Polling Trump

September 11, 2019

Public opinion polling, especially of presidents and elections, has become a huge cottage industry in this country employing thousands and raking in millions of dollars from campaigns and political organizations anxious to determine the preferences of Americans. Needless to say, polling outfits are in intense competition to make the claim that they are the most accurate and the best predictor of outcomes.

As this country heads toward a still distant national election there are almost daily polls on the job performance of Donald Trump, the chances of his reelection and the popularity of his Democratic challengers.  One of the most interesting developments in the polling race is the mini war of public opinion data crunching between the Rasmussen organization and all the more well known pollsters such as Quinnipiac, Monmouth, CNN, Politico, Reuters, Marist, NBC/Wall Street Journal and ABC/Washington Post.

To make a long story short, Rasmussen was one of the very few pollsters that got the 2016 election outcome correct showing that Donald Trump would win the presidency. Since Rasmussen is often viewed as an “outlier” pollster and according to some a front for conservative points of view, its correct prediction of a Trump victory sticks in the craw of the establishment polling organizations. The folks at Rasmussen waste little time in pointing out that in this election cycle there’s is the most accurate appraisal of Trump’s popularity and presidency.

Why this is important is because currently Rasmussen’s polling is far different than most if not all of the rest of the more well known organizations in terms of assessing Trump’s job performance and his chances for a repeat of his 2016 victory. While the establishment pollsters have Trump in the neighborhood of the low 40 percent range in terms of job performance and popularity, Rasmussen has the President in the high 40 percent range ( and many times over 50 percent) in job performance and the same with his overall popularity.

Now I am not in any way an expert on polling techniques in terms of sample size, demographic identification, and likely voters vs. registered voters, but Rasmussen boldly claims that most of the establishment polling that is being done today is seriously flawed and biased against President Trump. Of course if Rasmussen is correct about the current status of Trump the president and Trump the Republican candidate for reelection, then the Democrats are kidding themselves about taking the presidency in 2020 and are following the flawed strategy of Hillary Clinton who bought into the erroneous polling numbers that showed she was way ahead in 2016.

Perhaps Rasmussen got lucky in 2016 with its call of a Trump victory and perhaps all the current pollsters have fixed their models so that their current analysis showing Trump in deep trouble are on the mark. It is way too early to speculate on where the 2020 race for the presidency stands and I always wonder whether all those phone calls to Americans get a truthful answer or whether voting decisions are made in a split second while filling out the ballot. Whether Rasmussen is right or wrong this time around or its competitors have a better handle on American political opinion will certainly shape campaign strategy, but Democrats beware- they ignored Rasmussen in 2016 and the rest is history.

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In Praise of Strong Women

January 8, 2019

It was bound to happen as 100 women entered Congress and presidential hopefuls followed in the footsteps of Hillary Clinton. What has happened is media pundits, election strategists and old white guys begin to question the suitability of women for high office in government. Already Elizabeth Warren has a ” likability” problem, Bronx Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is denounced as a dancing flake, and Michigan Representative Rashid Tlaib is castigated for having a potty mouth (and worse yet from a woman of Palestinian heritage). This is only the beginning of the campaign to question whether women are ready to run government and hold power.

What this avalanche of criticism is really about stems from the fact that the old boy network feels threatened as women question the male approach to governing, offer new policy prescriptions for the nation, and most importantly show no fear of speaking their mind. Many of these guys hate it when women challenge their knowledge and authority or worse yet vie for political power. The era of nit wit Democrats and Republicans in political office is likely over but that doesn’t mean  these guys won’t go down without a fight.

It is of course refreshing to have women in power and offering new solutions to desperate problems. More importantly, it is vitally important to have voices in this country talk about children, health care, education and income inequity rather than how much will be spent on a new aircraft carrier,  how to justify excessive corporate welfare or defend deregulating the banking industry.

Now having women play a larger role in our governing system does not mean that this country is on the way back from near political suicide. These women are politicians, and many novice politicians; they will make mistakes in judgment, offer unworkable solutions, fail to keep their word, and embarrass themselves in public venues. They may be a refreshing change of pace but their presence in government is only one piece of a complex puzzle of change.

But one thing is certainly true – having women in government, strong women in power offers some hope that the old ways of doing the business of our nation will at the very minimum be questioned if not changed. I am reminded of Bob Dylan’s famous lines from the song The Times They Are A-Changing, which appropriately fit the rise of strong women:

Come senators, congressmen please heed the call

Don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall

For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled

There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’

It will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls

For the times they are a-changin.

 

Good Luck Strong Women.

 

 

 

 


Women Rule

November 8, 2017

Much has been made of the victory of the Democratic Party in Virginia and the impact of the message it sends to Republicans and President Trump. The real story of the election returns both in Virginia and elsewhere, however,  is the rise of women to positions of governmental responsibility and leadership. This could be the beginning of the Year of the Woman in American politics.

