Sunday, October 30, 2016

Things I Know And Things I Don't

There are things I know and things I don't know.

For example, in this election I don't know whether Clinton or Trump will win even though we are 9 days from the election.

A big reason I don't know is that, as I have written before, a lot depends on the voter turnout. For Hillary to win she needs a lot more Democrats to turn out than Republicans. Black voters have to turn out for her and she needs Millennials to support her in similar numbers that they did for Barack Obama. I don't know how any of this will play out right now.

I also don't know what other shoes may drop over the next week. For example, the Clintons are known to play real political hardball. After all, this is their life. They have nothing else. I would expect that they will throw everything they can at Donald Trump in the next few day if they can get their hands on it.

I also don't know what else WikiLeaks has to publish. Interestingly, WikiLeaks has published over 35,000 emails thus far from John Podesta. Not one email has been to or from Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman. Isn't that a little bit curious?

If Clinton's email are going to be revealed, I would expect we will see them in the next several days.

There are things that I know. However, I try to always be cautious when I think I know anything as I believe Mark Twain was right when he said,

“What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so.”

Accordingly, here is what I think I know.

Hillary and the FBI Investigation

Friday's announcement by FBI Director Comey that they are reopening the investigation of Hillary's private email server is damaging to her.

The most damaging thing that can happen to a politician is being exposed as a hypocrite. For example, being a champion for African-Americans and being caught on tape disparaging a black worker.

The next most damaging is hard evidence that supports a pre-existing narrative about the candidate. The Watergate investigation was a continuing problem for Richard Nixon because he was already known as "Tricky Dick". The 47% comment by Mitt Romney did significant damage to him because a narrative had already been established that he "did not care about you and me." Most people already do not think Hillary is honest or trustworthy. Trump calls her "corrupt." The FBI investigation supports that narrative with hard evidence. It will hurt her down the stretch.

The Polls

The pollsters are making big assumptions in their polling data that voting turnout in 2016 will look a lot like 2008 and 2012. They are expecting a big turnout of Democrat identified voters compared to Republican identified voters. I don't know about that.

Here are the weightings in a few of the major polls right now between Democrats and Republicans. This means that Democrats are oversampled compared to Republicans in the survey.

IBD  D+7
ABC D+9
Fox   D+9

In these three polls, Hillary is up by +2 (IBD), +1 (ABC) and +3 (Fox). Bear in mind, all three of these polls were largely taken before the new revelations about the FBI investigation of Hillary. In addition, in the ABC tracking poll, Hillary has lost 11 points in one week to Trump.


Source: ABC/Washington Post Tracking Poll, 10-29-16


These party weightings might be right but I doubt it.  For example, even in Obama's landslide year of 2008, Democrats were only +7 in the actual vote. In 2102, that dropped to D+6. By comparison, in 2004 when Bush won, equal numbers of D's and R's voted. In 2010, when the GOP took over the House in a landslide it was even between D's and R's. In 2014, another big year for Republicans, it was +1 R.

What I do know is that in order for Hillary to be clinging to her small lead in these polls right now they are relying on a heavier Democrat turnout than Obama got in 2008. That does not seem realistic considering the enthusiasm gap between Hillary and Trump we see at rallies and in social media.

The Pew Research Center has followed trends in party identification in their research since 1992. Here is a graphic showing those trends. The gap between self-identified Democrats and Republicans is actually much lower in their research (D+4) than it was in Democrat wins in 1992 and 2008 where it was in double digits.






I know that the Democrats have a great machine to turnout voters. They can take a bus to an inner city church, community center or welfare center and easily deliver dozens of voters to an early voting site. Republicans have nothing comparable. They have to rely on their voters showing up one by one to the polling location.

I don't know that the Democrats are going to be able to replicate what they did in 2008 in 2012. Hillary Clinton is not Barack Obama. Whether this happens or not will probably determine this election.

If Hillary Loses

I also know that if Donald Trump defeats Hillary Clinton we will see unbounded anger and antagonism directed at the Clintons by liberal Democrats. They will be seething that Hillary could have allowed Donald Trump to keep the Democrats from winning The White House and controlling the Supreme Court. Hell hath no fury like a scorned liberal Democrat!

We have already seen in the WikiLeaks emails how many of Hillary's closest advisors and supporters distrust or disrespect her in private. If she loses, there will be few supporters who speak on her behalf. She will be an anathema to Democrats in losing to someone like Donald Trump. If the FBI investigation turns up anything, she will have few defending her.

It all goes to show how much turns on this election for Hillary Rodham Clinton. There have been few people in history who are perched on a precipice where voters leaning one way or the other could mean going from hero to zero so abruptly. Of course, if she makes it off the precipice on election day she still faces a fall down the cliff's wall depending on where the FBI investigation ends.

This is why I expect that Hillary will do almost anything in these final days. This may be an election for Donald Trump. It is much, much, more than that for Hillary Rodham Clinton. This is her life. This is her legacy. This even might be about her freedom.

In any event, no matter what happens, it seems clear that Hillary will separate ways from her long-time aide Huma Abedin. Abedin is in serious legal jeopardy that, at a minimum, includes perjury and/or obstruction of justice not to mention potential mishandling of national security information.

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That probably is enough on things I know and things I don't for now. After all, people who know too much about the Clintons have not always fared well. That may be about to change. It is easy when you are on top. It is much tougher when you no longer have any power left and nobody is willing to pay for play.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Assimilation Asymmetry

The United States has been called a "nation of immigrants."

Most of us trace our American heritage back to immigrants who made their way to America at some point.

For many who have made the trek to the United States it is a challenging ordeal. Moving into a new culture with new customs is not easy and is only made more difficult if a new language is involved.

The first generation immigrant often leads a difficult existence requiring hard work often toiling at jobs that native Americans do not want. In the late 1800's it meant mining coal, working in dirty steel mills or in agriculture. Today it might mean construction labor, working in the hospitality industry or doing migrant labor.

The occasional first generation immigrant makes a big impact in their new country but more likely it is the second generation of that immigrant who builds on the foundation that was established by their parents and becomes an integral part of America. Over the years those children have assimilated into the American culture and are comfortable with the language having grown up and been educated in American schools. In fact, when asked why they took the risk and immigrated to the United States, most will say, " I did it so my children could have a better life."


PHOTO: THE STATUE OF LIBERTY-ELLIS ISLAND FOUNDATION, INC./NATIONAL PARK SERVICE


Here are a few examples of second generation immigrants who have had major impacts on America. There are undoubtedly millions and millions more who are not household names but who are helping to make America work every day nonetheless.

Sergey Brin---co-founder of Google

Jerry Yang---co-founder or Yahoo!

Thomas Edison---Inventor

Andrew Carnegie---Industrialist

Bob Hope ---Entertainer

Walt Disney---Cartoonist and Imagineer

Marco Rubio---Senator from Florida

Ted Cruz---Senator from Texas

Colin Powell---former Secretary of Defense

Nikki Haley---Governor of South Carolina

Bobby Jindal---Governor of Louisiana

There is one other name I should mention---Donald J. Trump. His mother immigrated to the United States at the age of 18 from Scotland in order to find work as a maid.


