Matthew DesOrmeaux

Recent Posts From Matthew DesOrmeaux

Rand Out: Why the Paul Scion Never Caught Fire

After a dismal showing in Iowa, Rand Paul is dropping out of the presidential race to focus on his Senate reelection campaign.

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Paul had high hopes to coalesce the libertarian wing of the party with a more conservative alliance toward the White House, but as with everyone else’s campaign, it all went to hell when Donald Trump entered the race. Paul was averaging 9-10% in national polls in May and June, until Trump announced and sucked the air out of the race, dropping him down to below 4-5% for the remainder of the campaign.

Although his name recognition was one factor, Trump also exposed a rift within the libertarian faction of the right that helped torpedo Paul’s campaign. Going back to the Ron Paul newsletter days, there has always been a xenophobic nationalist bloc on the right that calls itself “libertarian” but really isn’t. They used to be Paul supporters, both Ron and Rand, but once Trump barged in and explicitly embraced their unfettered id, they quickly jumped ship.

And all the better. Although it won’t help an actual libertarian get elected, it’s better to know who our actual ideological compatriots are than limp along under false pretenses with people who don’t actually care about liberty.

Trumpkins weren’t the only problem with Paul’s campaign, though. While he called himself a libertarian Republican, Rand was far more conservative than his father Ron. Although he called for ending the War on Drugs, he never fully embraced legalization.

Iowadammerung: Where Will We Go From Here?

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Although it feels like it has been going on for nearly 250 million years, today officially kicks off the 2016 presidential primary. The first votes will be cast (but not really) in the Iowa caucuses this evening beginning at 7 pm Central. Voters will hear each candidate’s case from either the candidates themselves or their caucus chairs, then make their preference known.

Because of the personal nature of the caucus process, the results have been notoriously hard to predict by pollsters in the past. On the Republican side, all the polls have seen the recent Cruz bounce fade and return to a Trump lead, but the last few polls have the perpetual frontrunner up only +1.

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In fact, of the top few Republicans, only Rubio actually has an upward trajectory in Iowa polling. He’s risen from an average of 10% to almost 17% in the last week or so, a trend that is eerily familiar.

In 2012, Rick Santorum polled in the single digits nationally for all of 2011 right up until the week before the Iowa caucuses. He would come out of nowhere to win the state on a combination of endless local campaigning, evangelical support, and a few key endorsements. Santorum went on to be the only significant challenge to Mitt Romney for the nomination, winning several other states and amassing a small share of the national delegates.

How Might the Supreme Court Rule on Obama’s Executive Amnesty?

The Supreme Court agreed this morning to take the case of Texas and 25 other states who sued the federal government over the Obama administration’s unilateral executive action to limit deportations of certain illegal immigrants. The program was halted by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in November over the costs to the states resulting from the program, not its inherent (un)constitutionality.

Obama authorized the DAPA program after Congress rejected a similar legislative proposal to defer deportations for children brought here by their parents…and those parents themselves. That separation of powers argument is the main problem with the program, as I’ve argued before.

Although it’s not explicit in the Constitution, the intent of the separation of powers was for Congress to write federal policy and the President to enact it. The President doesn’t get to write his own policy if Congress refuses to do as he wishes. This Supreme Court decision may end up ruling on that very broad issue, or it could rule on the merits of the DAPA program.

Should Conservatives Support Hillary if Trump Wins? No…There is Another.

Along with most of the Republican party, I’ve become dismayed of late at Donald Trump’s continued (or resurgent?) polling success. Especially in light of most pollsters recent switch to likely caucus-goers and likely voters in early primary states, our collective wishcasting about Trump’s inevitable demise appears to have been just that.

With less than three weeks to the Iowa caucuses and the end of the republic (exaggeration?), many conservatives are already moving on to the truly apocalyptic general election scenario of Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton. Mainstream conservative activists and pundits like Ben Howe appear to have already lept from the bridge and decided to support Hillary in the increasingly inevitable scenario where Trump is the nominee.

What Happens When Two Historically Unpopular Candidates Face Off?

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The presidential election of 2016 is considered by many to be the most important election in our lifetimes. I consider that sentiment nothing more than a cliche. We literally hear it every 4 years, and sometimes in between. Technically every election is the most important one yet.

But this election is the rare open contest with no incumbent, either directly or by succession (VP running after serving 8 years). The last one was just 8 years ago, but before that you have to go all the way back to 1952 to find an election without a sitting president or vice president running.

In all that time there has not been an election that could come down to two equally unpopular candidates. We won’t know for at least a month or two when primary votes are officially cast who each party’s nominee will be, but both current frontrunners are historically disliked.

Hillary Clinton’s favorability rating right now is bad and getting worse. It started dropping the moment she left office as President Obama’s first Secretary of State, and it’s been underwater nearly a year.

