Friday, May 18, 2018

Senator Warren Deserves to Don a Civics Dunce Cap

Senator Elizabeth Warren is either a Civics dunce or a Democrat demagouge

During her recent remarks before the Cap Ideas Conference, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) cited Hillary Clinton's loss in the 2016 Presidential race as a negative indication that America has a healthy democracy. 

It is astounding that a sitting Senator is either so ignorant to not know that the USA is a constitutional Republic with democratic suffrage and an Electoral College or that she is such a demagouge who will blur such distinctions for political advantage. 

Some deride Senator Warren as being Fauxcahontas for her questionable genealogical claims of being a Native American.  A more apt sobriquet may well be Sitting Bull.  

Nevertheless, for Senator Warren's democrat demogougery, the former Harvard Law professor deserves to don a Civics Dunce Cap.

Student Activist Emma Gonzalez's "Modest Proposals" on Sensible Gun Reform Now

Parkland Student Activist Emma Gonzalez on Sensible Gun Reform Now
Emma Gonzalez, one of the prominent progressive student activists who emerged from the Parkland Florida High School shooting, participated in a panel on "Guns, Violence and Student Activism: A Push for Change" before the  Education Writers Association conference at the University of Southern California.

Ms. Gonzalez  has progressed from perseverating on her fifteen school mates and two teachers who were slain by troubled expelled former student during her emotional "Six Minute and Twenty Second" speech at the March for Our Lives in Washington DC.

Responding to instances of gun violence, Gonzalez shot her mouth off opining that it was cheaper just to have a gun grab.  What was more memorable than the pat answer to take away AR-15s was her profane exhortation that people who wanted to shoot such firearms should join the Army and defend their fucking country (sic).


Aside from the crudity of the comment, it is ironic that Gonzalez urges gun enthusiasts to defend America.  Gonzalez chose to attire herself at the big gun march in military gear wearing a Cuban flag patch.  Hmm.   Now she is advocating gun grabs by the government. Wonder where else this has happened? How about: Nazi Germany; Cuba; Venezuela

It is sad to see how the left continues to exploit Parkland High student activists like David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez to push for Gun Control.  These traumatized teens certainly had compelling stories when they could relate the travesty in which they had to endure.  But now that they opine on the political stage and advocate for broad public policy, it is no longer out of the mouths of babes and they are not bullet proof from criticism or skeptically challenging their suggestions.

Since the election of President Donald Trump, much of the radicalized Left in the Democrat party has sought to enflame their electorate through identity politics and mass movements.  The Women Who Hate Trump March the day after the 45th President's inauguration and the March for Our Lives in March 2018 were supposed to bring down the ramparts and inspire the masses to bring down this Presidency and his presumably backwards policies. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL 23rd) recently highlighted her alignment with the gun grabbing movement as an obvious wedge issue pitch for the 2018 Midterm Elections

Alas, both the Womens' March and the supposed students' March for Our Lives have not inspired sustained fulmination. If one looks to polling, the Blue Wave seems dubious and Trump Presidential approval ratings are increasing, despite a barrage of negative press from the mainstream media.

Using these students as tools to push for political change may well backfire.  David Hogg's profane pontifications to hurt those associated with gun rights (particularly the NRA)  has unwittingly spurred a multitude of new NRA memberships.  Emma Gonzalez's obscene observations about the AR-15 and seeming disparagement of serving one's country will reverberate in the minds of many newfound Great Revolt Trump voters  as did Senator John Kerry's (D-MA)  2004 "Get good grades or get stuck in Iraq" flak

Sarah Huckabee Sanders on MS-13

Trump White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on MS-13

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Debbie Wasserman Schultz: "The NRA is just shy of a terrorist organization"

Debbie Wasserman Schultz labels the NRA of being just shy of a terrorist organization

Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL 23rd) condemned the National Rifle Association as being just shy of a terrorist organization.  DWS said this in response to comments from the newly elected NRA President Oliver North, who attacked students of the Parkland Florida High School shooting of engaging in civil terrorism by using lawbreaking and intimidation to push for gun control.

