David Winston

Why Voters Are Still Wary 10 Years After the Economic Collapse
Despite many positive economic signs, people have long memories

OPINION — This September marks the 10th anniversary of the economic collapse and failure of Wall Street banks and companies. It recalls one of the most scarring events for Americans, as they remember the fears, anxieties and financial trauma that they, their family and friends, their communities, and the country as a whole experienced. 

In exit polls from the 2008 presidential election, 85 percent of voters said they were worried about the direction of the nation’s economy, with 50  percent “very worried.” Eighty-one percent said they feared that the economic crisis would harm their family’s finances over the next year, with almost half “very worried.” That level of personal concern about finances doesn’t go away overnight.

If Congress Wants More Lions, It’s Time to Change the Habitat
‘The country’s honor is ours to sustain’

Congress returned this week, down a man. John McCain, over the past days, has been eulogized and mourned by partisans and pundits of every stripe and by ordinary people who loved and admired him.

His courage, his irreverence, his certainty, his temper, and most of all, his moral clarity endeared him to both the nation and his beloved Senate.

Two Years Later, the Elites Are Still Disconnected From Voters
For many Americans, it feels like the 2016 election never ended

OPINION — This is a column about listening.

It’s about the millions of people in this country who feel that no one cares what they think or values what they do. People who believe that their voice isn’t being heard, especially by the elites in this country, whether in politics, the media, academia or the cultural arena.

Men Are Seeing Roses. Women Are Gloomy. What Does That Mean for the Midterms?
‘Women’s vote’ isn’t a monolith, but grim outlook could spell trouble

OPINION — Are women seeing the country “through a glass darkly” or are men seeing it through rose-colored glasses? The most recent Winning the Issues survey (July 30-31) found that 47 percent of men think the country is going in the right direction, compared to just 37 percent of women. That’s significant.

On the flip side, 44 percent of men say the country is on the wrong track, while more than half of women do. 

Parsing Ohio’s 12th: Neither Party Should Rush to Conclusions Just Yet
A lot more can still happen three months out from November

In 1982, as a young opposition researcher at the National Republican Congressional Committee, one of “my candidates” was an equally young John Kasich running in Ohio’s 12th District.

He was the only GOP challenger to win in that first off-year election of the Reagan presidency, and Republicans have held the seat ever since. With my background in the district, I had more than a passing interest in the outcome of Tuesday’s special election there.

Second Quarter GDP Numbers Show Tax Cuts Deliver
Strong state of economy could help GOP mitigate midterm disadvantage

OPINION — No release has been more highly anticipated this summer — with the possible exception of “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” — than the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ second quarter GDP numbers.

Washington and Wall Street, with a lot on the line, have been anxiously awaiting the federal government’s quarterly report card on economic growth, billed as the first really big test of President Donald Trump’s economic policies.

Why Party Brand Matters
Both major parties have a product to sell, but neither is doing a good job selling it

OPINION — Why do some companies seem to make Barron’s and Fortune’s annual “Most admired” and “Most respected” lists year after year? Why are most of them iconic brands, whether it’s newer tech giants Apple and Alphabet or generational companies like Johnson & Johnson and Walt Disney?

Successful companies build their brand based on three key fundamentals: innovative products that meet people’s needs, strong values that drive company decision-making, and a responsiveness to changing times and changing customers.

Opinion: Trump Should Heed Hard Lessons of Helsinki — Or Risk His Leadership
President’s unconventional style has its advantages, but not always

 

“President Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin. It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected— immediately.”

Opinion: When Political Discourse Becomes Bullying
With the extremes sucking the oxygen, we’ve traded thoughtful argument for shaming

There was a time when I saw appearing on cable news shows, both left and right, as an opportunity for a civil debate on serious policy issues. That was probably naive, but I believed in the inherent value of proof-based and polite argument in providing the nation with the information to make good policy choices.

But as time went on, I began to feel like Michael Palin in the famous Monty Python “Argument Clinic” sketch. In the comedy bit, Palin goes to the “clinic” to buy an argument. He pays out his five pounds, but when he meets his “arguer,” Graham Chapman immediately goes on the attack.

Opinion: The Numbers Tell the Story — Tax Cuts Work
Recent economic data run counter to the media and Democrats‘ narrative

Last October, not long before passage of the Republican tax cuts, Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” argued over taxes with his guest, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

“There has been no study that has been able to somehow reinforce this idea that tax cuts do translate to economic growth,” the NBC host said.

Opinion: Back to the Future With Party ID
Spike in the generic ballot? Calm down and carry on

It’s morning again in America. You grab your first cup of coffee, click to your favorite news site and are greeted by a new poll with a huge generic ballot spike in the congressional vote. What should your reaction be? Is it time to freak out, or calm down and assume the poll is an outlier?

The answer is neither. When a particular survey suddenly shows a significant shift in one direction or the other, political and media analysts and the public need to approach the data with caution. Before assuming there was a change in voter preference, we need to ask whether party identification in the survey also changed significantly, and if so, why. 

