Friday, November 15, 2019

McConnell Takes on Trump, Isolationism, Defends America’s Global Leadership

Without mentioning Donald Trump’s name, Mitch McConnell, in a high-profile guest editorial in the Washington Post, took on President Trump’s foreign policy, labeling it isolationist and specifically claiming his Syrian withdrawal is a “grave strategic mistake.” It will, in his view, make the “American people…less safe…embolden our enemies and weaken important alliances.”
Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Picture: J. Scott Applewhite/AP photo

He cites three policy lessons distilled from decades of U.S. experience dealing with national threats:

  • The danger “is real and can’t be wished away”
  • American leadership is essential
  • We can’t do this alone

McConnell reaches back to the pre-1950s isolationist period to warn that it was America’s global leadership since WWII that created a better world and a safer, more prosperous environment for the U.S. He articulates the Mattis Doctrine: We need others, especially local forces to help us.

It is a searing indictment of Trump’s world view and current tactics. And, while the urge for isolationism is always around, the American people repeatedly say that the U.S. needs to be a global leader and maintain alliances.

Polls on Foreign Policy Internationalism

Chicago Council of Global Affairs, October 2, 2018
Do you think it will be best for the future of the country to take on an active part in world affairs or if we should stay out of world affairs?
     Active part – 70%
     Stay out – 29%

They support forward basing and not abandonment of allies. Do you support for maintaining long-term military bases in:
     South Korea – 74%
     Japan – 65%
     Germany – 60%

Gallup, March 4, 2019
Do you think the NATO alliance should be maintained or is the alliance not necessary anymore?
     Maintain – 77%
     Not necessary – 19%

Pew Research Center, November 24, 2018
Percent who say the following should be a top foreign policy priority. Taking measures to protect U.S. from terrorists?
     Total – 72%
     Democrats – 61%
     Republicans – 84%

KOA Interview: Colorado’s Senators in Tough Fights

In an interview with KOA’s morning anchors, Marty Lenz and Ed Greene, the prospects for Senator Cory Gardner’s re-election and Senator Michael Bennet’s presidential bid were discussed. Neither looks good as of now.

Cory Gardner
Gardner’s major challenge is being tied to President Trump, who is not popular in Colorado and has had a very bad month. Starting on September 24 with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement of an impeachment inquiry, to the President’s tweet on the Syrian withdrawal, to the announcement of the pullback of the G7 Summit at the Doral, Trump has forced vulnerable senators, such as Cory Gardner, to answer very controversial media questions guaranteed to cost votes from the many Colorado voters who don’t approve of Trump.

On October 11, Gardner attempted to duck – not very successfully – a pointed question on asking a foreign country to investigate a political rival. But on October 16, he declared support for the House resolution rebuking the President’s Syrian withdrawal.


A new poll confirms earlier data that Trump is highly unpopular in Colorado (60% all voters rate him unfavorably), especially among unaffiliated voters (67%). Similar to national polls, 54 percent of the public want an impeachment inquiry to start. Nearly all Democrats (91%) and almost no Republicans (6%) support it, but 61 percent of Colorado unaffiliated voters do. A group, that if against you in Colorado, spells doom. Trump is politically toxic statewide in Colorado.

Also, the poll shows, as many previous polls have indicated, the Democratic frontrunner, John Hickenlooper, has an 11-point advantage over Gardner, 54 percent to 43 percent, again with unaffiliated voters at 61 percent to 34 percent advantage Democrats.

Michael Bennet
In an interview on October 15, as Michael Bennet watched the Democratic debate, he did a running dialogue on his views of the candidates, his anger at not being on the stage and an acknowledgment of his longshot status.

  • Bennet noted that out of the five U.S. Senators running, he’s the only one not on the stage. He believes the rules are arbitrary and keeping some choices from the public. Beto O’Rourke and Tulsi Gabbard are both rhetorical bomb throwers and are damaging the Democrats’ prospects in November.
  • Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are offering unrealistic and unrealizable proposals and giving the Party the image of being far left. It will not play in key battleground states. Warren, in particular, is disingenuous with her hiding the cost of Medicare for All.
  • He likes Biden, but doesn’t believe he’s shown he’s up to the task of beating Warren or Trump yet.
  • He points out that DPS has a much bigger budget than South Bend.

At the end, Bennet admitted he’s a long, longshot, but believes his message and approach is what the U.S. and Washington needs to heal and move forward after 2020. He will shortly be dragged back to an impeachment trial in the Senate, which may be a relief from endless meet and greets in Iowa.

October 15, 2019 Democratic presidential primary debate | Tony Dejak/AP

Pelosi and Trump are Near Tie in Favorable Public Opinion

The Speaker Confronts the President

After more than a decade being pummeled by Republicans in congressional campaigns, Nancy Pelosi is now nearly even with Donald Trump in public favorability. She is the leader of the national Democratic Party and well ahead of her congressional colleagues on public approval.


