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Sunday Political Brunch—Will Florida Mark the End of Trump Presidency? - August 20, 2017

Sunday, August 20, 2017

 

Mark Curtis

The “brunch” is on the road for the next two weeks, assessing what’s going on in the politics of some key states. Those states might decide the fates and fortunes of the Trump Presidency and the Republican-led Congress in 2018 and 2020, so let’s “brunch” on that this week:

“As Florida Goes; So, Goes the Nation” – The Sunshine State is becoming a bellwether of American politics, not only a key battleground for the White House, but for Congressional influence as well. In the last ten Presidential elections, Florida has been on the losing side only once. Now, as the third most populous state, with 29 Electoral College votes, it’s a kingmaker.

“The First Test” – The 2018 midterm Congressional elections will indeed be the first litmus test of Donald Trump’s Presidency. It will be the first time that voters nationwide will get to vote up or down on House and Senate candidates, in part based on their support of Trump. Republicans are strongly targeting six U.S. Senate seats, including the one occupied by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL). Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) is term-limited and may run for the Senate. Some polls show Nelson with a big lead for now; while other polls are much closer. Other candidates are in, too, so this could be a big fight.

“20/20 Vision” – I am all but certain that President Trump will face a challenge for re-nomination in 2020. The first name that comes to mind is that of Governor John Kasich (R-OH). Kasich is termed-out and has just over a year left as Ohio Governor. He was never a Trump guy. Even after many in the GOP begrudgingly supported their nominee, Kasich did not. He didn’t even attend the Republican National Convention, which was held in Cleveland. Kasich is one of a few prominent Republicans on the national stage who will be able to say, “See! I told you so!” He has a long resume and could carry the key swing state of Ohio. Keep an eye on him.

“Internal Party Fights” – In my lifetime, four sitting Presidents faced internal party fights when they were up for re-nomination. Their opponents are in parentheses: Lyndon Johnson (Senator Eugene McCarthy, Senator Robert Kennedy, and others); Gerald Ford (Governor Ronald Reagan); Jimmy Carter (Senator Ted Kennedy); and George H.W. Bush (Pat Buchanan). In each case, the incumbent either dropped out or lost in the general election. Primary fights are expensive and bruising. And when party members can’t rally around an incumbent, that makes independent voters more likely to bolt, as well. An internal party challenge to President Trump in 2020 seems probable.

“Marco Rubio” – Since we are in Florida and talking about a potential nomination challenge to President Trump, I must mention some possible Sunshine State candidates. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) ran for President in 2016 and was crushed. But in 2020, he’ll be in his second U.S. Senate term, and will still be just 49 years old. Of Cuban decent from South Florida, he will have huge appeal in the all-important Hispanic demographic, not just in Florida, but nationwide. He has already condemned President Trump’s confusing and seemingly contradictory remarks about the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, so Rubio may be planning another White House bid.

“Jeb Bush” – Former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) may be making plans for another White House bid soon, as well. Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush issued strong anti-racism statements this week; and while they did not mention President Trump or his comments directly, there appeared to be implied criticism of Trump's response to the incidents in Charlottesville. Look! It’s no secret that members of the powerful Bush family are not fans of Trump. The elder Bushes may be urging Jeb towards another Presidential run.

“The Florida Melting Pot” – People have often asked me whether the Southern states vote in a block; and for many years, my answer was “Yes.” Why has Florida now bucked the trend? Yes, Florida is still very Southern, but with an influx of millions of people from New York and the Northeast along the I-95 corridor and with so many Midwesterners along the I-75 corridor, it is truly a state of many diverse people, cultures, and voices. Florida is beholden to neither political party.

“Trump’s Not Done” – I’ve had many people tell me in the past week that the Trump Presidency is over and simply can’t recover from the latest controversies. I disagree. Incumbency is a powerful asset, and being the current occupant of the White House is an advantage never to be discounted. To be sure, Trump is his own worst enemy. The constant provocative tweeting and then the mixed messages on Charlottesville do not serve him well. But neither did the crude “Access Hollywood” tapes, and Trump still won the election. Folks, it’s August, 2017; and we are a long, long way from November, 2020. A lot can happen between now and then.

