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“The Sunday Political Brunch”—July 24, 2016

Sunday, July 24, 2016


The Republican National Convention is in the books, and now it’s on to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Both candidates have picked running mates. Pretty soon we’ll be in full-bore campaign mode, heading to November. Let’s “brunch” on that this week:

“Citizen Kaine” – It comes as no surprise that Hillary Clinton has picked Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)to be her running mate. He has a great resume: Mayor of Richmond; Lt. Governor of Virginia; Governor of Virginia; and now U.S. Senator. He was also chairman of the Democratic National Committee for two years. A 58-year-old, Harvard-educated lawyer, he’s a seasoned political pro who could step in and be President.

“The Electoral Math” – I think Kaine was a good choice for the Democrats; and Mike Pence was a good choice for the Republicans. Both bring extensive leadership and experience to the table. You want that in the Vice President, in case the worst happens. Pence will probably secure Indiana’s 11 Electoral College votes for the GOP ticket, but Kaine's home state is not as secure for the Democrats. The Old Dominion was a “red state” from 1968 through 2004 in Presidential races, but Barack Obama won it in 2008 and 2012. It’s a battleground state - with 13 Electoral College votes - that remains up for grabs; but, for now, I’ll say it leans Democrat. The bottom line, the net advantage is two Electoral College votes for the Democrats.

“Si!” – Another big asset Kaine brings is that he is fluent in Spanish and speaks it at many rallies, as well as in social media. No, he is not Hispanic; but when you can speak the same language, you can connect with people in a unique and personal way. Remember, the Latin vote is the fastest growing demographic in the electorate. Swing states, such as Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada, used to be solidly “red” but President Obama won all three in 2008, and again in 2012. Each has a rapidly growing Hispanic voter pool. Subtleties matter. Kaine’s bilingual skills may also help Democrats in the two most crucial states: Florida and Ohio.

“Trump Stump” – I thought Donald Trump gave a very good acceptance speech. It was the most forceful address I have ever seen him give. It was also the most disciplined address, as it was scripted and in a teleprompter (although you could tell he would ad lib when he felt the need). The tone was angry from the start to finish, but I’m not saying that in a critical way. In fact, I believe it was an asset. Trump was successful this year (as was Bernie Sanders) in tapping into the considerable anger in the American public, so I give him points for that. My overall grade: B.

“I’m Mad as Hell and I’m Not Going to Take It Anymore” – That was the famous line from network news anchor Howard Beale in the movie “Network.” The acclaimed film won numerous Academy Awards. But in the movie, Beale “articulates the popular rage,” as it was referred to often. The problem was that no solution to assuage the rage was ever offered. People were just encouraged to open their windows and vent about how mad they were. Trump hit that same nerve, but never laid out any concrete battle plans as to how to turn the anger into action. Had he done so, my grade would have been an A.

“Odds and Ends” – Political conventions are carnival side shows in a lot of ways. All kinds of colorful characters show up, and an endless number of people are there to “pitch stories” to the press. One woman asked me if I’d like an opportunity to interview a young lady “to get the perspective of the election from a 14-year-old’s point of view.” Really? She’s not even old enough to vote, and she’s a juvenile. I just found it odd and exploitive; so I passed.

“Hair-Spray Gate!” – I have never been comfortable with the amount of hair spray and makeup I have to wear for my job. It’s kind of silly, but necessary. As I went through the security screening on Tuesday, a female Secret Service agent confiscated my hair spray because it was in an aerosol can. I politely pleaded that I needed it for work. The woman’s male supervisor suddenly interjected, asking, “What kind of work do you do?” I told him I worked in television. “Are you on-air?” he asked; and I responded "Yes." “Okay sir, you can keep it, but please go buy a pump spray bottle for next time,” he said. It was a very funny exchange, especially with the male agent coming to my defense!

“Cleveland Rocks!” – That’s the name of a famous song by British singer-songwriter Ian Hunter. Even though I grew up in Wisconsin, I had never been to Ohio until late last year, and this was my first trip to Cleveland. The city on Lake Erie has always been the butt of comedians’ jokes, but I loved Cleveland. The theatre district is spectacular, and the lake has been cleaned up over the years. Some nice restaurants catered the convention, so there is a culinary buzz. I missed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame party, but I can’t wait to go visit again as a tourist. Nice city; I was impressed!

I’ll have more from Philadelphia next Sunday. Share your comments atwww.MarkCurtisMedia.com.


