This week’s JZS Newsletter features:

i) The Democrats Have Lost Touch With Their Roots: My Advice For The Oldest Party
From Forbes, By John Zogby

i) John Zogby Strategies In The News: “On The Cavs And Cleveland’s Mayor Race”
From Cleveland Plain Dealer, By Brent Larkin

iii) Weekly Trump Report Card
From the Washington Examiner, By John Zogby

i) The Democrats Have Lost Touch With Their Roots: My Advice For The Oldest Party

From Forbes, By John Zogby

This is written out of love because my roots are with the Democrats. My Dad, a Lebanese immigrant, was the only Democrat among his siblings and I recall this gentle man, who used to open up his grocery market at 7AM six days a week, staying up all night to be sure that Jack Kennedy won the election of 1960. Mom was born in the coal region of eastern Pennsylvania and appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America in 1996 to explain why a 90 year old retired teacher who went to Mass every day strongly supported Bill Clinton’s re-election. “I am a Democrat because I remember it was the party leader who made sure we were all taken care of during hard times and I am for Bill Clinton because he cares about us the same way”.

“Besides”, she told ABC’s Shelia Kast, “I am voting for a President not my confessor. I already have a confessor.”

I am writing this because the Democrats have just lost another special election.

I am afraid this oldest political party in the world is no longer the party of Joseph and Celia Zogby. I think it cares more about being right – and enforcing that everyone else is right with them on all things all the time – than about people. The Democrats in my lifetime have been exceptional because they came from the same tradition as my parents. Look at the accomplishments of Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. All of these men had real stories, bonding experiences with real people, and expanded care to those in need. But today the Democrats are at their lowest point in memory. They do not control any of the branches of the federal government, a majority of the governor’s mansions and legislatures in the states, and they have lost five special elections already this year – at a time when a new President is very unpopular.

The Democrats have clearly lost a connection with real people. While they maintain the support of interests and key democrats, I think they have lost their story. Without dwelling too much on 2016 – I and others have already written many post-mortems about Hillary Clinton as just a terrible standard-bearer – the fact is that more than anyone else Mrs. Clinton represented what the party has become – elitist, out of touch, lacking any personal compassion, too focused on being right without feeling any bond with people. Here are some pointers for the Democratic Party:

  1. The White Working Class – one sure way to lose a key voting group is to impose a moniker on them that they themselves eschew. This term turns voters into a “them” not an “us”. Recently, the party and one of its important think tanks held a forum of pollsters and consultants on how to win back “TWWC”. Each paper spoke as if these were aliens, simple folks, people who under normal circumstances – i.e. “properly educated” – could become Democrats. The tone was patience for lesser brothers and sisters who are not enlightened. They can come around if “we learn how to talk to them”. For an elitist party, communications is always about “talking”, not “listening”. First of all, Democrats have to accept that not everyone agrees with their positions on everything and there are probably some good reasons. Lots of people go to a place of worship every week, or live in a town where Democrats may be corrupt, or they believe in older more traditional values. Second, a party that wants to lead needs to understand that it must address the aspirations of people, not engage in persuasion while sitting on a perch.
  2. Please Don’t Call it “The Resistance” – there is so much to worry about with the election of Donald Trump. Our new President – and he is “our new President” because he was elected – used base fears and instincts to persuade angry voters. And for those who oppose him there are mechanisms to try to block him. One of them is elections and Democrats are not winning any at the moment. But another thing is not to engage in hysterics and hyperbole. By using a term like “The Resistance”, this is an insult to the brave souls who lost their lives in Germany, France, Spain, and Italy (among other places) in battling genuine evil. Besides, practically speaking, democratic mechanisms still exist and Americans are enjoying a far greater standard of living than those in Europe beset by recession, high inflation, and ethnic cleansing. But most importantly, using hyperbole that is historically incorrect raises the level of intensity among an elite that most likely is not shared among fellow aspiring Americans who live their daily lives modestly and moderately.

The greater Democratic Presidents and Congressional leaders did not establish a wedge between themselves and their roots and the mainstream of the American people. They, in the words of the greatest Republican President, sought to engage “the better angels of our nature”. Let’s see a party willing to listen, to appreciate concerns not always trying to persuade, and more ready to care about people – the one my Mom and Dad experienced.


ii) John Zogby Strategies In The News: “On The Cavs And Cleveland’s Mayor Race”

From Cleveland Plain Dealer, By Brent Larkin


Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert just gave Cleveland voters another reason to be mad at Mayor Frank Jackson.

It’s tough enough to justify using existing tax money generated by Quicken Loans Arena to split the cost of Gilbert’s $140 million planned renovation.

But if Gilbert’s bizarre housecleaning of the team’s front office results in his driving LeBron James from Cleveland — as many basketball insiders suggest it might — widening the concourses and putting a glass shell on the arena won’t put a single body in all those empty seats.

And it will make the scheme to upgrade the arena — and the role Jackson and Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley played in the maneuvering to deny residents a right to vote on it — even more wildly unpopular than it was before Gilbert’s latest micromanaging cast him in a universally bad light.

