Question 1): Polls show most Americans don’t want to see a Joe Biden vs. Donald Trump re-match for President of the United State in 2024, but right now it looks like that very well may happen. Could there be an alternative scenario, like a plausible third party candidate? It’s happened before — Teddy Roosevelt, George Wallace and Ross Perot all come to mind. Today, there is serious talk about the new, so-called “No Labels” party, which could nominate a ticket of ‘centrist’ or moderate candidates for Prez and VP like Democrat Joe Manchin or Republican Jon Huntsman. If such a political party were to qualify for the ballots of various states in 2024, it’s difficult to see it winning, but would it be more likely to draw votes away from Democrats, or from Republicans?
Answer 1): To have any credibility with voters, a splinter party ticket would have to possess either tons of money (like Perot in 1992 and ’96) or a strong ideological or geographical base (like George Wallace in 1968 or the ‘Dixiecrat’ Strom Thurmond in 1948) or be a rock-star, high name ID politician like former president Teddy Roosevelt in 1912). All lost, although TR actually carried Michigan over President William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson, who won the election (so in that case it was the Republican Taft who had votes drawn away from him). Today, a Green Party candidate (like Jill Stein in 2016) would hurt the Democratic nominee (Hillary Clinton). A Libertarian usually hurts the Republican nominee, but in 2016 there is evidence that Gary Johnson (a former moderate Republican governor) may have hurt Hillary Clinton as much as it did Trump. ‘No Labels’ seems to be operating on the premise that both major political parties are either too far Right or too far Left and so maybe what would appeal to voters would be a ‘balanced’ ticket of one centrist Democrat and one centrist Republican who could draw support from the broad ‘middle’ of the electorate consisting of independents and ticket-splitters, plus the more moderate elements of both of the major parties — enough to win a plurality of the vote. Is that plausible? Theoretically, maybe, but in reality NO. First of all, there don’t seem to be any viable high name-ID possibilities out there who could inspire voters’ confidence. Huntsman and Manchin and others like them won’t get it done. Mitt Romney? Hmm … well, he’s already said he’s too old and, besides, he’s ticketed to publish a ‘tell all’ book before he leaves the U.S. Senate. And where would these No Labels types get their money? Perot drew 19% of the popular vote in 1992, but he didn’t carry a single state in the Electoral College. So, to answer the original question: The party that would be hurt the worst by a ‘No Labels’ candidate would depend entirely on WHO the nominees turned out to be and what their ‘compelling message’ might be (if they have one). Plus, of course, they would have to be fueled by enormous amounts of campaign cash.
Question 2) . What are the odds that actor Hill HARPER could defeat U.S. Rep. Elissa SLOTKIN (D-Holly) in Michigan’s Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate in 2024? Even if he doesn’t win, could he force Slotkin to take more ‘progressive’ or left-leaning stances on issues that could handicap her in a general election against a Republican opponent, especially if that is a moderate?
Answer 2): The odds against Harper winning in a match-up against Slotkin are about 20-1, which means 5%. It’s true that Slotkin has never had a tough Democratic primary — her races have always been about winning close, extremely expensive general election races against Republicans in marginal districts — but that doesn’t mean she’s likely to fold like a cheap suit when faced with a supposed ‘progressive’ like Harper. Harper has already tested what might be his strategy by noting that Slotkin was one of only two U.S. House Democrats to oppose flying the LGBTQ flag at the Pentagon — we’ll see whether that gets traction. Yes, Harper has ties to national Democrats and major funders, but his name ID is more among TV drama addicts than those in the political sphere or, for that matter, voters. Slotkin is battle-tested and should be able to fend off anything Harper might throw at her. Additionally, she can report nearly $4 million cash on hand, and small-dollar donors in every county across the state, burnishing her image as the kind of candidate who can appeal to every kind of Democrat. What will be most interesting is to see if the Democratic Senate primary race becomes a two-person race (as depicted by most of the media), and, if it is, whether Harper is in fact the only valid threat to Slotkin. Aren’t there other candidates? Yes, there are currently a half-dozen announced aspirants. What’s likely to be Harper’s biggest problem is that there are two other credible African-Americans in the contest —Pamela Pugh, president of the state Board of Education, and former state Rep. Leslie Love. Even if the black vote is as large as a quarter or a third of the Democratic total, any support Pugh or Love get will come mainly at Harper’s expense, not Slotkin’s.
Question 3): Earlier this summer, there was serious talk that the Michigan Republicans’ vaunted Mackinac Island Biennial Leadership Conference, scheduled for Sept. 22-24, actually might not take place. The party is dead broke, with little sign that its usual funders are ever going to ride to the rescue because of the GOP civil war pitting the Trump MAGA wing majority against lingering elements of traditional Republicanism. Now, it appears the conference will in fact happen, but in a dramatically different form — scaled back attendance and only one little-known national presidential contender. No big name elected officials from other states. So, is this year’s conclave a disaster waiting to happen? How much media coverage will there be? And what might be reported? Headlines and stories that will drive voters away? Fights among the participants? Puny turnout compared unfavorably with past conferences? Decisions by the Republican state committee on next year’s hybrid presidential primary/convention system for electing delegates to the 2024 national convention that will draw still more unfavorable press?
Answer 3): The answers to the above questions are: “YES. LESS LIKELY THAN FORMERLY. BAD NEWS UNLESS YOU’RE A DEMOCRAT. YES. PROBABLY. FOR SURE. YES.” For nearly seven decades, the Mackinac gathering has been one of Michigan Republicans’ flagship events, and it looks like they’re about to blow it BIG TIME. If so, that will alienate the GOP’s donor class even more. The big shocker is the lack of prominent speakers who have actually accomplished what any self-respecting political party is organized to do — get elected to public office. For a while, the only one who came close to meeting that definition was U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, but now it appears he’s been scrubbed. The biggest hope to avoid a complete speaker meltdown is presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy, now running third in national polls behind Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Otherwise, the party’s slate of speakers includes former television news anchor and Republican Arizona politician Kari LAKE, long forgotten former presidential candidate Alan Keyes, actor Jim CAVIEZEL and British rapper Nzube UDEZUE, also known by his stage name “Zuby.” Featured earlier but now apparently scuttled is conspiracy theorist and filmmaker Dinesh D’SOUZA. None of these people has ever been elected to anything.
What will be the final speaker line-up next week-end? Who knows?
One goal of the Mackinac conference has always been to show ‘unity’ to the outside political world, no matter what internal divisions Republicans may have.
That looks less likely to happen at Mackinac than ever before.
|Last edited by tbreport on September 15, 2023 at 5:11 pm|
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Output before the closing
TZ wrote that the slow creation of the Mackinac leadership conference agenda was concerning. The Grand Hotel, which is typically sold out for this conference, still had multiple room selections available this evening, nine days away from the conference.
“With the projected attendance down, we need to take a good hard look at the inside leadership of the Michigan Republican Party,” Tietz wrote. “Many of those planning this event have said that they had never attended this normally blockbuster event before . . .
“It is undeniable that the MRP is in trouble, and the administration are using a teacup to bail water out of the ship,” she added.