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Sunday Political Brunch: Who Will Be the First Female President? - September 17, 2107


CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA – On her book tour this week 2016 Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton said she would not be a candidate for office again, including another run at the White House. 2020 is still some ways away, so she always has the chance to change her mind. But, a lot of people have asked me in recent days who I think might be our first woman President. Let’s “brunch” on that this week:

“The Clinton Pass (Or Is It?”) – Politics is a “never say never” business. I have always thought there was an outside chance Hillary Clinton might make one last shot in 2020. But there are two things that must occur for that to happen. First, Democrats needs to make huge gains in the 2018 midterm elections. A significant changing of the tide in the House and Senate would be necessary, and, in fact, Democrats would have to seize control of one or both chambers. Second, the Trump Presidency would have to falter badly in two areas: the economy and national security. These developments would give Clinton the “I told you so” campaign theme she’d need. But if Trump is even modestly successful and the GOP holds control of Congress, she has no chance.

“Hail to Haley” – I wrote about Nikki Haley a few weeks ago, but her rising-star status bears repeating. Haley is now the tough-talking U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, often a springboard to bigger political ambitions. Her prominent, hard-liner stance against North Korea has made big headlines. Haley was a two-term Governor of South Carolina, and a state legislator before that. As an Indian-American, she is also a woman of color whch does not hurt in the modern political landscape. At some point she is the likely successor to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and that puts her on a glide-path for a potential Presidential run in 2020, 2024, or later. Haley is just 45-years-old and will be viable for several more election cycles.

“New York, New York” – You can never discount candidates who come from the nation’s most populous states, which are also rich in Electoral College votes. Keep your eye on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who is – like Nikki Haley – a rising star, albeit with Gillibrand in the Democratic Party. Gillibrand, who is now 50, was elected to two terms in the U.S. House and was something of a surprise choice to fill the U.S. Senate vacated when Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State. Gillibrand has chops, including knocking off a Republican incumbent to win her first House election. In upstate New York, that’s no small feat. Like Nikki Haley, the moderate Gillibrand is viable for several more Presidential election cycles.

“Feeling the Bern” – No, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is not likely to run for President again – he’ll be 79 in 2020. But many people lay his progressive mantle in the lap of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Warren is one of the closet ideological soulmates to Sanders, but that cuts both ways. It may gain her the Democratic Presidential nomination, but can a true-liberal progressive be elected President in 2020? My guess is that a more moderate Democrat has a better shot, but quite honestly the rule book of Presidential politics was kind of tossed out the window in 2016 with the election of President Trump and the strong showing by Senator Sanders. Warren could seize on that upheaval, disenchanted left-leaning voter base.

“Go West Young Man, (or Woman!) – If Elizabeth Warren is too liberal to be elected President, then Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers might be viewed as too conservative. Still, she is the highest-ranking woman in the House leadership, as Chair of the House Republican Conference (the fourth highest leadership post). She’s in her thirteenth year in Congress, and served many years in the Washington state legislature before that. She’s very popular amongst evangelical Christians, which can sometimes cut both ways. Her best shot may be as a Vice Presidential running-mate, but she does come from the State of Washington, a more liberal-leaning state than her district reflects.

“The Show-Me State” – Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), is an interesting case study. Yes, she’s won two terms on the U.S. Senate, but her state has gone Republican in the Presidency in eight of the last ten elections. The only Democrat to win the “Show Me State” in modern history was neighboring Arkansan Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. The other downside for McCaskill is a tough Senate race looming in 2018. She’s considered vulnerable, and on-the-bubble by many national political analysts (including me). And, if she loses her Senate race next year, a White House bid seems a long shot.

“The Others” – Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA): yes, a rising star; no, she’s not well-known. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN): she’s a sleeper, who if elected to a third Senate term in 2018, raises her stature. If you think Minnesota is Podunk, just remember the names Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Vice President Walter Mondale. Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK): her ship has probably sailed. Her profile has plummeted from the 2008 VP run. I suspect her political career is over after she chose not to run for U.S. Senate.

Which woman would you like to see as the first U.S. President? Just click your vote and thoughts on the comment button at www.MarkCurisMedia.com..

Mark Curtis, Ed.D., is a nationally-known political reporter author and analyst based in West Virginia.

© 2017 Mark Curtis Media, LLC.

