There were two primary elections Tuesday in Arizona and Florida, and some primary runoffs in Oklahoma. The big news was out of Florida, where both parties’ nominees for Governor shocked the experts. On the Republican side, Rep. Ron DeSantis beat agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam by 20 points. Putnam had been ahead in the polls by 15 points until President Trump sent out one tweet endorsing DeSantis. It was another demonstration of the strength of Trump with the Republican base (one more came in Arizona, where Rep. Martha McSally won the nomination for Jeff Flake’s Senate seat after openly embracing Trump and conservatism and distancing herself from her previous criticism of Trump.)
Florida’s Democratic primary made even bigger news when underdog Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum edged out well-funded establishment favorite Gwen Graham. If elected, Gillum would be the first African-American Governor of Florida. But he’d also unquestionably be the most leftwing Florida Governor ever. His campaign received funds from rabidly anti-Trump leftist billionaires Tom Steyer and George Soros, and his major endorsement was from Bernie Sanders, who said Gillum is leading “a political revolution” in Florida. He’s running on a platform of “Medicare for All,” raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, overturning the state’s “Stand your ground” self-defense law and impeaching the President.
In other words, there will be no better illustration of the relative appeal of Trump and conservatism vs. way-far-left “Democratic” socialism and the power of identity group politics than the Florida Governor’s race. Let’s hope there are enough Floridians who want to prevent their state from turning into New York (or Venezuela with theme parks) to prevent this from being another Florida nailbiter election. One hopeful sign: while Gillum made a huge media splash with his win, the Democratic race was split between seven candidates, so Gillum was able to win with only 34.4% of the vote. So far, that’s been about the upper limit of the appeal of most far left “Progressives,” even among the most engaged partisan Democrats.
Also worth noting: despite all the media talk about energized Democrats overpowering disheartened Republicans in a “blue wave,” about 109,000 more people voted in the Florida Republican Gubernatorial Primary than the Democratic Primary. Gillum will no doubt attract a very high percentage of the African-American vote. But will their understandable desire to see the first black Governor overcome their desire to continue the blooming economy and record low unemployment that Gillum’s leftwing policies will destroy faster than kudzu will choke out your flower garden?
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
Twitter is making progress on the “nonpartisan enforcement of rules” front. It took the social media platform only 24 hours (plus a lot of outrage and bad PR) to reverse its ruling that when a leftist user tweeted that NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch needed “to have her children murdered” to understand why we need gun control, that did, indeed, violate Twitter’s policy against threatening or wishing harm or death on others. Twitter initially claimed that after “carefully reviewing” said tweet, they’d found “no violation” of Twitter’s terms. But after carefully reviewing it a second time with a big spotlight of conservative media turned on them, lo and behold, they did find a violation of their terms (and basic human decency.)
Now, it would be nice if they’d look into all the other leftist threats of violence against Loesch and her family and other conservatives on Twitter, but baby steps, baby steps. At least this Twitter abuse flinger hasn’t been hired by the New York Times editorial board…yet.
BOTH SIDES NEED TO STOP POLITICIZING TRAGEDIES
This is just one of many reasons why it’s a bad idea to try to politicize tragedies. Both sides of the gun control debate embarrassed themselves in the immediate wake of this weekend’s shooting by a pro gamer at a video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida. As usual, those on the left couldn’t wait until they knew anything at all about the shooter, his motives or how he got his gun before they started blaming the shooting on lack of gun control laws in Florida. It was soon reported that the killer bought his gun in his home state of Maryland, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the US. Despite having a history of hospitalization for mental illness, including a doctor’s warning that he might lash out in anger and pose a threat to his mother, he somehow managed to pass every background check and other hurdles.
Meanwhile, some media outlets on the right responded too quickly by repeating an online claim that the shooter had been a Reddit user who was a known anti-Trump “resister.” That turned out to be a case of mistaken identity and had to be retracted. It was another example of the kind of lazy journalism we see more often on left-leaning sites, an attitude summed up so well by humorist James Thurber as “Don’t get it right, just get it written.”
As to which side embarrassed itself more, I’ll let the tiebreaker be the way some anti-gun leftists savaged Ivanka Trump for tweeting, “As we await further details, our hearts are with Jacksonville and all those affected by today’s tragic mass shooting.” Yeah, where does she get off, going around expressing compassion like a human being?!
When tragedies strike, some people leap to use the crisis to advance their own agenda, and they lash out at those who respond by expressing sympathy and offering prayers. They think that means they’re doing nothing. But they’re actually doing the best thing anyone can do until we know enough about what happened to decide what, if anything, needs to be done or can be done. What we don’t need is a lot of people yelling, “Do something, even if it’s wrong!” We already have more than enough people doing wrong things without thinking about the consequences.
HILLARY'S SERVERS WERE HACKED?!?
The Daily Caller is reporting that two sources have told them that a Chinese-owned company operating in DC hacked into then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s unsecured email server and set it up to instantly forward copies of virtually every email that passed through it to the Chinese. Further, when the Intelligence Community Inspector General warned FBI officials (including – take a wild guess? – Peter Strzok!) of the problem, nothing was done about it.
Well, to be fair, they were much too busy trying to prove that one of the two major party Presidential candidates was being manipulated by a hostile foreign power to give a flying fig whether China was reading all of Hillary Clinton’s State Department emails.
TRUMP APPROVAL IS HIGHER THAN YOU THINK
After the past week’s worth of horrible news for President Trump (well, according to the media it was a horrible week for Trump), you’d think Trump’s his ratings would be down there with dandruff, ringworm and the NFL. But Americans aren’t as easily stampeded as the cattle the media think they are.
