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Women Are Key To America’s Blue Wave Mid-Term Election Outcomes

October 17, 2018

When the Blue Wave comes in November let it be shown how folks viewed the coming event.   I am predicting–as I have for months–a solid Blue Wave.  It will not be a tsunami.  But the Blue Wave will be solid and broad-based.  The House of Representative will be ours and the mid-west will turn (in some important races) away from Donald Trump’s Republican Party.   The mood within the GOP is so toxic that now even Trump is responding to what happens if the wave strikes the House.

Trump told an interviewer that he won’t accept the blame if Republicans sink the boat.  But the GOP will know, and will have to make a drastic sea-change for survival in 2020.

The reasons for my thinking is based on the day-by-day listing of data that factors into what most matters–that being the trend line.

Once reliably Republican-voting, college-educated white women — who make up a large portion of women voters in the suburbs — flipped from Mitt Romney to Hillary Clinton in 2016 by a narrow 6-point margin. That gap is now a chasm. In a poll of 59 battleground House races nationwide, college-educated white women now favor Democrats over Republicans by nearly 30 points.

In addition, the anger that women feel for the way they have been treated and maligned by Trump, and many members of the GOP, has made these mid-terms very competitive as many more people are running for office.  Just this week Trump referred to a woman as a horse-face.  This year’s midterms are being more vigorously contested than those in the past, mostly because more Democratic women are running for office, particularly in the South.

Women have proven to understand their power all year long.  While reading about guitar sales this week I came across this nugget.  According to a study from Fender, the guitar company, 50 percent of all “beginner and aspirational” guitar players are women. When the company found similar results a few years ago, it thought the ratio might a transient result of the “Taylor Swift factor,” the company’s CEO explained, but it seems to have turned into a lasting trend.

What women are helping the Democratic Party achieve is nothing short an old-fashioned butt-kicking come November.  Democratic challengers out-raised Republican House incumbents in 92 House districts in the last three months — a staggering mismatch that boosts the odds of a GOP washout in November.  To put it more plainly there is no historical precedent for financing this broad and deep for congressional challengers.

Over and over these types of reports allow for those who watch the trend lines to grasp what will happen in 20 days of this posting.

Hopes Dashed By Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

October 17, 2018

Love the history of Saudi Arabia and its line of leaders.  Have long wanted to take a vacation and experience the Bedouin time in the desert.

As noted on this blog over the past year I had very high hopes for Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. It was not just here at CP, either, where hope was raised.

When the crown prince visited the United States earlier this year, he was fêted in Hollywood and Silicon Valley, on Wall Street, and, of course, by the Trump White House, as a messiah—in the mold of Gorbachev or Gandhi. “Historic night it was,’’ Dwayne (the Rock) Johnson, the actor, wrote, on Instagram, of a dinner with M.B.S. hosted by Rupert Murdoch at his vineyard in Bel Air. In apparently ordering the grisly killing of a Washington Post columnist, M.B.S. wagered that the world would not miss another murdered journalist. So far, he has been spectacularly wrong, and the slow drip of information during the past two weeks—from the Turkish government and American officials—has rendered the denials of M.B.S. and other Saudis preposterous.

“Davos in the Desert” Matters, World Community Should Attend

October 16, 2018

I recall the weekend in 1989 when the tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square.  That Saturday I was playing golf with a friend and as we sat down for a burger and fries in the clubhouse our eyes were glued to the large TV where a most serious international crime was taking place.  (I also recall that was the first time I ever had goat cheese—the strange things one recalls decades later.)

I was stunned and angered by the sight of the tanks, knowing that lives were in danger.  Lives of students and young people who had dared to take a stand for openness and a different way to view government were in mortal danger..  There were many words of condemnation from around the world and demands from a vocal segment of this nation wishing for our government to take a powerful punch at China.

But there were also others, who while feeling deep anger over the disgusting actions of the Chinese government, knew that making a move which would create a deep and perhaps irreparable chasm in our relations would be a most dreadful outcome to an already truly bad situation.  International players have ideals on how the world should operate but all to often need to reside in the reality that a nation must work with the cards that have been dealt.

Which leads me to the very nauseating story that is unfolding in Saudi Arabia.   Readers to this blog know I hold a very special place for news reporters and journalists.  That regard, obviously, extends to those who are columnists, too.

To say one has deep hurt and outrage over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia goes without saying.  To have anyone treated in this manner in a consulate is just not acceptable.  To have a journalist killed for his work in this fashion is nothing short of jarring. But there also must be–and this is mighty hard to do–an acceptance that to shun and work to undermine Saudi Arabia, a country too important to walk away from, would be most short-sighted.