Donald Trump with his father and mother while a cadet at New York Military Academy
Credit: Instagram/realdonaldtrump


Looking at this list, I wonder whether the influx of the Muslim immigration we have experienced over the last decade or so will follow this pattern? Will they assimilate and embrace the culture and customs of the United States as easily and as well as prior immigrants?

It is an important question. Why? If a nation does not have its citizens adhering to a core culture and beliefs it is ripe for dissension, division and conflict. Despite the melting pot that America has always been, this has never been a significant obstacle for our country because of the assimilation of the second generation that has occurred consistently in our society.

Will Muslims be the same?

I hope that will be the case.  However, there are troubling signals that are difficult to understand.

Consider the four highest profile terrorist acts that have occurred on our soil in recent years.

Fort Hood Murders

San Bernardino Government Office

Orlando Gay Nightclub

New York City and New Jersey Bombings

Fort Hood

This terrorist attack (which the Obama Administration referred to as "workplace violence") was carried out by Major Nidal Hassan who was born, raised and educated in the United States to Muslim parents who had immigrated from Palestine. Nidal joined the U.S. Army right after graduating from high school and had both his college education and his medical training paid for by the U.S. Army. Nevertheless, he killed 13 fellow soldiers and wounded over 30 in the worst shooting ever at a U.S. military base.

San Bernardino

Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik  (a Pakistani native who had recently immigrated to the United States) carried out this terrorist attack at a state government office in San Bernardino, California where Farook worked. They killed 14 and wounded 22. Farook was born in Chicago to Pakistani Muslim parents and was totally raised and educated in the United States, including a degree from California State University in San Bernardino.

Orlando 

The Pulse, a gay nightclub, in Orlando was specifically targeted because of its LGBT clientele earlier this year by Omar Mir Mateen. Mateen had been born in New York to Afghan Muslim parents and was totally raised and educated in America. He killed 49 people and wounded 53 others that were at the gay nightclub that night.


New York City and New Jersey Bombings

Less than six weeks ago, a pipe bomb exploded in New Jersey along the path of a U.S. Marine Corps
charity run with no injuries. That same night a pressure cook bomb exploded in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan injuring 31 civilians. A second pressure cooker bomb in Manhattan and additional bombs were found in Elizabeth, New Jersey in the aftermath of the Manhattan bombing. Ahmad Khan Rahimi was arrested and charged with the bombings. Rahimi was born in Afghanistan to Muslim parents but immigrated to the U.S. at age 2 meaning he was entirely raised and educated in this country including two years of junior college. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2011.

All of these terrorist acts were not committed by foreigners, recent refugee or immigrants. They were perpetrated by 2nd generation U.S. citizens who were raised and educated in the United States.

Donald Trump has famously said "There's something is going on" when confronted with issues like this that don't seem to add up. The media and establishment elite has enjoyed deriding him when he says this.

However, in looking at these facts and thinking about this, don't you have to agree with him?

When have we ever seen anything like this in the long history of the United States of America?

We are not accustomed to seeing 2nd generation immigrants who have grown up and been educated in this country turn around and try to tear it down and kill their fellow citizens. Traditionally, these have been the people doing the most to build, bolster and benefit our nation.

How do we explain this assimilation asymmetry when it comes to Muslims?

I wish I knew.

However, it should not be brushed off and laughed off as Hillary Clinton would like us to do while telling us that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism.  All of these men had this is common---they were Radical Islamists who committed acts of terrorism against their fellow citizens of the United States.

What is going on?

It is a serious question and it needs a serious answer.

In fact, it might be a question of life and death based on what we have seen before.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Failure and Fingerprints

It is one thing to fail.

It is something different altogether to have total failure and then turn to those with their fingerprints all over the failure and give them another opportunity to "fix it."




That is what Hillary Clinton and the Democrats want American voters to do in this election.

You would not allow this in your business. You would not allow this with a doctor. You would not allow this with a hairstylist. You would not allow this with the football coach of your favorite team. Why would you allow this with a politician?

Barack Obama and the Democrats took office eight years ago and made all sorts of promises.

Remember this one?

"I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family's premium by up to $2,500 a year."

The Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") is an abject failure. Health care premiums are going through the roof. It was announced yesterday by The White House that the average national Obamacare premium for 2017 will be 25% higher than last year. Bear in mind, that is a national average. In many parts of the country it is going to be much, much worse.

Here is a chart showing the increases in Obamacare health insurance premiums for a 40-year old, non-smoker in various cities across the United States according to the Kaiser Family Foundation in its report "2017 Premium Changes and Insurer Participation in the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplaces". 



Of course, President Obama is out there saying that none of this is his fault or that of the Democrats.

Does he need to be reminded of what he said when he was campaigning 8 years ago?

Does he need to be reminded that every Republican and the House and Senate voted against the Affordable Care Act and warned about this result?

Obama the candidate said that Obamacare would result in savings for everyone. He said that the fact that everyone would have access to coverage would result in lower emergency room visits and uncompensated care at hospitals that were built into everyone's health care costs already. Taking care of this cost would save everyone money.

He is out there today arguing that none of these Obamacare premium increases or anything in the law affects anyone that already has coverage through their employer or a private plan. I think that has been pretty well shown to be false. Remember this line from President Obama?

"If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."

That line was judged by Politifact to be the Lie of the Year for 2013.

What are the facts on health care premium increases for employer-sponsored plans since Obamacare was enacted? Has it really slowed the costs of health care coverage costs like Obama and the Democrats promised?

Look at this chart by the Kaiser Family Foundation comparing cumulative premium increases for health care for employer plans compared to wages and inflation. Most particularly look at the increase in deductibles for employer plans since Obamacare took effect.




Obamacare has not delivered on almost any promise that was made when it was being sold to the American people.

For example, when it was passed, the Congressional Budget Office stated that 201 million people would have private health care coverage in 2016. The actual number today is 177 million---a shortfall of 24 million compared to the promise. Interestingly, the CBO had projected that 186 million would have private coverage if the law did not pass. That means that there are actually 9 million fewer people who have private coverage today than would have had it but for the passage of Obamacare. These are people saw their employers drop coverage or lost the private plan they liked.

The end result is that we went through all of this with the result that 12 million are now on Obamacare plans but 9 million lost their previous private coverage. A net effect of 3 million people out of 330 million in the country. Granted, this does not include those added to the Medicaid rolls by Obamacare but this could have been done without disrupting the entire system. All at a cost of billions and billions of added costs and bureaucracy. And despite all of this, there are still almost 30 million uninsured people in this country!

What is the solution to all of this from Hillary Clinton and the Democrats?

Double down on the failure that has their fingerprints all over it.

In the meantime, the Republicans in Congress don't have one fingerprint on any of this.

And Donald Trump does not have his fingerprints on any of the failures of Washington.

Where are the failures? They are most everywhere you look in Washington.

Obamacare. The Economy. Our Middle East Policy. ISIS. The Budget Deficit. Race Relations. Immigration. Terrorism. Education. Crime.

I find it interesting that those that have been in charge in Washington for decades can be so dismissive of Donald Trump. They shake their heads and say that he simply does not understand. They say he is in over his head.

Yes, he has had a few failures. Most successful people have. However, his successes have far outweighed the failures. His fingerprints are all over successful ventures. He has delivered on most of his promises over the years. If had not delivered he would have been long gone years ago. You do not survive in the business world if you do not succeed.

