Hillary Clinton Archives - Page 7 of 162 - Florida Politics

Donald Trump taps conservative Kansas congressman for CIA

Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump‘s pick to be director of the CIA, is a hard-line Republican congressman who shares the president-elect’s pugnacious worldview and, like Trump, spent years as a businessman before becoming a politician.

Pompeo has heavily criticized the landmark Iran nuclear deal, blasted Hillary Clinton over the attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Libya and her use of a private email server, and believes Edward Snowden is a traitor who deserves a death sentence. He also supports restoring the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephone metadata, a contentious terror-fighting tool Congress eliminated after Snowden’s revelations.

Before taking over the spy agency, the Kansas lawmaker has to be confirmed by the GOP-led Senate. One issue that could dominate the confirmation hearing is Pompeo’s view on using harsh interrogation techniques on detainees. Trump has backed these techniques, saying, “We should go tougher than waterboarding,” which simulates drowning.

During the campaign, Trump suggested that he would push to change laws that prohibit waterboarding and other harsh techniques. He said that banning those methods puts the U.S. at a strategic disadvantage against Islamic State militants.

Pompeo two years ago rejected accusations that U.S. intelligence and military personnel were “torturers” for harshly interrogating terror suspects captured after 9/11. “These men and women are not torturers, they are patriots,” Pompeo said in 2014 after the Senate released its report on the enhanced interrogation techniques used by the CIA.

In a statement Friday, Pompeo said he was “honored and humbled” to accept Trump’s nomination. He called the decision to leave Congress difficult but said the “opportunity to lead the world’s finest intelligence warriors” is a call to service that he could not ignore.”

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, who will be the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence committee beginning in January, said in a statement that he would vigorously oversee the CIA to ensure it adheres “to America’s principles and international obligations.”

Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and the National Security Agency, said Friday he was “heartened” by Trump’s decision to pick Pompeo, calling him a “serious man.”

Pompeo, 52, was elected to Congress during the tea party wave of 2010. He served on the House Select Benghazi Committee to probe the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

The panel’s final report this summer sharply criticized the Obama administration for a series of mistakes but produced no new evidence pointing to wrongdoing by Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time.

Pompeo and fellow Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio, however, issued a separate report slamming Clinton and the administration. Pompeo called the former first lady and senator “morally reprehensible.”

He also has been a fierce critic of the nuclear deal with Iran that President Barack Obama has championed. The accord granted Tehran sanctions relief for rolling back its nuclear weapons program. Pompeo has said Muslim leaders are “potentially complicit” in terrorist attacks if they do not denounce violence carried out in the name of Islam.

“They must cite the Quran as evidence that the murder of innocents is not permitted,” he said in a 2013 House floor speech.

A member of the House intelligence committee, Pompeo denounced Snowden, a former NSA contractor who stole and leaked highly classified documents to journalists, revealing the agency’s program for gathering the phone records of millions of Americans.

During an appearance on C-SPAN in February, Pompeo said Snowden should receive the death penalty for his actions.

“He should be brought back from Russia and given due process and I think the proper outcome would be that he would be given a death sentence,” Pompeo said.

Snowden, who spoke Friday from Moscow via a video link during an event of the Norwegian chapter of PEN in Oslo, Norway, criticized Pompeo’s selection to lead the spy agency. “In my country, the new CIA director believes dissidents should be put to death,” Snowden said.

Pompeo also has fought against Obama’s attempts to close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and opposed moving prisoners to the U.S., including Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. He has maintained the detainees at Guantánamo are well taken care of and in May 2013 downplayed the extent of a hunger strike by prisoners. Pompeo, appearing on MSNBC, said it looked to him like they had put on weight.

Pompeo was born in Orange, California, and lives in Wichita, Kansas. He enrolled as a teenager at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and graduated first in his class in 1986. According to biographical information on his House website, Pompeo served as a “cavalry officer patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall.”

He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and was editor of the Harvard Law Review.

After college, he set up Thayer Aerospace and was its chief executive officer for more than 10 years. Later he was president of Sentry International, a company that sold equipment for oil fields and manufacturing.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Martin Dyckman: Our ‘flawed’ Electoral College, mistrusting the people

When the news flashed on Facebook before the election that Queen Elizabeth II had offered to take us back, some people failed to recognize it as one of Andy Borowitz‘s deft satires from the New Yorker.

And some, I’m sure, now wish it were true.

Afterward, a friend in Britain wrote to offer refuge — many thanks, Bob, but not yet — and remarked that “there must be a flaw in a system which produces such an outcome.” He was “rather surprised at how many people failed to vote.”

That flaw is the Electoral College. For the fourth time in our history, and the second in 16 years, it has given the presidency to the candidate who polled fewer votes — significantly fewer in this case — than his principal rival.

