A Note From Rod
I’m grateful for all of you who faithfully read RodMartin.org and who send so much positive feedback. It means a lot.
I’m also happy to report the apparent failure of one of the uglier moments of the Obama presidency. As you know, a couple weeks ago Barack Obama threatened Britain with draconian consequences should it vote to leave the European Union (or as many of us more fondly know it, the EUSR). Boris Johnson’s rejoinder was an instant classic, demonstrating that he, not David Cameron, is Margaret Thatcher’s true heir.
Obama hoped to turn the tide in the Brexit referendum. And he may have, albeit not in the direction he hoped. Before he made our closest allies his “offer they can’t refuse,” the overwhelming majority of polls had “Remain” leading. Since then, the majority of polls have “Leave” ahead.
By the end of her public life, Lady Thatcher was convinced that Brexit was necessary, and that Britain should join an expanded NAFTA: a largely Anglophone trading partnership lacking the EU’s imperial ambitions. Britain would do well to heed her. So would America.
Is it just me or is Bill Clinton beginning to look like Emperor Palpatine?
Perhaps Hillary has traded in her lamp for Force lightning.
Continuing to confound expectations of his certain doom, this week Donald Trump pulled ahead of or even with Hillary Clinton in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Quinnipiac has Trump 4 points ahead (43-39) in life-and-death Ohio, and just 1 point down (43-42) in the other two.
No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio. No Republican is going to win it without Florida.
But a Trump win in Pennsylvania would be catastrophic for the Dems. The state has broken left in every election since 1988, despite a reasonably healthy state GOP that has consistently produced Senators like Rick Santorum and Pat Toomey: not what you’d call squishy guys.
Ignoring the great many issues lots of us have with Donald Trump, if he carries the Keystone State, and especially if that spills over into Michigan, Wisconsin and/or Minnesota, we could be seeing the beginning of a realignment.
But a little more immediately, the Pennsylvania numbers – which bear out the massive gender and racial divide you’d expect – show both that Trump’s massive negatives are being cancelled by Hillary’s, and that even beyond the nomination fight, he is continuing to upend the voter models with which we’ve become familiar.
Trump’s immediate problem is how to consolidate the party. This is important for two reasons. First, leaving a gaping hole in his base requires him to make up millions of votes elsewhere, something Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney proved utterly unable to do. The math may be different this year, but it’s not that different.
But second, Trump needs cash. As I pointed out last fall, the man who announced his candidacy by saying “I’m really rich”, who demonized every single politician who ever took a contribution as “bought and paid for” by special interests? Yeah, he’s just not that liquid. Real estate guys rarely are.
So it took about ten milliseconds after he secured the nomination for Trump to renege on his self-financing pledge. Apparently raising over $1 billion in the next five months can’t corrupt The Donald like it would mere mortals.
But again, where can he go? He’s just skewered the donors as thoroughly as he has Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz or, for that matter, Rosie O’Donnell. Now having banked essentially no money in the primary, he not only has to get them on board, he has to do it in record time.
Just an aside: isn’t it a bit of a marvel that a major party candidate can so easily repudiate something so central not just to his own narrative but to everything his supporters believed and proclaimed about him, and yet pay absolutely no price with them whatsoever?
The Paul Ryan dance this week must be seen in this light. It may not seem so to Trump’s more ardent supporters, who daily tell me on Facebook that His Hairness’s 37% of Republican primary voters was “a majority” and that he doesn’t need anyone else to win…in November. But even if they can’t, The Donald can count.
So can Ryan. The Speaker has had a rough first half-year. Once one of conservatism’s rising stars, Ryan is now the target of their anger, and indeed, the better known he becomes, the more people believe he’s exactly the sort of RINO both Trump and Cruz’s supporters were seeking to vanquish.
Trump needs Ryan. And believe me, as the Pennsylvania numbers show, Ryan needs Trump even more.
But neither of them can show it. And the fact that Ryan realizes this gives me some measure of perverse hope for the future competence of the Republican Congressional leadership.
