Trump Seeks To Define 2020 Race While Dems Fight Among Themselves

President Donald Trump officially launches his 2020 re-election campaign Tuesday with a rally in Orlando aimed at energizing his base, but his appeals to his supporters could also remind Democrats and moderates why they have favored his possible opponents in most polls conducted so far.

Supporters began lining up early Monday morning outside the Amway Center for the president’s 8 p.m. Tuesday event. The arena holds 20,000 people, and the Trump campaign says 100,000 requested tickets. The campaign plans to set up screens for fans tailgating outside.

According to Republican strategist Ford O’Connell, the president’s goal will be to remind supporters what is at stake and focus them for the first time squarely on re-electing him, and the location he chose to do it is no accident.

“A lot of this is to basically give the base a spark but also make the case that if we don’t win Florida, it’s very hard to win re-election,” O’Connell said.

Several recent polls suggest Trump may need to find some way to speak to that wider audience to win. A Fox News poll conducted last week found former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg all beat Trump head-to-head among registered voters, with the president topping out at 41% of the vote.

“He’s going to have to explain and define the Democratic field before the Democrats have a nomination,” O’Connell said, noting the strategy worked effectively for President Barack Obama against 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

The Trump campaign recognizes that too, which is why it is working to shore up support in places like Florida from the start. Beyond the economy, the president has incumbency and historical headwinds on his side, and he has far more resources to turn around his disappointing early poll numbers than he did the first time around.

“In 2016, the campaign was really fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants,” O’Connell said. “This time, it’s a well-oiled machine relative, to what it was.”

Read more from Stephen Loiaconi at ABC 6

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Impeachment Will Reelect Trump

Progressives say Democrats could face backlash from their grassroots if they don’t impeach President Trump.

Some days House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) thinks Trump should be impeached, other days he waffles.

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is all in on starting the impeachment process.

American University’s Allan Lichtman, who has correctly predicted the last nine presidential elections, says “Democrats only have a shot at the White House if they begin impeachment proceedings against Trump.”

So what exactly has spurred Democrats new-found fervor to take out Trump ahead of the 2020 presidential election?

The Democrats will almost uniformly tell you the tipping point was former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 10-minute statement at the end May, where he implied that Trump might have committed obstruction of justice and that the only recourse for Democrats to hold Trump allegedly accountable would be to open an impeachment inquiry.

For those who didn’t read the 448-page Mueller report and who don’t follow politics like a shut-in living in their parents’ basement, Mueller didn’t offer any new facts about the investigation and fielded no questions at his May 29 press appearance.

So how should we sum this up legally for the layperson? Mueller did not provide any obstruction of justice evidence as it relates to the investigation into Trump-Russia collusion, a crime that Trump did not commit. And if you want to be truly cynical about it, one could argue that it is pretty hard for Trump to obstruct an investigation into something that never happened.

But don’t tell this to the Democrats on Capitol Hill, many of whom are champing at the bit. They believe Mueller has given them enough to take down Trump and to overturn the abomination known as the 2016 presidential election once and for all. To that, I say roll the dice, because public opinion is overwhelmingly on Trump’s side.

For those keeping score at home, the House of Representatives has only impeached 19 individuals in the history of the Republic — 15 federal judges, one senator, one cabinet member, and two presidents (Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton). And we all know how the Clinton impeachment turned out for Republicans; not only was he acquitted by the Democratic-controlled Senate on charges of perjury and obstruction of Justice, but Clinton’s approval rating jumped 10 points.

Now I’m sure House Democrats over the course of the next few weeks and possibly even months will try their best to manipulate public opinion on impeachment in their favor by holding a series of made-for-TV show trials on the Muller report and whatever other Trump-centric controversies they can concoct. Apparently they intend to enlist former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean in their perpetual “Hate-Trump” circus.

But just think of what 10 points, or even half of that could do for Trump. Not only would he almost certainly be reelected, he might just become a candidate for a presidential monument in D.C. That would truly drive his detractors berserk beyond even Trump’s lifetime.

Read more from Ford O'Connell at The Hill

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Hypocrisy In 2020 Democrats Targeting Big Tech, Yet Fundraising In Silicon Valley?

Democratic Strategist Christy Setzer and Republican Strategist Ford O'Connell on 2020 Democratic presidential candidates going after big tech yet also fundraising in Silicon Valley and Democrats plans to focus on the tariff impact on voters while campaigning in Iowa.

Watch the video at Fox Business

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Tariff threats Drive Wedge Between U.S., Mexico, Amid Talks

The United States continued talks with Mexico on Thursday amid U.S. President Donald Trump's threats to slap tariffs on its southern neighbor. If tariffs take effect, that could impact both economies and drive a wedge between Washington and its third largest trading partner, experts said.

At issue is whether Mexico will step up efforts to stop the flow of undocumented migrants crossing its southern border into the United States. Trump has expressed frustration over growing inflow of illegal immigrants. Last month saw a decade-long high in apprehensions of illegal migrants, with 133,000 detained at the border.