That is hard to explain — actually, it’s indefensible — even to our own people. How can a country that calls itself a democracy tolerate it?

The founders didn’t trust the people.

“Your people, sir, is nothing but a great beast,” Alexander Hamilton is supposed to have said to his bitter enemy, Thomas Jefferson.

“The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God,” Hamilton told the Constitutional Convention in 1787, “and however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true in fact. The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in the government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second…”

So they created a republic, not a democracy. In particular, they didn’t trust the people to elect a president. They meant for the less populated states to have an outsized influence. That had a lot to do with protecting slavery.

There is still no guaranteed right to vote, though it can no longer be denied on account of race, color, gender, or to persons over 18.

In the Federalist papers, Hamilton remarked that presidential selection was the least controversial aspect of the pending Constitution.

It would be “made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station … A small number of persons, selected by their fellow citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to so complicated an investigation.”

 The electors have long since been reduced to ceremonial functionaries (do you know or even care who yours are?), but the mechanism and the malapportion persist. Wyoming’s three electors each represent 187,922 people. A California elector speaks for 677,354. The Wyoming voter has more than three times the weight of one in California.

Among the 16 smallest states and the District of Columbia, Hillary Clinton actually won more electors — 39 — than Donald Trump, who had 29. But those 29 were eight more than his winning margin. The eight small states that he won have barely one percent of the U.S. population, but they accounted for 10 percent of his electoral votes.

Another feature of that founding flaw is that it discourages turnout in any state where the vote isn’t expected to be close. If that Wyoming voter is a Democrat and the California voter is a Republican, their votes don’t matter at all. With direct election, every vote would weigh the same. The presidential campaign would not be confined to a dozen or so “battleground states,” those that neither side can take for granted.

So, what can we do about this?

For one thing, we could amend the Constitution. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., has introduced a bill to do that. But this will likely be the last you hear of it. Amendment requires a three-fifths vote in each house (not two-thirds as I erroneously wrote recently) and approval by three-fourths (38) of the states. Democrats are short of even a majority in those categories and Republicans are quite unlikely to favor reform.

That’s because every candidate who won the popular vote and lost the election was a Democrat:

— Andrew Jackson, 1824. With four candidates splitting the electoral vote, the House had to decide and gave it to John Quincy Adams instead. Jackson spent the next four years railing about a “corrupt bargain” and wiped out Adams in 1828.

— Samuel J. Tilden, 1876. He led by some 250,000 votes, but a Congressional commission awarded the electors from Florida and two other disputed states to Rutherford B. Hayes, who promised to withdraw federal troops from the South and end Reconstruction. That really was a corrupt bargain.

— Al Gore, 2000. Florida’s famously fouled up vote-count was decisive for George W. Bush by the official margin of 537 votes

— Hillary Clinton, 2016. Her national popular vote margin and her electoral vote deficit are both larger than Gore’s.

There’s another remedy, simpler and more feasible than a constitutional amendment. The Constitution leaves it to the legislatures to determine how electors are chosen.

Under an active proposal called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, states would instruct their electors to vote for whoever wins the popular vote. Ten state legislatures and the District of Columbia have already agreed to this, but it’s effective only when states representing 270 electoral votes, the majority, have joined. The 11 account for 165, more than halfway there.

But it’s hard to see where the remaining 105 electoral votes could be found. All 11 present members of the compact voted for Clinton. The other states she carried would add only 47 more votes, and most of them have Republican legislatures, as do most of Trump’s states.

What would it take to persuade the Republicans?

A reverse of 2000 and 2016 could do it: A Democrat loses the popular vote but wins 270 or more electors. That’s a long shot, but it’s not inconceivable. A moderate Republican in the mold of George H.W. Bush could hold the Democrats to narrow victories in the swing and safely blue seats while winning by large margins in the others.

Trouble is, it’s hard to imagine a moderate being nominated by the GOP in its present mode. If the popular vote is to prevail in the near future, the Democrats may just have to nominate stronger candidates, show a more compelling sense of purpose, and run better campaigns than they did this year and 16 years ago.

___

Martin Dyckman is a retired associate editor of the newspaper now known as the Tampa Bay Times. He lives in suburban Asheville, North Carolina.

Tim Kaine says he’s not going to run for president in 2020

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine says he’ll seek re-election in 2018 but is ruling out a presidential bid in 2020.

The former Democratic vice presidential nominee said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday that his place is in the Senate and his decision not to run in 2020 is final.

“Period. Full stop,” Kaine said.

With a heightened national profile after campaigning across the country for more than three months as Hillary Clinton‘s running mate, Kaine could have chosen to pursue his own White House ambitions or tried and play a leading role charting a reeling Democratic Party’s direction in the Donald Trump era.

