The Rushmore Report – First Iowa Poll Just Out!

The first poll for the 2020 Iowa caucuses has just come out. The first survey of the first state, conducted by the Des Moines Register, CNN, and Mediacom revealed which Democratic hopefuls are in the best position to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election. One of the themes of the poll is that voters favor experienced politicians over upstart candidates.

Only three potential candidates sit above ten percent in this initial poll, and only one more candidate garners at least five percent. The top four prospects at this point – and this is guaranteed to change a zillion times – are as follows.

1. Joe Biden – 32%
2. Bernie Sanders – 19%
3. Beto O’Rourke – 11%
4. Elizabeth Warren – 5%

The next candidates, all polling less than five percent, are, in order . . .

5. Kamala Harris
6. Cory Booker
7. Amy Klobuchar

The firm that conducted the poll was Selzer & Co., led by J. Ann Selzer, who said, “This is obviously a warm welcome to some people who are really familiar to caucusgoers in the state. But there’s also some welcoming of newcomers who are only now starting to come to the state and get to know the people who could shape their future.”

The Iowa caucuses matter because they are the first polls of the primary season. But while they’re important, there is no guarantee that the winners will win their party’s support. In 2016, for example, Ted Cruz won the Republican caucus, but Donald Trump would win the party’s nomination. The one thing the Iowa caucuses do is to narrow the field.

Conventional wisdom – confirmed by historical results – is that the Iowa caucuses stamp the ticket for the three candidates with the most votes. So the candidates who finish out of the top three will be very unlikely to compete for the nomination. And considering the Democratic field in 2020 will be more crowded than a mall on Black Friday, jockeying for the top three positions will be critical.

So as of today, your three candidates coming out of Iowa will be Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Beto O’Rourke. But check back with us, because there is at least a 100 percent chance this will change.

The Rushmore Report – Odds on the Top 54 Presidential Contenders for 2020 (You’ll Love #54!)

It’s never too soon to predict the next presidential election. Just 698 days from the 2020 election, Kris Abbot has given us the latest “Sportsbook” odds on the dozens of potential candidates actually winning the race. For the sake of brevity, I am “only” going to list the top 54 contenders, in order. Why stop at 54? Because you will love who the odds makers have slotted into the 54th position. And before some of these names strike you as preposterous, remember that this time four years ago, a certain New York real estate tycoon may have been outside the top 54.

Before I give you the list, let’s note a few themes of the early polls.

First, while President Trump remains the individual favorite to win the race, the Democratic Party is favored to win the race. What does that mean? It means that while Trump has the highest individual chance of election, there is a greater chance that whoever emerges from the Democratic primaries will unseat him.

Second, Rep. Beto O’Rourke (TX) and Sen. Kamala Harris (CA) are co-favorites among Democrats, according to the current betting odds. O’Rourke helped inspire a shifting electorate in Texas that saw record numbers come out for the midterm elections, but at the end of the day, Ted Cruz won by a slim 51-48 percent margin. O’Rourke’s popularity, though, has thrust him into the national spotlight as he and Harris are now the two front-runners to represent the Democratic Party in 2020.

Third, celebrity candidate groundswell has slowed. With Trump emerging from the world of real estate and reality TV, there was early support for potential candidates such as Oprah Winfrey, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, or Mark Cuban. While they are still remote possibilities, the bet is that the pendulum has swung toward more traditional candidates going forward.

Let’s get started with the top ten. These are the most likely winners of the 2020 presidential election, in order from best odds to least. Again, you will love #54!

1. Donald Trump
2. Beto O’Rourke
3. Kamala Harris
4. Bernie Sanders
5. Joe Biden
6. Elizabeth Warren
7. Mike Pence
8. Cory Booker
9. Kirsten Gillibrand
10. Oprah Winfrey

Here are your next ten . . .

11. Michelle Obama
12. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
13. Michael Avenatti
14. Nikki Haley
15. Andrew Cuomo
16. John Kasich
17. Mitch Landrieu
18. Paul Ryan
19. Julian Castro
20. Chris Murphy

Now, we could continue this list all the way to #54, but you are probably already numb from reading the first 20. So I’ll just give you the highlights of 21-53. (You will love #54!)