Mexico is also used as a route of entry to the United States by violent criminal gangs from El Salvador, such as the infamous MS-13, while many of Trump's supporters also believe that illegal immigration drives down working class wages and increases competition for blue collar jobs.

Illegal immigration will be one of Trump's major platforms in the 2020 elections, and the president believes Mexico has done very little to mitigate the situation. While Mexico on Thursday vowed to provide 6,000 troops to beef up border security, that may not be enough to satisfy Trump's demands.

The U.S. president has threatened that if Mexico does not take action to stem the tsunami of illegal migration, he will slap a 5 percent tariff on Mexican goods that will grow incrementally if no agreement is reached.

TV news personality and Republican Strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua the main problem is that U.S. laws do not reflect the reality on the ground. The vast majority of illegal migrants are from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Many are traveling as families, or claiming to be families.

The laws are designed to stop single men from Mexico, rather than families or children migrating alone. Laws make it difficult to detain such individuals, even if they are lying about being under the age of 18. Authorities often have no choice other than to release them into the United States, where they remain indefinitely.

"Thanks to American laws, the people who come here illegally, the majority will never be deported," O'Connell told Xinhua.

"If people don't ever think they are going to be turned away, why would they ever stop coming?" O'Connell said.

Read more from Matthew Ruslting at Xinhua 

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Deadly U.S. Shooting Unlikely To Spark Major Gun Debate, Experts Say

A mass shooting in the U.S. state of Virginia on Friday is unlikely to cause a major debate on gun control, as the public has become used to news of gun violence and is unlikely to clamor for change to gun laws, experts have said.

Twelve people were shot dead Friday when a gunman opened fire at a government building in the city of Virginia Beach. Authorities so far said they do not know the shooter's motive.

Republicans and Democrats are at odds over the issue, with Democrats calling for more gun legislation, and Republicans fearing that more laws might not lessen the violence, but instead infringe on rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

While Democrats have been vocal on gun control since Friday's shootings, their outrage is likely to die down when headlines start to fade, experts said.

Gun control is simply not on most voters' radars in the lead-up to the 2020 elections, TV news personality and Republican Strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua.

He noted that polls show only 5 percent of Americans view gun control as a major issue, while healthcare, jobs and immigration top the list of voters' priorities. While Democrats may introduce bills on a national level, experts said they won't go far in a divided Congress.

The United States is more likely to see laws enacted on a state level than on a national level, O'Connell said.

"I think you're going to have real battles in some of the Senate races," but not on the national level, he said.

"It's an issue of importance to some voters, but I don't think it's going to decide the 2020 election. It may have more salience in certain key Senate races, but it's not going to be the reason Trump wins or loses."

On the state level, the legislation conversation has become more robust since last year's Parkland school shooting, with eight states having passed "red flag laws," allowing for temporary but immediate disarmament of individuals who pose a danger to themselves or others.

Read more from Matthew Rusling at Xinhua

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Abortion To Be Major Election Issue In 2020 U.S. Presidential Race

Abortion has vaulted to the forefront of issues in the lead up to the 2020 U.S. presidential elections, and experts said the issue may well become the Gordian knot in the race, dragging out the imminent fight between Democrats and Republicans.

Earlier this month, Kay Ivey, governor of the U.S. state of Alabama, signed a new law that would ban all abortions, except in cases in which the mother's life is in danger, in the latest challenge to the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade case that ruled that women have a right to have an abortion.

The Alabama law would make it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion, with the possibility of 99 years of imprisonment. Even victims of rape and incest would not be permitted to terminate their pregnancies.

The ban is the latest in a trend toward more restrictive abortion policies, with the U.S. states of Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia and Mississippi recently creating similar bans. Experts say all this is part of a GOP concerted effort to push the issue up to the U.S. Supreme Court, where anti-abortion supporters hope the court will strike down Roe v. Wade.

For their part, conservatives say the trend toward restricting abortions is a reaction to recent moves in states such as New York and Virginia to relax restrictions on late-term abortions.

TV news personality and Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua that the new law in Alabama, as well as similar laws in other states, are a test-case, signed into law so they'll get pushed up to the Supreme Court in hopes that Roe v. Wade will be overturned.

O'Connell added that the spate of anti-abortion laws being passed in several states is a reaction to what many conservatives view as radical and immoral laws being pushed in states such as New York and Virginia. Such legislation seeks to make abortion legal even in the third trimester. Social conservatives, particularly evangelicals, which represent a large chunk of Trump's base, have strong views against such laws.

Read more from Matthew Rusling at Xinhua

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12 Senate Races More Important Than The Presidential Election

Many Americans are focusing on the 2020 presidential but the Senate races could be more important as Republican control is up for grabs. The party is seeking to hold onto its slim majority with 12 key seats being tested in this cycle.

The math seems to favor the Democrats. Twenty-two Republican seats are among the 34 up for re-election next year; 12 of those slots are in key states. If President Donald Trump loses re-election, Democrats need to flip only three seats to regain the Senate. If Trump wins, the party needs four.