Related Slideshow: 10 Ways Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump Are Actually Similar

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Universal Health Care 

Despite sitting on opposite sides of the aisle, Trump and Sanders essentially share the same healthcare plan. But you don’t have to take our word for it—Ted Cruz, Trump’s chief rival, said himself that Trump and Sanders “have basically the same healthcare plan," in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

"Donald Trump enthusiastically supported the TARP bailout of big banks. I opposed it. He enthusiastically supported Barack Obama's stimulus plan. He thought it should have been bigger. I think it was a disaster and a waste of money. Actually, Donald not only supported both of those, but he argued that Obamacare should be expanded to make it socialized medicine for everyone,” Cruz told Hannity

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Reforming Wall Street

Both candidates have made serious noise talking about reforming Wall Street. Bernie Sanders has just about made his whole career on taking on financial kingpins, and has attracted many young fans in the process.

While the uber-capitalist Trump may seem like the candidate to take on his fellow one-percenters, his words say something different. Trump blasted hedge fund managers on CBS, saying they are “getting away with murder,” on CBS’ “Face the Nation" in 2015.

"The hedge fund guys didn't build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky,” Trump said.

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They Don't Take Money from Wall Street

It’s not just that the candidates criticize Wall Street and big banks—plenty do that. But Trump and Sanders back up their tough talk by not attracting campaign donations from those same financial institutions.

Sure, Hillary Clinton has taken aim at the major financial mavericks during her time on the campaign trail—what self-respecting Democrat hasn’t? But a closer look at her campaign financials shows that she isn’t putting her money where her mouth is.

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Their Campaigns are Populist Movements

Neither Trump nor Sanders are what you would call a “party darling.” Both have taken aim at the lions and leaders of their own parties have been unafraid to make controversial statements regarding the political establishments.

Instead, their campaigns have been buoyed by passionate, typically politically apathetic people. People who have finally found someone they  can relate to in the political landscape and someone they feel they can trust. Despite repeated predictions of failure, regular people continue to respond to their campaigns, as both Sanders and Trump remain near or at the polls as the primaries begin.

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The Most Unusual Candidates (Ever?)

Trump and Sanders are certainly the most unusual candidates this year, as both the Republican and Democratic fields contain typical governors, senators and congressman vying for the ultimate government job. It goes one step further, however—they may be the most unusual candidates a Presidential campaign has ever seen.

Sure, Trump isn’t the first rich eccentric to take a run at the Oval Office (just google Ross Perot if you don’t believe us.) But he’s certainly the first candidate to speak about immigrants and other races as he has.

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Massive Crowds

Political candidates of any variety like going where they are wanted. They make sure that there are plenty of warm well-wishers to make campaign events see exciting and full.

Trump and Sanders, however, seem to be able to attract raucous crowds that are more akin to rock concert or playoff game than a political rally. People come in costume, dressed as their favorite candidate. Teenagers, even though they cannot cast a vote, turn out in full face paint to support their candidate.

It’s happened all over the country. Record-setting crowds packed the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon and thousands filled the DCU Center to see Trump in Worcester, Massachusetts. Everywhere these candidates go, people rush to see them.

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Lots of Small-Money Donations

Typically, leading Presidential campaigns are powered by big money donations, but that’s not the case for Trump and Sanders.

As Graphiq shows us below, Sanders and Trump are one and two, respectively in the amount of campaign donations under $200—a sure sign of grassroots support.

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Real Talk

How often do you watch and listen to a political speaking, and find yourself drifting off to sleep or reaching for your iPhone?

That rarely seems to be the case when Trump or Sanders are on the mic. You never quite know when Trump will insult an entire religion or ethnic group in one thirty-second soundbite. 

Not to be outdone, Sanders folksy and frantic style of speech has attracted attention—and plenty of jokes and memes—from all across the internet.

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 Slated for Failure

Since the first day that each candidate announced their campaign, the political intellectual and elite have told everyone that they just don’t stand a chance. Trump and Sanders are too controversial, their too radical and they are too inexperienced. How many times did political analysts or other talking heads say they would be out of the race before the first votes are ever cast?

Yet here we are, just a few days away from the first caucuses and primaries. Neither Trump nor Sanders are out of the race. Neither is on their dying breaths. They are thriving. And, as you’ll see in our next slide, they are winning

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Leading in Iowa (and New Hampshire!)

If the latest polls are to believed these massively unusual candidates—one socialist, one real estate magnate/reality tv star, both with tons of small donations, both told they never had any chance—will be making victory speeches in Iowa and New Hampshire soon.

According to CNN, Trump has an 11 point lead among Republicans and Sanders an eight point lead among Democrats in Iowa just a few days before the caucus.

And in New Hampshire, as you’ll see below,  Trump and Sanders have double digit leads as we approach the first true primary.


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