A Strong Economy, Incumbency Could Mean A Trump Re-Election Victory In 2020

"It's the economy stupid" is the widely accepted political maxim that voters will punish the incumbent president who presides over a weak economy and re-elect the one who delivers strong economic growth.

That conventional wisdom will be put to the test under President Donald Trump.

Despite overseeing historically low unemployment, higher wages and solid economic growth, Trump's job approval rating has barely peaked above 45%. His numbers have been underwater with consistently higher voter disapproval since he took office. The one area where a plurality of voters has approved of Trump's presidency has been the economy.

Looking at historical trends, Trump's odds as an incumbent look good, particularly if the economy continues on track. Since 1900, there have been 19 presidents who ran for re-election and only four have lost: George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Herbert Hoover and William Taft. (Gerald Ford didn't technically lose his re-election since he was never officially elected president.)

Since the mid-20th century, every time an incumbent lost his re-election it could be attributed to an intervening economic recession or downturn. George H.W. Bush lost his 1992 re-election to Bill Clinton during a recession and tax increase. Jimmy Carter lost his re-election to Ronald Reagan in 1980 after years of high inflation and low growth. Ford lost the 1976 election to Carter against the backdrop of high unemployment and the worst economic recession, at that time, since the Great Depression.

GOP strategist Ford O'Connell anticipates that even with low approval ratings, Trump's incumbency and the state of the economy will figure more in 2020 than his likeability. "It's hard to knock off an incumbent president. The incumbent is typically favored even if he's not well-liked," he said.

"The only thing that can hurt Trump is if he has a recession," O'Connell said.

Read more from Leandra Bernstein at WJLA

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Biden Reveals His 2020 Strategy But Is He The Future Of The Democratic Party?

For the third time in his life, Joe Biden announced he is running for President of the United States.

With a three-and-a-half-minute video published Thursday morning, Biden joined the field of about 20 Democrats in the race to win the White House in 2020.

For months, Biden has been leading in early polls. Among Democratic voters, Biden is polling at 30 percent, followed by Bernie Sanders at 24 percent and Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 9 percent. Biden can boast the highest name recognition and is in a dead-heat with Sanders in overall favorability.

But early polling is only part of the battle. The former vice president and six-term Senator from Delaware has a long history in public life and enters the race at a time of seismic change in the Democratic Party.

It's a long slog from now until July 2020 when the Democrats will choose the candidate to battle Trump. According to GOP strategist Ford O'Connell, Biden could be the best-matched candidate to take on the incumbent president.

"At this stage, Biden certainly gives the Democrats their best chance of beating Donald Trump," he said. Biden has a high favorability rating including among women, African-Americans and unions. He's also polling well against Trump in 2020 battleground states. In a hypothetical national matchup against President Trump, Biden had an 8 percent lead, according to a recent Morning Consult poll.

It's still early in the campaign and Biden's political opponents haven't taken the gloves off yet. "Should he lose the perception of electability his campaign may well be finished," O'Connell said.

O'Connell anticipates Biden will spend the bulk of the campaign answering for his forty-plus years in elected office. "Biden is going to spend more time battling his past than he will spend battling the rest of the Democratic field," he said.

Read more from Leandra Bernstein at WJLA

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GOP Strategist: Illegal Immigrants Are Already ‘Voting’

Why are Democrats so intent on blocking the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census? According to Ford O’Connell at The Hill, it’s because they’re “using illegal immigration to alter the balance of power in the Electoral College from rural, Republican-leaning states to those that are predominately blue and in some cases purple.” No, illegal immigrants can’t vote directly — but they can alter the tally to favor Democrats ­because electoral votes are based on the number of each state’s residents, not citizens. Indeed, “a quick glance at the 20 metro areas with the largest number of illegal aliens confirms this.” Which explains why Democrats are “purposely ignoring the very real crisis and national emergency unfolding in front of their eyes.”

Read more at the New York Post

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If You Don't Think Illegal Immigrants Are Voting For President, Think Again

When President Trump threatened to release throngs of illegal immigrant detainees into America’s sanctuary cities last week, the media and Democrats went bonkers. While the scheme may not pass legal muster, it was “pure genius” as a political ploy.

The mere mention of this possibility caused award-winning artist and progressive activist Cher to take to Twitter and claim that if her hometown of Los Angeles, can’t take care of its roughly 50,000-person homeless population, “How Can it Take Care Of More?” 

Newsflash, Cher is absolutely right. Unchecked illegal immigration hurts all Americans, especially working- and lower-class Americans, regardless of ethnicity. 

Yet as Congressional Democrats search for Russian agents under every rock and in every crevice on Capitol Hill, they are purposely ignoring the very real crisis and national emergency unfolding in front of their eyes.