Mitch McConnell is rapidly becoming the favorite target of Democrats anxious to take control of the Senate in 2020.

The West’s Top Pollsters Gather in San Francisco to Preview the 2020 Election

The annual Pacific Chapter of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (PAPOR) will meet December 5 and 6 in San Francisco to present new research on public opinion trends and insights.

One of the most anticipated panels brings together top western states pollsters in a panel titled, “Election Issues in Western States,” to discuss the factors that will shape the 2020 elections, especially in the West. Among topics are the presidential primaries, a host of which are looming on or before Super Tuesday, March 3, 2020. There are at least two competitive senate races – in Arizona and Colorado. And, of course, the presidential race and its impact on lower ballot races, for example, congressional races in Orange County.

The panel has assembled some of California’s best public pollsters:

  • Mark Baldassare – President of Public Policy Institute of California, frequently conducts statewide polls on political, social and economic topics
  • Mark DiCamillo – Director of the Berkeley IGS Poll. With the Los Angeles Times, polling California presidential primary and other public policy topics
  • Jill Darling – Survey Director of USC Dornsife College’s Center for Economic and Social Research, conducting national and California polls, often with the Lost Angeles Times

I will moderate the panel. My topic will be the shift in several states and sub-state jurisdictions from competitive and Republican-leaning areas to blue status today. What are the primary factors causing it and can the Republicans recover during or even post the “Trump era”?

For further information on the conference, go to the PAPOR website here

Colorado Water Congress Joins Host of Agriculture, Business and Recreation Organizations for Proposition DD

The Colorado Water Congress (CWC), the association of the state’s water community, including municipal and special district water organizations, has endorsed Proposition DD, the sports gaming for water funding proposal. They joined dozens of businesses and agricultural associations that realize the critical place water has in Colorado’s prosperity and quality of life.

Among the water agencies endorsing the proposal are: Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, the Colorado River Water Conservation District, Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, and Water Roundtables in the Rio Grande Basin and North Platte Basin.

Endorsements are still being collected.

The House Will Indict President Trump

At the conclusion of Robert Mueller’s turgid testimony (July 2019), there were 100 House members ready to proceed to an impeachment inquiry. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “no.” There was no Republican support, and most importantly for her most vulnerable members, only a third of the public was in favor.

Slowly, actions by President Trump (obstruction to congressional inquiries), the pro-impeachment politics in member districts and pressure to move forward within the beltway got that number to 150 by early September. So, when the much clearer and more dramatic Ukrainian whistleblower story broke, it didn’t take long to assemble the current 225 members in favor on an inquiry, move Pelosi to say “yes” (Sept. 25, 2019), and after waiting five months, proceed with speed.

Prediction: Trump will be indicted by the House. Pelosi, Adam Schiff and House leadership must only handle Trump’s defense and keep a majority of the public satisfied that the process is fair and well-managed. (More than 50% now favor an inquiry and very near a majority (49%) favor impeachment.)

Observation: Trump is so convinced that Joe Biden will beat him in key swing states, he has repeatedly engaged in Ukraine-type acts and empowered his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, to do likewise. “Biden fear” has launched Trump’s impeachment – like Dick Nixon’s fear of Democrats in 1972.

Mueller Report: The Mueller Report and Robert Mueller’s testimony remain a powerful constant in the impeachment story. One hundred members said they were for an inquiry after the testimony. For them, the Ukrainian imbroglio is just more evidence of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

See The Buzz:
DU Panel on Colorado 2020 Primaries Attracted a Packed House
Fast Moving Impeachment Story Driving Public Opinion

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Who Votes in Colorado’s Presidential Primary?

Will 200,000, 600,000 or a million voters participate in the March 3 presidential primary? In Colorado’s first presidential primary in 1992, Governor Jerry Brown just edged out the comeback kid, Bill Clinton, and Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas in a contest that attracted 235,000 voters. That vote total was the decade-long high for turnout in Colorado’s presidential primaries.

In 2000, the last year a primary was conducted, 178,000 voted in the Republican primary between George Bush and John McCain, and 84,000 Democrats showed up to support Al Gore over Bill Bradley.

Governor Bill Owens, with legislative help, shifted back to the caucus system, which parties operate and pay for. They usually don’t attract much more than 100,000 to 150,000 voters in competitive years.

But, Colorado’s recent June 2018 gubernatorial primary attracted more than a million participants, including over 200,000 unaffiliated voters who can now participate in party primaries. The Democratic side of the primary saw 640,000. Combined with the ease of mail-back voting, will 600,000 Democrats show up on March 3 presidential primary? Will opposition to President Trump attract any Republican partisans?