Opinion: Beware the Dog Days of August
A critical month to figure out which party has the initiative into the fall

Nothing happens in August, right? At least that’s always the usual explanation for the mass exodus that leaves Washington nearly uninhabited for much of D.C.’s dog days.

But actually, throughout history, August has been a month of big events, especially in the realm of politics and war. The Brits burned Washington, and World War I started with the “Guns of August.” Women got the right to vote. Social Security became law, and we dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Opinion: A Midterm Environment Is Beginning to Take Shape, but Beware the Late Decider
Don’t bet on only political conventional wisdom in November

It’s June, five months out from the fall elections, and the midterm speculation has gone from a simmer to a slow boil. Over the past year, thanks to an expanding body of survey research, the political conventional wisdom has evolved from wishful thinking (the blue wave is inevitable) to educated guessing (Democrats have an advantage based on past elections) to what now seems to be cautious agreement: The battle for control of Congress has become a real horse race.

Skeptics argue that the presidential polls in 2016 got it wrong, and so it would be foolish to put too much stock in surveys showing Republicans gaining on what had been a huge Democrat advantage only a few months ago. While there were some problems with individual poll results in the last presidential election, especially at the state level, most national poll results in general were within the margin of error.

Opinion: With Russia Claims, Clapper Crosses a Line
No clear evidence Moscow influenced outcome of 2016 election

For those who work in the partisan fields of electoral politics, there is nothing harder than losing. Even for those whose only real interaction with partisan politics is the first Tuesday in November every two or four years, the loss of an election or a chosen candidate can be difficult to accept. Emotions are raw and often morph into misplaced rationalization or even the rejection of reality.

As a political strategist, I believe it’s critically important that both winners and losers understand the political outcomes of elections and the dynamics that drove them. It’s a process that both sides need to work through in order to understand voters and what they want, and then, with that understanding, define the next steps to move forward.

Opinion: Is the Democrats’ Pivot to a ‘Scandal Strategy’ a Wrong Turn?
Voters may not bite and there’s potential for blowback

In 2006, Nancy Pelosi told The Associated Press that after 10-plus years of Republican control of the House, she would begin to “drain the swamp” in her first 100 hours as speaker and also “break the link between lobbyists and legislation.”

Yes. She really said “drain the swamp.”

Opinion: It’s Too Soon to Bet the Ranch on the Midterms
With enthusiasm gap closing, blue wave is no longer a sure thing

So, the Supreme Court this week OK’d sports betting by the states, giving plaintiffs Chris Christie and New Jersey a big win. Not being a gambler, I hesitate to give advice, but maybe the bookmakers can kick off their newly won legal status with the 2018 congressional elections. After all, these days, politics is somewhat akin to a professional sport, but knowing where to place a bet this fall — on the Dems or the GOP — is becoming less and less clear.

A few months ago, most political prognosticators would have characterized the Democrats’ chances of winning back the House as just shy of a sure thing. They predicted, with a modicum of certainty, an impending blue wave, destined to wipe the Republican House majority off the map. Many are still putting their chips on the Democrats to win, place and show.

Opinion: Cost of Living Is the Sleeper Issue of 2018
Voters less interested in Russia investigation and scandal

If there’s one question that I get asked by reporters these days, it’s “what’s the sleeper race to watch for this fall?”

The question I think they should be asking is “what’s the sleeper issue likely to impact the outcome of the elections this fall?” The answer is the cost of living, or COL, one of the most politically potent and underreported issues out there today.

Opinion: Americans Are Telling Both Parties — “Show Me the Money”
GOP has an opening this fall with millennials moving away from Democrats, new poll shows

“It sounds strange to me to say this about the Republicans, but they’re helping with even the small things. They’re taking less out of my paycheck. I notice that.” So said Terry Hood, a young, African-American, Clinton voter in a recent Reuters interview about why millennials are moving away from Democrats.

Music to Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan’s ears. And luckily for the GOP, Hood is apparently not the only millennial who’s noticed. A new Reuters/Ipsos poll of 16,000 young voters, ages 18 to 34, repeating a similar 2016 survey, found that support for congressional Democrats among this key group (as measured by the generic ballot test) went from 55 percent two years ago to 46 percent today — a drop of 9 points.

Opinion: The Big Test for Business
Private sector needs to make the most of tax cuts and regulatory relief

Last December when President Donald Trump signed the Republican tax cut bill, large and small businesses were given an opportunity, literally and figuratively, to deliver the goods for the American people.

The economic advantages business is now enjoying are obvious. Lower tax rates and less regulation for both large companies and smaller S corporations lead the list and position the private sector to drive growth and reap the financial benefits of that growth.

Opinion: When the Survey Says the Holocaust Is Fading Away
When we see data like this, it says something is terribly wrong

Just a few days ago, on April 12, the world commemorated International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Much of the news this year focused on a new national survey, conducted by Schoen Consulting for the Claims Conference, to assess just how much Americans, especially young Americans, know about the Holocaust today.

The results were disheartening and disturbing. People are beginning to forget.