The disgraced former head the of Democratic National Committee echoed the lead of Parkland Florida High School student activist David Hogg in gorgonizing the NRA to promote a gun grabbing policy, presumably under the guise of "common sense gun control" aimed at so called assault weapons.

Wasserman Schultz illustrates the tension in the Democrat Caucus towards Election 2018.  On the one hand, Democrats have strived to take advantage of reshaped Congressional districts (particularly in Pennsylvania and Florida) to put forth candidates and campaigns which would attract independent voters to regain control of the House of Representatives.  On the other hand, the swell of confidence over a presumed "Red Wave" compels some progressives to publicly embrace a radical wish list of impeachment and gun grabbing.

In the Salena Zito and Brad Todd best seller "The Great Revolt" (2018), one of the the significant segments of supporters of Donald Trump was "Girl Gun Power".  Second Amendment advocates will be energized to go to the polls in November for the mid terms if they fear that their constitutional rights are in danger. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Appraising "The Great Revolt" by Salena Zito and Brad Todd

After Richard Nixon won the 1972 Presidential election in a 49 state landslide, New Yorker film critic was flummoxed at how this could happen as none of her Manhattanite friends would vote for him.  This possibly apocryphal episode illustrated how seaboard elites can be so out of touch with Middle America (sometimes flippantly labeled as  “Fly Over Country”).

A similar cognitive dissonance has occurred at the election of President Donald Trump in 2016. Heading into election night, the 538 blog polling guru Nate Silver predicted that Hillary Clinton had a 72% chance of winning.  Yet when election results were confirmed at 2:30 AM November 9th, Donald J. Trump gave a victory speech.  While Mr. Trump won a huge 304 to 227 (with five disloyal electors), the margins of victory in five Rust Belt states were close.  Had 56,000 voters not voted for Mr. Trump, then Bill Clinton would have returned to the White House as First Gentleman (sic).

To delve into how Donald Trump was able to confound conventional wisdom and assembled a new coalition which led him to the White House, Salena Zito and Brad Todd wrote “The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics” (2018 Crown Forum 309 pages).  Salena Zito is a reporter from Pittsburgh but made made her mark during the campaign for the New York Post by traveling to these Midwest battleground states and interviewing prospective Trump voters to understand their attraction and enthusiasm for this first time populist candidate. 

These oral histories are backed up by data from Brad Todd’s On Message Inc. polling unit. The metrics were particularly instructive in seeing how sentiments shifted in swing counties between 2008 and 2016.

The Great Revolt featured 21 interviews with voters from two key counties in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa. These interviews felt like an extended coffee talk at a diner with a trusted confidant.  The Great Revolt broke down these voters into seven archetypes: 1) Red Blooded and Blue Collar 2) Perotistas 3) Rough Rebounders 4) Girl Gun Power 5) Rotary Reliables 6) King Cyrus Christians 7) Silent Suburban Moms.  While they all chose to support Trump, their pathways were not straight and narrow and deserve careful consideration. 

Over the past several elections, Democrats seemed to abandon salt of the earth blue collar erstwhile Democrats to favor demographically up and coming minority majorities and those new voters who might be culled from immigration.  During the 2008 Democrat primaries, candidate Barack Obama derisively referred to rural Rust Belt voters as “bitter clingers to their guns and their Bibles”.  Ironically, Ms. Clinton was trying to win their support for her first failed presidential run.   

Yet in 2016, these same segment of voters were ignored by the Hillary! campaign as she declared that half of Trump supporters were a “Basket of Deplorables” which might serve as a caricature of this segment of voters which would be more sympathetically described as The Forgotten Man.  

Hillary Clinton chose to ignore Wisconsin during the 2016 General Election campaign and made only a couple of trips to large population centers in Michigan, figuring that she had those votes already in the bag.  Donald Trump campaigned hard in Rust Belt states in rural precincts and scraped together enough support to win the Wolverine State by about 8,000 votes (0.23%) and the Badger State by about 22,000 votes (0.77%).  

