Ripon Forum - February 2020

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John Katko discusses his legislative approach in our latest Profile.

February 2020 Volume 54, No. 1

AMERICA’S ECONOMIC REBOUND A story every Republican should tell. by Douglas Holtz-Eakin Plus: Susan Brooks on the GOP’s successful effort to recruit women candidates.

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“Ideas that matter, since 1965.“ Volume 54, Number 1

Politics and Perspective

Special Report (cont’d)



A View from Macomb County, MI By David A. Dulio & John S. Klemanski “People Like the President’s Policies, but His Personality Gives Them Pause”


A View from Northampton County, PA By Chris Borick “The Economy has Prospered Under Trump, but the Local GOP has Struggled”


A View from Trumbull County, OH By Adam L. Fuller “To Area Voters, Trump is Standing Up to the Beltway Elite”


A View from Kenosha County, WI By Arthur I. Cyr “Some Gains for the Democrats, but the Strong Economy Makes November Too Close to Call”



Winning with Women By Susan Brooks Republican recruitment is breaking records in 2020, because more GOP women are stepping forward and saying, “I’m in.” The Lessons of Brexit & Possible Parallels in the U.S. By Fred Bauer Brexit and populist American politics differ in key respects, but they share some common political contexts worth noting in this election year. Europe’s Dark Cloud Over the World Economy By Desmond Lachman With Europe’s economy being about the same size as America’s, another European economic slowdown would have a major effect globally.

Cover Story 10

America’s Economic Rebound: A Story Every Republican Should Tell By Douglas Holtz-Eakin Over the past three years, the GOP has developed a strategy that has produced not only a thriving economy, but a winning narrative that voters need to hear about this fall.

Special Report - Third in a Series of Essays Examining the Political & Economic Climate in Counties that Flipped from Obama to Trump in 2016: 14

A View from Dubuque County, IA By Christopher B. Budzisz “GOP Voters are Sticking with Trump, but Centrist Voters are the Key”

Interview 24

The Issues May Change and the Map May Evolve, but America’s Two-Party System Endures A Q&A with Michael Barone The veteran political observer discusses his recent book about the Republican and Democratic Parties and how their influence has risen and fallen over the years.

Sections 3 26 28

In this Edition News & Events - coverage of recent breakfast discussion with National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Tom Emmer. Ripon Profile - U.S. Rep. John Katko

Publisher The Ripon Society President Jim Conzelman Editorial Board Thomas Tauke Michael Castle Billy Pitts Pamela Sederholm Judy Van Rest Jim Murtha John Feehery

© Copyright 2020 By The Ripon Society All Rights Reserved

Editor Lou Zickar Deputy Editor Kyle Chance Advertising Coordinator Asher Kaithern Editorial Intern Lilly Schrank

The Ripon Forum (ISSN 0035-5526) is published by The Ripon Society. The Ripon Society is located at 1155 15th Street, NW, Ste. 550 Washington, DC 20005. Postmaster, send address changes to: The Ripon Forum, 1155 15th Street, NW, Ste. 550 Washington, DC 20005.


February 2020

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IN THE UNITED STATES The insurance industry contributed more than $609 billion to the nation’s GDP (3.0%).1


JOBS to more

than 461,000 employees across the country.2


U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2018, all insurance sector carriers and related activities

2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2018 3. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, figures reflect 2Q 2019 for property casualty

WAGES totaling more

than $42 billion, which helps to drive the U.S. economy.2

THE RIPON SOCIETY HONORARY CONGRESSIONAL ADVISORY BOARD U.S. Senators: Shelley Moore Capito - Senate Co-Chair Cory Gardner - Senate Co-Chair Marsha Blackburn Roy Blunt Richard Burr Bill Cassidy, M.D. Susan M. Collins Steve Daines Joni Ernst Deb Fischer John Hoeven Jerry Moran Pat Roberts Mike Rounds Thom Tillis Roger Wicker Todd Young U.S. Representatives: Susan W. Brooks - House Co-Chair Rodney Davis - House Co-Chair Greg Walden - House Co-Chair Jackie Walorski - House Co-Chair Martha Roby - Vice Chair, South Darin LaHood - Vice Chair, Midwest Mike Kelly - Vice Chair, Northeast Dan Newhouse - Vice Chair, West Frank Lucas - Vice Chair, Southwest Mark Amodei Don Bacon Troy Balderson Andy Barr Vern Buchanan Larry Bucshon, M.D. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. Ken Calvert Buddy Carter Tom Cole Doug Collins Paul Cook Tom Emmer Ron Estes Brian Fitzpatrick Bill Flores Kay Granger Sam Graves French Hill Bill Huizenga Bill Johnson Dave Joyce John Katko Adam Kinzinger Bob Latta Billy Long Kevin McCarthy Michael McCaul Cathy McMorris Rodgers Paul Mitchell John Moolenaar John Ratcliffe Tom Reed Tom Rice Steve Scalise John Shimkus Pete Stauber Steve Stivers Glenn “GT” Thompson Mac Thornberry Mike Turner Fred Upton Brad Wenstrup Steve Womack

In this Edition

Change the subject. That is what every Republican and probably a good number of Democrats want to do following the President’s impeachment trial last month. And if you are a Republican – and particularly if you are a Republican running for election or reelection this year – there is no better subject to turn to than America’s economic rebound. As American Action Forum President Douglas Holtz-Eakin writes in the lead essay for this latest edition of The Ripon Forum, this rebound was not a preordained outcome. Rather, it is the result of a specific economic strategy that Republicans have followed over the past three years. This strategy included passing legislation such the American Health Care Act, which reformed two major entitlement programs, and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which reformed the tax code for the first time in over 30 years. This strategy also included scaling back the number of new federal regulations approved and put in place. “The difference between the implicit taxes levied in the Obama era (2016) and the Trump era (2017-2019) is like night and day,” Holtz-Eakin writes, referring to the economic impact of this regulatory rollback. “It was an immediate and upfront push for the economy.” It was also a push that was felt in cities and towns throughout the United States. Many of these cities and towns are located in counties that voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and then flipped their support to Donald Trump four years later. These “Obama-Trump” counties were pivotal to the 2016 general election. Twice over the past three years, The Ripon Forum has shined a spotlight on five of these counties, having local political experts share their thoughts on the political climate in each county and how area residents view the changes that were taking place in Washington, DC. In this latest edition, we return to these experts one more time and ask for their thoughts not only on the local political and economic environment, but how this environment will shape the general election later this year. To the extent that the Republican Party’s ability to reach beyond its traditional base will impact its electoral prospects this fall, this edition of the Forum also features an oped from Congresswoman Susan Brooks, who is heading up the House GOP’s efforts to recruit candidates this year. The Indiana lawmaker has focused much of her attention on persuading more Republican women to enter the race. Her efforts are paying off. “A record 200 women have filed to run for the House this cycle, which demolishes the previous record,” Brooks writes. “Now, more than ever before, Republican women are stepping up and saying, ‘I’m in.’” As the election draws near, voters will probably see at least a few stories about the growing influence of outside interest groups and the waning influence of America’s two political parties. Veteran political observer Michael Barone is out with a book dispelling these reports. He argues that while issues may change and the electoral map may evolve, the Republican and Democratic Parties are not going anywhere and are in fact more relevant than ever. In this edition of the Forum, we ask Barone about his book and his thoughts on the role of both parties this election cycle. With Britain voting to formally leave the European Union, writer Fred Bauer shares his thoughts on the lessons of Brexit and possible parallels that may exist in the United States. And in our latest Ripon Profile, New York Congressman John Katko shares his thoughts on some of the challenges facing his district that he is working to address and some of his accomplishments over the past five years. As always, we hope you enjoy this latest edition of The Ripon Forum, appreciate your readership, and welcome any thoughts or comments you may have. Lou Zickar, Editor RIPON FORUM February 2020