With Trump as president and Democrats holding onto the House, and regaining the Senate, they are sure to stymie his agenda. But if a Democrat wins the White House — and the party controls both congressional chambers — they will undo Trump's record and push through their own legislative programs.

In many ways, the battle for control of the Senate is more important than for the White House, Republican strategist Ford O'Connell tells Newsmax.

"Essentially, Mitch McConnell is the last line of defense against socialism," he says, referring to the Kentucky Republican and Senate majority leader, who is also up for re-election next year.

"You block socialism if Trump wins," O'Connell adds. "If Trump loses, but McConnell's still in power, you still block socialism.

"It's an if-then: Trump helps McConnell keep the Senate. But if Trump goes down, then McConnell's got trouble."

Two other political observers, however, say 2020 will be a "top-down" contest, with the party winning the White House also taking Congress.

O'Connell tells Newsmax: "In Alabama, the Republicans should win unless [Roy] Moore's the nominee. Doug Jones is going to be out.

"A bad nominee can hurt you more than a good nominee can help you."

Read more from Todd Beamon at Newsmax

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Democratic Attacks On Trump And Vietnam Open Door To Scrutiny Of Biden Avoiding Draft

Two veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination have taken aim at President Trump over his four Vietnam draft deferments for being a student and a medical one in 1968 for a bone spur.

But their ultimate target might be Joe Biden, the early Democratic front-runner who avoided Vietnam service in a strikingly similar way by securing five student deferments and a medical one in 1968 due to childhood asthma.

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., and a Navy veteran of Afghanistan, last week accused Trump of draft dodging. "I have a pretty dim view of his decision to use his privileged status to fake a disability in order to avoid serving in Vietnam," he said.

Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts representative and a former Marine officer who served in Iraq, blasted Trump on the same grounds. "This is a president who used his father's connections to lie about bone spurs to get out of serving in a war," he said this month. Moulton revealed this week that has post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his combat experience.

Joe Trippi, a veteran Democratic strategist, said he saw the attacks on Trump as a "legitimate way for veterans like Buttigieg and Moulton to contrast their life experience with Biden and others in the race."

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell predicted Democrats would start to attack Biden more explicitly, but to do so in a way that did not undermine the Obama administration's record. The Vietnam issue “is a good issue to go after him on because in no way does it implicate Obama,” he said, noting Obama’s high approval among the Democratic electorate.

Read more from Emily Larsen from the Washington Examiner 

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Mueller's Final Statement Could Bring Democrats Closer To Impeachment

In his final statement on the report that has sparked controversy for two years, U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller Wednesday signaled the possibility that President Donald Trump committed a crime, but stopped short of saying it definitively.

If we had "confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so," Mueller said at a press conference.

Mueller added that he found "insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy" on whether there was interference in the election, and announced that he would step down.

Mueller's statements seemed to indicate he suspected wrongdoing but could not prove it, prompting some key Democrats to ratchet up calls to impeach Trump.

The Mueller investigation -- which sought to find evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to clinch the 2016 elections -- took nearly two years and was concluded several months ago without finding a smoking gun. Democrats, however, are still convinced that Trump committed a crime, and continue to investigate.

Republican Strategist and TV news personality Ford O'Connell told Xinhua: "We didn't hear anything that wasn't in the report and contrary to the fanfare in the media, Mueller didn't say Trump was guilty of anything."

"In our legal system you are innocent until proven guilty," he added, noting that hard proof and facts are required in the U.S. rule-of-law system.

"What he's done here is to throw Democrats a political bone," O'Connell said of Mueller.

Read more from Matthew Rusling at Xinhua 

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Few 2020 Democrats Urge Caution In Upending Electoral College

After coming out on the losing end of the system in 2016, most of the two dozen Democratic candidates running for president in 2020 say they’re open to abolishing the Electoral College.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to get rid of it entirely, saying the current system is set up so that solidly red states such as Mississippi or blue states like Massachusetts get short shrift once it comes time for candidates to campaign in the general election.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has said the Electoral College “needs to go,” which would require a constitutional amendment.

But there are naysayers, too.

The Electoral College is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and was intended partly as a compromise to ensure that less-populated states had a say in choosing the president.

State “electors” technically elect the president every four years and are generally supposed to follow the wishes of the voters in their respective states, most of which have a “winner-take-all” system.

More than a dozen states, which tally up close to 200 Electoral College votes, have voted to join a national popular vote “compact” that would kick in when the threshold hits 270, which is what it takes to secure the presidency.

GOP strategist Ford O’Connell, though, said there’s not much chance of action, and Democratic candidates are merely playing to an outraged base, “selling their voters fool’s gold.”

“And they’re doing it because they hate Trump literally that much,” he said. “And voters don’t realize it will take a constitutional amendment to change that, which is literally impossible given the electoral environment.”

Read more from David Sherfinski at The Washington Times

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