Friday’s Fillibusters

We officially have a female candidate for President.  I know that one or two superdelegates may not have technically voted and that the ballots aren’t printed until closer to November but

onto the general election.

Donald Trump has called on the Russian hackers to get to Hillary’s 30,000 plus e-mails from her private server.

Speaking of Trump, it turns out he was against increasing social security before he was for increasing social security. Buzzfeed has surprisingly been invaluable on their research on Donald Trump.

Republicans are on the defensive in Indiana.  They’re trying to prevent Evan Bayh from taking a Senate seat.  This will prove to be one of the more expensive Senate races this year.

Barack Obama subtweeted Rahm Emanuel during his speech two nights ago.  Emanuel has been criticized for years.

 

Yes, we built that; can we repair it? Pt. 4

In The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin, Corey Rubin writes “far from being an invention of the politically correct, victimhood has been a talking point of the right ever since Burke decried the mob’s treatment of Marie Antoinette.”  We see this victim card played by a number of conservative politicians and everyday conservatives.  We hear about how a number of Republicans are routinely discriminated against because of their political views, their religious views, or are otherwise victimized.  They can weaponize this victim accusation to their political gain.  Those who are not Republicans who may have actually been victimized may see their actions backfire when seen through a partisan lens.

Mark Sanford was Governor of South Carolina in 2009 when he claimed that he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, he was actually in Argentina having an affair.  During his disappearance, there was speculation over who was running the state.  Sanford’s wife claimed that he had previously disappeared like this in the past, as well.  It was later found out that Sanford and his wife were going through a trial separation at the time.  Sanford never thought about resigning from being the Governor of South Carolina.  He did, however, resign as Chairman of the Republican Governors Association.  The South Carolina legislature let Sanford know that they were going to impeach him if he did not resign.  Sanford called what ultimately became a bluff.  He was able to serve out his time as Governor.  His wife, Jenny Sanford, filed divorce which included custody of their sons.

In 2013, the 1st Congressional District in South Carolina held a special election to replace Tim Scott who was appointed the Senator after Jim DeMint’s resignation.  Sanford had previously stated that the last election he was in was his last, decided to throw his hat into the ring.  In the crowded field to replace Scott, Sanford was a heavy favorite to retake the seat.  He was the leading vote getter in the initial primary.  However, because nobody got the majority of the vote, it was headed to a run-off.

In a poll released on March 26, 2013 Sanford had a net favorability in the district of -24 compared to the net favorability of +14 of Elizabeth Colbert Busch who was going to be the Democratic challenger.  His favorability was much higher with Republicans in the district (not surprisingly).  His net favorability with Republicans was +14.  With those who had supported Mitt Romney in 2012 was +14.  Jenny’s net favorability overall was +37 in the district and +43 with Romney supporters.

On April 17, 2013, it was reported by the Associated Press that his ex-wife Jenny had filed a complaint on Mark regarding an incident where he was trespassing on her property.  According to the complaint, this was not the first time that he had trespassed on the property.  Jenny, to her credit, said that she was trying her hardest not to interfere with the race saying that she thought that the documents should be kept sealed.   Mark claimed that he was trying to go to the house to watch the 2nd half of the Super Bowl with his son and that he tried to reach out to Jenny.

Public Policy Polling conducted a poll from April 19 -21 of that year so immediately after the incident became public.  His net favorability ticked upwards slightly within the district to -18.  His favorability was higher among Mitt Romney supporters to +23.  Jenny’s net favorability suffered quite a bit of a decline.  In the district as a whole, her net favorability was +28.  Almost all of this decline was with Romney supporters, as her net favorability fell to +22, a 21 point drop.  64% of Romney supporters said that the trespassing charges gave them no doubts at all about his fitness for public office.

There was very little other news that came out around that time for Sanford that I am able to find.  The debate for the special election did not occur until April 29.  Sanford went on the trail debating a cardboard cutout of Nancy Pelosi after the trespassing news came out.  So it’s not really clear what was driving Sanford’s increased support.