Politics & Perspective

Winning with Women

Republican Recruitment is Breaking Records in 2020 by SUSAN BROOKS Recently, Republican talk show host Meghan That plan started with changing the way our McCain was ridiculed in the New York Times for Party recruited candidates. With help from my fellow disrupting her colleagues’ liberal tirades with her Members of Congress serving as Recruitment Captains, conservative counterpoints on The View. we went out looking for candidates who uniquely fit Arizona Senator Martha McSally, the first female their district, reflect the diversity of America, and can fighter pilot to fly in combat, was described as win competitive races. We didn’t stop because one “unbecoming” and a “punk” for dismissive remarks person announced they were running. We kept looking she made to a CNN reporter’s for the best candidates in persistent questioning. these districts to win in Maine Senator Susan November. Our Recruitment Collins was attacked by the Captains prioritized creating left for her vote to confirm a Republican conference that Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the better reflects our diverse Supreme Court. national Republican Party. Democrats and liberal The sacrifices of running cable news talking heads for Congress are real. We are fundamentally oppose the asking Americans to leave notion of conservative women their families, communities, who have values different and careers to spend hours than their own, women upon hours fundraising, who are pro-life, support getting out their message, and the Second Amendment, or driving all over their district champion something other meeting voters. than “Women’s Issues”. The sacrifices vary Unfortunately, the last depending on the woman and election did nothing but her priorities, but once these reinforce this narrative. In As a Party we should celebrate women realized the positive 2018, 102 women were impact they could make in their the diversity of our recruited elected to the U.S. House of communities and country by Representatives — a record. candidates, but we must also serving in Congress, the results Only 13 of those women were have been amazing support their campaigns to Republican. With support from get these amazing candidates Democrats are actively Chairman Tom Emmer and working to make conservative others like Congresswoman across the finish line on women extinct, and as one Elise Stefanik, whose Election Day. of the few GOP women left leadership PAC, Elevatein the House Republican PAC, is designed to help elect conference, I am taking it Republican women, we are personally. After suffering a 41-seat loss last cycle, I putting ourselves in a position to elect more Republican chose to step up and serve as the recruitment chair of women to the House of Representatives. A record 200 the National Republican Congressional Committee in women have filed to run for the House this cycle which Washington, D.C. where I’ve committed to remaking demolishes the previous record. our Party in a way more reflective of our diverse country Now, more than ever before, Republican women are and values. stepping up and saying, “I’m in.” 4

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Among them are standout candidates like Michelle number of women who are choosing to run with an Fischbach, the first woman to serve as president of the “R” beside their name. As a Party we should celebrate Minnesota Senate; Nancy Mace of South Carolina, the the diversity of our recruited candidates, but we must first woman to graduate from The Citadel’s Corps of also support their campaigns to get these amazing Cadets; Jessica Taylor of Alabama, candidates across the finish line on a former college athlete who raised Election Day. her son during the day while earning These dynamic leaders Now, more than ever her law degree at night; and Michelle with records of success in their before, Republican Steel and Young Kim, both Koreancommunities are a direct threat to the women are stepping Americans from California who are Democrat’s narrative and momentum matching their Democrat counterparts from their 2018 victories. This cycle up and saying, in fundraising. (Steel and Kim also is just the beginning and we won’t be “I’m in.” represent 2 of the 146 people of color backing down. RF who are running as Republicans for the House of Representatives.) Susan Brooks represents the 5th All of these women are tenacious and fearless and District of Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives. despite Democrats’ best efforts to dissuade women from She serves as the Recruitment Chair of the National even thinking about voting Republican, there are a record Republican Congressional Committee.

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The Lessons of Brexit & Possible Parallels in the U.S. by FRED BAUER A populist surge has transformed politics on both sides offered a return to constitutional normalcy. of the Atlantic. Brexit and populist American politics differ in That said, Johnson’s campaign was not merely about key respects, but they share some common political contexts. constitutional questions. Recognizing that working-class Both were informed by a broader alienation from the political Leave voters might be repelled by austerity politics, establishment, which has led to an appetite for change and Johnson also offered proposals that spoke to the concerns for outsider political figures. In both the United States and of the economically precarious: increasing the number of the United Kingdom, the traditional parties of the left have doctors and police officers, adding to educational spending, loosened their hold on working-class voters in the wake of and investing in infrastructure. That combination of cultural and economic changes. populist policies and an Populist-sympathetic end to Brexit paralysis voters have a mix of policy helped break Labour’s “red preferences. In the United wall” in the Midlands and States, they are often skeptical Northern England while about high rates of immigration also stanching the bleeding and the current architecture in some traditionally Tory of global trade. Far from but Remain-friendly seats. doctrinaire free-marketeers, (The scandals surrounding these voters support a vigorous Jeremy Corbyn and the welfare state and are open to dominance of a more government regulation of large strident left in Labour corporate interests. Even if likely contributed to the many of these voters do not magnitude of Johnson’s embody every element of win, but it would be social conservatism in their a mistake to attribute private lives, they also resent Johnson’s sizeable majority “politically correct” efforts to merely to Corbynitis.) police speech and stigmatize British politics U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain’s Prime Minister social traditionalism. reveals some potential Boris Johnson confer during a bilateral meeting at the G7 The December 2019 opportunities and pitfalls summit on August 25, 2019 in Biarritz, France. parliamentary elections for Republicans in 2020. showed how a centerAn increase in workingright party can profit from class support was essential Brexit and populist American addressing populist sentiments. for President Trump’s Boris Johnson’s “Get Brexit victory in 2016 and in some politics differ in key respects, but Done” message spoke to two down-ballot congressional they share some common audiences: populist voters races. After two elections eager to leave the European supporting Barack Obama, political contexts. Union and voters exhausted blue-collar counties in the by the extended constitutional Rust Belt and elsewhere torment caused by establishment resistance to implementing swung to Donald Trump. In 2018, however, many the 2016 referendum. Leaving the European Union will almost suburban voters turned against the Republican Party. certainly cause considerable disruption to existing British Republicans in 2020 need simultaneously to keep financial, legal, and economic arrangements. That disruption some of their traditional supporters in the suburbs while offers both opportunity and, if poorly managed, peril. However, also expanding their reach among the working class in the continued battle over whether to implement Brexit at all rural, suburban, and urban areas. With the right policy had paralyzed British politics for years. “Get Brexit Done” and messaging strategies, they can do both. Proposals for 6

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health-care reform, for instance, might focus less on targeting suburbanites while not necessarily driving working-class government spending and more on expanding the supply voters to the polls. A different approach would combine proof medical care (by training more doctors, for instance). worker economic policies with a more inclusive messaging Slashing corporate tax-rates, the 2017 tax-reform bill was in that stresses a common civic fellowship. many respects a conventional piece of Republican tax policy, Though much media but it did include some elements attention has focused on that spoke more directly to the the rise of populist energies Both were informed by a concerns of working families, in the Republican Party, such as raising the child taxpopulism is also transforming broader alienation from credit. Similar efforts to give the Democratic Party. A the political establishment, working families more options newly energized left has could appeal to voters across pushed the Democratic policy which has led to an appetite the income spectrum. Reforms leftwards on both economic for change and for outsider to the financial and tech sectors and cultural issues, though political figures. could address populist concerns there has been a considerable about economic concentration. intraparty battle on whether to Steps to tighten the labor market prioritize cultural or economic could provide more opportunity for young people and messaging in 2020. working families. The populist challenge to established political Politics is not merely about policy, however. Rhetoric arrangements could cause despair in some quarters. But matters. One mode of populism embraces rhetorical policymakers could also see in that challenge an opportunity pugilism, in which self-styled tributes of “the People” to take on the hard work of policy reform and institutional seek to shock various “coastal elites.” However, leading renewal. RF with an inflammatory, culture-war message often results in diminishing political returns: it alienates upscale Fred Bauer is a writer from New England.

