Friday, January 17, 2020

DU Event with Minister Noriyuki Shikata

The Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research, The Center for China-US Cooperation & The Office of Global Engagement Presents:

Japan, the US and China in the Indo-Pacific

Noriyuki Shikata
Former Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Beijing
With Director Floyd Ciruli and Professor Suisheng Zhao

Tuesday, February 4, 2020
11:45 am to 1:30 pm
University of Denver
SIE Complex (The Forum), 1st Floor, Room 1020

Noriyuki Shikata was the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan in China. His other prior positions include: Deputy Director General, Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau; Director, Economic Treaties Division, International Legal Affairs Bureau; and Director, Second North America Division, North America Bureau. Mr. Shikata has also been a Visiting Professor at Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Law/Public Policy and Harvard University. He holds a B.A. in Law from Kyoto University and Master of Public Policy (MPP) from Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Event in cooperation with the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver

SPACE IS LIMITED - Please register early

Free and open to the public. Lunch Provided.

RSVP here

Pompeo Surprised Europe is Not Backing Iran Hardline

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the chief architect of President Trump’s confrontation with Iran and primary advocate of the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, claimed surprise and dismay when France, Germany and Britain didn’t immediately support the killing of Soleimani. Europe also disappointed him when they didn’t welcome the request to terminate the Iran Nuclear agreement as the U.S. has.

He was possibly the only person surprised since the allies have been opposed to the cancellation of the agreement since Trump announced it in 2018. In fact, they have tried to save the agreement and assist Iran in the face of U.S. sanctions. They were immediately calling for restraint after the targeting of Soleimani.


A 2019 Pew international poll of 32 countries, including American allies, showed only 29 percent of the public around the world have confidence in President Trump, and a higher, but still low, 54 percent have a favorable view of the U.S. Specifically, Germany (13%) and France (20%) have almost no confidence in Trump and the favorable opinion of the U.S. is below 50 percent. Great Britain and Canada are only slightly higher.

Trump Losing Respect With the Brass

In spite of a record defense budget ($740 billion), President Trump is losing respect from the Pentagon leaders that he directly commands. One can see the discomfort in military commanders standing behind him in his recent Soleimani press conference. The stress reflects his activities against advice, such as his impulsive withdrawal from Syria, which cost him a Secretary of Defense; clemency for accused military war criminals, which lost a Navy Secretary; his threats to seize Syrian oil and bomb Iranian cultural sites; and a myriad of explanations of the Soleimani “imminent threat.”

President Donald Trump addresses the nation from the White House on
the ballistic missile strike that Iran launched against Iraqi air bases
housing U.S. troops, as Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, and Vice President Mike
Pence, and others look on, Jan. 8, 2020 | Evan Vucci/AP Photo

Can Colorado Republicans Win a Statewide Election in 2020? If Not, When?

The surge of young unaffiliated voters and Donald Trump as the Republican Party’s national leader has raised the question: Will Republicans continue as a viable party and alternative to Democrats? It should be first pointed out that neither the Democrats nor Republicans are in a strong position in Colorado. During the last decade, while Republicans lost 6 percentage points in registration, Democrats gained zero. The big advance was among unaffiliated voters who mostly disdain the two parties.

In a long featured article, Spencer Campbell in 5280 (November) asks how Republicans plan to retake Colorado in 2020. His opining sentence summed up the challenge.

“A younger electorate—and a backlash against Donald Trump’s presidency—pushed our purple state firmly into the blue in 2018. With one year to go until the 2020 election, here’s how the GOP plans to resurrect Colorado’s moribund Republican Party.”

Analyses came from Republican pollster David Flaherty; party vice chair Kristi Burton Brown; Michael Fields, director of Colorado Raising Action; and ever quoted, Dick Wadhams, former chairman.

My contribution came in a couple of areas. I suggested Trump was a heavy burden today.

“Donald Trump,” says Floyd Ciruli, a Denver pollster and political analyst. “He wasn’t particularly popular here in 2016. He was even less popular in 2018.” Even though the president didn’t top the ticket in the 2018 midterms, his brand of politics sent previously uninspired sectors—independents and young people—to the polls. “To be honest,” Flaherty says, “we think the challenges are nearly insurmountable for the Republican Party at this time.”

Flaherty and I disagreed on Proposition CC. I thought it was a winner for Republicans, and indeed, they helped push it to defeat.

According to Magellan Strategies, 54 percent of likely voters plan to vote yes on Prop CC. Still, Floyd Ciruli, an independent Denver pollster and political analyst, views the referendum as a blunder by Democrats because it provides Republicans an opportunity to rally around issues (low taxes and small government) that brought the party success in the 1990s.

Finally, I argued that one of Gardner’s strengths, which helped him win 2014, was his ability to bring home the projects and help for Colorado as a member of the Senate majority.

