Harvard Poll Finds Americans Receptive To Law-And-Order Message

Voters want to see immigrants with criminal records deported, rioters and looters arrested and prosecuted, and border security stiffened, according to a Harvard poll that suggests there is ample room for President Trump to sell his law-and-order message — if he can break through questions about his character.

More than two-thirds of those surveyed by the Harvard Center for American Political Studies/Harris pollhave a favorable opinion of police, compared with 51% for the Black Lives Matter movement. Antifa, the left-wing “anti-fascist” movement, has just 14% approval.

About three-fourths want to see the border tightened and want to see illegal immigrants who commit crimes deported rather than protected, as sanctuary cities do.

But Ford O’Connell, a Republican Party strategist with close ties to the White House, said Mr. Trump can win by hammering home an issues-based message about his record over the past four years and his plans for the next four.

“From economic stewardship to law and order to tighter border security to no more crippling economic shutdowns — the issues are overwhelmingly on President Trump’s side,” he said. “And rather than trying to out-personality Biden, which there’s nothing wrong with, Trump would be better served by challenging Biden on the issues and reminding voters what he has done and where he wants to go.”

Read more from Stephen Dinan at The Washington Times

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Republicans Contend Trump's Debate Heat Will Fire Up The Base

President Trump was widely criticized for being too aggressive, even unpresidential, in his first debate performance Tuesday night, but Republicans think his showing will resonate with the base.

“If you like Trump, and I understand not everybody does, you saw a lot of what you liked last night,” said a Washington, D.C.-based Republican operative.

Even if Trump did not win over new voters, these Republicans say he might have maintained his enthusiasm edge. Trump supporters saw the president hammer Democratic challenger Joe Biden, and while the former vice president was sharper than his doddering image, he was frequently equivocal in defending policy proposals that are popular among liberals.

“No question, this was a fiery debate with multiple dust-ups,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “While Biden was light on policy specifics and at times refused to answer questions while resorting to name-calling, what’s clear is that from the economy and jobs to the Green New Deal to the violence in the Democrat-run cities, Biden’s positions are really no different from those of Bernie Sanders and the far left of the Democrat Party, despite his linguistic somersaults.”

Read more from W. James Antle III at the Washington Examiner

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Trump Seeks Boost From Seniors With $200 Drug Discount Coupons

President Trump is throwing a preelection curveball aimed at seniors with a surprise announcement on Thursday that his administration will send $200 coupons to 33 million seniors on Medicare to use to pay for prescription drugs. 

The move raises legal questions, given that Congress has not authorized the roughly $7 billion in spending, and Democrats and some health experts said it would be an unprecedented use of the Medicare program for political gain ahead of the election. 

Trump made no effort to disguise the fact that he sees the move as a political benefit with seniors, a key voting bloc, ahead of the election. 

An analysis from FiveThirtyEight this month found that Biden was up in polls among voters 65 and older by about 4 percentage points, a reversal from 2016, when Trump won that age group by 13.3 percentage points. 

“He has to make sure he wins seniors in Florida,” GOP strategist Ford O’Connell said of Trump. “Florida and Arizona is where seniors are a big part of the vote.”

Read more from Peter Sullivan at The Hill

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Supreme Court Vacancy Reignites Debate Over Abortion in US

The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has reignited the abortion debate in the US, putting the issue front and centre with less than six weeks to go until November’s presidential election.

Donald Trump has vowed to replace Ginsburg, a liberal pro-choice icon, with a female jurist committed to overturning Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that enshrined that constitutional right to an abortion.

The president will announce his choice at the White House on Saturday. The nominee, Mr. Trump's third since taking office, stands to tip the balance of the nine-member bench 6-3 in favour of conservatives. The shift would also be a big victory for the so-called pro-life, or anti-abortion, lobby that helped carry Mr. Trump to victory in 2016.

Ford O'Connell, a Republican strategist who is close to the Trump campaign, said that votes in places like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Charlotte, North Carolina, were more socially conservative than their counterparts in coastal cities like New York or San Francisco.

"The states that are going to decide this election tend to be much more pro-life than the nation as a whole," he said.

Mr. O'Connell added that if Democratic lawmakers were too aggressive in questioning Judge Barrett or others, they risked losing support among suburban women.

"If they attack a female nominee for her faith or stance on abortion, that could backfire," he said.

Read more from Lauren Fedor at the Financial Times

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Trump Campaign Shifts Gears To Focus On Supreme Court Seat

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has jolted the Trump campaign, offering the president a new message to seize on in the final weeks of his reelection pursuit.

For months, the focus of the 2020 campaign has been on the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed 200,000 people in the U.S., and the resulting recession that has put millions out of work. But Trump allies see the new Supreme Court vacancy as a way to rally conservatives who may have been wavering and give Trump a new issue to hammer home in the closing weeks.

Trump basked in the opportunity to appoint a third Supreme Court justice with supporters at a rally over the weekend in the swing state of North Carolina, musing about printing T-shirts that read “Fill that seat” and polling the crowd on whether to pick a man or a woman.

Ford O’Connell, a Florida-based Republican strategist, argued that the nomination process could help win over Republicans who might not otherwise favor his reelection.

“Republicans may agree or disagree about candidates, the one thing they seem to walk in lock step about is the judiciary,” O’Connell said.

“With evangelical voters, particularly in the Upper Midwest, that is entirely important in terms of maximizing our turnout there,” O’Connell said.