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Europe’s Dark Cloud Over the World Economy by DESMOND LACHMAN Even before the coronavirus outbreak, troubles have verge of an economic recession. been coming to the European economy not as single spies but While the U.K. did leave Europe on January 31, it still in battalions. Worse yet, these troubles have come at a time has to negotiate a permanent economic relationship with the that the European Central Bank is running out of monetary European Union during the one-year transition period that policy ammunition and at a time that the German government ends in December 2020. Judging by Boris Johnson’s hardline remains wedded to a balanced budget policy. Brexit position and by his insistence that the U.K. will not All of this does not bode well for either the European or seek an extension in the negotiation period, investors are the global economies in the year immediately ahead. bound to continue worrying about the U.K. crashing out of the As it entered 2020, a striking feature of the European European Union at the end of the year. economy was that all four of its largest economies — Most troubling of all is Italy’s poor economic outlook. Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom — were Italy has the dubious distinction of having a lower per beset by meaningful economic or political difficulties. As capita income today than it did some 20 years ago. It also a result of these difficulties, in the last quarter of 2019 the has Europe’s second highest public debt to GDP ratio after overall European economy expanded by barely 0.1 percent, Greece and a relatively unstable government. This makes with France and Italy registering its economy particularly exposed negative growth rates. to any further slowing in the Unfortunately, with the fallout European and Chinese economies. In the last quarter of from the coronavirus epidemic With the Italian economy yet once about to hit the global economy, 2019 the overall European again contracting toward the end there is not much reason to believe of last year, one cannot rule out a economy expanded by that the economic or political recurrence of the Italian sovereign barely 0.1 percent, with difficulties besetting each of debt crisis in 2020. Europe’s four main economies will European policymakers have France and Italy registering clear up anytime soon. compounded earlier European negative growth rates. Indeed, the heavily exporteconomic downturns by the pursuit oriented German economy is all of a pro-cyclical fiscal policy. too likely to continue to be among With the German government those world economies most adversely affected by a slowing insisting on maintaining a balance budget and with the Chinese economy. With the coronavirus very likely to reduce European commission insisting that countries comply with the Chinese economic growth from 6 percent in 2019 to around 4 Eurozone’s budget deficit limits, there is little reason to think percent in the first half of 2020, Germany’s economy is bound that European policymakers will use budget policy to counter to take a further meaningful hit. At the same time, the Trump the next European economic downturn. administration’s continued threat to impose a 25 percent The likely lack of a fiscal policy response will again put tariff on European automobiles is likely to continue weighing the full burden of supporting an ailing European economy on heavily on Germany’s automobile sector. the European Central Bank. However, with policy interest Over the past year, France’s economic performance has rates already in negative territory, the ECB is bound to be very been weighed down by President Emmanuel Macron’s waning much less effective in jump starting the European economy political fortune and by widespread social unrest triggered than it was during the last Eurozone sovereign debt crisis. by his unpopular economic reform agenda. With Macron With Europe’s economy being approximately the same showing no sign of backing down on his deeply unpopular size as that of the United States, another European economic pension reform initiative, there would seem to be little reason slowdown would have a major effect on the global economy. to expect an early turnaround in the French economy. U.S. economic policymakers would ignore the current risks to Since the June 2016 referendum, Brexit has not been kind the European economy at their peril. RF to the U.K. economy. As investors fretted about the possibility that the U.K. could crash out of Europe without an economic Desmond Lachman is a resident fellow at the American deal, the U.K.’s economic performance lagged well behind Enterprise Institute. This column was originally published by that of its G-7 peers. By the end of 2019, the U.K. was on the 8

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Cover Story

AMERICA’S ECONOMIC REBOUND A story every Republican should tell. by Douglas Holtz-Eakin In 2016, the United States had a problem. During the postwar period and up until 2007, rapid economic growth had permitted the standard of living to double roughly every 35 years – about one working career. The economic crash of 2008 changed that equation. The economy became mired in a “new normal” of slow growth that promised to double the standard of living only every 70-75 years. Instead of achieving access to the American Dream in a single working career, workers watched as their hopes seemingly disappeared over the horizon. Indeed, in 2016 itself, it was even 10

worse: the real (inflation-adjusted) growth in income for those households that worked full-time for the full year was exactly zero. A new strategy was needed when Republicans took control of the White House and Congress. It began when the House passed the American Health Care Act – the health care bill that reformed two major entitlement programs and cut taxes by $1 trillion – continued with both legislative and administrative deregulation, included the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), and culminated with the Administration’s international policy efforts – notably

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In contrast, other countries had busily been shifting the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the China toward territorial systems that to a great degree exempted Phase 1 trade deal. In short, the strategy moved from overseas earnings. Of the 34 economies in the Organization entitlement reform to regulatory reform, tax reform, and for Economic Co-operation and Development, for example, trade reform. What has been the effect of these policies? 28 have adopted such systems, including recent adoption Not all of these efforts yielded immediate fruit. Health by Japan, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. The care reform – which, since health care is approaching result? It made no sense from a tax perspective to have a one-fifth of the economy, is economic policy reform U.S.-headquartered corporation, and the issue of so-called – foundered in the Senate. And the jury is still out on “inversions” remained at the forefront of tax policy and the trade effort. The Administration’s fondness for tariff politics. wars has always guaranteed short-term pain in the hopes The TCJA has successfully addressed these problems. of longer-term improvements. Time will tell. In the immediate aftermath of its passage, enormous sums But the remainder merits a closer look. There of overseas earnings were finally was substantial early repatriated to the United States – congressional action on and the amounts remain elevated Obama-era regulations using by historical standards (see Chart the Congressional Review Act. 2 on the next page). The main effort, however, has The success regarding been the Administration’s inversions is even more striking. imposition of regulatory After years of having five to six budgets. As shown in Chart 1 prominent companies annually on the next page, the difference depart the United States, between the implicit taxes inversions have simply stopped. levied in the Obama era (2016) Of course, the bottom line and the Trump era (2017-2019) is whether the plan has produced is like night and day. One has better growth. Certainly, the to believe that the business top-line economic growth has community – small and large – improved (see Chart 3 on page noticed and noticed quickly in 12). 2017. It was an immediate and While remaining above the upfront push for the economy. Douglas Holtz-Eakin 2016 level, the growth rate tailed The next step was tax off in 2019. This drop coincides reform in December 2017 The difference between the with slower business investment (although it is hard to date (see Chart 4 on page 12) and, when the impact of an expected implicit taxes levied in the especially, the arrival of a fulltax reform would start to Obama era (2016) and the blown trade war. occur). It is useful to remember Looking forward, there the bipartisan acceptance of the Trump era (2017-2019) is will be a clear incentive by the need for tax reform, especially like night and day … It was 2020 Democratic presidential corporation income tax reform. an immediate and upfront candidates to paint the The U.S. corporate tax Administration, and especially code had remained largely push for the economy. the TCJA, as a failure. But the unchanged for decades, but numbers simply don’t support other countries had not stood that narrative. Unemployment still. The result was the highest is low, and hundreds of thousands of discouraged workers statutory rate (35 percent) in the developed world, as well have been drawn back into the labor market. Real wages are as an average effective tax rate of 27.7 percent compared rising, especially for lower-skilled workers. And growth has to a rate of 19.5 percent for foreign-headquartered returned. counterparts. In addition, the United States had clung The economy has benefitted enormously from regulatory to a worldwide system of taxation – at the highest rate. reform and tax reform. It would have benefitted even more Thus, the only way for American firms to avoid being from entitlement reforms. And one can only hope that it will at a competitive disadvantage was to not repatriate their reap the benefits of the trade reforms going forward. RF funds. This system distorted the international behavior of U.S. firms and essentially trapped foreign earnings that might otherwise be repatriated back to the United Douglas Holtz-Eakin is the President of the American Action Forum. States. RIPON FORUM February 2020





