Implications for Presidential Politics.
Morning Consult reported on July 18th, that the 11 U.S. state governors who have the highest approval-ratings in their state are:
1. Charlie Baker, MA, 71%
2. Larry Hogan, MD, 68%
3. Matt Mead, WY, 67%
4. Doug Burgum, ND, 66%
5. Dennis Daugaard, SD, 65%
6. Kay Ivey, AL, 64%
7. Brian Sandoval, NV, 62%
8. Phil Scott, VT, 62%
9. Gary Herbert, UT, 61%
10=11 (TIE): Bill Haslam, TN; & Asa Hutchinson, AR, both 60% approval (and both have 23% disapproval; so, they’re tied).
All 11 are Republican.
The 10 with the lowest approval ratings include 7 Republicans (Chris Christie, Sam Brownback, Mary Fallin, Rick Snyder, Scott Walker, Bruce Rauner, and Paul LePage). Two others are Democrats (Dan Malloy & Gina Raimando). One is independent (Bill Walker). Here they’re ranked, starting with the worst (the highest disapproval-rating):
1. Chris Christie, NJ, 69%
2. Sam Brownback, KS, 66%
3. Dan Malloy, CT, 64%
4. Mary Fallin, 55%, OK
5. Rick Snyder, MI, 52%
6. Scott Walker, WI, 51%
7. Bruce Rauner, IL, 49%
8. Paul LePage, ME, 48% (47% approve)
9. Bill Walker, AK, 48% (42% approve)
10. Gina Raimando, RI, 47%
Republicans include all 10 of the best, and 7 of the worst.
Democrats include none of the best, and two of the worst.
Wikipedia says, “There are currently 33 Republicans, 16 Democrats, and one independent serving as state governors.” On that basis, one would expect two-thirds of the worst-list to be Republicans, and 7 actually are, which, of course, fits that statistical (two-thirds) expectation. Also on the same basis, one would expect one-third of the best-list to be Democrats, but none actually are, which, of course, is extremely bad performance for Democrats.
The list of eleven best may be expected to include some future Republican Presidential contenders, but that wouldn’t be until 2024 at the earliest (or if Mike Pence becomes installed soon); so, a lot can change between then and now, and this list, strong as it is for the Republican Party, has no substantial relevance to Presidential politics (unless Pence becomes installed).
However, the lack of Democrats on the ten-best list does suggest that the next Democratic nominee for the U.S. Presidency will come from among the 46 Democratic U.S. Senators (since their governors aren’t performing well).
The ten Senators with the highest approval-ratings within their respective state are not necessarily Presidential contenders, because a very popular Senator in a liberal state such as Vermont, might not perform well in a U.S. national election, and the same is true of a very popular Senator in a conservative state. Each Senator’s Presidential potential has to be considered based not only upon his/her approval-rating but upon his/her state’s “normalcy” or representativeness of the total U.S. electorate.
One state stands out as being the most representative of them all, and it is Ohio. “As Ohio goes, so goes the nation” is the general rule.
Ohio has one Democratic U.S. Senator: Sherrod Brown. His approval-rating (which might therefore be considered reasonably likely to reflect what his approval-rating nationally would be if he were the U.S. President) is 52% approve, 30% disapprove. This is bettered slightly by his state’s Republican U.S. Senator, Robert Portman’s 53% to 27% rating (and both Brown and Portman have extensive records representing their state nationally, both are well-known to the voters; so, in both cases, these are meaningful numbers). If Trump were to be impeached and replaced by Pence, then Portman (just like some Republican Senators) would be a Presidential contender; but, otherwise, not.
A remarkable thing about Sherrod Brown is the extent to which he is far more progressive than the people whom he represents; whereas Portman is ideologically well-representative of Ohioans, Brown is not — he is far more progressive, and yet he has almost as high approval-rating from Ohioans as does Portman (who ideologically is far closer to Ohioans).
Sherrod Brown is definitely a leader, and not a follower; but even people who disagree with him are approving of him, following his leadership, voting for him. Quite possibly, then, he is the likeliest person to win the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination in 2020, if Democrats want a winner.
However, the U.S. Senator with the highest of all approval-ratings (75% to 21%) is Bernie Sanders, the progressive Democratic Senator from the very progressive state of Vermont — and he has already demonstrated extensively his ability to win votes also nationwide, even from some people who disagree with him on some important issues. He is golden, but he is also very gray (nearly 76 years old); and, so, his likeliest participation in the 2020 Presidential contest will be as the most influential of all potential endorsers of other candidates. Whom, then, might he endorse in the primaries?
