No, Trump Didn’t Win the Debate

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Deal Hudson earlier this week claimed Donald Trump won his first debate with Hillary Clinton. He said he won because he didn’t self-destruct.

We must have been watching two different debates. I think Donald Trump won the first 20 minutes of the debate, but unfortunately for him and his supporters, it was a 90 minute debate.

He was unprepared. He missed opportunities. He at times didn’t even make any sense.

Now, I disagree with Hillary Clinton on policy, but she was poised and prepared. You don’t wing debates, especially if you are a political novice. He was able to get away with this in the primaries with several people on stage, but he can’t in one-on-one debates.

His supporters have said he “won the polls,” but they are referring to online polls that are nothing more than fan polls that can be easily manipulated.

I like to live in this little thing called reality. Scientific polls paint a different picture about the public’s view of Trump’s debate performance:

  • CNN/ORC: 62 percent though Clinton won, only 27 percent thought Trump won.
  • Politico/Morning Consult: 49 percent thought Clinton won, 26 percent thought Trump won.
  • Public Policy Polling: 51 percent though Clinton won, 40 percent thought Trump won.
  • Echelon Insights: 48 percent thought Clinton won, only 22 percent thought Trump won.
  • YouGov has Clinton winning that poll by 27 points.

Only one national poll has been conducted completely after the debate, by Public Policy Polling, which shows Clinton up by four points. Continue Reading

Three Things Donald Trump Needs in a Running Mate That Mike Pence Lacks

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Donald Trump has ended the speculation. Indiana Governor Mike Pence will be Trump’s running mate. Trump’s choice of Pence was a safe, but unimaginative choice. Pence has the legislative and governing experience Trump lacks, but Pence lacks three essential ingredients that Trump needs.

It may not be possible to find a running mate who delivers all three and who is qualified to run, but Trump could have selected someone who could deliver at least one or two out of the three.

1. Diversity

Agree with it or not the Republican Party has been pegged as the party of old white men. This ticket unfortunately perpetuates that. Donald Trump at the top of the ticket has seriously undermined efforts to reach out to different voting blocs. His approval rating with blacks, Hispanics and women are abysmal. The right pick could have made some inroads.

I would be the first to say that a vice presidential pick should not be made based solely their demographics, but we shouldn’t ignore it either. There were prospects who are experienced who could have been on Trump’s list to choose from. Here are some names that come to mind:


Read the full article at The Daily Caller.

Shane Vander Hart is the online communications manager for American Principles Project, a frequent contributor to, and the editor of Iowa-based Continue Reading

How Will the FBI Announcement Impact Hillary Clinton?

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Although national general election polling overall has been generally abysmal for Donald Trump, FBI Director James Comey’s press conference about the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails was about as bad as it could politically get for Clinton, short of an indictment.

Now, we are waiting to see polling taken after the announcement and subsequent House hearing to evaluate if Clinton’s bad news will give the Donald a bump.

CBS News reported on a poll just released by Pew Research on Friday that shows Clinton with a 9-point lead over Trump, but that poll was conducted between June 15th and June 24th.

Rasmussen, a Republican pollster, conducted a poll on the day of the press conference. They showed Trump with a 2-point lead. However, they are also the only pollster to show Trump with any kind of lead in national polling since mid-May when the ABC News/Washington Post poll had Trump up by 2 points.

Here’s the thing: the previous poll Rasmussen conducted on June 28-29 showed Trump holding a 4-point lead, meaning Clinton has gained a point and Trump has dropped a point since then.

Granted we don’t know how many polled by Rasmussen had heard the news about the FBI probe, so we really can’t extrapolate anything from that poll either.

Nevertheless, if Trump’s polling does not see a significant bump after this news, and not just from friendly pollsters, the Trump campaign will have serious cause for concern. Continue Reading

Trump Hurts Down Ballot Races

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Back in March, I wrote about an ad that targeted U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) because of his support of Donald Trump should he become the nominee. His Democrat opponent, Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), released an ad called “Trump” that linked McCain to Trump.

It was brutal, but these types of ads practically write themselves if Donald Trump is at the top of the ticket. I wrote:

[McCain] didn’t make an endorsement, he just said he would vote for Trump.

Imagine ads like this running against any politician who backs Trump or says they will vote for Trump.

I don’t feel bad for candidates who endorse or openly back Trump, they made their bed so now they have to lay in it, but I am concerned about collateral damage.