It is not the same in Washington. You can bumble along, bamboozle the voters and blame someone else for almost anything. And do nothing but fail for years on end with no consequences. That is the way Washington has worked for years and Clinton fingerprints are on almost everything.

Where are Trump's fingerprints? There is not a trace on anything to do with Washington or the way our government has been run. He has something to show for his efforts.





What more do you need to know?

Why would anyone want to double down on failure?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Votes, Voters and Volatility

It is easy to get caught up in an election with the speeches, debates and polls.

However, all of this is just noise. There is only one objective in an election. Votes. And each vote is cast by one person. At least, that is the way it is supposed to work.

Those people are all different. Men. Women. White. Black, Young. Old.

Come November 8, between 125 and 130 million American citizens (at least, that is the way it is supposed to be) will cast a vote for President of the United States. Let's assume that the 3rd party candidates on the ballot this year draw somewhere close to 10 million of those votes. That means to win the popular vote a candidate has to count on collecting in the range of  62 million votes. to win. Those votes will be cast by 62 million different individuals who all come to their decision with unique life experiences and different perspectives.

This chart shows how many votes have been cast in the last three Presidential elections.




The next chart shows how those votes have been cast between Democrats (Kerry in 2004 and Obama in 2008 and 2012) and Republicans (Bush in 2004, McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012).


You will note that the GOP vote has been remarkably consistent between 60 and 62 million. On the other hand, Obama received more than 10 million more votes than Kerry did. However, he then lost almost 5 million of those votes when he ran for re-election. 1 million of those votes went to Romney but the other 4 million voters presumably did not vote in 2012 as overall turnout decreased.

Turnout is a huge factor in any election but it is particularly important for Democrats as several of their key demographic constituencies are not as reliable in turning out to vote as some of the GOP groups are.

Compare, for example, the number of voters age 18-29 compared to those age 65 and over who voted in the last two Presidential elections which Obama won and the last two mid-term elections that the Republicans dominated. Young voters favored Democrats by an average of 62% support over those four elections. On the other hand, age 65 and over voters supported the GOP with an average of 56%.


A big reason that the Republicans won big in 2010 and 2014 is that older voters voted and younger voters stayed home.

The African-American vote is also critically important for Democrats but this group has not historically gotten to the polls year in year out. They did turnout for Barack Obama. The big question this year is whether they will turnout for Hillary Clinton with the same enthusiasm or will it revert to somewhere closer to the 2004 election with John Kerry on the ballot?



In this year's election there is also the question of how loyal Democrats and Republicans will be to their candidate when many are dissatisfied with their party's choice. In 2012, 93% of Republicans voted for Romney and 93% of Democrats voted for Obama. Those who said they were Independent were split 50%-50% between the two candidates.

This dynamic is a big reason I think pollsters are having a difficult time getting a sense of this race and we are seeing wide variances in polling. For example, the ABC News poll released today has Clinton leading 50%-38% over Trump. On the other hand, the Investor's Business Daily (IBD) daily tracking poll (which was the most accurate poll in 2012) has Trump up 43%-41%.

What is going on? That is a huge variance. I believe it shows how much volatility there is in this race. I continue to believe that this race is extremely hard to predict because of the high level of negatives that both candidates possess with voters.

Let's compare the internal numbers of the ABC News and IBD polls looking at party identification labels and what those polls show about where these votes are going right now.

If you look at the internal numbers of the IBD poll you can see that a big reason that Trump is leading is in the dynamics of how the party id vote splits are coming out in the polling.



For example, 84% of self-identified Republicans say they are going to vote for Trump. That is a long way from the 93% support that Romney received. However, Hillary only has 77% support from Democrats! Only 8% of the remaining Democrats say they will vote for Trump. The rest of the Democrats are either voting 3rd party or are unsure right now. Can Hillary get these voters to come home to her by Election Day?

As for Independents in the IBD poll, Trump has a massive lead of 44%-31% over Hillary. Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, the two 3rd party candidates, are pulling 20% of this vote and 5% of Independents are undecided right now. If the final vote on election day is anywhere close to these numbers, Hillary has a big problem. Independents generally make up about 28% of the electorate. Obama got 56% of this vote in 2008 and split the vote with Romney in 2012.

Here are the internal numbers on party identification in the ABC poll. It is a stark contrast to the IBD poll. It is almost as if they are polling on a different planet.

It shows Clinton with much stronger support with Democrats than the IBD poll (84% to 77%). It also shows Hillary with a 8 point lead with Independents while the IBD poll shows Trump ahead with this group by 13 points. How is that possible? It does look like a different planet.


Both polls show that a large percentage of Independents are either supporting 3rd party candidates or are unsure at this point (25% in IBD, 18% in ABC) of who to vote for.  Let's put that in context. Independents make up about 28% of the electorate. That is around 35 million voters and anywhere from 20%-25% of them could be in play at this late date. That is 7 to 9 million votes. It is a huge number and it is a bloc of votes that could be especially susceptible to what happens in the last two weeks of this race. People have short attention spans and what is most recent in their minds is going to be the most important to them. This is especially true if they have not made up their minds at this late date.

9% of voters stated in exit polls in 2012 that they made their decision on who to vote for within a couple days of election day. To show you how important late events are to a race, consider that President Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy was cited in exit polls by 15% of voters as the most important factor in their vote. And those people voted for Obama 73%-26%! Obama had a four year record. Romney had campaigned for a year and a half. And the most important factor in their vote was one event that occurred a week before the election? It defies logic but who said human beings are logical when making decisions?

I don't know who is going to win this election. I am not sure the pollsters do at this point either.

What I do know is that it will be determined by how many vote (turnout), who those voters are (young, old, black, white) and events that still may play out and play on the minds of voters (volatility) between now and election day.

The candidate who is able to garner 62 million popular votes will likely have enough votes to assure that they can also win the electoral college vote which is the only vote that really counts in the end.

Accumulating 62 million votes will not be easy for Trump to do as that requires him to tally more votes than either McCain or Romney did in the last two elections. It should be easier for Hillary as she can lose 4 million voters who voted for Obama and still hit that number.

What is certain is that one side is going to be shocked at what happens on election day. If it is Trump there will be a virtual meltdown of the media and political establishment, not to mention the Democrat party. A Trump victory is unfathomable to them. It remains to be seen if it is unfathomable to 62 million voters.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What Keeps You Awake At Night?

What keeps you awake at night?

What are the issues you worry about most? Are things headed in the right or wrong direction in your country?

This was the focus of a recent global survey "What Worries The World" by Ipsos MORI that surveyed adults in 25 countries around the world. The survey asked them to identify their top three worries.

Let's look at how people in the world view whether their country is headed in the right or wrong direction first.

Overall, only 38% of people think their country is headed in the right direction.

However, 90% of those in China like the direction they are going in. Saudi Arabia has the second highest percent that say they are headed in the right direction. Interestingly, those two countries have probably the most authoritarian non-democratic regimes of all the countries polled. Did they think someone was looking over their shoulder when they took the survey?

On the other hand, 88% of those in France think that they are headed on the wrong track.

Just 36% of those in the United States like the current direction.




What are the three biggest worries across the world? Unemployment, Financial/Political Corruption and Poverty & Social Inequality top the list of global worries.




