Saturday, September 7, 2019

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Will Trump Win Again?

One of the best parts of writing Wide World of News is hearing from readers. I get a lot of fascinating emails every day from all over the country.

After soliciting views from those interested in whether the Democrats can nominate someone who can beat the incumbent, I got many interesting replies.

Rather than run excerpts from several of them, here is one reply, nearly in its entirety, from a retired veteran who lives in California.

He has voted Republican for years, but I chose this email because it gives textured voice to what I have heard from many Democrats, who worry that Donald Trump, despite his approval ratings, is the favorite to be reelected:

After watching the climate town hall and listening to every Democratic candidate speak in favor of banning fossil fuels, I gave up hope for the Democratic centrist.   Bill Clinton would win 50 states as a Republican against this crowd. 

When they don’t support nuclear, I know they aren’t serious.  If they really thought reducing carbon was life or death, nuclear is a no brainer. 

Later on, I was shocked to see even Biden is in favor of confiscating assault rifles. They won’t stop there – semi autos are next.   They may let us keep revolvers and bolt action rifles.

I first voted in 1972 for George McGovern.    Voted for Carter in 76 and Republican ever since.

This is looking like a redo of 1972.   Only thing saving the Dems is Trump is no Nixon.  If Trump would change his behavior 10%.   Quite saying stupid stuff.  Quit punching down.   Ignore Dems and tout his achievements he will win easily.   

But he probably won’t change and may win in a squeaker anyway cuz the Dems position on fossil fuels and guns and open borders.  

I want a candidate who sticks up for the little guy – or at least pretends to.   Warrens and Sanders are ok here.  Not afraid to shake things up.   Sanders or Tulsi.   Not beholden to the Permanent State or the Intelligence community.  Sanders and Tulsi.  

Not in favor of abortion after 20 weeks? No one except Trump.   Not in favor of open borders?   No one except Trump.  Not in favor of gun confiscation?  No one except Trump. 


In other news:

*“Iran has begun using arrays of advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium in violation of its 2015 nuclear deal, a spokesman said Saturday, warning that Europe has little time left to offer new terms to save the accord.”

My take: Many of the biggest problems in the world exist in large part because the United States has little or no leverage over an adversary. That is true with Russia and China, and it is way true with Iran.

*Some encouraging signs in the U.S.-China trade war.

My take: Over the next few months, there will be many news cycles where a deal looks more likely and many (more) where a deal looks impossible. The markets will overreact to both. You should wait for terms that suggest a paradigm-shifting big deal or, more likely, a face-saving, place-holding smaller deal.

*Consensus on the jobs report: “Weak August job gains signaled the U.S. labor market’s slowdown is deepening as the trade war with China takes a toll on the economy, even as some details of the report suggested a recession is far from imminent.”

My take: Status quo ante – the economy is slowing, but a recession pre-November 2020 is far from inevitable.

*The NRA-backed Republican lieutenant governor of Texas is supporting enhanced background checks for some private firearm purchases.

My take: Way too soon to know if this is a game changer, a one-off, an aberration, or something that will be walked back. But this one official taking this one position could indeed be the start of something as big as all Texas.

*Preview of Tuesday’s special North Carolina House election that has Republicans on edge.

My take: It is clear now that this is one of those special elections whose cosmic national significance is not overstated and will get a ton of media attention (especially, in this case as it should be, if the Republican loses).

*The doors have opened at the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s state convention, at which presidential candidates will speak.

My take: New Hampshire voters don’t have too many chances all cycle to hear from their presidential candidates in front of a large crowd.  It will be impossible to measure how it goes, but with activists now starting to think about choosing time, these speeches are actually extremely important.

*No virtual caucuses in Iowa and Nevada because of security concerns.

My take: Given the inability to safeguard the process, in this case in striking the balance between inclusivity and the importance of confidence in the integrity of elections, the DNC is making the right choice.

Some Biden supporters in Iowa and New Hampshire are concerned about his performance and operation.

My take: Spin all they wish that Biden can be the nominee if he loses both Iowa and New Hampshire, the former VP’s advisers need only look at history and logic to know that the chances of such a thing are de minimis.

*Another Biden problem: the right-leaning media wants his medical records.

My take: There is a legitimate argument that Biden (and all the other candidates) should release comprehensive medical histories and current health and treatments. But the larger political point here is that Biden continues to have a much bigger target on his back from across the media spectrum than his rivals do.  This is one of the many dangerous ways his candidacy resembles Clinton ’16.

*The Wall Street Journal suggests some Kamala Harris backers are concerned that she is not firmly in the first tier: “Ms. Harris’s donors and those close to her campaign said they have been surprised by the resiliency of Mr. Biden’s support, especially among African-American voters in South Carolina, which they had seen as a state she could carry, but which has struggled to get a footing in.”

My take: Harris supporters are right to be concerned, especially if, as many speculate, her third-quarter fundraising number is not that strong. As the article says, if she continues to show signs of weakness, some of her backers might swing to Biden.

*Buttigieg begins TV ad buy in Iowa.

My take: TV spots rarely move numbers in a substantial way in the Hawkeye State, but Mayor Pete needs to get back into the first tier and going on earlier than most is a good way to leverage all that money he has.

*Essential reading: Harris and Buttigieg are fine-tuning their core messages, per the Washington Post’s Holly Bailey and Michael Scherer.

My take: Best – having your original announcement speech be your template and North Star all the way through your inaugural address. But if you can’t do that, better to change to a winning message than stick with one that doesn’t seem to be catching on.  Plus, donors demand it.  Both Harris and Buttigieg must cut off the narrative that there are now two top-tiers – and they are in the lower of the two.

*Essential reading: the attendees and dimensions of Trump MAGA rallies, by Mike Bender in the Wall Street Journal.

My take: Trump leads a movement. A Democrat who beats him is going to have to lead a movement. This piece offers some clues about both sides of the equation.

Top sports story: Nadal and Medvedev to meet in US Open final

Top business story: Fed chief Powell says trade policy is weighing on investment decisions

Top entertainment story: Felicity Huffman Tells Judge She Wanted Daughter to Have a ‘Fair Shot’

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