28. Marco Rubio
29. Mitt Romney
30. Ben Shapiro
33. Joe Kennedy III
34. Hillary Clinton
35. Mark Zuckerberg
36. Mark Cuban
39. George Clooney
44. Jeb Bush
47. Leonardo DiCaprio
48. Bill Gates
49. Ivanka Trump
50. Kanye West

And now we unveil the man of the hour. He’s a Republican who has never held office. He graduated from the University of Michigan, and then went on to play a little football in the NFL. And he would probably make a better president than the vast majority of those ahead of him on this list.

Will he make it to the Oval Office? Probably not. But we can hope. Let’s start a national movement, because this guy – more than any other candidate – is a true Patriot. A New England Patriot.


The Rushmore Report – Can Anti-Trump Hatred Carry the House for Democrats?

“I have some thoughts on ‘enthusiasm’ and the election,” tweeted Amy Walter, the Cook Political Report’s ace analyst of House races. What I and, I suspect, others expected to follow was a discussion of how voters’ enthusiasm, positive or negative, tends to determine who wins elections, especially off-year elections, when turnout is more variable.

Democrats had greater enthusiasm in 2006 and won both houses of Congress; Republicans had even more enthusiasm in 2010 and gained the largest number of House seats either party had since 1948.

In this off-year election cycle, it’s been obvious for months that Democrats have greater enthusiasm, almost entirely of the negative variety. They’ve been itching to inflict damage on President Trump and on the political party he chose to associate himself with three or four years ago in order to get elected president.

We’ve seen the results in Democratic-tilted turnout in special elections and in Democratic breakthroughs in polls. Pundits and psephologists have been predicting that Democrats would gain vast numbers of House seats.

But Walter wasn’t making this now-familiar point in her tweet. She was saying that the degree of enthusiasm of the very large number of people who may or may not vote appears less decisive, at least this year, than the degree of enthusiasm of the much smaller number of people who may or may not run for elective office.

And that may be the case if, as many analysts have concluded, enthusiasm among Republican voters has risen sharply, up toward or even with the Democrats’ level, because of the hearings over the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

Many of them really didn’t like the way Justice Kavanaugh was treated; they seem determined to inflict damage on the Democrats who violated the usual process, and the banshees television viewers could hear shrieking in the hearing room chamber and clawing at the doors of the Supreme Court across the street.

Walter’s tweet goes on: “regardless of what turnout looks like in Nov., Dems used their 2017-18 energy to recruit candidates, raise $$. Without that, there is no extended House map. And, House isn’t in play.”

Walter’s implicit thesis that candidates’ decisions to do the unnatural thing of running for Congress can, pretty much by itself, change partisan results and public policy is supported by history.

Democrats’ 48-seat gain in 1974 resulted from the candidacies of dozens of ambitious young liberals disgusted with the Vietnam War, Watergate and former President Richard Nixon. They cut off funding for South Vietnam, steadily increased Medicaid funding and imposed liberal discipline on what had been a disunited caucus. They cemented Democrats’ hold on the House for 20 years.

Republicans’ 54-seat gain in 1994, engineered in large part by citizens motivated to run by Newt Gingrich, resulted in similar reforms (election of committee chairmen), and they ended up promoting welfare reform, budget surpluses and a market-driven Medicare prescription drug program. Starting in 1994, Republicans have won House majorities in 11 of 13 elections, a formidable record even if they lose this year.

Republicans’ 63-seat gain in 2010 has not been as productive, in large part because of tea partiers’ distrust of Republican congressional leaders. Their record in the Trump years has been spotty: unity on tax cuts but division on Obamacare repeal and dithering on immigration.

The odds seem to be declining that 2018 will see such large gains in House seats for the party out of power. Nate Cohn of The New York Times Upshot blog, which has been conducting dozens of House race polls, has noted that he saw a trend of Democrats being “able to do well in red states/districts” that has “abruptly come to an end” in their data since the Kavanaugh nomination fight.

This suggests Democrats could gain most of the 23 Republican districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016, which would get them near the net gain of 23 seats they need for a majority, but would have a hard time gaining seats that voted for Donald Trump. That’s the pattern in the Virginia state legislative races in November 2017.

