Nov 052019
 

Jackie Gingrich Cushman, second from left, with friends Jim Farwell, Norma Jane Sabiston, Gay LeBreton and Bill Allerton, prepares to sign her new book, “Our Broken America.” (Danae Columbus)

Jackie Gingrich Cushman, the younger daughter of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, said last week that President Donald Trump will certainly win re-election in 2020 unless the U.S. economy suffers a major downturn. Born in New Orleans while her father was a student at Tulane University Law School, Cushman is a syndicated columnist, speaker and author. She was in town to promote her third book, “Our Broken America,” at the Garden District Book Shop. Cushman also co-authored “Five Principles for a Successful Life” with her father.

As to be expected, Cushman wholeheartedly supports President Trump and frequently retweets him and other White House officials. Cushman recently reposted what the Trump administration is calling the largest middle-class pay boost in almost twenty years and the record number of Americans currently employed. A new Survey Monkey poll reported by the New York Times last week shows that Americans’ views on the economy many matter less in next year’s election because of the hardening along partisan lines.

In fact, partisan polarization is at her heart of her new book.  “America’s politics have become so polarized that voters from different parties no longer listen to each other,” Cushman said. Citizens used to get their news via newspapers and 30-minute television new shows.

“During those years, there was a shared sense of information,” she explained.  Because of today’s 24-hour cable news channels and the availability of news on the internet around the clock, citizens receive totally different stories based on how and where they get their news.

“President Trump uses Twitter like President (Franklin D.) Roosevelt used radio for those fireside chats, which were all highly scripted,” said Cushman. President Trump also “bypasses the media and speaks directly to the people.”  Cushman feels that President Trump has made “really good use” of the internet. “He sees what is happening in the moment and sees what the boundaries are before he makes a decision.”

Cushman was a Trump Tower insider on election night and believes that the national media was slow to “call” states for President Trump because they were surprised by his strength among the voters.

Cushman said she believes that Democrats and the liberal media have been out to get President Trump since the beginning of his term and that House Democrats need to be more transparent throughout the impeachment process if they want to have credibility with the public.

Moderate, articulate and whip smart, Cushman is an extremely credible ambassador to reach conservative women who may have become disenchanted with the president’s style. “All issues are women’s issues,” she said. “Women are also paying more attention these days.” Key Republican women leaders including presidential daughter-in-law Lara Trump and the second lady and evangelical Christian Karen Pence have been appealing to women voters in “blue” states to root out hidden support.  Even though 53% of white women voted for President Trump, a recent Quinnipiac University poll shows a steep decline among that demographic. The vast majority of African-American and Hispanic women have traditionally voted Democratic.

Research also shows that better educated, more affluent suburban women have been turned off by Republican messaging.  Yet there exists “hidden” female voters the Republican Party is trying to cultivate. Cushman said that not enough of Republican women are running for or holding office, perhaps because they have traditionally been urged to work behind the scene. “Democrats have done a better job of recruiting and training women candidates,” she admitted.

Cushman is not worried by pundits who believe that President Trump poll results are too low especially among certain ethnic and geographic groups. “Pollsters love to talk about groups of people but what they say is not always true.  There is a great complexity among any group of voters.” she continued.

According to The Wall Street Journal, President Trump’s job approval rating has remained steady during his first term but the percentage of the opposing party who think he is doing a good job is much lower than for previous presidents.

Democratic frontrunners Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren both claim that a Trump victory will fundamentally change the character of this country and redefine the nation for generations to come.  President Trump continues to poll well in conservative middle America by drilling down on political and cultural divides. As the months tick away until the first presidential caucus in Iowa, President Trump will continue to take full advantage of the country’s economic gains while waging a full throttle anti-impeachment campaign. As partisan polarization continues even in the Democratic party, the race for President becomes truly wide open.

SHERMAN, MCKNIGHT HOLD FUNDRAISERS THIS WEEK

State House District 98 candidate Kea Sherman and state House 91 candidate Robert McKnight  both scheduled their final fundraisers this week.  Former state Sen. Diana Bajoie, former U.S. Senate candidate Caroline Fayard and Leon Tate, who in 1960 helped desegregate the New Orleans Public Schools co-chaired a Women for McKnight mixer and fundraiser last night at the home of Greer Mendy, 3907 Carondelet St. Caroline and Jeff Good are opening their Valence Street home to Kea Sherman on Wednesday, Nov. 6. Early voting continues through Saturday, Nov. 9.

COMMITTEE FOR A BETTER NEW ORLEANS TO HONOR TWO LEADERS AT AWARDS LUNCHEON

The Committee for a Better New Orleans will honor Brandan “B-Mike” Odums and Nola4Women at their 10th annual Diana Lewis Citizen Participation Awards luncheon Friday, Nov. 9, at the New Orleans Fair Grounds.  State Sen. J.P. Morrell will be the keynote speaker. CBNO is a multi-racial, multi-generational community organization, a catalyst and convener, working to create equity and opportunity for all New Orleanians. Tickets are available through Eventbrite or directly from CBNO. For more information email info@cbno.org.

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Danae Columbus, who has had a 30-year career in politics and public relations, offers her opinions on Thursdays. Her career includes stints at City Hall, the Dock Board and the Orleans Parish School Board and former clients such as District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, City Councilman Jared Brossett, City Councilwoman-at-large Helena Moreno, Foster Campbell, former Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, former Sheriff Charles Foti and former City Councilwomen Stacy Head and Cynthia Hedge-Morrell.