Sanford’s favorability went higher and higher as it was closer to the election.  With Romney’s supporter, he hit a net favorability of +34 in a poll released on May 5, 2013.  Jenny’s net favorability stayed around the same as the last poll showing a net favorability of +25 with Romney supporters.  Despite Sanford’s overall net favorability of -11 in the district as a whole, he won the special election 54-45 against Colbert Busch.

My theory is that while Sanford was most likely trespassing on his ex-wife’s property without her permission.  However, the problem is that voters thought Jenny Sanford was trying to politicize this issue and show that he was unfit for office.  This galvanized conservatives who view every attack on them as political regardless of if it was true.  This effectively gave Sanford a chance to win the special election and he took advantage of the opportunity.

We will revisit the Sanford case as we approach a couple of other issues.  This special election gave us an opportunity to see a number of issues that I will bring up over the coming days and weeks.

Yes, we built it; can we repair it? Pt. 3

The troubling case of Rick Perry

Rick Perry ran for the GOP presidential nomination for 2012.  He was considered a heavy favorite at the time.  His gubernatorial record in Texas and his Texan drawl endeared him to a large number of Republican voters.  Perry announced his candidacy on August 11, 2011.  He led the national polls for the Republican primary beginning August 15th and didn’t relinquish the lead until the week of September 25.  Mitt Romney then took the lead.  Romney, for the most part, held the lead going forward outside of about two weeks in February.

Just two weeks after Perry announced his candidacy, Public Policy Polling (PPP) found that he had 33% of the GOP support for the nomination.  He had taken a fairly sizable lead over Romney (13 points).  As they note in their write-up, in a race of the top tier -Perry, Romney, and Michele Bachmann- Perry would win 41-29-19.  His net favorability rating at that point in the race was a staggering +47.  His biggest support was from those who defined themselves as very conservative.  He was the first choice of 40% of those voters.

Even as late as September 14, Perry still had a significant lead on Romney by 13 points although his total had slipped to 31% of the GOP electorate.  He enjoyed virtually the same level of support from the very conservative portion of the GOP electorate (39% in this poll).  His momentum had somewhat stalled but his vote total of the GOP electorate remained steady after a month of leading the polls.  He had maintained about 30% of the GOP electorate if you look at the Real Clear Politics averages.  Not insignificantly, this poll would have included a debate from September 7, 2011 where Perry and the state of Texas were cheered for their use of the death penalty.

He would maintain about 30% for the next two weeks.  Then a Fox News poll that was conducted from 09/25 – 09/27 saw him slip all the way down to 19%, trailing Romney by 4 points.  Perry would not lead another poll during the cycle.  For the next month, he would stay between 6-19% of the GOP electorate.  So what happened during that time that saw him fall so precipitously?  My explanation is that there was this debate performance.

PPP published this chart after seeing Perry’s performance fall so much during the month of September:

A similar story happened in West Virginia.  PPP noted that Perry’s net favorability dropped 37 points in North Carolina and 30 points in West Virginia.  Nationally, we had something similar.  Perry dropped 17 points in one month from 31% to 14%.  His biggest drop was with those who identify as very conservative.  Nationally, he went from 39% to 20% with them.

So what happened?  The popular idea is that Perry had his famous oops moment.  But that actually came much later.  What did happen near the end of September was only one debate:

Perry was booed for having tuition assistance to undocumented immigrants.  Would that be enough to sink Perry so far in the polls?  It’s possible, although his debate performance was not the best prompting some consternation among Republican pundits.  The next performance was much better but his poll numbers never recovered.  He couldn’t get above 14% after October 11.  The next debate was November 9.  This was the infamous oops moment.  This is the one that hurt his campaign worse than usual, right?  The next batch of polls before November 22 don’t show much of a difference in his numbers.  He reaches a high mark of 14% immediately after the debate and CNN has him at 12% for their next two polls.