Photo courtesy: cbsnews.com

Sunday Political Brunch: The Art of the Deal -- September 10, 2017


CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA – It’s been a fascinating week of twists and turns in the political world, as the winds of hurricanes breathe down the backs of the United States. President Trump took some surprising turns in the week that was, and they’re generating a lot of buzz. Let’s “brunch” on that this week.

“The DACA Two-Step” – To many it was the ultimate in contradictions. First, President Trump gave a six-month warning to the end of the policy known as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). It protected thousands of children from deportation, who were brought to the United States illegally by parents or others They are the children of the so-called “Dream Act,” many of whom were infants or young children who had no idea they were being brought into this nation unlawfully. Many have become well-educated workers who prospered into adulthood, and pose no threat. The President indicated they might be able to stay after all, if Congress passes a law to legalize their status.

“The Art of the Deal” – That’s the name of the President’s best-selling book from the 1980s that launched him into national prominence. Yes, the book was about real estate, but some of those same principals can be used in politics, too. As far as DACA, the President gave a clear indication its principles could survive if codified into law by Congress. Allowing a path to citizenship for “The Dreamers” has wide-bipartisan support. By moving the policy from an Obama-era Executive Order, into the law of the land would be a big political and psychological victory for the Trump White House. The President has had very few Congressional wins; so, this would be huge and make him look like an accomplished political deal maker.

“The Immigration Realities” – Months ago, I suggested in this very column that the President would be wise to break up immigration reform into eight or nine smaller, separate bills. There’s no way Congress will pass a massive, all-encompassing immigration reform bill. The last time it did that was 1986, and the results have been less than impressive. Look, President Trump was elected – by and large – on the strength of his anti-illegal immigration proposals. This is his signature issue. But his most famous idea – building a huge wall on the Mexican border – would be a poison pill in an overall, omnibus immigration bill. So, like he Dream Act, it would be best to handle each immigration issue as a separate piece of legislation.

“The Other Side of the Coin” – The other big issue in Washington, D.C., this week was about raising the national debt ceiling and avoiding a federal government shutdown. At first blush, this has nothing to do with the illegal immigration issue, but in political reality the two issues are intertwined, and here’s why. President Trump needs some legislative wins. So far, this White House has ruled by Executive Order and court wins. He needs to show he can get bills through Congress and these are two good opportunities. Plus, these two issues are widely supported by Democrats and the President needs to show he can truly govern with bipartisan support at times.

“The Politics of Disaster” – Raising the federal debt ceiling was tied to providing eight billion dollars in federal disaster aid to Hurricane Harvey-ravaged Texas. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have long ago learned lessons about botching disaster assistance, i.e., Hurricane Katrina. The fact the President Trump sided with the Democrats plan for debt-ceiling and disaster recovery is telling. Look, details such as raising the debt ceiling for three months versus six months is political minutiae that the average person doesn’t care about. They just want action. The other part of it is that President Trump needs to demonstrate he can work with Democrats, and this – and the possible final DACA vote – could show just that.

“The Echo Chamber” – A few weeks ago, I wrote about a rising star of the Trump White House, that being U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley I suggested she is the next Secretary of State and possibly the first female U.S. President. I said at the time, “You heard it here first!” Well, this week CNN printed a similar analysis of where the Haley political trajectory may be headed. Right now, she is the hottest star and steadiest voice of the otherwise controversial Trump White House.

“The Shutdown Showdown” – President Trump’s agreement to side with the Democrats on the debt ceiling (and to keep the government open) is wise for another tactical reason. The last three government shutdowns occurred when Republicans controlled Congress, but a Democrat was in the White House. In those cases, Republicans took the lion’s share of the blame because - after all - there are 535 members of Congress, but only one President. Now with Republicans in charge of the Senate, House, and White House, there was no way the party could lay the blame on a badly weakened Democratic Party. Trump knows cutting a deal with the opposing party, helps prevent blame on his own party. Talk about the art of the deal!

Are the DACA and debt ceiling votes a turning of the tide in the Trump White House? Just click the comment but and leave your opinions at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

Mark Curtis, Ed.D., is a nationally known political author and analyst based in Charleston, WV. His political coverage is featured daily on WOWK-TV13 Charleston-Huntington; WTRF-TV7 Wheeling; WBOY-TV12 Clarksburg; WVNS-TV59 Beckley; and WDVM-TV25 Martinsburg-Hagerstown.

© 2017, Mark Curtis Media, LLC.

Photo courtesy: Getty Images

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