A WWE Primary Strategy

During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump adopted a WWE strategy at one of his debates with Hillary Clinton. When Clinton had the microphone, Trump would leave his position at his podium and circle around behind Clinton, stalking her. Just like they do in World Wrestling Entertainment events. He not only stole her air time, he creeped her out.

The strategy worked well enough for Trump to try it again. Except this time it is on a higher level. The primaries this time around are about the Democrats – there is no challenge to Trump.

Nevertheless, he is swooping into the primary states just in time to steal the Democrats’ air time. His rallys are designed to unnerve them. As the Democratic field winnows, he will work harder to creep the winner(s) out. Unless the Dems start watching WrestleMania, it will probably work.

Pay Attention, Justice Roberts

There are plenty of theories about the Democrats’ “real” end game in the impeachment proceedings: turning voters off on Trump, turning voters off on Republican senators; highlighting the swampiness of the President’s team. It could be all of these. But there is other objective that might be in play.

At the end of the day, Chief Justice Roberts could be their real target. Sometime soon the Supreme Court is going to have to decide on how big of a stone wall Donald Trump can erect. So far, Trump has gotten away with ignoring all requests for information from Congress and state prosecutors.

The Democrats may be trying to show Roberts what happens when the President is allowed to get away with stonewalling. He becomes untouchable. Roberts is a conservative, but he is a constitutional conservative, not a partisan conservative. Team Trump’s efforts to rise above the law might just rub him the wrong way and backfire on them.

Trump’s Bully Pulpit

One hundred years ago, bully was a good thing. The word meant fantastic, awesome, wonderful. President Teddy Roosevelt thought the presidency was a great platform to preach his message from – he called it a “bully pulpit”.

Bully no longer has that positive connotation but under bully in chief Donald Trump the pulpit lives again. Trump bullies his opponents because it works, just as it does in the schoolyard. Until someone fights back and beats the bully up, the bully will just keep on doing it.

Trump not only bullies his opponents, he bullies his own team. Trump bullied Jeff Sessions unceasingly until he finally fired him.

The latest casualty is John Kelly. Kelly joined Trump’s ‘team’ in the summer of 2017. Within 3 months Trump gave him the bully treatment. Kelly didn’t fight back and from then on Trump owned him. Now he is gone as well.

So far, no Republicans have had the guts to push back on Trump’s bullying. It will be interesting to see if the Democrats can effectively push back once they take control of the House.

Hint:  Don’t bet on it.

 

Dems Lack A Star Campaigner. Sad

The 2018 campaign is almost over and no matter who wins or looses this week, one thing is abundantly clear. No one comes even close to matching Donald Trump on the campaign trail.

For the past several weeks, Trump has been able to command an incredible amount of  press coverage while crowding out anyone from the Democratic side. Yes, Barak Obama got some press, as did Bernie Saunders. And two-time loser Hillary Clinton is still kicking around and acting like she has a political future, which is catnip to the press.

But no one can put out a message on the campaign trail like Trump. Quite frankly, the Republicans are going have to think about lifting the ‘Great Communicator’ mantle from Ronald Reagan and giving it to Trump instead.

For the Dems to have any chance in 2020 they are going to have to find people that can take campaigning to a higher level. Maybe not at the Trump level, but at least close.

Pssst: Wanna Genuine Middle Class Tax Cut?

Donald Trump recently proposed a new tax cut for the middle class. The pundits have noted that he did this because the big tax cut that the Republicans passed last year does not seem to be resonating with the voters, at least the middle class ones.

They are missing the point.

Trump is openly admitting that last year’s tax cut was really for the corporations and the wealthy.

It should be an easy point for the Democrats to make. “Hey middle class, Trump promised you a tax cut but pulled a bait and switch. He admits it. Listen to him. Now he says he’ll make it up to you with another “middle class” tax cut. He’s hoping you’ll fall for the bait and switch again so he and the wealthy can do more to help their kids at the expense of yours.”

Will the inept Dems, who are sliding in the polls, figure that message out? Not likely.

Screwing Your Kids To Help Theirs

The Democrats still have not figured out a gut-resonating message. As Donald Trump would say, “SAD!” The only thing they have come up with is, “Doesn’t Trump just make you sick in the gut?”

People only have time to care about global warming, human rights and other ‘liberal’ issues once their personal situation is secure. For most people, that means that their ability to make a living and enjoy life.

Trump understands this and keeps his focus on the immediate boogeymen that can threaten personal security: immigrants and government regulation. Both threaten jobs, personal safety and recreation (gun control). For most of us, by far our main priority is to provide for ourselves and our families and keep them safe and happy.