The evidence doesn’t seem to back the idea that Perry’s “oops” moment cost him the nomination.  Based on the polling numbers, it looks like what cost him was his compassion and his justification for enforcing the Texas DREAM Act.

 

Wednesday’s Washingtons

Donald Trump was asked about the federal minimum wage yesterday by Bill O’Reilly.  The transcript makes it seem like it’s an incoherent answer to the question.

The video doesn’t make it seem any better. I honestly have no idea what his answer means.  So CNN spins it as Trump wanting to raise the minimum wage to $10/hour.

The LAPD refuses to hand over documents about mapping Muslims in Los Angeles.  Muslim advocacy groups argue that their refusal is a violation of California public records law.

Pinal County in Arizona is under investigation for policing for profit and misusing RICO funds.  Sheriff Paul Babeu is under some fire for his role in misusing the fund.  Babeu’s spokesperson thinks that the investigation is purely political.

Florida Congressman Alan Grayson who is running for the Democratic nomination for Senate in Florida has been accused of abuse.  Following that report,  Grayson had a clash with Politico‘s reporter.    Harry Reid who has a bad relationship with Grayson said through a spokesperson that he didn’t think his opinion of Grayson could get any lower but it was.

Sean Maloney, who is New York’s first openly gay member of Congress, gave an interview to South Florida Gay News.  Maloney had this to say about the upcoming election:

This is why LGBT people need to get out and vote and bring their neighbors with them. It really matters. We are going to win this because the American people are with us. We demonstrated that in last month’s majority support in the House under Republican control for a pro-equality measure, if it had gotten the fair process. We need to be demanding a democratic process, plain and simple. We need to demand a vote on things like the Equality Act. It will win if it comes to a vote, but the only way of stopping the rigging progress is to demand a vote and a fair process. [LGBT equality has] won in the court of public opinion, in corporate America, among the American people. The only people still standing in the doorway blocking progress is the Republican leadership in Washington. We need to move them out of the way.

Also said this: “It was an extraordinary couple days in Congress. Any time you’re fighting hand in hand with John Lewis, the legendary civil-rights leader, you feel like you must be doing the right thing.”

It’s a good interview, read the whole thing, etc.

One of the things not getting a lot of attention is the Democratic platform plank to abolish the death penalty.

Yes, we built it; can we repair it? pt. 2

1960: The Making of a Myth

Dwight D. Eisenhower was finishing his second term in office as President.  He had been highly regarded as a great president and more importantly, a great man.  But even still, those on the right wing were not happy with him.  They viewed his liberal conservatism as unprincipled or that his policies made him not a real conservative.  William F. Buckley Jr, the founder of National Review, was critical of Eisenhower and wrote

It was the dominating ambition of Eisenhower’s Modern Republicanism to govern in such fashion as to more or less please more or less everybody. Such governments must shrink from principle; because principles have edges, principles cut; and blood is drawn, and people get hurt. And who would hurt anyone in an age of modulation?

The idea is that the Eisenhower presidency was unprincipled which may have made Eisenhower a Republican in name only (RINO).  Richard Nixon had a falling out with Eisenhower in 1952 that was never fully recovered.  Nixon faced a scandal in 1952 when he was accused of having a fund by his backers to help reimburse him for political expenses.  The scandal threatened Nixon’s spot on the ticket.  He gave a famous political speech known as the Checkers speech that allowed him to stay on the ticket.  Eisenhower never fully forgave Nixon.

Despite Nixon’s record on a number of issues, conservatives within the Republican Party was willing to abandon Nixon at the drop of the hat.  Liberal Republicans were likewise opportunistic possibly exploring jumping ship to New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. Nixon was trying to play the delicate balance between conservative and liberal factions of the party.

