November 14, 2018

The other day, my newsletter featured commentary on a November 11 article in the Wall Street Journal by former Clinton strategist Mark Penn and Andrew Stein that predicted Hillary Clinton would not only run for President again in 2020 but would be the Democratic nominee.  As April Fool’s Day is four-and-a-half months away, they apparently weren’t joking.

Pollster Frank Luntz decided to test their theory by putting together a focus group of New Hampshire independent voters –- half leaning left, half leaning right --- for Laura Ingraham’s Tuesday night FOX News show.  (In New Hampshire, independent voters are allowed to vote in the Democratic primary.)  Luntz characterized them as the most educated and informed voters in the state.  When he asked them, “How many of you want Hillary Clinton to run for President in 2020?,” there was a brief pause, no hands went up, and laughter ensued.  I have to admit, it was pretty amusing.

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“Been there, done that,” one woman said.  “Hillary’s day is done.”  She went on to characterize Hillary as the most qualified candidate ever to run (we could debate that) but the least electable (we might agree on that).  She’s just not likable enough, the woman said, to get people to vote for her.  Later on, this same woman said the Democrats needed someone with “some charisma and some pizazz, like the gentleman from Texas [a reference to Beto O’Rourke].  He seems to maybe be able to ignite the Party again, which was something that President Obama did.”


“We already had a Clinton in there; we don’t need another Clinton in there,” said another woman.  “We need somebody that’s gonna [be a] change.”


“That’s in the past,” said another woman.  The Democrats “have to find some other candidates who can win the election.”


A man said it would be “a waste” if she ran again.  From another man:  “The third time’s not gonna be a charm for her.  She’s been rejected.”


From another woman:  “You can’t run [simply] because you’re female, or black, or whatever.  She’s...old.  Old news, I should say.  Not old.”  (She laughed, a bit uncomfortably, perhaps because she knew they were all thinking Hillary is pretty old.)


“And –- she gave us Donald Trump,” said another man, with a chuckle.  “That should be enough.”


They briefly debated whether or not she was the only person who could have lost to Donald Trump.  One woman said that anyone might have lost to him because “he said what a lot of people wanted to hear, unfortunately.”


Luntz came away from his little experiment thinking that if Hillary is seriously thinking about running again, what she should do is “write another book, go do more speeches.  She’ll be embarrassed if she does it.”


He said that if he were close to her, as Mark Penn is, he would simply tell her, “No.  You had a shot.  You had a good shot, but the time is passed.”


Luntz reported that when asked to predict someone who could beat Trump, they picked Joe Biden.  Never mind that he’s about Hillary's age; one woman did suggest that he choose a younger running mate who can “go hand in hand with him.”  This group did seem to be having a hard time coming up with names of prospective candidates, and Luntz found it interesting that they were coming up with names of people who had been around a long time but at the same time were rejecting Hillary.  Also, he saw that even these relatively informed voters “are now choosing people now not based on policy but based on personality.  And that’s changed.”


As Luntz explained it, Donald Trump has a strong personality, which they normally would like in a candidate, but Trump’s doesn’t go over with this group because they don’t perceive him as fighting for THEM, but as fighting his own battles.  I would add that this is something Trump might want to think about before tweeting.

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To add to the fun, the Frank Luntz segment was followed by an interview by none other than Mark Penn, along with former Clinton pollster Doug Schoen.  Penn was not one bit fazed by this group of New Hampshire voters, saying that nationwide, Hillary still has a 75 percent favorable rating (77 percent according to Gallup) among the Democratic base.  He doesn’t know for sure that she will run but asks, will she seek the opportunity to undo the wrongs (as she sees them) that occurred last time?  He points out that she’s been out there on the stump in Florida, close to her base.  He also notes that her possible opponents “made fools of themselves” at the Kavanaugh hearings –- and I would second that, while keeping in mind that people have short memories.  “No one has emerged as a strong candidate on the Democratic field,” Penn says.