But all those enthusiastic candidates who stepped forth and volunteered to run, campaigned hard and raised piles of money, Amy Walter suggests, will probably win enough seats to give Democrats at least a small majority.

We’ll see – and we’ll see if the young, highly motivated Democrats make a difference on policy, as the 1974 Democrats and 1994 Republicans did, or if their enthusiasm fizzles out in a frenzy of harassment of Donald Trump.

About the Author

Michael Barone writes for Townhall.

The Rushmore Report – Guess Who Leads First Poll of Democratic Contenders for 2020?

A new poll was just conducted, with results being announced two days ago. The CNN poll asked two questions. Do you think President Trump will win a second term? If you are a Democrat, who would you vote for at this point? As for the first question, 46 percent believe Trump will win a second term, up from 36 percent since May. And as for the second question, 16 candidates were put on the poll – not including Hillary Clinton. The winner garnered more support than the next three candidates – combined.

First, there is good news for Republicans. The country’s slow migration to the belief that he will win a second term may deter some stronger, younger Democratic candidates from running until 2024. And this also feeds Republican support for Trump. A record low of just 20 percent of Republicans now want to see another candidate challenge the president from within his own party.

The leader among Democratic candidates is former Vice President Joe Biden. Here are the numbers . . .

  • Biden – 33%
  • Sanders – 13%
  • Harris – 9%
  • Warren – 8%
  • Booker – 5%
  • Kerry – 5%
  • Bloomberg – 4%
  • O’Rourke – 4%
  • Holder – 3%
  • Garcetti – 2%
  • Avenatti – 1%
  • Gillibrand – 1%
  • Klobuchar – 1%
  • Patrick – 1%
  • Bullock – <1%
  • Delaney – <1%

Biden has yet to announce any intention to run for president, but he has said he has “considered” the possibility. In recent weeks, Biden has emerged as a vocal critic of the Trump administration, after a two-year hiatus from public life.

None of the more progressive Democrats, Like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), who used Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court hearings to court the far left, has benefited from this strategy. Even the darling of progressives, Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT), trails Biden by 20 points.

The first Democratic debate is probably about eight months away. But get ready. We are about to see the most contentious, crowded primary in American history since way back in . . . 2016.

The Rushmore Report – He’s Back! Guess Which Dem Is Considering a 2020 Presidential Run?

Question: What’s the difference between the Dallas White Pages and the 2020 Democratic presidential primary? Answer: The Dallas White Pages have fewer names. The Democratic primary promises all the predictable suspects: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Cuomo, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Eric Holder, etc. Now add a new name to that list. Actually, it’s an old name. You won’t believe who else is thinking about another run for the White House.

Hint #1: He is a former nominee.

Hint #2: He’s a northeastern liberal, just the kind that never gets elected.

John Kerry.

Now, I bet that’s got you excited! Just when you thought the Democrats had no new ideas, they are reaching back and back and back . . . to that grand old election of 2004.

You remember John Kerry. He’s the guy who lost to George W. Bush, despite Bush’s 38 percent approval rating. Kerry’s the guy who masterminded President Obama’s brilliant strategy that brought Russia and North Korea to their collective knees.

Yes, that’s called sarcasm.

Well, here’s what we know. In a recent appearance on Face the Nation (yes, that’s still on the air), anchor Margaret Brennan asked Kerry if he would run in 2020. Kerry responded, “Talking about 2020 right now is a total distraction and waste of time. What we need to do is focus on 2018. We need to win back the confidence of the country to move in a better direction, and to do it in sensible ways.”

The CBS morning show was thrilled to have a guest so relevant as a losing candidate from the olden days, so they let Kerry ramble on. Don’t worry, I won’t give you all that he said. (It won’t fit into one column.)

The highlight: “We are in a moment of crisis for our country. The world is in a moment of crisis.” (Typical Kerry optimism)

Then Kerry did not deny reports that he told a Jerusalem Post reporter that he was considering a run in 2020.

That all adds up to one thing. John Kerry still wants to be president. He’s running. Unfortunately, Kerry’s run in 2020 will be like my run on the neighborhood track. He may be running, but nobody will notice.