Do you think President Trump is finished, or does his Presidency still have legs? Just click the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

 

Related Slideshow: RI Democrats React to Trump Withdrawing from Paris Climate Agreement

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Gina Raimondo

RI Governor

I am deeply disappointed that the President has decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement. Republicans and Democrats alike recognize that the Paris Agreement is about so much more than climate change. It’s about opportunity, stewardship and America’s standing as a global leader. 

President Trump’s action will not deter Rhode Island from taking necessary steps to address climate change. Our action at the state level will create new jobs and attract new investment in the green economy. 

We’ve set a goal to secure 1,000 MW of clean energy resources and double the number of clean energy jobs by 2020. Ocean State families and businesses are on the front lines fighting climate change. I will continue toward with the General Assembly and partners in other states to protect our environment and advance clean energy alternatives, while creating new opportunities for our workforce in the process. 

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Jim Langevin 

U.S. Congressman

President Trump’s ill-considered decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement puts the future of our entire planet at risk. The withdrawal represents an abandonment of pledges to protect our environment and risks undermining the entire accord, which includes nearly every country on earth. In addition, the President’s action cedes Unites States leadership and means losing a seat at the table to negotiate global agreements in our country's best interest.

The Obama Administration made significant progress toward slowing the rapidly warming climate by negotiating the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce greenhouse emissions on a global scale. Unwinding these commitments represents another assault by President Trump on the health of the public and the planet. His Administration continues to deny climate change despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that shows this is an ongoing human-caused crisis.

Rhode Island is on the front lines of sea level rise, and our citizens will ultimately pay the price for inaction today. Communities like my hometown of Warwick are particularly vulnerable to the storms and floods that come with climate change. Warming seas have chased our traditional catch out of our fisheries and threaten to decimate our beloved Ocean State coastline. Abandoning the Paris deal, the culmination of a multi-year effort by world leaders, is an abdication of our responsibility to leave the world a better place for our children.”

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Sheldon Whitehouse

U.S. Senator

“Donald Trump and his children said just a few years ago that climate change was ‘irrefutable’ and its consequences ‘catastrophic and irreversible.’ They were right. There is no denying the growing threat of rising seas, warming global temperatures, and melting glaciers and ice sheets. 

But we can still avoid the worst if we quickly reduce carbon emissions. That is why ignoring reality and leaving the Paris Agreement could do down as one of the worst foreign policy blunders in our nation’s history, isolating the U.S. further after Trump’s shockingly bad European trip. 

Trump is betraying the country, in the service of Breitbart fake news, the shameless fossil fuel industry, and the Koch brothers’ climate denial operation. It’s Sad. 

America’s biggest corporations and investors urged the President to stick with international efforts to address the climate threat. They and all of us will now have to proceed with a seriousness of purpose commensurate with the threat, knowing of this President’s grave defects. 

If you haven’t joined an environmental group, join one. If your voice needs to be heard, get active. If you are a big corporation with good climate policies that has shied away from engaging politically, it’s time to engage. And if you’re a university that teaches climate science, it’s time to stand up for your scientists. Whoever you are, help end climate denial and take action.”

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Jack Reed

U.S. Senator

“President Trump’s decision to abandon the Paris climate agreement is a blow to the environment that makes us a less secure nation. Our military, which spends every hour of every day thinking about how to protect Americans says climate change is a problem and a real threat multiplier. Indeed, climate change is an established part of the military’s threat and risk assessments.

The United States should continue to be a leader when it comes to protecting the planet; instead, the President is abdicating this responsibility. President Trump is unwisely putting the United States alongside Syria and Nicaragua in declining to be part of the Paris agreement. 

The American people deserve better.” 

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David Cicilline

U.S. Congressman

The President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement is a terrible mistake. It will diminish American leadership in the world, undermine our ability to create good-paying jobs, and contribute to the further degradation of our environment. 

It is very disappointing that we now know, without question, that the President of the United Sates is a climate change denier. His decision today ignores the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding the serious consequences failing to address climate change. 

The only thing President Trump will accomplish by this decision is to set the United States and world back decades in this fight. I have no doubt that future generations are going to wonder what the hell we were thinking today”

 
 

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