Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The Natural Order of Election Results

In the natural order of presidential elections, the top vote-getter in any state is almost always the winning presidential candidate.

Presidential candidates usually receive the highest number of votes since it is the most important office in the land. Next in line is usually the winning governor and then the winning U.S. Senate candidate depending on the competitiveness and intensity of each race. 
In 2016, North Carolina voters turned electoral politics on its head. 
President Donald Trump came in fifth in statewide voting behind Agriculture Secretary Steve Troxler by 136,731 votes; Commissioner of Labor Cheri Berry by 117,000 votes; Sen. Richard Burr and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. He did finish ahead of Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein as well as his opponent Hillary Clinton, who finished 10th in statewide voting. 
Steve Troxler 2,499,362 Secretary of Agriculture 
Cheri Berry 2,479,804 Commissioner of Labor 
Richard Burr 2,395,376 U.S. Senator 
Dan Forest 2,369,876 Lt. Governor 
Donald Trump 2,362,631 President 
Roy Cooper 2,309,157 Governor 
Pat McCrory 2,298,880 Governor 
Josh Stein 2,276,410 Attorney General 
Buck Newton 2,256,025 Attorney General 
Hillary Clinton 2,189,316 President 
Deborah Ross 2,128,165 Senate 
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan received 1,346,481 votes to lead all vote-getters in North Carolina. Jim Martin came in second 138,314 votes behind with 1,208,167 votes to win the Executive MansionSen. Jesse Helms came in third with 1,156,768 votes to defeat two-term Gov. Jim Hunt, who garnered 1,070,488 votes. 
Maybe North Carolinians were turned off by the miasma of negative ads in the 2016 presidential race. Maybe none of the presidential or gubernatorial candidates were as personably likable as Secretary TroxlerCommissioner Berry, Sen. BurrLt. Gov. Forest. 
Maybe President Trump should get his picture pasted on every elevator wall in the state like Cheri Berry has done. 
What does it portend for 2020? 
Perhaps nothing. No voter turnout is exactly like any other turnout in the past. Different percentages of gender and racial groups show up to vote in each election depending on what motivates them from the campaign. Even seemingly insignificant small changes in turnout percentages among womenAfrican Americans or Hispanics have profound effects on the final raw vote for all candidates. 
If turnout comes close to a normal presidential year in North Carolina, Trump reasonably can be expected to out-poll Troxler and perhaps garner well over 2.5 million votes. His coattails, defined as his ability to pull out conservative voters across the state, would be expected to help Republicans down the ballot. 
Can Lt. Gov. Forest defeat Gov. Cooper? 
If everyone who voted for Forest and for Cooper in 2016 voted exactly the same in 2020, Forest will win by 60,719 votes, 50.6% to 49.4%. 
If Trump leadstatewide voting with 2.5 million-plus votes, Forest could possibly increase his 2016 total by at least another 50,000 votes to get more than 2.4 million votes. 
Cooper would have to increase his 2016 vote totals by close to 4% to defeat Forest in that case. That would be especially hard if the top of the Democratic ticket for president is socialist Bernie Sanders or ElizabetWarren, which will deflate turnout from moderate Democrats in the state. It will be difficult even if former VP Joe Biden is at the top of the ticket given his propensity for gaffes and 100% adherence to the failed policies of President Obama which have been magnified by the performance of the economy since Election Day 2016. 
Nothing ever stays the same in politicsNorth Carolina will either revert to the mean in 2016 and have the presidential vote exceed all other vote totals and boost the vote of downballot candidates, or we will be setting a new standard where the secretary of agriculture is more important to North Carolinians than who sits in the White House as commander-in-chief wielding the most powerful executive powers in the world. 

(first published in North State Journal 12/18/19)

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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Socialism Is Supposed to Work Better Than American Capitalism?

