Views on the News

Views on the News*

August 25, 2018


With 80 days to go before the midterm elections, the conventional wisdom is that the Republicans will be hard-pressed to hold their majority in the House.  The generic ballot is against them, Donald Trump’s job approval rating isn’t where Republicans would like it to be, and midterms are historically difficult for the incumbent president’s party, but all the wind is not in Republicans’ faces.  There are countervailing trends at work including these eight:

·    Critics of the president may still be underestimating the strength of the Trump movement, as they did in 2016.  Trump rallies are still standing room only, with lines out the door. The GOP is fully behind the president, whose his approval rating is about 85% among his base. His support has boosted voter turnout. 

·    Trump is a stronger candidate than he was in 2016.  Despite the pummeling he takes in the press, Donald Trump is more popular today than he was on Election Day 2016. 

·    With a shove from progressives with 2020 presidential ambitions, the Democrat Party has veered left in the 2018 season primary season.  Universal health care, free college tuition, and a guaranteed basic income may play well in some Democrat primaries, but there’s little evidence that this will appeal to independent voters. 

·    “Wave” elections don’t usually correspondent to a humming economy and low unemployment rates.  Historically, voters have been reluctant to punish the party in power when the economy is this strong. 

·    President Trump has expanded the Republican voter base.  He appears to have brought millions of rural white voters previously disillusioned with the GOP back into the fold.  He also is growing his job approval rating among African-Americans and Hispanics.  Low unemployment, rising wages and better job opportunities do make a difference with working-class voters of all stripes. 

·    The Republican Party’s grassroots network is underrated and almost all of these elected officials are now out campaigning for the Republican ticket.  The RNC is making substantial disbursements to key state party committees, which send out mail, make television commercials and help local candidates. 

·    There have been 10 special elections where Republicans were defending a House or Senate seat and the Republicans won eight of them.  Special elections are not a strong indicator for a general election because they are open seats held at unusual times with heavy party involvement. 

·    The cultural chasm remains between the national Democrat Party leaders and the key part of their coalition once known as “Reagan Democrats.”  These voters, now known as Trump Democrats, helped vault Trump to victory in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan.  Slightly left of center on economic issues, these voters are blue-collar, rural, patriotic, and law-and-order-oriented.  These Trump supporters do not regret their votes.

All of these factors indicate that The Republicans will once again surprise the clueless Democrats when the so called “Blue Wave” turns into a blue flush!

(“Headwinds Facing GOP Might Not Be So Strong” by Adela Malpass dated August 18, 2018 published by Real Clear Politics at https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2018/08/18/headwinds_facing_gop_might_not_be_so_strong_137835.html )

The biggest news story is the booming economy bringing rising wages and increased job opportunities across the board, which is a monumental achievement of the Trump White House.  The second biggest news item is that President Trump’s approval ratings have held steady as a rock, especially among Republicans.  There is a ferocity among his followers that does not attach in this era to any other political figure, and for that we can credit, at least in part, the media.  The worse their attacks on the president become, the more steadfast his support.  The third biggest story is that many GOP candidates appear oblivious to both these themes.  Many Republicans running for office appear embarrassed by the economic power unleashed by lower tax rates and deregulation; it’s almost as though they don’t understand what is happening.  These reluctant Republicans have allowed Nancy Pelosi and her colleagues to set the narrative about the GOP tax cuts and the buoyant economy.  Democrats began lying about the GOP tax bill before it was even written, with Chuck Schumer et al initially saying that it would not benefit middle-class workers. When numerous analyses indicated that claim was flat-out wrong, and as Americans discovered the savings in their paychecks, their tune changed, slightly.  Democrats are hoping the politics of envy will override relief that jobs are suddenly plentiful and that consumer optimism is off the charts, for the first time in a decade.  Midterm elections are always about turnout.  Trump, and Trump alone in many districts, will drive GOP turnout.  For the past year, Democrats have hoped that anti-Trump sentiment would translate to a Blue Wave, giving them the 24 seats needed to flip control of the House of Representatives and maybe even gaining an advantage in the Senate.  They can cite history; almost always the party in the White House leaks power in the midterms.  Republican candidates and strategists anguish over President Trump’s popularity and dither over whether to back him.  Democrats are counting on anti-Trump fever to drive their voters to the polls.  Since the party has yet to present a platform that excites Americans, they are relying on their constituents to vote against Donald Trump, which for many, that will be enough.  It is a risky strategy, especially since a number of Democrats’ core constituents appear tilting ever so slightly in Trump’s direction.  African-American support for the president has increased, according to a variety of polls, as has his approval ratings among Hispanics.  Both those groups, most likely, appreciate the better job opportunities they see, and their rising wages.  President Trump will doubtless campaign relentlessly between now and November, and candidates would do well to ask for his support highlighting the economy, as the biggest story of the year, for all Americans. 