But the first-term senator and former governor said he belongs in the upper chamber, where he will be part of a Democratic minority whose ability to filibuster will be “the only emergency brake there is” on Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress.

Kaine has already been a vocal critic of Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon as a senior advisor. Kaine said Bannon’s ties to white nationalism and anti-Semitism disqualify him from a senior role in the White House.

Kaine said he would continue to guard against the “normalization” by Trump of what Kaine said were un-American values, but he added that he’s keeping an open mind about the billionaire businessman’s presidency.

“I have a lot of concerns, but I don’t think it’s fair to the administration to just assume everything that was said during the campaign will be done,” Kaine said, noting that Trump had already shown some post-Election Day flexibility on issues like gay marriage and the Affordable Care Act.

Kaine said there were some issues Democrats could work with Trump on, including increased infrastructure spending and raising the tax rate on carried interest, which is often used by managers for private equity firms and hedge funds to reduce tax payments.

Kaine said he plans to use his higher national profile to continue to advocate for issues he’s long cared about, notably on increasing Congress’ role in war-making powers.

“I’ve been willing to stand up and do that with a president of my own party and I tell you, I’m sure going to be willing to stand up to President Trump,” Kaine said.

Kaine has twice come close to being vice president. He was on President Barack Obama‘s shortlist in 2008 and many expected Clinton to win this year.

On the campaign trail this year, the deeply spiritual Kaine often told supporters that the election would work out the way things are supposed to.

Kaine said Clinton’s loss was “hard” to take, but didn’t shake his faith that the outcome was for the best.

“Maybe the whole reason I’m in the Senate was less being in the Senate when there was President Obama, who was a friend of mine. Maybe the reason I’m in the Senate is for the next four years,” Kaine said.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Blaise Ingoglia announces he’s running for re-election as Florida GOP chair

Announcing earlier than he intended to do, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia said Thursday he will run for re-election to his post next January.

“I was hoping to announce this after Thanksgiving so everyone could spend time with their families and give everyone a much-needed break from politics, but the events of today will not allow me, or us, that luxury,” Ingoglia wrote on his Facebook page. “I want everyone to know that I will indeed be running for a second term as the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.”

The “events of today” Ingoglia was referring to was the announcement earlier Thursday that Sarasota state committeeman Christian Ziegler will challenge Ingoglia for party chair.

In his statement, Ingoglia said when he declared his candidacy for chairman two years ago, he promised “much needed reforms” and delivering the state’s 29 electoral votes to a Republican presidential nominee.

“We not only delivered on our promises, we delivered historic wins for Sen. Marco Rubio, our Congressional delegation, our Florida Legislature, and delivered by winning the State of Florida for the first time since 2004 for now President-elect Donald Trump. I humbly ask for your continued support as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.”

In addition to serving as party chair, Ingoglia was just re-elected to his House District 35 seat in Hernando County, and makes his living as a home builder.  A New York City native, Ingoglia developed a side career as a skilled poker player, and years ago began producing a series of videos and seminars called “Government Gone Wild,” where he decried the rising federal debt.

In January of 2015, he upset incumbent Leslie Dougher in the race for party chair. Dougher was Gov. Rick Scott’s handpicked candidate, and afterwards he took the hundreds of thousands he had raised out of the party’s account and put into his own political committee, “Let’s Get to Work.” Later, Senate President Andy Gardiner followed suit, removing more money and putting it into the Senate Republicans’ fundraising committee.

Nevertheless, speculation that schism would hurt the party in last week’s election proved not to be the case, with Trump defeating Hillary Clinton by 1.2 percent, a seismic achievement in a state both candidates desperately fought to win.

Joe Henderson: Facing many hurdles, Bob Buckhorn could make a good governor

The rebirth of downtown Tampa brought inevitable speculation that Mayor Bob Buckhorn might parlay it into a shot at the governor’s mansion in 2018. The job obviously has appeal for someone like Buckhorn, who likes a big stage and challenge.

Asking him to tip his hand about a possible run, though, has proved to be a necessary, but ultimately fruitless, endeavor.

As he told Mitch Perry of FloridaPolitics.com Wednesday, “Like a lot of people who are contemplating the future, you have to sort of sift through the carnage of last Tuesday and see what the landscape is, see whether or not there’s a path for victory for Democrats there, whether I’m the guy that can carry that torch, that I can inspire people to follow my lead.”

He then added, “ultimately it’s gotta come down to whether in my gut whether this is something that I want to do.”

Oh, I think a big part of him wants to do it. I also believe Democrats have a path to victory in the race to succeed Rick Scott. Whether Buckhorn can lead his party down this road and win is another question, though.

I like Buckhorn. I like his style. I like what he has done as Tampa’s mayor. I like his determination. I have known him for a long time, dating to his days on the Tampa City Council in the 1990s. I think he would make a good governor.

