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Thursday, July 14, 2016

DC elections expert Charlie Cook learned nothing

In my book, "Trump the Press," I quote 321 people to show just how wrong the political experts were. It was not that they made a mistake. Few believed last summer Trump would win. There is no dishonor in that. But after he won Nevada, anyone who said he still had no chance of winning was either a liar or a fool, likely both.

What have the experts learned? In the case of Charlie Cook, not one damned thing.

Cook does the Cook Political Report which handicaps races. Thirty years ago, Bob Schieffer of CBS News called the Cook Political Report "the bible of the political community."


Let's take a look at Cook 7:2015, in which he wrote on July 24, 2015:
It was inevitable: If given enough rope, Donald Trump would hang himself. 
Trump's statement Saturday in Iowa that Sen. John McCain was no war hero was all it took. This was so predictable; nobody knew exactly how Trump would self-destruct, but there was no doubt that he would. He can't help himself. 
As Republican Party leaders prepare to breathe a sigh of relief, it's worth thinking about Trump's surge and its meaning. At the time of his self-immolation, the real estate mogul was pulling between 13 and 18 percent of the Republican vote in July surveys—ahead of Jeb Bush in some polls, just behind him in others, but still firmly in second place. (A new Washington Post-ABC News poll released Monday showed Trump with a clear lead over the national GOP field, though it also found that support for Trump dropped in interviews conducted immediately after he made his McCain comments.) 
It's inexplicable to me that anyone could take seriously someone displaying such buffoonish behavior, but the fact that he was drawing more support than, at the very least, all but one of his rivals is worth contemplating for a moment.
Yes, that ended Trump's campaign.

By the way, McCain -- in a tight re-election primary -- endorsed Trump.

Cook did not figure out that Trump tapped into Republican voter angst. They held their nose, voted for the moderate McCain, and he lost anyway. On top of that, he later called the Tea Party the "whacky birds." No love lost there. Trump reached out to those burned by McCain, which included many, many veterans.

So has Mister Cook learned his lesson?

Of course not. In fact, Cook is very angry that Republicans nominated Trump.

On July 8, 2016, Cook wrote:
Rather than set­tling a linger­ing ques­tion hanging over this pres­id­en­tial race, FBI Dir­ect­or James Comey’s re­com­mend­a­tion not to pro­sec­ute Hil­lary Clin­ton, and sub­sequent word from At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Lor­etta Lynch that the Justice De­part­ment was clos­ing the in­vest­ig­a­tion, have con­versely am­ped up anti-Clin­ton feel­ings among con­ser­vat­ives, Re­pub­lic­ans, and oth­er crit­ics of the pre­sumptive Demo­crat­ic nom­in­ee. 
My re­ac­tion is not ter­ribly sym­path­et­ic. If Hil­lary Clin­ton is such a hor­rible per­son, so ill-suited for the pres­id­ency, why didn’t they unite be­hind some­body, any­body, while there was still time to beat her? After Don­ald Trump lost the April 5 Wis­con­sin primary to Ted Cruz, the door was open. But when Trump swept the Acela primar­ies on April 26, win­ning not only Con­necti­c­ut, Delaware, Mary­land, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Is­land, but every county with­in each state, the race was over. The door had slammed shut. 
The truth is that Re­pub­lic­ans were not in a mood to nom­in­ate Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Marco Ru­bio, or any oth­er es­tab­lish­ment-ori­ented can­did­ate. They also des­pised Ted Cruz so he would nev­er do. None of the oth­er al­tern­at­ives meas­ured up. They were so angry with the gov­ern­ment that they wanted to fire a shot­gun blast at Wash­ing­ton. They ended up shoot­ing them­selves in the foot. They got Don­ald Trump and a gimpy party.
Yes, Cook is that dumb. He still thinks that Trump cannot win. He does not couch this as being a longshot, but rather that Trump cannot win, ending the column, "The Clin­ton haters are cry­ing that the whole thing was a setup, but where were they when they could have nom­in­ated someone more elect­able and ex­ploited her troubles?"

Cook knows nothing, but he influences the political experts who dominate cable news and give the nation some of the worse political analysis available. In his annual year-end roundup last December, Dave Barry's June 2015 entry was “On the political front, the big story is Donald Trump, who declares his candidacy for president and lays out a bold, far-reaching vision for America consisting of whatever thought is flitting through his mind at that particular moment. Trump is deemed to have no chance by veteran Washington-based political experts with vast knowledge of what all the other veteran Washington-based political experts think.”

The difference is Trump has learned to depend on the teleprompter more, and what's flitting through his mind less.

Cook and others haven't.

He's in my book.


"Trump the Press: Don Surber's take on how the pundits blew the 2016 Republican race," is now on sale.

Please purchase "Trump the Press" through Create Space, as I get a larger royalty. It is a subsidiary of Amazon.

The book also is on Amazon.

And its Kindle release is on July 25. Pre-order here, please.

Autographed copies are $20 each. Please email me at 

Regardless of how you purchase this must reading for Trump supporters and media critics alike. Please post a book review on the Amazon site. That helps attract other readers.


  1. "Trump is deemed to have no chance by veteran Washington-based political experts with vast knowledge of what all the other veteran Washington-based political experts think.”

    That says it all. Trump took it to the people and the people responded despite all of the angst and naysaying of the GOP and pundit "elites." - Elric

  2. I believe that John "OK we'll build the danged fence" (or "Gang of Eight" if you like) McCain has endorsed Trump purely out of political expediency. I hope he gets thumped. He is a textbook example of a DC insider who has been in Washington waaaaaay to long.

  3. Just can't teach these clowns to plot their data-points, then draw their curve, instead of the other way round.

    Remember that worldwide disaster that was to follow Brexit? Surprising how undisastrous Wall Street's latest high feels.

  4. "Thirty years ago, Bob Schieffer of CBS News called the Cook Political Report 'the bible of the political community.'"

    Gnostic Gospels.

  5. My favorite definition of "expert" is: some guy from out of town.

  6. My favorite definition of "expert" is: some guy from out of town.