Category Archives: 2016 Presidential Election

Maryland Republican Party Ashamed of Trump

The relationship between Donald Trump and the Maryland Republican Party is the love that dare not speak its name. Donald Trump is all but an unperson on the Maryland Republican Party twitter account, @mdreps.

The Maryland GOP would rather pretend their presidential nominee doesn’t exist. @mdreps hasn’t mentioned Donald Trump since the Republican Convention. Indeed, “Trump” has appeared a mere five times @mdreps since the Maryland Republican Primary, including the following tweet on primary night:


Next up, from the Republican salad days:


Video received from a Trump voter in honor of this tweet:

The following is the only tweet in which the Maryland Republican Party expresses direct approval of Trump:


Though Trump gets mentioned in the next tweet only in the cited article description, it’s worth a mention if only because the Maryland Republican Party’s own words, “It’s about ideas, not race,” are as Orwellian as they come.


The next day they retweeted an innocuous shout out to the Republican delegation in Cleveland that copied Trump.

In short, you’d never guess that the a thumping majority of Maryland Republicans support Donald Trump.  There is not one picture. No tweets proudly touting his latest utterance.

I imagine some Republicans will claim they’re just too focused on state issues to mention Trump. Except that you may’ve noticed that their logo is a “Stop Hillary” sign. Maryland Republicans also have no problem using @mdreps to attack Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.

The lack of Trump mentions is really a good sign. Shame is the right emotion if Donald Trump is your party’s nominee. Let’s hope the second stage of grief for the party entails repudiation.



Morella Endorses Clinton

Unlike Trump enablers Senate Candidate Kathy Szeliga or Rep. Andy Harris (R-1), former Rep. Connie Morella (R-8) prefers to support the presidential candidate who isn’t a raging racist narcissist willing to say anything to attract higher ratings. In short, Connie Morella (R-08) has endorsed Hillary Clinton:

Hillary Clinton has the knowledge, the experience, and the commitment to lead our country as president and Commander in Chief.  She will reach out to every segment of our society to move our country forward.  I have seen her work across the aisle to get things done and I know her lifelong commitment to families and children. Unlike her opponent, she will not divide, bully, or dismiss us.  She is the right choice in this election and I wholeheartedly support her – and urge my fellow Republicans to look at the choice before them and do the same.


No, Hillary is Not the “Weakest Democratic Nominee”

Can we please dispense with the horsepucky même that Hillary Clinton is theweakest Democratic nominee” and Donald Trump is theonlyRepublican that Clinton could beat?

Hillary Clinton and, for that matter, the Democratic Party have strengths that would come into play against any Republican candidate. Any Republican who thinks that their party’s weaknesses end with Trump is in denial. But today I focus on Clinton.

You Cannot Knock this Woman Down.

When Hillary Clinton ran for the Senate in 2000, she endured endless brutal direct questioning about the Monica Lewinsky scandal and her marriage. For a time, she trailed Republican Rick Lazio in the polls. Anyone who came through that is not going to be knocked down by the likes of her blowhard opponent.

Hard Working and Knowledgeable

During the 2000 campaign, Clinton visited town after town in upstate New York. Her understanding of not just the general problems of the region but of specific issues in each town surprised people, as did her sustained interest. Clinton did far better than usual by Democrats there.

Recent Deft Political Moves

So much criticism has surrounded Hillary Clinton that it is easy to miss some of her best political moves. In particular, she has somehow managed to reach out to the left of her party and the center of the electorate simultaneously–gymnastic skills unlikely to be seen at the upcoming Olympiad.

Handling Sanders

Clinton’s handling of Sanders showed who is the shrewd deal maker in this election. Facing unremitting intense criticism from hardline Bernie supporters and Bernie’s own reluctance to endorse her, Clinton kept her cool and didn’t look petulant or lash out.

Instead, she worked hard to bring Bernie Sanders and his supporters into the tent. Behind the scenes, she courted Sanders and their key staffers built a strong relationship. Her major concessions on the platform were either changes that the electorate will like–raising the minimum wage–or do not necessarily care about or understand very well–single payer health care.

