Public Opinion Polls

“Surprise” Presidential Nominees, And Often Winners, In American History

As we are about to enter August, the year before the Presidential Election Of 2016, we find two “surprise” candidates doing very well, if one is to judge by crowds and public opinion polls.

Whether Donald Trump and or Bernie Sanders have a real chance to be the nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties is impossible to know this far ahead.

But in American history, there have been many surprise nominees, and or winners of the Presidency.

The examples of this phenomenon follow—17 Presidents and 6 Presidential nominees in 23 Presidential elections:

In 1844, James K. Polk was nominated by the Democrats on the 9th ballot, and went on to defeat the better known and more famous Henry Clay.

In 1848, Mexican War General Zachary Taylor, with no political experience, and no stands on political issues, was nominated by the Whig Party, and elected over Lewis Cass and Free Soil Party nominee, former President Martin Van Buren.

In 1852, little known Franklin Pierce was nominated by the Democrats on the 49th ballot, and went on to defeat famous Mexican War General Winfield Scott.

In 1860, one term Congressman Abraham Lincoln, not in public office in 12 years, was the choice of the Republican Party, and defeated Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, and John Bell.

In 1868, Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War Union Army hero, with no political experience, was nominated by the Republicans, and defeated Horatio Seymour.

In 1872, the Democrats and a fringe group known as the “Liberal Republicans” nominated well known journalist Horace Greeley, who had never served in public office, losing to President Grant.

In 1892, former President Grover Cleveland, who had lost reelection in 1888 to Benjamin Harrison, came back and defeated Harrison, becoming the only President to win, lose, and then win, and therefore, being listed as the 22nd and 24th Presidents of the United States.

In 1896, a former Nebraska Congressman, only 36 years old, William Jennings Bryan, inspired the Democratic convention and was nominated for President, but lost to William McKinley.

In 1904, an unknown (except in New York) state court judge, Alton B. Parker, was the Democratic nominee against Theodore Roosevelt, but lost.

In 1912, President of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson, nominated on the 46th ballot by the Democrats, defeated President William Howard Taft, former President Theodore Roosevelt (running on the Progressive Party line), and Socialist Eugene Debs.

In 1920, an obscure Senator with no special accomplishments or credentials, Warren G. Harding, was nominated by the Republicans, and defeated Democratic nominee James Cox.

In 1924, the Democrats were deadlocked at their convention for 103 ballots, and finally nominated corporate attorney John W. Davis, who lost to President Calvin Coolidge and Progressive Party nominee Robert LaFollette, Sr.

In 1928, the Democrats nominated the first Catholic Presidential candidate, Alfred E. Smith, but he lost to Republican nominee Herbert Hoover.

In 1932, the Democrats nominated Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had been judged as having “no particular qualifications” for the Presidency, and he went on to defeat President Herbert Hoover.

In 1940, the Republicans nominated a businessman with no political experience, Wendell Willkie, after he inspired their convention, but he lost to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 1948, President Harry Truman shocked the political world by winning a full term over Republican Thomas E. Dewey, States Rights nominee Strom Thurmond, and Progressive Party nominee, former Vice President Henry A. Wallace. He had been shown to be way behind Dewey in every political poll taken that year.

In 1952, a World War II general, Dwight D. Eisenhower, never having been involved in politics, was finally convinced to run for President, and defeated Democratic nominee Adlai E. Stevenson.

IN 1960, the second Catholic nominee for President, John F. Kennedy, was able to overcome the religion barrier, and be elected over Republican Richard Nixon, the well known and experienced Vice President under Eisenhower.

In 1968, former defeated Presidential candidate Richard Nixon came back eight years after having lost, and he won the Presidency over Hubert Humphrey and American Independent Party nominee George Wallace.

In 1976, a one term Governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, considered unknown to most and given little chance for the Democratic Presidential nomination, surprised everyone and was elected over President Gerald Ford.

In 1980, an aging two time candidate for President, Ronald Reagan, ended up winning the Republican nomination, and was elected over President Carter.

