July, 2016

Convention Ratings Don’t Predict the Winner

Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “If we look back at the total ratings for every political convention from 1960 to 2012, it’s quickly apparent that the side whose convention receives the most viewers doesn’t necessarily win.”

“Out of 13 elections during this period (not including this year), there have been seven where the party whose convention got lower ratings won the election in November. So it’s safe to say that ratings have little to no electoral meaning.”

Democrats Win the Convention

First Read: “Hillary Clinton’s speech Thursday accepting her party’s presidential nomination was OK; she is never going to rhetorically outshine President Obama or her husband Bill Clinton. But what she and Democrats did achieve was produce a powerful convention that contrasted with Donald Trump’s last week in Cleveland.”

“While the GOP convention had high-profile no-shows (the Bushes, Mitt Romney, John Kasich) and a speech by a candidate who didn’t endorse Trump (Ted Cruz), the Democrats trotted out Obama, Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, and yes Bernie Sanders, who all testified on Hillary Clinton’s behalf. While the GOP convention focused on police, the Democrats featured both police and the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland. And while the GOP convention highlighted the violence that immigrants had committed and Benghazi, the Democrats introduced Khizr Khan, the father of a Muslim-American Army captain, who delivered arguably the week’s most stinging critique against Trump.”

“In totality, the Democratic convention itself was flawless — with two exceptions: 1) the Debbie Wasserman Schultz mess; and 2) the few dozen Sanders delegates who disrupted Clinton last night. Taken together, the two conventions matched the persona of their nominee: Cleveland was chaotic; Philadelphia was disciplined.”

Schumer Predicts a Democratic Generation

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) “is feeling good enough about the battle for Senate control to essentially predict he’ll be majority leader next year. Not only that, the veteran New York Democrat believes his party is on the cusp of something much bigger: An era of electoral dominance,” Politico reports.

Said Schumer: “We’re going to have a Democratic generation. President Obama helped create it. But it’s just where America’s moving demographically, ideologically and in every way. We’ll have a mandate to get something done.”

How Big a Bounce?

Politico: “Clinton’s team accomplished many intermediate goals during their four days in Philly: The Obamas delivered a husband-and-wife tandem of historic speeches; Bernie Sanders went from being a renegade to a team player – helping to stamp out the last glowing embers of the revolution he sparked in New Hampshire; Clinton was applauded by several dozen speakers (led by her husband) who sought to reverse her negative image.”

“And none of that matters, not one bit, if Clinton can’t reverse Trump’s recent surge in the polls with a discernible convention bounce. She won’t get the 14-point boost her husband got in 1992, but she’ll take anything that moves the dial, that is to say roughly the recent average uptick of three or four percent.”

An Ugly and Divisive General Election Begins

Politico: “But as the 102-day general election sprints to a start, the reality is that both parties, saddled with two of the most unpopular presidential nominees ever, are bracing for one of the ugliest and most divisive races in modern history. And with Trump’s penchant for the unpredictable, a contest that has already stretched the boundaries of traditional American political discourse is unlikely to become any more civil.”

“For all the talk of hope and optimism in Philadelphia, fear remains the most potent emotion stirring the base — of both parties.”

Democrats Counter GOP’s Doom and Gloom

“The country’s two major political parties, emerging from their conventions to square off in the general election, are speaking to Americas unrecognizable to each other in voices that sound like a political and ideological role reversal,” the Washington Post reports.

“For Republicans, the country is a place of near-apocalyptic gloom whose best days are fast receding.”

“The nation of the Democrats who met here this week to nominate former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, is a vibrant and diverse place.”

Neither Is No Longer an Option

Reuters: “Many voters on both sides have been ambivalent in their support for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump, complicating the task of the pollsters trying to track the race.”

“That sentiment may help explain an apparent skew that recently emerged in the Reuters/Ipsos poll results. Given the choice, a relatively large group of voters opted for “Neither/Other” candidate compared with other major polls, leading to an underreporting of several percentage points for one or other of the two major contenders at times in the race.”

“As a result, Reuters/Ipsos is amending the wording of the choice and eliminating the word ‘Neither,’ bringing the option in line with other polls.”

America vs. Trump

In the run up to Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech at the Democratic convention, it’s clear that Democrats are trying to make this election not about Clinton vs. Trump but America vs. Trump.

A series of very powerful speeches showed a wonderful mix of patriotism, diversity and love for country.

This one by Khizr Kahn, father of a fallen Muslim soldier, was truly extraordinary.