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The Proud Americans – What Blue Wave? It Was a Green Wave!

As usual, the media whiffed. The much anticipated “blue wave” did not happen. If it had, Republicans would not have kept control of the Senate, let alone extend that control by two or three seats. If it had been a “blue wave,” Democrats would have picked up more seats in the House. Their gains were half of those made by Republicans in the first midterm of the Obama years. No, it was not a “blue wave” or a “red wave.” It was a “green wave.”

Newt Gingrich was right in his post-election commentary: “The biggest change in this election was the sheer volume of money generated by left-wing billionaires and activist groups who hate President Trump.”

Still, let’s not overreact. By losing 26 seats, Republicans fared far better than Democrats, who lost 54 seats in 1994 (under President Clinton), and 63 seats in 2010 (under President Obama).

But one cannot deny the “green wave.” By “green,” I mean money.

Case in point – Texas. Democratic (Socialist) Beto O’Rourke became a media darling in his race against conservative stalwart Ted Cruz. Make no mistake – O’Rourke was far from qualified for the United States Senate. Texas boasts at least two dozen Democrats with far more impressive credentials. But none of them ran. Why? Because they knew they would lose.

So enter one young Congressman from El Paso – committed to the impeachment of the President (though he never said why), 40 percent tax increases (he did say why), and the demise of ICE (no one cares why).

Who would bet on O’Rourke? Democratic billionaires. Beto raised $70 million for his Senate campaign – the most of any candidate for any office other than President in the history of the United States.

But it wasn’t just Texas. Liberals – who normally whine incessantly about there being too much money in political campaigns – poured tens of millions of dollars into Senate and House races in Missouri (they lost), Georgia (they lost), Indiana (they lost), North Dakota (they lost big), etc. In some cases, the expenditures paid off, especially in the House.

The irony cannot be missed. Why were Democrats allowed to literally buy dozens of Congressional seats? It’s called capitalism. And what do these very Congressmen just elected find abominable? Same answer – capitalism.

Democrats did what they have accused Republicans of doing for decades. They poured ridiculous amounts of cash into Congressional elections. They played by the rules of capitalism in order to attack – say it with me – capitalism.

The “blue wave” was barely a ripple. You probably missed it – under the weight of the green tsunami.

The Rushmore Report – The Simple Formula to GOP Win in November

We’ve been hearing it for months. The November midterm election will bring a huge “blue wave,” as the House of Representatives falls into Democrat hands, and the Senate likely does the same. Midterm elections are generally determined by turnout and turnout is driven by anger. And Democrats are angry. Of course, they have no message apart from their hatred for President Trump. But being the party of “no” may be all it takes to win. But for Republicans, there is no time to lose heart. There is still hope – but only if party leaders wake up to the simple formula that can save their majority. If the likes of Trump, McConnell, and Ryan miss this, well, they deserve to lose the majority.

So here it is. Remember the words of James Carville? “It’s the economy, Stupid!” It’s still the economy. It’s always the economy. So this is what Republicans must do to retain their majority in both Houses of Congress.

Listen to Kevin Brady.

That’s it. It’s really that simple. Kevin Brady represents Montgomery County, Texas (where I lived for five years). More importantly, he serves as Chair of the Ways and Means Committee. And he has introduced legislation to make last year’s middle-class tax cuts permanent.

Not one Democrat voted for the tax cuts. This is not the main message for the Republicans in November; it’s the only message.

We know four things about the tax cuts that were passed . . .

  1. They led to the lowest unemployment in a generation.
  2. They spurred economic growth at twice the rate as the best Obama year.
  3. They have brought the first real wage hikes in 15 years.
  4. Not a single Democrat voted for them.

Every political ad run by Republicans should hammer this fact. Whichever opponent any Republican candidate faces will have the same dilemma. They opposed tax cuts for average Americans.

But the tax cuts were not permanent. So make them permanent, guys! That is the message of Kevin Brady. Why other party leaders aren’t listening is one of the great mysteries of life.

President Trump can speak at all the rallies. North Korea can lay down its nuclear ambitions. Iran can join the list of civilized nations. My Astros can win their second World Series. These would all be events of Utopian magnitude.