While a statement of party principles and policy, the platform now serves mainly as a potential source of embarrassment for nominees. John McCain disowned the GOP platform in 2008. In the end, platforms don’t matter much when they meet the political reality of passing legislation. Anyone remember either the Clinton or the Obama healthcare plans from 2008?

Picking Kaine

Clinton named Kaine as her veep nominee, despite intense pressure to choose someone who was either more left wing, African American, Latino, or a woman. But Kaine’s excellent roll out mostly overrode those objections.

Smart and strong. Candidates look more presidential when they don’t cave and when they make a good decision. Most critically, Kaine is ready to step into the presidency if necessary–the key qualification for a vice president and voters know it. Purist grumbling aside, Kaine is a solid liberal.

Politically, Clinton needs to motivate African American, Asian American and Latino voters but she didn’t need a veep choice to do it. The Obamas are all in for Clinton–a big help among African Americans. No one doubts that Trump will stimulate members of three groups to vote.

The swing vote is largely about whites this year. Like Biden, Kaine helps here. Every time another reporter calls Kaine the “dad jeans” of politics, I’m sure somewhere Clinton is smiling. It’s a direct pitch to the swingy suburbanite vote. Kaine also has extremely strong ties to the African-American and Latino communities in his state.

Staying Out of the Way

One of the cardinal rules of politics is to stay out of way when your opponent is in the process of destroying himself. Leaving aside the astonishingly bad idea of going on FOX with Chris Wallace, a seasoned reporter on a hostile network, Clinton has not dominated or tried to dominate the news cycle over the past few days, allowing Trump to implode with some nice assists from the Khan family, a crying baby and himself.

Organized and Decisive

The Democratic Convention was a well-organized affair that provided a nice reintroduction to Clinton and the Democrats. When the Wasserman Schultz scandal broke, the campaign dealt with it decisively so it didn’t dominate the media for days like Melania Trump’s speech. Smart.

Clinton is also not taking voter turnout for granted. Along with a variety of organizations, the campaign is working hard to do the less flashy job of turning out the core Democratic vote, especially among African Americans and Latinos.

Making a Weakness a Strength

Hillary Clinton is not a great speaker. Maybe it results from gender bias but I can’t help but notice that Michelle Obama gave a speech for the ages at the same convention. Even if it is unfair, it just is and complaining looks whiny (see Trump at any given moment).

I loved how Clinton turned it around and made the case that having a grind as president might not be the worst thing in the world when it’s time to make decisions even if eloquence is not her strength. She drew a useful contrast with her domineering opponent.

Women win executive posts at low rates precisely because they are unfairly stereotyped as people who are fair and handle process well but are not leaders. Yet Clinton managed to communicate that she cares more without looking less commanding in spite of her flat style.

Put another way, Clinton presented herself as calm and caring but Trump as an overly emotional bully. No mean feat for the author of “It Takes a Village” to turn the tables on the “author” of “The Art of the Deal.”


Yup, Republicans can keep believing that they would win if only they had nominated someone else. That bit of denial would be a fine start toward giving Hillary Clinton a second term.


Why Trump Will Lose, Part IV: Jewish Voters

Previously, I’ve focused on the rising Latino vote but Donald Trump has major problems with another demographic: Jewish voters.

Jews form significant populations in battleground states: “There are 636,000 Jews in Florida, 100,000 Jews in Ohio, 92,000 in Colorado, 77,000 in Virginia, 74,000 in Nevada.”

Jews also tend to punch above their weight due to high voter turnout. For example, according to the American Jewish Population Project, Jews form 3.4% of adults in Florida. But the exit poll indicates that Jews formed 5% of the Florida electorate in 2012. The Jewish population skews older and educated–both strong predictors of voter turnout.

Trump’s Anti-Semitism

Regrettably, this is one of those areas where there is so much to say and so little time. Trump has a very consistent track record of invoking anti-Semitic tropes.

Before the Republican Jewish Coalition, Trump stated “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money” followed later by “That’s why you don’t want to give me money. But that’s OK. You want to control your own politician.”