Hence, Ryan made a show of not being “ready” to endorse the nominee. This predictably infuriated Trump’s supporters, while earning Ryan unaccustomed plaudits from the Cruz and #NeverTrump folks. Trump benefited by being “opposed” by the top Establishment Republican, in the same week various Bushes dissed him too (41 and 43 here, Not-45 here). (One can only assume their checks are in the mail, as soon as The Donald raises them of course.)
The end game will be that Ryan takes his time, “comes to believe after much thought” and “many conversations” that Trump is okay, and brings his people (better cemented to him than before) and his donors along.
That won’t be enough by itself. But this will play out with other GOP and conservative heavies also.
I talk to a lot of people who still aren’t “on the Trump Train,” and while some of them are adamantly #NeverTrump, most aren’t. In that latter group, the biggest concern is judges: while they generally believe that Hillary is 100% likely to name terrible, Constitution-shredding Supreme Court justices and that at worst Trump is at least 1% likely not to, that’s not a huge comfort to most of them.
There is an easy solution for this. Trump volunteered it himself.
On March 21 in a speech at Mar-a-Lago, the now-presumptive nominee said this:
“Some of the people that are against me say, we don’t know if he’s going to pick the right judges, supposing he picks a liberal judge or a pro-choice judge, or whatever…. I will get a list of anywhere between 5 and 10 judges, and those are going to be the judges that I am going to put in, it will be one of those judges, and I will guarantee it personally –like we do in the business world- but I guarantee that they will be up for nomination if I win.”
Trust me when I tell you that list would mollify most, assuming it was composed of people like Bill Pryor and Diane Sykes, two outstanding conservative jurists Trump has mentioned before.
Yet nearly two months later, there’s still no list.
I’m reasonably certain Jack Wheeler would say this is because there will never be a list, and that the real list is filled with leftists. Indeed, he would probably say this:
But assuming it isn’t, the failure to produce this list is hindering Trump’s campaign more than he realizes. And likewise, announcing it could be the one gesture that seals his deal.
As you know, a couple weeks back I largely wrote off Bernie Sanders when he told us he was angling to “influence the platform,” the surest possible sign he’s no longer serious about winning.
Even so, Sanders’ wins in Indiana and West Virginia were impressive. And the fact that Hillary can’t just put away this supposedly defeated socialist, who is old enough to have personally helped Marx write Das Kapital, tells you a bit of why Trump is now likely to win come November.
Short of the indictment we all keep waiting for – and let’s be honest, these are Democrats: they may not care if Hillary gets indicted – Bernie’s probably done. But still:
- He’s won 19 of the 40 states contested so far.
- He’s won 54% of the pledged delegates since Super Tuesday
- He beats Trump by double digits, whereas Clinton’s lead is disappearing before our eyes.
- There are more than enough Super Delegates to give it to him at the Convention.
Or to put that another way, Sanders hasn’t suspended his campaign. There’s a reason.
We’ve talked before about Hillary’s difficulties closing the sale. She’s in a hole. She just keeps digging.
Take this tweet, from her campaign account.
To feminists, this actually makes perfect sense. How dare that…that…man suggest that women aren’t already doing “as good a job” as men??!!
But that’s not what you saw, is it? What you saw was common sense. In fact, you probably saw Trump advocating (wait for it) equal pay for equal work. Which is to say, fairness.
Hillary’s tweet is an in-kind contribution to Trump: first, because unless you’re in the endlessly-offended club, it just looks great; and second, because to any sane person who understood Hillary was upset about it, she comes off as demanding unfairness.
In short, she just added a new dimension to Trump’s line that she has “nothing but the woman card,” that she’s all about her special interest at everyone else’s expense.
Add a third dimension. It turns out that the Clinton Foundation pays its male executives 38% more than its women.
This places her equal pay outrage in the category of “faux”. It also reinforces the “Crooked Hillary” meme.