The Rushmore Report – NY Dem Governor Cuomo: ‘America Was Never that Great’

The governor of the most taxed state in America just dropped a bombshell in a moment of honesty. In a public speech, Andrew Cuomo, a strong 2020 presidential candidate, mocked President Trump’s desire to “make America great again.” His astonishing perspective is that “America was never that great.” Even his liberal audience was awestruck by such an anti-America statement.

A few days later – for purely political purposes – Cuomo walked back his statements a bit. He called his comments “inartful.” Note, he didn’t say he didn’t mean what he said; he just regretted that what he said was so accurately understood.

Will this cost him among his political base? Probably not. Consider this – according to a recent poll, Democrats view socialism more positively than capitalism. So for an audience that is so incredibly liberal, Cuomo’s comments are not out of bounds.

But can you imagine Democrats of past generations saying “America was never great?” Can you imagine Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, or Bill Clinton saying that? Of course not. Why not? Because a) they didn’t believe it, and b) to say that would be political suicide. But in today’s Democratic Party, saying America was never great has become frighteningly mainstream.

Of course, Gov. Cuomo will not have to answer for his un-American sentiments, because he will only agree to interviews with members of the press who agree with him on everything he is going to say. But if – and I know this is a longshot – Cuomo did take honest questions, I suggest the following to any press members who are so fortunate as to interview the governor. Ask him . . .

“Was America not great when she abolished slavery?”

“Was America not great when she won two world wars?”

“Was America not great when she went to the moon?”

“Was America not great when she won the Cold War?”

“Was America not great when she received more refugees than any other country in the last century?”

“Was America not great when she passed historic civil rights legislation?”

“Was America not great when she did more to feed the world’s hungry than any other country on earth?”

As expected, President Trump blasted Cuomo for his statement. He is begging the governor to run against him for president in 2020. Is it possible that the Democratic Party would nominate a man who thinks so little of our country – to represent our country on the world stage? Unfortunately, yes, it is possible. A party that is more in line with socialism (see Argentina) than capitalism (see America) just might embrace the governor whose state takes back more money from her citizens (state taxes) than any other state. But will America ever elect a man who believes America is neither great nor ever has been?

Surely not.

The Rushmore Report – Why Bernie Sanders May Be Banned from Democratic Primary in 2020

He almost won the nomination in 2016. He remains one of the Democrats’ favorite leaders. And he has strongly hinted that he is poised to make another run for the White House in 2020. Polls indicate that he would be a formidable opponent for President Trump. But there’s just one problem. Bernie Sanders may not be allowed to run in the Democratic primary. Here’s why.

The Democratic National Committee has adopted a new rule at its annual conference in Providence, Rhode Island. The rule bars anyone who does not “run and serve” as a Democrat from competing for the Democratic nomination for President.

The rule reads, “At the time a presidential candidate announces their candidacy publicly, they must publicly affirm that they are a Democrat. Each candidate pursuing the Democratic nomination shall affirm, in writing, to the National Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee that they: (a) are a member of the Democratic Party; (b) will accept the Democratic nomination; and (c) will run and serve as a member of the Democratic Party.

Sanders, of course, is famously an independent. After running for the Presidency on the Democratic ticket in 2016, he declared a return to his independent status when competing for his Senate seat. Although he caucuses with Democrats, he expressed no desire to change his affiliation once outside the Presidential nomination process.

In his home state of Vermont, Sanders is considered a Democrat by government edict.

Sanders supporters have said they believe this measure was enacted out of “spite” for Sanders’ popularity, and to keep him from competing against Democrats who hold some of his same views, such as Senators  Elizabeth Warrn, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris.

The Rushmore Report – Who Leads Dem Race for 2020? (It’s Not Bernie Sanders)

A new 2020 Democratic primary poll was just released. The Suffolk University poll of Democratic primary voters registered support for those most expected to enter the next presidential race. Hillary Clinton was not one of the eight options on the ballot. Those names were, in alphabetical order: Booker, Biden, Gillibrand, Harris, McAuliffe, Patrick, Sanders, and Warren. The winner? It’s not who you think.