The sheer number of illegal immigrants bum-rushing the country’s southwest border speaks for itself. In March of 2019, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended or deemed inadmissible more than 103,000 aliens, the most in a single month since 2007. For FY 2019, the U.S. Border Patrol has already apprehended more than 361,000 aliens or more than 2,000 a day at the nation’s southern border. With six months left in FY 2019, that number could conceivably top 1,000,000. As a point of reference, in FY 2018 the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended just under 400,000 individuals in total at the southern border.

While the volume of illegal immigrant crossings is staggering, that is only a small part of the problem. The primary issue is the “make up of the flow.” An overwhelming majority of the illegal immigrants are coming from Central America, chiefly Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. Many are traveling as family units (real or alleged) or as unaccompanied alien children, and an ever increasing percentage are claiming asylum, making it nearly impossible to return them in a timely manner, if at all.

The reason is simple: America’s immigration laws are outdated and ill-equipped to handle the present situation. As crafted currently, the laws are designed to repel single men from Mexico not those traveling as family units or unaccompanied children from Central America or those looking to game the asylum system. Hence, many of these migrants cannot be detained by authorities for any significant period of time and are thus released into the interior of the U.S. in a vast majority of the cases, never to be heard from again. Yes, our current immigration laws incentivize foreign nationals to come here illegally, because chances are they will get to stay indefinitely.

So when President Trump says “[w]e have the worst [immigration] laws of any country in the world. … You have to fix the asylum system, it’s ridiculous” – he is beyond right. Even TheWeek.com’s senior correspondent Damon Linker agrees. 

Now Democrats will tell you the solution to the current border crisis is “comprehensive immigration reform,” but that is not only a dishonest talking point designed to accomplish nothing, it is a logical farce.

Read more from Ford O'Connell at The Hill

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Mueller Report Forces Dems To Wrestle With Political Risks Of Impeaching Trump

President Donald Trump declared “Game Over” after special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report on his probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election was released Thursday, but Democrats have signaled the “game” could last months longer, eyeing hearings and possible impeachment proceedings that could test the public’s appetite for investigations of the Trump White House.

While Mueller’s team recounted numerous instances of contacts and attempted contacts between Trump associates and Russians, they did not find any evidence of a conspiracy between the campaign and the Russian government to influence the election. Their 448-page report offered a more complicated finding on whether President Trump obstructed justice, concluding in part that only Congress can judge some of his actions.

The report catalogs numerous examples of bad behavior by Trump, but Republican strategist Ford O’Connell predicted Democrats will face “an uphill battle” convincing voters any of it was illegal or impeachable in light of Mueller’s underlying conclusion that there was no criminal conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

“It’s very hard to argue publicly about obstruction of justice when Trump was proven innocent on the crime of collusion,” he said.

Some Democrats have sidestepped the impeachment issue in the wake of the report’s release, while others are rushing headfirst into it.

“I say roll the dice on Capitol Hill, because the joke will be on them and Trump will win re-election,” O’Connell said. “No one can say Mueller didn’t already hunt down just about every potential crime. I find it hard to believe the chaos on Capitol Hill is going to turn up anything Mueller didn’t.”

Experts and members of both parties often cite the Republican impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998 for perjury and obstruction of justice as a cautionary tale for Democrats. The GOP-led House approved impeachment, but the Senate acquitted Clinton after a trial and his popularity rose in the months that followed.

“It cost the Republicans a bunch of House seats and it boosted Bill Clinton,” O’Connell said. “If they look at history, pursuing this is nothing more than a turd in a Tiffany box.”

“Republicans learned the lesson of the 1990s,” O’Connell said. “The only question is whether the Democrats learned the lesson of the 1990s.”

Read more from Stephen Loiaconi at ABC 6

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Democrats Renew Attacks On Trump Attorney General

Democrats ripped into Attorney General William Barr on Friday, signaling he'll be a focal point of their attacks on the Trump administration in the post-Mueller report world.

The Democrats say Barr bungled the handling of special counsel Robert Mueller's report and that he has repeatedly sought to protect President Trump, contrasting his comments about what the report said with the actual text that was released on Thursday.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) issued a subpoena on Friday to win the release of the full report, while other Democrats have called for Barr's resignation.

The report is also fueling new talk of impeachment.

The attacks on Barr do, to a certain extent, shift the target from Trump, which could help party leaders who would rather avoid that issue.

Even before the report’s release, Republicans had predicted that Democrats would seize on it regardless of its content to attack Trump and Barr.

“The White House knows there is nothing they can say or do that will satisfy the Democratic or media beast when it comes to the Mueller report. They already noticed this because the Democrats have moved from a Trump-Russia conspiracy to a Trump-Barr conspiracy,” GOP strategist Ford O’Connell told The Hill.