Interestingly, none of these top global worries are on the top of the list of concerns for Americans but they were all in the top half. Unemployment was mentioned by 23% of respondents, Financial/Political Corruption 22% and Poverty/Social Justice 21%.


Here are the three issues that Americans find most worrisome.

1. Terrorism  35%
2. Crime & Violence  33%
3. Healthcare  29%

Other top worries of Americans included Immigration Control 22% and Moral Decline 21%.

You see what a major issue open borders has become in Europe when you see how big a worry Immigration Control has become an issue in many counties in the Eurozone. This is the big worry in Great Britain (42%), Germany (41%), Sweden (33%), Italy (32%), Belgium (27%) and France (26%).

Not surprisingly, terrorism is the biggest worry in Turkey (76%), France (55%) and Israel (45%) but with much higher percentages than in the United States.

I also found it interesting, in light of the fact that healthcare is one of the top 3 worries of Americans, that it is even a bigger worry in Australia (34%), Great Britain (33%) and Canada (33%) which all have some form of socialized health care. This would seem to suggest than anyone promising that further government control of health care in the United States is the answer to fixing the Obamacare disaster should be viewed with some skepticism.

What keeps you awake at night?

Ipsos did not include the election of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump on the survey.

However, if they did, I am sure both individually would end up in the top three worries right now for most Americans.

In three weeks, we will not have to worry about one of them. They will be nothing but a footnote in history.

However, the other will have to confront those three worrisome issues that Americans have... and much, much more.

Of course, wasn't all of this supposed to be solved eight years ago when we were promised "hope and change"?

Do you remember?

What was that all about?

Terrorism
Islamic extremists did not hate us. If we got out of Iraq and Afghanistan and our President apologized to everyone in the Middle East we would not have to worry about terrorism.

Crime & Violence
The first African-American President was going to bring us unprecedented racial harmony and new opportunities to those in poverty in the inner cities that is the root cause of much of the crime and violence in our country.

Healthcare
A new affordable health care system was going to be instituted that would cover everyone, save the average family $2,500 per year and allow you to keep your current plan if you liked your current plan.

It seems we need a lot more change than we were promised.

Do you know anyone who might be able to deliver this time?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Never Say Never With Trump

I have no idea whether Donald Trump will be elected President of the United States.

The only thing I know for sure is that he has confounded political pundits, the political establishment and media elites time and time again.

He also has taken my opinions on him apart at the seams along the way. For example, this is what I wrote about the GOP primary election shortly after Trump got in the race back in July, 2015.

There is a substantial part of the electorate that are fed up with Washington, politics as usual, and political correctness. They are tired of our borders being overrun with illegal immigration while nothing is done by either the Republicans or Democrats. They are tired of the United States being the world's policeman and getting spit in the face. They are tired of seeing every trade agreement resulting in job losses for Americans. They are tired of seeing Islamic extremism being called workplace violence or the acts of lost souls. They are tired of lousy laws and terrible treaties being sold as "good as we can get."
What will be most interesting to me is whether the message survives even if the messenger (Trump) does not.
And there is no question in my mind that the messenger (Trump) in this case will not be delivering an Inaugural Address on January 20, 2017.

I made that prediction based on polling at the time that indicated 62% of voters stated that they would definitely not vote for Trump.

That same poll said that 45% would definitely not vote for Hillary Clinton.

The LA Times poll shows the race today in an absolute dead heat with Trump at 44.8% to Clinton's 43.7%. Notice the trend since the beginning of the race and you will see that Hillary has struggled to ever exceed 45%. On the other hand, Trump has never been close to the 38% ceiling that should have existed based on people's attitudes toward Trump when his campaign began.




Other polls show that Clinton has a lead of from 2 to 12 points today with the RealClearPolitics.com average at Clinton +7 points.

Why the big difference? It almost all comes down to assumptions that are made by the pollsters on what the composition of the voters will be who will actually cast votes in this election.  Will young voters and black voters turnout to vote like they did for Obama or stay home like they did in the mid-term elections in 2010 and 2014? How many traditional blue collar Democrats will vote for Trump? How many suburban Republican women will reject Trump and vote for Hillary? These are all critical questions in the assumptions made to weight the poll results.

I truly believe that there is a lot more volatility in this election than there has been traditionally. There are fewer people who are absolutely certain on who they will vote for. They see flaws in both candidates. Who knows what surprises or headlines might still affect the outcome? As a result, the last three weeks could produce more swings in the polls than we have seen in the last few Presidential elections.

I may ultimately be proven right on my prediction regarding Trump back in July, 2015. The way the electoral map is drawn right now, it is difficult to bet against the Democrat candidate when you start out with large states like California and New York in your column before the votes are even counted.

However, I have learned to not bet against Donald Trump. He has defied the odds week after week over the last year and a half. He fights to win. It is too soon to count him out. Too many people have counted him out and have been proven wrong.

For example, look at this history that Jack Posobiec, who is Special Projects Director for Citizens for Trump, put together to remind us of all of the things that the pundits said about Trump that would never happen.




One of the big items on that list was the argument that Trump would not be able to unify the majority of the GOP behind him.

However, if you look at the Rasmussen poll that came out today (Clinton up 43%-41%), Trump has the support of 74% of Republicans just slightly less than Clinton's 78% among Democrats. More interesting is the fact that Rasmussen finds that 16% of Democrats prefer Trump whereas only 10% of Republicans say they will vote for Hillary.

Make no mistake that Trump has an uphill climb. The Democrats know how to play hard ball politics. It is not made any easier for Trump when the entire media and elite political establishment is working against you at the same time.

However, #NeverTrump? That seems to be the riskiest bet of all when I consider everything this man has done up to now.

I have learned to never say never with Trump.

For a little added context see the Gallup poll for the 1980 election that had Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and John Andersen on the ballot running as an Independent. I have written about this race before and some of the similarities with 2016 in that Reagan won the GOP nomination against the Republican establishment and was considered by many to be "unfit" to be President due to his previous life as an actor.


http://www.gallup.com/poll/2392/presidential-races-can-change-significantly-election-day-approaches.aspx


At this time in the 1980 election Reagan trailed Carter by 8 points.

He won by 10 points in a landslide three weeks later.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Coming Soon To A Street Near You?

I love Paris.

I don't know many who have visited Paris who don't share the same opinion.

Paris is no longer the same as Zero Hedge reports in this article, "Scenes From The Apocalypse-Mass Immigration Ruins The Streets Of France".

The Paris you know or remember from adverts or brochures no longer exists. While no part of Paris looks like the romantic Cliches in Hollywood movies, some districts now resemble post-apocalyptic scenes of a dystopian thriller. This footage, taken with a hidden camera by an anonymous Frenchman in the Avenue de Flandres, 19th Arrondissement, near the Stalingrad Metro Station in Paris as well as areas in close proximity, shows the devastating effects of uncontrolled illegal mass immigration of young African males into Europe.
If it weren't for the somewhat working infrastructure, the scene might as well have been the setting of movie shooting - or a slum in Mogadishu. The streets are littered in garbage, the sidewalks are blocked with trash, junk and mattresses, thousands of African men claim the streets as their own - they sleep and live in tents like homeless people.