Whether any of that matters won’t be decided for a while and Buckhorn has a lot of hurdles to overcome, starting with his own party. U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham from Tallahassee has all but declared her intention to run, and high-profile attorney John Morgan might get into the race as well.

Graham is the daughter of one of Florida’s legendary politicians, former Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham. Morgan has been on TVs around the state nearly every night for years with his relentless “For the People” slogan, and voters just strongly approved his signature issue — making medical marijuana legal.

Escaping the shadow of either of those two would be a huge challenge for Buckhorn, or anyone else.

Plus, statewide Democrats may have a case of Tampa Bay Fatigue. There have been four races to be Florida’s governor in this century and a Democrat from the Tampa Bay area has been atop the ticket each time — Bill McBride (2002), Jim Davis (2006), Alex Sink (2010) and Charlie Crist (2014).

They all lost.

Buckhorn is a loyal Democrat, though. He went all-in for Hillary Clinton in this year’s election and worked for Barack Obama here before that. He has been outspoken in his disdain for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. That’s all fine, but Clinton lost, Rubio won, and Obama is leaving office.

One thing to keep in mind: Buckhorn isn’t afraid of losing.

He lost in a primary for state House seat in 1992. He finished third out of five candidates running for mayor in 2003. And then there was the humiliating loss to former pro wrestler and first-time candidate Brian Blair in a 2004 county commission race.

He came back to take an upset win for mayor in 2011 and was re-elected without serious opposition.

Buckhorn always says being mayor of Tampa was his dream shot. Whenever I’ve told him it looks like he never sleeps, he responds that there will time to sleep when his second term is up. Whether he decides to postpone that nap to run for governor remains to be seen.

At this point, I don’t like his chances.

But knowing Buckhorn, he will figure out a way to be involved even if he is not on the ballot. He loves this stuff too much.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Lois Frankel call on Donald Trump to withdraw appointment of Steve Bannon

Calling the appointment over the weekend of former Breitbart news executive Steve Bannon to serve as White House senior counselor “an incendiary decision,” South Florida Democratic Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Lois Frankel are calling on president-elect Trump to withdraw the selection.

“President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon as White House senior counselor is an incendiary decision that shows the president-elect is not committed to healing our nation after a hard-fought and divisive election,” the two legislators said in a statement issued late Wednesday.

In the week since his stunning victory over Hillary Clinton for president, no single action by Trump has caused as much uproar from Democrats, the media, and even some Republicans as has been the selection of Bannon to move into the White House after Trump is inaugurated in January.

Bannon’s defenders say he is getting a bad rap: that he is a former Goldman Sachs banker who holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and has produced several documentaries.

Critics highlight his role at Breitbart, which he called “the platform for the alt-right” in July, referring to the online movement that sometimes traffics in racism and anti-Semitism.

In August, Trump hired Bannon to be the CEO of his campaign on the same day he chose Kellyanne Conway to be his new campaign manager.

Other high-profile legislators also are calling on Trump to withdraw the selection of Bannon, such as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who called him “a racist individual.”

“We do not simply disagree with Bannon’s legislative or political agenda and philosophy; we have grave misgivings about his professional career history, in which he provided a megaphone for intolerance and hatred of the diversity that makes our nation truly great,” write Wasserman Schultz and Frankel.

“Bannon’s allies include the American Nazi Party, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, and a variety of other white nationalist groups. As Jewish-American leaders and policymakers, we cannot stand silently by while Steve Bannon assumes a senior position at the highest level of our government. We call on president-elect Trump, in the interest of all Americans, to withdraw his choice because rewarding anti-Semitism, bigotry, and misogyny with such a position of power and influence is tantamount to embracing it.”

 

Steve Schale: Florida 2016 in the rearview mirror

Give any Florida strategist with statewide experience the following data points: by 7:15 p.m., the Democratic candidate has a 10-point lead in Hillsborough, a 100K vote lead in Orange, a 200K vote lead in both Dade and Broward early voting, and is ahead in Duval, and everyone would think the same thing: that Democratic candidate is going to win. Certainly, that is what I thought, and what everyone, R and D, who texted me around that time thought too.

Back in October, I had looked at several different models. Most of them played out with a narrow Clinton win, one of them came back a tie (not in percentages — an actual raw vote tie), and in one of them, where I assumed in most counties that Trump would earn the higher of Romney or Bush ’04 vote share, and in that one, Trump won by a point. I sent it to a few friends on both sides, who generally dismissed it. Going into Election Day, pretty much everything was lining up with one of the models that had her headed to about 1.5-2-point win.