In 1992, despite a sex scandal, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton won the Democratic nomination, and was elected over President George H. W. Bush and Independent nominee Ross Perot, even with Bush having enjoyed a 91 percent public opinion poll rating during the Persian Gulf War 18 months earlier.

In 2008, an African American first term Senator, with an Islamic middle name of Hussein, Barack Obama, overcame former First Lady Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, and defeated Republican nominee John McCain for the Presidency.

So anything can happen in 2016, with further coverage of the upcoming election being resumed when the Iowa Caucuses take place on February 1.

Until then, this blogger will focus on the promotion of his new book on Presidential Assassinations and Threats. He will give information on the interviews that he will have on radio, tv/cable, the internet, and print media, so that my readers will have an opportunity to investigate my activities over the next six months.

When he has time, he will look at American political, diplomatic and constitutional history solely, as there is much fascinating material that can and should be discussed and analyzed. It will make a look at the future much more significant, as a result of the historical analysis of the Presidency, elections, political parties, the Congress, and the Supreme Court.

Fox News Channel Destroying Any Chance Of Republican Presidential Victory In 2016!

Fox News Channel is destroying any chance of a Republican Presidential victory in 2016, with its decision to allow only the top ten candidates in public opinion polls of their choice to compete in the Republican Presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio, on Thursday, August 6.

August 6 is the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bombing, that forced Japan to surrender in World War II.

This August 6th debate could be the “Hiroshima” of the Republican Party for the Presidential Election of 2016, and could have the effect of undermining the Republican hopes, not just for the White House, but for continued control of the US Senate, and even the House of Representatives.

Any debate that does not allow candidates to compete, based on the fickle attitudes of that small percentage who participate in public opinion polls, is totally lacking in legitimacy.

Yes, 16 or 17 candidates (if former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore announces as he intends to do before August 6) is an unwieldy number, but the answer is to have two mixed groups of eight or nine candidates debate for 90 minutes, followed by the other eight or nine debating on similar issues immediately after, or on the next evening.

The idea is to pick candidates for each debate as in a lottery, whatever eight or nine show up first are in the first debate, and the others are in the second debate.

This gives the voters a chance to see all the candidates do their pitch, make an impression, rather than eliminating some candidates who might have a real chance to be the nominee if they were able to gain the same exposure as the others who are running.

To have a debate that might not include Carly Fiorina, Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, John Kasich, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, and Jim Gilmore (those seven at the moment seen as unlikely to be in the top ten of the polls) is totally preposterous!

Third Party Candidacy Of Donald Trump Could Make Historical Records!

It is 15 and a half months until the Presidential Election of 2016.

But it is clear that the possibility exists that Donald Trump will break from the Republican Party, and run as a third party or independent candidate.

A new Washington Post poll indicates, for now, that in a three way race for the White House with Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, the results would be: Clinton 46 percent, Bush 30 percent, Trump 20 percent!

If that were to happen, it would mark the second time that a Clinton defeated a Bush in a race where a billionaire ran as an independent candidate, and was willing to spend unlimited amounts of personal fortune on the race.

If those numbers occurred, it would make Jeb Bush,or whoever was the GOP nominee, the second worst loser in American history, with only William Howard Taft, the incumbent President, in 1912 gaining only 23 percent of the vote and two states, and Progressive Party challenger, former President Theodore Roosevelt, ending up second, with 27 percent, and six states, the only time a third party nominee ended up second rather than third!

The issue that arises is could Trump, in a three way race, win any states and electoral votes, which Ross Perot failed to do in 1992, although ending up second rather than third in a few states.

Also, Ross Perot won 19 percent of the vote, the second highest in history to TR’s 27 percent in 1912. So Trump, with 20 percent, would end up ahead of Perot, and just might win a few states, unimaginable until now!

Proper Republican Strategy: Attack Donald Trump Or Ignore Him? Neither Will Help GOP Brand!

The Republican Party is in deep trouble, as Donald Trump has now emerged in first place in some public opinion polls, passing Jeb Bush, and leaving everyone else far behind.