Based on reports, I knew it was bad. It is 100 times worse than I could have imagined.

Watch this 2 minute video of what the streets of Paris look like today. You will not believe it. It is sad...and it is sobering.





If the video does not work in your browser, go to this link.

Do you want this coming to a street near you?

This is an especially important question for Millennial and younger voters.

I have lived a good portion of my life. Open borders are going to have a minimal effect on my life at this point. It is a far different story if you are young.

Is this the way you want to live your life? Is this the environment you want your children and grandchildren to live in?

This is your life you are voting on. What life do you want to live?

I talk to a number of people and they don't think it matters who is in office. "We are fine. It has always been fine. It will always be fine."

It is until it isn't. It does matter. Ask the people of Paris right now...or Frankfurt...or Stockholm. Did they think they were voting for what they have now?

In our case, we have been forewarned. We can see what has happened in Europe. We also have the candidates telling us specifically what their views are. There could not be a greater distinction between the two.

Hillary Clinton wants to increase Syrian refugee immigration alone by 550%. Who knows what else she has planned?

For example, she said in her closed door speeches to big bankers that her dream is for a "hemispheric open market, with open trade and open borders."

Let me put that in context.

The Western Hemisphere has a population of almost 1 billion. The United States is about 1/3 of that total. That means that Hillary Clinton's dream is to have an open border that would allow up to 600 million people a free pass into our country. Think for a minute what that would do to our streets, schools and jobs. And that does not take into account the impacts on our welfare system, our health care system and potential security concerns.


Hillary's Dream: The Future United States of America


Coming soon to a street near you?

That will likely be determined by a vote within the next month.

The choice is yours.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Gore-y Details

Hillary Clinton, in a presumed bid to appeal to Millennials, has trotted Al Gore out on the campaign trail.

It is a curious choice.

I might call it sub-optimal.

Why would I call it that?

That is the term that Nina Tanden, one of Hillary's campaign staff used to describe her instincts in the WikiLeaks emails.




Why is her judgment sub-optimal with regard to Al Gore?

A few Gore-y details.

First, Al Gore ran for President in 2000.  Most Millennials were not even out of junior high school then. A good portion had not even been born yet.

Second, why would you put Al Gore on a stage at the same time that you are claiming that Donald Trump does not respect women?

Does anyone remember this story about Al Gore from 2010 in Business Insider?

Former Vice President Al Gore has been hit by new allegations of sexual assault. This time, it's two more massage therapists bringing the charges.
The former VP is already in hot water, fighting abuse claims in Portland, where another masseuse said Gore groped her in '06 and asked her to perform a "chakra release" (massage-speak for "hand job".) He denies everything.
The new allegations are said to have taken place at two hotels - one in Beverly Hills in 2007, when Gore was in Hollywood for the Oscars, the other in Tokyo in 2008.
A source from the luxury hotel in Beverly Hills told The Enquirer: "The therapist claimed that when they were alone, Gore shrugged off a towel and stood naked in front of her." He then propositioned her for a sexual act, according to The Enquirer.
The Portland, Oregon female masseuse described Gore as a "crazed sex poodle."

Of course, have you heard any of this from the mainstream press as Al Gore has gone on stage for Hillary Clinton? Of course not. In fact, the New York Times barely mentioned the Portland case back in 2010 even though, unlike Donald Trump, it was the subject of a police investigation.

Third, if there is anyone who is a bigger hypocrite in the world than Hillary Clinton, it is Al Gore.

This is a guy who has spent the last two decades warning about fossil fuels and global warming.

However, he lived in a 20-room house with 10 bedrooms that consumed 221,000 kilowatts of electricity in 2006 according to ABC News. That is 20 times the total energy consumed by an average house. His bill for that much energy?  $30,000 in annual utility costs.

He flew the world in private jets that consume hundreds of gallons of fuel per hour.

He sold a cable tv network that he started (Current TV) and sold it to Al Jazeera in 2010 for $500 million. Of course, Al Jazeera is owned by the govenment of Qatar which would not have any money but for oil. He did not seem to have any problem with profiting from fossil fuels when it came to himself.

He became wealthy pushing the sale of dubious "carbon credits" that are supposed to save our planet.

Of course, he is also famous for his 2006 "documentary",  An Inconvenient Truth" where he claimed the whole world was going to melt before our very eyes. If fact, in 2007 Al Gore said this as he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize ( I am still trying to figure out what Al Gore did for peace. It is even more confusing than trying to understand what Barack Obama did for peace).

The ice cap is falling off a cliff. It could be completely gone in summer in as little as 7 years from now.
                                               -Al Gore, Nobel Peace Prize Speech, December, 2007


This is a satellite image of the arctic ice cap in July, 2015, a little more than 7 years after Al Gore made that statement. Does it look ice-free?






Those are the Gore-y details.

Come to think about it, sub-optimal could describe both Hillary Clinton and Al Gore.

Millennials, take note.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Nine Points and Nine Lives

A day can be a lifetime in politics.

I wrote that in my post "A Day Later and 28 Lifetimes Away"  right after the second debate.

We are only a few days later and we are already seeing how true that is.

In the aftermath of the release of the Hollywood Access "hot mic" tape the media had already buried Donald Trump. The political pundits opined that he was done. A number of GOP elites piled on and withdrew their support of Trump.

Then came the second debate where it is widely acknowledged that Trump rescued and revived his Presidential bid.

We now see some of those GOP officeholders who pulled the plug on Trump getting nervous.

Of course, as predicted, the media is still dumping on Trump at the same time that WikiLeaks releases damaging emails from the Clinton campaign. Of course, the media elites would rather not report on those emails, especially the revelations that so many of them have been actively colluding with the Clinton campaign behind the scenes.

As an example, the Media Research Center notes that the big three networks have devoted 15 times more coverage to Trump's decade-old comments than to Hillary's WikiLeaks revelations!

Despite acknowledging Trump's strong debate performance, the political pundits almost unanimously continue to write off Trump's chances of a general election win. There are three factors that are usually mentioned in supporting this opinion beyond the challenge of the Democrat advantage in the electoral college math to begin with.


  • Trump's inability to attract female voters
  • Trump's inability to consolidate GOP voters around his candidacy
  • The fact that there is less than four weeks to the election, he is way behind and most people have made up their minds.

Having been a political consultant I understand where the pundits are coming from. It is easy to recite what people believe is the conventional wisdom that keeps getting repeated by everyone else. However, I am always looking at data and information that might disprove the conventional wisdom.

And if there was ever a year you should be looking for indicators that disprove conventional wisdom, this is the year.

With all that said, let me point you to the Rasmussen poll that was just released this morning (Thursday, October 13, 2016).

This poll was taken completely after the last debate on Sunday night. This same poll had Clinton leading Trump by 7 points right after the release of the "hot mic" tape .

That poll today has Trump leading 43%-41%---a margin of 2 points. That means that there has been a swing of 9 points in this poll in the space of 3 days (lifetimes)! That is pretty remarkable and clearly shows how volatile this race is.

What I find most interesting in the data are these two items that seem to run counter to the conventional wisdom that the pundits are reciting but actually may not be true. 

First, I keep hearing from the pundits that Clinton has a big advantage because she has consolidated Democrat support whereas Trump has not done the same with Republicans.