Nixon was afraid that Rockefeller could steal away the nomination of the party.  It is one of the few times in Nixon’s political career where he misread the electorate.  Rockefeller held sway with the liberal Republicans but not much else.  To put it in today’s terms, Rockefeller represented the nearly mythical moderate Republicans that candidates are supposed to pander to.  Nixon fearing his chance at the presidency, slipping away met with Rockefeller to discuss the platform.  Nixon thought that he was safe from a more conservative outrage, as conservatives had always liked him.

Nixon caught an emergency flight to Manhattan to hash out the platform in Rockefeller’s Fifth Avenue apartment.  This was later known as the Treaty of Fifth Avenue.  Part of the treaty included increased defense spending on nuclear weapons; remove segregation in education; and funding for education.

As Rick Perlstein writes in his definitive histories of the rise of the Republican Party in Nixonland, Nixon though that this convention was supposed to be his coronation.  He was outraged by the idea that Rockefeller thought that he could dictate to Nixon what the platform should be.  Conservatives outraged over this treaty tried to draft conservative Senator Barry Goldwater for the Presidency.  The draft movement ultimately failed but Goldwater had nearly the last word.  Speaking at the convention, Goldwater challenged the delegations,”let’s grow up conservatives!  If we want to take this party back, and I think we an some day, let’s get to work.”

Nixon was surprised that the Conservative members of his party would split on him at the last minute for a potential draft Goldwater movement.  The conservative members had long been his champion for his attacks on communists and his appeal as an everyman.  But the ground, as you can see, was already shaking beneath him.  By 1964, Perlstein writes, “in a poll of Republican leaders, only 3 percent said Nixon would make a good candidate.  He was too liberal.”

The 1960 election was one of the closer elections in Presidential history.  Kennedy won the popular election by about 100,000 votes.  The electoral college had him with 303 electoral votes.  Nixon seethed at the results as he always had somewhat of a frenemy relationship with Kennedy.

For the first time that I have been able to find in the modern era, there was widespread accusations of voter fraud.  By widespread, we’re primarily looking at Texas and Illinois.  This wouldn’t be terribly surprising as the election united three of the most ruthless politicians in the Democratic Party: Kennedy, Richard Daley, and Lyndon Johnson.  Nixon’s campaign manager, Leonard Hall, complained as the Chicago votes came in that the “Chicago Democrats were up to their usual tricks.”  Ultimately, he lost Illinois by 9,000 votes.  He lost Texas by 46,000.

Nixon called Eisenhower and was told that there were rumors of voting fraud in Texas and Illinois.  Hall went further telling Nixon that he thought Democrats had stolen votes in Illinois, Texas, Missouri, and New Mexico.  Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois complained that the Daley machine had stolen the election.  Senator Goldwater said that Chicago had “the rottenest election machinery in the United States.”

Hall and the RNC went to eight different states to try to find fraud and proof that the election had been stolen.  In Texas, Johnson was accused of fraud with the natural suspicion being cast in a number of counties where the votes counted outnumbered the number of registered voters.  John Connally, the Texas Democratic Governor, stated that there would be no recount and predicted that a recount would net Kennedy 50,000 more votes. But there was no recount.

The other natural place for fraud was Illinois.  Daley was known for being ruthless and barely complying within the law (and even if he went outside of it, he had friends in a lot of high places).  Daley in a relatively new biography claimed that his fraud was no worse than the fraud in downstate Illinois.

Nixon conceded the race and said that he accepted the results of the election despite some members of his campaign arguing otherwise.  Nixon claimed in his memoir Six Crises that he “made the decision because he feared American prestige would be damaged by suggestions that the presidency itself could be stolen by thievery at the ballot box.”  Nixon explained to the members of his team that contesting the results could cause great harm to the country.

These charges of fraud would show up in nearly every election that a Democrat has won since 1960.  1960 had a much better case for electoral fraud than any other election I’ve ever looked at.  The claims of fraud that are made, now, by the Republican Party is not about actual cases of fraud but rather the unbelievability that a Democrat could win an election.

