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Shapiro: How the Democrats will lose in 2020

President Trump is not a particularly popular president.

His job approval rating has not crossed 50 percent for a single day of his presidency. He’s currently riding as high as he ever has in the RealClearPolitics poll average—and that’s 41 percent. Statistics guru Nate Silver estimates that “the approval rating at which an incumbent candidate goes from being an underdog to a favorite for re-election is somewhere in the high 40s.” Furthermore, Democrats are favored to retake the House of Representatives in 2018—they’ve been dramatically outperforming their poll numbers in special elections. And there’s always the possibility that the economy will tank: America has experienced an economic downturn at least once per decade for the past several decades, and our last serious downturn was in 2009.

With all of that said, Democrats can still find a way to blow this.

They could blow this in the same way they blew 2016: by picking a candidate based on intersectional concerns rather than capacity to unify Americans, and by slandering half the country.

Hillary Clinton wasn’t the best candidate for president on the Democratic side of the aisle. Then-Vice President Joe Biden polled better. So, in fact, did loony Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Clinton’s poll numbers rarely cracked 50 percent and often veered toward 40 percent. And, of course, she was egregiously brittle, supremely inauthentic and tremendously off-putting.

Yet the Democratic establishment had determined that it was, in fact, her time—with the emphasis on her. Clinton was a woman; her rivals weren’t. We’d just elected the first black president. It was time for Clinton to break the glass ceiling. And so, the Democrats picked one of the most polarizing figures in American history to carry forward President Barack Obama’s legacy.

That was Bad Decision No. 1.

Then there was Clinton’s campaign. Clinton spent most of the campaign absolutely bewildered by the fact that a boorish, ignorant reality television star was running neck and neck with her. She could have taken that as a referendum on her own shortcomings. Instead, she took it as a referendum on America’s shortcomings. America, she believed, is filled with racist, sexist, bigoted homophobes. America is a basket of deplorables. If it weren’t, wouldn’t she have been up 50 points?

Of course, Clinton lost.

And all indicators suggest that Democrats intend to copy her playbook.

The single most dangerous candidate to Trump’s re-election is, again, Biden. Despite the fact that Biden is a pathological liar with a history of gaffes challenging Trump’s own, Biden is a popular figure; he’s got blue-collar appeal. But Biden is also an old white man, and the Democratic Party believes that President Obama’s coalition can only be replicated by a member of an intersectional minority. Democrats also think that Clinton was too moderate for her own good—and so, now they’re attempting to oust Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, in favor of someone more radical. Thus Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.

Good luck, guys.

But Democrats have an even worse problem: their obvious disdain for Americans who didn’t vote for them. Nowhere has that disdain been more evident than in their treatment of gun owners after the Parkland massacre. Democrats have cheered gun control advocates who question the decency of Second Amendment supporters. They have slandered legal gun owners as uncaring nasties more concerned with preserving pieces of metal than children’s lives. They might as well call gun owners deplorables.

Good luck with that one, too.

The dirty little secret of 2016 is that President Trump didn’t win the election—Clinton lost it. Democrats could easily do the same thing in 2020 if they insist that Americans must be taught a lesson for their 2016 heresy.


Letters
Your Views: Upset about misplaced priorities at Milton School District

I am angry. I read the latest railroading tactic of the Milton School Board to have a "public" vote at 6 p.m. on March 12 to purchase the Hawk Zone at a purchase price of $500,000. What if citizens are not available on March 12 or don't have transportation at that time or day? Their voice will not be heard. Why can't the vote be held during a regular election? We just had one and will have another in April.

I am not against the schools needed improvements. I am against the ways the school board is trying to accomplish its will rather than what the citizens tell the board they can afford. Money is spent on extras, such as parking lots. Left undone are buildings failing to meet ADA requirements, a swimming pool that needs repair, crowded hallways that don't allow for carrying backpacks and a school having a classroom in the basement. What would this $500,000 purchase? A building for batting practice! Come on, spend money on necessities that have been ignored for years.