This brings up the issue: What is the proper Republican strategy to deal with Trump, attack him or ignore him?

In reality, neither will help the GOP brand!

If the decision is to attack him, Trump will be infuriated, and will strike back and set out to destroy the GOP totally. He will bluster and bloviate, and will have the means to form an independent movement or third party.

If the Republicans choose NOT to attack and, therefore, to ignore him, they will be complicit in his racist and nativist viewpoints, which many of them actually agree with.

No political party can succeed now or in the future which sets out to demonize ethnic minorities, because, like it or not, the nation is becoming more diverse, and will be minority majority within three decades, counting Hispanic and Latino Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans.

There is no way to bring back, even if people wished it, a mostly white Anglo America, as that is not going to happen.

The rapidly aging white Anglo population is dying off, and the nation and the Republican Party MUST face reality.

But is that likely to happen for 2016?

The answer is NO, and therefore, the GOP is rapidly becoming a dinosaur, and trying to make voting more difficult will require more effort to overcome such restrictions through the courts and through political action to register voters and meet the onerous requirements that some Republican governed states have put on the elderly, the poor, college students, and racial minorities in a purposeful manner.

And with a Democratic President, a likely Democratic Senate, and a possible Democratic House of Representatives, the Republicans will be marginalized further. And a Democratic President will have the ability to insure that the Supreme Court and lower federal courts move to the left, and overcome the conservative influence of Ronald Reagan, and the two Presidents Bush.

Once constitutional law goes back to the Warren Court image of the 1950s through the 1970s, the country will have been transformed in a way that the Republicans will never recover, until they abandon the far right image they have developed over recent years. Only then will the Tea Party influence finally dissolve and disappear!

The Fox News-Republican Debate Of August 6—Which Ten Should Be In Debate?

The Republican National Committee has put itself in a hole, by allowing Fox News Channel to limit the number of participants in the first GOP Presidential debate on August 6 to ten.

Yes, there are too many candidates, and now it looks as if it will be 17, not 16, with assurances that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore will enter the race before that debate.

The whole concept of 17 candidates, unprecedented in American history, is absolutely crazy, but why should national public opinion polls decide this, rather than common sense, as to who is really qualified to be a potential President, based on experience and accomplishments?

So this blogger will now eliminate SEVEN of the 17 potential debate participants, on the grounds that they do not have the credentials to be President of the United States. This does not mean that the ten who are, on paper, qualified, SHOULD be President or be the nominee, but simply that they have better credentials to compete for the White House.

Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore–out of office since 2002, not one chance in a thousand of being nominated.

Carly Fiorina—no government experience, failed in the corporate world, never has a non politician been elected, and only Wendell Willkie was ever nominated by a major party.

Dr. Benjamin Carson— a fantastic pediatric surgeon, but no government experience, and there is no chance he can be elected, and his statements are often totally loony.

Former New York Governor George Pataki—a moderate, probably the most moderate, but absolutely no chance of being the nominee of the 2015 Republican Party.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal—-the most low rated governor in public opinion polls, a true disaster, and not a chance of being the nominee.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry—had a chance in 2012, came across as moronic, and has no chance, even with new glasses, to be the nominee.

Business Donald Trump–who has NO qualifications to be President, and no government experience, no chance to be the nominee, and is out to destroy the Republican brand to feed his ego.

So the “serious” candidates who SHOULD be allowed in the debate are:

Five Senators–4 in the Senate now (Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham) and former Senator Rick Santorum.

Five Governors—3 in office now (Chris Christie, John Kasich, Scott Walker) and two former Governors (Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee)

Those who would object to this elimination of seven candidates have to answer the question: Do you REALLY believe any of the seven eliminated have ANY chance to be the nominee? Come on, get real!

Donald Trump The Achilles Heel Of The Republican Party: A Nightmare Scenario In The Making

Donald Trump has become the center of attention over his racist, nativist remarks about Mexicans and Mexican Americans, and he has become the Achilles Heel of the Republican Party.

