Weekly Musing 12-7-14
R.I.P. Bob Bennett
A good friend, great leader and tireless worker on behalf of the Republican Party. Bob served in many roles, but most notably as the former Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
The remarkable collapse of our trust in government, in one chart
No one likes — or trusts — the government. At this point, that’s accepted conventional wisdom. And most people assume it has always been like that. (We have a tendency to assume whatever is happening to us right now has always been happening.)
But that lack of trust hasn’t always been a part of the American experience — as this awesome chart from our friends at the Pew Research Center shows. The line below charts the percentage of people who have told Pew they trust the government “just about always” or “most of the time”.
Poll: Party ID shift post-midterms
More Americans are identifying with the Republican Party after the midterm elections and fewer with the Democrats, according to a new poll.
A Gallup poll released on Tuesday found a small shift in party identification, with 42 percent of those surveyed now identify with the GOP compared with 39 percent that identified similarly before the elections.
Democrats have lost a little support among voters. Before the midterm elections, 43 percent of Americans polled by Gallup said that they “identify as/lean Democratic.” Now 41 percent say they identify with Democrats.
This is not the first time that Gallup has seen a post-election Republican lean following a GOP sweep. Similar shifts in party affiliation among Americans occurred in 1994 and 2002, when Republicans gained advantages in Congress.
Democrats Paved the Way for Their Own Decline
There are many reasons for this decline in support for Democrats among certain groups. But an argument can be made that it is because Democrats have subordinated their traditional focus on helping lower- and working-class Americans move up the economic ladder in favor of other noble priorities, such as health care, the environment, and civil rights. Whether these were the right or wrong priorities is totally subjective, but they have come at a cost. Sen. Chuck Schumer recently committed the classic case of a political gaffe, once defined by Michael Kinsley as “when a politician tells the truth—some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.” The Democratic Left went crazy when Schumer suggested that the early focus on health care reform in 2009 and 2010, when he says Democrats should have been concentrating on economic growth and job creation, had cost them greatly (something that I have written about for over five years).
Governing is about making choices and facing consequences. Implicitly, to focus on certain things is to de-emphasize other things. The modern Democratic Party was effectively born during President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, reacting and dealing with the Great Depression. While books have been filled with the multitude of things that Roosevelt and his New Dealers did, if you boiled it down to its essence, it was helping people get back on their feet after the great stock-market crash of 1929 and the deep depression that resulted. In 2008, we faced the Great Recession, and like other financial meltdowns, it was deep and painful. At the tail end of the George W. Bush administration and in the early Obama years, financial markets were stabilized (the overwhelming majority of the Troubled Asset Relief Program funds have been repaid, with many of the investments yielding profits for Uncle Sam), and the Obama administration should be applauded for rescuing the automobile industry. But while those actions can be legitimately seen as a good start, we then saw a grand pivot to the environment and health care, with grave consequences for the party. At another time and in different fashion, both are important priorities, but the focus on these issues has effectively decimated the Democratic Party in specific areas and among specific voter blocs. The evidence is the difference in the partisan makeup of the Congress that will be sworn in next month, compared with the one from eight years ago.
Obama’s dangerous legacy for Democrats
The Obama damage is two-fold. First, his success relied on a coalition that likely will not survive, or at least survive at full strength, without Obama himself on the ticket. Secondly, Obama drove a significant portion of white voters away from the Democratic Party.
Put those two things together — smaller Obama coalition and more alienated whites — and the result could be huge trouble for whoever the Democratic presidential nominee is in 2016.
First the coalition: Obama’s powerful appeal to minorities, women, and young people propelled his decisive wins in 2008 and 2012. But those voters didn’t show up at the polls in 2010 and 2014.
House 2016: Republicans Start With a Commanding Edge
Republicans now control 26 seats won by President Obama in 2012. So even if Democrats somehow swept all of these seats in 2016, they would still be four seats short of a majority.