In reality Republican candidates don’t even have to support Trump. Democrats, I’m sure, will find ways to inject Trump into races by playing sound bytes of Trump saying outrageous things. The ads write themselves. All they have to do is ask, “does my opponent believe what Trump believes?” Candidates will constantly be on the defensive.

All we have to do is look at what Trump’s opponents already are going through. He says something outrageous and the press go to the other candidates to get their reaction. A candidate’s campaign should be about their experience, record, ideas and convictions, not the asinine things that come out of Trump’s mouth or from his Twitter account on an almost daily basis.

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A Contested Convention Does Not Mean a Stolen Nomination

Photo credit: PBS NewsHour via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Jon, I think we need to look up the definition of stolen.

In order for the GOP nomination to be “stolen,” wouldn’t that mean the nomination was Donald Trump’s in the first place?

The delegate math hasn’t changed for Trump; he was expected to win the Northeastern Primaries. Unless he wins Indiana and sweeps California, he’ll fall short.

The nomination is not his unless he secures 1,237 delegates. He needs a majority of delegates. Had he not been so inept a candidate, he could have been actively pushing slates of delegates at the county, district and state convention levels. That has always been part of the process.

The nomination process reflects our founding. We live in a Republic, not a Democracy. Delegates are being voted on — by Republicans (which probably explains why Trump isn’t doing so well).

If Trump secures 1,237 where he can win on the first ballot, this will be a non-issue, but Ted Cruz and John Kasich are not obligated to help him get there.

Looking at the polling and Trump’s unfavorable rating, a Trump nomination will guarantee a President Hillary and possibly mean numerous losses down the ballot as well. I’m willing to risk a competent candidate nominated at convention. Donald Trump is a disaster.

Republicans should nominate an actual Republican.

Shane Vander Hart is the online communications manager for American Principles Project, a frequent contributor to, and the editor of Iowa-based Continue Reading

Democratic House Candidate: Keep Religious Freedom Out of Laws of the Land

Photo credit: Ted Mielczarek via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Monica Vernon, a Democrat candidate in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District race, discussed her opposition to the First Amendment Defense Act that is co-sponsored by Congressman Rod Blum (R-IA) whom she hopes to unseat. Her comments were in response to a question about her opinion of members of Congress who base their opposition and support of bills on their religious beliefs. Vernon was participating in an hour-long town hall at the Waterloo Center for the Arts on April 8th that was hosted by Americans for Democratic Action.

“One of the things that I found particularly upsetting was his interest in signing onto the so-called First Amendment Defense Act. I think this was a thinly veiled response of the far right to the Supreme Court justices’ wonderful decision, I think, on marriage equality,” Vernon said. “I heralded, I celebrated that thing, I thought you should marry who you love and you ought to be able to make those kinds of decisions and it should be the law of the land, and I am so thankful that it is.”

“This act would make it so that employers whether in for-profit situations or not-for-profit could fire people based on religion. So for example legal scholars who have looked at this have said that even a single woman who is pregnant could be fired for that. So just think of what all could happen if… I am absolutely opposed to that, and I think it goes back to separation of church and state. Continue Reading

Nine Takeaways from Super Tuesday 3

Donald Trump speaks in Reno, Nev. (photo credit: Darron Birgenheier via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

March 15th or Super Tuesday 3 (I originally called it Super Tuesday 2, but apparently March 8th was “super” as well) was a good night for Donald Trump. He won every state that he led the polls in. He wracked up lots of delegates and took one step closer to the GOP nomination for president.  It was an incredibly bad night for U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who, after losing his home state of Florida, badly, suspended his campaign. Ohio Governor John Kasich came in second tonight in terms of delegates, but still finds himself trailing far behind the other candidates.

Here are the results:

Florida Primary – 99% reporting (99 Delegates)

  1. Donald Trump – 45.8% (1,075,505) – 99 delegates
  2. Marco Rubio – 27.0% (635,219)
  3. Ted Cruz – 17.1% (402,632)
  4. John Kasich – 6.8% (159,039)

Ohio Primary – 99% reporting (66 Delegates)

  1. John Kasich – 46.8% (953,646) – 66 delegates
  2. Donald Trump – 35.7% (726,611)
  3. Ted Cruz – 13.1% (266,905)
  4. Marco Rubio – 2.9% (59,215)

North Carolina – 100% reporting (72 Delegates)

  1. Donald Trump – 40.2% (458,117) – 29 delegates
  2. Ted Cruz – 36.8% (418,628) – 26 delegates
  3. John Kasich – 12.7% (144,289) – 9 delegates
  4. Marco Rubio – 7.7% (87,852) – 5 delegates

Three delegates still have not been allocated yet.