I have a plan every election night: check Pasco early vote, then hit refresh until Hillsborough, Pinellas, Duval, Orange, Dade, and Broward report; followed by a swing through I-4 suburban and exurban counties. Sure, the initial Pasco and Pinellas numbers didn’t look too good, but they looked survivable, especially considering pretty much everything else was at or above my target. Then I went and looked at Volusia … Hernando … Brevard … Sarasota … Polk … then back to Pasco. The last of my models was more than playing out.

I slammed down the rest of my beer, and called a buddy in Brooklyn to report the bad news. It was done. CNN could have called it at 8 EST — she wasn’t winning Florida. In fact, looking back at my texts, I told a guy at CNN around 8:15 EST that it was done.

Despite my optimism going into Election Day, in my gut, I knew this could happen. As many folks heard me say over the last few years, while I am a big believer — and still am — that demographic trends work in the Democratic Party’s favor, all of this hinges on the Democratic candidate maintaining a reasonable floor with white voters. Frankly, it was a big part of why I was a big proponent of the vice president running. As I told CNN’s “The Lead” in late August 2015 about Biden: “I live in the swing state of Florida. If you look at the way Democrats have struggled with working class, working white voters primarily … he gives us a chance to talk to some voters in the general election that we’ve struggled with the last few cycles.”

President Obama had some reach with these voters, or at least enough for us to win. In 2008, we knew we had to hit 40 with whites; in 2012, we needed to get close to it. For Secretary Clinton, it meant maintaining President Obama’s numbers with whites from 2012. As you will see in a few minutes, she clearly didn’t — not only here, but throughout the country.

So, let’s start with a couple of Florida factoids:

— 2016 marked the fourth straight statewide election (two governors, two presidentials), where the victor’s margin of victory was roughly a point.

— And just to drive home the point of Florida’s competitiveness — when you go back to 1992, the year where Florida became a true battleground state, there have been more than 50 million votes cast for president, and Republicans and Democrats were separated by 12,000 votes. No, that isn’t a typo — 12,000 votes, or right at 0.02 percent.

— Trump set the new high-water mark for Republican vote share in 40 of Florida’s 67 counties.

So, what happened?

I often will describe Florida as a scale. Take the GOP markets (North Florida markets plus Fort Myers) and in a neutral year, it will balance out the Dem markets (Miami and West Palm).  More or less, the race balances of the fulcrum of I-4. Because of the Democratic trends in Miami-Dade, the math has changed a bit: Democrats can now count on bigger margins out of their markets than the GOP can out of theirs, and thus can still win even if they lose I-4 by a little bit. This was the Obama 2012 path: the president carried a margin of about 550K votes out of his base markets, Romney was about 410K out of his, and even though Romney narrowly carried both I-4 markets, it wasn’t enough.

Which is a good way to frame the “Things That Didn’t Cost Hillary Florida” section:

Base turnout: Both Broward and Dade county had higher turnout rates, and the Miami media market had a higher margin for Clinton than Obama. And even with Palm Beach coming in a little short, she won her two base markets by about 75K more votes than Obama 2012, and won a slightly higher share of the vote. Broward and Dade alone combines for a 580K vote margin, and honestly, I think around 600K is pretty close to maxing out.

The Panhandle

 True, Trump did win the “I-10 corridor” by more votes than Romney, but it wasn’t significant. His 345K vote margin as slightly better than Romney’s 308K, and pretty much in line with Bush 04’s 338K North Florida vote majority. And frankly, Clinton succeeded in the major North Florida objective: keep #Duuuval County close. Trump’s 6,000 vote plurality in Duval County was the best Democratic performance in a presidential election since Carter won Duval in 1976.

Hispanics

It is true that Hispanics underperformed out west, but here in Florida, she did considerably better than Obama in the exit polls — polls that are reflective in the record margins she posted in the heavily Hispanic areas of Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange and Osceola.

SW Florida

This was the GOP talking point during early vote: SW Florida was blowing up for Trump. And they were right, it did. But SW Florida typically has exceptionally high turnout, and high GOP margins, and in the end, Trump’s total was only about 40K votes bigger than Romney.

In fact, if you add up the 8 “partisan” markets, which make up 55 percent of the statewide vote, the 2016 election was basically a repeat of 2012. Trump’s margin was less than 2,000 votes better than Romney.

It was rural Florida: Trump did very well in rural Florida, but so did Romney. If you take all the counties with less than 250,000 residents, he increased Romney’s vote share by 125,000 votes — enough to make up the Obama 2012 margin — except, Clinton increased Obama’s margin in the counties with more than 750,000 residents by over 100,000 votes. In other words, rural and suburban cancel each other out. What doesn’t cancel out — midsize suburban/exurban counties, places with 250,000-750,000 residents — Trump won them by 200,000 more votes than Romney

One more reason HRC ‘cannibalized’ her vote early, in other words, had all the typical Democrats vote early, and lost because there were just simply that many more Republicans left to vote. Here is why this one is tricky.