If they could, Republicans would love to kick Trump out of the race, but they cannot do that legally.

All they can do is criticize and attack him, but so far, they have been reluctant to stir up Trump’s temper, as Trump uncontrolled is a scary thing.

Trump is like a bull in a China shop, and he will be the center of attention in the first Republican debate, sponsored by Fox News Channel.

Only ten candidates, not 16, will be allowed on the debate stage, meaning it is likely that such leading party figures as John Kasich of Ohio, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana will not be there, even though the first debate will be in Ohio, and John Kasich, its Governor, and one of the more solid candidates, should be there!

Trump has no limits in his attacks on fellow Republicans, and has started it already, and it will be, certainly, an entertaining event.

The fact that Trump is second in polls is shocking, but not surprising, as it is easy to find at least 12-15 percent of the American people who are clueless about politics, or have a mean spirit which Trump well represents.

The rhetoric will be flying at that first debate and in future debates, and it will be good theater, but not good for the nation, as to imagine Trump being the GOP nominee is a nightmare scenario.

But what is more likely, as attacks mount on Trump, and as he gets more frustrated and furious, that he could mount a third party challenge to both the Republicans and the Democrats.

If that happens, the Republicans will suffer a defeat similar to Ross Perot’s effect on George H. W. Bush in 1992, and potentially similar to Theodore Roosevelt’s effect on William Howard Taft in 1912!

It would be extremely ironic if Hillary Clinton benefited from this, as her husband, Bill Clinton, did so in 1992!

Four Sitting Republican Governors Running For President, Only One Has Positive Support From His State’s Voters!

Four sitting Republican Governors are running for President, despite the fact that three of them have very low public opinion ratings in recent polls.

Lowest in public opinion ratings is Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

Next lowest in public opinion ratings is Chris Christie of New Jersey.

A bit higher but still in negative territory is Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who is expected to announce for President on July 13.

Only John Kasich of Ohio, expected to announce for President on July 21, and the only one of the four Governors who has a solid record accomplishment over a long period of time, ranks high in public opinion ratings.

It is amazing how ego overcomes reality, that a state dislikes its governor, wants him to do his job much better, but all that these people do is promote their own advancement at the expense of the citizens who elected them, and now have second thoughts!

The Democratic Presidential Race An Odd One: No Strong Criticism Or Challenge

The Democratic Presidential race, five in number now, with the entrance of former Virginia Senator Jim Webb in the fray, is shaping up as a very odd one, indeed.

Hillary Clinton is way ahead in public opinion polls; has the endorsement already of a substantial number of Democrats in Congress; and is being very coy in dealings with news media and even the public, having very few events, and almost no comments on events. One would think she was a sitting President, or Vice President, but she is not.

Bernie Sanders is, for now, her closest competitor, but not seen as likely to be able to overcome her lead, although he has gained $15 million from 250,000 small donors, but Bernie has been very tame in his criticism or comments about Hillary.

Martin O’Malley, who got his start with Bill and Hillary Clinton years ago, seemed likely to attack, but has really not done so much at all, and has mostly disappeared from the discussion about the election, and is not polling much at all in support.

Lincoln Chafee, only recently a Democrat, has made even less noise, although mildly critical of Hillary on the Iraq War vote in 2013, which he voted against and she voted for the war resolution. He hardly scores any numbers in polls.

Jim Webb, as a more conservative Democrat, would, seemingly, become a critic of Hillary and might do so, but one wonders how strong his campaign will develop.

And Joe Biden may be considering entering the race, but it is hard to imagine him going strongly on the attack against his good friend, Hillary Clinton.

It could be that all of the above assessment is wrong, and that there will be a substantial battle and strong attacks on the front runner, but it does not look that way in early July 2015!

George H. W. Bush On His 91st Birthday!

George H. W. Bush, the 41st President, celebrates today his 91st birthday.

Often ignored since he left office, other than his two sons’ electoral victories as Governors of Texas and Florida; George W. Bush’s Presidency; and Jeb Bush’s nascent campaign for President, to be announced on June 15; the elder Bush looks so much better than his two sons at this point of history.

