The first Tuesday after the first Monday in November is almost upon us and this campaign season will come to an end. America will choose a new President that day, unless of course, the hanging chads make another appearance in Florida.
The eyes and ears of Dallas’ real estate community turned toward the contest Thursday morning at the Hilton Anatole for The Real Estate Council’s Bank of Texas Speaker Series presented by The Dallas Morning News. A panel of local politicos weighed on how the stretch run will play out.
Joining moderator Matthew Wilson, Ph.D. in Political Science at SMU were:
- Matt Angle- Director of the Texas Democratic Trust
- Jonathan Neerman- Trial attorney at Jackson Walker and Dallas County Republican Chair 2008-2011
- Marc Stanley- Founder of Stanley Law Group and Immediate Past Chair of National Jewish Democratic Council
- Ray Washburn – President and CEO of Charter Holdings and Vice Chairman of Trump Victory
- The first debate scheduled for Monday, September 26 (some will have seen the debate before you read this) will be interesting and entertaining, perhaps epic. What do the panelists expect from each candidate?
- “Hillary has a lot more to lose,” said Neerman. “The way the debates are staged, they’re designed for a reality TV star, and Trump has some experience there. Hillary has to appear likeable, and the format doesn’t lend itself to that.”
- Matt Angle agrees. “The bar is set really low for Trump,” commented Angle. “He just can’t come across as outrageous. What many people know about the candidates is a caricature portrayed by the news and Trump may just need to be seen as not that risky by reasonable people.”
- “Trump cannot be seen as attacking Hillary as a woman but as a candidate,” said Washburn. He adds that Trump needs to be “aggressive on her ethics and truthfulness” and be more substantive on issues like taxes and entitlements.
- Stanley observed that one of Clinton’s problems is that she can spend 45 minutes being wonky on specific policy issues but the media will only cover ideas like “the basket of deplorables.” “Hillary needs to let the public know who she is and not rest on thirty years in the public eye,” noted Stanley.
- Can Clinton win in Texas? Will this election turn Texas purple? Is it a partisan tipping point?
- “To win in Texas, Hillary has to actually run a campaign!” said Angle. He doesn’t really fault her. Her money is better spent in the battleground states.
- Washburn turned back the clock to the Wendy Davis candidacy. She raised millions and millions and dollars and “got annihilated” by a Republican.
- Stanley conceded that if the election were held today, Trump would win. Looking ahead, “the demographics are in favor of the Democrats.” If Trump wins, and executes on policies like deportation, the Hispanic, African American and educated white voter may yet turn this state Democratic. “We saw it happen in Dallas County,” Stanley reminded the crowd.
- “The unicorn that everyone is chasing is the Hispanic vote,” noted Neerman. “People assume that it’s this monolithic vote, and it’s just not.” He added that both parties have their eyes on this prize but it could go either way, believing many Hispanics align on economic and social issues with the Republicans.
- Both candidates are anti-trade, a dynamic different than the past when both parties generally endorsed free trade policies. What gives?
- Even though Clinton was supportive of the TPP as Secretary of State, Stanley acknowledged she had to U-turn to “keep union support from going to Bernie and keep Biden out of the race.”
- You might think that Washburn, the only business guy on the panel, would have a different perspective. But he knows the rose industry in East Texas and the shrimp industry along the Gulf Coast are suffering because of cheap Asian imports. A key voter for Trump is in central Pennsylvania where “zombie factories” used to be home for good jobs. “Both the right and the left are concerned about free trade policies,” said Washburn.
- Stanley chimed in. “It’s hypocritical for Trump to be anti-free trade” when his new hotel has “rugs from China and silk from France.”
- Angle added a little fuel to the fire. “Hypocritical is too nice a word. Donald Trump is lying about trade.”
- Jeb Bush raised $100 million and got nowhere. Is campaign spending less effective or less influential?
- Much of this is consultant driven says Washburn. Big salaries and big binders. Bush had hundreds of staffers. Trump had about ten. Washburn thinks this subculture of consultant driven fund raising will be met with real skepticism by both sides after the election.
- Big money on media is less efficient than in the past. “Look at how people consume media now,” observed Angle. He thinks that bushels of money will still be raised for campaigns but is disappointed that Citizens United has made Super-PAC contributors more mysterious and less accountable.
- Less obvious, Stanley observed that the money the Koch brothers spent not on presidential elections but in statehouse races was “brilliant.” It led to a nation-wide “gerrymander” of congressional districts and Republican control of the U.S. House.
- There are deep divides in both parties. Establishment vs Movement in the Republican party. Sanders vs Clinton in the Democratic party. How will these get resolved?
- Angle believes that if Clinton wins, the Republicans will retrench (again) and the Democrats will try to figure out how to overcome a “national gerrymander” and win other races beside the Presidency.
- Washburn sees a generational shift. Geez, Trump is 70 and Clinton will be 69 in October. At least for the Republicans, it’s the forty-somethings led by Rubio and Ryan.
- Neerman gave some perspective. “In 2008, who would have predicted the Tea Party movement?”
- “I have no idea,” commented Stanley. “Sanders had never been a Democrat and Trump had never been a Republican!”
- Regardless of your choice of candidate, choose to vote. Early voting starts Monday, October 24. If you are a game day voter like me, circle November 8. See you at the polls!
Sam, senior director at Invesco, got bit by the political bug when his mom put a Sissy Farenthold for Governor sign on the family lawn in 1972. Nearly 45 years later, he still hasn’t fully recovered.