Gardner plans to circumvent the Trump balance beam by selling himself as Colorado’s pork-barrel legislator. “He’s trying very hard to establish one of the basic predicates of why a lot of influential people went for him in 2014,” says Floyd Ciruli, a Denver pollster and political analyst. That premise was that it made sense to have a Colorado representative in the ruling party. Now, after almost five years there, Gardner says, “I get to talk about what we’ve accomplished for the state as a whole.”

Gardner and Impeachment. Will it Matter?

Nicholas Riccardi with the AP (Jan. 8, 2010) describes the difficulty Cory Gardner faces navigating impeachment. Gardner’s position has been to align with the President and argue that the House process was partisan and unfair.

Sen. Cory Gardner | Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images
I point out: “There’s a lot of factors that are going to make things very difficult for Cory. Impeachment just puts another issue out there.” Democrats, of course, want to get Gardner on the record in comments and votes, which they can use in negative advertising. For example:
  • Gardner has attempted to avoid any discussion of Trump’s underlying Ukraine behavior; i.e., soliciting foreign help to damage an opponent and use American funds for pressure. The media is watching for any sign of wavering.
  • Nancy Pelosi’s argument that the Senate process should fully present the case, including witnesses that were obstructed from testifying, will not win with Mitch McConnell. But, it creates a narrative for the Senate votes, which will be used in the November campaigns claiming that a cover-up and show trial were perpetrated. McConnell’s position and statements undermine the appearance of an impartial verdict.
How important the issue is for Gardner, or even Trump, is unclear. The onslaught of news just since New Year’s has made impeachment fade from view, but the trial should put it back in the news and create new challenges for Republicans.

Does Census Help Republicans or Democrats in 2020?

Lou Jacobson, one of the country’s premier political analysts, described the impact of the 2020 U.S. Census on the states, which could win seats (8) and those that could lose seats. As expected, the impact will depend on circumstances in 2020 because many of the seats that could shift are in battleground states, such as Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. Jacobson has been a senior write for Roll Call, the National Journal, Governing and the Almanac of American Politics. He’s now featured in three of the most influential political reports in the country – Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and US News & World Report.

In Colorado, which will gain a seat, he wrote that an independent commission will decide the new district’s boundaries.

“The new seat will likely be centered in the Denver metro area but could affect the lines in far-flung areas of the state, says Floyd Ciruli, an independent pollster in the state.

My prediction was the split will end up Democrats 5 seats and Republicans had their three non-metro Denver seats.


The Party is Over. Unaffiliated Voters Dominate.

As the election of the century approaches, more than two-fifths of Colorado voters chose no party affiliation. And, for a variety of factors, that number is expected to grow.

Unaffiliated voters have been voting on the left in the last couple of elections, but Democrats will have to be careful. These new non-party participants – and they participate at historical rates – don’t like parties or the party establishments and can be quickly attracted by new candidates, issues and looks, much like new Hollywood seasons where the content and the way it’s delivered can doom or reward a show, a studio and a network.

The Colorado two-party system is at risk. Republicans are fighting for their relevance, even their basic competitiveness in counties they dominated as recently as a decade ago. But, Democrats haven’t gained loyal fans, and bad choices in nominees could upend all the rosy 2020 and beyond prognostications.

As the data below shows, Democrats, as a percentage of registration, has been stable for the last 15 years while the voter rolls have surged by a million voters. Republicans, who were in the lead in 2004 by nearly 200,000 voters (Bill Owens was governor and G.W. Bush reelected as president), are now a distinct minority and in danger of losing their top officeholder, Cory Gardner.


And, the number and influences of unaffiliated voters will increase, not diminish.

  • Unaffiliated voters are now able to vote in primaries, and voted in large numbers in the 2018 gubernatorial primary, their first opportunity. They are increasing as a percentage of the electorate and were a significant bloc of voters in the 2019 off-year election.
  • Voters are being registered automatically as unaffiliated at motor vehicle offices and then asked later by mail if they want to join a party.
  • More than half of new local voters and out-of-state transferees, especially the young, have registered unaffiliated. Colorado’s growth adds unaffiliated voters.

Read Colorado Politics: GOP the loser in voter registration – “unaffiliated” the big winner

Monday, January 6, 2020

California Sends a Congressional District to Colorado

California may lose its first congressional seat in its history as a state, as Colorado gains another after a population surge of 700,000 since the 2010 census (current estimate – 5,758,236, up from 5,029,319 in 2010). The following House seat shift is an early projection based on 2019 census estimates by the Brookings Institute and Election Data Services. It shows winners and losers:


Eight to ten seats are moving from old eastern and mid-western states to the west and south, continuing long-term trends on U.S. population shifting. California believes its loss is on the cusp and is spending millions to publicize the Census this April to find enough people to hold on, but the slowdown in foreign immigration, slow family formation of Millennials, and the decade-long flow of ex-pats to Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Texas has brought California’s net growth to a halt.