Bush followed Ronald Reagan and preceded Bill Clinton, two men of great oratorical ability and charismatic presence. Both of them are rated higher in Presidential polls of experts and scholars.

However, a new public opinion poll, rating popularity of former living Presidents, places the elder Bush and Bill Clinton in a statistical tie at 64 percent popularity, an amazing fact when one considers that the elder Bush lost reelection to Bill Clinton in 1992, with the second worst defeat of a sitting President for reelection in American history, only surpassing William Howard Taft in the 1912 election.

But as a former President ages, popularity rising is not unusual, and particularly after a President dies, as with Harry Truman.

More books are being published on George H. W. Bush in the last couple of years, and the volume of publication will continue to grow, as history looks kinder on the elder Bush.

We have had more than 22 years pass since his Presidency, and the elder Bush is remembered for:

Winning the Persian Gulf War against Saddam Hussein, and leading the United Nations coalition brilliantly.

Promoting the reunification of Germany, despite many people’s fears that Germany would become a threat to European stability.

Bringing about a dignified end to the Cold War in 1991, by dealing with the falling Mikhail Gorbachev, and his successor Boris Yeltsin in a way that promoted calm in the world.

Advocating a civil rights law for the disabled and handicapped, the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Demonstrating courage in promoting a tax increase after pledging not to raise taxes, as the national and international situation in 1990 required such action.

If Pat Buchanan had not opposed the elder Bush in the Republican primaries in 1992; and if Ross Perot had not run so strongly as an Independent candidate in the Presidential Election of 1992, winning 19 percent of the vote, the elder Bush would have won a second term, and we would not have had Bill or Hillary Clinton as important figures in American history and politics.

So at least, on his 91st Birthday, the elder Bush can feel happy that he has survived long enough to see his popularity soar to 64 percent; to see one son serve as President for eight years, and another son about to try to set a record of three members of the same family serve in the White House.

Imagine if Jeb Bush, somehow, were to become President in 2017. and the elder Bush were to survive another nineteen plus months, and former First Lady Barbara Bush, who just became 90 on June 8, were also to survive!

They would witness two sons becoming President of the United States, surpassing John Adams, who only saw one son, John Quincy Adams, make it to the White House.

Even if one does not like or admire the Bush Family, that would be some magnificent achievement, which would have to be celebrated!

More Social Liberals Than Social Conservatives In America For First Time In Decades!

For the first time in many years, statistics indicate that there are more social “Liberals” than social “Conservatives” in America! The Gallup Organization has reported that 31 percent in polls consider themselves social “Liberals” and 30 percent consider themselves social “Conservatives”, with Democrats jumping from 47 percent to 53 percent social “Liberals”, and Republicans dropping from 60 percent to 53 percent social “Conservatives”.

Social Liberalism means such issues as:

Support of Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
Support of Abortion Rights for Women
Support of Immigration Reform with potential for eventual citizenship for undocumented immigrants
Support of Prison Reform, Abolition of the Death Penalty And Gun Control Legislation
Support of Legalization of Marijuana, or at least Medicinal Marijuana
Support of civil rights enforcement for minorities
Support of environmental and consumer reforms
Concern for the plight of the poor
Promotion of labor unions and reforms for workers
Opposition to the promotion of religious influence in government at all levels

Social Conservatism means such issues as:

Opposition to Gay Rights and Gay Marriage
Opposition to Abortion Rights for Women, even when Rape and incest
Opposition to Immigration Reform, and Desire to deport millions of undocumented immigrants
Hard line on crime, and enforcement of the Death Penalty, and No Gun Control legislation
Opposition to Medicinal Marijuana, and any Marijuana Legalization
Resistance to enforcement of Civil Rights Laws
Opposition to environmental and consumer reforms and enforcement of existing laws
Desire to cut benefits to the poor
Opposition to Labor Unions and Labor Reforms
Promotion of Religious influence in government and passage and enforcement of laws