Fridays job report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was a head-turner for everyone in the labor force, job-seekers and every politician with any sense at all. It should be a major alarm bell for Democrats and their operatives who insist on denigrating free market capitalism and chasing their tails on the impeachment merry-go-round. 
There were 266,000 new jobs were created in November; experts expected only 166,000 jobs to be created. That includes 41,000 that were solid manufacturing jobs, not flipping-burgers-at-McDonalds jobs. 
The number of jobs created in October and September was revised upward by 41,000 jobs. 
The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, a 50-year low. By contrast, the unemployment rate in socialist countries keeps inching up, not down. Frances unemployment rate is 8.6%; Swedens rate is 6.6% and the Godfather of all socialist disasters, Venezuela, is sporting a 26.4% unemployment rate. 
Does anyone in the United States really want to emulate any of those results? If socialism is so great, how come so many people around the world are not able to find a job? Doesnt the government create enough jobs for them to do, even if it is menial work? 
Percentages don’t tell the whole story; real numbers do. There are 158 million Americans working today, the highest in history. Close to 100 million white Americans are working, while 19.5 million African-Americans are working full-time jobs as well as 28.3 million Hispanic-Americans. There are 10.4 million Asian-Americans working today; only 2.6% of Asian-Americans are unemployed. And 74.5 million female Americans of all races are working today. 
People have watched the total U.S. stock market increase in capitalization by $10 trillion according to the Wilshire 5000 index, up 54% since Election Day 2016. Close to 100 million households out of 130 million total households in America own mutual funds or stock portfolios in personal, IRA or 401(k) accounts that are increasing, not decreasing, for retirement or consumption purposes. 
Not a single Democrat in Congress or the Senate voted for the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 that has contributed heavily to this state of low unemployment and increase in wealth for people who vote. Republicans will run ads against every incumbent Democrat for the next year reminding voters that they had nothing to do with this return of prosperity they are enjoying. 
5.8 million Americans are unemployed. Roughly 7 million jobs are unfilled in America today. There is no shortage of jobs available. There are not enough properly trained people with specific skills looking for work to fill those jobs.  
Real wages went up 3.5% in November. Although most of the growth in wages is tied to educational and trained technical skills ability, it is still a sign of growth and job opportunity in the American economy regardless of the dystopian view of America put out by the dour Marxian view of the economy by socialist Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  
If you watch MSNBC or CNN all day long, you would be led to believe these are the worst of times in the United States. Nothing could be further from the truth based on these recent economic numbers. 
Thankfully, most normal people dont bingewatch cable news shows. Out of 350 million people, only an average of 5 million people, or 2.5% of the entire population, watch any cable news shows on any given evening: 2.4 million viewers for FOX News; MSNBC at 1.5 million and CNN at 1 million. 
They are usually the same viewers every single night. 
Close to 200 million adults are doing important things after work such as reading or playing with their kids, going to the Y to get some exercisegoing to church, or less important things such as watching Dancing With The Stars or NFL football. They are not watching the latest on the impeachment hearings or propaganda from either side. 
“Are you better off now than you were in 2016?”  Millions of voters are going to have a tough time saying no. 
(first published in North State Journal 12/11/19)
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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Can Mayor Bloomberg "Buy The Presidency"?

"Donald Trump Didn't Spend Enough of His Own Money
to Win the White House. I will show him!"
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are screaming that former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is trying to buy the Presidency! 
Go ahead,” they should say. Make my day.” 
Seasoned political people know campaigns with the most money win 87% of the time. That applies to national, statewide, congressional, state legislative and municipal races across the country. 
What is less well-known is that under 24% of wealthy candidates who fund their own campaigns ever win. In 2016, that number was a paltry 12.5%. 
Donald Trump could have bankrolled his entire 2016 presidential campaign by himself. Hgoofed all the major networks into giving him $5 billion in free advertising instead. President Trump spent $5 per vote, the lowest amount of money per vote received by a winning presidential candidate in modern campaign history. 
Hillary Clinton spent almost twice as much, over $9 per vote, and lost. 
What gives? Why doesnt every rich person who pours their personal wealth into a campaign win if 87% of the time the campaign with the most money wins? 
First, most self-funders are new to electoral politics. They think because they are wealthy, they can take their talents from the private sector and instantly be successful in the maelstrom of politics. 
Nothing could be further from the truth. Almost all newcomers who run for office lose the first time out. George Washington lost his first race for the Virginia House of Burgesses because he failed to spend the most money on alcohol on election day for his supporters. So did James Madison. 
Think of it as Campaign Finance, 18th Century-Style. 
Second, the candidate has to be likableThird, the rich person has to connect with average folks and not be distant, aloof and separated from the voters. Fourth, the rich person has to run a campaign based on issues people care about, such as their job and quality education for their children 
Most successful self-funding businessmen who enter politics want to talk about budgets, disintermediation and foreign policy, none of which are on the average voters Top 50 list. 
The most important reason why self-funders lose is that rich people who spend millions of their own money to win a campaign give off political pheromones to registered voters that scream: I DONT NEED YOUR MONEY AND I DONT CARE WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY! 
Average voters dont like rich people lording their wealth over them. They believe rich people are insulated from the stresses and agonies of life regular people go through daily. 
One group of people do love self-funders, however: political consultants. A general consultant can make 15% off ad buys plus millions for direct mail and social media placements. Tapping into one source of big wealth such as Bloombergs is far easier than calling thousands of people who are limited to $2,800 contributions by current campaign laws. 
Who wouldnt want to make 15% off Bloombergs billions? 
Former GOP political consultant Lee Atwater, God rest his soul, explained the dilemma for self-funders this way: I would rather get $1 from 100,000 people than $100,000 from the candidate. If a person can only contribute $1 to any campaign, they are not going to vote for anyone else because that $1 means something to that voter. Money is fungible; it can come from anywhere. Votes cant. They have to come from registered voters in your district or state. That is what I am after; votes, not just money. 
On the other hand, Lee was also fond of quoting former Speaker of the California State Assembly Jesse Unruh, who said: Money is the mothers milk of politics. 
Which it is. Eighty-seven percent of the time, it produces a victory. However, chances are very high that Bloomberg may blow $1 billion of his personal wealth and not even secure the Democratic nomination. 
When Bloomberg loses — or Tom Steyer, for that matter — consider their personal investment in their campaigns an economic stimulus package. To their campaign handlers and to the TV stations who will love their money. 

(first published in North State Journal 12/4/19)

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