Most recently, Trump once again invoked the idea of Jews using money to control politicians with this tweet:


A Star of David over a pile of money is not exactly the last word in subtle. Trump later claimed that it is a “sheriff’s star” except that Trump wants us to believe that he was comparing Clinton to . . . a sheriff? Like so many Trump explanations, it fails the “don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining” test.

Then, of course, there is the little problem that the tweet was directly copied from a white supremacist website. Which is where, of course, all campaigns source their material.

As with so many other groups, Trump’s anti-Semitic obsession about Jews and money goes way back. Twenty-five years ago, he was quoted as saying:

Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day. Those are the kind of people I want counting my money. No one else.

He denigrated Jews and Blacks together, so this one was a twofer. Way to go, Donald!

Jews Skew Liberal–And Trump Will Even Lose Conservative Jews

Nationally, Jews are far more Democratic and liberal than the electorate at large. According to a detailed Pew survey, 70% of Jews are Democrats or lean Democratic compared to just 22% who are Republican or lean Republican. While 49% of Jews say they’re liberal, just 19% claim to be conservative. Trump’s nativist populism seems designed to turn off liberal Jews.

The only subgroup of the Jewish population that is more conservative than liberal are Orthodox Jews (54-12). Ultra-Orthodox Jews being especially conservative (64-7) compared to Modern Orthodox Jews (41-22). However, only 10% of American Jews are Orthodox and only 6% are Ultra Orthodox.

But Trump is putting in maximum effort to alienate them through his statements on Israel. As regards to the Israeli-Palestinian debate, Trump said “Let me be sort of a neutral guy” in response to a question about whose fault it is that the conflict has continued. Equally tellingly, when he discusses the conflict, he sees it entirely from the perspective of making a deal and doesn’t mention Israeli security.

While American Jews overall favor a two-state solution for Israel by 61-33, Orthodox Jewish opinion is 30-61. So Trump’s proclaimed neutrality and eagerness to make a deal goes against the grain of conservative Jewish public opinion. In contrast, as a senator from New York, Hillary Clinton developed a reputation as a steadfast supporter of Israel.

Even conservative Republican Jews acknowledge that Trump just isn’t the guy to win over the Jewish vote. As Noam Neusner, a former speechwriter for George Bush said: “Trump is just anathema to many Jews, including Jewish conservatives.”

A prominent Jewish Republican donor who won’t vote for him said:

He espouses things that are offensive to my Jewish sensibilities and values, like precluding an entire religious group from entering the country, like demeaning women, like demeaning minorities, like demeaning ethnic groups, like demeaning the disabled, like belittling war veterans. . . . So I just find him to be an offensive individual. … He knows nothing about foreign policy, but that hasn’t stopped him from talking about it.

As Conservative Michael Goldfarb explains, Jews aren’t real thrilled about anti-Semitic enthusiasm for Trump:

His most rabid supporters enjoy photoshopping Jewish reporters into concentration camp scenes and ranting about Jewish control of the media and the banks. . . . Trump’s energized the anti-Semites and he shows no interest in disabusing them of the idea that he’s their man. … Until and unless he does, he probably underperforms with the Jews.

No wonder the ADL expresses concern about the guy.

As with so many other minorities, Obama did very well among Jewish voters but there is potential for even further growth. For example, the 2012 exit poll and the Republican Jewish Coalition survey indicate that 66% of Florida Jewish voters cast ballots for Obama in 2012 as compared to 30% for Romney–the small remainder wouldn’t say or voted for other candidates. (The national exit poll numbers were 69-30.)

Surveys done earlier in the 2016 campaign–before the infamous Jewish Star tweet–already indicated that Jews “overwhelmingly view of Donald Trump negatively” and lower levels of Jewish support for Donald Trump than Mitt Romney. Expect Hillary to run up the Jewish vote in swing states.


Why Trump Will Lose, Pt. III: The Future is Now

Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen how Republicans fear and loathe America’s diverse future, while Democrats embrace it. Four years ago, the Republicans issued a report arguing that they needed to make their peace with immigrants or continue riding the waves to political oblivion. Bad news for the Republicans: the future is now.