It is a gut level issue and the Dems are ignoring a key element that could work in their favor: the family, specifically children. People care very deeply about their kids. For as much as people are willing to accept a disappointing lot in life, they all hope that their kids will be in a better situation.

The Dems could make a pretty powerful case that the Republicans are stacking the deck against the average American’s children. Budget deficits, rising health care expenses, under investment in education coupled with the automation of lower skilled jobs will all make it harder for the next generation to succeed.

Except the scion of the wealthy, of course. They can purchase the best education and health care. The deficit-causing tax breaks are skewed in their favor. Access to connections and capital will give them better jobs and chances of success. With fewer rules on their businesses they will be able to more completely exploit resources, employees and their customers.

Basically, the message is: “They are screwing your kids out of a future to give their kids an even better one.” It’s a gut issue and it is a wonder that the Democrats have not picked up on it. Especially when Trump’s kids are the silver spoon poster children.

 

Why Hillary Won’t Go Away

Hillary Clinton continues to be in the news once a week. And, unlike her husband, it is not for humanitarian or charitable reasons. No, Hillary continues to be in the thick of it politically.

The question is why. She is an accomplished policy wonk, but a failure as a politician. Sure she won election as a senator from New York in the afterglow of her husband’s presidency, but that was really his victory, not hers, as he was still president when the election took place.

On her own, she is a political disaster. She lost the race for the 2008 Democratic nomination to Barak Obama. She lost the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump. Both times, she snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Nevertheless, Hillary persists in the political arena (sorry, couldn’t resist). Why? Possibly because her ego won’t let her stand down. Or because Donald Trump keeps bringing her up to deflect from his own issues. Or because the media knows a juicy story and won’t leave her alone.

The biggest reason, however, is that a year after the election the Democrats don’t have any new leaders. Bernie Sanders was never a Democrat in the first place, and quickly moved back to his own path after the election. Nancy Pelosi is a great political operative but is completely tainted politically as a far left liberal. Chuck Schumer is the closest the Dems have to a leader, but he has been in Congress for 35 years and in the Senate for 20 and is old news.

Until the Democrats get some new leaders, the spotlight will default back to Hillary. Which is unfortunate for the Democrats, because she is not doing them any favors.

What The Dems Can’t Figure Out

Met up with some friends who were Democrats. When the conversation turned to politics, the ‘can you believes’ started flowing. “Can you believe what is coming out about Trump’s kids and Russia?”  “Can you believe Sean Spicer just resigned?”

The ‘can you believes’ are almost always followed by the ‘how cans’ and this was no exception. “How can anyone believe/support/vote for/trust Trump?”

Unfortunately for the Democrats, while this is exactly the right question, they just cannot figure out the answer. They feel that Trump supporters must be uneducated/hoodwinked/bigots or worse.

What they cannot figure out is that there are legitimate reasons for supporting Donald Trump. They are actually very similar to the reasons for supporting Bernie Sanders. A lot of Americans feels like they are getting a raw deal and the deck is stacked against them.

They are right.

Income inequality keeps rising in the US, and it seems like the techies, Wall Street and corporate America are taking over.

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were the only candidates really calling this out during the last election campaign. That message still resonates with at least 30% of the country, probably more. And they believe Trump can fix it because he has too much money to care about getting rich anymore (very not true) and he is not afraid to throw verbal bombs in normally reserved Washington to shake things up (very true).

They realize Trump has flaws, but they still see him as the only chance of changing the status quo. Until the Democrats have a message and leaders that resonate with the part of the country being left behind, Trump will remain the only game in town.

The Democrats’ Missing Message

Does the Democratic Party stand for anything other that ‘not Trump’? One has to wonder. Since Donald Trump won the presidency they have lost two special elections. The key point both Dem candidates were campaigning on was simple and negative: reject Trump. They lost.

At least Trump has a positive message: We’re gonna shake things up with that fossilized bunch of do-nothing blowhards in Washington. And while we are at it we’ll fight for the people that have been left behind by technology, gloabalization, environmentalism, etc.

The Democrats? All they seem to be saying is: “Trump a horrible person. It’s amazing that people are stupid enough to support him. He is going to ruin the country.”

Dissing Trump and his supporters is not a party platform. The Democrats need a positive message, one that resonates right in the gut of the people that agree that Washington is broken and who are hard working but being left behind economically. These folks should be the Democrats’ core constituency but they have given them up to the Tea Party and Trump.

Until the Democrats come up with a compelling, gut-grabbing positive message they will not be able to win many elections. It will probably take a change in the Democrats’ leadership away from elites like Nancy Pelosi for this to happen.