Interestingly, Penn claims that, nationwide, Clinton and Trump have about the same stats:  about 40 percent favorable and 55 percent unfavorable.  “I say it’s a real possibility that she will run,” he says, “and if she does, she will have an opportunity to have a second chance at defeating Donald Trump.”


Schoen generally agrees with Penn, saying that she will run “if she can run,” and (he knows her well) that she will say whatever she needs to say to win.  But he hasn’t yet seen the introspection that one would like to see in a losing candidate; she thought she used the right approach and it didn’t make any difference, so she blames the electorate.  I would add that if she blames them, it’s because she still thinks the great unwashed masses don’t know what’s good for them and need her leadership whether they want her or not.  That might have a little something to do with her “likability” negatives.


If Schoen had to pick between Biden and Hillary, he would pick Biden, “but there will be a fresh face, ‘cause the Democrats always want somebody new and different.  Mark my words.”  This is how we got stuck with Barack Obama --- the new, young face with the dazzling smile.  That's what they see in "Beto."  What is it about Democrats that makes them worship such shallow attributes?


Surprisingly, at least to me, a few factors didn’t come up at all, either in the focus group or any discussion of the results.  Hillary’s age was there as an undercurrent, of course, but no one mentioned the possibility of serious health problems –- related to age or not –- or simply her lack of physical energy.  We know she wouldn't be honest about this; since when is she honest about anything except her desire to be President?  Trump has the stamina of a bull, while Hillary falls easily and must walk carefully.  Without pillows to prop her up (which she demands at every appearance), she sinks into a chair like Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  Who knows how she’ll be doing in another year or so?  I would think that if there is any reason she might decide not to run, this is it.  Perhaps that’s what Schoen meant by the cryptic phrase, “if she can run.”


The other major factor was her lack of believability and “no rules for me” attitude.  We’ve learned a lot more since the 2016 election about how she was protected by loyalists in the DOJ and FBI, and we know she got away with some illegal things regarding classified material (not to mention some unfair things regarding Bernie Sanders).  Maybe I’m too hopeful, but I’d like to think that only her hard-core Democratic base would feel comfortable voting for someone who's done things that would send anybody else to jail.  Can't the Democrats manage to nominate someone who deserves the Oval Office more than a jail cell?



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Comments 1-18 of 18

  • Linda Olds

    11/15/2018 08:56 PM

    I don't know whether Hillary will be able to run for president again. If she's physically able, I wouldn't put it past the DNC.
    What I am afraid of, is the point in your article about voters. More and more, ever since television started to play a part in elections, people are voting for good looks and personality over good ideas and the ability to make them work. Democrats are purposely using this. If they're good at anything, Democrats are good at propaganda, at getting voters to believe. Dr. Ford could probably win the Democratic presidential nomination. The Democrats got many people, especially women, to believe her, even in the face of the evidence that Justice Kavanaugh is a good man.

  • Kathy Proctor

    11/15/2018 12:19 AM

    I think the Democrats LIKE proving that they can evade the law in any way, shape, or form...thus Hillary as a candidate again, and especially as a winner, would make them ecstatic! Their utter, unencumbered hypocrisy and constant lies are beyond words.

  • Steve McDonnough

    11/14/2018 08:31 PM

    Lock her up!


    11/14/2018 04:35 PM

    Your commentaries are so spot on Gov. Huckabee! I couldn't agree more!

  • Joseph

    11/14/2018 04:24 PM

    The problem with todays Democrats is they have all become Jokesters, Clowns and just plain stupid socialists. Their Queen Cortez can't even put a complete intelligent sentence together and the rest are just talking bobble heads that will never get past their hatred for Trump because one he defeated honestly their Queen killer and two because he is making good his campaign promises despite a lot of his own party are against him. Look at the Democrats and what they consist of; old rundown socialist, a has been VP who doesn't have a brain and an assortment of bimbo and Trump hater actors who are also mostly has been's . If this is what they will send against Trump in 2020 I feel sorry for them and those who would vote for any of those anti-American losers.