HRC ‘cannibalized’ her vote early, in other words, had all the typical Democrats vote early, and lost because there were just simply that many more Republicans left to vote. Here is why this one is tricky.

First, Republicans have a lot more “reliable voters” in that, they have fewer voters that drop-off in the midterm elections. Democrats have more “potential voters” — in other words, unreliable or first-time voters. During early voting, GOP had over 200K more “three of three” voters — in other words, people who voted in 2014, 2012, and 2010 who voted early than Democrats, but the Dems had a lot more infrequent voters. And yes, the Dems had more “2012 voters” who voted early, but they also just had more 2012 voters.

Going into Election Day, GOP still had more than 100K “three of three” voters to vote, which alone wasn’t enough to get him to the kind of win he had. However, if you looked at just people who voted in 2012, the GOP edge was just 40K. In other words, had the 2012 voters all voted, the Dem early voting margin would have remained. We don’t yet know who exactly voted on Election Day, but what we do know is the GOP really surged, and Dems didn’t.

In fact, in 10 of the 11 counties where Trump most increased the vote margins from Romney, his vote share (not margin) was at least 6.3 percent higher on Election Day than during early voting — and in six of the 11, the increase was at least 8.2 percent. For example, Trump won 53.8 percent of the Polk County early vote but won 62.6 percent of the Election Day vote — an increase in his share of 8.8 percent. In other words, in some of these counties, Trump was winning Election Day by 15 points more than he won early voting.

And this didn’t just happen in counties where Trump won. Even base Democratic counties saw this Trump surge. Take Broward County, where Trump won less than 30 percent of the early votes, he won over 40 percent on Election Day, or Orange County, where she won early voting by more than 30 points and racked up an almost 120K vote lead, only to watch Trump cut her Election Day only margin to 17K votes. In my last memo, I described what I thought Trump’s Election Day challenge was in golf terms — a 250 yard shot over water. Turns out, he did have that shot. Simply, he crushed her on Election Day.

So, where did he beat her? Simple: I-4, and more specifically, the 15 counties that make up suburban and exurban I-4.

Quick recap: The I-4 corridor is roughly defined as the Tampa and Orlando media markets. If you are a Democrat, win here, and you win. If you are a Republican, win big here, and you win. Given that the rest of the state in 2016 generally looked like 2012, Trump needed to win big here.

But that wasn’t necessarily easy. The urban core in the Orlando market (Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties), is getting more Democratic quickly. In fact, in these three counties alone, Hillary Clinton extended President Obama’s 2012 margins by over 65,000 votes. So, not only does Trump must win the I-4 markets by 75,000 votes more than Romney did in 2012 just to win, he needs to find 65,000 more to make up for urban Orlando.

Well, he did, and more. Trump won the I-4 markets by more than 250K votes. Where Romney won the two-party vote share on I-4 by 2 points, Trump won it by 6 — including winning the Tampa market by 9 points.

But it was even more granular than this. If you break up the markets into two buckets: urban counties (Hillsborough, Pinellas, Orange, Osceola and Seminole), and nonurban counties, the Trump path to victory — and the challenge for Democrats, becomes even clearer.

Despite losing Pinellas County — and Trump’s significant gains there, Hillary Clinton won “urban I-4” by some 200K votes, which was more than Obama in 2008 or Obama in 2012. These counties account for about 48 percent of the votes on the I-4 corridor.

In the other 15, which make up the other 52 percent the region’s votes, Donald Trump won by 450K votes. By comparison, Romney won these counties by 220K votes, and McCain by 130K. In other words, pretty much the entire rest of the state’s election balanced out just like 2012, except one glaring place: suburban/exurban I-4. If you look back at 2004, you will see a similar dynamic.

Here are a few examples:

Pasco
2008: McCain +7,687
2012: Romney +14,164
2016: Trump +51,899

Volusia
2008: Obama +13,857
2012: Romney +2,742
2016: Trump: +33,970

Hernando
2008: McCain +3,135
2012: Romney +7,108
2016: Trump: 26,860

I could go on like this for a while

Overall, Trump won the Orlando market by slightly more than Romney, which is pretty remarkable given Clinton’s strength in the core of Orlando. The Tampa market was solidly Trump. Winning the two-party vote share by 9 points. The rule of Tampa picking Presidents was once again true.

What is interesting is this is also the place where we saw the closest thing to a GOP turnout surge. Of these 15 counties, all but three of them saw turnout rates above 2012, with most seeing their turnout rates up 3-5 points. While these counties are economically entirely different, they are almost universally less diverse than the state at-large. We won’t know exactly who voted on Election Day for a few more weeks, but I would bet we will see some increase in infrequent white voters of all parties to help drive those margins.