Here, again, his Senate colleague Sherrod Brown stands out. He’s 65 years old, and so he’d be 69 entering the White House in 2021, and this fits within established norms.
Sherrod Brown is golden for progressives, except for one major thing: he’s a leader of the pro-military, NATO-alliance, anti-Russia and anti-Iran, movement in the Democratic Party, and even in the entire U.S. Senate. He would, as President, probably be golden for Lockheed Martin. Right now, his second-biggest source of campaign funds comes from JStreetPAC, “The Political Home for Pro-Israel” meaning pro-Saud, anti-Iran, and thirdly, anti-Russia, U.S. foreign policies. This is also huge for building and selling more U.S. weapons, including more missiles in order to command Russia’s compliance and bring them into the Saudi-Israeli fold — to separate Russia from its alliance with Iran. (The Sauds have tried to do this before, but failed.) Brown’s top funders have been employees from the Ohio State University system, but the highly concentrated JStreetPAC basically owns him right now, at least as regards foreign policies.
Bernie Sanders has a much less narrow contributor-base. His “Top Contributors, federal election data for Bernie Sanders, 2016 cycle” is very diverse but slightly dominated by Silicon Valley, high-tech, and that’s not obsessively pro-military-industrial-complex (or “MIC,” which virtually owned his opponent Hillary Clinton, far more than it owns Sherrod Brown via the Sauds and Israelis). But the MIC tried mightily to buy Sanders too, the difference being that he never received much money from the Saudi-Israeli lobby or donors. Furthermore, Sanders’s “Top 20 Contributors to Campaign Cmte” were mainly labor unions, which, nowadays, since industrial labor unions are virtually dead, are mainly government workers. Moreover, Sanders’s voting-record has not been very favorable toward the Sauds or the Israelis, and he has strongly criticized the MIC. He might object to Brown’s sell-outs to the MIC. He might go against Brown.
Is there anyone outside the U.S. Senate, or governorships, who might also contend for the Democratic nomination? Only one person, a U.S. Representative, member of the House, one of the two who represent Hawaii: Tulsi Gabbard. She’s the person who delivered the nominating speech for Sanders against Clinton at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. On 31 January 2017, I wrote about her being “The U.S. Politician Who Could Become Second Abraham Lincoln”, because one of her similarities to Lincoln is that though she’s only a member of the U.S. House, lots of extremely well-informed progressives are already talking about her as being a serious contender for her Party’s Presidential nomination in 2020, and I explained there why. Moreover (which I didn’t address there), a possibility exists that Gabbard might contend in 2018 in a Democratic primary against current U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono, who (like Hawaii’s other U.S. Senator, Brian Schatz) was one of the earliest people to endorse Hillary Clinton for President, and who stood by Clinton after Sanders entered the race. Both of Hawaii’s U.S. Senators also voted for S. 722, a bill to introduce steps toward war against both Iran and Russia. Sanders voted against it. If it gets to the House, then Gabbard would almost certainly be one of the few Representatives who would vote “Nay” on it. Both of Hawaii’s two Senators are numbers 2 and 3 among all 100 in terms of popularity among the people of their state. However, Bernie Sanders had beat Hillary Clinton in the Hawaii Democratic Caucuses in 2016, by 71.5% to only 28.3% for Clinton. The 59-year-old Senator Hirono is being treated for a recently discovered stage four cancer of the kidney, which was removed but was found to be a metastacized cancer, but Hirono still insists that she will be running in 2018 for re-election to another six-year term in the U.S. Senate. If the 36-year-old Rep. Gabbard decides to contest Hirono’s Senate seat, Gabbard might win. If that were to happen, then the young Gabbard would enter the U.S. Senate in 2019 on a rocket ship heading toward the White House, just like Obama rocketed into the White House after having served in the U.S. Senate only during the brief period of January 3, 2005 to November 16, 2008, and (unlike Gabbard) no time at all in the U.S. House, nor outside of local politics. (Other than these stated similarities, and the fact that both Obama and Gabbard are cool in temperament and are from Hawaii, they are very different politicians, with very different backgrounds and policies, almost like they’re from different political parties, or maybe different worlds.) But, even if Gabbard runs against the popular Hirono and loses, Gabbard will still be a significant factor in the 2020 Democratic Presidential primaries, especially if Sanders endorses her, as she had endorsed him early in his contest, when he was given little chance of winning.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.