CAROLE MILLER

Milton


Other_views
Other Views: Don’t stigmatize kids on the way to reducing gun violence

While we struggle to find common ground on sensible ways to reduce gun violence, we must not become blind to potential unintentional harm, such as stigmatizing every troubled teenager. In the case of Parkland, Florida, shooter Nikolas Cruz, it’s hard not to wonder why warning signs weren’t enough to stop the 19-year-old before he killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The FBI had been warned. Multiple police departments were warned. School officials tried a variety of methods to deal with his disturbing behavior. Cruz had threatened fellow students, allegedly put a gun to a person’s head and posted online threats using his real name. More than one person who knew him thought him to be a real threat and believed it so fervently they took the “See something, say something” mantra to heart. “I know—I know he’s going to explode,” an unidentified caller told the FBI, according to The Wall Street Journal. “I’m going to be a professional school shooter,” Cruz said in a comment on Youtube. That’s why it’s tempting to use Cruz’s example to increase the surveillance of and harsh punishment for troubled teens who say and do disturbing things. No school district wants to be the site of the next mass shooting. But the Parkland case shows how these difficulties unfold over several years, beginning when students are young. That’s why the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system’s recent grappling with what to do with even the youngest students who act out—should they be expelled or handled differently?—makes sense. But these questions and debates can be taken too far, as happened in the aftermath of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School. Zero-tolerance laws sprang up everywhere and students who weren’t real threats were caught up in the overreaction, including an infamous case of a little boy suspended for eating his Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun. (He was later given a free lifetime membership to the NRA.) A 2013 Broward County School board policy, the Promise Program, that encouraged the “least punitive means of discipline”—warnings, conflict resolution programs, etc., instead of immediate arrests—is now being debated in the state and cited by some as the reason the shooting was not prevented. But it would be a mistake to respond to this shooting by making the lives of already-troubled kids worse instead of helping them. Most troubled kids don’t shoot up schools, even those who post ugly messages on social media. The mentally ill are more likely to hurt themselves than others. Further stigmatizing wayward youngsters will lead to more false positives for law enforcement to investigate. It’s akin to looking for a needle in a haystack by first adding more hay. We must try to prevent as many shootings as we can. That starts by not making the task more difficult than it already is.

While we struggle to find common ground on sensible ways to reduce gun violence, we must not become blind to potential unintentional harm, such as stigmatizing every troubled teenager.

In the case of Parkland, Florida, shooter Nikolas Cruz, it’s hard not to wonder why warning signs weren’t enough to stop the 19-year-old before he killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The FBI had been warned. Multiple police departments were warned. School officials tried a variety of methods to deal with his disturbing behavior. Cruz had threatened fellow students, allegedly put a gun to a person’s head and posted online threats using his real name.

More than one person who knew him thought him to be a real threat and believed it so fervently they took the “See something, say something” mantra to heart. “I know—I know he’s going to explode,” an unidentified caller told the FBI, according to The Wall Street Journal. “I’m going to be a professional school shooter,” Cruz said in a comment on Youtube.

That’s why it’s tempting to use Cruz’s example to increase the surveillance of and harsh punishment for troubled teens who say and do disturbing things. No school district wants to be the site of the next mass shooting. But the Parkland case shows how these difficulties unfold over several years, beginning when students are young.

That’s why the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system’s recent grappling with what to do with even the youngest students who act out—should they be expelled or handled differently?—makes sense.

But these questions and debates can be taken too far, as happened in the aftermath of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School. Zero-tolerance laws sprang up everywhere and students who weren’t real threats were caught up in the overreaction, including an infamous case of a little boy suspended for eating his Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun. (He was later given a free lifetime membership to the NRA.)

A 2013 Broward County School board policy, the Promise Program, that encouraged the “least punitive means of discipline”—warnings, conflict resolution programs, etc., instead of immediate arrests—is now being debated in the state and cited by some as the reason the shooting was not prevented. But it would be a mistake to respond to this shooting by making the lives of already-troubled kids worse instead of helping them.

