Friday, July 15, 2016

Donald Trump's VP pick of Mike Pence could boost his campaign, for now

In a normal U.S. presidential election, the choice of vice-presidential candidate usually has only a minimal impact on the race. Vice-presidential candidates can help deliver their home state and provide a short-term boost to his or her running mate's campaign, but elections are rarely decided by who the "Veep" will be.

But this is not a normal election.

Donald Trump, Republican nominee for the U.S. presidency, announced Friday that Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana will be pick for vice-president.

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, will make her pick before the party's convention in Philadelphia later this month.

Vice-presidential candidates are often chosen to fill a gap in the presidential candidate's resumé, be it geographic, demographic, or political. With Pence as Trump's running mate, it would give his ticket much-needed political experience, as well as a figure outside of the U.S. Northeast.

But vice-presidential picks normally do not have a significant impact on the race. The choice may help a presidential campaign at the margins, but the first rule of a vice-presidential candidate is often cited as "do no harm." Vice-presidential picks are at greater risk of dragging down a campaign than boosting it to new heights.

You can read the rest of this article here.

The Pollcast: Tony Clement in, Jason Kenney out of Conservative leadership race

The Conservative leadership race has been shaken up by the departure of Jason Kenney for a bid at provincial leadership in Alberta. But a new name was added to the list of candidates this week when Tony Clement threw his hat in the ring.

So what do this new entry and high-profile exit mean for for the leadership campaign?

You can listen to the podcast here or subscribe to the podcast to automatically download future episodes here.

Alberta MP Jason Kenney has opted to head back home to try to win the leadership of the Progressive Conservatives, unite the right in that province, and defeat the New Democrats in 2019. It's a tall order.

But his decision to leave federal politics has made winning the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada a little easier for the contestants already in the race: Ontario MPs Michael Chong and Kellie Leitch and Quebec MP Maxime Bernier.

And now Tony Clement. The Ontario MP has been here before — he ran for the party leadership more than a decade ago after the merger of the federal PCs and Canadian Alliance. He also ran for the leadership of the Ontario PCs in 2002. Both attempts were unsuccessful.

So will it be third time's a charm for Clement? And with Kenney out, who thinks they can fill the space Kenney would have occupied had he run for the federal party's top job?

Joining me on this week's episode of the Pollcast are Conservative insiders Tim Powers of Summa Strategies and Chad Rogers of Crestview Strategy to break it down.

You can listen to the podcast here or subscribe to the podcast to automatically download future episodes here.

Liberals made big gains, but NDP still won the First Nations vote in 2015, data shows

Turnout among Indigenous Canadians increased dramatically in the last federal election, and an analysis of Elections Canada data suggests that the Liberals picked up most of these new voters. But overall, the New Democrats remained the top choice of First Nations voters living on-reserve.

According to Elections Canada, turnout in on-reserve polling divisions (defined as those completely or partially contained within an on-reserve community) in the 2015 federal election increased to 61.5 per cent from 47.4 per cent in 2011, a historic increase similar to the one seen among young Canadians.

An analysis of these polling divisions by CBC News also reveals how these First Nations voters cast their ballots.

You can read the rest of this article here.


  1. Your headline "Liberals made big gains, but NDP still won the First Nations vote in 2015, data shows" is misleading. In fact the data only speaks to on-reserve voters who make up slightly less than half registered First Nations people. While I would think statistics for off-reserve First Nation voters to be similar to their on-reserve brethren no data is given. While this distinction is made clear half-way through the article I think the headline could have been more carefully chosen.

    1. Nor is such data likely to be available. Why Elections Canada does make poll-by-poll voting results freely available (you can download it yourself), and StatsCan data should be able to tell us where natives live, there'd be a lot of noice (non-native voters) in that data.

      Even with Éric's analysis above, we're assuming that the polls on reserves were exclusively native.

    2. I did look at polls that were only on reserves, though as I point out the population of non-Aboriginal people on reserves is about 10%.

    3. Right, sorry.

      So in the aggregate, we can use these data intelligently. Individually, poll-by-poll, we don't know what the aboriginal population is.

      And that's basically the problem we'd need to solve if we were trying to assemble a similar dataset for aboriginal voters off-reserve.

      Off-reserve, the aboriginal population is about as difficult to isolate as any other demographic cross-section. We don't have decent information about how immigrants voted, or how atheists voted, or how gay people voted, or how gun owners voted, because they're not constrained to easily identifiable geographic areas like on-reserve natives are.

    4. Analysising polls on-reserve does not remove all non-First Nation voters. For example. non-FN lessees live on the Squamish, Musqueam, Tseil-Watuth (former Burrard Band)and Tsawwassen reserves. In most cases the lease holders vote at the same voting stations as the on-reserve Aboriginal population. This can be extremely problematic as the lessees represent a significant proportion of the voting population. If we take the Musqueam Indian reserve as an example the Lessee population is greater than the First nation population. The registered Indian population on Musqueam is 765 the non-registered population is 845, this is a common occurrence among First Nations who lease land to non-Aboriginal populations.