Here is the estimated Latino vote for President nationally and in selected states in 2012. The source is an election eve poll from Latino Decisions, the nation’s premier pollster of Latino voters:

LD by StatePew reports that the Latino electorate will by 17% bigger in 2016 than in 2012. In concrete terms, this means that there will be 3.97 million more eligible Latino voters. This exceeds the 3.22 million increase in the much larger white population. So the Republican political imperative to grab a higher share of the Latino vote only continues to grow.

Just in case you missed it, Trump went after immigrants not just from Mexico, source of roughly 60% of Latino immigrants, but also all of Latin America in his opening announcement:

Again, he has not shied away from demonizing immigrants throughout the campaign. His infamous wall that Mexico will pay for (does he know we already have walls along much of the border?) is his one concrete policy proposal. Trump’s speech at the RNC despicably singled out the highly vulnerable population of 11 million undocumented immigrants as the source of American crime:

Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens. . . .

One such border-crosser was released and made his way to Nebraska. There, he ended the life of an innocent young girl named Sarah Root. She was 21 years-old, and was killed the day after graduating from college with a 4.0 Grade Point Average. Her killer was then released a second time, and he is now a fugitive from the law.

I’ve met Sarah’s beautiful family. But to this Administration, their amazing daughter was just one more American life that wasn’t worth protecting. One more child to sacrifice on the altar of open borders. What about our economy?

As it turns out, immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than other Americans. For some reason, undocumented immigrants would rather avoid the authorities. Go figure.

These attacks on immigrants are particularly damaging because so many Latinos live in mixed status families. Even Latinos who don’t see these tactics as demonization of them as a group. We’ve seen the political effect of this in the past.

The Pete Wilson Effect

When Republican California Gov. Pete Wilson ran this ad attacking immigrants sneaking over the border and supported anti-immigrant Proposition 187, the share of Latinos newly registering as Republicans dropped dramatically:

For those who don’t remember the days of yore, California voted Republican in every presidential election from 1968 through 1988. Now, it is a safe Democratic state and Republicans don’t even bother. Pete Wilson’s tactics rendered the largest state in the Union a noncompetitive Democratic bastion.

The Power of the Latino Vote

Latino Decisions has helpfully outlined just how bleak the demographics are for Republicans in a series of figures that estimate the share of the Latino vote that Trump would need to win in 2016. The first shows the worst case for the Republicans, as it assumes that turnout rates among all demographic groups remain unchanged from 2012 and that support rates among non-Latino groups for the Republicans also remain the same.

LDSlide1Trump would need 52% of the Latino vote–far higher than the share of the Latino vote than George W. Bush, who was pro-immigration reform and spoke positively of Latinos, received. In the words of George H.W. Bush and Dana Carvey, he’s not gonna do it:

Republicans, however, have hopes that the electorate will vote differently than 2012. In Scenario 2, Latino Decisions looks at the share of the Latino vote that Trump will need assuming that African-American turnout and Democratic support declines to pre-Obama levels:

LDSlide2Trump would still need 47% of the Latino vote. Cue laugh track.

Latino Decisions Scenario 3 is the most hopeful for Trumpistas. In addition to a decline in black turnout and Democratic support, it assumes that the Latino vote grows at a slower rate than expected and that whites vote as solidly for Trump in 2016 as they did for Republicans in the banner midterm election of 2014:

LD Slide 3Even under this optimistic scenario, Republicans still need 42% of the vote. Mitt Romney got just 23%. Anyone wanna bet that Tweety McOrange is going to do better than Mittens?


Why Trump Will Lose, Pt. II

Unlike Asian Americans, so many pixels have already been spilled on the hate-hate relationship between Trump and Latinos. Today’s post attempts to take a deeper dive into why Trump’s total alienation from Latinos dooms his presidential bid in Florida.

Florida was long viewed as very safe Republican turf before it morphed into the ultimate swing state in 2000. Long term trends combined with Trump’s anti-Latino vitriol will heave the state more strongly towards Team Blue.