  • Rodney Burke

    11/14/2018 03:09 PM

    I vote for a jail cell for Hilary and anyone closely associated with her. Hilary has NO qualifications for any office. She is besides barack, the epitome of dismal failure. Is is mentally ill, has zero integrity which a president should have and she hates most of America which disqualifies her. All we have to do is run her record and her criminal activity and that will cause people who are NOT mentally ill to abandon her like the plague.

  • Detri L. McGhee

    11/14/2018 02:05 PM

    Reading about the Democrats wanting a new, fresh, pleasing personality, rather than someone with real solid leadership skills... reminded me of our current study in BSF... Saul. Handsome, a head taller than others... a real LOOKER... Just the KING the Israelites wanted. A king just like other countries had... How'd that turn out? He started pretty good... after he finally got out of hiding in the supply closet... but didn't take long to let greed and selfishness take over. People don't really learn too well, do we? (sigh..)

  • Chuck Walter

    11/14/2018 01:26 PM

    Has any one pointed out to Acosta that he is at the press briefing as A COURTESY? Cancellating his credentials was the same asking an unruly house guest to leave.

  • Maris Spiers

    11/14/2018 11:02 AM

    It is time for Hollsry to retire from politics. I regards to short term memory of the public. Hillary lied to a Senate Committee Seven times yet they did nothing about it. She has made up her own laws at whim without any fear of reprisals because she had never had to face any for her inappropriate actions. The fact that the DNC was involved in trying to destroy President Trump, the media and several Government Agencies all going after President Trump with falsely created information. Now that it is all cleared up and he still faces a few people who are insistent on standing on old empty ground to their humiliation.
    In regards to who President Trump represents in his text. Yes he is fighting for himself. He is sending out the real truths to the misleading media Mumbo jumbo that is being presented to the public. He is not going to represent the DNC that is accusing him or members of the FNC who are also accusing him. That is not His texts. The fact is about the DNC and it’s members is they like the fact that they can control certain people. They cannot control him so they are attacking him. For once the media is facing s Oredident that truly lives America and Americans, who cares about the people that make up this Grrat Nation snd they do not like that. They want him to yotevto their every desire, mdje money for them, play their games and not theirs. That is not what makes America Great Again. He is doing a Great Job. There is a big difference between President Trump and Hillary Clinton. President Yrump is very honest and forth right in his actions. Hillary on the other hand tells people through a former Secretary of the State that there is a special place in hell for those who do not vote for her. She has down so many lies, tried to illegally undo, destroy, anyone who is a threat to her, then use quid pro quo to ensure she is well covered, until I am surprised she has anything left. The good thing about her spinning the Russian Collusion farce is it brought out all of her malfeasance. Trying to sell uranium to the Russians, paying someone to create false documentation on Preident Trump and who knows what Bill offered the Attorney General Under aforementioned President Ibama on the aircraft; which was Ametican soul by the way. They would have had to use the aircraft of a foreign President, if they would have allowed that to get away with that one.
    In regards to Judge Kavanaugh, now rightfully, Justice Kavanaugh. That while thing was put before the court of public review. They knew what they were doing when they started their trial. The blessings that came from it is the American public had a good look st the Democrats Under Maxine Waters to see how vile and corrupt they could be. One of the members of the group was caught on camera laughing after trying to wrongfully pin then Judge Kavanaugh to something he did not do. And this is all over the right kill babies. Clawing at the door during the sweating in ceremony of Judge Kavanaugh was revealing of the sinking into animalistic behavior and addiction to killing babies.
    President Trump is a breath of fresh air. It is do good to have a President who cares about life. I have absolutely no doubt that he will come out victorious in the next two years and in the election.
    In regards to the “wall being built.” The wall needs to be built, it is actually behind schedule. Even former President Obama wanted the wall built but even then people wanted to talk about it but didn’t want to do anything about it. Why - it would cost them their cheap labor, their drugs, and anything else they are gaining from these people coming over from Mexico. Like that one woman from New Hampshire said, “he is not fighting for her.” The fact is President Trump is fighting for All Americans and they know it. He is fighting for our today and tomorrow.
    The upper class who have been stealing from the Americans for years is facing s President that cares for All Americans and they don’t like that.
    Finally, the media and their disapproval of the way one of their own were treated. For all the media does to appear to be asking questions to find out what is going on in the White House briefings and then going out and printing what they want to say. When they stood up and turned their backs in President Trump why didn’t they keep walking out of the door. The President can release his own statements if what he is doing which he goes in his tweets - God Bless Twitter.
    Praise the Lord got strong leadership in the White House And Integrity that has brought about great relations with Foreign Nations.
    Nancy Pelosi worked very hard to destroy the economy under Former President Bush. But because President Trump is very resourceful and very transparent about his actions she is going to face a wall herself. Every Christian knows who she is. Not to mention now with Maxine Waters placed over the budget. I have no doubt that President Trump will be strongly prepared for her.
    If there are any misspellings I apologize.