But none of it will matter in November.

I’ll say it again – to every Republican leader. “It’s the economy, Stupid!” Listen to Kevin Brady. You have the votes to make the tax cuts permanent, and to remind every voter that every Democrat opposed every tax cut for every person in their own district.

Recent polling confirms that Republican control of Congress is very much in doubt, come November.

The Democrats are holding all the cards – except one. So let them play the Jack, the Queen, and the King. Republicans still have the Ace. It’s called permanent tax cuts. The Ace is the highest card, and only the Republicans have it.

But it only matters, if they are willing to put it on the table.

The Rushmore Report – Can Beto O’Rourke Really Beat Ted Cruz in Texas?

According to the latest statewide poll (by Emerson polling), Texas Senator Ted Cruz leads the unheralded Democratic Representative from El Paso, Beto O’Rourke, by just one percent. In the fight for control of Congress in the 2018 midterm elections, the thought of Texas going Democrat seemed impossible just months ago. Can it really happen? Can a liberal Democrat – whose positions on border control, illegal immigration, tax cuts, national defense, abortion, and energy are more in line with Massachusetts than Texas – actually win the Lone Star State? The short answer is yes. He can. But will he?

First, let’s consider the three things O’Rourke has going for him . . .

1. Ted Cruz is not seen as particularly likable.

2. Beto O’Rourke is charismatic and likable.

3. No one knows where O’Rourke stands on the issues. (And that is by design.)

What should matter to voters is where the two candidates actually stand on the issues. If voters take an honest look at the issues, Cruz will be fine. Consider a few examples of O’Rourke’s far-left positions.

1. Abortion

O’Rourke is pro-abortion. He said in a February, 2015 interview that he favors legal abortions without exception.

2. Voter ID

The Representative opposes voter ID. He said in a speech in June, 2014 that making voters prove they are actual citizens suppresses the vote (though he favors ID for access to airline flights).

3. Statehood for the District of Columbia

In January of 2015, O’Rourke said he favors statehood for the most liberal district in America. Of course, the political ramification is that this would guarantee two more Democratic U.S. senators.

4. Gun control

O’Rourke has voted in line with Nancy Pelosi. Enough said.

5. Tax cuts

O’Rourke opposed the Trump tax cuts that have stimulated the economy and put thousands of dollars back into the pockets of average Americans.

6. Healthcare

Mr. O’Rourke supports Obamacare in its entirety.

7. Homeland security

The young Congressman opposes the border wall and supports a reduction in spending for the national defense, according to his own statements of October, 2013.

8. Immigration

O’Rourke supports the DREAM Act and opposes expulsion of illegals according to his campaign of November, 2012.

9. Wages

Rep. O’Rourke supports the Bernie Sanders plan of raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. This would, of course, lead to massive layoffs, as has occurred everywhere this has been tried. (Ask Seattle how it’s working up there!)

On each of these nine issues, Sen. Cruz is in line with the majority of Texas voters. But the Democratic base is fired up. So what will happen? The national Republican Party will start to spend heavily in Texas. They will do all they can to put the focus on O’Rourke’s out-of-touch policies. Meanwhile, O’Rourke will make Cruz the focus. He will portray himself as the real Texan. He will run on charisma, not issues.

So who will win? My guess is that policy will trump personality. And that’s good news for Ted Cruz. So the final tally?

Ted Cruz – 51%

Beto O’Rourke – 47%

Minor candidates – 2%

The Rushmore Report – Republicans Need a Better Midterm Elections Strategy

It’s risky to generalize from a single special election, but Tuesday’s too-close-for-GOP-comfort Arizona special election is part of a broader trend hinting that Republicans might be in for a disappointing November. Generic-ballot polling has shown a significant lead for Democrats, albeit one that has diminished since late 2017. Meanwhile, polling for contested Senate seats suggests that Republicans could be almost as likely to lose the Senate as they are to pick up seats overall.

