‘New Year’s Fool’s Day’ predictions debunked


There is not much difference between New Year’s Day and April Fool’s Day, except that one is a federal holiday and the other could be any of the 364 other days. On the former, people make foolish predictions and swear never-to-be-kept promises; on the latter, people make false statements, usually for humorous intent.

As 2017 dawns, we have a New Year’s Fool’s Day, combining foolish and false political predictions and statements such as that Barack Obama would have beaten Donald Trump had he been eligible to run in the 2016 election and that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has orchestrated a miraculous political revival amid the city’s murder and mayhem because he raised $1.6 million in 2016. Feel free to laugh, or at least sigh.

Many journalists are gullible, often gutless and lazy, eagerly seizing some spoon-fed spin from partisan political operatives. If the media endlessly repeat gibberish, it becomes plausible. This column is devoted to debunking two 2016 myths.

First, that Obama would have beaten Trump. Obama won the 2012 popular vote 65,907,124-60,931,731, a margin of 4,975,389 votes, which was barely half of his 9,549,975-vote margin in 2008. Clearly, the longer Obama remained president the less popular he became. Hillary Clinton won the 2016 popular vote 64,156,255-62,238,425, getting 1,750,869 fewer votes than Obama got 4 years earlier and 1,917,830 more votes than Trump got. Had Clinton won, she would have in effect filled Obama’s third term, and that was unpalatable to a near majority of the voters.

Yet Clinton lost key states that Obama previously won: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida and North Carolina, with a combined electoral vote of 108, enabling Trump to win the electoral vote 306-232. Obama won those six states in 2012 was 16,419,685; Trump won those states by more than 500,000 votes, and almost all of those shifters were 2008 and 2012 white voters who supported Obama or previous non-voters who came out to reject Obama/Clinton. The "Obama Nation," consisting of white liberals and minorities, was alive and well in 2016. Clinton got the minority vote in an amount equal to Obama, but the non-"Obama Nation" vote, consisting of white conservatives and non-minorities, was more alive and well. Given the culture and environment of 2016, Obama could not have won. His majority in those Rust Belt states halved from 2008 to 2012, and it evaporated by 2016.

Obama won Michigan, with a 14 percent black population, in 2012 over Romney, the son of a former state governor, 2,564,569-2,115,256, a margin of 449,313 votes, and he won 2,872,579-2,048,639 in 2008, a margin of 823,940 votes. Trump won 2,279,543-2,268,839 over Clinton, a margin of 10,704 votes, with Clinton getting 295,730 fewer votes than Obama and Trump getting 164,287 more votes than Romney.

In the state’s black-majority 13th and 14th congressional districts, both in Detroit, the black Democratic incumbents won by a combined 441,393 votes, with Clinton not far behind. Obama won them by 522,929 votes in 2012. Trump won Michigan because previously non-voting, non-Obama white voters became motivated to vote.

Obama won Ohio, with a 12 percent black population, in 2012 2,827,710-2,661,433, a margin of 166,277 votes, and in 2008 2,940,044-2,677,820, a margin of 262,244 votes. Trump defeated Clinton 2,841,005-2,394,164, a margin of 446,841 votes and an astounding turnaround from 2012. Clinton got 433,546 fewer votes than Obama, and Trump got 179,572 more votes than Romney.

hio’s "Obama Nation" did not show up in 2016.

In the state’s black-majority 3rd and 11th congressional districts, one in Columbus and the other in Cleveland, the black Democratic incumbents won by a combined 422,821 votes, with Clinton not far behind. Obama won them by 517,076 votes in 2012.

Obama won Pennsylvania, with an 11 percent black population, 2,990,274-2,680,434 in 2012, a margin of 309,480 votes, which was half of his 620,478-vote margin in 2008. Trump beat Clinton 2,970,733-2,926,441, a margin of 44,292 votes. Clinton got 63,833 fewer votes than Obama, but Trump got 290,299 more votes than Romney.

In the state’s black-majority 1st and 2nd congressional districts, both in Philadelphia, the Democratic incumbents won by a combined 548,658 votes, and Clinton was not far behind. Obama won them in 2012 by 582,848 votes.

Obama won Wisconsin, with a 6 percent black population, in 2012 1,620,985-1,407,966, a margin of 213,019 votes. That, again, was half of Obama’s 2008 victory by 414,818 votes. Clinton got 238,449 fewer votes than Obama got, signaling a serious political shift, and Trump won the state by 22,748 votes, getting 2,682 fewer votes than Romney. In Wisconsin, a fifth of the "Obama Nation" vanished.