  • Nancy Martin

    11/14/2018 10:52 AM

    I pray for the day when the majority of the electorate will vote for candidates not based on personality or how winnable they are, but according to their policies, their values, and past track record.

  • Robert Barlow

    11/14/2018 10:51 AM

    Clinton in 2020? President Trump if she runs you are assured of another term in office!

  • Kenneth Arnold

    11/14/2018 10:26 AM

    Gov. MIke,
    Whatever you do, please DO NOT help the other side out. Giving them advice that they MIGHT take and use to our disadvantage will hurt us. I think ALL "thinking" people already know what shrillery needs to do to move the weak minded to vote for her but, please God, I hope she sticks to her normal plan and ignores any good advice or any positive changes to her attitude toward "We the People". May she and "ruthie" fade into history together.... I'm still hoping for one more conservative justice on the supreme court. That should divide the opposition to the point that they can't impeach anybody successfully. Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

  • Michael Novak

    11/14/2018 10:22 AM

    Mrs. Clinton should be prosecuted and jailed for her crimes against the United States of America. No excuses!

  • Charlotte Posa

    11/14/2018 10:19 AM

    I thought Hillary would be behind bars in the next few months!!!!!!???????

  • Lee Myszak

    11/14/2018 10:08 AM

    Luntz is a favorite of CBS. As I have long thought, if he thinks these are educated voters his mind is no sharper than theirs. I find it interesting that independent voters can vote in a Democratic primary. Any more favoritism for Democrats? I always learn something from your column. Thank you. It is difficult to understand why liberals keep telling us that liberals are better educated than conservatives and then continue to show the lack of intelligence of those liberals they put forth.

  • Priscilla Khweis

    11/14/2018 09:29 AM

    She needs to go back to the woods and stay there--listening to her is VERY tiresome ! Just the same old "song & dance" !

  • David Colonna

    11/14/2018 09:27 AM

    Mike, WOW!! I am still in shock with the Midterm elections and all i can come up with is we Christians and Republicans are in big trouble. We have way to many Democrats who just love to be punished by liberal tax hikes, immoral behavior and why in anyones right mind want Socialism in the US. Are we all just a glutten for punishment. I honestly feel abandoned by God because I prayed consistently since 2016 election for a continued Red Wave. I know God is in control and yes in the Bible we as Christians win in the end. However, I was hoping for a few more Make America Great again and beyond 2018 and 2020. I personally hope we all can stop the bleeding which the Liberal Democrats continue to steal, cheat and cry foul at every states election. This to me is the sign of Satan taking over our country.

  • David Colonna

    11/14/2018 09:27 AM

    Mike, WOW!! I am still in shock with the Midterm elections and all i can come up with is we Christians and Republicans are in big trouble. We have way to many Democrats who just love to be punished by liberal tax hikes, immoral behavior and why in anyones right mind want Socialism in the US. Are we all just a glutten for punishment. I honestly feel abandoned by God because I prayed consistently since 2016 election for a continued Red Wave. I know God is in control and yes in the Bible we as Christians win in the end. However, I was hoping for a few more Make America Great again and beyond 2018 and 2020. I personally hope we all can stop the bleeding which the Liberal Democrats continue to steal, cheat and cry foul at every states election. This to me is the sign of Satan taking over our country.