Overall, turnout was a bit all over the place this year. The I-10 markets were a smaller share of the vote than 2012, and Orlando was much higher. But within markets, you can see the exurban/suburban thing play out. That being said, Democrats can’t blame this on turnout.

I also think there is an element here of Clinton losing the turnout fight in these places. These were the communities that were not getting a ton of field support (note, I didn’t say none), but were places that Americans for Prosperity were heavily invested in behalf of Rubio. I’ve worried for some time that the “Trump has no ground game” narrative could slowly seep toward complacency, and we might have seen the proof of this in these areas. I wrote about this in a piece on May, when I suggested Trump could win the same way Scott won. Well, it happened.

So what comes next? Well, I will write more on that subject coming soon, but for some of us old guys, we will recognize the 2016 map as very similar to the 2004 map. In the two cycles that followed, Democrats won two statewide races, plus the presidency, and picked up numerous seats in the Congress and Legislature? How? By reaching back into these communities and restarting the conversation. In Florida, the basic rule winning is managing margins, particularly in suburban and exurban I-4. In 04, Bush did it and won. In 08 and 12, Obama won that battle. In 16, Trump did.

And again, this isn’t just a Florida deal — what happened here isn’t isolated. But I will make this one point — one I’ve made a lot over the last few years: if Democrats in Florida can win around 40 percent of the white vote — which is less than what Obama won in 2008, they will win almost every statewide race going forward. Demographics can be destiny — but it isn’t automatically.

Lastly, to the organizers on both sides — stay in the fight. If you were for Trump, go be a part of the solution. President Obama told his 2008 organizers to go make their own solutions — you should too. For the Clinton organizers, get up off the mat. There are more fights ahead and more chances to contribute.

Bob Buckhorn says it’s a time for soul searching in the Democratic Party

Lifelong Democrat Bob Buckhorn admits it’s been rough adapting to a world where Hillary Clinton won’t be the next president. The Tampa mayor went all-out for the party’s presidential nominee, including a weekend winter trip to New Hampshire just days before the first primary in the nation last February. And while Clinton did take Hillsborough County (along with the other major metropolitan areas of Florida), she lost the exurban and rural areas big time in ultimately losing to Donald Trump by just 1.2 percent in the Sunshine State last week.

Both the national and state Democratic party are in crisis, with the Democratic National Committee and Florida Democratic Party to decide on new leadership in the coming months. Like so many other Florida Democrats, Buckhorn has been here before.

“Obviously anytime you have a loss like this, there’s going to be a lot of teeth gnashing and soul searching,” the mayor said Tuesday.

“There will be a debate at the national level as to whether or not you move to a more progressive agenda, with people like Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders; or do you try to come back to the center a la Bill Clinton in 1991 and 1992 to drive a message that the middle class mattered, that those rural white working class folks that he could talk to so well have got to be included in the discussion, that it’s not just driving up minority participation but have a message that resonates with everybody.”

Although he didn’t tip his hand as to where he comes down to the different approaches that will no doubt be debated by Democrats going into the holiday season, the mayor historically has come down on the centrist side, and has previously argued that is the only way to win statewide in Florida.

Buckhorn says the conversation needs to begins now among party members in Florida if they’re going to successfully defend Bill Nelson’s Senate seat (Rick Scott admitted on Wednesday what everyone has assumed is a given — he’s looking at running for Nelson’s seat). There’s also the potential to pick up a cabinet seat (or more) with with all four state office positions — governor, attorney general, chief financial officer, and agriculture commissioner — all open seats in 2018. “We need a message that resonates, not just in the cities, but everywhere in the state of Florida,” he said.

Inevitably, any conversation with Buckhorn about politics leads to his own potential participation for one of those seats in 2018 — specifically governor.

Although one-term Congresswoman Gwen Graham has virtually declared her candidacy and there’s a movement afoot to draft Orlando attorney and Democratic fundraiser John Morgan, Buckhorn isn’t showing his cards just yet, but admits he’ll need to decide by early 2017.

“Like a lot of people who are contemplating the future, you have to sort of sift through the carnage of last Tuesday and see what the landscape is, see whether or not there’s a path for victory for Democrats there, whether I’m the guy that can carry that torch, that I can inspire people to follow my lead,” he said, adding, “ultimately it’s gotta come down to whether in my gut whether this is something that I want to do.

“I’m lucky that I’ve got a job that I love coming to work everyday, and if I choose not to do this, I’m going to be perfectly happy, because I get to finish out an opportunity here as mayor that I have worked for my entire life. It’s a good position for me to be in. I do think the state needs new leadership, I think we need a regime change in Tallahassee. And I think that the Tampa renaissance is going to be a pretty compelling story to tell.”