GOP-held seats in Arizona, Nevada, and Tennessee look like they will be hard-fought. None of this means that Republicans are necessarily fated to electoral catastrophe in the midterms, but it does indicate they could be facing some significant headwinds.

In response to these difficulties, Republicans have tended in two directions, both of which have shortcomings. The “smart” play according to many Beltway cognoscenti is for Republicans to run on the economy and last year’s tax package. However, while economic growth has improved, it’s not yet the roaring ’90s. Meanwhile, polls show that the tax plan is not universally beloved. This messaging strategy also misses that fact that, in many cases, American political campaigns are about the future, not the past. In fact, it’s usually the minority party that is most able to use the past as a political weapon: to criticize the failings of the majority (see 1994, 2006, and 2010).

The other approach has been for Republicans to try to campaign as personally loyal to Donald Trump or to style themselves after a Trumpian persona. This strategy, too, has its limits. The president has a net negative approval rating, and making him the center of a midterm campaign is almost guaranteed to maximize the turnout of the Democratic base. Most Republican voters support Donald Trump (which is why campaigning against the president is unlikely to be a successful strategy for many Republican candidates), but loyalty to President Trump alone will probably not cause many Trumpian voters to turn out — just as many core Obama supporters did not turn out during the 2010 and 2014 midterms.

The Rushmore Report – The Most Expensive Senate Race Ever

It will be the most expensive senate race in U.S. history. And this one will go a long way in deciding the political direction of the country in 2018 – and beyond. This single election – in a true swing state – will not only make a huge statement; it will be a major factor in determining whether the senate switches from Republican to Democratic leadership. Which state are we talking about?

Florida.

Sitting Governor Rick Scott has announced his intention to run for the senate in a direct challenge to incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson. In making his announcement, Scott called Washington “horribly dysfunctional.”

The Republican governor, a multi-millionaire who won the governorship in 2010 as a political novice, emphasized to Politico that he’s independent-minded, not to be labeled a “Donald Trump Republican.”

“I consider myself Rick Scott. I don’t consider myself any type of anything,” he said.

“I run on what I believe in. I’ve been very clear,” he added. “People ask me that a bunch of times, about ‘Are you this or are you that?’ No, I’m Rick Scott. I grew up poor. I believe in jobs.”

That line is almost an understatement for Scott: The “jobs” message is the raison d’etre for his political identity, born in 2010 when faith in the state and national economy were low and unemployment numbers were high. “Jobs, jobs, jobs” was Scott’s mantra in English and, during phone-banking campaign stops in Miami in 2010 and 2014, in Spanish: “trabajo, trabajo, trabajo.”

“What I focused on when I got elected was getting 700,000 jobs over seven years and changing the direction of the state,” Scott told Politico. “And the business community has really shown up. We cut their taxes, reduced regulation and we’ve added about 1.5 million jobs.”

About the Author

Leah Barkoukis is a writer for Politico.

The Rushmore Report – According to Democrats, Christians Cannot Serve in Government

On Thursday, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) offered a bizarre critique of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: Pompeo wasn’t sufficiently enthusiastic about homosexual sex.

Yes, this is a real thing.

Booker asked Pompeo, “Do you believe gay sex is a perversion?”

Pompeo is a religious Christian, so presumably he does. He answered, quite properly, “When I was a politician, I had a very clear view on whether it was appropriate for two same-sex persons to marry. I stand by that.” He also informed Booker, “My respect for every individual regardless of sexual orientation is the same.”

Booker was outraged by Pompeo’s reply. His time ran, however, before he could grill Pompeo on whether he enjoyed Brokeback Mountain sufficiently or cried at the end of Moonlight.

This is anti-Christian bigotry from Booker. It’s that simple. Religious people of all major faiths — Christian, Jewish, Muslim — believe homosexual activity is a sin. Full stop. The Bible is quite clear about this in both Leviticus and Deuteronomy, the New Testament is clear about it in Romans and Corinthians and Timothy. The Koran isn’t shy on the issue, either. None of that means that religious people thereby want the rights of gays and lesbians violated. I, for example, am fully libertarian on same-sex marriage, and have been for years. Religious people think lots of things are sins, and also think that people have a right to do the wrong thing. The same logic undergirds support for the First Amendment: I hate racism, but people have a right to say racist things. I may dislike sin, but a government dedicated to stamping out sin rather than preventing violation of rights is called tyranny.

