But what in hell have you done for me lately?

Chris Braunlich of the Thomas Jefferson Institute –

Why are we suddenly reminded of the late Vice President Alben Barkley’s remark: “I would relate to the crowds how I called on a certain rural constituent and was shocked to hear him say he was thinking of voting for my opponent. I reminded him of the many things I had done for him as prosecuting attorney, as county judge, as congressman, and senator. I recalled how I had helped get an access road built to his farm, how I had visited him in a military hospital in France when he was wounded in World War I, how I had assisted him in securing his veteran’s benefits, how I had arranged his loan fromthe Farm Credit Administration, how I had got him a disaster loan when the flood destroyed his home, etc., etc. ‘How can you think of voting for my opponent?’ I exhorted at the end of this long recital. ‘Surely you remember all these things I have done for you?’ ‘Yeah,’ he said, ‘I remember. But what in hell have you done for me lately?’”

Meanwhile …

1.) In the early hours of Wednesday, Bacon’s Rebellion’s Jim Bacon took a look at Virginia’s new political landscape (here). The same publication’s Jim Sherlock looked at the impact on a series of policy questions (here). National Review’s senior political correspondent Jim Geraghty suggested 12 Big Lessons from the election (here). George Neumayr, in the American Spectator, made the point that the blowout the chattering class predicted didn’t come to pass (here). And NR’s Itxu Díaz points out that America wasn’t buying what the Left had to offer (here). Whew!

2.) Nation-wide, blue Illinois defeated an income tax increase, blue California defeated efforts to impose Affirmative Action and new regulations on Uber and Lyft drivers, and blue Colorado passed a tax cut. In Virginia, three local jurisdictions approved casinos, four local jurisdictions approved new sales taxes, and three local jurisdictions approved 13 different bond referenda. Blue states, of course, know from experience the pain imposed on them and rebel; states that were red not too long ago still haven’t felt the impact of such things as constant tax increases (here). Conservatives in the Old Dominion have their work cut out for them.

3.) President Trump often succeeded in commanding public attention and support through his public appeals. But challenging the vote in court will require hard fact and sharp legal minds. The Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky and Zach Smith describe what you need to know about the litigation being waged here. Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James argues that every vote should count – no more, no less (here). Over at the American Enterprise Institute, conservative Tim Carney argues that the President should cut out the “fraud” claims and say what Mike Pence said (here). The President not only has a right to protect his interests and pursue recounts, in the name of transparency he has an obligation. But he should cool the rhetoric. If there is evidence, the place to lay it down is in the Courts, not on twitter.

4.) It became clear that the election divided Democrats more than Republicans as Nancy Pelosi and Abigail Spanberger angrily warned colleagues not to use words like “socialism” or “defund police” (we note they did not say not to believe it — just not to use the words, almost as if they were … hiding something?) here. Meanwhile, “the Squad’s” Rashida Tlaib witheringly accused her colleagues of wanting to “stop pushing for what Black folks want.” None of which sounds like much of a victory and conservatives can only wish they could have listened in.

5.) Wait, they can! Spanberger, in expletive-filled remarks on a conference call with the House Democratic Caucus, was caught on tape (here) after first claiming her comments were “off the record.” What we want to know is why a former CIA operative thought she could not be recorded.

6.) What does it all mean? For starters, it may be the beginning of the end of “identity politics”, as 12 percent of Black voters and 32 percent of Hispanic voters voted for Trump (here), both an increase over 2016 and the highest in 24 years (here). In Virginia, those numbers were 11 percent and 35 percent, respectively (here). 

7.) How did this happen? Ben Shapiro offers an explanation here. And veteran economist Glenn Loury recently noted “There are many African-Americans who stand opposed to coastal elites who want to shut down the economy in order to save the planet, who think transgender rights are at the forefront of the human rights agenda, and so on. So I’m not at all surprised that Trump has seen growing support.” The publication Quillette is offering a free online presentation November 21 by Loury analyzing that further. Tickets are going quickly. Register here.

8.) There are still divisions between “red states” and “blue states,” and the consequence of that – as AEI’s Matt Weidinger notes — is “Red State Recoveries, Blue State Recessions” (here).

9.) Matt Continetti, editor of The Washington Free Beacon, looks at the data and concludes “The Republican challenge today is the mirror image of the party’s dilemma after 2012. Then, the GOP needed to retain its support in the suburbs while boosting support among whites without college degrees. Now, it needs to retain its support among whites without college degrees while boosting support in the suburbs. And it needs to solidify its gains among black males and Hispanic voters who responded to policies aimed at tight labor markets and economic empowerment.” (here).

10.)  While hoping he’s wrong, Andrew C. McCarthy, a former assistant U.S. attorney (and speaker last year at a Thomas Jefferson Institute “Federal Policy Dinner”) believes the President will be defeated after all is said and done, but declares it “A Successful Presidency, a Maddening President” here. He’s echoed by The Wall Street Journal’s Holman Jenkins, who writes “If a Biden victory stands, at least the Trump revisionism can begin…Whatever the final count, the media needs to rethink its picture of a popular and populist president.” (here).

11.)  The ballot count, recount and lawsuits will play out against the backdrop of the most emotionally dangerous time of year: The Thanksgiving dinner. AEI’s Jonah Goldberg urges us to take a deep breath, reminding us all that “Politics should be about solving the specific problems that government is suited to solve, not defining our souls.” (here).

Finally … with Republicans clinging to control of the Senate, this is what’s on Mitch McConnell’s mind.


Happy Sunday, Everyone.
Go play a little Ray Charles.

Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy

7011 Dreams Way Court, Alexandria, VA 22315

About Radnor Reports

Ken Feltman is past-president of the International Association of Political Consultants and the American League of Lobbyists. He is retired chairman of Radnor Inc., an international political consulting and government relations firm in Washington, D.C. Known as a coalition builder, he has participated in election campaigns and legislative efforts in the United States and several other countries.
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