Read more from Morgan Chalfant and Brett Samuels at The Hill

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Ford O'Connell To Newsmax TV: SCOTUS Appointment Top Election Issue

The fight over filling the Supreme Court vacancy will become "the top issue of the 2020 election," according to GOP strategist and lawyer Ford O'Connell on Newsmax TV.

O'Connell said it is important to have nine justices on the bench because the "Democrats have already said they're going to challenge the election results if Donald Trump wins."

He said if there is a challenge on election results that winds up at the Supreme Court for a decision, "you need to have nine justices on there."

He ripped Democrats who are threatening to pack the courts and even impeach Trump for selecting a justice ahead of the election.

"They never accepted the 2016 election results," he said of the Democrats, adding they are "resorting to extortion" to change the rules.

Watch the video and read more from Marisa Herman at Newsmax

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As Trump Campaigns, Senate Prepares For Battle Over Ginsburg Vacancy

This means war.

With the presidential election only 44 days away, the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has shaken the race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden — along with 33 U.S. Senate battles across the country — to the core.

A new Trump-nominated justice would cement a commanding conservative majority for the first time since the 1960s, a long-sought goal of the right that would have far-reaching effects on questions of abortion, religious freedom, gun rights, and more.

“You don’t want to go into a potential fight over election rules with only eight justices who could deadlock in a 4-4 tie,” said GOP analyst Ford O’Connell. “You want nine. If that doesn’t happen, the Republicans will have only themselves to blame.”

Read more from Jon Levine and Mary Kay Linge at the New York Post

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Trump And GOP Struggle To Define Kamala Harris As The Radical Running Mate

Kamala Harris has proven a trickier-than-expected target for Republicans trying to define the Democratic ticket ahead of November’s election, even as she and Joe Biden have recently seemed confused about which of them is leading the ticket.

The Californian Biden tapped as his running mate was once rated the most liberal senator— “She is even to the left of Socialist Bernie Sanders,” a Republican National Committee statement said last month — and Democratic primary voters quickly soured on her presidential campaign earlier this year. This would seem to be fertile ground for attack ads or opposition researchers.

“There is no question about it, Sen. Kamala Harris is the weaker link of the Biden-Harris ticket, and the Biden campaign recognizes it too,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “It is why Harris has been used sparingly on the campaign trail outside of Democrat strongholds. She has not shown a disciplined willingness to stick to the script and sing from the same hymnbook as Biden.”

O’Connell acknowledged Trump’s case against Harris got lost in the summer headlines and that there might not be enough time to define her for battleground state voters now.

“Instead, the Trump campaign is going to drive home their primary strengths — the economy and law and order, and if they can weave Kamala into that equation they will, particularly her command and control economic views, her sympathy for rioters — including attempts to bail them out of jail — and her claim that the lawlessness is ‘not gonna stop after Election Day," he said. “When it comes to specifically defining Harris, the Trump campaign’s ace in the hole will be Mike Pence in the vice presidential debates, and his goal will be to highlight Biden’s incompetency for picking Harris in the first place.”

Read more from W. James Antle III at the Washington Examiner

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Lyft's Urban Voter-Turnout Plan In 5 Battleground States Sparks Conservative Outrage

Ride-sharing company Lyft’s new turn-out-the vote effort in cities in five battleground states has sparked outrage from conservatives who think it is a ploy to help Democrats win in November. 

Lyft has formed a partnership with More Than A Vote, an advocacy group led by Black athletes including basketball player LeBron James, to provide free and discounted rides to polling locations in major cities in five key battlegrounds: Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

Lyft did not answer a question about whether it would provide comparable ride-sharing transportation to rural voters as it plans to do for urban voters in the five cities targeted by More Than A Vote.

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell, who formerly ran for Congress in Florida, said Thursday he thought Democrats may undermine Lyft’s voter-turnout efforts by their vocal push for mail-in ballots that have created fear about in-person voting.

“Normally, I would be extremely concerned about this because it’s geared toward almost exclusively turning out Democratic votes. That said, Democrats have turned away the vast majority of their voters from in-person voting,” Mr. O’Connell said. “They’ve scared [voters], but at the same time, it is a weapon in their arsenal. The only question is whether they choose to promote it.”

Read more from Ryan Lovelace at The Washington Times

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Ballooning Ranks Of Uninsured Endanger GOP Health-Care Message

The number of Americans without health insurance has grown steadily under the Trump administration and it’s creating headaches for Republicans who once championed efforts to roll back Obamacare.

Republican leaders Tuesday unveiled a policy platform centered around defeating the coronavirus and improving the economy, with no mention of their long-time pledge to roll back the Affordable Care Act. Democrats, in contrast, are sticking with the message that won them a House majority in 2018: a promise to extend health-insurance coverage to more Americans through the ACA.

Health-care politics this year is almost a polar opposite of 2016, when the U.S. hit an all-time low in the number of people without insurance coverage. Democrats are hoping this shift will win over voters uneasy about being able to afford health care.

These ads are meant to tell voters they can keep the parts of Obamacare they like and also get something less expensive under Republican policies, Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist who served as an adviser on the late Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid, said.

“Most voters don’t know what Obamacare entails but they know its most-popular provision, which is preexisting conditions,” O’Connell said.

Read more from Alex Ruoff at Bloomberg Government

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