Topic: Elections

Capt. Seth Keshel, Apr 9

I do not mince words when it comes to my opinion of media “polling.”  Polling is a useful tool for campaigns who need to understand regional dynamics in a race, but when used by the media, the purpose is twofold.  The first purpose is to suppress turnout of voters who are likely to support forbidden candidates who hold certain ideologies or positions (currently, America First candidates), and the second is to justify final election outcomes.

Those in media are aware that it is uncommon for a party to hold the White House for more than eight years. In fact, since World War II ended, a party has won three consecutive terms in the White House just once (Republicans in the 1980s).  This didn’t stop them from trying to “scare the pot” in 2016, declaring boldly that Hillary Clinton would win a national blowout, despite serious indicators that Trump would break down the “blue wall.”  

Clarity can be hard to come by, especially in a day and age in which the media seek to control the electorate with information operations.  That is why I analyze trends, indicators, bellwethers, and predictors.  They are consistent, in many cases for more than a century, and do not require cryptic inputs and outputs to decipher.  I stumped upon The Primary Model, devised by Dr. Helmut Norpoth of Stony Brook University, in 2020, and the work immediately resonated with my well-established methodology.

Norpoth’s model gave Donald Trump a 91% chance of winning reelection, based on his share of the primary vote and other historical indicators.  Presidential primaries began in 1912, and his model (retroactively, of course) failed to accurately predict the outcome in only one election (1960, a controversial election in its own right).  Norpoth’s page attempts to explain away the fraudulent 2020 election, but in private conversation, he acknowledges the same issues I do.

Primaries tell a much more accurate tale than polling does and constitute the third irrefutable point of the 2020 Election.  Let’s jump right in:

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The four presidents listed above are the only four incumbents, since primaries began, to make it through the primaries and lose in the following General Election.

Herbert Hoover, defeated by Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 – secured just 36.0% of the Republican primary vote.  He presided over the beginning of the Great Depression and was the last of three consecutive Republican presidents.  The emergence of Roosevelt and a worker-oriented Democrat Party swept him from office in a blowout.

Gerald Ford, defeated by Jimmy Carter in 1976 – Ford was not technically running for reelection thanks to the Watergate scandal, but was running for a third consecutive Republican term.  He faced a tough challenge from Ronald Reagan, and barely fended him off with a meager 53.3% showing in the primaries.  Reagan-or-bust voters stayed home in big enough numbers to cost Ford the swing states.

Jimmy Carter, defeated by Ronald Reagan in 1980 – It is possible that there is no one happier about Joe Biden’s presence in the White House than Jimmy Carter, who is now an afterthought in the museum of terrible presidents.  After presiding over four years of decline and despair, Carter received just 51.1% of the Democrat primary vote in 1980 and was kicked to the curb by Ronald Reagan in a landslide.

George H.W. Bush, defeated by Bill Clinton in 1992 – Bush faced several hurdles in his reelection campaign, like a tanking economy, the “read my lips” blunder, and the simple fact that he was living on borrowed time, running for a fourth consecutive Republican term in the White House.  He faced a tough challenge from Pat Buchanan and emerged with just 72.8% of the GOP primary share, ahead of a losing campaign against Bill Clinton.  Bush’s share is the highest for incumbents who went on to lose the subsequent General Election.

In summary, no incumbent President has exceeded 72.8% of his party’s primary vote and gone on to lose the General Election. 

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In the slide above, you can see a few examples of how Republican incumbents performed on their way to General Election landslides.

Eisenhower 1956 – 85.9% share of the primary vote, went on to win 41 states against Adlai Stevenson.  Eisenhower ran stronger in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin in reelection than he did in his 1952 campaign.

Nixon 1972 – 86.9% share of the primary vote, went on to win 49 states against socialist George McGovern, missing only Massachusetts.  Nixon ran stronger in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin in reelection than he did in his 1968 campaign.

Reagan 1984 – 98.9% share of the primary vote, a seemingly impossible performance foreshadowing a 49-state blowout that fell just short of flipping Minnesota, the home state of his challenger, Walter Mondale.  Reagan ran stronger in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin in reelection than he did in his 1980 campaign.

With Joe Biden garnering “81 million” popular votes and 306 electoral votes, one might assume Trump had a low share of the Republican primary vote.  After all, 72.8% or below has been the kiss of death for incumbents since 1912.

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There you have it.  While the media was spreading fear porn about the “pandemic” in the Spring of 2020, Republican voters poured out by the millions to back a candidate with no serious challenger for the GOP nomination, giving him the fourth highest share of the primary vote of all time (94.0%), regardless of party.

Explain to the skeptics in your life that Donald Trump’s primary performance was one of the greatest in history, and nowhere near the thresholds signaling trouble for an incumbent’s campaign.  To compound matters, ask them how Joe Biden blew away Barack Obama’s popular vote record when he was dead in the water in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, the three critical early primaries for Democrats, and only pulled ahead when the Democrat Party forced the entire field to drop out ahead of Super Tuesday so he could have a head-to-head race against Bernie Sanders.  Even worse, his running mate, who is universally despised, dropped out of the campaign altogether in December 2019, before primary voting even began.

SK