by Ken Gorrell,
Weirs Times Contributing Writer
In his 2004 best-seller, What’s the Matter with Kansas?, Thomas Frank questioned the sanity of social-conservative voters who, he contended, voted against their economic best interests by voting for Republicans.
Frank is an establishment liberal, so naturally he defined “best interests” using his own fantasy version of the Kansas economy at the time. The reality was Kansas had been doing well against national metrics, but facts were subsumed to liberal dogma as liberal writers are wont to do. Naturally, the book spent weeks on the New York Times Best-Seller list.
The exquisitely-condescending Mr. Frank was upbraided at the time by an editorial in the Wichita Eagle: “There’s nothing wrong with many Kansans wanting to hold onto a little more of their paychecks . . . or preferring that when they need help it comes from their family, their church, their community—not an intrusive federal government.” Sounds positively Trumpian, 12 years ahead of its time.
I won’t fall into the trap Frank set for himself, but when I read the results of a recent political survey of Granite State voters, my first thought was, “What’s the matter with New Hampshire”?
As reported in the Union Leader, 56% of registered voters believe it “would be a good thing” if President Trump faced a challenger in 2020. Given that Hillary Clinton won our state by a slim majority in 2016 (this isn’t the first time I’ve wondered what’s the matter with NH), that poll result dismayed but didn’t surprise me.
But the poll also showed that 40% of NH Republicans think positively about a primary challenge against President Trump, and 13% aren’t sure – an amazing 53% who aren’t presently supportive of Trump being the Republican nominee in 2020. Only 47% recognized that would be bad. I’m 100% sure that 53% of NH’s Republicans are on the spectrum somewhere between “confused” and “bark-at-the-sky mad.”
My first instinct when reading poll results is to question whether it was conducted to report opinions or create news. This one seemed to be reporting accurately voter sentiment. The polling firm, Praecones Analytica, is well-regarded, received a “B-”overall in the 538 pollster rankings, with a slight “R” mean bias.
People of good faith can disagree about Donald Trump’s personality and methods. I cringed at his “war hero” comments directed at John McCain. But he’s the head of the nation’s Executive branch, not the local Toastmaster’s club. Results matter greatly when you are the President of the most consequential nation on Earth. Sometimes, ends justify – or at least mitigate – the means.
The media and the malcontents have been against Trump from the beginning, using video and violence to oppose this latest Republican Hitler. They promised disaster unless we were With Her, but have any of those dire predictions come to pass? Economist Stephen Moore put together a list of liberal attempts at prognostication, including these gems:
1) “Donald Trump’s first gift to the world will be another financial crisis.” (U.K. Independent)
2) “It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump…We are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight.” (Paul Krugman, New York Times)
4) “Under Trump, I would expect a protracted recession to begin within 18 months.” (Larry Summers, Obama’s chief economist)
5) “A President Trump Could Destroy the World Economy” (Washington Post editorial)
Now back to reality. Our economy grew at 4.2% last quarter.
The overall outlook is even better. In a recent Zogby poll, 83% of business leaders said “business is doing better compared to two years ago” and 76% “believed there would be growth in the third year of the Trump presidency.”
The market pushes up even as much of the press talks it down. Unemployment and jobless claims are at or near record lows. Consumer confidence is high. Investor’s Business Daily reports that since Donald Trump was elected, “median household income has shot up more than 4%.” That compares to 0.3% under eight years of the Obama administration.
Beyond the economy, and contra liberal rants, women aren’t running into back alleys for “health care.” Illegal aliens haven’t moved from the shadows to concentration camps. Polar bears are still enjoying the Arctic ice even as we produce record amounts of hydrocarbon fuels. We haven’t exchanged nukes with the Norks. Instead of trade wars, the Mexicans came to the table and cracks are showing China’s economic wall.
Are you tired of winning? Do you yearn for a return to anemic economic growth and assurances that 2 percent is the new normal? Are you better or worse off now than you were two years ago? Who else on that 2016 debate stage could have delivered on his promises as Trump has?
NH Republicans: What’s the matter with you?
Ken Gorrell can be reached at email@example.com