Read more from Olivia Beavers at The Hill

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Bernie Sanders Takes Shots At Amazon, Chevron, Other Big Businesses

Fox News contributor Leslie Marshall, CivicForumPAC Chairman Ford O’Connell and Boston Globe political reporter James Pindell discuss some of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) proposed policies ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Watch the video at Fox Business

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Washington In Frenzy Over Release Of Mueller Report

Washington is on edge as it awaits the highly anticipated release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Thursday, the findings of which could ignite a political firestorm.

Attorney General William Barr isn't delivering the report to Congress until 11 a.m. — after he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein hold a 9:30 a.m. press conference to discuss the findings.

The move drew howls of protest from Democrats on Wednesday night, especially after The New York Times reported that White House lawyers and Department of Justice officials have already discussed details of Mueller's conclusions.

Democrats say Barr has acted as an agent of President Trump in his role overseeing the release of the report, which will mark the culmination of one of the most-watched probes in recent political history.

Democrats are hoping to use the report to bolster their sprawling probes into Trump’s administration, businesses and campaign.

Republicans are keenly aware that no matter what is in the public report, Democrats are going to use it to attack the president, said GOP strategist Ford O’Connell.

“The White House knows there is nothing they can say or do that will satisfy the Democratic or media beast when it comes to the Mueller report. They already noticed this because the Democrats have moved from a Trump-Russia conspiracy to a Trump-Barr conspiracy,” O’Connell said.

Read more Olivia Beavers at The Hill

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Democrats, GOP Poised To Pounce On Mueller Findings

Democrats and Republicans are preparing their arguments and talking points ahead of Thursday’s release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report — before the contents of the roughly 400-page report are even known.

Democrats are poised to go after Attorney General William Barr over expected redactions, suggesting they will subpoena the Justice Department if they think too much information is left out of the document.

President Trump and his conservative allies on Capitol Hill are expected to point back to the core conclusions of Mueller’s report — as described by Barr — to argue Trump has been exonerated and that the investigation should no longer be an issue.

The president has repeatedly attacked the Mueller probe in recent days, tweeting Tuesday that the investigation was “the greatest scam in political history.” And, over the weekend, Trump called again for the investigators to be investigated.

GOP strategist Ford O’Connell said Republicans believe they can leverage the Mueller report to their advantage in 2020 by using Democratic calls for transparency to fuel their efforts to investigate the individuals who launched the counterintelligence probe into Russia’s election interference.

“You are in a messaging battle where the Democrats are trying to look for anything to hold onto this line of questioning and attacks on the president, but it seems to be their hand is getting weaker and weaker by the day,” O’Connell said. “It is quite clear the Democrats are going to scream bloody murder no matter what, and the White House knows this. It almost doesn’t matter what is in the report. The White House knows which way the Democrats are going to go.”

He added, “But what the White House is going to tell you over and over is exactly what the conclusions were, the fact that Bob Mueller never got fired, [and that] Bob Mueller and the DOJ got all the money they needed for this investigation.”

Read more from Jacqueline Thomsen and Olivia Beavers at The Hill

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Democrats' Billion-Dollar Fundraising Juggernaut Is Tucked Away In Somerville

The nondescript brick building that houses ActBlue’s headquarters in Somerville belies the nonprofit's mega-sized role in Democratic fundraising.

But the group that helps Democratic candidates, organizations and charities bring in cash with easy-to-use online tools has become a political juggernaut.

ActBlue has pulled in more than $3.3 billion — more than half of which has come in during and since the 2017-2018 election season. The average contribution is just shy of $40.

Republicans have scrambled to match ActBlue’s success, but so far they haven’t been able to bottle that lightning. But they’re trying: In January, after losing the House of Representatives in the midterm elections, the GOP launched its latest effort, called Patriot Pass.

But Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist who has worked on the party’s efforts to build better grassroots fundraising apparatus, said ActBlue’s success isn’t just about its platform. It’s about the buy-in from the base.

“What makes ActBlue powerful goes beyond technology,” O’Connell said. “It has buy-in from the candidates, causes and grassroots donors. It is that trust between the participants that makes it truly a success.”

O’Connell said Republicans have gotten in their own way when if comes to efforts to duplicate ActBlue’s rise. Previous attempts to duplicate ActBlue’s model have been hampered by “big egos, infighting and counter-intuitive business considerations by GOP consultants and Republican campaigns,” Ford said.

“Patriot Pass is not the first Republican stab at trying to level the playing field with ActBlue,” O’Connell said. “There’s really a fiefdom mentality among the Republican players. Now, if Patriot Pass can overcome these internal roadblocks, then it will succeed. If not, it will be back to the drawing board."

Read more from Kimberly Atkins at WBUR

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