Cuban Americans

Anti-Communist Cuban voters have long provided crucial support to Florida’s Republican Party. Those days, however, are rapidly coming to an end, as this chart from Pew shows:


Why is this happening? For a start, young Cuban Americans are much more Democratic than their elders. In contrast to those who fled the Castro dictatorship in the 1960s, young people and more recent arrivals take a more nuanced view of relations with Cuba. Two-thirds under age 49 now oppose the American embargo and Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba has net support of +20 among Cuban Americans of all ages.

Trump is also incredibly unpopular among Cuban Americans:

Donald Trump is the catalyst who could force a decisive break between Miami-Dade County’s influential Cuban-American voters and the Republican Party, a new poll has found.

Local Cuban Americans dislike Trump so much — and are increasingly so accepting of renewed U.S.-Cuba ties pushed by Democratic President Barack Obama — that Trump’s likely presidential nomination might accentuate the voters’ political shift away from the GOP, according to the survey shared with the Miami Herald and conducted by Dario Moreno, a Coral Gables pollster and a Florida International University associate politics professor.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents supported Trump, a number that is still higher than the 31 percent who backed Clinton — but also “the lowest in history that any potential Republican candidate polls among this traditionally loyal demographic,” according to Moreno.

By the way, Moreno is the demographic–he’s a Republican Cuban American who won’t vote for Trump.

Puerto Ricans

Beyond the strong Democratic trend among Cuban Americans, the share of Cuban Americans among all Latinos has been declining at the expense of much more Democratic Latino groups. Indeed, Cuban Americans now form less than one-third of Florida Latinos:

FL Latinos 2The share of Puerto Ricans has risen rapidly with many settling in the Orlando area. Due to the economic crisis on the island, a stunning 9.1% of its residents have left for the mainland from 2005 to 2015. Florida’s Puerto Rican population now rivals New York’s.

Puerto Ricans are American citizens and can vote in presidential elections the moment they move to the mainland. And they are an extremely Democratic constituency, as are the other non-Cuban Latinos in Florida.

The Overall Impact

Pew’s statistics also reveal that share of Democrats has been rising more broadly due to the shift among Cuban Americans and the rise of other Democratic-leaning Latino constituencies:

FL Latinos1

On the whole, Florida Latinos really don’t like Donald Trump. Among the entire group, Latino Decisions reports that 84% have an unfavorable view of the Donald, as compared to just 12% who like the orange guy with the club in Palm Beach.

Overall Impact

Latino Decisions estimates that Trump needs 47% of the Latino vote to carry Florida:


Does anyone think Trump is going to get anywhere near this figure? Even if his share of the white vote rises, strong Latino support gives Clinton a nice cushion.


Why Trump Will Lose: Part I

Right now, the world is headed into full panic mode because the four post-Republican Convention polls released today show Trump up by an average of 2.5 points. I can’t say I blame people for panicking. The very idea that Trump could become president is a manifest danger to the country.

Democrats are nonetheless well-positioned to win this election based on fundamental trends that Trump shows no sign of defying despite his unconventional campaign of fear and outright lies via Twitter and the free media.

Today, I focus on Asian American voters, who receive little media attention despite being a very fast growing part of the electorate and dramatic shifts in their partisan preferences.

While Trump focuses on Latinos crossing the Rio Grande, even though more now head south than north, Asian Americans became the largest immigrant group in America around 2009, as this graph from the Pew Research Center shows:


Due to starting from a small base, Asian Americans are a very fast growing component of the electorate. Despite the barriers of citizenship and low turnout rates, Asian Americans are quickly becoming a electoral “force,” as this graph from polling firm Asian American Decisions (part of the Latino Decisions group) reveals:

AA Share of Electorate

The other fast-growing portion of the electorate is Latino voters, while the share of whites shrink in each presidential election.

It has attracted almost virtually no public notice but Asian Americans have shifted their voting behavior dramatically since 1992. Asian Americans voted strongly Republican 24 years ago but have voted more Democratic in every election since, shifting from roughly 30% to over 70% Democratic.