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Special Report

A View from Dubuque, IA: Third in a Series

GOP Voters are Sticking with Trump, but Centrist Voters are the Key by CHRISTOPHER B. BUDZISZ The so-called “blue wave” of 2018 that saw Democrats reflection of the political undercurrents in this part of Iowa. retake control of the House of Representatives reached the With her messaging, Hinson may be avoiding some of the shores of Dubuque. In Iowa’s First Congressional District, possible downside for the general election of aligning too which includes the city and county of Dubuque, two- closely with a polarizing figure such as President Trump. term incumbent Republican Rod Blum was defeated by This approach speaks to either party being able to secure Democrat Abby Finkenauer. Dubuque and Northeast Iowa in November. Indeed, the With her election, Finkenauer, First Congressional District has whose limited political resume been rated as a “toss-up” by consisted of being a two-term analysts. member of the Iowa House of President Trump’s success in Representatives, became the flipping Dubuque Republican for second youngest female member the first time since Eisenhower of Congress in history. Finkenauer will be a challenge to repeat, capitalized on an enthusiasm gap. but coming into 2020 the local While Blum and Finkenauer both economic picture in Dubuque call Dubuque home, Finkenauer bodes well for the president and carried the City of Dubuque. Republicans up for reelection Similar to national trends, while – including U.S. Senator Joni the Republican carried the rural Ernst. While experiencing a slight precincts, the urban/suburban uptick near the end of the year, advantage held by the Democrats Dubuque’s unemployment is still in 2018 was too much to overcome. below the national rate. And in a Facing her first reelection recent survey of local employers, contest, Finkenauer is a target for Christopher B. Budzisz 60 percent of companies surveyed Republicans. The Republican indicated they intend to add challenging Finkenauer is almost net new jobs in the coming 12 certain to be Ashley Hinson. A months. While there are many The local economic familiar face for voters here, positive economic indicators, the picture in Dubuque bodes ongoing trade conflict with China Hinson is a former local television news anchor and reporter. She and concerns over the global well for the president and is in her second term in the Iowa economy linger with major local Republicans up for House of Representatives, and employers such as John Deere. has demonstrated strength in reelection. The importance of exports for Iowa fundraising. Thus far, Hinson’s has been reflected in the rhetoric campaign has concentrated on the and focus of political leaders familiar theme of a broken Washington system that focuses here. President Trump’s own remarks have stressed the more on partisan politics than policy outcomes beneficial to importance to Iowa of the recently signed USMCA and the places such as Dubuque. phase one agreement with China (as well as the agriculture Her talking points often note the need for bipartisan subsidies provided by the administration). efforts, of practicality and pragmatism, and while she has The polarization in national politics is certainly on certainly voiced support for President Trump’s reelection display here in Dubuque. Discussions of impeachment efforts, it would be a gross mischaracterization to claim she have largely reflected the pre-formed and partisan positions is running as a Trump acolyte. Her muted tone regarding held by people before the House vote and Senate trial. And the president, and on topics such as impeachment, may be a the attention of Dubuque voters was also often drawn away 14

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from impeachment by the Iowa Caucuses. As one of the GOP here in Dubuque. As elsewhere, the traditional population centers in the state, Dubuque draws its fair share Republican mantras of free trade and fiscal discipline of attention from presidential candidates and campaign have been muted in favor of support for President Trump. organizers, so the local discussions among voters, Democrat While economic uncertainty remains in some corners, and Republican, here often shifted to the 2020 race for the the overall sentiment locally among Republicans has White House. On the stump in Dubuque, impeachment remained that any short-term difficulty will be worth the was not a central talking final result. point for most candidates The open question is and campaigns. In the whether the less partisan If President Trump were to draw Caucuses, South Bend and more independentSenator Sanders as his general Mayor Pete Buttigieg minded voters of election challenger, it is difficult to and Vice President Joe Dubuque agree. After Biden finished one-two all, “no-party” registrants see the President losing Dubuque. across Dubuque County significantly outnumber (totals include the city of Republicans here. For Dubuque), with Senator the president to claim Sanders in third. This is another sign that in places like victory in Dubuque again, he will need to attract voters Dubuque, a more centrist vision tends to be most attractive. beyond the Republican base. RF If President Trump were to draw Senator Sanders as his general election challenger, it is difficult to see the president Christopher B. Budzisz is Associate Professor of Politics losing Dubuque. at Loras College and the Director of the Loras College While polling suggests many Republicans here would Poll. This is the third in a series of essays about Dubuque prefer the President moderate his tone on social media, County that Professor Budzisz has authored for the Forum there is little indication that he has lost support among the since the 2016 election.

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A View from Macomb County, MI: Third in a Series

People Like the President’s Policies, but His Personality Gives Them Pause by DAVID A. DULIO & JOHN S. KLEMANSKI Heading into the 2020 presidential election, all eyes U.S. House and Senate have passed the United States– are on Michigan (as well as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), the Trump and other states). Michigan, of course, was one of the administration’s replacement for NAFTA. In 2016, states that helped deliver Donald Trump his Electoral Trump hammered NAFTA during his appearances in College victory in 2016. At the time this was a Michigan and in his television advertising. Finally, after surprise since the state had not voted for a Republican some delays and court battles, the Trump administration presidential candidate since 1988. One of the key factors is reallocating some federal funding to the construction in Trump’s narrow victory of a wall on the southern in Michigan – he won the border. Each of these will state’s 16 electoral votes likely be fodder for his by 10,704 popular votes 2020 messaging. – was his performance Macomb County is in Macomb County. In fascinating politically for this county alone, Trump many reasons. First, it is garnered 35,000 more the home of the “Reagan votes than Mitt Romney Democrats,” who did in 2012. Now in 2020, helped Ronald Reagan there is little evidence to victories in 1980 and that Macomb County 1984. They also played voters have moved away a big part in Trump’s from their support of the 2016 victory. In short, president. In fact, they these voters are not as David A. Dulio John S. Klemanski may be more in his camp tied to partisanship when than ever. choosing candidates Part of Trump’s appeal as are many other Michigan as a whole, as well as in Macomb during 2016 Americans. In the 1980s, the Detroit metropolitan area was his focus on issues while they voted for including manufacturing Reagan, they also voted (which includes Macomb), has jobs, trade (specifically for Democrats in other seen an increase in manufacturing ending NAFTA and other contests those years. This bad trade deals), and dynamic, and others, has jobs since Trump took office. illegal immigration. He led Macomb County to can claim successes in be a bellwether in the each of these areas that are important to Macomb voters. state for the last 40 years. In the 22 presidential and These will likely be key parts of his 2020 messaging gubernatorial elections since 1976, Macomb has voted in Michigan. For instance, according to the Bureau of for the winning candidate statewide in every election Labor Statistics, Michigan as a whole, as well as the except three (1992, 2002, and 2004). Macomb County Detroit metropolitan area (which includes Macomb), seems to swing with the state, and seems to have a has seen an increase in manufacturing jobs since strong independent streak running through it. Trump took office, although some metrics have shown Recent polls by both EPIC-MRA and the Glengariff a slowdown or reversal in this growth (on the whole, Group in January 2020 show Trump’s Michigan approval however, growth is positive). In addition, both the ratings are around 40%, which is slightly higher than 16