(“Republican candidates in 2018 should be talking about one thing, and one thing alone” by Liz Peek dated August 20, 2018 published by Fox News at http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/08/20/liz-peek-republican-candidates-in-2018-should-be-talking-about-one-thing-and-one-thing-alone.html )


One reason Donald Trump won the presidency is that Americans are tired of being ignored by the ruling political class.  A poll taken several months before the election revealed that neglected voters overwhelmingly favored Trump above any other candidate: “Voters who agreed with the statement ‘people like me don’t have any say about what the government does” were 86.5% more likely to prefer Trump.  This feeling of powerlessness and voicelessness was a much better predictor of Trump support than age, race, college attainment, or income.  This is the Trump appeal that the ruling political class refused, and still refuses, to acknowledge.  It is why Republicans were willing to overlook his personal peccadillos, and why voters in 206 counties who twice chose Barack Obama helped elect Donald Trump.  It is why rural moms, union toughs, small business owners, and soybean farmers fill steamy Midwestern assembly halls during summer’s peak to rally around a thrice-married, brash, egotistical Manhattan billionaire who is the working class’s most unlikely champion.  Trump violates every sycophantic, mannerly rule that politicians and their handlers are taught to follow.  The name-calling, the gloating, the fight-picking are precisely what any political consultant would advise their client not to do.  Let others do your dirty work.  Stay above the fray, don’t get in the mud.  Keep on message.  Trump is a one-man battering ram against a powerful political apparatus, The Untouchables, that ruefully stacks the deck against the very people it purports to understand and protect.  Hillary Clinton embodied all that was wrong with the ruling political class: She was insular, smug, and unapologetic.  She snubbed three of the country’s most populous states (and never bothered to campaign in one of them) until the waning days of the campaign.  She even called millions of Trump supporters “deplorables.”  Nearly two years later, the war between The Untouchables and The Deplorables rages on.  Instead of taking it on the chin, these martyrs of #TheResistance caterwaul about imaginary constitutional rights violations not because it’s legitimate but because their self-enacted 28th Amendment right, the Right to Infinite and Unchecked Power, is being trampled.  That sense of entitlement also seems to make The Untouchables believe that any privilege they once enjoyed as public servants should continue forever, including access to the most sensitive information the federal government possesses.  So The Untouchables are now outraged that Trump yanked the security clearance of former CIA Dir John Brennan, a central figure in commandeering the phony Trump-Russia collusion plotline right before the presidential election.  There is no reason for Brennan, a private citizen and paid media pundit, to have access to government secrets.  Trump is not backing down.  Sanders confirmed he is considering revoking security clearances for a number of former law enforcement and intelligence officials, many tied to perpetrating the election collusion hoax.  Of course it would not be a normal week in the Trump era if the American news media didn’t pull some stunt to attract attention for themselves and blast the president.  More than 300 newspapers published editorials last week to defend themselves against Trump’s “attacks” on the media.  Rather than cover legitimate news or work to restore their sinking reputations, the press instead continues to keep the focus on themselves.  After years of fluffing for Barack Obama, The Untouchables in the media now defend their biased coverage; relentless attacks on the president, his family, his administration, his voters, and basically every Republican; and cover-up of the unraveling Spygate scandal.  The media can’t answer legitimate criticism because they have been in The Untouchables group, self-proclaimed warriors of the truth regardless of how untruthful they actually are.  Trump has exposed their duplicity and their arrogance; it’s making them nuts.  They now lash out at any imaginary threat against themselves while fueling violence and political chaos among Americans on a daily basis.  Trump’s one-man crusade against The Untouchables is working.  Regular Americans see this crowd’s shameless sense of entitlement and their resentment for anyone outside their circle.  Their hatred for Trump is just an extension of their hatred for those he is defending, and why Trump will continue to fill up school auditoriums in the Midwest while The Untouchables will continue to fill up their columns with whining.

