care was not on Gallup’s annual average top three most important problems in any of the last six years of the Obama Administration
  • Every single year from 2011 through 2016, “Government” joined the “Economy” and “Jobs” as one of the annual average top three most important problems

The political consequences of the Democrats’ mistake of selecting health care reform as their #1 priority in 2010 were immediate. The devastation began with the loss of US Sen. Teddy Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts to a Republican in January, 2010, and continued throughout the Obama Administration up to and including the loss of the White House in 2016 … and the likely loss of the ideological advantage on the US Supreme Court during Trump’s first term.

Will Trump and the Republicans suffer the same fate in 2018? Not if they stay focused on the issues of the economy, jobs and government reform.

Trump starts with low favorable ratings AND high expectations on jobs

A new Washington Post-ABC News Poll released this morning, January 17, 2017, shows that Donald Trump will begin his first term with the lowest favorable rating (40%) of any president during the past four decades.  The two presidents who began their administrations with the highest favorable ratings were Barack Obama (79%) and Jimmy Carter (78%). Both presidents set the Democratic Party back for years with policy mistakes that fueled insurgent Republicans.

The second lowest favorable rating was Ronald Reagan (58%).  His administration became the solid foundation of the modern Republican Party.

What is most relevant for new presidents is that they meet the expectations of most Americans by staying focused on the top priorities of most Americans.  Today, according to the new Washington Post-ABC News Poll, Americans expect Trump to succeed with the top priorities:

  • 61% expect Trump to do an “excellent or good job” handling the economy
  • 59% expect Trump to do an “excellent or good job” creating jobs
  • 56% expect Trump to do an “excellent or good job” handling the threat of terrorism
  • 50% expect Trump to do an “excellent or good job” handling the federal budget deficit
  • 50% expect Trump to do an “excellent or good job” of helping the middle class

Americans may give Trump lousy favorable ratings, but they sure do have high expectations that he will stay focused on the priorities of the day and do an “excellent or good job” of handling the most important problems of the day.

If Trump, along with the Republicans in Congress, will stay focused on the expectations of American voters and avoid the Obama Administration mistake of creating their own list of priorities, they will set the GOP up for winning the US Senate and US House majorities in the midterm elections of 2018, thereby ensuring a conservative US Supreme Court.

Otherwise, Republicans will suffer the same fate in 2018 that Democrats did in 2010.

- END -

Thanks for reading the John Davis Political Report

JND Signature 2017John N. Davis

 

Need a Political Speaker for 2017? If you would like a sensible and entertaining summary of the results of the 2016 federal and state elections, go here to check John Davis’ availability.

 

Highlights of 2017 Speech: John Davis’ 2017 speech will draw conclusions about the implications of the 2016 results for your organization, as well as, the implications of the results for the 2018 and 2020 state and federal elections.

 

Subscribe to the John Davis Political Report and JDPR TrendLines here.

 

U.S. Supreme Court the Biggest Political Prize of 2016; Conservative Wing Likely Majority During Trump’s First Term

by johndavis, December 14, 2016

U.S. Supreme Court the Biggest Political Prize of 2016; Conservative Wing Likely Majority During Trump’s First Term December 14, 2016          Vol. IX, No. 16             7:13 am   The Biggest Prize of 2016 Presidential Race On Saturday, December 11, 2016, with a Republican victory in the Louisiana U.S. Senate runoff election, the GOP moved one step
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U.S. Supreme Court the Biggest Political Prize of 2016; Conservative Wing Likely Majority During Trump’s First Term

December 14, 2016          Vol. IX, No. 16             7:13 am

 

The Biggest Prize of 2016 Presidential Race

On Saturday, December 11, 2016, with a Republican victory in the Louisiana U.S. Senate runoff election, the GOP moved one step closer to securing the biggest political prize of all in 2016, a majority conservative wing on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Senate Republicans now have a 52-member majority in the chamber tasked by the nation’s founding fathers in 1789 with confirming the President’s federal court nominees.

The nation’s highest court currently consists of a four-member liberal wing (Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan, Sotomayor), three conservatives (Alito, Roberts, Thomas), one swing vote (Kennedy), and the vacant seat of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died February 13, 2016.

Filling the Scalia vacancy, likely one of the first orders of business of the Senate in 2017, will make the court ideologically balanced at 4-4, with Kennedy as the critical swing vote. It will be the next vacancy that will give Republicans the opportunity to create a majority conservative wing.