Here’s an easy prediction: The Democrats will not sweep these 26 seats. Some of the Obama Republican districts have entrenched, long-term incumbents like Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R, FL-27), Frank LoBiondo (R, NJ-2), and Peter King (R, NY-2) whose seats probably will not be very competitive until they retire. Also, these 26 seats do not all lean Democratic, despite being won by Obama in 2012: Mitt Romney matched or exceeded his 47% share of the vote in more than half of these districts (16 of 26). The Republicans are overextended, but not overwhelmingly so. Even if Hillary Clinton or another Democrat won the White House in 2016, there might be limits to the coattails she or he could produce because of the lack of truly winnable swing districts currently held by Republicans.
Five Democrats hold districts won by Mitt Romney in 2012, and there are a number of other seats won by Obama in 2012 that Democrats only narrowly held this year. So Republicans will have at least a few targets of their own.
Who’s Winning The GOP’s Invisible Primaries?
In a Nov. 23 CNN survey, Mitt Romney led 16 potential GOP presidential candidates with 20%, followed by Dr. Ben Carson at 10%, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 9% and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 8%. The other 12 names garnered between less than 1% and 7%. That the front-runner is not even running shows polls now reflect little more than name recognition. It will be next fall before surveys start depicting the real shape of the GOP race. However, there are invisible primaries under way. Here is how candidates are faring in these sub-rosa matchups: The first of these contests was about making the election of GOP candidates in 2014 a priority—and not about their own personal ambition. Four presidential prospects did well. Gov. Christie raised $106 million as Republican Governors Association chairman to help elect a record number of GOP state chief executives. Mr. Bush raised bundles in Florida for competitive Senate candidates and campaigned extensively across the country…
…A second invisible primary centers on developing a message. Two Wisconsinites did particularly well in 2014: Gov. Scott Walker issued a remarkably readable book, as did Rep. Paul Ryan , who has done the most to set a positive GOP agenda during the Obama era…
…There’s also the money primary. Messrs. Christie and Bush are best positioned to have big bundler networks raising money at the $2,600 maximum. For their re-elections, Gov. Walker raised $25 million, Ohio Gov. John Kasich raised $20 million and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder took in $12.5 million. All three would be competitive if those donors support presidential bids. Governors, however, cannot accept donations from Wall Street Republicans who do business with their state pension and other funds…
…The next contest is for staff. Each GOP hopeful has a team that won their last race, but all of them need to broaden their squads for the gigantic task of contesting the nomination. This is an early leadership test. Can a candidate recruit, train and lead a team of many strangers that can organize critical states and weather the tough patches that lie ahead? The winners of these invisible primaries are most likely to be contenders in the real primaries that begin in 14 months.
#Hillary #TedCruz rule
Exclusive data show they’re already dominating – for good and bad – on Facebook, Twitter.
Cruz has a robust Facebook presence. | POLITICO
Social media has no doubt who the most buzzworthy potential presidential candidates are at the moment for 2016: Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz together accounted for 40 percent of the discussion on Facebook and nearly half — 47 percent — of mentions on Twitter among 10 top presidential possibilities in the past three months, according to new data provided to POLITICO by Facebook and Twitter.
Meanwhile, Jeb Bush’s big name didn’t spark much chatter at all. He garnered only 3 percent of the Facebook mentions and 2 percent of tweets, fewer than nine other would-be contenders.
The mentions cut both ways, including negative comments as well as positive ones. But they reflect the extent to which Clinton, a long-standing subject of debate, and Cruz, who casts himself as a conservative renegade, have dominated the conversation at a time when others are trying to gin up some grass-roots energy.
“Imperfect as it is, [Facebook] is probably the biggest trove of data of what actual human beings outside of Washington, D.C., are talking about day to day and that makes it intrinsically important, and these platforms are actually important for reaching people and motivating them,” said Teddy Goff, partner at Precision Strategies and former digital director for Obama’s reelection campaign.
Without Electoral College Reform – We’re Screwed!
The 32 states that voted for the same party in the 6 presidential elections between 1992 and 2012
|Dem 6 times||Dem 5 times||Dem 4 times||Dem 3 times||Dem 2 times||Dem 1 time||Dem 0 times|
|242 EV||15 EV||24 EV||38 EV||61 EV||56 EV||102 EV|
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