These mistakes just keep piling up. Take this one: noticing that Trump has a penchant for renaming people, Hillary field tested her own attempt last week:“Dangerous Donald.” But this just makes Trump cooler. Who doesn’t like dangerous men? It’s also open-ended: anyone can read into it whatever they want.
As Scott Adams has pointed out, the “dangerous” line comes from John Podesta, Bill Clinton’s 1996 campaign chairman. It was Podesta who successfully employed “risky” as the campaign’s line against Dole and Kemp. The economy was booming (in part thanks to a new Republican Congress) and change, especially toward a largely untested supply-side economic program (which Kemp helped invent but which Dole probably rejected) seemed “risky.”
Podesta drove home the danger of Dole and Kemp’s “risky schemes” and Clinton improbably won a second term.
What’s different? Well, clearly the Clinton campaign thinks it’s still 1996. But today, Americans on both sides think the whole world is broken. To most people it’s no longer “dangerous” or “risky” to change things: it’s dangerous and risky not to, which is exactly why Trump, Cruz and Sanders have done so well.
Add to this Hillary’s new ads showing Republican Establishment figures attacking Trump – in effect, telling the world he’s not one of them – and you can see the trajectory. No one need worry that Trump is in this race to elect Hillary. It’s Hillary who’s working to elect Trump.
Chelsea Clinton’s husband just had to close his hedge fund after losing 90% of its money. How? He bet heavily on the socialists running Greece. The people are true believers, folks. It’s dumb enough when they’re losing private money. You know what happens when they’re playing with yours.
And speaking of ludicrously bad predictive powers, the world just celebratedthe tenth anniversary of the Nobel Prize-winning classic, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. In it, Gore famously predicted a 20-foot increase in sea levels and a torrent of other insanity. He then went out and bought a beachfront mansion.
One of his most talked-about predictions was that America would be hit by an ever-increasing number of super hurricanes, caused by increased CO2 emissions from the Bush White House.
No hurricane has made landfall in the United States since 2005. Indeed, right on cue, today’s Sarasota Herald Tribune actually frets about the risk posed by “hurricane amnesia.”
As Ronald Reagan said, it’s not that our liberal friends are ignorant: it’s just that they know so much that isn’t true.
This brings us back to Hillary, but also to why I’m actually very hopeful about the conservative movement and our future. Jack Wheeler worries that Trump has killed the conservative movement. I might gently suggest that in its present form it needed killing. But the ideas are far from dead.
Nearly everyone who voted for Trump, and absolutely everyone who voted for Cruz, voted against the Establishment. Together, we wiped it out. I do not trust Donald Trump to share my values; Trump won in part by convincing his people not to trust Ted’s. But everyone who supported both were united in seeking to throw off what Angelo Codevilla has called The Ruling Class.
I don’t know if they’ll get what they bargained for. I know we won’t get what I was hoping for, although we may well get it in 2020.
But I know this: the reports of America’s descent into socialism, while possibly true should Trump or Clinton put the wrong people on the Supreme Court, are greatly exaggerated when we actually examine what the so-called socialists believe. Hillary’s tone-deafness will only make this worse.
Don’t believe me? Watch this amazing segment from Jimmy Kimmel. It will make your day.
And in case you missed the point, here it is: they believe in our ideas. They absolutely identify with our opponents on a personal level: they think we don’t like them and are coming for them because that’s what they’re constantly told. But if Republicans could overcome that monstrous incessant lie, the country is far more conservative than we think.
I keep saying there’s an opportunity for a realignment. I don’t know if Donald Trump will help that along or kill it in its crib. But watching those Hillary supporters tells you what’s possible.
It’s not time to give up. It’s time to dig in.
You can read about the world anywhere. You come to RodMartin.org to understand it. Do your friends a favor and pass it along; and remember, there’s a lot more we publish each week that doesn’t make the newsletter.
by Rod D. Martin
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If you want to understand why, read this.
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America has real problems. But this is one of the most encouraging articles you’ll read this month.
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