Regarding the next vacancy: The average age of retirement from the court is 79 years old.  Three justices are at or past the average retirement threshold: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal, will be 84 years old next March; Anthony Kennedy, a swing vote, will be 81 years old in July, 2017, and Stephen Breyer, a liberal, will be 79-years-old in August, 2017.

The court’s ideological pivot will occur if one of those three retires during the next four years.

Partisan Balance of Lower Federal Courts Will Also Shift

 

With a Republican-majority Senate likely throughout President Trump’s first term, the GOP is well positioned to build a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court and reverse the Obama administration’s successful takeover of the lower federal courts.

As important as the Supreme Court is, they only hear 70-80 cases a year out of 7,000-8,000 requests, issuing 50-60 opinions.  Most of the heavy lifting at the federal level is done in the U.S. District courts (673 district judgeships) and the U.S. Courts of Appeals (179 circuit judgeships), where 350,000-400,000 cases are being managed at any given time.

According to The Brookings Institution, in 2009, as President Obama began his administration, Republican appointees held 56% of the 179 federal circuit court judgeships to only 36% held by Democratic appointees (8% vacant).

In 2016, after 55 confirmed Obama nominees, Republican appointees made up only 42% of the circuit court judgeships to 53% held by Democratic appointees.

  • In January 2009, 10-of-13 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had Republican-majority appointees to only 1 Democratic-majority court (2 neither)
  • In January 2016, only 4-of-13 U.S. Circuit Appeals courts had Republican-majority appointees to 9 Democratic-majority circuit courts

U.S Senate Majority Up for Grabs in 2018

 

The first critical hurdle for Republicans to ensure four years of conservative appointments to the federal courts will be the midterm federal elections of 2018.  It is also the first opportunity for Democrats to stop the GOP takeover of the federal courts.

Although historically the first midterm elections during a new presidential administration do not favor the party in the White House in U.S. House races, the GOP structural advantage in the U.S. Senate races will be a formidable challenge for Democrats:

  • In 2018, Democrats will be defending 25 seats, 10 in states Trump won
  • In 2018, Republicans will be defending 8 seats, 7 in states Trump won

If Republicans maintain the U.S. Senate majority in 2018, it is highly likely that many decisions by liberal, Democrat-appointed federal judges on issues such as Affirmative Action, LGBT Rights, Election Laws (Voter ID, Same-day Registration, Early Voting), Abortion, Obamacare, Guns, Immigration, Public-sector unions, Citizens United, Religious Freedom … will eventually be overturned by a new era of conservative, Republican-appointed judges and justices.

Federal Court #1 Nemesis of Republicans in NC General Assembly

 

The prospects of a conservative U.S. Supreme Court and more Republican-appointed judges on the lower federal courts must be making Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly giddy with anticipation. That is because their #1 nemesis on election law reform and social issues like marriage has been the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia.

The Fourth Circuit Court has 15 judges, 10 of whom were appointed by Democratic presidents … including three from North Carolina (Judge Allyson Duncan, Judge James Wynn, Jr., and Judge Albert Diaz).

Most of the significant legislative losses by North Carolina Republicans since their 2010 takeover of the General Assembly have been at the tip of the pen of federal court judges.

It was federal judges on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals who declared the GOP-drawn congressional maps unconstitutional, requiring them to be redrawn and re-contested in 2016.  It was federal judges who declared that Republican-drawn state legislative districts were unconstitutional, requiring remapping by March 15, 2017, and new elections in the fall of 2017.

It was a federal judge who ruled that HB2 could not be enforced by the UNC system. It was a ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that voided North Carolina’s Amendment One, a law banning same-sex marriage.

In July, 2016, it was a 3-judge panel of Democratic appointees on the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down the Republican voter ID law, declaring it racially discriminatory.  It was federal judges who struck down laws eliminating same-day voter registration and out-of-precinct voting because the GOP-backed laws “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

Time and time again, federal judges appointed by Democrats on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals have thwarted North Carolina Republican lawmakers.

Now, at the dawn of a conservative federal judiciary, those rulings may one day be overturned.  Surely, that’s what Republicans lay awake and dream about.

A decidedly conservative Supreme Court means that the authority to decide many social policy issues will likely return to the states.  It means that conservative states like Utah, Alabama, and Wyoming may have laws on controversial issues like abortion and marriage completely different from liberal states like Vermont, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

It means federal court rulings by judges who see racially discriminatory intent behind conservative election reform laws will be overturned by justices who see constitutionally permissible partisan intent.

The United States Supreme Court is by far the biggest political prize of 2016.

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