Sunday, June 10, 2018

Dick Morris, Election Strategy, and 2018

Dick Morris, a former Clinton appointee now on the Trump Train, submitted that the Republican Congressional majority needs to pivot from focusing on the strong economy and talk about the smaller legislative victories which they have accomplished in the last 18 months.

Dick Morris

He posted on Breitbart about the advice he had given to then President Clinton to help Democrats hold onto their majority:

My survey came to an odd conclusion that should be heeded by Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell as they prepare for their own midterms.

President Clinton insisted that his party should keep Congress because he had created eight million new jobs, cut the federal deficit by $600 billion, and achieved the lowest combined rates of inflation and unemployment in twenty-five years. The economic statistics of the day confirmed these facts.

No they didn't. The economy started roaring back into power when Clinton had to work with strong Republican majorities post 1994. What was probably helping the economy then was the very low price of oil. It had plummeted to around $20 a barrel, most likely in the wake of the economic recession which followed because of Bush 41's tax hikes.

But my survey revealed that this message would not work in the 1994 elections. Many voters did not believe the president and others refused to attribute the achievements to his leadership, much less that of his partisans in Congress.

There wasn't much of an economic gain taking place in the early 1990s.

What was happening in Congress which soured voters on the Democrats and brought in a massive wave of Republicans?

1. Massive corruption scandals. There was check-kiting, Congressmen were writing themselves big money, and those checks bounced. After 40 years of Democratic rule in the House of Representatives, the Democratic Majority had gotten way too comfortable with pilfering the public purse for their own gain.

2. Democrats divided into two different factions. Clinton had billed himself as a "New Democrat" going into Election 1992. The former Governor of Arkansas had accomplished a rarity in Presidential politics: ousting an incumbent President. 

Clinton wanted to governor as a hard-core liberal once in office, and the Southern Democrats, who were by and large conservative and worked closely with President Reagan on tax cuts and and military responses to the the Soviet Union.

3. Hillarycare. The Democrats were pushing a massive nationalization of health care, and the voter didn't want it. 

One video features Hillary Clinton facing vocal booing from one audience as she pushes the government program.

Notice that she was giving a stump speech in Seattle at the time, too: not exactly a conservative enclave even then.

Morris suggests that the Republican majority should talk about the following:

However, the survey did offer a way to win the election. Voters did agree that Clinton and his party had accomplished many things of lesser magnitude including the passage of family and medical leave, the confirmation of good Supreme Court justices, the creation of Americorps – a domestic equivalent of the Peace Corps, strengthened sentences for crime, and cutting the size of the federal workforce. These and other “bite size” achievements, the poll found, were good enough to let Clinton keep control of Congress.

The Republicans running for US Senate this cycle should talk how they will help President Trump confirm excellent, constitutional conservative justices to replace the current cadre of elderly, ailing judges on the highest court. Word has it that Justice Anthony Kennedy will be stepping down soon. Justice Sotomayor isn't in the strongest health, either, having suffered a recent arm injury. She may retire sooner than expected.

The Trump administration has already maintained the conservative shape of the court with Neil Gorsuch. With liberal-leaning Kennedy removed,

And so, now, the Republican Congress can claim credit for many accomplishments of lesser magnitude including giving terminally ill patients the right to try experimental medicines, eliminating the requirement of buying health insurance, funding of the military, appointment of Gorsuch to the Court, increased tariffs to force fair trade, tearing up the Iran deal and many others. Voters will believe that Trump has accomplished these things and are likely to vote to keep Republicans in power as a result.

The Republican incumbents should make lots of noise about the repeal of the individual mandate, and how they want to work with the President for the next cycle to get rid of the rest of the terrible law. In fact, the GOP Congressional majority should work hard during the August recess to repeal the rest of the Obamacare mess.

Yes, I think that Republicans should focus on many of their electoral successes, and they need to pay close attention and give stronger praise for President Trump's incredible leadership. I don't think that Republicans should ignore or downplay the incredibly strong economy, though. President Trump's aggressive regulatory rollback, coupled with unprecedented plunges in unemployment for black and Hispanic voters, is a huge with for the Republican majority. The tax reform legislation has been a comprehensive victory, too.

Final Reflection

House GOP incumbents and new candidates must focus on the plenary victories of the President as well as the legislation which they have passed:

1. VA Choice
2. Right-to-Try
3. Dodd-Frank Rollback
4. Tax Reform

They should talk about the appointment of Neil Gorsuch and then share about the massive obstruction of the Democratic Party against every reasonable reform available.

Then Republicans should talk about how Democrats champion MS-13, illegal aliens, and welfarism. They could even share about the #MeToo controversies which have enveloped more Democrats than Republicans.

Last of all, they should remind voters that San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi will become Speaker of the House in November if Democrats take back the House. She will put illegal aliens first, and she has promised to raise taxes rather than lower them.

What more do Republicans need to do? Besides, they are going into an election cycle in which the voter turnout will be significantly lower than in 2016. In California, the voter turnout was lower than in 2014, and that turnout was considerably lower.

Republicans need to keep fighting for President Trump's MAGA agenda. Paul Ryan needs to step down right away, too, since he's a lame-duck Speaker more interested in pushing cheap labor, bad trade deals, and open borders rather than ensuring secure borders, good trade, American First policies.

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