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earlier in his term. EPIC-MRA data for Macomb County critical of Trump for some of his Tweets. How many specifically show Trump ahead of his statewide numbers Trump voters or would-be Trump voters feel the same at 45% job approval. Both polls also show Trump way as these two elected officials remains to be seen; as trailing all of the top Democratic candidates, but each is how they behave on Election Day. result is within the margin of error. In the Glengariff Second, who the Democratic nominee is will matter poll, Michigan voters oppose removing Trump from a great deal in Macomb County. Trump will have an office in the impeachment proceedings by more than 7 easier time with some and a more difficult time with points (51% to 43.5%). With voters who self-describe others, but as of this writing, there are still too many as independents, however, Trump’s numbers are better declared Democratic candidates. Should Elizabeth on each of these questions. Focusing on independents Warren win the primary, Trump will likely do very well can give us more of a clue to the current political in Macomb. But, if the nominee is Joe Biden, Trump’s context in Macomb given chances are not as good. In how that county has swung short, Biden will come to from election cycle to Michigan and try to appeal election cycle over time. In to the same voters Trump did short, many Macomb voters in 2016 and he will likely appear to rely less on pure try to play up his Scranton, partisanship when making PA roots, a town similar to their vote choices. Over Macomb. Another possible 45% of independents in trouble spot for Trump is Michigan say they approve Bernie Sanders. In 2016, of the job Trump is doing Sanders had a great deal of (the same as the figure for support in Macomb; he won In Macomb, like the rest Macomb only in the EPICthe County in the Democratic of the nation, personal MRA data). Independents primary and there was some oppose removing Trump anecdotal evidence that he characteristics seem to be from office 49.6% to 36.8%, would have had a strong something that may be a nearly double the margin showing in the general had chink in Trump’s armor. when considering all he been on the ballot. If the voters. In the presidential eventual Democratic nominee horserace, all of the top is able to reach just a fraction Democratic candidates’ of the Trump voters who leads shrink and Trump helped him carry the state in even leads Warren and 2016, they may be able to flip Buttigieg when considering Michigan once again. only independents. There is no doubt that Independent voters, the campaign in Michigan like those in Macomb will be incredibly heated in County, could be key 2020. Trump and his allies to Trump winning the have already been making state again. There are at least two dynamics that are Michigan a priority with multiple visits to the state, at worth paying attention to in the months to come. least in part to combat the attacks that could come from First, how much does personality come into play some of his possible opponents. Yet another example in the campaign? In Macomb, like the rest of the of this is the fact that Trump visited Warren, the largest nation, personal characteristics seem to be something city in Macomb, on January 30, 2020, the day after he that may be a chink in Trump’s armor. For instance, signed the USMCA, finalizing that agreement. The Michael Taylor, the GOP Mayor of Sterling Heights, intensity will only increase. RF a large city in Macomb, has indicated he will not vote for Trump again in 2020. Taylor recently said: “…It’s David A. Dulio is Professor and Chair of the Political the belittling his opponents and his detractors. It’s the Science Department at Oakland University, while childish nicknames that he gives people. I can’t tell John S. Klemanski is a Professor of Political Science you when the breaking point came, but it was at some at Oakland University. This is the third in a series of point I was just like, enough is enough for me.” Even essays about Macomb County that Professors Dulio & GOP Congressman Paul Mitchell, who represents a Klemanski have authored for the Forum since the 2016 large portion of the County in the U.S. House has been election. RIPON FORUM February 2020


A View from Northampton County, PA: Third in a Series

The Economy has Prospered Under Trump, but the Local GOP has Struggled by C H R I S B O R I C K As 2020 dawned in Northampton County on the far for statewide office won in Northampton County by very eastern edge of Pennsylvania, the center of American large margins, with Governor Tom Wolf carrying the politics seemed far away from this region of the Keystone county by 16 percent and Senator Bob Casey winning State. With impeachment proceedings dominating Northampton by 10 percent. Perhaps most problematic politics in Washington D.C., for the President was that and the 2020 campaign being Democratic candidate Susan waged largely in early primary Wild carried Northampton states such as Iowa and New County by 6percent on her Hampshire, Northampton way to victory in the 7th County residents focused Congressional District race. much of their attention on The 7th District was created in things like the high school a court ordered redistricting wrestling scene and unusually early in 2018, and Wild’s mild winter weather rather victory in essence flipped a than the ebbs and flows of the district that had long been political world. held by GOP moderate But as the year inches Charlie Dent. Wild joined forward, the relative quiet of the new Democratic majority winter is sure to be replaced in the House in voting in by the roar of a presidential favor of impeachment of election that is likely to be Trump in 2019. fought in Northampton County Despite his party’s Chris Borick as intensely as any county in massive struggles in the nation. As one of the three Northampton County since counties in the all-important 2016, President Trump Since Donald Trump won swing state of Pennsylvania certainly has strengths Northampton County by that flipped from supporting and opportunities in Barack Obama in 2008 and the County that can be about 4,000 votes in 2016, the 2012 to supporting Donald leveraged this November. track record for most of his Trump in 2016, Northampton Polling in the region County is seen as a must hold fellow Republicans in the shows continued strong for the President and a prime support for the President County has been nothing target for Democrats as they among Republicans, and short of abysmal. seek to flip the state blue again he certainly is poised to tap in 2020. into that support as he tries Since Donald Trump won for a repeat performance Northampton County by about 4,000 votes, or roughly in the county in 2020. This asset for the President is 4 percent of the 2016 electorate, the track record for moderately enhanced by a closing of the gap between most of his fellow Republicans in the County has Democrat and Republican registered voters in the been nothing short of abysmal. After losing control of county over the last three years. Since the 2016 county government in the 2017 elections, Republican election, Republicans have narrowed the Democrats’ candidates were trounced in Northampton County in the lead in registered voters in Northampton County by 2018 midterms. In those 2018 races, Democrats running about 4,000 voters, so his very strong position among 18

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GOP identifiers has been intensified in terms of the doom GOP prospects for resurgence across Northampton breadth of the cohort. Finally, as the President attempts County as the President’s party rarely gains strength in the to ride his economic performance record to reelection, second term of his Administration. Northampton County may be fertile ground for such a While there is significant uncertainty about the pitch. The County has shared in the broader economic final verdict from Northampton County voters this growth that has occurred November, one difference during President Trump’s from the 2016 race is a first three years in office, definite: the Democratic The County has shared in the with employment levels, the presidential nominee will broader economic growth that housing market, and local not ignore the region as economic performance all Hillary Clinton largely did has occurred, with employment showing positive trends in in the last presidential race. levels, the housing market, and Northampton County during Thus residents of this hilly local economic performance all the Trump presidency. county along the Delaware The juxtaposition of River should prepare for a showing positive trends. Trump’s historic victory in campaign like nothing they Northampton County in 2016, have ever seen. RF and his party’s deep struggles since, raises questions about where the County stands as Christopher P. Borick, Ph.D., is a Professor of Political the general election draws nearer. There seems to be a path Science and the Director of the Muhlenberg College in 2020 where voters in Northampton County may vote Institute of Public Opinion. This is the third in a series to give President Trump another term as president while of essays about Northampton County that Professor continuing to punish other Republicans in the region. Borick has authored for the Forum since the 2016 Ironically, if the President is able to win reelection, it may election.