This poll says otherwise. There is no difference in the two. 

Trump is getting the support of 75% of Republicans. Clinton is only at 76% of Democrats. This is a big change from 2012 where Obama got 92% support of Democrats and Romney had 93% of Republicans supporting his candidacy. I think this factor adds to the volatility of this race and being able to predict its outcome.

Second, I think it is clear that a lot more of the votes are in play than is generally believed. In fact, the Rasmussen poll proves it. A 9 point swing in 3 days? I sense this in my conversations wherever I go as well. I have never seen so many people shaking their heads on who to vote for.

The Rasmussen poll indicates that only 84% of voters say they are certain on how they will vote right now. That is an enormous amount of votes. In 2012, there were 126 million votes cast for President. 9% of those voters said in exit polls that they did not make up their minds on who to vote for until the last day or two before the election. That represented 11 million votes and they broke resoundingly for Obama primarily because of his handling of the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. In fact, 15% of Obama voters said that was the most important reason they voted for him!

What does this say? People have short attention spans and what is most recent is going to be the most important. It also says it is way to early to write off anybody in this election. There is too much time and too much that can still happen. And the closer it comes to Election Day the bigger the impact it will have.

The other good news for Trump is that Hillary's support seems to be the most uncertain. For example, Clinton leads Trump among those who say they could change their mind (40%-37%). In addition, almost 1 in 5 voters who are uncertain are supporting Gary Johnson. They clearly are questioning whether voting on "principle" is a good decision.

This is what Rasmussen also says about those who are uncertain right now.

Those under 40 still prefer the Democrat but also remain the most undecided. Older voters favor Trump. The older the voter, the more likely he or she is to be certain of their vote.

Why is this important? Older voters will vote. Younger voters may vote.  And they will be less likely to vote if they are uncertain of who to vote for. In the end, turnout will be the biggest factor of who wins this race. I know the Democrats have a respected ground game. They did turnout votes for Obama in 2008 and 2012. However, what happened in 2010 and 2014 with that same ground game?

And Trump continue to pack arenas while Hillary is challenged to fill an atrium?

A day truly is a lifetime in politics. And no one running for President has ever had 9 lives while doing it like Donald J. Trump. Politicians, pundits and media elites beware!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Happy Indigenous People's Day

October 12. On this day in 1492 Christopher Columbus is credited with discovering America.


Christopher Columbus


The first landing in the New World by Columbus is generally considered to be on the Bahamian island of San Salvador. Columbus ultimately set sail for the New World three more times over the remainder of his life. However, he never understood that he had discovered the Western Hemisphere. Until his death in 1506 he always believed that he was navigating among the East Indies close to the Asian continent.

Ironically, despite the fact that Columbus is credited with discovering America in most school textbooks, he never set foot on any of what is now the United States of America.

This map shows the paths of the four voyages of Christopher Columbus.


The voyages of Christopher Columbus
Credit: Wikipedia

Amerigo Vespucci is generally credited as the first person to correctly speculate that the places he and Columbus had sailed to were actually part of a new continent previously unknown to Eurasians. His reward was to have his name placed on the two major continents. I guess we are all fortunate that the name was based on his first, rather than last name.

The Columbus name got very little mention and credit for his discoveries for over two hundred years until the American colonists were looking for a hero to celebrate other than someone associated with Great Britain. Wikipedia provides some background.

Historically, the British had downplayed Columbus and emphasized the role of the Venetian John Cabot as a pioneer explorer, but for the emerging United States, Cabot made for a poor national hero. Veneration of Columbus in America dates back to colonial times. The name Columbia for "America" first appeared in a 1738 weekly publication of the debates of the British Parliament.[104] The use of Columbus as a founding figure of New World nations and the use of the word "Columbia", or simply the name "Columbus", spread rapidly after the American Revolution. Columbus's name was given to the federal capital of the United States (District of Columbia), the capital cities of two U.S. states (Ohio and South Carolina), and the Columbia River

Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937. However, the latest trend rejects Columbus Day and replaces it with what is referred to as Indigenous People's Day. This is based on the argument that Columbus did not discover the Americas because people were already living here. Further, they point to the fact that other Europeans (the Scandanavians) had also previously landed on the Western Hemisphere.

The city of Berkeley, California (is this a surprise?) was the first to recognize an Indigenous People's Day in 1992 "to protest the historical conquest of North America by Europeans, and to call attention to the losses suffered by the Native American peoples and their cultures through diseases, warfare, massacres, and forced assimilation." I could not find any information on the full composition of the Berkeley City Council in 1992. However, the mayor's name was Loni Hancock. That does not sound like a indigenous person's surname. In fact, it is an English surname. It makes you wonder how and why Loni Hancock was in Berkeley, California and not back in England in the first place considering her views.

The Indigenous People's Day movement has picked up considerable momentum in the last couple of years. The state of Vermont and Alaska both joined the movement this year. These are cities or universities who now also celebrate that day, many in place of Columbus Day. Note that many of the cities that have joined the movement are college towns.


- Denver and Boulder, Colorado

- Evanston, Illinois

- Cambridge, Amherst and Northhampton, Massachusetts

- Ann Arbor, East Lansing and Grand Rapids, Michigan

- St. Paula and Cook County, Minnesota

- Lincoln, Nebraska

- Albuquerque and Sante Fe, New Mexico

- Asheville, North Carolina

- Eugene, Oregon

- Spokane, Washington

- Seattle, Washington

- Brown University

- Cornell University Student Assembly


The city of Cincinnati, Ohio failed to approve the replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People's Day by one vote. That vote was 4 votes for...and 5 abstentions!  The political courage of most politicians is really something to behold isn't it? And people wonder why Donald Trump was able to gain the GOP nomination?

We have so many pressing problems today at all levels of government and yet our politicians have time to spend on things like this? I guess if you can't make education better, fix the roads, fund underfunded pension plans or fight crime, you work on major issues like this.

Enjoy Columbus Day. It might not be here much longer.

Of course, do most people even care?

I never had a job where I got Columbus Day as a paid holiday. It is much different for government workers, educators, students and bankers among others.

Do they care about who they are honoring? I dare say they do not. What they care about is the day off with pay.

I think our politicians ought to really get serious about this if they really care. Here is a suggestion to really put some substance behind the day.

Let's eliminate Columbus Day as a paid holiday and replace it with Indigenous People's Day. However, everyone will work that day to show their solidarity and gratitude to indigenous people and all earnings on that day will be taxed and donated as reparations to their heirs.

How many votes would that get in Berkeley, California?

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Day Later and 28 Lifetimes Away

We are a day removed from the 2nd Presidential Debate. This is how I described what was at stake in that debate for Donald Trump.

Donald Trump's political future is on the line tonight. Speaking more broadly, his entire business brand may also be on the line. There probably has never been an event that has been potentially more consequential for a Presidential candidate than what will transpire tonight for Trump.

Given what he had to do I wrote that it would not be an easy task for Trump to silence the fallout from the "hot mic" incident, pivoting to be on the offensive with Hillary while also not looking like a jerk for doing so.

It will not be easy. Trump needs to thread the needle to do it. However, it can be done. Ronald Reagan could have done it. I am sure Abraham Lincoln could have. Tonight we will see if Donald Trump can do it. If he can, he lives to fight another day. If he cannot, you will hear more calls for him to step down.