I have long felt that more than anything else large portions of the Middle East need modernity.  The moves towards that large and seemingly never ending goal is through interaction with others on the world stage.  The much talked about “Davos in the Desert” global conference is one such example where not attending works to the advantage of those who seek to have the darker side of religious zealots and tribal instincts triumph.

There must be an international response to the murder of  Khashoggi.  And I suspect there will be one that meets the needs of making a statement about killing a journalist by a government.  But I strongly feel that he would–based on his writings–want the world to work doubly hard at this time to make sure the investments and cultural changes that can occur, and can arch over the large themes of a troubled history in that country, take place so to effect change.

International stagecraft is not for purists–but there must always be a human rights mentality at the center of those who seek change while having the luxury of living in a democratic society.  Lord knows our gut response would have been to send a message to China during Tiananmen Square, or to Saudi Arabia now, that would not be in any way confusing.  But then reason and long-term goals reassert themselves and we know the path forward must be gradual and limited.

In a world that we can not control that is the only viable path forward.  And it does, over time, produce what is best for people around the world.

GOP Candidate Gabriel Szerlong Not Ready For Prime Time

October 15, 2018

For the record I am always pleased to see citizens throw their hat into the political arena.  From local races to the White House it is a sign of civic responsibility when one takes the plunge into electoral politics.   Having said that, however, there are the cases when one wonders how deep the thought process about running was prior to launching a campaign.

Such is the case with Gabriel Szerlong, who is seeking election to the Wisconsin State Assembly from the 43rd District .

The 25 year-old is currently on leave from his legislative assistant job to seek a seat of his own.  That, in and of itself, can be admired.   But it becomes clear when doing nothing more than reading the quick newspaper questionnaire that Szerlong is not ready for prime time.  He is in over his head.

When asked what other public service he had done the answer was “none”.  But in response to a question as to why he would be better than his opponent the answer was, “My values, strong  belief in service, and work ethic….”

So there was no helping in his life with Meals On Wheels, Big Brothers, or a host of other possible causes.  But he was sure to mention that he has a “strong belief in service”.  With the free time he had due to not being service-minded he could at least have taken a few minutes to edit his public responses so they did not have such glaring missteps.

Further down in the questionnaire he writes of the “Milwaukee and Madison liberals” as if he has been in government so long he can toss out the lingo with the best of them.  The use of such phrases underscores he can recite what others say, but adds little to his need to look fresh and worthy of consideration by the voters.  For readers of the paper such phrases make it appear he was perhaps potty trained at gunpoint.  How otherwise to explain such a mindset at age 25!

There will be time for Szerlong to find his rhythm with politics and perhaps again seek office.  That would be my sincere wish.  But the time for his being elected is not this fall.   He just does not have the seasoning yet for the job to which he aspires.

Rocky Road For Republicans As Rout Fears Mushroom

October 15, 2018

Three different stories today in the news all point to the same conclusion.  There is going to be one heck of a party at this home on the night of the mid-terms!  For the nation, too!

First up is the matter of enthusiasm among the voters and who is being ramped up to participate at the polls.

Why does enthusiasm matter? Simple, turnout is the key to success in all elections — but that especially holds true in midterms given the traditionally lower turnout than presidential elections. For example, in the 2016 presidential election, the turnout was 55%, while in the 2014 midterms we saw only 36.4% voter turnout. This means, as a practical matter, midterm votes actually could have more impact on results. And it generally follows that the more excited someone is to vote, the more likely they will be to will take time out of their day and cast a ballot. Of course, it’s no guarantee of actual results but when you combine that excitement with a few other findings of the polls, it really could be bad news for those who are fans of the man in the red MAGA hat. The CNN poll also found that margin between voters supporting Democrats and Republicans in a midterm election is at its widest since 2006, with 54% of likely voters supporting Democrats to 41% backing a Republican. So what happened in 2006? Democrats won 30 House seats and six Senate seats. Obviously the country has changed a great deal politically since 2006 in terms of hyperpartisanship, but Democrats just need to win 23 seats to control the House and two to control the Senate.”

There is also the fact that in mid-west states the mood has shifted from where it was in 2016.  Republican candidates are facing the backlash of what Trump does and how he acts.

It has become increasingly hard for Republicans to remain optimistic about the chances for him and other GOP candidates across the industrial Midwest. A number of Republicans running for governor or senator in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, including several who hitched their wagon to Trump’s political movement, are behind in polls by double digits, a remarkable turnabout in swing states that were key to the president’s 2016 victory. If current polling averageshold, Democrats will maintain all their Senate seats in those states, pick up a handful of House seats and, in some cases, retake the governors’ mansions. In nearby Iowa, a state Trump won by nearly 10 points, the Democratic candidate for governor was running about even with the Republican governor in a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll. Polling this week found Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) trailing his Democratic opponent, Tony Evers.