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RIPON FORUM February 2020


A View from Trumbull County, OH: Third in a Series

To Area Voters, Trump is Standing Up to the Beltway Elite by ADAM L. FULLER

There is an old saying that people hate everyone else’s plan is appealing to many working class voters. And, as Sanders politicians but they love their own. In Trumbull County, people is also an anti-establishment candidate, he can be considered to see President Trump as their champion fighting for American be Trump’s counterpart on the Left. He is also the only Democrat interests against a legion of villains in Washington. Their candidate so far besides Tim Ryan to visit Youngstown and hold confidence in Trump has not softened from the impeachment a rally. or from some local industrial setbacks that have happened in the But these are most likely only inconsequential concerns county. They believe that he is still trying for the incumbent President. Inasmuch his best against the enmity of the Beltway as a nationalized health care system may elite, who they believe want him out of be alluring to many voters, most people office because he stands in the way of in Trumbull County reject the broader their own nefarious ambitions. socialist proposals that Sanders campaigns Given the high level confidence they on. The local economic setback of the GM have in him, Trump is very likely to win closure is also not likely to be much of a Trumbull County again in his bid for rechallenge for the President to overcome, election. However, he does have a couple because Trumbull County residents of potential, but minor, roadblocks. feel confident in Trump’s approach to One of these is the closing of the managing the economy. General Motors plant in Lordstown, Trump’s success in eliminating where the Chevy Cruze used to be NAFTA and getting the USCMA passed manufactured. For the last year, Trumbull by Congress are particularly applauded in County residents have seen the abandoned this county. There is a lot of excitement auto factory as they have driven up and about the future possibilities for Adam L. Fuller down the Ohio Turnpike. Like a ghost economic revitalization from what town, the empty Cruze plant has been they feel is a fairer trade deal that promotes Trump’s popularity a constant and eerie reminder to them that America’s economic security. here may have waned the auto industry is entirely gone from Trumbull County residents also see the region. County residents have long positive signs in neighboring areas, such slightly. But most considered the Chevy Cruze the pride of as the recent news that U.S. Steel will be voters still see him the Mahoning Valley. County residents investing $1.2 billion in two Pittsburgh as their valiant hero felt hopeful that President Trump’s trade steel factories. As Youngstown was once policies would save it from demise, but fighting the good fight a thriving center for steel manufacturing, that did not happen. Close to 2,000 jobs this announcement gives locals here some in Washington. were lost when the Lordstown plant hope that even their own steel industry closed. may one day be revived. Fortunately, however, GM announced recently that it Make no mistake – Trump’s popularity here may have would be returning to the Lordstown plant. They will be making waned slightly. But most voters still see him as their valiant hero batteries for electric cars, as part of a joint venture with the South fighting the good fight in Washington. There is good reason to Korean company, LG Chem. There will only be half as many predict that Trumbull County will remain Trump territory in the jobs to be gained from this new use of the facility, but at least the 2020 election. RF factory will be back in business. Another potential roadblock is the possible nomination of Bernie Sanders by the Democratic Adam L. Fuller, Ph.D, is an Assistant Professor in the Department Party. Of those still remaining among the field of candidates, of Politics & International Relations at Youngstown State Senator Sanders stands the best chance of defeating Trump this University. This is the third in a series of essays about Trumbull November in Trumbull County. He is perhaps the most popular County that Professor Fuller has authored for the Forum since the of the Democrat candidates here because his “Medicare for All” 2016 election. 20

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A View from Kenosha County, WI: Third in a Series

Some Gains for the Democrats, but the Strong Economy Makes November Too Close to Call by A R T H U R I . C Y R This is a time of transition for both Kenosha County contemporary terms. The website, which and the entire state of Wisconsin in both economic and literally maps the voting records of members of Congress, political terms. After years of Republican dominance in puts him literally on the border between Republicans state government, the Democratic Party has made some on the right side and Democrats on the left. Steil has recent notable gains. The state is also sharing in the generally voted with the Trump Administration in the remarkable strength of the national economy. House, but not always. In an echo of Ryan’s high-profile Politically, the most significant public opposition to large deficits, gain for Democrats was the he opposed the two-year budget 2018 election of Tony Evers, the bill to raise limits on spending state Superintendent of Public supported by the Administration. Instruction, over two-term GOP Republicans have controlled incumbent Governor Scott Walker. the First District for a quarter Evers’ victory was extremely century, but that was not the case narrow with just over one percent earlier. Democrat Les Aspin held of the votes cast separating the two the seat from 1971 to 1993. A candidates. Less surprisingly that respected expert on defense policy, same year, Democratic U.S. Senator he served briefly as Secretary of Tammy Baldwin was reelected. She Defense in the first part of the defeated Republican challenger Clinton Administration. Democrat Leah Vukmir by a comfortable Peter Barca was Aspin’s immediate margin of more than 10 percent. successor in Congress. Otherwise, the Republican Despite Ryan’s lengthy tenure, Party held their ground in and the election of his designated Arthur I. Cyr Wisconsin. No Congressional seat successor, the Democratic Party has changed hands; the party retained strengths in the district, with the five of the eight seats. Republicans potential to build on the successes Politically, the most won one additional State Senate of 2018. Kenosha County Executive significant gain for seat, and lost one seat in the State Jim Kreuser and Kenosha Mayor Assembly. The only Congressional Democrats was the 2018 John Antaramian are Democrats, seat without an incumbent with past service in the State election of Tony Evers, candidate was Wisconsin’s First Assembly. State Senator Bob Wirch, District, which includes Kenosha the state Superintendent a Democrat, represents District 22, County. Long-time Representative which includes most of Kenosha of Public Instruction, Paul Ryan, who also served for and neighboring Racine Counties. over two-term GOP several years as Speaker of the He has held the seat since 1997 House of Representatives, did through tough election campaigns, incumbent Governor not seek reelection and retired. including an extremely aggressive Scott Walker. This surprised many observers, Republican offensive in 2010 to especially given his prominence unseat him. He regularly publicly and relatively young age. In 2012, he was presidential emphasizes his labor union background, which continues nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate. to resonate favorably in Kenosha, historically a center of Ryan has been succeeded by Bryan Steil, who had the auto industry. served as a member of his staff. Ryan endorsed Steil Both parties are devoting extensive attention to during the election campaign. Since entering Congress, Southeast Wisconsin. In 2016, Donald Trump carried his voting record has been relatively moderate in Wisconsin by just over 22,000 votes. He won Kenosha RIPON FORUM February 2020


County by less than 1,000 votes. By contrast, President the low national average. Growing controversy surrounds Barack Obama enjoyed a vote margin here of nearly Foxconn Technology Group’s investment in Southeast 10,000. Milwaukee is host of the July Democratic Party Wisconsin, which included extremely generous state aid from the Walker administration. However, this firm presidential nominating convention. Democrats made gains in Kenosha County in the stands out in an enormous, largely smooth flow of new 2018 mid-terms. Senator Baldwin carried the county investment into the area and wider region. More than half the by a significant 14 percent interstate truck traffic in margin. While Bryan Steil North America moves was elected to Congress Kenosha has benefited through the Chicagofrom the First District, he significantly from the long-term Milwaukee corridor, lost the county narrowly to Democrat Randy Bryce, recovery of the nation’s economy … which includes Kenosha. Amazon and Uline are 47 to 49 percent. Bryce The unemployment rate is slightly only two particularly emphasized his background below the low national average. visible investors. There is as an ironworker, and the a steady migration north of International Association companies from Illinois. of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, along with Wisconsin remains a battleground state politically, but other unions, has endorsed Democratic presidential the old “Rust Belt” image of the economy clearly is out contender Joe Biden. However, this is still far too early of date. RF reliably to predict either the likely Democratic nominee Arthur I. Cyr is the A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen or how Kenosha County will vote. Kenosha has benefited significantly from the long- Distinguished Professor of Political Economy and World term recovery of the nation’s economy, and also more Business, and Director of the Clausen Center for World specific factors. The unemployment rate is slightly below Business, at Carthage College.


