Ashcroft In America

‘There’s not going to be a single Democrat that can go toe-to-to with the President’ – my interview with Trump press chief Kayleigh McEnany

By Lord Ashcroft

If you enjoyed the last presidential election, you’ll be delighted by the thought that we’re only 20 months away from the next one. Characteristically enough, Donald Trump declared his intention to seek a second term earlier than any previous incumbent, and his campaign is already in what Americans like to call “the staffing up process.” One of the earliest senior appointments is Kayleigh McEnany, the former CNN commentator named earlier this month as the campaign’s national press secretary. I met her last week at the Trump campaign headquarters in Northern Virginia for a discussion you can hear in full in the latest Ashcroft in America podcast.

If candidate Trump’s slogan in 2016 was Make America Great Again, I asked, how far is he going to claim to have achieved that by 2020? “Moving forward, it’s ‘keep America great’ (more…)

Ashcroft in America podcast – my interview with Trump campaign press secretary Kayleigh McEnany

By Lord Ashcroft

In the latest edition of the Ashcroft in America podcast I speak to Kayleigh McEnany, national press secretary on Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, about the President’s record, the prospects for 2020, his likely opponent, and communicating with sceptical voters in an age of fake news.

 

The Republican Party’s best hope for 2020? The left’s indignation

By Lord Ashcroft

This article was first published at TIME.com

This past weekend marked the midway point between the last presidential inauguration and the next one. The contours of the race to decide who gets to deliver the next inaugural address are already beginning to emerge, and it promises to be no less spectacular than the last one. My research over the last two years, including a survey of 15,000 people conducted after November’s midterm elections, gives some clues as to how the battle might unfold (more…)

My new book on President Trump, American voters and the 2020 election

By Lord Ashcroft

The start of 2019 is midway between the last presidential inauguration and the next – but will it also prove the halfway point in Donald Trump’s presidency? Following up Hopes and Fears, which set out why America sent Trump to the White House, Half-Time! American public opinion midway through Trump’s (first?) term – and the race to 2020 brings together more than two years of research from my Ashcroft in America project, exploring what the voters make of the President’s agenda and character, how they see the issues at stake and – with voices at the far ends of the political spectrum set to dominate the debate – how they are lining up for the 2020 election.

The book is now available to order from Biteback Publishing (more…)

Trump at half-time and the race to 2020: five points from my research

By Lord Ashcroft

Yesterday was the second anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration as President. Other things being equal, the next such ceremony will take place on 20 January 2021. In other words, we are now into the second half of Trump’s term – or should that be his current term? Since the 2016 election campaign, my Ashcroft in America project has helped explain how Donald Trump came to be elected, the hopes and fears of his supporters and opponents, and what they make of the unfolding story of his presidency and its seemingly endless controversies.

My new book, Half-Time! American Public Opinion Midway Through Trump’s (First?) Term – and the Race to 2020 brings together two years of research with new polling conducted since last November’s midterms to explore how different parts of the electorate see the President and his agenda, and how they are lining up for next year’s showdown. Here are five of the big points (more…)

Half-Time! American public opinion midway through Trump’s (first?) term – and the race to 2020

By Lord Ashcroft

This piece was first published in the Mail on Sunday

It is two years today since Donald Trump entered the White House. That means we are exactly half way between the last presidential inauguration and the next one; whether it also proves to be the half-way point in his presidency remains to be seen. Does President Trump have two years left in office – or six?

As my research has found over the last two years, those who voted for him positively, rather than as the only way of avoiding President Hillary Clinton, remain solidly behind him. They point to a thriving economy stoked by tax cuts and deregulation, two conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, a newly combative approach to international affairs, willingness to reshape global trade deals in the interests of American jobs, and a tough line on immigration and border security. They like that he continues to say exactly what he (and often, they) think, and the outrage this causes in some quarters only adds to their enjoyment. And if his statements sometimes fall foul of the fact checkers, they see him as honest in what they regard as the more important sense that he is authentic and has set about doing the things he said he would: rare enough traits in an elected official. After years of feeling ignored or even despised by the political class, believing a President is speaking and acting for them is an almost exhilarating experience. And if some Trump voters view his personal ethics with distaste and wish he would calm down on Twitter, they decided at the election that other things mattered more, and this still holds true.

Those who did not support Trump think he has been every bit as bad as they expected, and worse (more…)

The midterms and beyond: my reflections on the next chapter of American politics

By Lord Ashcroft

For many months before America’s midterm elections the conventional wisdom was that newly enthused Democrats, Republicans embarrassed by the antics of President Trump, and non-voters spurred into action by indignation at the state of their country’s leadership, would join forces to sweep the GOP from Capitol Hill.

As we know, this did not quite come to pass. While the Democrats gained 40 districts to take control of the House of Representatives, the Republicans strengthened their hold on the Senate, making a net gain of two seats in the upper chamber. Hardly the rout that Democrats had predicted – in fact, more like the tide flowing in both directions at once. What’s going on?

(more…)

‘I was like, we have to pick between these two? But honestly, I’m kind of pleasantly surprised’: my final pre-midterm focus groups in California

By Lord Ashcroft

The final round of our American research tour takes us to two districts in California, one in prosperous Orange County, and another further north around the city of Fresno. This is usually thought of as a heavily Democratic state, but the Republicans are defending crucial districts here that could decide whether they keep control of Congress this week. These include districts which elected Republican Congressmen two years ago but chose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump for President – how they choose this time will help determine the balance of power in Washington.

The migrant caravan making its way to the US from Honduras continued to loom large in voters’ minds as they began to make their minds up. Our groups’ reaction was a combination of sympathy for the families leaving their countries in search of a better life, and resolve that America’s borders – including California’s – had the be protected and the law enforced (more…)

New Ashcroft in America podcast – California

By Lord Ashcroft

In the last of my series of pre-midterm podcasts, voters in key districts in California discuss the latest political developments and consider their voting decisions in the elections that will determine the balance of power in Washington

Ashcroft in America podcast: my interviews with Bob Shrum and Reed Galen

By Lord Ashcroft

In the latest edition of the Ashcroft in America podcast I interview campaigning legend Bob Shrum about the future of the Democrats, how Hillary could have won, and his time working in British politics – and Reed Galen, who once worked for President Bush, John McCain and Arnold Schwarzenegger but now helps run the Serve America Movement, which is aiming to end two-party dominance in Washington.