But according to Booker, you must celebrate sin in order to believe there is a right for people to commit sin that has no externalities in a free society. This makes sense from a Leftist point of view, where government is the great instrument of the good, not a mere protector of rights — the same people who try to stamp out dissenting thought through “hate speech” legislation are likely to believe that religious Americans feel the same way about using government to stamp out sin. But they’re wrong. And they’re religious bigots.

Worse, Booker’s shtick is unconstitutional if it were to be applied legally. The Constitution forbids religious tests for office. What Pompeo thinks about sin has nothing to do with what he thinks about public policy, unless Booker has evidence otherwise. If not, this is simple intolerance. Ironically, Booker would go on to essentially admit that point a few minutes later when he ripped into Brigitte Gabriel for supposedly expressing bigotry for questioning the compatability between Islam and democracy.

But that’s no shock. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asked judicial nominee Amy Barrett just a few months back about her religion: “When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.”

Here’s the real issue: when your religion is government, and government is god, you cannot tolerate any other God before it — and you assume that all those who believe in God wish to mobilize government in order to impose God’s will. The only people on the political spectrum interested in using government as a proxy for imposing heaven from above live on the Left.

About the Author

Ben Shapiro is the editor for The Daily Wire.

The Rushmore Report – Who Had the Higher Approval Rating at This Point in His Presidency, Obama or Trump?

For two years leading up to every presidential election, the biggest story in cable news is pre-election polls which indicate who is leading in the race. For the next two years, the biggest story is the sitting president’s approval rating. So at this point in their presidencies, whose approval rating was higher – Obama’s or Trump’s? The answer may surprise you.

The Rasmussen Report’s daily tracking poll – the most accurate in the business the last eight years – shows President Trump sitting at a 50 percent approval rating. At the same point in his first term, President Obama’s approval rating was 46 percent.

Yes, you read that correctly. Trump’s approval rating is ahead of Obama’s at this point in each presidency – by four points.

Meanwhile, Democrats continue to have an edge in the generic ballot for the November congressional elections, but the gap is narrowing. The latest Fox News Poll has revealed a shrinking difference – from 15 points in October (50-35 percent) to just five points now (46-41 percent).

Giving further hope to Republicans, these generic ballots have traditionally undervalued conservative support. For example, at this same time in the run up to the 2014 midterm elections, such polls gave Democrats a two-point advantage, but they went on to lose 13 net Congressional seats. And in 2010, though Republicans held only a slim four-point lead in the polls, they gained a record 63 seats in the November elections.

In all but two midterm elections of the last 50 years, the party that held the White House lost congressional seats. This cycle will likely follow suite. But don’t believe the narrative being pedaled by most media outlets. They are trumping up Democratic optimism in order to suppress Republican turnout. Plus, it’s a lot easier to cover polls than real news stories.

Anyone can report on the lowest number of jobless claims since the Nixon Administration (yes, the Nixon Administration). Anyone can cover the decimation of ISIS, success in Iran, and record tax cuts. But it takes a real journalist to tell you who is ahead in a historically unreliable poll seven months before an election. Real news? That would be the daily report of how “Generic Democratic Candidate” is doing verses “Generic Republican Candidate.”

I’m not even sure of which state in which “Generic” is on the actual ballot. I guess that’s what makes it news.

Does Trump’s rise to 50 percent approval in the Rasmussen poll mean much? Probably not. Nor did Obama’s 46 percent rating matter much in 2010. And Generic Democrat’s five-point lead over Generic Republican doesn’t matter much, either.

Leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats have an edge. But it’s not nearly as big as you’ve been told.

The Rushmore Report – Dems Get Good News, But There’s a Long Way to Go

Just over a week ago, turnout in the Texas primary raised serious questions about how big the Democratic wave could grow by November. This week, however, Conor Lamb won a narrow special victory in a Pennsylvania district that President Trump had carried by 20 points. Democratic spirits soared and some began dreaming that 100 or more Republican House seats could be at risk.