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As pollster Adrian Gray has shown, such poor favorability ratings even this far out from the election are usually correlated with general election losses, at least since 1992.

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Donald Trump is the Democratic version of Operation Chaos

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I have an old friend who attended the Donald Trump rally in Biloxi, Mississippi this weekend. He dressed up in his crispest red button-down, overalls, and white #MakeAmericaGreatAgain hat. He cheered, he waved, he tweeted and posted to Facebook about his excitement for the rally and Trump’s slogan of change. If he were ever called by a pollster, I have no doubt he would enthusiastically register his support for the orange-coifed billionaire.

There’s just one problem. My friend is a Democrat. And polls show he’s not alone. Not only is Trump supported by mostly liberal and moderate Republicans, he also attracts a fair amount of Democratic support.

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We’ve all heard of Reagan Democrats and locally Republicans for John Bel Edwards, the recently elected governor of Louisiana. But my good friend isn’t supporting Trump’s campaign because a great leader has convinced his usual opponents of his worth. He doesn’t agree with Trump’s “ideas” (such as they are) or support his “vision” for America (such as it is). He does all this because he knows Donald Trump is Hillary Clinton’s best shot at the White House. And polls show he’s right there too.

Poll: Significant minority supports religious freedom for some, not all

I’ve previously argued that the current “religious freedom” bandwagon is little more than a smokescreen for Christian theocracy, especially since it seems to have been an explicit reaction to the marriage equality victories around the country. A new AP poll suggests I’m right, but not to the extent I thought.

Eighty-two percent said religious liberty protections were important for Christians, compared with 61 percent who said the same for Muslims. About seven in 10 said preserving Jews’ religious freedom was important, while 67 percent said so of Mormons.

I expected the Muslim number to be far lower, but that leaves 21% of adults who think, like Rick Santorum in a recent GOP debate, that religious liberty applies to Christianity but not Islam.

And surprisingly, the numbers aren’t that different for Republicans and Democrats.

The Electability Argument: Romney 2012 vs Rubio 2016

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It might seem counterintuitive, but losing an election doesn’t mean you weren’t “electable”.

In 2012, one of the main arguments for Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee was that he was the most electable. This point is usually supported by favorability polls and subtle campaign factors like wide, not specific or tribalist, general election appeal.

Romney’s claim of electability in 2012 was based on this data. His favorability varied quite a bit, but was positive from early summer right up to election day. More people liked him than didn’t, in the end. Unfortunately Obama had a comparable favorability rating; he wasn’t the unpopular figure most Republicans assumed he was.

As we all know, Romney lost. He wasn’t as electable as he thought, but he was still the most electable of the Republican candidates at the time. Rick Santorum’s favorability rating was almost never in positive territory. Newt Gingrich was one of the least popular politicians in the country, two weeks after he won the South Carolina primary.

This year the electability argument has come back around again, primarily as a point in favor of Marco Rubio. As a young, well-spoken conservative with minority immigrant parents, a middle-class history, and solid grasp of current cultural trends, his appeal is broader than the Republican party has seen in ages.

No, Donald Trump is not a fascist. He’s something worse.

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Six months ago when Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the office of President of the United States, I had a simple reaction: No. We all knew that no good would come of this.

Three months later after he didn’t seem to have a problem with a supporter’s desire to “get rid of” Muslim Americans, I had a sinking feeling.

But I held my tongue (at least in long-form). Now that everyone else has caught up, I have an even worse suspicion. No, Donald Trump isn’t a fascist. Rather, he’s not just a fascist. He’s a nihilist.

In most previous cases, fascism rose to power ideologically. A strong man with big (terrible) ideas whipped the people into a frenzy behind him and was elected or took power by force with his own heinous vision for the future. A casual look at Trump’s campaign slithering from one outrageous xenophobic proposal to the next has led some to smack him with the fascist label.

But I think most people are missing an important aspect of Trumpism. He doesn’t actually believe anything he says. In fact, he may not have any beliefs at all.

Obama’s “Read My Lips” Moment That No One Cares About

Almost thirty years after he took office, George HW Bush is still remembered as a weak-willed moderate because of six words in his inaugural address: “Read my lips: no new taxes.”

Bush pledged not to raise taxes no matter how much his Democratic Congress demanded it. Just two years later he reluctantly agreed to a budget deal that raised gas taxes and the top income tax rate. His approval rating and overall image never recovered.

President Obama made a similarly strong and explicit pledge, but on a much more vital issue. Beginning in August 2013, as hawks were begging for the US to intervene in the Syrian civil war, Obama said that there would be no “boots on the ground” there.

Matthew DesOrmeaux

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married, father of two, atheist, libertarian, introvert.

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