Most troubled kids don’t shoot up schools, even those who post ugly messages on social media. The mentally ill are more likely to hurt themselves than others. Further stigmatizing wayward youngsters will lead to more false positives for law enforcement to investigate. It’s akin to looking for a needle in a haystack by first adding more hay. We must try to prevent as many shootings as we can. That starts by not making the task more difficult than it already is.


Sound_off
Sound Off for Wednesday, Feb. 28

On arming teachers: Regarding Attorney General Brad Schimel’s proposal to arm teachers, I’m a teacher in the public schools, and I certainly did not go into this profession to work with 8-year-old children while packing.

  • In regard to arming teachers, let’s say they’re armed and a man storms the school and the police are on their way, and as they walk in the door, a guy steps out of a room with a gun, and they shoot. Trouble is that was a teacher. Use your common sense. You can’t arm the teachers.
  • Our politicians can afford to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars from China to give out to terrorist countries for their security, but we can’t afford to fund a security guard at our own schools for our kids safety.

On the NRA: Regarding the Sunday story ‘NRA, Florida face backlash as companies sever ties’ (Page 11B), well, guess what, companies? If you don’t like the NRA, which I do, I don’t need your services so you can stick that backlash wherever you want to. I will not use your services, period.

  • Most of the country is saying, ‘Oh my God, another school shooting.’ Most of our politicians are saying, ‘Oh my God, we can’t have stronger gun laws. The NRA will cut off our campaign money.’ Most of the country is saying, ‘Who’s running the country, the cowards who were elected or the NRA?’
  • Since the Florida high school massacre, suddenly House and Senate Republicans are no longer upset with repealing and replacing Obamacare. Now they must be upset to stop taking NRA campaign money, or American voters will repeal and replace them. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is No. 1 on the list for that.
  • Multiple layers of government failure, and they want you to blame the NRA. When are government officials going to be held accountable? The school reported Nikolas Cruz, social services knew about Cruz and police and the FBI knew. Who other than the armed guard inside the school has been held accountable? Let’s put the blame where it belongs and do something about it.

On Sunday editorial, “Milton should focus on security upgrades”: We just gave the school district $2.5 million a year in a referendum. They’re into the second year. That’s $5 million. Why wasn’t that money being used on these security issues?

  • The taxpayers voted on a $2.5 million referendum, and it seems like the district is not fixing anything in horrible condition. Instead, the only answer is vote for a giant referendum and fix everything at once, instead of going ahead and fixing the items now that can be fixed.

On the Milton pool: Since when is an insurance agent able to tell whether the pool is in good condition or not? I didn’t realize that insurance agents had access to building codes and were working with construction. Also, I wanted to mention the sinking deck. Why is it sinking or is it sinking? How do we know? These are questions that were not answered in the Sunday article, ‘In the mix’ (Page 1A).

On St. Patrick School building: It would be a phenomenal building to turn into a program for at-risk youths to work with some of the humane society dogs to do a training program to get the dogs placed and rehabilitate the youth.

On Friday story, “Some remain stranded” (Page 1A): Looking at the picture of water across the road on Page 7A, why can’t they just dump some sand on the road to raise the level so people can get in and out?

On columnist R. Emmett Tyrrell: Week after week, R. Emmett Tyrrell’s columns are the same. They call names, denigrate those you don’t agree with. There’s little attempt to present a reasoned, thoughtful argument. Just red meat.

On Janesville downtown bike lanes: Would someone please tell me how the bike lanes on East Milwaukee Street work so good? The traffic is so fast there you had better not get in the bike lane for fear of getting run over. We don’t need more bike lanes. We need some traffic control in this town.

On proposed new salary structure for teachers (Monday, Page 1A): A question for board members: Will the teacher performance pay be tied to fulfilling Superintendent Steve Pophal’s promises?