No one thinks this election will alter the trend. Indeed, it will reinforce it. The same virulent anti-immigrant rhetoric that is now the hallmark of the Trump campaign and the Republican Party alienates Asian Americans just like it does Latinos. Recall Jeb Bush’s infamous explanation that his attack on “anchor babies” was directed at Asians, not Latinos:

It’s hardly limited to Jeb Bush with Trump’s attacks on China and Japan accompanied by his imitations of devious, broken English speaking Asian businessmen:

Trump likes to attack Indian call centers as part of his anti-Asian spiel, which contrasts directly with President Obama’s deepening of American relations with India, a large and rising power:

Trump has also attacked South Korea on trade and for freeloading off of America’s military:

As we now know, these aren’t oopsy-daisies but part of Trump’s longstanding pattern and deliberate campaign choice.

Weak support for Trump among college-educated Americans will only reinforce this trend. While education levels vary dramatically among Asian American individuals and by national origin, Pew reported in 2010 that a higher share of Asian Americans were either in college or had received a college degree than for any other racial group.


1. Asian Americans will once again make up a higher share of the electorate than in the last presidential election. Pew reports that the share of Asian American voters will be up by 16% compared to 2012, as compared to just 2% for whites.

2. The unrelenting Republican attacks on immigrants and trade with Asian countries will likely result in record Democratic support, the continuation of a steady trend over the past two decades.

Looking to the future, George Will observes that Asian Americans could help turn Texas blue sooner than realized.


Kefalas Calls for Pence “to Show that he is accepting of all Americans — including LGBT Americans”

Republican Chrys Kefalas outlines just how extreme Gov. Mike Pence is on LGBT rights in an excellent column in the Washington Post:

During his public career, Pence has been an outspoken opponent of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens. In Congress, he opposed efforts to encourage foreign governments to decriminalize homosexuality and sought to block the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. As a governor, he stood against not only marriage equality, but civil unions as well. He also opposed a law prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace and signed one opening the door to wide-ranging discrimination against these residents of his own state under the guise of religious liberty.

On their own, such actions would signal that Pence would work to reverse the progress that has been made and stand in the way of efforts to advance the equal dignity and opportunity of all Americans, efforts which so many other Republicans fully support. But it is his past support for, and failure to repudiate, the heinous practice of conversion, or reparative, “therapy” that raises an even more disturbing concern: Pence doesn’t just seem to disagree with advocates for equal rights on issues of law. His record suggests that he personally believes LGBT people are abnormal and unworthy of the equal protection of the law.

As a candidate for Congress, Pence went so far as to endorse a proposal to divert money from a program to help those with HIV/AIDS to organizations “which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

Bravely, Kefalas explains why he knows how bad conversion “therapy” can be:

For almost nine months before my 30th birthday, I had the relationships that I most valued questioned and my life demeaned by the use of techniques, including shock therapy, with no basis in science or medicine.

Kefalas is not some liberal bringing the news. Beyond working in the Ehrlich administration and for the National Association of Manufacturers, he just finished a highly credible, if unsuccessful, bid for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination. In his own words, he supports the “conservative principles that make America exceptional: free enterprise, personal freedom, equal opportunity and fiscal responsibility.”

Indeed, Chrys is typically American is so many ways. Being gay is a normal, integrated part of his life. On an average Facebook day, Chrys is likely to tout his family’s restaurant, his pride in his Greek heritage (My Big Fat Greek Wedding has nothing on Chrys) and what’s going on at work. And yes, he may well mention the guy he loves too. Why any of this is a threat to America escapes a fast growing majority of Americans.

Republicans need to listen to this guy if they want any hope of saving their party. From a purely practical political perspective, Pence is way behind the curve. A majority of Americans now support marriage equality. For that matter, a majority of young Republicans support marriage equality. Never mind conversion therapy, the “go ahead an hate your neighbor” agenda just doesn’t work anymore.

More importantly, any effort to reconstruct a new positive and moral agenda from the wreckage that is the formerly Grand Old Party will require a focus on freedom. Accepting that government should not legislate against LGBT Americans would be a good start.