Pundits have pontificated that Republicans face a demographic problem whereas Democrats have a geographic problem, as they continue to lose support in vast swaths of middle America.  In 2016, Mrs. Clinton only won 526 counties compared to the over 1500 counties that her husband President Clinton won in 1992.  What became obvious after election night 2016, racking up large victories in the popular vote does not necessarily win the White House.  Both parties would learn from contemplating the shared psyches of these Trump voters  if The Great Revolt was a one time populist phenomenon, if it can transfer unto other populist politicians and if it can be sustained after 2016.

A couple of these Great Revolt subgroups, such as Rotary Reliables and NRA inspired Girl Gun Power types  are likely to continue to actively oppose progressive politics as it directly impacts their intrinsic interests.   It is more dubious for other groups.  In 2016, evangelical voters made a pragmatic decision to back Mr. Trump, who has a messy personal life and whose blithe brashness is an antithetical attitude, because they were concerned about the Supreme Court and pushing back against abortion.  The outlook for Perotistas is unclear as their support seemed personality driven and may not be transferrable.  The three women interviewed as Perotistas were superannuated, so one can surmise that their support will age out.

As much as the iconoclastic mainstream billionaire turned celebrity politician appealed to some segments of The Great Revolt voters, what became quite clear is how his opponent and the nature of the race also impacted the election.  In some of the vignettes, the anti-Hillary! sentiment jumped off the page. 

 Many of the interviewees came from union families or those who served in the military would have been quite at ease in John F. Kennedy’s Democrat Party but who are red headed stepchildren in today’s Democrat Party.  That being said, they probably would not have participated in politics or been motivated to vote GOP had Donald Trump not reached out and appealed to their sensibilities.   They may not always agree with Mr. Trump and may recoil at some of his Tweets or stances but as Salena Zito nailed during the campaign, they know to take Trump seriously but not always literally (unlike the anti-Trump pack press).

Most of the coalition in The Great Revolt worried about their economic security and loss of their rural way of life, it did not seem like there was strong linkage to “Build the Wall” or immigration.  While one union activist was strongly against NAFTA, much of the blue collar sentiments revolved around being forgotten by their erstwhile allies, the Democrats.   

While the interviews in The Great Revolt were vivid, it would have been desirable if there was a bit more uniformity when describing the interlocutors.  Not all of the portraits had demographic details or made it easy to discern the interviewees profession.  There also seemed to be a disconnect between the prefatory analysis with the dialogues of the Trump voters.  The authors rightly proposed that Mr. Trump’s social media instincts allowed him to circumvent curating by the mainstream media and directly reach his coalitions.  Yet many of the interviewees contained in The Great Revolt wished that President Trump would tweet less. 

That being said, surely Salena Zito and Brad Todd appreciated President Trump’s pre-publication post which extolled the virtues of The Great Revolt.

The case histories in The Great Revolt offer insightful context for the unexpected coalition which elected Donald Trump to the White House in 2016.  But the archetypes portrayed in The Great Revolt may point to traits that could appear in other voter segments.   Democrats have opted to appeal to progressive identity politics and rely on the brown wave of new voters in lieu of  “The Forgotten Man” (rural, blue collar, union white males).   A flaw with that strategy is that it relies upon banked voters, which since 1964 have been the bulk of black voters.  The Great Revolt chronicles how slim segments of voters who feel neglected and come to the epiphany that their traditional party no longer represents their values can impact an election.

Recently, Kanye West said some favorable things towards President Trump. Perhaps that was a publicity stunt or an African American celebrity "talking out of turn" as Rep Maxine Waters (D-CA 43rd) claimed. But afterwards polling showed a doubling of his support among African Americans.  Mr. Trump has been making explicit appeals for those voters.  