No, Bernie Sanders is not in the lead. Nor is he second.

Here are the leading candidates in order of preference:

1. Elizabeth Warren – 26%

2. Joe Biden – 20%

3. Bernie Sanders – 13%

4. Corey Booker – 8%

5. Kamala Harris – 4%

6. Deval Patrick – 4%

7. Kristen Gillibrand – 2%

8. Terry McAuliffe – 2%

This poll is not good news for Bernie Sanders, who enjoys enormous name recognition and almost beat Hillary Clinton just two years ago.

“Primary polls this far out are normally nothing more than a test of name recognition,” said Stu Rothenberg, a non-partisan political handicapper. Given his name recognition, one would expect Sanders to lead the pack, rather than garner the favor of just 13 percent of Democratic voters.

Why do Democrats prefer Senator Warren over Bernie Sanders? Rothenberg said, “Warren is a populist outsider who is critical of corporate insiders. She has the same message, but is a different messenger who is a little younger and, unlike Sanders, is actually a Democrat.”

The Rushmore Report – Bill Clinton Warns Dems to Avoid Bernie Sanders

Former President Bill Clinton has spoken to Democratic Committee Chair Tom Perez about the future of their party. And he didn’t hold back. NBC News political reporter Jonathan Allen appeared on C-SPAN on the show Washington Journal. Allen shared the inside scoop of the tense conversation between the former president and the leader of the Democratic Party.

Clinton warned Perez to “not let the party go to Bernie Sanders folks.”

Allen, author of Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, said Perez had received “explicit instructions” from Bill Clinton to keep the hard-leftists of the party from taking control.

Allen said, “The DNC is unpopular with its own base. Half of the Democratic Party felt like the DNC was unfairly tipping the scales in the last presidential election trying to get Hillary Clinton nominated, trying to hurt Bernie Sanders. So you start with that bad blood, and really there’s just been a clash between these two sides that has resumed; the hostilities that had been put aside at the Democratic National Convention in 2016 resumed the minute Donald Trump was elected president.”

Allen continued, “There is this huge battle for the soul of the Democratic Party between the Clinton-type folks and the Sanders folks. And Tom Perez is in the middle of that and he’s gotten very explicit instructions from Bill Clinton not to let the party go to the Sanders crowd.”

Back in 2016, when the Democratic nomination process commenced, Clinton criticized Sanders for his New Hampshire campaign strategy against Mrs. Clinton. Said Bill, “His online campaign is simple: ‘Anybody who doesn’t agree with me is the tool of the establishment.'”

This is still early 2018. The next presidential election is 912 days away. This could get interesting – for a long time.

The Rushmore Report – This Senator May Run Against Trump in the 2020 Primary

President Trump already announced this week he is all in for 2020. Confident in his first year accomplishments, he feels he will have plenty to run on come the next presidential election. Tax reform is gaining in popularity and the economy is booming. So what can go wrong? Plenty. Trump may face this Senator in a Republican primary.

His name is Jeff Flake.

The outgoing senator from Arizona, perhaps President Trump’s least favorite Republican (and the feeling is mutual), is not going to be wearing a Trump campaign sticker. In fact, he predicts that someone from the party will challenge him in 2020, and he’s even encouraging it.

“I do think the president will have a challenge from the Republican Party, and I think there should be,” Flake said. “I also think that there will be an independent challenge, particularly if the Democrats insist on putting somebody up from the far left of the party.”

Flake may have had Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich in mind, who is said to be considering another go at the White House.

Or he could be thinking of himself.

Flake didn’t rule out his own presidential prospects, leaving the door open for an independent or Republican run. When asked about running, he simply says, “I won’t swear it off.”

When a Senator is asked about running for president, anything less than, “Not in a million years under any circumstance will I run. The answer is no, no, no, and no – so quit asking me. The answer is no” means, “Of course I’m running!”

So when Flake says he’s “not swearing it off,” that translates to, “I have formed a committee, raised millions of dollars in commitments, and will run unless a meteorite hits me on the head.”

Will Flake be a real threat to President Trump. No, he won’t. But that didn’t stop 16 Republican primary candidates in 2016.