There have been far less defensible deals than the Quicken renovation handout crafted by the mayor and County Executive Armond Budish.

And it’s hardly the most important issue in Jackson’s bid for an unprecedented fourth four-year term.

Crime, allegations of police misconduct, spotty neighborhood services and the general feeling that it may be time for a change at City Hall have combined to put Jackson at some risk — with neighborhood crime high atop that list.

But Jackson could also be hurt by the perception he’s using tax money to reward an absentee owner whose past and present behavior may cause one of the two greatest athletes in Cleveland sports history to leave town after one more season.

In theory, where LeBron James plays basketball is entirely unrelated to the case for or against using tax money generated by the arena to renovate it.

In reality, James had a great deal to do with it.

Had James not returned to lead the Cavaliers to an NBA championship last year, the public backlash against any such use of tax money would have been politically insurmountable.

Especially in a city where 53 out of every 100 children live in poverty.

The fate of a citywide vote on the arena deal now rests with the Ohio Supreme Court.

If the court agrees the city was wrong in denying the public a right to such an election, there’s about an 80 percent certainty voters will reject the renovation plan. Recall that the 1990 countywide sin tax vote on Gateway, an issue light years more important than this one, got crushed in Cleveland, losing 20 of 21 wards.

Running in the same election for his unprecedented fourth term would expose Jackson to withering criticism from the clergy and activists seeking to kill the deal.

With or without a public vote on the Gilbert arena plan, the final campaign of Jackson’s unexpectedly long life in politics now begins.

And as the June 29 filing deadline nears, there’s still uncertainty over exactly who will be on the Sept. 12 primary election ballot. As evidence, state Rep. Bill Patmon, who had been toying with the idea of running, messaged me this morning, just a week before the deadline, to say, “I’m in.”

In fact, as recently as mid-June, former Mayor Dennis Kucinich was telling some confidantes he hadn’t ruled out attempting a comeback for the office he won 40 years ago.

But in a conversation this week, Kucinich said he will not run for mayor, but hopes “to continue to be of service to the city I love.”

So, as of this writing, here’s what’s seems certain:

Jackson will finish first in the primary election.


As of today, Reed probably holds a tiny advantage over Johnson because his strength comes from a part of the city where voter turnout is higher than Johnson’s Glenville neighborhood.

Either Councilman Zack Reed or Councilman Jeff Johnson will finish second in the primary, earning a spot in the Nov. 7 runoff election.

These conclusions track conventional wisdom. And they’re consistent with a telephone and Internet poll of 619 likely voters conducted for the Reed campaign from June 15-17 by John Zogby Strategies, a widely known national polling firm. I have seen the poll results and have a copy of the executive summary.

In a four-way primary contest that also included Brandon Chrostowski, the poll showed Jackson with 34 percent, Reed 18 percent, Johnson 16 percent, Chrostowski 8 percent and the rest undecided.

As of this writing, only Johnson and Chrostowski, founder of the nonprofit Edwins Leadership and Restaurant Institute, have filed petitions qualifying them for the ballot.

In a two-candidate runoff, the survey showed Jackson leading Reed by about 9 points and Johnson by about 11.

Not surprisingly, the poll found Reed’s signature issue of neighborhood safety plays well with voters.

And it showed Jackson’s once sky-high job approval rating is now at 49 percent.

One doesn’t need a poll to conclude the “time for a change” argument works against Jackson. And, given the mayor’s widely acknowledged weakness of being loyal to a fault, there are legitimate concerns about a fourth-term falloff in a City Hall talent pool that’s already alarmingly shallow.

Nevertheless, Jackson is and deserves to be the campaign’s unquestioned frontrunner.

His is a uniquely Cleveland life story, one filled with once-unimaginable accomplishments.

Jackson is too good a man to be remembered as a mayor who stayed too long.

He better be careful.

Coming Soon: Who’s Your Tribe? The only app you’ll need to discover your Neo-Tribe.

iii) Weekly Trump Report Card: Georgia Peach Of A Week

From the Washington Examiner, By John Zogby


Bad as it may get for the president, often by his own doing, he is right when he says he is winning. He has won four special elections for the House and one for the Senate. At a time when his polling numbers are still low, the Democrats are the ones talking about changing their leadership.

While Democrats try to cover for each loss by saying they have made stronger showings in GOP dominated districts, the fact is that they have to show they can win somewhere. They clearly are not and the president gets to gloat.

Mr. Trump called the GOP health care legislation “mean” so the Senate comes up with a bill that is even meaner. Try this for size: more taxes for middle class, less coverage for the uninsured, higher premiums for most, a substantial tax cut for the wealthy, less protection for those with preexisting conditions, slashing of Medicaid, and opposition by organizations representing seniors, physicians, hospitals, nurses, as well as the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and on and on. Beside that, so far six GOP senators have serious reservations about the legislation — and from different directions. Mr. Trump can still rally a crowd and still win elections, but not a good week.”

Grade D

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