(“The Untouchables vs. The Deplorablesby Julie Kelly dated August 18, 2018 published by American Greatness at https://amgreatness.com/2018/08/18/the-untouchables-vs-the-deplorables/ )

Liberals control just about every newspaper in America: CBS, ABC, NBC and every cable network except Fox News.  They also control what is left of the news magazines, and pretty much every other magazine, too.  Only talk radio and the pesky internet lie outside their grasp, so that is where they seek to impose censorship.  The problem is the First Amendment.  The government can’t suppress conservative speech on the ground that it is “hate speech,” i.e., something that liberals don’t like.  That was recently reaffirmed by a 9-0 decision of the Supreme Court.  So liberals have outsourced censorship of the internet to the tech titans of Silicon Valley.  Unfortunately, most political conversation these days occurs not on the “free” internet, where independent sites like Power Line reside, but rather on social media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and so on.  Other players include Google (in its search capacity), Apple, Pinterest, Spotify, etc.  All of these tech companies are run by liberals, and because they are private companies, they are not constrained by the First Amendment.  They can restrict or ban conservative communications on the ground that they are “hate speech,” or on no grounds whatsoever, with impunity, and that is exactly what they are doing.  A good example is Facebook censoring PragerU videos after Google lawsuit.  It started when YouTube downgraded PragerU’s videos.  These videos are enormously popular, and YouTube makes money when people watch videos.  YouTube (which is owned by Google) has tried to suppress traffic to PragerU’s products.  PragerU has sued Google as a result.  Facebook has shadow banned PragerU into complete silence to its more than 3 million followers.  Currently, visitors to PragerU’s Facebook page are unable to see any of its most recent posts.  Tech titans stick together.  Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify simultaneously “de-platformed” Alex Jones and Infowars.  Twitter held out briefly, and then, in response to demands from liberals, also banned Jones and Infowars.  Simultaneous bans and suspensions across platforms can hardly be coincidental.  The phrase “combination or conspiracy in restraint of trade” comes to mind.  However, they have taken no action against left-wing extremists like the fascist Antifa, which disseminates its hate speech freely on every social media platform I am aware of.  The Left’s attempt to outsource censorship to its Silicon Valley allies is one of the most important issues of our time.  The proper solution may lie in creating competitive platforms, or in legislative, regulatory or judicial action.  Perhaps platforms fitting a particular legal definition should be regulated as public utilities.  Facebook, Twitter and YouTube should not be permitted to engage in political discrimination.

(“How the Left is Outsourcing Censorship of the Internet” by John Hinderaker dated August 17, 2108 published by PowerLineBlog at https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2018/08/how-the-left-is-outsourcing-censorship-of-the-internet.php )


For all the talk of how America’s protectionism may sink this bull market in stocks, it’s still very much “America first” on Wall Street.  President Donald Trump has been about the business of fundamentally changing America, which are very different than former President Barack Obama’s fundamental changes.  President Trump seemingly wakes up every morning thinking about promises that he has not yet kept and goes about the business of doing just that, keeping them.  The U.S. poverty rate also continues to decrease, and unemployment among minorities is the lowest in the history of the nation.  We have also seen the second lowest unemployment rate for African-Americans since the numbers were first measured, and the GDP growth rate is headed for levels we haven’t seen in 14 years.  This president will continue to provide opportunities for prosperity and growth.  Perhaps more important than either of these, however, is increased pride in America, strength, religious freedom and a Supreme Court that upholds the Constitution rather than legislates.  This is an encouraging peace-through-strength agenda we haven’t seen since the days of Ronald Reagan.  President Trump is not afraid to confront our enemies as well as our allies when it comes to operating in the best interest of the American people.  All of us are free to think and say what we want about his mannerisms, words and tweets, but make no mistake about it, this president’s agenda for America is working, and his economic plan for prosperity and economic strength is benefitting all Americans.  This president has also fought against our allies and against his own members of Congress for the good of the country he loves.  We are seeing only a tip of the iceberg that is possible in this economy.  We must continue to give this president our support and vote in members of Congress who will support him and his America-first agenda, because we haven’t seen anything yet. 