It’s natural for political types to overstate the importance of the most recent election or the one that’s coming up next. After all, convincing voters that the fate of the world hinges on the results is a key part of getting them out to vote. In reality, however, the events of the last two weeks are just early signs of what might happen rather than what will happen. It’s important to keep things in perspective.

The good news for Democrats from both Texas and Pennsylvania is that President Trump has energized the opposition. The early results confirm polling and anecdotal evidence that Democratic voters are more excited about voting this cycle than Republicans. It’s almost a mirror image of what happened in 2010 when President Obama energized his opposition party.

If the enthusiasm advantage persists into November, the Democrats are likely to win a majority in the House of Representatives. A race-by-race analysis at ScottRasmussen.com currently projects that Nancy Pelosi’s party would end up with 222 seats while the Republicans would have only 213 (assuming a good turnout for the Democrats). And, there’s plenty of upside for the Democrats if the political winds keep blowing in their direction.

Another good sign for the Democrats is that some of these early expectations can take on the character of a self-fulfilling prophecy. A sense of momentum may help in recruiting top-tier candidates in competitive races and will certainly help the party’s fundraising. On the flip side of the coin, evidence of a coming Democratic wave could open up more opportunities by convincing even more Republican incumbents to retire.

But the recent results include warning signs for Democrats as well. The biggest is Conor Lamb himself. Lamb won in a heavily Trump district by running as a conservative. He proudly embraces the Second Amendment, is personally opposed to abortion, and pledged not to vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker. It’s not clear how many progressive Democratic voters are willing to accept such candidates as the price for winning.

In fact, most of the recent evidence suggests that the energy came from voters seeking more progressive candidates rather than centrists. Looking ahead, a primary next Tuesday in Illinois highlights the growing demands for ideological purity from the Democratic base. Seven term Congressman Dan Lipinsky is facing a serious challenge precisely because he has staked out policy positions similar to those of Conor Lamb.

If Democratic voters are unwilling to tolerate even moderately conservative candidates, their party’s path to victory will be severely limited. If the party’s messaging veers hard left and highlights themes such as single-payer health care and impeaching the president, then the Republicans will probably remain in control of Congress.

This was a good week for Democrats, but there are a lot of weeks left in Election 2018.

About the Author

Scott Rassmussen is one of America’s most reliable pollsters. He is a regular contributor to TownHall.

 

 

The Rushmore Report – Romney Already Being Considered for GOP Leadership?

The Atlantic reports that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is already being considered for a spot in Republican leadership, despite not even announcing yet if he will run for Utah’s open Senate seat, according to a GOP source. This source says that Republican leaders are pushing this idea, despite possible White House opposition.

“According to a Republican donor with direct knowledge, Senate GOP leaders have expressed an early interest in having Romney succeed Colorado Senator Cory Gardner as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The role involves leading the Senate GOP’s fundraising arm and helping recruit and vet prospective GOP candidates for the upper chamber. A Republican source close to Romney confirmed that the idea of the Utah Republican taking over the NRSC has generated chatter in recent weeks,” reports Elaina Plott and McKay Coppins.

The article goes on to say that Gardner called the GOP donor and told him that he “liked Romney” as his replacement. The Atlantic’s source concurred with that assessment, saying, “Romney’s got the stature and a virtually unmatched fundraising base to draw upon. And he’s running because he wants a national platform to help the party anyway.”

The Republican source also noted that it would elevate Romney’s stature as an anti-Trump colleague within the party. “Mitt becoming Senator Mitt Romney and chairman of the NRSC elevates Trump’s biggest intra-party foe,” the Republican donor said. “This is not the outcome Trump wanted when he encouraged Orrin Hatch to run again.”

Earlier this week, Romney announced that he will be making a special announcement regarding Utah’s senate seat on February 15. It is speculated that he will announce he is indeed running. Recent polling suggests that Mitt Romney would absolutely trounce any Democratic opponent in the 2018 election. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Romney would have “64 percent of the vote in Utah, compared to 19 percent for Democrat Jenny Wilson.”