It is conceivable that an upsurge in black labor participation and showing up to make the case may shift some attitudes, or mollify some of the bile against him. Conservative Black video bloggers Diamond and Silk have shown that elements of the Trump Administration agenda may have some appeal to fed up African American voters.  Black represent about 13% of voters and in recent elections have voted about 95% for Democrats.  If there is a 5% shift in that segment of reliable votes, Democrats’ election strategy may be in trouble. 

When the Constitution Is Used As Kleenex

Dan Bongino on the Mueller Special Counsel

Friday, May 4, 2018

Appreciating May the Fourth Be With You

In May 1977, the original Star Wars film (now known as Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope) premiered at movie theaters.  Practically no one expected the tremendous  success of Star Wars, as it grossed $775 million at the box office.   But the George Lucas film became a sustained cultural phenomenon.

When Tory politician Margaret Thatcher first became British Prime Minister, the London Evening Standard published a punny congratulatory ad from the Conservative party which played off of Star Wars rebel imagery vis-a-vis Labour's deathgrip on UK politics after 1978-79 Winter of Discontent.

While the politics of the pun's origination may have faded, the slogan became a geek touchstone.  It was a catch phrase on Facebook for "Luke Skywalker Day" in 2008.  The first organized grassroots holiday was in Toronto, Canada in 2011.  Since Disney took over Lucasfilms in 2013, it has become a celebrated ersatz holiday.

It might make you want to sing.

Like lounge singer Nick Winters on Saturday Night Live so many moons ago?


But it might inspire the Boogie Storm to make some mad jumps. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Pondering Pelosi's Political Prognostications

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi confirms that she will run for speaker when Democrats win the House in the 2018 general election

In an interview with the Boston Globe, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA 12th) boldly predicted that the Democrats would regain control of the lower chamber of Congress and that she would again become Speaker. 

Democrats need to gain 24 seats to achieve this goal. There are 23 Republican districts which Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 cycle.  In addition, the incumbent party typically loses seats in mid term elections during a President's first term. Some have also interpreted the number of Republican retirements (including Speaker Paul Ryan) as GOP insiders concerns about losing power in a Blue Wave.

 Ms. Pelosi was elected as the 52nd Speaker in 2007 and served until 2011 when the Republicans took over in the 112th Congress.

Although there are many positive signs to bolster Democrats ambitions to win the House, there are other factors which are difficult to currently quantify.

Last summer, Democrats sought to re-brand their messages as "A Better Deal"  which was going to couch their progressive politics in economic terms of better jobs, better wages and a better future.  What is unsaid in the sloganeering is this would be achieved by bigger government and more regulations.  To further that campaign sleight of hand, Democrats sought to recruit lots of veterans as candidates and have them run as ersatz Republicans, like in the Pennsylvania 18th special election earlier this year. 

Nancy Pelosi Chuck Schumer A Better Deal
[L] House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA 12th) [R] Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announce Democrats 2018 election rebranding "A Better Deal"  July 24, 2017

The problem with that strategy is that it seems to be supersceded by the prominent progressive politics as embodied by Ms Pelosi and the ramparts of the Resistance.  Democrats seem ready to grab guns, considering their alignment with the post Parkland Florida "Gun Reform Now" movement.  Pelosi is the embodiment of progressive politics, so independent and crossover voters can clearly conceive of the politics they are empowering. 

Despite Minority Leader Pelosi's attempts to tamp down talk of impeachment, it is a fair assumption that in the height of campaigning on the hustings, progressive candidates will hawk impeachment as red meat for their left leaning voters.  This may well alienate voters who crossed over party lines to vote for Trump as defined by Salena Zito as "The Great Revolt" (2018).

One other problem for Pelosi is to lock up her caucus in a 116th Congress.  There was a boomlet for alternatives to Nancy Pelosi's leadership of the Democrat Caucus.  Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH 13th previously 17th) indicated that he may challenge Pelosi.  Ryan represents Youngstown, and would represent many blue collar voters who participated in the Great Revolt which swung the 2016 Presidential election to Donald Trump.   If more of "The Resistance" inspired Democrats win, even a 79 year old 16 term San Francisco Congresswoman  might not be radical enough for them in the 116th Congress.