What does make me feel best of all this morning is reading how the GOP blame game has already started.  By Election Night the Republicans will have their knives out for the cutting.

Republicans have begun to concede defeat in the evolving fight to preserve the House majority. The party’s candidates may not go quietly, but from the Arizona mountains to suburban Denver to the cornfields of Iowa, the GOP’s most powerful players this midterm season are actively shifting resources away from vulnerable Republican House candidates deemed too far gone and toward those thought to have a better chance of political survival,” the AP reports.

And as they initiate a painful and strategic triage, the early Republican-on-Republican blame game has begun as well. GOP operatives connected to several vulnerable candidates complain that the committee responsible for electing House Republicans has failed to deliver on its promise to invest $62 million in political advertising across 11 states this fall, a promise detailed in a September memo that declared, ‘The cavalry is coming.

Why Leah Vukmir Remains In The Dust Of Wisconsin Senate Race

October 14, 2018

From a personality perspective along with his ability to convey and articulate ideas, Kevin Nicholson, one of the Republican primary candidates, was head and shoulders better than his competition for the the U.S. Senate nomination.  We know that was not to be, however, as he lost the August primary.

For all of her years with campaigns and serving in government, nominee Leah Vukmir, is not strong at delivering responses that put facts and punch before an audience.  Her lackluster performance, which was offered to the voters at this weekend’s Wisconsin Broadcaster Association’s Debate, left no doubt as to one reason she is not faring better in the polls.

It was only at the end, during her two-minute closing remarks–words she would have rehearsed many times over the days prior to this weekend–that she was able to swing hard at the ball.  But by then the audience was heading out of the living rooms around our state.

But during the time those voters were seated on couches and in rocking chairs they heard what remains the largest impediment to the candidacy of Vukmir.

She was not able to convey in any shape, manner, or form even one thing that differentiated herself from Donald Trump.  Failing to answer the question with the first try, she was given another chance.  Still, she was unable to state any issue or trait that she found troubling.  She could have offered that Trump’s tone or his temperament are at odds with the common sense, mid-western values Wisconsinites live by day after day.  She could have challenged his use of Twitter and the making of policy in 280 characters.  There were many ways to answer the question, had she been willing to try.

But Vukmir decided to duck and hide from a response.  She is so scared of the cultist atmosphere that Trump has created within the GOP voting base, and which a large part of the Republican Party now subscribes to, that she dare not speak freely.

That is why politically independent voters, in a state Trump won in 2016 by a slim margin, are concerned with Vukmir.  If she can not stand up to forces within her own party during an election how will she be able to stand up for Wisconsin voters when surrounded by the powerful Trump types on the senate floor?

I must conclude this post with at least one thought about how Vukmir must be feeling about all this.  I can truly appreciate the desire she must feel as a nominee to the senate.  That is a most incredible position to be in when striving for a meaningful political career.   And, she now has that moment in her hand.  But I sense she is pressed hard against the harsh strategy of not being able to stand up for what she knows to be correct positions as it relates to a number of Trump polices, such as separating children and parents at the border.

I wonder if Vukmir, in her quiet moments at the end of the day, considers what it would feel like to speak freely about what her gut knows to be the correct thing to do.   I strongly suspect there are voters around the state who would welcome that type of leadership from the Republican Party.

Maybe even reward that type of leadership.

But we all know that is not to be.  Not in this election cycle.

Level Of Education Underscores Why Races Are Close (Or Not) For Mid-Terms

October 14, 2018

Nate Silver is a daily morning read.

The more time you spend looking at the battlegrounds in each chamber, however, the more you’ll come to two important conclusions:

  1. The House and Senate battlegrounds really aren’t that much alike. In several important respects, in fact, they’re almost opposite from one another. For example, House battlegrounds are more educated than the country overall, while Senate ones are less so.
  2. The Democrats’ map in the House is fairly robust, because they aren’t overly reliant on any one type of district. (This stands in contrast to the Senate, where most of the battlegrounds fit into a certain typology: red and rural). While House battlegrounds are somewhat whiter, more suburban and more educated than the country overall, there are quite a few exceptions — enough so that Democrats could underperform in certain types of districts but still have reasonably good chances to win the House. This differs from Hillary Clinton’s position in the Electoral College in 2016, in which underperformance among just one group of voters in one region — white working-class voters in the Midwest — was enough to cost her the election.
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