Trump was not perfect (that much ought to be clear to everyone by now).  However, I thought he did extraordinarily well given the circumstances and the pressure he was under. He was vastly improved in every aspect of his debate performance compared to the first debate (remember that he never had to do a one-on-one debate during the GOP primaries). He proved to be a fast learner.

Trump achieved his principal goal of living another day. If not for the "hot mic" tape, I think he was good enough that he would probably have edged into the lead in most polls. As it is, he has dug himself a pretty good hole to dig out of and he has just 4 weeks to close the deal.

I think it is a certainty that the Clinton campaign and/or the media establishment has more waiting in the wings to dump on Trump. It remains more than coincidental that the "hot mic" tape of 11 years ago mysteriously was dropped by the media on the very day that WikiLeaks starting publishing emails from the Clinton campaign.

This is what Ted Cruz had to say about that on Twitter.




That is a good question. Of course, we know the answer. There is no one at NBC, the Washington Post, CBS, ABC, CNN or The New York Times that is a friend of Ted Cruz...or any other Republican for that matter.

The game is rigged.

And it is fixed against the American people. The media and establishment elite have determined who they want to be President of the United States. Needless to say, Donald Trump is their worst nightmare so they are going to do everything in their power to convince you of the same.

Consider the fact that Donald Trump starred in a highly-rated television program for NBC from 2004-2015. The "hot mic"incident was recorded as part of the syndicated tv show Access Hollywood that has been produced and distributed by an NBC-owned company since 2004.

How could NBC have the conscience to continue to employ Donald Trump as the star of one of its highly-rated shows if his behavior was so outrageous and horrific towards women?

One other point that is interesting in all of this is the double standard at work.

The best perspective of this is in looking at the case of Bill Clinton. However, in my lifetime you could point to John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Teddy Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson as well.

Let's consider Bill Clinton in the White House with intern Monica Lewinsky.

Bill Clinton actually does it and he lies about it in a sworn deposition to the American people. It is brushed off as "It's just sex" by most of the media and his fellow Democrats.

Donald Trump just talks about it and he admits it. He is immediately considered "unfit".

There is a double standard in the press but the bigger double standard is how the respective political parties react in these situations.

Democrats almost universally stood strong behind Bill Clinton. They did not flinch or waver. Only five Democrats in the House voted to impeach Clinton. All 45 Democrats in the Senate voted Clinton "Not Guilty".

Democrats play to win at all costs. Values seem to matter very little.

Compare that to what we see some Republican officeholder doing right now.

Like it or not, Donald Trump is the nominee.

And it is a simple choice. You are either for Trump or you are for Hillary. One or the other is going to be President as things stand today.

A Republican who does not support or vote for Trump is effectively voting for Hillary even if they stay home.

I made clear early and often that I believed that there were better GOP candidates than Donald Trump. However, many others disagreed with me and made him the nominee. Yes, I could cry and complain about it and sit home and see another four years (or worse) like the last eight years. I could sit home and see the Supreme Court fundamentally changed for the next 40 years. I could sit home and see our borders overrun and the rule of law further undermined so that we don't even have a nation in 50 years. I won't do that.

I know one of the arguments that some #NeverTrumpers make is that Trump is too much of an authoritarian. Therefore, he makes them nervous. If that is your concern let me put your mind at ease.

The genius of our Founding Fathers involved putting together a document that addresses that very concern with three co-equal branches of government and well-designed checks and balances between all three. I have a lot of confidence our Constitution would work well if Trump was President, don't you? It is not as if Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are in a love fest with Donald Trump. The GOP also has proven that they do not protect "their own" at all costs like the Democrats have done.

I have no such confidence in the system working as designed with Hillary and the Democrats in power. And Hillary has a pretty strong streak of authoritarianism in her as well. For example, last night at the debate when asked who she would appoint to the Supreme Court she made no mention of appointing a jurist who would defend and protect the Constitution. Instead, she said that she thought that "the current court has gone in the wrong direction." What direction is that? I think she clearly looking for justices to stray even further from the Constitution.

It has been said that a day can be a lifetime in politics. Donald Trump lived through several lifetimes over the last few days.

And we have 28 days to go. A lot can and could happen. 

More media dumps on Trump? More Hillary emails?

An outside event like a terrorist act or natural disaster? Remember Sandy in 2012? Exit polls indicate that might have moved 3-4% from Romney to Obama. A switched vote is actually a double move. A 52%-48% lead for one candidate reverses. It becomes an 8% swing in the overall spread.

And don't forget about Hillary's health. She remains one slip, twitch, hitch, itch or hiccup from bringing that issue back to the forefront. That is why I think she will try to stay out of the public eye as much as she can over the next month.

Only 4 weeks...or 28 lifetimes to go.

If you never believed that you could truly make silk out of a cow's ear, look at video below and enjoy.

The very best thing I saw come out of last night.

Very appropriate musical duet of Trump and Hillary singing the song "Time of My Life" made famous in the movie (very appropriately in this case) Dirty Dancing.



Click here if video above does not work on your browser.





Sunday, October 9, 2016

Let's Get Real

-----Special Pre-Debate Blog Post-----

In the Netflix tv political drama "House of Cards", featuring the ruthless political animals Francis and Claire Underwood (played by Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright), the Underwoods firmly believe that there is a solution to every political problem. That solution is usually to be playing offense rather than defense to solve that problem.

Donald Trump's political future is on the line tonight. Speaking more broadly, his entire business brand may also be on the line. There probably has never been an event that has been potentially more consequential for a Presidential candidate than what will transpire tonight for Trump.

He would I advise Trump on what to say tonight if he asked me?

First, he needs to be on the offensive without being offensive. That is not an easy task for anyone and most particularly for Trump. The best way to do it is to smile as much as he can and keep his voice in a conversational tone as much as he can. He cannot afford to look stern or threatening in him manner.

Second, he needs to accept responsibility for his actions and move on. He cannot afford to be defensive and try to explain himself. If he should have learned anything from the last debate is that he was too defensive and too prone to try to explain things away.

Third, he needs an overarching theme to the night. Something like when Reagan said to Jimmy Carter over and over in 1980, "There he goes again." My suggestion to Trump would be to use the line "Let's get real." Why? Because Hillary's biggest negative is her honesty and trustworthiness and Trump's greatest strength with voters is his willingness to "tell it like it is" without worrying about political correctness.

How might this play out?

I would advise Trump to take on the limo tape issue right at the top of the debate irrespective of the first question with something like this.