Obama won North Carolina, with a 21 percent black population, in 2008 2,142,651-2,128,474, a margin of 14,177 votes, but he lost 2,270,395-2,178,391 in 2012, a margin of 92,004 votes. Obama’s vote actually increased by 35,740, but Clinton got 10,925 more votes in 2016. Trump beat her 2,362,631-2,189,316, a margin of 173,315 votes and an uptick of 234,157 votes over Romney. The state’s two black-majority congressional districts went as heavily for Clinton as they did for Obama, but a surge in the white turnout sealed Trump’s win.

In Florida, with a 16 percent black and 23 percent Hispanic population, Clinton lost to Trump by 112,911 votes. Obama won the state by 74,309 votes in 2012 and by 236,450 votes in 2008. In a state filled with lots of minorities and lots of liberal white Jewish retirees from along the East Coast, the Democratic presidential vote collapsed by more than 350,000 in 8 years.

A Trump-versus-Obama match-up is, of course, pure "fantasy politics." One might as well conjecture about whether Bill Clinton would have beaten George Bush in 2000. (He would have.) The 2016 electoral evidence is irrefutable: No Obama any more. The "Obama Nation" imploded, and the anti-"Obama Nation" exploded, in those key states, which ensured a Trump presidency.

econd, here’s an alliterative headline that you’ll never view: "Rumored Rahm Revival Rabidly Ridiculous." Chicago’s beleaguered mayor, who may or may not seek a third term in 2019, certainly has cause for optimism, maybe even probable cause:

(1) He has no declared mayoral opponent, although Chuy Garcia, Tom Dart, Scott Waguespack, Tom Tunney and Roderick Sawyer are primed to run. (2) The city’s annual murder rate hasn’t yet exceeded 1,000, but it is a growth industry, hitting 762 in 2016. (3) There may be 1,000 more cops on the street before the end of the decade, which may have negligible impact. As noted on the Jan. 1 "60 Minutes" broadcast, in which fired city police superintendent Garry McCarthy was interviewed, police stops dropped by 80 percent during 2016 and arrests declined by 33 percent. Police "activity is horrific," said McCarthy, and street criminals and gangs are taking advantage. Probable cause means that officers can make a stop if they believe that a crime has been, is, or will be committed. With officers saddled with body cameras, recording video and audio, and a two-page report required for every stop, arrests are now limited to "being committed." A city beset by lawlessness will not re-elect Emanuel.

(4) Every city tax and fee has been increase in order to bail out the pension deficits. Chicagoans will get five more property tax bills and water bills before the 2019 election, and every month the phone and electricity bill is clipped with a city tax. Renters also will feel the pain, as landlords pass through their increased costs in the form of increased rents. Some clever politician will begin tabbing Emanuel "High-Tax Rahm" or "High-Crime Rahm."

(5) Emanuel raised $1.6 million in 2016 from a bunch of sharpies who expect a payback before 2019, but he needs another $24 million in the next 25 months, and he will only get it if everyone thinks he is running again. Emanuel spent $25 million to win a second term. (6) The mayor needs to get ambitious Chicago black Democrats such as Valerie Jarrett, Kwame Raoul and Andrea Zopp into the 2018 governor’s race, not the 2019 mayor’s race, so they waste their time and money.

The mayor has no political base, and he engenders no fervent loyalty from any population segment. He won in 2015 because he spread about $1 million in the black-majority wards, and black voters proved that they would rather vote for a white candidate than a Hispanic for mayor, with Emanuel getting 60 to 65 percent of the black vote. Turnout in 2015 was 590,733; on Nov. 8 it was 1,090,343. Clinton won the city 912,943-135,317, but that was just the Democratic base vote, not the doing of Emanuel. The 135,317 Trump voters won’t back Emanuel, and in the 2016 presidential primary, Bernie Sanders beat Clinton in Chicago 380,208-320,945. Those leftist Sanders types will be for Garcia in 2019.

Emanuel’s prospects depend on the process of elimination. Big spending with lots of negativity, coupled with a big field, could get the mayor to a 20 to 25 percent second-place finish in a multi-candidate February preliminary election and a spot in the April runoff. Then Chicagoans could choose between the disaster they have and the disaster they could have. My bet is that 2 more years of "M&M" — murder and mayhem — will be too much for Emanuel to overcome.

Send e-mail to russ@russstewart. com or visit his Web site at www. russstewart.com.