In Virginia 12 of the 16 seats that flipped Democratic in the House of Delegates were won by women. In my home state of Massachusetts two women who were first-time candidates won elections for mayor, one over a guy who said that his opponent was a stay at home mom while he had a full time job. Talk about a huge sexist miscalculation.

But besides the victories of women, there is mounting evidence that the ol’ boys club of politics may be facing  more and more female challengers.  Organizations such as Emily’s List and She Should Run are reporting that there are thousands of women who have expressed an interest in running for political office. With the victories in the Virginia election, the number of women seeking to enter the governmental fray will likely increase even more.

This burst of female political energy was bound to happen not just because of recent sexual harassment charges, but also because women have had enough of men making public policy decisions on equal pay, contraception, workplace advancement and health care.  Male office holders running for re-election against a woman in 2018 should be very scared. What’s that old saying about ” Hell hast no fury, then a woman scorned.” Hillary will not be the first female president of our country but her legacy may be encouraging the sisterhood to take up the fight for woman power.

Now before this analysis of women in politics gets out of hand, men still dominate the governing landscape and turning the tables on generations of male control is not going to happen with one election cycle. The ol’ boys will still be around suggesting that these female entrants to politics are novices who aren’t ready for “prime time.”  But what the ol’ boys don’t understand is that they may be up against a political movement that will be difficult to stop. The Tea Party was a movement, Trumpism was a movement and now Women Rule may just be the new movement destined to shape our politics and the direction of our country. Women got the right to vote in 1920; 2018 and beyond may be the time for women to get governing power.

 

 


Hillary and the Blame Game

April 19, 2017

It takes awhile when a candidate loses a campaign but eventually the truth wins out, despite the claims that the fault is somewhere else but in the mirror. Hillary Clinton is now in full blame game mode as she cites the Russians, Wiki Leaks, hateful white men, James Comey and the willingness of voters to buy into Trump’s lie narrative for her narrow defeat.

Now she does have a point about all these sources of her electoral demise, but she conveniently evades other critical factors that kept her out of the White House. Those critical factors have been lurking just below the surface of the political conversation but a new book by reporters from the Hill called “Shattered” have put all the missing links together to present a more accurate portrayal of Hillary’s loss.

Sure all of Hillary’s reasons for her defeat carry weight but she conveniently avoids looking into that mirror.  What she would see is a candidate who called potential white voters “deplorables”, spent way too much time raising money rather than visiting the Rust Belt, showed no understanding of the struggles of the traditional Democratic Party base, depended too heavily on a huge African-American and Hispanic turnout, and presided over a highly dysfunctional, data driven and disloyal campaign staff.

In true Clinton fashion, Hillary was a victim of her own arrogance, entitlement, and refusal to understand the voters and the country she was trying to lead. Trump for all his lies, exaggerations and false promises instinctively understood what was happening in America in the age of income inequality, forgotten voters, bigotry and hatred of the Washington elites ( better known as the Swamp). Hillary was playing from an old political handbook that was relevant in the days of Obama, but meant nothing in the America of 2016.

Hillary just cruised to the nomination and walked through the campaign ignoring the plight of angry voters, making policy speeches that put people to sleep, and not developing a election narrative that showed her as human and a true advocate for the working class.

The election is over but now we see that Hillary is at least thinking about 2020. Another run for the White House is predictable but given all the unforced errors on her part Hillary would have to have to take a crash courses in Election Management 101 and Communicating with Voters 102. Let’s face the fact, Hillary lost the election on her own.


The Blame Game

November 11, 2016

 

In the wake of Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump Democratic Party officials, liberal media pundits, and those who worked their buns off to get her elected are starting to play the blame game, no not a fun board brain teaser but a finger-pointing exercise that comes naturally when someone who was supposed to win gets tanked big time.

Sure I could say that Hillary won the popular vote but that is small consolation in our very odd electoral college system where you can run up the score in places like California and New York but lose a boat load of states by a narrow margin and win the White House.

Sure I could say that Hillary is far more qualified to hold the highest office in the land, but this election was about change and white America getting revenge for being ignored not governmental resumes and glass ceilings being broken.

Sure I could say that Donald Trump has no clue about the rule of law, checks and balances, and constitutional guarantees, but he won and this country has to live with a guy who poses a threat to our rights, our traditions and our security.

Could the outcome have been different? Certainly, and I put the burden of blame on Hillary. Let me tell you why.

Hillary suffered from the deadly political sin of isolation.When you live in an elitist bubble where most of your contact is with the same members of the establishment and don’t have any idea what the folks in Youngstown, Ohio or Bethlehem, Pennsylvania are going through on a daily basis, you will pay the price. Many Americans have little understanding of public policy issues and far less about simple civics, but they know self-interest and they know that their vote is power. Hillary neglected these folks, mostly white, and spent time speaking for gobs of money to Wall Street bankers and Hollywood celebrities instead of walking the walk along Main Street.