Mitch Perry Report for 11.16.16 — Who will be our next Secretary of State?

Now that the shock is starting to wear off over Donald Trump’s stunning upset in the presidential election a week ago, the biggest story in national politics is what he intends to do with his enormous power and who will help him do it.

That means the selection of cabinet officers, with the most high-profile position being that of secretary of state.

George W. Bush picked Colin Powell immediately after winning the recount election in late 2000; Barack Obama picked Hillary Clinton quick after his election in 2008 — what does Donald do?

The two names floated for the position are not being welcomed with universal approval, to say the least. I’m talking about Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton.

Because of his passionate advocacy for Trump during the campaign season (to put it politely), Rudy apparently has the pick of the litter of jobs in the new administration, and he wants State. But what’s his experience there? Apparently it consists of giving a lot of speeches and consulting work.

Then there’s his business background, which includes lobbying for Citgo, a U.S.-based subsidiary of the Venezuelan oil conglomerate, as well as business with Qatar, which could be problematic when he has his confirmation hearing before the Senate.

Then there’s the decision to invade Iraq, arguably the biggest foreign policy debacle in the U.S. since Vietnam.

Trump stood out during the campaign for his strident opposition to it, boasting he was always against it. Though that claim was disputed, the more salient point was how, more than any other Republican running in the race, he assailed the war in incendiary terms, freaking out some of the GOP establishment (i.e. Jeb Bush and friends).

Rudy was for the war. So was Bolton. Bigly.

Again, this comes down to: What Does Donald Believe? If he thinks that the invasion of Iraq was such a horrible thing, how could he choose as his top emissary to the world somebody who fervently believed it was the right thing to do?

Maybe this is a big head feint, or maybe there isn’t any prominent person in the GOP who was against the war with the credentials and gravitas to lead at State? It’s one of the many, many questions the whole world will be interested in learning about very rapidly.

In other news …

Dan Rather was in St. Petersburg last Friday night. The 85-year-old reporter said we’re now in a “post-truth” era.

For the first time in his time as president, Barack Obama endorsed more than 150 Democrats running for legislative seats around the nation. In Florida, he backed 13 Dems — and at best will come out 6-7 on those picks.

The Tampa Bay Bucs’ Mike Evans heard enough negative feedback, no doubt, to have a change of heart about sitting down for the national anthem in the Trump era. Among his leading critics was Pinellas County state Sen. Jack Latvala.

Lisa Montelione is backing Luis Viera to succeed her in the Tampa City Council District 7 seat.

Pam Bondi and attorneys general in four other states and the District of Columbia announced a deal regarding ticket pricing with the NFL.

 

GOP governors gather amid push for ‘disruptive change’

The nation’s Republican governors met Tuesday in battleground Florida where they said were “giddy” at the opportunity for “disruptive changes” to wrest power from Washington following the election of Donald Trump.

Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, the incoming chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said that “the sky’s the limit” and that the “possibilities are endless now” that there was a Republican president and a Republican majority in Congress.

Walker and other governors ticked off a long list of areas they would like to gain more control over whether it was education, transportation, workplace rules, health care or environmental policies.

But it was clear that there was not complete unanimity among the governors on how to unwind President Barack Obama‘s health care overhaul that included an expansion of Medicaid, the nation’s main safety net health care program for the poor. An estimated 20 million Americans are now receiving coverage through different elements of the overhaul including Medicaid or through health care exchanges that offer insurance policies.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott called the overhaul a “disaster” and repeated several times that Republicans need to repeal it entirely, although he suggested they should find a way to retain some more popular sections – such as the one allowing parents to keep their children on their policies until they turn 26-years-old.

“It doesn’t work, it’s didn’t control costs, it was a complete lie,” said Scott, a former health care executive who ran one of the nation’s largest hospital chain and was forced out amid a federal investigation that resulted in the company paying a record fine of $1.7 billion for Medicaid fraud.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, however, said she expected people to continue to enroll for insurance using health care exchanges as long as it’s the law and that they can’t just take away insurance from people who have it now.

“I don’t know that there will ever be a turn off the switch, wait a period of time and then turn it back on,” said Martinez. “There is going to have to be a transition and not leave everyone uninsured.”

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who noted that Medicaid was expanded in his state prior to his election, called for a “thoughtful approach” to revamping health care and said what he wants the ability to put in additional requirements for Medicaid recipients such as work requirements. Hutchinson has tried to win federal approval for some of his ideas but said he had been “stymied” by the Obama administration.

The additional control that states are seeking over Medicaid was one of the items that Vice President-elect Mike Pence mentioned during a private meeting with many of the GOP governors on Monday evening according to a statement put out by the Trump campaign.

Reprinted with permission of the Associated Press.

 

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