Tag archives: Election

Historical Precedent Suggests That Trump Is on the Right Side of History

by Peter Sprigg

October 30, 2020

The closer we get to Election Day, the more intently many people are examining polls in an effort to determine the likely outcome of the presidential race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

On the one hand, Biden has held a consistent lead in the average of national polls on the website RealClearPolitics. The same website’s aggregation of state polls suggest a significant lead for Biden in the electoral college vote as well.

On the other hand, similar indicators four years ago pointed to a Hillary Clinton victory—yet in the end, she lost in the (decisive) electoral college, despite winning the popular vote. These comparisons are keeping Trump supporters hopeful, and Biden supporters on edge.

However, there is another way of predicting the outcome that has nothing to do with polls. Instead, it has to do with repeating patterns of history.

There is one such pattern that I have never seen anyone describe. It is this: since the 1951 ratification of the 22nd Amendment, which limited the president to a maximum of two terms, we have had an almost unbroken pattern of the two major parties, Republican and Democratic, alternating in their control of the White House every eight years.

After the first president, George Washington, voluntarily stepped down after serving two terms, subsequent presidents had followed that tradition. First elected in 1932, Franklin Roosevelt broke with that tradition when he sought, and won, a third term in 1940. He was then re-elected to a fourth term in 1944—but died shortly after it began, in 1945. The 22nd Amendment, introduced in 1947 and ratified by 1951, ensured that no future president would be able to maintain a similar hold on the office.

People of my (baby boom) generation have witnessed convulsive events such as the assassination of one president (Kennedy) and the resignation of another (Nixon), plus two who were impeached but not convicted (Clinton and Trump). During the period from 1968 to 1992, in a stretch of seven presidential elections, four of them featured an incumbent eligible for re-election who was not re-elected: Johnson (1968) chose not to run; Ford, who succeeded Nixon, was defeated (1976); as were Carter (1980) and George H. W. Bush (1992) in their reelection bids.  

Nevertheless, beginning with the Republican Eisenhower (serving 1953-61), Democrats Kennedy and Johnson (1961-69), and Republicans Nixon and Ford (1969-77), and ending with the more recent occupants of the White House Bill Clinton (1993-2001), George W. Bush (2001-2009), and Barack Obama (2009-2017), the eight-year cycle of party control has mostly held.

Since a Republican, President Trump, has currently occupied the White House for only four years, this pendulum swing pattern of history points toward his reelection, giving Republicans control of the White House until the 2024 election.

In the 64-year period from 1953-2017—16 four-year presidential terms—there has been only a single exception to this pattern of eight years in, eight years out, in terms of partisan control of the White House.

That exception was Republican Ronald Reagan’s defeat of Democrat Jimmy Carter’s bid for reelection in 1980, after only four (not eight) years of Democratic control of the White House.

The question, then, is—does 2020 resemble 1980?

There’s no question that 2020 has been an exceptional year. The coronavirus pandemic, and the unrest in American cities following the death of George Floyd (and other African Americans) as a result of police action will make this year go down in history. But what does that mean for the election?

Does incumbent President Donald Trump resemble Jimmy Carter? In personality, the soft-spoken Carter and the brash Trump could not be more different. However, both faced unique challenges that began with events no one could have predicted.

For Carter, it was the Iran hostage crisis. The seizure of American diplomats late in 1979, and their continued captivity throughout 1980, contributed to an impression of American impotence.

Do the continuing pandemic or racial unrest in 2020 make Donald Trump similarly vulnerable?

On the other hand, few observers, left or right, would question that Ronald Reagan was a unique political talent.

Does Joe Biden have similar gifts that would allow him to pull off a similarly historic win?

We will find out soon.

Liberals are fond of claiming that they stand on “the right side of history” (especially when they are on the wrong side of majority opinion). But regardless of polls, personalities, or policies, precedent suggests that Donald Trump’s reelection bid is on the right side of history in 2020.

How 2020 State Elections Will Shape the Makeup of Congress for the Next Decade

by Steven Sullivan , Connor Semelsberger

October 8, 2020

With several major companies launching advertising campaigns to “get out and vote,” political parties describing this election as the deciding factor in our country’s future and survival, and politics seeping into daily conversation more than ever, its clear that voting in the 2020 election matters now more than ever. With such high stakes, it is easy to focus solely on the presidential or U.S. Senate races, but did you know that in a census year like this, state elections are just as important?

The U.S. Constitution requires that a census be conducted every 10 years, and the information from the census is used to determine the distribution of U.S. House seats across the states for the next 10-year period. The first step in this process, known as reapportionment, is to divide the 435 Congressional seats among the 50 states based on population. The president determines the amount of seats for each state based on the population numbers from the census and sends a notice to Congress. Congress then communicates the exact number of representatives for each state to the governors. Once the governors are given their total number of seats, the state is responsible for drawing the boundaries of the Congressional districts, a process known as redistricting. Once the districts are drawn and submitted to Congress, the new make-up of Congressional districts will be in effect starting in 2022.

In most states, the legislatures draw the congressional district boundaries which then are approved by the governor. Because the states have so much control over the boundaries, it has become a very political process in which both parties jockey to have partisan control of state legislatures and governors mansions during redistricting in order to draw the boundaries in a way that favors their respective party. What this means is the 2020 state elections not only impact who will represent you in the state legislature but will also have a huge impact on who will represent you and your values in Congress for the next decade!

Between reapportionment and redistricting, there is great chance for a dramatic shift in political power. As our country’s population has shifted from northern and midwestern states like New York and Illinois to states in the south like Texas and Florida, so does the number of congressional seats and the power that comes with it. There are also several large states with close partisan margins that, if flipped, could dramatically change which party is in the driver’s seat for drawing the new congressional lines. Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas are not only battleground states for the presidential election, but also have one or both state legislative chambers that are within 10 seats of changing partisan control.

Among all the noise of the 2020 election, the important role that state governments play in setting up the power dynamics of the U.S. House of Representatives has been vastly overshadowed. As you consider who to vote for in the upcoming election, remember the importance of the down ballot races and gather appropriate information to make sure you support state candidates that reflect a biblical worldview. And as always, remember to pray, vote, and stand.

Connor Semelsberger, MPP is the Legislative Assistant at Family Research Council.

Steven Sullivan is a Policy and Government Affairs intern focusing on federal legislative affairs.

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Are U.S. Senate Candidate Rev. Warnock's Views Consistent with the Bible?
by FRC Action (Dec. 4, 2020)

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