For a highly intelligent person Hillary was strangely unable to find the right words to bring people over to her side. She had to borrow a phrase from Michelle Obama to get attention and when she did try to coin a phrase she chose ” a basket of deplorables”. Trump, who used some of the meanest words in his campaign, won over the voters with one simple line-” I will be your voice”

Hillary also failed to understand the generational and class shifts that now define our country. She didn’t comprehend the anxiety of the millennials, she relied too heavily on African-Americans and Hispanics and she did little to win back those angry white guys who twenty years ago were shoo-in Democrats. Trump didn’t care about the millennials, the blacks and Hispanics but concentrated on the white population, young and old, rural and urban, middle class and under class. Hillary’s electoral coalition was always fragile because her operating premise was that smarts and organization would win the day when this was a movement election spurred on by millions who were just fed up.

Finally, Hillary like Bill live in a world where they believe it is possible to get away with actions that are secretive, self-serving, and too often phony. Now Trump is far worse on all of these accounts but sadly for a woman to break the ultimate political glass ceiling, there is little room for poor judgment, shady deals, and arrogance. Unfortunately, we hold women seeking power to a much higher standard then men, and Trump is the prime example. But for someone who was planning this campaign since her college days, you would expect that she might just have thought through how to present her best side rather than taking unnecessary risks.

An integral part of this blame game is whether Bernie Sanders would have been a far better candidate and eventually take the White House. A pretty good case can be made for President-elect Sanders rather than The Donald, but a few words of caution. Trump would have quickly coined a title for Bernie – how about “Bernie the Commie”. Trump would have been relentless in scaring the voters about the Socialist senator from Vermont pushing for more big government, more spending, more taxes, more regulation. A case can also be made that those white voters who chose Trump and change would have seen Bernie as just another leftist senator bent on picking their pockets.

Well I’m glad I got that off my chest. The election is over, Trump won, the American people are fair-minded and will give him the benefit of the doubt. Like all those people who believe in their shattered hearts that Hillary should have won, Trump remains a dangerous, ill-equipped charlatan. But let’s face it- he’s our dangerous, ill-equipped charlatan. God Bless the United States of America.

 

 

 


Melania’s Vote

November 8, 2016

There will not be too many positive or inspiring memories from the 2016 presidential campaign, but there will be a number of humorous or truth-telling remembrances that speak volumes.

Of course the SNL skits with Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon will likely end up in the Americana section of the Smithsonian museum as they are now iconic representations of how the two candidates for the highest office in the world gave new meaning to the old phrase, ” The Emperor has no clothes.”

Then there was Tim Kaine speaking Spanish in his opening introduction to the American people as most viewers scratched their heads in frustration- ” what the hell was he saying?”

Then there were the Trump surrogates – Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich condemning the sexual exploits of ol’Bill even though both of these guys cheated on their wives and couldn’t keep their marriages together.

But one of my favorite memories will be Trump’s staff shutting down his Twitter account so the potential leader of the free world wouldn’t have the opportunity at 3 in the morning of making an ass of himself.

At the top of the list of out of this world images from the race was the picture of Donald Trump looking over his voting booth to see how Melania was voting. The only conclusion one can come to is that he doubted her loyalty. So much for the secret ballot.

It sure has been hard to laugh during this horrible election, since most of the words used to describe the two candidates are hypocrisy, falsehoods, corruption, unqualified, secretive and phony.”

You could say we deserve better from those seeking the presidency or you could rely on the wisdom of the cartoon character Pogo who said, “I have seen the enemy and it is us”.

 


The Year of Mercy

November 5, 2016

So many people must have missed the Pope’s message that this is the Year of Mercy. I think what Francis was saying is that in this year we should all be kind to each other, avoid making snap or rash judgments, refrain from humiliating people in public or behind their backs or condemning friends and foes just because they hold a different view.

Certainly Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump must have missed the memo, and if I must say, more so Trump. Their campaigns, especially in the last week, have been just brutal and show no mercy. There just must be a few issues that need to be discussed to inform the voters instead of going negative?

Certainly the Catholic pastor in San Diego who included a flyer in the weekly bulletin saying that those faithful who voted Democratic would face the eternal fires of hell. Seems a bit harsh. Looks like I am headed for Hades.

Certainly Catholics who used the cruelest slurs possible  when they read a column by the Boston Globe reporter that stated  a position on abortion by a candidate (in this case Clinton) is not the only issue to judge her worthiness for the highest office. Seems that Pope Francis is trying to get social justice on the agenda of Catholics and not make the Church a one issue organization.

Certainly the media, mainstream and Internet outlets, for creating and fostering a climate of misinformation, disinformation, biased reporting, lie-telling and unsubstantiated leaking all in an effort to bump up ratings.

Certainly some angry voters who threaten violence, pledge to carry weapons to voting sites, wear the most vile T-shirts, and openly suggest that candidates should be shot just don’t understand that civility and mercy go hand in hand.

There is still some time left in the Year of Mercy, but it looks like the outcome of the election will not quiet those who refuse to embrace the Pope’s message. Now not every American voter is a Catholic, but mercy is a universal value and really should be above, way above politics.