About the Author

Timothy Meads writes for Townhall.

The Rushmore Report – Newt Gingrich on How Republicans Hold Congress in 2018

Last week, Newt Gingrich spoke at the Winter Meeting of the Republican National Committee. He shared his thoughts on what the party needs to do to hold both chambers of Congress in the 2018 mid-term elections. Gingrich knows a little about winning elections, given the miracle of 1994. These are the three keys to victory – in his own words.

First, go home and take on everyone.

Contend for every seat. Every Democrat idiotically voted no on the largest tax cut in your lifetime, and they have to go home and explain that. Rep. Joe Kennedy offered the Democratic response to the State of the Union. But you can go to the Ways and Means Committee website for your district. In Kennedy’s district a median-income family of four got a $5,800 tax cut. Now we should be all over him. How can he vote to take away $5,800 from a family of four in his district and send it back to Washington bureaucrats?

Every single one of the Democratic members of the Black caucus voted against the tax cut for their own people and could not applaud the lowest Black unemployment in history. We have to have the nerve to go nose-to-nose with every Democrat in every district.

Second, don’t complain about the news media.

The news media is a fact. The news media is the offensive wing of the other team. They are not the problem. What we do about them is the problem. So, we have to design a campaign plan, and we have to train our candidates assuming the worst about the news media. Whenever you interact with the news media you should assume you’re going into a war zone. You should plan to take the host on and challenge their assumptions.

You would be amazed how many of our folks are too slow, too untrained, and don’t know what they’re talking about. So, they walk in as though George Stephanopoulos is neutral. I mean not only was he the Clinton press secretary, he gave $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation. And we allowed him to chair a presidential debate in 2012. Now, you at least have a minimum rule. Nobody who’s completely on the Left is going to get to chair anything for this party’s good future.

Third, we have to have the courage to fight.

You have to be prepared. When someone gets up, the junior senator from New York, and says, “You know, if you talk about chain migration, it’s racist,” we need to say, “You must be losing this debate on the facts so badly that you’re now reduced to scream ‘racism,’ which is, by the way, what you scream about virtually everything, unless of course that’s homophobia or something else.” The Left has no arguments left except to yell nasty names.

If you’re a left-wing Democrat and totally for open borders, you can’t actually go up and say, “Well, I think it’s okay for a few hundred MS-13 folks to come in.” You just can’t. So, then you get furious at Trump because he’s found the angle of attack you can’t defend.

The most useful book I have read to better understand this year is Karl Rove’s book, The Triumph of William McKinley. That 1896 campaign may sound obscure, but it relates directly to our challenge.

McKinley was faced with the great charismatic Democratic leader, the youngest major party nominee in history at 36 years old, William Jennings Bryan. Bryan is such a great passionate articulator of demagogic populism and was so influential in the Democratic Party for two generations (nominated three times for president) that Elizabeth Warren is his direct emotional descendant.

He literally – and I mean this as a tribute to Bryan – he imprinted the Democratic Party with a negative, anti-elite, anti-city, anti-modernity kind of populism, a populism of anger. He talks about mankind being crucified on a cross of gold. He says at one point that he wants grass to grow on the streets of the cities. McKinley realizes he’s going to lose the election unless he breaks the heart of Bryan’s argument. McKinley understood in 1896 what Margaret Thatcher said in the 1970s when she warned, “First you win the argument. Then you win the election.” And so, McKinley created the most thorough educational campaign in American history.

They printed 18 brochures for every American. That’s a scale of organization that’s unimaginable. And Karl, who’s a great professional, really walks you through it. And that’s what we need today – a response to the Democratic Party that goes right at the philosophical basis for what they believe.

So, when reporters and analysts say, “Well, it’s the first term off-year election. The average losses are X.” My first thought is, “How do you think President Clinton is doing?”

The truth is we are led by somebody who breaks the records. We ought to join in this fall to break the record, and next year if we have won control of the House altogether – if we’ve picked up six or eight Senate seats – President Trump and the Republicans will be able to say, as Ronald Reagan used to say, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”