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The Issues May Change and the Map May Evolve, but America’s Two-Party System Endures A Q&A with Michael Barone What country has the oldest political party in the world? If you guessed America, you are right. In fact, the United States not only has the oldest political party, but the third oldest party in the world, as well. The Democratic Party was founded in 1832 to reelect Andrew Jackson, while the Republican Party was founded in 1854 to oppose slavery in the territories. The parties are older than almost every American business, most American colleges, and many American churches. Both have seemed to face extinction in the past, and both have rebounded to be competitive again. How have they done it? Veteran political observer Michael Barone provides an answer to that question in his latest book, How America’s Political Parties Change (And How They Don’t). In it, Barone -- who serves as a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and writes a column for the Washington Examiner -- argues that both parties have survived by adapting, swiftly or haltingly, to shifting public opinion and emerging issues, to economic change and cultural currents, and to demographic flux. At the same time, Barone argues, each party has maintained a constant character. The Republican Party appeals to “typical Americans” as understood at a given time, and the Democratic Party represents a coalition of “outgroups.” They are the yin and yang of American political life, together providing vehicles for expressing most citizens’ views in a nation that has always been culturally, religiously, economically, and ethnically diverse. With the 2020 campaign now officially underway, The Ripon Forum asked Barone about the role of political parties today and how the electoral map has shifted in recent years. We also ask him about the election of Donald Trump, which he called a course correction, and whether the country is on track to see another correction this year. Finally, we ask Barone whether the time is right to establish a third major political party in the United States – which many pundits have long been calling for, and polls indicate a majority of Americans support.

RF: At a time when many pundits are predicting the end of political parties, you have written a book arguing that America’s two parties are not going anywhere and are more resilient than ever. Could you talk for a moment about this resilience and why you believe the parties continue to be relevant? MB: I believe the parties are resilient because each of them has, even while changing its positions on issues many times, maintained a certain basic character, personality, DNA over many years. The Republican Party has always been formed around a core constituency of people considered, by themselves and others, as typical Americans — but who are never by themselves a majority. The Democratic Party has always been a coalition of out-groups—people not considered, by themselves or others, as typical Americans but who taken together can be a majority. In a nation characterized from its colonial beginnings by diversity — religious, cultural, regional, ethnic, racial, economic diversity — parties of this character can provide an appropriate form of expression and advocacy for the large bulk of a diverse citizenry.

anchored in the South, you write that this base shifted with the election of Donald Trump in 2016 to also include parts of the Midwest. Could you talk about this shift and its implications for the election this year? MB: This is the first presidential election in some time — I would have to go back over the data to see just when, or if ever, this has been the case — that the Midwest has voted more like the South than like the East or West. (By the way, I depart from the Census Bureau definition of the regions by assigning Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia to the East rather than the South.) The Midwest’s increasing resemblance to the South was largely the result of vote switches outside the Midwest’s major metro areas (which I define as those areas with a one million-plus population and in addition I also include metro Madison, Wisconsin). I call these areas, which include about half the Midwest’s population, the Outstate Midwest. Majorities of voters there are non-college whites, with much smaller percentages of white college graduates, blacks, and Hispanics than you find in the Midwest’s major metropolitan areas.

RF: One thing that is evolving is the electoral map. Whereas the Republican base in recent years has been

RF: Let’s talk for a moment about the President. You argue that his election did not represent a “gigantic


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electoral upheaval” but was rather a “course correction.” free college or free Ben ‘n’ Jerry’s ice cream, and big majorities Could you explain what you mean by that and do you will say yes. They haven’t given much or any thought to this think we are on track to see another course correction this possibility and it sounds like fun. But when people learn more November? they take a different and usually dimmer view. A prime example MB: The number of voters switching parties between the is the response to Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare for All promise. 2012 and 2016 presidential elections was much lower than those Structural factors work strongly against third political between, for example, the 1972 and 1976 presidential elections or parties: the Electoral College, the single-member district for all the 1988 and 1992 presidential elections. House and Senate members and most state legislature members. Starting in the 1994 congressional election and the 1996 But more than that is operating. I have already explained why I presidential election, we have had relatively static voting patterns think the basic and enduring character of our two political parties — polarized partisan parity, I call it. Only is particularly suited to providing one (or three states changed presidential parties sometimes even two!) acceptable choices between 2000 and 2004, for example, and and vehicles for political expression of only two between 2008 and 2012. The a large majority of people in what has best way to predict any electoral vote or always been an unusually diverse nation. congressional race in this period was to The key test case came in 1912. A predict that it would be the same as the third party, the Progressives, nominated previous election. 2016 was obviously Theodore Roosevelt and ran him against a change from that pattern – in popular the incumbent Republican and the votes certainly, but even more in electoral Democratic challenger. Roosevelt was votes. Fully 100 electoral votes (ignoring as strong a candidate as any third party faithless electors) changed parties between could ever field: a man who had served 2012 and 2016, all from Democratic to seven years as president, demonstrating Republican, in Florida, Pennsylvania, his competence and surefootedness many Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and the times over. In 1904 he won the highest 2nd congressional district of Maine. percentage of the popular vote in any race If that’s a course correction, we had between the Republican and Democratic Michael Barone one. Whether there’s going to parties up to that point: he had be another course correction in 100 percent name and substantive November 2020 is a big question identification. In addition, the The number of voters switching Progressive party ran candidates to which the voters will provide an answer in ten months. in a majority of non-Southern parties between the 2012 and congressional districts. 2016 presidential elections was RF: How about the Yet Theodore Roosevelt much lower than those between, lost, running second, and Democrats — for all the talk about Donald Trump Progressive candidates won the 1972 and 1976 presidential remaking the GOP, the only a handful of House seats. elections or the 1988 and 1992 fact of the matter is that the By 1916, the Progressives were Democrats are in the middle essentially gone. Roosevelt was presidential elections. of their own debate about the back in the Republican fold, and future direction of their party. might well have been the party’s Any predictions about how that debate is going to play 1920 nominee had he not died in 1919. Third party Progressiveout? type candidates ran only regionally, in the heavily German- and MB: No. It seems like a lot of energy in the Democratic Scandinavian-American Northwest (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Party is on the left. But it’s not clear that the bulk of Democratic North Dakota.) The 1924 candidacy of Robert LaFollette under voters are like their activists or putative leaders. the Progressive label was a regional candidacy of this sort, like Strom Thurmond’s in 1948 or George Wallace’s in 1968 — not a RF: Finally, a question going back to the resiliency third party as a potential national competitor. — and relevance — of our two party system. Polls show Ross Perot did attempt such a candidacy in 1992, and despite that a majority of Americans favor the creation of a widespread public recognition and positive attitudes, still lost — third major political party. Do you see that happening and did far worse in 1996. Donald Trump was 46 and 50 years old anytime soon? in those election years, and I suspect that Perot’s defeat was one MB: Poll questions eliciting majorities for a third political reason he did not run as an independent or third-party candidate in party are a subgroup of what I call “Wouldn’t it be wonderful 2016 and instead chose to run as a Republican, however sketchy if” poll questions. You ask people if they’d like free health care, his connection with that party had been theretofore. RF RIPON FORUM February 2020