    5. That sort of arrangement is far less common outside BC, and Éric was using national numbers, where it is true that about 90% of the residents of reserves are aboriginal.

      Because while there are examples like Musqueam, there are many more examples like Attawapiskat.

  2. I don't understand why Mike Pence accepted the offer.

    But as it seems he has, I'm left wondering why Trump chose him. Yes, on paper he's the best candidate among those who appeared willing to do it, but Trump's campaign has never been about what's best on paper. He's defied that the whole time.

    So, when Trump selected Pence, is it because he's finally taking advice from the GOP? And is that a good thing for Trump? The GOP badly mismanaged and misjudged the entire primary season.

    Trump's other options for the VP slot looked pretty awful - though I liked Flynn - and Trump reportedly favoured Newt Gingrich. Gingrich is undeniably a crazy person (moon colony), but so is Trump, and the crazy seems to work for Trump.

    Trump got this far by keeping the media off-balance. The media seems to have finally figured out how to deal with that; I think Trump would have been better off choosing a running mate who could have helped him gain the upper hand with the media again. Gingrich would have done that.

    Flynn would have helped, too, because (like Trump), he has previously espoused views that the modern Republican party hates. Both Trump and Flynn have long been pro-choice, for example. Now that he's locked up the nomination, Trump could have staked out effectively anti-Republican policy positions, which would appeal to traditional Democrats who don't like Hillary Clinton (and there are many).

    I think Pence was the wrong choice. It was the safe choice, and probably the one the Republicans favour, but it was the wrong choice.

    I wonder if the Republicans are playing to lose this one, knowing that Clinton would likely be vulnerable in 4 years, and given their general distaste for Trump.

    1. Pence might not even have won re-election, as he is unpopular there and was facing a candidate he only barely beat last time around in a pretty red state (3 points, where Romney carried by 10 points, and Bush by 19). Even if he won re-election, he probably would've amassed a mediocre record and even lower approval ratings and become a nobody like Bobby Jindal if he ran in 2020.

      Now he's the VP candidate, and a strong contender to for the 2020 nomination.

      Pence helps consolidate the Republican base and establishment. He's a strong fiscal and social conservative, popular with the conservative movement before the Tea Party came along. He's also popular enough with the establishment, especially guys like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. So this helps him with the base and insiders.

      Trump had no one else good to pick. Jodi Ernst took herself out of the running. Gingrich and Christie would have been disastrous. Kasich took himself out. He bashed good choices like Susana Martinez. Scott Brown was a terrible choice. Maybe Tim Scott, but even there that would've opened up another Senate race for the GOP to defend against.

    2. Ira,

      Pence had made many unpopular decisions in Indiana, and was facing a tough race for re-election. With being Trump's VP candidate, he can still potentially get into a position of significant power that could bring him to any future ambitions the may have. As the losing gubernatorial candidate in Indiana, he would not have that.

    3. Sure, Pence's re-election in Indiana was far from assured. It was probably about 50-50 (which is terrible for an incumbent governor). But those are still better odds than the Trump campaign faces right now.

      Have you seen what happens to failed VP candidates? The last one who did anything significant was FDR.

      I also think Pence's legislative history in Indiana is dreadful. His support for some absolutely appalling anti-abortion legislation can harm Trump. Trump doesn't talk about it now (because he's pretending to be a Republican), but as recently as 5 years ago he was an outspoken supporter of abortion rights and single-payer healthcare. 5 years ago Trump was basically Bernie Sanders. He's already spoken in favour of transgender rights during this campaign. If he could pivot and run to Clinton's left on social issues, he'd steal a ton of support from Gary Johnson and maybe capture some of those disaffected Bernie voters.

      But I think Pence eliminates that as a tactical option.

    4. Your comment about FDR being the last candidate to do anything significant is completely false. Paul Ryan (the most recent losing VP pick) is currently the House speaker, and according to many (including myself) likely stands the strongest chance at winning the 2020 nomination. If Pence can follow Ryan's lead, the former could be quite successful. He's only 57, very young in US politics, and still has plenty of time to ascend to higher levels.

    5. Ryan was already in the house.

      Yes, Pence is 57, but Rubio and Cruz were both 43 while they were running for President. Ryan has a better shot at being the 2020 nominee than Mike Pence does.

      Pence has colossal baggage from his time as governor. The bill he supported requiring funeral services for foetal remains is one of the most abhorrent pieces of legislation I've ever seen in a western democracy.


COMMENT MODERATION POLICY - Please be respectful when commenting. If choosing to remain anonymous, please sign your comment with some sort of pseudonym to avoid confusion. Please do not use any derogatory terms for fellow commenters, parties, or politicians. Inflammatory and overly partisan comments will not be posted. PLEASE KEEP DISCUSSION ON TOPIC.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.