Illinois Primary – 99% reporting (69 Delegates)

  1. Donald Trump – 38.8% (548,528) – 24 delegates
  2. Ted Cruz – 30.3% (428,363)
  3. John Kasich – 19.7% (278,224)
  4. Marco Rubio – 8.7% (122,206)

45 delegates still need to be allocated, based on Congressional District vote and direct delegate elections. Continue Reading

Kasich Is Not an Advocate for Local Control in Education

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Last week during the Fox News GOP Debate in Detroit, Ohio Governor John Kasich painted himself to be an advocate of state and local control of education.

Kasich said, “And, frankly, look, if I were president, I’d take 104 federal programs, bundle them into four buckets, and send it to the states, because fixing schools rests at the state and the local level, and particularly at the school board level.”

I’ve not seen Kasich’s position on the NCLB reauthorization, but his support for Common Core puts his support of local control in doubt.

Michelle Malkin called him on it during her speech at CPAC last Friday following Kasich’s appearance. “Ohio grassroots activists and moms know better. This is a man who smeared homeschoolers and teachers for their opposition to Common Core,” she said.

Kasich told The Blaze last year that the opposition to Common Core is nothing but hysteria.

“When you study the issue, you separate the hysteria from the reality,” Kasich said.

“We have carried it out. We have higher standards. We want our kids to perform better and do better,” Kasich said. “The standards are determined by our local school boards. There is total local control. I think there has been a hysteria about this that is not well founded,” he added.

He insists that the standards are local. Local doesn’t equal DC-based special interest groups writing the standards and federal money being used to entice states to adopt them. Continue Reading

Where Does Donald Trump Truly Stand on Education? We Don’t Know

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Yes, it’s true that real estate mogul Donald Trump has spoken against Common Core, but it has almost always been in the context of taking a jab at Jeb Bush. Will we hear him mention it again now that Bush is out of the race? Also, how will he deal with Common Core if elected president? He never really says.

We also don’t know where he stands on the recent reauthorization of No Child Left Behind — known as the Every Student Succeeds Act. He says he would abolish the U.S. Department of Education, but never says how.

There’s just a lot we really don’t know and whether what he says can be trusted.

It is all a big mystery. Education World points this out as well as they talk to education expert Rick Hess:

“Trump appears far more intrigued by personalities than by policy proposals, suggesting that his education agenda would be largely a product of which education persona happened to catch his fancy. Given that Trump seems to favor big, public personalities or individuals he’s met through his commercial activities, I tend to think he’d wind up latching onto a colorful character he encountered in New York circles, was turned onto by friend, or spotted on CNN. Who that might turn out to be is anybody’s guess,” Hess speculates.

And while Trump has come out to say that he would abolish both the Common Core and the Department of Education, Hess believes this is a whole lot of talk without intention behind it.

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After South Carolina, It’s a Three-Way GOP Race

From left: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Donald Trump, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)

I shared some post-South Carolina Primary thoughts on Facebook Saturday night, but I wanted to expand on that here. This is a three-way race between Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Currently Donald Trump is in the driver’s seat.

Finally after South Carolina pollsters can finally pat themselves on the back because the polling finally reflected the primary results.

The RealClearPolitics average of South Carolina polls showed:

  1. Donald Trump – 31.8%
  2. Marco Rubio – 18.8%
  3. Ted Cruz – 18.5%
  4. Jeb Bush – 10.7%
  5. John Kasich – 9.0%
  6. Ben Carson – 6.8%

With the South Carolina Primary results, the order was right and the close race for second was correct. Trump, Cruz, Rubio and Carson all slightly out-performed their polling. Bush and Kasich under-performed. The final results:

  1. Donald Trump – 32.5%
  2. Marco Rubio – 22.5%
  3. Ted Cruz – 22.3%
  4. Jeb Bush – 7.8%
  5. John Kasich – 7.6%
  6. Ben Carson – 6.8%

You don’t get it much closer than that.

Some thoughts on the primary:

  • Those who claim that Ted Cruz underperformed haven’t been paying attention to polling. Polling consistently had Trump leading this race by a wide margin. The highest that Cruz ever polled was at 23 percent, and the most recent polling had him under 20 percent, so I’m not sure how one can say he underperformed. Did they hope to do better here? Sure, but this is hardly a surprise.
  • Rubio to his credit recovered from the disappointment in New Hampshire.
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