News & Events

Emmer Optimistic About GOP Prospects in the Coming Campaign WASHINGTON, DC – In remarks on January 15th before a breakfast meeting of The Ripon Society, National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Tom Emmer (MN-6) expressed confidence about GOP prospects to win back control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the November election, and said that voters will have a clear choice to make when they cast their ballots this year. “We are going to flip the House for the first time in a two-year presidential cycle since 1952,” the Minnesota Republican boldly predicted. “You can’t overstate the importance of the 2020 election. Voters have a choice to make, and the choice is pretty simple -- do we want freedom, or do we want socialism? … Remember, we have people who were


elected in the last cycle, and they didn’t choose to use Bernie Sanders’ term of democratic socialism. They came in and proudly pronounced, ‘We are socialists.’ “If you have any concern whatsoever as to whether I’m credible in this regard, go look up the website for Justice Democrats. You will see that my grandfather’s Democrat Party -- the party that my grandfather loved so dearly -- is dying. They want to fundamentally change the Democrat party to the Socialist Party of America. “It is that big of a choice. As people are going in to cast their ballot, they need to understand that one side wants government to control your life, and the other side wants you to control your life. It’s that simple a choice.” Emmer was elected to the House in

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2014 and was selected by his colleagues to be Chairman of the NRCC in November 2018. In addition to recruiting candidates and raising funds, he said one of his main priorities during his first year in the job has been defining the Democrats for what they have become – a party that is drifting toward socialism, and being driven by the far left extremes. “Bernie Sanders is the gift that just keeps on giving because he refuses to give it up,” Emmer said, referring to the Socialist Senator who has a shockingly decent chance of becoming the Democrat Party’s 2020 presidential nominee. “These Socialist Democrats want government-run health care that’ll get millions of people off their insurance plans and leave us with higher costs, worse care, and no choice.

“Again, that’s the issue -- it’s about come back after the break and we see all Van Drew has become a Republican,” choice. They want to abolish private and the final numbers. That’s the one issue the campaign head observed. “I think he employer-sponsored health insurance that I think we’re going to have over always was pretty much a Republican. and double people’s income taxes. the next quarter, is getting these guys Trump won that district by four and a We’ve all seen it during these incredible moving. half points. And the reason he flipped “Look, Republicans were in the ultimately is because his entire support debates. The policies they are advocating do not represent mainstream America. minority for 40 years around this place. group turned on him. Nobody would When you have every candidate on the I wasn’t here, but I’m going to guess it help him. They basically shunned him. debate stage raising their hand to give was because one, they didn’t want to So he had one place to go. We brought free healthcare to illegal immigrants, fight, and two, they didn’t want to work. him in with open arms and he’s going Maybe I’m smearing a bunch of great to be a great addition to the Republican that’s a major problem for them. “But that’s what my grandfather’s reputations from way back, but the only conference. But we need 20 seats. Democrat party has become. And it’s way you’re going to do this is if you’re “Now remember, we’ve got 55 not going to sell. They want to remake willing to put in the effort and you’re targeted races. The top 30, Trump won America. In the process, they want willing to work your tail off to win it two years ago. The top 13, he won by to eliminate choices. As I’ve said, back.” six points or more … Our goal is to win That red flag on individual Member 13 of 13 of these ruby red seats. Those Democrats want to dictate every aspect of our lives. With the Green New Deal, fundraising aside, Emmer did point to are Republican seats. We’re going to they want government to win Oklahoma 5. We’re take over the economy. going to win New York 22. They want to tell you what We’re going to win on Staten car you can drive, what Island. Now, if you want to “We are going to flip the House house you can live in, and be conservative, you can say, for the first time in a two-year what job you can have. ‘Ok, Emmer, you’re going to presidential cycle since 1952.” They want to tell you that have a couple that you lose. you can’t eat hamburgers. we’ll give you 10.’ Now Tom Emmer So It goes on and on.” we get 9, 10, or 11 out of the Emmer then turned remaining 18 seats in the top his attention to the other 30. It is entirely doable with parts of his job as NRCC Chairman – a positive development with regard to the candidates that we’ve got. candidate recruitment, and the almost fundraising and recruitment. “And then you’ve got the next 20 “We raised $22 million last year on 1,000 Republicans who are running for that have seats which Republicans have our digital program, and it’s only going the House this year. held in the recent past. Kevin Yoder’s “We’ve got almost 190 women seat, for example, that Hillary did win. to grow,” he stated. “You saw what WinRed has just done in its short time -- running as Republicans across this These are seats that we can win, and it’s done over $100 million. By the way, country,” Emmer beamed. “The we have candidates who are capable of I hope you got some Trump Christmas previous high was 133. And these are doing it. At that point, do the math. You wrapping paper. I think we became great women. Michelle Fishbach is only need four or five or six of those. the largest Christmas wrapping paper in town today from Minnesota’s 7th This is incredibly doable.” distributor in the Northeast because district. Beth Van Duyne is the former It would also, he concluded, be of that promotion, which generated a Mayor of Irving who’s running for consistent with the political climate of seven-figure number. It was incredible.” Kenny Marchant’s seat. I can point to a recent years. These positive developments aside, whole bunch of these women -- strong, “In the last 12 years,” Emmer said, Emmer did raise what he called a “red powerful women who are able to take a “the House has flipped three times. If flag” when it comes to raising money message out and make it stick. They’re you study history and look back prior this year – one that has less to do with the raising money, and again, we’re going to 1952, you will see that the House Committee he leads than the Members to have to do more. But some of these used to regularly flip. I believe we have candidates are doing a heck of a job. We reached a period in this country where the Committee is trying to re-elect. “Our Members need to get their also have a record number of minority we are so divided and it is so intense that act together and raise more money,” candidates.” we’re going to have that start to repeat According to Emmer, it is not just itself until somebody figures out how he stated bluntly. “The individual campaigns need to raise more money. the quality of candidates that is making to govern and do it right. I believe we They cannot expect somebody else him optimistic about GOP prospects this are going to get that chance after next is going to do it for them, and they’re year. It is also, he said, the math. November. And then we’re going to “We need 20 seats now that Jeff have to perform.” going to hear that from me when we RF RIPON FORUM February 2020


Name: John Katko Occupation: Member of Congress: NY-24 Previous jobs held: Shortly after graduating from Syracuse University College of Law I began my career in public service, serving first as a Senior Trial Attorney at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. I then worked for 20 years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). During this time, I worked with the DOJ’s Criminal Division, Narcotics & Dangerous Drug Section and spent time working as a Senior Trial Attorney on the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas and in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Most recently, I served as a federal organized crime prosecutor in Syracuse, leading high-level narcotics federal prosecutions. Books you’ve read that you’re recommending to friends: Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked. Detailing the relationship between President Ronald Reagan and Speaker Tip O’Neill, this book is a model of how politics should, and can work. Although the two came from drastically different ends of the political spectrum, the book tells the story of how two great political opponents were able to bring positive change in this nation through bipartisanship and compromise. Challenge facing New York you’re working hard to address: In Central New York and across the country, we are facing a critical shortage of mental healthcare providers. That’s why, in Congress, I have led efforts to increase access to quality mental healthcare and have worked to reduce the stigma associated with those seeking treatment. As co-chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, I have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address the gaps in our mental healthcare system and have advocated for legislation that reduces the gaps in our mental healthcare system. Recently, I introduced the Mental Health Professionals Workforce Shortage Loan Repayment Act of 2019. My bipartisan legislation would increase the number of mental healthcare professionals practicing in underserved communities by authorizing a loan repayment program for those who work in an area with a lack of accessible care. Most significant accomplishments of your first five years in office: I have been most proud of my legislative record. Last Congress, I was recognized for being one of the most effective lawmakers in Congress and for being among the most bipartisan. I came to Congress to get results for Central New York and to show that working across the aisle works. With my record of passing bipartisan legislation that addresses issues ranging from combating the heroin epidemic to strengthening national security, I believe I have shown that bipartisanship is a winning strategy. Finish this sentence: “If I could change one thing about American politics, it would be…” “…the dysfunction in Washington and the partisan rhetoric that dominates the narrative.” 28

RIPON FORUM February 2020

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