In the aftermath of the 1960 election, there wasn’t such a public postmortem of the party as there was after the 2012 election.  The common belief from the Republican faithful after the election was that if they ran a true conservative they would have been able to overcome this electoral fraud.  They would have won the election had a true conservative actually ran.  This was going to set the stage for the next Presidential election.  Nixon was too liberal and they needed a true conservative to be able to run and win.  Both charges of electoral fraud and the idea of a true conservative were born out of this election. We will return to this election, later.

 

 

 

 

Yes, we built it; can we repair it? Pt. 1

Introduction

On July 21, 2016.  Donald Trump accepted the nomination of the Republican Party.  He promptly gave one of the darkest acceptance speeches that I’ve ever read or heard.  There was some debate after Trump clinched the nomination whether the media was complicit in the rise of Trump.  This gave undue credence to the media, in my opinion.  I think the nomination of Trump was the natural consequence of the Republican Party going down the path that they have gone down since at least 1960.  I think a Trumpesque nomination was inevitable and what’s striking is that we’re largely ignoring it while trying to normalize his candidacy.  A lot of effort is being used to show that Trump is so far out of the mainstream of the Republican Party that it’s ridiculous that he got nominated. I think he is very far out of the mainstream and I think he is dangerous.  But more importantly, the groundwork by the Republican Party over the last 50 years has led me to believe that Trump’s nomination was not a mistake but an inevitability.

Over a series of posts that I think I may be able to stretch out until Election Day (the good Lord willing), we’ll explore various elections and politicians as their work into building Trump as a candidate.  Finally, we’ll look at what, if anything can be done to repair the Republican Party and why so many progressives are interested in saving it.  The stories and analysis in these posts may be out of order chronologically because I’m working on them as I get the research completed.

Yes, we built it

The title of this series refers to the reaction of the Republican Party to a speech that Barack Obama gave in 2012.  Obama gave a speech about how someone helped you get to your success.  This wouldn’t normally be controversial.  But Obama has become such a polarizing figure (as we’ll explore in greater detail) that anything he says must be distorted and argued against.  I don’t think it was the correct choice of words since he didn’t finish his train of thought.  I think the context makes it fairly clear what he is saying.

The Republican Party seized on these comments to make it a theme in their convention.  When I went to see Barack Obama speak in Iowa in 2012, there were a number of protesters holding signs that said,”we did build that.”  Most of this stuff hasn’t left the political lexicon, yet.  We can still remember most of this happening, I would hope.

Like Obama’s comments, I don’t think the Republican Party necessarily had to go down this path and they’re not the only ones responsible for it.  I think along the way the Democratic Party and the media have contributed to the Republican Party reacting the way that they do.  But like Obama said, the success was found with our own individual drive and ambition, the most important contributing factor were individuals within the Republican Party and voters within the party.

Tuesday’s Trumans

Was the Democratic Primary rigged? Still, no. Regardless of how much you say it. I was pretty clear in my post yesterday about how I feel about it.  But to be clearer: I think the DNC acted inappropriately through a number of issues including e-mailing sensitive information. Does it rise to the level of rigging the primary? No. Hillary’s victory in the primaries was pretty unequivocal. For instance, Michigan and Florida’s delegation actually counted in this primary. As opposed to 2008.

Enough about the e-mails. This happened last night:

In other news, Bernie Sanders gave a full throated endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

Let me be as clear as I can be. This election is not about, and has never been about, Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, or Bernie Sanders or any of the other candidates who sought the presidency. This election is not about political gossip. It’s not about polls. It’s not about campaign strategy. It’s not about fundraising. It’s not about all the things the media spends so much time discussing.

This election is about – and must be about – the needs of the American people and the kind of future we create for our children and grandchildren…

By these measures, any objective observer will conclude that – based on her ideas and her leadership – Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States. The choice is not even close.

Bernie talked about policies that he supported that Hillary also supports.  It was a great endorsement.

John McCain is busy mavericking his way to linking his challenger to Hillary Clinton’s challenges.

Jim Gray is trailing Rand Paul in fundraising.