I imagine almost everyone in the world has by now heard my stupid and insensitive remarks about women that I made a decade ago. I can't tell you how humbling that it is to me to hear those words played back to me. It is inexcusable but who among us has not said something they should not have said sometime in their life? Or for that matter, more than a few times. (laughs and points at himself). 
However, let's get real here tonight. This election is not about talk, it's about results. I am not a politician. I have not spent my entire lifetime taking great care with every word I have spoken so as to not to offend anyone. I have not spent my entire lifetime saying one thing in private and another in public. That is what politicians do. I have spent my lifetime on achieving results. I have not spent my lifetime thinking about whether every utterance might keep me from being President of the United States.
Politicians seem to like to be judged on their words. Their great speeches. Their great campaign slogans. For example, does anyone remember something called "Hope and Change?" How has that worked out? The world I come from is one that you are judged by results. Creating something real. Building great buildings. Creating tens of thousands of jobs. 
Let's get real. I didn't decide I wanted to run for President in the 8th grade like most people who end up standing on this stage do. I wanted to develop and build a business. I created one of the greatest businesses and brands in the world today.  I don’t need this office to live in a palatial house and have access to aircraft dedicated for my use 24/7.  I already have all of that. I am not running to provide something for myself.
I am running because I sincerely love this country and its people. I am tired of America losing. Losing jobs. Losing in trade deals. And losing respect around the world. I am running because, my fellow Americans, it is time to get real. It's time to quit focusing on words. We simply can’t afford letting the same people who have been given the opportunity to fix the same problems for the last 30 years be given yet another chance. It is time to start looking to results. Who can deliver and who can't.
Over my lifetime, I have shown that I get results. Isn’t it time you had someone getting results for you? Isn’t it time you had someone that was willing to fight for you?  

I would then have Trump be ready to use that "Let's get real" as a rejoinder every time he wanted to pivot to go on the offensive with Hillary.

A few examples of how that might be used.

Terrorism---

"Hillary, let's get real. You don't even want to call it Radical Islamic Terror. In fact, you even said that Muslims have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism."
Economy---

"Hillary, let's get real. Your economic plan is essentially identical to the same plan we have been following for the last eight years. Higher taxes. More regulation. Killing traditional energy. Killing manufacturing. Open trade and open borders that kill American jobs.


Trade---


"Hillary, let's get real. You called the TPP the 'gold standard' of trade deals when you were Secretary of State. Your husband was responsible for NAFTA. Leaked emails that came out on Friday (laughs--if anyone noticed while they were hearing about me) indicate that you said to some of those that paid you $250,000 or more for an hour of your time was that your dream was a hemispheric common market with open borders and trade. "
It will not be easy. Trump needs to thread the needle to do it. However, it can be done. Ronald Reagan could have done it. I am sure Abraham Lincoln could have. Tonight we will see if Donald Trump can do it. If he can, he lives to fight another day. If he cannot, you will hear more calls for him to step down.

Some have asked me if the last few days who could the GOP replace Trump with if he somehow became convinced that he needed to step aside? (there is no way that the GOP can legally force him from the ticket). I doubt that Trump would ever come to that conclusion unless he believed that by continuing he was risking the Trump business brand that is his legacy to his children. Therefore, it would probably only be his children that would have enough influence to make him quit.

I think Mike Pence is the only viable option for the GOP.  He is already on the ticket. He was selected by Trump. He has acquitted himself well on the campaign trail so far. If the GOP tried to insert anyone else (Ryan, Cruz, etc) it would be met with deep distrust by Trump supporters.

The VP pick to replace Pence would be an example where the GOP would have to be capable of threading the needle. They would need to find someone acceptable to the Trump supporters but also credible with those at the RNC (who would actually make the choice). The chosen candidate also should be fairly well known to the public since the time is so short until the election. Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie come to mind as those that might fit that bill.

Finally, a lot has been made of the fact that it is too late to remove Trump from the election ballots across the country. In fact, early voting has already started in a number of states. However, remember that in our system when a vote is cast for Trump/Pence at the ballot box it is really a vote for Presidential electors who will be those who actually determine the vote for President.

In my state of Ohio, there are 18 Presidential electors that have already been chosen by the Trump campaign (with approval of the state GOP committee). Even if Trump steps aside and is replaced, those electors will vote in the electoral college if the GOP ticket wins on election day. Keep that in mind as we together see what promises to be real political theatre that might be a real "House of Cards".


Friday, October 7, 2016

Mr. Reality

All of media is aflutter tonight about Donald Trump's hot mic locker room limo talk with Billy Bush about women from 11 years ago.

I am still trying to figure out who is really surprised about this. After all, with Donald Trump what you see is really what you get. Other presidential candidates have talked about transparency. It generally is just talk. In most respects, Trump is probably the most transparent candidate who has run for President in my lifetime. He pulls very few punches and he certainly is not Mr. Politically Correct. In fact, these are big reasons for his popularity with his supporters.

The reality is that Trump is Mr. Reality in what has become a reality show world.

The incessant attacks on Trump should also be no surprise. Consider just the last ten days---the plus size Miss Venezuela, the release of the tax returns and now the Billy Bush banter tape.

In fact, here is what I predicted back in February for what awaited Trump in the general election campaign.

...the Democrats are going to throw everything but the kitchen sink at Trump. Romney was a veritable choir boy and look what they did to him. You can only imagine what material the Dems will have to work on with Trump. 

This is one of the principal reasons I adamantly opposed Trump in the GOP primaries even though I acknowledged his personal appeal. It was simply too risky given his personality and his nearly 50 year record in the public eye. 2016 had all the earmarks of a year in which the Republicans should recapture The White House. Putting Trump at the top of the ticket offered potential rewards in attracting disaffected middle class voters but it also carried with it the risks we see playing out right now.

It remains to be seen what effects the latest attack will have on Trump. However, he has survived far worse so far. I think the manner in which he handles this and conducts himself in Sunday night's debate will go a long way in determining whether this has a lasting impact.

My expectation is that for his core support, which probably totals around 40% of likely voters, I don't think this will have much effect. For example, GOP primary voters went with a war hero and a Boy Scout in two successive elections and what did it get them? Nothing.

I have said from the beginning that a big part of the appeal of Trump is that everyone knows he is a bit of jerk. However, most GOP voters decided this year that going with nice guys didn't get them very far in the past. It was time for someone who was a bit of a bull in the china shop. To shake things up in Washington, to say what was not being said but which everyone could see with their own eyes was going on, and to stand toe to toe with our adversaries.

What is more disconcerting is the fact that as the media breathlessly meltdowns on Trump's stupid comments from over a decade ago, WikiLeaks has released information (the Podesta emails) on what Hillary actually said to those who paid her tens of millions of dollars for those closed door talks.

These disclosures barely are registering a whisper in the media even though the comments are much more important to our futures and our evaluation of the candidate.

Isn't it curious that the Trump tape just happened to surface at the same time that the WikiLeaks disclosures were being made? As someone I greatly respect once told me , "There is such a thing as coincidence in this world, but it is extremely, extremely rare." You be the judge.

What was Hillary talking about to those groups that could afford to pay her $250,000 or more for a one hour speech.?

These are the  "Dreams of My Hillary" (in homage to Barack Obama's "Dreams of My Father") based on what has already been uncovered in the disclosures. More surely to come.

"Open borders".

"Open trade".

"Cuts to Social Security."

"Universal health care"

Other than open borders, how much have you heard Hillary talking about any of these issues in this way?

Perhaps that is explained by this other comment she made in her closed door meetings.

"You need both a public and private position" on the issues.

Like it or not, Trump is Mr. Reality. It is nothing but an act for Hillary. If only we could see what she said and did behind the curtain.

Trump's fate on November 8 will not be determined whether he is Mr. Nice Guy.

It will be determined by whether the majority of voters want to face and embrace reality or they are content to sit through the third act of a very bad play by a very bad actor.