Maybe they actually took ten seconds to think about it and decided it’s unfair guilt-by-association to blame someone’s personal tax cheating on a guy he briefly worked for years later. And maybe they decided that the ever-changing claims of a sleazy lawyer and the sleazy lawyer’s sleazy lawyer weren’t really all that reliable as evidence. Maybe they looked instead at the record stock market, the breakthrough on renegotiating NAFTA, the “no longer possible” 4.1% 2nd quarter GDP growth, unemployment claims at a 44-year low, and the highest consumer confidence in 18 years. Then maybe they decided, as we say in the South, that they had bigger fish to fry than obsessing over crazy conspiracy theories and the whining of money-grubbing lowlifes of ill repute and the porn stars who are their legal clients.
For whatever reasons, it seems that large numbers of Americans refuse to be panicked over minutia into toppling the Trump Presidency and “annulling” it from history, as hysterically suggested by Robert Reich (I mean that in both senses: he’s acting hysterically, and I find it hysterically funny.) A new set of polls just appeared that must have the staffs of CNN and MSNBC questioning the very reason for their existence.
First, new Rasmussen and Wall Street Journal/NBC polls found that even after this past week of vein-popping anti-Trump coverage, Trump’s approval numbers remain surprisingly solid. Rasmussen has him at 46%, which you might think is low, but it’s higher than Obama’s at this point in his presidency, and Obama had a Press Corps that routinely gave him shoe shines with their tongues. And if liberals hoped that their assaults would cause Trump supporters to peel away, guess again: his approval among Republicans spiked to a stunning 90%. So if they really plan to overturn the 2016 election, they’re on notice that there will be a LOT of pushback from the other direction.
A second poll by Harvard CAPS/Harris Polls found that large majorities of Americans agree that former CIA Director James “TREASON!!” Brennan and former FBI Director James “Conscience of America” Comey ought to have their security clearances yanked. These people probably all had jobs where they weren't allowed to keep their passes to the building after they no longer worked there.
Finally, about that “blue wave”…A recent Rasmussen Congressional generic preference poll found both parties now tied at 44%, while Reuters/IPSOS has the Democrats ahead by only 4 points. That mirrors the polls on the day before the 2016 election, when the GOP lost only five seats.
I’ve written many times before that generic polls are pretty useless as predictors of specific election results. But when you see an overall trend of falling support for Democrats over time, it might mean that Americans are finally moving past summer and starting to pay serious attention to politics (unlike many on the left, most people don’t let politics dominate their every thought 24/7.) They’re starting to ponder which they were really prefer: low taxes, good jobs, secure borders and a booming economy? Or high taxes, job-killing regulations, open borders and a lot of unhinged ranting about investigations, impeachment, socialism, toxic masculinity and government health care that just might cost more money than there actually is? Not to mention the financial system that their lifestyles and retirement depend on being placed under the oversight of a House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters.
If Americans think about all that and the “blue wave” goes down the drain, I think the reason might have been explained best back in the 1700s by British writer Samuel Johnson:
“When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”
BRUCE OHR'S TESTIMONY CONFIRMS SUSPICIONS, AND MORE
“VERIFIED APPLICATION [in large, bold type] –- The FBI has reviewed this verified application for accuracy in accordance with its April 5, 2001, procedures, which include sending a copy of the draft to the appropriate field office(s).”
The above certification appeared on each of the applications (one original and three renewals) for warrants to spy on Trump campaign associate Carter Page that were sent to the FISA court. We now know that the information provided within, primarily the Trump/Russia “dossier” written by highly imaginative British ex-spy Christopher Steele, was NEVER verified for accuracy and was, in fact, considered extremely “iffy” even by the person who created it.
These facts are now undisputed: The FBI went to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (and this is supposed to be a big deal) to get a wiretap on an American citizen it accused of being a Russian agent. It based this outrageous charge not on a “verified application,” as it claimed, but on a salacious and unverified work of fiction financed by the Clinton campaign and the DNC. It failed to disclose this very important information to the court.
Defenders of the FBI say, “But wait! There was a footnote at the bottom of page 16 of the application that read in part, ‘The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign.’” Yes, we’ve seen this finely crafted example of understatement, and we have identified the “identified U.S. person” as Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS. Candidate #1 is obviously then-candidate Donald Trump. The FBI obviously included this cryptic footnote to serve as cover, so they could point to it later if they needed to and say, “Looky here! We disclosed that.”
But the information is false and intentionally misleading. Thanks to Bruce Ohr’s testimony behind closed doors on Tuesday, we can confirm that the FBI was well aware of his function as a “back channel” with Christopher Steele. They weren’t “speculating” at all --- they knew for a fact that the “dossier” was all about discrediting Trump and was written by someone who said he was desperate to keep Trump out of the White House. The dossier wasn’t “likely” being used to discredit a candidate for President –- they knew good and well it was. The FISA judges weren’t told any of this.
I don’t know about them, but if I were a FISA court judge, I would be supremely ticked off right now.
Let’s see...what if the footnote had read something like this: “The FBI is aware that the identified U.S. person runs an “opposition research” company who was looking specifically for anything he could put in a report to damage the Republican Presidential candidate. This company was being paid a million dollars by the Democratic candidate’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The FBI has been using a DOJ employee whose wife is employed with this company to maintain back channel communications with the author of the information, who was fired from the FBI for leaking information to the media and is no longer officially considered an appropriate source. The DOJ employee informed the FBI that this author, a British ex-spy, is extremely politically biased against the subject of his dossier and that his ‘evidence’ would never stand up in a courtroom, but we used his work anyway because, hey, we really want to spy on this Trump guy.”
Think the FISA court would have approved that application?