(“Don’t Like Trump’s America First Agenda?  What’s Not to Like?” by Dan Celia dated August 17, 2018 published by Town Hall at https://townhall.com/columnists/dancelia/2018/08/17/dont-like-trumps-america-first-agenda-whats-not-to-like-n2510816 )

The treatment of recent news reveals an important chasm in 2018 America: the concerns of Mainstream Media vs. those of Main Street USA.   In many ways, this divide represents a sort of tale of two cities: the first “city” of Washington-New York media elites explodes over every headline, including endless rumors regarding Russia and White House staff intrigue; and the second “city” of non-politically obsessed everyday Americans focuses on bread-and-butter issues that actually matter to their everyday lives.  For example, during the second week of August, MSNBC spent almost 16 hours of total airtime discussing disgruntled and discredited former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman.  For comparison, the channel spent a total of 45 minutes discussing immigration issues and 39 minutes on the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation process of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.   Contrast that concentration on innuendo and scandal with the actual issues of concern to most Americans.  In a recent Gallup survey about the 2018 midterm elections, the number one “problem facing the country today” is immigration/illegal aliens.  The second most important issue is, unsurprisingly, the economy.  Russia only earned a literal asterisk in the Gallup report, meaning below 0.5% of respondents.  Far from New York newsrooms and the Georgetown salons of Washington lobbyists, Americans grasp the reality of a stronger and more prosperous country.  For example, CNBC reports that total American home equity just hit an all-time high of $5.8 trillion of total net value.  The average homeowner with a mortgage saw accessible equity grow $14,700 over the last year and now has $113,900 available to draw upon.  The even better news lies in the details.  Unlike the 2007-era housing price boom, consumers are managing their debt prudently today and middle-class families do not feel pressed to use homes as ATMs just to pay bills.  Despite the prodigious appreciation in home equity, only 1.17% of available equity was tapped in the first quarter of 2018, the lowest amount in four years.  This housing optimism reflects the strong underlying growth of the Trump Boom, which registered 4.1% GDP growth for the second quarter, with the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s live statistical model now forecasting a 4.3% rate for quarter three.  Within that overall heady expansion, small business in particular is thriving amid reduced federal tax and regulatory burdens.  A National Federation of Independent Business survey registered a Small Business Optimism Index at 107.9, the highest level in over four decades and just shy of the all-time record at 108.0.  Not only is growth faster, it is also broader, meaning the rising economic tide finally and truly lifts all boats, not just the already-successful.  Black Enterprise magazine reports that since 2017, America saw an astounding 400% increase in the number of black-owned businesses.  The same survey showed the majority of black small-business owners have not completed a bachelor’s degree, meaning business opportunities and the attendant prospects of economic self-sufficiency are available now to all Americans and no longer just the privileged.  Sadly, I do not expect that the mainstream media will start to report on these marked improvements for Main Street America.  Economic vitality and entrepreneurial dynamism, especially among minorities, don’t fit neatly into the media’s pre-packaged narrative of a racist commander-in-chief beholden to the Kremlin.  While opposition advocates in the White House briefing room masquerade as journalists, hard-working Americans throughout flyover country live and know a very different reality of an optimistic, growing, and resurgent America under the leadership of President Trump.

(“Mainstream Media vs. Main Street USA” by Steve Cortes dated August 22, 2018 published by Real Clear Politics at https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2018/08/22/mainstream_media_vs_main_street_usa_137861.html )


There is so much published each week that unless you search for it, you will miss important breaking news.  I try to package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning.  Updates have been made this week to the following sections:

·    Politics at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/intro/politics.php


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY